I would much rather be writing an album review, or highlighting a new artist. But since the 19-year-old Taylor Swift took home an unprecedented four CMA’s, including Entertainer of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year, this website has been flooded with traffic, similar to what Rush Limbaugh probably experienced after Obama’s win, which is ironic, because in the last few weeks, I’ve felt more and more like the Michael Moore of country music, exposing it’s corporate excesses and corruption. People are flocking here because they want some justification for how they feel. They want to find camaraderie, and hope.
I’ll tell you straight up, I’ve had a hard time since I watched Taylor take home the most important award in country music. I anticipated her winning, but I didn’t anticipate feeling this way afterward. This isn’t fun for me any more. I can’t just poke fun of these pop personalities and move on. It’s all taken an emotional turn that I don’t like. It has become personal, partly because at times the behavior of Nashville entities has become almost criminal.
Take the Milsap / Capitol Records mess. The other day I received a letter from a woman who lost her husband fighting a fire; the people Milsap is trying to help. The day after Keith Urban was exposed for operating a ticket scam, the next day Taylor Swift was implicated in a similar situation.
I don’t want to be the predictable guy at the extreme edge of the country music perspective. I want to embody the trunk where the rest of country music branches from, including the pop and mainstream elements. But the perspective has shifted so, pop is the trunk, and we are the outer branches. Some are saying country music is entering a new era, more oriented to pop, and destined to see similar acts to Taylor Swift come on the scene. Yes, they’re saying country music will become even more pop than it already is.
Forget the arguments if Taylor Swift is country or not. Forget all the talk about her songwriting being immature. Forget that her management deals in unscrupulous ticketing practices. I watched the CMA’s cover to cover, and it began with a Taylor Swift performance where she just outright did not sing in tune. She won Female Vocalist of the Year, and she can’t even sing. And don’t take my biased opinion on that, read it HERE.“. . .off-tune, a consistent characteristic of Swift’s live outings . . . Struggling for her notes but not showing any concern about it.”
And for all this talk of Taylor Swift being a good role model and her songs being wholesome: “Swift made a flurry of arena-rock moves, shaking her long, gold tresses as if she were Robert Plant and sliding down a shiny pole in what seemed like a defiant nod toward her friend Miley Cyrus, who took guff for similar gyrations on this year’s Teen Choice Awards.”. I saw with my own two eyes as she squatted spread legged in a skirt and humped the stage.
What a slap in the face to performers like Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert that the Female Vocalist of the Year can’t even hold a tune. Say what you want about many female pop country singers, there are some strong voices there. Let this sink in for a second. The girl we just gave to crown of country music to can’t even hold pitch.
In 1975 there was a backlash in country music when John Denver won Best Male Vocalist. I would kill to hear “Country Roads” coming out of my radio right now.
And part of me feels bad for Taylor Swift. I have been careful not to ever criticize her as a person. It is not her fault that this false crown has been hoisted upon her by the spoon fed American consumer, she just has to deal with the repercussions. She said that winning Entertainer of the Year was all that she ever wanted. Well when you achieve that at nineteen, there is a good possibility the rest of life is filled with letdown, and holes can open up in your life; holes that you can fall into, or that need to be fed.
Maybe in the end this will be the beginning of the end for pop country as I surmised earlier. But right now I have a very uneasy feeling. The game has changed, and I don’t like it. I want to go back to just enjoying the music. Part of me feels that all hope is lost and I should just hang up the spurs, but another part of me wants to redouble my efforts to offer support to the true country artists still left.
Regardless, the simple fact is country music is dead, in the estimation of me and many others. The circle is broken. It’s done, period. There is no more saving country music, there is only the glimmer of possibility of resurrecting it someday, by gathering up the pieces of the circle that still live in the hearts of the true country fan and reuniting them into the grace and soul that is REAL country music.
I will continue to do the work to reunite the circle, because apparently nobody else will. But right now what is called for is brutal honesty.
Leave an epitaph below if you wish.