Apple’s “My Kind of Country” Gets It All Wrong
On Friday, March 24th, independent country artist Jesse Daniel released a live album called My Kind of Country: Live from the Catalyst. A triumphant work from an artist that went from a drug addict in Santa Cruz, California to now one of independent country’s most promising performers, the album captures Jesse Daniel and his band playing a sold-out show at a place that Daniel once worked at as a stage hand and bar back, dreaming of becoming a country artist.
The phrase “My Kind of Country” is one Jesse Daniel has been using for years now as a signature to delineate his authentic honky-tonk style of country music with a strong songwriting element from what many characterize as “country music” today that dominates the mainstream. Jesse Daniel has put the “My Kind of Country” phrase on T-shirts and such, and it’s come to symbolize a rallying cry of independent country fans who’ve been disenfranchised by the mainstream.
The same day Jesse Daniel released the new live album and played a packed show at the Sagebrush honky tonk in Austin, Apple TV debuted a new singing competition of sorts also called My Kind of Country. Produced by actress Reese Witherspoon with Kacey Musgraves, the TV/competition also features “scouts” Mickey Guyton, Jimmie Allen, and Orville Peck. The idea is they scout all around the world for the next big country superstar who will eventually be signed to the Apple record label.
But the very fair question to ask about this competition is if any of the individuals involved are in any way qualified to be making judgement calls on supposed “country” artists. And of course, everything on this competition is hyper focused on identity and a false notion of what country music actually is.
In the current country music landscape, it is not country radio, it’s not the major labels on Music Row, it’s not even the media, or pop or hip-hop artists trying to break into the country mainstream that are blurring the lines of what country music is more than ever before. It is Apple Music above all entities that seems almost maniacally focused on reshaping what country music is in the minds of the public through their original Apple Music programming catered to the country genre.
For example, in late July Apple launched a new show called “YeeDM” hosted by DJ Telemitry. It focuses on country and EDM collaborations and remixes. “Country musicians are working in pop music and people in pop music are working in country music,” says DJ Telemitry. “Someone may say they don’t listen to country music, but if they hear something they like, they may dig it. So what I am trying to do is take that person who is a genre-free listener and just loves great music and blends those worlds together.”
Up and down the Apple Music Country roster, the emphasis appears to be attracting these “genre-free” listeners with music that has little or no loyalty or even affiliation with country music, yet Apple still feels the need to call it “country,” while at the same time eschewing the idea of genre as doltish and dated. The new My Kind of Country series takes this rather contradictory approach and sends it into hyperdrive.
“Country music should stop limiting people, and should start opening doors,” Reese Witherspoon says at the beginning of the series, which is completely true, but not for the reasons Reese Witherspoon believes. The premise of the series is that country music is completely restrictive on performers solely based on identity.
This is definitely somewhat true from a historical perspective. Country music has always been harder to break into for Black and Brown performers, and for women, even though all of these groups had a hand in originally helping to form the genre. But in the modern era, often it is these identitarian factors that open doors for artists who otherwise would not receive opportunities based on merit or the level of country cred they carry. The Apple Country Music roster and My Kind of Country are examples of this.
In truth, the most widespread and rampant discrimination in country music in 2023 that artists from all backgrounds, ethnicites, and gender identities face comes from if they have the audacity to actually play actual country music. If you’re a true country artist, good luck getting attention from a major label. In many instances, you will be ostracized from the business. Once again, this new Apple competition My Kind of Country is an examples of this.
What first deserves to be questioned is the credentials and credibility of the individuals involved in this series. Aside from being raised partly in Tennessee and playing June Carter in the 2005 film I Walk The Line, it’s unclear what gives Reese Witherspoon the capability to decree what country music is or isn’t. Though some love to accuse those who try to enact at least some sort of reasonable sonic qualifiers around what is country of “gatekeeping,” in truth, it is people like Reese Witherspoon, and major corporations like Apple that are more actively working to define what country music is, and do so upon ideological parameters as opposed to musical ones.
Kacey Musgraves most certainly has country music credibility as one of the most awards country women of the last decade. But the recent turn her career has taken makes her qualifications at choosing who and what is country or not much more questionable. For her last album Star-Crossed (2021), Kacey’s label MCA Nashville decided it needed to partner with pop label Interscope because the album was so far outside of the country genre.
When Kacey’s Star-Crossed was submitted to the Grammys, a panel of country music professionals determined it was not country enough to compete in country categories and sent it to pop. Kacey and her label protested, which in many ways proves Kacey’s definition of country is outside of how the rest of the country music defines the genre. The career moves of Musgraves in many ways parallel this worrisome Apple Music boundary stretching across their country platform.
There was certainly a point early in Mickey Guyton’s career when she would be a more than capable judge of country music, since she started out mixing more traditional sounding country with pop sensibilities. But her more recent output is purely pop, with little or not semblance to country.
Purely pop is how Jimmie Allen’s career started, and has remained. Allen defines the very bleeding edge of pop in country. In introducing Allen on My Kind of Country, they talk about how he “broke down barriers” by collaborating with Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull, when it’s these exact kinds of things that erect barriers for actual country artists who don’t yearn for crossover appeal. My Kind of Country‘s characterization of Jimmie Allen’s career as groundbreaking and unprecedented for a Black artist in the modern era also actively works to erase the work of Darius Rucker and others, similar to Amazon’s For Love & Country documentary did.
If you have confidence in anyone involved in the series being able to judge country music accurately in 2023, it might be Orville Peck, even though he was born in South Africa, and came up playing indie rock in Canada. At least Peck seems to have a foundation of influences that includes classic country stalwarts. And unlike Kacey Musgraves, Orville Peck seems to be moving in the direction of wanting to sound more country lately as opposed to less.
But the personalities on the show are far from the only problem. My Kind of Country establishes a self-fulfilling narrative that if you look different, or are from a different country than the United States, you can’t and won’t make it in country music. It also helps to define “making it” in country to mean being part of the mainstream and finding your way onto corporate country radio, while these corporate-produced productions always ignore the groundswell of independent artists in country that represent a significantly more diverse population, and increasingly, a larger portion of the market share. There is a reason all of the competition’s scouts are signed to major labels. It’s because everything not on a major label is relegated to “Americana.”
The music director for the competition is Adam Blackstone. His credits include Nicki Minaj, Justin Timberlake, Eminem, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Demi Lovato, Maroon 5, and not a single country music artist. You could have had Shane McAnally or half a dozen other country producers and fulfilled your identitarian requisite. But instead they didn’t even try to find someone from the country world, damming every performance on the show to take a turn away from country. It’s like they didn’t even try to hide that the point of this show was to make “country” music that doesn’t sound like country.
Throughout the first episode of My Kind of Country, the commentary and moments often come across as canned. Reese Witherspoon and Kacey Musgraves supposedly talking backstage and brainstorming the idea was so rigid. Jimmie Allen looked ridiculous in B-roll footage of him riding around on an old tractor. The series tries to center their “scout” personalities in the frame, but the entire thing is so clearly producer-driven, from how the contestants were selected, to the fake suspense and sentimentality.
What doesn’t feel fair to flagrantly dismiss outright is the contestants themselves. They deserve to be judged on their own merits. Searching the world for a good country star is not a bad idea in itself. Just because country music is indigenous to the United States doesn’t mean there are not quality country artists from around the world. Saving Country Music has showcased many of them over the years, from Ags Connolly in Britain, to Shota Adamashivili from the Republic of Georgia, to The Country Side of Harmonica Sam from Sweden, and so on.
As strange of a phenomenon as it may seem, sometimes souls from different parts of the globe find a home in authentic country music, and can represent country music just as good if not better than many American-born performers. But the issue with My Kind of Country is they’re not actually looking for country artists as much as artists they can slot into an identitarian checklist, even if the kind of music they play has little or nothing to do with country music.
On the first episode, a guy from South Africa named Justin Serrao performed “Wild World” by folk rock artist Cat Stevens in a rendition that was arranged by Adam Blackstone, who is a pop/hip-hop producer. Another contestant named Ale Aguirre from Mexico performed “Home” by American Idol winner and acoustic pop performer Philip Phillips. So no, these really weren’t country artists, or performances.
A contestant Dhruv Visvanath from India sang Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” that hit a little bit closer to country, even if his style was inferred much more from other influences. The fourth contestant was Camille Parker from Durham, North Carolina. She was raised by her grandparents who instilled her with a love for country music, and she started singing in her church. She told a story about how it was tough to be considered “country” as a Black woman. This is one of the places where country music has suffered from blind spots, and for way too long. She sang “Space Cowboy” by Kacey Musgraves, which is a country song, even if the arrangement was very much pop. It brought some of the scouts to tears.
All four of the contestants on the first episode of My Kind of Country were quality performers that delivered great performances. But it’s fair to question if any of them were legitimately country aside from maybe Camille Parker, who could have been pushed more pop by the pop musical director of the show.
And perhaps the most telling part of the first episode is that when it came time to cut at least one contestant from the show, guess what happened? Spoiler alert: they cut nobody. That’s right, on My Kind of Country, everybody wins, and nobody loses. Everyone deserves to be a superstar in country music playing arenas with #1’s on the radio, and the only reason it could ever be any different is because country music is too closed-minded, not because being a musician is an elective occupation with a finite amount of slots for top performers.
Presumably, at some point contestants will start to be cut from My Kind of Country and a final victor announced. But not cutting anyone from the first episode really shows the kind of privileged, participation trophy mentality that this show was crafted with.
It’s important to emphasize that country artists can be Black, can be Hispanic, can be Native Americans, or a guy from Nashville of Taiwanese dissent like Gabe Lee. They can be a gay guy like Orville Peck. But the most important thing is that they also have to be country. They have to embrace a sound and approach that is emblematic of country tones and sentiments. Otherwise, even if you do instill diversity into a population of performers, it will have no meaning if you’re just presenting another version of pop. To integrate country, the artists have to play country music.
The fatal flaw behind My Kind of Country is the same fatal flaw behind much of elitist, academia-driven ideas on diversity in country music, which is that country music needs to resolve its diversity issues by sounding like every other genre via inviting artists from other genres in. But that’s not the point of country music. That’s the point of pop. Country is the sound of rural America and its inhabitants, and those that carry a love and respect for that sound in their hearts no matter where they’re from.
What’s so beautiful about music from all around the United States and the world is how different, diverse, and unique it is across so many vibrant and stratified cultures. That is diversity. And trying to resolve that diversity by forcing genres together is misguided, and ultimately damaging to diversity. Hip-hop is far and away the most popular and dominant style of music in the United States and the Western world. Popular music is indisputably disproportionately represented by Black and Brown people, despite Black and Brown people making up minority populations in the United States.
Of course it’s not okay if Black and Brown performers want to make country music and their either shunned or find a harder time than their White counterparts. Every artist should be able to achieve based upon their own individual merit. But it’s also okay if indigenous White rural performers have a tiny sliver of representation in popular culture through country music, and for people of all races and nationalities to enjoy that music as an authentic expression of rural America.
Of course the worry is that Black and Brown people don’t have an equal footing in country music, and that’s why things like Apple’s My Kind of Country are needed. But by importing performers from pop, hip-hop, R&B, or other countries, this often comes at the expense of actual country artists who happen to be Black and Brown already struggling for attention in country music.
Right now there are scores of true country artists from minority populations that deserve major backing in country music, artists like Chapel Hart, Aaron Vance, Wendy Moten, Triston Marez, Cleto Cordero and Flatland Cavalry, and the aformentioned Gabe Lee just to name very few. When artists from pop and hip-hop come into country, they often cut in line in front of these native country performers because they can draw more attention from corporations like Apple, and draw fans from the other genres they better represent.
All of those previously-named actual country artists from minority groups are here right now, unquestionably making country music, and they have paid dues and have proven resonance and appeal with fans. You don’t need to scour the globe to find more country talent. There is an entire world of country artists deserving of more attention in the independent ranks that are already going scandalously ignored right under the public’s noses, including by those calling for diversity in country music.
In truth, many of these diverse independent country artists are doing just fine. They don’t necessarily want superstardom. They’d rather take staying true to themselves, and growing sustainably to overnight success via a realty TV competition. Corporations like Apple often shoot their gaze over these kinds of performers, label them “Americana,” or generally cast them as second class simply because they’re not mainstream.
The simple fact is corporations like Apple use programming like My Kind of Country as a smoke screen. It is the equivalent to sticking a “Black Lives Matter” sign in your corporate office window, while at the same time bilking the public via insane markups on iPhones made with what is tantamount to slave labor in China in factories where they have nets around the buildings from all the workers jumping off, while they mine cobalt for their batteries in Africa via people dying from exposure every day and making pennies on the dollar to ensue egregious corporate profits continue to pour in via streamlining supply chains.
Meanwhile you have independent country artists out there like Jesse Daniel who aren’t asking for anything more than what they deserve to have coming to them. He has a Hispanic bass player in his band, and recorded two Spanish language songs for his 2021 album Beyond These Walls. Did he do it to pander for positive press for diversity? No, he did it because it was the music that was in his heart.
Jesse Daniel may never make it on corporate country radio and sell out arenas. Or maybe he will. But either way, he’ll be playing “My Kind of Country” until the day he dies because that what’s in his heart and he knows no different. He’ll never run off to the greener pastures of pop once his career starts to take off in country. These are the kinds of performers—no matter who they are or where they’re from—that country music should stake its future on. Because unlike some of the principle participants in Apple’s My Kind of Country, Jesse Daniel is loyal to the genre.
And no matter what Apple Music or any other company tries to portray, the hottest thing in country music at the moment is country music. And if country is going to survive into the future, it needs to distinguish itself from other genres, not diversify to sound like them. Then and only then will country music forge a more promising future, and hopefully one where everyone gets an equal opportunity to make it in the genre, no matter who they are, as long as they have the love of country music in their hearts.
March 31, 2023 @ 8:53 am
Why write almost 40 paragraphs when you can simply choose to ignore reality/competition tv shows. Who cares if they “get it all wrong”? These shows are for peddling music marketing concepts to people who don’t care about music. Doesn’t matter if it’s pop, country, rock or hiphop. It’s about selling stuff. Just ignore them, and put on a great record instead.
March 31, 2023 @ 9:01 am
Because someone has to stand up for country music having at least some sort of minimal sonic compass to distinguish itself from other genres, or corporations like Apple will allow it to simply become another version of pop music. This is what Saving Country Music has been doing for 15 years. And if you actually read the article, you will find that what it’s really about is Jesse Daniel’s new live album “My Kind of Country.” So yes, put it on, and ignore Apple’s “My Kind of Country.”
March 31, 2023 @ 4:52 pm
I appreciate that you watched it and described it so that I don’t waste my time watching it. In my mind, the purpose of this kind of article (essentially a review), is to help your readers make decisions as to where to spend their limited dollars and time. I will ultimately make up my own mind, but it’s very helpful to have you out there providing some guidance. Some of my favourites now are acts you have told me about.
March 31, 2023 @ 6:06 pm
Arghhhhh! Gutted to hear this. I was gonna wait til the entire series dropped, then subscribe to Apple TV for a month to binge watch it.
I freakin’ LOVE Orville Peck and the trailer is phenomenal.
Your commentary is interesting about them scouting the globe.
I forwarded the trailer to my My Kiwi friend who has been living in the states for about 6 years. She told me since she moved to the US her relationship with country music had changed and she feels much less affinity with it now.
I pointed out that it’s probably because she’s now exposed to all the rubbish commercial country pop and hears a lot less of the cool, indie stuff.
When I think of a band like Calexico (who are Arizona based) it looks like they don’t even bother touring the US anymore and put their efforts into places like Europe and Australia where (I’m presuming) they get a warmer response?
April 1, 2023 @ 7:38 am
April 2, 2023 @ 9:36 am
You spill so much more ink ranting about the culture wars than actually talking about music, man. You gonna give Mighty Poplar a look, or just post 2500 words on some off-handed remark a producer made about diversity?
April 2, 2023 @ 10:26 am
Thanks for the feedback, and allowing me to clear up some misconceptions.
First, I’ve posted three album reviews in the last four days along with other straight music coverage. I think you would have a very hard time convincing someone that I’m not “actually talking about music, man.” The Mighty Popular album is currently in the listening cue, and is being considered for review as well. But as I keep on emphasizing to people, when you have release days now with 20+ albums being released, I’m just not going to be able to offer dedicated reviews for them all. There’s just not enough time in the day to listen to them all, let alone compose reviews people want to read. So I am actively working to find new ways to expose people to music so they can help navigate this extremely cluttered time in music. I wrote about this earlier this week as well.
Second, this article was a review, not a think piece, no some sort of culture war diatribe. This series was creating a lot of buzz, I watched the first episode, and wrote a review for it. I had many people requesting I review it. This is part of musical coverage, and I went into it with an open mind. If you want to complain about folks veering into the culture war, blame the producers of this show. I’m just giving my opinions.
Third, it is a misconception that the charter of Saving Country music is simply to post dry album reviews and nothing more. At the beginning of Saving Country Music, I didn’t review albums at all. It was set up to be an industry watchdog and to report on greater trends in country music, and how country music was being perceived in the greater culture. Reviewing albums didn’t become a significant feature of the site until years later. Now, apparently I am obligated to review every single album released in the greater country and roots world or it’s some dereliction of duty. I review a TON of albums, and I will continue to review albums. But folks need to understand that is not all that Saving Country Music is about.
And finally, the reason there are 40 paragraphs here is because these are very, very important topics, and in this age of soundbytes, clickbait, sloganeering, ad hominem attacks, and the distilling of information in a way that bleeds all of the important details and nuance out of it, I consciously am trying to address these issues with MORE depth, MORE discussion, MORE heterodox viewpoints. Yes, this takes time from both myself and readers. But it is topics like these that will go on to define the future of country music. And so it’s worth that time, because that is what this website is all about.
All that said, I appreciate that people come here and don’t want to see these kinds of contentious subjects, and I appreciate this feedback. That is why straight music coverage always has been, and always will be the focus here. But I cannot just ignore the juggernaut issues facing country music just because they have a culture war quotient. This is like the ostrich sticking their head in the sand, and I love country music too much to do that.
April 2, 2023 @ 2:32 pm
Well I hope you got some listening in while you typed up this, big guy. You clearly are very precious with how you spend your time.
March 31, 2023 @ 9:04 am
Did you read the almost 40 paragraphs before commenting?
March 31, 2023 @ 9:50 am
F no, I’m super busy!
March 31, 2023 @ 9:00 am
Get it, Trig!
March 31, 2023 @ 9:09 am
It’s unfortunate because something like this with the right judges and objectives could help launch real country artists’ careers. If a corporation is willing to put up significant capital, then do it right for crying out loud. Opportunity missed.
Side note – for all you black dirt country fans on here, check out Joe Stamm’ Band’s “The Hammer Going Down” that dropped today. I can not stop playing it. Joe’s voice is insane and this one has a dirty slinky baseline rolling through it that echos John McVie’s nastiest runs. And the jam at the break. Damn. If this is an indication of the next record, it’s time for these guys to blow up.
March 31, 2023 @ 9:36 am
This was a 40-paragraph article and it could have been 50. One of the other things I wanted to address is how these competitions are very circumspect for actually launching careers. American Idol and The Voice can barely launch a star these days, and most of the time they don’t. A streaming show on Apple TV will have an even more difficult time.
Remember the TV competition “Real Country” on USA from 2018? Jaida Dreyer won it. Have you heard from Jaida Dreyer recently? Filling these poor contestants up with expectations that they’re competing to be the next country music superstar is borderline exploitative.
March 31, 2023 @ 11:53 am
The only reason I even know who Jaida Dreyer is, is because I’m Canadian, and her song “Guys Girl” was a minor hit on Canadian country radio… in 2012.
April 2, 2023 @ 1:24 am
Nashville Star, from even earlier, helped launch the careers of Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, and Chris Young.
April 2, 2023 @ 7:46 am
The Voice and American Idol early on were also much better at launching careers. But then the market got saturated, ratings for all TV plummeted, and they were basically rendered impotent for guaranteeing stardom.
March 31, 2023 @ 9:10 am
Sounds like some woke liberal nonsense trying to inject nonwhite people in country music just for the sake of them not being white.
April 1, 2023 @ 7:19 am
I’m from the far left. This show won’t last a season. I don’t know who the audience is even supposed to be. Weirdly enough, the more left leaning people I know are the ones least down with pop country, while the righties are into the radio junk. Anecdotal, but this show will go nowhere.
March 31, 2023 @ 9:14 am
I’m really glad that you mentioned the “slavery” in China and the Congo. We all benefit from the exploitation of the poor in 3rd world countries.
March 31, 2023 @ 10:30 am
It’s generally referred to as “human trafficking” now. The word “slavery” may have gone out of fashion, but the institution itself has never gone out of style. Numerically, there are more people enslaved worldwide today than at any other point in human history.
March 31, 2023 @ 3:02 pm
Numerically, there are more people doing everything now. Heck there are more people riding horses to work now than there were when Alexander the Great was ruling. (The world population was around 100 million–that’s one-tenth of one billion–then, and it’s pushing 8 billion now.)
March 31, 2023 @ 9:21 am
Thank you so much for ripping this to shreds. It absolutely doesn’t understand country music’s history, identity and culture. A show of this premise isn’t even that bad. The problem is that they don’t want to actually immerse themselves in genuine country music talent. Not even bothering to reach out to Australia, one of the more lively sources of international country. Doing some research of my own. I’ve found most of the contestants never even really associated themselves with western country music. Literally marketing their music as rock, Latin pop, along with international genres of other varieties. So I question the validity of these contestants in the first place. If you want to have a diverse cast of minorites and those of the LGBTQ community. Get Adeem the artist, get Bobby Dove, Chapel Hart, Flatland Cavalry. If any artist is going to become “the next big thing” it’s Flatland. It’s so obvious they did no research and don’t give a damn about the genre. It’s pro Nashville propaganda and it makes me seethe
March 31, 2023 @ 9:21 am
This: “The fatal flaw behind My Kind of Country is the same fatal flaw behind much of elitist, academia-driven ideas on diversity in country music, which is that country music needs to resolve its diversity issues by sounding like every other genre via inviting artists from other genres in. But that’s not the point of country music. That’s the point of pop.”
Also @BDE Jesus f##king hell try putting more effort into being a person and not a political opinion. Music, not identity politics please.
Wyatt Flores belongs on that list of minority country artists deserving of our attention,
March 31, 2023 @ 9:27 am
I fell out of my chair when I read “fair question to ask about this competition is if any of the individuals involved are in any way qualified to be making judgement calls”. To be fair, most shows today do the bare minimum and will be lucky if they have a season 2
March 31, 2023 @ 9:31 am
Great question “ But the very fair question to ask about this competition is if any of the individuals involved are in any way qualified to be making judgement calls on supposed “country” artists”. The answer is a definite ‘no’. None of them are at all qualified. I don’t care what the singer is ethnically or whatever as long as the music is good. The fact is many singers from so called minority groups of majority groups are really not that good. Mickey Guyten can sing. She has a good voice but us way behind many other singers in terms of voice and talent snd it has nothing to do with her colour. The programme itself is pretty awful. Much better to get Jesse Daniels new album. Not because of his ethnicity but simply because it is do good.
March 31, 2023 @ 9:48 am
I was traveling through southern Colorado last summer and managed to catch a band called Midnight Backhand playing a 4th of July celebration in a small rural town called Bayfield. They played their version of country music and had Hispanic and Asian lead singers. They caught my ear for sure and were a great live band. Good article as it highlights the diversity of county music in America that is easily ignored. Thanks Trigger.
March 31, 2023 @ 9:49 am
More like “My Kind of Unintentional and Unaware Comedy.”
March 31, 2023 @ 9:55 am
Carpetbaggers are the devil’s foot soldiers.
March 31, 2023 @ 10:29 am
I think Gabe’s family is Taiwanese? I could be wrong I just recall seeing stories on his IG at some point where he’d traveled to Taiwan to visit family.
March 31, 2023 @ 10:51 am
March 31, 2023 @ 11:11 am
I had a long drive recently and ended up listening to all three of his albums through chronologically. For someone that everyone who knows seems to say “keep your eye on” he’s already put out an incredible body of work.
March 31, 2023 @ 1:37 pm
Such a joke. Just two southern “woke” divorcees trying to co-opt the country genre with another uninspired singing competition show. Thank you for calling out the true country artist behind MY KIND OF COUNTRY, Jesse Daniel.
March 31, 2023 @ 1:47 pm
The more I hear about this kind of stuff the more grateful I am to Dale Watson for founding Ameripolitan.
King Honky Of Crackershire
March 31, 2023 @ 2:05 pm
It’s wild how many on the right still don’t get what’s happening.
You all keep believing and asserting this is about identity, but identity is only the tool.
Please wake up.
March 31, 2023 @ 2:14 pm
Honky’s 100% right. They are disingenuously using identity as a means to get power. This is also why they insist on the definition of country music as major label Nashville and have no interest in independent country.
They want to capture the institution of “country music” because they see it as having cultural power and they believe that politics is downstream or culture.
March 31, 2023 @ 3:45 pm
George Yancey, a brilliant professor who studies Christianophobia in America, perfectly explained how cultural power wins now.
Reshaping and destroying country music is all part of the plan.
Laugh at their apparent mistakes and foolish decisions if you wish. They are winning.
April 4, 2023 @ 10:45 am
The name rings a bell, if he’s who I think he is I saw him talking about so-called “progressive Christianity” on Sean McDowell or somewhere like that. I’ll look up his stuff on Christianophobia and cultureal power, seemed like a really smart guy.
March 31, 2023 @ 2:56 pm
I’d agree that there are people in the movement who have that intention, but I would guess that most of the people involved in this project are either useful idiots or are just looking after their own unscrupulous, short term self-interests.
King Honky Of Crackershire
April 1, 2023 @ 8:57 pm
I’m not really talking about people in the movement, and I don’t like characterizing what’s happening as being the result of some peoples intentions. I’m talking about the movement itself. The movement’s purpose is ultimately to destroy the West. To do that, it has to subvert institutions, and transform them so that they can be used to advance the movement’s agenda. It already has academia, the media, corporate America, Hollywood, and the Federal Government, to name a few.
With Country Music specifically, I suspect the communists view it as a way to get through to red-state America’s youth, along with the obvious goal of destroying ties to our history.
But yeah, of course, there’s useful idiots in everything.
March 31, 2023 @ 4:32 pm
Unfortunately for all of us, those who would desire power have begun to understand that cultural hegemony is the way to get it done.
Antonio Gramsci would be proud.
April 1, 2023 @ 1:36 pm
crazy that you know who Antonio Gramsci is.
King Honky Of Crackershire
April 1, 2023 @ 8:20 pm
I’m really glad you chimed in here. It’s good for people to see someone besides me bringing up the Gramsci model.
The one thing I think you may not understand, and maybe you didn’t mean to say “begun”, is that this isn’t the beginning of a new movement; it’s the climax of an old one.
Jer in Idaho
March 31, 2023 @ 5:34 pm
WOKE! WOKE! WOKE! WOKE! WOKE! WWWOOKKEEE!!!
There, did I get that right guys?
March 31, 2023 @ 8:18 pm
Apparently Apple TV with another dumb music competition type show (one of dozens) are conspiring to turn the US into a socialist communist wonderland!…or something, I can’t fuckin tell what these ridiculous comments are about. It’s clear as day they’re promoting minorities and those considered outside the typical country music profile, but I doubt for nefarious societal reasons. It’s just dumbasses trying to make money on another show.
King Honky Of Crackershire
April 1, 2023 @ 9:02 pm
Instead of complaining about things you don’t understand, why don’t you take people at their word, and educate yourself?
April 3, 2023 @ 6:03 am
Where do I pick up my tinfoil hat? Isn’t that part of the uniform for your type of learnin’?
King Honky Of Crackershire
April 3, 2023 @ 11:02 am
With you being the midwit you are, I had to convince myself to go against my better judgement, with the hope that being polite to you might be of some value. My mistake.
April 1, 2023 @ 5:50 am
There’s a reason AppleTV has failed to catch its rivals, and it’s a lack of any programing interesting to the mainstream public. It’s strange watching companies like Apple and Disney, who have been so smart in the past, run blindly down the go woke or go broke path. Disney is currently going through another round of massive layoffs, while Apple hasn’t been able to garner enough of an audience for AppleTV for anyone to even care.
Fans of real country music may be dismayed by this so called talent show, but they can take solace in the fact that hardly anyone will actually be watching it.
April 1, 2023 @ 7:01 am
Reads like Stanley Crouch disparaging developments in jazz after 1965.
Wilson Pick It
April 1, 2023 @ 12:44 pm
That guy might have been on to something. Jazz is a once great musical genre that is mostly irrelevant now, catering to an ever shrinking audience of elitists. It’s too schooled, too cerebral. It used to be the music of the people.
April 1, 2023 @ 7:13 pm
Yeah but Crouch disparaged any evolution in jazz and disparaged (at the time) popular movements like jazz fusion as not being true to jazz
Of course there’s always a balance to be struck between gatekeeping and not allowing music to evolve, but Crouch too often came across like a crotchety old fart who seemed to genuinely believe that anything melded with rock was inherently immoral
April 2, 2023 @ 4:15 pm
More people back then were musically literate. That helped.
Wilson Pick It
April 1, 2023 @ 12:34 pm
I don’t think there’s anything wrong, in principle, with mixing pop and hip-hop sounds with country. The problem is that I’m not a huge fan of those genres. So I usually don’t like the results. I grew up listening to rock, so I prefer rock-influenced country. I couldn’t care less about what race, gender, etc a performer is, as long as the music is good.
April 1, 2023 @ 1:48 pm
I don’t really expect much out of reality TV to be upset about it. The Voice is massively popular and has had so few consequences for the actual music industry, and genre specific shows tend to do even worse. I really doubt this matters, setting aside the political aspects of this article, which I also disagree with.
April 2, 2023 @ 2:29 am
Apple should stick to making phones and witherspoon should stick to whatever Hollywood crap she’s making nowadays. Seeing Musgraves playing ‘live’ is one of the most unintentially funny things I’ve ever seen.
These people will say that you can not listen to George and Hank because they were privileged white men. However much you hate these people, it is never enough.
April 2, 2023 @ 3:27 am
“Who’s gonna fill their shoes?”
None of above mentioned.
April 2, 2023 @ 4:06 am
I believe this is called cultural appropriation. It is not allowed unless directed at an acceptable target for revamping.
April 2, 2023 @ 12:01 pm
“Country music has always been harder to break into for Black and Brown performers, and for women”
Yes. And while we’re at it, how about those racist Jamaicans? Has any white person broken into the reggae scene yet? How about those backward-ass Tuvan throat singer hillbillies? What they need is to get with The Program and join the Age of Autotune, man! I also don’t see much Progress(TM) in Norwegian fiddle culture, or Diversity! in Gamelan music. You could say the same for Brazilian choro — when, at long last, will the Swedes be included?
Musical cultures have beginnings with specific people. Cultures are like family groups. Over time, they widen organically. What people reasonably object to is being shoehorned into someone else’s Utopian dream. When that happens, you get the predictable equation: proximity + diversity = war. Is that what people really want? It’s certainly what some people want.
Play the music you love. Let other people do the same.
That would be real progress.
April 2, 2023 @ 12:58 pm
Continuing from right after the pulled quote:
… even though all of these groups had a hand in originally helping to form the genre. But in the modern era, often it is these identitarian factors that open doors for artists who otherwise would not receive opportunities based on merit or the level of country cred they carry. The Apple Country Music roster and My Kind of Country are examples of this.
So what’s the problem?
April 2, 2023 @ 4:31 pm
There are plenty of problems, but they’re dwarfed by all the BS non-problems.
No one aside from a few nutters is refusing to sell a banjo, steel guitar, or fiddle to a black or brown person. No one is preventing anyone, at any age, anywhere, from making music. The absolutely oceanic quantity of digital music these days, combined with GarageBand etc. on the iPhone, has levelled everything about music production. The industry took years to figure out where the profit was. Yay, freedom. Music is now just about worthless as a commodity, and most meat-space music scenes are dead. The holdouts of real humanity are heroic, like the Greeks at Thermopylae.
All that people are fighting over now is the possibility of making money in the new TransGlobalist Utopia, which depends on making new forms of status “stick.” It is all illusion and bullsh*t, but the loud vocal minority makes it all sound bigger than it is. They’re the ones who will eat bugs, ask for more, rat on their neighbors, and knuckle under when the Masters turn off their electricity for failing to put out an empty recycling can.
Country folks can survive.
April 2, 2023 @ 4:39 pm
Tell it, Bro.
King Honky Of Crackershire
April 2, 2023 @ 6:11 pm
Good to see you back, Corn.
Did you see where the lobbyists for the cattleman and pork associations in several states have confirmed they will be using mRNA “vaccines” in pigs and cows this month? A Missouri legislator has put forth #HB1169 to try to stop it in his state.
It’s times like this when being a rural person, or at least an outdoorsman, is more important than ever.
April 3, 2023 @ 9:15 am
Good catch. We better be on this, or, lacking people, country music will be just an algorithm in the Large Music Model that AI (sic) will use to reduce us all to mouths and gastrointestinal tracts.
April 2, 2023 @ 5:26 pm
Where I come from (and seemingly in America too, but I apologize if I have a wrong impression) so-called “talent shows” on television have become the arbiter of public taste in music. The fact that these shows are significantly weighted towards adolescent pop/dance/modern-R&B music is a strong pointer to what these programs are out to promote. Sometimes Country gets a look-in (along with Rock), but usually not for long. I usually don’t find much to enthuse me for “this season’s winner” in any of these shows; largely because they sound like the previous season’s winner. Just my 10 cents worth.
April 3, 2023 @ 1:30 pm
I appreciated the viewpoints expressed in your article, typos notwithstanding. However, I must disagree with the notion that country music’s racist past is somehow all in the past.
Here’s an article that is essentially a counterpoint to your main argument in this article, which was not that AppleTV’s show isn’t great, but that country music is diverse enough as it is. But that assertion completely ignores the elephant in the room. Here is that elephant: https://www.michigandaily.com/music/country-music-ugly-past-and-troublesome-present/
King Honky Of Crackershire
April 3, 2023 @ 2:08 pm
That article was written by a communist apparatchik. It’s state propaganda.
April 3, 2023 @ 2:10 pm
So first, I didn’t say that country has put its racist past in the past. What I did say is that it has done significant work, but more work needs to be done.
Second, the article you shared is three years old, so it’s not relevant to a discussion of where country music is at in the present day.
Third, the article is far from a slam dunk case about anything that you’re wishcasting it to be. That article has been written 1,000 times since 2016, making the same points that all of these articles do, borrowing talking points from elitist discourse shared in academic circles and on Twitter, from a perspective that is decidedly on the outside looking into country music rendering it aggressively trite. Whenever anyone talks down to the country audience by seeming to instruct them that the banjo is a Black instrument, you know you have happen upon one of these echo-chambered opinions. Any country fan worth their salt knows the banjo is a Black instrument inherently. There has never been any argument over this fact. The only reason some carry forth the misconception that the banjo is a white instrument is due to Hollywood stereotypes perpetrated through programs like “Deliverance” and “The Beverley Hillbillies,” which perpetrated the idea of rural whites as inbred, uneducated, banjo-playing buffoons. So whenever someone tries to tell an audience that the banjo is a Black instrument, their signaling that their perspective is one from a place of ignorance.
I don’t mean to come across as demeaning to yourself or the author of that article, but I don’t see what the point is in this context. If anything, the article makes my point. There are Black and Brown people here in the United States, making actual country music with a birthright to do so, right here, right now. Why are we scouring the globe for pop stars to place them ahead of these Black and Brown country artists that are already starving for attention? I’ll tell you why, so white elitists like Reese Witherspoon, Kacey Musgraves, and executives at Apple can morally preen and virtue signal, while they’re all working to promote a brand with literal slavery instituted in multiple segments of their supply chain. It’s a hoodwink.
April 17, 2023 @ 9:03 am
Nathan Stanley (grandson of Ralph) had an album in 2011 called My Kind of Country, 7 years before Daniel even released anything. I love Jesse Daniel but he can’t claim ownership of the phrase, and unless he trademarked it, those are the breaks.