Being a country music fan sometimes feels similar to being the fan of a really really bad sports team, where you feel inclined to put a bag over your head as opposed to showing your face in public. If you’re a fan of actual country music, you’ve probably worked out an entire spiel when some friend or co-worker asks you what your favorite music is, and you have to explain that you’re not referring to that kind of country music, meaning whatever the hell they’re playing on the radio at any given time. You’re taking about Tyler Childers or Cody Jinks, or Sarah Shook or Mike and the Moonpies.
The truth is that mainstream country music has very much become niche programming, and only subsists off of selling advertisement to a very specific demographic slice that is specifically susceptible to marketing slogans for corporate beer and domestic-made full size pickup trucks. Most people don’t even know how bad today’s mainstream country has become because they never interact with it. But even as non country fans, they still have a notion of what country music is supposed to be. Perhaps they heard it growing up, or happen top be passive fans of folks like Garth Brooks or George Strait. Then they get a whiff of what is popular today, and they are appalled.
This was illustrated perfectly on Monday night (10-14), when Brantley Gilbert was tapped to provide the halftime entertainment for the Monday Night Football presentation on ESPN pitting the Green Bay Packers against the Detroit Lions. Brantley is out there trying to promote his new record Fire & Brimstone, and hell rained down on Twitter as thousands of abhorred football fans stared at their HD flat screens, mouths agape, wondering what the hell they were witnessing.
And it wasn’t just that it was bad country. It’s that it was just bad music, and the assessment of this was almost universal. There stands Brantley Gilbert with his stupid brass knuckles microphone and cheesy Affliction T-shirt machismo attitude, and his bandmates with their mohawks and dreadheads miming to a backing track, and it was like watching the officials blow yet another pass interference call, costing your team the game.
Of course, there are enough lug heads out there to allow Brantley Gilbert’s new record to go #1 in country this week, but with numbers so week (28,000 units? Please…), they were bested by the debut of the new Whiskey Myers self-titled album last week.
Anyway, Brantley Gilbert really was as terrible as you heard, and just in case you wanted to corroborate everyone’s reactions, video of the incident has surfaced below with all of 189 views at time of posting. And what the hell has happened to Brantley Gilbert’s voice? It used to not be this bad. Now he sounds like a guy who’s ragged his throat out by constantly yelling at all the women in his life while chain smoking filterless Pall Malls.
Sincerely America, as actual country music fans, we want to apologize to the National Football League, it’s players, coaches, owners, faculty staff, and all the fans for what you were forced to witness Monday night.