Country Music Is Not a Monolith. Quit Stereotyping It As One
On March 26th, 2019, Rolling Stone published an article titled, “Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ Was a Country Hit. Then Country Changed Its Mind.” Published after “Old Town Road” had been removed from the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart with little or no outrage or even attention paid to it, it was the title of this article specifically that lit the spark behind the eventual international outrage that had many accusing country music of racism.
But there was a big problem with the title of this article particularly. It was patently and verifiably false. “Country music” had passed no judgement upon Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” whatsoever, meaning the genre’s artists, its fans, its labels, its industry professionals, its radio and touring partners, its awards entities, or anyone else affiliated with the genre in any official capacity. The removal of “Old Town Road” from the Billboard country charts was an exclusive and unilateral decision made by Billboard—an independent media entity and chart publisher that has no direct affiliation with any genre.
In fact, if you actually read the Rolling Stone article in question, Lil Nas X’s manager Danny Kang spells out in no uncertain terms that Lil Nas X purposely manipulated the metadata for “Old Town Road” by marking it country because he knew the track would face less competition in country compared to hip-hop, making the track more likely to chart.
“On SoundCloud, he listed it as a country record,” said Danny Kang. “On iTunes, he listed it as a country record. He was going to these spaces, gaining a little bit of traction on their country charts, and here’s a way to manipulate the algorithm to push your track to the top. That’s favorable versus trying to go to the rap format to compete with the most popular songs in the world.”
When Billboard discovered this, they made the only prudent and ethical move possible—they removed the song from the country charts, and moved it over to the hip-hop charts. After all, if any artist could claim any track as “country” just to get more traction, it could open up a Pandora’s box of pop and hip-hop artists submitting their tracks to country. Billboard also concluded that “Old Town Road” didn’t fit on the country charts sonically either.
On multiple occasions, Billboard clarified that it was them who made the decision to remove the track from the charts, and that they received no outside pressure from anyone in the country music industry to remove the track. In fact, most professionals in the country industry had no idea the track had appeared on the country chart in the first place. They had no idea who Lil Nas X even was, nor had they even heard “Old Town Road.”
Nonetheless, it was that title, “Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ Was a Country Hit. Then Country Changed Its Mind” that became the narrative that the rest of the media ran with, accusing the entirety of country music of racism for something Billboard decided on their own.
That’s not to say that the Rolling Stone article and its author Elias Leight did not allude that country music had a shaky past when it comes to race. To impugn country music for its apparent racial insensitivity and gatekeeping against Lil Nas X, Elias Leight brought up the instance in 2016 when the Grammy Awards country music screening committee said that Beyoncé’s song “Daddy Lessons” was not country, and disallowed it from competing in the country categories.
Previous to the “Old Town Road” controversy, the “Daddy Lessons” conflict was the preeminent moment in modern country history when the entirety of the country music genre was accused of racism, with think piece after think piece about the effrontery of “country music” denying Beyoncé’s bid for a Grammy. But again, this wasn’t a decision made by “country music,” as if the genre is a living, breathing monolith, unified in thought and action across its various styles, entities, scenes, and organizations. It was a decision made by a committee of professionals working for the Grammy Awards specifically, which just like Billboard, is an independent body.
In fact, in both the Lil Nas X and Beyoncé situations, “country music” actually did acknowledge the contributions of these artists. At the 50th Annual CMA Awards in 2016, Beyoncé was given the marquee performance slot of the night, singing “Daddy Lessons” with the [Dixie] Chicks. In 2018, “Old Town Road” won the CMA Award for Musical Event of the Year. Yet in the official record of many, “country music” as a whole repudiated these artists and songs, with these instances constantly being cited as evidence for systemic sexism and racism inside the country music industry, and their CMA Awards moments excluded.
This came up more recently when once again when the Grammy Awards country music screening committee made the correct decision to not allow Kacey Musgraves’ most recent album Star-Crossed to compete in the Best Country Album category. And once again, as opposed to going after the Grammy Awards, it was sold as a case of “country music” gatekeeping a woman from competing in country categories, including by the CEO of Kacey’s label. The accusation was implausible since the last time Musgraves released new music, she won four Grammy Awards, including three in country categories, while the decision to move Star-Crossed to compete in the pop categories was the correct one.
This is an ever-present problem for the country genre, especially when it’s covered by journalists and publishers outside of the country music fold who don’t understand the mechanisms of how the country music industry works. Country music is often considered this homogeneous, white, Christian blob, with a fictitious set of white heterosexual males sitting in a cloakroom pulling levers of power.
Characteristics such as racism, sexism, homophobia, and bigotry are just assumed about country music, and in its entirety, without any true evidence proffered to substantiate those accusations, aside from the ones falsely established by mischaracterizations, such as “country music” changing its mind about “Old Town Road.” It’s a stereotype. And we see it over and over again.
That doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been instances of bigotry in country music in the past. Of course there has been. And it doesn’t mean there aren’t lingering concerns about inclusivity that the country industry should still be addressing in the present. But the compounding of these anecdotal instances has created the specter for some outside observers that in 2021, bigotry and racism is still pervasive throughout country music, when this just isn’t substantiated by an real world evidence, only inferences and assumptions based off of decisions made by single entities—entities sometimes or often sworn to impartiality from the industry itself.
And not only has it resulted in some damaging, dangerous, and outright false reporting, it has also created this assumed base of knowledge that all country music is sexist, racist, and homophobic, substantiated by citing the tweets of one-off social media trolls, and where everything else reported is run through this filter of assumptions.
Pop country singer Kelsea Ballerini has just released a book of poetry called Feel Your Way Through. In the book, there is a poem called “The Right Side of History” where she’s said to address the Morgan Wallen N-word situation, and how she handled it initially.
Ballerini is already on the wrong side of history when it comes to some of her tweets. On On June 28th, 2020, Kelsea Ballerini tweeted out “Imagine being selfish enough to put thousands of people’s health at risk, not to mention the potential ripple effect, and play a NORMAL country concert right now,” about a Chase Rice concert. After Ballerini’s assertion that Rice had played a “normal” concert during the pandemic went viral, multiple media outlets including The Washington Post, CNN, Huffpost, Daily Mail, Wonderwall, and even a United States Representative tweeted out and reported the same false information.
Chase Rice did not play a “NORMAL” concert. Instead, Saving Country Music confirmed that the 10,000-capacity venue had capped its attendance to 4,000 to keep in line with county regulations, and that ultimately, a total of only 809 people had attended the concert in the 10,000-capacity venue, socially distanced before they rushed the stage at the end. And once again, the headlines weren’t how Chase Rice specifically had played an unsafe COVID-era concert. It was how “country music” had allowed it to happen. Many of the outlets also cited a “4,000” attendance figure, which was verifiably false.
But this is not the tweet Kelsea Ballerini is apologizing for, even though it was on the wrong side of history. It’s when news broke of the Morgan Wallen N-word incident, and Kelsea tweeted out, “The news out of Nashville tonight does not represent country music.”
Instead of being praised for standing up against Morgan Wallen’s behavior and speaking the truth, Kelsea Ballerini was roundly criticized, especially by many in the media and some of her fellow artists for asserting that Morgan Wallen’s behavior was not representative of country music. After all, remember what happened with Lil Nas X and Beyoncé? Maren Morris tweeted back at Ballerini, “It actually IS representative of our town because this isn’t his first ‘scuffle’ and he just demolished a huge streaming record last month regardless. We all know it wasn’t his first time using that word. We keep them rich and protected at all costs with no recourse.”
But of course, there was recourse for Wallen. He was thrown off of radio, his tour was cancelled, he was rendered ineligible for awards. It ultimately didn’t hurt Wallen’s pocketbook as his fans rose up to support him amid the “cancellation,” but the industry roundly rejected Wallen’s behavior, and across the board, even as he released multiple apologies. Only now after 10+ months is Wallen being allowed to return to radio and the live context.
“I can acknowledge a misstep,” Kelsea Ballerini recently told CBS This Morning about the Morgan Wallen tweet. “I’ve learned that sometimes, even in the purest intentions, you should keep your mouth shut and learn. And that’s what I’m doing now … I have had kind of a very small corner of cancel culture around that. I’m such a peace-maker by default. I’m a chronic people-pleaser.”
And people-pleasing is what Kelsea Ballerini is doing here by apologizing for her Morgan Wallen tweet, which was the truth. Morgan Wallen’s actions were reprehensible, but they were in no way representative of country music in 2021. They were representative of Morgan Wallen, and Morgan Wallen only. But once again, many wanted to use Wallen’s actions to represent the monolith, stereotyped notion of “country music.” This action at its root is bigotry—bigotry against country music by using the actions of one to represent the many. It’s unfair to the artist, fans, and entities working to make country music inclusive to lump them in with the actions of Morgan Wallen or anyone else.
In 2021, Kelsea Ballerini and Maren Morris are part of country music (to the chagrin of many traditionalists). So are Jimmie Allen, Kane Brown, Mickey Guyton, Darius Rucker, Chapel Hart, and other black performers. Do we really think other major mainstream country artists like Luke Bryan and Dan + Shay are out there using the N-word on a regular basis? That feels very unlikely. Again, it doesn’t mean lingering racism isn’t still out there in the country music industry. But Morgan Wallen doesn’t represented the entirety of country music any more than Billboard did when they decided Lil Nas X didn’t deserve to be on the country charts.
If all you have to prove country music’s intrinsic racism that is regularly cited in conversations and articles is the Lil Nas X anecdote, or the Beyoncé anecdote, or mainstream radio charts when all the format plays is the same forty songs over and over, or the Morgan Wallen story, then you really don’t have any proof at all. Because these things don’t represent “country music” as a whole. It’s just that some want them to, because it suits their narrative.
Country music is a wide, diverse, and in many ways, disparate entity, with the cultural divide running right down the middle of it. And the actions of one never represent the entirety of the many.
November 19, 2021 @ 11:24 am
Who cares Trig. The Woke/Cancel crowd will fade in time. Ignore them, they will disappear.
King Honky Of Crackershire (Let’s go Brandon!)
November 19, 2021 @ 11:44 am
No they won’t. You can’t “No.” your way out of communism. “No.” is the first step, but communism has to be defeated. It has to be shamed, mocked, and even legislated into submission.
November 19, 2021 @ 1:59 pm
I wish I had your confidence. But when virtually all media mention country music and commonly reference the instances I talk about in this article, I think it is very important for someone, anyone, to speak up and help add some context to these matters, and at least give the public the important counterpoints and context so they can make their own decisions. I remember folks saying similar things in 2016 when the Beyonce issue first came up. And here in 2021, those voices have only become louder, and more prevalent.
November 19, 2021 @ 3:25 pm
This is one of the best things you’ve ever written, and don’t let anyone tell you differently. As expected, you’re getting it from all sides because you’re attempting to remain as neutral as possible, but I (and others) appreciate it.
November 19, 2021 @ 11:31 am
November 19, 2021 @ 11:33 am
“But there was a big problem with the title of this article particularly. It was patently and verifiably false.”
“..that became the narrative that the rest of the media ran with…”
“The Washington Post, CNN, Huffpost, Daily Mail, Wonderwall, and even a United States Representative tweeted out and reported the same false information.”
I don’t know why, exactly, but something is starting to subtly nag at me that maybe, just maybe, the mainstream corporate news, up to and including “edgy” resistance outlets like Rolling Stone, have devolved into something no better than agenda driven propaganda or something. Hope I’m wrong though.
November 20, 2021 @ 4:41 am
I think it’s market forces rather than any desire to be propaganda organs. Liberal, conservative, whatever it’s easier for them to sell a simple narrative with sound bites and memes than it is to explain a complex situation that developed over decades. Outrage and hate get people more heated up to engage with each other and click on the content so everything’s fire and brimstone prose in a black and white world where everyone’s an enemy or a stupid sheep. And if you don’t like what you’re hearing from one place there’s another just down the digital street with views tailored just for you and Google/Facebook/Twitter will lead you right to their door.
All for more money with less work. If you can get paid to clickbait, misinform and troll your audience why do anything else? We let a system pander to our worst impulses and now it’s run amok because we didn’t realize the feedback loop that social media created. I don’t know how to solve it. Cutting the cord isn’t a realistic option but if it keeps going this way no one will know who to trust about anything.
November 20, 2021 @ 8:03 am
I agree with you, but will say that whatever the intentions, or the why…it still amounts to propaganda. And like the problem of bad country radio, there is no one easy culprit or fix….it’s human nature for most of us to conform and only hear what our tribe wants us to hear. And Ii’s all too easy for the profit driven, unscrupulous media to take advantage of that, and we’re left with propaganda packaged as “News.”
King Honky Of Crackershire (Let’s go Brandon!)
November 19, 2021 @ 11:40 am
To have this conversation, or to make the case you’re trying to make, do you not first have to accept the premise that Wallen is himself a racist? And I mean an actual racist, not the Pasty-White, communist definition of “racist”. Do you not have to believe that Wallen hates black folks, and considers his race superior, in order to attempt to disassociate Country music from him? Wallen loves black folks. He loves them so much that he’s adopted their culture and slang. I guarantee you he’s been calling his buddies n*****s since he was in Jr. High.
Wallen is not a racist. Wallen is a millennial who is more influenced by Rap, than he is Haggard and Jones. His crime is being a cracker who loves and is influenced by Rap, which in this case is synonymous with black culture. The communists, who are unaware that Country music is no longer tied to rural America, see Wallen as a way to subvert Country music. If they ever get wise to the fact that Country music is essentially a corporation, that looks down its nose at its customers, similar to Facebook or Amazon, I suspect they’ll move on to a new target.
The Ghost Of Outlaw Country's Past
November 19, 2021 @ 1:03 pm
Agree 100 % with you here
November 19, 2021 @ 2:10 pm
As I’ve said from the very beginning, what Morgan Wallen said was completely inappropriate and we all know that, and he deserves whatever consequences come from that subsequently. And just because I openly question if his punishment has fit the crime, or point out that his punishment is actually making him MORE popular and wealthy, that doesn’t mean I’m defending Morgan Wallen, or his actions. If it was up to me, Morgan Wallen wouldn’t have any affiliation with country music at all. I don’t know if he’s a racist, and I’m not sure we can infer that by what he did. As you point out, the specific phrase he used is common hip-hop lyrical parlance. That doesn’t make it right, but it is important context that he used it in a private moment toward a friend, not towards a person of color in anger. What we can conclude is that he’s an idiot, because anyone in 2021 should know that regardless of the context, you can’t use that word.
My greater point is that Morgan Wallen’s actions don’t represent country music. What inspired me to write this article was Kelsea Ballerini waking back her statement of this very thing, and being admonished for making that point, including by one of her fellow performers. I had repudiated Morgan Wallen as a member of the country community numerous times before the incident. I didn’t want Morgan Wallen representing country music before the incident, and I don’t want him doing so now. But the media does, because it fits their narrative that ALL country music is racist, full stop, when even Morgan Wallen’s level of racism is fair to question.
King Honky Of Crackershire (Let’s go Brandon!)
November 19, 2021 @ 2:55 pm
“As I’ve said from the very beginning, what Morgan Wallen said was completely inappropriate and we all know that, and he deserves whatever consequences come from that subsequently”……..
….” when even Morgan Wallen’s level of racism is fair to question.”…….
….” What we can conclude is that he’s an idiot, because anyone in 2021 should know that regardless of the context, you can’t use that word.”…..
You are part of the problem, Trigger, although I don’t believe you’re malicious. I’ve explained these things to you multiple times now, in different ways. I don’t know why you can’t comprehend it. That fact that it’s 2021 is part of the reason why you CAN use that word. I think maybe it’s because you’re old, and you can’t let go of outdated ways of thinking.
Of course Wallen’s actions don’t represent country(rural) music, because he doesn’t perform country(rural) music. But his actions DO represent Country(the industry) music, because Country(the industry) music is a corporate entity, made up of performers like Wallen, who grew up on, and love Rap and the culture that goes with Rap.
The fact that the pasty, ricey, lily, snow-skinned commies aren’t aware that Country has nothing to do with country, or country people, seems to keep getting lost in this discussion.
November 20, 2021 @ 9:09 am
King Honky i think this whole PC thing has more to do with the american puritan heritage than communism. My father was a marxist and i know the issue…
King Honky Of Crackershire (Let’s go Brandon!)
November 20, 2021 @ 10:34 am
November 21, 2021 @ 10:20 am
First, if my dad was a Marxist, I would be too embarrassed to admit that my father believed in a morally bankrupt ideal that is the creed of imbeciles.
Secondly, PC culture is the opposite of Puritan belief. The Puritans believed in sexual conservatism and religion. PC culture is all about loosening the bonds on sex and liberal behavior and wantonness while removing religion (namely Christianity from society).
November 20, 2021 @ 11:06 am
i got a feeling that this whole “holy terror” of words you’re allowed to use or not use in order to be a good person is born inside the puritan culture and ultimately blossomed in the current political corretness we witness everyday, especially and much more in the U.S. than here in Europe.
November 20, 2021 @ 11:31 am
That is a sharp observation. I think that could be the case.
November 20, 2021 @ 12:25 pm
I definitely think there is a parallel between what is happening today with some seeing racism in every single action taken, the obsession with speech and terms and the control of them, the constant hall monitoring and castigating of individuals who do not adhere to the prevailing narrative, and the same unhinged and often incorrect pearl clutching notions of the 80’s Satanism scare, the PMRC, and the advent of political correctness.
It’s unusual since the first craze came from the right and this one is coming from the left, but they run eerily parallel with each other.
Where this behavior parallels the worst behaviors of communism is the way society was split between the oppressors and the oppressed in the early Soviet Union, with the constant obsession with hierarchical structures and individuals’ place in them. This action also resulted in the murder and starvation of millions of people, and the imprisonment of many others for re-education.
November 20, 2021 @ 1:05 pm
In many ways the ferver we are seeing is filling a void by lack of religion, and is itself a new religion. Perhaps it is strongest here in the US because of the more recent puritan roots being pulled out. Only 9 mins and worth watching:
King Honky Of Crackershire (Let’s go Brandon!)
November 20, 2021 @ 6:16 pm
Can you please explain what you believe the connection is? Are you talking about a pendulum swing?
Were puritans trying to overthrow civilization? As I recall, they were just advocating for a more moral society, via legislation, which is how America works: convince people to see things your way, so that they’ll vote how you want them to. They weren’t violent. The only similarity I see is the desire for others to conform to one’s own worldview.
November 21, 2021 @ 2:28 am
Yes this idea of an higher moral and the fervor to seek “evil” behaviours in your neighbours reminds of the puritan mentality. The intentions were probably good ( almost everybody knows racism is stupid) but effects not so much.
Anyway no more back and forth on Trig’s site. My e-mail is: email@example.com
King Honky Of Crackershire (Let’s go Brandon!)
November 21, 2021 @ 9:30 am
….“The intentions were probably good ( almost everybody knows racism is stupid)”….
That’s just it. I don’t believe this has anything to do with racism. Racism is just the cover for for the real agenda, which to put it simply, is to sow as much division and chaos as possible.
November 19, 2021 @ 12:20 pm
I can’t hear about a topic being considered a monolith now without becoming pissed…royally pissed! (that’s in refence to a certain comedy sketch…although Trig brings up good points, I am not pissed in any way)
As far as stereotyping goes, everyone does it and it’s not going to change. It’s good to set the record straight; but how many people are going to read 26 paragraphs that challenge the way they think instead of going to social media to find a few sentences that validate the way they think? Not enough to change the narrative.
November 19, 2021 @ 12:29 pm
You have to blame some of the fans, WHO ARE RACIST, SEXIST, HOMOPHOBIC AND TRANSPHOBIC, who are the most loudly vocal, about chapel heart, and other minorities who get criticized . Look at cowboy Troy, when he come to country music, so many conservatives heads exploded, “GET THAT !@#% OUT OF HERE , HE AINT COUNTRY. yet the white country singers who put rap in their music , do not get as much criticism as he did, so look to the fans trigger, that is where you find most of your racism. I know there are alot of non racist and non sexist country fans, I love chapel heart, but the loudest cries of racism do come from some of the fans.
November 19, 2021 @ 12:52 pm
I blame you.
King Honky Of Crackershire (Let’s go Brandon!)
November 19, 2021 @ 1:01 pm
How nuts is it that that’s a real person, and that those are their real thoughts?
November 19, 2021 @ 2:48 pm
November 19, 2021 @ 3:16 pm
Speaking purely for myself, I’ve seen similar things to what Countryfan68 is describing, so why is it so hard for you to understand?
I remember about a decade ago, I sought out Billy Joe Shaver’s 2005 re-recording of “Live Forever,” which features Big & Rich. The latter get very little love from traditionalists, fair enough, but I distinctly remember a couple of drawn-out comments (that have since disappeared) complaining about the duo. The interesting thing was that their biggest affront to country music in the eyes of these few commenters was not the duo’s gaudy style, but moreso that they “brought the big rapping N-word with them” (their words). Keep in mind, this was right before Florida Georgia Line got big, so rapping in the country mainstream was still frowned upon for the most part. I find it sadly fascinating that some folks’ only takeaway from that version of the lovely song is anger at Big & Rich for having the audacity to bring the guy who helped originate the term “hick hop along with them.
I also remember when Cowboy Troy had a video on the CMT Top 20 countdown, this would have been around 2006 or so. He never had a great amount of chart success, but the video scene seemed to cater to him for a bit. My family used to watch the CMT countdown, and I distinctly remember a family member of mine saying once Cowboy Troy’s song hit the chorus that it “wasn’t country music.” Yet, they have no issue listening to trash like Thomas Rhett, Luke Bryan, Florida George Line and the like these days. For my money, even if I’m not really a fan, Cowboy Troy’s music has more actual twang in it and (above all) honesty about it than any of his direct competitors on the hick hop scene. He doesn’t consider his music traditional country, and it’s not, hence why he calls it something else.
Of course, these are simply anecdotes, and anecdotes about artists that are mostly unpopular around these parts. But from my experience, the comment you’re responding to isn’t as out-of-touch as you would like to pretend. I don’t agree that country music is in and of itself wholly racist, but pretending that it doesn’t exist at all and never has simply because it infringes on the narrative you choose to believe is no better than what the mainstream media tries to do.
November 19, 2021 @ 3:49 pm
So over a 16 year period you can provide a family member who suspiciously might have a double standard (and bad taste in music), and 1 comment. Ok then.
When actual racism shows up I’ll join you and whoever else in condemning it. In the meantime, perhaps over exaggerating everything and stereotyping an entire genre and group of people is not only diluting real issues, but further dividing us. Maybe
November 19, 2021 @ 4:02 pm
Jake, I didn’t say I had anything “deep” to provide, and I can certainly see why my examples would come across as insignificant. But this isn’t stuff I was actively looking for, just stuff I noticed in passing. The only reason I even mentioned it is because Cowboy Troy was brought up specifically. But I think where you and others seem to get hung up is that you only have one idea of racism in your head, and if what you see doesn’t match it completely, it’s therefore not racist. Ultimately, I agree with your point. What I don’t agree with is the assumption that everybody who doesn’t think like you is thus somehow intellectually inferior. Assuming your opponent has no insight to offer only works to keep us divided as well, ya know. But you seem awfully upset at a comment that wasn’t directed at you, so I’ll leave it at that.
King Honky Of Crackershire (Let’s go Brandon!)
November 19, 2021 @ 4:45 pm
Two things I’ve never done, and am not doing currently:
1. Pretending that racism doesn’t exist. It does, from all races, to all races, and always will.
2. Pretending that racism has never existed. See number 1.
I don’t choose to believe narratives, unless you believe my own observations are narratives. I observe the world around me, and talk about it.
Now, I’m not mocking “CountryFan68” for his/her opinions. I’m mocking “CountryFan68” for being the single most unoriginal boomer I’ve ever had the displeasure of encountering. Those opinions aren’t opinions; they’re recycled talking points that have no meaning. I mean, if you insist on calling all your political enemies racists, at least find a new way to say it, a new way to explain it, something, anything. The very first time I saw “CountryFan68”, it thought it was a conservative doing a parody of a leftist.
“CountryFan68” isn’t intellectually inferior to me because he/she doesn’t think like me. Neither you nor Jake think exactly like me, and you both strike me as highly articulate, intelligent dudes. “CountryFan68” is intellectually inferior to me because he/she was born intellectually inferior to me, and those comments are the manifestation of that inferiority. If I thought a rational conversation could be had with that individual, I would attempt one.
You must not read a ton of these comment sections.
November 19, 2021 @ 5:10 pm
I’ve been reading this site for about a decade now, including the comments sections. I know very well how they go. I used to comment on nigh every article, but I stopped about five years ago as I don’t really have the time anymore. I also found myself not having very much to say. It just so happens that that’s also when things started devolving in the comments sections on SCM. We’ve always had some back and forths, but not on every damn article at the drop of a hat.
I appreciate the compliment, and you’ve shown yourself to be very intelligent and articulate. I think you have some of the best grammar I’ve seen here. I also think your opinions on country music are interesting, even if I don’t necessarily agree. What strikes me as odd is that you tend to be a bit venomous, and you seem to lack empathy (at least from your comments that I’ve read). I suppose I find that disproportionate to your intelligence.
But I’m not affiliated with the Personality or Thought Police, coming to tell you what you can and can’t say. I don’t think Countryfan was being irrational with their initial comment; perhaps a bit over-the-top and jumbled, but they have a point. It may not be a point you agree with, but it’s a point all the same. I suppose I’m just rambling at this point.
November 19, 2021 @ 4:29 pm
Oh man, Bro …
November 19, 2021 @ 4:31 pm
: D That was reply, to Jake C.
November 19, 2021 @ 4:51 pm
Can’t you see how “awful upset” I am though?
November 19, 2021 @ 6:23 pm
It’s just Too Much!
November 19, 2021 @ 2:15 pm
Undoubtedly there are racists embedded within country music fandom, and that racism should be challenged whenever we see it. However, by stereotyping ALL country music fans as racist, labeling the genre as racist without offering any substantial evidence, and using those accusations to attempt to assert control over country music’s institutions will only resort in pushing people more towards the more racist voices in the crowd as these people are rendered defensive and impugned, and looking for people who will harbor their resentment.
Redder Shade of Neck
November 19, 2021 @ 1:18 pm
In a sound byte, click-driven culture, topics must be broad brushed and lines drawn in the sand to get views. There’s too much competition for people’s short attention spans for critical analysis. So it devolves into “if you’re not this, you’re that” and everyone is forced to pick a side. If not, one will be chosen for you. People are a little more nuanced and complex than that, and everybody is a little bit of this and a little bit of that, even if they themselves don’t want to admit it.
November 19, 2021 @ 1:25 pm
The biggest problem isn’t Morgan Wallen is how many people decided they like him more because he said the N word. Like I don’t expect moral purity from artists in order to consume their stuff. That wouldn’t leave me with many options to enjoy at that point. But at this point a Morgan Wallen concert has become a way to virtue signal how much you hate liberals. He’s more popular now than he was before people found out he said the N word. And that reflects very poorly on those people who decided this is what made him their new favorite artist. Personally I can go without the third best version of cover me up.
November 19, 2021 @ 2:24 pm
” a Morgan Wallen concert has become a way to virtue signal how much you hate liberals. He’s more popular now than he was before people found out he said the N word.”
Very true. And this is happening with Jason Aldean as well. Just as we saw when the [Dixie] Chicks were cancelled, people came in and became fans solely based off of political ideology. That is why I have been saying for months now that trying to cancel Morgan Wallen is only fueling his popularity. Morgan Wallen had whatever he had coming to him for using a word we all know you can’t as a white guy in 2021. But he apologized, and faced major consequences from the industry. If you truly want to stop his current winning streak, stop giving him free press by bringing him up every time the subject of country music is broached.
But I also want to emphasize this article is not just about Morgan Wallen. It was the Lil Nas X controversy, and Beyonce before him. The media feels it’s perfectly okay to stereotype country music and all its fans, artists, industry etc. off the actions of one individual or entity, and often, on false pretenses. Sure, stereotyping is a natural phenomenon and we all do it. But we don’t allow this for other groups, yet it’s celebrated when it comes to country music.
November 19, 2021 @ 3:45 pm
“The media feels it’s perfectly okay to stereotype country music and all its fans, artists, industry etc. off the actions of one individual or entity, and often, on false pretenses.”
Yes. Now why do you think that is?
November 19, 2021 @ 2:56 pm
“….decided they like him more because he said the N word.”
Actual racists probably wouldn’t appreciate him imitating black culture.
I don’t agree with them, but MAYBE they’re just tired of cancel culture, performative, hyperbolic outrage, the sanctimonious media always preaching and complaining about whatever straws they can grasp at to further divide us while lining their pockets. But sure, stereotype away.
November 19, 2021 @ 3:36 pm
Doesn’t really sound like you actually disagree
November 19, 2021 @ 6:50 pm
Very true. I know a few white people who call each other nig a, and it annoys me. But not because I think black people are being offended, but because its bringing hip hop into our conversation. I hate hip hop and everything it stands for and sounds like.
So screw Mr Wallen, how dare he bring a ni ga word into our neighbourhood.
(Obviously somewhat sarcastic)
November 21, 2021 @ 10:31 am
People liked Wallen more because they are exhausted of cancel culture and its over the top reactions to simple mistakes not because he said the N word. And they decided to stream his music because that is the only tangible way to show support (money talks).
Like it or not, most people don’t think someone should lose a career because he said a slur once. Especially when that slur continues to circulate in society because it is prominently used in the most popular genres that are rap and hip-hop.
That is probably where the disconnect comes from. It is a horrible word that should be vanquished from polite society but it is constantly used in popular music. If it is truly that horrible, no one should be using or trying to reclaim it.
November 19, 2021 @ 1:56 pm
Rolling Stone is irrelevant trash.
Fourth Blessed Gorge
November 19, 2021 @ 9:22 pm
This is the most insightful comment here so far. “Rolling Stone” hasn’t been useful for anything other than bird cage liner for fifty years now.
November 19, 2021 @ 2:08 pm
Very good article and I can’t find anything to disagree really. But I don’t care about the Wallen thing. He didn’t even use it in a negative way which was what I at first thought he did cause the reporting was bad. I agree he shouldn’t use that language but neither should be use the Lords name in vain or resort to conversing with curse words aplenty. But until all those standards are applied equally across the board to all races, I don’t care. To get respect from others, you have to respect yourself first.
November 19, 2021 @ 4:40 pm
“To get respect from others, you have to respect yourself first.” AMEN!
And, to have self respect you have to respect others. Respect is not spelled s e l f e s t e e m.
November 21, 2021 @ 10:34 am
Interesting how it is OK to insult Christianity’s savior.
Society is hypocritical.
November 19, 2021 @ 5:28 pm
Country music has the same amount of bigotry as any other facet of the entertainment industry, probably less than in the building trades at least in my experience. That Beyoncé record had some very down home tracks, does she need more trophies and shit? Fuck no who cares, someone with a worse song probably won, it happens all the time. I don’t think I have ever hear Old Town Road but I love Lil Nas X for his hustle and creativity regardless of whether or not I like his song, but I don’t think he ever tried to be a “country” artist at all. His song is about drinking lean for gods sake! Back in the real world nobody gives a fuck about these things, I have played to old style country music all around the world for all kinds of random Jodie’s and Jim’s, rockers rejects weirdos of all kinds. If you follow the Willie Nelson family rule “don’t be an asshole” then things will probably work out! Stay off Twitter people, outhouse walls are the real social media!
November 19, 2021 @ 6:23 pm
In my house we truly love country music. We love real country music. Hank Snow and John Prine are kings, Whiskeytown created soulful country beauty, and what is being displayed as “country” these days simply should not be called country. Know what is country and call the rest something else. We also believe in grace and mercy and love the concepts. We should ALL do our part to in some way influence the world around us to understand that country and the values of grace and mercy can live and love together in every possible way!
November 19, 2021 @ 7:32 pm
Off topic, but has anybody heard the piece of shit that Paul Cauthen just released?
November 20, 2021 @ 4:01 am
The explanations I can think of:
1. He is doing what so many of us have talked about over the years and making a horrid new country song to make a ton of money and laugh in everyone’s face. This is the coolest option.
2. Entertaining himself by simply seeing what could happen when he makes something that could blow up and make him money.
3. Entertaining himself by making a gross country rap song.
4. Actually thinking it is good.
He is a really funny dude in life. He also is quite over the top day in and day out. Any of these can be true. I have not heard anything else off of the album and I pray it is not #4. The fact is that he may make a killing off of this garbage “song”.
November 20, 2021 @ 8:43 am
May have a review soon.
Fourth Blessed Gorge
November 19, 2021 @ 9:30 pm
It’s interesting how “country music” is frequently defined as one unified genre, with the implication being that it’s all pretty much the same. No one cites Ted Nugent as being representative of rock music, no one cites Varg Vikernes as being representative of heavy metal, no one cites Big Lurch as being representative of hip-hop. But when one “country” artist does something “controversial” the entire genre is indicted.
Rolling Stone is such a worthless rag. Apparently “country” is overseen by some sort of redneck advisory board, which leaned on Billboard to get that rap crap bounced from the hallowed country charts. “See here, boy, you done best get that Nas X nonsense off your country charts or there’s gonna be hell to pay, y’hear?”.
November 20, 2021 @ 5:38 am
There is only ONE “Nas” I care about. And he dropped the last true classic album in hip hop history. Nas’ “Illmatic” was hip hop’s last gasp for air before it was pulled under and drowned in the abyss of crass consumerism!!!
November 20, 2021 @ 10:01 am
Illmatic is definitely a classic, but far from the last classic hip-hop record released. Outkast alone released at least three certified classics after Illmatic.
November 20, 2021 @ 6:21 pm
Meanwhile, Jacob Stelly has a cool new song “Sweet Irene” which is pretty darn good. Great vibe.
November 20, 2021 @ 6:39 pm
Not bad. Reminds me of early Parker McCollum.
November 20, 2021 @ 10:52 pm
That song is actually ok, meanwhile to his meanwhile Trig and I know there’s a million albums currently/coming out but I suppose I’m the only on here that’s giving any love to the Dillon Carmichael album?? I know he’s not Zach Bryan or ….cough cough Parker “Gold Chain Cowboy” McCollum but you turned us on to him and I’ll take the “Son Of A” album over most mainstream crap he’s trying to compete with right now and or Zach and Parker. Great song, solid album…at least he’s trying.
November 20, 2021 @ 8:01 pm
Just want to say Thank You to several gentlemen on this thread (and other threads, during the last few days) for having a deeper, more thoughtful discussion.
Kudos to you.
Jake C., Honky, Daniele, Trigger, Corncaster, D.J., Blackh4t, and others.
You guys know who you are.
And, So Glad to see people standing up Worldwide, as we speak, & saying – enough of the bullshit – We’re taking our freedoms back.
About damn time.
No matter all the chaos, the one thing that will always be true, is GOD.
Fat Freddy's Cat
November 23, 2021 @ 6:49 am
I can’t help but wonder if much of the talk about “bigotry” is simply an attempt to provide cover for those who want to use the country genre as a dumping ground for mediocre songs that wouldn’t chart in their real genre.
November 26, 2021 @ 11:56 pm
December 6, 2021 @ 6:20 am
December 29, 2021 @ 9:33 pm
Before I begin, I just want to say that I am mixed race (black and white) so I feel my perspective is unique. With that being said, even if country music was a “homogeneous, white Christian blob”, SO WHAT? Why is it that whites, and only whites, can’t have anything of their own, from their films (where movies based on decades and hundreds of year old European and American fairy tales, comic book characters ect have a minority playing the lead) to their nations to their music to their wealth? Why *must* everybody else be included? Frankly, I’m getting sick of both the groveling and pandering many whites are doing and the crying and whining many nonwhites are doing. It does not make you a bad person to want things that your ethnicity created to stay true to it’s roots! It’s OKAY to have something of your own!