Jean Shepard Is Angry Over Today’s Country Music “And I Don’t Care Who Knows It, I’ll Tell the World.”
At 81-years-old, female country legend and Grand Ole Opry member Jean Shepard is feisty as ever, fed up with what has happened to country music, and not afraid to tell anyone and everyone about it.
An Opry member for going on six decades, Shepard is set to celebrate her 60th Anniversary on the stage show November 21st. Ahead of the special night, she sat down with The Tennessean‘s Juli Thanki to talk about how she helped open doors for the women of country music at a time when most female performers were only a part of groups or family bands. Shepard was also very outspoken about how she feels about the country music of today.
“I’m very adamant about how I feel about country music. And I don’t care who knows it, I’ll tell the world,” Shepard said. “Country music today is not the country music of yesterday. It’s a lot more important than that. Candy coated country don’t make it. They candy coat it and try to be something they ain’t. Well it ain’t gonna work my friend.”
“It’s a good fight for a good cause and I mean that with all my heart,” Shepard continues. “Today’s country is not country, and I’m very adamant about that. I’ll tell anybody who’ll listen, and some of those who don’t want to listen, I’ll tell them anyway. … Country music today isn’t genuine.”
Shepard also had some more veiled criticism for the Grand Ole Opry.
“Sixty years ago, I loved what the Grand Ole Opry stood for,” she told The Tennessean. “I still love what it stands for, but not quite so much. Isn’t it terrible being so truthful?”
Jean also talked about how she is pondering retiring in a couple of months. Due to health issues, she has been unable to perform for the last year—even more reason to listen to the Grand Ole Opry on WSM November 21st for the 60-year celebration.
Shepard was first asked to become a member on November 21st, 1955. After the passing of “Little” Jimmy Dickens earlier this year, Jean is one of the institution’s oldest members.