On Jason Kelce’s Rant About Country Music

Travis Kelce is the one dating Taylor Swift, not Jason Kelce. Jason Kelce is the perennial all-pro Center for the Philadelphia Eagles who retired from the NFL last year. Travis Kelce is the one that plays for the Kansas City Chiefs who you saw sucking face with Swift at the Super Bowl. This is an important disambiguation deduced through research on the world wide internet that is important to this story.

The two Kelce brothers host a podcast together called New Heights, and have the internet all agog after Jason Kelce (the brother NOT having intercourse with Taylor Swift) twisted off on country music during the latest episode on Wednesday (6-19). The two got talking about technology and time travel (weird, I know), and the discussion veered toward what music is going to sound like four years from now. Jason Kelce first lit into modern hip-hop.

“Hip-hop in the ’90s, and hip-hop in the ’80s, when it was done by dudes that were living that life, hits way different than now when it’s like auto-tuned renditions. And it’s the same thing in country music,” Jason Kelce said.

Then as if the spirit of Cody Jinks or Whitey Morgan entered his body, Jason Kelce became super animated, and started ranting with wild gesticulations …

If I have to hear one more country song that’s like, ‘I got my boots in my truck, going through the fields.’ What the f–k are we talking about? That’s not country music! Put on some f–king Willie Nelson. I am tired of country music and what it’s become. It is horseshit.”

After Travis Kelce (the one having consensual intercourse with Taylor Swift) stops laughing at his brother’s rant, he responds in a mild manner, “I like some of the country music coming out.” He then asks his brother what he thinks about Shaboozey. Jason responds, “I’d have to listen to it.”

Jason Kelce goes on to say that he can listen to some modern country and some modern hip-hop, especially if it’s being played in a club. But actually “listening” to music is a different experience. “Listening to it to like really enjoy it, like Willie Nelson to me, the way he wrote songs … Chris Stapleton obviously right now. He’s unbelievable. Tried and true. Tried and true.

You can see the whole interaction below.

This Jason Kelce rant and the reactions to it really speak to how far we’ve come in country music in the last few years. 10 years ago, Kelce’s rant would have been spot on and significant. Today, it’s frankly kind of dated and cliché. Sure, there are still country songs played on the radio that can be boiled down to, “I got my boots in my truck, going through the fields.” But the much maligned “Bro-Country” era has mostly passed, and those still peddling it are not nearly as popular as they once were.

Kelce’s rant is still notable though, because it speaks to the permeation of distaste for bad country music, and why it was so problematic when it was defining nearly every aspect of popular country. Jason Kelce is not some diehard music guy who’s boned up on all the latest trends. He’s a football player. But his hyperbolic hatred for the genre illustrates that the Bro-Country era left us a major mess to clean up.

It’s also interesting to note that country music fans aren’t angry with Kelce for calling country “horseshit.” Many country fans completely understand and am glad someone famous is speaking up about it, even if it’s a few years late. And sure, it would have been even more significant if the rant came from Travis Kelse since he is the brother regularly engaging in sexual congress with Taylor Swift, since Swift started her career in the country genre and her exit helped usher in the Bro-Country era.

But the simple truth is that when Jason Kelce or anyone else says in 2024, “I am tired of country music and what it’s become. It is horseshit,” they’re just flat out wrong. This isn’t 2014. Country music is brimming with so much incredible talent, including in the mainstream. Luke Combs just released an incredible record called Fathers & Sons. Lainey Wilson is the CMA Entertainer of the year, not Luke Bryan. Florida Georgia Line has been defunct for a few years now.

And that speaks nothing to the overwhelming talent bubbling up in the independent ranks at the moment. There’s so much of it, it’s hard to keep up. You understand the sentiments Jason Kelce and others share about how “country music sucks.” But instead of agreeing with them, or passionately disagreeing, people should patiently explain to them that it’s a new day, and share the good stuff with them.

My guess is that if Jason Kelce is a Willie Nelson and Chris Stapleton fan, he would be blown away if he heard Charley Crockett, Zach Top, or Charles Wesley Godwin. If he saw Sierra Ferrell or Billy Stings live, he’d never be on his podcast ranting about how bad country music is, he’d be shouting these artists out by name. Chris Stapleton is a start. But that should simply be a gateway into “country music and what it’s become” in 2024, which is something that country fans can finally be (cautiously) proud of, even if there is still much more to do.

…oh and get over the Taylor Swift jokes you prudes. She’s the one out there splattering her love life all over the tabloids.

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