REAL Country’s Ace in the Hole: YOU

Yeah, Nashville and pop country might have all the attention. They might have all the money. They may have found a way to hijack all of the institutions of country music, even the word “country” itself. They may have the media in their back pocket and control of the radio stations. They may have mansions on the hill and ivory towers and personal jets and sold out stadiums. But there’s one thing that pop country doesn’t have that REAL country and the greater Americana movement does: YOU.

That’s right, YOU. I mean the person that is reading these very words right now. YOU are the reason that REAL country is on the rise. And it IS on the rise, like a great awakening rolling across the fruited plane. People are waking up to the fact that there’s something better.

The difference between YOU and the spoon fed pop country fan is, you are loyal, and are willing to participate in the movement. The pop country fan will be off to the next big hype when it hits, whatever it will be, and pop country and Taylor Swift will be “SO 2009.” But you’re here for the long run, because you don’t just like the music, you love it, you identify with it, it is part of your being.

Sure, pop country has a monopoly on radio, but we have our podcasts, catered to the music WE love, operated by people not doing it for the money, but because they want to, because they are passionate about the music. How many pop country DJ’s can say that? I’m sure there’s a few, but there’s many more that are ONLY doing it because they get paid.

And when you see an artist you like, you support them. And then you tell your friends. And then you go to see them live and you take pictures and video and audio to share with others, just like Cathy and Allison did in my last post. You cook them meals and offer up your couches. You don’t ask what the artist can do for you, you ask what you can do for the artist.

There are so many people that have contributed so much, I’m scared to start naming off names because I’ll probably forget so many, but they are all over the place: podcasters, videographers, MySpacers, message boarders; everybody does what they can, however big or little. Host a podcast or hang a banner. Either way, the movement grows.

And the same could be said for the artists themselves, who sometimes spend their own hard earned money to bring you the music, and go through untold sacrifice to make the music happen without compromising their ideals.

Who needs the Grand Ole Opry, Rolling Stone, or Austin City Limits? We’ll share our own music on our own networks, with like-minded people who aren’t sharing and reporting on it to get paid, but because they want to. Where would you rather see your favorite artists perform, from the upper deck of a football stadium, or the front row of a honky tonk for half the price?

So enjoy your sugar high Nashville, because it’s burning off quick. We’ll see how much mileage you get out of fleeting whims of 14-year-old girls and bored soccer moms, while REAL country fans who were born and raised on this music and have devoted their lives to it come to our side of the fence in droves. We’re the redneck white trash of country. We’re the ones into country to stay, and we’re standing on the back porches of our doublewides, or on the rusty bumper of our trucks with our fists in the air.

We’re REAL country, hear us roar.