Grammy Award winning Country/Americana artist Rodney Crowell took to his social network feeds late last week to voice his displeasure at the current state of mainstream country music. Crowell, who had 5 consecutive #1 singles off of his 1988 album Diamonds & Dirt, and two top 5 hits off of the follow up Keys to the Highway, has in recent years run more in Americana circles, and also works as a producer.
Ever since country music entered the back door of main stream commerciality—most noticeably in the early sixties—the debate over who possesses the more noble heart, the purists or the popular entertainers has never stopped. (Remember the credibility scare of the late 80’s.) Generally speaking, the purists make the more timeless music.
Pop culture is a disposable culture, therefore it stands to reason that those who want the big bucks and the power are inclined to produce slick and disposable music. I don’t see anything wrong with artists getting rich by pigging out at the trough of poor taste.
For the purists, the Americana Music Association is fighting a good battle to see that the work of, say, Guy Clark, is forever in the back of our minds. Go on ITunes and download a few Doc Boggs tunes. Timeless music is more available than ever.
Crowell moved to Nashville in 1972 where he was discovered by Jerry Reed, and later became friends with fellow songwriter Guy Clark. In 1975 he joined Emmylou Harris’s “Hot Band” for a brief period before releasing his debut solo album in 1978. His latest album, a collaboration with Emmylou Harris called Old Yellow Moon debuted at #4 on the country charts and is nominated for the Americana Music Association’s Album of the Year.