There’s nothing new about staring at the “New Artist” nominees for a country music industry awards show and being bewildered at the names you see. It’s an annual exercise. This year the names included in the CMA’s “New Artist of the Year” category were no different.
For many true country music performers, the bug to write, sing, and play country music bit them at an early age, and never left. For others, country music is simply a vehicle for fame and riches. Specifically, many of them first tried to make it in professional sports before flunking out or getting sidelined with injury.
As much of the country music nervous system was affixed to the 60th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday (1-28), another high-profile event was happening down in Tampa, Florida where the NHL was holding their annual All-Star Game. “Country” artist Brett Young is a native of the area and was tapped to sing the National Anthem.
We were so swept up in praising ourselves for all the gains made in the independent realm of country music in 2017, it wasn’t until here in the dwindling moments of the year that we realized just what a dreadful era 2017 posed in the mainstream.
This week the country music world was shocked when a pop star named Bebe Rexha and her song “Meant To Be” featuring Florida Georgia Line debuted at the very top spot of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. But looking deeper into the numbers, something didn’t seem to add up.
Wonder why pretty much every mainstream country single sounds ostensibly the same? It’s probably because they all pretty much do. Lill illustrates how nine songs on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart all employ the same exact drum beat, and within the same 15 or so beats per minute.
Everywhere we turn, there are signs that the tide is turning in country music for the better. Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson are turning the tables on the awards shows, a new generation of traditionalists like William Michael Morgan and Margo Price are finding surprising traction. But it’s not all rosy.
Blake Shelton, Brantley Gilbert, Brett Young, Calre Dunn, Chase Rice, Chris Lane, Dallas Davidson, Dierks Bentley, Dustin Lynch, Florida Georgia Line, Jana Kramer, Jason Aldean, Jerrod Niemann, Lee Brice, Luke Bryan, Steven Tyler, Thomas Rhett
Brett Young and his rising single “Sleep Without You” is just the latest in a line of preordained male country debut singles looking to launch yet another heartthrob music franchise with lots of sizzle and extremely little substance. “Sleep Without You” isn’t the premise of a country song, it’s the whining of a P-whipped moron missing his snuggle buddy.