It is no secret that over the past couple decades country music has struggled with it’s identity far more than any other type of in the industry. At this point nobody might really claim to be a country music fan in the absence of being questioned what kind of country fan? The answers being outwardly unlimited, I’ve broken them down into several primary types (but really, there might be so many more).
This category can really be referred to as “Nashville Country.” It hosts could about 90 % of the country music out there. I a lot of the time find people not wanting to admit in conversation that they’re fans of this category. They prefer to talk about how they love Willie Nelson and mouth the words to Merle Haggard songs even though it’s evident their faking it. Then they get alone in their cars and unwind by driving down the highway, blasting Shania Twain on the radio, and singing along at the top of their lungs. Let me just say, there’s little wrong with that, prefer what you prefer. Nashville record labels select very talent ed, a lot of the time attractive singers that perform with some wonderful bands. They also have some of the top songwriters and composers in the industry working for them.
One criticism I would have against this category…In recent years, there has been a rebellion of sorts against Nashville music from musicians in both the Rebel and Texas sub types (see below) with songs booing Nashville and praising the old timers. Sometimes this gains them popularity and they get so popular that they land a extensive contract with a Nashville record company and for some reason everybody is perfectly comfortable with this phenomenon. This is what I prefer to refer to as “Pat Green Syndrome”.
Rebel/ Rock and Roll Country
Very liberal individuals are who you tend to find in this category. These artists just do whatever they feel prefer doing, and consequently there are not a lot of of them, or at least not a lot of of them that stay popular after their initial shock value wears off. They are oftentimes independent and prefer letting it all hang out. A wonderful example currently in the limelight is Gretchen Wilson. Others that haven’t quite reached her popularity level, but have been around for a while include Ray Wylie Hubbard and Todd Snider.
At times the guys in this category derive quite a bit of their rebelness from incorporating rock into their music. Good examples of this are Robert Earl Keen and James McMurty (I highly recommend both of them).
This category has developed into somewhat of a music cult, and it stretches all over the United Sates. (Note, this last month there has been a large three day Texas music festival in Colorado). It’s popularity started off with the likes of Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Gary P. Nunn. What really sent it off in recent years has been the popularity of Robert Earl Keen, Cory Morrow, Pat Green, and Jack Ingram. It plays extremely well in frat houses across the Lone Star State. While the guys mentioned earlier have taken off in a divergent direction, new musicians like Max Stalling, Mark David Manders, and Ed Burleson have started to take their place. If you ever watch this development, it’s simple to see that the Texas music industry is rising so fast that it will could soon be just as large as Nashville’s.
If you can sing the words to three or more Willie Nelson, George Jones, and Johnny Cash tunes please come in. If you can sing along to Patsy Cline, Charlie Rich, and Hank Williams please take a seat. If you can croon all night with Bob Wills please let me get you a beer, I’m glad all of us met. Welcome to the old country category, sadly many individuals find it boring here.
Real Old Country
Virtually all people in this category know how to yodel. They’ve might witnessed a person performance the bones, If they do not already know how to performance them themselves. The people in this category refer to each other as “folks” and recognize that country’s roots derived from folk music. This category requires being able to find pleasure in sitting on a front porch sipping ice tea in the middle of the summer while some old man plays “Streets of Laredo” on an old Gibson. Indulging in campfire banjo playing stimulates as well.
If you’re like me, you might have your favorite category and then like some things out of each one. There’s not really any one way to define country music, and with it being an ever-changing industry there might never will be. One thing that does not vary though, no matter which category, you may still dust of your boots and take just about any country song to the dance venue with you.