I’ve given up on watching CMT. For those who don’t get CMT on your cable (oh fortunate people!) the initials USED to stand for Country Music Television. They don’t mention that fact any more for a good reason… there’s little or no country on the network these days. What we get is so called “new country”.
How can you tell it’s “new country”? Easy.
- If it’s a girl singing it sounds like she’s reading her diary aloud. The only difference between the song and her diary is the song mostly rhymes.
- If it’s a guy it’s either about getting drunk and rowdy (not a bad thing in itself but it’s the kind of drunk and rowdy that high school boys think is cool mostly) or it’s whining about how bad his girlfriend treated him.
There are exceptions, but not many.
In case you haven’t noticed, by the way, there are almost no hooks left. “No what?” you ask. No catch phrase that “hooks” you – that you find yourself repeating and saying, “Yeah. I’ve felt like that.” or “What a good way to sum things up.”
“I don’t hurt anymore”
and the greatest, most universal one of all, “Take this job and SHOVE IT”.
Those are hooks.
And what ever happened to fiddles? Not violins – fiddles. Steel guitars seem to have gone the same way. Now what we get for background instruments is a thing I call, “the wall of Nashville”, a muddy sound that makes it hard to distinguish one instrument from another. Compare any of today’s “country” sound with Buckaroo from Buck Owens’ great band the Buckaroos. ‘Nuff said.
A few suggestions:
1) For female singers: Your diary isn’t a song.
2) For male singers Stop whining, stop bragging, get some real-life experiences before you try to be a “country” singer.
Oh, and either grow a beard or shave. Stubble doesn’t make you look macho, just sloppy. Commit.
3) For producers Get rid of autotune. Find people who can sing on key instead.
That’s my rant. I’ll leave you with some lyrics I recorded a few years ago:
“Straight up, give me something real
Lord, something I can feel,
Honest music that cuts right to the bone–
Give me country music straight up or leave me alone.”
(“Straight Up”, from the album “Straight Up, No Rocks” by Dusty Woods.)