In today’s world, where country music is sounding more pop than its usual twangy tone, there are artists saving country music and keeping it as alive as possible. But is country music really dead?
Well, if you’d ask country legend, Loretta Lynn, she thinks it is, and she’s not too pleased about it. Early this year, the Coal Miner’s Daughter shared her thoughts on the genre’s current state on one episode of Vocal Point podcast by Martina McBride. “They’ve already let it [die],” Lynn said. “I think it’s dead.
“I think it’s a shame. I think it’s a shame to let a type of music die. I don’t care what any kind of music it is — rock, country, whatever. I think it’s a shame to let it die,” Lynn added, “and I’m here to start feeding it.”
As far back as the early 2010s, Loretta Lynn talked about the blurring of genre lines that’s occurred as the musical tastes of both artists and fans have expanded. “Some of these new country singers aren’t really country … I think some of them should be singing pop music and leave the country alone,” she wrote in the introduction to her republished biography, Coal Miner’s Daughter.
The subject is clearly getting Loretta Lynn pretty fired up. When Martina noted during the podcast episode that Loretta seemed “mad,” the singer agreed. “I am,” she added. “Because it’s ridiculous.”
“I’m not happy at all,” Loretta continued. “I think that they’re completely losing it. And I think that’s a sad situation because we should never let country music die. I think that every type of music should be saved, and the country is one of the greatest. It’s been around, as far as I’m concerned, longer than any of it.”
But country fans can all take a chill pill as these artists are doing their best when it comes to saving country music.
Randy Travis Sees ‘a Turn Back to the Traditional’ in the Future of Country Music
Though Randy Travis has not released much music of his own since a massive stroke in 2013 robbed him of his ability to perform, he remained an integral part of saving country music.
During the 2019 ASCAP Country Awards, where he received the Founder’s Award, Garth Brooks explained that Randy “saved country music single handedly.” He looked back to a time when the legendary singer gave a boost to the genre’s relationship with its more traditional side. That was in the early days of Randy Travis’ career in the 1980s.
“Country music needed a transformation to go back to the traditional, and there were a lot of guys out there doing great country music, but, for some reason, radio wasn’t listening,” Randy Travis’ wife, Mary, spoke on behalf of her husband.
“Randy came along and turned it on a dime and opened the doors for all of those guys who were doing it right. And of course, Randy stayed true to that — through his whole career, he stayed true to the traditional country music,” she continued.
In addition to his own career, Randy Travis is also known for mentoring younger artists, like Kane Brown. The legendary singer keeps his finger on the pulse of where the genre is today. He also has a pretty good idea of where it might go in the future, Mary explained.
“We feel like it is beginning to turn back to the traditional. It’s almost like fashion and everything else, there is an ebb and a flow,” she mused. “There are so many young artists that study Randy, and study some of the traditional [style], and they’re singing it.”
Miranda Lambert is Saving Country Music One Woman at a Time
Miranda Lambert has an absolute commitment to women in country music. The country singer has hosted all-female tours, established scholarships, and is spending hours to coach artists unknown to the public at the time.
Marren Morris, Ashley Monroe, Aubrie Sellers are just some of the women she’s introduced or helped shape into stars.
George Strait and Alan Jackson is Teaming Up in Saving Country Music
Alan Jackson and George Strait, both country legends in their own right, did an unofficial version of “Murder on Music Row.” The song laments the rise of country-pop and the slow death of traditional music.
When George and Alan’s version came out, the song became more popular. People talked more about the current status of country music. Though it wasn’t officially released as a single, it was able to enter the country charts.
Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, and Sturgill Simpson Are Saviors of Country Music
The three of them have been garnering more and more attention for a type of country that rings more authentic than your usual bro-country anthem. For instance, Chris Stapleton has long been writing music for Nashville legends such as George Strait, Alan Jackson, and Tim McGraw.