Modern country has been at the heart of controversies and contradicting opinions since its emergence in the world of music. It’s been argued over and over that modern country, despite its success in tugging at our heartstrings, has evicted the elements and origins that define what country music is truly all about. People who support and prefer traditional country music are unimpressed with the pop influences on how modern-day artists portray what is said to be the very gist of the country genre. They stress that though the times may be changing, artists should still be able to draw from the very roots of Country music because that’s the key element that sets it apart from other styles of musical arrangement from the time it hit the radio stations up to the present day.
Alan Jackson and George Strait, two of country’s music legends took it upon themselves to share their views on the matter using the best way they can—a musical performance. As they took on Murder on Music Row, a hit country tune back in the year 2000, the two artists hammered through each line and melody with straightforward power and assertiveness, obviously presenting a challenge to the pop-induced version and transition of the country genre.
The song was originally recorded in 1999. It’s most notable lyrics, ‘For the steel guitars no longer cry. And you can't hear fiddles play. With drums and rock 'n' roll guitars. Mixed right up in your face,’ were brought to life by bluegrass band Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time.
Over the years, those who stand for the classics, or the original flair of Country singing are taunted by the fact that the newer generation’s inclination towards pop and other types of musical influences may lead them to permanently shun the true nature and humble beginnings of the Southeast-folk-and-cowboy-musical combination. Meanwhile, fans of the modern day country music scene are urging their counterparts to open their eyes to new ideas and concepts because, while they may be bringing something unusual or out-of-the-ordinary to otherwise long-standing musical styles, the dedication for their chosen art along with the respect for the genre’s pioneers is still evident. There are also contemporary artists whose motivation springs from Country legends, thereby ensuring that new can indeed bring something better to the table.
At the end of the day, it is not about old and new, especially when it comes to music. What matters most is that people from different backgrounds are united by a common love for a particular genre, all while influencing each other to open their doors to other forms of music. Striking a balance is key. We can’t expect something to progress by staying strongly rooted to old norms without giving room for innovation. We also cannot move forward and develop if we fail to see the importance of honoring and embodying the beauty of how the things we learned to appreciate now came to be.
What’s your take on modern country music? We’d love to know!