Saturday, April 07, 2007

Is Country Dead? Noted writer Chet Flippo explores the notion on's "Nashville Skyline" in a thoughtful article. The reality is that we are three years away from the last big thing. Gretchen Wilson, Big and Rich and others from the "Class of 2004" are having mixed success. When the next big thing comes along, CD sales will recover and the format will again gain coverage on 60 Minutes, Newsweek and other mainstream media.

I can't help but wonder if the chase for crossover success is not once again slowing us down in more ways than one. While the new Big and Rich song is terrific and possibly bound for crossover success, has the music in general gone too soft? When was the last time Montgomery Gentry gave us a dose of their famous turbo twang? Anyone trying to schedule music on a radio station these days knows how difficult it is to maintain tempo. The good news is that there ARE great Country songs of all styles and tempos to choose from. Let's not be afraid to play the good ones, or we risk Music Row retreating and focusing on the Hail Mary crossover strategy. As always, your thoughts are welcome.

Here's a link to the "Is Country Dead" Chet Flippo article:


Christie Matthews said...

While I agree with you that the "stars" of country are taking full advantage of the crossover strategy, it is my hope that the new crop of artists like Rodney Atkins, Jake Owen, Eric Church and Luke Bryan all keep their southern drawl and keep on singing songs about "the country" and it's lifestyle. I think it all comes down to the lyrics. If it's a countrysong, then it will stay on country radio. Plain and simple. If it comes down to me choosing one artist's song over another, I will pick the one that sounds more country. That may mean giving one of the newcomers a shot at a very valuable space on my playlist. Sure, I play the biggies too, they wouldn't be the biggies if they weren't great! But if we continue to only play the stars on the merit of " well its the new so and so.." and there's better material out there, isn't it US that's dropping the ball? Just something to think about.

Anonymous said...

"""When was the last time Montgomery Gentry gave us a dose of their famous turbo twang?""""

When they give us that turbo twang, people say we dont need another Lynyrd Skynyrd or Marshall Tucker band...when they do give us something else, they want the rock stuff back!

Richard Lee said...

You nailed it! All your points well taken!

Our business is cyclical. Pop, Rock, and now Classic Rock slows the movement but it some how empowers the raw country product and makes it better. History has proved that.

I do not see any comparison of the tortes and country music other than they both sustain in spite of the forecast of their demise. History has proved that.

The very existence of the turtle proves country music continues to endure and adjust to change and will be hear tomorrow and history will prove that too.

Richard Lee ABC Real Country