T Nation

What IS Country?

Okay…this is for all you music lovers out their…especially those who like “country”.

What IS country music? I was listening to Shania at the Superbowl halftime…great talent…great live performer…overall great artist…(oh, yea…hot!).But she sounded more like Classic Rock from the 80’s, closer to “Heart” and “Pat Benetar” than Patsy Cline! (the same with Faith!)

And the men are not much different. Their “honky-tonk” songs are sounding more like 70’s Funk than Hank Williams!

Hey…it’s all good, guys…I love all types of music…but it seems as though the genre of “country” is morphing into a vague, and difficult-to-define, sound.

Any thoughts?


Willie Nelson and Johny Cash

Mixing in a bit of the pop style opens up a much larger audience. Last I heard (several years ago), country was the most popular musical genre in America. If so, we have a LONG way to go as a nation. Just kidding. Anyway, think about it - have your songs played on country stations or have your songs played on both pop and country stations. It’s all about the $.

Waylon Jennings. If you think of him only as the guy who talked on The Dukes Of Hazard, check out his music from the 70s. Hank Williams= awesome talent.Today’s singers are just pop stars with cowboy hats.Country music used to be the white man’s blues,now it’s just bland commercial crap.


It’s more like mixing in a LOT of rock and pop! Or more accurate…rock and pop with a little “country” mixed in!

There may be a “country” guitar riff here and there…and of course the obligatory “twang” of a steel guitar thrown in…but that seems about it!


Shania Twain is quickly becoming an outcast in the country music business. It all started when she married Mutt Lang (former producer for Def Leppard) and let him start producing her albums. He has definitely influenced her style of music in order to try and crossover and make more money. She has completely sold out her country roots. One of these days she’s gonna realize that no industry will claim her as their own, because in my opinion she sucks at singing pop/rock and country fans have seen enough of her selling out. On her latest album she included two cd’s. One was suppossedly country and the other was pop/rock. You really can’t tell a difference between the two cd’s in terms of style. It is very disheartening as a country fan to see someone sellout to the other side all in the name of money. In a response to Mufasa’s post, Shania does not represent country music. Her first album was country, and the rest have progressively shifted. Country is not losing it’s distinctive sound though. There are still many great up and coming artists that will keep the country sound and tradition alive.

Well Shania’s new cd is actually 2 cd’s. One is country the other is pop, she thought this would boost her sales, appealing to 2 demographics. From what I read the tactic failed , but it may be because of the songs just don’t appeal to alot of people :slight_smile: who knows.
not a country or pop guy myself.

You’re exactly right, Mufasa. My wife dragged me to see Vince Gill, and I bitched most of the way there. After performing several songs, he busted out into this 10 minute display of total rock and roll. And talk about being able to play lead guitar! The guy even had me on my feet screaming for more. Must’ve really pissed off some of the old farts that were there!

Well, if you have to ask, then the explanation won’t help you much…

Okay, just joking. I’m not a country fan by any means (my wife digs it, I tolerate it). For the modern ers, I’d say that Randy Travis has it for the men, and Reba McIntire has it for the women. But don’t get me started on listeneing to them. Geez, half an hour of Reba and I want to put a gun to my head…

We play both kinds of music, Country and Western…from the movies the blues brothers.

Did anyone else notice that the only one of the 3 singers during halftime, Shania was the only one that was lip sycning?

Country music on the large commercial scale seems almost dead. There is some (Ricky Skaggs for example) but most of what gets played on “Country Stations” is what used to get called “pop music” or “bubblegum stuff”–sucks.

Shania Twain, I think is becoming more pop rock then country. I think the person who made country more mainstream is Garth Brooks. I think he started the New Country.

Shania Twain country? In which country?..Maybe Canadians have a different idea of country, but her music is crap. An insult to even shitty country music. Keep in mind I am no country music fan, but I know country and she ain’t it. Don’t get me wrong, I’d fuck 'er, but she ain’t country, not at all.

Tinman brought up an important point when he spoke of country and it’s place commercially.

Radio stations (like a LOT of things lately) are parts of usually VERY large conglomerates. They are no longer the independents that could respond easily and directly to their audience. Sure…the Morning programs have a lot of lame contest, and late-nights may have some “request” times, but all-in-all, it’s big-time, often wheeling-and-dealing buisness that responds to the dollar. Cool…it’s America…

The problem is that the “Traditionlist” and the “Traditional Sound” of Country are getting less and less airtime…and many of the artist know it…and are frustrated. The money is in that “blended” sound a lot of you guys have been talking about. I think the key is blending, but not losing “the sound”…and that’s hard. Some do it well (like the Dixie Chicks, actually Faith (sometimes!), and a select few…but many leave you scratching your head like Shania…

It should be interesting how the trends all pan out…


Almost forgot…

Many felt that the success of the music of “Oh Brother: Where Art Thou?” may have represented a turning point…(VERY traditional country…I would recommend that any music lover listen to it if they want a sense of the change country has undergone)…with traditional artist playing on a very unique compilation…but it ended up just being a blip…not a trend setter or changer…

Very cool music though!


If anyone is ever in Corpus Christi, 94.7FM places all Texas music, all the time. Great station.

I may be wrong…

…But did a read a blip somewhere that even the stalwart “Grand 'Ole Opery” was having financial problems?

Again…It was last week while reading some trade paper or something…anyone know the facts?


The perfect country and Western song adequately addresses Momma, trains, trucks, prison, and getting drunk. You don’t line dance to country music. You pound down some good ole Kentucky Bourbon or Tennessee Whiskey. After several country songs you should want to call your mom, thank God for America, and whip some painty waist liberal’s ass.

If you ever watch CMT, all of it is crap. Nashville has turned into the ultimate manufacturer of really bad pop stars. For a while, you’ll see some new star rise only never to see him again. It’s kinda sad because artists like Waylon Jennings, David Allan Coe, Merle Haggard, and many others will never get the credit they deserve because they are being replaced by these lame, whiney little shits. A few people mentioned Shania Twain selling out. There’s also Faith Hill doing the same thing. None of her music now sounds country, and on top of that it’s just really bad music. Hank Williams the 3rd (Hank Williams grandson) wrote a song title “Dick in Dixie” which perfectly describes country music today. Here are the lyrics.

Well some say I?m not country
and that?s just fine with me
Cause I don?t wanna be country
with some faggot looking over at me
And they say that I?m ill-mannered
that I?m gonna self destruct
But if you know what Im thinkin?
you?ll know that pop country really sucks.

Well I?m here to put the Dick in Dixie
and the cunt back in country
Cause the kind of country I hear now days
is a bunch of shit to me
And they say that I?m ill-mannered
that I?m gonna self-destruct
But if you know what I?m thinkin?
you?ll know that pop country really sucks.

Well they?re losing all the outlaws
that had to stand their ground
And they?re being replaced by these kids
from a manufactured town
And they don?t have no idea
bout sorrow and woe
Cause they?re all just too damn busy
kissin? ass on Music Row

Well I?m here to put the Dick in Dixie
and the cunt back in country
Cause the kind of country I hear nowdays
is a bunch of shit to me
And they say that I?m ill-mannered
that I?m gonna self-destruct
But if you know what I?m thinkin?
you?ll know that pop country really sucks.

And if you know what I?m thinkin?
you?ll know that pop country really sucks.

“Real Country” is no longer played anymore. As one who grew up on country from my Mom who grew up on country and so on. The best modern country singer right now is still George Strait, he has stuck to the roots of country and didn’t sell out like Clint Black and Alabama and Garth Brooks to the pop scene. Old stuff from Hank Williams Sr, Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn to name a few are what last of real country singers.