I’ve heard it for so long now I’m barely surprised when some Midwestern-transplant, Seattle-hipster-wannabe comes up to me and says, “I like old country. Country nowadays is just pop.”
Oh really? They usually rattle off something about Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline and the bastardization of country music today (mind you, most of them never listen to the stations unimaginatively named after animals; e.g. “the wolf,” “cat country,” “the cow,” etc.). So, is country music really getting worse or are hipsters just stuck in an idealized past that they never would have liked had they lived it?
In honor of the 55th Annual Grammys, which exposes us to a broad range of musical genres, I present to you five fresh country songs produced in the last year by mainstream artists that make Pabst and mustaches look oh-so-conventional:
1. Dierks Bentley, “Up On the Ridge”
Because nothing says country like moonshine and pickin.'
2. Miranda Lambert, “Mama’s Broken Heart”
We lost our Redneck Woman, but we still got Miranda.
3. Little Big Town, “Tornado”
Soulful and bluesy, referencing crazy country weather.
4. The Band Perry, “Better Dig Two”
A dark folky love ballad. Sure they look emo, but their pickin’ and whining fiddle move a country girl’s soul.
5. Kacey Musgraves, “Merry Go Round”
Don’t let this newcomer’s sweet sound fool you. Her hit tells country life like it is, and it ain’t always so pretty.