Today’s Hodgepodge is inspired by this tweet from Josh the other day:
I really wish the mainstream “country” artists would stop covering music from other genres. It’s bad enough they’re ruining country music.
— Country Perspective (@realcountryview) August 16, 2015
Covering other songs isn’t anything new in music and when done right, can be an awesome experience for the listener, especially in concerts. Some bands have go-to covers that are concert staples alongside their big number 1 hit. One cover song from a band that immediately comes to mind is the Zac Brown Band covering Charlie Daniels’ “Devil Went Down to Georgia.” Other artists have famous songs which are covers from another artist. Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower” is a Bob Dylan cover that surpasses the original.
But as mainstream country further alienates itself from real country music, the bands and acts who seem more interested in crossing over continue to add more non-country songs to their set lists. Both The Band Perry and Thomas Rhett have added a cover of “Uptown Funk” to recent concert set lists. The Band Perry’s new single, “Live Forever” proves they want a pop crossover hit, and they even recently did some hip hop covers for iHeartRadio. Also, it’s no secret that Thomas Rhett basically wants to be Bruno Mars to the point that Rhett has essentially reset his musical goals to copy Mars. Thomas Rhett even has single recording of Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man.”
If you happen to find yourself at a Luke Bryan show for the Kick the Dust Up tour, you’ll hear a cover of Maroon 5’s “Sugar.” And a recent Florida Georgia Line crowd was treated to an encore set that included four back to back covers of Garth Brooks, Dr. Dre, Alan Jackson, and Wiz Khalifa in that order. And who could forget the opening train wreck at the 2014 CMT Awards where Jason DeRulo joined Bryan and FGL on stage for a short performance of “Talk Dirty”? And on top of all this, we have the Eli Young Band’s current new song, the “country” remix of Andy Grammar’s “Honey I’m Good.”
These are just a few examples of some of mainstream “country’s” biggest acts devoting time to music that is far from country. In my opinion, you shouldn’t go to a country concert and hear a Dr. Dre song from the act on the stage. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, but most cover songs are not better than the original. Hendrix’s cover of Bob Dylan is one of the few cases where the cover song is the better version. Thomas Rhett covering Bruno Mars is not good. As Josh said in the tweet, it’s bad enough they’re ruining country music, but now they’re ruining pop songs too.
Last year I reviewed the Nashville Outlaws’ Motley Crue tribute album. I said the following in my review about cover songs:
When an artist approaches a cover song with creative liberty and creates an original composition to the lyrics, and executes that liberty well, it is one of my favorite things.
From that album, The Mavericks cover of Dr. Feelgood is an excellent example of taking creative liberty with a cover and executing it well. The Band Perry even do a cover of Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” that, to me, sounds good because they put the song right in their musical wheelhouse. (And, you know, it actually sounds a bit country, too).
As Josh tweeted out, this is yet another example of these acts trying to be “‘cool and popular.’ Because country isn’t cool to them.” These acts who call themselves country try so hard not to be country, and that’s why fans latch onto them. “Country Music” became cool because it’s party music and bad pop music that wouldn’t stand a chance on real pop radio. Covering these “cool” pop songs further drives this home. God forbid Florida Georgia actually cover Hank or Haggard, the music they supposedly listen to while they roll or have a laid back party on Sunday.
Upcoming/Recent Country Music Releases
- Brantley Gilbert has announced the title of his next single, “Stone Cold Sober.”
- Kip Moore’s second album The Wild Ones will be released tomorrow.
- Candian Country singer Whitney Rose will release her second album tomorrow. Heartbreaker of the Year was produced by Raul Malo of The Mavericks.
- Carrie Underwood is poised to make an announcement this evening which will likely be the reveal of her next album or at least a lead single for the next album.
- Hall of Fame songwriter Mac McAnally will release a solo album called A.K.A. Nobody on September 18.
Today in Country Music History
- Country Music Hall of Fame member Jim Reeves was born on this day in 1923.
- In 1974, David Allen Coe records “You Never Even Call Me By My Name.” Within the song itself, Coe calls it “the perfect country and western song.”
- In 2008, songwriter Will Hoge was in a scooter accident while driving home from a recording session of what would become the 2009 album called The Wreckage.
Today’s Country Music history facts come courtesy of RolandNote.
Throwback Thursday Song
“Little Sister” by Dwight Yoakam. In sticking with today’s discussion on cover songs, here’s a great country cover from Dwight Yoakam singing Elvis’s “Little Sister”! This is his performance of the song on Letterman in 1987.
Non-Country Suggestion of the Week
Grace Potter Midnight. Grace Potter, frequent collaborator with Kenny Chesney has released a new solo album, without her longtime backing band The Nocturnals. The album was produced by Eric Valentine, and carries much more pop rock anthem type songs than what you may have come to expect from Potter.
Tweet of the Week
— Rawhide & Velvet (@rawhidevelvet) August 17, 2015
I think I had the same reaction when I first heard the song too.
An Negative iTunes Review That Makes Me Mad
This was left under Cam’s This is Cam Country EP. This review is extremely sexist and this reviewer obviously has no respect for country music, seeing as they can’t even spell McEntire.