Don’t You Think This Whole Propaganda Bit’s Done Got Out of Hand?


Did you hear the good news? Country music has been saved! The streets of Music Row are now paved in gold, heavenly choirs are singing in unison from the heavens above and country radio is using its powers for good. With the release of Jon Pardi’s new album earlier this year and William Michael Morgan’s debut album Vinyl this week, this seems to be the overwhelming sentiment I’m hearing from all corners of country music. Since Pardi got a #1 song at radio with “Head Over Boots” and Morgan got a #1 at radio with “I Met A Girl,” that means country music is all well and good now. It’s been saved!

Give me a damn break.

First off let me just address the absurd notion of “saving” country music. It’s an idea built on sensationalism and propaganda to appeal to the gullible and rebel hearted. Country music has never needed to be saved and it never will. It’s a marketing tactic that people will use to paint us vs them themes and build up a fictional battle taking place right in your backyard. It’s pandering to a natural human instinct to rebel against “the man” if you will. It’s no different from Toby Keith singing about having sex on the American flag on the back of an F-150 truck while fireworks go off in the background and bald eagles fly overhead. If you look me in the eye right now and told me country music needs saved I would laugh and point to Sturgill Simpson, Whitey Morgan and Margo Price. If you did this same thing in the 90s I would point to Alan Jackson, George Strait and Reba. In the 80s I would point to Dwight Yoakam, Keith Whitley and Randy Travis. I think you get my point. Every time in country music history where people think the genre needs “saved” a couple of traditional artists come along and gain popularity to appease the traditionalist masses. It’s a natural cycle that everyone tends to forget about and even yours truly at one point bought into the stupid idea country music needed saving.

This year in particular has really made me open my eyes up to what the real problem has been all along. It made me realize how exactly mainstream country would solve its traditional problem and would do it in the most predictably wrong way. The real problem all along with mainstream country music the past several years has been songwriting. It’s very easy to get hung up on all of these pop sounding songs and their terrible production that doesn’t resemble country in any way. Music Row wisely saw this, so you’ve seen a lot of acts this year go back to a more neutral/pop country sound. Just listen to Blake Shelton and Cole Swindell’s new albums. Zac Brown Band has just promised they’re going back to their roots on their next album. They’re all adjusting to a more country sound to easily appease a lot of people, all while they’re lyrics have not/will not change. Jekyll + Hyde pissed me off more with its lazy songwriting than its two EDM songs. That did more harm to the album than Brown’s egotistical attempts at making EDM music.

But this sound adjustment goes much deeper and clever than this. Music Row knows they can’t fool everyone with these slight pivots and the rest will have to be won over with more elaborate maneuvering. The rest is traditional country fans and what better way to win them over than with pedal steel guitar and a fiddle. Enter Jon Pardi, William Michael Morgan and Aaron Lewis. Pardi and Morgan both don cowboy hats and give numerous interviews talking about how proud they are to be country. Lewis’ leading song when joining Dot Records was about how things just aren’t country nowadays and he’s here to bring it back. All feature generous amounts of steel guitar and fiddle in their music. It all helps these labels frame and paint the exact narrative they want to spoon feed the public.

Now I’m painting a picture here insinuating that these artists aren’t genuine in their intentions. In the case of Morgan and Pardi, I don’t think they’re being disingenuous. I think they’re being quite sincere in their efforts of releasing traditional country music. I think Lewis on the other hand is a sleazy con man using traditional country as a vehicle to revive his career from irrelevancy because he pretty much admitted to it when he said he talked shit on pop country artists as a means to pander to his crowd at shows. Pardi and Morgan while sincere, make the perfect pawns for their respective labels and for the industry at whole, but they don’t realize it and won’t until years later.

These three artists being championed by country circles is the industry’s way of saying, “Ha! We still put out traditional country. Happy now? We gave you what you wanted.” While it may have given a lot of people what they wanted, it didn’t give the industry what it needs and that’s better, more honest songwriting. Many people and outlets are going to applaud Morgan and Pardi for bringing traditional country “back.” If you enjoy their music, that’s fine and I don’t knock you for it. Enjoy the music you want to enjoy. But there’s two artists in mainstream country this year that have run circles around everyone else and nobody is talking about them like they should: Tim McGraw and Eric Church. These two have been showing the real change that’s needed at radio and that is deeper songwriting. But because they’re not part of some propaganda movement or don’t have overwhelming steel guitar in their music, their accomplishments are glossed over. Church in particular has been doing more for country music with his songs and attitude than he’s ever done before.

So while Pardi and Morgan’s sound may harken back to Strait and Jackson, their lyrics certainly don’t measure up to the two titans. Both albums suffered from sub par and bad songwriting (yes, I’ll freely admit I overrated the Pardi album and it did not deserve the grade I gave it). But thanks to bringing back a sound many people craved, this was overlooked by many and including yours truly at first. While this traditional revival may sound like the real deal, its substance is still as fake as the pop country it opposes (Morgan and Pardi’s intentions are real, but their respective labels and the industry certainly aren’t). And the substance that is songwriting is something that cannot be faked no matter how hard Music Row tries. You’re not going to consistently get heart and soul out of the assembly line writers on Music Row. The music of Strait, Jones and Nelson is remembered not only for its great instrumentation, but heartfelt songwriting. A song is not just about how it sounds, but what it says.

The point of this post isn’t to bash Pardi and Morgan, who are great, talented artists with very bright futures ahead of them. I’m coming from a place of honesty and genuine care that you the country music fan is being treated like a fool. The point of this post brings me back to something Jason Isbell once said to a fan on Twitter. Isbell said who needs genre, citing off numerous great acts in different genres. A fan said critics need genres and Isbell replied, “Only the lazy ones.” Another quote I leave you with comes from poet W.H. Auden: “Propaganda is a monologue that is not looking for an answer, but an echo.” The country music industry is being lazy and wants you to buy this propaganda that’s being pushed and it’s not right. Don’t be manipulated by what’s taking place and think for yourself. Otherwise you’re playing the part of the echo they desire.


38 thoughts on “Don’t You Think This Whole Propaganda Bit’s Done Got Out of Hand?

  1. warthog123 October 11, 2016 / 3:42 pm

    Do you seriously think it’s stupid to want to “save” country music? This genre that showcases a rich cultural and geographical history and that speaks to the hearts of millions is being ripped apart, and you think that wanting it to change is stupid and that those trying to save it are just pandering? Fucking bullshit.

    “Saving” country music consists of buying and supporting real country music to draw attention away from the pop shit Music Row releases. I see nothing wrong with that.

    “Saving Country Music” is not a term of pandering. It’s a cause. A goal. It’s also the name of a wonderful website. I believe Trigger has done a lot in the effort to truly save country music .

    So, if you think all of us that want this beloved genre to be rescued from the money-hungry hands of music row are stupid, then you’re no better than Sam Hunt or Keith Urban or any other pop peddler making money off of country radio.

    Country music will get better, it always does. But a lot of that is because of fans and consumers turning towards true country, and keeping the genre true to its roots.

    This post rambled quite a bit, but this article really pissed me off, and I just let loose with my response.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. FeedThemHogs October 11, 2016 / 4:29 pm

    I agree with Warthog. What is wrong with wanting to save country music? I don’t quite understand your sentiment here.

    Of course WMM and Pardi, and even Mo Pitney’s albums are going to be pulled down by sub-par writing. They (sans Pardi) are making their debuts. They can’t come out and release the second coming of Sunday Morning Coming Down as a single, or an album along the lines of ‘Home’ (which I consider to be the best full album I’ve heard). They’d never stand a chance, and then they’d be dropped and gone from the mainstream scene forever. And of course Church and McGraw can release better written songs, they’ve got the commercial success/fanbase/what ever you want to call it to have pull within within their labels. WMM doesn’t have that yet, neither does Pardi or Pitney. These youngsters have to play the game in order to get to the point that they can release better music. You may say, well, they can just go independent and release whatever they want, but that isn’t always an option. Mo just got married, and has a kid on the way. I’m sure the stability provided by being in Nashville, on a label, and all that is very important to him and his soon to be family life. He can’t be expected to burn the wheels off a beat up van to maybe scrape a living. I know I’m rambling here, but quite like Warthog’s post above, this article just doesn’t add up with me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael Rauch (@TheCheapSeats_) October 11, 2016 / 10:23 pm

      “These youngsters have to play the game in order to get to the point that they can release better music.”

      Or, you know, just write your own songs that are better.If you can’t, well, sorry.

      Country music has always confused me in this way. Songs mostly written by people other than the artist. A lot of debut albums are the best by artists in other genres. They’ve had years to write songs that go on that debut, not picking from other people’s songs. Then the “sophomore jinx” because they’ve used their best stuff and then have a year to come up with another album.


    • Michael Rauch (@TheCheapSeats_) October 11, 2016 / 10:50 pm

      “These youngsters have to play the game in order to get to the point that they can release better music.”

      Maybe they should just write better material on their own to record. Country music has always been confusing to me in this way. A lot of times, in other genres, a debut album is often the best album. The artist/band has had a lot of time to come up with songs. Then the “sophomore jinx” whey they have to write a new album in a year.

      But, hey, that’s just me.


  3. Justin W Adams October 11, 2016 / 4:33 pm

    Surprised you didn’t mention Stapleton in this article. I agree with you about song writing as a whole being the problem as opposed to the sound. People made a big deal about FGL and their new album more “deeper” and more country sounding. But the lyrics suck as bad on this album as they did before.

    There are some songs on Vinyl and California Sunrise that I really love like “She ain’t in it” and there’s also some songs I don’t care for. It’s like it’s a give and take thing for the newer artists who don’t have much to fall back on. They release good music and music to keep the labels happy. When artists like Tim McGraw and Eric Church have something to stand on and they can do it just for the music and not worry about making their labels happy. That’s why Damn Country Music and and Mr Misunderstood are so good. That’s also why you won’t see them when any enterainers of the year anytime soon. Then you have Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Zackary Kephart October 11, 2016 / 5:02 pm

    I get what you’re trying to go for here, Josh, and I like the idea. I’m just a little confused by the execution.

    While many outlets have praised Jon Pardi and William Michael Morgan (along with others), I don’t think anyone has went the full route of saying that country has totally been “saved”. I think the consensus is that it’s on the right track. We used to have horrible songwriting and non-country songs. Now we’re seeing shifts in both areas. I agree that Eric Church and Tim McGraw could be a little less underrated, but I don’t think they’ve been “forgotten” by anyone. Actually I think their accomplishments have definitely noted.

    “If you look me in the eye right now and told me country music needs saved I would laugh and point to Sturgill Simpson, Whitey Morgan and Margo Price. If you did this same thing in the 90s I would point to Alan Jackson, George Strait and Reba. In the 80s I would point to Dwight Yoakam, Keith Whitley and Randy Travis.”

    Right, but the difference here is that those first 3 aren’t played on country radio while the others were. Sure, time will tell if anyone of them DO (because after all, we didn’t have the capacity to explore “underground country” back in those days the way we do now. Hell, who knows where any of them started out), but for now, it’s understandable for people to want to advance country music to the point where artists like them (and more) are on the radio.

    I love country music, and I certainly always will. That being said, like you I’m not opposed to other genres and actually have been listening to them more frequently. But I don’t think anyone is dumb to believe in the concept to save country music. Hell, I want to save it too, and while I don’t LOVE Jon Pardi’s or WMM’s albums, I think they’re steps in the right direction. That’s it, STEPS. There’s certainly work to be done, and I don’t think too many would argue with you on that point.

    This past summer, I would have wholeheartedly agreed with every point made here, and it’s because people were praising Pardi’s album as revolutionary and what not. The thing is, that’s not reflective of my thoughts now. I don’t think Pardi made a good album, and for me, it’s still a 6/10, but I also can agree that there’s progress being made, even if minimal in the grand scheme of things. Sure, we can rave about our beloved Americana artists all day. For awhile, I even stopped doing negative reviews because I wanted to focus on more good music. But as time passes by, I’m realizing that I can’t give up on my fight for the mainstream. Plus, as someone who’s always been afraid to go against the critical consensus anywhere, I’m finally not afraid to say that a lot of Americana acts tend to be overrated, at least in my opinion. What am I trying to say? Well, I get that Pardi’s and Morgan’s lyrics have been lackluster, and I don’t love either album (although I liked Morgan’s well enough to give it an 8), but they’re debut albums just like Hogs said. It’s natural for artists to grow over time, and I don’t think it’s a result of propaganda from labels, I just think both artists suffer in their songwriting, a flaw that has swept across a lot of country and Americana this year if I’m being honest.

    I agree about Lewis. I actually thought his overall album was decent, even good depending on when you asked me, but his whole country career has definitely been a marketing gimmick.

    Again, don’t take this as me vehemently disagreeing with you. I think you make a lot of good points, and the idea itself is good, I’m just not sure about the execution. It’s a tough situation though, and I agree that there’s still work to be done in country music. A lot of it actually. I just don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to celebrate how far we’ve come, because we’ve made progress in both making country music and making smarter songs, at least I think so.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Megan Conley October 12, 2016 / 11:48 am

      “As someone who was afraid to go against the critical consensus anywhere”… don’t be, it’s all opinion, and as far as yours goes, I agree with everything you’ve said here. And probably most strongly I agree that a lot of Americana is overrated. Also, excellent point about Simpson and Price not being played on the radio. There’s always been pop country, and that’s never been a bad thing. But never before have we seen traditional country abandoned in such a manner as it has been the past few years, and it’s not wrong to want some sort of balance and celebrate that you can now hear fiddle and steel on the airwaves that produced Sam Hunt and called him country. Genre doesn’t matter, as far as it goes; good music is good music regardless. But if Sam Hunt’s album was excellent, I would still wish he’d send it to pop radio where it belongs.


  5. OlaR October 11, 2016 / 5:25 pm

    3 or 4 traditional artists is not a “revival” & yes, country music is a genre or a format.

    Not all Alan Jackson tracks are good or “deep”. Aaron Lewis…meh. Jon Pardi is not a traditional artist. It’s mainstream-country with more fiddle & steel.
    Jason Isbell is a successful artist now. Easy to talk about success in different formats. Things can change.
    The career of the new traditional artists is 1 or 2 albums deep. All on mayor labels in a struggling industry.
    Was Johnny Cash free to record “his” songs back in the day? Or Merle Haggard? The majority of artists must play nice with the labels.
    Randy Travis was Randy Traywick in the late 70’s & Randy Ray in the early 80’s. The rest is history. It takes time to find a “sound”. William Michael Morgan is a young guy. I don’t expect “deep” lyrics & i don’t expect a perfect trademark-like sound.

    Is Eric Church the answer? No. Or the over-hyped “americana” acts with 1 or 2 good selling albums. Oh i forget…no genre boundaries. Americana acts have no boundaries. Because mixing rock, pop, country, folk, alt-country, southern this & northern that is not a genre.
    Eric Church is in the position to do his thing & the best is…it’s selling. Let’s wait & see what the future will bring. Oh…& listen to his first album:
    “I wear a greasy ball cap
    I like my shirt un-tucked
    I spend Saturdays working on my truck
    I don’t like to fight
    But I ain’t scared to bleed
    Most don’t mess with a guy like me
    ‘Cause guys like me drink too many beers on Friday after work
    Our best blue jeans have Skoal rings
    We wear our boots to church
    So rough around the edges
    It’s hard to believe that girls like you
    Love guys like me”
    (Parts of the “Guys Like Me” lyrics – according to Google)

    Yes, the greedy guys on Music Row are killing country music. Greedy guys then, now & forever.
    The current class of hit-writers is writing shitty music with shitty lyrics. There is no Don Schlitz, Dean Dillon or Harlan Howard.
    The current class of hit-producers is producing (& writing) shitty plastic music. No “country-sensibility”. Too many outsiders. Because a Trashville production is paying the bills.

    You want to listen to real-traditional country music: Jimmie Rodgers or the Carter Family.

    First Impression:
    Mo Pitney – Behind This Guitar – beats WMM – 9/10
    Bradley Walker – Call Me Old-Fashioned – it is old fashioned & traditional country – 9/10

    Billboard Country Update (10/10):
    Top Country Albums – WMM new on #5
    Country Airplay – Billy Currington 2nd week on #1


  6. OlaR October 11, 2016 / 5:30 pm

    mayor labels = major labels


  7. Amanda October 11, 2016 / 7:12 pm

    It seems to me that guys like Pardi, Morgan, and Pitney are saving country RADIO, not country music as a whole. They are only a small part in the mission to save country music. I think they are all great artists and I am a fan of all three. However, I think it’s going to take a lot more than two or three artists to save country music completely. This is just the beginning,


  8. Michael Rauch (@TheCheapSeats_) October 11, 2016 / 9:21 pm

    Interesting. And I agree that country music does not need saving. And country radio does not need saving. It will either implode or continue moving towards something that is not recognizable as country.

    I don’t care either way. I listen to music, not genres. It doesn’t matter to me the label, as long as it’s good.

    People say “rock is dead” and “country music needs saving”. Neither is true. Rock is alive and well, just not on your radio. Country music is fine, just not on your radio,

    Radio used to be the place where you heard new, good music. Not anymore. I haven’t actively listened to radio for music in 3+ years. I haven’t heard most of the crap people are complaining about. I’m happier that way.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Josh Schott October 11, 2016 / 10:00 pm

      You get it.


    • Zackary Kephart October 11, 2016 / 10:15 pm

      I understand the radio argument. Hell, I think it’s completely backwards that it’s still the biggest dominating factor in 2016. But that’s the thing, it IS (unarguably) the biggest thing in country music today. It’s how most people identify who’s country or not or who’s representing that particular genre.We can build up underground artists all day, but it’s not enough.

      I’m not in this camp, but I don’t think anyone’s “wrong” or that they “don’t get it” when they want to see a genre surge forward and actually see widespread results beyond just exposing one new artist.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Michael Rauch (@TheCheapSeats_) October 11, 2016 / 10:43 pm

        That’s fine if that’s how most people identify country music. Like I said, country radio will implode or will no longer be relevant. It’s going to take time, but it will happen.

        My 16 yr old daughter used to like country radio, now she can’t stand it. But she refers to what I listen to as “underground hillbilly music”. (as an aside, she likes some of it, just not all and doesn’t know the songs. she’s 16. we’ve all been there)

        If someone asks me what kind of music I like, my reply is good music. When they ask me to expound, I name artists, not genres (or perceived genres).

        There is a real fight out there among radio people to convince you that radio is relevant. It is locally, but not musically. Gone are the days when some DJ in Detroit decides to play the B side of a KISS record and “Beth” becomes a huge hit.

        Personally, there is a radio station that has a good morning show. I switch channels whenever they play “music” (quotes intended).

        Liked by 1 person

  9. petemarshall724 October 11, 2016 / 10:11 pm

    Yeah I don’t listen to country radio anymore because it don’t sound country anymore. I agree with Josh country music don’t need to be save because country music is just fine. There are still country music out there but not on radio (Alan, George, Mark Chesnutt, and country legends.

    I listen to my cd’s even the legends of country music like Willie Nelson’s and Loretta Lynn’s new cd’s, and Keifer Sutherland’s new cd as well. and more.


  10. meganconley713 October 12, 2016 / 1:17 am

    Well, firstly, I agree with your point that songwriting is just as important, or even more important, than sound. I agree that Eric Church did more to help country music with his last album than William Michael Morgan or John Pardi. I get that. But to say that it’s bullshit and that people are fools for wanting country to be saved is harsh. NO, it can’t be saved overnight, and it may never be. But as Zack stated above, Morgan and Pardi are steps in the right direction. Go back and listen to George strait’s first album in 1981. I use Strait because he was signed to a major label at a time when pop country dominated the charts, and he was given one single to prove he could make it on radio. He was thought to be too traditional, and now his career speaks for itself. But his first album wasn’t stellar by any means. There is some pretty forgettable material there. Now, everyone reading this, don’t rip me apart for comparing Morgan and Pardi to Strait, because that’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m saying that everyone, even the likes of Strait, started somewhere. I think we’re too harsh on debut albums, especially when they come out of the mainstream. Artists still have to compromise with labels, whether we like it or not, and they always have. They could go independent, but this does nothing to help country radio or bring anything resembling country to the masses. Several people have already pointed out Church and McGraw have more creative license than people like Morgan, which of course is true. I also agree with the former comment that a lot of Americana acts are overrated. And this will make me even less popular, but we can’t just run to Americana as the new country because it’s not. Americana is not country, just like pop isn’t country. Both can have elements of country, and both can be great. But I love country music, and neither the great Americana writing of Jason Isbell nor the pop country of Carrie Underwood provide the sound that I miss, the sound that made me love country music in the first place. As a reviewer, I will gladly point out the good Americana and the good pop country, but I was a fan first, and as a fan, I wish for more fiddle and steel, just like I wish for better songwriting. Now, I review Americana and I like some of it as a fan; a lot of it is honest and real and great music. I don’t care about genre either; good music is good music in any genre. But that doesn’t mean I am prepared to let country die in favor of Americana and pretend Americana is a replacement. It isn’t. I’m not some country purist who wants to hear Haggard and strait reincarnate; I want to hear the Chris Stapletons and Jason Isbells and Carrie Underwoods just as much as the straight traditional artists like Morgan. But it’s not wrong to celebrate the fact that songs that sound country are being played on country radio. I’m not saying country has been saved, and I don’t think any critic is saying that. But these are positive steps, just like Church and McGraw’s albums. And as a country fan, as well as a reader of Saving Country Music, I am insulted by the assumption that I am a fool who is rallying behind propaganda. I do get what you’re trying to say, which may come as a shock after all this, but the attack on country fans, the idea of saving country music, and indirectly the site of the same name, wasn’t necessary to make this point at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • FeedThemHogs October 12, 2016 / 9:38 am


      Liked by 2 people

  11. Stew October 12, 2016 / 11:14 am

    Is there some sort of beef with Trigger??

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott October 12, 2016 / 4:43 pm

      No. See below.


  12. WV country October 12, 2016 / 12:27 pm

    My thoughts as well..I think when u say saving country music we think of trigger because most of us read his site as well…I think WMM’s album was a really good traditional debut but time will tell of it make a difference…Pardis cd sounds like 90s neo traditional bUT isn’t perfect but he has to play the game to get the good shit out there…it’s still a business…I do agree however that Mcgraw and church aren’t getting enough credit especially church


    • Amanda October 12, 2016 / 1:41 pm

      Eric Church has been putting out the best singles in his career as of late. Record Year and Kill a Word are solid all-around. Tim McGraw has been providing us with some great music too. His singles are solid and even his album cuts are great. I seriously hope he releases Damn Country Music as a single. I love that song.


  13. Jonathan October 12, 2016 / 1:40 pm

    I love fiddle and steel guitar too but I also take a bit of issue with trying to define what country is and is not. I get Josh on the point that genres are unhelpful. A lot of us love the fiddle/steel guitar piece of country because that’s what we grew up loving and became the way we define the music. I love hip-hop too, that boom bap sound from the late 80s and early 90s to be exact, but I don’t criticize Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper because they have a different sound. I love those guys among others. I don’t say they aren’t real hip-hop. Who gets to decide what’s real hip-hop what’s real country? Who are the gatekeepers to these genres? And listen, I love joey badass and his revivalist sound, just like I love WMM and Jon Pardi, but at the end of the day I’m not sure what this fights all about. The radio? Listen, or don’t (I happen to enjoy some of what gets on radio), but saving radio in general might be the fight worth having. The analogy between hip-hop and country might not be perfect but the point I think works.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Scotty J October 12, 2016 / 3:15 pm

    So since this is the only new entry on here in almost a week is this some sort of burn it all down, I’m outta here post? If yes it’s too bad as I’ve liked this site but I guess all good things…


    • Josh Schott October 12, 2016 / 4:43 pm

      See below. I’m far from throwing in the towel.


  15. Josh Schott October 12, 2016 / 4:42 pm

    Well this post is getting all sorts of reactions and certainly bringing in a lot more traffic than I anticipated. There’s a lot of anger up above in the comments, so I feel a need to further elaborate where I’m coming from with this post because some people missed the point I was making.

    First off I would NEVER call you the readers dumb nor insinuate as such. I’ve always treated each of your thoughts and opinions with the utmost respect as long as of course you came across as respectful and not a lunatic like those Sawyer Frederick fans that invaded the blog when I pissed them off. The part about ignorance and laziness is the cautious side of me. I don’t want to see anyone get taken advantage of by any entities in the music industry, whether it’s artists, labels or blogs. Maybe I’m being overprotective and overly cynical. But the music business is cutthroat and quite frankly harsh. That leads me to my next point…

    Let’s talk about Saving Country Music, the blog. I want to point out I never personally attacked SCM in this post. Did I attack one of it’s core ideas? Yes. There’s a big difference because I never personally attack people over a difference of ideas. We’re all free to our own opinions and we should all respect this. The idea of saving country music goes against something that I’ve been on about on this blog for the past year and that’s genre lines and boxing in artists creatively. I feel like by “saving” country music we’re forcing artists into a creative box that stifles and ultimately prevents them from wanting to continue to be a part of the genre. It puts unnecessary pressure on them to meet an imaginary threshold that shouldn’t exist. Artists should feel free and by pushing the idea of saving country music we’re hurting them. Now that means of course too that they’re not always going to sound as country as you want and if you want to criticize that’s fine. But I think it’s unnecessary to criticize good music just because it doesn’t fit a specific genre. I think it’s also unnecessary to praise something just because it’s country. At the end of the day my favorite music is good music and I will always put this above genre lines.

    Furthermore on the relationship between Trigger of SCM and myself. I feel like I need to make clear what the situation is here. We’ve never spoken nor interacted with each other. It’s always been amusing to me that CP has been lumped together with SCM. While I used to comment on that blog, that’s about as close I’ve ever been with SCM. CP has never been about saving the genre. It’s always been about discussing country music and Americana. Nothing more. Maybe at first part of our “agenda” if you will was bashing bro country, but that sub genre is dead and gone. We’re about commentary and have no ulterior motive. We love music and do this out of passion. I should also point out that SCM has never even acknowledged our existence. This is probably because I’ll never forget early in the existence of this blog Trigger made it well known in a comment on Twitter I really wasn’t welcome nor any other indie country blogs. I’m not sure why. He seemed to insinuate we’re copy catting him, but you would have to ask him directly if you want the full answer. I tried to get a full answer from him at that moment, but he ignored me. Country California, who was the second half of this conversation, went out of his way to address me and gave me some advice that I need to stand out if I don’t want to be known as a copy cat. It was this piece of advice that inspired me to create the Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music and other unique features on this blog. I forever thank Country California for actually welcoming a newbie like me in and giving me valuable advice. Hell I thank all of the other indie country blogs for actually giving me a chance and their advice. I would like to get along with SCM and I tried, but our relationship is what it is. I’m perfectly fine with keeping to myself and doing my own thing, while he does the same. But this hasn’t always been clear to you the readers and now you know.

    Now let me address the lack of posts on the blog in the past week. I’m going to be quite blunt: I’ve gotten bored. I’m bored with the same old routine and schedule week after week. I’m not creatively challenged and I’ve been spending my time trying to come up with new ideas to freshen up the blog and motivate me to want to post regularly. Not to mention the absolute avalanche of new releases that have come up has made things feel overwhelming. But not in the sense I can’t tackle all of them, but the fact that I’ve grown bored with my reviewing style too. So I’m trying to reinvent this also. Common sense would say I should probably just quit and I’ve given a lot of consideration to this too. But I just can’t! I cannot stop doing this blog because I feel like I have so much more to say and give. So the blog is not shutting down. I’m simply in a reinventing phase and I hope to resume to regular posting asap.

    So now you all have a clear picture of everything that is happening and this post. If you still disagree with this post or even offended by it still, feel free. But I’m not going to apologize for it because I will never apologize for being honest about my thoughts and feelings.

    PS: Thank you for reading and be on the look out for this week’s Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Radio coming soon.


    • Scotty J October 12, 2016 / 6:09 pm

      Just my 2 cents:

      I’m fairly certain I found your site by clicking on your name in a comment you made at SCM but maybe I’m just too cynical but I don’t subscribe to some big kumbaya we’re all a big family type thing with similar blogs or websites so even if there are some overlap in topics it isn’t necessary to get along or support each other. But I do think that SCM is an invaluable site because of the wide range of topics from current mainstream country to the business side to classic artists to newer independent and Americana type music. I don’t always agree with the points of view but that’s OK.

      As a couple of people have mentioned here I think one problem with sites like yours and SCM and the coverage of Americana music is that it paints an unrealistic picture of the quality of the music. Virtually every act reviewed gets very glowing write ups while any crap albums are just ignored while with the mainstream acts every piece of junk is blared out for the world to comment on. I get that nobody wants to attack the little guy but sometimes the little guy puts out boring, crappy music too. Some of the stuff that receives these great reviews is pretty boring in my opinion but too often if someone leaves a negative comment they get attacked by friends and family of the performer (someone claiming to be Lydia Loveless’ father patrolled the review of her record at SCM). If Americana wants to be treated as a major musical force then it needs to put their big boy britches on and deal with the bad along with the good.


      • Zackary Kephart October 12, 2016 / 8:25 pm

        You bring up a great point about Americana, Scotty. As a fellow blogger, I’ve also often felt the need to only showcase the good Americana acts (well, what I consider to he good at least). I’ve honestly overblown some albums, and I’m not proud of it. Similarly, I find myself paying more attention to every mainstream album to see what could be considered good or bad. Not that I don’t with Americana albums, but I’m probably more forgiving than I should be at times.

        I’ve actually made points about that elsewhere recently, and I think you really bring up a good point. Hell, my opinion of the new Brent Cobb album probably won’t go down smooth, but it’s time to start being honest with myself.

        In regards to being attacked for being negative, don’t be afraid. Mainstream, independent or otherwise, there will ALWAYS be people telling you to not be negative. Now, that’s not saying that every comment like this should be dismissed immediatly. There have been a lot of viewpoints shared in this article and the comments below that are fair, and the same extends to a lot of other articles. There’s also people such family, close friends and superfans who will tell you to shut up, but it happens. Doesn’t mean you don’t have a right to your opinion. It’s just as good as everybody’s.


        • Scotty J October 12, 2016 / 8:54 pm

          I used to be far more argumentative when it comes to various performers but I’ve gotten so as I just let things go. People like what they like and with the Americana acts it seems like the music snobs really come out of the woodwork to attack those who question the genius of some of these acts. So the fact that the one whose first name starts with J and last name ends with L bores the living hell out of me is something I usually just keep to myself (usually). 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  16. OlaR October 12, 2016 / 5:41 pm

    Thank you Josh!
    I hope the “Current Pulse Of Mainstream Country Radio” will go on. One of the highlights of the blog (like Zack Kephart & the “The Past Pulse Of Mainstream Country Music”).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Zackary Kephart October 12, 2016 / 8:26 pm

      Hey thanks for the shoutout! 🙂

      I’m thankful to Josh for letting me post it every week! It’s always a ton of fun.


  17. Zuga October 12, 2016 / 10:50 pm

    Thank you for keeping the blog going, I look forward to the Current Pulse and Hodgepodge every Wednesday and Thursday. Thanks again for the perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott October 13, 2016 / 6:00 pm

      I actually just tweeted it out. Megan makes a great rebuttal. Nice read.


      • Megan Conley October 13, 2016 / 6:19 pm

        Thanks Josh. Also, I should mention that your response earlier in the comments cleared a lot of this up, especially on your thoughts toward fans, and I appreciate that. Also, I know how you feel about being bored, that is one of the reasons I stopped writing for awhile. That, and other things, but that played a part. I am glad to hear you aren’t done.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Scotty J October 13, 2016 / 6:53 pm

        Nicely stated! The final paragraph of your piece sums the situation up perfectly.

        Liked by 1 person

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