Country music sure ain’t what it used to be

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Country music has come a long way since the days of George Jones or Johnny Cash. Gone are the days of lyrics, like “Because you’re mine, I walk the line” or “You were always my mind.” You know, those songs that really just made you feel something or made the girls swoon for a country guy who would say sweet nothings like that to her. Then, you had the women of country, like Patsy Cline with “Crazy” or Tammy Wynette singing “Stand by your man.”

Let me start by saying I grew up a country music fan. I’ve loved it for as long as I can remember; I love the artists, what the genre represents and that these songs tell true stories of everyday people. However, in recent days, it has been harder to get on board with, because it seems to have lost that sound that made it stand apart from the other genres.

Today, we have songs that include lyrics like “Baby, you a song/you make me want to roll my windows down and cruise” by Florida Georgia Line or “Ready set, let’s roll/ready set, let’s rock/get your little fine a*& on the step shimmy up inside” Chase Rice. Not quite as endearing as the others, right?

These could be included in what we now call “bro country.” Artists like Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt and Jason Aldean could fall under the category of this new kind of country sound.

I asked Kendra Stinchcomb, also known as Kendra Anne, radio personality from KUZZ, about her thoughts on the term and what it’s doing for the genre.

“Based off the opinions on not just myself, but others, and including the internet, ‘bro-country’ are those party tunes I ask for when doing the request show on KUZZ, especially on a Thursday and Friday night- those tunes singing about summer nights, tailgates, bonfire in the backwoods…you’ve got your girl’s hand in your left hand and a cold beer in your right type of songs,” said Stinchcomb.

Once again, country music is pushing boundaries and doing things a little differently, and in turn that is bringing a newer and younger audience that might not have listened before. Stinchcomb explained that the music industry is based on the fans. If a song is a hit or not, that’s up to the audience and this sound keeps circulating, so overall fans want more.

What does that mean for the future of country music and where it’s going?

Just like it has in years past, the genre has changed and evolved with the times. At one time, many had a problem with Dolly Parton, and then came Taylor Swift to shake things up a bit. The ‘bro country’ sound might not even just be strictly sticking with the guys; even gals like Kelsea Ballerini have a bit of the pop/rock flare to their music.

Stinchcomb says whether or not people agree, in the end, music is about being able to express yourself, and for the most part, it seems that this new wave of the genre is here to stay.

“Fans and listeners of the younger crowd love ‘bro-country,’ and as generations change, so will country music,” said Stinchcomb. “Country music is diverse, provides tunes for every country music loving soul, and will continue to house tons of genres and has plenty of room for all of them.”

I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of what ‘bro country’ has to offer. I feel like country music used to have more depth, and some of that feels lost these days with the same lyrics being used over and over again. But, music is an ever-changing medium. You miss what it was, but it also takes you to new places and introduces us to new people.