As I was driving home this evening, a song came on the radio that immediately took me by surprise. My hand shot towards the volume dial, and you can bet your last penny that I was cranking that old country song the way most people my age crank trap music. You see, it's not every day that you hear a George Jones hit on country radio. As "He Stopped Loving Her Today" played on in the background, I allowed myself to get lost in every aspect of the song – the poignant lyrics, the genuine emotion behind each word sung. However, while lost in admiration of the country music gold that was blessing my ears, I couldn't help but find myself a bit frustrated.
I was bouncing off the walls because one of the most well-known songs in country music was actually getting radio play. A song made famous by one of the greatest country artists of all time has been slipping through the cracks, just like many others. Now don't get me wrong, I fully understand the need for progress. Without progress, the entire genre would fade into the background; but even in the era of "bro country," don't you think we ought to pay some sort of homage to our roots? After all, a classic country song a day keeps the buckle bunnies away. Or something like that.
That said, it's not all looking bad for classic country. In fact, when you break through the wall of generic beer-soaked radio hits that encase the genre that is modern country, you unearth some musical geniuses. One of these geniuses happens to be Chris Stapleton. Not only does he have a voice that laughs in the face of autotune, but he also has an ability that many modern country artists only dream of.
And Stapleton doesn't just perform; he also writes. In fact, he'd written many popular songs long before he got any radio play. These include "Love's gonna make it alright" recorded by George Strait, as well as Josh Turner's "Your Man". Since he broke onto the scene and scaled the charts with "Nobody to Blame" in 2015, I've noticed a small piquing of interest in a more traditional style of country, and he's not the only artist to have helped to fuel the small trend. Miranda Lambert's poignant acoustic performance of her heartbreaking song "Tin Man" embodied everything that classic country music was and is. Heartfelt and raw. Just a girl on stage with her guitar, pouring out her heart and soul.
At the end of the day, country radio listeners are changing. Most of the people bopping in their cars to Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean have probably never enjoyed a Waylon Jennings album in its entirety or cried along with Tammy Wynette, and I suppose that's okay. After all, it's not surprising to think that a party song would be more popular in today's world than a good old cheating song. But in my humble opinion, the "bro country" scene will never be able to live up to the "OGs" as today's youth would call them. Traditional country may be considered an acquired taste to some, but then again so is aged whiskey. Conveniently enough, for the same reason: their smooth potency.