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Well, this is "interesting".....



October 23, 2009 10:54 AM EDT by Elizabeth MacDonald


Country Music Is the New Rock ‘n Roll

A general consensus is forming in the music industry:


Country music is displacing rock ‘n roll as America's most popular brand of music.


“One thing is for sure: if country is not the new rock ‘n roll, it's getting close,” says Thomas Valentino, founder and head of The Counsel, a law firm that represents top music industry artists including Kid Rock, Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson and Uncle Kracker.


“Nashville is as rock n roll, if not more, than New York or LA. Just ask the Kings of Leon, the hottest rock act in the world,” which has its roots in Nashville, Valentino adds.


Now, why is it that country music could be displacing rock 'n roll in popularity in the US?


Could it be that music listeners are sick and tired of the fulsome, industrial-strength self-dramatization, the twisted acting out in rock ‘n roll songs that take on a relentless, infantile, perverse logic all their own?


Could it be that music listeners no longer want any part of the excruciatingly annoying culture of excessive, self-righteous self-indulgence, of narcissistic self-entitlement cemented in many genres of rock 'n roll?


Where listening to these songs is like chewing on Reynolds Wrap tin foil? Where you have to apply Novocain to your nerve endings as soon their songs are over?


Is it that consumers want more, they want to connect, they want music that quite purely and simply tells stories that move the heart and provide a compelling narrative about the human condition?


"Country Music is the White Man's Rap"


“Country music is the white man’s rap,” says Tony Powell, guest host on the Don Imus show on the Fox Business network, (a razor-sharp, smart and truly funny comedian, Powell has racked up appearances on “The Chris Rock Show,” NBC’s “Showtime at the Apollo” and a stint as the studio warm-up act for Bill Cosby).


And the country music industry is “a community, they share their music and they share their songs,” adds Woody Fraser, top executive producer at Fox News’ the Huckabee Show.


Fraser notes that when he produced the Mike Douglas talk show in the '60s, “it was hard to book a rock star with another rock star on the show to perform, because none of them wanted to share the stage with each other.”


But Fraser says that “when I invited, say, Dolly Parton, everybody in country music wanted to perform with her on the show.” Fraser adds that he routinely booked country music stars who were delighted to perform with each other on the show, leaving their diva acts behind.


Country Music Rock Stars


It’s widely known that rock ‘n roll has its roots in country music, having delivered two of the biggest solo artists in the history of music in terms of album sales, both of whom crossed over to rock in their careers, Elvis Presley, and Garth Brooks.


Like Elvis (the Hillbilly Cat), and Garth Brooks, other country music stars have also crossed over to rock ‘n roll, including Shania Twain, Hank Williams, Dwight Yoakam, Brooks & Dunn, and, of course, Parton.


Country rock can also claim such stars as Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers, the Charlie Daniels Band, Marshall Tucker, Alabama, The Byrds, Neil Young, the Grateful Dead, The Eagles, and also Poco and Buffalo Springfield. Of course, who can forget songs from The Rolling Stones such as "Honky Tonk Women" and "Dead Flowers?”


The Proof Country Music is Gaining on Rock


Music agent Valentino also cites the following “impressive developments” to show that country music is quickly displacing rock and roll:


According to Inside Radio, country music is by far the most popular format for programming. As of August 2009, 2,014 stations were programming country while 1,323 offered Rock, including Classic and Alternative Rock;


For the last decade or so, country music listening nationwide has delivered a steady 77.3 mn adults each week, according to the radio-ratings agency Arbitron;


In 2008, based upon total earnings, three of the top 10 acts were country--namely, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts and Toby Keith, according to Forbes Magazine;


The Billboard charts for 2008, based upon the number of titles appearing on the charts, lists country music stars Taylor Swift at number five, Miley Cyrus at number seven, Carrie Underwood at number 13, and Sugarland at number 21;


Two country acts had albums in the top 10 in 2008: Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift;


The highest grossing musical tours for 2008 included Kenny Chesney, who was number four ($72.2 mn) and Rascal Flatts at number eight ($55.8 mn), according to Pollstar, a publication that tracks music tours;


According to Nielsen, for the first five months of 2009, country album sales experienced the smallest decline of all major music genres and led in growth for digital album sales. The top selling album this year is Taylor Swift, at 1.3 mn units;


Last month, Swift became the first country artist to win an MTV music video award, and her song "You Belong With Me" is the first country crossover to top the Billboard Hot 100 Radio Chart, since Nielsen-BDS has monitored such data in 1990.


Valentino notes this caveat: “Country is genre-specific music, while Rock, categorically, will usually encompass different styles such as alternative, classical and modern," which can torque the numbers.


Looking closer, it’s true that country music had a pretty poor showing in 2008 versus other forms of music in terms of revenue, although it was on track to have better growth in the first half of 2009 versus other genres, notes Fox News analyst James Farrell.


And it’s hard to ignore the dramatic ascent of country music in the US, 2006 being a touchstone year when, as album sales of most musical genres dropped, country music experienced one of its best years. In the first half of 2006, domestic sales of country albums increased by 17.7% to 36 mn.


Want More Evidence?


Here you go:


In 2008, country music album sales fell 24% - second only to classical music and compared with an overall decline of 14%.


However, consumers bought about 47.7 mn country albums in 2008 – 8% of them from one artist, the 19-year-old Swift.


And the country music industry sold 2.35 mn digital albums for the year through June 28, 2009 - a growth of approximately 55%. The growth beat all other popular music genres, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Gospel finished second, about five percentage points behind.


But...it sounds more like "Nashville Pop," to me...than Real "Country."



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Maybe it's a reflection of the economic downturn.


Perhaps people no longer want excitement, risk, exuberance and excess. So here's to an era of monotony, certainty, lifelessness and moderation.


There you go, that's me in trouble.



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I think part of it was said very well in the article.

People want music that sounds like music. Melody, content, and rythym

are still the basis by which we judge what sounds pleasant or exciting to us.

We still want guitar solos that soar and sing. Rythyms that make us want to dance,

and content that we relate to.

I'm a bit jaded when it comes to the "Music Industry" too, but there are still

some great story tellers out there. And some hugely talented players in country music,

and gospel.

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Why did you post this in two different places on the forum, including here in "Epiphone Electrics"?


I may as well copy and paste my other reply here, which is - does Taylor Swift qualify as "country music" these days? She sounds pretty much just like any other pop singer to me. Seems that for something to qualify as "country" in the USA the singer just has to either record in Nashville or be wearing a hat. No wonder "country music sales have gone up", they've just broadened the definition of what "country music" actually is so it encompasses more music styles than it used to. Even MY music is more country than Taylor Swift (I'd share a good example but forum mods might find the lyrical content a bit "challenging").

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Rock n roll was an attitude as much as music so I don't think that analogy sticks here.

I do feel it is somewhat true about the white mans rap or maybe more of the backlash towards rap and the plethora of singers that can't or won't find a note and hold it(thank you Witney Houston). I'm not a huge country fan but I do enjoy a good melody, song structure and lyrics about something i can relate to in some way.


As alot of country music lyrics are mundane at best, I guess 2 out of 3 ain't bad. (my apologies to Mr. Loaf)

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New Country is Old Southern Rock with a singer that sounds like Merle Haggard. And I aint talking about the Swift/Twain/Brooks bunch either. I listen to Brooks and Dunn, and I dunno about anyone else, but I'm Hearing Marshall Tucker in a "Country" Format. Marshall Tucker ain't Country, it's Southern Rock. Trace Adkins, same thing, only Baritone. Garth Brooks??? Hmm...he's a tough one.

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90 Percent of kids WILL NEVER LIKE the music their parents and grandparents like. It's just that simple. Stan.

Until they get older. I find Glenn Miller relaxing sometimes, and Johnny Cash (who was "shoved-down-my-throat as a kid) is something I've been listening to quite a bit lately.

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I go to quite a few gigs (besides my own) - and they are all local artists, playing the coffee shops, bars, and periodic music festivals near to where I live.


The only "major" artist I have paid to see in the last year or so was Joe Bonamassa, when he played a gig in Greensboro, NC. Superb...a wonderful guitarist.






Returning to the topic in hand...well, to be honest, I couldn't care less what the navel-gazing music business determines to be the "next big thing." As a point of interest, I just finished reading this book...




...it's an excellent book, but ultimately it reveals how this talented man got screwed every which-way by promoters, publishers and the whole depraved pantheon of music business managers and executives while they thought he was hot stuff, and then dropped like a stone when they determined that blues was dead...


So country is the "next big thing?" Not for me it ain't, I hate country. Well, actually, that's not quite true. I heard the coverage of some weird local concert from the mountains of North Carolina on N.P.R. one night a few weeks back, and it was beautiful. I sat in my kitchen with a cup of hot tea and the radio, and I was just captivated for the whole two hours the program lasted. The "country" I truly despise is some fat dude in a cowboy hat singing about how patriotic he is, or some chick who is basically Britney in cowboy boots. And I suspect that these are the "country" stars the music business wants me to embrace...

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See, to me, Country Music is artists like Charlie Pride, Loretta Lynn, Hank Snow, Jim Reeves, the aforementioned Merle, Waylon Jennings, Tammy Wynette, people like that. Nowadays, "Country Music", at least to me, is something on a Bluegrass bent, not this schitt they're passing off now. That's just pop music or Southern Rock. I listened to Taylor Swift with my daughter the other day, and I didn't hear anything Country about her at all.

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I was raised on Rock n Roll, but as I've aged I have developed a taste for a lot of

different music genres. Even though I appreciate good guitar in any form,

I've never been a Bluegrass kind of guy, until recently I watched a show on public TV called

Jammin' at Hippie Jack's. There was a band called the Steeldrivers on that night.

No great guitar player but the mandolin and fiddle were fantastic. Excellent vocals.

Not the usual whiny harmonies you usually associate with Bluegrass.

Very talented songwriters.

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Taylor Swift became the first country artist to....

So let's get this straight - a crucial point of this argument that country is surpassing rock and roll is that fact that country artist Taylor Swift is doing exceptionally well.

Uhhh, Taylor Swift is a "country artist"?


That article posted above is ridiculous. Not one solid point in the entire thing.

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Yeah, I think any article that claims the Grateful Dead and Allman Brothers are "Country Rock" can be dismissed as clueless. Influences, sure --- but that's hardly the same thing, now, is it?


Hey, the Nigerian band King Sunny Ade and his African Beats has a pedal steel guitarist --- does that make them Country too?

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90 Percent of kids WILL NEVER LIKE the music their parents and grandparents like. It's just that simple. Stan.


I think that used to be the case but not these days (i.e. since the birth of rock 'n' roll.) My boys love the bands I was in to such as Kiss' date=' Megadeth, Iron Maiden and AC/DC. They're not in their teens yet so it could change. However, a work colleague of mine's son (who [i']is[/i] in his teens) brings his pals round to listen to Dad's old Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple albums on vinyl. Kids recognise and appreciate the roots of the current rock scene - I'm sure that Rock Band and Guitar Hero help to make sure that all this great music continues to live on too.


In any case, singles charts and the like have never been a good indicator of what the masses really buy when they access their music.

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Well, I only posted the article. It wasn't meant as an endorsement, on my part! Just thought it was

an interesting "take," on the age old debate, discussion, whatever! I've never been a big fan of "Country

Music," myself. Although, I do respect, and enjoy some country players! Brad Paisley, for one...amazing



I participated in a "Battle of the Bands," today. We were the only, "Classic Rock" band, there! The rest were

"Stained" wannabe's. That, alone, was enough to make me sure, I wanted to do only Classic Rock and/or "Blues"

from now on. (Smile) So, there (obviously) is something to the "hate what your parents liked," musically. ;>)

That's fine... it's their music, not mine....definitely, not mine! LOL!



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Guest icantbuyafender

man, rock and roll has become crap like that detuned nonsense.


Its all sounding the same-- No wonder country is rising.


I never thought id see the day... and well... I guess I'll just keep my opinions in.


Im gonna stick to my Zeppelin and AC/DC collection.......

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I find a lot of that "New Country"as shallow and vacuous as the recent Top 40 excrement.People like Am I a Pain oops I mean Shania Twain are country's answer to The Backstreet Boys,Jonas Bros etc. I'd rather listen to Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives and the like any day,that's country real country where musicianship and virtuosity are taken into account over physical appearance and media and record company hype and propaganda.This pseudo-country will never displace real bona fide rock&roll and as for it outdistancing Top40 refuse,who really cares?


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A couple months ago I saw a Chris Issac concert. It was by far the best concert I've ever been to. Is Issac country? I don't know, the line is pretty blurry, but I think he considers himself county.


Here's another interesting tidbit. Of all the American Idol winners, Carrie Underwood, who went country, is by far the biggest.

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