Day 19, “Bro Country” sucks

I don’t want to beat a dead horse, and I don’t want to spend a lot of time denigrating many people’s favorite “Country and Western” artists, but so much of what is out and on the radio, and that you hear people sing along to is just CRAP.

I highly suggest everyone watch the following video, all the way through. For those of you like me, you’ll laugh. For those that aren’t, maybe you’ll notice something? (Maybe?)

OR… why I wasn’t excited to see Luke Bryan.

PS. This one is also very good.

I’m not really a “country” guy. Always been more of an “alternative” frame of mind, since I hit college. Before that, I was a hard rock/heavy metal fan. Every once in a while, there would be a country tune that would come around that was good, and that was fine. I’m not a hater. Music is meant to be enjoyed.

However, when I hear what people listen to on the radio, it makes me shake my head (I live in Eastern South Dakota… it’s inescapable, you will hear country music). I’m actually fine with someone being “country”, but if you’re going to choose that path, why not select some artists, that are actually good?

So, rather than list a bunch of popular Country/Western performers here, and dump on them (to each his own, I guess), I thought I would list some current artists who are in varying degrees “a little bit country”. I guess you could technically classify them as “Americana” which I guess, is a thing, now? I think all that means is they are talented country artists who aren’t recognized by the country music establishment.

So, in no particular order:

  1. Jason Isbell — hailing from Alabama, he’s so good that it’s ridiculous he’s not better known. He did win 2 Grammy's back in 2015 for his Something More than Free album. He’d be my pick for best songwriter of this generation.

2. Sturgill Simpson — won this past year’s Grammy for Best Country album. When he was actually nominated for the Grammy, he actually started selling This Shirt on his own website. At least he has a sense of humor. And, he won.

An amazing vocalist and performer. I am going to link “The Promise” which is a remake of a pop song from 1988 by When In Rome. What Sturgill does with this song is incredible.

You really have to look up the “When In Rome” song, to appreciate this.

3. Justin Townes Earle — the son of Steve Earle is an amazing performer in his own right. This song about a Civil War veteran is absolutely heartbreaking.

This song is probably my personal favorite JTE song.

4. Sarah Shook and the Disarmers — from the great college town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina comes Sarah Shook. She is truly an original, and I just love her. There’s just something about an artist that is brave enough to be themselves. She mixes Punk with classic Country music, and it’s great. This song blows me away.

I’m hoping to see Sarah someday, I have seen most of these acts, which is why I picked them.

5. Sam Outlaw — Southern California’s Country Rocker. Sam has released 2 albums, and his latest “Tenderheart” is just great. So many good songs on there. He was actually born in South Dakota (although he only lived here a few years). And, he’s a really nice guy.

When I saw Sam (2 times), he went out to the merch booth and greeted fans after his set.

6. John Moreland — hailing from the great state of Oklahoma, good ole John Moreland plays some of the saddest, and most beautiful songs you will ever hear. This one, performed live, always gets to me.

There’s a Youtube video, with him playing Colbert’s show, that is also astonishing.

7. Ryan Adams — I almost didn’t include him. Ryan Adams is probably as much “rock” and he is “country”. But who cares about labels, right? An amazing songwriter and performer, he’s been around for quite a while, and continues to impress.

After my Father passed away, this song gets me right in the feelings.

This is certainly not a complete list. I could have included a bunch of other acts, but let’s call it a “starter kit”. You have the internet and the ability to find good music people! Turn on your Pandora, or Slacker, or whatever internet radio you have, and type in some of these, or similar artists. You are sure to not only hear some good songs, but to discover some new artists as well.

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