Country music is a genre of music that, in my generation, is frowned upon. I personally avoid fitting into the mould of a typical girl my age and personally love country music. Unlike grime, pop, electronic dance music and rock, country music is a genre that has not gone through as much processing as what other genres have – although, it is still evolving and becoming more modern. In this piece, we will be taking a look at how much country music has evolved, what the current modern country scene is like and whether or not country music still has a prominent place within the modern day music industry.
Country music is a genre that has failed to take off in the UK and has always been a tad under the radar. Though it is huge in America, especially southern parts such as Nashville, Knoxville, Golden and San Antonio – country has always been, and still is, big business. With the likes of Taylor Swift, country star turned pop princess, bringing country to the forefront back in 2010, it has always been there, but not prominently so.
I would like to change people’s perceptions of country music because I think it is a wonderful genre that is too often overlooked. From Kacey Musgraves to Tyler Rich, and Kelsea Ballerini to Maren Morris – there is a whole host of country stars that you should listen to. I promise you it is not all hay bales and banjos…
Kacey Musgraves is an incredible musician, she has three studio albums, one of which was released earlier this year. Her first studio album Same Trailer Different Park is definitely representative of her finding her feet within the world of country. Songs like Keep It To Yourself and Step Off are honest, revealing and relatable. While songs like Follow Your Arrow and Merry Go ‘Round are also revealing and honest but with a comical side to them – you find yourself laughing along to them because they’re incredibly true with a real witty side to them.
Kacey writes authentically and shares her deepest thoughts and feelings within her songs. This is apparent in her second studio album Pageant Material. The album is one of my favourites as each of the songs have an upbeat yet raw feeling to them – Kacey’s songs make you feel emotions ever so deeply and that is what I love about her songwriting. From Dime Store Cowgirl to High Time and Biscuits to Pageant Material, these songs are packed full of real life (that we can all relate to some way or another) and witty phrases. If you are in need of a lift in your mood and spirit, listening to Kacey’s upbeat songs like the four previously mentioned will really put a smile on your face and a spring in your step.
Golden Hour is Kacey’s third studio album, and the one that was released earlier this year. Her first two albums, Same Trailer Different Park and Pageant Material, are very much country, and although Golden Hour still does have a country aura about it, it’s definitely been influenced a lot more by modern and ambient music. Take her single High Horse, it has got a very disco-country vibe about it – could Kacey have coined a completely new genre? I think, that if traditional country isn’t your thing, Golden Hour will definitely appeal to you. Butterflies, Space Cowboy, Mother and Happy & Sad are just some of the amazing tracks from Kacey’s new masterpiece.
I recently discovered Tyler Rich when I was browsing on YouTube through various country music playlists and was pleasantly surprised when I listened to his latest track The Difference, if you’re partial to a love song this song is for you. With prominent country vibes, and a slight undertone of R’n’B, this track is a sure hit – if only it could make its way across the pond properly, because I am sure it would be loved by the masses. I then looked into Tyler’s back catalog of music he had recorded prior to being signed to Valory Music Co. (part of the Big Machine group), and I found some really amazing material such as California Grown and I Can Teach Ya.
Sugarland were a band quite under my own personal radar until a short while ago, when Taylor Swift revealed she had given them a song she had originally wrote for her fourth studio album Red. Babe was released by Sugarland in April, and it even features Taylor singing back up vocals on it too. Sugarland are an American country-pop duo, and since Babe was released, I have become obsessed with their older tracks too. If you liked Taylor’s fourth studio album, Red, you will love Babe, because it has major Red-era vibes!
If you are a hopeless romantic like me, you will absolutely adore Jana Kramer’s music. Her songs like Why Ya Wanna and I Got The Boy are classic country love songs, whereas her song Said No One Ever has a more contemporary country feel, and would definitely appeal more to the pop lovers in our generation.
Jana Kramer’s songs all tell a story, and in such a beautiful way too. I adore Jana and her stunning voice with a southern twang. I love I Hope It Rains by Jana, it’s such a fun song that I’m sure many girls (and guys) can relate to. If you love the idea of falling in love, Jana Kramer’s songs are definitely for you.
Maddie and Tae
Maddie and Tae are an American country duo comprising of two best friends. Their songs are always relatable with a funny edge, and their personalities come through in both their songs and music videos too. With a pop-country vibe that has clearly been influenced by both pop music and country music, this duo are incredible, and their song Shut Up And Fish is definitely a song you can have a giggle to, as is Girl In A Country Song. They do not just do uptempo country music, they also do slower, more meaningful songs too, such as Fly and Downside Of Growing Up.
Kelsea Ballerini is definitely a young rising star within the country music world. Her debut album The First Time and her most recent release Unapologetically are two incredible albums that tell stories of love and life. Her first album The First Time, is a very raw and emotional album. Songs such as Peter Pan and Stilettos are deep and meaningful, whereas songs such as Dibs and Love Me Like You Mean It have more of an uptempo country beat.
Kelsea’s latest release Unapologetically, again like other country artists, has veered a little away from the vibe of her first studio album, although it still very much falls under the country genre. Her tracks End of the World, Get Over Yourself and Unapologetically are three of the most upbeat songs on her album and I believe that they would definitely appeal to our generation of pop music lovers.
Maren Morris is another country star that I think would appeal to our generation. A fusion of easy listening and country, Maren is such a soulful songbird and her songs fill me with happiness and hope, and they will for you too, I am sure. Maren’s debut album Hero was released in 2016, and oh boy do I wish had discovered it then. A stunning album that combines classic and contemporary country music. With gospel twangs in My Church and classic country vibes in Drunk Girls Don’t Cry and I Could Use A Love Song. Maren collaborated with Zedd on the hit track The Middle – if you loved that, maybe try listening to her latest single Rich.
As you can see, country music has evolved, but definitely not as much as some other genres have. It has not, yet, been processed and tweaked as much as pop, rock or dance has, and I hope that it continues to stay true to its roots, as it’s a truly enchanting and meaningful genre that deserves much more recognition than what it has at present.
I also hope that country music takes a leap over the pond. We already have The Shires and Ward Thomas (two UK country bands I shall be talking about in my next country music feature), but wouldn’t it be great if we had some more of this soulful and meaningful music?
What are your views on country music? Do you like it? Can’t you stand it? Or have I changed your mind after reading this post? Let us know – Tweet us @OverTime_Online