Eric Church’s 2013 CMA Performance – Did You Like It?
Country music has become quite a melting pot of different styles over the last several years.
"Traditional" or "old school" country that relied heavily on steel guitars and fiddles has, to a large degree, disappeared. In its place more and more are pop-styled songs that cross over into other formats. That, however, is nothing new, no matter what many people think. Kenny Rogers, The Oak Ridge Boys, Rosanne Cash, Conway Twitty and many, many others crossed over, too. Elvis started singing country before he became the "King of Rock 'n Roll." Kenny Rogers and Conway Twitty were rock singers who went country, so to speak. Cross-over artists of today like Taylor Swift, Hunter Hayes, Lady Antebellum and Rascal Flatts are not breaking new ground. They may just be doing it more often than stars of the past.
What is a little different these days is the real influx of hard-driving, guitar scorching, down and dirty rock music influence. I mean... others before have had a hard edge... The Charlie Daniels Band, Hank Williams Jr. etc... but now days there is no mistaking the rock 'n roll sound and attitude that makes its way onto the country charts on a regular basis. I was afraid to play Brantley Gilbert's 'Kick It In The Stix' when it came out three years ago for fear my country audience would turn us off. But it kept getting requested and the attention grew and I put it on the air. Low and behold, for the most part people loved it.
Modern country is now filled with loud guitars and driving beats... from Jason Aldean to Justin Moore to Tim McGraw's 'Truck Yeah' and his collaboration with Kenny Chesney on 'Feel Like A Rockstar.' It's becoming the norm.
Even with that said, I got another song recently to listen to and again I was a little unsure how the audience would react. Eric Church's new single 'The Outsiders' is pure southern rock... until it becomes pure head-banging rock 'n roll about 3/4ths of the way through. He performed it on the 2013 CMA awards and if you'd have flipped the channel to it midway through you might have thought rock giants Metallica were on stage for a second. The sound of the song, the look of the band, the pyrotechnics, the light show. It was once again clear... this isn't your grandpa's country music anymore.
I was curious to see and hear the audiences reaction to the song after the performance. Loud and passionate cheers and applause. Part of me was a little surprised. Most of me wasn't.
Do you like this new hard edge that some artists are bringing to the table over the last few years?
Watch the video of Eric's performance from the CMA Awards and then vote below whether this is your kind of country... or if you think things have changed a little too much.