Musical opinions

Mark WillsAh music. A huge part of my daily life. As a musician’s widow, it pays our bills and dictates huge chunks of our time and focus.

Music is important to everyone really. I remember seeing once that it was the top interest of Facebook users. And it’s a topic people quickly get passionate about…

And living in “Music City?” That passion is tenfold of anywhere else (except maybe Austin). There’s a funny thing about that passion… it makes you a little narrow minded. I’ve been guilty of it myself! (Example: I’ve never, ever, ever bought a Taylor Swift album, and I never, ever, ever will.)

Even in being guilty of it myself, I still find myself shaking my mental fist at people who refuse to even acknowledge that anything outside of their comfort zone could be good music.

Look, we wouldn’t have as many genres of music if there weren’t people out there to like them. And interestingly enough many of the genres actually sample from one another, making music today one big melting pot.

Eli Young BandEver since I moved to Nashville, I’ve felt a deep frustration and, frankly, disgust at Texas Music fans’ elitist attitudes. “It’s better than the crap coming out of Nashville!” say fans who fail to read the liner notes to learn how many Texas artists record in Nashville. Fans who have also never set foot in Music City and have no concept of how wildly diverse the music scene is here.

Similarly, I don’t understand rockers and rappers turning up their nose at country music – failing to realize how many of the people who blazed the trail ahead of them had ties to country music years ago.

But… I can’t just point fingers and people who snub Nashville. Nashville has its snobby side, too. One I find myself swept up in at times as well. I, personally, DO think the 90s were the best decade of country music (and I wish it would come back!), but we got there by going through the 70s and 80s and having the music evolve. God forbid a country artist have cross-over appeal or they are “selling out” even as we forget how Kenny Rogers, John Denver, Exile, Elvis, etc. all had huge cross-over success.

Joe Diffie & Newfound Road featuring Aubrey HaynieThe latest “controversy” in music in Nashville is the slow influx of “Southern Rap” into mainstream music. I pushed hard against it for awhile myself until I started rethinking my stance.

We’ve embraced an island sound. Jimmy Buffet has been embraced with open arms into the country music realm. But we snub turning a little into rap. It’s an interesting case of, “Oh that’s okay, but that’s not.” When at the end of the day, each direction is just pushing the envelope a little more and more.

A friend recently said, “Why can’t we just put out music without having to conform to these rigorous cookie-cutter ideals?”

It’s a good question.

I like Kid Rock. I like Merle Haggard. I turn into a giddy kid going to a Glenn Miller Orchestra show. I wore out a Beastie Boys tape in high school. I think P!nk is amazing and that Miranda Lambert is the country outlaw we’ve needed. I miss Cross Canadian Ragweed, but I still adore Eli Young Band. And The Eagles are just greatness. I love all these genres and all these artists.

So I’m not a Bieber fan, and Taylor Swift is a great entertainer but I am not a fan of her music. I have a hard time getting behind Brantley Gilbert’s style of country, but I do enjoy (most of) Jason Aldean’s forays into the rockin’ side. I’ve never gotten into Jay-Z, and Korn just kinda scares me. But maybe you reading this love them all! AND THAT’S OKAY!

Music is what moves you.

Relax… stop trying to put an artist or a song in a category and letting that category alone determines if its good or not… I just fear that we’ve become so stagnate on what is right and what is wrong that we’ve ceased letting ourselves (and others) just enjoy the music.

New Years Eve -- Blake Shelton

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