I’m from Long Island, the New York State Eastern land mass appendage which feels like a Country Music black hole.
I say that because, typically, country music acts avoid Long Island like the plague. We haven’t had our own country music radio station since 1987 and our last big act to play on the Island was in the Summer of 2009 when Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum and Miranda Lambert appeared at our main outdoor beach theater. Heck, we were lucky to get Chesney’s 3-D movie in local theaters!
But this Friday, November 5th, Carrie Underwood’s “Play On” tour rides into town with Billy Currington and Sons of Sylvia in saddlebags. So while watching our local news, a newscaster who was reviewing this weekend’s upcoming events mentioned the concert. Then another newscaster commented (regarding Carrie Underwood) , and I quote, “I’m not a Country Music fan but I like her songs.”
That got me thinking. What is it about Carrie Underwood that they like, but dislike about country music? Is it the twang? The Southern drawl? Which artists are they considering country music artists?
The newscaster mentioned identifies Carrie Underwood as a country artist, but on Long Island she is in standard rotation on our Top 40 and AOR radio stations – as are Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum.
Now country music purists have been up in arms over the country crossover artist claiming that it dilutes the genre (maybe why there are so many sub categories in iTunes?)
And I’ve argued, what makes the crossover artists country if they sound more Pop than country?
The only commonality I can come up with, is that they are (mostly) from the South and are all on Nashville record labels.
Then I got to thinking about the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Charlie Daniels Band. They are not considered “Rock”, they are “Southern Rock.” A-ha!
So I think yet another music genre needs to be created. One that separates the country crossover artists from the “country” label, yet identifies their music as Nashville or Southern oriented.
Maybe something like Country Pop or Southern Pop. Everyone’s happy. What do ya’ll think?
Keeping it Countriversy,
Jim Nash V.
Jim Nash V is a contributing writer with a passion for country music. Jim works to promote line dancing and country music in Long Island New York. For more on Jim, find him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jim.nash.vafeas or visit www.YeeHawLI.com.Country Music Photo Gallery