Country music: love it or hate it, there’s no doubt that an interesting country movement is emerging right now. “Bro-country,” a subgenre composed strictly of upbeat tracks about booze, pickup trucks, blue jeans, and women dominated the country mainstream in the 2010’s. This subgenre has finally fallen out of popularity, and more red dirt(subgenre), traditional, and Americana artists are emerging to the charts. Morgan Wallen’s album, One Thing at a Time had a historic run over the summer, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100, and stayed there for 12 consecutive weeks. Zach Bryan peaked as the No. 1 artist on the Billboard’s Hot 100 with his new self-titled LP that is already gaining critical acclaim. Country music hasn’t seen this type of success since the aforementioned “bro-country” with artists such as Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, and Jason Aldean ruling country radio. Even then, that era was met with heavy criticism from the music industry and the public as a whole. This new boom in country music draws more comparison to the revival of country in the nineties, with artists such as Alan Jackson and Brooks and Dunn making country “cool” again in the mainstream. Suddenly, high schoolers seem to be interested in what the country aesthetic has to offer. This influence can be seen at our high school with certain fashion trends leaning more into the country-feel, which is hundreds if not thousands of miles away from what is considered to be “real country.” This is exemplified with brands such as Carhartt, Coors Banquet, Cabela’s, Brixton, Wrangler, Ariat, Stetson, and others rising in popularity.
Zach Bryan’s stripped down, emotion-fueled ballads and Morgan Wallen’s refreshed traditional sound with hip hop influenced backing tracks have single handedly seemed to revamp country music. However, artists such as Tyler Childers, Charley Crockett, Hailey Whitters, Jon Pardi, and countless others have been keeping the traditional sound alive over the last decade. There was never a lack of “good” country music, just a lack of public attention to it.
Consequently, nothing good lasts forever. The copycats of a broken man strumming a guitar and belting his heart out have already emerged, and soon the trope will be played out, and country music will eventually lose mainstream appeal again, and the cycle will continue. For now, it’s refreshing to see talented artists with something to say unapologetically in the spotlight.
Photo above shows landscape scene with a man on a horse [Image Credit: Unsplash]