The different sub-genres of country music are often discussed by fans.
Some fans like the pop-country world, which has really been around since the beginning of country music. What has been popular has always been used in country to try to make the broader music listening audience pay attention.
But then there is the traditional movement in country. The likes of Hank Williams, George Jones, George Strait and Alan Jackson have carried the torch of this sub-genre over the decades. There have been peaks and vallies for the traditional sound with numerous artists coming and going over the years. Some have been superstars. Others have been stars and some have had a few hits and waned away only to be remembered years later when the devoted country DJs play their songs for the fans.
The swing of the pendulum is coming back around for the traditional country fans. If you liked Alan Jackson and George Strait in the last 20 years you’re probably liking a few of the popular artists today.
It took Chris Young a little while to get going. His first record has largely been forgotten by the mainstream country audience. If you go back and listen to the tracks on that record you’ll find a few good ones like Small Town Big Time and You’re Gonna Love Me. Those songs shed a little light on the direction Chris would take on his next record.
It’s that sophomore set where Chris really broke through. His first number one hit was Gettin’ You Home, which actually could be considered a pretty pop country record. What makes it traditional though is Chris and his vocal treatment. There is no denying that Chris came up listening to Alan Jackson and Keith Whitley.
Chris finished off that record with two more number one singles, but things changed even more once Chris released Neon. The first single, Tomorrow, was a huge hit. The crossover songs about romance always seem to be the big ones.
Fans of Chris’ were, at this point, listening to the entire album and what they found were 10 songs that were really great. There are probably six on the record that could be hits and they’re nearly all in the traditional country world.
Chris is not afraid to talk about his place in the traditional world. He looks to be a rising star and one that is helping to keep things country in the country world today.
Even though Dustin Lynch’s career is only one song old at this point there is reason to believe he will be around for a while. He seems like a soft spoken, hard working guy that truly loves making great traditional country music.
There are a couple of things that are interesting about Dustin.
First, he’s bringing that traditional sound back to country music. His first single, Cowboys and Angels, throws best practices out the window. It’s a slow song, which is almost never the choice for new artists, but here we are looking at a single that is already near the top of the charts and could go number one shortly. The song is slow, but melodic and easy to sing along with. There is passion in Dustin’s vocals and people are loving it. The great thing is you know Justin is a country guy that loves traditional style.
Second, he’s on the same label as Jason Aldean, Broken Bow, which hasn’t exactly had many hits outside of their star. It seems like Dustin could be the next guy on their roster that becomes a superstar.
It will be interesting to see where Dustin Lynch takes his career. He certainly appears to have a niche for himself and that’s exciting.
Perhaps the guy that’s most pegged as the new traditional guy in the bunch is Easton Corbin. The moment his first single hit the radio waves people started comparing him to George Strait. That’s never a bad comparison, but as the singles have been released it’s obvious that Easton has his own feel for songs and he’s bringing something new to each one.
Easton did something not many artists have done when he took his first two singles all the way to number one on the charts. There were a couple of other tracks on his first record that would have been better choices for a third single, but one was chosen and it was a moderate hit and then things got quiet.
Easton came back strong this year with a new single and there are plenty more to love on his new record. It seems like he is on the path of releasing regular hits for a decade. I’m a big fan of his and I can’t wait to hear all the music he’s going to release. Until then I’m enjoying what is already out there.
There are plenty of others out there keeping things traditional.
Jana Kramer – I think she fits in well with the traditional country world. It’s an odd thing because she’s been an actress in Hollywood and really seems to be the perfect fit for the pop country world, but when you listen to her voice all you can hear is traditional. I think that’s what makes the traditional country genre – the sound and soul in a singer’s voice.
Justin Moore – Justin Moore is an interesting guy. He was told by many that he was too country and that’s usually a good sign for a traditional country artist that loves country music to its roots. This guy has been out there for two really solid records and I’m sure he’ll be around for a few more years.
Craig Campbell – He’s one of my favorite artists right now and he’s just on the edge of being a really big star. He’s ready with some new material this year and I’m hoping it catches on with the mainstream because this guy is keeping things traditional and he’s really good.
Josh Turner – The man is traditional country music these days and he’s been around for nearly a decade already. He’s a great artist and continues to release great music.