It might be the most common phrase in all of country music right now and granted, we’ve definitely veered pretty damn far off the path, but still, this conversation is nothing new. In a recent interview, Garth Brooks and Kix Brooks (no relation) dove deep into everything country music, but one part of the conversation that really caught my attention was the whole “that’s not country” debate. As two of the biggest country stars of the 90’s, and subsequently two artists that are often referred to as “real country” these days, Kix and Garth discussed how much they got shit on in their early days for not being country enough.
“Traditional country music is coming back around, you” said Brooks. “But man, you’ll know this because you were right there witnessing it… when we started, we were the bad guys, we were the guys that weren’t country and now we’re viewed as the most traditional guys out there.”
“People used tell me and Ronnie all the time, “wish we could get back… you guys were real country” and I’m like “WHAT,” laughed Kix.
“We got our ass handed to us when we young, man,” added Garth.
Like I said, Garth and Kix sure as shit weren’t trying to be rappers back in the 90’s, but the point remains the same, this conversation is nothing new. With each generation comes a new definition of what is and isn’t “country.” But right now, the important question remains, how far are we willing to let the bar slide?
Shooter Jennings said it like this:
“Garth Brooks is as country as shit. Back then it was like, “what the fuck is going on? This guy is terrible. This isn’t country music,” said Jennings. “I would take that any day now. That means the bar has been lowered so far that we’re like, please. I would listen to only Garth Brooks all day if that’s what I could get.”
At what point have we gone too far? The debate continues…