In a 2020 interview with the Evening Standard, a daily newspaper across the pond in London, Kane Brown shared some of this thoughts on country music, his pop collaborations, and even acknowledged the fact that some people don’t like his music.
Regarding his collabs with Marshmello, Khalid, Jon Legend, Nelly and others, he said he’s steering directly into the pop world.
“Everybody already calls me ‘pop country’ so I just want to go ahead and claim that title.
I want to have songs on pop radio and I want to have songs on country radio. I don’t see why that should be a problem.”
Everybody already calls you that because you are.
You weren’t lumped into some group by people that don’t understand your music, you’re a pop singer Kane. A pop singer who actively wants to have songs on pop radio.
And for some reason, country music is allowed to be the vehicle you use to get them there.
But then he also acknowledged his haters, who he called “red dirt country” people.
“There are people who are, you know, ‘red dirt country’, who are still on Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash, and they can’t stand me. My fans love all genres of music.”
So people who like actual country music can’t stand you? After you just got done saying how you want to make pop music? What am I missing?
And what does “still on” Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash mean? They’re on the Mount Rushmore of the entire damn genre. Are music fans “still on” The Beatles, Elvis, Bob Dylan, Tupac, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra too? Put some respect on their names Kane.
Although, here’s the thing… I’m not even convinced Kane Brown knows what red dirt country even is.
It kind of sounds like he uses “red dirt” as a blanket term for anything not mainstream, anything traditional, or classic. You think Kane is listening to Turnpike? Hell no.
The Red Dirt scene, birthed in Stillwater, Oklahoma in the ’70s, eventually went on to feature artists like The Great Divide, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jason Boland, Stoney LaRue, and Turnpike Troubadours.
And while many for the Red Dirt scene would undoubtedly look at Merle and Cash as influences, Merle and Cash are not “red dirt” artists. Author Josh Crutchmer recently released a great book all about the Red Dirt scene. The history, where it’s at today, interviews with actual Red Dirt artists… we’ll send you a copy Kane.
So yeah, Red Dirt Country fans probably don’t like your music and anybody “still on” Haggard and Cash (whatever that means) probably don’t like your music either, but why would they?
You make pop music and you admit that you want to make more pop music. And if the people who are still listening to a couple of the greatest country artists ever don’t like your music, then what does that say about your music?
Then again, I’m not even sure how many Red Dirt fans even give a shit about what goes on in mainstream country, and I’d venture to guess that plenty of them never even heard of Kane Brown. Just like Kane has never heard of Cody Canada…
Of course, he’ll stick a song like Like I Love Country Music” in there once a year to remind mainstream country music why they’re still playing him. It’s so easy to trick country radio if you just named drop a few artists:
I mean, listen to this:
“You get me high as Willie girl, you get me gone as Jones You turn me on as much as I turn on my radio Let’s take our time, walk the line kinda like Johnny and June did Yeah, let’s do this Baby, I love you like I love country music…”
And granted, that song has a little fiddle and steel in there, and even Ronnie Dunn hopped on the track, but other than that, what allegiance does Kane have to country music? None. Respect for country music? None. Love for country music? None.
Now if you excuse me, I’m going to listen to some actual Red Dirt Country.
Merle Haggard Once Had The World Record For The Largest Round Of Drinks
Speaking of Merle…
The legendary Merle Haggard once held the Guinness World Record for buying the largest round of drinks ever bought by one person – and it’s a record that stood for more than three decades.
The Hag set the record at Billy Bob’s Texas back in 1983 when he ordered 5,095 “C.C. Waterbacks,” a shot of Canadian Club whiskey with a water chaser, for patrons at the bar. Merle bought the shots in honor of his 28th hit song, “C.C. Waterback,” from his 1982 duets album with George Jones, A Taste Of Yesterday’s Wine.
The bar used around 40 gallons of whiskey for the round of drinks, and the bar tab for Merle’s massive order came out to $12,737.50 – or $2.50 each. (If he had bought the same round of drinks today it would have cost him over $40k).
But when the bar owner, Billy Bob Barnett, presented Merle with the check, he offered to buy the Hag a drink on the house – and Merle took him up on it.
Merle’s record stood in the Guinness Book of World Records until 2016, when a U.K. brewery bought 412 beers at a pub to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday.
And I know what you’re thinking: Wait, only 412 beers? Merle Haggard bought over 5,000 shots.
Well apparently because the beer order amounted to over 42 gallons, while Merle’s was just under 40, the brewery technically broke Merle’s record.
Sounds like some bullshit to me.
I mean, 5,000 shots of whiskey will make a lot more people happy than 400 beers will. So while he may not officially have the Guiness World Record anymore, I’m still choosing to count Merle’s as the largest round of drinks.
But the question remains: Who’s going to break Merle’s record now? George Strait lives down near Billy Bob’s, and he has his own tequila line. So maybe it’s time for the King to step up and buy a few thousand rounds of Codigo to get himself yet another record for the books.
I’ve just gotta make sure I’m there if he does it.
Merle Haggard Performs “Mama Tried” With His Mama In The Front Row
Merle Haggard, man.
The country music legend is known for being a cornerstone of the “Bakersfield Sound” as well as country music in general. Known as a bit of a country music outlaw, a reputation accompanied by his days in San Quentin Prison, however here, we have a much more heartfelt moment from The Hag.
Merle Haggard was locked up in Bakersfield, CA, on counts of burglary, and was transferred to San Quentin after a failed escape attempt 1958. It was in San Quentin that he fell in love with country music, after hearing a prison performance from the Man In Black himself, Mr. Johnny Cash.
His days in San Quentin were the inspiration for a lot of his songs, including the song we all know and love, “Mama Tried.”
The lyrics in “Mama Tried” describe the hardships that Merle’s mother went through while trying to raise him and his siblings, and how his childhood in poverty led him to a life of crime.
“And I turned twenty-one in prison doing life without parole. No one could steer me right, but Mama tried, Mama tried Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleading I denied That leaves only me to blame ’cause Mama tried…”
This song landed Merle his fifth number one song on The Billboard Hot Country Singles charts in 1968, and ultimately won the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999. It was even selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry due to its “cultural, historic, or artistic significance” on March 23, 2016, only 14 days before Haggard’s death.
With all of the notoriety “Mama Tried” brought to Haggard, he couldn’t forget the one person who influenced this song the most: Mama Haggard herself.
Here we see a tenderhearted moment between a mother and her son, as Merle sings “Mama Tried” to the “mama that tried” her hardest. With his mom sitting in the front row, bursting with emotion as her son performs a song in her honor, you can only imagine how special this performance was for ol’ Merle.
Merle Haggard Goes Off On Country Music Record Executive
According to CMT, Merle Haggard was accepting a career achievement award from Country Radio Broadcasters back in 2009 when an Emmylou Harris tribute performance of “Kern River” brought back a memory from his days on Epic Records.
When Merle took the stage, he recalled a certain label executive (Rick Blackburn) that hated the song. And in true Merle Haggard fashion, he let him have it. The conversation went a little something like this:
Blackburn: “I’d like to tell you one more time. I don’t like ’Kern River.’”
Merle: “That’s about the third time you’ve told me that.”
Blackburn: “It’s more like five times.”
Merle: “Well, I’m about five times short of telling you to go to hell.”
He continued on:
Merle: “Who do you think you are? You’re the son of a bitch that sat at that desk over there and fired Johnny Cash. Let it go down in history that you’re the dumbest son of a bitch I’ve ever met.”