Over the last two or three years seemingly almost every male Country artist has released their own songs about being from the country, a small town, drinking beer from a mason jar, eating fried chicken, and just about every other cliché you can think of. The giants of the genre aren’t immune to these gratuitous common-denominator themes as Alan Jackson recently scored a big hit with “Country Boy.” While I will admit to enjoying some of the songs that have been released, Luke Bryan’s “Country Man” and Zac Brown Band’s “Chicken Fried” being two of 'em, I can’t help but get tired of hearing virtually the same song released to and played by radio over and over again. While none of these songs is particularly terrible to listen to, I’m fed up.
I wish there was a moratorium on the recording of them or at least if you’re gonna record one, please find one as great as Marcus Hummon’s (that’s him in the image above) “God’s Country, USA.” My main argument with many of the songs released by male country artists nowadays is that they seem hook-y to be hook-y, nostalgic for the sake of nostalgia and run along the theme of “I’m from the sticks eating fried chicken and dating my home coming queen and sorry, hoss, but I’m proud of my country upbringing.” Again, I beg of you to take a listen (click here) to the Marcus Hummon song. Listen to that and then listen to, I don’t know, the Jason Aldean “She’s Country” single or maybe Jason Michael Carroll’s “Where I’m From.” Tell me what the better song is? There’s no doubt about it. Hummon’s song wins. It’s not even a contest. The song has a distinct story, proclaims a fondness for small-town life, and the quaintness of one’s hometown in the way that a Norman Rockwell painting captured a time and a moment.
Recorded and released in 1996, “God’s Country, USA” was song seemingly lost (as was Marcus’ whole “All In Good Time” album) among the plethora of hat acts out there. And it’s a shame because as many artists have proved since then, Marcus Hummon is a gifted songwriter and his songs are at once contemporary and fresh but never have they ever felt over-done or poorly crafted, which many of these “Country Boy/Home/Roots” songs are. Nashville has some of the best songwriters in the world and you have to wonder what the guys writing these songs really think. They may be pandering to get a cut (and can you blame them? We all need to make money) but if the artists and labels weren’t cutting these songs, radio wouldn’t be playing them.
So it starts there, as it always does; with the song.
So I beg of you, dear country music fan, take the time to listen to these songs. You may wake up and find that you’re listening to a great song but in the case of the majority of these ‘countrified’ songs, you’re not. They’re just mindless self indulgence and we’re all to blame for it.
The solution to this problem is simple; stop requesting these songs. Because aside from the fact that these songs are repetitive and bad writing, last time I checked, most of the country music listening community cannot relate to songs about tractors or farming or even being from the country, because they aren’t and never were.