Zac Brown and Gary Allan may be among Country Music's biggest stars, but that doesn't mean that they're necessarily fans of the format's current state.
The Zac Brown Band frontman recently spoke out against mainstream Country Music in an interview with a Vancouver radio station. “There’s not a lot of the country format that I really enjoy listening to," he said.
“What we do is not necessarily traditional country, but we play all of our own instruments, we write the best songs that we can, and we put harmony on the songs, we have a real band…a lot of it’s just about subject matter. We really write about real life, songs that come from life and our heart. To me Country Music has always been the home for a great song,” he added. “If I hear one more tailgate in the moonlight, daisy duke song, I’m gonna throw up. There’s songs out there on the radio right now that make me be ashamed to be even in the same format as some other artists.”
However, Brown acknowledges that mainstream Country Music is not all bad. “Now, there are still great artists that are in the Country format and there’s still artists to that do a great job with a song that care about their lyrics and it’s not just mindless dribble,” he said.
He also spoke positively of Sheryl Crow's recently released full-length Country debut Feels Like Home, saying, “This week, I’ve been listening to Sheryl Crow‘s new record. There’s really the most Country song that I’ve heard since like George Jones back in the day on her new CD. She wrote it with Brad Paisley, it’s called ‘Waterproof Mascara.’ It’s sad to me to think that Country Music won’t even play that because they’re playing dance club songs that have cliche Country lyrics in it.”
But though he says, "I love Luke Bryan and he's had some great songs," referring to the reigning ACM Entertainer Of The Year as "a friend," he minces no words in discussing Bryan's current hit "That's My Kind of Night," which he openly denounces as "one of the worst songs I've ever heard." Brown said, "I see it being commercially successful in what is called country music these days, but I also feel like that the people deserve something better than that. Country fans and Country listeners deserve to have something better than that, a song that really has something to say, something that makes you feel something. Good music makes you feel something. When songs make me wanna throw up, it makes me ashamed to even be in the same genre as those songs."
Brown explains, "I'm opinionated because I care so much about the music and the songs."
Hit singer-songwriter Gary Allan, who recently notched one of his biggest hits to date with "Every Storm (Runs Out Of Rain)" shares Browns distaste for current mainstream Country Music. "I also feel like we lost our genre," he said in a recent interview with Larry King," adding “I don’t feel like I don’t make music for a genre anymore. I did ten, fifteen years ago. But since the Clear Channels and the Cumulus’ and the big companies bought up all the chains, now it’s about a demographic…. You used to be able to turn on the radio and you knew it was a country station just by listening to it. Now, you’ve got to leave it there for a second to figure it out.”
On the current state of the music, Allan says, ”I personally don’t like it. I loved the character of country music and I loved what it is and the lifestyle of it. It’s still songs about life, but it’s definitely changed.”
What's your take on Brown's and Allan's comments about current Country Music? Do you agree with their concerns about the format? Tweet us at @Roughstock.com using this #StateOfCountry hash tag.