The farther that I have immersed myself into the world of Texas Country Music, the bigger picture I begin to put together. I went from moving slowly away from mainstream country to nearly exclusively listening to Texas and Red Dirt music. As I have stated on multiple prior accounts, I find it to be a consistently higher quality melting pot for music. It satisfies the variations in genres such as country, folk and southern rock without me having to change the station if I’m streaming a Texas Red Dirt radio station. However, I have noticed an attitude among some of the music fans that I find bothersome and confusing that I believe could hurt the spread of good music all around.
If you watch some comments on Facebook and radio station chat functions, you may see some knocks on mainstream artists. One of the largest outbreaks I have seen is about Texas Artist Mike Ryan's song, Last Time For Everything. If you aren't familiar with this, Mike Ryan co-wrote this song and Brad Paisley recorded it for his album, Love and War. Every time this song is played on the radio, I see comments by outraged music fans saying how Brad Paisley sucks and doesn't belong on Texas radio. Comments how he isn't country. There are so many complaints every time that this song plays. Some listeners try to chip in and mention that the spins ultimately help pay Mike Ryan and continue to expose his name to new listeners. Did I just say exposure?
Yes, I did and it's important. As someone all the way across the country from Texas, I know how important exposure is to Texas Country music. Take a look at Spotify. Sure some artists have some impressive amounts of spins. Go look at some mainstream artists – they have a lot more in many instances. Look at the venues they play in Texas versus many in the mainstream arena. If a guy like Brad Paisley can help people hear the name Mike Ryan then maybe, that will help introduce some new music listeners. It’s a platform that can further expose this great music to new listeners.
As much as I love the tight knit community of this music "scene", I wonder if it some ways it could hold back the growth. This is one of the most incredible times in independent music and it's largely due to people having the means to locate the good stuff. It's not longer the force-fed reality of years past. If you want better music, as many of us did, you can go find it. There are some decent mainstream acts and I think ultimately Texas and Nashville will have to co-exist to prosper.
I often try to look at the big picture despite what is the popular opinion because I want this music to grow. We want to see more shows up in this part of the country and new fans help enable that. By polarizing a Texas artist every time they have a song cut by a mainstream artist, what message does that send? To me, it’s counter productive. Give a listen yourself below and let me know what you think.
Just a Massachusetts guy supporting Texas and other independent country/Americana artists.
Check out my spotify for good tunes!