Mike Sudhalter | April 26, 2007
Just about every country music fan has some friends who like to give them some good-natured ribbing about the genre.
And many of these folks will utter the sentence I don't like country music, but I do like (fill in the blank).
Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers, Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, Faith Hill and now, Tim McGraw are some artists who fit into that "fill in the blank".
There's a difference between crossover artists and "fill in the blank" performers. Lonestar had that song "Amazed" and Lee Ann Womack earned pop recognition with "I Hope You Dance". Few non-country fans admit to being Lonestar or Lee Ann Womack fans, and probably consider them one-hit wonders.
There's different reasons why people choose these "fill in the blank" artists. Nelson transcends the country audience, enamoring additional fans with his free spirit outlook on life. Cash's music was also part of early Rock N Roll, and the 2005 film "Walk the Line" helped expose his music to a whole new generation. Plus, the fact that he was a musical maverick appealed to a lot of people.
As for Brooks, most non-country fans only know him for "Friends in Low Places" or "The Dance", but the singer's success in the 1990's appealed to fans outside the genre to the point where non-country fans could name him as the one singer they liked.
The point is, that's it's important, that the (fill in the blank) singers are actually country artists. Nelson, Brooks and Cash fit that bill, and non-country fans respected them for their authenticity.
More recently, these artists have less and less to do with country music, and the non-country fans simply ridicule it as watered-down pop.