Country Music has its roots in Hard Times
Jessica Phillips | May 26, 2009
According to an interview with CMA's Close Up News Service, when times get tough, country music gets going.
Three industry veterans chatted with the publication recently to discuss why country music listenership has typically remained stable or even increased during hard economic times.
Rusty Gaston, owner of THIS Music, says that hard times typically bring in new listeners to country music, listeners who are seeking positive and even spiritual lyrics. Gaston believes stand-out country songs speak to the individual in a particularly introspective manner. "When there are economic downturns, it takes people who aren't necessarily country music fans start looking inside themselves and looking at their values", he states. "They naturally turn to country music."
Hit songwriter Gary Burr (best known for LeAnn Rimes' "Nothing About Love", and Kelly Clarkson's "Before Your Love"), says that country music hits a chord in tough economic times because it comes across as deeply personal. "What's important is the effect it has on the listener and his family," Burr notes. "Those topics will always be the ones that hit the heart."
Country music's artists and lyrics have always had a way of tuning into the myriad of feelings that most Americans have felt during harsh times-anger, sadness, anxiety, hope, determination, worry, and the like.
The format has long featured artists like Jimmie Rodgers, whose mournful country-blues sound and humble lifestyle resonated with audiences. Country music continued in it's popularity during the Depression, turning artists like Gene Autry into stars. Meanwhile, the luminous Grand Ole Opry began it's run in 1925, just before the Great Depression began. Today, songs from Merle Haggard, Alan Jackson, Johnny Cash, and even John Rich still keep with the tradition of turning out reflective and honest music.
I'm thankful for those artists who keep holding up the mirror of songs that will again help our country through hard times.
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