country and pop and a lil’ rock

Today’s music, with its big love affair with the techno/club sound, really has devolved into a quagmire of computer generated sounds … with some notable exceptions.


The two exceptions I am going to highlight are country music songs … but not pure country. This thought is probably an entire post but mainstream music, the pop charts, affect all music genres. It seems what happens there forces other genres into one of two directions … the old school die hards become more stubbornly pure … and the popular talented <but sometimes tepid musically> seek to innovate, or adapt, to stay relevant.

It is the second that leads me to my 2 song highlight. They are mainstream acts that have borrowed from other genres to make for good songs but songs that are more crossover than country. And each one does it differently.

One doesn’t try and ease it in. It simply plugs in a country thread.

One weaves in a rock guitar riff under-bed that any hair band <or R&B driven rock band> would have been proud of.


The first.


This is a nifty duet between the Train lead singer and a young singer I have never heard of called Ashley Monroe. She makes this song … and she makes it a country song.

I love her country voice … she sounds like a young Lee Ann Womack … and syncs well with the Train guy <whose voice I typically think is like fingernails on a chalkboard>.


The chorus is fabulous. As is the premise behind the song. Lyrically this song could have quickly devolved into a sappy moronic string of useless thoughts. Instead … while it hovers on the edge of moronic Ashley saves it consistently and the chorus, like I said, is fabulous.

Skip over the silly and focus on the meaningful thoughts … and … musically … it is just a really nice listen. No great songwriting or magical musical moments … just a nice straightforward listenable song.


Ashley, I found with some research, is part of Pistol Annies <which has Miranda Lambert who I love>. And she has found a lot of success writing songs for other people.

The second song.

Speaking of not great songwriting but a wonderful straightforward listenable song.

And then there is the Kenny Chesney song … Reality. It is actually a late 2011 song but I am just getting around to writing about it.


I am not a huge Kenny “formula country music song” fan. He has his formula tied to his singing style and … well … he delivers it to his fans. And good for him … it works.


On occasion he seems to forget about what his fans want and actually focuses on writing a really good song. On this one he takes his formulaic country sound and puts a Keith Urban-like … or even a glam-rock … rolling full guitar riff rhythm under the song to fill it out making it a broad deep listenable song instead of a thinner whinier country song. It is almost like he listened to an older Stones album where Keith/Mick Taylor & Ronnie are all in sync doing that rolling guitar sound bed under Jagger like the Stones were awesome at doing.

It is also an anthemic stadium song.

An older song.

But … hey … better late than never.


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Written by Bruce