Does Country Music Need More Country Music? 

Some country music fans express their longing for classic sounds and artists in today’s evolving country music landscape.

By

Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

March 11, 2024

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George Strait; Photo by Jill Trunnell, Alan Jackson; Photo Courtesy CMA, Cody Johnson; Photo by Andrew Wendowski, Lainey Wilson; Photo by Rich Polk/NBC

Today, we are discussing a simple question: Does country music need more country music? 

On Saturday, we asked the Country Now Facebook community what the genre needs more of and the consensus was clear: many country music fans are hoping to see the return of more traditional sounds in country music. 

Fans Think Country Music Needs More Country Music

Country Now Facebook Post
Country Now Facebook Post

Fans Want To Hear More Steel Guitar

While many people simply commented that country music needs more “country music,” others left more specific answers pointing to the desire to hear more steel guitars in new country releases. While the steel guitar is present in an array of country songs, it’s become less common to hear songs with steel guitar being played on country radio in recent years, so it’s understandable why fans may yearn for its resurgence.

Other commenters said they hope to hear more artists who embody the classic country sound like Alan Jackson, George Strait, Patsy Cline, and Patty Loveless, and less “pop country” with snap tracks, which seems to dominate the country radio airwaves as of late.  

Country Now Facebook Post Responses
Country Now Facebook Post Responses

Discovering New Traditional Country Artists

If you’re among the majority of people who said they wished to hear more traditional country music sounds in country music, have you ever considered that this kind of music is still being produced and that you’re just not looking in the right places to find it? 

In the current country music landscape, there are more artists than ever and music is being released at a pace unlike anything we’ve ever seen. With single releases happening every few weeks, to double albums becoming commonplace, there is more music to consume than ever. Because of this, it may be difficult to discover new artists and songs simply because there’s more music to consume than ever. And with streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music at your fingertips, you can’t rely on the radio as the only platform where you discover new artists. 

Ashley McBryde; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Ashley McBryde; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

After reading through the comments on our Facebook post, I thought it would be important to point out that there are still artists making country music that sounds reminiscent of what many people consider to be “classic country music” or “traditional country music.” Some are being played on country radio, like Cody Johnson, Ashley McBryde, Dillon Carmichael, Lainey Wilson, Jon Pardi, Carly Pearce, and Justin Moore, but there are plenty of other artists who continue to create music with traditional country sounds that may not currently receive airplay on country radio.

Zach Top; Photo by Citizen Kane Wayne
Zach Top; Photo by Citizen Kane Wayne

Which Artists Are Carrying The Traditional Country Music Torch?

If you’re seeking out artists who embody traditional country music, check out singers like Randall King, Ian Munsick, Kaitlyn Butts, Cody Jinks, Tyler Childers, Brent Cobb, Jenna Paulette, and Drew Parker (just to name a few). Newcomer Zach Top has emerged as a trailblazer for traditional country music, shaking up the industry with the release of his debut single, “Sounds Like The Radio,” earlier this year.

This Has Been An On-Going Discussion In Country Music

The longing for the return of the classic country sound is nothing new. In fact, this idea is the premise of the song “Murder on Music Row” which was written by Larry Cordle and Larry Shell and later covered by Alan Jackson and George Strait.

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Traditionalists have voiced the desire for the genre to return to its roots for years, but the ever-evolving sound of country music continues to change year after year, which opens the genre up to new artists carving out their own paths. As a result, country music is bigger than it’s ever been, you just have to take the time to seek out the kind of country music you want to hear.

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.