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Zac Brown, Gary Allan And The Whole Debate About What Is Country Music [Opinion]


Zac Brown Band
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Zac Brown and Gary Allan have both recently made some remarks about Country Music that could be taken as disparaging. I didn’t take those remarks in that context but a lot of people did. Zac’s comments about Luke Bryan’s new song , That’s My Kind of Night, were certainly taken in a negative light by many of Luke’s fans. Gary’s suggestion that Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift were not country performers in his mind also created a lot of push back too.

I am not in the music business. I am in the radio business and my job is to find the songs that you, the country radio listening audience wants to hear. I am proud to say based upon recent history many more of you have chosen to tune in 97.3 The Dawg than any other country station in South Louisiana. For that I am very grateful but I realize that we are far from perfect in so many ways. That is why your feedback on the songs we play is so important.

The debate about “what is country music” has been going on long before I uttered my first words, much less my first words on the radio. There were those that felt Elvis couldn’t fit in with the Nashville sound. The great Ray Price was told his career might be over if he released his version of the “For the Good Times”.


Charlie Rich

Charlie Rich  was so pissed off about John Denver being named Entertainer of the Year he set the annoucement on fire live on TV. Hank Junior wrote a number one song we still sing today about being outcast by Nashville. You probably can sing every word to Family Tradition can’t you?

So who is on the side of right in this discussion? Is it Zac Brown? Is it Gary Allan? Is it Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift? Is it Florida Georgia Line with their infectious melodies or Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean with their tip of the cowboy hat to lyrics spoken to the beat? The answer is they all are right.

Music is like a paint brush with all the colors of the rainbow. To deny some of the color and texture a place on the canvas is simply wrong. When you look at a picture you might not appreciate the mountains in the background or the trees in the foreground. You might not even notice the delicate reflections in the water nor the thin white line that separates the water from the shore. But certainly with out the differences in taste, texture, color and depth that picture might not be nearly as breathtaking.

Conway Twitty

Is there room on the canvas for everybody? I think so as long as you never forget and are always respectful to the artist that painted the picture before you. That is why Merle Haggard, Hank Sr, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, the Oak Ridge Boys, Buck Owens and others will always have a home on 97.3 The Dawg.Once upon a time they were the innovators, the new kids in town and they were going to destroy country music. Today they are the backbone of the most amazing music on the planet.



Florida-Georgia Line

Will Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line and Taylor Swift make the phones ring off the wall with request on a Classic Country Saturday Night Show in the future? That isn’t up to me, that’s up to you. You hold the key that unlocks that door.

Let’s all rejoice in the differences that make us a big and diverse and very talented family. Let’s all rejoice in the spirit in which every song is written, sung, produced and created. Let’s all rejoice in the fact that the music we hear today will become our memories of tomorrow.

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts. I would be honored if you would share your thoughts in return.  Thank you for allowing us at 97.3 The Dawg to be a part of your day and perhaps a part of your memories that will take you back to the best times in your life when all you needed was a radio.

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