Like most country listeners, I had very little optimism for 2016, despite the hopeful sign of Chris Stapleton’s wins at the CMAs. Let’s be honest 2015 was a improvement overy the two years before, but not by much.
Then we come to 2016, the mixed up crazy year that has seen deaths that impacted all genres of music in crazy numbers. We had Merle Haggard, Joey Feek, Glen Frey, Leon Russell, Prince, David Bowie, Holly Dunn, Lenard Cohen, George Michaels and others I’m sure I’m forgetting all in one year. All named had a trememdous impact on all genres, down to Haggard.
Haggard’s death in April made us wonder if real country music wasn’t to follow, and the other deaths made us wonder how long our remaining legends have left.
But as sad of a year as it’s been, there have been many positives this year. Turns out Stapleton’s win at the CMAS has jerked the genre closer to its roots, with more traditional sounds and more substance. Does that mean metro bro and other trends have died? No. Did country music have a complete turn around? No. And there’s still more than enough garbage on the radio. Look at bs like Chris Lane’s “Fix”.
But compared to recent years, while being a sad one, the moves toward substance give me hope for the genre I’d lost over the past few years. Trust me folks Rome wasn’t built in a day.
We had Stapleton repeat his win this year with Male Vocalist, Brothers Osborne unseat FGL as duo, and many older traditional performers on the CMAs. We saw Aldean and the other bros get snubbed. We saw a number one by a solo writer (Humble and Kind), two young traditionalists who are new to the fold have number ones ( Jon PardI with Head Over Boots, and William Michael Morgan with I Met A Girl). We saw more substance from radio in general in 2016 with Tim McGraw leading the way with more traditional sounds, Eric Church with incredible singles like Record Year, and a suprising double album from Miranda Lambert. And that’s just some of the good this year.
This is why I actually look forward to 2017 with the hope that out genre will finally make its turnaround. It’s already getting there but there’s a ways to go.