I hear folks say it all the time, and I’m guilty of saying myself from time-to-time, “country music is dead.” And on the surface, especially if you listen to mainstream country sources, you may think that traditional sounding country music may seem dead. Country music has definitely evolved over the years with pop-infused sounds, and I’ve even heard autotune in some new country songs. I happen to agree that traditional sounding country just doesn’t seem to see the mainstream light of day anymore. Again, it appears that way on the surface, until you dig around.
I’ve been pondering writing a series of blogs for some time and haven’t really considered it until I saw folks on social media voice their concerns about the state of country music while watching the CMA’s and other recent country music awards televised broadcasts.
Then it hit me, there are MANY artists out there still making really good, traditional sounding country music. Since I prefer the traditional sounds of country music, I keep track of “new music” by artists that you may or may not have heard of.
So here’s my list of artists I recommend listening too. I’ve also included links to videos you can watch and listen to as well. Enjoy!
- Daryl Singletary, who had a string of hits in mid 90’s, is still recording some good sounding country music, plus he teamed up with Rhonda Vincent to record a whole album, “American Grandstand,” featuring some pretty hardcore traditional country music. From that album, here’s there version of “After The Fire Is Gone”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCvQ0-IlrPc
- Gene Watson, who rose to fame in 1975 with “Love In The Hot Afternoon” is still recording and touring today! The 74-year-old has a new album titled “Real. Country. Music.” Here’s a track from that album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWkvc_C2JUA
- Ray Scott, who started his first band at age 19. He eventually moved to Nashville where he began writing songs for artists like Clay Walker and Randy Travis. I personally consider this guy one of many underrated artists today. From his latest album, here’s a song I absolutely love, “Guitar For Sale”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1Ocgx2JStY
- Chris Stapleton, is an established songwriter with six country number-one songs for other artists. He has rattled the cages of country with a more traditional sound these last few years. He was also the frontman of bluegrass group The SteelDrivers from 2008 to 2010! Here’s his cover of the Willie Nelson classic, “Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bi9iBKa0Xtw
- Willie Nelson. Can’t go wrong with ole Willie! He’s alive and well, but he’s clearly amused by all of those death hoaxes. The country icon has released a music video for his new song “Still Not Dead,” full of subtly humorous footage of Nelson hanging out on his tour bus, performing onstage and kickin’ back with his band and buddies. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J34esa_aJxc
- Tanya Tucker has released a new song and opened up her heart to the world to reveal how she still feels about Glen Campbell while showing her vulnerability. Kudos to Tayna for sharing her heart like this. A portion of the proceeds from “Forever Loving You” will benefit the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America to work toward a cure for the progressive illness. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPfnjRHlv5s
- Speaking of Glen Campbell, he left us all a treasure with his last album titled Adios. Here’s the title track: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzQQoUx1oOU
That’s my first list of artists with new “traditional sounding” country music. I know there are many more artists out there keeping tradition alive, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions for my next list!