luke bryan

The State of Mainstream Country in 2013

Even diehard mainstream country fans can’t deny that so many of today’s songs have similar themes, both melodically and lyrically. Much has been made lately of so-called “Bro Country,” with songs (sung by men, of course, who still dominate the charts) about tailgating, beer drinking, tight jeans and partying out in the country — often down a dirt road, by a river, or under the moonlight.

Nothing against beer, trucks or dirt roads per se, but things are clearly getting out of hand. Take a look at the video below that was put together by Entertainment Weekly critic Grady Smith — it makes the point pretty clearly.

That’s why so many country listeners latched onto albums by Kacey Musgraves, Ashley Monroe and Brandy Clark — three of the best new artists rising out of Nashville right now who just happen to be women.

Same goes for Chris Stapleton, who released one of my favorite country singles of the year, “What Are You Listening To?”

Chris also has some fantastic songs in his arsenal that he wrote for others, including this one below. Tim McGraw cut it years ago, but Stapleton’s version slays.

Here’s hoping that in 2014, artists like this continue to gain ground and move the genre forward.

(Featured image of Luke Bryan from Instinct Magazine)