SAVING COUNTRY MUSIC

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Music genres have a way of evolving as time progresses. We can agree rock and roll today does not sound as it did eighty years ago. This is certainly true for country music as well. Evolution is brought on by the birthing of new sounds, new technology, and the marriage of two genres. I would like to discuss the latter.

By the late 1980s country music’s popularity had reached an all time low. The genre born out of folk and blues in the 1920s became a staple of American culture by the mid twentieth century. It brought about new genres like Rock and Roll, and inspired music legends like Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and Elvis Presley. But as the 1980s rounded the bend, County music was drowning in a sea of synth and Euro Pop. People didn’t care anymore. It had been subjected to AM stations in rural communities. If Country music was going to survive it needed a resurgence.

This resurgence came with a little help from the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). This is the branch of the government that regulates what is broadcasted on the radio and television. Just as Country music was about to breathe its last, the FCC started an initiative to boost the number of FM stations in Urban areas. With more stations available, Country music made its way into the FM radio seen.

However, just because people could listen to country music now, did not mean they were going to. The genre needed to grow its following if it was going to compete with rivaling pop stations. Country music found its saving grace in the early 1990’s with a handful of visionary artists who saw a desire for music with energy, but still held tight to classic country themes. This was the marriage of country music and 90s pop. Among these visionaries was a band of the name “Little Texas”. After signing with Warner Bros. Records in 1991, Little Texas found immediate success with chart topping singles, “Some guys have all the love”, “My Love”, “Big Time”, “Kick a Little”, and “What Might Have Been”.

Because of country music groups like Little Texas, country music had a heartbeat. These groups paved the way for Country music as it is today and brought new life into the dying genre. FM country stations saw a rapid rise in listeners and it listed among the most popular music genres in the country.

Sometimes in order to keep traditions alive, you have to change what they look like. The world needs visionaries like “Little Texas” who see what it takes to start a revival and can make it happen.

Little Texas and special guests, Jackie Lee and Tegan Marie will be performing at the Mesa County Fairgrounds on Tuesday, July 24th. Find your tickets at www.monumentaltix.com and join us for an unforgettable night of music.

Ethan Lovelace