My af-FECK-shun for good Country Music has been well documented here at Music Maven. From Twangalicious Brad Paisley to Johnny & June to hot Kenny Chesney, I’ve decried that much of Country Music is the “Pop” of yesteryear. So much so, that many “established” artists of other genres are crossing over backwards from mainstream Pop to Country.
In 1994, Country great Alan Jackson released a hit called Gone Country that epitomized the shift of some from other genres to Country and that “it ain’t much different than Dylan”.
Gone Country, Alan Jackson
This post was really inspired due to hearing Darius Rucker’s song on Top Country radio. Yes, Hootie has gone Country.
Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It, Darius Rucker a/k/a Hootie
I’d heard the song and thought the voice sounded familiar, but simply never would have thought of Rucker on this song. His Country introduction registered a #1 hit for Rucker who explained that while his Hootie experience was centered around drinking and partying, his music now is more centered around family and kids. As the father of young daughters, Rucker has basically mellowed into Country.
Most recently, a mash-up of Werewolves of London and Sweet Home Alabama has been filling the Country airwaves via Kid Rock, who has scored a top ten Country hit with All Summer Long:
All Summer Long, Kid Rock
This isn’t Rock’s first foray into Country. He scored a hit on both the Top 100 Billboard Pop chart and the Hot Country chart with 2003′s Picture, his duet with fellow rocker, Sheryl Crow:
Picture, Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow
Perhaps Country is kinder and gentler for those having fought the good fight in the plastic and tortuous world of Pop. Among the re-treads from the Pop world is Jewel. In this interview, she discusses the migration “back” to Country. (WARNING: Yodel alert)
Despite her “walk 10 miles to school, uphill, both ways” stories of growing up in Alaska, Jewel’s experiences are very similar to many artists who really grew up “Country”, but broke into music via Pop. Personally, I consider her music more acoustic than Country.
Perfectly Clear, Jewel
However, the same cannot be said of Bon Jovi’s cross-over effort with Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles last year. This is pure country, twang, grits and gravy. I have to say that his tranformation of his Jersey to Atlanta accent grates on my last nerve.
Who Says You Can’t Go Home Again?
Bon Jovi showed that crossing over to Country isn’t exclusive to relatively new artists. So too, has the great Bob Seger. The man who helped to define “classic” 70s Rock, has also tested out Country to wedge his way back into modern day music conciousness.
Bob Seger – Wait For Me
I have to say that Wait For Me is not what I would consider Country but is rather, the eptiome of Seger music. Where is this stuff in today’s music. So good, so easy, so powerful. **sigh**
Nevertheless, Dolly forgave and actually wrote a song for Daisy Duke:
Do You Know, written by Dolly Parton
Unfortunately, those thinking that Country is the big payoff for transitioning careers isn’t limited to singers. Oddly enough, some actors also think that they can “make it” in Country. Probably the oddest thing I’ve seen recently is that Kevin Costner is pursuing a Country singing career at the tender age of 53.
Long Hot Night
Costner released his new Country CD last week if you feel that you can’t live without it.
While I’m not particularly fond of his music stylings, he is forever forgiven simply for the fact that he wore a naval uniform in No Way Out.
Yeah, I’m shallow like dat.
Lastly, if you can’t get enough of watching washed up celebrities try to get their rural rowdy on, tune into CMT’s Gone Country, hosted by the enormous talent of John Rich of Big & Rich fame. As an aside, I LOVE their music…here is one of my favorites:
Comin’ to Your City
…which has been appropriately adapted for my favorite Saturday programming, NCAA COLLEGE FOOTBALL!
…but I digress.
John Rich hosts Gone Country, which will start it’s 3rd season in January. Celebrity contestants compete to revive their ailing careers as Country music stars, in a format that has become oh so familar and monotonous over the last few years.
The first season included Carnie Wilson of Wilson Phillips, perpetual loser Bobby Brown, Maureen McCormick (a/k/a Marcia Brady), Julio Iglesias, Jr., Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, Sisqo, and American Idol alum Dianna DeGarmo. Iglesias prevailed and recorded The Way I Want You:
Season 2 provided the antics of Sebastian Bach of Metallica Skidrow, FAME’s Irene Cara, American Idol over achiever Mikalah Gordon, Jermaine Jackson, Chris Kirkpatrick, Lorenzo Lamas and bad girl Sean Young. Uber-heavy metaller, Bach, prevailed and has since recorded Battle with the Bottle:
This season promises chills and thrills with contestants Parliament’s George Clinton, Miss USA Tara Conner, 21 Jump Street actor Richard Greico, Micky Dolenz from The Monkees, Sheila E. from Prince, Taylor Dayne and American Idol’s original loser, Justin Guarini.
Will they coif those curls into a super mullet? Will Clinton don chaps and spurs? You’ll have to tune into CMT to find out.