Music

Traditional Country Music is Making a Comeback

Plenty of modern artists are keeping the traditional country sound alive in their music.

Even though pop-country songs may be topping the charts these days, that doesn’t mean that the sound of traditional country is gone forever. Some country artists have started to incorporate a few elements of traditional sound into more modern, pop-bent songs. Other artists build their entire sound to resemble the vibe of traditional country music. Either way, traditionalism is undoubtedly making a comeback in the country music we enjoy today.

The sound lives on in new ways

In days past, a country song wasn’t complete without the twang of a steel guitar. That distinct sound is brought back both with actual steel guitars and with electric guitars mimicking it in various ways. Randy Houser’s “Like a Cowboy” is a prime example of a chart climbing song that uses the traditional style of steel guitar.

Honoring the past

One way to preserve the past is to remake it. The Band Perry covered the Glen Campbell classic “Gentle On My Mind,” and although they put their own spin on it, they kept the traditional feel and integrity of the song. They used plenty of the ever-present steel guitar, and they even brought in banjo for a dose of bluegrass while still respecting the song’s signature rhythms.

Alan Jackson still makes traditional country music even today, but back in the late 1990s, he remade Jim Ed Brown’s “Pop a Top.” He hardly changed the feel of the song, but he introduced it to a whole new audience simply by making it his own and releasing it. Jackson has always been a strong player in keeping country traditional, and remaking a classic Jim Ed Brown song is just another sign of his respect for the deep-rooted sound of traditional country.

Adapting tradition for a modern scene

Plenty of artists in the country music landscape today use traditional country sounds in varying degrees. Some choose to use only a short riff that’s reminiscent of tradition. Others dedicate their entire artistry to producing music similar to what you would hear 40 or 50 years ago. Still others have a sound that falls somewhere in the middle that spectrum.

SEE ALSO: Traditionalist Aaron Watson’s “Underdog” is a Top Dog on Country Charts

Justin Moore is an artist who puts a touch of twang into modern country songs. He may not always use steel guitar, but his songs have the sliding guitar riffs and the laidback feel that is sometimes absent from pop-country tunes. Similar to Justin Moore, Easton Corbin keeps that old sound prominent in a country scene that seems infiltrated with pop influence. Most of his songs don’t just have a steel guitar in the accompaniment—it’s the featured instrument and the backbone of his catchy tunes.

Josh Turner and Chris Young are two more artists in country’s new generation who is dedicated to keeping the old sound around. These crooners’ deep voices and use of traditional instruments keep their music grounded enough to use an occasional pop-esque piano feature or drum beat while still keeping plenty of country feel.

Country music royals Alan Jackson and George Strait have lived through several eras of country music, and still they stand by traditional country sound. That sound has made them both successful for many years, and they’ll forever be remembered as preservationists in country music history. They realized that a classic sound like that can be relevant for ages. Why change such a good thing that’s brought joy to millions of country fans for decades on end?

History repeats itself

Several artists unapologetically make entire albums that are closely reminiscent of country music of decades past. For the most part, these artists keep the rhythms, instrumentation, and even vocal techniques of traditional country music, but they also the pop influence out of their music. Their sound is timeless, and as a result, their careers are gaining traction with country fans all over the world.

There are many more, but a few of the more widely known pure traditionalists are Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price, Cale Tyson, Ashley Monroe, and the Raelyn Nelson Band. Extremely traditional artists like these may be the exception now, but if they keep at it, they just might bring a good old-fashioned revival to the world of country music.

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Traditional Country Music is Making a Comeback