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.
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.
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.
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.