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Same Debate, Different Date

It’s the age old debate…what is Country music?

Haven’t we been having this discussion for many, many years?  The Americana scene has had it.  And we’ve certainly had it in the Texas/Red Dirt world.

GRO

Green River Ordinance

As most people know the “what is Country music?” debate has been rekindled following the Billboard magazine decision to not include Green River Ordinance in their Country sales chart.  There’s a great article at The Tennessean about it that you can check out here: http://www.tennessean.com/story/entertainment/music/2016/02/07/age-old-debate-rekindled-what-country-music/79710414/.

The bottom line about whether a song belongs to a certain genre has been tough to answer for a very long time.  In the article, famed Nashville country music writer and historian Robert Oermann says, “This goes back quite a ways.  It goes back to Olivia Newton-John and John Denver winning awards and traditionalists were very upset about it. There was even an alternative organization to the (Country Music Association) that formed.  It was all about circling the wagons, and that’s even before countrypolitan. In a way that no other genre seems to do, country is always trying to define itself and stake out its territory.”

As the article seems to point out, being “labeled” helps in many aspects of an artists career including media exposure and festival bookings.  So what does an artist do?

I wonder: Is it better to be labeled in multiple genres (as GRO has been for this “controversial” album)?  Or does an artist stick to one “label” and hope to gain the recognition they deserve for it?  What do you think?

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If you haven’t heard it, here’s the video for GRO’s song, “Red Fire Night,” which has sparked this debate.

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