The Class of 1989 permanently changed the face of country music. Clint Black was its valedictorian.
Country artists are known for their longevity, but the Sons of the Pioneers make the rest look like flash-in-the-pan newbies.
First formed in 1933, Sons of the Pioneers are the longest-running active vocal group in country music today. The lineup, of course, has changed over the years, but the original group weren’t just sons of the pioneers. They were the pioneers of Western music, that post-ampersand genre that was once an essential half of mainstream country music.
New fans of country music in the nineties were hit over the head with the assertion that country music was one big family. Nothing demonstrated this mythos better than the all star jams that cropped up during the boom years.
There were some variants of this approach. A popular one found a veteran star teaming up with one or more of the boom artists to increase their chances of radio airplay. George Jones was big on this approach, with the most high profile attempt being “I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair.” Seventeen years later, it’s amazing to see how young everyone looks – even Jones himself!