Worth Reading: A Modern Country Music History, Part Five: Returning Home (2014-2016)

Country Universe writer and founder of The Musical Divide Zack Kephart continues his deep dive into the history of Modern Country Music, and the fifth part is a much-needed palate cleanser after the dudebro chronicles of Part Four:

The shortest part of this series explores more independent names that had banner commercial and critical years, a Kentucky native’s breakout moment, Lori McKenna’s ode to kindness, and the important friendship shared by Sturgill Simpson and Merle Haggard…

To give one example of the crossroads country music found itself at in the beginning of the 2010s, critical “best of” lists for the year 2013 included not only familiar and reliable mainstream stalwarts and rising stars like Brad Paisley, Kacey Musgraves, and Gary Allan, but also, among others, names like Simpson, Isbell, Lindi Ortega and Brandy Clark.

This section perfectly captures why many mainstream country music fans found themselves leaving radio acts behind and fully embracing independent artists.   Check it out!

1 Comment

  1. Given that this was the same time frame in which dirt-road anthems and turning women into hood ornaments on pickups were ruling the C&W roost, it was nice to see that an independent streak was making a significant return to the genre, especially among the womenfolk. Lindi Ortega was one I particularly found intriguing, first because of her 2015 album Faded Gloryville, where she sounded a bit like a Canadian version of Lone Justice-era Maria McKee, and then with her 2018 Southwestern-themed concept album Liberty.

    Tift Merritt has really been the female singer for me during this millennium, though. In my opinion, she hasn’t made any missteps from the time I first noticed her in 2002 with Bramble Rose, consistently combining her modern Americana singer/songwriter style with the old-school country-rock of her heroes Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.