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!