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The Golden Age of Country

Performing at the Florida Country Superfest in Jacksonville.

Luke Bryan Performing at the Florida Country Superfest in Jacksonville. June 15, 2014

There is no clearer representation of country music’s growth in popularity than in New York. For seventeen long years, there was no country music on the radio and hardly any mention of the genre in the city. However, country has been on the rise around the nation, becoming the most popular genre in the country in 2013. [1] There are a few reasons why country has become your kind of music.

“Country music is too depressing” is a frustrating statement commonly uttered out of the mouths of people who don’t like country, or most likely haven’t heard enough of it. One of the biggest factors in country’s popularity is how easy it is to relate to. Artists sing about what we love doing, not what we wish we could do. For many of us, this means working hard from Monday to Friday and filling the weekends with good times and beer. Songs like Eric Church’s Drink In My Hand, Florida Georgia Line’s Round Here, and Jason Aldean’s My Kinda Party fully embody this aspect of country music.

Another reason for the spike in popularity is the quality of live country acts. There is an unparalleled energy and quality of the shows. I’ve been fortunate enough to see several contemporary country artists perform, and the quality of their live shows is unbelievable. The sound of artists like Joe Nichols, Miranda Lambert, and Zac Brown Band live is indistinguishable from their recorded albums. Apart from the quality, there is a unique energy that is represented perfectly by Florida Georgia Line. They are literally able to make you feel like the concert is one big party that you’re invited to. This is also true for Luke Bryan, who tosses cans of Miller Lite to fans from a big cooler that he drags on stage.

Luke Bryan with his cooler full of Miller Lite.

Luke Bryan with his cooler full of Miller Lite.

The genre is also taking over because country music is more than country music. Artists like Justin Moore, Taylor Swift, and Jason Aldean cross over boundaries by bringing different genres in their style. Hip hop, hard rock, and pop have all found a place in country music which has broadly expanded its appeal. A great example is Zac Brown Band who has set lists spotted with songs covering acts like Metallica, Billy Joel, Foo Fighters, and Jimmy Buffett.

Performing at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium

Zac Brown Band Performing at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium. June 21, 2014

For a long time there was a sub-genre of country music that was represented by one man: Jimmy Buffett. It’s hard to define his style as anything other than “beach music.” It was associated solely with him until Kenny Chesney came out with No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems and became a sandy cowboy. To this day, Chesney defines the beach scene in country music, but a new collection of beach tunes are also being put out by talented new artists. From Jake Owen’s Beachin’ to Zac Brown Band’s Jump Right In, country music is able to put you in front of a beautiful sunset with sandy feet, a beer in your hand, a suntanned señorita by your side, and not a care in the world.

If that’s not reason enough, country is your kind of music because it tackles two of the three fundamental pillars of life: drinking and being merry. Many of the most popular country songs today fully embody both. So if you’re looking for something new to sing along to, start with some good ol’ country!


 -Tom Pettersen

[1] The Nielsen Company. (2014, February 20). Country Music’s Young Blood Is Driving Its Growing Popularity. Retrieved from Nielsen:



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