Songs That Defy Tom Petty's View Country is 'Bad Rock With a Fiddle'
In answering a question about contemporary country music — which during a Beacon Theater show this past May he called "bad rock with a fiddle" — he replies, "I hate to generalize on a whole genre of music," and then proceeds to generalize on a whole genre of music.
Today's country landscape, Petty feels, "does seem to be missing that magic element that it used to have. I don't really see a George Jones or a Buck Owens or any anything that fresh coming up.
"I'm sure there must be somebody doing it, but most of that music reminds me of rock in the middle Eighties where it became incredibly generic and relied on videos."
He then finishes by saying, "I don't want to rail on about country because I don't really know much about it, but that's what it seems like to me."
Since Petty admits he doesn't really "know much about" contemporary country, we figured we'd help him out with a few favorite artists and songs from the last few years.
1. Kacey Musgraves, "Merry Go 'Round": "Merry Go 'Round" is among the strongest, smartest and most forward-thinking songs to hit the country Top Ten in ages. Musgraves makes brave, insightful comments about the world as she sees it, but she does it with warmth and just enough humor that it never feels deprecating.
2. Miranda Lambert, "The House That Built Me": Lambert has a fiery reputation, and she sings plenty of confrontational material ("Gunpower and Lead," anyone?). But for this song, she strips away that exterior puts focus on the power of the melody and words. She didn't write it (Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin did), but she made it her own.
3. Eric Church, "Springsteen": The song title alone makes this at least a curiosity to rock fans, but at its heart "Springsteen" is about the power of memory–how a single song can instantaneously take you back to a specific time and place. See seven more songs.
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