Dear Whiskey Riff…


I know, I know, I shouldn’t give an outlet like Whiskey Riff the time of day, especially when I know I’m only doing what they want. However, as someone who found their latest article on why we all hate mainstream country music INCREDIBLY offensive, I can’t just sit by. I get that it will ultimately change nothing, but…screw it.

So what is this article all about? Well, nothing that ultimately makes sense of course, but what it basically states is that those who dislike mainstream country music must have been geeks in high school who are simply jealous that they couldn’t be the big bad jocks. Wes Langeler, the author, immediately compares to country music to this, with acts such as Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan and Sam Hunt representing the jocks, and someone like you or me the jealous geek. Moreover, the reason this stuff is so popular is because a large amount of the public identifies with it, you know, riding around in trucks, drinking beer, being sexist, drunken pigs…you know, the works. And of course, little ol’ blogger over here is just jealous that he didn’t get to get in on that.

For starters Mr. Langeler, your argument is a slice of swiss cheese, not completely wrong, but still full of so many holes that it isn’t funny. Let’s talk about the three examples of the artists you used – Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, and Sam Hunt. Sure, I can’t argue that Sam Hunt is massively popular, but your other guys? Well, Luke is still popular and all, but he’s got a song out at radio right now that talks about turning into an old fart and how the old days are behind him. Yeah, he’s had “Move” and “That’s My Kind Of Night”, but in terms of your argument that many of these artists are singing about riding around in trucks and drinking beer, aren’t you a couple years late with this? Moreover, are Florida Georgia Line still the cream of the crop? They just lost the duo of the year award not once, but TWICE to Brothers Osborne, an act that has been very outspoken at the genre at times. Are they jealous? Are they losers? Nevermind, let’s get back to Florida Georgia Line. They’ve got a song out right now with the freakin’ Backstreet Boys (who I’m sure in your example would be those “weird” theater kids, right?) that’s way too sweet and schmaltzy for those jocks to appreciate. I mean heck, what’s to say that song isn’t even a love letter for their future kids? I thought jocks focused on the here and now and didn’t care about the future? Oh wait, am I being stereotypical? Well I guess it’s time for the next part, isn’t it?

No matter what sample size you used to concoct your analogy, at the end of the day, making assumptions about anybody before you even meet them is completely rude. Now, none of us are totally off the hook with this, and this is one of the few moments of this article where you may be right. I recently wrote about how music criticism needs to be more focused on the music at hand rather than the artist’s personality (shocker, I wrote it in response to another bad article), and that’s something we can all improve on. I also get that that’s the overall point of your piece – to show that the mockery of the mainstream is getting tiring. I get that.

But it doesn’t excuse the fact that the avenue you took to get to your point is literred with remarks that are offensive, non-sensical, and quite frankly, fucking stupid. The truth is, you accuse us independent country fans as stuck-up snobs who probably live in their mother’s basement and like their music to fit into a box, but the truth is, YOU’RE the one putting people into boxes, boxes that reflect ugly stereotypes.

You want to know the truth, Whiskey Riff? I somewhat fit your description of what you think I am. I wasn’t a star athlete in school, and while I was often the class clown in all of my classes (meaning that yes, I did have friends – friends I STILL keep in touch with), I was also an introverted music nerd who was just as happy with his earbuds in, lost in my own little world. I must be like Eric Church in a way, a music nerd who isn’t interested in much else.

Now, I get what your reply might be. “Thanks for proving our point, you connect to the music you understand”. Well, again – Swiss cheese. It’s partly true and partly not true. Eric Church only embraced that introverted music nerd in him on his last album, and I’ve been a fan of the guy ever since “Sinners Like Me”. I’ve never been to prison, and therefore I can’t connect to a song like “Lightning”. I’ll be damned if it doesn’t hit me every time though.

You want another example? Fine, we’ll play your game, how about Brantley Gilbert? Oh right, I can’t possibly like anything by him, right? Well hell, I’ll be damned if songs like “Modern Day Prodigal Son”, “Halfway To Heaven” or “Three Feet Of Water” (which I named as one of my favorite songs of the year so far) don’t get to me despite never suffering from alcoholism. If you want to go with a jock example, I love Luke Bryan’s “We Rode In Trucks” because there’s a real sentimental value to it, and it really gives me a better picture of how those days really influenced Luke rather than “yeah girl, hand me another beer!”

One doesn’t have to relate to a song to enjoy it or feel something from it, and moreover, the fact that I can’t relate to riding around with my friends being a drunken asshole doesn’t mean that’s the sole reason I hate or am jealous of the artists that make that music.

Actually, let’s throw hate and jealously completely out the window, shall we? Why bring those into the equation? We’re talking about music here. Luke Bryan and Thomas Rhett seem like two of the nicest guys out there, and someone like Brett Eldredge would probably be a ton of fun to hang out with. That doesn’t mean I’m a consistent fan of their music, and it doesn’t mean that I have some personal vendetta against any of them.

The reason I’m frustrated with the current state of mainstream country music (despite it showing some great improvements recently) is because the songs have no meaning behind them. I get that doing the whole bro thing may have been your thing, but you seriously didn’t do SOMETHING else in your teenage years? Hell, that kind of one dimensonial lifestyle doesn’t sound like something anyone would be jealous of. I was busy busting my ass in school to make my family proud, and I had no care to be popular.

As for the songs, well, again, the bro thing is already past us for the most part save for a few outliers. Nowadays we seem to be reverting back to the sleepy pop-country that occurred in the mid 80’s, so again, this article almost screams as “too little, too late”. It’s not wrong to want music pitched to the country format to sound you know, country. Besides that, what’s wrong with people voicing their opinions on music? We all have a right to an opinion, and while some of us take those too far sometimes (myself included), social status isn’t an excuse for being exempt from criticism. We DO promote those “artists that may be underappreciated”, and sometimes they suck too. It’s all just opinions on music, my friend.

But whatever, if you want to paint the people who weren’t jocks as losers or say that WE’RE the close minded ones Whiskey Riff, go ahead. But it’s not a fair or accurate representation of all of us out here. I gave you a taste of my personal backstory, and I guar-an-damn-tee everyone else has a different story from one another. Try to listen and respect opinions rather than simply attack. To quote Drew Holcomb ONCE AGAIN,

“try to listen, not to shout.
Hold your opinions loosely maybe you’re not always right.”

Also, remember if jocks are your “end all be all” example how some of them turn out…

Al Bundy


2 thoughts on “Dear Whiskey Riff…

  1. This is a great response, Leon. That Whiskey Riff article is a bunch of bs. I laughed out loud at the part of Luke Bryan, FGL, and Sam Hunt were “good looking”. Are they fucking kidding me? At the ripe old age of 21, I must be the only girl my age that do not find those said artists attractive nor enjoy their music. Personally, I am more interested in Jon Pardi, William Michael Morgan, Mark Wystrach (from Midland), and Jess Carson (also from Midland). Those guys make great music that respects the genre (the most important thing), and are also incredibly hot (what can I say, I can’t resist a cowboy 😉 ) as an added bonus. So in my opinion, dream guys, if you will.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And I’ll tell you what I miss–I miss hearing sad songs loaded with fiddle and steel on country radio. It seems to me that 70-75% of mainstream country radio nowadays is nothing but one big happy-happy-joy-joy cornfield party. I want to hear music about real life. I don’t want to hear about screwing on a tailgate and partying every weekend. I miss and long for the days when country music was predominantly about everyday people and real life. I miss fiddles, steel guitars, and honest, raw storytelling.

    Liked by 1 person

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