...at least in the most popular stuff. I guess there are artists out there doing the real thing and I just don't know about them. But the fact remains that the most popular stuff is embarrassingly superficial, even to a guy who doesn't have a dog in the proverbial race. I imagine fans of real country music (purists of the genre) are getting headaches, at this point, from grinding their teeth every time Luke Bryan comes out with a new tune. Just look as far as some of the titles of songs we play (which are the only modern country songs I know, really):
Then, there are those that may not have specifically "country" titles but that are all about being country, like "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" (Okay -- that's devilishly clever, but it still references "giggin' frogs" in the song.) Or, "Boys 'Round Here," "here," being, you know, out in the country ("You don't do the Dougie?" "Naw, not in Kentucky."). Or "Cruise," in which a country Casanova, a poet of the highest order, tells his Juliet that a "brand new Chevy with a lift kit would look a helluva lot better with [her] up in it."
I guess, to a great extent, country music has often been about country life, even in the old days, but, it seems to me, from the classic tunes I know, it was more about real life and less about quick references to "ice-cold beer," catfish and pickup trucks with pretty women on them dancing under the KC lights ("country girl, shake it for me...").
I just looked over a list of the "Top 500" country songs and found (and remembered some) titles like:
"Three Chords and the Truth"
"Ships That Don't Come In"
"Your Cheatin' Heart"
"I Walk The Line"
These titles just seem a bit more dignified and a heck of a lot more ambitious, if only in a slightly commercial way.
I dunno. I think I would be mad if I were into real country music. As it stands, I am mildy amused and I enjoy putting impotent parameters on the band, like that I have a three-song limit for mention of catfish and will not play any more songs with said reference.
And I'm not complaining. Luke Bryan rocks. (But, is he supposed to?)