Mark Chesnutt's Comments on Taylor Swift Not Country

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I ran across a blog entry over on CMT. Com titled "Mark Chesnutt Has Nothing Against Taylor Swift, But...." Well, when I read this one, I immediately knew my fingers would be conversing with you on this topic.

The article mentions a comment that Mark Chesnutt made on December 17 to The Salt Lake Tribune as he was promoting a concert stop there. Chesnutt's comment was "Nothing against her, but Taylor Swift is not traditional."

At first, I was like "duh," why was this being wrote about. Then, I noticed the posting included over 50 comments. I was amazed. Chesnutt is most certainly right. She is apart of the whole pop-country population of country music, just like I wrote about a few posts back. She isn't traditional country, like Chesnutt is most certainly is.

Now, my first issue comes with the writer of the blog entry. The blog begins like this:

When your career's not skyrocketing quite the way you planned, you have two choices. You can go with the flow and hope to ride the coattails of change. Or you can sound off about sticking to your roots, no matter how bitter it makes you seem.

Well. I don't believe that it has to do anything with his career. He most certainly has had a successful career, and continues to perform. Chesnutt would have made them same exact comment if he was at the top of the charts right now. But the above lines really got to me. Here is an artist that stands for tradition of true country music and takes pride in his artistic expression and the writer believes that he has two choices; either to sound off or ride the coattails... Please, he should be applauded (as I am) for his comments and in no way should an artist ever change to be consistent with the "popular" sound. He's not bitter; he is speaking the truth and being honest... nothing wrong with sharing his opinion, especially when asked.

Then, we have over 50 comments on this subject. From my count, 28 pro-Chesnutt remarks, 11 con-Chesnutt, and 15 or so that were commenting on other comments or had no opinion. So... 28-11. That in itself says a lot about country music's current trend of pop-country. The fans of country music are dying for the true sound. Maybe one day.

The comments ranged from someone saying that his comment made them want to go buy every album Chesnutt has recorded, thanking him for standing up, and another really interesting point made about how no longer that the artists pay their dues by playing for tips, on the street, anywhere they can for however how long for pennies to "make it" in the country music business. So very true now thinking about it, well, anyway, that's another day's post.

Some of the negative comments included things such as Chesnutt is jealous, rude, distasteful, and thinks Swift is country because she wins the awards and things. (Ha. That's funny.) Then there was the comment that traditional country is for grandparents and pop-country is for younger people. That's sad that this thought is out there.

With that sad, I am certainly glad mark Chesnutt said what he did and even more happy to see overall, people understand what he did say and majority believe in what he said. There is such a strong line between pop and traditional country music. I certainly hope in 2009 that some of the thoughts of true country music fans are heard and begin to hear true country music again.

7 Comments:

Anonymous said...

I like both Mark Chesnutt and Taylor Swift. The former has been a country superstar and continues to release superb indie albums, including this year's Rollin' With the Flow.

Swift is a talented songwriter and vocalist who writes and records music that's not country in topic, instrumentation or execution. That's not an insult, she's a fine pop artist; adding the barest thread of mandolin on one track does not country music make.

Chesnutt was being generous is saying she wasn't "traditional." She isn't country. Why anyone thinks otherwise, and why country music awards, radio airtime and magazine publicity are lavished upon her, is a mystery to me.

Anonymous said...

How does Chesnutt have any room to talk about Miss Swift when he himself went to pop country back in the 90's??? Chesnutt himself has recorded his share of pop songs too. Some of his biggest hits - “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing,” “Almost Goodbye,” and “She Dreams,” are basically pop songs with a steel guitar thrown in.

As for the author of this column I think you need to re-count how many post and the content. There are 128 post and more than 50% thought Chesnutt was wrong and basically dissing most of our coutry artist with that remark, he just chose to pick on a 19 year old young lady rather than someone like Tim McGraw who certainly has his share of non tradional pop country out that I love, and btw I love Taylor Swift also.

Kirk Fitzgerald said...

I did my counting when it had just over 50 posts, sorry that I dont have time to check the posts every few minutes to update this blog.

I think there were different times when Chesnutt had his crossovers, but I don't disagree with you on that point, however, Chesnutt is most certainly more traditional than Swift is, has been, and most likely ever will be.

Thanks for the comments.

Anonymous said...

The cool thing about country is that it is diverse. It is the only format that plays songs from 20 years ago, songs that sound like 20 years ago and the Rascal Flatts and Kenny Chesney and yes, Taylor Swift and Mark Chesnutt. In 1977, the Modern Country Format came about and boy were their howls of discontent from the "traditional country artists". "Damn kids" and "they are wrecking the format" comments were everywhere.
Rock would never play Nellie and then Frank Sinatra on the same station but Country will play George Jones followed by Kellie Pickler followed by Jewel. It is wonderful.
But today, it goes further, if you listen to your kid's IPOD, there will be Blue Grass, followed by RAP followed by George Strait.
Good music is good music.
Mark should get to know Taylor Swift. George Strait and Alan Jackson know that Taylor is not traditional, but they embrace her because she is bringing so many to the format. It's Mark's job to hook them once they are there. Mark's a great singer. And he is more Modern Country than Traditional Country. But the key is that country is the widest format and when you narrow it, you lose audience.
Mark and Taylor are very similar, they both tell stories. Mark does it his way and to Taylor's credit, Taylor is Taylor Swift, and does not appear to be trying to be anyone other than Taylor Swift. They are both on my IPOD. Diversity and change are why I listen to country music and why it is the best.

Anonymous said...

I agree with this your post competely. I personally find it sad that so much of country is now pop music. I'm 20 years old and I'd trade Taylor for Mark, George Jones.. Hank.. Tammy.. anyone actually country and talented any day, as I personally think a real country fan would.

I don't think this is a matter of the genre changing, it's sculpting country music to pop, making more people like it.. simply because it's pop music, not country. I've read an article of a band being turned away from Nashville for "being too country" it's a sad day in Nashville.....

When it comes to Taylor alone, she never was country and never will be.

Anonymous said...

The only reason country music embraces singers like swift is that country music is dying. Of course this does not mean that fans are dissipating-to the contrary. But cash is king. Frankly, every since the Patriotic period took over country during the Bush years, it very much stunted the growth of country music to the masses. Unfortunately, the Dixie Chicks were exciting and were doing great for the genre but after their "force out" country suffered as they had essentially destroyed their most popular ambassadors. Now, country is trying to cash in on the tiny-bopper phenomenon as it is a hot market, Miley Cyrus, Jonas bros, etc. and trying to get their foothold back on the radio waves. What perfect way of doing this than to exalt a new comer doesn't fit the genre and violates most of country music's rules in terms of lyrics and music beats and instrumentation. Just because it has a fiddle doesn't make it country. If that were the case, Remember the Dixie Midnight Runners song - Come on Ilene? Heck, they even had the word Dixie in their bands name

Matt said...

The thing is, that most of the media surrounding country music has already taken the time to embrace Taylor and the rest of the pop singers- like what CMT said about his career- which is a low blow to me. And Swift is not talented. Her singing live, without all the auto-tuners, is atrocious.
My personal hopes for country music lie in artists like Jamey Johnson, who really is "Between Jennings and Jones".
And to the last comment, where you said that "Country Music is Dying"- Its Dying because of artist like Taylor Swift, Kellie Pickler, Jewel, Jessica Simpson, etc, etc. Not due to any particular demerit of itself. Up North, we may only have one or two country stations playing majority modern country, but once you hit the Mason-Dixon, there are 10, 20 stations, with 90-95% playing more classic country than modern. I see now why country music was so against the George Strait song "Murder on Music Row"- because he sang the uncomfortable truth. And I have found the one who should be charged with that crime. She stands before you in the place of highest honor, which she does not deserve. I'll agree with The Possum- "what they need to do really, I think, is find their own title, because they're definitely not traditional country music." Why couldn't the presenter for Entertainer of the Year award taken his lead from Charlie Rich, and burned that envelope? If you don't know what I'm talking about: He burned the award for John Denver in 1975, on the grounds that he wasn't country enough. When did country music become so bland?