Why do we have reality television shows featuring “country stars” that wouldn’t ever make a dollar tip in the pickle jar at Tootsie’s in Nashville? Or could they entertain a crowd of good country folks at Austin City Saloon in Lexington, Kentucky? Over the years, we’ve had “American Idol,” “Nashville Star,” “X-Factor,” and “The Voice.” It seems as though one or more contestants are pushed to be the chosen country music star.
After watching last night’s “The Voice” with Raelynn painfully singing “She’s Country,” our heads are still asking why is she there. From the fake accent, pitchy vocals, and bouncing around on stage, it was just an overall mess. It appears as though Blake Shelton is grooming her to be “the next Miranda Lambert” just as American Idol tried to make Scotty McCreery “the next Josh Turner.” Here’s a little secret for the show producers/judges – we already have those people in country music, we don’t need another!
As soon as Adele came out with her sultry voice, record label executives immediately wanted to try to find “the next Adele.” It was the same with Taylor Swift, George Strait, Jason Aldean, and others. As country music fans, we would rather hear the original, not a duplicate. By having a duplicate of someone who is already out there can make it hard for the newcomer to make a name for himself.
Remember the first time you heard “I’m a Little More Country Than That.” Who did you think it was – George Strait or newcomer Easton Corbin? Many were fooled that it wasn’t Strait, but instead Florida native Easton Corbin. It helped somewhat with relatively success on the charts with his music. To this day though, many will think it was George Strait that sang the song, not Easton.
Let me introduce you to a few talented country music singers that you can find playing here in Kentucky, as well as some that you can find down on Broadway in Nashville. Compare them to the reality tv show contestants.
Buddy Owens: You may not recognize the name, but you will recognize one of his songs as being the title track of Blake Shelton’s newest album, “Red River Blue.” His home is in a honky tonk and his voice is fitting to hear on stage and on the radio. The honest, hardworking singer is also an excellent painter. His portraits of Hank Williams, Waylon, Loretta Lynn, and more are excellent works of art.
Wayne Mills: This Alabama native is tall and strong on talent as well as songwriting. He pays homage to his honky tonk heroes, but knows how to make a household name for himself. Having released over 5 albums, he’s been in the business for quite some time. Check out “Last Honky Tonk” for your musical pleasure.
Fifth on the Floor: Kentucky natives Fifth on the Floor are gaining more national attention thanks to Shooter Jennings recommending them to others. The son of Waylon provided his own stamp of approval by going in the studio with the band to produce their newest album. Personal recommendation to listen to is “Music City Burning Down.”
Puddin Howell: Another Kentucky native who loves to have a good time and keep the country in country music. You won’t find any fluff, pop, or fancy lights at his shows. You will only get honest music by an honest man. Check out “Skin Er Back” the next time you see him live and you’ll see a crowd up on their feet dancing.
Who else would you recommend that has more talent than a reality tv show contestant? Who should fans really pay attention to?
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Hollercast podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.