Country Music's newest marketing ploy. Not that I'm exactly against it, but let's call a spade a spade. In a world of slicked up Shania's, Faith Hill's, and Sara Evans's - a down home lookin' Gretchen Wilson is alot better. She looks like someone you could grab a beer and shoot pool with. And up until she was launched into the super stratosphere of stardom, you probably could.
Let me explain what brought this up: CMT's Outlaw concert aired this weekend with performances by Gretchen Wilson, Big & Rich, Hank Jr., Tanya Tucker, Montgomery Gentry, Kid Rock, James Hetfield (of Metallica), and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
The point of the concert was to showcase those sort of playing outside the mainstream of country and rock. They project the bad boy/girl image in the tradition of Waylon, Willie, and Johnny... whether they are or not. Big & Rich aren't exactly the most outlaw kind of guys of the group. They are loud party people. Their concerts are just one big happy jam session. It's all about feelin' good. I'm more afraid of Kid Rock than I am of Big & Rich or Montgomery Gentry.
Contrast that with Johnny Cash. There is no comparison. Johnny made no bones about his music or who he was. No apologies. No regrets. He made the music he wanted to make, and later in his life, it was only AFTER MTV and VH1 picked up "Hurt" that the music industry in Nashville started to pay attention again. If you don't own them already, go get the last 4 albums Johnny Cash recorded: American Recordings, Unchained, Solitary Man and The Man Comes Around. Good music.
And Hank Jr. had as much bling bling on as Puffy. My dad was always so tickled to say that Bocephus was one of his customers. We were like sure Dad. Hank Jr. bought a metal detector. Well, one day, my brother was watching the store for dad. Phone rings. "Hey. This is Bocephus. Is John there?"
*picture UT Man speechless* "Uh... no. He isn't here right now. May I take a message?"
"Yeah..... tell him Hank Jr. called."