Political and societal pressures are changing country music for the worse, according to John Rich.
In an interview with PragerU, John Rich, of the country duo Big & Rich, tells the story of his start in country music, his experience being a part of the band Lonestar, how he came to write songs for some of the biggest names in country music, and more.
Rich goes on to discuss the “wave of wokeism” that is prevalent in much of society today, and how it has made its way to Nashville and country music. He explains that artists are now told by their publicists, managers, and heads of record labels what they can and cannot say, record, and even post on social media. He adds that these authorities “completely control” the artists.
“The artist only has two choices at that point: Do they want to go have the career that’s been their dream? Do they play the game, go forward, and just don’t step on these landmines? Or do they go out and hit the trip wires and light the place up?”
Rich adds that if artists choose the latter option, they risk losing their record deal, being excluded from awards shows, and getting cut from the radio. “It will basically erase their career,” says Rich.
Is there freedom in art in Nashville?
John Rich’s answer to this question is clear, “Absolutely not.”
“To make authentic art, whether it’s music, films, or whatever – the artist needs to have free reign over whatever it is they’ve got in their mind… So when you start building walls and barriers and parameters and protocols around artists, then the art is dying.”
Rich parallels the struggle that musicians musicians face to walk the line of political correctness to that of comedians being forced to pick and choose what jokes they say for fear of being canceled.
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John Rich feels that many classic country artists would not be accepted by society today.
Rich touches on the common observation that there is a lack of “real country” in modern country music, expressing that it is a direct result of the societal and political pressures that have leaked into the music industry.
“If you’re wondering why there’s no Johnny Cashs, or Waylon Jennings, or Loretta Lynns – well there’s a good reason for that. None of those people would have been allowed to exist today.”
Watch the complete interview with John Rich and PragerU below!