Blake Shelton is on video stating:
“If I am ‘Male Vocalist of the Year’ that must mean that I’m one of those people now that gets to decide if it moves forward and if it moves on,” said Blake. “Country music has to evolve in order to survive. Nobody wants to listen to their grandpa’s music. And I don’t care how many of these old farts around Nashville going, ‘My God, that ain’t country!’ Well that’s because you don’t buy records anymore, jackass. The kids do, and they don’t want to buy the music you were buying.”
Poor choice of words, perhaps, in “old farts” and “jackass”, but the rest is mostly true. Music evolves, not just country, whether we like it or not, because tastes change and target audiences change. Otherwise, the Foo Fighters would be emulating Led Zeppelin and Bruno Mars would be emulating Billy Joel. A nice thought for us old farts, perhaps, but I’m sure that most of us are thankful that 70s rock music evolved from Herman’s Hermits and Donovan.
Ray Price may have publicly admonished Blake, but when was the last time Price had a CD racing up the charts? It’s sales and commissions that keep the industry alive. Ray Price & George Jones CDs can be found in the bargain bin and classic country stations can be found, but aren’t exactly all the rage in this age. Blake may not be entirely correct when he says that nobody wants to listen to their grandpa’s music, but he is correct when he says that nobody’s buying it.
It’s amazing how hyper-sensitive some get just from the phrase “old farts”. Did they really think he was talking directly to them… when they conveniently slice off the full phrase he used: “old farts around Nashville”? I won’t claim to understand what he meant by that, but I will make the claim that he’s no fool to attack his fan base in that manner.
I won’t deny that Blake is a brash man who takes full advantage of a teddy bear act to exercise his 1st Amendment rights. He may not be the most politically correct person around, but read between the lines and I think that you’ll find the same amount of truth that you can find from any other free talker that you just happen to agree with.
So, as an exercise in political correctness, let’s clean up the above statement as though he had a PR guru sitting next to him in the interview:
“If I am ‘Male Vocalist of the Year’ that must mean that I’m one of those people now that gets to decide if it moves forward and if it moves on,” said Blake. “Country music has to evolve in order to survive. These days, there are not many who want to listen to their grandpa’s music. And I don’t care how many of these Nashville suits going, ‘My God, that ain’t country!’ Well that’s because you don’t buy records anymore, sir. The kids do, and they don’t want to buy the music you were buying.”
There, does that make any more sense to some and protect the sensibilities of others? If spoken this way, I guarantee that it wouldn’t have even been a blip on the radar. You may call him a sellout; I’ll just call him an artist who is just trying to be a businessman. He wasn’t the first, he won’t be the last and most of them haven’t done too badly 🙂