Friday, March 17, 2006

Lonestar: The Air Supply of Country Music

It's rodeo time in Houston, and RodeoHouston rolls on tonight with the featured musical act being Lonestar. There was a rather amusing blurb in today's Houston Chronicle:
The Tennessee band with the Texas name has, over the past 12 years, moved its sound further away from the classic country that defined it early on. In the process, Lonestar has pulled in millions of fans with its pop-tinged country fare like Amazed and My Front Porch Looking In.
Well, I don't know about that whole "classic country" sound that "defined it early on." I didn't go buy Lonestar's first couple of cds, but from what I heard of them sounded like what they've been doing all along, although with the schlock-o-meter turned down from what it is now. As for the millions of fans they've pulled in with the bubble-gum dreck they've been doing as of late...well, I daresay it's fans like that who are the reason mainstream country music is in the sorry shape it's in. Many people will say that Lonestar, Tim, Faith, etc. are "a different kind of country." I guess you could say that -- if you called that kind what it really is, "country music for people who don't like country music." I've heard Lonestar called the Air Supply of country music, and with songs like "Smile," Not A Day Goes By," and "Let's Be Us Again," that charaterization is quite difficult to dispute. And the likes of "My Front Porch Looking In" and "Mr. Mom" catapulted these guys into a heretofore-unknown level of suck. Cross Canadian Ragweed frontman Cody Canada's comments come to mind:

Nobody wants to hear about you being drunk and losing everything. They want to know how snappy you dance...Some of that music — the majority of it, I guess — just doesn’t have traction. I’m about to have a kid, but if I write a song about sippy cups and being Mr. Mom, shoot me.
Yes, indeed. When the Dixie Chicks made their infamous comments on that London stage in the run-up to Gulf War II, I remember thinking, "if I was gonna be ashamed of anything being from Texas, it'd be the band Lonestar." I know they were referred to in the Chron article as "the Tennessee band with the Texas name," but as I recall, they (or at least a number of their members) hail from the Dallas area. Maybe that was just John Rich. It would be fitting, as he seemed to be the only thing in the band that kept them from going completely over the bubble-gum pop cliff. How ironic he's since become one-half of the biggest joke in "country" music since Eilleen Lange came rolling down the pike 11 years ago. They oughta change their name. Let a real Texas country band have the name. Of course, the band that has the name now has arguably tainted it forever, or at least a long, long time...