Living legend Kenny Rogers will be the first person to agree that country music is currently undergoing some major changes. With all the crossover collaborations with artists from the pop, rock and hip-hop worlds, the presence of beat tracks underneath songs on country radio, the endless barrage of lyrics about tailgating and cutoff jeans, mainstream country sounds different than it did just a few years ago.
You’d think an icon like Rogers, responsible for molding an era in country with songs like “Lady,” “The Gambler” and “Islands in the Stream” would be concerned about the evolution the genre is currently experiencing.
But he’s not. Are you shocked?
When CMT Radio sat down with Rogers last week before his Sunday night (Oct. 27) induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, he told us these changes are a good thing.
“Country music has taken on a whole new life, and the good news is it’s bringing in a lot of kids to country music that might be listening to rap music or something much more detrimental,” he said. “So I say be thankful for what we have. When it’s time to change, it’ll change.”
He’s totally right, of course, that the nature of this business and art itself is always changing, evolving and cycling back around. No wonder he’s one of country music’s finest ambassadors.
During next week’s 47th annual CMA Awards show in Nashville, he’ll receive the prestigious Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award and be honored with tribute performances from Jennifer Nettles, Rascal Flatts and Darius Rucker.