I’m not a historian, but anyone looking at Fox News’ list of the biggest feuds in country music can probably see a pattern.
The pattern is that something big happens about every 10 years. Which obviously means some sort of feud is going to happen in 2023.
On the Fox News list, the first documented feud was in 1965 when Johnny Cash was banned from the Grand Ole Opry. He’d broken all the stage lights with his microphone stand, so there’s not much of a surprise there. Fast forward almost 10 years — to 1974 — when Dolly Parton quit Porter Wagoner’s show after putting up with his chauvinism for seven years.
On the other hand, the ’80s were relatively quiet, feudwise.
But then in 1993, Billy Ray Cyrus reignited his feud with Travis Tritt, who had called Cyrus’ debut hit “Achy Breaky Heart” frivolous. Later, when Cyrus won an American Music Award, he said during his acceptance speech, “As far as I’m concerned, to those people who don’t like ’Achy Breaky Heart,’ here’s a quarter, call someone who cares,” referencing Tritt’s 1991 song.
That brings us to the trifecta of feuds that consumed us in 2013. Zac Brown Band vs. Luke Bryan. Eric Church vs. Reality Show Winners. Gary Allan vs. Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood. Their fights were just your average I’m-countrier-than-you-are disputes. (Thankfully, it seems that’s a point that we can now agree to disagree on.)
But if the pattern stays true, I think another feud might break out in 2023. Maybe some of the newest and youngest artists of today — I refuse to name names — will be at the center of some kind of bitter dispute. If you have any predictions, say so now. We’ll revisit it in 10 years and see who was right.