Sometimes life can become a little monotonous. I believe it was the great Albert Einstein who once said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” That is certainly true for some musicians, who sometimes have an itch that their current genre of music is unable to scratch. What’s left to do, other than try something new?
Every now and then, someone who is a little bit rock and roll decides to see what it might be like to be a little bit country instead. Here’s a small sample of the times a rocker decided to go country, with varying results.
Though genre-bending into country wasn’t too much of a stretch for the alternative rock and folk singer, Mayer is one of the few success stories on this list. Mayer’s fifth and sixth studio albums titled Born and Raised and Paradise Valley, respectively, blended the musicians alternative-sound with one that American Songwriter explained was kindred to “a mix of Laurel Canyon folk and California country-rock.”
There were plenty of potential reasons that Mayer made the switch to country, as he was not only recovering from a case of granuloma on his vocal chords, but a self-described “recovering ego addict.” After retreating to Montana after losing his voice, he claimed to have found himself culturally, realizing the spotlight is overrated. He recounted that his time in “Big Sky Country” served as the inspiration for Paradise Valley.
From Hootie & the Blowfish to award-winning country artist, Darius Rucker experienced a career revival when he made the change. After finding nationwide success with Hootie & the Blowfish after the band’s formation in 1986, Rucker went solo into a successful career as a country music artist, most notably with his Grammy-award winning cover of “Wagon Wheel” in 2013.
It wasn’t all the bee’s knees, as Rucker first dipped into R&B after leaving Hootie, however the album was never officially released. Probably for the best, as “Wagon Wheel” has surely solidified itself as the most-played song on guitar at a college pre-game since “Wonderwall.”
Finally someone answered the question, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home?” When the band teamed up with country music singer Jennifer Nettles for this ode to Jon Bon Jovi’s home of New Jersey, it was as confusing as it was everywhere. It reached number one on Billboard’s Hot Country charts, but had diehard fans wondering what happened to the band that was wanted, dead or alive. On the other hand, maybe they shouldn’t have expected any fan-service from the guy who sang, “it’s my life, it’s now or never.”
Just released on July 15, 2016, Steven Tyler’s country album is unfortunately a real thing. To paraphrase his band’s smash hit from the 1998 film Armageddon, I do want to miss this thing. There’s not much else to say about it, just listen (or don’t, and continue living a much happier life).
THE WAIT, WHY?
Aaron Lewis of Staind
For all intents and purposes, Aaron Lewis has found a lot of success in the country genre, reaching number one on the Country Albums chart with his debut EP Town Line. However, one must beg the question, why? Why did the lead singer of Staind choose to stray So Far Away from the hard rock genre? “I’m not a fan of what’s for the most part coming out of Nashville these days,” Lewis said. “It’s pop music; it’s not country music.” Well, I guess It’s Been Awhile since we’ve seen that honesty from someone in the industry, so more power to him.
Honorable Mention: Kiefer Sutherland
Kiefer Sutherland recently released a country music video called “Not Enough Whiskey” and it’s everything you never wanted.
Article by Scott Zaleski.
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