Rednecks, White Socks, and Piña Coladas?: Country Music Ain’t What It Used to Be . . . And It Really Never Was

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Rednecks, White Socks, and Piña Coladas?: Country Music Ain’t What It Used to Be . . . And It Really Never Was

by James C. Cobb
Southern Cultures, Vol. 5, No. 4: Winter 1999

"Does old Hank really spin in his grave each time Garth Brooks launches a new mega-tour?"

Just the other day, I read a lengthy piece suggesting that the Grand Ole Opry is about to fade away. Fans of “contemporary” country apparently don’t find Little Jimmy Dickens or Porter Waggoner terribly relevant, and the current chartbusters among the younger generation of artists are loathe to forgo the big bucks from lucrative road gigs for the paltry $500 or so that the Opry pays. Such news is certain to set off a new season of wailing and hand-wringing from those who fear the imminent demise of so-called “traditional” country music. Before we get too lathered up, however, let me point out that we’ve heard all this before. Actually every time Garth Brooks or one of his big-hatted buddies kicks off another over-hyped mega-tour or cuts a new CD, somebody tells us that if ol’ Hank were alive today, he’d be spinning in his grave.