The front man of the legendary Western swing band, Asleep At The Wheel, Ray Benson isn't pleased with the direction that country music is going. In a recent interview Benson didn't hold any feelings back when asked what he though about modern country.
In the interview with Lowell Sun before a local Massachusetts appearance, he had some harsh words about today's country and specifically the reigning CMA and ACM Entertainer of the Year, Luke Bryan.
“You can relate to picking up girls, drinking beer and hot pants. The thematic stuff is what bothers me,” Benson said. “I don’t like Luke Bryan and those guys, because there’s no originality. Every song follows pretty much the same chord progression. That’s not a bad thing, in and of itself."
He went on to discuss some of the great country music classics, comparing modern country artists.
"Hank Williams used the same four chords, but there’s no melodic integrity and the words are just silly. You listen to Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Patsy Cline or Willie Nelson. None sound like the other. It’s individuality at its best. Patsy Cline was a pop singer, but with country sensibilities.”
Benson has always stayed a true supporter of preserving classic country music and it's traditions. He has only played the music he loves, without focusing on what is popular. He agrees today’s country music isn't all the same, and there are plenty of amazing artists out there just waiting to be heard.
“Let me qualify this by saying there’s great country music made today by lots of people, it’s just not getting on mainstream radio.”
These words come at a time when there seems to be a lot of strife between classic and modern country. Merle Haggard recently described modern country as “Crap,” and said it was all “The same band. The same sound."