Country music, like so many other genres, has lost some of its authenticity over the years.
But its never felt more phony than Colt Ford, who will headline Nov. 7 at Boises Knitting Factory.
Ford, 42, is a country rapper.
Look, Ive heard the argument: That todays country fans load their iPods with Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift and Lil Wayne, then hit random and happily steer their combines.
Im aware that Jason Aldeans rap-inseminated hit, Dirt Road Anthem, is a genetic mutation that Ford originally co-wrote and recorded with nearly equally painful singer Brantley Gilbert.
What I cant comprehend is how folks fathom that creating an unholy matrimony of country and hip-hop genres surviving on their own is natural, innovative or progressive. (OK, it was sort of funny when Swift rapped with T-Pain: I knit sweaters, yo!)
Aldean should not rap. Cowboy Troy should not rap. Gangstagrass probably should not rap, even though I find that acts bluegrass fusion (see the theme to FXs series Justified) slightly more tolerable.
Ford definitely should not rap.
A Georgia-raised ex-golf pro, Ford appeared in 2008 and has won a fan base of confused suckers. Lets be kind: The dude is no Eminem. And his cliche-packed rhymes? Trucks, fishin holes, dirt roads, squirrel huntin, small towns. Yeah, I get it hes country and real.
I grew up in the rural routes, he brags on a new cut with Aldean, Drivin Around Song. Me, too, dawg! With a tractor, Angus cattle I even attended a one-room school like Laura Ingalls freakin Wilder. (Seriously.) Yet, inexplicably, hearing Fords rhymes is like holding a dry cowpie to my ear.
Country radio hasnt been particularly welcoming. Ford isnt getting any regular airplay in Boise. But hes made fast friends in Nashville.
I think hes highly respected for his songwriting, because hes so talented, says Alana Lynn, morning-show host at Boise station Wow Country 104.3 FM, which is giving away tickets to Fords concert.
Alrighty then. Tim McGraw and Eric Church have made appearances in Ford songs. Kix Brooks, Montgomery Gentry and Darius Rucker show up on his new album, Declaration of Independence. It hit No. 1 on Billboards country chart and No. 2 on its rap chart.
This must be the work of Lucifer.
Repeat: Country and rap do not mix. They aint biscuits and gravy.
Wow 104.3 got negative feedback for spinning Aldeans Dirt Road Anthem, says program director Dan Matthews. THAT AINT COUNTRY! callers griped.
But other listeners loved it. And although Matthews remains unconvinced that Ford will take country-rap deep into the mainstream, we probably need to prepare our purist souls for the inevitable next wave.
I think somebody will break through with this, Matthews says. And I think that when they do, they will cite Colt as a reason for their success.
Will Colt break through? he guesses. ... Probably not.
Shucks, maybe country radio just isnt ready for Ford despite the fact the man born Jason Brown apparently even used an Automatic Country Music Name Generator to create his stage persona. (Hey, how about a gun for a first name and a pickup for a last name? Colt Ford! Now that theres country! Yessiree! U.S.A.!)
I dont mind that Ford makes me think of Chumley from Pawn Stars rapping in a cowboy hat. I dont flinch when he crows, Now what do you think ol Hank would say/Itd kill him if he still was alive today, during Hip Hop in a Honky Tonk.
(OK, I lied. That song bugs me. Lets all celebrate the urbanization of rural America while were at it.)
Its just that Fords music hurts my face. Unless someone appears with a tolerable breed of country-rap, the genre needs to be sent to the Music Row slaughterhouse.
Naturally, not everyone agrees.
Im the old guy, says Randy Scott, morning-show host at Wow. Im more of the old-school kind of country. And Im totally cool with it. Because you know what? Its evolving. And you evolve or you die.
Loan me a noose, cowboy.
Michael Deeds column runs Friday in Scene and Sunday in Life. He hosts The Other Studio at 9 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River and appears Thursdays on Channel 6 News.