What's the best country music collaboration

Breaking up stereotypesBlack musicians on the country charts

Music: Jimmie Allen - "Best Shot"

Anyone who knows a bit about the history of the genre knows that country has never been as sparkling white as it was on the surface for a long time. Country has its roots in folk and blues, well-known country singers such as Hank Williams and Bill Monroe learned their craft from blues musicians. The African American guitarist Lesley Riddle had a great influence on the music of the Carter Family and has thus decisively shaped the genre. Riddle moved with A.P. Carter across the country collecting and recording songs.

Music: Carter Family - "I know what it means to be lonesome"

Music sorted by ethnic group

So the cultural legacy of former slaves has always been there in the country. It is thanks to the industry that in segregated America music was also marketed according to ethnic group: so-called race music and blues on the one hand, country on the other. Musicians like Ray Charles, Tina Turner or the Pointer Sisters released country records in the 60s and 70s. Still, when James Brown performed at the legendary Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville in March 1979, many people responded with outrage. At the invitation of country legend Porter Wagoner, he played a medley of various hits and concluded with his own song "I feel good". For some supposed keepers of tradition, an affront.

Music: James Brown - "I feel good"

And when Jimmie Allen moved from the east coast to Nashville in 2007 to gain a foothold in the music business, he too had to drill some big boards. He couldn't find a label for a long time, slept in his car and worked as a waiter and caretaker. After the success of his first single, this should no longer be necessary in the future.

Music: Jimmie Allen - "All tractors ain't green"

Criticism of police violence

In the song "All tractors ain't green" on his debut album "Mercury Lane", Allen carefully addresses his skin color: "Kind of like the cover in a book / I might sound a little different than I look". His colleague Kane Brown is less reserved: in "American Bad Dream" he explicitly criticizes police violence - and that in a country rock song.

Music: Kane Brown - American Bad Dream

Brown's album "Experiment" landed at number one on the country and pop charts, he has over a million fans on Facebook and otherwise this breaking of taboos doesn't seem to have harmed him. In general, the reactions to the music of Jimmie Allen, Kane Brown or the singer Mickey Guyton are positive across the board. Allen's first appearance in the Grand Ole Opry in May 2018 was celebrated with stormy applause. In the comments on YouTube it says: Finally a little more diversity in the country! 40 years after James Brown's Opry appearance, it is high time for it.