Since country music is a fairly new genre for me I can still remember my first impressions of certain artists. I thought it might be kind of fun to explore some of them in case one day I forget. I’ll be able to come back, read this, and fondly remember when everything was new and fresh to me!
Little Big Town: I know, I always go on and on and ON about how it was “Pontoon” that got me into this group. I couldn’t wait to hear the song on the radio and whenever it did come on I stopped whatever I was doing (conversations, driving, eating, etc). I had never heard of them prior to hearing “Pontoon” on the radio. I patiently waited for the new album to come out, Tornado, in September of 2012. I participated in the activities they held with social media that gave you access to listen to a different song each day. With songs like “Leaving in Your Eyes” and even the mellow “Can’t Go Back”, I realized that LBT is the Fleetwood Mac of country! They just have that sound and of course the harmonies. My impression of LBT is still the same, they’re amazing and I cannot wait for the new album to drop.
Blake Shelton: My first introduction to Blake was his then current single “Over”. I hated it. I didn’t like him. While I still don’t care for that song, I’m a big Blake fan now. Something about that song just does not do it for me, but hey that happens, you don’t like every single song your favorites release. I was not familiar with Blake prior to listening to country radio and obviously did not watch The Voice. However, when I started to get into listening to Blake’s other music I began watching The Voice and I still laugh at his ass each season!
Miranda Lambert: In the spring of 2012 Miranda’s single was “Over You”, and I thought it was weird how husband and wife both had a single out at the same time with similar titles. Something about the video for “Over You” didn’t set well with me and I brushed it off. I brushed this beautiful song off all together because I remember thinking “this isn’t country and it’s too mellow”. Well, as a flip to my impression of Blake, I eventually grew to love this song. It honestly could be one of my favorite songs of all time. I’ve watched the Backstory on GAC about it, I’ve seen their amazing performance of it on The Voice, and I remember the moment that changed my mind about it. Miranda performed it on TV for the CMT Artists of the Year special in 2012. It’s a truly special song that transcends genre.
Lady Antebellum: Since I became a huge Little Big Town fan as soon as I got into country, I felt I couldn’t like this other vocal group. I guess I saw Lady A as some kind of competition, and honestly that’s probably because I was new. Now I know that the genre as a whole is one big family that supports one another, and it’s not about competition. Eventually I warmed up to Lady A, even though I have a tough time labeling them as country. I know they’re pop, I’m not slow, but I do like them. I’ve seen them in concert and they always come off as very nice people. This group is so popular that they have introduced a lot of new fans to country music.
Kacey Musgraves: Her first single was “Merry Go Round” and to this day I still don’t like it. With that being the only song I had heard of hers, I saw her open for Little Big town in 2013. Although I didn’t know any of the songs I liked that she seemed very proud of being “country”, because she had the whole trailer theme goin’ on during the show. I remember liking “Blowin’ Smoke” but at the time I forgot about it until it was released as a single. After loving a few of her songs and I then sought out to find the physical album in stores and that turned into a long journey (which always happens whenever I REALLY want something), so I had to order it online. This girl is something to watch because she is so different. An added bonus, she writes!
Brantley Gilbert: My first country concert was Toby Keith in the summer of 2012 and Brantley was an opener. Since rock bands don’t like to have artists with radio hits open for them I assumed that was the case for country. I was dead wrong. Everyone in the place was singing along to Brantley’s songs as if he was the opener! That’s amazing! I do like a few of his songs and I’ve watched as he’s gotten bigger over the last two years. One thing I noticed about his live show is he tends to deepen his voice too much, I wonder if he still does that? But he showed me one of the many differences that set country music aside from other genres.
This is just some of my first impressions for now, more will come later. But it just shows you how one song or one performance can change your mind one way or the other.