Blake Shelton is known for mouthing off, and his latest target is, somewhat surprisingly, country music purists and older music fans.
In a recently updated GAC: Backstory interview examined by the Saving Country Music blog, Blake holds forth on the meaning of his status as the country music’s reigning Male Vocalist Of The Year, and goes off on country music’s purists as well older music fans. Thanks to the SCM blog for transcribing:
If I am “Male Vocalist of the Year” that must mean that I’m one of those people now that gets to decide if it moves forward and if it moves on. Country music has to evolve in order to survive. Nobody wants to listen to their grandpa’s music. And I don’t care how many of these old farts around Nashville going, “My God, that ain’t country!” Well that’s because you don’t buy records anymore, jackass. The kids do, and they don’t want to buy the music you were buying.
See video of Blake making those comments here (the quoted part begins at the 14:25 mark)
Blake’s comments are surprising considering that his 2007 album Pure BS included a song he cowrote called “The Last Country Song,” and brought in John Anderson and George Jones for features:
Further, as a member of the Grand Ole Opry (he was inducted in 2010), Blake has a special responsibility to honor country music’s roots and history. Then again, Blake has shown his appreciation to the Grand Ole Opry by not playing there a single time in 2012 (to name another current country star, Carrie Underwood, Opry member since 2008, played 8 shows at the Opry in 2012 despite an intense schedule that included a full album promo tour that took her overseas, plus 62 tour dates).
Blake’s comment about winning an industry award being a sign he gets to help decide the direction of the genre is also drawing attention. The fact that he is also now CMA’s Entertainer Of The Year (an honor most agree was due mainly to his presence on The Voice and not due to the quality or sales of his music) is likely something he sees as even more of an endorsement of his power and direction. That would help explain why the lead single from his upcoming album, “Sure Be Cool If You Did” continues in the adult contemporary pop power ballad direction of a lot of his previous album Red River Blue. But seeing as Blake’s most recent regular studio album was outsold by subsequent releases from Scotty McCreery, Eric Church, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and Carrie Underwood, is he as influential as he thinks?
Legendary artist and Country Music Hall Of Fame inductee Ray Price, who has enjoyed a 60+ year career in the country genre, took to his Facebook page this afternoon to respond to Blake’s comments:
It’s a shame that I have spend 63 years in this business trying to introduce music to a larger audience and to make it easier for the younger artists who are coming behind me. Every now and then some young artist will record a rock and roll type song , have a hit first time out with kids only. This is why you see stars come with a few hits only and then just fade away believing they are God’s answer to the world. This guy sounds like in his own mind that his head is so large no hat ever made will fit him. Stupidity Reigns Supreme!!!!!!! Ray Price (CHIEF “OLD FART” & JACKASS”) ” P.S. YOU SHOULD BE SO LUCKY AS US OLD-TIMERS. CHECK BACK IN 63 YEARS (THE YEAR 2075) AND LET US KNOW HOW YOUR NAME AND YOUR MUSIC WILL BE REMEMBERED.
Last year, after Eric Church’s controversial comments to Rolling Stone slamming Blake for going on The Voice and letting celebrity overshadow his music, Miranda Lambert went after Eric on Twitter, further spotlighting an obnoxious comment he made about not wanting to play for 80 year olds. Will Miranda take her husband to task for dissing the same group of people?
Blake’s comments have also sparked quite a bit of backlash in online country communities, but do you see that extending beyond the fans into the industry? Do you think he has a point about country music or older music fans, or do you think Blake’s Voice experience and industry support has gone to his head?
UPDATED: Blake tweeted the following:
Whoa!!! I heard I offended one of my all time favorite artists Ray Price by my statement “Nobody wants to listen to their grandpas music”..And probably some other things from that same interview on GAC Backstory.. I hate that I upset him.. The truth is my statement was and STILL Is about how we as the new generation of country artists have to keep re-inventing country music to keep it popular. Just EXACTLY…The way Mr. Price did along hid journey as a main stream country artist.. Pushing the boundaries with his records. “For The Goodtimes” is a Perfect example with the introduction of a bigger orchestrated sound in country music.. It was new and awesome!!! I absolutely have no doubt I could have worded it better(as always ha!) and I apologize to Mr. Price and any other heroes of mine that it may offended..I meant every word I said. Country music is my life and it’s future AND past is important to me. I’ll put my Lo e and respect and knowledge About it up against anybody out there… ANYBODY…