Songs that lend a voice to the equestrian world in a way only music can.
When you hear equestrians throwing around the term country club images of excessively clean cut boys and girls in perfect polos, khakis and boat shoes probably come to mind. But that couldn’t be farther from the topic of this week’s 100% Sound. No, I’m talking about the NEW country club, and it’s time we all became members.
What is this country club you ask? Well, if you follow popular music at all, then you got a taste of it this summer with Swedish DJ and music producer Avicii’s runaway hit “Wake Me Up,” which topped charts around the world.
Avicii – Wake Me Up
What you probably didn’t realize about this track is that that girl riding a horse into the future is no coincidence. The next thing in country music is here, and it’s got a lot more thump than you might expect. Avicii’s hit, which blends the oh-so-popular Mumford & Sons sound with the electronic dance music craze, is just the latest in a long line of songs, attempting to drag country music (only slightly kicking and screaming) into the future.
Initial attempts at infusing modern dance sensibilities to country songs mainly included adding rap bridges to country tracks. It is a trend that I must say I cannot support, and I will not feature it here. When I think of Jason Aldean’s Dirt Road Anthem Remix with Ludacris all I can do is shudder in horror. I’m sorry.
But thankfully things got better this year. First, longtime nightclub DJ and music producer Dee Jay Silver released his “Country Club EP,” which showed signs of hope. The EP features this version of Alabama’s 1983 hit “Dixieland Delight, “ with guest vocals from Southern rap group Nappy Roots, and it really holds it own.
Dee Jay Silver feat. Alabama and Nappy Roots
Then Anthony Allen, the assistant program director at Big 98 WSIX-FM in Nashville, enlisted Dee Jay Silver for a weekly 15-minute segment, consisting entirely of his remixes. When the segment launched, Allen braced himself for unhappy listeners, but was pleased to discover people warming to the party-themed music at the end of the week. The segment has since expanded to four hours with Dee Jay Silver every Friday afternoon.
I cannot say that Avicii’s path to success in the electronic dance music community with “Wake Me Up” was such an easy ride. When he unveiled the track at the Ultra Music Festival in March with live vocals from Aloe Blacc and a banjo to boot, the crowd just about revolted and the critical reception was less than warm. Spin called it “bizarrely twangy” and a Facebook follower wrote on his page: “As per your recent change of musical style, I was wondering if you would like to work with my client. He is an extremely talented 2-year-old goat who screams at the top of his lungs at everything he sees. He may be young but I think he has what it takes.” But Avicii has certainly had the last laugh as his album burns up the charts.
So here’s hoping the success of “Wake Me Up” and similar projects leads to a future of country music that includes some songs that ditch the two-step or the line dance, and rather only require that form of organized flailing we “kids” call dancing!
You can give this latest craze a try at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo on now in Las Vegas. Early supporter of this dance country movement, DJ DU, is currently keeping the casino floor rocking at the MGM Grand every night. Here’s a little preview of the unexpected flavor he brings to the country scene from his performance on the Electronic Thunder stage at the Country Thunder festival. Now get out of your chair and dance!