There is a tug of war in the country music world right now, and in many ways, it is a microcosm of the U.S. political climate. On one hand, there are Nashville executives churning out Sam Hunt snap tracks that add to the genre’s popification, and on the other, outlaws like Cody Jinks who have found a way to connect with listeners ill-represented in the corporate domain. In other words, it’s country populism.
But this is about more than just music — it always was. Anyone who pays attention to artists in any form knows meaning is inherent to the art itself. Just as Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency showed there are voters throughout the country who feel disenfranchised by elites who have run the political game for far too long, the rise of Cody Jinks shows there is a hunger among listeners for someone willing to sidestep the Nashville machine.
While Nashville would love nothing more than to