Northlanders Share Opinions of Country Music

Ryan Juntti
November 09, 2017 05:25 PM

DULUTH - With the CMA Awards airing Wednesday night, Eyewitness News wanted to ask Northlanders what their opinion of country music is now. 

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Performances were expected from multiple artists Wednesday night including Luke Bryan and Eric Church. David Drew, B105 Brand Manager, says the older country artists are influencing some of the newer ones. 

"I think you're not hearing the exact same kind of music, but you're seeing a lot of the same DNA, the songs that are written now being inspired by the past," said Drew.

Drew says that the biggest change in country music is the production value, and the lyrics, but that the overall message remains the same.

"The music lyrics have changed because we live in a different world now. We can't always be singing about things from 40, 50 years ago. I think the heart of country is still very strong, and is very rooted in the past, it's just being delivered different ways," said Drew. 

But the older artists still have plenty of fans such as Marge Lepak, a Duluth community member.

"I really like some of the old country music, like Buck Owens, George Strait, and Glen Campbell," said Lepak. 

She was one of many country music fans at The Other Place Bar and Grill on Saturday listening to country music band Flywheel and headliner Chris Hawkey, who lives in Minnesota. 

"He's just a super local guy. He loves Duluth, so fun to come out and see him and support him," said Sarah McGowan, a Duluth community member, who also listened to Chris Hawkey. She says she didn't even like country music before moving from Chicago to Minnesota.

"I was like, 'that is the worst thing ever', and then I moved to Minnesota, and it's kind of a big part of the culture here, and now I love it," said McGowan.

David Drew on the other hand says he has been a fan all his life. He says he likes both the old and new country but appreciates more how the new country has evolved.

"It's kinda like you look at your yearbook. You can look at your yearbook every once in a while for a few hours, maybe once or twice a month, but I don't wanna live in it. I don't wanna live in the past," said Drew.

Matt Foley lives in Duluth, and says he can also appreciate both ends of the country spectrum.

"I'm kinda mixed. I love Shania Twain. I love the new stuff. I love the new up and coming artists, so I'm kind of right in the middle," said Foley.

Duluth has hosted numerous country stars over the years including Brantley Gilbert, Keith Urban, and Dierks Bentley.

Justin Beacom, Texas Roadhouse Kitchen Manager, says when the fans come to town for these concerts, their first stop is usually Texas Roadhouse.

"Whenever there's a country concert down at the DECC, we always staff up because we know it's going to be rocking in here. We usually have a line out the door," said Beacom. 

He says the restaurant has embraced the country scene ever since it first opened.

"What we're all about here is being kinda loud, a little bit rowdy, we're jammin' out to country music pretty much every night," said Beacom.

David Drew says the new artists are bringing fresh sound to country music, and that they are writing music that a younger audience can relate to, which is why he says the future of country music is bright.

"If every four or five years we put out another star that transitions into an arena act, I think we're fine," said Drew.





Ryan Juntti

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