New York Provincialism

Andrew Sullivan —  Jul 11 2011 @ 5:28pm

by Alex Massie

A splendid example of the genre from our friends at the New York Times:

That the breakout star of the show wouldn’t be one of the contestants but instead one of the coaches, and the country one at that, was an unanticipated outcome. But Mr. [Blake] Shelton, 35, has been primed for such a mainstream star-making opportunity for years now. He’s one of the most affable celebrities in Nashville and one of the most unpredictable, cheekier than all his male counterparts put together. Handsome and 6-foot-5, he’s one of the highest-profile country stars to appear regularly in prime time since the days Buck Owens hosted “Hee Haw.” Apart from perhaps Taylor Swift, he’s becoming the most important and visible ambassador from Nashville to the American mainstream.

In what world does Nashville despatch ambassadors to "the American mainstream"? That is, how much more mainstream can you get than the likes of Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift et al?

I love country music and think everyone should purchase Gillian Welch's new album. Who else counts as a "must-listen" these days? And what do Dish readers make of the contemporary country world? My hunch, half-formed though it may be, is that it's not quite as dire as it was a decade ago. But who's the next big thing and what does "authentic" country mean these days anyway?

Let me know at