Of course around these parts, this is just regular Monday morning conversation. But if you think that dedicated country music fans are repulsed by much of the stuff that transpires in the mainstream of country, think about how you might feel if you’re pretty repulsed by country music already.
Anthony Cumia is best known as the co-host of the legendary Opie and Anthony radio show that aired for nearly 20 years until coming to an end in 2014. Cumia now hosts a daily show on the subscription-based video platform Compound Media that he founded after Opie and Anthony ceased. He commonly releases clips from the show to YouTube.
Recently Cumia was at Sullivan’s in New York trying to prepare for his next show, heard Luke Bryan’s 2019 song “Knockin’ Boots” playing in the background, and flipped out. A clip of the rant made it onto YouTube and has been making the rounds, and it’s pretty darn entertaining and spot-on.
“The country music that is out now is go generic. It’s so made in a factory … It’s the same formula, the big fucking chorus-y part, and then back to his bullshit, shitty, contrived, immature lyrics. I hate cunt-try music,” Cumia rants.
Then he goes off on Luke Bryan’s “Knockin’ Boots” specifically.
“It was just the epitome of every shit country song. The writing, the words, what they pick as the subject of their songs. Do you know how long ‘knockin’ boots’ has been a term? We get it. You’re fucking. It shows how fucking devoid of talent and creativity these country fucks are. They’re ALL the same. Knockin’ boots? How about knockin’ a boot up your asshole?”
Anthony Cumia continues,
“It’s so bad. It’s so poorly written, and the execution of it musically is the same format as every fucking country song out there right now. That’s every song. You could sing every country song to that music, down to the number of fucking bars and beats, and when the chorus comes in. It’s the same fucking shitty song. Oh country, fuck off.”
You can see the full rant below.
Cumia does clarify early on that there is a difference between the modern stuff and older country music. But what he appears to not be aware of along with many of the folks outside of the country sphere is that there is an entirely other world of country music out there that acts like an alternative to the mainstream, and that isn’t all the same formulaic crap like Luke Bryan and “Knockin’ Boots.”
Zach Bryan, Tyler Childers, the Turnpike Troubadours, Billy Strings, and recent Grammy winner Molly Tuttle are turning the tables on the mainstream at the moment, not to mention the world of up-and-comers like Charley Crockett, Mike and the Moonpies, Sierra Ferrell, and so many more that are moving up. There are so many good artists right now, it’s hard to know where to stop listing them off.
Those of us that have been awakened to the country alternative take it for granted that everyone is aware there is a different country world out there beyond radio. But so many folks—including mainstream country fans—have no clue.
But not only is this independent side of country music becoming the mainstream due to the success of artists like Zach Bryan and Tyler Childers, the mainstream is having to answer the challenge these independent artists are presenting and improving the quality of mainstream country as well. This is where Lainey Wilson, Carly Pearce, Ashley McBryde, Jon Pardi, and others are stepping up, and changing things from within.
There is still so much work to be done before rants like the one from Anthony Cumia are considered obsolete. But it is not 2015 anymore, and songs like “Knockin’ Boots” are starting to become more of the exception than the rule. Go listen to the new album from Chase Rice if you need an example.
Sure, on a website like Saving Country Music, Anthony Cumia’s rant almost comes across as cliché and redundant. But as country fans, we should all want to live in a world where we’re proud of the music we listen to, and not have to explain to people when we say we like country music that we don’t mean that kind of country music.
The whole world has woken up to how bad songs like Luke Bryan’s “Knockin’ Boots” are. It’s about damn time that the country music industry does too.