Shenandoah, ‘Not Country Enough’? In the Band’s Early Days, Some Listeners Thought So
These days, Shenandoah are considered the textbook definition of '90s country, with younger acts name-checking them in songs and flocking to duet with them onstage. But, believe it or not, the band was criticized for being "not country enough" when they were first making their name in the genre.
"When we came around and started having hits, [along with] all the other people from our era, I'm sure that the artists that came before us looked at us and thought, 'Man, those guys are too rock 'n' roll, too pop, for country music,'" Mike McGuire reflected to The Boot earlier in 2020.
Critiquing artists for mixing too much pop into their country music is still a favorite pastime within the genre. These days, though, favorite targets are artists such as Dan + Shay, Florida Georgia Line, Kelsea Ballerini and Kane Brown.
Of course, the way country music sounds has changed over the decades. But their early experiences of getting dismissed for being experimental have taught Shenandoah to keep an open mind.
"That's what lots of folks are saying about country music today: that it's too pop, and drum-loop oriented, bro-country, that kind of stuff," McGuire adds. "You know what? We've always been fans of just music. If it's good music, I don't care. Country, rock, hip-hop ... don't matter.
"As long as the songs are great songs, I love to hear it," he adds.