Nashville / California

LIFE AS IT UNFOLDS… BY COUNTRY MUSIC SONG WRITER BEN KRAHNE

Country Music Nashville Trends – The Top Upcoming Country in 2021

Everybody loves the country music Nashville puts out. Just admit it! You know you do! If you’re anything like us at here Nashville California, you also love writing and performing your own country music. Though whether you want to hit it big and end up in the Nashville Country Music Hall of Fame, or whether you just listen to country radio hits on the f.m. dial, you may still want to know about country music trends of 2021.
Now, we’re not swamis over here! If we were, we’d predict the lotto numbers and would be writing this from a yacht somewhere in the tropics. But we are huge country music fans, just like you, and so we want to try to predict some of the biggest trends we’ll see jumping off in 2021. This is a two-part article, and we’ll cover 1 through 5 here.
So, let’s get it!

Top Trends for Country Music in Nashville for 2021

  1. The Bros Will Still Ride!
    This isn’t a new trend so much as a continuing one: Bro country. Pickup trucks, partying, and hot babes need to get ready for that sweet, sweet radio acclaim to keep on rolling when 2021 gets here. There ain’t a country music station Nashville has that doesn’t blare this music around the clock, and going into 2021, it’s only getting more popular.
  2. Girls Will Forgive Men
    Over the past decade, female country singers have given men hell! When you think of the country music Nashville puts out, you think about “Before He Cheats” and all these other female-led songs excoriating men for our wicked ways. Well, we predict that women will hit it big next year with songs about Mr. Right and all his great qualities, and not about slashing tires and getting even.
  3. A Lil’ Bit of Hank
    For a long time now, country music in Nashville has been trending more “pop,” for lack of a better term. (Don’t forget to snap your finger on the downbeat while reading this.) Though a pretty big hit this year was Tim McGraw’s “I Called Mama,” which did well. While not earning a #1 Billboard spot, it still cleaned up in award season and was one of the most critically acclaimed songs in years. McGraw’s song, of course, leaned more toward the classic country than modern, so expect to see producers leaning a bit more traditional next year.
  4. Shorter Songs
    A lot of country music fans think the “3:30” rule is new, but you might not remember that the biggest hits played at country music Nashville concerts in the past were only like 2-minute-and-change songs. 3:30, of course, refers to a song’s length. Expect to see songs getting even shorter, maybe even some hits around 2:50. Shorter, more memorable tunes are doing well late in 2020.
  5. Concerts Will Come Back
    For our final prediction in part one of “The Top Upcoming Country Music Nashville Trends in 2021,” we want to tell you some good news. More live concerts will be back. They took a huge hit in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but as we’re heading into winter in late 2020, more states are opening up and loosening restrictions, which means that we can expect some big concerts next year.

Thanks a lot for checking out part 1 of our trends article! If you like it, feel free to leave a comment. Disagree if you want! Just come back for part 2, on its way soon.

In part one of this piece, which we unveiled last month, we spoke about some of the upcoming trends that we expect to find in country music for 2021. Those country radio hits that we hear on Nashville station are going to be a bit different next year, or so we’re predicting.

So, what sort of changes do we expect to see? Last piece, we spoke about country music changing in terms of things going a little more classic, and girl-country changing up, and song length going down. Every country music station Nashville offers play relatively the same stuff, and here’s the kind of stuff we’re predicting for 2021.

More Top Trends for Country Music in Nashville for 2021

  1. Young Hip-Hop Competition
    The old guard of Nashville is where that classic bit of country will stand strong. Though these new twenty-somethings on the scene, the ones who blurt out ALL-CAPS vulgarities on Twitter because they hate Donald Trump, they’re more of the Country-Fried Hip-Hop sort of flavor. You know that drum-loop-click-on-the-downbeat stuff? Love it or hate it, it sells well. It might not make it to the Nashville Country Music Hall of Fame, but expect to hear some of that odd hip-hop-like stuff invading your airways next year.
  2. Fewer Instruments
    The days of Alabama are gone in country music, even in the heart of Nashville. Having the fiddle, guitar, bass, drums, etc, is an antiquated notion now and it has given way to soundboard electronics inside of big studios. You don’t have to hire band members, and there aren’t as many takes. It’s more cost effective. It doesn’t have the true soul of that stuff you could watch at Nashville concerts, but it’s cheaper and easier for studios, which leads us into our next trend.
  3. Solo Performers
    Over the past decade or so, a huge trend we’ve seen from Nashville is the solo act. Not that this is anything new in country music, of course. From Hank Williams and Johnny Cash to Waylon Jennings and George Strait, most of country music’s top performers have been solo. Though for the past few years, bands are completely looked over. Even when they have smashing success, like The Band Perry from a few years ago, they go the way of the dodo as some fresh-faced solo performer is pushed on us.
  4. Heart-String Pullers
    Due to the Covid pandemic, the apparent change in Presidency, and all the other drama that plagued the world in 2020, expect 2021 to seek a redemption arc whereby songwriters wax poetically about coming together and healing and loving one another. Sad, sappy songs, set to electronic arrangements, will start breaking into the market around early March and carry us through summer, hoping to be contenders for award season.
  5. Diversity
    This could be a great thing, if the music is good, but with all that’s happened this year with Black Lives Matter, there has been an ongoing effort in country music to sign more minority acts. This can be a great thing; we cannot emphasize that enough. Charlie Pride had over 40 #1 hits and the man is a legend, enshrined in the Nashville Country Music Hall of Fame! Though it really all depends on which songs these companies are going to push out with these new faces. Hopefully we get true musicians and not corporate stand-ins.

Every year a lot changes about country music and what you’re going to hear on a Nashville radio station, while a lot still stays the same. These are a few changes that we expect to see happen when 2021 rolls around.

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