Real country music hasn’t gone away

No one ever said life is fair.

Florida Georgia Line
Florida Georgia Line

And for proof, let’s pause to consider the careers of alleged country music artists such as Florida Georgia Line vs. someone like Cale Tylson, who, on his Twitter feed, quotes Rolling Stone, which called him an “Old school, sad-bastard outlaw country (performer) for a new generation of excited country fans.”

Count me in.

This was going to be a rant about the alleged music of Florida Georgia Line. But that’s been done before by better writers, so there’s no need to do it here.

And I have friends who actually like Florida Georgia Line, so all I can say about this is: Let’s accentuate the positive and focus on Tyson.

Cale Tyson peforming at River's Edge Gallery in Muscatine on March 29.
Cale Tyson peforming at River’s Edge Gallery in Muscatine on March 29.

He put on a very entertaining show Sunday night at River’s Edge Gallery in Muscatine. In this clip, he covers “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone,” which was written by Glenn Martin and Dave Kirby and became a big hit for Charley Pride in the early 1970s.

Over the course of 2 1/2 hours, Tyson — who has recorded two albums with seven and six original songs, respectively — performed his own music and covered artists ranging from Ernest Tubb and Waylon Jennings to Wynn Stewart, Hank Williams and Eddy Arnold. And he shined plenty of spotlight on the three guys in the band backing him up — all of whom are talented in their own right.

Prior to Sunday night’s show, I had listened to Tyson’s two albums, High On Lonesome and Cheater’s Wine. So I had high hopes for the singer and songwriter named last year by Rolling Stone as one of the “10 New Artists You Need to Know.”

He didn’t disappoint. If anything, he is a better entertainer in a live show than he is on an album. What I really like about him is knowing there is a guy in Nashville making original music who doesn’t aspire to be the next Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan or Justin Moore because there is already more than enough “bro country.”

Eddy ArnoldBut I’ll always like the music that has obviously influenced Tyson and the guys backing him up in the band. His cover of Make the World Go Away is a great example.

As a boy, this was one of the songs on my mom’s The Best of Eddy Arnold album that I sang along with and played over and over on a portable turntable whenever I thought no one was listening. And At this point, I should probably apologize to anyone who sat too close Sunday night, because I couldn’t help but sing along a few times with this and the other songs Tyson covered that are part of the soundtrack of my life.

If you’re also a fan of real country music, I guess all that can be said is: This is how we really roll.


In writing today’s blog post, I found many covers of Make the World Go Away, which was written by Hank Cochran in 1963.  It was first recorded by Ray Price and has been recorded by many other artists over the past 50 years.

Since I first heard it, I’ve admired Martina McBride’s version of Make the World Go Away.

But my hands-down new favorite is this version by Alison Krauss and  Jamey Johnson — another artist who will never be confused with Florida Georgia Line, because, well, you know, he has talent.