Randy Travis, Trace Adkins, Willie Nelson, and Mindy McCready – according to Taste of Country, these are just a few of the country stars who have famously struggled with drug and alcohol dependencies. But it’s not just country music singers that may be hard drinking. Country music fans, too, may be dealing with a drinking problem in relatively high numbers.
Is the music influencing the drinking behavior, or are heavy drinkers identifying with country music?
Broken down trucks, broken down marriages, and using alcohol as a crutch to make it through – this is the theme of a majority of country songs and has been for decades. But “bro country” is a term used to describe a subgenre of country music that skips the heartache and focuses on the party. Lots of long summer nights, full red Solo cups, and girls in tight jeans define the genre, and it’s a big hit among the new generation of country music listeners. It’s often these younger listeners who end up getting in trouble at country music concerts for DUI, assault, rape, and related arrests.
At a Jason Aldean concert in Cleveland this summer, one 22-year-old concertgoer was found dead in a landfill a few days after going missing at the show. His friends said in a report that he was heavily intoxicated, as were about 35 other people who were arrested for alcohol-related issues. Incidents like these are not uncommon, especially during the summer when it seems like concertgoers are more likely to drink to excess and get into trouble as a result.
Change the Message?
Billy Dukes is head writer at Taste of Country. He told Fox411: “I think country music does have a drinking problem, it always has. And bro country songs definitely promote that sort of thing, but it’s not so much the drinking for me, it’s this implicit thing that drinking excessively is OK. That every good time means having a bottle [that] has to be in your hand.
It’s true that many of the lyrics focus solely on drinking and drinking hard – even in songs by artists who don’t drink themselves. For example, Brad Paisley has a song called “Alcohol,” and yet he doesn’t imbibe himself. But is it the responsibility of the artist to try to present a more positive message and/or be better role models to fans?
Not according to Joe Don Rooney of Rascal Flatts. He said: “I think it’s not [our] responsibility, but I think if you want to say it you sure should, if it’s on your heart. But at the end of the day, you’ve got 20,000 people there that are corralled, that are going to do what they want to do and all we can hope for is that you take responsibility for yourself and your actions and try to have fun. You can let loose a little bit and have fun, just don’t go too far with it you know, be careful.”
What Do You Think?
Do you think the new country music fans are fighting an alcohol abuse problem? What’s your opinion on whether or not country music stars should take a stronger stance against alcohol abuse? Leave us a comment and share your thoughts.