Genre fights live burial

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While on the Stockton Campus of Delta College, one hears rap, hip hop, R&B, heavy metal, rock, and pop music. But what one rarely hears, unless they have their headphones on, is country music.

There may not be many overt fans of country music wandering the campus, but the genre is not dead.

This is proven by the radio station KATM 103.3 FM, which is bringing country superstar Mark Wills to the Empire Theater today.

His show is to promote his latest works and give the fans in the area an enjoyable evening out on the town.

To some, this only proves that country music can only fill a small venue.

Yet many times, the San Joaquin County Fair has played host to up-and-coming as well as big-name country stars.

For example this summer country group Lonestar will be at the County Fair.

Not only can one see live country music in Stockton, one can watch country crooner Scotty McCreary on American Idol, or catch Nashville Star on Country Music Television, and watch Great American Country anytime.

These shows and channels prove that country music has a wide following.

Many who have watched American Idol seasons one and four know the winners were Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, both award winning country singers.

Some say this only proves a love of reality shows and not an appreciation of country music.

Yes, this does prove Americans love reality shows, but having two out of the ten American Idols be country superstars says a lot about country music and its popularity.

The genre has been popular in the mainstream in the United States since the 1920s, but Stockton in general does not embrace country music.

Some people still think it is all about drinking and losing everything.

The critics of country music have proof of that, with songs like Toby Keith’s “Beer for my Horses.”

Yet, when you hear the song “Skin (Sarabeth)” by Rascal Flatts, you can really feel the emotion the singers are portraying.

“Skin” is about a girl who has cancer. “‘Cuz it would be a mistake/for someone to take/a girl with no hair to the prom/… That boy’s at the door/her daddy ushers him in/and when he takes off his cap/they all start to cry.”

Songs that express emotion and the good things in life can be found in the country music genre more often than not.

In 2010 country music had a big year at the Grammys. Lady Antebellum won both Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Best Female Country Vocal Performance went to Miranda Lambert, and the Best Male Country Vocal Performance went to Keith Urban.

This proves once again country music is still going strong.

“Oh she looks out her window and wonders again/is there life out there,” Reba McEntire sings about life beyond what you already know.

What many think they know of country music is stereotypical.

Take five minutes to actually listen to a country song, whether it is by Reba McEntire, Rascal Flatts, Mark Wills, Patsy Cline, or even Taylor Swift, you will appreciate what country really is.