Clay Walker Doesn’t Want ‘Outdated’ Rock Stars in Country Music
Clay Walker, who soared to the top of the charts in 1993 with his debut single, "What's It to You," and maintained a presence on the charts for much of the next 15 years, has a deep love and appreciation for country music. Walker has seen several shifts and changes in the genre over the last few decades, and he says he's open to almost all of them -- except one.
“I can’t stand to see outdated rock 'n' rollers coming in to play country music.That really p--sed me off,” Walker tells the Modesto Bee. “We have great singers, great country musicians. There’s no reason we have to dilute it by letting people in the format that don’t have any business being in the format.”
While Walker didn't specifically name any names, several artists, including Lionel Richie and Jon Bon Jovi, have dabbled in country music, and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler just released a single, "Love Is Your Name," from his upcoming country album. But Walker is adamant that the genres should remain separate.
“It’s like there are clothes you’d wear to a club and clothes you’d wear to a wedding,” he says. “For a little while, it seemed fun to wear club clothes to the wedding. But now it’s like, ‘I think it’d be nice to dress for a wedding to a wedding.’"
Not that the Texan thinks the changes in country music are all bad. He concedes that some of them, like the influence of hip-hop and the borrowing of elements from other genres, have only helped country music's popularity expand.
“It’ll never be the same; we will never go back to the way it was in the ’80s or the ’90s or anything like that. Which is good,” Walker adds. “This change in the music has definitely helped country music grow. I think I’ve been able to make an album of music that falls right where it should be.”
Walker is releasing a new album, Long Live the Cowboy, this summer. The record, he says, was born from being inspired by some of the newer sounds in country music.
“I’ve always felt like one of those people that was out front, and now I feel like one of those people that has learned so much by this explosion of what our format sounds like now, and I love it,” Walker tells The Boot. “It’s given me this huge burst of energy to go in there and make stuff that competes, sounds a little bit like [what's on radio], but has my touch.”
Walker will appear at the upcoming 2015 CMA Music Festival, hosting his sixth annual Chords of Hope benefit concert, with proceeds going to the Vanderbilt Medical Center to support multiple sclerosis research. More information, including tickets prices, is available on Walker's website.
Learn Clay Walker + More Country Stars' Real Names