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Clay Walker Says Traditional Country Music Is Dead

Frazer Harrison, Getty Images

Traditional country music is a thing of the past — at least according to Clay Walker. The singer says a chapter of the genre has closed, but that’s not necessarily bad news.

“Traditional country music died,” he tells Taste of Country. “I think that George Strait winning Entertainer of the Year at the CMAs was, to me, a symbolic and a real closing of the door. It was, to me, as if the industry was saying, ‘Thank you George for everything that you’ve meant to traditional country music.’”

The latest crop of artists boasts a newer, edgier sound than what has been on radio in the past, and Walker says he thinks that’s a trend that is here to stay, at least for a while.

“I think people are fooling themselves if they think for a second that the recording industry is going to accept any more traditional country music on the radio,” he adds. “I think that is the end of a world, the end of an era.”

The married father of five, including baby Elijah, says he isn’t upset by the shift in music. On the contrary, he sees it as a sign of a healthy, growing genre.

“I think it’s the perfect evolution and it’s the way it should be,” Walker says. “It’s time. It’s time for that change. And, albeit rough at the moment, it’s a beautiful rough. I don’t think that we’ll be heavy metal, as some of the bands are doing and calling it country. I don’t think that we’ll be rap. I just think that we’re trying to find where the absolute limitations are and then work within those limitations. I believe that right now we’re stretching the limitations out as far as they’ll go and the fans will bring them back in.”

Walker plans on releasing a new album in 2014, and he’s thrilled to still be putting out music more than 20 years after he began his illustrious career.

“To get through and go into this new era and I still have a chance to have a hit? It’s damn exciting,” he admits. “I gotta tell you, it really feels cool.”

Next: Is Traditional Country Music Really Dead?

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