Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Class of 89 - Country Music's Renaissance

Their arrival signaled a new era in Country Music. An era filled with platinum selling records, standing room only concerts, and new found respect for a music form perpetually looked down upon. They were called the Class of 89, a group of young, dynamic, singer-songwriters who emerged together over the course of the year 1989. They were diverse in style, sound, and background. Some of them exploded onto the scene, others would build up slowly, emerging with greater success in the years to follow. What they shared was a love of Country Music and a legacy of changing the Country Music landscape.

Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Clint Black, Travis Tritt, and Mary Chapin Carpenter are names recognizable to even the most peripheral country music fan. In January of 1988 it was a different story. Country Music was going through dramatic change. The new traditionalist movement lead by Randy Travis had taken Country back to its roots and made commercial inroads with record buyers. Travis entered 1988 on top of the Country charts with his hugely successful “Always & Forever” album, which would go multi-platinum within a year of its release, a nearly unheard of feat in Country Music.

Randy Travis’ success proved Country was ripe for a commercial boom, and every label in Nashville wanted to be part of it. With many aging stars fading, Nashville record labels were looking for young talent to supplement the new traditionalist artists. What the labels found was more than a supplement, it turned out to be new foundation for Country Music. Every member of the Class of 89 would come from a different record label. In fact one, Alan Jackson, would come from a label, Arista Nashville; that did not even exist in Nashville in 1988.

(The rest of the article can be found by following the link below. Back in the day, I had to prove I could use HTML to build a basic Web site. I dedicated the site to some of my favorite country music artists. One of the articles I wrote for the site was this.)

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