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Artists such as Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood attracting some teens to the genre

By Ellie Papadakis
Elk Grove

Country music is not just for the cowboys anymore. Lately, it has become more popular among the masses, teenagers included. Perhaps it’s because radio stations that normally play pop or rock songs have also added country artists such as Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum to their lists. Even so, not all teens are getting their cowboy boots out ready to dance to a guitar and a fiddle.

Deepankar Tripurana, a junior at Warren Township, says that he enjoys some country and country-inspired music. When it comes to his friends, though, Tripurana says they don’t find it appealing. He thinks that rock, pop and hip-hop music connect more with younger audiences, while country connects with an older one. He also feels that teens like these other styles of music more because of how they are portrayed in the media. Pop and rock music are “cool” while country is … well … not.

“When hanging out with friends and we’re listening to the radio, every time a country song comes up, the same reaction occurs: ‘Ehhh ewww, change it!’” Tripurana says.

It’s true that country music has changed a lot over the years. No longer is it made up of just a fiddle, a dulcimer and a stand up bass. Artists such as Rascal Flatts and Carrie Underwood have changed the sound of country music by making it more pop or rock-like.

Riley Creasbaum, a senior at Elk Grove, doesn’t think country music has become more popular with teens because of the stereotypes that come with it. “We think of the old-time singers who have the really distinguished “country voice” that play banjos on their front porch with half their teeth missing.”

Creasbaum says that she likes country music because it’s different than what everyone else listens to. She likes to listen to artists such as Sugar Land, Darius Rucker and The Band Perry.

“More people are starting to see that country music is not a bunch of hicks playing jugs around a campfire; these writers are putting their hearts and souls into their music and you can tell that they care,” Creasbaum says.

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The Mash is the Chicago Tribune's newspaper and website written for teens, by teens. The paper is distributed for free each Thursday at Chicago-area high schools and is written largely by high school students.

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