New country: Love it or loathe it?

So tonight, Kenny Chesney is kicking off his three-night stand at Red Rocks -- all three dates of which, BTW, are sold out. Impressive to be sure, but certainly not without precedent (Dispatch sold out a trio of dates last month, as did Widespread Panic). Regardless, even accounting for potential crossover -- folks attending multiple nights -- that's more than 20,000 fans! Are you one of them? Or do you loathe "new country" like some people we know who will literally leave a room the instant it's being played?

Fewer things in music are as polarizing as the whole new country versus traditional country debate. Like the smooth jazz versus traditional jazz discussion, purists contend that only one is truly worthy of the designation. And those folks have a point, particularly when it comes to Kenny Chesney, who's just one of many new country kingpins, and whose hackneyed endless summer ditties have far more in common with Jimmy Buffet than Buck Owens.

Just the same, those folks are clearly in the minority. The numbers don't lie: A few weeks ago, Willie Nelson's Country Throwdown had a hard time filling up Red Rocks, much less selling out three dates back-to-back. And that's despite the fact that the Country Throwdown boasted a pretty stacked bill that included Jamey Johnson, a throwback to the original outlaws, Randy Houser, Lee Brice, Brantley Gilbert, Craig Campbell, and Willie's son's band, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real. But that's just our conjecture. How do you feel? New country: Love it or loathe it? Why?

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