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All-Star Entertainment Preview: OTF Q&A w/Saving Country Music

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"True country can't be defined, except that it has to be authentic, and tied to the traditions of the genre. You know it when you hear it."

We like this guy.

Christopher Polk/Getty Images

With All-Star Weekend rapidly approaching, we wanted to get some perspective on the entertainment surrounding the event and I can think of no better source than Kyle "Trigger" Coroneos from Saving Country Music. Why? Well, because he's just like us. From Saving Country Music:

The Triggerman lives in his mom’s basement, and over-glorifies the obscure music that he loves while bashing anything that he doesn’t solely because its popular. He is strictly motivated by jealousy, and has no right to criticize music because he has never played it, never written songs, and never toured as a musician. He is also is a virgin, and doesn’t know how to please women in bed. In short, he is a nerdy crybaby who uses a moderately successful online platform make himself feel better about his pathetic life.

I mean seriously, folks...this is so close to my own bio it's unbelievable. If you love country music (or maybe even if you hate it), check out Saving Country Music and give The Triggerman a follow on Twitter. Let's get started!

So the full All-Star Game entertainment lineups have been announced, and the roster is chock full of country acts, but I suppose for those who are totally unfamiliar with the genre, what makes an artist or song "country" in your view?

That's a hard question to answer. Country music is supposed to be music by people from the country. What makes country music different from any other genre is that it's not just a genre of music, it's also a culture. Right now the popular thing in mainstream country music with Bro-Country is to tell everyone how country you are by listing off things like, "Beer, truck, tailgate, river, etc." but that doesn't necessarily make you country. Most of the people who listen to that version of country live in the suburbs and live vicariously through the songs. True country can't be defined, except that it has to be authentic, and tied to the traditions of the genre. You know it when you hear it.

Looking at the schedule and with that definition in mind, how did the NHL do in representing the genre and the city’s music scene?

By including John Hiatt, they tried to include someone older and more distinguished, but the lineup doesn't really include any country legends. It also doesn't represent the strong Americana movement that exists in Nashville, and east Nashville specifically. Artists like Jason Isbell, or Chris Stapleton, or Nikki Lane would have helped represent all the aspects of Music City.

However, they did pick some artists that are more universally liked than most. Dierks Bentley is very well-liked inside and outside the mainstream of country. There's also a decent amount of women in the lineup, which right now is a big issue in country music. As far as country artists, the only overtly polarizing act would be LoCash.

The cast of ABC’s "Nashville" is pretty heavily represented…what are your impressions of that show as kind of a window into the world of country?

At the beginning of the series, "Nashville" actually did a pretty good job delving into some of the Music Row politics, including some of the shady practices that some of Nashville is known for. The show has also become an outlet to showcase some relatively unknown songwriters, which has resulted in some needed support for some worthy talent. Recently, the show has begun to focus more on the drama between the respective characters than the drama that can drive some artists out of the city due to repressive business practices, but I do think an effort is put out to represent the business of country music fairly accurately on the show.

The cast of "Nashville" are regularly represented at country music events in the city. For example, they are one of the more regular acts at the Grand Ole Opry. I would be more surprised if they were not playing an event like this.

Imagine a world where the NHL called and gave you complete control over the entertainment for the weekend. Who’s in your lineup?

One of the issues that has been facing country music for years is a lack of balance. You have to include big mainstream names to get people to pay attention. An artist like Dierks Bentley is a great example. But I would also want to try and represent the history of country music by inviting some legends who would also be names people know and entice folks to pay attention. Some names could be Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, and Bobby Bare. Right now the hottest sector in country music is the artists produced by Dave Cobb like Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton, and Lindi Ortega---all of whom are Nashville residents.

The Predators’ goal song is a somewhat unfortunate variation on Tim McGraw’s "I Like It, I Love It"…surely we could do better. Any suggestions to replace it that don’t involve Florida-Georgia Line? We’re not looking to make things worse.

I have to admit, I'm a Dallas Stars fan, and at one point the heavy metal group Pantera recorded a song specifically for the Stars that they still play at all Dallas Stars games. With so much musical talent in Music City, maybe they should run a contest and let the best song win. Most true country music is not about winning or scoring. It's about losing, so it might be hard to find a pre-existing song.

We’ll have thousands of people from out of town here for the weekend…if you had to recommend one stop for music fans in Nashville, what would it be?

Go to Robert's Western World on Lower Broadway. Order a pork chop sandwich, and you'll hear some authentic country music.