What was that song Hank Williams Jr. used to sing, A Country Boy Can Survive? Sure they can, on $65-million (U.S.) if you’re Toby Keith or $44-million if you’re Kenny Chesney.
Forbes has released its annual list of the top money makers in country music, and, as expected, there a lot of commas involved in the gross incomes. Also no surprise is the almost complete absence of traditional country artists. The troubadour George Strait – No. 9, at $26-million – is the lone true-to-the-roots voice on the roll call, but he’s already announced his retirement.
But the real take-away from the list of outrageous earners is the lack of women. Only Taylor Swift (at No. 2) is among top 13 dollar-rakers. (She’ll probably never ever spend the $64-million haul she made over the last year, mostly from touring and her endorsement arrangements.)
The other dozen artists on the Forbes survey are men, the dominant gender of “bro-country,” a sub-genre of music made by men, for inked-up, party-hearty, young white North American males. Somewhere, then, the next Tammy Wynette is working on a new attitude: Stand by your bro.