I am a local musician and my observation of the decline of country music is the fact that, like a lot of things, it is being tailored to the younger set. The country music of today is more like rock. Most bands are composed of drums, lead guitar bass and rhythm guitar. When was the last time you heard a new country song with a steel guitar or a piano or a fiddle? Real country needs at least one of these or all three. In days past when the lead instrument took a ride, that instrument would play the verse or the chorus and you could tell the name of the song by the ride. Nowadays, when the guitar takes a ride, he starts playing jazz like licks.
Ted McClaren, Bakersfield