Watch "Midland: On The Record" and get a behind-the-scenes look at what this hotly contested "authentic band" is all about.
My favorite fact about Midland is that the first time Mark Wystrach, Jess Carson, and Cameron Duddy played music together was during a talent show at Duddy's wedding. The guys lost to someone who ate a lot of wings, they think, because the whole thing is kind of hazy given the amount they were drinking. I think it would be kind of embarrassing to lose a talent show at your own wedding, they think it would have been rude to win, but in the end we're all winners, because Midland exists now.
There's a debate within the community of country critics whether or not these guys are authentic, if they have the chops to play actual country music and be considered as such. Some think they don't have what it takes, that their nudie-suit clad album cover and glossed up honky-tonk songs are doing just as much damage to the genre as artists like Kip Moore or Luke Bryan. It's a fair point, especially in the world of country where the concept of authenticity is put on a pedestal, constantly creating debate over whether or not an artist embodies the Spirit of Country as much as another, or in the right way (spoiler alert, there isn't one).
The way I see it, people trust artists with some of the rawest, unformed emotions they experience, and when you go through something and lean on music, it helps to know that you're not leaning on someone who is fake or contrived. It validates those emotions just a little bit more in a way that you couldn't get from others, and emotions are tough things to deal with already. You want to know that whoever you're leaning on is trustworthy, and for the most part, I trust Midland.
Still, regardless of which side you're on, there is something about Midland that seems a little... off, when you're first introduced to them. Maybe it's the hair, their dress, or how often we've heard Cameron repeat that they got their 10,000 hours in practicing in honky-tonks across Texas. If you're accustomed to a less polished sheen to your artists, you might have a hard time with their whole thing. Coming from Big Machine, the label in part responsible for Taylor Swift, you can see why it might all feel a little corny to some people.
But, you shouldn't judge anyone on first impressions alone, so today they're sharing a 17-minute documentary that digs a little deeper into their psyche. If you're looking for the next big outlaw act to hang your hat on, well, there's some abs and truck-leaning to contend with. But they talk a bit about how they're making stuff that feels authentic to them—which is all authenticity really is anyway, right? When it comes down to it, their whole vibe is like George Strait if he smoked a lot of weed—which sorta renders all these questions moot anyway. How can you go wrong with that?
Annalise Domenighini wanted to say a lot more about Midland, but she's tired. Follow her on Twitter.