There must be something in the whiskey because there is a new trend in country music. No, it’s not skinny jeans, sparkly t-shirts or the return of the sweet 90’s mullet. It’s divorce. Country music as a genre is no stranger to the break-up. It could be argued that heartache is in fact a defining facet of what gives country it’s relatable candor. When asking whether it’s art imitating life or vice versa we’re left with a real chicken or the egg scenario.

In case you’re wondering what the heck I’m talking about, Blake and Miranda, Reba, and Jake Owen have all filed for divorce in the last month. I’m not going to go into any juicy details regarding rumors or speculative reasons. Let’s leave that to the vultures at TMZ. I want to take a look at the issue as whole.

Is divorce intrinsic to celebrity coupling due to rigorous touring and recording obligations? Especially in the case of Blake Shelton who seems to be all over every media outlet possible, including a Pizza Hut advert. Add to the time consuming schedule a cornucopia of would-be suitors constantly swarming you like Vandy kids on nickel beer night, and all of a sudden “till death do us part” seems a little drastic.

On the other hand, the one with the tanline from where a wedding ring used to be, perhaps it’s the institution of marriage in general that’s becoming antiquated. As people’s lifespans grow we see folks choosing to settle down later and later. Is there an increased number of oats to be sown or are we just foolishly tricking ourselves into believing we have more time than we do?

Yet another thought has to do with the genre of country music directly. Today’s writers and singers still come from a small town lifestyle which teaches that folks are supposed to grow up and get married. That’s just what you do. Trying to embrace the times while holding to tradition is the terminal dilemma of country music. Perhaps these entertainers, as well as the population as a whole, is beginning to realize that maybe forever should wait till after the temult of youthful folly. Forever-ever? ForEVER-ever?  

Marriage is still a sacred bond but with 7 billion people occupying this floating rock we call home it might not be a bad idea to explore one’s options before capitulating to social expectations.

I suppose the ties that bind do have a tendency to come loose now and again. But alas! One thing bodes well for us songwriters; it’s time to start pitching those break-up songs!

By: Tony Manfetano