It's no secret that Reba McEntire has a preference for traditional country music. Even a cursory listen to her new album, Stronger Than the Truth, will make it clear to listeners that McEntire wouldn't mind seeing radio return to the genre's roots.

Still, even if country music has moved away from its classic sounds, that doesn't mean there aren't some artists out there that give McEntire hope for a turn back toward the kind of country music she grew up loving. The superstar says that younger artists such as Ashley McBryde are doing a great job of keeping the genre's roots alive.

"You listen to Ashley McBryde's songs ... I think it's very traditional country," McEntire explains. "That's what I'm loving hearing these new artists performing."

The past year has included some big milestones and new recognition, not just for up-and-comers but also for superstars who have performed traditional country for decades: McEntire herself was a Kennedy Center honoree in 2018. In 2019, Brooks & Dunn were announced as the next inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame. McEntire, Brooks & Dunn and George Strait all recently released new projects. Traditional country has seen a recent uptick in representation by the genre's living legends themselves.

But a return to a traditional country sound doesn't exclude growth and experimentation. McEntire points out that another favorite new vocalist of hers, Kacey Musgraves, is also one of the genre's most creative innovators.

"Kacey Musgraves, I mean, she's a very different stylist," McEntire adds, "and I consider that very country as well."

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