The death of live drums in country

hunter hayes on the drums
Hunter Hayes plays the drums – photo via YouTube

Everyone’s using electronic drums or drum machines to fatten up the sound of their songs. What I mean is, live drums aren’t as bassy as canned drums (loops). You can also get a more distinct back beat with loops. I’m not a music producer so please forgive me if the lingo is off.

Let me show you what I mean. Here’s a track with live drums. (I think)

And a track that uses loops.

Hear what I mean? This is nothing new. During an interview with Keith Urban (who I think only uses loops), he mentioned that Alan Jackson used them way back in ’92.

I’ve heard artists say that they can’t back down from using loops if everyone else is using them because their music won’t cut through, it will sound dull sandwiched between two songs on the radio that use loops.

Tony Barrell, author of “Born to Drum: The Truth About the World’s Greatest Drummers” seems to think we’ll eventually revert to live drums in all formats again.

Click below or here to hear the clip.


This Post Has 3 Comments


    Keith Urban uses loops, but he has a live drummer as well — Chris McHugh. He does session work and live work for him. He’s also done sessions for other artists. Usually loops — which as a drummer I HATE — are in addition to live drums.

    I don’t recall “Chatahoochee” having drum loops. Eddie Bayers played drums on that album and nothing on All Music indicates that loops were used, although that doesn’t mean they weren’t. As a drummer, I can usually tell the difference. They sound a little digitized on “Chatahoochee,” but that could be the effects they used.

    1. Broadway

      I linked the Keith interview so you can hear the quote


        Thanks, but I didn’t hear anything about “Chattahoochee.” It’s no biggy, but I’d be really surprised that in 92 a drum machine was being used in place of a real person in country. I know Eric Clapton used them on his Journeyman album from around that time, 91 I think, for a couple of songs so I guess it’s very possible.

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