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Chris Stapleton Responds to Tom Petty’s Country Criticism, Asks Him to Write Music

Chris Stapleton Tom Petty
Mark Davis / Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Tom Petty sparked the ire of country music fans and artists earlier this week in an interview that found him insulting modern country acts.

He deemed the popular musicians in the genre as “incredibly generic” and stale. It inspired Grammy-nominated country singer and songwriter Chris Stapleton, who has several No. 1 songs under his belt, including Kenny Chesney‘s ‘Never Wanted Nothing More,’ to pen an open letter to the classic rocker, challenging him to stop talking and start doing.

In it, Stapleton invited Petty to write or produce a song with him, essentially asking Petty to put up or shut up.

Below is Stapleton’s short but effective note:

Dear Tom Petty,

I think it’s safe to say most modern country artists, including me, would list you as an influence. Your recent comments lead me to believe you see room for improvement in modern country music. I, for one, would like to see you put you money where your mouth is in a tangible way. So, in the interest of making Country music less “s–tty” (your words), I suggest a collaboration. I’m extending an open invitation to you to write songs with me, produce recordings on or with me, or otherwise participate in whatever way you see fit in my little corner of music. In the event that you actually read this and are interested, look me up.

Chris Stapleton

It’s certainly a bold move, and challenges Petty to stop criticizing a genre and do something about it.

In case you missed it, Petty’s comments were as follows: “I don’t really see a George Jones or a Buck Owens or any anything that fresh coming up. I’m sure there must be somebody doing it, but most of that music reminds me of rock in the middle ’80s where it became incredibly generic and relied on videos.”

While Petty did not namecheck specific acts, his message was clear. He doesn’t think that the “good” country out there is getting its due. He said, “I hate to generalize on a whole genre of music, but it does seem to be missing that magic element that it used to have. I’m sure there are people playing country that are doing it well, but they’re just not getting the attention that the s—tier stuff gets.”

Your move, Mr.Petty.

Next: See Some of the Biggest Country Music Feuds

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