About the Musical Divide:
My name is Zackary Kephart, and The Musical Divide launched in June 2017 as my way of connecting with the country music community. I don’t consider myself a journalist (or, to a lesser extent, even good at what I do here), but my main area of interest with this blog is to write critical reviews, mostly for country music-related items.
While I don’t think The Musical Divide is necessarily meant to be a music recommendation website, if that’s what you, the reader, get out of this blog, that’s only a good thing. But through my reviews, my hope with this website is to be a better thinker and writer as well as understand why I like or dislike certain music; I believe that’s how we find ultimate joy from it. Admittedly, I’m thinking more as a critic than a typical music fan, so if the reviews scan as too overwrought, I understand. But I value everyone’s opinion and perspective here, and while “divide” is in the name, my hope is to bridge those gaps in taste we have to be better music fans.
Since May 2018, past posts from this website have been deleted, as I do not feel they reflect the spirit of the blog in its current form. No posts written after this time, however, have been deleted.
Why “The Musical Divide?”
To me, country music is heavily fragmented. That’s not a statement on the genre in the current day (though it certainly applies), but rather an observation of its history. “Country music,” as a term, means something different to every individual artist, critic or fan you can ask, and between traditionalists wanting to fight for real country music as well as pop country fans wanting something progressive, it leads to a broken family.
But I think we’re more alike than we aren’t, and that statement extends to whether you’re a country music fan or not. I call this website what it is because, ultimately, we aren’t going to agree on everything. I believe that opinions can, and should, change with more time and knowledge gained. Whether it’s through finding out about a new favorite artist (even if they aren’t mine), having a thoughtful conversation on something we love or something else entirely, that’s where we bridge those gaps. Here at The Musical Divide, I care more about what you think, so always feel free to share thoughts.
About the founder:
My work has appeared at This Is Country Music, The Shotgun Seat, Niagara Frontier Publications, Niagara Wire, and Swamp Opera. In May 2019, I completed my senior honors thesis, “Breaking The Bond Between Country Music And The Radio.”
Despite this blog being nothing more than a hobby of mine, I know that words carry meaning. Therefore, this section is dedicated to making sure I keep in line with my aspirations and standards for this website.
The Musical Divide Principles
I. Only Discuss Music If It Inspires Conversation
The Musical Divide will not be one of those blogs that covers every single album that gets released. That’s too much to ask of anyone. Instead, I will discuss music only if I feel there’s something worth saying about said music. This can result in both positive and negative coverage, but I never want to publish a post without a purpose.
II. Review Music, Not People / Keep An Open Mind
I don’t intend to shy away from my true, individual thoughts, but my purpose will never be to endlessly praise or bash the actual artist. Regardless of whether the coverage is positive or negative, my focus is solely on the music, and past events will hold no bearing on my thoughts in the present day. Things can always get worse or better. The Musical Divide will not deny coverage to artists/bands based off their political, sexual, religious or any other affiliations. All music is welcome, and all music will be judged for what it is, not for what I want it to be.
III. Be Subjective, But Be Objective
This is my blog, so naturally you’re going to hear my thoughts. With that said, I will always try to see things from a different perspective before finalizing my thoughts. It might seem impossible to be objective as a writer or critic, but at the very least, I can still try.
IV. The Critic Can Be Criticized
If I’m going to offer feedback on matters, I have no right to refuse feedback on my work. No writer or critic is perfect, and it could very well be easy to forget some of the rules I’ve established. Therefore, I will be open to genuine thoughts and criticism. I’d like to improve as well.