My Kind of Country — Official Trailer | Apple TV+

The show isn’t quite perfect. At times, it does seem like the performers are being nudged in a commercial direction, and the diversity factor doesn’t go quite as far as one might expect. (A non-binary artist named Ismay competes, but there are definitely trans country artists in Nashville. Where are they?) The contestants come from all over the globe … but mainly the U.S. and South Africa. (Orville Peck is from there and they seem to have a folk/country scene of at least Dolly Parton devotees, so it makes sense.) It’s also worth noting that there are no femmes represented in the backing band supporting the contestants, and everyone on the audio end seems to be male. Representation in those behind-the-scenes but heavily creative roles is really important, but often goes unnoticed, so it isn’t all that surprising. A wider recruiting net may have served them better, but ultimately they’ve created a show that seems to treat performers humanely and doesn’t subject them to big public dismissals from the competition or any other engineered humiliations. And that’s kind of them.


An important thing to remember about this show is that, if you find yourself particularly drawn to any of its performers, these are all working musicians with recordings available right now. Another welcome detail: When artists are sent home from the show, there is a moment before the end credits where a graphic card and voiceover pop up to promote their Apple Music profiles. If you’d like to do even more to support them, many of them are active on social media, and they definitely have merch you can buy. (In a very smart marketing move, the contestant Wandile wears his on the show.) Share their stuff, vote with your dollars and attention to make them into whatever kind of “star” you hope they can become. Some of them may end up perfectly happy on an indie or Americana label, some may decide to pursue a path beyond or adjacent to music. Some may be content to maintain their local audience, or hold down a day job and gig on weekends. All are valid, and this is the rare music competition that seems to recognize and honor that.

My Kind Of Country premieres March 24 on Apple TV+.