One of Nashville's most in-demand songwriters and a current rising artist in his own right, CJ Solar knows better than anyone that country music is always changing -- and he admits that he's still trying to figure out exactly what that means.

Below, Solar reflects on his personal definition of country music, and what characteristics he hopes the genre will keep as it continues to evolve.

I constantly feel like I'm just trying to figure it all out -- especially when I first moved to Nashville. I came to Nashville really loving Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, you know, Montgomery Gentry -- the people that were grittier or had some comedy -- the funny stuff.

I don't feel like my songs have a whole lot of humor to them -- maybe a little bit -- but I loved the gritty stuff. So I always try to keep that aspect, because that's kind of the stuff that I feel like I lean towards, that sound. I feel fortunate and cursed that I can't really follow trends; I kinda just have to do what I do.

But, I mean, I don't know -- country music is whatever everybody wants it to be, at this point. You could probably have a rap song be a country hit these days, if you had a line about a corn field in it or something.

Every genre is constantly changing, as much as a lot of people probably wish that everything still sounded like Keith Whitley. I'm glad that country music has evolved, because, you know, we would have never had the Montgomery Gentrys, the Gary Allans, a lot of those people.

There will be certain phases that some people like more than others. For me, I hope there stays a guitar, bass, pedal steel; I hope some of those main instruments stay. And I hope that subject titles stay in the genre. But it's always exciting hearing new instruments pop in, or new sounds.

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