I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down'
(Thanks to Snargle!)
Myself, I do like country music, but I certainly understand why other folks don't. Early exposure to Johnny Cash and Lefty Frizell gave me a frame of reference when I discovered Buffalo Springfield, Poco, Sweetheart Of The Rodeo, the Flying Burrito Brothers, etc... The country-rock of the seventies led indirectly to the alt-country of the nineties, and for a brief time there in the eighties, it seemed like mainstream Nashville might embrace some quality singer-songwriters. Turns out to be not quite the case, but guys like Randy Travis, Dwight Yoakam and Steve Earle still manage to make a living and get new music released on a regular basis. Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson probably have more credibility with the alternative rock crowd than Nashville these days. The folk and bluegrass branches seem pretty vibrant lately, too. Country radio sucks, but so does Pop and Rock radio. And ninety per cent of everything is trash, so discovering hidden gems can be challenging if you don't have a map. Heck, there might be some hip-hop or electronica I'd like if I heard it, but I don't have any interest in the search. (OTOH, it may be that I'm too far outside the target demographic for those styles for this to be true...)