I so agree, you took the words right out of my mouth. There are a few bro-country songs from the 80s that are pretty great, believe it or not. I LOVE Fishin In the Dark by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, even though it's pretty bro-country but I just like the music and their voices. Even the Osmond brothers did a country album in 1983 and I think 1985 as well. I found this out from my aunt who is a huge Donny Osmond fangirl. I find it pretty decent, lol. It's because they're from Utah. Nitty Gritty also did Mr. Bojangles in 1970. lol I love it.
And I think Alabama is a great example of country music as well. I don't know all their songs but almost all the ones I've heard don't have to do with that country stereotype, just fun. Mountain Music, If You Wanna Play in Texas, I'm In a Hurry (And don't know why) When We Make Love (yes it's a love song), Song Of the South, Roll on 18 Wheeler are my top tracks. I remember when I'm In a Hurry was a new song in the fall of 1992.
I'm not sure if Creedence Clearwater Revival would be considered country but it's more southern/swamp rock. Most songs I've heard by them are just about life down in the Louisiana Bayou and that makes it easy to listen to. I cannot listen to the Eagles. Only songs I can tolerate by them are Hotel California and I think Take it Easy. Travis Tritt did a cover in the mid 90s and that's how I first heard that.
It's very hard to listen to most country today. And some people may have thought the late 80s to mid 90s was the end of country but compared to today, they should love the stuff from back then. There are a few songs from the early 90s that I wouldn't even consider country like Why Haven't I Heard from You, T-R-O-U-B-L-E, and even Watch Me but Watch Me is a true favorite of mine. So is T-R-O-U-B-L-E. That song is fast, upbeat and even broke the record for largest line dance EVER at some festival in the mid 90s.
Like the proverbial cheese, I stand alone. Even while seated.