Today the nominees for the 2012 Americana Music Awards were announced. What struck me as I watched the presentation was how overtly cliquish the Americana Music Association has become, or continues to be, as they narrowcast out awards to the same pool of networked-in, dramatically-familiar, and specifically-focused artists that all tend to know each other, and carry the same politics.
Monthly Archives: May 2012
As first theorized here in late April, Gaylord Entertainment, the parent company of the iconic Grand Ole Opry and radio station WSM, has been sold to Marriott International for $210 million. According to a press release by Gaylord about the sale, the company will retain its Grand Ole Opry holdings for now, however will be reorganizing into an REIT, or Real Estate Investment Trust.
Do we really think legions of her fans are going to gateway from her music to Waylon Jennings, or even Alan Jackson, or even Justin Townes Earle? And for as many people she may convert to the pop version of country, may she scare just as many away from the traditional side? What are the ratios here? For all the good she may do enticing young fans to the genre, is she chasing away the older ones?
So what makes one of these albums worth checking out more than the others? It’s hard to say, but what I can say is that JP Harris and the Tough Choices’ I’ll Keep Calling is one of the best of the breed. This is an excellent album, and remarkably so because there’s really nothing new here. It’s how JP Harris separates himself from the crowd is by striking that difficult balance between being familiar, but not cliche.
Doc Watson’s family has been called to his bedside at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC. The 89-year-old folk and bluegrass guitar legend’s heath issues started on Monday (5-21) after a fall at his home. No bones were broken, but the incident exposed other health problems. Watson’s condition never improved from “critical” and he remains in Wake Forest Baptist’s Intensive Care Unit.
The long-awaited movie about the last days of Hank Williams called The Last Ride has finally been granted a theatrical release. It will begin to be shown in select theaters June 22nd, and in a series of historic theaters starting June 1st. The Last Ride is not meant to be a historic portrayal of Hank’s final days, but focuses on the interaction between Williams and his young driver.
Saving Country Music is pleased to bring you the official Muddy Roots Festival 2012 Performance Schedule! It includes a whopping 10 new additions for the previously-released lineup, including Grand Ole Opry icon and Country Music Hall of Famer Little Jimmy Dickens, and Texas country music legend James “Slim” Hand.
Over the years I’ve been a big Bob Wayne proponent, and to some folks he’s been a very hard sell. I’ve always counseled to look beyond the persona to the songwriting. With his new album Till The Wheels Fall Off, Bob Wayne frankly makes that task much harder. At the same time, he’s put out his most enjoyable album yet.
Mississippi blues legend T Model Ford, who became a roots icon along with R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, and many other older blues artists from Mississippi through Fat Possum Records, has suffered a stroke and remains in the hospital. This is not the first stroke T Model has suffered, but the people around him are describing the always-jovial, 90+ years-old blues player’s spirits as “uncharacteristically low.”
Yesterday Tim McGraw announced in a press conference that he had signed with Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine Records after a 20-year career and protracted legal battle with Curb. The symbolism and significance surrounding the signing was striking, and spoke to the titanic shifts that are rearranging the country music landscape in Nashville at this very moment.
From Nashville to New York , from Detroit to Seattle, fans will be getting together to raise funds for diabetes research and to pay tribute to one of country music’s biggest Outlaws. From Whitey Morgan & The 78’s to Shooter Jennings, from Rachel Brooke to Jackson Taylor, bands and artists will be giving of their time to help out a good cause.
This album is good both because it is Willie, and because it is good. After years of navigating through a gray area in his career and having to dabble with some record labels probably less able to do a Willie release justice, he’s back with the same company who released Red Headed Stranger, and back to making albums worthy of the world stopping down to pay attention to.
On Tuesday (5-22-12) Bob Wayne will be releasing his brand new album through People Like You Records called Till The Wheels Fall Off, and Saving Country Music is excited to premier for you the EPK introduction video for the album. It was shot at the house of Andy Gibson, Hank Williams III’s steel guitar and dobro player, and the man who recorded Till The Wheels Fall Off and all of Bob Wayne’s albums.
As first theorized by Saving Country Music on April 30th, The Grand Ole Opry and its parent company Gaylord Entertainment could soon be up for sale according to Bloomberg. What escalated the potential sale of The Opry from a theory to a very real possibility was a procedural vote earlier this week by Gaylord shareholders to let what’s called a “poison pill” in the company’s bylaws expire.
ABC has announced that a new TV drama called Nashville has been picked up for their Fall season. The show intimately involves Nashville’s mainstream music scene. Gaylord Entertainment, the owner of The Grand Ole Opry, is a producer and financier of Nashville. Anyone concerned about what impact this series may have on country music and the city of Nashville should focus in on this relationship first.
In the war to restore balance back to the mainstream country format, where both pop and traditional country music and demographics are represented, there is nothing more important than creating support around these few traditional or progressive country albums that Music Row does let slip through.
To say the song “Mean” by Taylor Swift has legs is a the grossest of all understatements. Since Saving Country Music’s coverage of the song has been limited to the context of criticism and conjecture, I though I would lay out all the facts about the song once and for all to see if we can discern who “Mean” is about.
The Turnpike Troubadours make songs about love cool to listen to again. This is also their ace-in-the-hole, what makes them a band that could break out. They were also very patient with this release, waiting well over 2 years since their last album to let the songs come to them and the groove to materialize before heading into the studio.
As frequent readers of Saving Country Music will attest, over the years we’ve christened fun little nicknames for some our favorite pals of pop country. If you ever wondered where these names came from and why, here’s the explanation behind some of our favorite terms of antipathy. Tim McGraw – The Perfume Magnate, Kid Rock – The Wet Cigarette . . .
This album is not the worst album ever put out in country music. With the advent of country rap, “New Outlaw” country, and the laundry list approach to country music in general, pop country now finds itself in a bit of a haven from the harshest of criticisms. What Lionel Ritchie’s Tuskegee album does hold the distinction of being is country music’s most embarrassing album put out to date.