I normally would steer clear of stories like this, but every time I’ve headed down to the general store for provisions for the hideout over the last month I’ve had to stare at a People Magazine cover story all about Jason Aldean showing off his “softer, romantic side” and his “daddy skills,” I thought it would be apropos to point out that TMZ just caught Aldean red handed cheating on his wife.
The Shivering Denizens and frontman Ron E. Banner epitomize gonzo-style West Coast country. Not as salacious as Bob Wayne & The Outlaw Carnies, and more solidly country than what the Supersuckers usually serve up during their “country” set, The Shivering Denizens are like Ken Kesey meets Merle Haggard.
Fallout from the sale of Gaylord Entertainment to Marriott International continues. Shareholders approved the $210 million dollar deal on Tuesday (9-25-2012) despite one of the leading investors in the company wanting Gaylord to spin off its Grand Ole Opry assets. Now the deal has ruffled the feathers of a country music heavyweight: Dolly Parton.
The first thing this album does is remind you that Waylon Jennings left us too early. The strength of the compositions validate that sentiment. All artists go though peaks and valleys in their careers, but passing away at 64, Waylon was never afforded the legacy era that his fellow Highwaymen have enjoyed; the “Golden Years” of an iconic country career.
On Tuesday (9-25-12), the Tennessee Court of Appeals upheld a lower Chancery Court ruling denying a request by Curb Record to block Tim McGraw signing and recording with another record label. Barring another appeal being accepted by the Tennessee Supreme Court, this means Tim McGraw is finally free from Curb Records, his label for 20 years.
Tuesday morning (9-25-12), Gaylord Entertainment shareholders approved a $210 million dollar deal to have Marriott International buy the company and take over management of certain Gaylord assets. As part of the SEC filing, Gaylord also revealed they plan to change the name of the company to Ryman Hospitality Properties, the “Ryman” being from The Ryman Auditorium.
On Monday night, the anger of many country music fans boiled over when they finally woke up to the realization that their favorite country stars had been swapped out for scab “replacement” stars by the country music industry, with many of the replacements being castaways from pop. Fans took to social media to vent their anger, posting “meme’s” and citing specific artists and songs they are hearing on the radio.
Tuesday will be the first time since 1982 that The Opry will have an opportunity to be free of a larger company’s control, a company that must meet shareholder’s demands, and figure out how to fit an old, historic institution into a modern-day corporate management structure. But where is this opposition in the argument for the Opry’s fate that could very well be decided tomorrow? They seem curiously absent.
I’m not sure if I can come up with a more touching country music story in 2012 than that of Don Maddox. Think about it, 90-year-old man whose spent the last 54 years in virtual obscurity from the music world makes headlines by receiving standing ovations at the Grand Ole Opry and being featured at the Country Music Hall of Fame along with the rest of his family as part of the Bakersfield Sound exhibit.
This is the exact album that the United States of America needs right here, right now, at this very moment in time. Finally, someone has the courage and the wisdom to use music to reassure people of the power of individual will, and the beauty of the rising action embedded in every human soul instead of as a vehicle to lay blame on everyone else for the problems the individual faces.
When I first proposed the theory that all popular music was coalescing into one big mono-genre where even the two traditionally polarized genres of country and hip-hop would be living side by side, even I didn’t think the conversion would happen so quickly and be so indisputable. Looking at country music, the top albums, the top songs, and the top artists all have ties to the merging of all popular music.
Just like its Viacom-owned sister wives of MTV and VH1, CMT seems to be slowly making the transition from a music video format to a reality show network anchored by its popular series of “redneck” programs. But if CMT is going to fill 24/7 with redneck programs, they’re going to need some more ideas. So being the always helpful, altuistic soul that I am, I thought I’d throw them some fresh concepts.
The two top shareholders in Gaylord are unhappy with the Marriott deal, with the first one having to be bought out, and the second one Gabelli Funds LLC with a 15% percent stake in Gaylord, specifically asking Gaylord to spin off its Grand Ole Opry assets for the exact reasons Saving Country Music has asserted it should.
In the mainstream of a genre that has grown stale with laundry list cliche songs, gimmicky pop and country rap fare, and droning adult contemporary ballads, Eric Church and “Creepin'” display bold, creative leadership. This song takes chances. There’s few “sensibilities” here. Instead there is striking out in uncharted mainstream country territory.
File My Graveyard Jaw and their album Coming Winds under “Pleasant Surprises of 2012.” Sort of like a poor man’s Punch Brothers, this acoustical string band that features guitar, banjo, violin (not fiddle), cello, and upright bass catches you completely off guard with their progressive approach, excellent songs, and ear for composition.
A reinterpretation of classic country in their own vision as opposed to the attempt at an accurate portrayal is what allows The Defibulators to separate their steer-horned emblem from the herd through substance and creativity. It also helps that they approach the music with a level of respect and admiration instead of seizing on it as fodder for irony. It’s music that gets it, for people that get it.
Wednesday night (9-12-2012) country music’s mother church The Ryman Auditorium was alive with the sounds of The 2012 Americana Music Awards that saw an always talented, eclectic (and sometimes confusing) flock of musicians, songwriters, and performers amass to give credit to the best and brightest of the year.
Apparently Toby Keith is tired of self-respect. At some point, maybe when his previous album Bullets in The Gun was awarded the dubious distinction of being the lowest-selling #1 debut album of all time, he decided to screw it all and start making stupid songs. Well now he’s back with a new single “I Like Girls That Drink Beer,” a piece of trend-chasing laundry list cliche crap…
A few days ago, CMT launched a new format and website called CMT Edge with the intent of covering artists outside the norm of mainstream country music. Since then I’ve been asked many times what I think of it, and my stock answer has been that I don’t exactly know what I think of it yet. Having said that, I see no reason at this point not to stay positive about it.
As some of you may already know, I’ve got a good friend named Pointer, and every year we get together for an annual trip to downtown Nashville around Labor Day. Pointer and I are great friends and we both love country music, but we couldn’t be on more opposite sides of the country music spectrum. Pointer loves to have his picture taken in front of things.
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