Browsing articles in "News"

Scott Borchetta Commandeers Legacy Label Dot Records

March 24, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  12 Comments

dot_recordsScott Borchetta’s Big Machine Label Group is now bigger by one, and adds a new branch on the Big Machine tree right beside the labels other imprints of Republic Records and Valory Music Group. Announced today, Scott Borchetta and Universal Music Group have resurrected the “Dot Records” label name—a legacy music brand that was first started in Gallatin, TN by a man named Randy Wood in 1950, and lasted well into the late 70′s before eventually being engulfed by Universal Music and phased out. Many legacy country music artists including Don Williams, Roy Clark, and Hank Thompson had music released on Dot, while the label also serviced artists from other genres like Pat Boone and Count Basie.

The move marks the continued expansion of the Big Machine empire, though no bands or artists have been announced just yet for the Dot roster. However we do know from the rhetoric coming out of the announcement that it likely won’t just be country music coming from Dot. The label head has been announced as Chris Stacey, a senior vice president and head of promotions at Warner Music. “Look around Nashville right now. Nashville is a world music center. There’s rock, pop, country and rap,” Stacey told The Tennessean. “The cool thing about the heritage of Dot, it was a multi-genre label. Country music will always be the center lane. But, via our partnership with Universal, we are an independent label based in one of the hottest music cities in the world, and we have capabilities to do whatever we want musically.”

That capability will be aided by Borchetta’s historic deals with the pop world’s Dr. Luke in the songwriting realm, and with Clear Channel radio and their huge syndicated country radio network. In fact radio appears to be a centerpiece of the Dot plan according to Chris Stacey. “The other thing that is a really cool angle on this, [Dot] was created through the use of a local daytime radio station. It started off based on a partnership with radio. You look at the country music industry now, it’s all about the partnership with country radio.”

The use of the Dot label continues the trend of new school label groups of only carrying four or five artists on each imprint. All of Big Machine’s properties are set up this way, as are the respective labels under another new school record label, Broken Bow. This system allows artists to not get lost in the vast roster of a traditional label, and this structure is considered one of the reasons for Scott Borchetta and Big Machine’s success.

According to Borchetta, Chris Stacey will have full control over picking his staff and roster for the imprint, similar to how his other sub labels are run, with Scott giving final oversight. As many of Music Row’s major labels are trimming rosters and consolidating staff, the fact that Big Machine feels they can sustain a new branch speaks to the success the label has had since its 2005 inception.

Dot Records and their eclectic, sometimes kitschy selection of music over the years made them a favorite of vinyl collectors and studious music fans alike. Dot found their niche by using a local radio studio in Gallatin to record artists disregarded by the rest of the music business. Though it remains to be seen how much that legacy is respected by the new owners, it very likely won’t take on the same charge of searching for the offbeat and overlooked. It will simply be another stable for top shelf talent being lured to Big Machine by the label’s success.


Johnny Cash’s Great Niece Stabbed & Murdered

March 20, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  15 Comments

Courtney Cash – via Facebook

Courtney Cash, the great niece of country legend Johnny Cash, and the granddaughter of Johnny Cash’s brother Tommy Cash, was brutally stabbed and murdered early Wednesday morning in Putnam County, TN, and stuffed inside a wooden box in her home. Her boyfriend, William Austin Johnson who shared the house with Cash and their young daughter, was also stabbed multiple times, but survived the incident. Johnson fled the scene with their 20-month-old daughter and drove himself to a hospital in White County. He is currently at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in stable condition.

The suspect is 27-year-old Wayne Gary Masciarella, who was arrested in Cookeville, TN and charged with 1st Degree Murder. According to Putnam County Sheriff David Andrews, Masciarella has been booked into custody at least “20 times” previously. According to reports, Masciarella was a friend of Cash and Johnson, and had been invited into their home. An altercation and struggle ensued potentially over drugs, that resulted in the stabbings. Apparently the three had been at a store nearby earlier Tuesday night, and witnesses were interviewed at that scene as part of the investigation.

Wayne Masciarella

Wayne Masciarella

Police initially received a 911 call about 10:40 a.m. Wednesday, but the ping location from the call took sheriff’s to a location 1/4 of a mile down the road from the actual call. A second call came in roughly 20 minutes later, which led police to the scene. Police waited to obtain a search warrant before fully entering the premises, but found Courtney near the front door, stuffed into what Sheriff David Andrews described as a wooden box like a cedar chest, but not made out of cedar.

Though no specifics have been given, Sheriff Andrews alluded to reporters that drugs were involved in the incident. “This was a senseless, tragic death of a young lady whose life was probably taken as a direct or indirect result of drugs, and that’s just the world we live in. It’s just unfortunate that our people in our society lean so heavily on drugs to get through life,” said the Sheriff.

Tommy Cash, though not a well-known as his brother Johnny, is a noted songwriter and performer himself. The 73-year-old musician once performed in Hank Williams Jr.’s band, and is known for penning the 1969 hit “Six White Horses” about the killings of The Kennedy’s and Martin Luther King. Tommy Cash has released over 20 albums and has had 12 Top 40 hits. Tommy has released a statement about the incident.

We ask for your prayers for the Cash family at this time. Courtney and her boyfriend are beloved members of my family and like you we have a lot of questions and emotions that we are beginning to sort through today. We ask for you to respect our privacy and appreciate all the support that the public and media has always offered my family, as we handle the loss of my grand-daughter, pray for the father of my great-grand child and journey through the search for justice on this violent act. We are completely heartbroken. It is a time like this that we are grateful for our faith and trusting the loving guidance of God.

WSMV Channel 4


From Facebook



Tony Bennett Slams Modern Music & Corporations Controlling It

March 20, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  28 Comments

tony-bennett-1Tony Bennett, the 87-year-old performer who’s still going strong and is considered worldwide even at his advanced age as one of the greatest living singers, had some pretty spicy words about the state of modern music when the BBC spoke to him in an interview released Thursday. When asked if he planned to record any new songs, Bennett used the question as a springboard to launch into a rant about the lousy state of of affairs the music industry has succumbed to, and specifically how corporations are to ones to blame.

“The songs that are written today, most of them are terrible,” Bennett said. “It’s a very bad period musically throughout the world for popular music. The corporations they took it over, and they want to make so much money and they don’t care whether the public likes it or not. They think the public is ignorant, so their attitude is, ‘Don’t give them anything intelligent, because it won’t sell.’”

Tony Bennett also said something pointed out by many observers of the music industry: that the myopic focus on the young by labels is robbing them of the economic diversity they need to survive.

“I grew up in an era when the record companies just sold records to everybody. And the whole family bought songs. Today, record companies are failing because because they’re putting their accent just on the young. And I think it’s rather silly. They’re missing out of thousands of people that would love to buy records, but they don’t buy them because they don’t have a lasting quality.”

Speaking of lasting quality, Bennett started his career in 1949, and still draws sold-out audiences across the world, and his voice is considered as strong as ever. According to Bennett, learning has been the key to his longevity. “I still have a lot to learn about music.”


Up-And-Comer Eric Church Excited to Play Austin City Limits

March 18, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  39 Comments

eric-churchFor going on 40 years, Austin City Limits has been the one safe haven for substantive music performances on television, using the prestige of their program to lift up many artists worthy of a wider audience, but artists that are unfortunately not graced by the attention of mainstream radio. Originally established to be a visual companion to Jan Reed’s groundbreaking book Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock that set out to chronicle the formation and continued legacy of Austin’s music scene, and as a program that resides on public television, commercial concerns are an afterthought to Austin City Limits behind doing their duty to the local music community and shining a spotlight on undiscovered and deserving talent.

It is in this spirit that Austin City Limits has slated a scrappy young country music artist to appear during their latest season. Though you may have never heard of him, all that might change after he makes his Austin City Limits debut. His name is Eric Church, and despite only winning the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music awards for Album of the Year once, and having only sold roughly 3.5 million albums, the native North Carolinian has a promising future ahead of him, especially with ACL’s help.

“Since ‘Austin City Limits’ is a PBS program and their funding partially comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and from donations from viewers like you, they don’t have to worry as much about ratings and sponsors, and can reach down to give exposure to a deserving artist like Church,” says Eric Church representative Elizabeth Frankenfurter. “Though they have brought on big corporate sponsors over the last few years like Budweiser and Lexus, it’s clear with their selection of Church for the new season that corporate sponsorship concerns do not go into the selection of performing artists. If ‘Austin City Limits’ started selecting bigger names to showcase on their program, artists like Eric Church would be locked out of the opportunity to be presented to thousands of appreciative and attentive music fans that otherwise may not know about him.”

Eric Church joins other acts like Dave Matthews Band, Cheap Trick, Pearl Jam, Tim McGraw, and Radiohead that were thrusted into the public spotlight because of their Austin City Limits opportunity. “It’s such an honor for me to play on the same stage that Texas legends such as Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Wayne “The Train” Hancock have played,” a press release quoted Eric Church as saying, but a check of the Austin City Limits archive shows that despite their important status to Austin music, neither Ray Wylie Hubbard nor Wayne Hancock have been awarded their own Austin City Limits show like Eric Church.

Eric’s latest album release is called The Outsiders—a testament to his underdog status in the industry. Hopefully his Austin City Limits appearance puts this “outsider” on the inside track to success in country music.


UPDATED: 3 Dead, 23 Injured As Car Plows Through SXSW Crowd

March 13, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  11 Comments

This story has been updated. Please see below for further updates.

Tragic news out of Wednesday night’s South By Southwest festivities, as a car reportedly drove through the throngs of concert goers, killing 2 and injuring 23, including five critically, according to Austin’s ABC affiliate KVUE. A suspect is in custody according to Austin police, and will be charged with two counts of capital murder. A third victim died from injuries sustained during the accident on Monday, March 17th (see below).

The incident happened on Red River St., between 9th and 10th Streets, near the heart of Austin’s downtown entertainment district. Reports say victims were found over multiple blocks. Red River, along with Austin’s famous 6th Street, frame the heart of Austin’s downtown music corridor, and is the epicenter of the city’s SXSW festivities. Austin’s famous Mohawk venue sits right near where the incident occurred, and Stubb’s, where Lady Gaga and other big performers make their SXSW appearances, is right down the street. The intersection is also very close to the Austin Police headquarters.

Why SXSW Will Change, & Must Change After 2014 Fatalities

According to witnesses, the incident happened just before 1 AM early Thursday morning. Witnesses say the suspect hit a pedestrian, sped up, and hit several more. According to the Austin America Statesman, the two people killed were riding on a moped. The suspect reportedly also hit a taxi, injuring people inside, and a parked van before trying to flee on foot. The whole incident transpired on just over a minute.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo at a press conference at 2:30 AM early Thursday morning said the incident started as a DWI stop at a gas station on the Interstate 35 access road right near where the incident took place, and right by police headquarters. The suspect then fled the wrong way down 9th street—a one way road. The suspect eventually wrecked out, was tazed, and taken into custody. Much of Austin’s downtown district is cordoned off to regular traffic during SXSW, and is only accessible by vehicles with permits for performers and personnel, but near 9th street is usually where the pedestrian barrier starts. Multiple reports said the suspect drove through barricades during the incident.

Many of the victims were waiting in line for a Tyler, The Creator show at the House of Vans showcase at the Mohawk venue. The performance was subsequently canceled after the incident.

Anyone with further information on the incident is asked to contact Austin police at (512) 974-5186.

Photo of injured pedestrian from Austin American Statesman.

Photos from KVUE.

UPDATE 3/15: The suspect in the incident has been identified as Rashad Charjuan Owens, an aspiring rapper that uses the pseudonyms KillingAllBeatz or K.A.B254 that was on the way to a a 1 AM performance at Club 1808 near 12th and Chicon Streets. According to the arrest warrant, and officer looking for drunk drivers saw Owens in a 2012 Honda Civic driving without his lights on and proceeded to try and make a traffic stop. The 21-year-old rapper, worried that he would be arrested and go to jail for multiple arrests warrants stemming from a custody dispute, decided to flee. Owens blood alcohol level was .114. The legal limit in Texas is .08. Owens is being held at the Travis County Jail held on a $3 million bond on capital murder charges. In Texas, whenever two murders happen in the same incident, it is automatically charged as capital murder.

The arrest warrant says that dash video from police “shows the Honda accelerating into crowds, not simply crowded areas but crowds of people who are hit by the car and flung into the air for almost three city blocks, accelerating into crowds and does not use his brakes, as in the video there are no brake lights visible from the rear of the Honda.”

The two victims have been identified as Steven Craenmehr, 35, an Amsterdam-based employee of MassiveMusic, and Jamie Ranae West, 27, of Austin.

UPDATE 3/17: A third person has died from injuries sustained during to the crash. 26-year-old Sandy Le from Austin died at University Medical Center Brackenridge Monday morning. She was one of 5 victims listed in critical condition.


Police dispatch audio from the incident:

Photo via Matthew Keys on Twitter.



Johnny Depp Joins Willie Nelson on Guitar in Austin

March 10, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  8 Comments


This week in Austin, TX is one of the greatest confluences of talent that occurs annually, as stars of music and film converge on the Texas state capitol for festivities surrounding SXSW, or South by Southwest. Some people forget though that early March is also the time for Austin’s famous rodeo that features many big names in country music stopping in for performances, including Willie Nelson that graced the Austin rodeo stage Sunday night, and had a surprise band member with him incognito.

Actor, music lover, and armchair musician Johnny Depp, sporting a vest, round shades, a ripped canvas wide-brimmed hat, and his Danelectro guitar, sat in with Willie’s family band for the set Sunday night. He was simply introduced as “John,” and traded licks with Willie Nelson’s son Lukas Nelson who was also sitting in with the band. Johnny played songs like “Good Hearted Woman” and “On The Road Again,” with most of the crowd unbeknownst who that was on the right of the stage.

As a guitar player, Johnny Depp is no slouch. He’s buddies with The Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan and appears on the singer’s first solo record. Depp also appears on numerous songs from Oasis, and was a member of the band ‘P’ that featured members of The Butthole Surfers, The Sex Pistols, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. He’s also appeared many times in movies and video playing guitar, contributed to many other songs and albums, and used to own The Viper Room music venue in L.A where Johnny Cash kicked off his American Recordings era.



Darius Rucker Compares Luke Bryan & Eric Church to Willie & Waylon

March 5, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  92 Comments

darius-rucker-002Former Hootie & The Blowfish frontman turned country artist Darius Rucker was on sports personality Dan Patrick’s radio show Tuesday (3-4), and had some interesting things to say about who the new torch bearers are for country music’s Outlaw legacy. Outlaw artists like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, David Allan Coe, and Johnny Paycheck shook up the country music world in the mid 70′s by re-instituting a harder country sound and taking back control of their music, and now according to Darius Rucker and Dan Patrick, the new Willie and Waylon is Luke Bryan and Eric Church.

The Darius Rucker interview starts out with Dan Patrick giving some playful ribs to Rucker about his lack of country music bad boy credentials. “I mentioned at the end of last hour that, you know, Luke Bryan’s the new bad boy, and Eric Church is the new bad boy in country,” said Patrick. “Darius Rucker can’t be a bad boy ’cause he was the lead singer of Hootie & The Blowfish. Right? No matter what …. How can you be a bad boy? You know you can’t be Tim [McGraw], you can’t be Hank Williams. You know, you were Hootie & The Blowfish.”

“That’s funny but true,” Rucker responds, laughing. “You’re absolutely right. I’m always going to be country lite, there’s nothing I can do about that … Brad [Paisley]‘s not a bad boy. Rascal Flatts, they’re not bad boys. Not everyone can be a bad boy. You know, that’s cool.”

Then Dan Patrick asks, “But there’s so much money in country now that can you be a bad boy and be crazy like Waylon and Willie used to be?”

“Yeah man, we’ve still got those guys,” Rucker says. “You know, Jamey Johnson, he’s a bad boy that’s for sure, and he’s doing well. You know, like you said Luke and Eric, Eric’s probably the closest we got to Waylon & Willie I think.”

This was not the first time Darius Rucker has made interesting statements on the Dan Patrick Show. In November of 2013, Darius said on the show that he thought he deserved a Grammy nomination for his cover of the Old Crow Medicine Show / Bob Dylan song “Wagon Wheel” or quote “country music’s screwed.” Dan Patrick and Darius Rucker are good friends, going back to the time when Darius was winning Grammy Awards with Hootie & The Blowfish.

You can see the entire interview below.


6th Annual Lone Star Music Awards Nominees Announced

March 3, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  24 Comments

lone-star-music-awardsLone Star Music, the Texas music cornerstone that has such good taste and cool vibes that appreciation for it’s unique approach of putting the music first spreads well past the Texas border, has just announced the nominees for their 6th Annual Lone Star Music Awards, and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t hit the sweet spot in showcasing many of the artists that are helping to save country music.

The Lone Star Music Awards will be held at The Marc in San Marcos, TX on Sunday, April 27th and will feature performances from many of the nominees and many others. Last year Saving Country Music was in attendance, and can vouch that a good time was had by all.

If you want to vote for your favorite nominees, you can do so once per email address. Voting ends March 31st.

*Vote for the Lone Star Music Awards*


  • Jason Boland & The Straggers – Dark & Dirty Mile
  • Jason Isbell – Southeastern
  • Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer Different Park
  • Randy Rogers Band – Trouble
  • Shinyribs – Gulf Coast Museum
  • Slaid Cleaves – Still Fighting The War
  • William Clark Green – Rose Queen



  • Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis – Cheater’s Game
  • Chris King – 1983
  • Jason Boland & The Stragglers – Dark & Dirty Mile
  • Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer Different Park
  • Kyle Park – Beggin’ For More
  • Sturgill Simpson – High Top Mountain
  • Zane Williams – Overnight Success



  • Jason Isbell – Southeastern
  • Quaker City Night Hawks – Honcho
  • Reckless Kelly – Long Night Moon
  • Shinyribs – Gulf Coast Museum
  • Sons Of Fathers – Burning Days
  • Thieving Birds – Gold Coast
  • William Clark Green – Rose Queen



  • Amanda Shires – Down Fell The Doves
  • Drew Kennedy – Wide Listener
  • Guy Clark – My Favorite Picture Of You
  • Owen Temple – Stories They Tell
  • Patty Griffin – American Kid
  • Slaid Cleaves – Still Fighting The War
  • Terry Allen – Bottom Of The World



  • Jason Isbell – Elephant
  • Mando Saenz – Pocket Change
  • Randy Rogers Band – Fuzzy
  • Slaid Cleaves – Texas Love Song
  • Will Callers – House Of Falling Cards
  • Will Hoge – Strong
  • William Clark Green – She Likes The Beatles



  • American Aquarium
  • Lincoln Durham
  • Randy Rogers Band
  • Reckless Kelly
  • Shinyribs
  • Turnpike Troubadours
  • Uncle Lucius



  • Ace Crayton – Thieving Birds
  • Cody Canada
  • Jason Isbell
  • Kevin Russell – Shinyribs
  • Slaid Cleaves
  • Stewart Mann – Statesboro Revue
  • William Clark Green



  • Amanda Shires
  • Bri Bagwell
  • Courtney Patton
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Kelly Willis
  • Kylie Rae Harris
  • Patty Griffin



  • Chris King
  • Courtney Patton
  • HalleyAnna
  • Quaker City Night Hawks
  • Sons Of Fathers
  • Thieving Birds
  • Will Callers



  • Guy Clark
  • Jason Isbell
  • Owen Temple
  • Patty Griffin
  • Sam Baker
  • Will Hoge
  • William Clark Green



  • Brady Black – Randy Rogers Band
  • Brandy Zdan
  • Bukka Allen – Terry Allen
  • Cody Braun – Reckless Kelly
  • Lincoln Durham
  • Lloyd Maines – Terry Allen, Various Projects
  • Roger Ray – Jason Boland & The Stragglers



  • Adam Odor – Britt Lloyd, Johnny Chops
  • Dave Cobb – Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson
  • Erik Herbst – Rusty Brothers, Sam Riggs, Thieving Birds
  • George Reiff – Band Of Heathens, Brandy Zdan, Lincoln Durham, Shinyribs
  • John Ross Silva – Chris King, Courtney Patton
  • Lloyd Maines – Slaid Cleaves, Sons Of Fathers, Terry Allen, Tejas Brothers, Two Tons Of Steel, Wayne Hancock
  • Rachel Loy – William Clark Green



  • Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis – Cheater’s Game
  • Cody Canada – Some Old, Some New, Maybe A Cover Or Two
  • Reckless Kelly – Long Night Moon
  • Statesboro Revue – Ramble On Privilege Creek
  • Terry Allen – Bottom Of The World
  • Wheeler Brothers – Gold Boots Glitter
  • William Clark Green – Rose Queen



  • Americana Jam – New Braunfels, TX
  • BigFest – San Marcos, TX
  • Greenfest – New Braunfels, TX
  • Larry Joe Taylor Music Festival – Stephenville, TX
  • Lone Star Jam – Austin, TX
  • MusicFest – Steamboat Springs, CO
  • Old Settlers – Driftwood, TX



  • Billy Bob’s – Fort Worth, TX
  • Blue Light Live – Lubbock, TX
  • Cain’s Ballroom – Tulsa, OK
  • Cheatham Street Warehouse – San Marcos, TX
  • Firehouse Saloon – Houston, TX
  • Luckenbach Dancehall – Luckenbach, TX
  • Magnolia Motor Lounge – Fort Worth, TX

Johnny Cash Reveals “Out Among The Stars” for 82nd Birthday

February 26, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  7 Comments

johnny-cash-light-up-a star

Today would have been Johnny Cash’s 82nd birthday, but apropos to his nature, he’s the one giving the gifts.

Ahead of the release of Johnny Cash’s lost album Out Among The Stars due on March 25th, the Johnny Cash Official website has made available the opportunity for you to listen to the title track of the album by signing in either through Facebook or email. And then if you wish, you can make a birthday wish to Johnny Cash and light up a star on the background of the website that others can then scroll over read (don’t worry, it’s easy).

Johnny-Cash--Out-Among-the-StarsOut Among The Stars is a complete album that was recorded between 1981 and 1984 by Cash, with songs that were meant to be together, but never saw the light of day. A true “lost album” if there ever was one. It was produced by Country Music Hall of Famer Billy Sherrill who was also the president of CBS Records at the time, and the pairing was meant to create something special; something that could re-ignite Johnny Cash’s career.

Out Among The Stars features 12 tracks, including a duet with Waylon Jennings, and two duets with Cash’s wife, June Carter Cash. The recordings also feature Country Hall of Fame keys player Hargus “Pig” Robbins, and a young Marty Stuart. Legacy Recordings had Marty Stuart, Buddy Miller, and Jerry Douglas “fortify” the recordings for the release.

Fans has already been able to listen to “She Used to Love Me A Lot,” and a duet with Waylon Jennings “I’m Movin’ On” (listen below).

Visit The Johnny Cash Official Website

Pre-Order Out Among The Stars on CD

Pre-Order Out Among The Stars on Vinyl


Jett Williams Arrested on DUI Charges

February 25, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  11 Comments

jett-williamsJett Williams, the daughter of country legend Hank Williams Sr. and the half-sister of Hank Williams Jr., was arrested early Tuesday morning for DUI in Lebanon, Tennessee. The 61-year-old Jett Williams Adkinson was observed by Lebanon police swerving in between lanes in a 1998 Jaguar when police pulled her over at 2:30 AM. According to police, Jett smelled of alcohol, and had slurred speech and admitted to drinking two beers. She failed a field sobriety test, and was arrested.

Williams was also cited for not wearing a seat belt and for no proof of insurance. She was later released from the Wilson County Jail on $1,000 bond. According to police, her current address is Hartsville, TN, just north and east of Lebanon.

Jett is a country music performer and the co-executor of the Hank Williams estate. She is the daughter of Hank Williams Sr. and Bobby Jett, who Hank had a brief relationship with between his two marriages. She was born five days after Hank’s death, and was adopted by Hank’s mother, Lillian Stone after her birth. When Lillian passed away in 1955, Jett became a ward of the state before being adopted, and lost touch with her Hank Williams lineage. In 1985, she was found by the Alabama State Court to be the daughter of Hank Williams, and was awarded a half-share of the estate. Jett’s husband, lawyer Keith Adkinson, died in June of 2013.


Party Down South Cast In Labor Dispute / Cast Member Arrested

February 24, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  44 Comments

Party Down South, the new CMT reality show from the same producers of Jersey Shore, is the show that CMT is banking on being their signature franchise in an aggressive move toward adding four nights of original reality programming to their lineup. Party Down South was one of seven new reality shows to debut on CMT this season, and has been heavily advertised across all of Viacom’s cable channels as well as across the internet. And now the show is facing serious trouble.


Lyle Boudreaux, from Maurice, LA Police

It was revealed Monday morning that one of the show’s eight stars, Louisiana native Lyle Boudreaux, was arrested in Maurice, LA for burglary of a vehicle. According to police, while at a Mardi Gras parade, Boudreaux found an unlocked car, rifled through a purse, and stole a credit card to fund the night’s drinking. When he went to the 2nd bar on the night and tried to start an open tab, bartenders noticed the name on the card and alerted police. The 28-year-old Party Down South star was arrested, and eventually released on $10,000 bond.

But that’s just where the Party Down South trouble begins.

Party Down South has been a ratings blockbuster for CMT since it debuted in January, and is now the network’s highest-rated show. However the cable channel appears to not be willing to share their Party Down South spoils with the cast.

According to TMZ, the eight stars of the show were dramatically underpaid for their first season of work, and are holding out on CMT, demanding more money from the network and the show’s producers before they will sign contracts to appear in a scheduled season two and three. The cast members were only paid $500 per episode for their services, while the cast of the similar Jersey Shore were making six figures a piece in the later seasons of that show.

Read: Saving Country Music Helps w/ “Party Down South” Ads

Though the cast has agreed to a “reunion” show at $1,000 a head, there appears to be some question whether CMT will be able to bring back the original cast for future seasons. The cast has hired managers to represent them, and apparently the negotiations are not going well. On Friday, one cast member Mattie Breaux got in a heated exchange on a conference call and then hung up on the producers. Now producers are said tho be willing to let go some of the cast members instead of paying them. Part of the concern from the cast is CMT and the producers are demanding they shoot two new seasons back to back, making it difficult for them to maintain regular jobs.

The approach CMT and producers are taking with the cast speaks to the criticism from many that people from the South are seen as expendable by the entertainment industry. The gross discrepancy between the pay of the Party Down South cast and the cast members of other highly-rated reality TV shows, as well as their flippant attitude of replacing the cast if necessary, is the type of disrespect prevalent towards Southern talent in show business. Though it is not out of the ordinary for the Party Down South cast to receive minimal compensation during the first season, it is once the show has proven to be a ratings success.

party-down-south-adParty Down South has received widespread criticism from Saving Country Music and other outlets for misrepresenting Southern culture and perpetuating negative Southern stereotypes. Ben “Cooter” Jones, one of the original cast members of The Dukes of Hazzard has also openly criticized the show, especially for showing commercials for the show with questionable content during reruns of The Dukes of Hazzard and other shows meant for a family audience on CMT and other networks. In an open letter to CMT and Viacom, Jones said about the show,

…without a doubt the most offensive and sleaziest thing ever to make it to a national audience already neck-deep in offensive sleaze, much of it courtesy of your corporation.

I am also offended by your portrayal of the South. Hollywood’s depiction of the South has famously been the stuff of scores of books, articles, and dissertations. We in the Southland are accustomed to being mocked, stereotyped and accused of all sorts of decadence and hatreds. The South has become a convenient whipping boy for the sins of the entire United States. But since we don’t produce the films and the television shows, your false version of us becomes the “accepted truth.”


Shooter Jennings & Billy Ray Cyrus Join Forces in LA

February 21, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  51 Comments


Photos From Billy Ray Cyrus Facebook Page

Like brothers in country music arms, Shooter Jennings, the son of legendary country music Outlaw Waylon Jennings, and Billy Ray Cyrus, singer of “Achy Breaky Heart” and father of mega pop star Miley Cyrus, met together on stage Wednesday Night (2-19) at the club “Loaded” in Hollywood, California for an installment of the Shooter-hosted “BCR Nights At Loaded” concert series. Both men sporting Aviator sunglasses, shoulder length hair, and long face shadows looked like they were cut from the same country-music-with-a-little-rock cloth as they regaled the crowd of Hollywood revelers.

Billy Ray Cyrus, fresh off the release of his 2nd version and video of “Achy Breaky Heart”—a hip hop collaboration with rapper Buck 22 complete with twerking extra-terrestrials—was the special guest of this last night in the “BCR Nights At Loaded” series. Other performers included Billy Don Burns, Jonathan Tyler, and The Dogmen.

Some may wonder what the Cyrus / Shooter connection is, but apparently the two go way back. Billy Ray tweeted out earlier in the day, “I’m going to join my old friend Shooter Jennings tonight to play a few songs…” Cyrus is known for being a huge Waylon Jennings fan, and Waylon recounted his first meeting with Billy Ray in his autobiography.

One time I was at an awards show, and I heard a voice behind me saying “Mr. Jennings, you’re like a god to me.” I turned around and it was Billy Ray Cyrus, offering his hand for me to shake. All I could think of was, if I’m your god, what does your devil look like?

No word on if the Cyrus / Shooter dynamic duo was just a one-off occurrence or if there may be more collaborations in the future.



Sturgill Simpson’s “Metamodern Sounds in Country Music”

February 20, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  53 Comments

sturgill-simpson-metamodern-sounds-in-country-music-1Announced on this morning, up-and-coming authentic country performer Sturgill Simpson will release his second solo studio album called Metamodern Sounds In Country Music on May 13th. Born in Kentucky, the former from man of Sunday Valley released his debut album High Top Mountain in 2013 to critical acclaim and was nominated for Saving Country Music’s Album of The Year. Sturgill went on to be named Saving Country Music’s Artist of the Year.

“Myriad worldly offerings—religion, drugs, and more—all claim to be the omnipotent universal truth, but in my experience, love is the only certainty. That is what this record is about,” Simpson tells Paste.

The cover art is contributed by longtime Sturgill Simpson friend Jason Seiler, known for his illustration of Pope Francis for Time Magazine.

As part of the announcement, Sturgill has also released the first single from the album “Living The Dream” (listen below).

Track List for Metamodern Sounds In Country Music:

1.Turtles All the Way Down
2. Life of Sin
3. Living the Dream
4. Voices
5. Long White Line
6. The Promise
7. A Little Light
8. Just Let Go
9. It Ain’t All Flowers
10. Pan Bowl (bonus track)


Pop Country Clothing, Furniture, Food & Paint Coming from NASH

February 19, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  39 Comments

nashSaving Country Music has been sounding the warning bell that the big story of 2014 will be the formation of two gargantuan media companies that will absolutely dominate the country music landscape and encapsulate everything from radio, television, print and online media, and social network channels. The Country Music Media Arms Race is being fought by the two biggest radio station owners in the United States: Clear Channel and Cumulus, and during this week’s Country Radio Seminar, we are starting to get some of the specific details of the plans these future massive media companies have, and to say their plans are expansive is an understatement.

Cumulus Media is #2 on the radio ownership totem pole, and to attempt to hopscotch their rival Clear Channel, they are planning massive expenditures, acquisitions, and ventures to push the recognition of their big country music brand: “NASH”. NASH and NASH-FM is the brand of Cumulus’s 70+ station syndicated Top 40 pop country network. We already knew that Cumulus had recently acquired a 50-percent interest in the 17-year-old, 500,000+ circulated Country Weekly magazine to re-brand it as NASH. Now in some recent reports, the beans are being spilled about the extent of just how far Cumulus is hoping to push the NASH brand.

Some of their plans are obvious. Since their rival Clear Channel has now partnered with CMT, Cumulus and NASH are looking for their own television partner, potentially Great American Country or GAC, or re-branding the Destination America and American Heroes cable channels owned by Discovery Communications. Also, after Clear Channel’s streaming service iHeartRadio announced a country music festival in Austin, Cumulus and the NASH brand are looking into doing a festival and/or concert series, as well as a radio-based award show with Dick Clark Productions—the same production company behind the Academy of Country Music Awards, or ACM’s.

But the Cumulus plans go even further than that. Here is a run down of some of the things Cumulus has planned for their pop country NASH brand:


In the vein of Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill chain, or Rascal Flatts’ recently-announced plans for a chain restaurant, NASH wants to open a fleet a family-friendly fern bars to help establish their brand in certain important markets and locations. You could enjoy some Taylor Swift fried cheese, or a Brantley Gilbert blooming onion.


Yes, you read that right. Apparently NASH wants to get into the home improvement game. This move isn’t unprecedented. Big corporate brands such as Martha Stewart and Ralph Lauren have dipped their stir stick into the pain business to help solidify their corporate brands in the past, but a radio network? How about a nice Tim McGraw taupe to spruce up that breakfast nook?


Again, not completely unprecedented since you have big artists like Jason Aldean enjoying a big endorsement deal from Wrangler, and Taylor Swift peddling Keds. Some artists also have their own specific clothing lines. Country music and popular culture is a very visual medium, and being able to sell consumers similar clothing to what they see their favorite artists wearing is shrewd business.


Maybe the strangest of the ideas Cumulus is looking into, the company apparently wants to leave no stone unturned, and wants to bring the NASH brand right into people’s homes so they won’t forget who to consume their country music through; a little hard to do when you’re watching NASH TV from your Carrie Underwood signature NASH microfiber couch, muching on NASH leftovers from the night before in a room painted in your favorite NASH colors.

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Cumulus and their NASH brand is out for nothing short of absolute cultural immersion, with the vehicle being the widespread and growing appeal of popular country music. Pop country is seen as very safe and marketable because of its well-liked and clean image. And if Cumulus has its way with NASH, it will become one of the most recognized brands in the United States in the coming years.

Your move, Clear Channel.



Willie Nelson & Alison Krauss Headline Landmark Tour

February 14, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  37 Comments

willie-nelson-2Nothing gets my motor running more than established talent giving worthy up-and-comers a hand up, and rising stars helping to introduce legendary talent to a new generation of fans. This is the way country music is supposed to be—spanning generations and cross-pollinating fans bases to create a healthy environment of support. And an upcoming, nationwide, early summer tour is scheduled to do that very thing.

Willie Nelson and his legendary Family Band, Alison Krauss with her legendary Union Station band including Jerry Douglas, are scheduled to embark on a 35-date tour running from May 1st to July 18th, supported at various whistle stops by the critically-acclaimed Jason Isbell, the recently Grammy-decorated Kacey Musgraves, and country punk pioneers Devil Makes Three. This will be a lineup not to miss….unless you’re in Texas or California.

May 1               Murray, KY                   CFSB Center/Murray State University*
May 2               Atlanta, GA                  Chastain Park Amphitheatre *
May 3               Knoxville, TN               Thompson Boling Arena*
May 4               Cary, NC                       Koka Booth Amphitheatre*
May 6               St. Augustine, FL        St. Augustine Amphitheatre*
May 8               Daniel Island, SC         Family Circle Cup Stadium*
May 9               Simpsonville, SC         Charter Amphitheatre*
May 10             Greensboro, NC           White Oak Amphitheatre*
May 11             Huntington, WV           Big Sandy Superstar Arena*
May 13             Roanoke, VA                Roanoke Civic Center*
May 14             Columbus, OH              Schottenstein Center*
May 16             Nashville, TN                The Woods at Fontanel*
May 17             Birmingham, AL            BJCC*
May 18             Augusta, GA                 James Brown Arena*
June 5              Southaven, MS             Snowden Grove Amphitheater #
June 6              Louisville, KY               Waterfront Park+
June 7              Lewiston, NY                Artpark #
June 8              Bethel, NY                     Bethel Woods Center For the Arts #
June 10            New York, NY                Radio City Music Hall #
June 13            Philadelphia, PA           Mann Center #
June 14            Columbia, MD               Merriweather Post Pavilion
June 15            Simsbury, CT                Simsbury Meadows #
June 17            Boston, MA                   Blue Hills Bank Pavilion #
June 19            Bangor, ME                   Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion #
June 20            Gilford, NH                    Bank of NH Pavillion at Meadowbrook #
June 21            Canandaigua, NY         CMAC Performing Arts Center #
July 6               Kansas City, MO           Starlight Theatre ~
July 7               Rogers, AR                   Arkansas Music Pavilion ~
July 9               Oklahoma City, OK       Zoo Amphitheatre ~
July 11             Council Bluffs, IA         Harrah’s Stir Cove~
July 12             Chicago, IL                    Ravinia Festival~
July 13             Detroit, MI                      Freedom Hill~
July 15             Rama, ON                       Casino Rama
July 17             Interlochen, MI              Kresge Auditorium~
July 18             Toledo, OH                    Toledo Zoo

*The Devil Makes Three
# Kacey Musgraves
~ Jason Isbell
+ The Wild Feathers


Gross Inaccuracies in Article on Outlaw Hall of Fame

February 13, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  40 Comments

outlaw-music-hall-of-fameOn Tuesday, February 11th, writer Jessica Blankenship posted an article on the local-based news blog format known as called Is the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame Legit or a Sham? The article mixed spurious facts with opinion, and presented many gross inaccuracies about the status of the fledgling organization in an attempt to portray it as either taking advantage of artists and fans, or attempting to do so, and accused it of taking advantage of the name of slain country music artist Wayne Mills. is a format that has very dubious distinctions amongst its internet peers. Examiner does not vet any of its writers, exercises no editorial control over its content, an pays its contributors based on a “pay for page impressions” or Black Box policy that is seen by reputable news outlets as a violation of journalistic standards and incentivizes the sensationalism of content. The site made Wikipedia’s “Spam Blacklist” distinction in 2010 for its spurious handling of news, and search engines such as Google and Yahoo discount content in their listings because of the regular appearance of inaccuracies, as well as the site and some of its writers being involved in high-profile plagiarism cases.

The Outlaw Music Hall of Fame was first announced on August 15th of 2013. The organization announced its intent to purchase property in Lynchburg, TN for the Hall, and announced its inaugural inductee class on October 20th during a charity event in Altamont, TN. writer Jessica Blankenship says she made an attempt to speak to the Hall of Fame head Gary “Sarge” Sargeant before publishing her piece, but no attempt to vet the facts she presents in the article beyond skimming through a few public websites was made. Here are some of the article’s gross inaccuracies:

Outlaw Hall of Fame’s Not-For-Profit Status

In the article, the not-for-profit status of the Hall of Fame is called into question.

The Outlaw Music Hall of Fame, Outlaws and Icons, and the Outlaw Music Association have claimed to be a non-profit in interviews and their websites. According to the IRS website, neither the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame, Outlaws and Icons, or the Outlaw Music Association are listed as being recognized as non-profit to be tax exempt. The Tennessee State Government’s website has not recognized either as a non-profit or charitable organization. website does not have any indication of any of the organizations as a non-profit. The Better Business Bureau of west Tennessee does not recognize any of the names as a business or non-profit charity.

It also calls out later,

the deceit of stating to be a non-profit when they are not.

This information is incorrect.

The Outlaw Music Hall of Fame has registered as a not-for-profit with the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office. It was applied for in August of 2013, and a call to the Tennessee Secretary of Sate by Saving Country Music confirmed this. A separate arm of the organization called “Outlaws & Legends” whose purpose is to be a benefit organization applied for their not-for-profit status in May of 2013.

“The Secretary of State’s office is who we are registered with as a non-profit organization,” says Gary Sargeant. “Outlaws and Legends and Outlaw Music Hall of Fame are separate, and they are both registered in the State of Tennessee as non profit corporations, and a 501c3 has been applied for. When we receive that back from the IRS, then we’ll have those numbers to post up too. It takes 6 to 9 months to get a 501c3 approved. I filed that in July of 2013.”

Also, the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame is not an open business. There’s no reason the organization would be registered with The Better Business Bureau or other such entities as an open, operating business, nor is any organization obligated to register with The Better Business Bureau.

Author Neil Hamilton Is Not a Member of the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame Board of Directors

The article states:

Since the death of Wayne Mills, board of director member and writer, Neil Hamilton, posted a rather dark blog on Wayne Mills that pictured a stark contrast of his true character. The blog, which has since been taken down, was filled with conspiracy theories and lies. The credibility of his writings would soon be questioned by music fans as he was proven wrong of several items he posted. Most importantly, he reported that he had spoke to those that were with Mills, only to later say in a second post that he never spoke to those he named. Why would someone throw those under the bus, so to speak, that he considered to be a friend of, including Mills?

it also calls out later the,

lack of credibility of board members.

Once again, this is completely incorrect.

Saving Country Music has confirmed through both Neil Hamilton and Gary Sargeant that Neil Hamilton is not a member of the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame Board of Directors, and has not been a member since December when Hamilton made his controversial blog post about the death of Wayne Mills. In the aftermath of that post, Hamilton tenured his resignation, and the Hall of Fame accepted.

Furthermore, the blog post by Neil Hamilton is and was completely autonomous from the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame. The above paragraph seems to imply that the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame had something to do with Hamilton’s blog post, as if he was acting on the Outlaw Hall of Fame’s behalf. A Board of Directors member is not an employee or representative of any organization. It is an advisory position, and Neil Hamilton’s, nor any board member’s actions should reflect on the organization, especially considering that the questionable activity is what stimulated him leaving the position.

Lack of Progress With The Outlaw Hall of Fame

The article in numerous places calls out the Hall of Fame for lack of progress.

Even though it has been announced that the ceremonies would take place in April 2014, there has been no word of when or where it will take place…To date, no word has been made as to what the progress of the facility has been. There has been no information available as to when it will open and what particular items will be on display.

As Jessica Blankenship points out herself, the induction ceremony wasn’t even initially scheduled to take place for another 6 weeks to 2 1/2 months. However the organization is being criticized for a lack of progress on events whose dates haven’t passed. Saving Country Music spoke to Gary Sargeant about why there has been no updates on the opening of the Outlaw Hall of Fame, and it has to deal with a very specific matter with the building that was acquired to house the Hall.

Last September we signed a letter of intent for a lease / purchase for the building, and signed and delivered it to the real estate agent. The owners of the property have that property, and adjacent one, and a 3rd piece of property that are tied to a loan to a bank. When presented to the bank, the bank put a hold on the lease we were executing to take possession of the building on November 1st. The bank put a hold on it because they don’t want to lease it, they just want to sell the property because the owners are in arrears with their payments. And it’s been going back and forth ever since, and were working on a deal to try to figure out how to break that piece of property out from the other two. And it’s in the banks, and lawyers, and real estate agent’s hands. So we’re trying to purchase the building separately.

That’s the whole gist behind what’s happening with the building, and it has nothing to do with the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame doing anything wrong. It is a very desirable piece of property that we feel suits our needs best for the long-term viability of the Hall of Fame. But it’s tied up with two other pieces of property, and the legal trappings that go with breaking that out and satisfying all the parties concerned. We’re just trying to work out a deal where everybody’s satisfied so we can take possession of the building. Once we take possession of the building, then we have approximately 90 days worth of work to do to reconfigure the interior space to the way that we want it. As soon as these things that are out of our control are resolved, then we can formulate a schedule and make some announcements.

Inductees Not Acknowledging the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame

The article states:

Furthermore, none of the inductees have even acknowledged the Hall of Fame on their websites or social media pages. The last post on Facebook from the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame was November 23, 2013 with news of the passing of Wayne Mills.

Once again, this is incorrect information.

Dallas Moore, Wayne Mills before his passing, and other individuals recognized by the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame acknowledged their distinction when it was announced. There were also some that didn’t, but this is not an obligation, nor is it somehow the responsibility of the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is a fledgling organization attempting to create legitimacy for itself just as any Hall of Fame seeks, and shouldn’t be responsible for the actions of others.

Also, the communication surrounding the Hall of Fame could likely be better, but no organization has an obligation to administrate a Facebook page, nor update it on a regular basis, especially if no updates are available. Not updating a Facebook page for a Hall of Fame that isn’t even open yet is not a sign of a “sham” or impropriety.

Opinions Mixed In With Facts

In the article, Jessica Blankenship says,

President Gary Sargeant was featured on Fox News and even spoke at Wayne Mills funeral, promoting the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame any chance he got.

This is an opinion. Wayne Mills was a Guardian Award recipient from the inaugural Outlaw Music Hall of Fame class, and subsequently the Hall of Fame renamed the Guardian Award in Wayne Mills’ memory. It is not out-of-bounds to think the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame would be brought up in the context of Wayne’s death, especially since the two events transpired in a month of each other. “Any chance he got” is a stretch of the truth looking to sensationalize the story.

The piece also says,

Hopefully the benefit will truly serve the purpose of raising funds for Mills family and not another marketing ploy to promote the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame.

…yet nowhere is it established that at any other point a benefit was used as a “marketing ploy” for The Hall. The accusation is made by Jessica Blankenship about the Altamont, TN event in October when the inductees were announced, but this opinion is not corroborated by any other information or facts. The Altamont, TN event was reported to have been poorly-attended and poorly-promoted. Part of this could have been the fault of Gary Sargeant being hospitalized after a motorcycle crash a week before the event. Nonethless, poor planning, poor attendance, or poor promotion doesn’t denote either a “ploy” or an attempt to take advantage of anyone.

The article concludes with the sentence,

…and deceit of stating to be a non-profit when they are not, one cannot help but think if this is really more of a sham for music fans.

Aside from the incorrect information of the Outlaw Hall of Fame not being a non-profit, saying it is “a sham for music fans” would imply that it was a sham that is benefiting music fans. This type of inexpertness evident throughout the article beyond the incorrect facts is what is so disturbing when it is being presented as legitimate news.

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There are many concerns about The Outlaw Music Hall of Fame, and its prospects of becoming a legitimate and functioning institution in the country music landscape. It could be under-manned, and needing more organization, beyond the specific issues of obtaining their brick and mortar location. But that doesn’t mean anything is a “sham” or is unscrupulous, or that anyone is being taken advantage of. The reason these Halls of Fame have difficulties getting off the ground sometimes is because of the lack of fan participation. Many organizations in their infant stages must stumble around a bit to get their feet under them, but many of them grow up to prosper and to be productive entities of the music community.

A few years ago, Saving Country Music reported on the bulldozing of the Musicians Hall of Fame, and the subsequent destruction of many artifacts because the entities supporting the Hall were not as powerful as the ones wanting to move it. These institutions are natural underdogs, and face an uphill battle at establishing themselves to begin with. To have someone publish a smear piece, especially one posted on a site meant to drive up traffic for monetary purposes, is both an affront to the independent music community, and on true, objective journalism.

The Outlaw Music Hall of Fame may not be longed for this world, but if it wasn’t meant to be, it should fail by its own weight, and not misinformation. Instead of lobbing grenades at it because certain individuals don’t like the term “Outlaw” or because there are certain issues with how it is currently being operated, offer your advice, criticism, and counsel. Offer to volunteer, or offer some other material assistance. If there does happen to be some corruption or impropriety—which there doesn’t to be here—let that come out when those charges can be corroborated from a legitimate, reliable source, and if possible, handle it “around the campfire” so to speak instead of through the outside press. And if the Outlaw Music Hall of Fame still is not meant to be, then it will be from the will of the people, and not a smear job from some salacious “journalist.”

The Wayne Mills Benefit Concert in Nashville on March 2nd will be at the Limelight in Nashville.



ACM’s Respond to Justin Moore’s “New Artist” Ineligibility

February 11, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  50 Comments

justin-mooreOn Tuesday the Academy of Country Music announced the finalists for their “New Artist of the Year” award to be given out an the ACM Awards on April 6th. By the results of fan voting, the eight-name list of nominees was narrowed down to three performers: Brett Eldredge, Kip Moore, and Justin Moore.

The announcement comes as questions continue to loom around the eligibility of Justin Moore for the “New Artist” nomination. As Saving Country Music first pointed out on February 5th with help from Windmills Country, Justin Moore was not eligible for the award according to the Academy of Country Music’s stated rules. According to the ACM, artists who’ve sold over 500,000 copies of any previously-released album are not eligible for the “new artist” award. Justin Moore has two such albums: Justin Moore from 2009 with 550,000 copies sold, and Outlaws Like Me from 2011 with 577,000 copies sold.

Subsequently, when this information was reported on by Windmills Country on Country 92.5′s “Electric Barnyard” show, representatives from Justin Moore’s label Valory Music—a imprint of Big Machine Records—contacted the radio station and asked them to take the audio down.

Also today, the Academy of Country Music’s President Bob Romeo responded to the calls for a clarification on Justin Moore’s eligibility in a story published on Bob Romero states:

The Academy of Country Music Board of Directors – which I have been a part of for 25+ years – has a long history of supporting new country music acts. The Board finds that being in step with trends and acknowledging the country music landscape has improved our process and guaranteed the best candidates over the years. This decision is in line with our criteria, and the Board’s right to be flexible in our efforts to be inclusive vs. exclusive of a young artist who has had budding success. We have to remember that Justin is a new face to mainstream music fans, media, and the like. He has earned this nomination and we congratulate him and all ACM Award nominees, and look forward to celebrating their work at the Awards in April.

According to the Music Row story, though Justin Moore is in clear violation of the stated rules for the “New Artist of the Year” category, and the Academy of Country Music is not disputing that, they are citing another global stipulation in the rules to justify his nomination. The rule states:

The criteria and voting procedures are set forth by the ACM Board of Directors in accordance with the bylaws, and may be amended from time to time as the Board deems appropriate in the best interest of Country music. Any disputes shall be resolved by the Chairman of the Board in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order.

In other words, the Academy of Country Music reserves the right to amend their rules at any time, and that’s fine, and this is something Saving Country Music has stated in both its previous articles on this issue. However, the 500,000 copy rule has still yet to be amended. A check of the PDF of the ACM’s rules located on their website shows that the 500,000 copy provision is still listed, and no specific amendment that would make Justin Moore eligible for the “New Artist of the Year” award has been published.

Though the global provision allows the ACM’s rules to be “amended from time to time,” it doesn’t give anyone the right to break any rule. And though the global provision says that “Any disputes shall be resolved by the Chairman of the Board,” there is no disputing Justin Moore’s ineligibility. A “dispute” would only arise if there was an ambiguity or loophole in the rules that needed to be resolved or clarified—something that is not the case with this specific issue.

Furthermore, the Academy of Country Music set the precedent in 2009 of making rules amendments before nominees were announced, and even delaying the announcement of the nominees to allow the rule amendment to be drafted, finalized, and be entered into the public record.

This is an exact excerpt from Saving Country Music’s article posted yesterday (2-10) on this subject:

The eligibility rules for the awards are written by the Academy of Country Music, and there’s no reason they cannot change them if they see fit. If the ACM wanted to nominate Justin Moore for the 2014 awards cycle, they could have written out the 500,000 copy provision, or increased the amount of copies in the rule for Justin Moore to maintain his eligibility. Furthermore, the Academy of Country Music has a history of doing this very thing. In 2009, the ACM’s reduced the amount of copies an artist must sell to be eligible for the Album of the Year category to 300,000. The reason for this was so that Jamey Johnson’s critically-acclaimed album That Lonesome Song could be included in the nominees. More importantly, the ACM’s also delayed the announcement of the Album of the Year nominees that year while they finalized the rule change, making sure they did not violate their own rules by announcing their nominees too early.

Not only have the ACM’s yet to amended the “New Artist” rules, they did not delay the announcement to amend them. The reason this is important is because with the lack of a clear rules regime in place to create protocols around the eligibility of artists, there is the potential for improprieties and corruption to creep into the process.

Though the attempt at clarification by Bob Romero of the Academy of Country Music is appreciated, the issue of Justin Moore’s eligibility remains far from resolved, if Romero’s statements don’t raise further questions and concerns for country music fans. If the Academy of Country Music wants to make a rules amendment so that Justin Moore can become eligible for for the “New Artist of the Year” award, then that amendment must be made and entered into the public record.

But this would still not resolve the issue. Since the ACM’s made an exception to their stated rules by nominating Justin Moore in the first place, a deeper explanation of how that happened should be given, along with an accounting of how the rules regime transpired in the process, and why specifically Justin Moore was given the exception to make sure no improprieties or corruption occurred.

To the artists that have ACM Awards displayed prominently on their mantels or in their trophy cases, and to the fans of those artists that celebrate the wins every April, the reason these awards mean so much to them is because of the integrity the ACM’s have built around their awards during the organization’s 49 year history. The integrity of the process of how the ACM’s vet and select their nominees and winners is the very foundation for the prestigious weight these accolades hold. And if questions arise about the integrity of these rules, then so will questions about the importance or legitimacy of these awards. Nobody deserves to have an asterisk beside their ACM Award because of an oversight of the rules, including Justin Moore.


Anti Bobby Bones Billboards Spring Up in Nashville

February 10, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  60 Comments


Yes folks, that is the new face of country music media.

Syndicated Clear Channel “country” radio DJ Bobby Bones proved to the world this weekend that he thinks his listeners are stupid. He first set them up on Twitter by talking about how he was headed to the dentist for surgery and shouldn’t be trusted with his phone while under sedation. Then on cue, he posted a bunch of purposely-mispelled tweets like he was still tranquilized, hinting that he may spill the beans about radio secrets and and behind-the-scenes dirt on other radio personalities in his placid state, even going as far as evoking the memory of his dead mother. And then, of course, later he apologized and blamed it all on the drugs.

The whole charade was an embarrassing attention grab, and a truly unfortunate development from an individual that despite his skin deep knowledge of country based off of the last 11 month’s of pop country’s Top 40 fare since he was transferred from a pop station, seemed like a genuine dude. Part of Bobby’s problem is that he won’t stop talking about how real and genuine he is, shielding a personality that seems to be gripped by irreconcilable narcissism and a raging need for attention.

Bobby Bones – The Face of Country Radio Consolidation

As the centerpiece to Clear Channel’s plans for a nationally-syndicated country music radio network (he’s already heard on 50+ stations), Bobby Bones and his sideways hat have become the scourge of the country music airwaves. It was somewhat of a risk for Clear Channel to put their chips on this unproven personality, and so far the results have been mixed at best. High-profile blowups and a recent flirtation with leaving radio for television must have Clear Channel wondering if Bones is meant for country radio, or radio at all. Though his ratings are high in certain markets, more for his shock jock “what will he say next” appeal than anything else, so is the level of disapproval with his new school approach.

No better example than the news that last week four billboards at $2,150 a pop appeared around Nashville offering the simple message “Go Away Bobby Bones.” The billboards were paid for by an organization called “Anti-BOBBY BONES” that bought a three week run on two sides of two separate billboards in Music City where Bobby’s WSIX-based syndicated show is broadcast from.

A Country Music Media Arms Race Has Broken Out

Barely even a year into Clear Channel’s Bobby Bones country music experiment, and the man is ruffling more feathers than a 747 flying through a pack of seagulls. Maybe this is what Clear Channel wants, but if their overall goal is to unite country music fans under their new media empire, they can’t be alienating large segments of country fans like Bobby Bones seems to take pleasure in doing on a daily basis.

UPDATE: Bobby Bones has requested I ad a link to the video of him at the dentist office:



Valory Music Suppressing Info on Justin Moore’s ACM Ineligibility

February 10, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  13 Comments


UPDATE: The ACM’s Respond to Justin Moore’s Ineligibility

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On February 5th, Saving Country Music posted an article detailing why Valory Music Group artist Justin Moore should be disqualified from the ACM Award’s “New Artist of the Year” category for which he is nominated along with seven others. Stipulated clearly in the Academy of Country Music’s rules, artists who’ve sold over 500,000 copies of any previously-released album are not eligible for the “new artist” award. Justin Moore has two such albums: Justin Moore from 2009 with 550,000 copies sold, and Outlaws Like Me from 2011 with 577,000 copies sold.

Saving Country Music was first tipped to this oversight of the rules by Windmills Country on Twitter, who on February 5th appeared on Connecticut Country 92.5′s “Electric Barnyard” radio show to discuss the rules oversight. What happened next was an acknowledgement by Justin Moore’s label Valory Music—an imprint of Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine Records—of the apparent rules violation, and apparently an effort to suppress that information. This leads to further questions of why the Academy of Country Music continues to not address this issue, and other potential improprieties clouding the ACM nomination process.

After Country 92.5 posted the audio of Windmills Country’s appearance on the station’s website, they were contacted by The Valory Music Group and asked to take the audio down as can be seen in this Twitter thread.

So the next question is, “Why?”

Accusations of block voting, vote swapping, and other behind-the-scenes gaming of the Academy of Country Music nomination and voting process have been around for years. In 2011, country radio personality Jimmy Carter spoke specifically on how labels decide which artists they want to push through the ACM’s, saying:

It’s crazy political. . . You have to just say, “OK, these awards are what they are. They’re bragging rights, they’re an infomercial for the record label.” And like I was told off the record yesterday…that Miranda Lambert got all those nominations because the record label had to decide. Are they going with Carrie Underwood this year, or Miranda Lambert? Both are on the same label. They figured it would help Miranda more than it would help the career of Carrie Underwood.

Once again Miranda Lambert leads the 2014 ACM nominations with seven, despite not having released an album in over 2 years. But the Justin Moore eligibility issue specifically might be the first time a label and/or the Academy of Country Music have been caught red-handed showing favoritism to a particular artist; the first concrete evidence of impropriety in the nomination and voting process of one of the industry’s biggest awards.

Valory Music and the ACM’s may hope that this issue just blows over, but the removal of the Windmills Country audio has arguably exacerbated it, and fed the suspicion some country fans have surrounding the awards process. If there is an explanation for the discrepancy between Justin Moore’s eligibility and his nomination, the fans of country music have yet to hear it. And if there is no explanation, the Academy of Country Music and its label partners are allowing the legitimacy of these awards to be called into question.

The eligibility rules for the awards are written by the Academy of Country Music, and there’s no reason they cannot change them if they see fit. If the ACM wanted to nominate Justin Moore for the 2014 awards cycle, they could have written out the 500,000 copy provision, or increased the amount of copies in the rule for Justin Moore to maintain his eligibility. Furthermore, the Academy of Country Music has a history of doing this very thing. In 2009, the ACM’s reduced the amount of copies an artist must sell to be eligible for the Album of the Year category to 300,000. The reason for this was so that Jamey Johnson’s critically-acclaimed album That Lonesome Song could be included in the nominees. More importantly, the ACM’s also delayed the announcement of the Album of the Year nominees that year while they finalized the rule change, making sure they did not violate their own rules by announcing their nominees too early.

Out of the respective entities in this issue, Justin Moore might be the least culpable. As he said in November of last year, his exclusion from award shows up until this nomination, including not being asked as a performer or even a presenter, has been quite curious when compared to his overall commercial impact in the genre.  At the same time, his exclusion speaks to the collusive nature of country music’s top awards, and the narrow cast of names country’s awards continually draw from.

As unfair as it might be that Justin Moore has been excluded from the awards show process, as Windmills Country points out in their own article on the subject, it is even more unfair to the truly “new” artists that got excluded from this year’s nominee list because of the inclusion of established artists like Justin Moore and Lee Brice. The issue is especially exacerbated because of all the concern with country music’s inability to develop new female talent. Only one female artist, Kacey Musgraves, is included in the category, as the lack of female representation in country music has been making major periodical headlines left and right.

If the Academy of Country Music wants to keep a level of integrity around their awards and the process of determining nominees and winners, this Justin Moore eligibility issue must be addressed in a public manner. If there is an explanation, if a rule change needs to be made, then make it. Until then, it is fair, if not imperative on the country music community to question the legitimacy of the ACM’s nomination and voting process, and thus, the awards themselves.


Heartworn Highways Revisited to be Released In Summer

February 8, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  20 Comments


As first reported by Saving Country Music back in February of 2013 when the iconic Outlaw country documentary Heartworn Highways was being released digitally for the first time, a followup to the movie called Heartworn Highways Revisited featuring some of the artists in the original film along with new, up-and-coming artists has been in the works.

Jonny Fritz w/ David Allan Coe

Jonny Fritz w/ David Allan Coe

Directed by Wayne Price, with producer Brian Devine, and original Heartworn Highways producer Graham Leader, Heartworn Highways Revisited is reported to be in post production, with hopes it will be released later this summer. They have also released a trailer for the new film on their website, and have revealed the new cast that includes Guy Clark, David Allan Coe, and Steve Young from the original film, as well as newer artists Jonny Fritz, Deer Tick, Robert Ellis, Andrew Combs, Phil Hummer, Matraca Berg, John McCauley, Josh Hedley, Bobby Bare Jr., Langhorn Slim, Shelly Colvin, Justin Townes Earle, and Shovels & Rope.

Bobby Bare Jr. and Guy Clark

Bobby Bare Jr. and Guy Clark

Similar to how the original film captured Clark, Coe, Young, Townes Van Zandt, Larry Jon Wilson, Rodney Crowell, Charlie Daniels and others in intimate, concert, and recorded environments, the new film hopes to capture similar organic and authentic moments from this new slate of artists. The new film also has some scenes where the original cast members and the new cast members hang out, meet, and collaborate.

The original Heartworn Highways is given credit by many for setting the standards for a musical documentary. Filmed in late 1975 and early 1976, but not released until 1981, Heartworn Highways chronicles the country music Outlaw movement and some of its most important contributors in the infancy of their careers. Some of the scenes and music have gone on to become some of the most memorable moments of country music lore.

The original Heartworn Highways can be rented On Demand On Amazon and on iTunes.

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