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You can call it country rap, or you call it hick hop (and some call it other things that are not so flattering), but a new company wants to coin the definitive term of what to call music that mixes country, rap, EDM, rock, and the rebellious culture of monster trucks and muddin’ that surrounds the movement. RebelCore is what they want it to be known as, and they are going to great lengths to make that the accepted term for the genre bending music, signing artists to a management company, promoting themselves through an upcoming clothing line, and potentially partnering with labels to make RebelCore the accepted term of the masses for country rap and all that comes with it.
Though the movement appears to be still in the early stages, plans for an association similar to the CMA or the Americana Music Association are part of their goals in an attempt to make RebelCore a “âgenre of musicâ that represents artists, fans, and individuals in rap, rock, and EDM mixed with country.” According to iamrebelcore.com, the movement was started by two men, Chris James and Daniel “Gray” Creach “in partnership with MMG, Sound Kontrol, and Blu Ink Entertainment.”
According to Daniel “Gray” Creach, “As a country boy, born and raised in the south, the word ‘hick, redneck or hillbilly’ was always somewhat of a put down or when joking on each other. As a huge fan of this music and an artist myself, I’ve always felt ‘hick-hop’ was a very childish term and did not describe the true nature of this music. This music is rebellious to it’s core, revolutionary, and out of the box and I think the term RebelCore encompasses that. Ask most of your true country hip hop artists and they will tell you they personally hate that name ‘hick-hop’ for their genre but have had to just go with it because that is what the media decided they would refer to it as. I feel that the genre RebelCore will give the country hip-hop artist a new home, a new space to reside in. A place where the music they put they’re heart and soul into can be taken seriously and not feel embarrassed by a term that doesn’t describe the true rebellious, against the grain nature of country hip-hop!”
RebelCore at the moment has a management company that has signed multiple artists including one act called Psycho Billy Cadillac, and they plan to make their presence known as part of the CMA Fan Fest coming up the first week of June by launching their Rebel Core clothing line at the event. Their overall plan appears to be to unite the disparate terms and scenes that exist in country rap under a common cause and term.
Beyond the country rap songs of some of mainstream country’s biggest stars, the cross-genre movement has a massive grassroots network and many loyal fans, especially in rural locales across the country. Sometimes even without label representation or promotional budgets, country rap videos from artists like Big Smo, The Jawga Boyz, and The Moonshine Bandits regularly get hits in the millions from the sheer number of loyal fans of the music.
The music also fits seamlessly with much of the rural muddin’ and truck racing culture, illustrated recently when the largest label for country rap, Colt Ford’s Average Joe’s Entertainment whose roster includes the LoCash Cowboys, Bubba Sparxxx, and many more, partnered with the “Mega Truck” racing series. “We have always shared a common lifestyle fan base,” Average Joes CEO Shannon Houchins told The Tennessean. “This deal allows us to maximize the overall fan experience with a combination of big truck races and music as well as create bigger and better on-site marketing opportunities for our sponsors.”
The Average Joe’s truck partnership, just like RebelCore, once again emphasize that in 2014, entities in and around country music are betting big on the future of the genre, and are looking for dance partners and cross-platform collaborators to create empires and shore up their stake in the music.
Fans of Lee Ann Womack have been waiting not-so-patiently since 2008′s Call Me Crazy for new music from the multi-Grammy and multi-CMA Award winner, and on September 23rd they’ll finally get their wish. After years on major labels, Womack has teamed up with renown label Sugar Hill Records (Don Williams, Marty Stuart) to release The Way I’m Livin’ this fall. The record will be produced by Lee Ann’s husband, Frank Liddell.
As exciting as the news is about the new album from a new label, the list of songwriters she’s slated to draw songs from makes the prospects of The Way I’m Livin’ even more enticing. Contributors include Chris Knight, Hayes Carll, Bruce Robison, Buddy Miller, Roger Miller, as well as Neil Young, Mindy Smith, and Mando Saenz.
âI wanted songs that talked about how life really is, the raw spots, the tough places, the meltdowns and messy parts,â says Womack. âHard, sad, roughâŚ all the stuff people pretend doesnât exist! Because once you embrace that, you can figure out what to do; or not do! I live to sing great songs that tear holes in life â just show living for what it is … And knowing these songs were written to be performed, not pitched, sets a bar! Every songwriter wrote intending to singâem, to tell these stories, show these postcards, and you can feel the way they built the characters! Bringing that to music was just so incredible for everyone on the sessions.”
“Lee Ann wanted something wide open,” says husband and producer Frank Liddell. “So we immediately tracked the record with a handful of sides, just six people, and the rest of it with four people. So itâs a very sparse record and hopefully her voice is wide open and right in the middle of it. Thatâs our focus. We didnât get too worried about songs or what she needed to say. We just took a bunch of great songs weâd amassed over the years and went into the studio. Weâve always gotten along real well song-wise.
The next album from Lee Ann Womack has been a much-rumored process. She released a single called “There Is A God” in October of 2009 that was supposed to be part of an upcoming album, but the album never came. Womack was also said to be working on new music in February of 2010. No word if issues with her previous label Mercury Nashville stalled previous attempts at new albums, but upon signing with Sugar Hill, Womack said, “I was looking for the right home for this record. I knew I wanted a label where passion for music and artistic integrity drive the decision-making.”
Musical contributors to the album include steel guitar player Paul Franklin, Matt Chamberlain on drums, Glen Whorf on bass, guitar player Duke Levine, and acoustic guitarist/pianist Mac McAnally.Â
After Lee Ann found great commercial and critical success with her signature song “I Hope You Dance”, the Jacksonville, TX native has struck a decidedly more traditional note lately, and considering the label and list of songwriters for The Way I’m Livin’, fans can anticipate more of the same. Lee Ann also recently contributed to Jamey Johnson’s Hank Cochran tribute, singing a duet with Johnson on the song “This Ain’t My First Rodeo”.
From Lee Ann’s previous album:
In mid April, country music artist Collin Raye who was known for his contemporary style that found great success in the 90′s, had some very critical remarks about the direction of country music that he shared as part of a new biography he just released called A Voice Undefeated. Raye says in the book, âTheyâve largely abandoned the reality-based moral message for the common man that made country music a strong cultural force for good.”
Then in an interview with Fox News about the book, Collin Raye spoke further, saying in short,
Itâs like American Shakespeare in a way, and thatâs what itâs supposed to be. From Hank Williams, to before Hank Williams on up, thatâs this beautiful thing we all love so much, and so many of us got into the business knowing we could never be as great as those guys, but we always tried to live up to that standard that they had set.
And Iâm really depressed in how it has dumbed down to basically a one-dimensional âLetâs party in the truck, gonna drink some cold beer!â Thereâs so many of those, and Iâm not begrudging anybody their living. Itâs not really the artists I blame, and itâs not the songwriters I blame because theyâre just trying to make a living. Itâs the gatekeepers quote unquote that we used to have in Nashville which are the label heads who used to decide what was good enough to put out and what was not.
Now in a new editorial on FoxNews.com, Collin Raye has once again directly criticized what he calls the “gatekeepers” of country that are allowing the bro-country trend to continue in a piece he titles, “Is Country Music Dead?”
Iâd like to think that I am expressing what nearly every artist, musician and songwriter (with perhaps a few exceptions) is thinking when I contend that the Broâ Country phenomenon must cease.
It has had its run for better or worse and itâs time for Nashville to get back to producing, and more importantly promoting, good singers singing real songs. Itâs time for country music to find its identity again before it is lost forever.
Raye goes on to specifically criticize Luke Bryan’s That’s My Kind of Night”—the same song that caused a scuffle between Luke and Zac Brown when Zac called it the “worst song ever”.
Compare for a minute the poetic, âmiddle American Shakespeareâ infused lyrical prose of classics like Hank Williamsâ âJambalayaâ or Hank Jrâs âAll My Rowdy friends are coming over tonightâ or Garth Brooksâ âIâve got friends in Low Placesâ or his âAinât going down till the sun comes upâ to the likes of contemporary offerings like âThatâs My Kinda Night,â or any of the other 300 plus songs from recent years that say the exact same thing in pretty much the exact same way. Itâs like comparing a Rolls Royce to a ten speed.
Collin goes out of his way though to say it is not the performers or songwriters’ fault, but “the major label execs, the movers and shakers, the folks who control what is shoved down radioâs throat, that I am calling out. They have the power and ability to make a commitment to make records that keep the legacy of country music alive, and reclaim a great genreâs identity.”
The editorial ends with Collin simply saying, “God Bless Hank Williams. God Bless George Jones.”
More legal troubles and location battles for the cast and producers of CMT’s new reality show Party Down South. The latest fugitive from the show is 24-year-old Mattie Breaux of Louisiana, who is wanted by police for a bench warrant after she failed to appear in court as part of a pretrial hearing in March. The hearing was for a previous arrest for driving while intoxicated in September. Breaux was taping Season 2 of the reality show at the time of the hearing.
On Party Down South, Breaux is known to have a turbulent, and at times violent alter ego named “Martha” that comes out when she drinks too much. “Martha” was a focus of one of the show’s episodes in Season 1.
Mattie Breaux is the second Party Down South cast member of the eight to find herself on the wrong side of the law. In late February, fellow 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 nightâs 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.
And these are not the only problems for the troubled show. In March, the show got kicked out of Pensacola, FL where the taping for Season 2 was originally supposed to transpire. A backlash from Pensacola residents incensed by the portrayal of Southerners in Party Down South resulted in the cancellation of food and lodging contracts for the show’s support staff, including a $1 million hotel deal, and a $160,000 catering contract.
“It was really an image thing,” Hotel spokesman Julian MacQueen told USA Today. “We spent millions and millions of dollars investing in an image for Pensacola Beach that gets away from the whole Redneck Riviera crap. I hate that image. That’s not who we are. All you have to do is watch a trailer of the reality show and realize it will undo everything we’ve been trying to put together. It sure puts a stereotype out there, and it’s the lowest form of entertainment. Yes, it’s painful, but it was the thing to do. You never make up that business. What you can do to make yourself feel better is look at the business it possibly could have displaced.”
In lieu of Pensacola, Party Down South moved to Athens, GA, where they haven’t been very well-received either, or very well-behaved.
Athens-Clarke County Mayor Nancy Denson said in April that she felt that the South was always portrayed unfairly in the media, and that the mayor’s office did not condone the show. âIâm terribly disappointed that this is being filmed in our community. Thereâs so much promise in that (TV) technology … (but) weâve sunk to the lowest level. It makes me worry about our society.â
According to numerous accounts, bodyguards/babysitters watched the cast whenever they would leave their house for Athens proper, though one of the cast members still ended up in the ER twice for alcohol issues. The presence of Party Down South has also stimulated talk of creating tighter controls on TV and movie production in the area for the future.
Distribution and publishing company Thirty Tigers has signed critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter Hayes Carll to work on a new album this fall, with hopes for an early 2015 release. Carll’s last album KMAG YOYO was released in February of 2011 through Lost Highway Records, as was his 2008 release Trouble in Mind. Both albums won him critical praise and solid commercial success, and Carll is now considered one of the mainstays of country/Americana touring channels, playing an average of 200 shows a year.
Thirty Tigers is unique in the record label business in letting artists own their own imprints with which to publish their own music. Hayes Carll’s Highway 87 will be the name under which the Houston native will release his first album in four years. Other notable Thirty Tigers artists include Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, Ryan Bingham, Elizabeth Cook, and Trampled By Turtles. Hayes Carll adds another high caliber name to a company who is setting the new paradigm in music labels—one that fosters artists keeping control of their own music.
“Hayes is the rare artist that can make you laugh out loud, break your heart or turn a phrase that makes you shake your head in utter joy,” says Thirty Tigers President David Macias. “We feel proud that we get to go fight for him.”
Carll’s manager says, “Thirty Tigers is a great fitÂ for Hayes. Their business model allows him to maintainÂ control of his music. And,Â he has manyÂ deep relationships within the company that go all the way back to his first album.”
Once again Scott Borchetta adds to his Big Machine Records empire, and once again it is an acquisition that reaches farther into the pop world. Announced Monday, Republic Records Senior Vice President for Promotion and Artist Development David Nathan is transitioning from a position at one of Big Machine’s partnered subsidiaries to Big Machine proper to serves as the label groups Senior Vice President for “Pop Promotions.” The move is effective immediately.
David Nathan will be an executive liaison between all of Big Machine’s respective labels: Big Machine, Republic Nashville, The Valory Music Group, and the recently-acquired Dot Records, which by all accounts hopes to be a home for at least some acts outside of the country genre.
“We’re thrilled to formally welcome David to the team,” Borchetta says. “Heâs an incredibly talented and energetic executive whoâs always thinking big. David has been involved with Taylor Swift’s history-making crossover success from the very beginning as part of the mighty Republic pop promotion department. I simply could not pass up the opportunity to acquire 100% of his focus to the artists at the Big Machine Label Group. This is another step in the evolution of our company and we know itâs going to bring mega pop muscle for our initiatives.Â We can’t wait to begin working together.”
The move once again reinforces Big Machine’s focus on the pop world. In April of 2013, Borchetta landed a deal with the pop producer Dr. Luke that allows artists, songwriters, and producers from pop and country to collaborate more freely. It also comes as Big Machine prepares for the upcoming album release cycle from the their biggest star: Taylor Swift. As a huge crossover success already, David Nathan’s skillset will undoubtedly add to her pop infiltration.
“I’m honored and excited to take this next step in my career,” Nathan said. “It affords me the opportunity to do even more and grow both professionally and individually.”
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Random prediction: Taylor Swift’s new album (out likely in November-ish), will include a collaboration with Justin Timberlake on one of the album’s biggest singles.
The legal troubles continue for Jett Williams Adkinson, the 61-year-old daughter of country legend Hank Williams Sr. and the half-sister of Hank Williams Jr. For the second time in three months, one of country music’s most famous daughters has been arrested for DUI in Wilson County, TN, east of Nashville. She was stopped Friday May 9th at 11 PM, and was arrested for both DUI and for Violation of Implied Consent, meaning she refused to submit to a sobriety test. She was released Saturday morning on a $1,500 bond.
Jett was also arrested on February 25th for DUI, also in Wilson County when she was observed swerving in between lanes in her 1998 Jaguar at 2:30 AM. She failed a field sobriety test, and was also cited for not wearing her seat belt and having no proof of insurance before being released on $1,000 bond. Jett’s current residence is in Hartsville, TN in Wilson County.
Jett Williams 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 Hankâs death, and was adopted by Hankâs 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. Jettâs husband, lawyer Keith Adkinson, died in June of 2013.
On Monday April 12th, The Americana Music Association announced the nominees for their 2014 Americana Music Awards to be held September 17th at the Ryman Auditorium as part of their annual Americana Music Conference. The ceremony was emceed by performer and Sirius XM DJ Elizabeth Cook, and was simulcast on Sirius XM and streamed on Music City Roots.
The announcement ceremony started off with Jim Lauderdale and Buddy Miller playing a song off of Lauderdale’s upcoming album. Then 2014 Americana Emerging Artist nominees Valerie June, Parker Milsap, and Hurray For The Riff Raff all performed two songs each before the names of the nominees were rattled off. Executive director Jed Hilly also spoke, telling the small crowd assembled how Americana membership has doubled in the last 18 months, and the announcement ceremony was closed out with Elizabeth Cook performing with Buddy Miller.
This years crop of nominees sees a lot of new faces and younger names compared to the usual crop of nominees from the not-for-profit organization.
Artist of the Year
- Rosanne Cash
- Rodney Crowell
- Robert Ellis
- Jason Isbell
Album of the Year
- Sarah Jarosz – Build Me Up From Bones
- Robert Ellis – Lights From The Chemical Plant
- Jason Isbell – Southeastern
- Rosanne Cash – The River & The Thread
Song of the Year
- Jason Isbell – “Cover Me Up”
- Rosanne Cash – “A Feather’s Not A Bird
- Robert Ellis – “Only Lies”
- Patty GriffinÂ - “Ohio”
Duo/Group of the Year
- The Avett Brothers
- Devil Makes Three
- Milk Carton Kids
- Lake Street Dive
- Hard Working Americans
Emerging Artist of the Year
- Hurry For The Riff Raff
- Parker Milsap
- St Paul & The Broken Bones
- Sturgill Simpson
- Valerie June
Instrumentalist of the Year
- Larry Campbell
- Brian Sutton
- Buddy Miller
- Fats Kaplin
For the last few weeks, folks in Nashville, television viewers, and the actors that comprise the cast of ABC’s hour long drama about Music City were wringing their hands and waiting for word if Nashville would be renewed for a third season. Producers had been playing hardball with the real Nashville, trying to wring out as many tax breaks and other incentives as possible to keep the production in Tennessee.
Talk at one point had the show moving to Texas or Los Angeles to continue production, if the show continued at all. As the week drew on and the announcements came down for other shows being renewed or cancelled on ABC and other networks, the fate of Nashville remained in limbo. But finally late Friday night, right after midnight Eastern Time, at tweet from ABC Music Lounge confirmed, “It’s official! @Nashville_ABC renewed for Season 3!!!”
The renewal is also for a full 22 episode season. There was talk of a shorter production cycle being one of the bargaining chips in negotiations.
Nashville, which is partially funded by the owners of The Grand Ole Opry, has been touted as being huge boom for tourism in Music City, while also becoming a forum to showcase worthy songs and talent that doesn’t normally make it on the radio. The show often portrays the ruthlessness of Music Row’s major labels and executives, and the struggles of many of its artists in sometimes stark authenticity, and in story lines that could be ripped right out of the newspaper.
The show has also been criticized for its over-dramatic nature, and sometimes being too harsh in its portrayals of the tribulations of country music, while some Nashville natives would rather not have the additional spotlight shined on their city that is already struggling to deal with rapid growth and an expanding economy.
Nonetheless, now Season 3 is a reality, and this news also pushes the series one step closer to the financially lucrative prospect of syndication. It also helps keep country music right at the forefront of capturing and holding the American consciousness as now one of the biggest, and most popular of the American music genres.
The 2nd Degree Murder case against former Pit & Barrel Bar owner Chris Michael Ferrell who is accused of killing country music artist Wayne Mills, is headed to trial. Chris Ferrell was in the Davidson County District Court today in downtown Nashville as part of a discussion date about the pending charges. A trial date was set for November 17th. It will be a jury trial in the court of Judge Steve Dozier.
Chris Ferrell’s lawyer, David Raybin, also made another motion to attempt to remove GPS monitoring from Ferrell. A similar motion had been made as part of Ferrell’s last court date. Once again that motion was denied by Judge Dozier, but the fee Ferrell is required to pay for the monitoring was capped at $100.
The court date ends a period where the prosecution and defense attempted to reach an out-of-court resolution. âEach side tries to set a resolution,â Susan Niland of the Davidson County District Attorneyâs office explains. â95% of cases resolve without a trial.â The setting of a trial date means the two parties could not reach a settlement. The Wayne Mills murder trial will commence just a few days before the one year anniversary of his death.
Wayne Mills was shot and killed by Chris Ferrell at the Pit & Barrel Bar in Nashvilleâa bar that Chris Ferrell ownedâ at roughly 5 AM on November 23rd. The two men had been hanging out after the George Jones Tribute concert at the Bridgestone Arena earlier that night. Chris Ferrell called 911, and when police arrived, he claimed he shot Mills in self-defense. Though the first reports had the altercation starting because Wayne was smoking in a non-smoking section, Ferrell later said in court that Wayne had come to the bar to ârob and killâ him. Two guns were found at the scene when police arrived: an empty revolver and a semi-automatic handgun. A private investigator hired by Chris Ferrellâformer city homicide detectiveÂ Larry Flairâalso found an additional bullet lodged in a wall of the Pit & Barrell. Subsequently, the bar has been liquidated.
The autopsy report for Wayne Mills released on January 16th showed that the musician had been shot in the back of the head, and there was no powder burns that would indicate the shot was fired at close range. To fans and family of the deceased singer, this refutes Chris Ferrellâs claims of self-defense in the killing. The autopsy also revealed broken bones and other trauma Wayne Mills had suffered, and a slight testing for amphetamines that friends say was tied to an Adderall prescription.
After the killing, Chris Ferrell remained free for two weeks, until being indicted by a grand jury and turning himself into police. He was subsequently released and is currently free on a $150,000 bond.
On Tuesday, Twitter personality Ann Boobus accused that a Twitter account attributed to a Nashville music publishing company that works with BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC called The Dean of Music Publishing Group, and headed by a man named Rick Dean, made multiple death threats towards multiple people, including threatening to shoot and lynch people while using racial epithets. As can be seen in the screenshots below taken by Ann Boobus, the Twitter account named “Sovereign Citizen” and located at @Unkle_Liberty (now shut down) that was changed at one point from @Uncle_RD, has on multiple occasions made death threats, while starting out harmlessly promoting the Dean of Music company, saying “#songwriters You can connect with my #publishing company by following me at @deanofmusic. Come let’s get you to the people!”
Here is a selection of the Tweets (Warning: language):
- Eat shit you worthless mother fucker. Come be my practice dummy for my AR15.
- I’m not scared of niggers like you. I like to practice my AR15 use on people like you.
- Look you stupid nigger. Don’t ever think I’m afraid of your pathetic ass.
- Yea we lost Kennedy 50 years ago. Wish we could lose you and Obama now the same way.
- You’re gonna be dragged behind my pickup the hung in the front yard to kelp other monkeys like you out of the back yard.
- Bought a new AR15 with night scope and lazar just to use with you.
- Keep running your mouth Sambo. That’s all you know how to do is hide and talk shit.
The Twitter account @deanofmusic was recently made private amidst the controversy, but a recent screenshot of the account (see below) shows the tweet, “Haha, well I guess I’m like everyone else who gets called a racist for dislike of the Obama Regime. #NRA #GOP #Impeach”. Ann Boobus Tweeted out screenshots of the threatening tweets on Tuesday, including specifically sending them to artists that use The Dean of Music’s services. The tweets in question appear to be from late in 2013. The parties Rick Dean was Tweeting to could have also been engaging in threats, but since the account was deleted, it is difficult to trace the entire history of the conversations.
Other Twitter accounts have also been attributed to The Dean of Music and Rick Dean, including, but potentially not limited to @TheDeanOfMusic .
Another Twitter account, TuneSmithPlugger made a veiled threat to Ann Boobus on Wednesday, saying “We don’t know one another but I do know you made a grave error. Just telling you this because you need to know. Take care.” The same TuneSmithPlugger also made a similar threat to Adam Lister, the Director of Policy at Nashville’s Chamber of Commerce in early April, saying, “Dude, I see you’ve been added to Rick D’s shit list. I don’t envy you at all. Not a great place to be.”
The Dean of Music Publishing Group is located on Fesslers Lane in the southern part of Nashville, about 4 miles east of Music Row. The company’s website at the moment says it’s under construction, but the Facebook page says The Dean of Music was established in 2008, and “strives to create and implement innovative industry relationship campaigns for decision making professionals including, record executives, publishers, artist, film execs and a whole lot more really cool people.”
No public explanation or apology for the tweets has yet to be published by The Dean of Music Publishing Group, or Rick Dean.
On Friday April 25th at Reggie’s Music Joint in Chicago, security guard Joe Seleb, aka “Joe Kid” was brutally stabbed by a transient just outside the establishment while working security for the Moonrunners Festival.Â The stabbing happened at about 9:15 PM, and resulted in Seleb being rushed to Northwestern Hospital in Chicago where he underwent major surgery and required 40 staples to repair his abdomen. As can be seen from the pictures, the vertical slash did serious damage to the 26-year-old, and he is currently unable to work while he recovers from his injuries.
In lieu of regular income, and with medical expenses accumulating, a fund has been set up to help Joe Seleb through Go Fund Me. “An unfortunate turn of events that ended up with major surgery, 40 staples in his abdomen, and unable to work his labor intensive jobs.Â These jobs offer no medical insurance and Joe faces some serious medical bills.Â He has a young daughter to support as well,” reads the campaign description.
The 24-year-old transient that stabbed Joe Seleb also sustained major injuries in the incident and was also transported to Northwestern Hospital. According to Chicago Police, the transient was initially placed in custody pending charges, but was eventually released when Seleb decided to not press charges in the incident.
Saving Country Music has also reached out to friends of the transient to attempt to determine his condition, and hope to have a report on him in the coming days. According to eyewitness accounts, the transient sustained facial and other undisclosed injuries, and was listed in serious condition at Northwest Hospital after the incident. Because no formal charges were filed, the transient’s name has not been made available through Chicago Police.
Brad Paisley is the latest big name country star to get in a fight with his record label, and this one involves a sum of $10 million Paisley is looking for as reparations from Sony who allegedly has been cooking Brad’s books for years, short-changing the singer and guitar player for royalties. And Paisley isn’t alone when it comes to such claims against Sony.
The lawsuit filed on March 31st and first published by Radar Online, spells out how Sony has been using fuzzy accounting to underpay Paisley. A similar lawsuit was also filed by Paisley in December of 2011, only to find out that a clause in Paisley’s contract precluded the performer from being able to see the complete accounting records for songs he had written between 2002 and 2006. The amended lawsuit submitted by Attorney Andrew Coffman to the Supreme Court of the State of New York says in part,
Throughout the course of this litigation Paisley has learned the details of the matter in which Defendant violated Paisley’s rights under the terms of the agreements of the two parties. For instance, the proposed Amended Complaint sets forth specific areas of underpayment which were previously unknown to Paisley including, but not limited to underpayments based on improper retail to wholesale price conversions, improper use of wholesale prices to calculate royalties, improper calculations of returns, improper calculations of when escalation royalties should have applied, the improper deduction of free goods from Paisley’s royalties, and failure to report all sales on Paisley’s royalty statements.
Brad Paisley signed his first contract in 1997 with EMI, which eventually became and Arista Nashville contract—a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony. In February of 2002, Paisley’s contract was extended. In 2006, an accounting firm hired by Paisley found that the accounting for Paisley’s royalties between September 1st, 2001, and December 31st, 2005 by Sony “were not accurate.” When the accounting firm asked for additional records from Sony to complete the third-party investigation, Sony first said they would comply, but then after a prolonged, 3-year delay, refused to turn over certain records needed for the audit. Additionally the Paisley lawsuit says he objects to “each and every royalty statement issued by Sony for the royalty periods from January 1, 2010 through the present.”
Brad Paisley is not alone in suing Sony over underpayed royalties. In late February of 2014, 19 Recordings, the company behind the contracts of all of the American Idol winners, including Brad Paisley’s long-time CMA Awards co-host Carrie Underwood, also sued Sony for $10 million, claiming once again that the way the company calculated its royalties was unethical, and against the artist’s standing contracts.
Despite Paisley’s standing feud with Sony, it hasn’t put a dent in his album output. He recently released a new song “River Bank” that is the first single from a currently-untitled upcoming album.
Vinyl records are among a big resurgence—at least a big resurgence compared to what they used to be. Compared to the overall pie of music consumption, they still inhabit a very small segment. But by the numbers, vinyl is the fastest-growing segment of the otherwise dwindling physical music sales market.
This has resulted in heavy workloads for vinyl manufacturers around the world. After decades of overall downsizing in the vinyl industry, the current largest vinyl manufacturer in the United Sates called United Record Pressing based in Nashville, TN has announced they are expanding to a second location, and spending $5.5 million to acquire the new space. The 142,000-square-foot facility off on Nolensville Pike in Nashville will add 16 new presses to the country’s vinyl manufacturing infrastructure, as well as additional storage space.
Currently United Record Pressing’s 30 presses are working in three shift cycles, 24 hours a day, 6 days a week to keep up with rabid demand. “We are proud to be making this investment in the Nashville community and appreciate all of the support we have received,” United Record’s CEO Mark Michaels told The Tennessean. “We are excited to build upon our great heritage and continue to manufacture innovative, high-quality vinyl records in the USA.”
United Record Pressing was the partner in Jack White’s recording and manufacturing of a vinyl record in record time as a promotion for last month’s Record Store Day; a day that was somewhat blemished when demand for vinyl releases was so high it put a toll on manufacturers all around the world, resulting in some smaller, independent labels and artists getting squeezed out of the opportunity to sell their records as part of the promotional event.
As Saving Country Music explained in Broken Record: Why Record Store Day Is Not Working, major labels and big indie labels can demand priority from manufacturers because they request bigger orders. The result has been many small labels having their vinyl runs delayed on a crowded manufacturing schedule, affecting their Record Store Day releases, and in some instances, even affecting vinyl releases from smaller labels that have nothing to do with Record Store Day. It has also resulted in many labels having to seek vinyl manufacturers outside of their own country, raising costs for shipping, cutting into label’s overall margins, and sending manufacturing dollars overseas.
Though it may be just as much symbolic as significantly helpful to easing the tightness in the vinyl manufacturing market, the fact that new vinyl manufacturing infrastructure is coming online speaks to just how deep the vinyl trend is going, and that the manufacturing industry, or at least United Record Pressing, is committed to solving the problems this demand has created.
Want to own a piece of country music history? Well you can if you have at least $65,000 to get in on the bidding of a 1983 Eagle Greyhound-sized tour bus originally owned by Willie Nelson up for sale right now on the East Texas portion of Craigslist. The bus is one of two identical buses that were made for Willie’s road crew, and has had three other owners before the individual selling it now purchased it.
As can be seen in the pictures below, it is in very good shape, with velvet and wood interior—a top-notch touring coach when it was purchased and customized in 1983, including a 92 Detroit Diesel, a picture of Jimmie Rodgers, a plaque commemorating Paul English—Willie’s long-time drummer, manager, and right hand man—and airbrushed designs on the sides and back.
When the ad was posted, they had no idea the response would be so big. “It’s been non-stop,” the poster tells The Village Voice. He posted the ad for the non tech-savvy owner. “I’ve gotten calls from as far as Washington state and New York.” The current owner purchased it ‘three or four’ years ago after hearing about the bus being up for sale in Alabama, but is now ready to ‘give up the hobby.’”
The original asking price for the bus when it was initially listed on Sunday was $29,999. Since then a bidding war has ensued, and current high bidder is at $65,000. The owner says he will sell the bus this weekend.
It’s not Willie’s famed Honeysuckle Rose tour bus, but it is the next best thing.
UPDATE (5-4): According to owner Tom O’ Leary, the bus sold this weekend for over $80,000.
It has been since September of 2010 that fans of CMA Award-winning country music star Jamey Johnson have heard new music from the singer and songwriter. His critically-acclaimed double album The Guitar Song has had to tide listeners over for a protracted period, from an artist that before had been quite prolific. Johnson did release another album in October of 2012, but it was a tribute album, Living For A Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran.
Since then fans have been in a fog about when new music could be expected from the Alabama native, or even the nature of his label status. Then in an interview with Rolling Stone published February 10th, 2013, Jamey Johnson spelled out in specific detail that he felt he was getting a raw deal from his long-time label, Mercury Records Nashville.
âFinancially speaking, they treat me worse than they ever did the Dixie Chicks,â Johnson explained to Rolling Stone. âI feel pretty used by the music industry, in that my contracts are written in such a way that I donât get paid. Itâs time for us to regroup and itâs time for us to look at these contracts. The problem is, I donât trust any of the people that Iâve worked with so far. I believe theyâve all hidden the truth from me or lied to me or deceived me in one way or another. Because the end result is that no matter what they said or did or what they said they did, I didnât get paidâŚ As a musician I never studied music law. I canât even read the contracts Iâve signed. But Iâm fairly sure they donât say what I thought they said.”
Beyond The Dixie Chick’s public blackballing from country music after making disparaging comments about then President George W. Bush, they also were part of their own contract dispute, and claimed they didn’t get paid properly for their music. Jamey also explained that the ordeal had put a damper on his desire to write songs.
Well, I wish I could tell you that I am writing. Iâm not. I wish I could tell you Iâm gonna go home next week and record another album. Itâs not likely to happen. We havenât reached such a gridlock that we canât continue to do work with them in the future. But we canât do anything right now until that gets resolved.
Well apparently it has been, though initially the nature of that resolution still left us with more questions. While playing the Mahaffey Theater at the Progress Energy Center in St. Petersburg, FL on January 17th of this year, Jamey Johnson said to the crowd,
“Last time we did a show without a record deal was ’06. Tonight’s our first show without a record deal. And somehow we’re still on the same label. We just didn’t have nowhere else to go. They set it up where now we just don’t have to stay. And here’s one for all of our friends back at Mercury Records in Nashville, Tennessee.” (video below)
After the remarks, Jamey launched into the Waylon Jennings song, “Freedom To Stay.”
Jamey’s remarks would seem to allude that he’d stayed with the label, but also that he’d left it. Or that maybe they had restructured his deal so he could leave, but he decided to stay anyway. The comments seemed to create more questions than answers—more questions there had been before. But maybe that was Jamey’s intention.
So Saving Country Music, wanting to get to the bottom of Jamey’s contract status—called Mercury Records. This is a rough sketch of how the phone conversation went.Hello this is Trigger from Saving Country Music. I’m calling to see if I can ascertain the contract status of Jamey Johnson. Jamey who? I don’t know who that is. Jamey Johnson? I don’t know. Does he or she work here? Jamey Johnson. Is that a new artist or something? Won a CMA for Song of the Year? Wrote “Honky Tonk Badona Donk”? (going for the least common denominator in desperation) Huh. I’ve never heard that name. The rest of the staff is in a meeting. I will have to find out for you.
About 5 minutes later I receive a phone call back from Mercury Records Nashville.No. Jamey Johnson is no longer signed with us. So he didn’t restructure his deal or anything? He’s not signed to the label whatsoever? No. He was here, but he’s no longer signed with us. That’s all the information I can give you.
So there you go. Jamey Johnson has been stricken from the consciousness of Mercury Records Nashville and has moved on. Though this is no guarantee there’s new music coming from him, this certainly moves him one step closer.
Jamey’s remarks about his contract status can be seen at the 28:55 mark in the video below.
This story has been updated.
The King of Juke Joint Swing, Wayne “The Train” Hancock, was involved in a major motorcycle accident on Saturday, April 26th, and is recovering in a hospital Intensive Care Unit. The performer and songwriter suffered a collapsed lung and a fractured elbow in the accident, and fears of catching pneumonia from the compromised respiratory condition have doctors taking every precaution to make sure the singer pulls through.
Hancock is known as an avid motorcycle rider, and his last album Ride released through Bloodshot Records features a motorcycle on the front cover, with the title track about taking a ride on a two-wheeler. Reports say Wayne was wearing a helmet at the time. His arm is also in a soft cast, and he is expected to be transferred from the ICU to a regular room in a few days. On Tuesday, Wayne had a blood transfusion for the blood lost when draining his lung.
The accident has forced Hancock to have to cancel upcoming shows May 2 at Floores Country Store in Helotes, TX, and May 3 at the Aardvark in Ft. Worth, TX, as well as all other remaining shows in May. For the moment, shows in June starting with Suquamish in Washington State are still on, but may be subject to change, depending on Wayne’s condition.
“His spirits are high and wishes he could be with Y’all,” was posted on Wayne’s Facebook page. “But things are out of his hands at the moment and must do as the Doctors tell him so as to make sure he CAN return to Y’all. He sends his Love and Regrets and asks for Prayers and Good Thoughts…”
The Train will roll on!
Cards and Letters can be sent to:
4937 Stuart Rd. #181
Denton, TX 76207
Please help him offset growing medical expenses and the additional financial woes of canceling two months of tour dates, by donating on PayPal toÂ [email protected]
UPDATE (5-2-14): Yesterday (5-1) Wayne had surgery to help fix his fallen lung. They were able to remove Wayne’s ventilator and he is now breathing on his own. He continues to remain in the ICU unit and will into next week. But they hope to transfer him to a private room soon. “Wayne’s awake, Smilin’ and very alert singin’ to himself,” a post on his Facebook page said “…think he’s trying to make sure the pipes are still workin’”
Incidentally, yesterday was also Wayne’s birthday.
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On Friday, April 25th, a security guard working the Moonrunners Festival at Reggie’s Music Joint on South State Street in Chicago was stabbed in the lower left abdomen by what police and witnesses describe as a transient outside of the fest. The security guard was admitted to Northwestern Hospital in Chicago and was in stable condition after the incident. The transient also sustained undisclosed injuries, and was also taken to Northwestern. The transient was initially detained and was in custody pending charges, but according to Chicago police, has been released after it was found by investigators that the security guard was “the predominant aggressor.”
“They [police investigators] were questioning the so-called offender,” Officer Ganel Sedevic of the Chicago police tells Saving Country Music. “He was released without charging. The victim refused to prosecute. There’s notes [in the police report] stating the ‘quote, quote’ ‘victim’ was actually the predominant aggressor.”
The individual who stabbed the security guard was part of a bigger group of transients with dogs and instruments that were hanging out near the venue. The stabbing did not happen on the private property of Reggie’s, but slightly down the block from the establishment according to police and witnesses, creating speculation of why a security guard would be engaging individuals off private property, and why police weren’t called to handle the issue. âThey had been asked to leave multiple times,â Jason from Reggieâs told Saving Country Music on Saturday. âIt was like the 3rd or 4th time theyâd been asked to leave. They apparently got violent at that point, started throwing things at the security guard, and then started throwing punches. And so the security reacted, and then one of the transients pulled a knife out and stabbed the security guard.â
A number of accounts said that police were called before the stabbing to deal with the transients, but according to Chicago police, no calls were made until the stabbing. There were also reports that the transients were harassing other businesses in the area, but police received no notification of that either. “We had no calls for that exact address, besides for the person stabbed that whole day,” explains Officer Ganel Sedevic. “I also ran a search for the 2000 block and the 22oo block, and those [stabbing] calls were the only ones that came in. I did a two block range from 2000 to 2200 South State. There were different calls, but they were all for the same incident. They were all within a minute, or a minute-and-a-half of each other.”
Questions Of Whether Transients Were There for Moonrunners
Shortly after the incident, the promoter of the festival addressed the crowd and said the incident had “Nothing to do with Moonrunners.” However according to multiple witnesses, including one that was part of the group of transients, one of the members of the party had a ticket to the fest and was inside for most of the event on Friday, and the group had traveled to Chicago to be a part of the festival. Some of the members of the party remained outside to look after the dogs, gear and instruments. “We took a 26 hour train ride from [Tennessee] to catch this show. And so we wanted to hang out with friends….We weren’t asked three or four times to leave. We were asked once, very rudely and after that, we were threatened with violence. So we moved down the street. After couple hours of mingling, we were getting restless. While my boyfriend was at the show, we decided to move back to the corner to discuss how we were going to get back downtown. Not even five minutes of resting our packs, a security guard was spraying us with bleach water. As soon as my friend stood up, the mob of guards came and assaulted my friend.”
Robbie Glick, the owner Reggie’s, told Saving Country Music, “I know that they were outside all day and they weren’t inside. It’s not like they were going back and forth or anything with the dogs. They were just hanging out and begging all day. I’ve never seen those people around here before, but I’ve seen people like those people. It’s hard to differentiate. We’ve never had that kind of problem at our place before as far as that type of panhandling. We have the typical intercity panhandlers.”
Questions About Saving Country Music’s Reporting
Josh Nutting, the promoter of the Moonrunners Festival yesterday said about Saving Country Music’s reporting of the incident, “They are reporting a mostly false exaggeration, one sided opinion. The fella from ‘Reggie’s’ quoted in said article was not even on site and not an actual employee at the venue, but, rather a record store clerk upstairs.”
When Saving Country Music called Reggie’s on Saturday and asked to speak to someone in authority, a individual named Jason answered the phone. Today when Saving Country Music interviewed Reggie’s owner Robbie Glick, he said there was no issue with anything said by either Jason or Saving Country Music in the initial report. When the quotes from the employee Jason were given verbatim to Mr. Glick, his response was, “Yeah, that’s good. I think the point the promoter was making was that they (transients) were not part of the crowd from Moonrunners. They didn’t have a ticket to the fest. They didn’t have anything to do with it. They didn’t have friends in the show. They weren’t waiting for anybody.”
Reggie’s Owner Defends Fest & Security Guard
Reggie’s owner Robbie Glick also came to the defense of his security guard, and the Moonrunners Festival. “[The security guard] didn’t do anything. He was trying to break up a fight. He was not being aggressive at all. The festival was a great festival. [The promoter] does a great job with it. He really wants it to do well. He doesn’t want anything negative coming down on it. Just because this happened, doesn’t mean it needs to be turned into a negative fest.”
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Also according to police, the ages of the alleged victim and the alleged aggressor were incorrect in the initial police reports. “Our initial notification had approximate ages,”Â Officer Ganel Sedevic says. “Our person stabbed was 26-years-old. The alleged offender that was released without charging is 24. The initial notification age was a little bit off.”
Though the promoter of Moonrunners has demanded Saving Country Music run a statement from the fest about the incident, no statement has been provided.
(4-29) - Kevin Curtain, a member of the band Black Eyed Vermillion that played Moonrunners, and a writer for The Austin Chronicle, posted a harrowing account of the incident on austinchronicle.com :
I exited for a smoke exactly as a tussle between a street kid and the Reggies security staff escalated to a dire level. The altercation, which had apparently begun when an employee sprayed cleaner on a loitering crust punk, quickly went from fistfight to mob beatdown about 40 feet from the clubâs patio. The transient, part of a group that included two female friends and two dogs, was overtaken by four guards and stomped when he brandished a knife.
Suddenly, a security guard emerged from the scrum clutching his bleeding stomach and groaning, âThat fucking crust punk stabbed me!â His coworkers and one volunteer ass-kicker pinned the attacker to the ground and repeatedly slammed his head into the concrete. As the brawl dispersed with approaching sirens, the kid sobbed loudly, his face awash with blood and one eye bulging from a visibly crushed socket.
He scrambled to retrieve his whining puppies while one of his female companions lay inexplicably unconscious on the ground. Soon the police arrived, hung caution tape, hauled members of both injured parties into ambulances, and exited. The blood on the sidewalk remained, a reminder that you need to watch where you step in this world.
Everyone was in the wrong, but I felt sympathy for the stabber. He wasnât there by coincidence. Whether he was a fan of the music or a hanger-on to the scene, heâd surely arrived hoping for a good time, not emergency face surgery at the ER. Being semi-homeless and annoying didnât warrant the treatment he got.
No-necks bouncing at clubs will always tell you theyâre just doing their job, but this was all tribalism and testosterone. In the VIP room, one of parties involved bragged to me about how theyâd made that âOogleâs face swell up like a pumpkin.â Good god. There were no victories here.
Another artist who played Moonrunners, Pearls Mahone, has given an update on the severity of the security guard’s injuries. “My security guard friend has had major surgery, he has 25 staples down his midsection due to internal bleeding and will be unable to work his day job as a laborer or security for a few months at least! He has a young daughter to support.”
Friday was the first day of an underground roots gathering called the Moonrunners Festival at Reggie’s Music Joint on State Street in Chicago, and the festivities were marred when a security guard working the door at the event was stabbed in the lower left abdomen outside of the club.
The incident started when a group of young transients with dogs and musical instruments began to mingle near the club. When asked to leave by security, things became heated. “They had been asked to leave multiple times,” Jason from Reggie’s told Saving Country Music. “It was like the 3rd or 4th time they’d been asked to leave. They apparently got violent at that point, started throwing things at the security guard, and then started throwing punches. And so the security reacted, and then one of the transients pulled a knife out and stabbed the security guard.”
The 23-year-old security guard, an employee of Reggie’s, was taken to Northwestern Hospital and is in stable condition. The trainsient was also taken to Northwestern Hospital after sustaining undisclosed injuries.
“About 9:15 PM last night, security at Reggie’s Rock Club approached several bums on a street near the club,” Officer Sullivan of the Chicago Police Department told Saving Country Music early Saturday. “A physical altercation ensued, and the victim was stabbed. One person is in custody.”
Questions remain whether the transients had been drawn to the club because of the event, or were there incidentally. Some witness accounts say they were “gutterpunks” that could have been drawn to the Moonrunners Festival, and would normally not be loitering in that portion of Chicago. “They were loitering on the corner, not even on our property. They were on 21st and State Street, down the block there. They had been there all day,” says Jason from Reggie’s.
Why security from the club would engage the transients if they were not on the club’s property, and what the extent of the transient’s injuries are and if he will be charged with a crime have yet to be determined.
“Area Central is still investigating,” Officer Cooper told Saving Country Music later on Saturday “It’s an ongoing investigation, and nothing has been charged. I don’t know if he’s going to be charged, or not going to be charged. It’s pending. That’s up to the detectives.”
It was a year ago today that country music legend George Jones passed away due to Hypoxic Respiratory Failure at the age of 81. On Saturday, friends, fans, and family, including George’s widow Nancy, country star Larry Gatlin, and others gathered at the Woodlawn Cemetery on Thompson Lane in the Berry Hill portion of southern Nashville to honor George and to plant two Dogwood trees in his memory. The event was open to the public, and fans began to congregate early in the morning to witness the ceremony that transpired at 1:00 PM.
The two dogwoods were planted on either side of the “He Stopped Loving Her Today” monument that was unveiled at the Woodlawn Cemetery on November 18th, 2013. Members of George’s family did the honor of placing the trees and helping to fill the holes of the two Dogwoods. âThis day is going to be bittersweet,â says Nancy Jones. âI know how much people loved George, and the love has continued even a year later. I am so fortunate for the friends and fans that George and I made through the years. I want everyone to come celebrate with us, not because he is no longer with us, but to keep his legacy alive.â
Nancy Jones, Larry Gatlin, and others spoke at the event, circled by gatherers who are still mourning the passing of one of the greatest country music artists of all time. A framed letter from the State of Tennessee Senate was also unveiled, and the ceremony culminated in the assembled crowd singing “Amazing Grace.”
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