The idea that Jason Isbell saved country music when his latest release Something More Than Free inched out Alan Jackson for the #1 spot on Billboard’s Country Albums chart has been offered as a discussion topic by cosmic songwriter and east Nashville sage Todd Snider. Above all else, how awesome is it to have the old version of Todd Snider back in our midst?
Boy how the entertainment media loves to ruminate on country music’s female dilemma, and how unfair it is that so many fine and talented female voices are going unheard. It’s the perfect topic for Northeast-based periodicals to piggy-back their political and sociological parallels onto, to prove the patriarchal oligarchy is still very much alive in America’s rural and Southern landscapes.
In one corner you have the wily veteran who’s sold more than 80 million records worldwide and racked up untold awards and accolades during his quarter century career. In the other corner you have the scrappy young upstart who after years of paying dues on the club circuit can now sell out three consecutive nights at The Ryman Auditorium in 30 minutes and is on the tip of everyone’s tongue as the name of one of the best songwriters around.
Jillian Johnson was doing her part to help save country music in Lafayette like so many local musicians do all across the country and world as a member of the six-piece all-female country and roots outfit called The Figs. She played ukelele and sang harmony in the band. Their Facebook page lists their influences as, “Guitar, Banjo, Country Music, Sassiness, High Heels, Bob Wills,” and describe their sound as “High-Heeled Stomp.”
Texas country artist Pat Green recently released a new single called “While I Was Away” ahead of the release of his new record Home on August 14th, and when asked what he thought about the new artists and the new style of country music prevailing in the mainstream today, he not only took the high road, he had some high praise for one of country music’s most notorious repeat offenders.
Blake Shelton proposed to Miranda Lambert in the woods near their home in Tishomingo, Oklahoma in 2010 after the country music power couple had been dating for some time before. Since then there hasn’t been one single winner of either the CMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year award or Female Vocalist of the Year award not named Blake Shelton or Miranda Lambert.
We already knew Elizabeth Cook was bat shit crazy, and that’s what we love about her. But apparently this whole damn time she was also the paganistic embodiment of the dark overlord in country music and we never knew. She’s even been performing Satanic rituals on the Grand Ole Opry stage as we all listened along on WSM completely unbeknownst.
A group named “Induct Keith Whitley into The Country Music Hall of Fame” has started a campaign to try and get the Kentucky-born singer and songwriter who died tragically in 1989 into country music’s most elite class. The group has set up an online petition and is asking Keith Whitley fans to add their voices and signatures in support of the effort.
2015 so far has been an especially dark year for deaths in the greater country music world. From the passing of legends such as “Little” Jimmy Dickens and Jim Ed Brown, to the tragedy of lives ended too soon like in the cases of Randy Howard and Jon Hensley. We don’t always take to proper time to honor all of those that have passed, so as we enter the second half of 2015, let’s reflect back on who we have lost so far.
AJ Masters, Billy Block, Bob Burns, Bob Stegall, Bobby Emmons, Dan Wilson Jr., Dixie Hall, Don Robertson, Dottie Dillard, Herb McCullough, Jack Eubanks, James "Spider" Wilson, Jean Ritchie, Jim Ed Brown, Joe B. Maudlin, Johnny Gimble, Jon Hensley, Little Jimmy Dickens, Randy Howard, Red Lane, Sandy Mason, Tom Skinner, Toni Dae, Tut Taylor, Wayne Kemp
Dear Luke Bryan, Thanks for taking the time to read my letter, if in fact you do so. I can only imagine the time constraints a man of your success has, and you’ve already been taking of your time over the last few days to help clear up a mess that I guess I had some part in creating.
Aaron Watson, Blackberry Smoke, Blake Shelton, Dallas Davidson, Florida Georgia Line, Gary Overton, George Strait, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Hill, Luke Bryan, Merle Haggard, Sam Hunt, Sturgill Simpson, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
It seems to be the destiny of man to make the same mistakes over and over, even when we have insurmountable evidence of the fallacy of our actions right in front of us. Country music might be one of the greatest examples of this as it cycles from being obsessed with pop and contemporary sounds, and then gets reeled back in towards its traditional heart during the tug and push of its sometimes tumultuous history.
Being an Outlaw never had anything to do with arrest records or cocaine addictions. Anyone found on Willie Nelson’s crew with their nose in the powder was immediately fired. Being an Outlaw was about being yourself, insisting on having creative control of your music, and moving country music forward while still respecting the roots of the genre and all the greats that came before.
Seriously though, right? If some country music media outlet posted something like this, it would result in a shit storm of the highest proportions, especially with all the tomato talk going around after radio consultant Keith Hill’s comments. But when the shoe is on the other foot, apparently it is open season. So how could oogling at the butts and brawn of male country stars adversely affect the females?
There’s no better example of why Gary Overton’s radio comments were unfounded than the success Garth Brooks has experienced in the past year after coming out of retirement. The first two Garth Books singles from his Man Against Machine album positively bombed, but that didn’t get in the way of him earning $90 million dollars.
You can’t look anywhere in the Austin independent country scene without seeing Brennen Leigh’s name. If she’s not fronting her own band, she’s playing in any number of other projects as a side musician. Or she’s in the studio singing harmonies or recording guitar tracks, or contributing a song to someone else’s project like she recently did to Lee Ann Womack’s “The Way I’m Livin'” album.
Antique Persuasion, Beth Chrisman, Brennen Leigh, Brennen Leigh Sings Lefty Frizzell, Chris Scruggs, Cris Burns, Lee Ann Womack, Noel McKay, Sunny Sweeny, T Jerrod Bonta, Teri Joyce, The Carper Family
But possibly the most troubling sign that something is not right in the Toby Keith camp is the continued stories about strange closings and other curious issues surrounding the “Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill” restaurant chain. Keith founded the restaurants in 2005, and they are operated out of Phoenix by Boomtown Entertainment.
Over the 4th of July weekend at Chicago’s Soldier Field, the four surviving original members of the Grateful Dead, Phish frontman Trey Anastasio, Bruce Hornsby, and Jeff Chimenti will be marking the band’s 50th Anniversary by playing a series of shows in the last setting Jerry Garcia ever performed in before passing away in 1995.
It is your show and you can choose who covers it and who doesn’t, and receiving media credentials is always a privilege. Please don’t think that I am unaware of those facts, or am unwilling to pay admittance if I choose to cover an event, as I do very often, despite the paltry money earned in the web publishing business. However, your unprofessionalism has made paying to attend an unavailable option for many of us.
Festivals are an efficient and enjoyable way for music consumers to see many different acts in the short time span, and they look to continue to become one of the best meal tickets and opportunities for exposure for country music artists. But too much of a good thing has lead to the bursting of the country music festival bubble in 2015.
Gone are the days of Loretta Lynn singing “One’s On The Way.” Gone are the days of adult issues like divorce, resonating with mature audiences. Gone are the days of originality, not only in style but in songwriting. In that classic era you could tell the difference between Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. Artists were easily discernible and legends arose because of their unique qualities…