I remember saying it myself when the Carolina Chocolate Drops first came on the scene. Excellent band, and great to see some diversity represented in country and Americana music in a way that illustrates the role African American’s played in creating roots music. But there was something a bit off about watching a black band playing for a distinctly white audience.
Once again in 2016, the current mainstream artist leading the pack of delinquent members is Blake Shelton who couldn’t find the time to make even one appearance in 2016 at the Grand Ole Opry, let alone the 10 or so appearances current members are expected to make. Country fans shouldn’t be surprised by this; it’s pretty much par for the course…
This is a pretty significant sales spike for A Sailor’s Guide, which has become a matter of great intrigue by the public after it shocked the world by getting nominated for the Grammy Awards’ Album of the Year. But what’s even more surprising is how the performance of Sturgill’s other records has been boosted by the SNL appearance.
And though we’re a good half decade from when Toby Keith was still relevant in the country mainstream, and a healthy 15 years removed from when he was telling would-be terrorists where he rudely wanted to ensconce his manly footwear, Toby Keith still has a reserved seat at the very top of these “highest paid” lists, despite not showing a Top 5 single since 2011.
The fact that the Grammy committee considered turning down ‘A Sailor’s Guide’ for Best Country Album shows how stringent the litmus test is for these country categories. This is important because of the controversy that erupted after it was revealed that Beyoncé’s song “Daddy Lessons” was turned down by the same committee for not being country enough.
The checkered past of David Allan Coe often has country fans pontificating on if he’ll ever make it into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Though many Hall of Fame experts believe he’s a long shot, one Hall of Famer thinks he belongs. Loretta Lynn, speaking to Broadway on The Electric Barnyard recently, and asked if Coe should be in the Hall, answered…
Call it cautious or guarded optimism, but after the abomination that was the 2016 Houston Rodeo musical lineup led by folks such as Luke Bryan, Pitbull, and Florida Georgia Line, and where only one artist with Texas ties and only one female performer were booked (and both were Miranda Lambert), they couldn’t go any lower, that’s for sure.
Aaron Watson, Bri Bagwell, Cameran Nelson, Chris Stapleton, Conno, Curtis Grimes, Darrin Morris Band, Flatland Cavalry, Hoss Mayfield, Houston Rodeo, Jason James, John Baumann, Josh Ward, Max Stalling, MIke and the Moonpies, No Dry County, Randy Brown, Texas Renegade, The Strayhearts, Wade Andrew Smith, Willie Nelson, ZZ Top
Folks like Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, and Jason Isbell were not overnight sensations. It took years of effort and these artists reaching their mid 30’s before it all came together for them. And if you put your ear to the ground, you get the sense that a similarly shaped groundswell is building beneath Cody Jinks at the moment.
As the most storied institution in country, the direction of the Grand Ole Opry is always a hot topic, especially among traditional country fans. And many were unhappy with how the Opry functioned under the Pete Fisher regime. Of course the biggest question for Grand Ole Opry fans is who will be Pete Fisher’s replacement, and what direction will the new leadership take the institution?
Country music is not just a commodity or even a form artistic expression. It is an integral part of people’s lives and has been the foundation for their cultural identities for generations. It’s what binds them to their homes and ancestry, and is interwoven into the very fabric of who they are as people.
The misplaced political anger that has sent entertainment media scurrying to find anyone they can tie to the “alt-right” and then character assassinate for the benefit of their web traffic has claimed yet another victim in the music realm. This time it is Philip Anschutz, the billionaire owner of AEG Live—the second-largest concert promoter in the United States.
Ruth Musick, the mother of country music legend Alan Jackson, and known affectionately by Alan Jackson fans as “Mama Ruth,” passed away Saturday (1-7-17) at her home in Newnan, Georgia—the same town where Alan Jackson was born. Mama Ruth was 86-years-old.
The controversy stems from Carrie Underwood performing at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on January 2nd at the evangelical “Passion” conference. The song she performed was her uplifting, critically-acclaimed, faith-based song “Something in the Water” that reached #1 on both the Hot Country Songs and Hot Christian Songs charts in 2014.
This year many of the artists, labels, managers, fans, and even many of the individuals involved in the Grammy nomination process are feeling let down like many years, and are scratching their heads on how certain efforts got overlooked, while others got pushed to the forefront.
Famous director Terrence Malick is getting set to release a new movie on March 17th (when Austin’s SXSW is raging) called Song To Song starring Ryan Gosling and Natalie Portman. The movie is centered around the Austin music scene, with a heavy musical component to the film. Many big-time music names appear in the movie, but none from Austin.
“When you watch country players, a lot of times they’re metal players that couldn’t get a gig so they settled for country,” Mustaine says. “Every single [country] band that I’ve met, any of the guitar players are like, ‘Oh man, I’m a huge fan of yours!’ It’s like, ‘What?’ Some of the performers too, they’re big fans, they love metal music.”
Just what 2017 has in store for us in the country music department remains to be seen. But we do know about what to expect in the release department for at least the first quarter of the year, while rumors abound about the big projects that could come to light later in 2017. Here’s a run down of what we know, what we think we know, and what we would like to believe.
Aaron Watson, Ags Connolly, Alison Krauss, Casey James Prestwood, Charlie Worsham, Chris Knight, Chris Stapleton, Colter Wall, Curtis McMurtry, Dale Watson, Dan Auerbach, Dave Cobb, George Jones, Guy Clark, Holly Williams, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Jaime Wyatt, Jason Isbell, JB Beverley, Justin Townes Earle, Marty Stuart, MOderna Mal, Nikki Lane, Old Crow Medicine Show, Otis Gibbs, Phoebe Hunt, Ray Benson, Ray Scott, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Rhiannon Giddens, Robbie Fulks, Scott H. Biram, Shinyribs, Son Volt, Steve Earle, Sunny Sweeney, The Gibson Brothers, The Sadies, The Secret Sisters, Tift Merritt, Valerie June, Whitney Rose
The duo played a special half hour extended set Friday night, and were joined on stage by Marty Stuart and Connie Smith, as well as John Carter Cash and his wife Ana Cristina, Dailey’s father JB Dailey and Vincent’s mother Carolyn Vincent. Near the end of the set, Marty Stuart shocked everyone by asking the duo to become official Opry members.
It goes without saying that 2016 was a historic year for the notable and tragic deaths of so many important people from across American culture and the world stage. Country music was no exception, suffering the loss of many all-time greats and other notable contributors in one of the most tragic years the genre has ever faced.
These days, as country music continues to improve in the mainstream, and we’re seeing incredible support for independent country music like never before, one of the biggest issues emerging in country music is not bad artists making bad music. It is journalists and columnists of all people, who are using the forum of country music to forward political agendas.