As we get to mid February each year, it comes down to nut cutting time for deciding who the next class of inductees to the Country Music Hall of Fame will be. Though who gets to decide is a big secret kept by the Country Music Association, or CMA, we all should feel like we have a say so and voice our opinions and hope the right people listen.
Brooks & Dunn
Speaking about his recent signing with Big Machine’s NASH Icon record label, which was set up to create radio support for artists left behind by mainstream country’s current obsession with youth, the once CMA Entertainer of the Year recipient said, “If you’re gonna be heard, you have to get on the radio. The internet alone is not gonna do it.”
Trying to get a handle on Ronnie Dunn over the last few years has been like trying to catch a greased piglet. His rhetoric has been nothing short of revolutionary, but his artistic output has been a mixed bag at best. The former Brooks & Dunn member became disenfranchised by the Nashville system after his first solo release in 2011, and so he started a public relations crusade through his Facebook page.
Even though Taylor Swift has 86’d country and said she wants nothing to do with the awards specifically, the ACM’s have minted a special 50th Anniversary “Milestone Award” crafted by noted jewelry designer David Yurman to be handed out to Swift and a few select others. The Milestone Award trophy is made up of more than 1,010 grams of sterling silver, with the top edged with 4.16 carats of black diamonds.
Last night (2-25) as part of Country Radio Seminar festivities in Nashville, Dierks Bentley, aka Douglas “Big Rhythm Doug” Douglason, showed the depth of his commitment to his alter-ego 90’s country band called Hot Country Knights by taking the stage at “The Stage” on Lower Broadway and launching into renditions of big late 80’s & 90’s country hits.
It’s about that time of year again to start considering who the Country Music Hall of Fame will include in their list of 2015 inductees. That said, this announcement seems to inch later, and later (and later) each year. Nonetheless, if you want your opinion to amount to anything, you better get it out there early in the year as the people who make the picks for the final ballots and eventually inductees are doing their homework.
NASH Icon is ramping up for a big 2015, making some significant moves on Monday (1-12) to start the year where 2014 ended: stirring conversation about where country music is headed and potentially stimulating a format split that would see more older country music return to the airwaves en masse. The long rumored signing of Ronnie Dunn to the label has been officially announced.
It’s not every day you get trolled by a CMA Entertainer of the Year winner, but that’s what Saving Country Music found itself experiencing Sunday night (12-28) when Ronnie Dunn took to his always colorful Facebook page to post links and commentary to recent stories on SCM about his involvement (or non involvement) with the new Cumulus Media/Big Machine Records’ joint venture called NASH Icon.
NASH Icon, the partnership between Cumulus Media and Big Machine Label Group meant to give new life to older country stars, has its second signee. Martina McBride, rumored since the beginning of the new imprint to be a possible artist for the label, made it official on Tuesday (12-23). But there is a curious situation brewing between the label and another older star—Ronnie Dunn.
It looks like Hank Williams Jr. might be the next signee to the Cumulus Media / Big Machine Label Group joint venture known as NASH Icon meant to give new life to aging artists who’ve been passed over by mainstream country radio. In the midst of Hank’s ACCA performance, he switched over from a cowboy hat to a black hat with gold lettering that simply read “ICON” across the front.
In the fall of 2012 when Ronnie Dunn (of Brooks & Dunn) was looking to write and record material for his upcoming album, he reached out to Texas music songwriting guru Ray Wylie Hubbard after falling in love with the gritty sound Hubbard imbibes on all his records. Dunn flew into Austin as Ray Wylie wrangled up an A-list of Austin musicians to to participate in a recording session.
The signs continue to point towards the country music radio format officially splitting in two, with Top 40 country, and “Icon” country covering music from as far back as the 80’s vying for equal share of the country music listenership. Now another local radio station has switched to the new country format, and the verbiage accompanying the format change shows just how much sway NASH Icon is having.
To do Ronnie Dunn and his new album Peace, Love & Country Music justice, one doesn’t need to write an album review, one needs to do something in between an in-depth psychoanalysis and a diagramming treatise. There’s so much going on here, so many tentacles to the current Ronnie Dunn story, and ones that reach far beyond the music itself, that it’s hard to know where to even start.
It’s that time of year again when we’re on the verge of hearing who the next class of inductees to the Country Music Hall of Fame will be. Though the date seems to be getting later and later each year (last year it stretched all the way to April 10th—2012 was announced on March 6th), as soon as spring starts to break, you can be assured an announcement is coming soon.
With 34 CMA Awards, over 20 Grammys, and and some 80 million records sold between the two, they both have seen their share of overwhelming commercial success, public notoriety, and peer recognition. But over the last few years the writing has been on the wall that their time has come, and their days of widespread radio play and big awards are over. And so what did these two men do?
After parting ways with his record label Sony on June 8th, 2012, Ronnie Dunn’s been making bold moves in the music business, accompanied by inspired, breathy statements on his Facebook page that many times decry the current structure of the country music business, especially radio and distribution. Yesterday (7-2-13), Dunn took to Facebook to announce he has formed a record label, “Little Will-E Records.”
The question that often comes up about the duo is what exactly does the short, blond-haired Brian Kelley do in the band? The longer-haired Tyler Hubbard seems to be the only voice you hear prominently in the vocal mix, and though Brian Kelley is commonly seen holding a guitar, he doesn’t appear to be handling any of the guitar solos, or really fulfilling any significant function of the Florida Georgia Line sound.