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…
Is this really the substantive victory we were looking for that would symbolize inroads into the sausage fest at the top of the country music charts? Unfortunately the story about the “Love Me Like You Mean It” #1 is more about radio politics, a specific and calculated push by connected people, and frankly, a pop song on country radio. Though the diversity is welcomed, the result is circumspect.
We hypothesize often that the lyrics of popular country songs and other popular hits are slowly becoming more simplified and dumbed down, but now there is a study that puts data behind this hypothesis. Andrew Powell-Morse of Seat Smart recently took 225 different songs compiled in 4 separate genre datasets from 2005 to 2014, and analyzed them according to Readability Score.
Earlier this year, the news came out about Love & Theft really getting the shaft from their RCA label in Nashville. The story was they got dropped because they weren’t Bro-Country. They were told that in as many words. And even worse, it happened when they had masters sitting on a shelf with the label, so they were left in a lurch like so many major label acts are when the ax falls.
Hey, Saving Country Music is advocating that listeners actually wait to hear the upcoming country music record from Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler before passing judgement upon it. But you can’t help but appreciate the strange thought of Steven Tyler as a country star, so let’s take a second to try and predict what actually might happen once Steven Tyler officially goes country.
Well the saga of Sony Nashville CEO Gary Overton’s comments to The Tennessean of “If you’re not on country radio, you don’t exist” uttered in late February just took another interesting turn. Gary Overton is out at one of Music Row’s very top executive spots. Announced Tuesday morning (3-17), Gary Overton is stepping down from his position as Sony Nashville’s top executive at the end of March.
Move over Sheryl Crow and Darius Rucker, apparently Steven Tyler and his size 14 lips will be belting out “country” tunes as early as this November according to a report from Billboard. Sources say the Aerosmith lead singer is getting ready to sign with Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine Records.
Ashley Monroe has all the assets that it takes to be a top tier female country music star, and in an environment where the industry seems to be desperately looking to anoint them. A beautiful, astounding singer, excellent songwriter, yet three years into her major label deal and she still feels like the consummate critical darling/commercial outsider.
All you need to know about the 2015 Grammy Awards. Despite the country genre rising to become arguably the biggest genre in popular music right now, there’s just not a whole lot of country to be featured on the show this year. This year’s country performance slots are cut in half, with the only collaboration being between Brandy Clark and Dwight Yoakam.
Told from the perspective of a young girl facing the emotional toll rendered from listening to mommy and daddy fighting, “Little Toy Guns” puts the listener in a place most any human from an American family has found themselves in, yet we seem to be unable to extricate ourselves from replicating this same foolish and unfortunate behavior with our own families as adults.
As Tippin says, country music appears to be shifting away from so-called “Bro-Country” to music of a little more substance lately, and though there still seems to be much more work to be done and a few more Bro-Country hits could still materialize (or something even worse to take its place), positive signs that country is moving in a more positive direction are appearing.
But what “Something In The Water” had that no other song that could offer battle to Bro-Country had previously was substance, and one of the most powerful performances we’ve heard from a country artist in the last few years. This is what was needed to defeat Bro-Country. It wasn’t going to take pandering. Leadership is what was needed, and an exhibition of raw talent that could not be denied.
Out of the 67 current members of the Opry, only 25 of them fulfilled their 10 appearance obligation, and three of those died during the year. 11 members didn’t make any appearances at all. But what may be more interesting is who is appearing on the Opry to take up the slack. Of the Top 11 performing members at the Grand Ole Opry in 2014, the average age was 79-years-old.
Bill Anderson, Blake Shelton, Bobby Osborne, Brad Paisley, Byron Fay, Carrie Underwood, Chris Jansen, Connie Smith, Craig Morgan, Darius Rucker, Elizabeth Cook, George Hamilton IV, Jean Shepard, Jeannie Seely, Jesse McReynolds, Jim Ed Brown, Jimmy C. Newman, John Conley, Little Big Town, Little Jimmy Dickens, Lorrie Morgan, Mike Snider, Old Crow Medicine Show, Pete Fisher, Rascal Flatts, Riders In The Sky, Sarah Darling, The Grand Ole Opry, The Henningsens, The Whites, Vince Gill, WSM
If you’re looking for the female equivalent to Bro-Country songs, i.e. something featuring lower brow formulaic songwriting, however less frequently they may find their way onto your radio, the proper comparison would be the “attitude song.” That’s what Miranda Lambert calls it. Miranda Lambert’s latest attitude song is called “Little Red Wagon,” and it has been announced as her latest single.
Independent music fans love to say “90% of what they play on the radio is crap!” Well then it would stand to reason that 10% actually has some value. And in the interest of pragmatism and inclusiveness that is vital to the charge of Saving Country Music, it is important to not ignore when Music Row and mainstream artists get it right, but to celebrate these moments.
Brett Eldredge, Bridges, Caitlyn Smith, Carrie Underwood, Dave Grohl, Dierks Bentley, Dirt, Eric Paslay, Everything To You, Florida Georgia Line, Garth Brooks, Jon Pardi, Kellie Pickler, Maddie & Tae, Man Against Machine, Mary Sarah, Riser, Something In The Water, The Grohl Sessions Vol. 1, The Mavericks, Tim McGraw, Zac Brown Band
Scott Borchetta’s gamble has paid off, and “Girl In A Country Song” is now #1 on country radio according to Mediabase. The distinction shatters a slew of dubious distinctions for the country format, and helps to slay the absolute dearth of female representation on country radio. It means that country radio has its very first female-led act to hit number one on country radio in over 2 years.
CBS Evening News reporter Steve Hartman took a deeper look into how his two young kids were computing the lyrics of country songs in their developing brains as they sat and listened to popular country music in the family motor carriage. His conclusion? “I’ve got some sobering news — Nashville is alcohol-poisoning the minds of our young people,” he says in his report.
The Country Music Association Awards, or CMA’s are nigh upon us, and set to transpire on Wednesday, November 5th. And to get you all horny for the festivities, it’s been announced that ultra pop star Ariana Grande, and “All About That Bass” overnight sensation Meghan Trainor will be part of this year’s presentation. Because you know, a country presentation devoid of pop stars would be boring.
All About That Bass, Ariana Grande, Ashley Monroe, Carrie Underwood, CMA Awards, CMA's, Kacey Musgraves, Kid Rock, Lee Ann Womack, Lil Wayne, Little Big Town, Maddie & Tae, Meghan Trainor, Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift
A wide, sweeping undertaking, “Something In The Water” sees Carrie Underwood carve out the sweet spot for her voice and make an inspiring and faith-based composition the vessel to illustrate the mighty ferocity of her God-given vocal prowess, along with instilling the moments with an elegance and grace that in unison swell to achieve one awe-inspiring performance height.