Kudos to Blake Shelton for giving a hand up to traditional country music through his work on ‘The Voice.’ But if he wanted to show true leadership and really make an impact, he would show that same leadership with his own music.
If you’re going to make a movie based in West Texas about the destruction of the agrarian economy and the way the banks rape the poor and why so much of the American heartland has turned into a ghost town husk of what it once was, what better way to embellish the moments than to include the songs of artists like Ray Wylie Hubbard, Scott H. Biram, & Colter Wall?
In a recent interview with Kacey Musgraves ahead of her opening for George Strait in Las Vegas, Strait said “Tennessee Whiskey” was one of the songs he most regrets punting on when it was first pitched to him early in his career. “Dean pitched me to that in the 80’s … and I missed it,” George Strait says.
It don’t matter who’s on country radio, Chris Stapleton is still the current king of country music when it comes to recognition and album sales. A solid 16 months since he shocked the world at the 2015 CMA Awards, and he is still the perennial chart topper on the country albums charts with Traveller most every week, and there is no signs of it slowing down soon.
The Academy of Country Music has just announced its 2017 batch of award nominees, and as you can imagine, it is the same usual suspects of superstar names receiving circumspect recognition in an event that is not much more than an infomercial for the industry, and fails to recognize the impact many of country’s independent artists.
An all-star cast will come together to celebrate the life and music of country music icon and Hall of Famer Don Williams in a new tribute album with the proceeds going to a good cause. ‘Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don Williams’ will be released on May 26th via Slate Creek Records.
Alison Krauss, Amanda Shires, Brandy Clark, Chris Stapleton, Dierks Bentley, Don Williams, Garth Brooks, Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don Williams, Jason Isbell, John Prine, Keb Mo, Lady Antebellum, Morgane Stapleton, Pistol Annies, Trisha Yearwood
She didn’t choose the title Puxico for the way it popped for focus group audiences. It’s the name of her less than 1,000 population hometown in southeastern Missouri that sets the scene for an album that feels devoutly personal, humble in approach, and eager to express things a professional songwriter just can’t with total fulfillment through the voices of others.
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
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
Just like Saving Country Music’s Song of the Year candidates, this is not just about entertainment, this is about putting together words, music, and in this case, a visual representation, that can shake the viewer out of their daily routines and make them realize something that previously was either lost or never discovered about themselves or their world.
Yeah yeah, it’s awesome that Sturgill Simpson received an Album of the Year nomination from the Grammy Awards for A Sailor’s Guide to Earth and everything, and just the nomination itself feels like an awesome victory overcoming insurmountable odds for an underdog record and artist. But what are the prospects that Sturgill Simpson could actually win this thing?
A Sailor's Guide to Earth, Adele, Alabama Shakes, Alison Krauss, Arcade Fire, Beck, Chris Stapleton, Grammy Awards, Herbie Hancock, Norah Jones, O Brother Where Art Thou, Ray Charles, Robert Plant, Steely Dan, Sturgill Simpson
Though Stapleton may fall short of the touring numbers of names like Luke Bryan, or may not have the airplay of Florida Georgia Line, the incredible performance of his debut album ‘Traveller’ has put him in unprecedented territory, while still putting up a decent showing in touring and track sales too.
On Tuesday morning (12-6) the nominees for the 2017 Grammy Awards were announced, and Sturgill Simpson’s ‘A Sailors Guide to Earth’ is right up there with Adele, Beyonce, Drake, and Justin Bieber competing for the Album of the Year. And he just might win it. The album is also up for Best Country Album
Whether one may ultimately settle upon ‘The Weight of These Wings’ with a more positive or negative take, what is next to indisputable is that it is a significant release. ‘The Weight of These Wing’s is the symbolic entry of Miranda Lambert—the biggest female country star for the last six or so years—into the Americana/independent/east Nashville mindset
All of a sudden what felt like a massive event a few weeks ago now feels deflating, while there is a very real concern that low ratings will be translated by the CMA’s as a sign that nobody wants to see the older performers they booked. Ironically, the Beyonce announcement will seal the deal for many older country fans to change the dial.
When Saving Country Music started in 2009, the biggest artist in country music was Taylor Swift. Now, it’s arguably Chris Stapleton. Independent artists are finding support like never before, allowing them to be able to completely sidestep the pitfalls of the mainstream industry and still have sustainable, and in many cases, very successful careers.
Well now, perhaps there is a reason for old school traditional country fans to tune into the CMA Awards in 2016. Celebrating their 50th Anniversary, the Country Music Association has promised to honor country music’s past in the presentation, and they have put their money where their mouth is.
One of the reasons we feel so surprised at Americana’s success and so many have been so slow to recognize it is because it has been a slow and steady process. Because of Americana’s model of sustainability, the revolution has been plodding, yet purposeful. And now it’s success is palpable, and measurable by industry-standard metrics.
Add yet another distinction to Chris Stapleton’s now historic run with his debut album ‘Traveller.’ Under the radar and with little fanfare, ‘Traveller’ was officially certified 2x multi-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, or RIAA on September 27th for having shipped 2 million equivalent units.
In January of 2016, Saving Country Music published an article explaining how 2016 Could Be 1975 All Over Again in country music—how an upsurge in more traditional and substantive talent and music could really take hold in country, from the independent realm to the mainstream. And that is exactly what we’ve seen as 2016 has progressed.