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.
With absolutely no hyperbole intended, William Michael Morgan earning a #1 on country radio for his debut single “I Met A Girl” is a historic moment in country music. It’s a point in time when an undeniably traditional country song from an undeniably traditional country artist has topped the chart after a long vacancy for a traditionalist at the top spot.
If you want your musical experience in life to be the most fulfilling and enjoyable, then you have to be without prejudice when approaching music. There are many reasons on paper that one might decide they would never like the country music of the Staind frontman turned occasional country crooner Aaron Lewis.
The nominees for the 50th Annual CMA Awards have been announced, and Chris Stapleton, Eric Church, and newcomer Maren Morris lead the field each with five nominations. Stapleton continues to be the big surprise, picking up a nomination for the evening’s biggest prize, Entertainer of the Year, and four other nominations.
The Garden & Gun ‘New Outlaws’ issue seemed to illustrate the problem with many of today’s music periodicals that see the expanding interest in independent country music, but rely mostly on journalists and editors who only know country music from the outside looking in.
Well, this is a side of Sturgill Simpson we haven’t seen for a while. Last week, the ACM created a new award called the ‘Merle Haggard Spirit Award’ that was said to honor the contributions of Haggard by acknowledging artists who exemplify his uncompromising integrity and “singular vision in carving an indelible path in country music.”
‘Hell or High Water’ selected some really worthy roots artists to feature in the movie soundtrack, including country legends Waylon Jennings and Townes Van Zandt, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Chris Stapleton, Scott H. Biram, and even up-and-comer Colter Wall.
According to NASCAR, “A big part of every Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway is driver intros, where each driver gets to pick a song of his or her choice to walk out to. It gives drivers a chance to show off their musical tastes, flex their comedic muscle and, yes, sometimes even send a message.”
Hank Williams Jr. and Chris Stapleton are gearing up to embark on an eight-date co-headlining tour through Florida, Texas, and the Midwest starting in Tampa on Friday, August 5th. But according to a recent interview with Hank Jr. ahead of the Tampa gig, he has no idea who Chris Stapleton is, or much of an inclination to find out apparently.
The next trend in country may not be defined by a style or a sound, but who is involved in it. But if collaborations will be the next big trend, how about putting out just a little bit of effort to make sure that the great talent that is going unrecognized in country music itself gets some love?
Ashley Monroe, Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Brandy Clark, Chris Stapleton, Demi Lovato, Dierks Bentley, Dolly Parton, Elle King, Gwen Stefani, Johnny Bush, Kenny Chesney, Kenny Rogers, Little Big Town, Lori McKenna, Miranda Lambert, Pharrell, Pink, Pitbull, Steve Fromholz, The Pistol Annies, Tim McGraw, Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson
Chris Stapleton is absolutely blowing the doors off the competition when it comes to country album sales in 2016, and it’s not even close. His debut Traveller is lapping the competition, while the only album that can keep up is Joey + Rory’s gospel record Hymns which is in 2nd place.
The Country Music Association sent out the initial ballots for the 50th Annual CMA Awards on July 5th, and with them came a new system that hopes to stop some of the campaigning for artists to win certain awards. It’s called “Nominee Showcase,” and gives voters a centralized location to find verified and fairly-presented stats on all the nominees.
For those wondering why Chris Stapleton isn’t playing Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic this year, or perhaps some other big holiday blowout concert, it’s because the flaming hot country music star has decided instead to spend it with the 40,000 service members and their families at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
“Country has become a bigger umbrella. It’s good and bad. Country has become too homogenized and too commercial. It has lost what makes it special. It’s great that it’s popular, but then it starts to become watered down.”
Once again the success of California Sunrise demonstrates that traditional country fans are more likely to vote with their dollars and support their favorite artists compared to many mainstream performers. Jon Pardi has also been helped with the continued success of the album’s first single “Head Over Boots.”
Along with all the other accolades Chris Stapleton has received over the past year, you can add gold and platinum certifications for his version of the country music classic, “Tennessee Whiskey” to the pile. Written by Dean Dillon and Linda Hargrove, first recorded by David Allan Coe in 1981, and then turned into a Top 5 hit song for George Jones.