Have you ever been scanning through photos of your favorite (or least favorite) artists and thought, “Hot damn! That dude look just like this other dude!” From eery similarities like Sturgill Simpson and Javier Bardem’s creepy character from the movie No Country For Old Men, to Johny Paul White and Johnny Depp who I am pretty much convinced are the same exact person…
Brad Paisley has been making quite the spectacle on Twitter over the last two days, claiming to be leaking bits and pieces of his upcoming album Moonshine In The Trunk against the will of his label Sony Music. Or so he says. This Brad Paisley leaking episode is not him acting out against his label, it is pure marketing. Whether Sony was in on the ruse really is inconsequential.
On Wednesday night, cable channel A&E debuted the first episode of “Big Smo”, a show about a hick-hop artist who is looking to try and break it big in the music business. This is not something to be taken lightly. Big Smo, the show and the artist, could finally be the backdoor to the mainstream hick-hop has been waiting for.
As for the music, the Red Fest lineup was built on good intentions. Big names like Florida Georgia Line, Tim McGraw, Kellie Pickler, and Lynyrd Skynyrd were billed alongside lesser-known bands from the local and national landscape like Hellbound Glory, The Whiskey Sisters, and Bri Bagwell. Instead of segregating independent and mainstream music, integrating it.
You can call it country rap, or you call it hick hop (and some call it other things that are not so flattering), but a new company wants to coin the definitive term of what to call music that mixes country, rap, EDM, rock, and the rebellious culture of monster trucks and muddin’ that surrounds the movement. RebelCore is what they want it to be known as….
Not since the second installment of the Waylon – The Music Inside series was released with the names of Colt Ford and Justin Moore making their way on the track list have we had such a quizzical collection of artists for a tribute album. As cool as it is to see any attention paid to Merle these days from the mainstream establishment, it is not what’s going to get your average Merle fan’s motor running.
Let’s face it, Kevin Fowler is kind of a shallow, good-timing dude. Fun at parties, but he’s not going to go all Jason Isbell on your ass and get you crying over an emotionally-charged Cancer song. But there’s nothing inherently wrong with that either, nor do songs like “Hip Hop In A Honky Tonk” or “Pound Sign” necessarily portray his entire body of work fairly. But here he is doing himself no favors.
Whereas 2013 seemed to be dominated by country rap singles, 2014 has so far been the story of EDM, or Electronic Dance Music. Though EDM and hip hop can sometimes be mistaken for each other, especially to the country consumer’s ear and because the two disciplines have numerous similarities, there are also many clear differences between the two disciplines.
On Friday, Jan. 24th, Aaron Lewis was playing a show at the Thirsty Cowboy in Medina, Ohio, and during his set he decided to take the recent #1 song “Redneck Crazy” by Tyler Farr to task. “I fucking hate this song,” Aaron Lewis told the Thirsty Cowboy crowd. The alternative version called “Redneck Crazy Revisited” was written by a songwriter named Zach Woods.
So here you go ladies and gentlemen, the worst of the worst that 2013 had to offer in country music. As you might suspect, a list of mainstream country’s worst misdeeds in 2013 is mostly populated by an ear-serrating cacophony of country rap songs. With only a couple of exceptions, country rap has replaced what last year at this time was a parade of laundry list-themed songs.
In mid October, Toby Keith lent his voice to the litany of artists criticizing modern country music in one capacity or another, specifically taking on the recent country rap trend. In another recent interview with Country 92.5 in Connecticut, Keith expanded on his statements, saying that his remarks weren’t a “diss,” but then doubled down on his opinion that rap shouldn’t be a predominant part of the country format.
Yes, “The Outsiders” is unpredictable. Yes it is innovative. But that’s about where the accolades end for this muddy mess of a tune that offers virtually no direction, is void of narrative, and does not really even build a cohesive groove to hang its hat on. Sure, Church may steer clear of ice cold beer and pickup trucks, but he runs into a wall trying to produce some modern country version of prog rock.
Tyler Farr’s “Redneck Crazy” isn’t for jilted male lovers looking for solace, it is for socially awkward, introverted, creepy-ass chronic masturbaters that hold a minor in megalomania. This song doesn’t need a rant, it needs a restraining order and ankle bracelet. True rednecks ride their problems out, rub their wounds in the dirt and move on, not whine about them like a panty waist…
In Zac Brown’s recent disparaging comments about Luke Bryan’s hit “That’s My Kind Of Night,” Zac went out of his way to lay as little blame as possible on Luke Bryan. Instead it was the song itself, and its songwriters that drew the brunt of Zac Brown’s ire. Though Zac didn’t name any names, the likely target of Zac’s criticism was country songwriter Dallas Davidson.
So many of pop country’s celebrities have such a vacuous amount of life skills, without being propped up as pretty faces by the country music industry, they’d be clueless in the real world. Others probably have some skills outside of singing into Auto-tuners at concerts, and that’s probably what they should be doing instead of trying to be artists.
If a truly good country song is represented by a delicate pair of supple female breasts, then Montgomery Gentry’s “Titty’s Beer” would be a rack of cellulose-addled man boobs replete with coarse and graying disheveled chest hair, pock marked with skin Cancer and bisected by a grizzly double bypass scar. This isn’t a cry for relevancy folks, this is a blood-curdling scream.
One of the principle purveyors of this underground hick hop is the record label Average Joe’s. What The Wall Street Journal piece explains is how Average Joe’s has been working very intimately with Wal-Mart to market country rap to certain areas seen as favorable to the emerging sub-genre. While physical CD sales are falling overall, Average Joe’s has been able to keep the CD alive with the help of Wal-Mart, and country rap.
All of a sudden hip-hop influences are dominating the top of the country music charts, asserting just as much influence, if not more than indigenous country influences, with a bevy of new country rap tunes from numerous artists ready to be released, and mainstream artists lining up to try and be a part of the trend. How did country music get here?
Yes ladies and gentlemen, Joe Diffie—the mulleted, cop mustached 90’s semi-star—has released an “answer” song to what many consider the worst song in country music history, Jason Aldean’s country rap “1994.” Diffie’s new song is called “Girl Ridin’ Shotgun,” and it is as embarrassing as puberty. This is a prayer for relevancy guaranteed to go unanswered.
When President Obama won re-election last Tuesday, he said in his speech that what makes America strong is not that it has the greatest wealth in the world, or because it has the strongest military, or because its culture is the “envy of the world.” Obama cited America’s diversity, and the bonds that hold that diversity together as the reason the United States remains the most powerful nation on the planet.
Support SCM and start
your Amazon shopping here