Everywhere we turn, there are signs that the tide is turning in country music for the better. Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson are turning the tables on the awards shows, a new generation of traditionalists like William Michael Morgan and Margo Price are finding surprising traction. But it’s not all rosy.
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
Every year we wonder if it can get any worse, and while there are positive signs for country music’s future all over the place, the bad stuff somehow continues to only get worse. The only saving grace is that many of the songs highlighted below have become commercial flops, whereas in previous years it would be a virtual Top 10 on the country charts.
Usually such a list is only reserved for the worst songs at the halfway pole of a given year, but 2016 has been especially lush with heartbreakily bad efforts, including from some artists who tend to be on the right side of the good music/ bad music divide. So before we really take the gloves off, let’s reflect back on 2016 biggest disappointments in the album category.
At the 2016 CMT Awards, when they needed someone to walk out to center stage and give an all-too-brief, but nonetheless meaningful tribute to Merle Haggard, they chose Dierks Bentley for the task. Why? Because of all the attendees present at that made-up awards show, with the exception of maybe Chris Stapleton, nobody else had the street cred.
If you were worried what direction Dierks Bentley’s new Black album would take after hearing “Somewhere on a Beach,” all you had to do was wait. Dierks (or really, his label) sure don’t make it easy on his fans, but those who’ve stuck with Dierks through “Drunk on a Plane” and others know he’ll always come back around to releasing music that sets the bar for substance in the mainstream.
This is one of many accusations from Clyde Isbell, the rarely talked-about identical twin brother of Americana star Jason Isbell, and co-frontman of a local Allman Brothers cover band in Alabama. Saving Country Music tracked down Clyde in a trailer park outside of Muscle Shoals to ask him about his brother’s recent success, and attempt to determine why the lives of the siblings have forked in separate directions.
Monday morning (2-1), the nominees for the 51st Annual Academy of Country Music, or ACM Awards were revealed via CBS The Morning and ETOnline.com. The 2016 ACM awards will occur on April 3rd at the MGM Grand Ballroom in Las Vegas, and will be broadcast on CBS. Dierks Bentley, who will help host the event with Luke Bryan, also helped reveal the nominees Monday morning.
Dierks has been doing this his entire career, and when his new album comes out, it will still be one of the better ones released in mainstream country all year I bet. But for now, he needs a bullet on the radio so he takes a bitter pill, swallows hard, a puts out a dumbass beach song. Eat your heart out Kenny Chesney.
It wasn’t looking good for Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley and his bid to launch a solo career amid a hiatus the trio took beginning in late 2015. Despite some additional star power with Dierks Bentley and Eric Paslay, much critical praise, and a big promotional push, his first single “The Driver” stalled big time on the charts. Then the completely unexpected happened.
On Tuesday (12-15) it was officially revealed that Blake Shelton would no longer be co-hosting the ACM Awards with Luke Bryan. The ACM’s are scheduled to occur again next in April of 2016. It’s a position Shelton has held for many years. Blake will be replaced by the pilot of the drunken skies, Dierks Bentley. But the decision has left many wondering why Blake would pull out of such a prominent position.
Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum received some happy news on Monday (12-7) after it was announced his debut solo single “The Driver” was bestowed a nomination in the 59th Grammy Awards for Best Country Duo or Group Performance. It appears most, if not all but one or two of the dates on the 22-date Charles Kelley tour have been canceled.
The only thing good that could come from Charles Kelley releasing solo material is that it hints that maybe Lady Antebellum is on the rocks. And since the word is that this is not the case and the band is just taking a short hiatus, not even this can be celebrated as a positive development.
Seriously though, right? If some country music media outlet posted something like this, it would result in a shit storm of the highest proportions, especially with all the tomato talk going around after radio consultant Keith Hill’s comments. But when the shoe is on the other foot, apparently it is open season. So how could oogling at the butts and brawn of male country stars adversely affect the females?
The Silver Trail Distillery in Hardin, Kentucky who makes the George Jones White Lightning moonshine exploded Friday (4-24) just before 11:00 a.m. Two workers were injured in the explosion, and were airlifted to a local hospital with major burns. The distillery was working on a large order of moonshine for the George Jones museum at the time of the explosion.
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.
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.
Move over Chris Gaines and Earl Dibble’s Jr., there’s a new alter ego in the country world, and he’s a soft-core porn semi-star sporting a mullet and playing cheesy 90’s country rock in the country music equivalent of a hair metal band. Douglas “Big Rhythm Doug” Douglason and his band Hot Country Knights is apparently a real thing, or a fake thing that’s pretending to be real
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
It was all doom and gloom and teary-eyed salutations when Dr. Ralph Stanley announced in June of 2013 that he would be embarking on his farewell tour in late 2013 into 2014. Since then Stanley has continued to tour with no signs of slowing down, despite now being 87-years-old. Now Dr. Stanley has a new album in the works.
Buddy Miller, David Rawlings, Del McCoury, Dierks Bentley, Elvis Costello, Gillian Welch, Jim Lauderdale, Josh Turner, Lee Ann Womack, Man of Constant Sorrow, Nathan Stanley, Old Crow Medicine Show, Ralph Stanley, Ralph Stanley & Friends: Man of Constant Sorrow, Retirement, Ricky Skaggs, Robert Plant