One year ago, I posted the same picture of Rhiannon Giddens, with her fingers touching and her eyes shifted to the side like she’s about to hatch some devilish plan, and I told you, the sainted Saving Country Music reader, to watch out for what she had in store. “We’re not screwing around anymore here folks,” I said.
Music is the way we get through these moments. And though others have tried valiantly, Eric Church is the one so far, verified by the viral reaction, that has stepped out of the shadows of grief to deliver the light and the message we’ve all been waiting to hear, and put words to the emotions we all feel.
In wanton disrespect of the Labor Day holiday (aren’t journalists laborers too?), the Country Music Association announced their nominations for the 2017 CMA Awards on Monday (9-4) morning, with Miranda Lambert leading all nominees with five total nominations.
70-year-old guys without super hits on their resume are not supposed to be as revered as Ray Wylie Hubbard is by his musical peers, or just hitting their stride creatively. But that is the strange, inverted, winding road Ray Wylie Hubbard has taken to christening himself a living legend in almost universal acceptance.
Ray Wylie Hubbard will add to his legacy of bone-rattling grit and groove, and hymnals that speak to a weary soul torn between the battle of good and evil when he releases his latest record ‘Tell The Devil I’m Gettin’ There As Fast As I Can’ on his own Bordello Records via Thirty Tigers.
Eric Church has always said the right things. Or, he’s said the right things most of the time at least. The question with Church has always been where the marketing ends, and where the real Eric Church begins. Really, where Eric Church is at his best is when he doesn’t say anything, and lets his music and his actions speak for him.
On Tuesday (2-28), Sturgill Simpson addressed ticketing issues with his fans who are seeing these immediate sellouts and tickets getting posted for $400 and up on secondary sites, especially after his popularity has taken a sharp rise due to his Grammy awards and nominations, and a viral Saturday Night Live performance.
There may be no openers on Eric Church’s current tour, but that doesn’t mean you may not see some worthy artists take the stage. On Friday evening (2-3) in Dallas, TX at the American Airlines Center, Eric Church shocked the crowd by inviting Texas songwriting legend and general music guru Ray Wylie Hubbard on stage.
If 90% of mainstream country music is garbage, then it stands to reason that 10% of it is at least decent, if not good or great. That calculus hasn’t really changed much recently, even as mainstream country has improved. What has changed is that 10% is actually finding traction on radio, at awards shows, and is making fierce inroads into the 90%’s monopoly.
Over the last decade and beyond, it has not been humanly possible to book more godawful performers for the centerpiece of the NFL’s Thanksgiving schedule than what we’ve seen take center field during the halftime of the Dallas Cowboys’ football game. It’s like they purposely conduct a study to find who is the most dreadful performer of the day.
Nearly a week removed from the 2016 CMA Awards, and what are we still talking about? We’re not talking to each other at all. We’re shouting. We’re yelling. We’re digging into our predisposed positioning stances and blaming the other side. We’re not discussing the music.
She’s not doing it through slithering her way into pop country songwriting circles, or selling out with some big single that may impact country radio. She’s doing it by being her own badass self, and in a way that gives the music and entertainment industry no choice but to pay attention, and figure out how to apply her talents to whatever they’re doing.
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.
“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.”
This isn’t just a problem for big mainstream bands playing massive venues anymore. As independent music continues to take over market share, and there continues to be a slow build of interest in more substantive music, this issue is starting to affect performers that a few years ago fans were used to seeing in dingy bars with 20 other people.
It’s more fairly described as roots rock, and don’t worry, there’s still some of those plaintive and even painful moments that remind you that you’re listening to a modern-day Music Row release. But that doesn’t take away from the fact the Pawn Shop should be considered a healthy alternative on the mainstream music menu.
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.
There’s a ton of great records from Hank starting the the late 70’s all the way up to the early 90’s that country fans will be pulling off of shelves for years to come when they’re looking for some good country music with a rock and roll kick, and if I had a vote I would induct Hank Williams Jr. into the Country Music Hall of Fame in the Modern Era category yesterday. But It’s About Time adds nothing to Hank Jr.’s legacy.
Being willing to go where a song takes you is the challenge in the heart of every music lover. Hopefully one of these songs released in 2015 will take you some place you want to be, or somewhere you’ve never been before. These songs were selected on their own merit, not from the strength of the artist or album from where they came.
Brennen Leigh, Cody Jinks, Dawes, Eric Church, Eric Paslay, Evan Felker, James McMurtry, JB Beverley, John Moreland, Justin Townes Earle, Kacey Musgraves, Love and Theft, Mo Pitney, Randy Rogers, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Sunny Sweeney, Turnpike Troubadours, Wade Bowen
Another week, and another #1 showing for Chris Stapleton’s debut album Traveller as the songwriter and performer continues to ride a wave of momentum after a massive showing at the CMA Awards on November 4th. A sweep of New Artist of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year categories, and a high-profile performance with Justin Timberlake put Stapleton on the map of mainstream fans in a big way.