You can almost overlook Craig Morgan if you’re not careful. He’s not been cutting records nearly long enough to consider him some kind of elder or legend in country music. He’s had a few significant hits and noteworthy records over the years, but it’s not like he was a perennial chart topper even in his heyday in the mid oughts.
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.
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.
And so continued on the unrelenting march of terrible songs in 2015. This year included some especially diabolical turns that puts the last 12 months in contention for the worst run for songs in country music history. Of course the usual suspects appear on the rap sheet like Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett, and Sam Hunt. But 2015 ushered in the worst year for watching previously heralded artists turning their coats from blue to red.
Alabama, Bret Michaels, Brett Eldredge, Cole Swindell, Danielle Bradbery, Eli Young Band, Eric Paslay, Gary Allan, Granger Smith, Jennifer Nettles, Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Bryan, Randy Houser, Sam Hunt, Scotty McCreery, The Band Perry, Thomas Rhett, Ucle Ezra Ray, Zac Brown Band
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
Over the last couple of weeks, Saving Country Music headquarters has received a fresh new onslaught of emails on the subject of pop country über DJ Bobby Bones—the morning show personality for iHeartMedia’s syndicated network and the single-most name at the forefront of homogenizing American mainstream country music radio. Let’s tackle some of these subjects . . .
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.
Out with the old and in with the new. You thought Bro-Country was bad? Well just wait until you hear what country music has in store for you now. White washing away anything and everything to do with country, here comes a completely new style that unlike Bro-Country, isn’t being segregated to a dedicated segment […]
“High Class”? Try bottom-feeding on the dreck of moralistic depravity and the absolute evisceration of scruples this song evidences in spades from Eric. The words of this song are slop, purposely dropping essential consonants and vowels to invigorate its appeal to the idiocy of the drooling mass consumer. References to Escalades, VIP lists, DJ’s, and Timberlake….
If you’re going to release a country music song that is likely to completely alienate the core of your fan base and cut against the grain of all of the long-standing principles of your career, it better be commercially successful. Otherwise you’ve angered the constituency that helped create your success in the first place, and you haven’t even added any new members to your fandom.
Being willing to see where a song takes you is at the heart of every music lover, and in this spirit I present eleven hand selected songs released in the first half of 2015 that will hopefully take you someplace you want to be, or somewhere you’ve never been before. This is the cream of the crop in my opinion; the gut punchers not for the faint of heart.
Charlie Parr, Chris Knight, Cody Jinks, Eric Paslay, James McMurtry, John Moreland, Justin Townes Earle, Lee Ann Womack, Love & Theft, Miranda Lambert, Randy Rogers, Townes Van Zandt, Wade Bowen, Whitey Morgan
From the “If 90% of mainstream country music sucks, then 10% of it must be good” file, songwriter and performer Jon Pardi has just released an EP called The B-Sides 2011-2014 through Capitol Nashville, and it’s not a bad listen at all. Billed as a tide over for fans until a new album is ready to go, the release includes what was left when the final track listing was accumulated for his January 2014 debut.
No matter how many banjos, fiddles, and mandolins you infuse in the music, a song from Steven Tyler is not going to be country, because Steven Tyler is not country. Just like it doesn’t matter that Willie Nelson never uses fiddles, banjos, or mandolins in his music. He couldn’t stop from making a country song even if he tried. But unfortunately we can’t stop Steven Tyler from trying to make country music.
Some would argue it has been a dereliction of Saving Country Music duties that the name Eric Paslay has failed to be exclusively featured here for your reading edification previously. When you’re populating lists of mainstream artists that traditionalists or independent-minded fans might find appealing, this ginger-headed 30-something from Abilene, TX signed to EMI Nashville is an easy candidate to include.
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