It was either feast or famine for country singles in 2016. As the rigged singles system that almost guarantees #1 songs for any releases from big-named artists metastasized at radio—creating an incredible volume of singles hitting #1 for a solitary week before immediately falling off a precipice—if a song happened to not fit into that rigged system…
Last time we saw Gary Allan he was looking all dapper in a crushed velvet suit with a perfectly-folded silk pocket handkerchief, trying to do his best Justin Timberlake impression and singing “Hangover Tonight” like he had a shot at that new hot R&B sound of Thomas Rhett and Brett Eldredge. Now we see Gary lounged back on a couch rescued from a curbside.
One of the biggest questions coming off of Music Row at the end of 2015 was what the hell was going on at MCA Nashville. Artists on the roster not named Sam Hunt seemed to be in perpetual limbo and lost in time when it came to new music and new albums. Well perhaps all the bellyaching by fans finally helped shake the MCA Nashville log jam loose.
Now there’s some news, though it’s of a convoluted variety. On Wednesday (3-31), it was announced that Gary Allan had “re-signed” with Universal Music Group Nashville—the parent company of MCA Nashville. The press release spoke about how Gary had been with the label for the entirety of his 20-year career, which is true. But one very important distinction in the press release is that Gary is no longer being promoted by MCA Nashville.
How people listen to music is clearly changing, but much of the country music industry isn’t following suit. In a town that employs scores of people just to push songs to radio, Nashville doesn’t know how to behave any differently than they did 60 years ago. Entire companies are based around trying to sell songs to country radio. The difference now is radio is no longer the only game in town.
Are you waiting for your favorite music artists signed to MCA Nashville to release an album after a prolonged hiatus? Perhaps you heard the first single months or sometimes years ago, but still no record? Well you’re not alone. It looks like the unenviable position of being the most notorious label on Music Row is no longer a slam dunk for Curb Records.
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
It’s all R&B. Like, all of it. If it’s American and mainstream, chances are it’s better categorized as R&B than anything else. It doesn’t matter what genre of music you’re talking about. Of course R&B sounds like R&B, but so does hip-hop these days. Modern rock? Yeah, it’s pretty much just R&B. Country music? That may be the most convincing case.
Adele, Alabama Shakes, Brett Eldredge, Bruno Mars, Carrie Underwood, Chris Stapleton, Coldplay, Country Music Gold, Eli Young Band, Gary Allan, Jason Aldean, Justin Timberlake, Leon Bridges, Luke Bryan, mono-genre, Old Dominion, Prophets and Outlaws, Sam Hunt, The Weeknd, Thomas Rhett
One of the few bright spots in mainstream country for so many years (though he’d throw an unfortunate single out there upon occasion), when he released his latest single in March called “Hangover Tonight,” some wondered if the hard-edged 47-year-old had lost his mind. This wasn’t the Gary Allan we all knew, all dressing in crushed velvet suits and doing his best Bruno Mars impression.
This thing was considered ploddingly long in coming and and potentially missing in action nearly a year ago. Now for many Josh Turner fans, the situation has reached a critical mass state, and folks are starting to demand answers. Is Josh and his music being held hostage? At this point, what plausible explanation could be given to justify all the delays?
The color yellow was picked to be the primary backdrop for the relaunch. The image of a diamond shaped like a heart was selected as a logo (even though that’s not the way a true heart-shaped diamond is cut), and everyone had visions of a blockbuster #1 single and sold out arena tours dancing in their heads. . . . and since then, “Live Forever” has flopped.
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 […]
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.
What on God’s wide creation would compel a cantankerous country music critic who normally would rear up like an infuriated grizzly bear on its hind legs whenever some washed up rocker or crumbling pop princess decides that country music is the nursing home of their career and actually call for a pop star to crossover into country?
With all the hullabaloo surrounding recent radio executive comments about the importance of radio in validating a country artist’s career, Will Hoge stands as a shining star example about how you can carve out a career in music doing it independently. Despite a year-and-a-half stint with Atlantic Records, Hoge has developed a significant following of fans and produced ten albums over the last two decades.
In 2015, the names and music residing at the top of Billboard’s respective genre charts seems topsy-turvy and misguided. While Sam Hunt and his music that resembles next to nothing country is at the top of the country charts, an artist like Brandi Carlile who does uphold some of those country standards has the top album in rock. A very serious case can be made that those two artists should be switched.
Here we go country music fans, it’s time to usher in the new Metro-Politan era of poorly-conceived country music hyper-trends, so turn your dirt roads and tailgates in for club hookups and cocaine mirrors because it’s Katy bar the door, here come the dance club “country” songs at you hard and fast. Bro-Country who? That was so 2014.
This is Gary Allan’s big sellout moment ladies and gentlemen. No pretenses, no qualifiers, just come out and act like you’re into what Sam Hunt and Thomas Rhett are into at the ripe age 47. This is even a bigger sellout moment than Tim McGraw with “Truck Yeah” and Jerrod Niemann with “Drink To That All Night” because you half expected those moves from those knuckleheads. But Gary Allan?
Country music in the second half of 2013 is going through some of the most historic changes the format has ever seen. The ever-present erosion of what the term “country” defines has never been greater, and the charge of preserving the roots of country music has never been more dire. As a symptom of all the change and upheaval, big-time artists are speaking out about the direction of country music like never before.
It’s so easy to get swept up in stereotyping mainstream country as being completely void of anything worth your time these days, but in truth there’s still a lot of great music in the popular music world, however a small percentage it might be of the total package. Saying the mainstream has nothing good to offer is narrowing your musical experience no different than saying that music is bad because it’s not popular.
Alan Jackson, Ashley Monroe, Dierks Bentley, Easton Corbin, Eric Church, Gary Allan, George Strait, Jamey Johnson, Joey + Rory, Kacey Musgraves, Kellie Pickler, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Pistol Annies, Reba, Taylor Swift, The Mavericks, Vince Gill, Zac Brown Band