Well now, perhaps there is a reason for old school traditional country fans to tune into the CMA Awards in 2016. Celebrating their 50th Anniversary, the Country Music Association has promised to honor country music’s past in the presentation, and they have put their money where their mouth is.
In January of 2016, Saving Country Music published an article explaining how 2016 Could Be 1975 All Over Again in country music—how an upsurge in more traditional and substantive talent and music could really take hold in country, from the independent realm to the mainstream. And that is exactly what we’ve seen as 2016 has progressed.
“I think right now it’s kind of trending back to more traditional country music, which is what I like and I like to do. So I’m glad to see that. But I can’t put anybody down for having success in the business, which is just tough … I’m not saying I have to like it, but I just know how tough it is.”
Jim Lauderdale decided that since he’d never made a Texas country record, he’d head down to Austin and assembled a hot shit band of Texas pickers and players, and record himself a Texas country project in one day at Arlyn Studios. Lauderdale wrote or co-wrote every song on the record, and each one has a Texas flavor of some sort.
If you’re into country music and the history of it, you’re probably used to hearing about the “King” of this, or the “Father” of that. Since the history of country music is so important to keeping the lineage of the music alive, country pays special homage to the people who helped form or popularize the genre.
Bill Monroe, Bob Wills, Carl Perkins, George Strait, Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Jimmy Martin, Kitty Wells, Lena Hughes, Loretta Lynn, Mary Padgett, Maybelle Carter, Reverend Horton Heat, Rhonda Vincent, Rose Maddox, Roy Acuff, Slim Dusty, Spade Cooley, The Carter Family, unknown hinson, Wanda Jackson, Wayne Hancock
What is so striking about the album listening back to it after nearly 35 years of perspective is not just the big hits, the #1’s, and the now country standards that it contains. It’s the variety in Strait From The Heart that makes it the perfect study of where country music had been, where it was in the present tense, and where it would be going.
It has been announced that “King” George Strait will make a rare public appearance after his official touring retirement to present Jim Lauderdale with the Wagonmaster Award named for country music icon Porter Wagoner during the September 21st awards at the Ryman Auditorium.
“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.”
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.
Ladies and gentlemen, we now live in a world where not even King George remains relevant on country radio. Isn’t that the sad, ever present revelation of the living—that time marches on, and no matter how important something was in the past, the present moves forward, callously at times, and the greatest of efforts are relegated to moments of fond reminiscing.
So what’s to learn from hitching a ride in Marty McFly’s time machine and traveling back to 1985? That the problems country music is facing today are virtually the same ones that were being faced 30 years ago. It’s all cyclical, as canonized in the old Gospel tune enshrined in the architecture of the Country Music Hall of Fame asking the question, “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?”
Alan Jackson, Bill Carter, Bobby Bare, Chris Stapleton, Clint Black, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Jason Isbell, Keith Whitley, Kris Kristofferson, Mo Pitney, Randy Travis, Ray Charles, Ricky Skaggs, Sturgill Simpson, The Highwaymen, Travis Tritt, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
Like so many of these contestants, not much has come of Jake Worthington in regards to industry success after his finale appearance in May of 2014, but he has just released a new EP. Settling somewhere between John Anderson and George Strait, this five-song offering is a straight-laced true country testament from start to finish that leaves little to no doubt where the heart of the young Jake Worthington lies.
American Idol, Blake Shelton, Chris Stapleton, Craig Wayne Boyd, George Strait, Jake Worthington, John Anderson, Johnny Cash, Kacey Musgraves, Review, Scotty McCreery, Sturgill Simpson, The Voice, Wayne Mills
There was another big battle at the top of the country albums charts last week, and once again the good guys won. Despite the perception by so many in the mainstream country business that radio play and youth is the key to success, two guys in their 60’s with no mainstream radio love topped the charts, and not just from statistical anomalies based on weak numbers, or on an off week for releases.
We knew George Strait couldn’t keep from stirring for too long. Though he played his final shows as a touring artist in 2014 on his way to racking up astronomical numbers for his farewell junket and finding himself being named Entertainer of the Year by both the CMA and ACM Awards for the effort, you had to know he wouldn’t sit tight for good.
Garth Brooks has been told to hold it just one cotton pickin’ minute when it comes to releasing a new version of his signature super hit “Friends in Low Places.” First announced Thursday, September 3rd, the re-recording to mark the 25th Anniversary of the song includes contributions from Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban, and George Strait.
Super secret sources are telling Billboard that Garth Brooks will be issuing an updated version of his 1990 mega hit “Friends in Low Places” to mark the song’s 25th Anniversary, and he will be enlisting a number of high-profile low friends to help him with the new rendition. Included on the new track are reportedly George Strait (yep), Keith Urban (err), Jason Aldean (nope), and Florida Georgia Line (puke).
“. . . we play all of our own instruments, we write the best songs that we can, and we put harmony on the songs, we have a real band,” Zac Brown said in response to Luke Bryan’s “That’s My Kind of Night” not two years ago. And now the exact criticisms he leveled at Luke Bryan could be leveled at him. But they won’t be.
Dear Luke Bryan, Thanks for taking the time to read my letter, if in fact you do so. I can only imagine the time constraints a man of your success has, and you’ve already been taking of your time over the last few days to help clear up a mess that I guess I had some part in creating.
Aaron Watson, Blackberry Smoke, Blake Shelton, Dallas Davidson, Florida Georgia Line, Gary Overton, George Strait, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Hill, Luke Bryan, Merle Haggard, Sam Hunt, Sturgill Simpson, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
It isn’t often that a musician achieves an illustrious 15-year career that includes five number one hits, Grammy Award nominations, feature film contributions, producer credits and the respect of his peers before he ever releases his first solo album. But Chris Stapleton isn’t your average musician. The near-universal critical acclaim that has been heaped upon his debut album “Traveller” has been nothing short of amazing.
Words were failing me in my efforts to articulate in any sort of composed and accurate manner what type of depravity country music is currently ailing from, and just what angst I feel about the current state of affairs in the genre. The 50th Annual ACM Awards left me despondent, reeling, and listless from the lack of hope for the future of the country format. And then I saw a picture of Sam Hunt’s hair.