Country protest songs are a dime a dozen these days, and in many cases have become just about as cliche as the pop country songs they criticize. It really takes a fresh angle or a unique twist to make a protest song resonate beyond the anger many folks have at the direction of today’s country music, and that is what Jamey Johnson and George Strait have done.
Strait played his first show at Gruene Hall on Saturday, February 21st, 1976—five years before releasing his first record, and only a few months removed from being honorably discharged from the Army. For his first gig, they charged $0.25 at the door, and according to Strait from the Gruene Hall stage Wednesday night, he made $7.00 total.
If you’re waiting for new music from Jamey Johnson, you best not hold your breath. This is what little can be gleaned from the reception a recent interviewer found when talking to Jamey Johnson on the subject, and receiving the answer “I’d rather not get into that right now.”
“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.”
Willie Nelson, along with Neil Young, John Mellencamp, and Dave Matthews are the board members for the Farm Aid organization first launched in 1985, and all four will be performing at this year’s event being held in Bristow, Virginia at Jiffy Lube Live on September 17th. Along with the four headliners, this year’s Farm Aid features an impressive list of country music talent.
Carlene Carter, Dave Matthews, Farm Aid, Jamey Johnson, John Mellencamp, Lukas Nelson & The Promise of the Real, Margo Price, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Neil Young, Sturgill Simpson, Tim Reynolds, Willie Nelson
There’s not much worse than having a hankering for some new music from one of your favorite artists, but feeling like you’ve been waiting forever for it to happen. There are many reasons an artist or band may have a delay in output. But dammit, sometimes you feel like you just can’t wait. Here’s a few folks that it feels like are past due for new projects.
A big issue with the Grand Ole Opry in recent years has been trying to get standing members to meet their performance obligations. Though the Opry loves to add high-profile names from country’s current radio stars, these performers tend to sign on to receive the distinction of being Opry members, but don’t actually want to play the appointed number of slots for membership.
"Cousin" Kenny Vaughan, Brandy Clark, Carrie Underwood, Chris Janson, Chris Scruggs, Chris Stapleton, Daryle Singletary, Elizabeth Cook, EmiSunshine, Gene Watson, Grand Ole Opry, Holly Williams, Jamey Johnson, Jim Lauderdale, Kacey Musgraves, Kellie Pickler, Mark Chesnutt, Miranda Lambert, Mo Pitney, Radney Foster, Rhonda Vincent, Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash, Sam Bush, William Michael Morgan
The “South” is the setting for the songs, and where the respective artists hail from, but “Family” is what makes this record universal for all listeners. And unlike many other concept records that may only have one or two songs that can be separated from the material, every song on “Southern Family” can exist independently, and many will go on to mark top-level career contributions to the artist’s musical canon.
Jamey Johnson’s backing band has gone through a major overhaul after multiple members were arrested in December. After Jamey’s show at the Horseshoe Casino in Tunica, Mississippi, band members were arrested for possession of a controlled substance in the town of Hernando, Mississippi. Since the arrests, Jamey appears to have overhauled his backing band, which had been stable for many years prior.
Nothing Shines Like Neon has all the liquor, beer, bar scenes, and sultry interactions with lovers you might hear on some mainstream country record, except it tells the story from the opposite perspective—the more realistic perspective. It’s where libations aren’t just flowing to party hearty, but to help douse heartbreak.
Producer Dave Cobb—known for his work with Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, and so many more—has signed on to be the new caretaker of the historic Studio ‘A’ on Music Row starting April 1st. Performer and pianist Ben Folds has been in charge of the space for the last 14 years, including helping to shepherd Studio ‘A’ through a stretch in 2014 where investors wanted to bulldoze it.
There’s something much interesting brewing that’s bigger than any one artist at the moment—an expansive concept record dealing with artists’ experiences growing up in the South. The project was first hinted at in April when the new Elektra deal was signed, and since then there’s been murmurings about Cobb’s concept record here and there, but now we’re finally beginning to piece together the details.
Anderson East, Brandy Clark, Brent Cobb, Chris Stapleton, Dave Cobb, Eric Clapton, Holly Williams, Jamey Johnson, Jason Isbell, Jessi Colter, John Paul White, Miranda Lambert, Mrorgane Stapleton, Rich Robinson, Shooter Jennings, Southern Family, The Southern Family, Waylon Jennings, Zac Brown
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.
Not everybody is happy about all this mainstream success and good times being had by Chris Stapleton and his fans. So for the sake of argument, fairness, and equal time, let’s take an honest, devil’s advocate look at Chris Stapleton, and see if some of this criticism is worthy of wearing the luster off of his CMA wins, and astounding commercial success subsequently.
We already knew that Chris Stapleton was an amazing singer, a great songwriter, and an astounding guitar player. Now the rest of the world knows. And where all of this will take country music is something we can only speculate on at the moment, but it certainly is something to be taken as a very good sign, even if you’re just ho hum on Stapleton, or gaze a hairy eyeball at all those pop country songs he wrote for others.
Willie Nelson is set to be honored by The Library of Congress and the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song on Wednesday, November 18th at Constitution Hall in Washington. The concert will be recorded and broadcast nationwide through PBS on Friday, January 16th, 2016. “It is an honor to be the next recipient of the Gershwin Prize. I appreciate it greatly,” Nelson says.
Alison Krauss, Billy Joel, Buckwheat Zydeco, Carole King, Edie Brickell, Gershwin Prize, Jamey Johnson, Lukas Nelson, Neil Young, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Raul Malo, Rosanne Cash, Stevie Wonder, The Mavericks, Willie Nelson
Like a slow moving thunder roll, Whitey Morgan continues to tour, night in and night out, delivering crisp, throbbing performances every time that leave crowds embedded with Whitey passion in every town they tackle until the crowds are swelling, and the word is spreading about this bearded guy from Flint who refuses to compromise, who has his heart in the right place, and who puts on amazing shows.
Henley’s been out there outwardly criticizing the state of country music and the state of music in general, though doing so with a lot more of a thoughtful and informed tone than many others, including tracing the problem back to the disappearance of the agrarian way of life that was once prevalent throughout America, and now finds itself quickly receding.
Andrew Combs, Ashley Monroe, Bill Monroe, Cale Tyson, Cass County, Dolly Parton, Don Henley, Dottie West, George Jones, Hank Williams, J.P. Harris & the Tough Choices, Jamey Johnson, Jason Isbell, Jed Hilly, Jeffrey Foucault, Jim Reeves, Johnny Cash, Kelsey Waldon, Kitty Wells, Merle Haggard, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Patsy Cline, Shovels & Rope, Striking Matches, Sturgill Simpson, The Eagles, The Milk Carton Kids
The brutal assault against country music producer Dave Brainard that occurred in the early morning hours Sunday, September 27th on Demonbreun Street in Nashville near Music Row, has finally been solved. After over a week of searching for the responsible couple, 30-year-old Dustin Carl Hargrove and Nichole M. Hargrove from Columbia, TN turned themselves into police detectives on Tuesday (10-6).
A common criticism of Texas country is that it has become a kissing cousin to Nashville’s Music Row over the last few years, especially with so many of the region’s top acts, including the Randy Rogers Band, signing with Nashville-based outfits. But the band returning to their independent roots is a good sign they will make whatever album they wish, without the influence of Music Row’s commercial interests.