Everywhere we turn, there are signs that the tide is turning in country music for the better. Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson are turning the tables on the awards shows, a new generation of traditionalists like William Michael Morgan and Margo Price are finding surprising traction. But it’s not all rosy.
Screw me, but I just don’t have a strong opinion about this thing one way or the other. Sometimes that happens. If you think this song and video is amazing, then awesome. If you think it’s stupid, I can see that perspective too. In the end it’s kind of a wash for me.
“You have to always be conscious of the songs. I never want the songs to be too songwriterly or too clever,” Jason Aldean said in a recent interview. “I think you do have to make it, to some extent, black and white. The song has to say what it means and it means what it says. If you try to get too tricky with the lyrics, it gets confusing.
This is the reason that it’s imperative that true country music fans, true blue collar Americans, and people of just general decency publicly distance from someone like Jason Aldean, and lump his music into some demeaning subgenre with terms like Bro-Country.
Now that some of the dust has settled since Sturgill Simpson made his inflammatory comments about the mistreatment of Merle Haggard on Monday (8-29), many others have taken the opportunity to weigh in on the matters on both sides of the country music cultural divide.
Every year we wonder if it can get any worse, and while there are positive signs for country music’s future all over the place, the bad stuff somehow continues to only get worse. The only saving grace is that many of the songs highlighted below have become commercial flops, whereas in previous years it would be a virtual Top 10 on the country charts.
So often in modern country the task of songs is to reaffirm the importance of country songs to the listeners. There’s songs about songs, songs about radio, songs about songs on the radio, songs about what it means to be country, songs about what a country song should mean, songs about love, songs about songs about love, and songs about songs about falling in love when a song about love or country comes on the radio.
See, this is what happens when you have poorly-coordinated white doofuses with about as much soul as a solid state amplifier get up on stage and try to pretend they can move like Bruno Mars. We’ve already seen Luke Bryan eat it numerous times, and it was inevitable Thomas Rhett would be heading into the Stage Fall Hall of Fame now that he’s decided to become a dance first, and sing second “performer.”
It was a busy year in country music, with lots of controversy, lots of legal issues, and even death surrounding country music artists. It was a tumultuous 2015 to say the least. Here are the top news stories of the year taking into consideration 1) Their importance to country music overall 2) The interest, or accumulated interest in the story if covered in multiple articles, based on traffic registered at Saving Country Music.
Aaron Watson, Blackberry Smoke, Chris Ferrell, Chris Stapleton, Garth Brooks, Gary Overton, Jason Aldean, Jason Isbell, Joey + Rory, Joey Feek, Keith Hill, Little Jimmy Dickens, Luke Bryan, Merle Haggard, Randy Howard, Stoney LaRue, Tim McGraw, Wayne Mills, Willie Nelson
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
the quality of the music of these do-good artists can sometimes be an entirely different story than the quality of their character. Such an assessment is subjective mind you, both on the musical and personal side. But generally speaking, the generosity of a given celebrity and the standards of their music doesn’t always go hand in hand.
Mainstream country artist Jason Aldean becomes the latest to think it is socially acceptable to paint your face black (or in his case, dark brown) as part of a Halloween costume or comedy skit. In a photo discovered on Instagram, Jason Aldean can be seen hanging out with his wife Brittany Kerr and other friends on Halloween, clearly wearing color-altering makeup on his face.
Speaking about his recent signing with Big Machine’s NASH Icon record label, which was set up to create radio support for artists left behind by mainstream country’s current obsession with youth, the once CMA Entertainer of the Year recipient said, “If you’re gonna be heard, you have to get on the radio. The internet alone is not gonna do it.”
Adding to the ongoing discussion about the dearth of female representation in mainstream country today, country superstar Jason Aldean contributed some curious comments to The Washington Post ahead of a show at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, VA on Saturday, September 12th.
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 bitch, we moan, we criticize, we celebrate the symbolic little victories that give us hope that a sea change for country music is imminent, or at least slowly taking hold, even though in many respects things only seem to get worse every year. And we look for ways to implement meaningful solutions to the problems plaguing country music so it can once again become a medium of creativity.
On Saturday, July 25th, Kenny Chesney’s Big Revival Tour and Jason Aldean’s Burn It Down Tour merged at the historic Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA for one epic show. As a performer who has played numerous stadiums in his career, Kenny said finally getting the opportunity to play the Rose Bowl was a dream come true. However for one attendee, the experience became a nightmare.
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.
The Chapel Hill, TN product has just released a new record called Suffer In Peace through Columbia Nashville, and it includes a duet with Jason Aldean that’s sure to be tapped as a single. In the first verse of “Damn Good Friends,” Tyler Farr (or the songwriters Brent Anderson, Chris DuBois, and Neil Medley) seem to admit to a little bit of drunk driving.