Dolly Parton’s NBC made-for-TV movie Coat of Many Colors went from a sweet little movie to watch with the family over the holiday season, to one of the most successful and cherished movies based on a country music legend’s life released in recent memory. As word of mouth spread, it also became the highest-rated TV movie ever using Nielsen’s “National TV Toolbox Live+ Same Day and Live+ 3 Days” measurement.
Bolstering the theory that when the narratives of traditional country music are actually given a chance in popular culture, they shine from the way they unite people and speak to individuals universally, Dolly Parton’s made for TV Coat of Many Colors blew the doors off of ratings Thursday night (12-10) on its way to becoming the most watched TV movie or miniseries in the last three years.
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
Jennifer Nettles is the Kathy Bates of country music, and I’m not talking the ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’ Kathy Bates. Where some female performers like to exhibit personas such as the sweet girl next door or the strong Southern Belle, the Sugarland co-singer apparently thinks a psychopathic yandere cross bred with a hyper-spastic oversinger is what will curry the favor of the mindless drones of mainstream country.
In the fall of 2012 when Ronnie Dunn (of Brooks & Dunn) was looking to write and record material for his upcoming album, he reached out to Texas music songwriting guru Ray Wylie Hubbard after falling in love with the gritty sound Hubbard imbibes on all his records. Dunn flew into Austin as Ray Wylie wrangled up an A-list of Austin musicians to to participate in a recording session.
Bobby Keys, Brooks & Dunn, Bruce Robison, Buddy Holly, Bump Band, Chelle Rose, Faces, George Reiff, Gurf Morlix, Ian McLagan, James McMurtry, Jennifer Nettles, Joe Ely, John Hiatt, Kelly Willis, Lucinda Williams, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Mary Gauthier, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Robert Earl Keen, Rod Stewart, Ronnie Dunn, Small Faces, Sugarland, The Rolling Stones, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
When you look back at some of the early songs, early albums, and even the early image of some of country’s biggest current stars, it can stimulate downright culture shock. Of course styles change naturally over time, but many of these artists came from small towns and had simple dreams. But the problem with money and fame is that you can always have more of it….
Big & Rich, Billy Currington, Blake Shelton, Brantley Gilbert, Chris LeDoux, Florida Georgia Line, Garth Brooks, Jamey Johnson, Jason Aldean, Jennifer Nettles, Jerrod Niemann, Kristian Bush, Luke Bryan, Neal McCoy, Sugarland, Travis Tritt
This album is not the worst album ever put out in country music. With the advent of country rap, “New Outlaw” country, and the laundry list approach to country music in general, pop country now finds itself in a bit of a haven from the harshest of criticisms. What Lionel Ritchie’s Tuskegee album does hold the distinction of being is country music’s most embarrassing album put out to date.
With Kid Rock hosting the CMT Awards, with country rapper Colt Ford performing, and with Jason Aldean and Ludacris closing the show out with a rap song, you can make the case that 15%-20% of the 2011 CMT Awards was either rap or rap inspired. I expect those percentages to increase until the number gets to 50%. Then the mono-genre will be fully realized, and the death of contrast will be complete.