The 2017 CMA Awards could have been a disaster, and for a host of reasons. It was obvious heading into the presentation that forces from outside the genre, fueled by political fervor and fanned by bias media, were hellbent on attempting to make the presentation a political spectacle. But the upper lip stiffened.
And now for something entirely unexpected, but in a strange and sad way somewhat plausible and curiously intuitive, John Mayer and his label Sony have made a full on play to court country radio with his song “In The Blood” from his recently-released record, ‘The Search For Everything.’
There continues to be smoke about how Taylor Swift’s new project will potentially have a few country, or country-oriented tunes on it. That doesn’t mean she’ll make a full-on country album, release singles to country radio, or will even call the material country herself. But it could have big ramifications for the genre.
We still don’t even have a title. We don’t have a track list. We don’t have pre-orders or T-shirt bundles or autographed copies for the first 500 folks who sign up for the fan club online, let alone a lead single or a video. We’ve got nothing.
The reigning king of Americana music at the moment is arguably songwriter and performer Jason Isbell. But Jason Isbell will not be performing at Americana’s annual premier event every year—The Americana Music Conference, or AmericanaFest, that transpires September 20th through 25th in downtown Nashville.
Saying that Justin Timberlake’s new single isn’t country may seem like an obvious statement, except that many were anticipating that the next move the pop singer and songwriter would make would be to dip his toes into country waters. Hell, after he’s been dropping monstrous hints about the move…
At this point, we shouldn’t even be listening to “Brace For Impact” in my opinion. Even more so than with most artists, Sturgill Simpson’s music is meant to be taken as a cohesive expression, with each song leading into the next on a purposeful timeline. All you have to do is listen to “Brace For Impact” and how it’s abruptly cut off at the end to understand this.
Who will be releasing new albums in 2016? What are some of the most-anticipated projects? What are the rumors swirling out there about new albums that may be released in the coming year? Here’s a rundown of upcoming projects from artists recommended by Saving Country Music that you can look forward to in 2016.
Aubrie Sellers, Austin Lucas, Brandy Clark, Brothers Osborne, Buddy Miller, Caleb Caudle, Dave Cobb, Don Maddox, Hank Williams Jr., Hayes Carll, Holly Williams, Jack Ingram, Justin Timberlake, Loretta Lynn, Lorrie Morgan, Lucinda Williams, Marty Stuart, Rachel Brooke, Randy Rogers Band, Sturgill Simpson, The Cactus Blossoms, The Infamous Stringdusters, Travis Tritt, Vince Gill, Waco Brothers
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
There you are, taking in Thanksgiving festivities with friends and family, proudly wearing an “I â™¥ Country Music” T-shirt (figuratively, at least), and celebrating one of America’s high holidays with a nice football game, and who comes on the television acting as country music’s ambassador to the rest of the world but Luke Bryan, up there ordering all the country girls to “shake it for the crickets and the critters and the squirrels.”
Justin Timberlake is going country, and you’d have to be stuck on Mars with blinders and earplugs not to notice this. The only reason the complicit country and entertainment media have yet to report it is because they’re paralyzed unless someone hands them a press release and gives them marching orders. Now long-time Justin Timberlake producer and collaborator Timbaland has confirmed this.
Another week, and another #1 showing for Chris Stapleton’s debut album Traveller as the songwriter and performer continues to ride a wave of momentum after a massive showing at the CMA Awards on November 4th. A sweep of New Artist of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year categories, and a high-profile performance with Justin Timberlake put Stapleton on the map of mainstream fans in a big way.
Justin Timberlake has officially gone country. Or at least one of his songs has. As radio programmers all over the country were busy Wednesday morning trying to figure out where to stack their reams of payola, a memorandum buzzed out across the wires: “Justin Timberlake’s ‘Drink You Away’—the same song he played with Chris Stapleton on the CMA Awards—is requesting play on your country station.”
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.
There’s a awards show bump, and then there’s Chris Stapleton’s awards show bump. After shocking the country music world by walking away with wins for New Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, and Male Vocalist of the Year at the 49th Annual CMA Awards, sales for his debut release Traveller have positively exploded to unprecedented levels, especially considering the general malaise album sales are in across music.
Though there’s no guarantee Timberlake will be using the studio time to make a country record, when you line up the news with quotes like “I still got my eyes set on a Best Country Album. There is time for that,” which Timberlake said to Sirius XM in 2013, all indications are that Timberlake is looking to record at least country flavored music.
Despite an incredible amount of publicity for the CMA Awards through ABC, including high-profile appearances all week on the network’s morning show Good Morning America, television ratings for the show took a tumble in 2015. High profile appearances by non country stars such as John Mellencamp, Fall Out Boy, and even the current king of pop Justin Timberlake, could not salvage a night of growth in viewership.
Well well well. In yet another bid for you to firmly affix your eyeballs to the boob tube on Wednesday, November 4th for the 49th annual CMA Awards, it has been announced that critic’s favorite and thrice-nominated SteelDriver turned songwriter turned performer Chris Stapleton will be performing with former ‘N Sync member turned solo superstar Justin Timberlake. Though if you’ve been reading Saving Country Music, you probably already knew this.
I’m not sure the relevant question anymore is “if,” but “when” Justin Timberlake will go country. And if some recent actions by the pop megastar are any indication, it might be sooner than later, and it might be with music that is not as mainstream oriented as one might think. On June 1st, it was announced that Justin Timberlake had paid $4 million for a 126-acre parcel in philanthropist Aubry Preston’s Lieper’s Fork community.
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?