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.
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.
When LeAnn Rimes and Hank Williams III fought very public battles with the label, people chalked it up to a couple of artists with declining careers who couldn’t handle being professional. But after high profile and nasty exits by Hank Williams Jr. and then superstar Tim McGraw, the word was out on the streets about Curb Records’ unfair business practices.
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.
The brain child of songwriter Rob Snyder, The Revival is celebrating its two year anniversary next Tuesday, May 19th. A songwriter in-the-round setup with just acoustic guitars, The Revival is a place to not just be seen, but heard, and one of the few places you’ll find true songwriters still playing inspired songs mere steps from Music Row proper.
There’s very little that transpired at the 50th Annual ACM Awards that could be salvaged as memorable. But one especially memorable moment transpired when Lee Brice took the stage and started playing Randy Travis’ “Forever and Ever, Amen.” And when Randy Travis himself emerged from the crowd, standing under his own power, and being acknowledged by a standing ovation, it was hard to not feel the emotion.
This is where Garth Brooks could shake up the country music industry beyond simply packing sold-out stadiums. There are reams of amazing songs out there going unheard, and Garth is one of the very few people with the star power to take these songs and make them hits. And this rising tide could raise all boats, taking an artist like Caitlyn Smith to the greater notoriety her talents deserve.
Ashley Monroe, Austin Lucas, Bob DiPiero, Brandy Clark, Brantley Gilbert, Caitlyn Smith, Cassadee Pope, Country Throwdown, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Jason Aldean, Kenny Regers, Lady Antebellum, Lee Brice, Nashville, T Bone Burnett, Tacoma, Willie Nelson
Valory Music and the ACM’s may hope that this issue just blows over, but the removal of the Windmills Country audio has arguably exacerbated it, and fed the suspicion some country fans have surrounding the awards process. If there is an explanation for the discrepancy between Justin Moore’s eligibility and his nomination, the fans of country music have yet to hear it.
Forget that Justin Moore signed to Big Machine’s Valory Music imprint in 2008, that he had a #1 single in 2009, and a #1 album in 2011; as first pointed out by Windmills Country, according to the Academy of Country Music’s specifically-stated rules of eligibility for the “New Artist” category, Justin Moore should be disqualified because he’s had not one, but two albums certified gold.
So we haven’t even had time since the 56th Grammy Awards to sort out if Madonna had the authority to preside over a mass wedding, or if Pharrell’s hat was indeed copyright infringement against the Arby’s logo, and here only a few days later we’re asked to crunch a fresh batch of data dealing with the nominees for the 2014 ACM Awards on April 6th.
2014, ACM Awards, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Dan + Shay, Florida Georgia Line, George Strait, Jason Aldean, Joey + Rory, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Lee Brice, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Nominees, predictions, preview, Rhett Akins, Shane McAnally, Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw
The 56th Annual Grammy Awards transpire tonight at 7 PM Central, 8 PM Eastern, 5 PM Pacific on CBS. This is your rundown for things to watch for, the country performances and collaborations, a rundown of the nominees and my picks and prognostications.
56th Annual Grammy Awards, Blake Shelton, Brandy Clark, Darius Rucker, Dolly Parton, Grammy Awards, Hunter Hayes, Jason Aldean, Jason Isbell, Kacey Musgraves, Kenny Rogers, Kris Kristofferson, Lee Brice, Merle Haggard, Miranda Lambert, Old Crow Medicine Show, predictions, Sarah Jarosz, Taylor Swift, The Civil Wars, Tim McGraw, Willie Nelson
Today it was announced that Austin, TX would be the site for iHeartRadio’s first ever country music festival, transpiring at Austin’s Frank Erwin Center on March 29th, with a list of top tier headliner talent. There is so much that is ill-conceived about this, I’m not sure where to start. Throwing a corporate country event in Austin, especially at that time of the year will be about as popular in Austin as running over a bicyclist in your Hummer.
Austin, Bobby Bones, Carrie Underwood, Chris Young, Clear Channel, Dustin Lynch, Dwight Yoakam, Eli Young Band, Eric Church, Florida Georgia Line, Hunter Hayes, iHeartRadio Country Festival, Jake Owen, Jason Aldean, Josh Turner, Lady Antebellum, Lee Brice, Loretta Lynn, Luke Bryan, Rodeo Austin, Scotty McCreery, South by Southwest, SXSW, Thompson Square, Willie Nelson
One of the standouts in 2011 so far has been Bloomington, Indiana-based singer/songwriter Austin Lucas, and his album A New Home in the Old World. He sat down with me for about a hour to discuss his experience on the Country Throwdown and touring with Willie Nelson, how he got into country, and how his goals are measured and focused on the art of songwriting first, above his own popularity.
Yesterday I was fortunate enough to attend the most talent-rich event I have ever been to, as the convergence of Willie Nelson’s 38th Annual 4th of July Picnic met up with the finale of this year’s Willie Nelson Country Throwdown tour at the largest honky tonk in the world, Billy Bob’s Texas, in the historic Ft. Worth stockyards.
Amy Nelson, Arlo Guthrie, Austin Lucas, Billy Bob's Texas, Billy Joe Shaver, Brantley Gilbert, Caitlyn Smith, Cathie Guthrie, Folk Uke, George Reiff, Jamey Johnson, Jason Aldean, Lee Brice, Lucas Hubbard, Lukas Nelson, Ray Benson, Ray Price, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Rick Richards, Willie Nelson