Sometimes the effort to save country music feels like one step forward, two steps back. Last week at this time we were all gaga over the fact that Chris Stapleton’s stripped-down new single “Either Way” was the most added single at country radio and debuted at a surprisingly #26 on the charts, but “Either Way” took a proverbial dive during its second week.
As we continue to ponder what country radio might look like after the impending implosion of iHeartMedia and corporate radio as we know it, some very interesting developments emerged on the country radio charts this week.
As first reported by Saving Country Music in January, Steve Earle’s newest album will be called So You Wanna Be An Outlaw, and feature an appearance by Willie Nelson on the title track. The album is said to be unabashedly inspired by Waylon Jennings and the other original country music Outlaws.
Canaan Smith, Cole Swindell, Chase Bryant, Chase Rice, Chris Lane, who are these clowns? It’s like one douchebag with many faces. Their songs, their styles, their personalities are indistinguishable and interchangeable. They might as well be the same person. Nashville’s overcrowded enough these days. Pick one of these guys and release all the music through them.
Miranda did what any artist with a somewhat lagging album hopes to do with the opportunity an awards show can present, which is press a big reset button. Giving up on her current single “We Should Be Friends,” Miranda Lambert debuted “Tin Man” on the ACM Awards as the album’s next offering to radio.
A tribute is finally planned for The Hag, and it promises to be a star-studded event. ‘Sing Me Back Home: The Music of Merle Haggard’ will take place at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Thursday, April 6th to honor what would have been Merle Haggard’s 80th birthday, and to mark the one year anniversary of his passing.
Alison Krauss, Ben Haggard, Bobby Bare, Buddy Cannon, Connie Smith, Dierks Bentley, Don Was, Hank Williams Jr., Jamey Johnson, John Anderson, John Mellencamp, Kacey Musgraves, Kenny Chesney, Loretta Lynn, Lucinda Williams, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Merle Haggard, Miranda Lambert, Ronnie Dunn, Sing Me Back Home The Music of Merle Haggard, The Avett Brothers, Theresa Haggard, Warren Haynes, Willie Nelson
She didn’t choose the title Puxico for the way it popped for focus group audiences. It’s the name of her less than 1,000 population hometown in southeastern Missouri that sets the scene for an album that feels devoutly personal, humble in approach, and eager to express things a professional songwriter just can’t with total fulfillment through the voices of others.
If 90% of mainstream country music is garbage, then it stands to reason that 10% of it is at least decent, if not good or great. That calculus hasn’t really changed much recently, even as mainstream country has improved. What has changed is that 10% is actually finding traction on radio, at awards shows, and is making fierce inroads into the 90%’s monopoly.
You only have to pay mild attention to Miranda Lambert’s music career to know her support of true American songwriters is far from skin deep. Her latest record The Weight of These Wings has a monster list of contributing songwriters, and she’s been known to get a wild hair and drive for miles to see someone like John Moreland play a dive bar.
Whether one may ultimately settle upon ‘The Weight of These Wings’ with a more positive or negative take, what is next to indisputable is that it is a significant release. ‘The Weight of These Wing’s is the symbolic entry of Miranda Lambert—the biggest female country star for the last six or so years—into the Americana/independent/east Nashville mindset
Miranda Lambert has won a record-setting six straight CMA Female Vocalist of the Year awards. But there may not be a seventh. When it comes to awards and recognition, nobody has been as heavily decorated as Miranda Lambert in recent memory, male or female. But it has been time for a breather, and Miranda Lambert’s last year has been a pretty quiet one, at least from a musical standpoint.
Miranda Lambert isn’t releasing one, but two albums November 18th when her double record ‘The Weight of These Wings’ hits stores. With all that material she was sure to solicit help with songwriting. And as we attempt to read the tea leaves of what we might expect from the new record, the names in the songwriting credits are making the prospects more interesting.
The ripe age of 70 is one hell of a time to experience a resurgence of interest in your music career, and that’s exactly what’s happening for country songwriting legend John Prine. Celebrating his seventh decade on planet Earth on Monday (8-10), Tuesday found confirmation that his most recent album ‘For Better, Or Worse’ has come in at #2…
John Moreland has already received the praise of the likes of Jason Isbell who he’s toured with before and dozens of others, but an endorsement from one of the biggest females in country music at the moment is a pretty big deal. Apparently during AmericanaFest a couple of weeks ago, Miranda Lambert took time out of her busy schedule to take in a set by Moreland.
Hillary Clinton is not the only one feeling under the weather and needing some time off. Country music’s current First Lady Miranda Lambert has got a case of laryngitis or something similar, and has been put on mandatory vocal rest by her crack team of country music doctors. The result is Miranda will miss at least three of her upcoming shows.
The next trend in country may not be defined by a style or a sound, but who is involved in it. But if collaborations will be the next big trend, how about putting out just a little bit of effort to make sure that the great talent that is going unrecognized in country music itself gets some love?
Ashley Monroe, Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Brandy Clark, Chris Stapleton, Demi Lovato, Dierks Bentley, Dolly Parton, Elle King, Gwen Stefani, Johnny Bush, Kenny Chesney, Kenny Rogers, Little Big Town, Lori McKenna, Miranda Lambert, Pharrell, Pink, Pitbull, Steve Fromholz, The Pistol Annies, Tim McGraw, Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson
Flying low over the country music masses to survey the landscape, it’s patently clear that in the 48-hour aftermath of Miranda Lambert releasing her first single in over a year, how you feel about it has a lot to do with how you feel about Miranda Lambert, or Blake Shelton. The fact that “Vice” has become so polarizing proves that music is no longer about music, but personality.
The Country Music Association sent out the initial ballots for the 50th Annual CMA Awards on July 5th, and with them came a new system that hopes to stop some of the campaigning for artists to win certain awards. It’s called “Nominee Showcase,” and gives voters a centralized location to find verified and fairly-presented stats on all the nominees.
Some feel “She’s Got A Way With Words” is crossing the line in the way a woman is being portrayed by a major mainstream country music star, especially in the tenuous environment of today where the issue of equality for female artists and the objectification of women is high of mind with listeners and music pundits.
Right now, Texas and Oklahoma is being robbed of its female talent from Nashville and the two coasts. And these women are regularly sucked up into a system that absconds with their creative freedom, sexualizes their image, and drops them unceremoniously whenever their commercial viability is perceived to be spent.
American Aquarium, Aubrie Sellers, Billy Joe Shaver, Brennen Leigh, Bri Bagwell, Courtney Patton, Hot Club of Cowtown, Jamie Lin Wilson, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Kacey Musgraves, Lee Ann Womack, Maren Morris, Medicine Stone, Miranda Lambert, Randy Rogers Band, Ryan Engleman, Samantha Crain, Shane Smith and the Saints, Sister C, Stoney LaRue, Sunny Sweeney, The Quebe Sisters, Turnpike Troubadours