Even if you’ve never heard Erin Enderlin sing, you’re clearly familiar with her work. She is the highly acclaimed songwriter behind songs “Monday Morning Church” by Alan Jackson, “Last Call” by Lee Ann Womack, and a number of other songs from Randy Travis, Terri Clark, Joey + Rory and Tyler Farr among others.
And though we’re a good half decade from when Toby Keith was still relevant in the country mainstream, and a healthy 15 years removed from when he was telling would-be terrorists where he rudely wanted to ensconce his manly footwear, Toby Keith still has a reserved seat at the very top of these “highest paid” lists, despite not showing a Top 5 single since 2011.
Usually such a list is only reserved for the worst songs at the halfway pole of a given year, but 2016 has been especially lush with heartbreakily bad efforts, including from some artists who tend to be on the right side of the good music/ bad music divide. So before we really take the gloves off, let’s reflect back on 2016 biggest disappointments in the album category.
Randy Houser may want to spend more time perfecting his faux hawk instead of speaking his mind after he put his foot in his mouth in a recent interview with radio.com (see below). The co-writer of “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” and the close friend of Bro-Country Godfather Dallas Davidson decided to go on the offensive against Bro-Country haters.
New Theory: Many 3rd tier mainstream major label country stars are nothing more than musical dumping grounds for all the excess songwriting material left over at the tail end of a dying trend. That’s about the only explanation for the relentless onslaught of outdated and terrible material you’re exposed to on Randy Houser’s new album “Fired Up.”
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
I know the sense is that music is always getting worse and there will never be any improvement, but the end of 2014 had some promising signs with the decline of Bro-Country. Unfortunately though, where Bro-Country ended, Metro-Politan began, and now we have a new generation of artists and songs to contend with in the effort to saving country music.
Some bad songs make you angry that such a monstrosity would ever be released under the country banner. Some make you sad for what country music has become. This one? Randy Houser’s entry into this new R&B sexy time Bee Gees-inspired country music disco craze? This thing had me laughing out loud so hard from being so embarrassing and absurd, I had milk shooting out of my nose. And I wasn’t even drinking milk.
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?
Last night (2-25) as part of Country Radio Seminar festivities in Nashville, Dierks Bentley, aka Douglas “Big Rhythm Doug” Douglason, showed the depth of his commitment to his alter-ego 90’s country band called Hot Country Knights by taking the stage at “The Stage” on Lower Broadway and launching into renditions of big late 80’s & 90’s country hits.
Not since the second installment of the Waylon – The Music Inside series was released with the names of Colt Ford and Justin Moore making their way on the track list have we had such a quizzical collection of artists for a tribute album. As cool as it is to see any attention paid to Merle these days from the mainstream establishment, it is not what’s going to get your average Merle fan’s motor running.
ACM, Ben Haggard, Broken Bow Records, Colt Ford, Crystal Milestone Award, Dierks Bentley, Dustin Lynch, Garth Brooks, Jason Aldean, Justin Moore, Kristy Lee Cook, Luke Bryan, Merle Haggard, Paul Franklin, Randy Houser, Suzy Bogguss, Thompson Square, Toby Keith, Vince Gill, Working Man's Poet: A Tribute to Merle Haggard
In Zac Brown’s recent disparaging comments about Luke Bryan’s hit “That’s My Kind Of Night,” Zac went out of his way to lay as little blame as possible on Luke Bryan. Instead it was the song itself, and its songwriters that drew the brunt of Zac Brown’s ire. Though Zac didn’t name any names, the likely target of Zac’s criticism was country songwriter Dallas Davidson.
Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Colt Ford, criticism, Dallas Davidson, Florida Georgia Line, Honky Tonk Badonkadonk, Jamey Johnson, Justin Moore, Kacey Musgraves, Lady Antebellum, Luke Bryan, Luke Laird, Miranda Lambert, Possessed by Paul James, Randy Houser, Rhett Atkins, Shane McAnally, songwriters, songwriting, That's My Kind Of Night, Trace Adkins, Wade Bowen, Zac Brown
Billboard and the echo chamber that is much of the entertainment media/blogosphere made much hoopla last week over Florida-Georgia Line’s “Cruise” breaking the all-time record for weeks at #1 on the Hot Country Songs chart. Closer scrutiny of the charts shows that, contrary to the flashy press releases and hype you may see regarding Florida-Georgia Line’s “Cruise,” its “record-setting” week is the historical achievement that isn’t.
Billboard, Carrie Underwood, Charts, Country Charts, Cruise, Eddy Arnold, Florida Georgia Line, Hank Snow, Hunter Hayes, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Longest #1 of All Time, Luke Bryan, Miley Cyrus, Randy Houser, Taylor Swift, The Band Perry, Webb Pierce
If you want to listen to a true, creative meld of hip hop and country, go listen to some Beck or some Paul’s Boutique-era Beastie Boys. But this Colt Ford stuff is garbage, despite a few catchy lines, and as far as I’m concerned, lending your name to a Colt Ford project lands you a card carrying membership to the “Colt Ford Collaboration Blacklist”. Here’s the names I’ve amassed so far…
Beastie Boys, Beck, Charlie Daniels, Colt Ford, Eric Church, Gretchen Wilson, Hank Jr., James Otto, Jamey Johnson, Jason Aldean, Josh Thompson, Kevin Fowler, Luke Bryan, Montgomery Gentry, Randy Houser, Rhett Akins, Tim McGraw