Browsing articles tagged with " Randy Travis"
Dec
17

Mo Pitney Reveals Great Promise with “Country” Single

December 17, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  33 Comments

mo-pitney

If you’re looking for names to populate your most anticipated projects to be released in 2015, putting Mo Pitney at or near the top would be a savvy choice. With a one in a million country voice conveyed in a smoothness we haven’t heard since Don Williams, Mo Pitney is a chill-inducing traditional country artist with a succulent pentameter and delivery, and a songwriter’s pen engorged with cutting and resonant lines and stories. A handsome young man with nothing but a promising future in country music ahead of him, Pitney could become one of the fore bearers to making true country cool again like a modern-day Randy Travis.

Mo Pitney has been showcasing his songs and voice through traditional avenues over the past few years and has shined every time. A January 2013 episode of Pitney with mentor Bill Anderson by his side on RFD-TV’s excellent showcase Larry’s Country Diner has since become a must-see installment. From his originals like “I Didn’t Wake Up This Morning,” to his cover of Keith Whitley’s “Miami, My Amy,” the cat was out of the bag about Mo Pitney’s country music powers after the show. He was signed to Curb Records by May of this year, and made his Opry debut on June 20th care of Bill Anderson, dazzling the crowd and receiving a standing ovation for his song “Cleanup on Aisle Five.”

Ahead of his much-anticipated album, Pitney has released the first single simply called “Country” co-written with Anderson and Bobby Tomberlin. Smartly crafted to where it captures a relevant sentiment without being a party to pandering to anything or straying away from Pitney’s core, “Country” highlights Mo’s promise of being a classic-sounding artist with the ability to capture a mainstream audience. Authentic as the day is long, Pitney touches on what could be considered the listing off of countryisms, but avoids all of the obvious ones to take a more subdued and warm thematic approach to explaining what “country” really is.

For country music to extricate itself from the iron grasp of Bro-Country and the overriding influence of other genres, it’s going to need artists who don’t need to rely on gimmicks and trends to find appeal, but that can champion the virtues of country itself and illustrate its charisma to a new generation of listeners. Mo Pitney is an artist with the promise and the proper tools to do this very thing.

Sep
19

Randy Travis Health Update: First Video of Star Since Stroke

September 19, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  16 Comments

randy-travis-walkingEver since Randy Travis suffered a severe heart malady and subsequent stroke on July 7th of 2013, fans have been concerned about the condition of the country star, with little to no true information about his health condition or status, or his prognosis for recovery. Pictures have emerged of the ailing country star upon occasion as Randy still tries to recover from paralysis suffered during the stroke and emergency brain surgery he underwent to relieve pressure on his brain, but video that can help more clearly define how Randy has been doing has been absent.

Now we get to see the first video of Randy, who is seen walking with the aid of a cane and looking good as he attended an annual fundraising function in in Denison, TX for Four Rivers Outreach at a North Texas Regional Airport hangar. Though Randy looks healthy, he is still not speaking much, which is what he’s working most on according to his fiancee Mary Davis.

“Every day we go to speech therapy and physical therapy and occupational therapy,” says Mary Davis to ABC’s KTEN in Texoma who was was covering the function. “We’re learning words and phrases, learning to sing, of course, the music and the songs come easy for him, just the enunciation of words. But he’s working on it! He’s got the heart of a warrior and he doesn’t stop … He knows that the road ahead of us is is long and tedious, but he’s up for the challenge and he’s never never shied away from it. Never asked why me.”

The fundraiser crowd applauded when Travis walking into the hangar and was able sit down unassisted. Randy was released from impatient care in October of 2013.

Larry Gatlin was also at the fundraiser. “I have not seen randy since last year when we were here. I really feel bad about what has happened to him.” Randy performing at the Four River Outreach benefit helped the organization raise $169,000 last year. This year they hoped to crest $200,000, and though Travis couldn’t perform, his appearance after his health issues still made the night special. “Just being able to be here is a big improvement because he couldn’t even get out of the hospital and travel for a long time,” said Executive Director Arthur Horn.

See the complete report from KTEN below.

READ: Hometown Removes Randy Travis’ Name From Sign

KTEN.com – No One Gets You Closer

Sep
7

Hometown Removes Randy Travis’ Name From Sign

September 7, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  11 Comments

marshville-randy-travis

“Home of Randy Travis & Country Living” was the slogan that once greeting visitors and passers thru of Marshville, North Carolina where Randy Travis was born and raised. But the two signs that sit beside U.S. Hwy 74 both entering and exiting the small town in Union County showing love for their hometown boy have been changed. Any mention of Randy Travis was removed by the town recently, and some Randy Travis fans are not happy about it.

Randy Travis—born Randy Bruce Traywick in Marshville in 1959—has been in the midst of a run of bad health that was preceded by a bout of bad behavior. After a bitter divorce from his long-time wife and manager, Randy Travis was arrested in February 2012 for public intoxication while sitting in his truck in a church parking lot. Then in August of 2012, Randy was arrested again after his car was wrecked and Randy was found naked at the scene.

randy-travisThen in July of 2013, Travis began to have severe health issues that have sidelined the country performer to this day. Randy was hospitalized on July 7th for a severe heart condition called viral cardiomyopathy. While in treatment, he suffered a stroke and had to receive emergency brain surgery. Randy eventually recovered and was released, but he still suffers from paralysis, though is slowly regaining his ability to walk by himself, and is said to be slowly regaining his ability to speak. Some photos of Randy hanging out with high profile friends have surfaced recently, but the specifics on his condition remain unclear.

Doctors insist Randy’s health issues had nothing to do with Randy’s previous alcohol issues, just as the City of Marshville insists the removal of Randy’s name is nothing personal.

Town Manager Fern Shubert says Randy’s name was removed while the signs were being updated because they were “too busy.” They’ve been replaced simply by “Welcome to Marshville North Carolina.” Previous versions of the Marshville signs also had homages to Randy Travis (see below).

“It’s nice, it’s dignified and it gets the job done,” Shubert says of the new sign. “There was no disrespect to Randy Travis. It looks more like your traditional welcome sign.”

But some Randy Travis fans inside and outside of Marshville are disappointed about removing the distinction, especially as Randy continues to struggle to regain his health. “In a time we should embrace Randy Travis and show support you choose to slap him in the face with something this stupid,” one online commenter said, while another observed, “When Mr. Travis pass[es] on…that city/town will be pumping it up! Randy Travis born/raised here….oh,….they will be singing a whole other tune…just watch….”

Others point out that Randy never did very much for Marshville, and that when he was younger, he was known in in the town for breaking into houses and cars.

Randy currently lives at his ranch near Tioga, TX.

Earlier Marshville sign touting Randy Travis.

marshville-sign-randy-travis-older

Aug
26

Cumulus Media: “It’s Time For Country To Fragment”

August 26, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Podcasting/Radio  //  50 Comments

nash-icon-jpgEver since the partnership between radio owner Cumulus Media and the Big Machine Label Group called NASH Icon was proposed, the big question has been if it will it result in the country music radio format splitting in two. Country music is one of the last genres to resist splintering, but as Top 40 country continues to abandon older economically-viable artists, it has become a necessity to give older artists a home somewhere on the radio dial.

john.dickeyAfter a conference call on Monday (8-25) with Cumulus Media’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer John Dickey (brother of President and CEO Lew Dickey), all speculation about whether a country split will happen can be put to bed, at least if Cumulus has anything to say about it. Country Music is splitting, and will eventually constitute two completely different formats. And though you may still hear Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line on the new format upon occasion, you will also hear Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Randy Travis, George Strait, and many other artists that were relevant in the 80′s and 90′s that mainstream country has abandoned.

“It is time for country to fragment,” John Dickey said plainly on the conference call, while offering more detailed insight than ever into exactly what NASH Icon will look like when it’s rolled out. Cumulus launched 15 initial NASH Icon stations recently, but says it won’t be until 2015 before everything is completely up an running.

READ: A Breakdown of the NASH Icon Playlist

The Rationale

Why does country music need to fragment into two formats? John Dickey explains.

“Country today is the largest format in terms of appeal and market share, certainly the last of its size that hasn’t fragmented. To me it wasn’t a question of will the format fragment, but when. And that time has come. The whole idea around NASH Icon is to create a parallel universe in country. Not a flanking format, but another platform for artists that were extremely prolific in the mid to late ‘80s, ‘90s and early to mid 2000s to regain some of that relevancy again. Unlike other attempts to fragment this format … this is really based on solid metrics, the depth, appeal, and attraction of these artists, the low burn of their music (meaning people still enjoy it), and the fact that they’re not present in country on the radio.”

Forget the 25-Year, “Classic” Country Window

When NASH Icon was first announced, the Cliff Notes version of what it would feel like was centered around country music’s “Class of ’89″ with artists like Garth Brooks, Clint Black, and Alan Jackson. However NASH Icon’s range will be much wider, going deeper into the 80′s than 1989, and ranging all the way up to present-day hits.

“The format is going to be about 25% current-driven, and that’s going to increase as some of these artists … get into the studio and start to put out new music,” says Dickey

In other words, older artists who were relevant in the 80′s and 90′s, but who put out new music today, will have a home on NASH Icon for brand new singles.

“The balance is going to be made up from calls from the 80′s, 90′s, and 2000′s, predominantly anchored in the 90′s and 2000′s, with a little bit of ’80′s. But this format is really all about the face cards—the big artists from that 20-25 year period of time, mixed in with artists from today that make sense and have a sound that fits and is compatible.”

Dickey also addresses so-called “Bro-Country,” saying, “You won’t hear a lot of what we affectionately term in the business today as ‘Bro-Country.” This is a format that I can expect to be competitive 25-34, but like Hot AC, is really going to find a sweet spot 30-50.”

However if you look at the playlist of one of the recently-launched NASH Icon stations, you can find plays for songs like Luke Bryan’s “That’s My Kind of Night,” or “Blake Shelton’s “Boys ‘Round Here.” Those plays may disappear over time as the format tweaks itself, but at the moment, there is a discrepancy between John Dickey’s words, and the NASH Icon playlists. Those “current” songs may also be replaced by new songs from older artists, once those songs are released to the new format.

The Impact

John Dickey and Cumulus do not see NASH Icon as second-rate country music programing. They see it living side-by-side with Top 40, competing aggressively, if not challenging country music as a whole to step up its game.

“[It is] already resonating big time and is only going to snowball and pick up more steam,” Dickey says. “As we continue to build out this platform, people will see this format is capable at playing at the biggest levels alongside where mainstream country is. This can stand side-by-side with mainstream country, and not Cannibalize it, but grow the total shares in the markets. What it’s going to do … is shape the creative community in Nashville, or motivate them a little bit more on some music that they probably haven’t been able to find the right home for. And I’m talking about specifically the writing community.

The content glut of worthy songs that are not finding artists to cut them has been a side story to the Top 40, “Bro-Country” dominance of the format currently. We’ve heard people ranging from T Bone Burnett to Garth Brooks say that the amount and quality of songs waiting to be heard is astounding. There just hasn’t been an outlet for substantive material in country music for some time.

What Else To Expect

“There will be a morning show out of our NASH campus that will be purposed for NASH Icon,” John Dickey says. “It will be different than what we’re doing with NASH and ‘America’s Morning Show’ with Blair Garner. It’s going to [have] more of a living room setting and be more music intensive, but more interview-driven. Artists will come in and sit alongside the host of the show … I expect that to be online by the end of the year. With respect to any other day parts, there is nothing planned at this point that we would syndicate.”

“Westwood One is going to be offering NASH Icon as a format to affiliates starting almost immediately. We’re going to build on Stork platform, on what we call our localized format; completely customizable for any market. The Stork technology allows for somebody to take any day part or piece of the format that we offer and customize that around any live day parts that happen to be running … That technology allows for a very customized sound and custom feel to the format.”

This is where Cumulus and NASH differ from their biggest national competitor, Clear Channel. Clear Channel does not allow local formats to customize in many cases, breeding national homogenization to local formats. However many times local NASH affiliates still decide to go with national programming because the cost is cheaper than hiring local talent.

John Dickey also says that he expects Big Machine Records to begin announcing NASH Icon artists for the record label “sooner rather than later, probably within the next 30 to 60 days.”

What This All Means

As we can already see from the discrepancy between what John Dickey is saying about “Bro-Country” and what is showing up on playlists, it is going to take some time for NASH Icon to get its feet under itself and smooth out all the wrinkles. Regardless of who is being played from the current crop of mainstream country stars, you can also see from both the current NASH Icon playlists, and John Dickey’s words that older artist will once again be found on the radio airwaves, and not just on small, “classic” country stations. This new format also doesn’t threaten to Cannibalize those existing independent classic country stations unless they’re directly converted to a NASH Icon affiliate by Cumulus, because those listeners are not going to want to listen to Luke Bryan mixed in with their Randy Travis and Willie Nelson. But the format will potentially introduce those older artists to an entirely new audience, and challenge Top 40 country to deliver a little more variety and substance, or force listeners to switch channels.

One of the big questions that still remains is if Clear Channel—the #1 radio station owner in the country—will launch its own answer to NASH Icon.

READ: The Best & Worst Case Scenarios For The New Classic Country Format

Aug
3

Randy Travis Covers Waylon’s “Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line”

August 3, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  14 Comments

randy-travis-waylon-jennings

As the thoughts and prayers of millions of fans keep vigil over Randy Travis in hopes the ailing singer someday will be able to share his gift for song with the world once more, life moves on and the release of Randy’s second installment of Influence: The Man I Am series approaches on August 12th. As a reflection back upon the artists and songs that created the foundation of Randy’s storied career, it only seems fitting that Waylon Jennings would work his way onto Randy’s The Man I Am track list. And not wanting to be too obvious by picking one of Waylon’s super hits from the Outlaw era, Randy selects “Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line”; a hard-driving, thumping number that when released in 1968 was uncharacteristic for Waylon who at the time was known as the purveyor Nashville’s country folk fare. Of course as we know now, the style and attitude the song was recorded with would later become Waylon’s signature for the rest of his career.

Written by Nashville session guitarist Jimmy Bryant and produced by Chet Atkins, the original “Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line” was perhaps Music Row’s answer to the more rough-hewn sound emanating from Capitol Records and the Bakersfield Sound of the time. The song went to #2 on the Billboard Country Singles chart and has since become a standard of the genre. Linda Ronstadt released a role-reversed version of the song in 1969, and The Kentucky Headhunters also recorded a famous version of the song in 1991 for their Electric Barnyard album.

The Randy Travis version of “Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line” is a pretty straightforward, no frills take on the song. “Only Daddy” is one of those compositions whose original will likely never be outdone by the predecessors. But Randy gives the song a new spirit and audience, and simply hearing Randy’s voice once again, especially reprising this classic piece of country music history, reminds us of how important Randy was to revitalizing country music’s classic tones in the mainstream commercial space in the mid and late 80′s and beyond.

Randy’s voice might be silent for the moment and Waylon may have long since passed, but this multi-generational country music collaboration reminds us that all the country music greats will be around forever through their timeless music.

You can also hear Randy Travis cover Marty Robbins in “Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me“.

Pre-Order Influence Vol. 2: The Man I Am

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Jul
25

Randy Travis to Release New Album Despite Health Issues

July 25, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  7 Comments

randy-travis-the-influence-vol-2-the-man-i-amThe health status of Randy Travis still remains very much in question, but that is not stopping the Randy Travis camp and Warner Bros. from releasing the second installment of his Influence: The Man I Am series on August 12th. The first album in the series was released on September 30th, 2013—a few months after Randy suffered a serious heart condition and subsequent stroke. Travis had to undergo brain surgery, and has been taking part in significant rehabilitation and physical therapy ever since the health episode.

Randy’s Influence series of releases looks to chronicle the classic country songs that went into the sound that may Randy Travis one of the most popular and influential country music artists of the late 80′s and into the 90′s and beyond. The new collection includes covers of Hank Snow’s “I’m Movin’ On”, Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down”, Hank Williams’ “Mind Your Own Business”, and Waylon Jennings’ “Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line”. It also includes the Randy Travis tribute to George Jones “Tonight I’m Playin’ Possum” written by Keith Gattis. Randy’s performance of the song at the 2013 CMA Fan Fest was one of his last public performances before his health issues (see below). Travis recorded both volumes in the Influence: The Man I Am series before last year’s health scare.

The extent of Randy’s paralysis after his stroke and surgery, and if he will ever sing again have been a topic of great speculation in the tabloid press, with multiple unnamed and named sources leaking conflicting information about Randy’s health status, while pictures of Randy appearing in public continue to surface. Last week yet another story citing an unnamed source surfaced in Closer Magazine, saying, “He hasn’t plateaued in his recovery, which is always a big fear. He really faces a long, tough battle.” The story also cites songwriter and Randy Travis friend Bonnie Paul who says, “He’s taking great strides and getting better. He’s a cowboy! If he gets back his strength, then anything is possible.”

Meanwhile any true health information about Randy’s status remains unclear, and his camp has yet to release any official statements about his prognosis or rate of recovery.

READ: Lack of Information on Randy Travis Leading to Unnecessary Speculation

This Influence: The Man I Am series gives Randy Travis fans something new to listen to while Randy continues his hard-fought recovery to better health.

Pre-Order Influence Vol. 2: The Man I Am

Jun
24

Lack of Information on Randy Travis Leading to Unnecessary Speculation

June 24, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Random Notes  //  9 Comments

randy-travis

On Saturday (6-21), gossip site TMZ posted a story about ailing country music star Randy Travis, and how he’s currently infirmed, unable to speak, and how it is unclear if he is even lucid enough to follow a conversation. TMZ’s unnamed source says he is just now finally able to walk with a cane, but that his speech has yet to come back, though it also says that with therapy, Randy could “return to the stage … possibly in 3 years.”

Though some of the information seems plausible, other parts of it contradict previous reports about Randy’s condition from a named source. In early February, Randy’s father Harold Traywick told another celebrity magazine Closer Weekly about what the magazine characterized as Randy’s “miraculous” recovery, quoting Traywick as saying, “He’s getting his voice back now, little by little.” Another unnamed source was cited in the short article saying, “Randy’s doctors are extremely pleased with his progress.”

This is a little bit of a different picture from what yet another tabloid, The National Enquirer published in November of 2013, also quoting Harold Traywick as saying, ““Randy is still paralyzed on his right side. He can’t walk and he can barely speak. There’s nothing more doctors can do. Randy’s chances of a full recovery don’t look good.” That story also included an unnamed source, just like the Closer Weekly story, speaking right beside Randy’s father.It also is worth pointing out that Traywick previously used The National Enquirer to air dirty laundry during Randy’s 2012 breakdown, illustrating a schism between the two at that time.

One of first pictures of Randy Travis to surface, with fiancee right behind him.

One of first pictures of Randy Travis to surface, with fiancee right behind him.

Then there is the matter of the pictures of Randy Travis that keep surfacing. The first set arrived in January of Randy riding around in a golf cart on his ranch in Tioga, TX, and posing with his fiancee, Mary Beougher. This was the first we had seen of the ailing star since his health issues. Then there was the picture of Randy with Neal McCoy on February 7th at a show in Dallas, dubbed as Randy’s first public appearance since his heart problems and stroke. And most recently a picture surfaced of Randy and Dolly Parton from earlier in June. Parton was performing in Oklahoma, just over the Texas border, and took time to pose with Randy.

Randy Travis was initially admitted to the hospital on July 7th, 2013 for viral cardiomyopathy, or a weakening of the heart muscle. While being treated for the condition at The Heart Hospital in Plano, TX, Travis suffered a stroke as a complication to the treatment, and had to undergo emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. The surgery was successful, but Travis remained in the hospital until late July when he was moved to a rehabilitation facility to deal with the effects of the stroke. Travis remained in inpatient care until October 11th when he returned to his ranch in Tioga.

While Travis was in the hospital in Plano, TX, the medical professionals and his fiancee were open and forthright about the singer’s condition, at one point holding a press conference to explain the complexities of what had happened to him. But since he was transferred to the impatient rehabilitation facility, any information that has come out has been in bits and pieces, much from unnamed sources, some of which has contradicted itself, and none of which has been confirmed by anyone officially from the Randy Travis camp, leading to an environment of rumor, misinformation, and conjecture about Randy’s condition.

Travis w/ Neil McCoy. Fiancee can be seen in background.

Travis w/ Neil McCoy. Fiancee can be seen in background.

In fact the Randy Travis camp hasn’t even acknowledged Randy’s health issues, unless you want to count the appearance of his fiance at the hospital press conference on July 15th of 2013. Any information officially from his camp has been about his recent release of the album Influence Vol. 1: The Man I Am, or about other incidental happenings. But there has been no prognosis, no diagnosis of Randy’s condition from anyone who can be confirmed to speak officially for the ailing artist.

The next question to ask, and it is an important one, is if it is any of our business? Many times in situations like this, families ask for privacy. However, the Travis family has not asked for privacy, and while Randy’s father seems to be willing to speak to whatever tabloid will have him, and his fiancee or someone else has been approving of the photos of Randy being posted publicly, there has been absolutely no fundamental information released about Randy’s condition. The information that has been released has been unhelpful, and misleading, while the photos paint a rosy picture of Randy’s health that are likely not accurate.

Randy & Dolly Parton in early June, 2014

Randy & Dolly Parton in early June, 2014

Regardless of all the various reports from named and unnamed sources, somewhere there is a team of doctors caring for Randy, and within that team there are official prognoses and diagnoses about his condition. His physical therapists have ways to measure the amount of paralysis he is suffering from, as well as his improvement rated by percentages. Speech pathologists and other therapists have specific information about how much Randy is able to speak or not speak, and can also give specifics about any improvement, or potential for improvement in the future. Yet instead of being given this information, even in the smallest of amounts and in the most respectful of manners, Randy’s fans are left to see saw from one story to another from sources they’re not sure they can trust, delivered by tabloids.

In one respect, it is no business of the public what Randy’s condition is. Medical information is private, and protected by law as such. But that hasn’t stopped Randy’s father, and a handful of unnamed sources talking to the media about his condition in amateur reports that seem to be focused on superficial observations instead of medical prognoses.

They way you fight rumor and conjecture is with facts and information, and we have received none of that from the Randy Travis camp. The fans of Randy Travis are concerned about the star. Their thoughts, and their prayers have been asked for, and have been given, and they want to know how Randy is doing, and they don’t want to have to seek that information out from TMZ or The National Enquirer, especially when it appears to be incorrect, or at the least, contradictory.

Clearly Randy is not able to sing. He clearly hasn’t fully recovered, or he would have already made a live public appearance, and it is understandable that with a performer of his stature, there may be reluctance to give too much information. But his fans are understanding. Many want to help Randy fight this battle. They want to know specifically where to focus their thoughts and prayers. They can take the news, whatever it is. What they can’t take is incorrect news, and being gamed by tabloids. This is Randy Travis, not Kim Kardashian. Randy may not be able to speak, but it is well beyond time for his family, his management, or his label to speak in an official capacity to stamp out rumors, and paint an accurate picture of Randy’s condition.

Jun
7

Randy Travis Health Update: Emerges with Dolly Parton

June 7, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  22 Comments

randy-travisEver since the health problems started for Randy Travis on July 7th, 2013 when the singer was admitted to the hospital for viral cardiomyopathy (a weakening of the heart muscle), and then suffered a stroke as a complication to his treatment and had to have emergency surgery to alleviate pressure on his brain, fans have been concerned for the welfare of Randy, and real news on his status and progress has been scarce.

There have been some good signs of progress here and there however in the form of pictures surfacing occasionally of the singer, including in January when he was seen on his ranch in Tioga, TX near Dallas, and later in February when he made his first public appearance at a Neal McCoy concert in Dallas. Now Randy, who was released from a physical rehabilitation facility on October 11th, 2013, recently attended a Dolly Parton concert at the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, OK on May 31st, and Dolly posted a picture of her, Randy, and country singer Janie Fricke through her Tumblr account with the message, “It was so great to have Randy Travis at my show! Randy is one of my good friends and one of my favorite singer/songwriters of all time.  He was looking good and doing great!”

Though there has yet to be any official word from the Randy Travis camp about the extent of the paralysis suffered during the stroke, or specifics on how his recovery is going, Randy’s father Harold Traywick told Closer Magazine in early February that, “He’s getting his voice back now, little by little.” Another unnamed source said that Randy is “anxious to get back to work and connect with his fans,” and is willing to do “whatever it takes to regain everything [he] lost.” Randy has been working through grueling physical therapy sessions to improve his strength and motor skills. “Randy’s doctors are extremely pleased with his progress,” says the source.

Neal McCoy also told People Magazine in early March, “He looks great, but is still struggling to use both of his hands. “I don’t know if he’ll ever fully recover, but he’s a tough guy with a work ethic. He’s getting his voice back now, little by little.”

Though there’s no official word from doctors whether they think Randy Travis will ever be able to perform again, the pictures of him in public continue to be positive news.

randy-travis-dolly-parton

May
26

New 103.9 GARTH-FM Plays Garth, & Only Garth

May 26, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Podcasting/Radio  //  42 Comments

103.9-garth-fm-louisvilleDo you like Garth Brooks? Do you really like Garth Brooks? To the point where you’re so smitten with Garth’s music you’d be inclined to listen to it 24/7 and nothing else? Well then your in luck neighbor, because a new radio station has just popped up called GARTH-FM in Louisville, KY at 103.9 on the dial, serving the surrounding area and the entire world via the internet with Garth, and Garth only. The station’s slogan is “Garth, The Whole Garth, and Nothing But The Garth.”

The format change for the Summit Media-owned radio station happened over the Memorial Day weekend. It was first thought to be what’s known in the radio station business as “stunting”—where a station will play the same song, or maybe the same artist over and over to draw attention ahead of a format change. But the commitment to GARTH-FM goes much deeper, or that’s what they’re saying at the moment. “There has been attention both inside and outside the industry recently regarding the absence of Garth on country radio these days,” Summit Media Louisville Operations Manager Shane Collins says, citing a recent Inside Radio article on the subject. “We really feel like there is a gap here that needs to be filled.”

Now that gap will be filled in a big way, and 103.9 GARTH-FM will be the first full service radio station to solely play one artist. Illustrating the station’s commitment to Garth, they’ve set up garthlouisville.com and 1039garthfm.com to stream the station online.

Summit Media, the parent company of GARTH-FM, owns about 24 radio stations throughout Kentucky, Alabama, South Carolina, Virginia, and Hawaii, including 3 other Louisville-based radio stations, including the area’s “NEW Country Q 103.1″ Top 40 country counterpart to GARTH-FM.

READ: Country Music Writes A Letter to Garth Brooks

The launching of GARTH-FM adds an interesting wrinkle to the discussion of a potential upcoming format split for country music, with Top 40 country, and “classic” country from the last 25 years going their separate ways. Rumors that this reality might be in the offing were stimulated when Big Machine Records struck a deal with radio giant Cumulus Media to start a new NASH Icons venture.

Another interesting note is that the radio station format that GARTH-FM is replacing was already playing classic country. The previous “Country Legends 103.9″ established on July 23rd, 2008 touted “playing hits from Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Randy Travis.” This creates the question if a potential paradigm shift of country radio into two formats will potentially cannibalize under-performing classic or traditional radio stations that play music beyond this all-of-a-sudden magic 25-year “classic” country window, when big artists like Garth Brooks started their commercial ascent. There is also the possibility that as time goes on, GARTH-FM, just like many stations, could morph into this new 25-year “classic” country format and cover multiple artists.

When we look back, the changeover to GARTH-FM could be a symbolic moment where the cleaving of country music into two formats began …. or a silly idea that was short lived.

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UPDATE: Director of Marketing for Summit Media in Louisville, Brian Eichenberger says, “May we add in other artists at some point? That’s highly possible. But right now we really want to make a statement about, ‘What happened to the 90′s? Let’s bring them back.’ And here’s Garth to do it.READ FULL UPDATE

May
19

Classic & Contemporary Country Could Go Separate Ways

May 19, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Podcasting/Radio  //  30 Comments

 

country-music-split-004Courtesy of SCM’s Special Effects & Poor Photoshopping Dept.

Last week when it was announced that arguably the most powerful country music label in Nashville—-the Big Machine Label Group—was partnering with the 2nd biggest radio station owner in America—Cumulus Media—-to launch a brand new “classic” country venture called NASH Icons that will cover country music from the last 25 years, including releasing albums, setting up live events, and producing comparable programming for radio, there was a sense from the people that cover such things that this news was much more important than the particulars of the Cumulus/Big Machine deal itself. It seemed to be the first step in a precarious walk that country music has been on the brink of for a while now: a potential format split—a clean break for classic country and contemporary country to go about their merry ways and pursue their own fortunes, to be beholden to each other no longer, and put deep-seated resentments and incessant arguments about the direction of the genre to bed for good.

Envision a day where all the current Top 40 country that classic country fans are incensed over is segregated into its own autonomous format, with its own radio stations, and potentially even its own awards, special events and festivals. And the same could happen for classic country. It could have it’s own place to not forget the past, and respect the roots of the genre. With the announcement of the Big Machine / Cumulus deal, the daunting task of splitting country music not only looks possible, it looks like it could be mutually amicable, and a potentially pragmatic way to address many of the problems plaguing the format.

edison-researchSimply looking at the research data for country radio, a format split almost seems pre-ordained. Country radio is not working, and this is beyond opinion, this is tirelessly borne out in research. Every year, radio luminaries and personalities congregate in Nashville in late February for the Country Radio Seminar, and virtually every year, a market research company called Edison Research delivers dire reports about the state of country radio and its continued slide. In 2012, Edison Research brought a study to the conference that proved that country listeners wanted more classic country on radio, and that by following the youth movement, country radio was abandoning large segments of its core audience.

“I believe that we as an industry have really made a mistake in our conception of our own stations,” Larry Rosin of Edison Research said. “While many people don’t want to listen to classic country music, some still do, and we’ve let them float away…We run the risk that we just are more and more pleasing to fewer and fewer people until all we are is ecstatically pleasing a tiny, unsustainable number of people.”

In 2014, Edison Research went further to explain that the same young listeners that country radio is relying on more and more are themselves relying more and more on streaming and other alternative options to radio as opposed to older listeners who tend to use radio more. Larry Rosin implored that “Country radio – radio – is in the fight of its life,” and that voicetracked, or non-live and non-local shows were “essentially a disaster for the radio industry.”

So the writing is on the wall that something needs to happen to country radio, and even though the research and numbers irrefutably seem to be telling country radio that the narrowing of the format to focus on youth and consolidated programming to syndicated national shows is not working, country radio seems to be powerless to change any of these trends. Money is slipping through the fingers of the country music industry because they are under serving so many of the same demographics that have always made up the genre’s core audience.

Scott Borchetta

Scott Borchetta

So here comes Big Machine’s Scott Borchetta, a savvy, new school-style music executive who is a master at finding holes in the market that nobody ever even knew existed, and turning them into revenue streams. As much as some classic country fans may want to decry Borchetta for deepening the youth trends in country, he himself can see there is millions being lost by under serving country’s more classic-style listeners, and he decides to do something about it.

Could a spit of country radio really be possible? Billboard’s radio expert Sean Ross, writer of the Ross on Radio column seems to think so, saying in a recent article, “By partnering with Big Machine Label Group, Cumulus has planted the seed for country radio to do something it has resisted for years: fragment into two different formats that both expose current music.”

Key to the split appears to be this 25 year mark, which as Sean Ross points out was “a period of superstar acts and mass-appeal records that were more widely heard at the time, and heard by a younger audience.” But even more important to understand is that this new “classic” format is not just about playing old songs from older artists, but playing new songs from older artists, and potentially, even older-sounding songs from newer artists. In other words, if this new classic country format becomes a reality, it could not only give a home to artists like Randy Travis and George Strait who’ve been all but forgotten by radio, it could also give a home to artists like Sturgill Simpson and the Turnpike Troubadours who play new music, but in a more classic style. The new classic format could finally be the much longed-for way to expose country’s overlooked independent artists to a wide, national radio audience.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Big Machine and Cumulus could be two huge companies with a lot of sway in the music industry, but do they really have the muscle to set up an entirely new radio format by themselves? They may not, and most important to understand about the NASH Icons deal is it doesn’t just involve radio, but album releases, and other cross-format events that will certainly take into consideration the current realities of music, including the declining use of radio in general, as well as declining physical sales.

nashNASH Icons will be multi-pronged. But so will be the potential answer from Cumulus and Big Machine’s competition, especially if the venture is successful. It seems strange that Big Machine’s Scott Borchetta chose Cumulus as his dance partner, instead of their bigger rival Clear Channel, which Borchetta has already made a number of historic deals with in recent years. It could be because Cumulus is more focused on their NASH branding, and is willing to concede certain things to get their big ‘N’ emblem out there. But this certainly doesn’t mean that Clear Channel will sit tight and not try to launch their own classic format.

Clear Channel & Cumulus have been locked in a media arms race. When Clear Channel started adding more syndicated, national programming with personalities like Bobby Bones and Cody Alan, Cumulus launched their “American Morning Show” with Blair Garner and Terri Clark. When Clear Channel began to focus on their iHeartRadio app, Cumulus partnered with streaming app Rdio. It’s certainly not unreasonable to think Clear Channel could launch a venture similar to NASH Icons soon, and this could start a chain reaction across the country and spring a brand new classic country format into being.

Of course there is a long way to go before this is a reality, but with the announcement of NASH Icons, we’ve never been closer to a classic/contemporary country divorce. Would it be good for country music, and for country radio? That would remain to be seen, borne out in the particulars of how the new split formats formed. The classic rock format has obviously been wildly successful for radio over the years, aside from feeling tired from a lack of new music being interjected into it by its programmers. And classic rock has existed right beside “oldies” stations, which are the equivalent to the traditional country stations that exist to a smaller degree in the American radio landscape, and do quite well in certain places covering music beyond the 25-year “classic” window.

The difference between NASH Icons and classic rock though, is the new music quotient that would keep the format relevant and vibrant. We could even see the CMA recognize both “Classic” and “Contemporary” Albums of the Year, and other fundamental changes to the format to face both it’s growing reach, and widening demographics. Remember everyone talking about George Strait’s wins for Entertainer of the Year at the CMA and ACM awards as parting gifts to classic country? This could be another sign of the almost inevitable split.

Of course we may be getting way ahead of ourselves. But the possibility of a format split, and a new “classic” country format being launched is very real. And if the new format does take hold, it may dramatically change the paradigm for country music, and finally return classic-style country to the ears of thirsty listeners.

May
14

Cumulus & Big Machine Partner for “Classic” Nash Icons Venture

May 14, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Podcasting/Radio  //  28 Comments

nashAs Saving Country Music has been saying all year, mergers, acquisitions, and cross-platform partnerships are going to be the big story of 2014, and will reorganize and churn country music in a manner that the genre has never seen before in its entire history. At the forefront of this historic reorganization has been America’s two biggest radio station owners: Clear Channel & Cumulus, who are betting big on country to become America’s most dominant radio format. Right beside them making big moves is arguably the most powerful label in country music at the moment: Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine Records. The Big Machine Label Group has already reached landmark deals with Clear Channel for the use of its artists’ music on radio, and with other entities such as Dr. Luke. And now Big Machine has partnered with Cumulus on a venture that very well could end up creating an entirely new sub-genre or sub-format of country music.

Announced late Tuesday, NASH Icons, a takeoff on Cumulus’ already-established nationally-syndicated NASH brand, is a partnership with the Big Machine Label Group for the purpose of taking old and new music from artists “of the past 25 years” and giving its own place to live. Though no specific artists to be featured have been detailed yet, the idea seems to encompass music from performers like Big Machine’s Tim McGraw and Reba McEntire, and many others artists like Garth Brooks and Randy Travis who’ve had big careers in the past 25 years and that have massive back catalogs of country music that have been virtually abandoned by mainstream radio and many major record labels.

Though detailed specifics of exactly what NASH Icons will look like once it rolls out have not been made available, the two companies are planning a NASH Icons record label that would distribute both old and new music from NASH Icons artists. NASH Icons will also host live events such as special media programming, and potentially tours and festivals, and have streaming and syndicated radio programs specifically catering to the NASH Icons 25-year brand.

Though the term “classic” has been thrown out there to describe the country music that will be featured with the new venture, it appears to be purposely focused on music from a 25-year window, meaning that anything before 1989—when artists like Garth Brooks, Clint Black, and Brooks & Dunn really started their rise—will likely not be included.

As consumer study group Edison Research has pointed out numerous times over the past few years, mainstream country radio has been ignoring its classic country fan base, and the result has been an acceleration of country radio’s loss of listeners that has already been occurring naturally because of the emergence of new media options for consumers like Pandora, Spotify, and satellite radio. This venture signals from both Cumulus and Big Machine that they recognize there is an untapped market for older country music that has been ignored in a growing manner by mainstream country radio focusing on youth and the here-and-now.

Study: Radio Consolidation Not Working

However the move could also accelerate this trend if anything seen as “classic” is moved to an entirely different format. If 25-year-old country music is completely segregated from mainstream country, it leaves mainstream country to become a true, current-only country equivalent of Top 40, where any music over a couple of years old will be entirely stricken from the format. In other words, older country could be banished to the old folks home, out of sight and out of mind from mainstream consumers. This trend could also spread to industry award shows and other cultural institutions of country music.

At the same time, it could also finally give aging country artists and fans a format, and somewhere to go when mainstream radio will no longer pay attention to them.

Big Machine and Cumulus would not be getting into this business if they didn’t feel there was money to be made. At the same time, the two companies may see this as a way to placate much of the current criticism being levied at the country oligarchy for abandoning its roots, and abandoning the artists and fans that made country into the commercially-successful format it is today.

What the true impact of NASH Icons will be is yet to be seen, or if Clear Channel, Cumulus’ main rival, will launch their own “classic” venture with another partner, as the two media giants saddled with billions in debt and looking toward country music as their way out  match each other tit for tat in the current country music media arms race. The billions of debt that Cumulus carries, along with their other plans for big-minded partnerships and licensing deals that include making NASH-branded food, clothing, furniture, and even paint cast the question of how the company plans to levy the capital to pay for this all, and if country is truly on such a meteoric rise that all the entities looking to capitalize off of it will end up cannibalizing each other as they all fight for the same slices of the pie, regardless of how much that pie is incrementally growing.

Either way, this partnership is not just fodder for Page 2 of radio trade publications. This could spark a significant moment in creating a new format for the country music that has been abandoned by the mainstream, or it could stimulate mainstream country abandoning its roots even further. Or both.

Feb
17

2014 Country Music Hall of Fame Picks & Prognostications

February 17, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Random Notes  //  92 Comments

country-music-hall-of-fame

It’s that time of year again when we’re on the verge of hearing who the next class of inductees to the Country Music Hall of Fame will be. Though the date seems to be getting later and later each year (last year it stretched all the way to April 10th—2012 was announced on March 6th), as soon as spring starts to break, you can be assured an announcement is coming soon.

It must be said whenever broaching the subject of the Country Music Hall of Fame that it has been The Hall’s desire over the years to have it be an exclusive institutions when it comes to inductees. Where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and certain sports seem to throw the barn doors wide and accept all comers, the Country Music Hall of Fame would rather take gruff for who is not in the The Hall as opposed to who shouldn’t be, but is. You can always induct someone in the future, but it’s nearly impossible to throw someone out.


The Rules

country-music-hall-of-fameThe Country Music Hall of Fame inductees are selected through a committee process appointed by the Country Music Association, or CMA. Since 2010, the selection process has been split up into three categories. 1) Modern Era (eligible for induction 20 years after they first achieve “national prominence”). 2) Veterans Era (eligible for induction 45 years after they first achieve “national prominence”). 3) Non-Performer, Songwriter, and Recording and/or Touring Musician active prior to 1980 (rotates every 3 years). With a musician, Hargus “Pig” Robbins selected in 2012, and a non-performer in “Cowboy” Jack Clement selected last year (though he was a performer and songwriter, it was more for his producer role), it would a songwriter’s turn up to bat this year.

Since 2001, anywhere from 2 to 4 names have been added to the Hall of Fame each year. Usually one name from the above mentioned categories makes it per year, but if no name gets enough of a majority vote, a category may not be represented in a given year. Or, if two names get enough votes from a category, then both may come from that category.

See The Complete Hall of Fame Induction Process


Potential Modern Era Inductees

Last year’s inductee – Kenny Rogers

ricky-skaggsRicky Skaggs – Ricky Skaggs is the artist that has felt like he’s been right on the bubble of being inducted over the last couple of years. Skaggs has bookened his career as a mandolin maestro, studied under Bill Monroe, and is now firmly ensconcing himself as a country music elder. In between then, he had tremendous commercial success in the 80′s when country was searching for its next superstar. Few could argue with this pick and Skaggs is very well liked across country music. He was also announced recently as the Country Music Hall of Fame’s “Artist in Residence.” Though there is no official correlation between being named an Artist in Residence and being inducted the next year, that coincidence has happened numerous times, including for last year’s modern era inductee, Kenny Rogers. Skaggs has to be considered a frontrunner.

ronnie-milsapRonnie Milsap - Milsap is a name that has probably been on final ballots for the Hall of Fame for going on two decades, and in a couple of years will cycle over to a veteran’s era candidate, if he hasn’t already depending on where you want to start the clock on him. Though his commercial success is unquestionable, the fact that he started outside the genre and found a lot of his success as a crossover star might make him a hard name for voters to pull the trigger on. Having said that, seeing another name who started outside of country and had a lot of his success in the crossover world get inducted last year in Kenny Rogers, might move Milsap one step closer.

alan-jacksonAlan Jackson – 2013 was Jackson’s first year of eligibility, and there was a sense he just missed out on being a first year Modern Era inductee like Garth Brooks and Reba McEntire. A huge commercial success in his day who always payed homage to the roots of the genre and the artists who came before him, Jackson is a shoe-in for The Hall eventually, and should be a very strong candidate this year. He’s well-liked, with little to no baggage (there was that whole George Jones “Choices” thing back in 1999 at the CMA Awards, but hey, that was a long time ago). Alan Jackson is a strong contender.

randy-travisRandy Travis – At this time last year, despite Randy’s fresh eligibility and unquestionable credentials for the Hall, he was facing a string of drunk driving charges, and spinning the unsavory story of trying to bum a cigarette at a gas station naked. In such a crowded field, it was easy to give Travis a pass. But this year the story is much different. After suffering from a heart condition and stroke while in the midst of a strong recovery from his personal issues, Randy Travis has to be considered the sympathy favorite for the distinction. Will it be enough? Maybe not, but Randy will be a frontrunner in the Modern Era until he’s inducted.

brooks-and-dunnBrooks & Dunn – A commercial powerhouse whose career was somewhat overshadowed by the success of Garth and their strange place as a non-familial country duo, their first album Brand New Man sold 6 million copies, and they won the CMA for Vocal Duo of the Year every year but one between 1992 and 2006. Their success is not debatable, but did they have the type of influence it takes to be Hall of Famers this early in their eligibility window, and with this crowded of a field? And does the fact that they’re no longer a functioning act hurt them, or is Kix with his radio work and Dunn with his brewing country revolution still visible enough? A few more names may have to tick off the list before their turn, but they have to be considered contenders.

Other Possible Modern Era Inductees:

  • The Oak Ridge Boys – Another Strong Contender
  • The Judds
  • Dwight Yoakam – You’d think with 25 million records sold, his name would be more associated with this distinction. Maybe in the coming years.
  • Keith Whitley – Garth Brooks a couple of years ago said he deserved induction before him.
  • Clint Black – If it wasn’t for his career’s disappearing act, his name would be right up there with Travis, Jackson, and Brooks & Dunn
  • Toby Keith – Officially eligible because he had his first success in 1993, but probably on the outside-looking-in for the next few years
  • Charlie Daniels
  • Tayna Tucker
  • Crystal Gayle
  • Gene Watson
  • Mickey Gilley

Potential Veterans Era Inductees

Last year’s inductee – Bobby Bare

Predicting the Veterans Era nominees is notoriously foolhardy because they pull from such a wide field of potential inductees. It’s made one measure harder by a general lack of chatter out there surrounding potential nominees compared to previous years. But here’s a few educated guesses.

jerry-lee-lewisJerry Lee Lewis – He’s a definite possibility for induction, and with the lack of a clear front runner, this might be his year. He may be held back some since he came from rock & roll, and his antics on The Grand Ole Opry and other places over the years. But his contributions as one of country music’s preeminent piano players cannot be denied. If Elvis is in the Country Hall (and he is), his old Sun Studios buddy can’t be counted out.

jerry-reedJerry Reed – Such a great ambassador over the years for country music from his work with Smokey & The Bandit to Scooby-Doo, but Jerry Reed should be inducted for his stellar and influential work as both a performer, songwriter, and a musician. There weren’t many better guitar pickers back in the day than Jerry Reed. And his work as a session musician with so many of country music’s big names made him a well-known and likable character throughout the genre.

hank-williams-jrHank Williams Jr. – It’s somewhat hard to know if Hank Jr. should be considered a Veteran or Modern Era candidate because of the double-era aspect of his career, but he’s a contender either way. However despite his two CMA Entertainer of the Year awards and millions of albums sold, you don’t get the sense it’s his time just yet. Only playing around 18 shows a year these days, and generally being once removed from the moving and shaking of the country genre while he pursues a quasi political career, Hank Jr. could be passed over this year others pushing harder for the distinction.

lynn-andersonLynn Anderson & Dottie West – Lynn and Dottie are the two ladies that likely lead the field for female veteran inductees. Both of these ladies are right on the bubble, as they have probably been for many years. Since there wasn’t a woman inductee last year and there’s no strong female contenders in the Modern Era category, the pressure to include a woman from the veteran field in 2014 might be greater.

maddox-brothers-and-roseThe Maddox Brothers & Rose – The Maddox Brothers & Rose was a name that probably wasn’t on many people’s radar until the last couple of years. With their prominent place at the very beginning of the Hall of Fame’s current Bakersfield Sound exhibit, it is hard not to see how important their influence was on country, especially West Coast country, and the flashy dress of country performers that still influences the genre today. It may be a long shot, but if groups like The Jordanaires and The Sons of the Pioneers are in The Hall, certainly The Maddox Brothers & Rose should be. And it would be great to see happen while the final member, the 91-year-old Don Maddox, is still around.

gram-parsonsGram Parsons – Gram’s inclusion here is always a topic of great discussion. In 2013 there was a greater push than ever to induct him, with influential Country Music writer Chet Flippo personally making the case for him, and other chatter that 2013 might be his year. But it wasn’t, and it may be years before it is, but his name is always in the field for this accolade, and looking at the influence Gram had showing millions of rock and roll fans the beauty of country music, it should be.

john-hartfordJohn Hartford – This is a long shot pick, but he deserves induction. As I said in my prognostications from a couple of year ago, “The Country Music Hall of Fame works like a timeline as you walk through the displays that weave around the massive archive in the center of the building. As you start from the beginning, each artist and their impact is displayed on a plaque that includes their Hall of Fame induction date. When I came to the John Hartford display on my last visit to The Hall this summer, he was the first to have a display, but no Hall of Fame induction date.”

tompall-glaserTompall Glaser & The Glaser Brothers – Probably another long shot, but one that has to be considered a more legitimate contender in 2014 with the passing of Tompall last year. It probably helps that his brothers-in-Outlaw-country-arms Bobby Bare and “Cowboy” Jack Clement were inducted last year, moving folks like Tompall and other Outlaw-esque country music personalities one step closer in the process.

johnny-paycheck-150x150Johnny Paycheck and David Allan Coe – These names come up every year from hard country fans, and are names regularly held up as evidence of the Hall of Fame’s illegitimacy. The simple truth is that with these two performer’s shady pasts, Hall of Fame induction is going to be difficult. Johnny Paycheck has a more distinct possibility than David Allan Coe, because Coe could create a public relations nightmare for the Hall of Fame from people (correct or not) who label Coe a racist, sexist, etc. etc. Patience mixed with persistence is what Coe and Paycheck fans need to see their heroes inducted, as time heals all wounds. One positive sign for them is the induction of Bobby Bare and “Cowboy” Jack Clement last year. This means the CMA committee is willing to pick Outlaw artists and personalities for the Hall, and those two inductions move Paycheck and Coe two steps closer.

Randomly, I also think there’s a strong chance that the next major rotating exhibit at The Hall could be a feature on the Outlaw era of country, which might also give people like Paycheck, Coe, Tompall, and others a chance to be featured at the Hall of Fame beyond induction.

Other Possible Veterans Era Inductees:

  • Jimmy Martin
  • Vern Gosdin
  • Ralph Stanley
  • Johnny Horton
  • The Browns
  • June Carter Cash
  • Wynn Stewart
  • Jim Ed Brown

Potential Songwriter Inductees

Last songwriter inducted – Bobby Braddock in 2011

The 3rd category rotates between a musician, a non-performer (executive, producer, journalist, etc.), or songwriter on different years. 2014 would be a songwriter year.

Though there may be some artists that would technically qualify for induction under this category like Keith Whitley, Townes Van Zandt, Billy Joe Shaver, or any number of other artists that have extensive songwriting credits, this category is meant for behind-the-scenes songwriters who would never be inducted if not for this category. Though the award might go to someone with a little more modern success as a songwriter to go along with their storied history, here’s two interesting names that deserve strong consideration.

Hank Cochran

Hank Cochran

Hank Cochran  – Hank would be a worthy inductee, and it just might happen for him as a songwriter of both critical acclaim and commercial success. It can’t hurt that Jamey Johnson also recently release a tribute to Cochran, making him front-of-mind when voters are thinking of songwriters who deserve this distinction. Cochran should be considered a front runner.

John D. Loudermilk – A cousin to The Louvin Brothers that had great commercial success as a songwriter in the 60′s and 70′s, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1976, and certainly deserves consideration for this distinction. Nonetheless, it’s probably a long shot.

Shel Silverstein would be another interesting name.


Picks and Predictions

Who I Think Will Be Inducted

  • Ricky Skaggs or Alan Jackson – Modern Era
  • Jerry Lee Lewis, Vern Gosdin, or Jerry Reed – Veterans Era
  • Hank Cochran – Songwriter

Who I Think Should Be Inducted

  • Ricky Skaggs – Modern Era
  • Maddox Brothers & Rose / Tompall & The Glaser Brothers – Veterans Era
  • Hank Cochran – Songwriter

Feb
6

UPDATED: Randy Travis Getting His Voice Back, Makes Public Appearance

February 6, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  20 Comments

randy-travis

***UPDATE – Randy Travis made his first public appearance since his stroke on Friday, 2-8-14. See full update below.

Randy Travis is beginning to regain his voice, and there are more positive signs in the recovery of the ailing country star according to his family and other sources.

Randy’s father Harold Traywick has told Closer Magazine that, “He’s getting his voice back now, little by little.” Another unnamed source says that Randy is “anxious to get back to work and connect with his fans,” and is willing to do “whatever it takes to regain everything [he] lost.” Randy has been working through grueling physical therapy sessions to improve his strength and motor skills. “Randy’s doctors are extremely pleased with his progress,” says the source.

There is even word that Randy is working on plans to promote his latest album Influence Vol. 1: The Man I Am that was released on September 30th, 2013 amidst Randy’s health woes. This news comes on the heels of photos of Randy on his ranch that surfaced in late January, showing the singer smiling and in good spirits.

Randy Travis was initially admitted to the hospital on July 7th, 2013 for viral cardiomyopathy, or a weakening of the heart muscle. While being treated for the condition at The Heart Hospital in Plano, TX, Travis suffered a stroke as a complication to the treatment, and had to undergo emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. The surgery was successful, but Travis remained in the hospital until late July when he was moved to a rehabilitation facility to deal with the effects of the stroke. While in rehab, Travis contracted pneumonia according to friend Sammy Kershaw. Travis remained in inpatient care until October 11th when he returned to his ranch in Tioga, TX.

In November of 2013, Randy’s father Harold Traywick gave the grim outlook that Randy Travis may never perform again, saying that Randy was paralyzed on his right side and could barely speak. Since then, the news has been more upbeat about Randy’s recovery, with news that he had progressed from needing a wheelchair, to being able to walk with a walker, to now being able to walk on his own.

Specifics on Randy’s condition have been hard to come by for fans worried about the long-term effects from Randy’s recent health problems, leading to much speculation and concern. Randy himself has still yet to make any public appearances or statements since his recent health scare.


***UPDATE 2/8/14: Randy Travis made his first public appearance since his heart problems & stroke at a Smiles For Life benefit concert in Dallas, TX on January 30th. Randy’s good friend Neal McCoy invited him backstage and posted this picture on February 7th. “Pretty honored this was Randy’s first time out and his first time to have Cowboy boots on since his illness,” said McCoy. “Gettin’ Better!!!”

neil-mcCoy-randy-travis-first-public-appearance

 

Jan
21

Photos of a Recovering Randy Travis Surface

January 21, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  18 Comments

randy-travis-ranch-2Photos of a recovering Randy Travis have finally been surfacing on Twitter over the recent days—the first glimpse concerned country music fans have seen of the future Country Hall of Famer since he suffered a stroke and subsequent health issues in July of 2013. A smiling Travis looks to be on the road to recovery.

Randy Travis was initially admitted to the hospital on July 7th, 2013 for viral cardiomyopathy, or a weakening of the heart muscle. While being treated for the condition at The Heart Hospital in Plano, TX, Travis suffered a stroke as a complication to the treatment, and had to undergo emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. The surgery was successful, but Travis remained in the hospital until late July when he was moved to a rehabilitation facility to deal with the effects of the stroke. While in rehab, Travis contracted pneumonia according to friend Sammy Kershaw. Travis remained in inpatient care until October 11th when he returned to his ranch in Tioga, TX.

randy-travis-ranch-1On January 19th, family friend Anthony Maurizio posted a black and white photo of Randy with his fiance Mary Beougher standing behind him, with the caption “Glad to see Randy Travis healing nicely.” Bobby and Lisa Vaughn also posted photos of Randy on Jan. 19th sitting in a covered ATV at his ranch in Tioga.

In early November, Randy’s father Harold Traywick gave the grim outlook that Randy Travis may never perform again, saying that Randy was paralyzed on his right side and could barely speak. Since then, the news has been more upbeat about Randy’s recovery. Artist Bonnie Paul who has co-written songs with Randy said through Twitter on December 9th, 2013 that Randy was out of the wheelchair and able to walk with a walker. Then on December 20th she said that Randy was walking on his own.

Specifics on Randy’s condition have been hard to come by for fans worried about the long-term effects from Randy’s recent health problems, leading to much speculation and concern. Randy himself has yet to make any public appearances or statements since his recent health scare, and there has been no official word from doctors on the severity of his condition or the long-term prognosis.

Photos from Anthony Maurizio:

randy-travis-recovery

randy-travis-3

Dec
9

Top 10 Biggest Country Music News Stories in 2013

December 9, 2013 - By Trigger  //  News  //  24 Comments

20132013 was a year defined by massive stories in country music. From historic deaths like the passing of country music writer Chet Flippo, artist and producer Tompall Glaser, producer and songwriter “Cowboy” Jack Clement, Willie Nelson guitarist Jody Payne and others, to the feuds that erupted as country music continues to be in the midst of a culture war, 2013 was tumultuous to say the least.

Please note that these top 10 stories are not based off of what Saving Country Music sees as the most important, but the amount of traffic and interest each story received, sometimes accrued over multiple stories on the same subject. So it’s you who chose what the top stories were.

10. Gary Allan Calls Out Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift

gary-allanWith so many call outs and feuds transpiring in 2013, this one tends to get swept under the rug. When asked by Larry King Whether Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood are country, Gary Allan responded:

“You know, I would say no. I would say they’re pop artists making a living in the country genre. I also feel like we lost our genre. I don’t feel like I make music for a genre anymore, and I did, you know, 15 years ago. But I think since the Clear Channel’s and the Cumulus’s and the big companies bought up all the chains, now it’s about a demographic. You know, so they’ve kind of sliced everything up, feeding it to the public in demographics.”

Gary Allan later back peddled from his statements pretty hard after it caused a blowup.

9. Tom Petty Calls Modern Country Bad Rock with a Fiddle.

tom-pettyThough there had been a few rumblings from other artists ahead of Tom Petty’s statements, it was his interview with Rolling Stone that got the 2013 Season of Discontent rolling in earnest.

“Well, yeah I mean, I hate to generalize on a whole genre of music, but it does seem to be missing that magic element that it used to have. I’m sure there are people playing country that are doing it well, but they’re just not getting the attention that the shittier stuff gets. But that’s the way it always is, isn’t it?

“But I hope that kind of swings around back to where it should be. But I don’t really see a George Jones or a Buck Owens or any anything that fresh coming up. I’m sure there must be somebody doing it, but most of that music reminds me of rock in the middle Eighties where it became incredibly generic and relied on videos.”

8. Jason Aldean Defends Luke Bryan from Zac Brown

jason-aldean-2Luke Bryan’s pop country buddy Jason Aldean came to the rescue when Zac Brown called Luke Bryan’s song “That’s My Kind Of Night” the “worst song ever” (see below). The reaction also stimulated an explosive rant against Jason Aldean from Saving Country Music.

“I hear some other artist are bashing my boy @lukebryan new song, sayin its the worst song they have ever heard…….. To those people runnin their mouths, trust me when i tell u that nobody gives a shit what u think. Its a big ol hit so apparently the fans love it which is what matters. Keep doin ur thing LB!!!”

7. 47th Annual CMA Awards

CMA-AwardsFrom all the usual pop frivolity, to the very unlikely win for Entertainer of the Year by George Strait, the 47th Annual CMA Awards became one of the biggest story lines in 2013, including the Saving Country Music LIVE Blog of the event, and our recap the next day:

“Was it a parting gift for Strait after announcing his final tour? Of course it was. But it doesn’t mean it wasn’t deserved, and it doesn’t mean it isn’t sweet, both for George, and for traditional country fans, even the ones who may not mark themselves as big George Strait supporters. Strait’s win marks the first time in a decade a true country artist has won the trophy.”

6. Willie Nelson Band Bus Crashes

willie-nelson-tour-bus-accidentWillie’s long-time drummer and manager Paul English, his brother, and another crew member of Willie Nelson’s family band sustained minor injuries, but luckily the accident was not as bad as the picture appeared when it first surfaced. As the elder statesman of country music, the safety and health of Willie Nelson is always a concern for country fans.

“One of Willie Nelson’s band buses—not Willie’s famed Honeysuckle Rose—was involved in a bad accident late last night (11-22) in Texas on Interstate 30 in icy, Winter conditions. The accident occurred at roughly 3:30 AM Central time near Sulphur Springs. Multiple injuries have been reported, with multiple band members and/or crew injured, including Willie Nelson’s long-time drummer Paul English who reportedly broke his ankle.”

5. Zac Brown Calls Luke Bryan’s “That’s My Kind Of Night” The Worst Song Ever

zac-brownThe biggest of the 2013 country music blowups by far, Zac Brown takes Luke Bryan’s booty-shaking country rap to task.

“I love Luke Bryan and he’s had some great songs, but this new song is the worst song I’ve ever heard. I know Luke, he’s a friend. ‘My Kind Of Night’ is one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard. I see it being commercially successful, in what is called country music these days, but I also feel like that the people deserve something better than that. Country fans and country listeners deserve to have something better than that, a song that really has something to say, something that makes you feel something. Good music makes you feel something. When songs make me wanna throw up, it makes me ashamed to even be in the same genre as those songs.”

4. Randy Travis Suffers Heart Problem & Stroke

randy-travisWhen a country music legend is debilitated when he’s still in his mid 50′s, especially one with the voice and talent of Randy Travis, it is nothing short of a travesty. Continuing the pain and intrigue in the story has been the lack of information on just exactly how well Randy is doing, though his father says the situation looks bleak. Thoughts and prayers continue for Randy Travis, and maybe one of the big stories of 2014 will be his recovery and return.

“Country Music singer Randy Travis is in critical condition in a Texas hospital, according to his publicist, and has now suffered a stroke. Travis was admitted the the hospital on Sunday July 7th for complications with viral cardiomyopathy that he acquired recently.

Cardiomyopathy is a weakening of the heart muscle or another problem with the heart muscle. It often occurs when the heart cannot pump as well as it should, or with other heart function problems. Most patients with cardiomyopathy eventually suffer from heart failure. Though the term can apply to most diseases affecting the heart, it is usually only reserved for the most severe myocardial disease leading to heart failure.”

3. George Jones Passes Away

george-jonesIn a year of notable country deaths, this is one of the biggest in the history of the genre as arguably the best singer to ever grace country music passes away. From the the news of his death, to the the unveiling of the monument in Nashville, to the historic tribute show that transpired in place of what was supposed to be his last show, the passing of George Jones was one of the biggest stories in 2013, as it should be.

“George Jones, aka, The Possum, has died at age 81. While in the midst of his 60-date farewell tour, Jones was hospitalized for running a slight fever and for having irregular blood pressure, canceling shows in both Atlanta, and Salem, VA. His next show was to be tomorrow, April 27th, in Huntsville, AL. George had been suffering from breathing problems for the last few years. A family member told TMZ, ‘He has been on oxygen for a long while now and his lungs finally just couldn’t do it anymore and they collapsed and he passed away. He couldn’t breathe anymore on his own.’ The official cause of death has been named ‘Hypoxic Respiratory Failure.’”

2. Blake Shelton Calls Classic Country Fans “Old Farts & Jackasses”

blake-sheltonArguably one of the stories we’ll reflect back on as putting Saving Country music on the map, Blake Shelton in a documentary on GAC had some unkind things to say about country music’s classic and traditional country fans, causing Ray Price to respond, Willie Nelson to rename his tour the “Old Farts and Jackasses” tour, and making the term “Old Farts and Jackasses” a term of endearment amongst true country fans heretofore.

“If I am ‘Male Vocalist of the Year’ that must mean that I’m one of those people now that gets to decide if it moves forward and if it moves on. Country music has to evolve in order to survive. Nobody wants to listen to their grandpa’s music. And I don’t care how many of these old farts around Nashville going, ‘My God, that ain’t country!’ Well that’s because you don’t buy records anymore, jackass. The kids do, and they don’t want to buy the music you were buying.”

1. Wayne Mills Shot & Killed By Chris Ferrell in Nashville

wayne-mills-3Despite all the massive news stories of 2013, this is the one that caused the most intrigue and outrage. From the news of Wayne’s death, to the controversial airing of a Spike TV reality show featuring the bar where Wayne was shot, to the two week wait until the arrest of the shooter Chris Ferrell, to the memorial, it was the biggest story of 2013, that with a potential trial or plea deal looming in the future, may also end up being one of the biggest stories of 2014 as well.

“Outlaw country music singer-songwriter and performer Wayne Mills of the Wayne Mills Band has been pronounced dead at Vanderbilt University Medical Center after being shot in the head at 5 AM this morning outside of the Pit and Barrel bar at 515 2nd Ave in Nashville. “God be with us all in this tragedy……” was posted on Wayne’s Facebook page.

“44 year-year-old Jerald Wayne Mills was at the Pit and Barrel early this morning when apparently an altercation erupted with the owner, Chris Michael Ferrell, after Wayne was smoking in a non-smoking area. Everyone else in the bar went outside, and later witnesses heard gunshots fired and called police. Ferrell told police he acted in self-defense.The bar owner has a valid handgun carry permit. Chris Ferrell and Wayne Mills were reportedly good friends, and they were hanging out at the bar after attending the George Jones Tribute earlier in the evening.”

Nov
4

Randy Travis May Never Perform Again, Says Father

November 4, 2013 - By Trigger  //  News  //  51 Comments

randy-travisNews from the camp of Randy Travis was bleak this weekend when sources close to the country music singer painted a grim picture about the prospects for Randy’s long-term recovery and the possibility of him performing in the future. According to Randy’s father Harold Traywick, “Randy is still in very bad shape. It’s possible he’ll never perform again.”

Other, unnamed sources went into further detail with tabloid magazine The National Enquirer, saying that Travis had to have a portion of his skull removed during emergency brain surgery that was then reattached with titanium screws. One source described as a family friend says, “Randy is still paralyzed on his right side. He can’t walk and he can barely speak. There’s nothing more doctors can do. Randy’s chances of a full recovery don’t look good.” This source could not be verified independently by Saving Country Music, and no official word from Randy or his publicist has been given about his long-term prognosis.

Randy Travis was initially admitted to the hospital on July 7th, 2013 for viral cardiomyopathy, or a weakening of the heart muscle. While being treated for the condition at The Heart Hospital in Plano, TX, Travis suffered a stroke as a complication to the treatment, and had to undergo emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. The surgery was successful, but Travis remained in the hospital until late July when he was moved to a rehabilitation facility to deal with the effects of the stroke. While in rehab, Travis contracted pneumonia according to friend Sammy Kershaw. Travis remained in inpatient care until October 11th when he returned to his ranch in Tioga, TX.

Specifics on Randy’s condition have been very hard to come by for fans worried about the long-term effects from Randy’s recent health problems, leading to much speculation and concern. Randy himself has yet to make any public appearances or statements since his recent health scare.

Oct
13

Jake Owen: Country Needs More Than “Tailgates & F*ckin’ Cups”

October 13, 2013 - By Trigger  //  Random Notes  //  61 Comments

jake-owenYet another big name country star is speaking out about the current state of country music. This time it is RCA Records’ Jake Owen who is out promoting his new single “Days of Gold” ahead of the release of his upcoming album of the same name December 3rd. On that album is a piano and pedal steel-driven ballad called “(We All Want) What We Ain’t Got,” and when talking to Rolling Stone about the song, Jake said:

“We need more of those kinds of songs in [country music]. “We need more songs than just songs about tailgates and fuckin’ cups and Bacardi and stuff like that. We need songs that get ourselves back to the format that made me love it . . .  [like] when guys like Randy Travis released songs like ‘He Walked on Water’ – songs that meant something, man!”

Jake Owen is referring to the current trend amongst mainstream country males to depend on very obvious and simplistic songwriting formulas that simply refer to artifacts of country life, known to their detractors as checklist, or laundry list country songs. His reference to “cups” may be a specific dig at Toby Keith’s recent hit “Red Solo Cup.”

Jake Owen joins a growing chorus of artists decrying country music’s current direction, including Alan Jackson, Kacey Musgraves, Gary Allan, and most notably Zac Brown who recently called Luke Bryan’s current #1 single “That’s My Kind Of Night” the worst song ever. But as it has been asserted about some of the other recently outspoken country stars, Jake Owen’s criticisms seem like a case of the pot calling the kettle black, and certainly even more so than that case could be made about Zac Brown or Gary Allan.

Jake Owen acknowledges he’s not always been the deepest of performers in the same Rolling Stone interview, saying, “I’ve definitely had moments in my career where I’ve released songs that were not necessarily the most, you know, in-depth-written song, or maybe it was a party anthem. I wanted to start adding more validity to my music.” But a few seconds into Jake’s current single “Days of Gold” and you don’t hear validity, you hear hypocrisy compared to his recent statements, however much substance the other songs of his upcoming album might have.

“Long truck bed hop in it, Fire engine red like her lip stick
Out here we can let it go, But just me and my good friends
Jug of wine little sip, Out here baby you just never know”

There seems to be little or no trouble for country music’s stars to spy the problem of constantly calling on the same tired formulas for hit radio singles, but they don’t seem to be inclined or empowered to do anything about it. It’s very likely Jake Owens’ new album will include songs with more depth, just like many of the albums of country’s top male stars do. But in a music world dominated by singles, song downloads, streams, and viral videos, it is unlikely the public will hear them en masse as they will a song like “Days Of Gold.”

Pot, meet kettle.

Oct
10

Randy Travis to Finally Return Home This Weekend After Health Problems

October 10, 2013 - By Trigger  //  News  //  18 Comments

randy-travisCountry star Randy Travis, who suffered a series of major health issues beginning in July, will finally be returning home to his ranch this weekend in Tioga, TX, just northwest of Dallas according to the singer’s representative.

Travis was initially admitted to the hospital on July 7th, 2013 for viral cardiomyopathy, or a weakening of the heart muscle. While being treated for the condition at The Heart Hospital in Plano, TX, Travis suffered a stroke as a complication to the treatment, and had to undergo emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. The surgery was successful, but Travis remained in the hospital until late July when he was moved to a rehabilitation facility to deal with the effects of the stroke. While in rehab, Travis contracted pneumonia according to friend Sammy Kershaw. Travis has been in inpatient care ever since.

Read A Timeline of Updates on Randy Travis’s Health

The health troubles came right as Travis was making a resurgence in his career. He’d recently released a single “Tonight I’m Playing Possum,” a tribute to the recently-passed George Jones. On September 30th, Travis released Influence Vol. 1: The Man I Am, and album of cover songs that inspired his country career.

Travis’s rep says he’s “currently in Texas in physical therapy and doing great!” but there is still no word on any long-term effects Randy might have suffered during the numerous health scares, or if he plans to perform or to make any public appearances anytime soon.

Aug
22

Sammy Kershaw: Randy Travis Has Developed Pneumonia in Rehab

August 22, 2013 - By Trigger  //  News  //  5 Comments

randy-travisOver the last few days, rumors have been swirling that Randy Travis has contracted pneumonia while in a Dallas-area rehab facility, recovering from a recent stroke he had while being treated for a heart condition. The primary source of that information appears to be fellow traditional country music star and Randy Travis friend Sammy Kershaw. Sammy took to his Facebook page a few days ago to say,

Olde friend Randy Travis needs our prayers. Had a little setback this weekend. He has developed pneumonia. Let’s rock on for him.

Randy Travis was admitted the the hospital on July 7th for complications with viral cardiomyopathy—a weakening of the heart muscle caused by a viral infection. Travis underwent placement of a ventricular assist device for stabilization before being transferred to The Heart Hospital at Baylor in Plano, TX. Then on July 10th, Randy Travis suffered a stroke and had to undergo emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain.

On July 31st, Travis was discharged from the hospital to an inpatient physical therapy rehabilitation facility to help deal with the effects of the stroke. Doctors said Randy would need “months” of rehabilitation.

Several unconfirmed reports have also said the family of Randy is asking for prayers for the ailing country star. So far there’s been no official word from Randy Travis’s camp about the pneumonia, the severity of the illness, or any update on Randy’s overall recovery. You can follow a timeline of Randy’s recent health problems HERE.

Jul
22

Country Music Rap Sheet – A Picture History of Mugshots & Arrests

July 22, 2013 - By Trigger  //  Outlaw History  //  36 Comments

Authenticity and dysfunction are regularly celebrated in country music, and what better way to celebrate that than to look back in time a some of the most notable mugshots and arrests of country music’s most notable stars.

Johnny Cash

Cash was arrested twice. The first was after a trip to Mexico when he tried to hide 1,163 Dexedrine and Equanil tablets in his guitar case while crossing the border near El Paso, TX in 1965. Since the drugs were prescription instead of illegal narcotics, Cash received a suspended sentence. He was arrested again in 1966 in Starkville, Miss. for … get this … picking flowers late at night. The property owner pressed trespassing charges, and Johnny spent time in the Starkville County Jail, resulting in the song of the same name.

Though Cash was famous for his concerts at Folsom Prison and San Quentin, he never served time in anything bigger than a city jail (the bottom mug was just for show).

johnny-cash-mugshot-1johnny-cash-folsom-prison


Willie Nelson

The trouble started for Willie Nelson way back in 1960 when he was arrested for speeding in Pasadena, TX (near Houston). And then came the pot busts:

  • 1974 – For possession in Dallas, TX.
  • 1994 – For possession in Hewitt (near Waco) when Willie pulled his Mercedes off the side of the highway for a siesta and an officer found a joint in the ashtray and eventually a bag of marijuana. The judge ruled the evidence inadmissible and the charges were dropped.
  • 2006 – For possession in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana for one-and-a-half pounds of marijuana and 3 oz. of hallucinogenic mushrooms. Willie, his sister Bobbi, and Willie’s manager were all arrested, eventually receiving 6 months probation.
  • 2010 – For possession of 6 ounces of marijuana at the Sierra Blanca, Texas border checkpoint. Willie eventually only had to pay a fine.

willie-nelson-mugshot-1974-dallas

Willie Nelson mugshot


Jerry Lee Lewis

In the dead of night in November of 1976, a drunken and armed Jerry Lee Lewis showed up to the gates of Graceland demanding to see his fellow Sun Studios alum Elvis right then and there. The guard rang Elvis who refused “The Killer’s” request, and then rang Memphis police when Lewis began waving a gun around.

jerry-lee-lewis-mugshot


Hank Williams Jr.

You may think because Hank Jr. was the last of his rowdy friends to settle down that at some point he would wind up in the pokey, but it turns out his mugshot was for a bunk charge from a 19-year-old in March of 2006 that said Jr. put her in a choke hold after she refused to kiss him. Jr. turned himself in, and after finding out the girl was looking to cash in big on the accusation and that there was no real evidence of the altercation, the charges were dropped.

hank-williams-jr-mugshot


Glen Campbell

In November of 2003, Glen Campbell was arrested at his home near Phoenix, AZ after hitting and running while drunk in his BMW. Then while Campbell was being processed, he kneed an officer in the leg, which added an aggravated assault of a police officer charge. Campbell pleaded down some of the counts, and eventually spent 10 days in jail.

glen-campbell-mugshot


Rodney Atkins

Domestic abuse charges landed Rodney Atkins in front of the police camera in February of 2012, but the news about the charges didn’t come out until his wife filed for divorce a few weeks later. The news also came on the heels of Rodney re-signing with Curb Records. The charges were later dropped as part of the divorce settlement.

rodney-atkins-mugshot


Hank Williams

An indelible image of country music’s first superstar in this midst of his downfall in 1952, leaving the jailhouse in Alexander City, Alabama.

hank-williams-jail-2


Billy Joe Shaver

Notable country music songwriter Billy Joe Shaver sits on the witness stand stemming from an altercation behind Papa Joe’s bar near Waco, TX in 2007 when Shaver shot a man non lethally in the face with a .22 pistol. The incident became a piece of country music lore when Dale Watson wrote a song titled “Where Do You Want It?” allegedly for the question Shaver asked his victim before he pulled the trigger. The high-profile trial incuded Willie Nelson showing up as a Shaver character witness, and eventually all charges were dropped against when it was ruled Shaver was acting in self defense.

billy-joe-shaver


Wynonna Judd

In 2003, daughter Judd was pulled over for speeding and subsequently blew a .175, lading her in jail before she posted a $500 bail. It all happened right down the street from Music Row, so maybe it’s true what they say about the country music industry driving artists to drink.

wynonna-judd-mug-shot


Kid Rock

Just like the “Wet Cigarette of Country Music” to get arrested at a Waffle House. In October of 2007, Kid Rock and his crew stopped into the DeKalb County, Georgia eatery where they proceeded to brawl with gawking patrons. Other members of Kid Rocks posse were also arrested. Rock was found guilty of simple battery. It was his 4th chance to strike the perp pose over the years for various charges.

kid-rock-mugshot-4kid-rock-mugshot-2

kid-rock-mug-shot


David Allan Coe

You better believe DAC would be here, but unfortunately this is the biggest photo we can drum up of David from his time in the Ohio State Penal System.

david-allan-coe-prison-mugshot

Coe was also arrested in 2008 after an altercation in a casino when a misunderstanding about a jackpot resulted in security officers and police wrestling Coe to the ground. Coe countersued in 2010 for false arrest and assault. The entire altercation was caught on tape.


Billy Currington

Yes, we know that some of the younger generation of country performers don’t want to pander to the “old farts and jackasses,” but maybe Billy Currington took it a little too far when he threatened a 70-year-old boat captain for coming too close to his waterfront property in Tybee Island, Ga. Currington was cited in April of 2013 for making “terroristic threats” and “abuse of an elder.” Case is still pending.

billy-currington-mugshot


Johnny Paycheck

Johnny Paycheck spent 4 years battling an aggravated assault charge after shooting a man in a Hillsboro, OH bar during a brawl. Though multiple appeals kept Paycheck out of prison for a while, he was finally sentenced to the Chillicothe Correctional Institute in 1989 where he served two years before being paroled.

johnny-paycheck-arrest


Chris Cagle

In May of 2008, Louisiana country star Chris Cagle got in a tussle with his girlfriend Jennifer Tant at the Player’s Bar in Nashville before the couple took the bout home. Cagle wielded Jennifer’s purse. Jennifer weilded an umbrella, and they both ended up in the big house. Police said they were both too drunk and disorderly to press any serious charges.

chris-cagle-and-jennifer-taut-mugshot


The Boomswagglers

When the underground country band from Austin, TX went to release their first album, they chose their mutual mugshots from the same Williamson County roundup to make up the CD art.

the-boomswagglers-mugshot


George Jones

No mugshots of George Jones’s numerous run ins with the law during his drinking days have ever surfaced, but video did a few years ago from a George Jones documentary.


Randy Travis

Get well Randy! …. but we couldn’t make this list without you. Travis was forced to pose for police camera twice in 2012; once after a drunken fight at a church, and the other after driving drunk….and naked.

randy-travis-mugshot-1

randy-travis-mugshot-2

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