Like rolling Buick sedans off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan one after another, day after day, year after year, not stopping to take breaks or reveling in little victories, but winning fans over one at a time, night after night, tour after tour in America’s derelict honky tonks until the word of mouth grew into a rumble, the crowds went from nearly empty to nut to butt, Whitey Morgan is now like a locomotive.
On Thursday afternoon via The Ford Theatre at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Americana Music Association announced the nominees for the 2015 Americana Music Awards. Stugill Simpson, Shakey Graves, and Lucinda Williams lead the nominees, with all three receiving nods for Album, Song, and Artist recognition. Sturgill’s guitar player Laur Joamets also gets into the action with an Instrumentalist of the Year nomination.
Sam Hunt is a Sturgill Simpson fan now, so says Sam Hunt in a tweet he fired off on Wednesday (5-13). Apparently the rising “country” music superstar was vacationing at Weiss Lake in northeastern Alabama this week, and Sturgill Simpson was a significant part of his soundtrack. “Sun burnt, dehydrated, ready for summer, and a Sturgill Simpson fan. Successful lake trip…”
This weekend in sunny Southern California, Sturgill Simpson will be taking the stage at the annual Stagecoach Festival in Indio—the country music cousin of the massive 2-weekend Coachella gathering. Sturgill Simpson is one of the few to ever play both the Coachella and Stagecoach weekends. Even more surprising is where Sturgill Simpson is ranked as far as popularity when it comes to Stagecoach attendees.
If 2013 was the “Year of the Song” and 2014 was the “Year of Sturgill Simpson,” 2015 may just go down as the “Year of the Collaboration.” The Congress of the United States has yet to recognize 4/20 as a holiday, or that the possession of the leafy green is legal in all 50 states, but it made for the perfect excuse for Willie & Merle to release the first single from their upcoming collaboration called, “It’s All Going to Pot.”
If you’re anything like me, you hate how these stupid television reality show singing competitions are doing their level best to suck independent music fans into their diabolical fold. Either it shows how desperate they are for new viewers, or shows how independent music is truly permeating culture in ways never seen before. If it’s the latter, then I guess we should take it as a positive sign.
Well the saga of Sony Nashville CEO Gary Overton’s comments to The Tennessean of “If you’re not on country radio, you don’t exist” uttered in late February just took another interesting turn. Gary Overton is out at one of Music Row’s very top executive spots. Announced Tuesday morning (3-17), Gary Overton is stepping down from his position as Sony Nashville’s top executive at the end of March.
During a phone interview Thursday afternoon (3-12) ahead of Scott Borchetta’s appearance on American Idol, he was asked to comment on the quotes from Sony Nashville CEO Gary Overton who said a couple of weeks ago, “If you’re not on country radio, you don’t exist.” Not only did Borchetta somewhat disagree with Overton’s assessment as being “very broad,” he cited Sturgill Simpson…
I don’t need a workup from Dr. Scratch-N-Sniff to know something is seriously ill with country music here in the first quarter of 2015. We’re not talking about the worn-out complaints about how pop country sucks and how Sam Hunt and Florida Georgia Line don’t belong. Take all of those concerns and put them to the side for a second. I’m talking about the once high-flying country genre…
It was only a matter of time before mainstream artists started plucking songs from the heralded discographies of thriving independent artists like Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson. We know these are the artists many of the mainstream acts are listening to. Then again Zac Brown has always been sort of his own animal when it comes to the establishment.
“My name is Aaron Watson. I’m not played on country radio. And I have the #1 record in country music this week. I do exist.” This was Aaron Watson’s reaction to the comments of Sony Records Nashville CEO Gary Overton, who said earlier this week, “If you’re not on country radio, you don’t exist.” But overall the Texas country star took a much more humble, appreciative, and inclusive tone.
Who would have thought a few years ago that in 2015, Aaron Watson, Aaron Watson, would be releasing one of the most-anticipated, and potentially most impactful albums in all of 2015 in country music? Oh it’s not that Watson hasn’t been setting country music fans in Texas, Oklahoma, and on the rodeo circuit ablaze for many years.
Steve Earle says it wasn’t his politics that held him back from greater mainstream country success. It was more the oligarchy who was afraid of artists who call their own shots. Steve Earle is not the only one talking about saving country music lately. Brandy Clark amidst her Grammy Awards success said recently, “My name is said in the same breath as people like Kacey [Musgraves] and Sturgill Simpson, Ashley Monroe…
Tired of seeing Sturgill Simpson news? Well then tell it to stop happening. If you can fathom this, the Kentucky-born singer is currently experiencing a renewed increase in interest, even while in the more long-term perspective he continues a meteoric rise which could have big implications on the country music community at large.
All you need to know about the 2015 Grammy Awards. Despite the country genre rising to become arguably the biggest genre in popular music right now, there’s just not a whole lot of country to be featured on the show this year. This year’s country performance slots are cut in half, with the only collaboration being between Brandy Clark and Dwight Yoakam.
This week Sturgill Simpson embarked on a much-anticipated sold out American tour, and the third night of the tour saw him in his home state of Kentucky playing at the Madison Theater in Covington, just over the river from Cincinnati. The venue was filled to capacity, with little room for elbows or egos, and during Sturgill’s song “Sometimes Wine” a scuffle started in the crowd.
As the longest running music show on TV enters its 40th season, Austin City Limits has announced its second installment of inductees into its Hall of Fame founded in 2014. The original crew of the Austin City Limits show will also be honored as the 2015’s non-performing inductee. As part of the Hall of Fame announcement, more performers for season 41 were also revealed.
ACL, Asleep at the Wheel, Austin City Limits, Bob Wills, Flaco Jimenez, Guy Clark, Lloyd Maines, Loretta Lynn, Ray Benson, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Sturgill Simpson, The Avett Brothers, The War On Drugs, Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson
Sturgill Simpson’s current national tour has been selling out dates left and right, and has most everybody in country music talking about his continued meteoric rise. But something causing some fans quite a bit of curiosity was the inclusion of a DJ outfit called Electric Western to open some dates in the Midwest & the West Coast. Were Sturgill fans all of a sudden being asked to sit through EDM and hip-hop sets?
Get ‘em while the getting’s good because they’re about to be gone. That’s not a sales pitch, that’s the simple reality of Sturgill Simpson’s upcoming tour starting on 1/29. After going on a sold out club tour in the latter half of 2014, Sturgill’s next stint on the road sees him graduating to bigger clubs and many theaters to house the growing demand. But even with more capacity, many dates are selling out almost immediately.
For years now, the long-awaited solo album from country music songwriter Chris Stapleton has been like the White Whale of albums to informed country music listeners who pay attention liner notes. Meanwhile other fans remember Stapleton from his days in the bluegrass band The SteelDrivers. Beyond his songwriting, Stapleton’s solo sets are things of shiver-inducing magic.