Throughout the history of country music, artists with strong ties to the land and the working class have used music to pull themselves out of poverty, and to turn around and help instill a sense of pride in the people who put such hard work into powering America. Now that these two once struggling musicians find themselves on top, they’re taking of their hard-earned prosperity to give back . . .
Over the last couple of weeks, Saving Country Music headquarters has received a fresh new onslaught of emails on the subject of pop country über DJ Bobby Bones—the morning show personality for iHeartMedia’s syndicated network and the single-most name at the forefront of homogenizing American mainstream country music radio. Let’s tackle some of these subjects . . .
It’s one thing to mischaracterize my opinions, or the opinions of Chris Stapleton fans, or concerned country music fans in general. It’s another thing to use the name and visage of a respected country music legend to assert the wrongful and misguided opinions of your think piece, especially when the aim of that think piece is to attack active and concerned country music fans.
Not everybody is happy about all this mainstream success and good times being had by Chris Stapleton and his fans. So for the sake of argument, fairness, and equal time, let’s take an honest, devil’s advocate look at Chris Stapleton, and see if some of this criticism is worthy of wearing the luster off of his CMA wins, and astounding commercial success subsequently.
Sturgill Simpson just wrapped up a stint of three sold-out nights at the Mother Church of Country Music in Nashville, also known as The Ryman Auditorium, and the word from the concerts was a good time was had and great music was made. But at one point during the Halloween show, stuff got a little rowdy.
In a season that started out so promising for America’s Team, including a 2-0 record with key wins against division opponents and a roster that some believed was good enough to make another run at the Super Bowl, adversity has struck once again. The Dallas Cowboys have received the devastating news that that Bro-Country star Luke Bryan will be performing the halftime show of the team’s annual Thanksgiving game.
I am absolutely shocked, and this is from someone who had sniffed out Kyle Park as a phony many moons ago. This album doesn’t just make me scared for the future of country music, it makes me just plain scared for the future. I never want to leave my house again.
Sturgill Simpson was sick to the point where he could barely sing. Immediately upon taking the stage, he apologized to the crowd, said he was suffering from severe allergies and would make it up to them at a makeup show on December 7th. And then Sturgill decided to do something unprecedented in country music, and I’m not talking about pontificating on hallucinogenic drug trips in song.
So what’s to learn from hitching a ride in Marty McFly’s time machine and traveling back to 1985? That the problems country music is facing today are virtually the same ones that were being faced 30 years ago. It’s all cyclical, as canonized in the old Gospel tune enshrined in the architecture of the Country Music Hall of Fame asking the question, “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?”
Alan Jackson, Bill Carter, Bobby Bare, Chris Stapleton, Clint Black, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Jason Isbell, Keith Whitley, Kris Kristofferson, Mo Pitney, Randy Travis, Ray Charles, Ricky Skaggs, Sturgill Simpson, The Highwaymen, Travis Tritt, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
Like so many of these contestants, not much has come of Jake Worthington in regards to industry success after his finale appearance in May of 2014, but he has just released a new EP. Settling somewhere between John Anderson and George Strait, this five-song offering is a straight-laced true country testament from start to finish that leaves little to no doubt where the heart of the young Jake Worthington lies.
American Idol, Blake Shelton, Chris Stapleton, Craig Wayne Boyd, George Strait, Jake Worthington, John Anderson, Johnny Cash, Kacey Musgraves, Review, Scotty McCreery, Sturgill Simpson, The Voice, Wayne Mills
Beyond sharing bills, big rocketing career trajectories, and both employing the services of super producer Dave Cobb, the two artists appear to have a greater kinship off the stage. But for whatever reason, we’ve never seen the two men on stage together, until now.
Like a slow moving thunder roll, Whitey Morgan continues to tour, night in and night out, delivering crisp, throbbing performances every time that leave crowds embedded with Whitey passion in every town they tackle until the crowds are swelling, and the word is spreading about this bearded guy from Flint who refuses to compromise, who has his heart in the right place, and who puts on amazing shows.
Henley’s been out there outwardly criticizing the state of country music and the state of music in general, though doing so with a lot more of a thoughtful and informed tone than many others, including tracing the problem back to the disappearance of the agrarian way of life that was once prevalent throughout America, and now finds itself quickly receding.
Andrew Combs, Ashley Monroe, Bill Monroe, Cale Tyson, Cass County, Dolly Parton, Don Henley, Dottie West, George Jones, Hank Williams, J.P. Harris & the Tough Choices, Jamey Johnson, Jason Isbell, Jed Hilly, Jeffrey Foucault, Jim Reeves, Johnny Cash, Kelsey Waldon, Kitty Wells, Merle Haggard, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Patsy Cline, Shovels & Rope, Striking Matches, Sturgill Simpson, The Eagles, The Milk Carton Kids
Angry, subversive, pointed, and powerful, the eighth album from one of the few performers left who can call themselves Red Dirt and nobody will cry foul is a lot to digest, and hard to leave behind. Squelch is what Jason Boland and his backing band The Stragglers chose to name this work, which is the same name given to the knob that truckers use to eliminate the static and idle chatter.
Who knows what goes into deciding what bands and artists launch into the stratosphere. and which ones are destined to slag it out on a slow build spending umpteen hours in a smelly tour van. All I know is I’ve seen Mike and the Moonpies get name checked by Sturgill Simpson and open for the Turnpike Troubadours on numerous occasions, and never did their music strike me as second class.
Emmylou Harris and long-time collaborator Rodney Crowell have a new album out with called ‘The Traveling Kind,’ and while speaking in a joint interview with radio.com recently, Emmylou had some interesting words about what she thinks about today’s country music.
Sturgill rescheduled the dates to make it up to the communities he missed because of the cancellation, including one of the few available dates in Charlottesville at The Jefferson Theater—the same night as 2015’s Americana Music Awards. Sturgill had a choice, and it couldn’t have been an easy one.
Welcome ladies and gentlemen to Saving Country Music’s 2015 Americana Music Awards LIVE blog! As the festivities stream live from the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, we’ll tag along to leave our observations, keep up with the winners, discuss the performances, and share what happened with the folks who missed it.
That was the firebrand language coming from country music legend Merle Haggard ahead of an appearance Sunday, September 6th at the Bluestem Center for the Arts in Moorhead, Minnesota. In preparation for the show, In Forum talked to the 78-year-old performer, and he felt no need to be guarded with his feelings of where country music is headed.
I know you probably receive dozens of these types of letters, and they all make strong cases for who the author wishes you select for the next season. But in the case of Ray Wylie Hubbard, I really think it would not only mean a tremendous amount to Ray, but it would mean a tremendous amount to Austin City Limits to finally and formally recognize one of Austin’s most important performers, and help preserve his place in Austin music.