Operating a site called “Saving Country Music” for the last eight years, I’ve learned the patient art of losing every single day with grace. It is the ever-present conceit of the living to believe that the present times are the worst there’s ever been, and country music is no exception. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that people weren’t yelling that the sky was falling when John Denver was winning the CMA Entertainer of the Year…
“I used to be your average suburban mom of two. Trust me, I was very average,” says Susan Berkenstock of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. “Now I have spiked hair, wear checkered shorts and deck shoes everyday, and all I want to do is go camping.” What was the cause of Mrs. Berkenstock’s lifestyle transformation? She claims it all happened while listening to the current country music hit from Little Big Town called “Girl Crush.”
As first hypothesized by Saving Country Music in December of 2014, Hank Williams Jr. is the newest signee to NASH Icon—the joint venture between Cumulus Media and the Big Machine Label Group meant to give new life to aging artists who’ve been passed over by mainstream country radio. Hank Jr. joins Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, and Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn in NASH Icon’s inaugural class.
That’s right, as further evidence that we will point back at the last week of April 2015 as the moment when mainstream country music made the critical turning point of becoming so devoid of anything that is actually country that there was no turning back, rapper Nelly has made it known he intends to release a country music EP called Heartland.
The controversy surrounding Tim McGraw’s scheduled benefit concert for Sandy Hook Promise on July 17th at the Infinity Theater in Hartford, Connecticut continues as now 11 of the Sandy Hook families who either had children or other families members killed at the school have come out with a public statement clarifying that they will not be receiving any money from the concert.
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.
Billy Currington is out, but Chase Bryant is staying put. That’s the latest news surrounding the charity concert happening at the Infinity Theater in Hartford, Connecticut on July 17th as part of Tim McGraw’s upcoming Shotgun Rider concert tour. Chase Bryant was the other opener for the Sandy Hook benefit show with Billy Currington.
After a week of controversy, Billy Currington is out as a performer at the July 17th benefit concert for Sandy Hook Promise being held by Tim McGraw at the Infinity Theater in Hartford, Connecticut. Currington confirmed the news to fans late Thursday (4-16) evening. “I’ve never been one to take on controversial issues – I’m a singer.”
The announcement of the Tim McGraw benefit concert blended in with all the regular country music news on Monday—a day usually reserved for the distribution of such press releases, until the conservative news outlet Brietbart picked up the story with the headline, “Country Stars Tim McGraw, Billy Currington Headlining Gun Control Fundraiser.”
2014 was a year of great flux in country music. Where 2013 was dominated by public feuds and outcries by many country performers about the direction of the music, 2014 became the year things began to be done about many of the problems plaguing the genre. With Bro-Country as the battleground, the fight to return some balance to the country format began to make headway.
Billy Gilman, Billy Joe Shaver, Brandy Clark, Dolly Parton, Dustin Lynch, Florida Georgia Line, Garth Brooks, Hank Williams, Hank3, I Saw The Light, Jason Aldean, Johnny Cash, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, Maddie & Tae, NASH Icon, Sturgill Simpson, Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, Tom Hiddleston, Ty Herndon, Wayne Mills, Willie Nelson, Zac Brown Band
Let’s just start this off by drudging the big elephant right out in the middle of the room and shining a big ‘ol spotlight on it. Mike Curb, Herr Führer of Curb Records—the man who has made millions off of the indentured servitude of many of country music’s most famous names, has thrown his money behind the much-ballyhooed preservation of Music Row’s historic Studio ‘A’ in Nashville.
Independent music fans love to say “90% of what they play on the radio is crap!” Well then it would stand to reason that 10% actually has some value. And in the interest of pragmatism and inclusiveness that is vital to the charge of Saving Country Music, it is important to not ignore when Music Row and mainstream artists get it right, but to celebrate these moments.
Brett Eldredge, Bridges, Caitlyn Smith, Carrie Underwood, Dave Grohl, Dierks Bentley, Dirt, Eric Paslay, Everything To You, Florida Georgia Line, Garth Brooks, Jon Pardi, Kellie Pickler, Maddie & Tae, Man Against Machine, Mary Sarah, Riser, Something In The Water, The Grohl Sessions Vol. 1, The Mavericks, Tim McGraw, Zac Brown Band
Scott Borchetta’s gamble has paid off, and “Girl In A Country Song” is now #1 on country radio according to Mediabase. The distinction shatters a slew of dubious distinctions for the country format, and helps to slay the absolute dearth of female representation on country radio. It means that country radio has its very first female-led act to hit number one on country radio in over 2 years.
The downward spiral for mainstream country music continues as evidenced by the following list of some of the most horrible offerings of 2014. With how terrible these selections are, you could consider this not only the worst songs of 2014, but arguably a list of the majority of the worst songs in the history of country music. And with such a crowded field, only the worst of the worst were selected.
Beachin, Billy Ray Cyrus, Bottoms Up, Brantley Gilbert, Burnin' It Down, Chase Rice, Chillin' It, Cole Swindell, Donkey, Florida Georgia Line, Girl In Your Truck Song, Jake Owen, Jason Aldean, Jerrod Niemann, Leave The Night On, Lookin For That Girl, Luke Bryan, Maggie Rose, Sam Hunt, Sun Daze, This Is How We Roll, Tim McGraw, Worst songs 2014
On Friday morning (12-5), the Grammy Award nominations were inefficiently and unceremoniously announced via Twitter, and once again proved that their nose for quality in country music is somewhat better than what we’re used to seeing from the country music industry itself, even if their ability to categorize music remains somewhat curious.
Brandy Clark, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Faith Hill, Glen Campbell, John Hiatt, Keb Mo, Kenny Chesney, Lee Ann Womack, Miranda Lambert, NIckel Creek, Rosanne Cash, Ryan Adams, Sturgill Simpson, Tim McGraw
As first reported on Tuesday (12-3) and then confirmed Wednesday afternoon, President and CEO of the Big Machine Label Group Scott Borchetta has partnered with American Idol to become the show’s new “mentor.” All of this news comes in stark contrast to how Scott Borchetta felt about the show in 2010 in the aftermath of Taylor Swift’s now legendary off-key performance at the Grammy Awards.
That’s right, the The Country Music Antichrist, aka President and CEO of the Big Machine Label Group Scott Borchetta is in talks to become the newest mentor on the singing reality show competition American Idol. He would be replacing Randy “Dog” Jackson—the only member of the show’s original cast aside from host Ryan Seacrest.
American Idol, American Idol mentor, Brantley Gilbert, Florida Georgia Line, Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez, Jimmy Iovine, Keith Urban, NASH Icon, Randy Jackson, Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, Scott Borchetta, Taylor Swift, The Band Perry, Tim McGraw
That’s right, the Curb Records madness continues, and continues to reach for comical, if not maniacal heights. Apparently Curb Records is readying the release of a new Hank III album called “Take As Needed For Pain.” Meanwhile Curb has prepped the 10th compilation/Greatest Hits album from Tim McGraw, and has more greatest hits albums ahead for LeAnn Rimes and Rodney Atkins.
Big Machine Records, Curb Records, Eyehategod, Greatest Hits, Hank III, Hank Williams, Hank Williams III, Hank Williams Jr., Hank3, LeAnn Rimes, Mike Curb, Mo Pitney, Rodney Atkins, Take As Needed For Pain, Tim McGraw
Have you ever wondered who actually listens to those awful songs they play on pop country radio? Here are the six primary Archetypes, or as Music Row refers to them, the “target demographics” that make up the audience of the pop country world.The new version takes into consideration country music’s changing demographics.
Taylor Swift’s 1989 did not appear on Spotify upon release, though the lead single “Shake It Off” was available. Then the shocking news came down Monday that her entire discography was pulled from the Spotify network, singles and all. The impact of Taylor Swift removing her music from Spotify, especially after she just revealed herself as the biggest artist of the last decade-plus, cannot be overstated.