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For the first time ever, two high-powered country and rap acts will tour together, as fast-rising country duo Florida Georgia Line will be paired up with hip-hop artist Nelly in an upcoming summer tour of American Ballparks.
The cross-genre pairing first happened when a remix of Florida Georgia Line’s smash hit “Cruise” featuring Nelly was released to radio in April of 2013. The remix propelled the song to eventually become the longest-charting #1 single in this history of country music, and “Cruise” has gone on to sell 6.6 million copies and become the best-selling digital country single of all time.
“Last year we played the ballpark in Lexington, Ky., and it was an epic night,” Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line said in a press release. “We thought how fun would it be to hit several of these and bring the good times to the field!” Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard added, “Summer can’t get here fast enough. Having Nelly and Chris along for the ride is going to make for one big, outdoor party!” Up-and-coming country star Chris Lane will also be a part of the tour. Florida Georgia Line is currently touring as an opener for Jason Aldean.
The Florida Georgia Line/Nelly tour continues the blurring of lines between genres of American music, fueling concerns that music is becoming one big mono-genre with no contrast between popular music forms. Florida Georgia Line has been at the forefront of this trend by adding hip-hop elements into the majority of their songs, and because those songs have become so popular. Florida Georgia Line’s current single “This Is How We Roll” features Tyler Hubbard rapping in some of the verses.
Mono-genre concerns have also been exacerbated by Billboard’s newer chart rules that reward songs played in other formats outside of an artists’ home genre, and also reward songs that perform well on social media. These concerns don’t just come from the country realm, but from many of American music’s major genres, including rap. Just last month Sean Fennessey writing for Grantland, and using the event of Billy Ray Cyrus’s hip-hop version of “Achy Breaky Heart” reaching #11 on the rap charts as an example, said “…rap is more vulnerable than ever to interlopers and synthesists eager to run their sound through the Vitamix of popular music with such speed and force it’s impossible to determine the ingredients … Actual new rap songs are ceaselessly weighing down the genre itself with the junky detritus of other styles.”
Now the mono-genre concerns have reached the live context, and the Nelly/Florida Georgia Line tour may just be the first of many country/rap tours to come.
Nothing gets my motor running more than established talent giving worthy up-and-comers a hand up, and rising stars helping to introduce legendary talent to a new generation of fans. This is the way country music is supposed to be—spanning generations and cross-pollinating fans bases to create a healthy environment of support. And an upcoming, nationwide, early summer tour is scheduled to do that very thing.
Willie Nelson and his legendary Family Band, Alison Krauss with her legendary Union Station band including Jerry Douglas, are scheduled to embark on a 35-date tour running from May 1st to July 18th, supported at various whistle stops by the critically-acclaimed Jason Isbell, the recently Grammy-decorated Kacey Musgraves, and country punk pioneers Devil Makes Three. This will be a lineup not to miss….unless you’re in Texas or California.
May 1 Murray, KY CFSB Center/Murray State University*
May 2 Atlanta, GA Chastain Park Amphitheatre *
May 3 Knoxville, TN Thompson Boling Arena*
May 4 Cary, NC Koka Booth Amphitheatre*
May 6 St. Augustine, FL St. Augustine Amphitheatre*
May 8 Daniel Island, SC Family Circle Cup Stadium*
May 9 Simpsonville, SC Charter Amphitheatre*
May 10 Greensboro, NC White Oak Amphitheatre*
May 11 Huntington, WV Big Sandy Superstar Arena*
May 13 Roanoke, VA Roanoke Civic Center*
May 14 Columbus, OH Schottenstein Center*
May 16 Nashville, TN The Woods at Fontanel*
May 17 Birmingham, AL BJCC*
May 18 Augusta, GA James Brown Arena*
June 5 Southaven, MS Snowden Grove Amphitheater #
June 6 Louisville, KY Waterfront Park+
June 7 Lewiston, NY Artpark #
June 8 Bethel, NY Bethel Woods Center For the Arts #
June 10 New York, NY Radio City Music Hall #
June 13 Philadelphia, PA Mann Center #
June 14 Columbia, MD Merriweather Post Pavilion
June 15 Simsbury, CT Simsbury Meadows #
June 17 Boston, MA Blue Hills Bank Pavilion #
June 19 Bangor, ME Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion #
June 20 Gilford, NH Bank of NH Pavillion at Meadowbrook #
June 21 Canandaigua, NY CMAC Performing Arts Center #
July 6 Kansas City, MO Starlight Theatre ~
July 7 Rogers, AR Arkansas Music Pavilion ~
July 9 Oklahoma City, OK Zoo Amphitheatre ~
July 11 Council Bluffs, IA Harrah’s Stir Cove~
July 12 Chicago, IL Ravinia Festival~
July 13 Detroit, MI Freedom Hill~
July 15 Rama, ON Casino Rama
July 17 Interlochen, MI Kresge Auditorium~
July 18 Toledo, OH Toledo Zoo
*The Devil Makes Three
# Kacey Musgraves
~ Jason Isbell
+ The Wild Feathers
Oh Kacey, what are we going to do with you?
Mid January is the season that most of the big mainstream country music acts unveil their touring plans for the year, and as Blake Shelton was announcing the “Hide Your Daughters” tour presented by Taco Bell, and Jason Aldean announced the “Overlords of Auto-Tune” tour with Florida Georgia Line and Tyler Farr, country music critical favorite Kacey Musgraves announced she would not be touring with one of her country music bunk mates, but of all people, the buxom purple-haired pop star Katy Perry. Kacey is reportedly writing with Katy too.
Some Kacey Musgraves’ supporters were disappointed, or even outraged, just as many of those same supporters were disappointed last year when she went out on tour with Kenny Chesney. As if Kacey, who despite her disposition of being slated beside artists like Jason Isbell instead of Jason Aldean, and Brandy Clark instead of Brantley Gilbert, isn’t still very much an artist existing in the highest reaches of the mainstream country music industry and all the trappings thereof. Maybe in some fan’s music brains she belongs on the club and theater circuit so they get to see her in a more intimate setting. But to Kacey’s label, there’s money to be made, and an artist to launch so she can eventually go on her own arena tours.
Others see this as an opportunity to spread the country music gospel—the ol’ theory of music osmosis that we sometimes see assigned to artists like Taylor Swift and Florida Georgia Line. As if some 15-year-old girl is going to hear Taylor Swift and be inspired to lip sync in front of a full-length mirror to Ralph Peer’s primitive recordings of The Carter Family, or similar circumstances might transpire amongst the glitterfaced crowd at a Katy Perry concert because Kacey Musgraves looks so good in hot pants up there on stage. Sure, Kacey will likely win more fans for Kacey Musgraves, and ultimately that’s the point. But let’s tap the brakes on thinking this will be some monumental step for country music.
More importantly, what this concert pairing seems to allude to are important trends in both country music, and the career of Kacey Musgraves.
If it wasn’t clear that Kacey’s label Mercury Nashville had no idea what to do with her before, it is pretty evident now. The one thing we do know about Musgraves is that she enjoys the utmost in label support—arguably unparallelled and unprecedented in the industry. Remember when Kacey was nominated for the ACM for Female Vocalist of the Year in 2013 before she had even released a album or had a Top 10 single? Or how about at the 2013 CMA Awards when she received 6 nominations, as many as Taylor Swift and more than anyone else? Kacey is also up for 4 Grammy Awards here in 2014.
Of course Kacey’s work as a songwriter helped pad these numbers, and not to allude that she didn’t deserve these nominations—they were much deserved, and a sign of the righting of the country music ship in 2013. But a brand new artist like Kacey Musgraves does not receive these types of industry-leading accolades, especially when they’re not backed by sales numbers, without the undying and tireless support of a label looking to launch an artist they believe in both as an artistic and commercial success.
But that has been the biggest problem with Kacey—the commercial success. Compared to many of the other critical darlings Musgraves was amongst on various outlet’s “Best of 2013″ lists, Kacey’s sales are astronomical. But compared to her country industry peers, they’re paltry. Kacey’s album Same Trailer, Different Park has just barely peaked over 300,000 copies sold. For comparison, all the other albums nominated for the CMA Album of the Year in 2013 have at least sold 1 million copies.
Kacey has also yet to have a Top 10 single, with “Merry Go ‘Round” coming the closest at #14. Her latest two singles “Blowin’ Smoke” and “Follow Your Arrow” both stalled out at #31 and #28 respectively, despite a big radio push and big budget videos. Still not bad numbers, but nowhere near the level Mercury Nashville must be wanting, or expecting from an artist that has achieved such industry accolades and undying label support.
Then there was the controversy about “the look” Kacey was caught giving while they were announcing the candidates for Female Vocalist of the Year at the CMA Awards, and more recently, the Twitter brushup she got into with influential Clear Channel DJ Bobby Bones. As some pointed out, Bobby Bones at the time had more followers on Twitter than Kacey did, speaking to both the powerful influence of Bones, and the lack of wide support behind Musgraves. In the social network era, it’s not enough for an artist to release good music. Like the modern day NASCAR driver, they’re expected to be media savvy, not just skilled at their discipline to achieve at the top level.
Hence, a change of plans for Kacey. Some new scenery. Maybe country and specifically country radio is not going to be as receptive to Kacey as first thought. Maybe they’re not ready for the paradigm shift just yet. Maybe she’s too edgy. So go out there and find some more fertile ground. And hell, both her and Katy Perry have songs about kissing girls….
And this is where Mercury Nashville and Kacey seem to be miscalculating. Though Kacey is well-recognized as a critical success and symbolizes a new type of country star, they’re falling back on their old habits of how to present her to the masses by using marketing points. They release “Blowin’ Smoke,” hoping to capitalize off the popularity of pot in popular culture, despite the song not referencing reefer directly. “Follow Your Arrow” seemed to be released to radio not for its underlying message, but because the edginess of the content might stir controversy and create interest in the song and Kacey.
Instead of handling Musgraves like the next Loretta Lynn, leading the way by addressing deep cultural issues, they’re trying to make a her a one-trick pony to be popularized through buzzwords and politicization. What happened to letting the music speak for itself, and what happened to all the momentum built up by the success of “Merry Go ‘Round”?
Mercury Nashville was also at the helm for the lost opportunity with another artist that was a critical success and achieved the highest industry accolades at awards shows, but ultimately didn’t stick in the wide public perception: Jamey Johnson. Granted, Johnson is in the midst of a contract dispute and has been sitting on his writing hands now for years. But this was another artist that country fans clamoring for more substance in the genre could get behind, but so far has yet to make a long-term impact in the mainstream industry. The career of Jamey Johnson right now is very much adrift.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t all Mercury Nashville’s fault. You can’t say they aren’t trying, and trying in an industry that is notoriously suspicious of change and slow to implement it, and that is looking to appeal to what are many times simple-minded fans who don’t want to look for the deeper meaning in songs.
Kacey Musgraves is too good for mainstream country, while at the same time maybe too edgy for the rank and file of country music’s traditional arm. Like Scott Borchetta of Mercury Nashville rival Big Machine Records said recently, the industry must dig a little deeper, and Kacey Musgraves is a positive sign of the industry committing to that. And it’s not like Musgraves hasn’t made back the investment her label has made in her, but the stretch of the Katy Perry pairing makes it appear like they want more from that investment.
What this all speaks to is a deeper, more fundamental issue: If Mercury Nashville, or any other label cannot create successful, or at least mainstream-sustainable careers out of these critically-acclaimed artists, and are forced to reach to outside of the country genre for support, then what is the motivation for these labels and the industry to continue to burn attention and capital on them?
In this respect, Kacey Musgraves must work, and the Katy Perry concert tour must be successful in Kacey’s pursuit of her true fan base. Because if not, Kacey could set the precedent for the rest of the industry of why to not invest in substance.
Meanwhile, all Kacey Musgraves wants to do is write, record, and perform songs. And if she is ultimately going to be successful, that is what she must focus on.
(This story has been updated, see below)
Jayke Orvis & The Broken Band crashed their shuttle-sized tour bus nicknamed “Eagle Hawk” Sunday night (1-12) while traversing the snowy Colorado roads in the midst of a 6 week Winter tour. Nobody was seriously injured, but members of the band suffered bumps & bruises and the bus was totaled. “We are all okay but I crashed the bus and it’s totaled,” says upright bass player Jared McGovern. “The roads were super icy and I slid and crashed into a truck parked on the highway…It was scary as all hell but aside from some bumps and bruises everyone is ok. Liz (fiddle player) is gonna have a nice shiner.”
Apparently a large truck had come to a complete stop in a lane on the highway because it didn’t have chains for the snowy conditions, and when McGovern came up behind it, he couldn’t stop fast enough to avoid it. The truck driver, not McGovern, was cited in the accident and it was determined to be the truck driver’s fault. The accident happened on I-70 near Silverthorne.
The band played at The Lions Lair in Denver on Saturday night (1-11), and was trying to make it to a show at The Black Nugget in Carbondale, CO when the accident occurred. “Were running way behind tonight. I-70 is extremely scary right now but we got snow chains on and are taking it easy on our way to Carbondale,” the band had posted on their Facebook page earlier in the evening. Carbondale is west through the Rocky Mountains on I-70 from Denver, and the area had been experiencing snow. Along with Jayke Orvis, the tour also consisted of James Hunnicutt, and the Urban Pioneers that include Jared McGovern and fiddle player Liz Sloan.
The band is looking for a new vehicle to finish up the rest of their tour with. The tour started on January 3rd in Ohio, and the next scheduled date is January 14th at The Celt in Salt Lake City. The tour is scheduled to head through Montana and down the West Coast, through Texas and the South and end up in New York State in late February. They are planning to play a makeup show at The Black Nugget in Carbondale on Monday (1-13).
Anyone willing to sell, loan, barter, or otherwise procure a touring vehicle for the band should contact them through Facebook. They are working with the truck driver’s insurance company to attempt to procure a rental or replacement vehicle to continue the tour.
UPDATE (1-13-14 2:35 PM CST): “We are currently hanging out in a hotel in Silverthorne, CO trying to figure out the best to cancel the fewest amount of shows and get back on the road. The insurance company is working our claim but it could be 3 days before we know anything. We hope that we will be handsomely reimbursed but we have no guarantees and we don’t have a whole bunch of money on hand. We have a busted van full of records though so we’re gonna try and sell em. For a $50 donation we will send you a copy of the new Bless This Mess record hand signed by all the members of the Broken Band. We really hate to beg but we hate cancelling shows even more. Please send donations via paypal to brokenbandllc at gmail dot com. Thank you all for your ongoing support. We seriously couldn’t do this without you.”
In late October when the 52-year-old Garth Brooks was getting set to announce he was officially coming out of retirement, Saving Country Music spoke in-depth about how the return of Garth could have a “colossal” impact on the genre. Well apparently, this prediction was a bit too measured.
Subsequently as Garth Brooks continues to square away his affairs and flesh out the specifics of his comeback, it is apparent that the country superstar is set for nothing short of world domination. “If I may say so, the whole goal in life is to make whatever you’ve done before look small,” is what Garth told “The Talk” earlier this month. Take into consideration, this is coming from the man who is the third highest-selling music artist in history behind Elvis and The Beatles in the United States. So how is Garth planning to trump his own apogee?
Forget about any new, original music or tours for a second, let’s first sit back and appreciate what Garth has done with his Blame It All On My Roots box set released on November 28th. When Garth announced the end of his retirement, many believed he didn’t have a chance in the new music paradigm. The industry had changed so much in the dozen years since he left, and some 20 years after he was arguably at his peak of relevancy. How could Garth be successful, especially if he wasn’t willing to kowtow to iTunes and the digital world? But for a release that is not on iTunes, not anywhere digitally, and can only be purchased at Wal-Mart, Blame It All On My Roots has been positively dominating the charts, outselling huge releases from major, top-tier pop acts like One Direction, Brittney Spears, Eminem, etc., sitting well-ensconced at the top of the country music albums chart, and #2 in all of music, selling nearly 700,000 copies so far and still going strong.
And this is all with virtually no radio play, and not a spec of original music. Blame it all on the box set being the perfect Christmas gift and an impulse buy for many, but Blame It All On My Roots proves that the appeal for Garth’s music remains massive, and doesn’t need radio play or iTunes to have a commercial impact.
But this is all still posturing. The box set is simply a bellweather at best, and its success will probably be dwarfed by Garth’s future actions in the coming months and years. New, original music from Garth is what the American public is really salivating for, and what will have the greatest impact.
As will a tour, and from what Garth is saying, his upcoming tour could be legendary, spanning the globe, and transpiring over a total of three years. And once again, Garth says he wants it to be “…bigger than anything we’ve done. That’s the goal.” Flying out over Texas Stadium suspended on wires?…eat your heart out.
Garth told Electric Barnyard, “Our job is to make sure that these people that came in the 90′s come back and go, ‘Gah dang it, I didn’t know it could get any better.’ …We’re on the blueprints right now. We’re going to build a stage and a lighting rig that will hopefully blow people away. And we’ve actually got a sound system that has never been used before that’s coming, a new technology. So everyone in the room can feel the thump. We’re going to bring it in, we’re going to be proud of it, and it’s going to be loud.”
But the tour will likely not transpire until the fall of 2014, so what will tide fans over? Brooks once again hints to grandiose plans, telling Nashville’s NewsChannel 5, “There is something that could be happening between now and the tour that might be the biggest thing I’ve ever tried to take on. I’m excited. If it comes to fruition, and it looks like it’s going to, it will be the biggest thing I’ve ever tried to attempt. I’m really excited about it. It’ll be done right, it’ll be done quality. I’m in love with the idea and we just have to see if it’s going to happen. We’ll know within the next four weeks or so.”
But what about new music? Garth has been locked in a rather public battle with iTunes and other digital music sellers, unwilling to release his catalog to them because of many grievances, principally that he doesn’t want to piecemeal out his albums by selling individual songs. iTunes is unwilling to give Garth special treatment, likely because this could set off a cavalcade of stars wanting iTunes to give their albums special pricing or to make their songs available only through albums. But what Garth proved with the Blame It All On My Roots box set is that he doesn’t need wide distribution for his music to be commercially successful. He can completely circumvent the entire distribution system of the music industry and still have a #1 release. At the same time, the lack of digital distribution may not allow Garth to achieve that “make whatever you’ve done before look small” goal.
What to do about new music might be the missing piece in Garth’s plans for country music domination. We know he wants to release new tunes, but how to have it live up to the same world-beating status he’s trying to achieve with his tour and the upcoming January surprise is the question.
Nonetheless, Garth has a release at the very top of the charts, a massive, worldwide tour in the works, and something special planned for in between. The accumulative effect of all of this is that Garth Brooks is very much back, and a dominant, undisputed feature in the country music landscape once again.
Hank Williams III will release his new country album Brothers of the 4X4 on October 1st, 2013. The release will be a double album of 16 total tracks, and will be accompanied by a punk album release called A Fiendish Threat. Album artwork and track lists:
Brothers of the 4X4-CD 1-
1) Nearly Gone 2) Hurtin’ For Certin 3) Brothers of the 4×4
4) Farthest Away 5) Held Up 6) Outdoor Plan 7) Deep Scars
8)Lookey Yonder Commin 9) Ain’t Broken Down
11) Loners 4 Life 12) Dreadfull Drive
1) Getting Dim 2) Possum in a Tree 3) Broken Boogie 4) Toothpickin
7) Face Down 8) New Identity 9) Feel the Sting 10) Fight My Way 11) Full On 12) Your Floor 13) A Fiendish Threat
From the press release:The king of hellbilly, Mr. HANK3 himself, is pleased to announce a triple-threat of new releases, hitting stores October 1, 2013. HANK3 will release a brand new DOUBLE country album, entitled Brothers of the 4×4, and a single punk album, entitled A Fiendish Threat, with his new project “3”. Brothers of the 4×4 will also be available as a single LP vinyl version, and A Fiendish Threat will be available as a double LP vinyl version.Recording in his own home and releasing music on his own label, the Megaforce distributed HANK3 Records, allowed Williams complete creative control during the four month period it took to make both records.Besides living the songs subject matter first, HANK3 sang and played both guitar and drums on the records. As if pulling triple duty wasn’t enough, he engineered, produced, mixed and mastered all the tunes as well. Not bad for someone who in his own words is dyslexic and has ADD, ccording to HANK3 “my mind is all over the place”. But even a man talented and driven enough to do (count ‘em) seven jobs at once has his limits, so HANK3 has once again assembled a top-notch ensemble of pickers and pluckers for Brothers Of The 4×4 and A Fiendish Threat.The required stand-up bass holds the low end down at the deft hands of Zach Shedd, with David McElfresh and Billy Contreras whipping razor sharp bows across the fiddle. Daniel Mason handles banjo, with a special guest appearance on “Possum In A Tree” by former National Old-Time Banjo Champion Leroy Troy working his banjo in the old school clawhammer style, while Andy Gibson wrings the sweetest of notes out his stand up steel guitar. Finally, long-time collaborator and fellow multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire Johnny Hiland rips his chicken pickin’ guitar to feathers and shreds.
HANK3‘s latest country record is just that- country, and the realness of it shines throughout the record like moonlight hitting a mason jar of corn liquor- it ain’t always the smoothest, and it doesn’t come wrapped in a fancy package, but it’s 100% pure whoop-ass in a bottle that gets the job done quicker and better and reminds you of where you originally came from once you figure out what just hit you. On “Outdoor Plan” he sings of fishing and hunting as a way of life, and it’s a fact that more than one deer and turkey has met its maker at the end of HANK3’s gun’s barrel. The title track, “Brothers of the 4×4″ celebrates the wide open full throttle love of off roadin’ and rootin’ in a four wheel drive- the cover of the record shows Williams mud bogging in a custom 4×4, and it’s not some redneck rental- that’s his ride. And because life ain’t always happy, when the heartbreak and hard times cracks through the sonic celebration on songs like “Loners 4 Life” and “Ain’t Broken Down”, it’s because HANK3 is well acquainted with the darker side of life, and not as some tourist. The album is a rich and gritty sounding mixture of sadness, pride, hope- in other words, it’s a great country record.
As mentioned above, HANK3 will head out on a headline tour of select major markets on August 24th. The tour will kick off in Austin, TX at The Austin Bat Fest, and will tour several cities, coming to a close on September 8th in Atlanta, GA at The Masquerade.
HANK3 Tour Dates:
- 8/24 Austin, TX @ The Austin Bat Fest
- 8/25 Ft. Worth, TX @ Rail Club
- 8/26 Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom
- 8/27 Lawrence (KC), MO @ Granada
- 8/29 Sauget, IL @ Pops
- 8/30 Ft. Wayne, IN @ Pierre’s
- 8/31 Flint, MI @ Machine Shop
- 9/1 Indianapolis, IN @ The Vogue
- 9/2 Pittsburgh, PA @ Alter
- 9/4 Lancaster, PA @ The Chameleon
- 9/5 Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
- 9/6 Richmond, VA @ National
- 9/7 Charlotte, NC @ Amos Southend
- 9/8 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
That’s right ladies and gentlemen, Unknown Hinson, aka the King of Country and Western Troubadours, aka the voice of Early on the Cartoon Network’s Squidbillies, is back, and is embarking on a big tour this fall.
On November 15th of 2012, Unknown Hinson’s internet peeps posted that he had played his last tour dates in public, “period,” cancelling a few previously-booked shows and blaming the rising price of touring for having to call it quits after 18 years. But apparently the hillbilly vampire has been hit yet again with the traveling Jones, and has posted 14 new tour dates so far with “MUCH more to come,” and signed,
“Thank you, my friends for your support. I hope to see you all soon. Sincerely, Stuart Daniel Baker ‘UNKNOWN HINSON’”
Unknown Hinson is the alter ego of Danny Baker, a guitar teacher and studio musician from North Carolina. Reviving the sounds and modes of country music from its golden era with a Gothic and comedic twist, Unknown Hinson has garnered a devout cult following over the years from his entertaining songs, hilarious persona, and blazing guitar licks.
Confirmed Tour Dates
Saturday, September 28th, Maryville, TN. Smokie Mountain Harley Davidson, “The Shed.”
Friday, October 4th, Asheville, NC, “The Grey Eagle”
Saturday, October 5th, Raleigh, NC. “Lincoln Theatre.”
Friday, October 11th, Chattanooga, TN, “Rhythm & Brews”
Saturday, October 12th, Charlotte, NC, “The Visulite Theatre”
Friday, October 18th, Atlanta, GA, “The Masquerade”
Saturday, October 19th, Fayettetville, NC, “The Rock Shop”
Friday, October 25th, Louisville, KY, “Jim Porters Good-Time Emporium”
Saturday, October 26th, Huntington, WV, “V CLUB”
Thursday, October 31st HALLOWEEN, Athens, GA “The Melting Point”
Friday, November 1st, Nashville, TN W/ “REVEREND HORTON HEAT” @ “Marathon Music Works”
Saturday, November 2nd, Birmingham, AL, “Zydeco”
November 8th, Jackson, MS “Martin’s”
November 9th, Pensacola, FL “Vinyl Music Hall”
November 14th, St. Louis, MO “Old Rock House”
November 15th, Chicago, IL “Reggie’s”
November 16th, Cleveland, OH “Beachland Ballroom”
November 17th, Newport, KY “The Southgate House”
November 22nd, Greenville, SC “The Handlebar”
November 23rd, Greensboro, NC “THe Blind Tiger”
December 12th, West Palm Beach, FL “The Bamboo Room”
December 13th, Tampa, FL “Skipper’s”
December 14th Melbourne, FL “The County Line”
Reno, Nevada’s Hellbound Glory has just come off two legs of arena shows opening for Kid Rock on his nationwide Rebel Soul tour, and are recovering now to get ready for their own tour in early summer. “Just signed on with Agency Group to book us and our agent is a big supporter and a legitimate badass so it’ll be rad to have them in our corner for future tours,” front man Leroy Virgil tells Saving Country Music. “Look for us in June all around the country.”
The Kid Rock tour was a big success for the band according to Leroy. “We gained a lot of fans throughout the tour who we can’t wait to see them when we come through with our show next time and made a lot of friends. Also I learned a shit load of things from Kid Rock and his crew and it was awesome to be treated so well after years of slugging it out in clubs. Everyone from the sound techs, the promoters, to Kid Rock and his band treated us like what we we’re doing was worth something which hasn’t always been the case in some of the places we’ve played over the years. All I know is I’m happy to take every opportunity I have to promote my songs and to eat their food and drink their booze, etc. etc. I think its been a more than even trade and we appreciate the help.”
While in the midst of the Kid Rock tour, Hellbound Glory released a new song called “The Feud.”
“I wrote the Feud a few days after seeing Bob Wayne play in Folsom CA with .357 [String Band] backing him,” Leroy explains. “…I wrote it about some relatives and other people I know who work in the medicinal industry. On a two week break from the Rebel Soul tour when we were offered some recording time in a big studio so I figured I’d embrace my Northwest roots and make a big-sounding grunge country song. I wasn’t sure I’d ever get the chance to work with such hi tech equipment again so I used it for everything it was worth. Anything else would have seemed contrived to me and I think we did a great job of getting that modern country sound on a song about farmers, violence, and weed.”
“To me it turned out more country than country. However, for anyone who prefers a stripped down version I’ve made available thru SCM the first recording we did a few years back as a two piece called the Excavators with just guitar, lap steel, bass drum, voice, and harmonica.”
Whenever the name Hellbound Glory is mentioned, the next question is when fans may get to hear some new music.
“Going to be doing as much recording as time and money will allow.” Leroy says. “Whether it be with Shooter, with our buddies Mike Lattanzi and Tommy Byrnnes (who did the Feud) or by myself if I can learn the technology. Can’t wait to hit everyone with our next single, not sure what it’ll be yet but if anyone has any suggestions we’d like to hear em….. Although I do have a batch of new songs I think will knock people’s socks off that I’m chomping at the bit to record as well. Gonna try to keep the bender broadcasts coming as well. Got about 5 of them up right now on iTunes and a bunch of acoustic stuff in the can we’ll put out once its put together. Just need to get Rico (Hellbound’s slide player) to get some more skits going one of these days. And if anyone has request, get them to us and we’d be happy to give ‘em a shot.”
“Thanks to everyone for the support. It takes support from a whole lot of people to get a band like us even this far in this day and age and we appreciate every single one of you skumbags and hags out there.”
Just Released: Hellbound Glory plays Hank’s “Lovesick Blues”
Hank Williams III has been on extended touring hiatus, one of the longest of his career, as his drummer Shawn “McNasty” Williams had surgery to repair a rotator cuff, reattach his bicep tendon, and remove bone spurs. But the grandson of Hank Williams has apparently been using the time well, writing and recording a big chunk of new material. He announced on his website this morning that he has two new albums on the way and 25 new songs written:
“I’m workin as hard as I can and as fast as I can to finish two records up. Right now I’m 25 songs deep in writin’ while playin’ guitar, singin’, doin’ my own drum tracks, then recording the other players. After that comes mixin’ it, master’n it, the artwork…Once all that is done it’ll be turned in. One is a country record…I’m not really sayin’ anything about the other record…As it looks right now, hopefully we can be on the road by May…“
In January drummer Shawn McWilliams said the “The green light was real close” in regards to his physical therapy regiment and recovery. “This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through,” McWilliams said, “I can not wait to start playing.”
Hank3 released an unprecedented 4 albums on September 6th of 2011 after his production had been stymied by Curb Records for over 14 years. His initial plan was to focus on touring for years after, but the break in the action from his drummer’s injury means fans will be getting new material sooner than later. As always, Hank3 is recording in a DIY style, and will be releasing the records himself. As he told Saving Country Music in an interview:
Nowadays the independents have an opportunity they didn’t have 20 years ago. You don’t need a major label. All my new records are done on that same D1600 machine “Straight to Hell” was done on.
UPDATE 5/2/13: From Hank3′s website, “Artwork for the new releases is being finished up and after that, it will all be turned over for distribution. A release date will be posted when possible, as well as any tour dates, once a full schedule is confirmed.”
Wilie Nelson, whose currently on a tour of the east coast that started in Durham, North Carolina on January 18th, and included a performance at the Presidential Inauguration on January 21st, has just renamed his tour the “Old Farts & Jackass” tour. The move comes in response to the controversy over Blake Shelton’s recent comments on a GAC Backstory interview, saying in part:
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…
The somewhat veiled and tongue-and cheek announcement declares Willie Nelson the co-leader of the “Old Fart Party,” and also includes a reference to the ongoing lip-sync controversy involving Beyonce. Read the entire pronouncement below.
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -
The Old Farts and Jackass tour began in Durham, NC on January 18th at the Durham Performing Arts Center. Then Saturday night Willie Nelson and Family performed in Bowling Green, KY at the Performing Arts Center before heading south to The Tabernacle in Atlanta. But now it’s January 20th, excitement is in the air, and Inauguration Day is finally here.
After the annual Bacon and Egg luncheon, the Swearing Ceremony took center stage as Willie stepped forward and placed his hand on Peg Bible. The Joint Congressional Committee spoke of the logistics of presenting such an unpresidential event in an old Church and of security concerns that have plagued the event from the beginning. The growing crowd stood in line for hours and wondered. “What will he wear? Willie cut bangs?”
After much anticipation Willie Nelson finally emerged. Dressed in an all black ensemble by American designer Levi Strauss, the co-leader of the Old Fart Party mesmerized the crowd with the first dance, Whiskey River.
The lip synching controversy would take over the headlines later, but the official answer from Nelson’s camp remained no. No Willie Vanillie here ladies and gentlemen, no tricky audio antics. Willie sang it all live. What we have elected to see is just a man, his band, his family and his guitar. The audience in Atlanta will testify before any congress; country is in good hands.
Reno, Nevada’s Hellbound Glory with be touring with Kid Rock on his “Rebel Soul” tour to transpire at the very start of 2013, trekking through the Midwest and South. Buckcherry will also be playing in a supporting role. From press release:
Kid Rock is proud to announce the first dates of his “Rebel Soul” worldwide tour in support of his recently released album bearing the same name. The tour kicks off February 2nd at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO with the first leg winding down March 2nd in Louisville, KY. More dates are expected to be announced shortly. Backed as always by his Twisted Brown Trucker band, the full-scale arena tour will feature Buckcherry and Hellbound Glory as support.
Leroy Virgil, the frontman of Hellbound Glory is one of country music’s best kept secrets in regards to songwriting. The band first rubbed elbows with Kid Rock on his “Chillin The Most” cruise down in Florida last March.
Feb 2 Kansas City, MO – Sprint Center, On Sale 12/14 @10am http://www.axs.com/
Feb 5 Springfield, MO – JQH Arena, On Sale 12/14 @10am http://bit.ly/SoJhlr
Feb 7 Beaumont, TX – Ford Park Event Center, On Sale 12/7 @10am http://bit.ly/4xGq0V
Feb 9 Tulsa, OK – BOK Center, On Sale 11/30 @ 10am http://bit.ly/LScMF
Feb 10 Wichita, KS – INTRUST Bank Arena, On Sale 12/7 @10am http://bit.ly/40v9cG
Feb 13 Bossier City, LA – CenturyLink Center, On Sale 12/7 @10am http://bit.ly/4xGq0V
Feb 15 Nashville, TN – Bridgestone Arena, On Sale 12/21 @10am http://bit.ly/4xGq0V
Feb 16 Greenville, SC – Bi-Lo Center, On Sale 12/7 @10am http://bit.ly/4xGq0V
Feb 18 Fort Myers, FL – Germain Arena, On Sale TBD
Feb 20 Pensacola, FL – Pensacola Civic Center, On Sale 12/14 @10am http://bit.ly/4xGq0V
Feb 21 New Orleans, LA – New Orleans Arena, On Sale 12/8 @10am http://bit.ly/4xGq0V
Feb 23 Birmingham, AL – BJCC Arena, On Sale 12/7 @10am http://bit.ly/4xGq0V
Feb 24 Huntsville, AL – Von Braun Center, On Sale 12/7 @10am http://bit.ly/4xGq0V
Feb 26 Greensboro, NC – Greensboro Coliseum Complex, On Sale 12/15 @10am http://bit.ly/4xGq0V
Feb 27 Knoxville, TN – Knoxville Civic Auditorium, On Sale 12/7 @10am http://bit.ly/147jQp
Mar 1 Memphis, TN – FedEx Forum, On Sale 12/8 @10am http://bit.ly/4xGq0V
Mar 2 Louisville, KY – KFC Yum! Center, On Sale 12/21 @10am http://bit.ly/4xGq0V
UPDATE: More Dates Just Added
March 18 – Sioux Falls, SD – Sioux Falls Arena
March 20 – Madison, WI – Memorial Coliseum at Alliant Energy Center
March 22 – Toledo, OH – Huntington Center
March 23 – Columbus, OH – Nationwide Aren
March 25 – Youngstown, OH – Covelli Center
March 26 – Ft. Wayne, IN – Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
March 28 – Bloomington, IL – US Cellular Coliseum
March 29 – Omaha, NE – Centurylink Center
April 1 – Evansville, IN – Ford Center
April 3 – Grand Rapids, MI – Van Andel Arena
April 5 – Saginaw, MI – Dow Event Center
April 6 – Saginaw, MI – Dow Event Center
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As for my personal thoughts? I think there’s no mistaking I haven’t been a fan of Kid Rock over the years, coining the nickname for him of “The Wet Cigarette”. However, Hellbound Glory may be the most under-the-rader band in country music right now, and they deserve this opportunity and exposure. I think it is times like these that the term “bittersweet” is in order. Ask me in a couple of days how I feel about it, but at the moment I can’t help but to be happy for Hellbound Glory for the opportunity, and however much I may dislike Kid Rock, giving him credit for seeing the potential of Leroy Virgil.
As I said over a year ago in my review of their last album Damaged Goods:
It is time for someone to step up. They don’t deserve the SCM Album of the Year, they deserve something better, something more than I can give. It is time for them to graduate, for someone a step higher to step up, put these boys as the opener on a serious tour, get them out of having to battle with a juke box full of rap music at brokedown bars, but also someone who understands their element, and how a loss of authenticity would be their demise.
Apparently, Kid Rock was the one to do that.
The Queen of Underground Country, the lovely and talented Rachel Brooke will be releasing her new album A Killer’s Dream on December 4th, featuring Florida’s Viva Le Vox as her backing band, and a duet with Lonesome Wyatt of Those Poor Bastards. This will be her 3rd full-length album.
A Killer’s Dream was recorded at Rachel Brooke’s brother’s Halohorn Studio in Traverse City, MI, and will be made available in limited edition 100 red vinyl copies, black vinyl, CD, cassette, and digital form. All formats will be available for pre-order on Tuesday, November 20th at http://
The first cool surprise is the world premier video for the song “The Black Bird” that you can watch below. Rachel will also be touring through the South and East in February and March as part of a Viva Le Vox / Joe Buck Yourself / Rachel Brooke super tour that will eventually take her to Europe and the European Muddy Roots Festival this summer.
Mandolin maestro Jayke Orvis is hitting the road once again as his own man, with help from some familiar faces. The former .357 Sting Band member, and occasional member of The Goddamn Gallows has roped in the greatness of James Hunnicutt, along with Joe Perreze on banjo and Fishgutz (The Goddamn Gallows) on bass, aka ‘The Broken Band’ for a tour through the South and Midwest starting mid January.
“I’ve taken a bit of a break these last few months and now I’m itchin’ to get back in the van.” Jayke iterated to me through the miracle of electronic mail. “There may be some rotations down the line here and there but this lineup is pretty solid. Right now it just makes sense to run a stretch together and have James do a set too. I’m really lookin’ forward to bein’ on the road with my family.”
And people should not take Jayke’s time off from touring with The Gallows or this solo tour as a sign he’s done with the fire-breathing outfit. “I plan on being with the Goddamn Gallows more next year but will definitely be doing another solo tour. I’m thrilled beyond words that Baby Genius is back behind the drums, where he needs to be. This tour, the gallows have the full original lineup and it’s gonna be legendary.”
You can find the dates below, and of course, on the SCM Calendar. There’s nothing better that you can do to support music than to go out and see it live.
1-11-11 – Stella Blue – Asheville, NC
1-12-11 – The Hideaway – Johnson City, TN
1-14-11 – Ole Tavern on George Street – Jackson, MS
1-15-11 – Check Point Charlie – New Orleans, LA
1-20-11 – Beerland – Austin, TX
1-21-11 – Lizard Lounge – Wichita, KS
1-22-11 – Blue Note – Oklahoma City, OK
1-24-11 – Crystal Pistol Saloon – Tulsa, OK
1-25-11 – Blackthorn Pizza & Pub (21+) – Joplin, MO
1-26-11 – The Handle Bar – Decatur, IL
1-27-11 – Sideshow – Columbia, MO
1-28-11 – Kix Club – Quincy, IL
1-29-11 – Reggie’s Rock Club – Chicago, IL
1-31-11 – Melody Inn – Indianapolis, IN
2-2-11 – Mac’s Bar – Lansing, MI
2-3-11 – Small’s ALL AGES – Hamtramck, MI
2-4-11 – Old Dog Tavern – Kalamazoo, MI
83-year-old Charlie Louvin, suffering from pancreatic cancer, is heading out on the road to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of The Louvin Brothers release of the landmark album Satan Is Real. Charlie, Country Music Hall of Famer and member of the Grand Ole Opry for 55 years, is showing no signs of slowing down. And as first reported here, when he leaves on the road, he will not be playing the usual venues Hall of Famer’s play, but establishments usually reserved for underground country artists and rock bands.
For example his show in Nashville will not be at the typical haunts for country legends like The Opry or The Loveless Cafe. He will be playing in east Nashville, at Foobar Too, a spot frequented by acts like Wayne “The Train” Hancock and Joe Buck.
There’s also a benefit concert scheduled to help with Charlie’s mounting medical bills that will be happening south of Nashville at the Bell Buckle Banquet Hall on Oct. 30th.
The Louvin Brothers’ Satan Is Real album was especially known for its interesting cover, which was taken in a rock quarry, with a 12 foot plywood rendition of Satan in the background and burning tires hidden under rocks creating the flames of Hell. The song was later used by Hank III in a medley to open his album Straight To Hell.
You can find Charlie’s tour dates below, as well as on the Saving Country Music Calendar, where all important REAL country concert dates can be found.
UPDATE: CHARLIE HAS CANCELED HIS NOVEMBER TOUR DATES DUE TO HEATH. FURTHER UPDATES COMING.
One Eyed Jacks
New Orleans. LA
St Louis, MO
Kansas City, MO
- – -
Rocky Mountain Pub
Grand Junction, CO
Santa Fe, NM
Oklahoma City, OK
McGonigel’s Mucky Duck
The upper Midwest will be getting it hard and heavy in the next month or so. In a surprisingly quick turnaround, Hank III, whose still has a few more dates on his East Coast tour, will be heading out again October 10th for 16 dates and possibly more to come. You can see the dates below or on Hank III’s tour page. No opener as of yet, and there may not be one once again.
Also Jayke Orvis, Rachel Brooke, and James Hunicutt will be leaving on a Midwest tour of their own in a few days. Again, see the dates below, and remember you can find all these dates and the dates for all the core bands in the Saving Country Music movement on the Saving Country Calendar.
Jayke Orvis Tour w/ Rachel Brooke & James Hunnicutt
123 Pleasant Street
The V Club
Grand Rapids, MI
Traverse City, MI
House of Rock
Tom Dick and Harry’s
Green Bay, WI
Des Moines, IA
St Louis, M
Ever since I got my dirty little hands on a copy of Old High and New Lows I’ve been an outright whore for Reno’s Hellbound Glory, but prefaced my enthusiasm by say they need to make it back east. Well now Leroy Virgil and the boys have called my bluff, and built up enough of a head of steam to hopscotch the Rockies a cruise all the way to South Carolina. Hot damn!
Come August 20th they’ll be heading out and won’t stop till they hit the coast. On their way they’ll hook up with some other great acts, including Six Gun Britt and Last False Hope in Chi Town, The Flat Tires in North Carolina, and Aran Buzzas in Montana.
Recently Hellbound has been enjoying some good strong mainstream press and exposure, including a favorable review from my favorite country writer Juli Thanki. And CM Wilcox recently debuted a new song “Malt Liquor”. Hey I thought Hellbound Glory was supposed to be our little scumbag secret? But I tell you what, if this small success keeps Leroy & Co. in beer and hot dogs, that means the music can keep flowing uninterrupted by day labor and dead end jobs, so I’m all for it!
You can find these dates, and ALL important concert dates where? All together class, “At savingcountrymusic.com/calendar.”
Just a few quick things:
Yesterday it was announced that Huck Johnson, long time standup bass player for Wayne “The Train” Hancock will be leaving the band. Hancock’s grueling tour schedule has caused him a lot of turnover over the years, so the announcement is not alarming. As they say, “The Train Rolls On.”
Anybody upright bass players that would be willing or able to fill in for the upcoming shows, or interested in the position long term are asked to get some clips/samples of work together and get in contact with Wayne’s squeeze/manager Gina Gallina through the myspace site.
Speaking of Gina Gallina, she is now booking for the one and only Lucky Tubb and they have just announced a mess of dates out West. Good to see Lucky getting out there!
And last but not least, Hank III will be participating in the 10th Annual “Joey Ramone Birthday Bash” at the Fillmore in New York City on the 19th of May. Proceeds will be donated to Lymphoma Research. Joey died of Lymphoma in 2001.
Rachel Brooke isn’t just a musician, she’s a muse.
If she was an illustration, it would be an old one, from the 1920′s with tattered edges. Rachel would be sitting on a high cliff overlooking the sea like a Greek Siren, and ships full of suitors would be trying unsuccessfully to approach her position. The waves would come in, dashing the ships on the rocks and drowning the suitors, all while Rachel watched with countenance somewhere between tad interest and sheer boredom.
And yes, I would be one of those fool-hearty, ill-fated suitors.
The fact that Rachel Brooke is physically alluring and enigmatic, talented beyond all, and skilled as a musician with the best, is somewhere between wrong and downright evil. I mean seriously, somebody with her talents should at least be ugly, it’s only fair.
But for the years I’ve been following her (not stalking, I promise occifer), I’ve been waiting for her to make a big move. Last year she teamed up with Lonesome Wyatt of Those Poor Bastards for A Bitter Harvest album and a subsequent tour. But it always seems like Rachel is playing second fiddle. I keep waiting for that big release, the big tour, a big announcement that really puts her in her rightful place among the underground country elite, of which in my opinion she belongs.
Well it may not be that big announcement, but I am happy to see a healthy lineup of tour dates upcoming for Rachel, and with some big names like Wayne “The Train” Hancock, Roger Alan Wade, and fellow Michey Ganders Whitey Morgan & The 78′s. She will also be playing a run of shows with her father, the semi-legendary Tiger Bear Jon. They will be playing under the name “The Van Guilders.” Attendees to those shows with a get a special treat of seeing Rachel Brook’s complete skill set, as she will be playing her own sad slow stuff, AND up-tempo bluegrass numbers with her banjo playing pops.
- May 16 2010 8:00P
PJ’s Lager House Honky Tonk Throwdown w/ Wayne Hancock, Whitey Morgan and the 78’s, & MORE! Detroit
- Jun 5 2010 5:00P
Doughboyz Pizza and Pub w/ Roger Alan Wade, Whitey Morgan and the 78’s and MORE Ashville, Ohio
- Jun 11 2010 8:00P
TBA Detroit, Michigan
- Jun 12 2010 8:00P
Pint and Slice w/ The Van Guilders Ft. Wayne, Indiana
- Jun 13 2010 8:00P
The Still w/ The Van Guilders, and Ol Red Shed New Berlin, Illinois
- Jun 14 2010 8:00P
Kix Club, w/ The Van Guilders Quincy, Illinois
- Jun 15 2010 8:00P
TBA W/ the Van Guilders TBA, Missouri
- Jun 16 2010 8:00P
Mardi Krawlers w/ The Van Guilders and Typsy Gypsy Alton
- Jun 17 2010 8:00P
Sgt. Preston’sw/ the Van Guilders and Ando from the Jolly Barrels Lafayette, Indiana
- Jun 18 2010 8:00P
Tootles w/ The Van Guilders, and The Misery Jackals Circleville, Ohio
- Jun 19 2010 8:00P
Annabells w/ The Van Guilders, Misery Jackals and MORE! Akron, Ohio
On the latest episode of the It Burns When I Pee podcast, Joe Huber of the .357 String Band let it be known that the high octane bluegrass band plans to continue touring and backing up Bob Wayne once the platoon gets back from a stint in Europe this month.
“Bob is one hilarious dude man. He’s probably one of the coolest dudes I’ve ever met. He definitely keeps you entertained all the time, and one of the most noble people I could possibly meet. . . . Within two weeks into this first tour with Bob we already decided to extend it to the West Coast, so in May and June, we’re already planning another month of West Coast tours and shows with Bob.”
Huber also talked about other tour plans for the rest of the year.
“We’re trying to hit up some festivals this year, either within Wisconsin or throughout the area, just kinda like bigger shows where we can get out, instead of playing rock clubs you can try to hit a festival, you know, get more people seeing you within one day, playing a show to more people than you would in a rock club.”
You can get the whole interview with Joe Huber, as well as an earful of IBWIP’s, um, “adult” humor as well as quite the anatomy lesson on It Burns When I Pee Episode 38.
So of course as soon as I decide to leave the real world for a few days, the REAL country news wires get hot. So I’m sitting here in a crude “internet” cafe in the small interior Mexico mountain town of Xilitia, feeding a gerbil that runs in a wheel that somehow gives me some crude and heroically slow version of the world wide internet, and I’m using my last few precious gerbil nibits to bring you the latest scoop in an admittedly concise and unsexy fashion.
Hank III West Coast Tour w/ Kyle Turley
Hank Williams III has just announced a West Coast/ Texas tour beginning in March, and the opener will be the former football player turned country singer Kyle Turley. To see the current list of dates CLICK HERE. More dates will probably show up later, but note that NO date is official until you see it on that site.
I will be attending at least one, if not more of these shows, and am really interested to see what the Kyle Turley show has to offer. Hope to see some of you out there. But for the next few days, I will be trying to enjoy my stay south of the border, and making sure I come back in one piece and not as part of some ransom bargain. So until then . . .
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