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- SXSW Probably Isn't Going Anywhere – But Big Changes Loom
- Revisiting Cowboy Jack Clement, Country Music's Jester and King
- Audiobook Review: Tom T. Hall "The Storyteller's Nashville"
- Mac Wiseman Featured in The Wall St Journal
- Live Nation Moving Off of Music Row
- After SiriusXM Success, The Turtles Take on Pandora
- American Songwriter reviews new Sons of Bill album
- Cool Music Photos from New "Still Moving" Picture Book
- The Telegraph "Sturgill Simpson: Space Cowboy"
- Jambands Reviews Cory Branan's "No Hit Wonder"
- Zoe Muth at WAMU's Bluegrass Country
- A night in the life of Austin City Limits ringleader Terry Lickona
- Review: Sturgill Simpson At Leaf Cafe, Liverpool, UK
- Can the people Nashville hopes to attract afford to move to Nashville?
Good gosh, what does Keith Urban have to do to buy a break? I mean, he married a Hollywood A-lister, he posed for Playgirl, he took a job as an American Idol judge just to find out nobody pays attention to that crap anymore, and he had the CMA’s gerrymander him into “Entertainer of the Year” and “Male Vocalist” nominations when Jason Aldean probably deserved them more. Meanwhile his last album Fuse sits outside the Top 20 in the charts and he has to be wondering, what the hell is going on? Even Sturgill Simpson, who Keith Urban apparently loves, is currently kicking Urban’s ass in the album charts coming in five spots ahead of him.
So the Keith Urban brain trust gets together, scratches their heads a little bit and says, “Boobs. You know, there’s always boobs.” And so here we see Keith Urban resort to the same female objectification the rest of country music is suffering from in this new semi-NSFW video for his stalled single “Somewhere In My Car.”
The video shows a scantly-clad woman with various cuts of fabric oh so precariously clinging to her female parts and potentially ready to fall of at any second, while Keith Urban wanks off in the background. I mean…on his guitar…he wanks off on his guitar in the background—while some roided-out muscle man ponders the trapezoidal impossibility at getting any shut eye on a single bed fit for an adolescent. Basically the underlying plot line of this video is that some poor bastard is suffering from wet dreams.
Keith Urban I’m sure will be shielded from certain criticisms because the video is veiled as being “artistic” through black and white shades and other scripted elements of scene and choreography, but this entire video is predicated on the curvature of the female breast. Don’t be fooled, it’s just as objectifying as anything else country music has to offer, if not more. And really, who cares to you have breasts in your video? Any of us can navigate to our search bar and pull up an entire world’s worth of the finest female breasts ever assembled and oogle all day if we so choose.
Even more sad is that this song and even the approach to this video has a little something of merit, delving into the roiling mental anguish that can rip the psyche apart after a breakup through haunting memories and blind jealousy. It doesn’t belong anywhere near country though. I don’t want to come across as a moralist. I’m not offended by female breasts, and don’t make it my business if someone wants to see them. But there’s a time and a place, and country is neither.
P.S. the “model” is named Jehane Paris.
Ever 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.
Many of the attendees to Toby Keith’s Saturday night (9-13) concert at the Klipsch Music Center near Indianapolis are up in arms over Toby Keith’s performance after Keith showed up drunk and stumbled through his set. Some families spent upwards of $300 dollars on tickets and drove from many hours away just to see Toby Keith slur his words and forget others throughout the concert in what one parent called an “embarrassing” performance.
Numerous fans reached out to Live Nation and the Klipsch Music Center on Monday in an attempt to get refunds to no avail. Neither Live Nation, the Klipsch Music Center, nor Toby Keith’s management have addressed, or even acknowledged the issue. Saving Country Music also made calls to both the appropriate parties at the Klipsch Music Center, which is owned and operated by Live Nation, and to TKO Management which manages Toby Keith, and neither entity returned calls.
Surprisingly, only one video from the 24,000-capacity venue has surfaced in the 48-hours since the concert, but this one piece of evidence does not put Toby Keith in a very flattering light. Singing his 9/11-inspired mega hit “Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue,” Toby Keith can be clearly heard heavily slurring his words and at times trailing off, until at the end of the line, “So we can sleep in peace at night when we lay down our heads,” he descends into an inaudible garble, inspiring the videographer to exclaim, “Oh God!”.
As a courtesy, Saving Country Music has isolated the audio in question in the below video, so inquiring minds can listen and determine just how drunk Toby may or many not have been that night.
This story has been updated.
Not that delighting in the misfortune of another human is a trait any of us should possess, but Luke Bryan’s new side hobby of taking dives off of stages has become almost comical in its frequency. Greg Louganis, eat your heart out. It wouldn’t be as easy to find the humor in the situation if Luke Bryan had found himself seriously hurt in any of the incidences, but that seems to be the only fortune that can be found in now his troika of famous stage tumbles.
At Luke Bryan’s show Saturday night (8-30) at the Klipsch Music Center (Formerly Verizon Wireless Music Center) in Noblesville, Indiana, Bryan bit it yet again from stage when someone tried to toss him a beer. “If you’re gonna fall off stage, do it while trying to catch a beer,” an embarrassed Luke Bryan said after he finished the song. “Now which one of you grabbed my ass? I’m about a quart low. Checking my damn oil down here. “
Luke Bryan alluded to the incident later on Twitter. “Awesome night Indy. Too amazing nights.”
Shouldn’t that be “two” there Luke? Maybe Bryan did bang his noggin after all. It was the singer’s second successive night at the Klipsch Music Center near Indianapolis, but that apparently wasn’t time enough to help familiarize Luke with his surroundings. But Bryan claims he’s okay. “All good here. No bumps or bruises. Our stage is different in every amp. Little stage variations. Hell I gotta just pay more attention.”
Luke landed on a pair of sisters in the crowd, including one who walked away with a black eye. Luke later made it up to them by inviting the concert going party backstage.
This is the third famous slip the country music sexy man has taken in 2014 alone. On February 17th Luke Bryan slipped on stage in Greensboro, North Carolina. Then on May 29th, Bryan took a more serious tumble off the stage that resulted in a few stitches in his leg. “So check this out. Check this out. The last time I was in North Carolina, I busted my ass on stage,” Luke Bryan said to the crowd after he’d recovered. “What is it about North Carolina that makes me bust my ass?â€ť The second falling incident also involved alcohol. A cooler full of ice and bruskies had been poured out on stage earlier in the performance by Bryan, leaving ice in the area where he slipped. Luke Bryan’s had a few other famous tumbles over the years.
Luke Bryan Fall #1 (Feb. 17th 2014)
Luke Bryan Fall #2 (May 29th, 2014)
Luke Bryan Fall #3 (Aug. 30th, 2014)
UPDATE: New Instagram Video of falling incident.
This story has been updated.
On Tuesday, April 15th, the city of Calgary in Alberta, Canada faced the city’s worst mass homicide in its history when the son of a veteran Calgary police officer stabbed five people to death at a house party. Four men and a woman were fatally stabbed in an unprovoked attack that transpired at roughly 1 AM. 22-year-old Matthew Douglas de Grood, a student at the University of Calgary, has been charged with five counts of first degree murder, and is in police custody. Two of the stabbing victims, Zackariah Rathwell, 23, and Josh Hunter, 22, were in a local band called Zackariah and the Prophets, and had just held a CD release party the prior weekend.
The tragedy has sent shockwaves throughout the Calgary community, including the music community, in an incident that may pale in comparison to some of the body counts of American massacres, but in the rather non-violent culture of Canada, it is nothing short of horrific.
American pop country super duo Florida Georgia Line played a concert in Calgary the following day, Wednesday (4-16) at the Scotiabank Saddledome, and according to numerous reports, broached the subject of the tragedy on stage in such an uninformed and callous way, it has created a big backlash against the band in Canadian media outlets.
Taking the point in the Florida Georgia Line criticism is a writer for the Calgary Herald named Mike Bell. The reporter was at the concert, and was so incensed by the flippant nature with which Florida Georgia Line handled the tragedy, he decided to forgo a traditional concert review and write a scathing piece bemoaning the American duo’s behavior.
…early into their set, they open their mouths and, in whatâ€™s supposed to be some casual between song banter to show that, yeah, they actually know which town theyâ€™re playing in, that theyâ€™re in â€śCALGARY!â€ť, they mention, in vague, terribly awkward terms, a shooting that went on in this city a couple of days ago or something.
Iâ€™m sorry. Hereâ€™s where I diverge from the script, the unspoken, unwritten contract between reviewer and reader, hereâ€™s where I put the collective aside and impose the personal experience on the professional.
Remember the Calgary tragedy was a stabbing, not a shooting, and apparently that wasn’t the only detail Florida Georgia Line got wrong. According to Mike Bell, it would have been better if the duo hadn’t broached the subject at all. But since they did, their fumbling of the information came across as insult to the Calgary crowd.
In the 20 years Iâ€™ve been doing this, Iâ€™ve written positive reviews of bands I wouldnâ€™t cross the street to spit at, those who â€śarenâ€™t my cup of teaâ€ť as some might say. Iâ€™ve also written negative reviews of bands I admire and actually go home and listen to on my time….But what Iâ€™m not paid to do is forget about something that happened in the city Iâ€™ve called home for all of my life, the city that I actually care about and understand somewhat the pain itâ€™s going through.
I donâ€™t get being so entirely oblivious, so utterly callous that you canâ€™t even get the basics of a tragedy right. A really, really fresh tragedy. Thatâ€™s on the cover of every newspaper in the city, on every newscast, and on the lips of every citizen….It would be like showing up as the waters were just receding, then calling last yearâ€™s flood an earthquake. It would be like calling, to take it to the extreme, 9/11 a really big tornado or sharknado. Or something.
Calgary Herald reviewer Mike Bell goes on to give his assessment of the Florida Georgia Line concert as,
Florida Georgia Line were at the Saddledome. They played some songs on stage for a bit. There was sound. There were lights. And there were opening acts.
It was a concert.
Though Saving Country Music has been unable to obtain the specific comments Florida Georgia Line made, and they weren’t included in the Calgary Herald article, numerous concert attendees are quoting the duo as saying, “We know that this city is in mourning, we heard about a shooting…. or a murder.. that happened in the city a couple weeks ago… or a couple days ago here in Calgary. And you know what? I think we need to give a special shout out to those people that are going through the hard times. This one’s for you guys.” (see update below) The quote is attributed to Tyler Hubbard of the duo.
The piece was also reposted by other prominent Canadian newspapers in the same syndication network, including The Ottawa Citizen and The Edmonton Journal. Apparently the subject is also making the rounds on numerous Canadian country radio stations and other media outlets.
A Facebook account attributed to Florida Georgia Line lead singer Tyler Hubbard (though not verified to truly be the singer) responded in the comments section of the Calgary Herald article, saying,
wow… i’ve never had someone twist a genuine statement that was me trying to show love and support for the families that have gone thru such a tragedy. If you ask me mike… you’re the one that’s being disrespectful by blowing this out of proportion. You’ve absolutely put words in my mouth that never even came out and i’m offended. But hey what can ya do.. just keep trying to make people happy and love life. good luck brother.
that being said … to the people of Calgary, if i offended y’all i’m truly sorry.. there is no tragedy that i would take lightly, especially in this case so i apologize if i said something that come off that wrong way but that was definitely not my intention. Y’all rocked last night and we love you guys. Hope we put some smiles on some faces.
Later on their Twitter account, Florida Georgia Line Tweeted, “Last Night In Calgary was incredible. Our fans are amazing. Our hearts go out to all of those affected by the tragedy there.
****UPDATE 4/18/2014: Partial video of the incident has surfaced, though the first portion is cut off. Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard can be heard saying, “…a couple of weeks ago, or a couple of days ago here in Calgary. And you know what? I think we need to give a special shout out to those people that are going through the hard times. This one’s for you guys.”
This story has been updated.
On Wednesday morning, Legacy Recordings released the official music video for Johnny Cash’s version of the song “She Used To Love Me A Lot” off of the upcoming lost album Out Among The Stars due March 25th.
The video was done by famous Australian filmmaker John Hillcoat. “Iâ€™ve been a lifelong fan,â€ť Hillcoat told The Guardian. â€śThe first film I made was a prison film, so thereâ€™s definitely a connection there with the whole Folsom prison thing. I was also inspired by his voice, which has a truth to it at all times â€“ thatâ€™s always helped me in terms of working with actors, no matter how big … If I recall correctly Cash was one of the first major public figures to openly talk about drug addiction, his inner demons and his problems with women and relationships. America loved him because he spoke for the common man.â€ť
The version of “She Used To Love Me A Lot” on the music video is a different mix compared to the initial version originally released in mid-January. Where the first version features acoustic guitar and mandolin, the new version doesn’t. The new version also features organ, while the first version featured piano. Other, more subtle differences can also be heard between the two tracks. Both versions are slated to appear on the album, with one marked as the “JC/EC Version”.
The original recordings for Out Among The Stars were taken from archived masters that were made between 1981 and 1984 with producer Billy Sherrill. They were then “fortified” before being readied for release by a team that included Marty Stuart and Buddy Miller. The fortification process may have resulted in multiple versions of the song.
David Allan Coe, also working with producer Billy Sherrill, was the first artist to release “She Used To Love Me A Lot” in December of 1984, but Cash may have recorded his version first, or around the same time. At the time Sherrill, a Country Music Hall of Famer, was working with both men to help revitalize their careers. Coe’s version eventually reached #11 on the charts. The song was written by Dennis Morgan, Charles Quillen, and Kye Fleming.
The First Released Version:
***UPDATE*** (12-4-13 1:35 AM CST): After posting this rant at roughly 9 PM on 12/3, the Eric Church video was made “private” on YouTube at roughly 11:45 PM on 12/3. If the video was pulled and stays pulled, Saving Country Music commends Eric Church and/or his management/marketing team for making the right decision about this video. ***UPDATE***
***UPDATE*** (12-4-13 4:50 PM CST): The Eric Church camp has posted another video saying in part “Eric adores Taylor, for who she is and what sheâ€™s done.”
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In the latest installment in a series of cryptic teaser videos Eric Church has released ahead of his new album The Outsiders, Church culls footage from the recent CMA Awards, and specifically Taylor Swift’s speech accepting the Pinnacle Award in a creepy, if not downright disturbing video full of obtuse connotations and veiled threats. During her speech, Taylor Swift referenced her big break in country music that came in 2006 when Eric Church was booted off a tour with Rascal Flatts because he was playing too loud, and too long, after being repeatedly warned by concert promoters to follow the rules he signed on to when he was selected for the tour. Church was replaced by Taylor Swift.
Apparently this is either still a sore spot for Church, or simply a marketing angle for his on again/off again country music “Outlaw” image. But either way, it is the theme for the 70-second video called “One Will Rise, One Will Fall” released today.
I’ll tell you folks, and I know people are going to say that I am way over-reacting or being way too sensitive, but I think this video is despicable, sickening, and downright dangerous. I think it should be pulled from YouTube by the Eric Church camp, an apology should be issued, and if I had the arrogance to believe that I had any such power or authority to do so, I would outright demand that this video be pulled from public consumption.
I don’t give a shit what Eric Church, or anybody else thinks about Taylor Swift’s music. This isn’t about music at all. Take music out of the picture, and Taylor Swift is a 23-year-old girl who has hundreds, if not thousands of people in this celebrity-obsessed and morally-corrupt world who would wish to do all manner of harm and evil things to her; people who happen to live the same shadowy, disturbed lives that come eerily similar to the scene Eric Church portrays in this stupid ass teaser.
If you think I’m taking this too seriously, try telling that to the fans and family of Selena, Dimebag Darrell, and John Lennon. As s a society we have an imperative to protect individuals from these types of threats and images: Bulletin boards and cluttered desks with psychopathic, stalker-style tools and artifacts, and post-it notes with dark, belligerent plans peppered with threatening verbiage. Look at the title of the video, “One Will Rise, One Will Fall.” What exactly are you’re getting at here Eric Church? Because I don’t have to stretch my imagination very far to reach all manner of disturbing conclusions. Of course Eric’s threats won’t go any farther than releasing a stupid ass video, I’m no fool, but who’s to say one of his sycophantic toadies won’t? Besides, it’s the thought that counts. And what is this all for, to promote Eric Church’s shitty rock record?
Eric Church isn’t an “Outsider,” he’s a fucking conformist. He’s a marketeer with a marketing degree who has svengalied a bunch of disenfranchised country fans into believing he’s offering any type of alternative to pop country when in truth he is more of a tool of the mainstream pop country industrial complex than anyone. At least Taylor is who she is—a glittery pop star who doesn’t try to veil her marketing to the masses as anything else. “Outsiders” don’t win Album of the Year from both the CMA and ACM Awards. “Outsiders” don’t get invited to play primetime, industry events. “Outsiders” don’t score #1 songs on mainstream pop country radio. And “Outsiders” don’t piss off Rascal Flatts for playing too long, they don’t play in front of Rascal Flatts, period.
Oh poor, downtrodden Eric Church, his last album only sold 1 1/2 million copies. Now it’s time to hatch a plan to take down the superstar of the genre for revenge. What the fuck is wrong with this guy? The country music industry should kick him to the curb and spit on his album. Let Metallica drag his overplaying ass around US. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of Eric Church’s bullshit drama and acting like the world owes him. Talent or not, country music doesn’t need this asshole any longer.
Pull the video Eric.
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Leave you comment about how I’m overreacting below. And find the stupid video yourself.
“Songs About Trucks” performed by Wade Bowen and written by hot songwriting commodities Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally has become one of 2013′s big anti-hits with its off message take on truck songs and their daisy chains of clichĂ©s. Usually accompanying these odes to idiocracy are modern country music videos complete with hot rods, hot girls, and jacked up trucks burning brodies in churned up mud, hurdling themselves headlong toward the cause of finding a new frontier for image-driven misogynistic consumerism and sheer indolency. So it is only appropriate that Bowen’s anti-hit should be accompanied by an anti-video.
Shot and produced by James Weems and Glen Rose, the “Songs About Trucks” video co-stars filmmaker Blake Judd of JuddFilms as an overzealous Nashville videographer looking to turn a timid Wade Bowen into an oversexed country star, fitting him with designer duds, dapping makeup on his face as he squints and pouts, while bikini-clad coeds cool down in the water getting ready for their juggy cameos. Eventually Bowen slunks off the set to sit in a bar with a lone cameraman, telling his story in a simple manner.
Just as some have pointed out that songwriter Shane McAnally has had a hand in some of the recent “bro country” songs that “Songs About Trucks” looks to lampoon, filmmaker Blake Judd also has been behind the camera for some “titties and tailgates” shoots, including the Bucky Covington / Shooter Jennings collaboration “Drinking Side of Country” and the Jawga Boyz / Joe Diffie mashup “Girl Ridin’ Shotgun.” It may have been cool if the “Songs About Trucks” video took the sensationalism to the next level, with legions of buxom chicks dancing and an army of mud-caked trucks, but Bowen probably doesn’t have the budget the big boys do. Nonetheless, this video does a good job illustrating what is at the heart of the message of “Songs About Trucks” and Wade Bowen as an artist, which is an honest portrayal of a man who just wants to be seen as one of us, instead of an entertainer on a pedestal.
1 Âľ of 2 guns up. 4 of 5 stars
I’m sorry people, but unfortunately this exists…
Apparently we’ve been fools America, toiling aimlessly and unproductively with the issue of race for 150 years when the solution was right under our noses. Why did we fight The Civil War? Why did we waste our time with the civil rights movement? Why did we integrate schools when the whole damn time all that we needed to bridge the racial divide were bouncing cars and really really bad music? What a shame that the hydraulic automobile shock wasn’t invented in 1860 so Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant could’ve just rolled their respective shagging wagons up to Appomattox and worked that shit out by swapping dance moves. Blake Shelton is a goddamn genius. Somebody give that douche nozzle a Nobel Prize!
If equality is what Blake Shelton was looking to strike in the video for “Boys ‘Round Here,” then he deserves a big pat on the back. Because anything and everything about this eye-raping edifice to the universal monoculture and hyper-driven consumer excess mixed with vomit-inducing racial tokenism is as equally repulsive as it is embarrassing. Yes, let all of the rationally-minded people of the earth, regardless of sex, race, creed, religious background, or social status come together and join hands in perfect harmony to collectively declare like a chorus of hosannas that this video blows complete and utter ass. Hallelujah!
The problem with this video is that if you don’t take it as a given that white people and black people are inherently distrusting of each other, then the premise doesn’t work. Just like with the Brad Paisley and LL Cool J collaboration “Accidental Racist,” Blake Shelton is using the race card as a Trojan horse to hopefully invade mainstream radio with country rap, positioning this song so that if you disagree with it, then you’re closed-minded, ignorant, and don’t want country to evolve.
Yes, this is the evolution of country music people! And we’ll finally know that racism has been forever vanquished and country music has finally evolved when every single song on the radio sounds exactly the same, and contrast and diversity has been forever bled out of culture. Because the way all people can come together is not by understanding and celebrating our differences, but by resolving them until we are all the same. Oh, and isn’t it convenient that this would also make us all so much more susceptible to mass marketing?!?
But enough conspiracy theories, I ask any of you that either own cattle, know someone who owns cattle, or anyone that works with cattle what the likelihood would be that you would have a porch party and invite a heifer to just be standing there to pet like a lap puppy? And how ironic is it that right after Boyz to Men shows up to the party is when the lyrics about “keepin’ it country” kick in? Combine all of that will the silly placement of the Pistol Annies like coiffed sirens at the edge of a shit crick, and this is video is so contrived it hurts my soul.
And I would bet you blinged-out car rims to cowpies that more fans of this song think that Blake Shelton is name-dropping Chewbacca in the “chew tebacca chew tebacca” refrain than have any idea what the hell a “Bocephus” is.
But we’ll have the last laugh folks, trust me. This country rap crap will be the pet rock of our generation. For many, this song and video is their entertainment. For the rest of us, our entertainment is watching those knuckleheads be entertained by this garbage. So do the world a favor, and if you find someone who is a fan of this song or video, for the love of God, don’t have sex with them.
Two guns way down!
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Your official Saving Country Music “Boys ‘Round Here” healthy replacement alternative courtesy of Corb Lund:
Yes, yes we all know nothing about this is country, so let’s not waste any time rehashing old arguments. What intrigued me about this video is its boldness and its breadth, and how it perfectly illustrates the greater Taylor Swift paradox.
The video for “I Knew You Were Trouble” is heavy in concept, story, and mood. It starts off with Taylor waking up in a dystopia landscape in the form of the leavings of a drug-infused rave. Quickly characters are introduced that are completely counter-intuitive to the prim and proper Taylor Swift persona we are all familiar with, while Taylor herself is dirtified in a hipster punk getup with disheveled, pink-tipped hair, dark eyes, and her subtle overbite captivating the eye like Jennifer Grey’s pre plastic surgery sniffer.
Bar fights, cheap hotel rooms, Misfits T-shirts, bad tattoos, and the general trappings of a downtrodden, transient life create a backdrop for a tragic story that our sweet Taylor gets so unfortunately wrapped up in. The vision of the “I Knew You Were Trouble” video is beyond ambitious, and through the intelligent and creative use of light, setting, character, and costuming, they accomplish the most craved effect for a 5 to 6-minute piece of film: transporting you to a different place.
The “love as drug” storyline is enthralling, and the moral about losing who you are is both stimulating and well executed, helped along by Taylor’s reflective and contrite dialogue bookending what should really be characterized as a cinematic short as opposed to a simple music video.
Are you feeling the mother of all “but’s” coming on? Because that’s what hits you at the 2:03 mark when the actual “I Knew You Were Trouble” song gets piped into this post-Apocalyptic panoram. The effect is the utter destruction of any fantasy or mood this video conveys. The ultra-sacchrine, clean, ska-esque power pop opening guitar riffs, followed by the hip-hop cadence of Taylor’s bubble-gum dance club lyrics are like pouring a gallon of white paint on a Rembrandt, or serving caviar on a Cheeto.
Taylor Swift, the sweet little curly-haired girl that wrote all her own songs about romance is who America fell in love with. If she wants to become a dance club diva, she will quickly become a small fish in a big sea. Sure, the short term success will be (and has been) grand, but it will be at the expense of the long term acceptance as a substantive artist that Taylor Swift covets.
The video for “I Knew You Were Trouble” is about losing yourself, and ironically, that is exactly what Taylor Swift does with this song. Co-written by the pop hitmaking duo of Max Martin and Shellback, the dubstep-inspired tune is Taylor Swift uncharacteristically losing sight of what made her America’s greatest pop star: being herself.
Taylor has built her persona around being the anti-party girl. By putting out a party song, she’s off message, and out of her element. The song says, “I knew you were trouble when you walked in,” alluding to the antagonist entering somewhere, like a club where you would hear the type of digitally-manufactured dance music that “I Knew You Were Trouble” is synonymous with.
But in the video, Swift encounters the antagonist in an open space, and hangs out with him at a concert with a real band playing real instruments. She is also seen hanging out with him in a run-down diner, and bedding down with him in a dirty room. None of this creates contrast, it creates compromising confusion of mood and setting, in both this video and in the Taylor Swift cult of personality. I understand Taylor Swift is playing a character in the video, not being herself. But when it comes to the song, this is being presented as all Taylor.
No doubt in Taylor Swift’s brain, signing on with Max Martin and Shellback to do a gaggle of songs for her latest album was a stroke of brilliance. She has called them “heroes.” But just like the overall experience with Taylor’s album Red, the Martin/Shellback influence comes at you as completely out-of-step with what is otherwise a pop record filled with a curious amount of depth. We all make mistakes. The alarming part is that in this case, the mistakes are being rewarded with commercial successes and tremendous attention, possibly taking these songs from a trial balloon, to a pattern of behavior to stretch into the foreseeable future.
The most critically-acclaimed song in Taylor Swift’s career happens to also be her most country song ever, that being the double Grammy-winning “Mean” inspired by her critics. Taylor Swift says now that she no longer reads her criticism. She doesn’t want to be part of that negative experience, yet her personal life seems to be a torrid foray into high-profile flings, with the payoff being the inspiration for songs such as “I Knew You Were Trouble.” Now that Taylor is sequestered from the critical world, all she has is Mediabase numbers and YouTube plays to determine the success of her work.
You can’t have wild, short-term dance club success and keep your reputation as an artist of substance at the same time. Taylor Swift must choose. And with “I Knew You Were Trouble”, Taylor chooses poorly. Her “trouble” is not an antagonist cast in the role of a video, or a previous lover who jilted her. It is the denizens of the pop industry who would sell her long-term substance for their short-term success.
There is no morning after pill for that poor decision.
1 gun up for a brilliant video concept.
1 gun down for an awful song.
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 Â 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.
Jayke Orvis isn’t just a songwriter and mandolin player, he is a composer. When I first heard the song “Raise the Moon” on .357 String Band’s first album, I knew this was more than mere throwing words and chords together. “Dreadful Sinner” from his new album Its All Been Said is in the same vein, with tight arrangements in a composition-based approach that is more like classical music than anything.
The exquisite thread that Jayke weaves by interchanging notes and patterns between mandolin and acoustic guitar is spellbinding. Ambient sounds and real-life audio add to the expansiveness of the song, and make it one where the full vision and potential was realized without any corner cut. So what better song to make a video for, and to take the same care, time, and attention to detail with.
Jayke procured the services of video maker Sean Martin, and it was shot in and around Pittsburgh using friends as actors. The lake scenes were shot at a place called Shenley Park, and necessitated cast and crew carrying a mess of gear 300 yards and back, including a 100lb. generator and a boat used to sail gear across the lake. I’d have to say it was worth the trip, because however low or no budget this video was, you can’t tell from the outcome. Brilliant camera work, editing, and concept.
And a quick clarification. When Jayke Orvis and The Broken Band start on tour next month, it will be with the full lineup of The Goddamn Gallows that will headline, so you will get James Hunnicutt, then Jake Orvis & The Broken Band, and the Gallows as well, so don’t miss this if its rolling your way!
This Sunday at the Super Bowl, Carrie Underwood will very likely be lip-syncing the National Anthem, whether she wants to or not, and it is mostly the fault of the king of pop country, Garth Brooks.
This story starts way back in 1993 at Super Bowl XXVIII in Pasadena, CA. In 1993, Garth Brooks was not only the biggest thing in country music, but the biggest thing in music, period. Garth had just become the the first country artist ever to have three albums listed in the pop top 20 charts in one week. So when it came to handing out Star Spangled Banner duty, Garth was the obvious choice.
Everything leading up to and during the Super Bowl is planned out to the second. With so many people watching, so much money on the line, and so many different events and happenings to coordinate, everything must be carefully choreographed and remain on an uncompromising schedule. That is why the NFL began insisting to it’s Anthem performers that they pre-record their performances, even if just as a backup plan to singing live.
In 1991, Whitney Houston sang the Anthem, and it was considered by some at the time to be one of the best Anthem performances ever. Later it was revealed that Whitney was singing into a dead microphone, and the performance was pre-recorded. When Garth Brooks was asked to make a pre-recording of the Anthem two years later, he refused. Some might have thought that this was because Garth wanted to make sure the performance was live and pure, but as game time neared, Garth’s true motives were revealed.
Garth’s 1992 album The Chase included a song called “We Shall Be Free”, a gospel-esque song that he wrote after spending time in Los Angeles after the race riots following the Rodney King incident. Garth was hoping to debut a video for the song during the Super Bowl that included numerous celebrity cameos from people like Eddie Murphy, Jay Leno, and Patrick Swayze. However NBC, the broadcaster of the game that year, rejected the video because of “content some felt was disturbing imagery.” Along with the celebrity cameos, Garth’s video included clips of flag burnings, cross burnings and the Ku Klux Klan, intravenous drug use, riots, bombings, war scenes, natural disasters, and other questionable content; images that NBC did not want to broadcast to the family-friendly Super Bowl audience.
So Garth, 45 minutes before he was supposed to perform the Anthem, pulled one of the most bold stunts in Super Bowl history to force NBC’s hand: he walked out of the Rose Bowl stadium entirely, refusing to sing unless they aired his video. Producers tried to rationalize with him, explaining that there was no time budgeted for it, but Garth held his ground, and a standoff ensued. This sent NBC and the NFL into full panic mode: with 91 million people tuning in from all around the world, they had no National Anthem performer, and even worse, Garth had had the foresight to not give them a pre-recorded version that they could use as an alternative.
This was the worst case scenario for Super Bowl organizers. An NBC producer spotted John Bon Jovi in the Super Bowl crowd, and began to prep him as a plan B. Garth Brooks had NBC right where he wanted them, and the NFL could see that. So the NFL did something completely unprecedented in Super Bowl history, they moved the kickoff time back to accommodate the airing of the Garth video.
Garth Brooks had won, but in a lot of ways the rest of us lost. According to former NFL executive director Don Weiss in his book The Making of the Super Bowl: The Inside Story of the World’s Greatest Sporting Event, since the Garth incident in 1993, the NFL has made it a requirement that all Anthem singers make a pre-recording of their performances. Last year Jennifer Hudson sang the Anthem, months after members of her family had been killed. She was called “inspiring,” until it was revealed later that she had lip synced.
The Super Bowl’s music director last year, and for 1991 when Whitney Houston sang, and for many other years has been a man named Ricky Minor, who also works for the TV show “American Idol,” where this year’s National Anthem performer Carrie Underwood got her start. Minor explained to The Associated Press after revealing that Hudson had indeed lip synced, that it was on his insistence.
“That’s the right way to do it. There’s too many variables to go live. I would never recommend any artist go live, because the slightest glitch would devastate the performance.”
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I’m not a huge fan of National Anthem performances, but the idea behind it is to inspire people, and one of the ways natural talents inspire us all is by working without a net. The American public’s appetite and insistence on perfection and the use of lip syncing and Auto-Tune have taken the inspiration out of live music performance and turned it into pre-recorded puppetry.
I’m not a fan of Carrie Underwood, but I’ve said before that she is an amazingly talented natural singer. But what does that matter if her performance is pre-recorded, and run through pitch benders days before we all hear it?
Give me something REAL over something perfect.
The Hank Williams female reincarnation known as Rachel Brooke and Lonesome Wyatt of Those Poor Bastards have just finished up a tour through the Midwest, Texas, and Florida in support of their duo record A Bitter Harvest. All the eyewitness accounts I have come across have had nothing but glowing things to say, and as I was hoping, some good quality videos have surfaced of the duo.
One of the things I was surprised and impressed with from Those Poor Bastards when I saw them earlier this year, was how they translate music that in the recorded format is heavily dependent on production to the live format without losing a lot of what makes the song great. A similar thing can be said about this Bitter Harvest material. “Someday I’ll Fall” is in top running right now for my Song of the Year, and following is a great performance of it:
The way Rachel slowly drops her pitch during the second part of the yodel nearly pulls off the amazing things Lonesome Wyatt did with her voice on the recorded version.
Here’s another from Backwoods Films, at the The Lafayette Brewing Company in Lafayette, IN:
Also for fans of Those Poor Bastards, the two 7″ Halloween releases including the one with Hank III’s alter ego “Skelton” are now available to purchase HERE. That is, if the 250 quantity hasn’t already been snatched up.
Complete, unedited video of Hank III’s performance at the Roxy on Friday Feb 28 2009 is now available on Mogulus Live!!! This video includes all the country, Hellbilly, and Assjack sets! Wow!
To access the video, look at the bottom left of the box for the button that says “On Demand.” Click on that bad boy and that should bring up a menu of artists. Then find Hank III (you might have to scroll) and it’s self-explanatory from there. If you do not follow these instructions precisely, then your mind will be melted by Grateful Dead hippie jazz, so be alert. If you still can’t find it, then please forward all complaints to the Complaint’s Department.
I also noticed they also have up another Hank III show from 6-2-06, also at the Roxy.
Nothing like seeing him live, but about as close as you can get!
Also Outlaw Magazine has asked all of us Hank III fans who have seen him on tour to chime in on their MySpace Blog.
AND if you go to outlawmagazine.com and click on the “editorial” tab, you can read a piece written by none other than myself!
And now I’m off to P-Town for the Hank III show on Tuesday night. Hoping to get some interviews and pics before the show, but sorry, you ain’t gonna see no pictures of the concert from me. Once the music starts, the business is done and I’m all leisure. Yeessss ladies and gents, hell will be raised!!!
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