Murder ballads are indelible part of country music history, from the earliest recording from The Carter Family, all the way to today with Ashley McBryde’s latest radio single “Martha Divine.” The roots of murder ballads go back to before country music was a commercial enterprise.
Over the last few years we’ve something completely unexpected from Eric Church, and unprecedented from many mainstream country stars. Whether it was a natural maturation, becoming a father, or actually listening to his critics, Eric Church changed, and in a meaningful way.
Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the 2020 installment of the always-explosive Saving Country Music CMA Awards LIVE blog. As the presentation transpires, thoughts, prayers, pointed remarks, keen observations, and probably a few swear words and errant typos will be presented in real time.
Morgan Wallen, Chase Rice, Brian Kelley and others were wrong to advocate for big shows. But when it comes to the claims of these artists of hypocrisy, they’re completely right. Since the beginning of the pandemic there has been a glaring double standard in how social distancing is demanded, and excused.
I just know too much about the untold history of Barry Gibb and his dalliances with country music to be perturbed that at 74-years-old, he wants to make a country record. And the first song they released from it featuring Jason Isbell sounds pretty damn good to me.
Alison Krauss, Barry Gibb, Brandi Carlile, Conway Twitty, Dave Cobb, David Rawlings, Dolly Parton, Gillian Welch, Islands in the Stream, Jason Isbell, Keith Urban, Kenny Rogers, Miranda Lambert, The Bee Gees
At no point did the CMA Awards say, and most certainly didn’t decree anything to the artists performing on the evening. In fact the statement wasn’t even directed toward performers at all, but at the potential audience. It was simply a piece of promotional copy intended to get people to tune into their event.
Billy Joe Shaver wasn’t just a musical legend and icon, or an “Outlaw” as we like to call the artists who work outside of the Nashville system. He was a hero, in both music, and in life. What is a hero? A hero is someone who illustrates a level of bravery well beyond what most would be willing to.
In 2013, rock icon Tom Petty had some unsavory words for what was happening in modern country music. “Well, yeah I mean, I hate to generalize on a whole genre of music, but it does seem to be missing that magic element that it used to have.” Chris Stapleton responded with a letter, and an offer.
Though we’ll never forget, it will be impossible to not remember all those good times Jerry Jeff afforded us, and feel a rush of incredible sadness proportionate to the impact Jerry Jeff Walker had on music, and people, and places, which was infinite.
The recipient of the inaugural CMT Equal Play Award has been announced as Jennifer Nettles, known both as a solo performer, and most notably for her work in the country music duo Sugarland. But there is a problem with presenting Jennifer Nettles as a “equal play” advocate.
In the lengthy letter, Sturgill Simpson talks about when he was first exposed to bluegrass, where he found a renewed passion for it later in life, and how he’s found a renewed passion for music again through bluegrass, and now as an independent artist once again.
Despite George Strait officially retiring from full-time touring in 2014—a commitment he’s actually stuck to unlike other superstars, only playing sporadic stadium shows and limited-run Las Vegas residencies—Strait surprisingly walked away with Billboard’s “Top Country Tour” award.
Dozens of TikTok videos of the 27-year-old’s maskless partying with college-aged girls emerged, and specifically of Morgan Wallen sucking face with half a dozen of them. This has resulted in ‘Saturday Night Live’ canceling his appearance.
There is a lot one can say about the passing of Eddie Van Halen, and virtually none of it is relevant to country music. But it’s all relevant. If you grew up in the late 70’s, 80’s or early 90’s, or rock music is in any way important to your little universe and Van Halen doesn’t loom large in it, you missed out on the preeminent American experience.
When making the case for the character of someone, it’s not just about how they rise to the top, but what they do when they get there. In the case of Luke Combs, he’s been using his platform and his time off of the road during the pandemic to promote and collaborate with some of the best artists in independent country.
Mac Davis is being remembered by many as a “country star,” but that tells only part of the story. In truth, the Lubbock, TX native’s musical trek spent just as much time, if not more weaving its way through the pop and rock realm, and it’s in that capacity where he may have reached his highest peaks.
It’s worth noting that Rolling Stone’s new updated version of their “500 Best Albums of All Time” significantly diminishes iconic titles from the classic country canon. Not only were some titles downgraded, some were eliminated entirely.
Charley Pride, Cody Jinks, Dolly Parton, Eric Church, George Jones, Gram Parsons, Jason Isbell, John Prine, Johnny Cash, Kacey Musgraves, Lucinda Williams, Miranda Lambert, Patsy Cline, Ray Charles, Rolling Stone, Shania Twain, Steve Earle, Taylor Swift, The Byrds, Turnpike Troubadours, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
It’s one of the most common criticisms of today’s mainstream country music: all the songs sound the same and say the same basic things. But is this true, or is it more of a stereotype? And are country lyrics improving as the mainstream continues to veer away from the Bro-Country era?
Look, you can make too much of these kinds of things for sure. But coming from a big platform and going completely unchecked, a little bit of marketing could turn into a big aberration of the truth, so some spirit dissent is warranted in this situation. Blake Shelton is not the “King of Country.”
Mickey Guyton made one of the greatest impacts during this week’s ACM Awards. But as we have seen from the media on numerous occasions, important moments for black country artists in the past are being overlooked to score a buzzy headline or tweet.
Just remember, “It’s only the ACM Awards.” It’s just disappointing that one of their best presentations in perhaps a decade or more—and under difficult circumstances—had to be sullied at the very end by a silly and avoidable decision.
For the three hours of the presentation, we’ll be leaving quips, observations, and kudos where warranted in real time in an effort to make the awards at least somewhat palatable for those of distinguishing tastes, and who know what actual country music is supposed to sound like.
Remember, it’s just the ACM Awards. Less prestigious than the CMAs, and more susceptible to bloc voting and other dubious practices than most any other awards apparatus in country music and beyond, think of it more as a performative infomercial for the mainstream of country music.