It’s hard enough to have an album go platinum these days. Even when you’re a superstar with smash hits and spend a million+ on an advertising campaign. Now take into consideration not just forgoing all of those pre-release formalities, but starting off your release cycle by outright giving your record away to your fans.
The legendary and Hall of Fame country music career of Alan Jackson has been marked by two underlying things: his ability to write and sing songs that stay true to country’s roots and ultimately become mega-hits (he had 26 #1’s overall), and his propensity to step up at critical moments and say or do whatever he can to help preserve the music.
Earlier this week, Rolling Stone published an in-depth report about the prevalent culture in country radio systemically looking the other way when young artists—mostly women—are taken advantage of, harassed and often expected to be receptive to inappropriate behavior by older men in the radio industry.
No. We’re not going here. I’m sorry. Consider this a line in the sand. Consider this an ultimatum. Nobody’s mother is being threatened here, mind you. We’re not veering off the rails or anything. But if there was ever a moment where dramatic action was called for in country music matters, this would be it.
Let’s face it. For a host of reasons, it’s pretty rare to see African Americans making country and roots music. But when they do, more often that not, they’re doing it the right way, pushing the music forward creatively while fiercely helping to preserving the past, becoming part of the solution instead of prolonging the problem.
Aaron Vance, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Charley Crockett, Charley Pride, Cleve Davis, Darius Rucker, DeFord Bailey, Dom Flemons, Jerry Pentacost, Kaia Kater, Kane Brown, Mickey Guyton, Milton Patton, Rhiannon Giddens, Rufus Payne, Tony Jackson, Valerie June
Dear Saving Country Music readers, country music listeners and lovers, fellow journalists, and especially fans of Walker Hayes and the work of country music producer, Shane McAnally . . . On December 18th, 2017, I wrote a “rant” entitled, “‘Boom’ By Walker Hayes Is The Worst Album In ‘Country’ Music History. Full Stop.” . . .
Though we don’t have a proper release date yet or a full song to digest, the prospects for The Mountain at this point are very promising. Dierks wrote and recorded the record in Telluride, Colorado, which is the Rocky Mountain State’s bluegrass haven. He was inspired to make the record there when performing at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.
The announcement of the main stage lineup at the Houston Rodeo is an annual head scratcher for many across the Lone Star State and beyond who actually pay attention to the music native to Texas and Houston, and wonder why one of the biggest events in Texas all year chooses to import most of its talent from out of the state.
Yeah, everybody just chill the hell out for just a second. This is only one song from a release that could have a dozen or more tracks. And Justin Timberlake is a pop star, so of course he’s going to release the most pop-sounding, commercially-viable song from the record first.
When you think of music towns and songwriting havens, your head naturally gravitates toward Nashville and Austin, Bakersfield and L.A. and such. You rarely think of Key West in Florida as a musical destination for songwriting or anything else musical, unless you have a Parrothead sticker on the back of your SUV.
Kentucky has always been the fertile crescent of country music. It just happens to be that lately it has kicked its output into overdrive, and more than any other state at the moment, it’s Kentucky’s sons and daughters fueling the country music insurgency turning the mainstream on its head.
Country music needs Carrie Underwood right now. I don’t know that I would ever have fathomed typing those words a few years ago. But over the years, Carrie Underwood has gone from defining the edge of pop in country, to being one of the final remaining bright spots of talent in the mainstream.
Netflix released the latest season of its comedy drama ‘The Ranch’ on December 15th, and just like the first three seasons, country music plays a big role in both the dialog and the soundtrack. Apparently the creators want to make discovering the songs part of the fun of the series, because they keep their soundtrack close to the vest.
Amanda Shires, Blitzen Trapper, Brenda Lee, Brothers Osborne, Conway Twitty, Eric Church, Jason Isbell, Mandolin Orange, Merle Haggard, Miranda Lambert, Netflix, Patsy Cline, Ricky Nelson, Sam Outlaw, Sara Watkins, Sturgill Simpson, The Cactus Blossoms, The Ranch, Thomas Rhett
As the end of the year draws near, it comes time to reflect on all the country music greats big and small, superstars and sidemen, session players and songwriters, who passed away in the past year, and pay our respects to the contributions they made to country music, and to us as fans through the music they shared.
Allman Brothers, Ben Dorcy, Bob Wooton, Bobby Boyd, Butch Trucks, Don Warden, Don Williams, George Reiff, Glen Campbell, Greg Allman, Izzy Cox, Jimmy LaFave, Kayton Roberts, Leon Rhodes, Mel Tillis, Richard Dobson, Tammy Sullivan, Tom Petty, Tommy Allsup, Wendell Goodman
On Tuesday (12-19), Billboard, the worldwide leader in chart publishing, announced they would be changing the posted dates on their weekly charts from one arbitrary day that doesn’t reflect the true nature of the chart, to another arbitrary day that doesn’t reflect the true nature of the chart, but that is slightly closer to the day the charts are published.
Since many of your favorite independent country and roots artists get little to no love from mainstream radio, other outlets have opened up to help feature their music to wider audiences. ‘Damnation’ has been sliding in cool songs from some of the finest artists from the roots world, while mixing in many of roots music’s forgotten greats.
Whether you love or hate the music of Garth Brooks, everyone must bow down and give the Prince of Garthness incredible credit as the most cunning music marketer to ever suck air on planet Earth, and it isn’t even close. Garth could sell ice to Eskimos, or the same song to the same music fans ten times.
There was a time in 2015 when it wasn’t a question of “if,” but “when” Justin Timberlake would release a country or country-influenced record, and this information was all but confirmed by none other than Timberlake’s long-time producer Timbaland. Now we have a little bit clearer picture of why there may have been a delay.
This week the country music world was shocked when a pop star named Bebe Rexha and her song “Meant To Be” featuring Florida Georgia Line debuted at the very top spot of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. But looking deeper into the numbers, something didn’t seem to add up.
That’s right. Think about the scores of female country music performers who have dedicated their entire lives to the craft, including many mainstream country pop performers, who have never enjoyed a debut at #1, or a #1 at all. And then a pop star you’ve probably have never heard of shows up and is cresting country music’s top metric for songs.