It has been nearly a week since the CEO of the Sony Nashville record label Gary Overton said in an interview with The Tennessean, “If you’re not on country radio, you don’t exist,” and the quote continues to resonate amongst independent country fans and artists, especially in the Texas scene, where many of the top artists enjoy excellent support from loyal fans, yet find their songs being ignored by mainstream country radio.
The first to sound off was Aaron Watson, who upon being credited for having the #1 record in all of country music last week—arguably the first to hold this distinction from a truly independent solo male act—said, “My name is Aaron Watson. I’m not played on country radio. And I have the #1 record in country music this week. I do exist.”
Then on Thursday night, iHeartMedia mega DJ Bobby Bones decided to enter the fracas and take the side of mainstream country radio in an outburst against an article written by Grady Smith for The Guardian. It got even worse when on Friday morning, Aaron Watson went to patch things up with Bobby Bones and ended up getting labeled as being “disrespectful to women” from calling a woman on the Bobby Bones staff “sweetheart.”
This has caused even more Texas country artists to pipe up.
Last night via Facebook, Kevin Fowler posted a link to the Bobby Bones/Aaron Watson story on Saving Country Music, and said,
Since when is it disrespectful to call a woman “sweetheart” or “sweetie”. Evidently Bobby Bones wasn’t raised in Amarillo, TX like Aaron Watson and me. If you know Aaron you know he’s anything but disrespectful to anybody. I wanna hear what the ladies out there have to say.
Then shortly thereafter, Charlie Robison entered his opinion into the public forum in a missive that was as messy as it was epic, punctuated by a “sweetheart” chide of Bobby Bones.
A few words for Gary Overton. I was signed by Warner bros, and Sony during the days I had the patience to smile while ignorant pencil pushing,mullet headed expense account rapists like you ran those labels. I’m on the road right now and just finished putting on a show for the folks in Shreveport. That’s a town u call a blip on ur screen.
I don’t know Aaron Watson well but I do know you well though I’ve never met you. What I know about you is so sad. I spent so many years in Nashville watching you ignorant wastes of space sit behind your big desk and act like me and all the the Texas/Red dirt artists don’t exist. Well Mr. “I have a job today but as soon as Florida/Georgia line goes out of style,and believe me dumbass they will,you will not exist”. Saying that music does not exist unless it’s on the radio is like saying you don’t exist because you never got laid until you got your two week job as the head of Walmart Records.
I probably have a bigger house than you(for the time being because you’ll be back in the Mail room like all the other Nashville (heads). I’ll still be playing for crowds that have been loyal to me for 25 years) lemme cut you in on some people who don’t exist. Willie Nelson,Billy joe Shaver,Robert Keen,Vincent Van Gogh and Picasso didn’t exist for a long time. Guy Clark,Lyle Lovett, and the ever terrible songwriter Steve Earle. When the world of music fans go to bed tonight they’ll be singing these amazing artists in their head. You my friend will be wondering how you could ever reach your unreachable place in the annals of mediocrity. Have fun hovering above your tombstone and listening to people say “who the fuck is that?”as they make they’re way to Townes’s grave. I’m sorry I lost my train of thought,I think it was “who doesn’t exist?” Yep that’s it gary overton. Sweetheart
It appears the “If you’re not on country radio, you don’t exist” quote has become the “Old Farts & Jackasses” rallying cry of 2015.