Over a year ago I reported that the Warped Tour’s Kevin Lyman was planning a country tour and in preparation of doing so he was relegating the country music fan to a “40%” statistic, singing the praises of Taylor Swift, and opening an office in Nashville to snort cocaine off of hooker’s bellies with Music Row’s major label execs.
Well now this thing is up and running, and it took even more of a sinister turn when they decided to give this tour a “new Outlaws” flavor by bringing along acts like Eric Church and giving it an emblem that is a mild ripoff of my own. I was hoping to catch the Dallas leg of this, to point and laugh and see the few decent acts that had slipped on the bill, but now the Dallas date has been canceled, along with shows in Houston, San Diego, and Phoenix due to lagging ticket sales. Huh.
Meanwhile the smelly, dirty, foul mouthed degenerate grandson of Hank Williams just crashed the pretty faced pop party at the top of the country charts, ranking #4 in country, and #20 in all of music, selling 17,000 copies of Rebel Within.
It seems the tables have turned, at least in this instance. Hank III is able to chart with virtually no support from radio or media, but with a solid grass roots network and following. Meanwhile Warped Country is canceling dates because they can’t find enough sheep in Chinese-made straw cowboy hats from Wal-Mart to support their bloated infrastructure and overextended budget pushing bad music. (Ryan Bingham maybe being an exception.)
Some day country music will see that us bitchy folks in the underground are their best friends, showing them truly how to farm talent, and how to navigate through the current revolution in digital technology that has ensnared the music business. Or wait, is it really digital music ensnaring Nashville, or is it the grass roots rising up?
“You can grow when you rip your roots out of the ground.”