Dirty Grass Soul Releases New Song, Takes SCM To Task

Since 2011, Dirty Grass Soul out of Shelby, North Carolina has been regaling people in the Piedmont and beyond with their stirring blend of country music that takes inspiration from the string-based roots of the region and instills it with a kick of Southern rock soul.

This is perhaps best illustrated in their brand new song and video “Back to the Holler,” which captures this band that’s opened for big national acts over the years metaphorically and actually picking out their life stories around a campfire.

Led by singer, songwriter, fiddle and guitar player Kevin Dedmon, he’s joined in Dirty Grass Soul by his brother Kris Dedmon on banjo, Lance Watson on bass and mandolin, Tommy Smith on electric guitar, Glenn Miller on pedal steel, and Jared Miller on percussion. Check them out:

In the new song, Kevin Dedmon rings out early on, “Everyone has their opinion. Right or wrong just shout it out.” He took that line to heart a couple of days ago after he saw Saving Country Music and other outlets shouting down country rapper Katie Noel and her terrible new song “Southern.”

“Gettin up on a soapbox for a minute. I just want to get something off my chest,” the band posted on Facebook. “I haven’t listened to this particular song, it may be awful, it may be incredible, I don’t know, that isn’t the point. My point is that it is incredibly sad to me that country music social media outlets (and most all media outlets for that matter) have devolved to the point that they had rather spend their time bashing artists that “suck” more than they had recognizing folks busting their ass that deserve the recognition these outlets could easily give them instead.”

The post went on to say:

As many of you know, we are self-managed. Literally every business aspect of our band is done in house, and I am proud of that, we wear it like a badge of honor. Whether it is booking shows, website, merch, recordings, videos, etc. it is all done by US 100%. I ain’t got a clue when it comes to promoting our music in this digital age, but I’m trying my best to learn.

On many occasions, I have sent our songs & videos to these exact pages in hopes that they might share our stuff. Something as simple as a “share” by these pages have proven to be career changers for many. I’ve never ONCE received a response other than the generic, “we receive lots of emails, we’ll review your submission, blah blah blah.”

I’m perfectly okay with that, I’m not asking for anything we don’t deserve. I know there are hundreds of artists across the country emailing them the same way I did, and we’re no different than anyone else. What pisses me off to the core however, is to see those same outlets resort to posting garbage clickbait articles like this. You think this Katie Noel gal gives a damn Saving Country Music,Whiskey Riff or We Hate Pop Country wrote an article about how her song sucks? Maybe, maybe not… but I’d bet she is probably thrilled to death that you just gave her the clout she is chasing, and got her another million views.

You really want to Save Country Music??? How about post COUNTRY MUSIC from the ones trying to SAVE IT that desperately need the spotlight you are willingly handing to the people you are bashing!!!There are tons of us out here BUSTING OUR ASS to get a piece of the pie, and it’s a slap in the face when these pages use their platform (that reaches millions of country music fans) to write a full pledged article about this hick-hop shit rather than highlighting the artists out here trying to do it the right way. Sorry. Rant over. We appreciate everyone that has shared our new tune! Can’t wait to see you all in Daytona next week.

Go check out the new one if you haven’t yet!

As I was searching for something else late Wednesday night on Facebook, this post came across my feed, which was a lucky chance in itself since the Facebook algorithm rarely if ever shows you want you truly want or need to see. And since Saving Country Music always encourages criticism, and for everyone to shout out their opinions right or wrong, time was taken to respond.

Thanks for raising this concern.

I can only speak for Saving Country Music, but SCM writes on average of about four of these “rants” per year. SCM also publishes an average of 13 articles per week. That means that these rants make up about 0.5% of Saving Country Music’s content. Saving Country Music currently has published 7,789 articles to date, with the vast, vast majority of those articles offering positive coverage for independent artists.

So when you say SCM would “rather spend their time bashing artists that ‘suck’ more than they had recognizing folks busting their ass that deserve the recognition these outlets could easily give them instead,” this is just false. Now, when you’re talking about an outlet such a We Hate Pop Country, those percentages couple be flipped. But that is a very different outlet from SCM, or Whiskey Riff. That’s not to bash WHPC, but that’s what they do, they hate on pop country.

As frustrated as you might be that independent artists are not getting more press, independent press is frustrated that articles about independent artists don’t receive nearly the attention from the public. Just this week you can find SCM features on Laid Back Country Picker, Tommy Prine, Channing Wilson, Miles Miller, Amanda Fields, and more. But these features get 5% the attention of something like taking down Katie Noel. SCM will still always prioritize supporting independent artists. But this is a two-way street. The public needs to support this coverage of independent artists for it to sustain.

All that said, when I started Saving Country Music, it was deemed important to offer spirited criticism of what was happening in the mainstream in hopes of improving it. Everyone deserves good music, just like everyone deserves good food and water. You can’t “save country music” while ignoring the millions of consumers in the mainstream. Again, the primary focus is always supporting independent artists. But critiquing the mainstream is what makes the “rub” where you integrate and convert disgruntled mainstream fans into independent foot soldiers. You can’t do that just by preaching to a choir.

Finally, I can completely understand how frustrating it can feel being an independent band trying to get attention, and feeling like you’re screaming into a void. I am just as frustrated that I can’t feature more independent artists and bands than SCM already does. But with an average of 15 albums coming out per week in the greater country/roots world, you just cannot feature everything. So you just try to do the best job you can featuring the stuff you can get to, and wake up the next day, and start hacking at it again.

The hope is that a rising tide will raise all boats. Over the years, SCM has published less and less critical coverage, and more positive coverage, because more positive things are happening for independent artists. There’s still more work to do, and worthy artists that have fallen through the cracks.

But we all have to understand that in independent music, it’s just me and you. We all have to help each other. But the occasional over-the-top rant about a terrible song is not what is going to hold us all back. If anything, they create rallying cries and re-engage the public.

Keep your chin up, keep doing the best you can, keep sending your stuff to SCM and I’ll keep considering it for feature. And who knows, you might be featured sooner than later.

Best of luck with your music,

–Kyle “Trigger”
Saving Country Music

To further echo this sentiment, take for example the articles posted earlier this week on Saving Country Music featuring The Laid Back Country Picker and Amanda Fields. These are truly independent artists with no labels, no representation whatsoever, and they both received big reviews. Their posts on Facebook received 16 and 21 likes/reactions respectively. The Katie Noel post receive 1,400 likes/reactions, 159 shares, and 850 comments. A post on Billy Strings received 2,700 likes/reactions. This illustrates the challenge that both the Facebook algorithm and public sentiment create to featuring lesser known artists.

In fact, since posts about big-named artists or “rants” receive so much outsized attention, it results in the skewed perception that led to the rant by Dirty Grass Soul. If you’re solely relying on Facebook and other social media platforms to curate your news feed, all you think that Saving Country Music does is post rants or about big artists. And when you interact with these posts—especially if that activity is negative—it reinforces it in your feed, while album reviews for independent artists get systematically depreciated on social media.

Also, it’s really important for folks to reach out to Saving Country Music directly and submit their music through the Contact Form, and to read what to submit and when for the greatest chance at coverage. For example, Saving Country Music rarely features live albums. The one time Dirty Grass Soul reached out previously, it was about the live album they released last year. SCM also rarely does interviews or features singles. The primary way artists are featured is through album reviews. However, everything is considered, screen, and every message is responded to. Just the time commitment this takes is an incredible burden.

And even if a band or artists don’t get a full-blown feature on Saving Country Music, they might get a mention. Their album might end up on one of the Release Radar posts so folks are made aware of it. A song might end up on the Top 25 Playlist. At the least, if a song or video is worthy, it will end up in the news crawl that goes along the top of the site, just like “Back to the Holler” from Dirty Grass Soul did.

But with so much music coming out all the time, and the inundation of requests for coverage, Saving Country Music is still not going to be able to feature everybody, and not everybody deserves to be featured. But it just happens to be that Dirty Grass Soul and “Back to the Holler” do. And by putting out a good song and speaking up, they finally got the Saving Country Music feature they deserved.

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