On The Grand Ole Opry Investing in Whiskey Riff
In the media business, you’re not supposed to acknowledge your supposed competition, unless you’re lambasting them for doing something wrong or bad. You’re supposed to pretend they don’t exist, lest your readers/listeners/fans figure out they have other options, and jump ship.
I have never felt that way operating Saving Country Music, partly because covering how the media covers country music has been one of the primary beats I cover. This site has been a terrible business from the beginning anyway, and remains that way to this day. The reason I started the website was to help spread the word about worthy country artists, to remember the legends of country music, and to hold the country industry accountable. If others want to help in that effort, more power to them. Getting in their way, bad mouthing them for no other reason than they’re perceived as rivals, or being jealous or angry at their success is just selfish and petty bullshit.
Make no mistake though, when Whiskey Riff first came online about eight years ago, I was not impressed. It seemed to me like they took Barstool Sports, a bad version of Saving Country Music, and wrapped it into a concept to sell hats and T-shirts. They were a lifestyle brand using country music to create attention for themselves. And their lightweight content with click-bait headlines riddled with ads was the last thing we needed in the country music media ecosystem.
In some respects, I still feel this way about Whiskey Riff. Their content is so extremely loaded with ads—including multiple streaming popup video players—it’s virtually unreadable. There were stretches over the last few years where if you wanted to see what was coming up on Whiskey Riff, all you had to do was read Saving Country Music because it would be over there an hour or two later, just reduced and dumbed-down. In fairness, Saving Country Music has also seen stories first in Whiskey Riff, and later reported on them as well. The coverage of the two sites is very much like a Venn diagram.
Here eight years later, all of these Whiskey Riff gripes remain concerns, along with others, like reposting of old content as new stuff, and other questionable practices to drive traffic. If you follow them on Twitter, you have to take your country music news with endless ads featuring booty chicks in corporate beer merch, and videos of babies getting gored by elk and other such viral video nonsense from their outdoors spinoff. It’s a little much to say the least.
But if I sat here and tried to convince you that the success of Whiskey Riff hasn’t been a significant factor in the rapid growth throughout the independent country sector we’ve seen over the last few years—and specifically the success of artists such as Zach Bryan, Charles Wesley Godwin, Gabe Lee, and others—I’d be a liar. Sure, their breathless, overzealous selling of artists is borderline fan girl behavior. But their effort to pile drive the names of these artists into the zeitgeist has absolutely made a positive difference, even if that effort extends to artists well outside of the types of artists Saving Country Music sees as important—guys like Kip Moore and Koe Wetzel.
It would be really easy to get angry and jealous as Whiskey Riff‘s traffic numbers dominate the country media space, their social media presence dwarfs other country sites, and no doubt, the dollars come pouring into their coffers. But despite the laundry list of criticisms one could list off about Whiskey Riff, unquestionably, their impact has been more positive than negative in the effort to save country music.
This is unlike some other outlets, like Rolling Stone Country for example, which has so completely abandoned their original promise to not get political, now every single bit of their content comes with a political quotient, stoking the culture war and exploiting the political rift that runs right through the center of independent country and Americana for clicks, causing significantly more harm than good to this community, even if they inadvertently put some meager attention behind worthy artists.
It’s hilarious that when publicists and labels send out press releases, you will commonly see quotes from outlets like Rolling Stone, Billboard, and others, but rarely from sites like Whiskey Riff, or Saving Country Music, even though pound for pound, a feature in Saving Country Music will get significantly more attention from the public, and in Whiskey Riff, that attention is even greater, and by numerous multipliers. Of course, Whiskey Riff doesn’t have a legendary name like Rolling Stone. Your parents won’t be as impressed. But the impact will likely be greater.
There is engagement at Whiskey Riff, because just like Saving Country Music, the public knows that Whiskey Riff is not bringing an agenda, beyond making oodles of money. Whiskey Riff is not in the pockets of publicists and labels. They are speaking from the heart. The content may be presented poorly, and readers have to swim through a mountain of advertising copy to consume it. But it’s honest.
And furthermore, there is no doubt that the Whiskey Riff founders Steve Gazibara and Wes Langeler work their asses off to not just make the website a success, but to serve the public with music news that they want to see. Recently on their podcast, they talked about how they’ve been working sometimes 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for going on eight years. Don’t take that as hyperbole. That’s what it takes to run a website like that, and I can attest because I’ve been doing the same thing here at Saving Country Music, just for twice as long.
Meanwhile, you have other supposed “journalists” who create almost no content because they spend most of their time on Twitter looking to cut down others that are outworking and outsmarting them, including some that are only responsible for a small handful of articles all year, but are somehow praised as leading voices in the industry, simply because they’re constantly in people’s Twitter feeds playing the clinical hero/victim narcissists role, and engaging in character assassination in an attempt to equal the playing field due to their laziness, and lack of expertise and commitment.
All of this is leading me to this recent partnership that Whiskey Riff announced with the Grand Ole Opry. On March 9th, it was announced that Opry Entertainment Group has made a minority investment in Whiskey Riff. In other words, the Opry is now a partial owner of the online publication. “They have created a really compelling brand, one that has built an incredibly loyal following,” Mark Fioravanti, president and CEO of Ryman Hospitality Properties said. “They attract a younger demographic, and this gives us another way to connect our brands and the artists we support with younger fans.”
Speaking of institutions on a winning streak, the Grand Ole Opry has definitely been on one themselves. Rising to the occasion of the pandemic, the Opry launched some of the most memorable streaming content of the era. Then they rode that momentum into the post pandemic era by finally inducting some worthy veterans and up-and-comers to the membership ranks and offering career-defining Opry debuts to important artists to the point new where nearly every Opry presentation has a debut as part of it. General manager Dan Rogers has done a masterful job at both modernizing the Grand Ole Opry, and at the same time making sure the institution respects its roots better than in previous eras.
There are many reasons to be both positive and bullish on the Grand Ole Opry and its future. Some may forget, but when Saving Country Music came online in 2008, the Opry was mostly a relic, and virtually derelict as a cultural institution. The ageist lawsuit by Stonewall Jackson exposed how the Opry wasn’t taking care of its legends, while the Opry simultaneously couldn’t attract younger talent to its old tour bus audiences. It had no idea how to adapt to the changing media landscape, and manager Pete Fisher ran the institution with a closed mind, and an iron fist.
When the Whiskey Riff/Grand Ole Opry deal was announced, my general attitude was mildly disfavorable, but also nonchalant. These kinds of deals are very commonplace these days, like the Opry selling a minority stake to NBC Universal in 2022, which recently resulted in the announcement of yet another ill-advised country music awards show in the offing.
What made me decide that someone needed to speak up and offer a little bit of context on the Whiskey Riff/Opry deal is when I saw so many bands, artists, fans, and even some media members strongly praising the partnership. Again, I do not begrudge Whiskey Riff on their success or this deal specifically, and I can understand how this feels like a big achievement for their brand, and a financial backstop to their efforts. Saving Country Music has been offered these kinds of deals in the past (not from the Opry specifically), and it’s not always easy to say “no.” But call me old school, I just don’t think that media outlets should be financially tied to the institutions they’re tasked to cover. It’s very clearly a conflict of interest if you want to be considered an objective source.
Granted, Whiskey Riff has said over and over since the deal that the Grand Ole Opry will have no editorial oversight on the outlet, and they know that Whiskey Riff can get opinionated, and share controversial viewpoints upon occasion. I would take both the Opry and Whiskey Riff at their word that this won’t impinge on their coverage priorities. But the simple fact is the Opry’s stated reason for acquiring a minority stake in Whiskey Riff is for the outlet to be a mouthpiece for the Opry to the younger demographic the Opry desires to not just ensure the Opry’s future, but attract advertisers that appeal to younger audiences.
The Opry’s new partners at NBC Universal and other paper pushers are probably demanding the Opry steer its demographics younger so they can attract more lucrative advertisers to get a greater return on their investment. This is how this game works. These big corporations are beholden to showing increased revenue every quarter. That is how everyone’s job is evaluated, and so this is the ultimate priority. The minority acquisition of Whiskey Riff is a numbers/demographics play to leverage advertising opportunities.
Can Whiskey Riff be a financial partner with the Opry and still act as an objective 3rd party? Yes and no. We’ve seen how these media/corporate partnerships can result in coverage choices and other passive censorship decisions that wouldn’t be the case from an otherwise autonomous media entity. The Washington Post has faced heavy criticism for its hands-off approach to Amazon after Jeff Bezos bought the paper, for example.
SXSW is in Austin this week. There was heavy criticism when Billboard and Rolling Stone owner Penske Media purchased a stake in SXSW, which refuses to pay performers reasonable stipends, doesn’t allow them access to the entire festival, and operates a pay-to-play model with their submission fees. Will you see anything about the grassroots initiative to hold SXSW to account for the way they treat musicians in the supposed progressive, pro-labor Rolling Stone? Of course not.
A couple of years ago when Opry’s parent company Ryman Hospitality Properties purchased the Block 21 development in Austin that houses the 2,750-seat Moody Theater where Austin City Limits is taped and ACL Live events happen weekly, a similar concern was raised. It’s just better to keep these things separate and distinct as opposed to so many properties that are important to country music all being held in the portfolios of the same handful of corporate structures.
Let’s also appreciate that we’re in the honeymoon of this Opry/Whiskey Riff deal. The Moody Theater acquisition fell apart at one point, and left a lot of indecision of what would happen. In 2012, Dolly Parton partnered with the Opry to build a theme park. When they later pulled out, it resulted in bad blood between Dolly and the Opry that still persists. These deals always look rosy right after the paperwork is signed, and everyone feels full of promise. Then reality sets in.
Is this deal the end of the world, or the end of Whiskey Riff as we know it? Absolutely not. In the end, the effects or consequences may be marginal, or perhaps even non-existent. As some will point out, at one point the Grand Ole Opry was owned by Gaylord, which was primarily a media company itself. The company owned television and radio stations, including Opry home WSM, which it still does.
But what has been great about the current independent country music revolution is that it has remained independent and autonomous from the country music industry and its institutions like the Grand Ole Opry, which during previous regimes, very much stood in the way of progress and independent voices in the genre. The current revolution we’re enjoying the fruits of grew out of the grassroots, and off the hard work of artists and bands, independent labels, and hard working journalists like Steve Gazibara and Wes Langeler at Whiskey Riff.
But now independent music has become so successful, it’s becoming part of the mainstream itself. Maybe Whiskey Riff partnering with the Grand Ole Opry is only fitting then. But it’s also fitting for the public and the rest of the media to be clear-eyed about what’s happening here. What’s been cool about Whiskey Riff is that unlike so many other country media outlets, they’re not just puppets for publicists, or the industry. Hopefully that remains to be the case. But now there is another hand in their back pocket, and the public should be apprised of this moving forward. Because just like we saw with Rolling Stone Country, promises can be broken.
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March 14, 2023 @ 8:48 am
Reading risky whiff articles makes me lose brain cells i already lack. they gotta be using AI to write those articles catered towards the barely literate. Here’s the start of every whiskey riff article of all time:
“The man has done it again.
It’s no secret that…”
it sucks so bad. Everything is dumbed down to the point where it makes you dumber to read it. Plus they fangirl so so incredibly hard in every article it almost makes me want to dislike artists I really love. God damn sorry had to get that off my chest! I’m sure they’re good guys and I agree they’re good for the movement and the artists we all like i guess. I’ll still check their headlines for album announcements and shit no matter how terrible the actual content may be.
plus they have rarely, if ever mentioned jeremy pinnell’s last album goodbye LA, which everyone knows rips
March 14, 2023 @ 11:40 am
Like Kyle is any better of a writer.
Joshua Scott Hotchkin
March 14, 2023 @ 8:52 am
Ah, well do you think that now that you have a little backing, you might like to reconsider my offer of a column discussing the country chart #1s from the start to present, one at a time?
March 14, 2023 @ 8:54 am
I think I’ll just stay here at SCM. Thanks for what you do, Trig.
The Original WTF Guy
March 14, 2023 @ 8:55 am
I have heard of Whiskey Riff here but never wandered over to it so I thought I’d take a look. I did a Google search and the first thing that came up was their store. Once I finally found the site it looked like it any number of other “aggregate” sites that just pull stories, reformat them, and put them on their site. You *might* have gotten the idea the site was about coutry music, but you’d have to work for it. It looked awful and I’m guessing I’ll have no reason to return.
But I did see something that was interesting. And sorry for posting this here as it has nothing to do with the article you wrote. But there was an “article” about Turnpike playing the Houston rodeo with a few videos. First, great for the band as I’m sure that put a few coins in their pockets and is a big deal. But good grief, that set up is awful. First, they were on a stage in the middle of the stadium with the first fans about 30-40 yards away. Second, the stage looked like something that had been stuck in a storage in Vegas since the 80s. The first thing I thought of was how Dusty would look on that stage (little “Pure Country” reference, there). Turnpike should *not* be on a stage like that. And it rotated!! Damn, if I see Evan Felkner flying over the crowd someday a la the little chubby one I think I will have some thinking to do.
March 14, 2023 @ 10:36 am
I can understand why some people are sort of shocked at the Rodeo Houston stage. The only way you can play in front of 74,657 people is “in the round.” Rodeo Houston wants to be the biggest live stage in all of country music, and they have certainly accomplished that. Cody Jinks played there last night as well. It’s a Texas-sized spectacle, not meant to be intimate. I have mixed feelings about it myself, that is why I didn’t write an article about it. But I’m sure the band had a blast, and so did those who attended and knew what they were getting into. Turnpike has played Rodeo Houston before, but it’s still a career moment for guys from Texas and Oklahoma.
Country Charley Crockett's Butter
March 14, 2023 @ 12:24 pm
Didn’t Whiskey Riff use to sell country t-shirts online?
I remember their instagram was flooded daily with hot babes wearing skin tight t-shirts that read “Fiddle and Steel 2016”
They got tons of clicks from those models.
Weird partnership with the GRAND OLE OPRY
March 14, 2023 @ 9:15 am
Bezos, not Bazos. Long live independent Trigger.
March 14, 2023 @ 9:49 am
I’ll just continue checking SCM every day, two or three times a day for my country music fix.
March 14, 2023 @ 9:49 am
Whiskey Riff is like watching Saturday morning cartoons and then pulling up SCM is like sticking around for Jack Hanna to actually learn something. I do have them as a “magazine” I follow on an app called Flip Board which weeds out most of the ads and garbage. Trigger – I don’t know how one gets their site on Flip Board nor if it costs anything to do so, but it’s a cool app and could be another way for SCM to reach folks that load it to follow country music and such. It might be worth looking into anyway in your infinite spare time if you haven’t already.
March 14, 2023 @ 10:03 am
To be fair half of the staff at Rolling Stone doesn’t know which bathroom to use and most of the men there likely prefer to sit to pee out of solidarity,
March 14, 2023 @ 11:39 am
Can you leave your pee kinks off of public forums? Nobody wants to know that you get off thinking about how other people use the bathroom.
March 14, 2023 @ 11:55 am
*big_brain_shitlib has entered the chat
March 14, 2023 @ 1:31 pm
Sick burn, dude. What an original joke to own the libz.
March 14, 2023 @ 10:08 am
Never heard of that site. Went over there. Good Lord, my eyes…and my brain… The headline story is about some NASCAR driver. WTF?
March 14, 2023 @ 10:12 am
I’m coming from an Opry perspective. Do these two recently partnerships of the Opry help or harm the institution? If it results, in more mainstream artists in country (i.e. less country music on the opry stage), then it’s not bad. Hopefully this will not be the case with the NBC deal.
March 14, 2023 @ 10:26 am
Bobby Bones is still the worse thing in country “journalism”
March 14, 2023 @ 10:44 am
I definitely see what the Grand Ole Opry is thinking with the Whiskey Riff partnership. Advertisers want to advertise to younger audiences, and I’m sure that’s what the Opry is hearing from ad execs who say their business model is struggling to attract the right clientele to be lucrative. I think the risk is minimal for the Opry, though I do wonder if they see some of the issues with Whiskey Riff that keep some at arm’s length from their content.
To me, the NBC Universal partnership is more of a concern. I think the awards show they have planned is a pretty bad idea, though we’ll see how it’s implemented. NBC is staffed with folks that just don’t know the inner workings of the Grand Ole Opry and the culture around it, and will simply worry about return on investment. NBC also has a tendency to overproduce everything (see Sunday Night Football). If we could see a return of the Opry to broadcast television through NBC, that would be great. But the Opry continues to struggle to make full use of The Circle Network, which has great potential, but seems under-utilized, including broadcasting more live Opry moments on the network.
March 14, 2023 @ 2:45 pm
Have you heard anything about Circle’s growth? Programming updates? I think I’d get a whole lot more use of it if it was streaming on demand.
March 14, 2023 @ 4:25 pm
I’m not really sure what’s going on over at Circle. I was paying attention when it first launched and during the pandemic with the Opry broadcasts. But most of the time it’s informercials and reruns. Perhaps the NBC partnership with result in more original programming. The Opry is putting on three or more shows a week in a venue with a full video/audio production setup. I understand they want to keep the Opry special, but I just don’t understand why they don’t tap that resource for more original programming.
March 16, 2023 @ 1:50 pm
Early in its existence, Circle poured a lot of money into filming original programming, but they have cancelled the majority of it aside from anything Opry-related. Now, they fill the schedule with reruns of Heartland, Longmire, Friday Night Lights, and Betty White’s Off Their Rockers. They don’t even show Hee Haw any longer, which could be Circle not wanting to pay the music rights for the episodes.
March 17, 2023 @ 5:48 am
Would love if they could secure the old shows like Glen Campbell’s Goodtime Hour, the Johnny Cash Show, or The Mandrell Sisters Show. I’ve searched far and wide for full episodes from Glen’s show but there are only a few available and they aren’t available in physical form which is disappointing.
March 14, 2023 @ 10:18 am
Agreed. Thanks for what you do. I’ve always thought a bunch of the commercial country music sites were driven by algorithms. This was before the AI headlines.
Good spotlight on the Opry’s uptick here, too!
March 14, 2023 @ 11:37 am
Take a writing class. Just one! Learn to write! Run on sentences, bad grammar, these are things journalists are not supposed to do. Maybe invest in a thesaurus too. Maybe if you learned to write instead of taking pot shots at everyone you don’t like, you’d be a happier person!
March 14, 2023 @ 12:16 pm
Maybe just be honest and say what opinion of his you’re so butthurt about, instead of attacking him for bullshit reasons, because it’s more than obvious.
March 14, 2023 @ 12:43 pm
My guess is it’s this one:
“Meanwhile, you have other supposed “journalists” who create almost no content because they spend most of their time on Twitter looking to cut down others that are outworking and outsmarting them, including some that are only responsible for a small handful of articles all year, but are somehow praised as leading voices in the industry, simply because they’re constantly in people’s Twitter feeds playing the clinical hero/victim narcissists role, and engaging in character assassination in an attempt to equal the playing field due to their laziness, and lack of expertise and commitment.”
The hilarious thing is, Trigger gets more eyeballs in five seconds than the “journalvists” on Twitter get in five days.
March 14, 2023 @ 2:34 pm
Cut a little too close to the bone perhaps.
March 14, 2023 @ 1:04 pm
So how long have you been writing for Whiskey Riff, LL?
March 15, 2023 @ 6:48 pm
LL doesn’t write for Whiskey Riff
March 14, 2023 @ 6:10 pm
Lighten up femboi
March 15, 2023 @ 10:15 am
What the heck are you even talking about LL?? You have two punctuation mistakes in your comment.
Country Charley Crockett's Butter
March 14, 2023 @ 12:17 pm
The rumor on Grady’s reddit page awhile back was that “Bush’s Grilling Beans” wanted to make a minor investment in Saving County Music.
Was this true Trig?
March 14, 2023 @ 12:24 pm
Hey Country, I love Bush’s beans and have visited their location in Tennessee. I am a bean aficianado.
Country Charley Crockett's Butter
March 14, 2023 @ 12:25 pm
The name’s Butter.
And what’s it to ya?
March 14, 2023 @ 5:16 pm
Sir Adam the Great
March 15, 2023 @ 5:38 am
How ‘bout some more beans, Mr. Taggart?
March 14, 2023 @ 2:12 pm
Like any other country fan I’ve often stumbled upon Whiskey Riff and wanted to give them a chance. But when you look at their articles the content has always seemed very vapid and shallow. Worse still, they’ve always seemed like more like a lifestyle brand than a country news source. I associate their site with hot girls wearing branded t shirts and holding a bear with their koozie, not really journalism. Not trying to be rude, but that’s always been my opinion of them, and I’ve never given them much of a second thought.
March 14, 2023 @ 2:35 pm
My favorite thing about this website is that it’s a community. I’ve emailed Trig many times and he responds always responds, I once emailed those whiskey dick fuckers and it was pure crickets. He responds in the comments(sometimes too defensively) and he interacts with the community and takes commenters advice. He also sometimes often reviews albums of artists who are barely known and it really helps boost their careers. Whiskey dick will boost some semi already well known artists. But they arent discovering anyone, writing about anyone small time or single-handedly helping to make careers. I know this website has skyrocketed the careers of some of the biggest current independent country artists. And it’s cool because it’s an interactive community. This website has introduced me to so many good artists that have helped create so many good memories over the last ten years. I think it’s fair to say this website has provided me with unending amounts of happiness.
PS THE NEW AARON MCDONNELL SONG SLAPS
March 15, 2023 @ 5:08 am
100% Aaron McDonnell album last year was one of the most listened to records for me last year to the point I couldn’t believe nobody was talking about much after Trig’s album review. Everything sounds so cool and gives a different edge to country music.
March 15, 2023 @ 6:36 pm
Todd & Tyler, thanks for the support! I’m also wondering why nobody is talking about it, haha. Just gotta keep pluggin’ away, lots of new music coming this year!
March 17, 2023 @ 10:45 am
My favorite and most listened to record of 2022! ready for more Aaron!
March 14, 2023 @ 4:03 pm
They remind me of the Vinyl Ranch account on Instagram, without the sense of humor. Plus, the Disko Cowboy on Vinyl Ranch doesn’t add a million horribly written stories to lure me into buy things from their store.
March 14, 2023 @ 6:16 pm
Great article, Trig
I’m not familiar with Whiskey Riff, but it doesn’t sound like something I would want to read.
I’m not expecting objectivity after the partnership with the Opry
March 14, 2023 @ 6:43 pm
Very occasionally I will read their articles if it is something they broke before SCM, but the reason I love this page is that it is entirely created and maintained by one (weird) guy. I like the idiosyncratic nature of this page as well as hearing about tons of music I would never hear, obituaries/history and yes the crazy rants. This won’t change anything for me, but all this stuff interests me and I appreciate having an independent source to hear about it. As for Rolling Stone, sometimes they suck and sometimes they don’t. They have been doing that for years. Personally I read No Depression way more, always have.
March 14, 2023 @ 8:35 pm
I’ve been test driving this post in random places online and this seems like a good article to re-post it. I actually had Whiskey Riff on there but couldn’t remember how much independent country they covered so I took it out:
Do you play old-school country music or Americana, but think all country music sucks today? Not if you look deeper. There’s a golden age of independent country and Americana and bluegrass going on right now. There are too many great new artists to list here.
Here are some places to hear more about the good underground artists if you’re not already finding them at your local shows:
the Ameripolitan Awards, Reddit’s r/CountryMusic, r/CountryMusicians and r/Ameripolitan, Saving Country Music, Twangville, Americana Highways, the GimmeCountry internet radio app, Mixcloud DJ app and it’s many independent country and rockabilly DJ’s, Americana UK, Wide Open Country, Whiskey Riff, Black Opry, No Depression, Lone Star Music Magazine, Ignition Country UK, Holler.country, California Bluegrass Association, Post To Wire, the Bandcamp blog, Adobe And Teardrops.
YouTube channels: Western AF, StellarJax, Texas Music Scene, Converse Cowboy, Dusty Vaquero, GemsOnVHS
Podcasts: Walkin The Floor, The Northern Report, Old Soul,, Hurtin For Real.
Honky Tonk Times zine
Now go out and play some good tunes!
Bill from WI
March 15, 2023 @ 4:56 am
Adding the above to your list.
March 15, 2023 @ 8:40 am
I will, thank you!!!
March 15, 2023 @ 11:19 am
Just to add to this, aside from this fantastic blog, I find new music mostly by following the show calendar at The Mercury Lounge in Tulsa for emerging artists https://www.mercuryloungetulsa.com/shows
And the Cain’s Ballroom calendar for more established artists.
The Mercury is a goldmine.
March 14, 2023 @ 11:35 pm
“Granted, Whiskey Riff has said over and over since the deal that the Grand Ole Opry will have no editorial oversight on the outlet.”
People and media outlets can say anything. The Opry isn’t spending money without obtaining some say.
March 15, 2023 @ 7:19 am
I mean I share a fangrrrl bond with the Whiskey Riff guys over Turnpike. That band has turned me into a twangy deadhead.
I’ve enjoyed some of their podcasts. Their podcast turned me on to what absolute loveable kook Jason Boland is, and I’ve listened to the RC Edwards episode twice. The guests in those two podcasts overcame their painful, shallow fratboy demeanor and vapid questions, while lesser guests have not.
I prefer my independent country music from an independent country music site.
Disclosure: I own a small stock position in Ryman Hospitality. No matter how dumb Nashville is, the Ryman does book some amazing music.
March 15, 2023 @ 7:53 am
First, I don’t like the smell of whiskey-
Secondly, I, on occasion, though not with regularity, re post some of the articles I read here.
I’ve read that this site gets a pretty significant number of views. My experience is; people rarely read more than a sentence or two. That in and of itself is sad. It exemplifies the attention span the size of a gnat syndrome that has infected our society.
I also reference this site any time the opportunity presents itself when talking with those I inter act with and the opportunity to present what I’ve read that can tie into a conversation, especially music… and I’m not looking for a pat on the head, just saying, and making observations.
The amount of time needed to research and then put observations into words is mind boggling. To do it objectively, as Kyle does here, is amazing, to say the least. The *easy money* aspect of today’s business models is indicative of mental laziness, which can be observed everywhere, except here at Saving Country Music.
I, personally, respect and admire Kyle’s efforts, and no, I don’t agree with all his musical choices, but, I do know I will get an objective, knowledgeable opinion…
Country Charley Crockett's Butter
March 15, 2023 @ 1:53 pm
Trig, in all honesty, if you didn’t ridicule Opry members Blake Shelton, Dustin Lynch etc – I bet the Opry would want to do business with you.
You are much better than Whiskey Riff
March 15, 2023 @ 2:35 pm
But I wouldn’t want to do business with the Opry if I couldn’t ridicule Blake Shelton and Dustin Lynch. That is why this deal is problematic. I’m sure Whiskey Riff will say, “Yeah, but we can still ridicule these guys.” But will they?
I don’t want folks thinking this is a jealousy thing. I would never partner with the Grand Ole Opry or any other entity that could pose a conflict of interest. In many respects, I am happy for Whiskey Riff. I also understand that some readers don’t really want in-depth coverage. They just want to buzzy facts and to move on. The popularity of Whiskey Riff has challenged me in a good way to be even more in-depth in my reporting, to dig deeper for original stories, and to work harder.
March 15, 2023 @ 6:42 pm
That’s one hell of a run on sentence to take a dig at Lorie.
March 15, 2023 @ 10:29 pm
It takes one hell of a narcissist to assume everything is about them, just like Lorie assumed my Billy Strings coverage of the Ryman Auditorium could have only been sourced by her coverage. (It wasn’t).
This was not about anyone specifically, it was about a class of journalists that just don’t produce much of any content, but somehow get credit like they’re prolific because of their Twitter presence. Though Lorie produces significantly less content than the two main writers and Whiskey Riff (which was the subject here), I actually think she does a decent job of producing content these days. She is also excellent at constantly playing the victim, because among the elitist class that she’s a product of, vitctimhood is how you create social capital. You sow it on Twitter, because it fosters negative feelings and reactions.
As for my run-on sentences, I assume an intelligent audience. What is the discussion about here? It’s about the quality of content. I’m looking for readers, and people who want to engage in in-depth discussions. I’m not surprised that the Twitter crowd finds this practice lumbering to the point of being offensive because they deal in short-form content that bleeds the context and nuance out of important discussions. It’s easier to convince yourself you’re always right by casting anyone who disagrees with you as a bigot than to seek out and encourage differing viewpoints and criticism like I do. It’s easy to silo yourself off from any dissent and have an echo chamber reaffirm all of your opinions—which Twitter facilitates—than to share your opinions on the naked internet and make them susceptible to open forum discussion. These are the things I would tell Lorie Liebig, but she’s blocked me. She also demands people don’t read my website, while also being one of my best readers, because she’s convinced most all my content ultimately draws back to her. That’s called narcissism.
Now, she will use this comment to couch herself as a victim on Twitter as opposed to spending her time writing a feature on Josie Toney, The War and Treaty, or some other worthy artist while Saving Country Music and Whiskey Riff run circles around her, and she says the only reason we’re successful is because we’re white males.
Lorie responding to my run-on sentence proved my point. I hope she gleaned some wisdom from it, because ultimately, like everyone, I want her to succeed.
March 16, 2023 @ 7:23 am
only thing I know is, I once made a comment on a Whiskey Riff Instagram post, and with a few minutes, I had someone sliding into my DMs about sending me a couple of free t-shirts. I’m still waiting for my free SCM t-shirt. just sayin’ 😉