Editor of “Rolling Stone Country” Tells Readers What to Expect
Rolling Stone is readying the launch of their brand new, dedicated country music website on June 1st, with a corresponding one-time print edition of Rolling Stone Country on newsstands June 5th featuring country music coverage from page 1 to 70. This bold move by one of music journalism’s most recognized brands could be a big game changer for the way country music is covered, and Rolling Stone opening an office on Nashville’s famous Music Row is a pronouncement by the company that they mean business.
“Rolling Stone has made a huge commitment to country,” says Rolling Stone Country Senior Editor Beville Dunkerley. “I mean not only did we hold out for a building on Music Row for several months until one finally came open, but my bosses in New York have said, ‘We’re not going to wait and see if this does well to see if it continues. This is going to continue.’ And my boss has said that in print and made the promise. What I find the most exciting when I was hired for this is that Rolling Stone Country is the first format breakout for this iconic magazine. There’s no Rolling Stone Hip-Hop, there’s no Rolling Stone Pop. Rolling Stone Country is the very first genre breakout for the website. So I hope that will show people our dedication to the genre.”
The launching of Rolling Stone Country has many people wondering how exactly the new venture will take shape. Will it be just another outlet covering the same lifestyle stories that permeate the online country realm already? Like Rolling Stone proper, will it cover politics?
“As far as government politics, hell no! We’ll leave that to the magazine and RollingStone.com,” Dunkerley says. “But as far as the politics of country music, absolutely. We will dive right into that. We are planning think pieces about the bro-country movement, and why it’s so hard for a record label to break a female act over a male act. There’s so many hot button topics we hear up and down The Row that we’ll absolutely tackle. And with an opinionated voice too, presenting both sides, but giving our opinion on it as well.”
“We just hope to be different,” Beville continues. “Right now I believe there’s a big void in the country music journalism for a critical voice for the genre. There’s so many websites that are dedicated to more of the lifestyle news. They want to know about Trisha Yearwood’s apple pie recipe, and they want to know who’s the latest couple getting divorced, and that’s just not something that Rolling Stone pays attention to. We pay more attention to the music. It is the #1 place people go when they want to read an album review or a song review. So we’re going to continue to be the critical voice in that respect. But we’re also going to show the artists in different musical lights. For instance when we sit down and talk to someone like Lee Brice, instead of asking him about his new baby or his new marriage and all of that, we’re going to ask him about the production on his new album. And that’s something that maybe not the typical fan would be interested in hearing.”
Beville Dunkerley, who was already a writer for Rolling Stone, and founded the country music blog The Boot, will be joined on the Rolling Stone Country staff by Senior Editor Joseph Hudak who was previously the managing editor at Country Weekly, which is currently being re-branded as NASH Magazine. They will work with a team of thirteen freelance writers, as well as full-time staffers in Rolling Stone’s New York offices to create the website’s original content.
“I feel like the Rolling Stone readers are more of the music geeks, and they care about the production, about what kind of guitar [an artist] uses on stage. So we want to continue in the tradition of Rolling Stone, of making it all about the music.”
May 27, 2014 @ 10:09 am
I Drunkenly read “Dunkerley” as Drunkenly.
May 27, 2014 @ 10:17 am
It’s 5 PM somewhere. 😉
May 27, 2014 @ 10:21 am
The guy responsible for writing think pieces about bro-country will have the easiest job on the planet.
May 27, 2014 @ 10:43 am
May 27, 2014 @ 11:16 am
I’ll be damned, but the initial signs actually don’t seem discouraging,
I am not familiar with this Dunkerley guy. I will give him the benefit of the doubt when he says that he wants the magazine to be “different,” and to serve as a critical voice for the genre. For the love of god, *please* be critical. Honest criticism of mainstream country music is what we need at this point. I do feel a little weird looking to a RS-owned publication for a discerning critical voice, because in my opinion Rolling Stone is a bloated corporate rag at this point, but *any* attempt at legitimate criticism would be much better than the mindless adoration mainstream country websites lather on every piece of refuse that comes off the factory lines on Music Row these days. Of course, that brings us to the most foreboding fact about this project: the management responsible were formerly employed at The Boot and Country Weekly respectively.
I have no doubt that RS Country will cover artists that most of the readers of this site do not care for. I think the important question is whether the overall net effect will be positive or negative. I just hope they take a democratic approach. There a lot of artists out there who deserve more coverage from mainstream publications, and the amount of exposure that RS Country could give to independent country artists could be great. For one thing, I hope they make some space to cover a little Texas Country. Also, if they pay even a lick of attention to the surrounding Nashville music scene, they would be foolish not to cover artists like Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, Caitlin Rose, and so on.
May 27, 2014 @ 12:19 pm
Just for the record, Beville Dunkerley is female, though I guess that not abundantly obvious from her name.
Also, Rolling Stone has covered Jason Isbell, Caitlin Rose, and Sturgill Simpson all in the past. My interest would be if they cover these artists in a similar way as they cover more mainstream artists, or more in passing.
May 27, 2014 @ 11:39 am
A few predictions for Rolling Stone Country:
The cover of the inaugural print issue will feature Miranda Lambert in a “sassy” pose.
They will publish an interview with Kacey Musgraves, asking her questions about smoking weed.
They will claim to be totally apolitical, but will occasionally take random potshots like “The Randy Rogers have Texas in their veins. They may just be the cultural force to restore the Lone Star State’s reputation after the Bush years…”
They will write some lame, cheesy article article about “what Nashville is really like,” which will piss me off for some reason.
May 27, 2014 @ 11:46 am
*Randy Rogers Band
May 27, 2014 @ 12:19 pm
The second one made me laugh.
May 27, 2014 @ 2:26 pm
Haha, spot on. One more I would add: An article on Jason DeRulo and Florida Georgia Line’s “monumental” collaboration featuring a picture of the three smiling and dancing with fireworks going off in the background.
May 27, 2014 @ 11:47 am
I’m hesitant about the endeavor because Rolling Stone has been garbage for such a long long time.
It’s a shame the Country Music Magazine from the Classic Rock team overseas seems to have stalled; the first two issues were excellent.
No word on if issue 3 will ever see the light of day. Too bad, because they really put together the right kind of magazine that covers classic country with enough of ‘new’ country’ to keep everyone happy.
May 27, 2014 @ 12:20 pm
Yeah, not sure what happened with Country Music Magazine. They’ve sort of fallen off the face of the earth. Hopefully there is another issue in the future.
May 27, 2014 @ 11:28 pm
It was a good few months between the first and second issues (I’m tempted to say six but I might be wrong) so I wouldn’t give up on it yet!
May 29, 2014 @ 10:40 am
Or TWANG magazine? They had a cover story with Terri Clark…in a dress!!
May 27, 2014 @ 11:57 am
I’ll read this website for the important stuff and trust Trigg to glean the stories that matter. Fuck rolling nash-weekly stoned, bullshit fucks. I’m gonna go listen to some wayne the train just to get this shit outta my mind.
May 29, 2014 @ 7:25 am
I thought this was funny from the article”¦..
“Right now I believe there”™s a big void in the country music journalism for a critical voice for the genre”
May 27, 2014 @ 1:05 pm
I have high hopes for the RS endeavor. I give them a chance… and wish them luck.
May 27, 2014 @ 6:16 pm
I don’t see any reason, especially after speaking in-depth to the editor, to not be positive about this. If it ends up being terrible, then we didn’t lose anything that we didn’t have already. We could look bitterly at this because for whatever reason we’re predisposed to hate “Rolling Stone” (and I’ve had multiple issues with their music coverage over the years), or I could even look at them as a rival if they do end up covering a lot of independent artists, or the topics regularly discussed on Saving Country Music. Or if they really offer a fundamentally more objective and intellectually-challenging alternative to the country music coverage that’s out there right now, and it is something that could help the music, then we should be happy for it.
May 27, 2014 @ 1:08 pm
I’m cautiously optimistic, my hope is that they do a fair job of covering all facets of country music and not just focus on the bubble gum pop country variety. It could do a lot for our cause if they’re serious about it
May 27, 2014 @ 2:22 pm
With as much as Chet Flippo did for the magazine, you would think they would cover indie country acts as well.
May 28, 2014 @ 10:40 am
RIP – Don’t want to get my hopes up, but I would love for this to be the launching pad for the ‘future Chet Flippo’s’ – it’s badly needed and he was such an awesome / on-point writer…
May 28, 2014 @ 6:10 pm
Sounds like somebody I know who authored an article I just read…
May 27, 2014 @ 4:23 pm
‘There”™s no Rolling Stone Hip-Hop, there”™s no Rolling Stone Pop.’ ‘
Doesn’t need to be …its all there in today’s “country” music .
May 27, 2014 @ 4:40 pm
I wouldn’t waste a second on anything coming from the folks at that putrid swamp of festering leftist ideology otherwise known as Rolling Stone. All I can say is “consider the source”. As if the Viacom degenerates haven’t don’t enough to subvert the country music realm already with CMT, now RS is coming in as reinforcements to finish the job. I truly hope this endeavor has a shorter life span than the British Country Music Magazine. I would love to see Toby Keith put a boot up their ass…
May 27, 2014 @ 5:38 pm
Toby Keith? Really?
May 28, 2014 @ 1:27 pm
I hope they target some super talented but up and coming musicians, singer/songwriters. REAL Country isn’t too mainstream and we need to bring these country artists out so real country fans can easily experience and learn and LISTEN to some real talent.
Check out some of the talent in Bloomington, Indiana! Amazing singer/songwriters/performers down there!
May 28, 2014 @ 5:32 pm
“I feel like the Rolling Stone readers are more of the music geeks, and they care about the production, about what kind of guitar [an artist] uses on stage.”
Did she accidentally say Rolling Stone here? Has she read that magazine in the last 15 years?
May 29, 2014 @ 8:47 pm
It’ll be a cold day in hell when anything Rolling Stone related sees a single dollar from me.
June 2, 2014 @ 11:02 am
Rolling Stones not being political? You’re not kidding me, I know that much.
June 2, 2014 @ 2:09 pm
I think what the Rolling Stone editor was trying to say is that despite an obvious political bent at Rolling Stone proper, the country site is going to avoid politics at all costs. And I tend to believe them about that, because the politics of Rolling Stone and country music would NEVER mix well. It would be suicide for them.
June 4, 2014 @ 3:44 pm
I agree. Which is why I thought it was weird in the first place that they wanted to do a country magazine with their heavy liberal democrat base.