There is no way to sugar coat it for Scott Borchetta, Big Machine Records, and the two one-way streets just west of downtown Nashville known as Music Row where the heart of the country music industry resides. Taylor Swift leaving is huge. But she also leaves behind a legacy of how women can still succeed in country.
Big Machine Records
Since the tender age of 11, fraternal twins Sarah and Savannah Church from the coal mining region of Dickerson County, Virginia have been spellbinding listeners with their close sister harmonies evoked in classic bluegrass and gospel arrangements worthy of consideration right beside the all-time greats of the discipline.
The first shoe has fallen in what promises to be a prolonged period of massive reorganization and debt restructuring in America’s radio landscape, as one of the largest radio station owners has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Cumulus Media has filed voluntary petitions to reorganize under Chapter 11.
There is no need to mince words here or parse expectations. Alex Williams debut record Better Than Myself is traditional country music. And if it needs any qualifiers, it would be that it leans more toward the Outlaw style. There’s no compromise, no songs getting intro’d with a drum machine beat. It is true country music in every sense.
Calling this year’s race the “Big Machine Brickyard 400” is probably not the most savory development for true country music fans in itself. But Big Machine has announced they’re going the extra mile with their 2017 Brickyard sponsorship, at least for one of their artists: Brantley Gilbert.
Mainstream country is not stupid. They see the rising tide of Americana artists cresting the country albums charts on a regular basis, the big Americana names selling out large venues and headlining festivals, and doing it all without the help of Music Row or corporate radio, and continuing to encroach into their overall market share.
You may have never heard of Carly Pearce or her debut single “Every Little Thing,” but you soon will. As the latest benefactor of iHeartMedia’s “On The Verge” radio program that puts a shot of adrenaline behind the single from an emerging star, it’s virtually guaranteed to rocket to the top of the charts.
As time has gone on, I find myself disliking these dudes more and more because I can’t beat back the obvious reality that we’re being misled about these guys. Midland is a machination of the big Music Row industrial complex, no different than most major label artists.
What we know for sure is that Dot Records is no longer a label, at least for now. What we don’t know about is the fate of some of the artists that called the label home. Maddie & Tae, Drake White, and Staind frontman turned country artist Aaron Lewis have an uncertain future.
Chivalry may be dead, but it’s alive and well in the McGraw/Hill household. In a press release, the couple announced they will release a new single together called “Speak to a Girl” that will be shipping to country radio on March 23rd. It will be the first single off of a joint album with McGraw and Hill.
Despite the rumors and speculation, and Saving Country Music once naming him the “Country Music Antichrist,” apparently Scott Borchetta is indeed a mortal after all. We’re still trying to sift out what exactly has happened to the Big Machine Label Group’s Dot Records, which has apparently bit the bullet.
What’s so strange about the news is Tim McGraw seemed to be doing so well on Big Machine after fleeing Curb Records. There was a lot of symbolism in McGraw moving to Big Machine after a lengthy court battle with Curb, which tried to keep him on the label indefinitely and was ruining his career.
Meghan claims that in 2010 at the beginning of Steel Magnolia, a “very powerful man in the music business” reached under her skirt and groped her, and then tried to pick her up by her butt while numerous other important people in the music industry watched. The context of the revelation from Meghan Linsey was the release of Donald Trump’s off-camera comments.
Fraternal twins The Church Sisters—one of the most promising young acts in the traditional country, bluegrass, and Gospel realms—have officially signed with the Valory Music imprint of Big Machine Records. This is after the duo signed a development deal with Big Machine back in August of 2015.
Aaron Lewis, the frontman for the emo noise band Staind, whose been dabbling in country music for years now, has just signed to Dot records—a division of the Big Machine Label Group—and will be releasing a new record called Sinner on September 16th. And as part of the announcement, Aaron has released a country protest song called “That Ain’t Country.”
The strange saga of what was once one of country music’s most promising trios and family bands continues. After parting ways with Nashville-based record label Big Machine in early March after the colossal failure of their latest single “Live Forever,” it has been announced that The Band Perry has signed with Interscope Records and is going full pop.
The incredibly long drought for new music from one of the biggest names in Texas country is finally coming to a close. After releasing two records with Big Machine—the last being Big Dreams & High Hopes in 2009—Ingram pulled a disappearing act for the last seven years or so when it came to studio work, but will be returning in a big way this summer, and with a label known for letting artists do what they do best.
The news leaves what once was one of the most promising new bands in country music in limbo. The Band Perry has won a Grammy Award and done decent on the radio in the past. The big question is whether their new (and ultimately failed) pop direction was the idea of Big Machine, or of their own team, and if they will continue to stay committed to the direction moving forward.
Yes, it’s very easy, and very popular and seductive to rally behind Kesha in this matter. The press and popular culture love to hate stories about women being kept down or even abused by overbearing men and the companies they run or hide behind. Kesha doesn’t have a particularly compelling reason to lie, though the way major label contracts are constructed, who wouldn’t want out of one . . .
Steven Tyler deciding to “go country” recently is so achingly predictable and cliche, but unlike other aging rockers who switch to country to save a dwindling career, there’s still plenty of meat on the Aerosmith bones. The rock band could be touring the country and world right now and filling up arenas just fine, but instead they’re on a hiatus so frontman Steven Tyler can chase a lark.
There’s a ton of great records from Hank starting the the late 70’s all the way up to the early 90’s that country fans will be pulling off of shelves for years to come when they’re looking for some good country music with a rock and roll kick, and if I had a vote I would induct Hank Williams Jr. into the Country Music Hall of Fame in the Modern Era category yesterday. But It’s About Time adds nothing to Hank Jr.’s legacy.
Timed to coincide with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announcement was the Cheap Trick news that they have a new album on the way called Bang Zoom Crazy…Hello. It will be the band’s 17th total album, and their first album in over five years. And it will be released on country music’s fastest-growing major label—Big Machine Records.
Ahead of a comeback album called It’s About Time scheduled for release on January 15th, 2016 through Scott Borchetta’s NASH Icon label, Hank Williams Jr. has issued a rendition of the oft-covered “Are You Ready For The Country,” originally penned by Neil Young, and covered by Waylon Jennings some years later.
The color yellow was picked to be the primary backdrop for the relaunch. The image of a diamond shaped like a heart was selected as a logo (even though that’s not the way a true heart-shaped diamond is cut), and everyone had visions of a blockbuster #1 single and sold out arena tours dancing in their heads. . . . and since then, “Live Forever” has flopped.