Like A Rose is a short and sweet, classic country album that encapsulates Ashley Monroe’s skills as a formidable traditional country songwriter with a sweet voice embellished with sincere pain. The approach to Like A Rose is traditional, but light in the way the rhythm is laid back and some of the textures are ambient, making it in some respects a cross between country and Americana, broadening the appeal of the record.
What in the world is Blake Shelton thinking doing some tired, crusty, old-sounding country shuffle with an artist nobody has heard of? Is he trying to apologize to all of the “Old Farts and Jackasses” he insulted last month? Because the only people who will ever listen to this song are Geritol-drinking old farts who yell at kids for playing on their lawn and and watch 60 Minutes before going to bed by 8 PM.
I know a lot of folks are going to roll up on this review hoping to see a crime scene unfold, hoping that I show no mercy and draw blood on this embarrassment of American country music. But the truth is, I don’t have much to say about it. I’ve got no dry powder here. What could be said that hasn’t been said many times before to the point of being redundant, or that isn’t obvious to the clear-minded listener?
A good song can drown all other concerns, and The Highballers deliver one after another on this somewhat quirky but really enjoyable anf fun album. Originating from the unlikely country music locale of Washington DC, The Higballers revive the classic country rock feel in songs that display wit, humor, and at times, heartfelt storytelling, backed by some great country licks and adept composition.
Since music no longer holds any intrinsic value to the American consumer and they’d rather steal a song than have it be sold to them for less than a pack of gum, merch, MERCH is where all the money is now. Major labels manufacture merch in the textile industry’s version of puppy mills somewhere in southeast Asia. Here’s some country music T Shirts you won’t see for sale anytime soon.
Sure the song will do well commercially, but the opening line “I was gonna keep it real like chill like only have a drink or two” shows that Blake is not ready to lead the country music troops into battle, he’s cowering from the fight by releasing a song that is a cry for relevancy. Like many current pop country songs, it simply switches urban artifacts for rural ones to qualify it as “country,” creating dissonance between subject and sonic style.
I’m not going to go as far as to call it sacrilege, but Thomas Rhett’s song “Beer With Jesus” proves that when it comes to trying to write a pop country hit, nothing is sacred. But if we’re going to say that’s okay or even creative songwriting to “have a beer with Jesus,” where do we draw the line? Here’s some suggestions of other things that might be fun to do with the Son of God.
Bred for dancing, El Rancho Azul is taken straight out of the honky tonks Dale Watson plays 8 nights a week while home in Austin. Drinking and heartache are the prevailing themes, and maybe not just because this is a country album, but because Dale just recently went through a divorce himself. Dale’s supple country drawl delivered with breadth, emotion and control breathe new life into old, familiar narratives.
Wilie Nelson, whose currently on a tour of the east coast that started in Durham, North Carolina on January 18th, and included a performance at the Presidential Inauguration on January 21st, has just renamed his tour the “Old Farts & Jackasses” tour. The move comes in response to the controversy over Blake Shelton’s recent comments on a GAC Backstory interview.
This story grew many tentacles, but one worth following a little deeper is Blake Shelton and his current membership at The Grand Ole Opry. By not making even one appearance at the Opry in 2012, Blake Shelton is in unquestionable violation of the Opry’s long-standing membership rules. According to the bylaws of The Opry, membership not only has to be earned, but maintained.
If you’ve found you’re eyeballs affixed to these very words, you’ve likely found yourself at some point trying to explain that you like country, but not that type of country. Once many artists get to the very top of country pop, they seem to lose all self-awareness and begin to make fools of themselves, and by proxy, the genre that holds the same name as the music we love. He are some of the worst offenses.
The battle for the heart of country music will rage on, and the arguments surrounding what country music is, what direction it should take, and what its influences should be will be an eternal one. But it’s hard not to look back on Blake Shelton’s recent comments about country music’s traditional fans, saying in part that “Nobody wants to listen to their grandpa’s music.
The reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year and reality TV personality Blake Shelton made some disparaging remarks about traditional country fans in a recent interview with GAC as part of their Backstory series. “Nobody wants to listen to their grandpa’s music. And I don’t care how many of these old farts around Nashville going, “My God, that ain’t country!” Well that’s because you don’t buy records anymore, jackass.”
Country superstar Luke Bryan will replace Reba McIntire as the female co-host of the 48th Anuual Academy of Country Music Awards to be broadcast April 7th on CBS from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The announcement was made when fans “unlocked” Luke Bryan’s name as part of a Twitter campaign by the ACM’s to rack up 25,000 tweets.
Love ’em or hate ’em, it’s hard to dispute that the CMA Awards are the most important night in country music every year. The nominations announced last week had a few interesting wrinkles including Kelly Clarkson for Female Vocalist of the Year, so let’s take a in-depth look at what’s coming up on November 1st and make some predictions.
2012, Blake Shelton, Brantley Gilbert, Carrie Underwood, Chief, CMA Awards, Dierks Bentley, Dirt Road Anthem, Eric Churck, Jamey Johnson, Jason Aldea, Jason Isbell, Kelly Clarkson, Kirs Kristofferson, lionel richie, Miranda Lambert, Snoop Dog, Taylor Swift, The Civil Wars, Willie Nelson, Zac Brown Band
Like most of the overused song formulas employed by Music Row songwriters, the laundry list likely started with some good, creative, innovative tunes. But once something works, it is called upon again and again by Music Row until all creativity is spent and it becomes cliche. Such is the evolution (or devolution) of the country checklist song.
Blake Shelton, Bob Seger, Country Boy Can Survive, Country Checklist songs, David Allan Coe, God's Country USA, Hank Williams Jr., Kiss My Country Ass, Laundry List Songs, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marcus Hummon, Merle Haggard, Okie From Muskogee, Rascal Flatts, Rebel Son, Redneck Piece of White Trash, Rhett Akins, Sara Evans, That's How I Like It, Tim McGraw
American Songwriter: People have been calling you an outlaw. Is that an image you’ve tried to create for yourself? Eric Church: Oh god. No! Not at all. Yet a quick check of Eric Church’s website finds a whole page dedicated to “Outlaw” branding, with “a brand new “Outlaw T-Shirt” now available for sale in the online store.
Erich Church wants it both ways. He wants to be considered the “new Outlaw” of country music, but he wants to still use the same pop country machine he criticizes to get success. If Eric Church has such a problem with Blake Shelton, why did he perform his song “Springsteen” at last month’s ACM Awards, that were hosted by, guess who… Blake Shelton.
Well shit, it looks like the Academy of Country Music Awards are this Sunday, so what better to get you prepared than to hold this charade up to the light and see what we’ve got. You should expect Reba McEntire’s skin to be taught, Blake Shelton’s jokes to be flat, Taylor Swift reactions to be be precocious, and let’s all pray to Jesus that the camera doesn’t find Keith Urban’s wife…
My overall grade of the 2011 CMA Awards would be “not terrible.” Jason Aldean could have swept the awards, and ushered in a new era in country music where a country rap song was the reigning Song of the Year. But Taylor’s Entertainer of the Year victory at least means that at least a little authenticity is still alive in the “country” genre. Or at least for another year.
2011, Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Brantley Gilbert, CMA Awards, Colt Ford, Eric Church, Hank Williams, Jason Aldean, Jr., Justin Bieber, Lady Antebellum, Lionel Ritchie, Little Jimmy Dickens, Luke Bryan, Martina McBride, Miranda Lambert, Scotty McCreery, Sugarland, Taylor Swift, The Band Perry
Just like how Taylor Swift’s big 2009 sweep of the awards caused a dramatic pop-oriented shift in the genre, an Aldean sweep could cause a shift to Aldean’s calling cards of checklist songs and country rap. And a win for the song “Dirt Road Anthem” would all but make the formation of the mono-genre complete.
The fact that this album even exists seems like a miracle in this day where superstar franchises like Miranda are micro-managed. Side projects, or just generally allowing artists to do what they want, is traditionally not allowed in any shape or form. However Hell on Heels slipped through the cracks for whatever reason, and for mainstream fare, it is not bad at all.
When you look at the Arab Spring going on right now in the Middle East, it’s hard not to trivialize problems such as the current financial state of the American music industry or the creative freedom of its artists. However it’s not hard to draw parallels between the two as well: repressive regimes unwilling to contemporize continue or escalate the same heavy-handed oligarchical systems…
About two months ago, Saving Country Music introduced you to a would-be pop country star named Michael Jackson Montgomery in the aftermath of drama between Billy Ray Cyrus and his daughter Miley. Shortly after releasing the demo, Michael Jackson Montgomery contacted SCM directly, offering to release more demo’s “when appropriate,” and yesterday he sent us another one called “The Letter ‘B'”.