‘Country music’ most certainly has a definition because it means something to millions of people. They identify with it. It’s their culture. It’s what gives them meaning and fulfillment. And if lost, and even worse, impugned and dragged through the mud as being irrelevant, uncool, or unwilling to evolve, it leaves them empty feeling and hollow.
Look, is it possible for us to make too much of this situation over country music artist Lindsey Ell having a radio appearance last Friday canceled on a CBS-owned radio station because she’s in a relationship with rival iHeartMedia on-air personality Bobby Bones? Yes, it is. But I’m not sure we’re there yet.
One would be hard pressed to find another industry that is as insular, antiquated, and downright embarrassing as the one that is in charge of managing the affairs of mainstream country radio. Despite checks and balances that are supposed to be in place, the amount of backroom deals and dirty practices is unconscionable.
It was said by many after the release of Wheeler Walker Jr.’s first album Redneck Shit, “Okay, that was fun. But where do you go next?” Wheeler Walker Jr. has an entirely new album’s worth of songs. That’s what he’s got. And he’s got ’em in a pretty short turnaround, and they’re just as funny and wit-filled as the first, if not more.
Gerry House, legendary country music radio personality who helmed The Big 98 WSIX-FM in Nashville for over a quarter century, is coming back. And I hope he creams the the everloving snot out of the sniveling Bobby Bones and his wacky morning crew in the ratings.
On the Bobby Bones Show Thursday (9-15) morning (listen at the bottom), Bobby spoke to Aaron Lewis after his recent blowup at pop country artists, and what did he do? Aaron backpeddled and admitted he was playing to the crowd. Then Bobby Bones finished his segment with Aaron Lewis on Thursday by bringing up Saving Country Music in a strange context.
The reason much of country music, bluegrass, blues, folk, and other older genres are referred to as “roots” is because these vital influences to American music are the building blocks for most or all of the music people enjoy today. Before there was rock and roll, and before there was hip-hop, roots music paved the way for all popular music genres.
Now that some of the dust has settled since Sturgill Simpson made his inflammatory comments about the mistreatment of Merle Haggard on Monday (8-29), many others have taken the opportunity to weigh in on the matters on both sides of the country music cultural divide.
iHeartMedia über morning show DJ Bobby Bones apparently has a new enemy. Or actually, two of them, in the form of Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelly of the Bro-Country super duo Florida Georgia Line. Though on the surface you might surmise that Bobby Bones and Florida Georgia Line would be brothers in arms, that’s apparently not the case.
In all my time writing for this stupid website, I can’t remember another moment when such a non-story story absolutely gripped the consciousness of the American music media, and polarized musical pundits with such spirited and sometimes vehement opposition that it permeated the entire media mindset.
A lying, cheating, deceptive, narcissistic, self-centered buffoon. That is about the only conclusion one can come to when reading the news that pop country über DJ Bobby Bones spent $13,000 of his own money on a smear campaign against himself when he first showed up to Nashville to helm iHeartMedia’s flagship country music morning show.
Now Bobby Bones, over a year after its initial release, has gone crazy over “Whiskey On My Breath,” and spent Tuesday (1-26) chronicling its rise to #2 on the iTunes charts as he commanded his many listeners to purchase it. Remember, it was a similar effort that propelled Chris Janson’s song “Buy Me a Boat” to the top of the iTunes charts, and eventually landed him a major label deal with Columbia Nashville.
2015 has been back loaded with big events and even bigger releases that have caused renewed interest in the charts used to measure the popularity and impact of music. The problem is, in this here-and-now world, the model for how music is measured is still based around walking to a newsstand on Monday, and picking up the latest Billboard, or waiting for Tuesday when the album charts are updated online.
Over the last couple of weeks, Saving Country Music headquarters has received a fresh new onslaught of emails on the subject of pop country über DJ Bobby Bones—the morning show personality for iHeartMedia’s syndicated network and the single-most name at the forefront of homogenizing American mainstream country music radio. Let’s tackle some of these subjects . . .
Country Rapper Mikel Night has gone on the offensive against critics who he says are making unfair accusations against him and his organization, including the families of victims who have been killed and injured while working for him. Knight claims he has hired private investigators to look into people who are complaining about his treatment of employees, and is working with a Nashville-based law firm.
There’s no typo here. I didn’t forget the last name, or the second half of the first. Believe it or not, there really is a new female country artist condensedly known as “Cam,” and she’s creating quite a buzz around her new song, and her newish style that has some wondering if she will be the one to solve the problem of women with substance finding success in country music.
Is this really the substantive victory we were looking for that would symbolize inroads into the sausage fest at the top of the country music charts? Unfortunately the story about the “Love Me Like You Mean It” #1 is more about radio politics, a specific and calculated push by connected people, and frankly, a pop song on country radio. Though the diversity is welcomed, the result is circumspect.
Today, the FCC has fined Bobby Bones’ parent company iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel) $1 million for the inappropriate and unauthorized use of the EAS tones. The company has admitted its culpability and has also agreed to institute a three-year compliance and reporting plan and eliminate EAS tones from its production libraries.
Forget that Bobby Bones has only been a national radio personality for a measly two years, apparently that’s plenty of tenure to demand the release of a full blown memoir about his life for the gullible masses to lap up just like they do his laughable excuse for a nationally-syndicated radio show that rapes earholes from coast to coast every morning.
Chris Janson becomes the perfect pitchman for exuberant and unhealthy American consumerism in the wholly-unoriginal, culturally-deprecated, and easily-forgettable Bro-Country track “Buy Me A Boat.” Burying any of the wisdom found embedded in countless American music standards about how things such as love and hard work are the way to true fulfillment and happiness.