If 90% of mainstream country music is garbage, then it stands to reason that 10% of it is at least decent, if not good or great. That calculus hasn’t really changed much recently, even as mainstream country has improved. What has changed is that 10% is actually finding traction on radio, at awards shows, and is making fierce inroads into the 90%’s monopoly.
A song can change a life, and a song can change the world. And if you’re a real music fan, you know this to be true because you’ve felt it, and seen it yourself. We’re not looking for fanciful ditties that get stuck in your head here. There is a time and a place for those, but that’s not here. We’re looking for songs that barrel you over.
It has once again come that time of year for reflecting back on some of the best albums released in the last 12 months or so, not to treat country music as competition per se, but as an exercise undertaken with the intent of expanding your musical knowledge in hopes the gaps that formed due to the busy lives we all live get filled in with joyous little music projects.
Austin Lucas, Blackberry Smoke, Brandy Clark, Cody Jinks, Courtney Marie Andrews, Dori Freeman, Doug Bruce, Honest Life, I'm Not The Devil, I've Got a Way, Jack Ingram, Justin Wells, Kelsey Waldon, Like An Arrow, Lori McKenna, Luke Bell, Mark Chesnutt, Midnight Motel, Nick Dittmeier, Nick Dittmeier and the Sawdusters, Sturgill Simpson, The Bird & The Rifle, The Cactus Blossoms, Tradition Lives, Unsung, You're Dreaming
Sturgill Simpson is currently in the running and being voted on by members of the Country Music Association for three of the 50th Anniversary presentation’s biggest prizes. Also surprising since she’s not on a major label, Margo Price has made the top 20 females being considered for Female Vocalist of the Year.
If someone is apt to not pay attention to female artists, whether that’s a garden variety country fan or a major label executive, bunching female artists together is probably not going to garner their attention, it’s probably going to turn them off even more, especially if the premise of putting these artists together is an attempt to break through a gender bias.
The next trend in country may not be defined by a style or a sound, but who is involved in it. But if collaborations will be the next big trend, how about putting out just a little bit of effort to make sure that the great talent that is going unrecognized in country music itself gets some love?
Ashley Monroe, Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Brandy Clark, Chris Stapleton, Demi Lovato, Dierks Bentley, Dolly Parton, Elle King, Gwen Stefani, Johnny Bush, Kenny Chesney, Kenny Rogers, Little Big Town, Lori McKenna, Miranda Lambert, Pharrell, Pink, Pitbull, Steve Fromholz, The Pistol Annies, Tim McGraw, Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson
Once again the success of California Sunrise demonstrates that traditional country fans are more likely to vote with their dollars and support their favorite artists compared to many mainstream performers. Jon Pardi has also been helped with the continued success of the album’s first single “Head Over Boots.”
As was said in reference to the Best Albums of 2016 So Far, it has been fairly slim pickings for the first part of the year for finding music that really touches the heart, and has the fortitude to last beyond the calendar year. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions, and 2016 already boasts a number of serious, gut-punching songs.
Austin Lucas, Brandy Clark, Chris Stapleton, Dori Freeman, Dry Up or Drown, Evan Webb and the Rural Ramblers, Heaven Sent, Jeff Shepherd, Lew Card, Lydia Loveless, Parker Millsap, Ryan Scott Travis, Since You've Gone to Heaven, Someday, The Cactus Blossoms, Wrong Side of the Dream
After careful consideration of “Big Day in a Small Town,” it feels fair to say that this effort by Brandy Clark and producer Jay Joyce is worthy of being considered right up there with a very select few others as one of the best mainstream country music albums released in the last two or three years, and arguably trumps Clark’s previous effort that was also well-received.
A big issue with the Grand Ole Opry in recent years has been trying to get standing members to meet their performance obligations. Though the Opry loves to add high-profile names from country’s current radio stars, these performers tend to sign on to receive the distinction of being Opry members, but don’t actually want to play the appointed number of slots for membership.
"Cousin" Kenny Vaughan, Brandy Clark, Carrie Underwood, Chris Janson, Chris Scruggs, Chris Stapleton, Daryle Singletary, Elizabeth Cook, EmiSunshine, Gene Watson, Grand Ole Opry, Holly Williams, Jamey Johnson, Jim Lauderdale, Kacey Musgraves, Kellie Pickler, Mark Chesnutt, Miranda Lambert, Mo Pitney, Radney Foster, Rhonda Vincent, Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash, Sam Bush, William Michael Morgan
New religious freedom laws in North Carolina and Mississippi, and pending legislation in Tennessee, has the South and the United States in an uproar over religious and civil liberties in an already contentious political season. And all of a sudden, music, and country music specifically, is getting caught in the crossfire.
The big news in country music Tuesday (3-22) was that critically-acclaimed songwriter and performer Brandy Clark would be releasing her sophomore studio album ‘Big Day in a Small Town’ on June 10th. But one question some Brandy Clark fans are asking is why the album has been delayed. It was originally scheduled to be released on April 1st.
The “South” is the setting for the songs, and where the respective artists hail from, but “Family” is what makes this record universal for all listeners. And unlike many other concept records that may only have one or two songs that can be separated from the material, every song on “Southern Family” can exist independently, and many will go on to mark top-level career contributions to the artist’s musical canon.
Watch out ladies and gentlemen because the female revolution overtaking country in the aftermath of tomato-gate is about to get some fresh and young reinforcements in the coming months with major debuts from some promising young artists, and first up to bat is the ravenesque and hungry Aubrie Sellers. Aubrie starts off with a proven musical pedigree that’s nothing to smirk at. She’s the daughter of Lee Ann Womack…
Brandy Clark is one of the revered and decorated ringleaders of the new school songwriting-by-committee process. Though the results may always be more appealing than the next tractor rap the “Peach Pickers” pull out of a corn field bro off, it sometimes can still smack more of product than the raw inspiration set to words country music used to be known for.
The country music Outlaw movement didn’t happen overnight either. It took years and years of gnawing away at the obtrusive oligarchy that had set up shop on Music Row to get to the point where many of the genre’s most prominent stars could call their own shots, and the music could finally open up to new ideas and fresh faces.
Billy Joe Shaver, Bobby Bare, Brandy Clark, Chris Stapleton, Dave Cobb, Florida Georgia Line, Hillbilly Central, Holly Williams, Jason Isbell, Jessi Colter, Jon Pardi, Kris Kristofferson, Luke Bryan, Merle Haggard, Miranda Lambert, Mo Pitney Williams Michael Morgan, Southern Family, Sturgill Simpson, Sugar Hill, Thirty Tigers, Tompall Glaser, Wanted The Outlaws, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Zac Brown
Producer, guitar player, and songwriter Dave Cobb has signed an exclusive worldwide publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Music. The deal was announced Monday (1-4), and also includes the formation of Cobb’s own publishing arm, Low Country Sound Publishing. The news comes after an incredible 2015 for Cobb…
A Thousand Horses, Anderson East, Brandy Clark, Chris Stapleton, Corb Lund, Dave Cobb, Elektra Records, Holly Williams, HoneyHoney, Jason Isbell, Lindi Ortega, Miranda Lambert, Southern Family, Sturgill Simpson, Warner/Chappell Music
Forget all the sappy relationship stuff, and how it happened and where it might lead. Miranda Lambert ditching Blake Shelton and ending up with Anderson East might be the perfect illustration of the drastic role reversal 2015 has ushered in throughout the greater country music realm, and how 2016 could be poised to completely turn everything upside down.
Aaron Watson, Adam Hood, Anderson East, Ashley Monroe, Blackberry Smoke, Brandy Clark, Chris Stapleton, Dave Cobb, David Rawlings, Fred Eaglesmith, Gillian Welch, Holly Williams, Jason Isbell, John Prine, Miranda Lambert, Patty Griffin, Steve Earle, Sturgill Simpson, Zac Brown
Who will be releasing new albums in 2016? What are some of the most-anticipated projects? What are the rumors swirling out there about new albums that may be released in the coming year? Here’s a rundown of upcoming projects from artists recommended by Saving Country Music that you can look forward to in 2016.
Aubrie Sellers, Austin Lucas, Brandy Clark, Brothers Osborne, Buddy Miller, Caleb Caudle, Dave Cobb, Don Maddox, Hank Williams Jr., Hayes Carll, Holly Williams, Jack Ingram, Justin Timberlake, Loretta Lynn, Lorrie Morgan, Lucinda Williams, Marty Stuart, Rachel Brooke, Randy Rogers Band, Sturgill Simpson, The Cactus Blossoms, The Infamous Stringdusters, Travis Tritt, Vince Gill, Waco Brothers
There’s something much interesting brewing that’s bigger than any one artist at the moment—an expansive concept record dealing with artists’ experiences growing up in the South. The project was first hinted at in April when the new Elektra deal was signed, and since then there’s been murmurings about Cobb’s concept record here and there, but now we’re finally beginning to piece together the details.
Anderson East, Brandy Clark, Brent Cobb, Chris Stapleton, Dave Cobb, Eric Clapton, Holly Williams, Jamey Johnson, Jason Isbell, Jessi Colter, John Paul White, Miranda Lambert, Mrorgane Stapleton, Rich Robinson, Shooter Jennings, Southern Family, The Southern Family, Waylon Jennings, Zac Brown
“Awards shows don’t matter.” This is the bill of goods fans of true country music, and fans of independent music have been forced to sell themselves for years as a consolation prize for continuously being overlooked, losing in bulk, and being generally embarrassed during the moments when America and the world crowds around the boob tube for the spectacle of a televised award show like the CMA’s or the Grammys.
Aaron Watson, Americiana, Ashley Monroe, Blackberry Smoke, Brandy Clark, Cam, Chris Stapleton, Grammy Awards, Jason Isbell, Kacey Musgraves, Lee Ann Womack, Leon Bridges, O Brother Where Art Thou, Ralph Stanley, Willie Nelson
Whether it will actually happen or not remains to be seen, but if country music in the mainstream decides to swing back more towards the traditional side, many of Music Row’s major labels will be ready to take advantage with a new generation of young, fresh, and traditionally-leaning talent already signed to contracts, already getting experience on the road and on big stages, and even finding some success with singles.
Ladies and gentlemen, we now live in a world where not even King George remains relevant on country radio. Isn’t that the sad, ever present revelation of the living—that time marches on, and no matter how important something was in the past, the present moves forward, callously at times, and the greatest of efforts are relegated to moments of fond reminiscing.
There’s not a single song on Old Dominion’s new album Meat and Candy that shouldn’t have been aborted in the womb. This is the type of material professional songwriters throw together to crack themselves up in writing sessions to lighten the mood. But in an utter breakdown in the system, it somehow found its way completely unabridged onto a record.