As tax season approaches and we get the opportunity to tie a bow around the doings of 2019, it’s always interesting to look back on the year at the Grand Ole Opry to see which performing members are paying their proper dues to country music’s most historic institution, and which one’s aren’t.
It’s been said before, and it will be said again: We can’t agree on much these days. But we all agree on Dolly Parton. “Dolly Parton: 50 Years at the Grand Ole Opry” reminded us of why, and hopefully brought fans of music in country and beyond together at the commencement of the Holiday season.
Buck Trent, Candi Carpenter, Charles Kelley, Chris Janson, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Hank Williams Jr. Dierks Bentley, Hillary Scott, Lady Antebellum, Margo Price, Merle Haggard, Porter Wagoner, The Ryman Auditorium, Toby Keith
Not all drunk driving arrests are the same, and we’re finding that out in the continued fallout after EDM country artist Sam Hunt was arrested last Thursday morning (11-21) in Nashville for swerving in and out of his lane, and driving the wrong way on a principle highway.
That’s right. The 83-year-old is blowing off the 2019 CMA’s and won’t be in attendance to receive is CMA Lifetime Achievement trophy. Instead of walking out on the stage at the Bridgestone Arena, Kris Kristofferson has elected to honor his contract to play the Adler Theater and Apartment Complex that night in beautiful downtown Davenport, Iowa.
An album by Cody Jinks has come in #1 in album sales for the second consecutive week. After hitting #1 with ‘After The Fire’ last week, Jinks has pulled off the same feat again this week with his album ‘The Wanting.’ The albums were released on October 11th and 18th respectively.
Surging up-and-coming country music artist Luke Combs will be the next member of the Grand Ole Opry. The 29-year-old was surprised during the Tuesday night (6-11) Opry presentation by traditionalist Craig Morgan, country legend John Conlee, and recent Grand Ole Opry member Chris Janson with the invitation.
As a country music fan, you just want to proudly be able to profess to people your appreciation for this music that you hold such a passion for. You want to believe in its institutions, and that the best and the brightest of a generation are foisted forward and given the greatest opportunities.
Carly Pearce, Charles Esten, Chris Janson, Elizabeth Cook, Grand Ole Opry, Holly Williams, Jim Lauderdale, Kacey Musgraves, Kelsea Ballerini, Little Big Town, Maren Morris, Miranda Lambert, William Michael Morgan
The brand new, $540 million-dollar arena started in November 2017 is said to have a seating capacity of 14,000, and though the area will be used for sporting events and other functions, Matt Homan, president and general manager of the venue, called it the “first concert announcement at Dickie’s Arena.”
Usually Christmas music gets shoved to the back burner around these parts, but this year there is such a surprising amount of quality selections of Holiday music being released, it’s worth a dedicated roundup. So if Christmas music is your thing—especially with a country or roots kick—give a gander to what 2018’s got in store.
Aaron Watson, Ana Christina Cash, Brennen Leigh, Chris Janson, Christmas, Dailey & Vincent, Emi Sunshine, Grant Maloy Smith, JD McPherson, Jeff Clayborn, Jerico Woods, Kacey Musgraves, Lera Lynn, Lonestar, Mary Karr, Otis Gibbs, Paul Bogart, Phil Vasser, Raul Malo, Rhyan Sinclair, Rodney Crowell, Shane Owens, The Mavericks, The McCrary Sisters
The biggest threat to country music at the moment is the rampant and rancid ultra-politicization of the country music space by opportunistic, interloping, and woefully-misguided journalists attempting to use the genre, its fans, and its artists as unwitting pawns to assert a biased agenda to change the mindset of the electorate.
Most importantly, Chis Janson has proven that he cares, because you don’t play the Opry for the money. Ans as soon as the Opry membership is refreshed with names of artists who show passion for the Opry, then perhaps a renewed passion for the Opry itself will also appear in fans and other artists
We were so swept up in praising ourselves for all the gains made in the independent realm of country music in 2017, it wasn’t until here in the dwindling moments of the year that we realized just what a dreadful era 2017 posed in the mainstream.
While in the independent realm of country music, 2017 went down as a record year for quality projects, the mainstream was downright abysmal pretty much across the board for both songs and albums. There actually were quite a few pretty good songs, but most struggled to gain traction in the charts.
Man did Music Row in Nashville turn in a whole slew of stinkers this year, setting new lows for the substance, and non-country-ness of “country” songs in 2017. This year was a great example of how you should never think it can’t get any worse, because it can, and did, and by a long stretch.
The issue with Chris Janson has never been that he can’t write a song, or even sing one. The problem is Chris can’t resist the temptation to write and record the trashy super hit as well, and this is what has gone on to define his career. “Drunk Girl” is one of the good ones.
Since 1974, the Charlie Daniels Volunteer Jam concert has been a mainstay on the country music calendar, and a worthy fundraiser for veterans. Now in 2018, the event will hold special importance as it also acts as a tribute to Charlie Daniels himself, as he partners with tribute concert promoter Blackbird Presents for this year’s presentation.
Alison Krauss, Billy Gibbons, Blackberry Smoke, Blackbird Presents, Bobby Bare, Chris Janson, Chuck Leavell, Eddie Montgomery, Jamey Johnson, Justin Moore, Ricky Skaggs, The Oak Ridge Boys, Volunteer Jam
Oh man are these some stinkers. Not only does an elite and highly-trained group of mainstream country artists seem to be like devoted experts at defining new lows for the genre, in 2017 the amount of non-country-ness of some of these “country” songs is so off the charts, it’s like they’re purposely challenging each other.
Body Like a Backroad, Canaan Smith, Carrie Underwood, Chris Janson, Craving You, David Allan Coe, Dustin Lynch, Fix A Drink, Florida Georgia Line, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Like You That Way, Sam Hunt, The Chainsmokers, The Fighter, The Moonshine Bandits, Thomas Rhett
Now Nashville’s decided to try and make the Geico Caveman a superstar it appears, and it’s only appropriate, because to find anything fetching in this anthem to American devolution, your forehead has to stick out over your eyebrows so far that you don’t need to wear a hat in the rain.
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.
In the mid 80’s, it was Randy Travis and his neotraditional sound that led country music out of the great abyss of the earlier decade and returned country to its rightful place as a powerful voice for rural people in popular culture. With over 20 million records sold and his recent induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame…
It’s always worth a chuckle when you hear someone say that country music must “evolve” to stay relevant, or hear an artist bellyache about how constricting country music is to their creativity. And then you put on a record like this and hear just how much a true artist can do with a simple message and melody, and three chords and the truth.
“Holdin’ Her” makes absolutely no compromises to radio or anyone else. It starts on the acoustic guitar in waltz time, then the steel guitar comes in, a little Telecaster and keys, and as the old saying goes, it’s three chords and the truth. No drum loops, no electronic doo dads, no superfluous buzzwords thrown in there to lure in the corporate country radio fan.
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
Three of the most promising male artists in the mainstream are William Michael Morgan, Jon Pardi, and Mo Pitney. If there’s a traditional country insurgency looming in the wings, it might be carried on their backs. But with so many albums getting delayed, the big question was if any of them would see a proper album release, or be stuck in limbo like so many other artists. Luckily, there’s been some movement.