The last few weeks might go down in history as one of country music’s most feud-laden moments. Though country music feuding may be on a sharp rise here recently, it is not an uncommon or recent occurrence in country music by any stretch. Nothing gets folks talking like a good old artist on artist donnybrook. Here are some of the most infamous over the years.
After a six year wait to release an album of original material at the mercy of Curb Records’ career-shattering and sometimes illegal talent retention program, prolonging the release process for artists on their final album with the label nearly indefinitely, the embattled and bruised LeAnn Rimes has finally released “Spitfire.” The chatter around “Spitfire” has been polarizing to darn near bellicose.
Mike Curb’s repressive stance towards artists and his sharky dealings with other labels is a given amongst the informed country music community, with his latest ploy being the release of a duets album from Tim McGraw two weeks before the former Curb artist is slated to make his debut on Big Machine Records. But Hank3 and Tim McGraw are just the tip of the iceberg.
Big Machine Records, Clay Walker, Curb Records, Frank Zappa, Fuck Curb, Hank Jr., Hank Williams III, Hank3, How Do I Live, I Need You, Jo Dee Messina, LeAnn Rimes, Lieutenant Governor, Lyle Lovett, Mike Curb, The Beat Farmers, Tim McGraw
Curb Records’ talent roster continues to contract. The latest defector is Jo Dee Messina, whose charted 9 #1 hits and sold more than 5 million records worldwide during her 18-year career. The reason? Just like Tim McGraw, Hank Williams III, Clay Walker, Lyle Lovett, and LeAnn Rimes to name a few, Jo Dee Messina is fed up with Curb refusing to release her music.
On Tuesday (9-25-12), the Tennessee Court of Appeals upheld a lower Chancery Court ruling denying a request by Curb Record to block Tim McGraw signing and recording with another record label. Barring another appeal being accepted by the Tennessee Supreme Court, this means Tim McGraw is finally free from Curb Records, his label for 20 years.
But more than just shedding light on Big Machine’s relationship with Tim McGraw, the documents and interviews Curb Records is requesting could also unlock reams of Big Machine business secrets that could give Curb new strategic advantage over the much-younger Big Machine who is steadily gaining market share from Music Row’s old guard.
Now the court has ruled in favor of Curb Records to postpone the trial until it can investigate the legal relationship between Big Machine Records and Tim McGraw. But once again, some outlets are falsely reporting the story, saying that Curb won and now all the music Tim McGraw has recorded with Big Machine is now the property of Curb. This is simply what Curb records is requesting from the court.
An outright street fight of mammoth proportions is breaking out on Music Row in Nashville, pitting two of Music Row’s heaviest hitters against each other, Mike Curb of Curb Records, representing the old guard and the heavy-handed restrictive way of handling artists, and the up-and-comer, Scott Borchetta, the Country Music Anti-Christ as the two men release competing singles from Tim McGraw.
Yesterday Tim McGraw announced in a press conference that he had signed with Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine Records after a 20-year career and protracted legal battle with Curb. The symbolism and significance surrounding the signing was striking, and spoke to the titanic shifts that are rearranging the country music landscape in Nashville at this very moment.
As first reported here on Saving Country Music, Curb Records is releasing a new album from Hank Williams III that includes outtakes from his first two solo albums, Risin’ Outlaw from 1999, and Lovesick, Broke & Driftin’ from 2002. The album has now been made available for pre-order through Amazon and is entitled Long Gone Daddy. It will be released on April 17th, 2012.
For those fans of Hank Williams III that wished he’d stayed or go back to his early 2000’s neo-traditionalist country style and release more material reminiscent of that era, you may have just received your wish. And for the Hank3 fans that are worried that his post-Curb career will be marred by incessant album releases of rehashed material, your concerns have just been validated.
As the headlines were making people wonder why anybody would ever sign with Curb in the first place, here was a big country star re-signing with the label he’s been with since 1996. We would later find out the potential reason for the curious move. On November 21st, police were called to the home of Rodney Atkins…
On Monday Curb Records released a brand new single from Tim McGraw’s long-disputed album Emotional Traffic called “Right Back Atcha Babe”. The timing of the single release is somewhat puzzling. Many McGraw fans are refusing to partake in Emotional Traffic and it’s singles, not wanting their money to go to the label that kept him under thumb for years.
As Nashville and Nashville-based entities are erecting what will be landmarks, before taking money from Mike Curb, maybe they should take to heart the headlines that have hounded the Mike Curb name over the last few years, and ask themselves if that name is a legacy their building, their institution, or the City of Nashville wants to tie their future to.
After a court win on Wednesday that allowed McGraw to be able to record new music and pursue another label, Curb has apparently capitulated their previous stance that the music on his album Emotional Traffic is not “topical,” and has decided to finally give the album a release date of January 17th, 2012.
Whatever Curb’s motivations or plans, it looks like the tide has turned for Tim McGraw. However the battle is far from over, and fans should not be happy about the single release, they should be wary of its motivations. Mike Curb is shrewd if he is anything, and no doubt this move was pre-calculated to coincide with the court order.
On Tuesday, Tim McGraw will be in a Tennessee courtroom as part of the opening salvo in his bid to leave his contract with Curb Records. I’m no Perry Mason, but I thought I would offer the Tim McGraw defense team a little pro bono research work on how Curb Records itself has set a legal precedence that disproves it’s own case.
Last week as I was traveling through Tennessee, I took some time to visit downtown Nashville, where I hadn’t been in a few years, and I brought along one of my best friends named Pointer. Pointer goes wherever I go. Funny thing is, we don’t always like the same things. I thought it might be fun and informative to share Pointer and my pictures of our downtown Nashville trip for those who’ve never been there.
BR549, Brentley Gilbert, Colt Ford, Country Music Hall of Fame, Curb Records, Ernest Tubb, Hatch Show Print, Jason Aldean, Joe Buck, Kid Rock, Kris Kristofferson, Layla's Bluegrass Inn, Mike Curb, Music Row, Nashville, Rascal Flatts, Robert's Western World, Ryman Auditorium, Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, Willie Nelson
Some, including myself, had opined that Hank3 was possibly squirreling back songs during the late Curb era, not wanting to give his arch nemesis his best material. Instead it feels like we got what was left on the cutting house floor, and a few songs that reek of self-parody. Folks hoping for a return to the golden era of Hank3’s country music creativity will have to keep waiting.
In about a week, Hank Williams III will be releasing an unprecedented 4 albums via his own label, and then heading out on tour. Ahead of this, I talked with the head hellbilly himself about the new albums, the legacy of fatherhood in the Hank Williams lineage, his role as a founding father of the country music underground, Shooter Jennings and his XXX movement, and how he feels about the unfinished songs of Hank Williams.
Bob Dylan, Clay Walker, Curb Records, David Allan Coe, Hank III, Hank Williams, Hank3, Kyle Turley, LeAnn Rimes, Nathan Abshire, Pantera, Phil Anselmo, Shooter Jennings, The Grand Ole Opry, Tim McGraw
With his own new label, Hank3 Records, and the sense that he has thrown off the chains holding him back creatively, Shelton Hank Williams III, aka Hank3, is coming out swinging this year with the release of four records on September 6 – that’s right – FOUR.
This week the music world was agog that Lady Gaga topped the charts with her latest album Born This Way selling over 1 million copies. But I was neither shocked nor appalled that Lady Gaga made #1. What blew my mind was to see the post-contract Hank III release from Curb Records called Hillbilly Joker crest #10 of the Billboard country charts last week.
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…
Billboard.com has just reported that Tim McGraw has filed a countersuit against Curb Records who filed suit against McGraw last week over his Emotional Traffic album. In the aftermath of Curb Records filing a lawsuit against Tim McGraw, fans are now calling for a boycott of the record label.