It was all doom and gloom and teary-eyed salutations when Dr. Ralph Stanley announced in June of 2013 that he would be embarking on his farewell tour in late 2013 into 2014. Since then Stanley has continued to tour with no signs of slowing down, despite now being 87-years-old. Now Dr. Stanley has a new album in the works.
2014 has been a year of great flux in country music, with some legendary successes by independent artists and new mainstream artists, and the shuffling out of other artists and the fumbling of what once were legendary, high flying careers. Here’s a run down of the five biggest winners and losers in the greater country music world in 2014.
American Idol, Big Machine Records, Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Brandy Clark, Brantley Gilbert, Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line, Garth Brooks, IBMA, Jason Aldean, Jerrod Niemann, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Sam Hunt, Scott Borchetta, Shane McAnally, Sturgill Simpson, Taylor Swift, Zac Brown Band
On Friday morning (12-5), the Grammy Award nominations were inefficiently and unceremoniously announced via Twitter, and once again proved that their nose for quality in country music is somewhat better than what we’re used to seeing from the country music industry itself, even if their ability to categorize music remains somewhat curious.
Brandy Clark, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Faith Hill, Glen Campbell, John Hiatt, Keb Mo, Kenny Chesney, Lee Ann Womack, Miranda Lambert, NIckel Creek, Rosanne Cash, Ryan Adams, Sturgill Simpson, Tim McGraw
A woman was seriously injured at the Dierks Bentley show Sunday Night (11-16) in Utica, New York when a piece of falling metal from the ceiling of the Utica Memorial Auditorium impaled her. Meanwhile Dierks spoke on the puking incident from last week. ” I’m always looking for something like cool about every night. So for that to happen was pretty epic.”
Add to the list of stage falls, mass arrests, “mass casualty” events, performers getting beamed in the head with flying beer bottles, rape, and even death, we now have a woman hurling on Dierks Bentley, appropriately, as she’s singing along to his smash hit “Drunk on a Plane.” Jokes about paper bags in backseat pockets and the awkwardness of airline lavatories even seem a little too obvious here.
It has become patently obvious, especially over the last few years, that country music exists in two completely different worlds. One is the traditional world, where the way country music sounds is in close proximity to the way it has always sounded. And the other is Top 40 or mainstream country, which in the last few years has become the home for a hodgepodge of musical influences.
When the CMA Awards nominees were announced on Wednesday September 3rd, one of the most high-profile snubs in years occurred when Jason Aldean was left in the shade with zero nominations. As one of country music’s few stadium draws, and as the reigning Male Vocalist of the Year of the rival ACM Awards, the snub seemed somewhat curious.
On Wednesday morning (9-3), the nominees for the 48th Annual CMA Awards were announced on ABC’s Good Morning America and through a CMA Live stream. The 2014 CMA Awards will happen on Wednesday November 5th on ABC, and will be hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood. Leading all nominees with nine is Miranda Lambert.
“What will NASH Icon be, and will it make a significant improvement to country radio?” This has been the question on the mind of many country music fans ever since NASH Icon was announced. Now that there are actually radio stations broadcasting the new NASH Icon format, we can listen in and hear just exactly what NASH Icon is.
Alabama, Alan Jackson, Big Machine Records, Chase Rice, Cole Swindell, Cumulus Media, Diamond Rio, Dierks Bentley, Doug Stone, Dwight Yoakam, Florida Georgia Line, Garth Brooks, John Dickey, Kacey Musgraves, Lee Ann Womack, Mark Chesnutt, Merle Haggard, NASH, NASH Icon, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Old Crow Medicine Show, playlist, Ricochet, Sturgill Simpson, Tracy Byrd, Vince Gill
It’s been a working theory for years here at Saving Country Music that country is constantly trying to apologize for itself, and explain away all of the stereotypes of the genre to garner wider acceptance. Country spends all of its energy trying prove that it’s not a bunch of rednecks and racists and old people’s music, instead of educating people on the beauty of country
“What I love about CMA Music Fest, it reflects where country music is, you know?” Dierks Bentley says. “It’s a young, current, hip thing that’s happening that deserves to be in a downtown city center that’s new and growing and feels vibrant and just feels … represents the music properly. You know, this is not like your grandfather’s country music anymore.”
Last year about this time, music periodicals left and right were falling over themselves to declare 2013 the “Year of the Woman” in country music. Music Row in Nashville may be dumb, but it’s not stupid. They saw the need to ramp up the female quotient to restore some diversity. Here in the summer of 2014, we’re very much seeing the results of those efforts. And unfortunately, it’s not very pretty.
Ashley Monroe, Brandy Clark, Brantley Gilbert, bro-country, Caitlin Rose, Carrie Underwood, Cole Swindell, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Florida Georgia Line, Holly Williams, Kacey Musgraves, Kellie Pickler, Lindi Ortega, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Raelynn
It happened again. For the love of God, it happened again. Despite last year’s public outcry, despite movements to ban the event from happening again this year, despite an aggressive effort by organizers to attempt to stem the littering issues by handing out garbage and recycling bags to tailgaters as they entered the grounds it all transpired again: mounds of trash, multiple arrests, and many fights.
Compared to albums, making picks of songs is such a tough, arbitrary business. This year seems especially tough, not because the field isn’t strong, but because many of the best moments are coming from unlikely sources, including a cadre of cover songs that despite the spirit of the “Best Songs” approach being about original compositions, seem almost criminal to omit.
Bob Wayne, Dierks Bentley, Don Williams, Eric Church, First Aid Kit, Hellbound Glory, I'll Be Here In The Morning, Jason Eady, John Fullbright, Karen Jonas, Kirsty Lee Akers, Leroy Virgil, Liberty Bell, Lonely Island, Matt Woods, Melody Williamson, Miranda Lambert, Parker Milsap, Red Eye Gravy, Streets of Aberdeen, Sturgill Simpson, Take Me Back, The Promise, The Secret Sisters, The Wall, There's No Country Here, Turtles All the Way Down, Willie Nelson, Willie Watson, Zoe Muth
On April Fool’s day, Broken Bow Records released a 20-track Merle Haggard Tribute called Working Man’s Poet, primarily as a showcase for the roster’s talent. Big Broken Bow acts like Jason Aldean, Thompson Square, and Dustin Lynch make multiple appearances on the collection, but one of the most heavily-touted songs from the album has been Luke Bryan’s version of “Pancho & Lefty”.
Broken Bow Records, Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley, Dustin Lynch, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Merle Haggard, Merle Haggard Tribute Album, Panch & Lefty, Thompson Square, Townes Van Zandt, Willie Nelson, Working Man's Poet: A Tribute to Merle Haggard
In hopes of aligning themselves as the antithesis to the whole “bro-country” phenomenon gripping popular country music with its laundry list, truck and beer, mud-splashed and moonshine-soaked stereotyping, a couple of female artists have decided to adopt the new “bra-country” term to help separate the women from the bros.
Not since the second installment of the Waylon – The Music Inside series was released with the names of Colt Ford and Justin Moore making their way on the track list have we had such a quizzical collection of artists for a tribute album. As cool as it is to see any attention paid to Merle these days from the mainstream establishment, it is not what’s going to get your average Merle fan’s motor running.
ACM, Ben Haggard, Broken Bow Records, Colt Ford, Crystal Milestone Award, Dierks Bentley, Dustin Lynch, Garth Brooks, Jason Aldean, Justin Moore, Kristy Lee Cook, Luke Bryan, Merle Haggard, Paul Franklin, Randy Houser, Suzy Bogguss, Thompson Square, Toby Keith, Vince Gill, Working Man's Poet: A Tribute to Merle Haggard
When it comes to mainstream country, there’s not many good guys left. They’ve either been aged out, shuffled along, they sold out to stay hip, or they’ve been otherwise marginalized to where you don’t hear about them anymore. And there doesn’t seem to be very many new good guys in the pipeline to replenish the ones we’ve lost. And then there’s Dierks Bentley.
Hard to pigeonhole, and certainly not what one would traditionally consider mainstream country music, their ability to appeal to mainstream fans, Southern rock fans, and even some independent and underground fans with a sound that despite whatever lack of depth is hard to not label as authentic and gritty, The Cadillac Three could be a band who finds themselves at the nexus of of the “bro-country” phenomenon, and its backlash.
American Bang, Bang Bang Bang, Ben Brown, Big Machine Records, Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley, Eli Young Band, Eric Church, Florida Georgia Line, Jake Owen, Jaren Johnston, Keith Urban, Kelby Ray, Llama, MIke Eli, Neil Mason, Rhett Akins, Scott Borchetta, The Cadillac Black, The Cadillac Three, The South, Tim McGraw
It’s so easy to get swept up in stereotyping mainstream country as being completely void of anything worth your time these days, but in truth there’s still a lot of great music in the popular music world, however a small percentage it might be of the total package. Saying the mainstream has nothing good to offer is narrowing your musical experience no different than saying that music is bad because it’s not popular.
Alan Jackson, Ashley Monroe, Dierks Bentley, Easton Corbin, Eric Church, Gary Allan, George Strait, Jamey Johnson, Joey + Rory, Kacey Musgraves, Kellie Pickler, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Pistol Annies, Reba, Taylor Swift, The Mavericks, Vince Gill, Zac Brown Band
To have Alan Jackson—3-time CMA Entertainer of the Year winner, and a man that has sold more than 60 million records worldwide—release a straightforward, traditional bluegrass album with no caveats, no tangents, simply straight ahead acoustic instrumentation in a traditional style, is a feat and a victory all on its own. And the music ain’t too bad either.
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.
Billy Ray Cyrus, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Charlie Rich, country music feuds, Curb Records, Dierks Bentley, Dixie Chicks, Dolly Parton, Eric Church, Ethan Hawke, feud, Garth Brooks, Gary Allan, Grand Ole Opry, Hank Williams III, Hank3, In A Razor Town, Jason Isbell, John Denver, Johnny Cash, Kelly Clarkson, Kid Rock, Kris Kristofferson, LeAnn Rimes, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Natalie Maines, Porter Wagoner, Rascal Flatts, Ray Price, Scott Borchetta, Shooter Jennings, Stonewall Jason, Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, Tompall Glaser, Travis Tritt, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Zac Brown
Every day hundreds of people wake up, put their pants on, and head to Music Row in Nashville to try to find “the next one.” They cull through reams of new material being produced by big songwriting operations, when right under their noses are battle tested songs with proven appeal waiting to be cherry picked from the independent and underground music world. Here are just a few.
Adam Hood, Alabama Pines, Brian Keane, Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley, Elanor Whitmore, Every Girl, Good Lord Lorrie, Hellbound Glory, I'll Sing About Mine, Jason Isbell, Josh Abbott Band, Kacey Musgraves, Old Crown Medicine Show, Shooter Jennings, The Long Road Ahead, Tom Morello, Turnpike Troubadours
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