We shouldn’t be surprised that Jon Pardi is one of the few new mainstream stars who can rattle off a handful of country classics at a moments notice. He’s about as traditional as mainstream country gets. Hell most of today’s radio stars have little to no idea who Merle Haggard, Dwight Yoakam, or the late great Joe Diffie even are.
Though Dean Dillon has written songs for scores of artists, including Chris Stapleton, Gary Stewart, Vince Gill, Vern Gosdin, Lee Ann Womack, and so many others, it’s his partnership with George Strait that has gone on to become legendary, and is the undeniable impetus for putting him in the Hall of Fame.
Reba McEntire at her finest is some of the best country music you can find. She proved that when she released her latest album, 2019’s ‘Stronger Than The Truth,’ which marked the redhead’s return to the more traditional-sounding country of her early career, and it turned out to be one of the best albums released all year.
Once again Garth is being Garth, which means ultimately he’s probably doing the right thing and making a good choice. He’s just doing it in the most self-gratifying of ways. His heart is 100% in the right place. But his ego won’t allow him to make an altruistic move without letting everyone else know what he’s doing.
The somewhat curious, but super cool obsession that the current King of Country Music George Strait has for rock legend Tom Petty continues. It has been announced that Strait will host a tribute to Tom Petty on Petty’s dedicated SiriusXM channel. Strait will spin some tunes and share some Tom Petty stories.
In a recent interview, Willie Nelson said he has a Roger Miller tribute album on the way. He also told the story of how he once turned down recording “The Gambler.” Written by Don Schlitz, it became the signature song for Kenny Rogers when Kenny released it in 1978.
On a totally black cassette tape (what else would you expect?) that is simply marked “Clint Black” with the phone number “589-0560” on a label, someone who most certainly sounds like a young Clint Black spends 7 minutes and 59 seconds reciting minute-long renditions of solid gold hits.
It’s not that it’s especially strange for someone to be a fan of Tom Petty. It’s just that when you think of George Strait, you think of the quintessential straight-laced and starched Wranglers good ol’ country guy, not singing along to “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.”
George Strait is getting his own SiriusXM radio channel, at least for a limited time. And for a limited time, you can listen to it for free as the satellite radio provider extends a current promotion allowing anyone to listen free of charge through their app. Called Ace in the Hole Radio after the iconic singer’s touring band.
With the recent death of John Prine at the hands of COVID-19, the question has been posed by many about the legendary songwriter’s prospects of ever being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. It’s an interesting discussion point for sure, and one with a few important qualifiers.
Organized by Blackbird Presents who’ve put together a host of these tribute shows over the years, usually if you can’t swing a ticket, you miss your opportunity to see so much country music star power assembled in one place. But for this particular event, footage from the tribute was compiled, and is premiering on A&E Easter Sunday.
A&E, Amanda Shaires, Chris Stapleton, Derek Trucks, Don Was, Ed Helms, Emmylou Harris, Eric Church, George Strait, Jack Johnson, Jamey Johnson, Lyle Lovett, Margo Price, Mickey Raphael, Nora Jones, Ray Benson, Sturgill Simpson, The Little Willies, Willie Nelson
Jan Howard’s death was marked with obituaries enumerating her many accomplishments in country music, including her hits, her collaborations with John Anderson, and her long tenure at the Grand Ole Opry. But when it comes to Jan Howard, it was just as much about the work she did off the stage, and out of the spotlight.
Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Connie Smith, George Strait, Grand Ole Opry, Hal Ketchum, Jan Howard, Jean Shepard, Jimmy C. Newmann, Keith Urban, Little Jimmy Dickens, Mack McKenzie, Marty Stuart, Patty Loveless, Stonewall Jackson, Terri Clark
The big tribute show at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena for Willie Nelson that transpired on January 12th, 2019 is finally set to be broadcast for the rest of us who couldn’t attend, and it will include some behind-the-scenes footage and interviews as well. Specials for Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers are also on the way.
A&E, Blackbird Presents, Chris Stapleton, Dolly Parton, Eric Church, George Strait, Kenndy Rogers, Lee Ann Womack, Norah Jones, Ray Benson, Sturgill Simpson, The Avett Brothers, Vince Gill, Willie Nelson
We’ve already run down the Greatest Country Albums of the Decade, and in there, albums in the mainstream were given fair competition to be included, and some made the cut. But in the spirit of inclusiveness and impartiality, let’s make sure the great records from the mainstream get their due as well.
Alan Jackson, Ashley McBryde, Brandy Clark, Caitlyn Smith, Chris Stapleton, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, George Strait, Jamey Johnson, Jon Pardi, Kacey Musgraves, Kalie Shorr, Kellie Pickler, Kip Moore, Miranda Lambert, Mo Pitney, Pistol Annies, Randy Houser, Reba McEntire, William Michael Morgan
George Strait has minted yet another career milestone that puts him in an elite class of musical performers, not just in country music, but anywhere in the world. He’s now officially sold over 10 million tickets to events since first reporting touring revenue officially, only the 2nd country artist to ever do so.
All country albums, regardless if they emanate from a major label or receive radio play, are considered for Saving Country Music’s Album of the Year nominations. But not every year does a mainstream album make it. Even though one didn’t make it to the top of the heap in 2019, we had a bumper crop of quality mainstream country releases.
On the day after the CMA Awards, it’s always important to take a deep breath, and remind yourself, “It’s just the CMA’s.” But it does feel important to address what turned out to be the biggest controversy Wednesday night, which was Garth Brooks winning Entertainer of the Year over Carrie Underwood.
Amanda Shires, Ashley McBryde, Brandi Carlile, Carrie Underwood, Charley Pride, CMA Awards, Dolly Parton, Eric Church, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Hootie and the Blowfish, Jenee Fleenor, Kacey Musgraves, Kelsea Ballerini, Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire
Eric Church’s latest album Desperate Man will win the CMA Album of the Year in 2019, beating out Thomas Rhett’s Center Point Road, Dan + Shay’s self-titled release, Girl by Maren Morris, and Carrie Underwood’s Cry Pretty. This is the bold prediction Saving Country Music is putting out there right here and now.
All of a sudden Hootie & the Blowfish—not just Darius Rucker—is signed to Universal Music Group’s country imprint in Nashville, is planning to release a new record on November 1st, and just released a straight up pop rock Hootie & the Blowfish single called “Hold On” that has just become the “most added” song on COUNTRY radio.
Not as a rebuke of the work of the documentary, but as an addendum for those who watched and might want to dig deeper into the history of country through some of its more important personalities not represented well in the film, here are some of the Country Music film’s biggest oversights.
Alison Krauss, Billie Jean Horton, Conway Twitty, David Allan Coe, Dayton Duncan, Don Williams, Doug Sahm, Eddie Rabbitt, Emmloyou Harris, George Strait, Glen Campbell, Hank Snow, Jerry Jeff Walker, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jim Reeves, Jimmy Martin, John Hartford, Johnny Horton, Johnny Paycheck, Keith Whitley, Ken Burns, Linda Ronstadt, Michael Martin Murphy, Patsy Cline, Sam Bush, Tanya Tucker, The Maddox Brothers & Rose, Vern Gosdin
If you’re a country music fan and are disappointed that your favorite artist didn’t get enough screen time in the Ken Burns film on country music, well guess what, your favorite genre did, and by the most revered documentary filmmaker of our time, and before rock n’ roll, pop, the blues, soul music, or hip-hop.
Alan Jackson, Allen Reynolds, Bill Monroe, Billy Ray Cyrus, Bluebird Cafe, Brooks & Dunn, Chris Stapleton, Clint Black, Conway Twitty, Dayton Duncan, Dierks Bentley, Dixie Chicks, Don Williams, Dwight Yoakam, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks, George Jones, George Strait, Glen Campbell, Jamey Johnson, Johnny Cash, Kathy Mattea, Keith Whitley, Ken Burns, Lil Nas X, Little Big Town, Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovett, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Miranda Lambert, Nanci Griffith, Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, Rick Rubin, Ricky Skaggs, Rosanne Cash, Ryman Auditorium, Steve Earle, Sturgill Simpson, Taylor Swift, The Judds, Toby Keith, Travis Tritt, Trisha Yearwood, Vince Gill
In an era when law enforcement is often repudiated by many, George Strait runs counter to that by speaking about the seriousness and sacrifices police officers, sheriff department personnel, and anyone who dons a shield and sidearm to go to work every day must endure. Written by George Strait himself, with son Bubba and Dean Dillon.
In many respects, the CMAs did that this year with their 2019 nominations, or at least better than many years. But the Album of the Year nominations were especially easy to pick apart in 2019. The biggest reason to second guess these nominations is that this current awards shows cycle has been exceptional for excellent mainstream albums.
You won’t find many country music fans who have a discouraging word to share about “King” George Strait. But the one point of contention some have brought up in rebuttal of Strait’s greatness over the years has been that he doesn’t write his own songs. This opinion deserves a little context of course.