When you hear certain albums from some of country music’s mainstream performers, it’s patently clear to large portions of the audience that these albums aren’t pop country, they’re just pop, period. But in the pop world when artist dabble in country influences, they tend to be more honest about how the end result is still pop.
Reba McEntire has a new album coming out on April 7th called ‘Stronger Than The Truth,’ and she’s promising fans that it will be the most country record she’s done in a long time, if not in her career. That says a lot considering just how country many of Reba McEntire’s earlier albums were.
How many times can you remake the same movie and it still be good? If it’s a classic story told with passion, is well-acted and directed, and expertly updated for the modern context, the answer would be at least four. “A Star Is Born” is a big moment for Americana music.
A new version of the feature film A Star Is Born is on the way starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, and a host of notable names from the the cool side of country music are included in the movie and soundtrack. But the most surprising takeaway from the track list is the very active participation of Lukas Nelson.
“What Whiskey Does” is a return of Randy Houser to his more original form, and for the better. This is the Randy Houser who had built a fan base who would back bite you when you mentioned Randy’s participation in “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” or other offenses, and assure you he was true country.
If there’s any hope for the future of mainstream country music, it lies in songwriters like Lori McKenna. Whenever you see a quality song from a major label country artist, it’s uncanny how often Lori McKenna’s name comes up in the songwriting credits. True country fans know that if you want to find the best music, you have to go straight to the source.
Carrie Underwood and songs like “Cry Pretty” will never be the cup of tea of many of country music’s more traditional fans. But it’s a far cry from the terrible pursuits of the Bro-Country era that now feel far in the past, and are quickly being replaced by a regime of more expressive, heartfelt, and enriching songs closer akin to country’s roots.
Apologies to any die hard Lady Antebellum fans out there, but I just don’t see the value of them coming back from their extended hiatus. From the beginning, Lady Antebellum has felt so forgettable, so superfluous, so fleeting of impact and falling short of any serious contribution to country music or popular music in general, would anybody really miss them if they never reunited?
Luke Bryan did not get here by happenstance, and he’s not going to blow his opportunity to remain on top by making poor decisions. Tell yourself his music won’t last through the cruel inquisition of time. Tell yourself he has no talent, and that he’s an idiot on and off the stage. Reassure yourself that eventually he will be relegated to a laughing stock of history with his shallow songs and shortsighted goals.
Little Big Town’s latest single called “Girl Crush” is stirring a little bit of controversy from what some perceive as racy, lesbian themes, while others are acting shocked that the song could be misconceived in such a way, making “Girl Crush” a country music battleground for conservative values being fought in the shadow of country music’s big coming out party lately.
Told from the perspective of a young girl facing the emotional toll rendered from listening to mommy and daddy fighting, “Little Toy Guns” puts the listener in a place most any human from an American family has found themselves in, yet we seem to be unable to extricate ourselves from replicating this same foolish and unfortunate behavior with our own families as adults.