The Grand Ole Opry is celebrating its 95th Anniversary with a big primetime special on Sunday, February 14th on NBC. Called ‘Grand Ole Opry: 95 Years of Country Music,’ it comes as the Opry is enjoying arguably one of its biggest resurgences in interest in the institution’s history.
As some of the dust begins to settle from the fallout of Morgan Wallen’s inappropriate and offensive use of the N-word, there’s an addendum that needs to be addressed in regards to the accusations of a double standard pervasive in country music.
If anyone in country music has ever deserved to have their career unceremoniously wiped and cancelled, inadvertently or otherwise, it might be Chase Rice. Nonetheless, the criticism of his recent concert that has made him public enemy #1 deserves some context, and a deeper discussion.
If you’re wondering just how much the music of Kenny Rogers meant to fans, this is a pretty good indication. The Country Music Hall of Famer passed away on March 20, and since then sales and streams of his music have spiked dramatically, putting The Gambler on the top of the Billboard Country Albums chart for the first time in 35 years.
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.
Alan Jackson, Barbara Mandrell, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Chris Janson, Dan Rogers, Dustin Lynch, Gene Watson, Grand Ole Opry, Hal Ketchum, Kelsea Ballerini, Loretta Lynn, Lorrie Morgan, Luke Combs, Patty Loveless, Reba McEntire, Rhonda Vincent, Ronnie Milsap, Stonewall Jackson, Tom T. Hall
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
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
It was a night to honor the women of country music, rally support behind them, and remember the legacy of many of the women who have come before. The problem is, very few people witnessed it. Ratings for the 2018 CMT Artists of the Year were poor to put it mildly.
Alison Krauss, Carrie Underwood, CMT Artists of the Year, Hillary Scott, Karen Fairchild, Kelsea Ballerini, Kimberly Schlapman, Lady Antebellum, Leslie Fram, Little Big Town, Loretta Lynn, Maren Morris, Margo Price, Miranda Lambert, Pistol Annies
A couple of days after Carrie Underwood called out country radio for not supporting strong women, it’s become official that Carrie Underwood’s latest single “Cry Pretty” is done at radio, will be the worst-performing single of her career, and has tanked two weeks ahead of her new album being released.
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.
Yes, this topic again. And if you don’t like reading about it, tough titty. Perhaps if mainstream country radio put out a modicum of effort to even try to hide the fact they’re outright excluding certain artists from radio play strictly due to their gender, we could shut the hell up about all of this.
“Nice Things” delves into the possessive nature of love in a bold effort that accentuates Guyton’s vocal strengths, and is stirred with Jerry Douglas-sounding rootsy dobro. Mickey Guyton resists the temptation to inflect her voice with urban annunciations and R&B styling that is all the rage in the mainstream country today.
At the moment there are exactly zero women in country radio’s Top 20, and a whopping total of 4 in the entire Top 50 for an abysmal 8% representation. In fact this 4 out of 50 ratio has been pretty consistent now for the entirety of the “Body Like A Backroad” reign at #1.
Those who’ve been waiting impatiently for a new Taylor Swift single finally have their wish. It just happens to be coming from Kelsea Ballerini. Many have considered Kelsea as the most obvious choice to replace Swift in country music since similarly to Taylor, there’s really nothing country about Kelsea.
Sometimes the effort to save country music feels like one step forward, two steps back. Last week at this time we were all gaga over the fact that Chris Stapleton’s stripped-down new single “Either Way” was the most added single at country radio and debuted at a surprisingly #26 on the charts, but “Either Way” took a proverbial dive during its second week.
As we continue to ponder what country radio might look like after the impending implosion of iHeartMedia and corporate radio as we know it, some very interesting developments emerged on the country radio charts this week.
Stupid list thing going around the innernets these days asking music folks to list off then bands they’ve seen live, but one is a lie. As a similar exercise to get your country music brain muscles firing and to test your true acumen on the genre, let’s see if you can navigate this difficult intellectual exercise.
The truth is we have no idea why Bill O’Reilly was fired from the most prominent seat in cable news commentary. The allegations against him could all be false claims from money-grubbing hussies looking to take advantage of his celebrity. But in country music, the way women are looked upon, and the way they’re spoken to is spelled out right there in the songs.
Wonder why pretty much every mainstream country single sounds ostensibly the same? It’s probably because they all pretty much do. Lill illustrates how nine songs on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart all employ the same exact drum beat, and within the same 15 or so beats per minute.
‘A Sailor’s Guide to Earth’ rocketed to the top of the iTunes charts, landing at #1 in country, and #7 overall. And that wasn’t the only album that saw a sales spike. What’s also a bit surprising is how the country music industry seems to be ignoring the surge, while talking about the surge for other artists.
Sturgill Simpson is up for two major awards, and will also have one of only eight solo performance slots on the entire night. He will perform backed up by the famous horn section The Dap-Kings. Sturgill has to be considered the front runner for Best Country Album since he is also up for the all-genre Album of the Year, but nothing is assured.
Publicists for pop star Kelsea Ballerini and her label Black River Entertainment are fawning all over themselves this week for their “historic” achievement of getting the single “Peter Pan” to inhabit the #1 spot on both Billboard’s Country Airplay and Hot Country Songs charts simultaneously—the first time this has ever happened for a female.
But even with Ballerini’s success, women are still very much fighting an uphill battle. Yet when asked recently by FOX about the issue of women on country radio, Ballerini didn’t show leadership for her fellow females, she trivialized the issue.
The CMA has officially released the Nissan Stadium lineup for the CMA Music Festival coming up the 2nd week in June, and despite all of the talk of diversity and the inclusion of female acts in country, the lineup remains painfully lacking in female representation once again. Carrie Underwood thinks she knows why.