Some might think this will sound like a broken record or a tired topic, that all the Chris Stapleton praise and plaudits for his remarkable sales numbers have run their course. But the argument can be made that we’re still not making a big enough about what Chris Stapleton is accomplishing in country music right now.
Now Nashville’s decided to try and make the Geico Caveman a superstar it appears, and it’s only appropriate, because to find anything fetching in this anthem to American devolution, your forehead has to stick out over your eyebrows so far that you don’t need to wear a hat in the rain.
In April, WME, who represents country music superstar Luke Bryan, received a letter from the FTC, or Federal Trade Commission. The letter makes reference to an Instagram picture where Luke Bryan is touting his clothing line that is called “HFE,” which is short for the title of his hit single, “Huntin’ Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day.”
Chris Stapleton’s sophomore album ‘From A Room: Vol. 1’ is the #1 selling record this week in pure album sales across all genres, beating out rapper Logic’s new album ‘Everybody.’ However due to new chart rules that consider streaming data, Stapleton will come in #2 in the major charts.
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.
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.
Is it too damn much to ask of the National Football League to find somebody to sing The National Anthem at the Super Bowl that has an established history of actually knowing the words to a song most 4th graders are tasked to recite verbatim before ascending to middle school instead of a performer with a sullied past of sliding by using subterfuge like Luke Bryan has?
‘Twas the party before Christmas, when all through the home
One creature was dancing, on a truck covered with chrome;
The beer cans were stacked on the chimney with care,
In hopes that Luke Bryan soon would be there;
Everywhere we turn, there are signs that the tide is turning in country music for the better. Chris Stapleton and Sturgill Simpson are turning the tables on the awards shows, a new generation of traditionalists like William Michael Morgan and Margo Price are finding surprising traction. But it’s not all rosy.
Blake Shelton, Brantley Gilbert, Brett Young, Calre Dunn, Chase Rice, Chris Lane, Dallas Davidson, Dierks Bentley, Dustin Lynch, Florida Georgia Line, Jana Kramer, Jason Aldean, Jerrod Niemann, Lee Brice, Luke Bryan, Steven Tyler, Thomas Rhett
What in God’s creation makes one think that Charlie Daniels fans are going to want to watch a performance by Luke Bryan, or Travis Tritt fans are going to appreciate Kid Rock’s shtick? Or vice versa? Sure, the big names help put butts in seats, but it also helps turn others away. No self-respecting traditional country fan is going to stomach a Luke Bryan performance.
Unfortunately, the actions of Luke Bryan have sullied Charlie Daniels’ 2016 Volunteer Jam after numerous videos and eyewitness accounts of Luke Bryan stopping down one of his songs to accost a front row fan and punching him in the face have surfaced.
Over the last decade and beyond, it has not been humanly possible to book more godawful performers for the centerpiece of the NFL’s Thanksgiving schedule than what we’ve seen take center field during the halftime of the Dallas Cowboys’ football game. It’s like they purposely conduct a study to find who is the most dreadful performer of the day.
“Love Me In A Field” makes the American farm sound like Walt Disney’s model for a sexual theme park, while the reality of things facing the American farmer is either selling out to Monsanto, or having 200 years of your family’s legacy parceled out in a bank liquidation due to falling water tables and intrusive estate taxes until all you have left to show…
Screw me, but I just don’t have a strong opinion about this thing one way or the other. Sometimes that happens. If you think this song and video is amazing, then awesome. If you think it’s stupid, I can see that perspective too. In the end it’s kind of a wash for me.
But this is the thing about Aaron Lewis and his anti-country stance: Normally this type of thing would solicit high praise from an outlet like Saving Country Music. And hey, I will give him credit for taking a stand. But Aaron Lewis, a dyed-in-the-wool rock gone country guy, is not the one to be delivering this message, I’m sorry.
The lead single to Chase Rice’s new record is done, finished, finito, dead, and game over according to radio insiders. And the results do not paint a very pretty picture at all for the performer. After a big promotional push by Rice’s label Columbia Nashville, all that his song “Whisper” could muster on the radio charts was a whimper before limping off into the night virtually unnoticed.
“His record label flew us down to Panama City,” they explain. “We pulled off the prank, we executed it. He was doing a meet and greet with the sorority girls, hundreds of girls. We were playing two guys in the sorority so excited to meet Luke Bryan. The company set us up with a one on one. He was wasted. He was plowed. So I just start naming off everybody else’s music.
New Theory: Many 3rd tier mainstream major label country stars are nothing more than musical dumping grounds for all the excess songwriting material left over at the tail end of a dying trend. That’s about the only explanation for the relentless onslaught of outdated and terrible material you’re exposed to on Randy Houser’s new album “Fired Up.”
Hypothetically, whether a given song is released to mainstream country radio as a single or not shouldn’t affect the listener’s judgement upon the song itself. And in many cases, it doesn’t. A song is a song, and it should be considered on its own merits. There are exceptions however, like when a song is exceptionally bad, like many of the country radio singles over the years from Luke Bryan.
“Came Here To Forget” is not a terrible song. It’s a decent song that they made into a poor effort by taking a decent premise, loading it up with radio-friendly buzzwords, and stylizing it to the “Hot AC” crowd in the production. In other words, it’s destined to be a super hit on country radio.
When they compile a highlight (or lowlight) reel of Luke Bryan’s career, along with his Greatest Hits, they’ll have to include his greatest falls. There was a reason that at the CMA Awards in November, co-host Carrie Underwood referred to the Georgia son and spitting image of Gomer Pyle as “Luke Stagefaller” in their opening Star Wars skit.
Riding the momentum of two Grammy wins, and ahead of an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Wednesday night (2-17), Chris Stapleton has announced a slew on new concert dates, and it appears some fans hoping to see him in a smaller venue before things get really crazy will have their opportunity, that is if the show hasn’t already sold out.
Music is such a polarizing subject in popular culture already. We love to love our music, and we love to hate everyone else’s. Music is what we use to identify ourselves culturally. It’s what allows us to find camaraderie with other people who are more likely to be like-minded with ourselves. It’s what we pride ourselves in to tell us that we’re better than others.