It was a busy year in country music, with lots of controversy, lots of legal issues, and even death surrounding country music artists. It was a tumultuous 2015 to say the least. Here are the top news stories of the year taking into consideration 1) Their importance to country music overall 2) The interest, or accumulated interest in the story if covered in multiple articles, based on traffic registered at Saving Country Music.
On Tuesday (12-15) it was officially revealed that Blake Shelton would no longer be co-hosting the ACM Awards with Luke Bryan. The ACM’s are scheduled to occur again next in April of 2016. It’s a position Shelton has held for many years. Blake will be replaced by the pilot of the drunken skies, Dierks Bentley. But the decision has left many wondering why Blake would pull out of such a prominent position.
As an addendum to Saving Country Music’s Worst Songs list, 2015 necessitates we also single out some of the worst albums released in 2015. Take note that in most years, such a list is not necessary. Not that there aren’t bad albums, but even when you’re speaking about country music’s worst offenders, many actually release fairly decent songs on their albums. But 2015 was a different case.
And so continued on the unrelenting march of terrible songs in 2015. This year included some especially diabolical turns that puts the last 12 months in contention for the worst run for songs in country music history. Of course the usual suspects appear on the rap sheet like Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett, and Sam Hunt. But 2015 ushered in the worst year for watching previously heralded artists turning their coats from blue to red.
Alabama, Bret Michaels, Brett Eldredge, Cole Swindell, Danielle Bradbery, Eli Young Band, Eric Paslay, Gary Allan, Granger Smith, Jennifer Nettles, Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Bryan, Randy Houser, Sam Hunt, Scotty McCreery, The Band Perry, Thomas Rhett, Ucle Ezra Ray, Zac Brown Band
It’s all R&B. Like, all of it. If it’s American and mainstream, chances are it’s better categorized as R&B than anything else. It doesn’t matter what genre of music you’re talking about. Of course R&B sounds like R&B, but so does hip-hop these days. Modern rock? Yeah, it’s pretty much just R&B. Country music? That may be the most convincing case.
Adele, Alabama Shakes, Brett Eldredge, Bruno Mars, Carrie Underwood, Chris Stapleton, Coldplay, Country Music Gold, Eli Young Band, Gary Allan, Jason Aldean, Justin Timberlake, Leon Bridges, Luke Bryan, mono-genre, Old Dominion, Prophets and Outlaws, Sam Hunt, The Weeknd, Thomas Rhett
There you are, taking in Thanksgiving festivities with friends and family, proudly wearing an “I â™¥ Country Music” T-shirt (figuratively, at least), and celebrating one of America’s high holidays with a nice football game, and who comes on the television acting as country music’s ambassador to the rest of the world but Luke Bryan, up there ordering all the country girls to “shake it for the crickets and the critters and the squirrels.”
There’s not a single song on Old Dominion’s new album Meat and Candy that shouldn’t have been aborted in the womb. This is the type of material professional songwriters throw together to crack themselves up in writing sessions to lighten the mood. But in an utter breakdown in the system, it somehow found its way completely unabridged onto a record.
the quality of the music of these do-good artists can sometimes be an entirely different story than the quality of their character. Such an assessment is subjective mind you, both on the musical and personal side. But generally speaking, the generosity of a given celebrity and the standards of their music doesn’t always go hand in hand.
Another week, and another #1 showing for Chris Stapleton’s debut album Traveller as the songwriter and performer continues to ride a wave of momentum after a massive showing at the CMA Awards on November 4th. A sweep of New Artist of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year categories, and a high-profile performance with Justin Timberlake put Stapleton on the map of mainstream fans in a big way.
In a season that started out so promising for America’s Team, including a 2-0 record with key wins against division opponents and a roster that some believed was good enough to make another run at the Super Bowl, adversity has struck once again. The Dallas Cowboys have received the devastating news that that Bro-Country star Luke Bryan will be performing the halftime show of the team’s annual Thanksgiving game.
Speaking about his recent signing with Big Machine’s NASH Icon record label, which was set up to create radio support for artists left behind by mainstream country’s current obsession with youth, the once CMA Entertainer of the Year recipient said, “If you’re gonna be heard, you have to get on the radio. The internet alone is not gonna do it.”
If you haven’t heard of Kane Brown, you’re about to, whether you like it or not. You can pride yourself in being one of those country music fans impervious to the buzz machine the industry uses to attempt to reel you in. But Kane Brown is coming, and he will be ubiquitous . . . unless his entire career implodes on itself.
Traffic on the only two lane road leading to the winery backed up so bad, at one point the line stretched upwards of eight miles, and took five and-a-half hours for some patrons to get through. Vehicles ran out of gas, other vehicles were abandoned on the side of the road as their occupants decided to hoof it to the winery, and still other ticket holders missed the concert entirely because of the traffic snarl.
Granted, it is a different day in the music business, and independent country bands are appearing on the country album charts more and more often. But still, to behold the steady rise of the Turnpike Troubadours from a bar band from Oklahoma to the top of the country music charts without ever having to reshape their sound or sign their life away to a major label is an incredible feat.
The songwriter, singer, guitar player, and frontman for the legendary Western Swing and classic country band Asleep At The Wheel had some harsh things to say about today’s country music in a recent interview, and specifically about the reigning CMA and ACM Entertainer of the Year, Luke Bryan.
There’s been much concern about the behavior of country music fans at mainstream country concerts lately, especially in parking lot rituals leading up to the concerts themselves, but this is is a parking lot incident that goes way beyond piles of trash and disorderly patrons.
It’s not just that depth and intelligence are missing from a lot of mainstream country music these days, it’s that it’s being purposely avoided. It’s uncool to be deep. It’s uncool to challenge listeners to think, to covey ideas through music, or tell truly meaningful stories. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with songs that are just fun-loving moments of visceral escapism. The problem arises when that’s all you’re offering.
On Wednesday morning (9-9), the nominees for the 49th Annual Country Music Association Awards were announced on ABC’s Good Morning America, with decidedly non-country personalities of Steven Tyler and Kelsea Ballerini helping to make the announcements. The 2014 CMA Awards will happen on Wednesday November 4th on ABC, and will be hosted once again by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood.
Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Chris Stapleton, CMA Awards, Eric Church, Kacey Musgraves, Kelsea Ballerini, Kenny Chesney, Little Big Town, Luke Bryan, Maddie & Tae, Miranda Lambert, Nominees, predicitions, Sam Hunt
When your music is better classified in every single other major American genre of music instead of country, then maybe you should consider to quit lying to your fans and the public and quit calling it country, kind of like Taylor Swift did. It’s not just that Sam Hunt isn’t country, it’s that he is the absolute antithesis of country.
Adele, Elton John, Florida Georgia Line, Hayley Williams, Kiss, Lady Antebellum, Luke Bryan, Meghan Trainor, Miley Cyrus, Morrissey, Paramore, Sam Hunt, Shooter Jennings, Swamp Dogg, Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw
WARNING : LANGUAGE — What is “Vacation?” It’s the taking of two separate compositions: War’s “Low Rider,” and Jason Derulo’s “Wiggle,” smashing them together like your 4-year-old would two pats of Play-Doh, having Thomas Rhett white-boy rap imbecilic lyrics over it through an Auto-Tuner for a few minutes, and then spitting out the result on some douchebag producer’s Mac.
We bitch, we moan, we criticize, we celebrate the symbolic little victories that give us hope that a sea change for country music is imminent, or at least slowly taking hold, even though in many respects things only seem to get worse every year. And we look for ways to implement meaningful solutions to the problems plaguing country music so it can once again become a medium of creativity.
I believe it was the Buddha who once said “life is suffering.” And though you would think mainstream country artists who make their living playing music to massive audiences, they have problems too apparently, and recently the biggest one appears to be having to play music that fits within the confines of the country music genre. Oh, the horror.
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.
“. . . we play all of our own instruments, we write the best songs that we can, and we put harmony on the songs, we have a real band,” Zac Brown said in response to Luke Bryan’s “That’s My Kind of Night” not two years ago. And now the exact criticisms he leveled at Luke Bryan could be leveled at him. But they won’t be.