Sure, perhaps absence makes the heart grow fonder, and the indefinite hiatus of the boys from Oklahoma has us all foggy-eyed in recollection. But according to one industrious Twitter user’s social experiment in the midst of the Coronavirus quarantine, the Turnpike Troubadours rule the roost.
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
Like someone with the Coronavirus coughing in your face, here come the 2020 ACM Awards nominations. With Maren Morris and Thomas Rhett leading the pack of nominees with five nominations each, Justin Bieber receiving three nominations, you might as well be getting news from the local doctor where you’re quarantine station is located.
It may not exactly be the Grand Ole Opry, but earning an opportunity to debut on the Austin City Limits stage for an appearance on the longest-running TV music program in American history is still a distinct honor, and one now Tyler Childers and Luke Combs will be enjoying during the upcoming season.
“I think that they’re completely losing it. And I think that’s a sad situation because we should never let country music die. I think that every type of music should be saved, and country is one of the greatest. It’s been around, as far as I’m concerned, longer than any of it,” says Loretta Lynn.
It’s been 10 years since Country Music Hall of Famers Brooks & Dunn hit the road for a proper national tour. That will all change this summer and fall when the duo hits the road on the REBOOT 2020 Tour. Who will the opening acts be? According to the duo, there won’t be any. But there will be “special guests.”
“We feel like it is beginning to turn back to the traditional,” says Mary, the wife of Randy Travis. “It’s almost like fashion and everything else, there is an ebb and a flow. There are so many young artists that study Randy, and study some of the traditional [style], and they’re singing it.”
We keep talking about how one of the hottest trends currently in mainstream country music is actual country music, and listening to Scotty McCreery, he concurs, and wants to help to keep things trending in that direction. And with undeniable appeal of his deep, twangy voice, it would be more than welcome if he does.
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.
Luke Combs doesn’t need any help selling tickets on his currently sold-out “Beer Never Broke My Heart” tour. He’s arguably the biggest artist in all of country music at the moment. But he’s calling in the cavalry for his show Saturday night at San Antonio’s 18,000-capacity AT&T Center anyway. Combs has tapped the fast-rising Flatland Cavalry.
Compiling both sales and streaming data over the last ten years, Chris Stapleton’s “Traveller” not only comes out on top, it does so even though its closest competitors had a head start. “Traveller” wasn’t released until halfway into the decade on May 5th, 2015, and unlike its Bro-Country counterparts, received only sporadic radio play.
Ashley McBryde has taken her quality songs and almost universal favorability that crosses the line between mainstream and independent, and turned it into awards show nominations and hardware that has side stepped the radio paradigm and put her straight in front of listeners.
Actual country music is actually starting to emerge as a serious trend in mainstream country today, but we still need to see more widespread adoption before we declare ourselves in the midst of another neotraditionalist resurgence. Instead, the new trend that has begun to emerge is being described as “Boyfriend Country.”
We knew the release of the latest Luke Combs album ‘What You See Is What You Get’ would be big, and that’s exactly what it was, bringing in the biggest numbers for a country title all year, topping all the charts, and setting a new record in the country space. Luke Combs is now indisputably the biggest artist in country music.
Miranda Lambert’s latest album Wildcard is the #1 album in country music this week, beating out Luke Combs and a new title from Hootie and the Blowfish (yes, they’re “country” now) to take the top spot. This also marks Miranda’s sixth consecutive #1 album in country, and her sixth consecutive Top 10 on the Billboard 200.
An album by Cody Jinks has come in #1 in album sales for the second consecutive week. After hitting #1 with ‘After The Fire’ last week, Jinks has pulled off the same feat again this week with his album ‘The Wanting.’ The albums were released on October 11th and 18th respectively.
Without any label—mainstream or independent—with no major distribution and virtually no radio play or push in the media, the first of two new album from country music artists Cody Jinks called After The Fire has gone #1 in country music in pure album sales, and #2 on the Billboard Country Albums chart when factoring in streaming numbers.
Man, the Academy of Country Music sure knows how to soft pedal the excitement behind some of their awards. Recently they’ve been unveiling their ‘Decade’ awards, stringing them out over months instead of having an event to announce them, surprising artists backstage at gigs and shoving an award in their face as a few flashbulbs go off.
For over 30 years, the album ‘Always and Forever’ by Country Music Hall of Famer Randy Travis held the record for the longest-running #1 country music album released by a solo male in country music history. Originally released in 1987 as Randy’s second proper studio album, it spent an incredible 43 weeks atop the charts.
Country radio is in a ratings slump. And no, not just due to streaming. “When it becomes harder to distinguish who’s who and there’s an increase of pop sounds in the music, this tends to be the result … We need balance. That’s the key, and hard to do if so much of the music has that pop sound,” one expert says.
The Country Music Antichrist Scott Borchetta is hellbent on world domination ladies and gentlemen, and in the process expect him to pull country music in the pop direction more than ever before. In an interview, he downplayed Luke Combs and Kane Brown, while touting Thomas Rhett as the only true 20-something headliner.
The numbers are in at the midway pole of 2019, and “King” George Strait has the best selling album in all of country music so far this calendar year. ‘Honky Tonk Time Machine’ has moved more copies than any other offering, speaking to the honky tonk resurgence country music has been experiencing across the board.
It’s a Texas invasion at the very top of the country music albums charts this week as an oldtimer, an independent maverick, and an upstart troublemaker all from the Lone Star State have pushed the powers that be in pop country down the ladder, and come in at #1, #2, and #3 respectively in album sales.
Surging up-and-coming country music artist Luke Combs will be the next member of the Grand Ole Opry. The 29-year-old was surprised during the Tuesday night (6-11) Opry presentation by traditionalist Craig Morgan, country legend John Conlee, and recent Grand Ole Opry member Chris Janson with the invitation.