Just remember, “It’s only the ACM Awards.” It’s just disappointing that one of their best presentations in perhaps a decade or more—and under difficult circumstances—had to be sullied at the very end by a silly and avoidable decision.
Remember, it’s just the ACM Awards. Less prestigious than the CMAs, and more susceptible to bloc voting and other dubious practices than most any other awards apparatus in country music and beyond, think of it more as a performative infomercial for the mainstream of country music.
Once again Garth is being Garth, which means ultimately he’s probably doing the right thing and making a good choice. He’s just doing it in the most self-gratifying of ways. His heart is 100% in the right place. But his ego won’t allow him to make an altruistic move without letting everyone else know what he’s doing.
There should be no shame in major music outfits taking money through the government’s Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, to keep their road crew and support staff financially stable, despite it being characterized as the cash grab of millionaires by some, aided by certain embellished and misleading headlines in the media.
Ever since releasing their debut album in May, the Zane Williams-led Texas music supergroup called Hill Country has been heavily touted by the listeners who’ve been clued into their self-titled record. It just the overall vibe the group captures. And apparently the biggest artist in country music at the moment agrees.
Luke Combs announced recently that his new radio single will be “Lovin’ On You,” and I can’t help but think this decision is a one big boner. Luke already had another single out there gaining serious traction on radio, even as his previous one was cresting the charts. It’s the well-written and fiercely topical “Six Feet Apart.”
Jason Isbell has once again landed at #1 in both country and rock, as well as folk/Americana with his latest record ‘Reunions.’ This is the third time in a row the Alabama native has landed at the top of all three metrics with an album debut, and all from an artist who rarely makes it onto commercial radio.
The original release date for Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit’s new album Reunions was May 15th. But in an effort to help struggling brick and mortar independent record stores, the songwriter chose to make his new album available in physical form the week before, on May 8th, exclusively to retail record establishments.
Beyond making a really bad amalgam of derivative and formulaic rap pop by ripping off the styles of Drake and trap beat artists to only then turn around and sell it as country to the gullible masses, Sam Hunt is also superlative at turning hip-hop, pop, and indie rock writers into certified country music experts.
The Saturday night Grand Ole Opry tradition continues even during the COVID-19 pandemic with two official Opry members—one older, and one new—taking the stage together Saturday, April 25th, keeping the circle unbroken once again. This week Luke Combs and Craig Morgan will do the honors.
Pairing with independent songwriter Brent Cobb who had his own fast-rising career put on hold due to COVID-19, and well-regarded Nashville singer/songwriter Rob Snyder who rumor has it is finally releasing a debut album later this year, Luke Combs may have just delivered the quarantine song of the spring called “Six Feet Apart.”
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.”