Concept albums have been an integral part of country music history, with the release of certain projects completely reshaping the country music paradigm, including in recent memory. Just in case you need an illustration of the breadth and importance of concept albums in country music
Maddie & Tae
Country music as a genre is unique in how it has its own dedicated award show organizations, and two of them as a matter of fact, and both of which that have been around for well over 50 years. But neither of them is the CMT Awards.
Billboard has published their year-end wrap on country music for 2020 (the music year ends in November), and as you can imagine, it’s a healthy dose of Luke Combs leading many of the metrics, especially from Chris Stapleton and Tyler Childers.
We’ve run down the Album of the Year Nominees for 2020, as well as the Song of the Year nominees, and an Essential Albums list is also coming together. But since the mainstream of country isn’t always well-represented on these lists, let’s look back on some of those best albums.
Let’s be honest. Do we really need yet even more new versions of old country songs? But the wildcard here, and what makes this record worth turning your attention to is that you have the once-in-a-lifetime voice of the great Josh Turner gracing these classic songs.
Allison Moorer, Bruce Robison, Chris Janson, Country State of Mind, George Jones, Hank Williams, John Anderson, Josh Turner, Keith Whitley, Kris Kirstofferson, Maddie & Tae, Patty Loveless, Review, Runaway June, Vern Gosdin, Waylon Jennings
This week, Maddie & Tae’s “Die From A Broken Heart” finally made it to #1 on the country radio charts. It is a major accomplishment, and a long-fought battle for a song that was originally revealed to fans all the way back in the fall of 2018, and not released as a proper single to radio until May 6th, 2019.
From Taylor Swift’s recent surprise album ‘Folklore,’ the most folkish or “country” song from the collection called “Betty” is being sent to country radio as a proper radio single. It was sent officially to many radio affiliates on Thursday (7-30) after numerous stations were already playing the track.
You may ask yourself why we need even more new versions of old country classics. The answer is that Josh Turner is singing them. From well-known standards to some deeper album cuts, Turner is ready to grace them with his signature bass tone, and will be joined by Randy Travis for his first studio work since 2013.
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.”
It’s Maddie & Tae’s 15-song foray into the various stages of love and relationships, from the heartbreaking to the euphoric, to everything in between. And it comes at a time when arguably one of the greatest songs of the set called “Die From A Broken Heart” is finally finding traction in the radio charts.
The snarky, anti Bro-Country anthem “Girl in a Country Song” is what put the country music duo Maddie & Tae on the map, but “Die From A Broken Heart” might end up being what makes their career. Despite the lack of radio support, “Die From a Broken Heart” was recently certified Gold by the RIAA. Now it’s finding life on radio as well.
“It has been four years since we’ve released an album,” says Maddie Marlow. “For us, this is a lot more than just an album release. This sophomore album will always be a reminder that no matter the setbacks and struggles, we will come out stronger and better. We are so proud of this 15-song story.”
In the immortal words of Tom Petty, it’s Christmas … again. That’s means we have a bunch of seasonal releases from a slew of your favorite country and roots artists to round up just in case Christmas music is your thing. Here’s a run down of all the best releases, as well as a playlist to listen to the best selections.
Alison Krauss, Amanda Anne Platt and the Honeycutters, Amos Lee, Brenda Lee, Buddy Miller, Charlie Marie, Christmas, Cody Canada, Darryl Worley, Dave Cobb, Dualtone Records, Dusty Winds, Gabe Lee, Gene Autry, George Ducas, JD McPherson, Jenny Tolman, Jerry Douglas, Kacey Musgraves, Kathleen Edwards, Keb Mo, Langhorne Slim, Lockwood Barr, Maddie & Tae, Mike Aiken, Phoebe Hunt, Phoebe Hunt and the Gatherers, Randall King, Richard Lynch, Saw Black, Scott Southworth, Sean McConnell, Shut-Ins, Sofia Talvik, Stephanie Urbina Jones, Steve Idlett, Steven James and the Jaded, Tara Thompson, The Briars, The Delta Spirit, The Imaginaries, The Lone Bellow, The McCrary Sisters, The Oak Ridge Boys, Wade Bowen, Warren Haynes, Will Carter
All of a sudden Hootie & the Blowfish—not just Darius Rucker—is signed to Universal Music Group’s country imprint in Nashville, is planning to release a new record on November 1st, and just released a straight up pop rock Hootie & the Blowfish single called “Hold On” that has just become the “most added” song on COUNTRY radio.
Even ceding the argument that the album concept is dead for many listeners these days (which is not true at all for core, grassroots fans), there still doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of reason to release a large handful of your songs before an album’s street date, aside from that just seems to be what everyone does these days.
It’s time once again to juice the Saving Country Music Top 25 Playlist with some new selections, and it starts with a couple of songs from some recent albums receiving positive reviews here at SCM. We begin with the title track of Taylor Alexander‘s new album Good Old Fashioned Pain, which is yet another 2019 […]
Announced Monday morning (3-25), country music duo Maddie & Tae will finally have an album of new music to peddle come April 26th when a 5-song EP called ‘One Heart To Another’ is released via Mercury Nashville. But there’s a reason why this release feels inappropriate, and more of a stop gap than a proper album.
The latest round of additions to the Saving Country Music Top 25 Playlist start with a superb new song from Ward Davis off his new ‘Asunder’ EP. If you’ve ever been through a tough divorce, or even if you haven’t, “Good and Drunk” hits you right where it hurts in the best way.
There’s plenty of mainstream country stars right now braying about the virtues of 90’s country in radio singles, but Maddie & Tae are the only ones actually singing and writing stuff even closely resembling it. Like all good country songs, “Die From A Broken Heart” would fit well in most any era.
“Friends Don’t” is the first taste we get of Maddie & Tae 2.0 for an upcoming record they’ve already let us know will be conceptualized—something quite bold from two 21-year-old women who at this point are just making sure they can hold on to their careers. But Maddie & Tae didn’t get here by following the formula.
for years, Broadway was one of the very few personalities in mainstream country radio willing to ask tough questions of artists, willing to broach subjects otherwise thought of as taboo in the mainstream, and overall just show guts and independent thinking in an otherwise stuffy, closed-off world. And he did it all with class and respect.
It’s tough enough for female-fronted mainstream artists the days, and it became even tougher for the songwriting duo Maddie & Tae when their division of Big Machine Records was dissolved in a downsizing. The fate of the duo was left in the air after it was announced that Dot Records would be ceasing operations.
As time has gone on, I find myself disliking these dudes more and more because I can’t beat back the obvious reality that we’re being misled about these guys. Midland is a machination of the big Music Row industrial complex, no different than most major label artists.
What we know for sure is that Dot Records is no longer a label, at least for now. What we don’t know about is the fate of some of the artists that called the label home. Maddie & Tae, Drake White, and Staind frontman turned country artist Aaron Lewis have an uncertain future.