Country music still needs saving ladies and gentlemen, and is still searching for the absolute statistical rock bottom when it comes to quality and substance in songs. Defining the “worst” has officially reached new parameters. So let’s cover our ears, pinch our noses, and set these stinking piles of refuse up to ceremoniously knock them down.
Since the tender age of 11, fraternal twins Sarah and Savannah Church from the coal mining region of Dickerson County, Virginia have been spellbinding listeners with their close sister harmonies evoked in classic bluegrass and gospel arrangements worthy of consideration right beside the all-time greats of the discipline.
Carrie Underwood co-produced her entire new record out in September. This takes Carrie Underwood—a top tier country performer—into virtually uncharted territory in the mainstream, at least in the near term. This move by Carrie Underwood is incredibly audacious for country, mainstream or otherwise, from a man or a woman.
A strong case can be made that Maren Morris is one of the worst things, if not the worst thing going on in mainstream country at the moment, with just a few select challengers. It’s Maren Morris, and a host of now purely pop women like Bebe Rexha who are most responsible the worst offenses on the country radio dial at the moment
So there was a little drama last week. And though the result was not much more than a tempest in a teapot that probably most of you were perfectly unaware of since it was primarily relegated to the purview of media personalities, unfortunately some fallacious and irresponsible accusations were laid at the feet of Saving Country Music.
The song is complete trash of course, with paint-by-the-numbers lyrics, and absolutely no acumen evidenced in the composition. But the best (or worst) part is this entire thing—in the immortal words of Ralphie from ‘A Christmas Story’—is nothing more than “a crummy commercial.”
As much of the country music nervous system was affixed to the 60th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday (1-28), another high-profile event was happening down in Tampa, Florida where the NHL was holding their annual All-Star Game. “Country” artist Brett Young is a native of the area and was tapped to sing the National Anthem.
A bevy of headlines from numerous country music media sources incensed about the restrictions being put on media emerged in the aftermath of the CMA asking media to not focus on the Las Vegas tragedy or politics in the CMA red carpet, cascading into the internet fury we so regularly see in the current political climate.
Tired on hearing people whining about the lack of women on country radio? Perhaps it’s because despite all of the protestations and constant focus on the issue, it still is a huge lingering problem that continues to get worse instead of better. And now Miranda Lambert, who has spoken out about the issue before, is getting hopping mad.
“Nice Things” delves into the possessive nature of love in a bold effort that accentuates Guyton’s vocal strengths, and is stirred with Jerry Douglas-sounding rootsy dobro. Mickey Guyton resists the temptation to inflect her voice with urban annunciations and R&B styling that is all the rage in the mainstream country today.
Upcoming country starlet Maren Morris, who’s been making waves of her own, was supposed to appear on Wheeler Walker’s duet. Maren even recorded the track with Wheeler, and Sony Nashville originally signed off on the collaboration. But at the last minute, the label apparently got cold feet, and permission was pulled.
Sometimes the effort to save country music feels like one step forward, two steps back. Last week at this time we were all gaga over the fact that Chris Stapleton’s stripped-down new single “Either Way” was the most added single at country radio and debuted at a surprisingly #26 on the charts, but “Either Way” took a proverbial dive during its second week.
If for nothing else, give Thomas Rhett credit for this: He’s taken an incredibly average set of marginal skills and talent, and made himself into a bona fide arena-level superstar. That in itself takes a level of cunning that your ordinary citizen doesn’t posses. Music Row in Nashville has an implausible knack for making mediocrity seem exceptional.
To show the great reverence that the ACM Awards take with these New Artists distinctions, and to shower incredible appreciation for the musical contributions of these fine performers, the ACM’s, with distinct honor, announced the winners of these awards on a random late Tuesday morning on freaking Twitter.
‘A Sailor’s Guide to Earth’ rocketed to the top of the iTunes charts, landing at #1 in country, and #7 overall. And that wasn’t the only album that saw a sales spike. What’s also a bit surprising is how the country music industry seems to be ignoring the surge, while talking about the surge for other artists.
Sturgill Simpson is up for two major awards, and will also have one of only eight solo performance slots on the entire night. He will perform backed up by the famous horn section The Dap-Kings. Sturgill has to be considered the front runner for Best Country Album since he is also up for the all-genre Album of the Year, but nothing is assured.
The nominees for the 50th Annual CMA Awards have been announced, and Chris Stapleton, Eric Church, and newcomer Maren Morris lead the field each with five nominations. Stapleton continues to be the big surprise, picking up a nomination for the evening’s biggest prize, Entertainer of the Year, and four other nominations.
If someone is apt to not pay attention to female artists, whether that’s a garden variety country fan or a major label executive, bunching female artists together is probably not going to garner their attention, it’s probably going to turn them off even more, especially if the premise of putting these artists together is an attempt to break through a gender bias.
Usually such a list is only reserved for the worst songs at the halfway pole of a given year, but 2016 has been especially lush with heartbreakily bad efforts, including from some artists who tend to be on the right side of the good music/ bad music divide. So before we really take the gloves off, let’s reflect back on 2016 biggest disappointments in the album category.
I guess I got the wrong album, because all I’m hearing is derivative, rehashed pop diva hip-hop crap from a honky chick hailing from white flight suburbia trying to exude too much attitude in songs that mix rap cadences with cultural misappropriations in an attempt to pander to a new demographic of music listeners since mainstream country has abandoned its core audience.