There is one thing that can’t be disputed about the song “Wagon Wheel.” It is unequivocally now one of the biggest songs in country music history. Darius Rucker and his label Capitol Records Nashville celebrated the song going Certified Diamond by the RIAA, meaning it has now racked up 10 million in sales.
Mumford & Sons
Quick question for you. How many women need to accuse Nelly of rape and sexual assault before he becomes a persona no grata in country and roots music similar to Ryan Adams, Morgan Wallen, Winston Marshall of Mumford & Sons, and the like? Your answer must be greater than three.
Ragingly relevant to 2012, the latest Florida Georgia Line reboot goes full-blown Mumford & Sons on our asses as part of their big, multi-year rehabilitation campaign to save their skins from certain doom as a laughing stock of country music history. And when I say Mumford and Sons, I’m talking about the whole damn motif.
Though it would be unfair to lump Kip Moore in with the inner sanctum of the Bro-Country sect, the biggest song of his career so far has been the decidedly Bro mega hit “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck.” Kip was already veering somewhat in the direction of the style we see reveal itself in full force on Wild Ones before the release, so we can’t be wholeheartedly surprised by the overall style of this album.
Langhorne Slim isn’t just looking to entertain you with The Spirit Moves. This isn’t just music in the sense that you listen to it, bob your head and tap your toes, and then go about your business. Langhorne is aiming to stir something up deep inside of you that awakens an inner yearning which in many cases the rest of the world is attempting to suppress, and in turn, maybe inspire to you help aid a similar awakening in others.
The truth is Mumford & Sons were in an impossible situation. And it wasn’t completely their fault. As the poster boys for the over-saturation of string bands in the early part of this decade, it was their destiny to have their ox gored by the popular consciousness. As soon as the humor in these bands with their little mandolins and banjos, suspenders and paperboy hats reached apex proportions in the zeitgeist, it was over.
On March 9th, 2015, the suspenders depressingly slumped off the collective shoulders of America’s over-educated and under-employed string bands, the hipster mustaches had a little less starch, and the slide in banjo sales turned into an downright tailspin as the British outfit that symbolized the very apex of 2012’s old-timey (and in many ways, unfortunate) acoustic craze officially went electric.
That’s right, don’t rub your eyes or adjust your monitors. Justin Townes Earle, who just released his latest album Single Mothers on September 9th, is doing a quick turnaround and releasing yet another brand new full length album Absent Fathers on January 13th, 2015—a companion to his September release that takes its theme from the Single Mothers title track.
This release might mean just a little bit more to Justin Townes Earle. The harder you work for things, the more value they tend to hold. After concluding a five-album contract with the scrappy and street-accredited independent label Bloodshot Records, Justin Townes Earle moved on to what he hoped would be greener pastures, and quickly got his nose pushed in.
Old Crow Medicine Show’s new album Remedy is the first album the string band has released since officially minting a #1 song in the form of Darius Rucker’s take on “Wagon Wheel”, and the first as the freshest members of the prestigious Grand Ole Opry. 2013 was a big year for the buskers, and the band has gone from riding praise from Doc Watson and the kind mentoring from David Rawlings ….
The wait by both Justin Townes Earle and his fans for new music is finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Announced earlier today, Earle will be releasing a new album in the fall on Vagrant Records. After the resolution of Earle’s five-album Bloodshot contract, he found himself in the midst of an intense battle with the British-based label Communion Records.
Songwriter and performer Justin Townes Earle has been on the warpath as of late through his always-entertaining Twitter account, taking to task a record label for standing in the way of a new release. On October 19th, Justin seemed to allude through Twitter that he was done writing the material for a new album…
Larry & His Flask is an interesting music specimen. The biggest advice I could give to an underground roots band right now would be, “Get away from underground roots if you want to grow,” and Larry & His Flask’s success is the perfect example why. Their 2011 stint on the Warped Tour and taking the time to do things right on the business side….
I actually come from the camp that believes that if Mumford & Sons weren’t so popular, more core roots fans would respect them. But it is really hip to hate and undervalue Mumford right now. Let’s hope that the current backlash doesn’t hurt every band with a banjo, because there’s many great string bands out there that and mix high energy and heartfelt songs into the string band concept.
For the first time in the last half decade, the Grand Ole Opry is poised to induct a traditionally-leaning country music act into its distinct and coveted roster of permanent members. Opry member Marty Stuart surprised Old Crow Medicine Show on the Opry stage tonight (8-16) with an invitation to join the storied institution during Old Crow’s scheduled performance.
In the present-day roots music realm we live in times of high cotton. With the widespread commercial success of bands like Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers, and the Avett Brothers, artists and bands that for many years were pushing against stones are finally getting the recognition they deserve. But history teaches that it may not be this way for long.
If you would’ve told The Avett Brothers back in 2007 when they released their album Emotionalism that in five years, the best-selling album in all of music would be from a roots band playing acoustic instruments and featuring emotional, singer/songwriter material, they’d probably call you crazy. But that is the power one album can have to launch a formidable music career…
The Americana Music Awards just announced their 2013 nominees. On September 18th, the awards will once again be held at the prestigious Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, and once again the nominations show a very narrow focus on the dramatically broadening world of Americana music. Aside from the Instrumentalists, only 11 names of artists or groups compile the entire field of 2013 Americana nominees.
There’s been much talk so far this year about how the women of country are outpacing the men when it comes to the quality of music, we’ve talked about possible reasons why that is. But we haven’t talked about some of the men that if simply given a chance, could shoot an immediate injection of substance into the country music format. They just need similar chances to their female counterparts.
This Saturday, April 20th is the 2013 installment of Record Store Day. 2013 has some juicy releases, including some super rare Willie Nelson demo sessions, a split with Waylon Jennings and the Old 97’s, some cool live albums from Gram Parsons and Sarah Jarosz, and a re-issue of Justin Townes Earle’s first album, the Yuma EP.
The comments at the concert beginning a Dixie Chicks world tour sparked off possibly the biggest black balling in the history of American music. Spoken 10 days before the beginning of the Iraq War, the backlash took the Dixie Chicks from the biggest concert draw in country music to relative obscurity in country music in a matter of weeks.
The comments by Marcus Mumford were made to Rolling Stone in a feature posted today that includes comments from all four members of the UK-based roots rock band. A recurring criticism of Mumford has been that many of the songs on their two albums Sigh No More and Babel sound very similar. According to front man and main songwriter Marcus Mumford, a new direction could involve hip-hop and rapping.
If he’s not playing music, there’s no other place Wayne “Train” Hancock would rather be than riding on the back of his 2006 Harley Davidson Super Glide motorcycle. The new album Ride out 2-26 from the “King of Juke Joint Swing” in many ways is a nexus between these two passions, and a very personal work with songs reflecting the current state of his life and career.
Many of the bold changes in the direction of popular music begin with artists that are too fey, too polarizing to become popular themselves. So it takes others who understand how to soften music with sensibilities to make it accessible to the masses, and hopefully, if time is on their side, transect the popularity timeline, resulting in superstardom.