Despite the rumors and speculation, and Saving Country Music once naming him the “Country Music Antichrist,” apparently Scott Borchetta is indeed a mortal after all. We’re still trying to sift out what exactly has happened to the Big Machine Label Group’s Dot Records, which has apparently bit the bullet.
Ronnie Dunn has the voice and the name to where if he wanted to transition into a legacy act or do like Tim McGraw and make the best of the opening up of the format to better songs, he could really do some damage. But he has to really commit to it. His days of #1 hits and CMA Awards are unfortunately in the past.
There’s a ton of great records from Hank starting the the late 70’s all the way up to the early 90’s that country fans will be pulling off of shelves for years to come when they’re looking for some good country music with a rock and roll kick, and if I had a vote I would induct Hank Williams Jr. into the Country Music Hall of Fame in the Modern Era category yesterday. But It’s About Time adds nothing to Hank Jr.’s legacy.
In peep show fashion over the last few days, Hank Williams Jr. has revealed he’ll be releasing his latest album called “It’s About Time.” It will be Hank Jr.’s first album on Big Machine Records’ NASH Icon imprint. He signed to the label meant to give new life to older artists in late April.
Announced today in press release fashion, the 49th Annual, 2015 CMA Awards will be opened by newly-signed NASH Icon recording artist Hank Williams Jr. singing Waylon’s interpretation of Neil Young’s “Are You Ready For the Country?” first released on an album of the same name by Waylon in 1976. Hank Jr. will be joined by Eric Church in the rendition.
Cumulus Media’s NASH concept wants to become the one stop shop for corporate country consumers, and the country industry is more than willing to play ball as long as the company spreads its capital around to launch grandiose ventures and continues to play its artists on the radio. But there’s a problem. A big one.
We bitch, we moan, we criticize, we celebrate the symbolic little victories that give us hope that a sea change for country music is imminent, or at least slowly taking hold, even though in many respects things only seem to get worse every year. And we look for ways to implement meaningful solutions to the problems plaguing country music so it can once again become a medium of creativity.
Trying to get a handle on Ronnie Dunn over the last few years has been like trying to catch a greased piglet. His rhetoric has been nothing short of revolutionary, but his artistic output has been a mixed bag at best. The former Brooks & Dunn member became disenfranchised by the Nashville system after his first solo release in 2011, and so he started a public relations crusade through his Facebook page.
As first hypothesized by Saving Country Music in December of 2014, Hank Williams Jr. is the newest signee to NASH Icon—the joint venture between Cumulus Media and the Big Machine Label Group meant to give new life to aging artists who’ve been passed over by mainstream country radio. Hank Jr. joins Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, and Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn in NASH Icon’s inaugural class.
Where is talk of the format split on the agenda at CRS? You would think it would be dominating the proceedings. I mean, we’re talking about what would be the largest overhaul of country radio in its existence. But is it even being discussed, or are people more focused on the big Garth Brooks party as he tries to retool after his retirement and make up for now two failed radio singles.
While nobody was paying attention, the Dickey Brothers of Cumulus Media added yet another tentacle to their increasingly tentacle-rich country music venture known as NASH. NASH TV boasts videos and programs from some of NASH radio’s biggest shows. Then you can get extremely niche-like with shows such as “Picks From The Sticks” and “HickXtreme.” Cue the incidental comedy.
As Tippin says, country music appears to be shifting away from so-called “Bro-Country” to music of a little more substance lately, and though there still seems to be much more work to be done and a few more Bro-Country hits could still materialize (or something even worse to take its place), positive signs that country is moving in a more positive direction are appearing.
NASH Icon is ramping up for a big 2015, making some significant moves on Monday (1-12) to start the year where 2014 ended: stirring conversation about where country music is headed and potentially stimulating a format split that would see more older country music return to the airwaves en masse. The long rumored signing of Ronnie Dunn to the label has been officially announced.
“Going Out Like That” is not just another single. It symbolizes the very first song from the NASH Icon enterprise pairing Big Machine Records with Cumulus Media in an effort to revitalize overlooked legacy artists, and the first single from Reba McEntire in nearly four years. As the precursor to a planned 2015 album release, the single also may give us a glimpse into what we can expect from a revamped Reba.
2014 was a year of great flux in country music. Where 2013 was dominated by public feuds and outcries by many country performers about the direction of the music, 2014 became the year things began to be done about many of the problems plaguing the genre. With Bro-Country as the battleground, the fight to return some balance to the country format began to make headway.
It’s not every day you get trolled by a CMA Entertainer of the Year winner, but that’s what Saving Country Music found itself experiencing Sunday night (12-28) when Ronnie Dunn took to his always colorful Facebook page to post links and commentary to recent stories on SCM about his involvement (or non involvement) with the new Cumulus Media/Big Machine Records’ joint venture called NASH Icon.
NASH Icon, the partnership between Cumulus Media and Big Machine Label Group meant to give new life to older country stars, has its second signee. Martina McBride, rumored since the beginning of the new imprint to be a possible artist for the label, made it official on Tuesday (12-23). But there is a curious situation brewing between the label and another older star—Ronnie Dunn.
It looks like Hank Williams Jr. might be the next signee to the Cumulus Media / Big Machine Label Group joint venture known as NASH Icon meant to give new life to aging artists who’ve been passed over by mainstream country radio. In the midst of Hank’s ACCA performance, he switched over from a cowboy hat to a black hat with gold lettering that simply read “ICON” across the front.
That’s right, the The Country Music Antichrist, aka President and CEO of the Big Machine Label Group Scott Borchetta is in talks to become the newest mentor on the singing reality show competition American Idol. He would be replacing Randy “Dog” Jackson—the only member of the show’s original cast aside from host Ryan Seacrest.
NASH Icon once again is #1 in Nashville. But how is NASH Icon faring outside of Nashville? Sure, Music City is an important battleground as the ‘Home of Country Music’ and the home market for iHeartMedia’s rival flagship country station. But for the country format to formally split, it’s going to take much more action across the country in major markets.
Cumulus Media’s NASH Icon radio concept mixing older country music in with more contemporary songs continues to gain steam, while yet another radio format called NASH Classics is on its way, and some big signings to the label side of NASH Icon appear to be imminent. John Dickey gave the first indication that the media giant could be giving classic country music a bigger home on the radio.
The signs continue to point towards the country music radio format officially splitting in two, with Top 40 country, and “Icon” country covering music from as far back as the 80’s vying for equal share of the country music listenership. Now another local radio station has switched to the new country format, and the verbiage accompanying the format change shows just how much sway NASH Icon is having.
Tuesday morning, Reba McEntire appeared on Cumulus Media’s NASH-branded country music flagship broadcast America’s Morning Show to make a big announcement, and as speculated upon in the days before, Reba told the world she was the inaugural signee with Scott Borchetta’s and Cumulus Media’s joint record label NASH Icon.
It has become patently obvious, especially over the last few years, that country music exists in two completely different worlds. One is the traditional world, where the way country music sounds is in close proximity to the way it has always sounded. And the other is Top 40 or mainstream country, which in the last few years has become the home for a hodgepodge of musical influences.