Jason Isbell is not country. He is decidedly Americana. But Jason Isbell deserves his nomination for Album of the Year by the CMAs just as much as anyone has ever deserved that distinction. When songwriting is as good as Jason Isbell’s, it transcends genre. Every genre wants to call it their own.
You may not know them personally, or maybe you do. Or maybe you even count yourself as one of them. But somewhere out there are swaths of country fans who swear off all that effeminate country crap from from folks like Sam Hunt and Luke Bryan, and swear they only like the real stuff. You know … like The Cadillac Three.
Kentucky songwriter and performer Tyler Childers has just released what might as well be considered his debut album ‘Purgatory’ via Thirty Tigers, and for an independent artist with virtually no radio play and no national television exposure, ‘Purgatory’ has sold through surprisingly well.
It’s bad enough there are so many pop stars out there pretending to be country artists these days. But lately there has been a big rash of impersonator accounts targeting some of your favorite country artists, including ones reaching out to fans with private messages to solicit individuals for money, credit card numbers, etc.
After a recent trip to Japan to play a festival in Niigata, Sturgill contracted a good ol’ fashioned case of “bubble guts.” Then his keyboard player Bobby Emmett sprung a leak when he broke some keys on the very first song of the Little Rock set and then cut his hand on them. But the show must go on, and the result was a bloody mess.
The small yet mighty, meticulously-curated, and expertly-planned festival just outside of Portland, OR known as Pickathon continues to be the local festival with international implications in how talent presented at the festival is given the possibility to break out onto the national stage.
Billy Strings, Brent Cobb, Brett Resnick, Courtney Marie Andrews, Dori Freeman, Drive By Truckers, Hiss Golden Messenger, Kaia Kater, Kelsey Waldon, Luke Bell, Mandolin Orange, Matt Kinman, Patterson Hood, Pickathon, Sturgill Simpson
Just like Sturgill Simpson and Chris Stapleton, Tyler Childers was playing and writing music for many years before he was ready to become a part of the national country music conversation. It was only after years of failure, perseverance, tempering in the fires of everyday life and dues paid on small stages that Tyler was ready.
To put it bluntly, the ability of Blackbird Presents to curate talent for events is pretty terrible, and appears to be done without any true understanding of the layout of the current country music landscape. Some of the invites for these Blackbird Presents events seem so incredibly blind to the realities present in country music fandom, it’s remarkable.
“Alan Jackson. Wholeheartedly. Alan Jackson. All day. Everyday,” is what the former fiddle player for The Band Perry Jason Fitz said when asked who was the person in country music you most want to punch in the face. Jason Fitz now works for ESPN where the segment occurred.
Sturgill Simpson was selling out 2,500-capacity venues on consecutive nights before the Grammy noise, and he’s choosing to use the aftermath to play the Grianán Theater in Letterkenney, Ireland, capacity 383. These shows seem to be more for Sturgill than the audience or his pocketbook.
This week, Florida Georgia Line’s collaboration with the Backstreet Boys called “God, Your Mama, and Me” hit #1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay Chart, meaning The Backstreet Boys—a washed-up boy bad who otherwise had not received a #1 distinction for over 18 years—is now the owner of a country music #1.
Ashley Monroe, Backstreet Boys, Brandy Clark, Cam, Chris Stapleton, David Allan Coe, Florida Georgia Line, God Your Mama and Me, Jamey Johnson, Jason Isbell, Kacey Musgraves, Marty Stuart, Sturgill Simpson
Sturgill Simpson is such an enigma, to see his name crop up as the producer on the album from someone else is shocking and intriguing. Stugill has made a career out of saying “no” to reporters, industry professionals, and opportunities some artists would kill for. So how and why did he say “yes” to Tyler Childers?
Over the decade of conducting business under the heading of “Saving Country Music,” no artist has created more anticipation and intrigue into what their future prospects may be, yet with so few national accomplishments and recognition than Tyler Childers.
It was said by many after the release of Wheeler Walker Jr.’s first album Redneck Shit, “Okay, that was fun. But where do you go next?” Wheeler Walker Jr. has an entirely new album’s worth of songs. That’s what he’s got. And he’s got ’em in a pretty short turnaround, and they’re just as funny and wit-filled as the first, if not more.
Folks who just hopped on the country insurgency train when they heard about Chris Stapleton or Sturgill Simpson may wonder what the deal is with a guy like Justin Townes Earle. Maybe they recognize the name and draw the connection to his famous father, but is he something special, or just another name in “Americana,” whatever that means?
In yet another sign that Sturgill Simpson is moving up in the world, it has been announced he will be opening select tour dates on the Guns & Roses’ “Not In This Lifetime” stadium tour that has been extended well into the summer.
If Sturgill Simpson is today’s country music equivalent to Kurt Cobain, then perhaps a similar parallel can be drawn between Cody Jinks and Soundgarden/Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell. It’s no longer a matter of if, but when Cody’s name is included as a default in the conversation with guys like Sturgill, Isbell, and Stapleton.
Ever wonder what would happen if one of the deep insiders in the big Music Row system broke free and started spilling the beans on all the stuff that happens behind-the-scenes? That is exactly what former radio promoter and executive Tom Moran is doing on his Inside Nashville podcast.
The Americana Music Association announced the nominees for their 2017 awards on Tuesday afternoon (5-9) via a live press conference from the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Ford Theater. Along with announcing the nominees, the presentation included performances from multiple Americana artists.
Amanda Shires, Billy Bragg, Brent Cobb, Caitlin Canty, Charlie Sexton, Courtney Hartman, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Jason Isbell, Jen Gunderman, Jerry Douglas, Joe Henry, John Prine, Lori McKenna, Margo Price, Marty Stuart, Milk Carton Kids, Rodney Crowell, Ryan Adams, Spencer Cullum Jr., Sturgill Simpson, The Drive-By Truckers, The Lumineers
“Body Like a Backroad.” It looks to shatter even the incredible and previously-thought insurmountable records of Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise.” Right now we sit in an eerily-similar position as we did in May of 2013. “Body Like A Backroad” is absolutely dominating every single song chart that country music has.