Words were failing me in my efforts to articulate in any sort of composed and accurate manner what type of depravity country music is currently ailing from, and just what angst I feel about the current state of affairs in the genre. The 50th Annual ACM Awards left me despondent, reeling, and listless from the lack of hope for the future of the country format. And then I saw a picture of Sam Hunt’s hair.
Top 40 pop radio has always been about taking the biggest songs from the respective genres and featuring them in one place. That’s pop radio’s job; that’s its niche in the marketplace. Now country is showing the early signs of coveting that position for itself. Mainstream country radio stretched its belly with Bro-Country, and now that it’s in serious decline, it’s looking for the next fix to filly its over-portioned appetite.
Ted Cruz says he became a country music fan after 9/11, while the digital editor of ‘Ebony’ responded with “Nothing says â€˜Let’s go kill some Muslims’ like country music,” forcing MSNBC to have to publicly distance from the comments. Meanwhile a super PAC supporting Hillary Clinton released a pro-Hillary country song. Here’s how country listeners will be targeted like never before in the upcoming election.
Even though Taylor Swift has 86’d country and said she wants nothing to do with the awards specifically, the ACM’s have minted a special 50th Anniversary “Milestone Award” crafted by noted jewelry designer David Yurman to be handed out to Swift and a few select others. The Milestone Award trophy is made up of more than 1,010 grams of sterling silver, with the top edged with 4.16 carats of black diamonds.
ACM Awards, Brooks & Dunn, Buck Owens, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, George Jones, George Strait, Hank Williams Jr., Merle Haggard, Milestone Award, Miranda Lambert, Reba McEnitre, Taylor Swift, Willie Nelson
Things are going from bad to worse in country music radio rankings, and now were starting see the lengths country radio is willing to go to in an attempt to rekindle the magic. Just six short months ago it looked like popular country music was poised to take over the music world and take down pop as the most dominant genre. Now the ratings for country radio’s key demographic continues its precipitous slide.
Just what country needed—a cute little pop girl pretending to be country, and pushing all the female singers who actually are country yet another step towards the back of a line that they’re already being crowded out of because of the sausage fest at the top of the country charts. Oh, and give an assist to country expat Taylor Swift who tweeted out her admiration for this song.
In 2015, the names and music residing at the top of Billboard’s respective genre charts seems topsy-turvy and misguided. While Sam Hunt and his music that resembles next to nothing country is at the top of the country charts, an artist like Brandi Carlile who does uphold some of those country standards has the top album in rock. A very serious case can be made that those two artists should be switched.
During a phone interview Thursday afternoon (3-12) ahead of Scott Borchetta’s appearance on American Idol, he was asked to comment on the quotes from Sony Nashville CEO Gary Overton who said a couple of weeks ago, “If you’re not on country radio, you don’t exist.” Not only did Borchetta somewhat disagree with Overton’s assessment as being “very broad,” he cited Sturgill Simpson…
I don’t need a workup from Dr. Scratch-N-Sniff to know something is seriously ill with country music here in the first quarter of 2015. We’re not talking about the worn-out complaints about how pop country sucks and how Sam Hunt and Florida Georgia Line don’t belong. Take all of those concerns and put them to the side for a second. I’m talking about the once high-flying country genre…
Ashley Monroe has all the assets that it takes to be a top tier female country music star, and in an environment where the industry seems to be desperately looking to anoint them. A beautiful, astounding singer, excellent songwriter, yet three years into her major label deal and she still feels like the consummate critical darling/commercial outsider.
Taylor Swift right now is at that same juncture as your favorite little company that has grown so big their founding philosophy begins to flounder, and they start to alienate the same customers and principles that got them to where they are. The problem with money is that you can always have more of it, and for many, the more money they have, apparently the more they think they need.
According to sources, a deal is in process for iTunes to purchase the Big Machine Label Group for $250 million. Big Machine’s current distribution deal with UMG is up, and Taylor Swift has one more album left on the label before her contract expires, leading to speculation Big Machine wants to sell before they risk losing their superstar.
But what “Something In The Water” had that no other song that could offer battle to Bro-Country had previously was substance, and one of the most powerful performances we’ve heard from a country artist in the last few years. This is what was needed to defeat Bro-Country. It wasn’t going to take pandering. Leadership is what was needed, and an exhibition of raw talent that could not be denied.
Say what you want about Eric Church’s music, and though he’s sporting one of the most loyal fan bases in popular music these days, he’s also revealed himself as one of the most polarizing figures in country music in the last few years. But you can’t fault the man for thinking outside the box, and scouring the hungry, unwashed faces of independent music when looking for openers.
Spinal Tap, eat your heart out. On Eric Church’s current arena tour, there’s been a special guest making a surprise appearance at each show—a giant multi-story inflatable devil that blows up and towers over the crowd with shimmering eyes and skin on fire. It is conjured during the rendition of Eric Church’s song “Devil, Devil (Prelude: Prince of Darkness).”
2014 has been a year of great flux in country music, with some legendary successes by independent artists and new mainstream artists, and the shuffling out of other artists and the fumbling of what once were legendary, high flying careers. Here’s a run down of the five biggest winners and losers in the greater country music world in 2014.
American Idol, Big Machine Records, Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Brandy Clark, Brantley Gilbert, Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line, Garth Brooks, IBMA, Jason Aldean, Jerrod Niemann, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Sam Hunt, Scott Borchetta, Shane McAnally, Sturgill Simpson, Taylor Swift, Zac Brown Band
Scott Borchetta’s gamble has paid off, and “Girl In A Country Song” is now #1 on country radio according to Mediabase. The distinction shatters a slew of dubious distinctions for the country format, and helps to slay the absolute dearth of female representation on country radio. It means that country radio has its very first female-led act to hit number one on country radio in over 2 years.
As first reported on Tuesday (12-3) and then confirmed Wednesday afternoon, President and CEO of the Big Machine Label Group Scott Borchetta has partnered with American Idol to become the show’s new “mentor.” All of this news comes in stark contrast to how Scott Borchetta felt about the show in 2010 in the aftermath of Taylor Swift’s now legendary off-key performance at the Grammy Awards.
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.
American Idol, American Idol mentor, Brantley Gilbert, Florida Georgia Line, Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez, Jimmy Iovine, Keith Urban, NASH Icon, Randy Jackson, Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, Scott Borchetta, Taylor Swift, The Band Perry, Tim McGraw
CBS Evening News reporter Steve Hartman took a deeper look into how his two young kids were computing the lyrics of country songs in their developing brains as they sat and listened to popular country music in the family motor carriage. His conclusion? “I’ve got some sobering news — Nashville is alcohol-poisoning the minds of our young people,” he says in his report.
Saving Country Music’s 2013 Album of the Year was not Jason Isbell’s breathtaking Southeastern, or Sturgill Simpson’s breakout High Top Mountain, but the comeback record from the Latin-inspired Raul Malo and The Mavericks called “In Time.” Now The Mavericks have announced that they’ve been in the studio again and will release the followup to In Time called “Mono.”
Jason Isbell is the most critically-lauded artist in the Americana music realm at the moment, walking away from September’s awards with Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Artist of the Year, but apparently NBC’s talent competition The Voice doesn’t believe he’s well known enough yet that the flotsam and jetsam of the American public wouldn’t potentially gobble him up as an undiscovered gem.
Yes, Billy Bragg is is the super cool British songwriting icon with a sharp wit and a penchant for social justice that many know and love, and Taylor Swift is the American pop princess with shallow radio singles selling out stadiums and amassing more money than God in a bid for nothing short of world domination. But the shade Billy threw Taylor over her decision to pull her music from Spotify is wild-ass conspiracy theory.
On Monday, November 17th when Garth Brooks appeared on Access Hollywood promoting his upcoming tour dates and the release of his new album Man Against Machine, he was pretty loose lipped about his hatred for certain elements of music technology, and how it has taken a lot of the power out of the hands of artists.