Stuff a sock down your pants, unearth your razor shades, bust out the acid wash, and get ready to party like it’s 1989 because what started as a cover band stage gag back in 2015 has now become a full-blown major label release with original songs and radio single. It’s called Hot Country Knights.
Wheeler Walker Jr.
It was a little over a year ago that the foul-mouthed country act perpetrated by comedian Ben Hoffman known as Wheeler Walker Jr. went MIA after an internet brushup. Walker Jr. found himself on the wrong side of the contentious issue. Now he’s back with a new song and a Greatest Hits album on the way.
When Dierks Bentley announced that his next album cycle would surround his screw off side project with his road band called Hot Country Knights and that they’d actually signed to UMG Nashville, we really didn’t know what to expect. We knew he was getting silly, but we had no idea he’d be getting funny too.
I get it, you take to the internet to read insightful and incisive reviews on records you may or may not purchase or stream. But on this particular project, I really don’t know what to think about it, or what to tell you to think about it. More specifically, I can see it both ways, and think that both sides of the argument are right.
After making some remarks about keeping the back door open and allowing people like himself in, and making reference to his mispronounced name, Tyler Childers delivered a directed and pointed diss to the term “Americana,” saying it was a distraction from the real problems of country music.
One of Hinterland Music Fest’s most most memorable moments came during the set of Tyler Childers in the early afternoon when at one point both Sturgill Simpson and Wheeler Walker Jr., joined Tyler on stage. Sturgill was sitting in with Tyler’s band on guitar during the set, and Wheeler joined them on stage.
This is all especially concerning since Country Music USA is the basis of the new Ken Burns film on country music, which will reach a much wider audience than this final chapter, and like all Ken Burns films, be referenced by many generations to come as a master work of country music history.
Many folks were caught off guard when the curious tour lineup of the Wet Cigarette of Music Kid Rock, Bro-Country Godfather Brantley Gilbert, and foul-mouthed comedic country artist Wheeler Walker Jr. was revealed last week, dubbed the “Red Blooded Rock N Roll Redneck Extravaganza Tour.”
If Bebe Rexha herself is not claiming to be country, then why the hell has her song been #1 on the country charts for 15 weeks now, and just broke the Top 10 at country radio? Someone please send Bebe Rexha’s quote over to Billboard’s country chart manager Jim Asker and have him explain to us why this ruse continues.
Kentucky has always been the fertile crescent of country music. It just happens to be that lately it has kicked its output into overdrive, and more than any other state at the moment, it’s Kentucky’s sons and daughters fueling the country music insurgency turning the mainstream on its head.
Music can teach us that we all love, we all face fears, and we all can overcome whatever inward or outward oppression that may be dogging us to flourish and prosper. If a music artist chooses to broach political subjects or to speak out against injustices in their music, them more power to them. But don’t hold silence accountable as complicity.
Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Backroad” has now topped the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for 17 straight weeks. Meanwhile, “Body Like a Backroad” continues to pick up crossover spins. Unfortunately for Miranda Lambert, her current single “Tin Man” is headed in the opposite direction.
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.
The truth is we have no idea why Bill O’Reilly was fired from the most prominent seat in cable news commentary. The allegations against him could all be false claims from money-grubbing hussies looking to take advantage of his celebrity. But in country music, the way women are looked upon, and the way they’re spoken to is spelled out right there in the songs.
After Sturgill Simpson and his recent album A Sailor’s Guide to Earth took home the trophy for Best Country Album at the 2017 Grammy Awards and was in contention for Album of the Year, some wondered if the ACM Awards would finally wise up and offer Sturgill Simpson a nomination.
Foul-mouthed country music star Wheeler Walker Jr. is furious after crowdfunding and merch fulfillment site PledgeMusic pulled pre-orders for his new album Ol’ Wheeler on Wednesday (2-22) due to concerns over the content, Saving Country Music has confirmed.
The prospects of a new incarnation of the long-running country music-themed television show Hee-Haw being in the works opens up a whole realm of delicious possibilities of how the show could take shape, and who could comprise the cast. So if a new Hee-Haw show comes to pass, who should be part of the cast?
Merchandise sales are the manna of the independent music world. With no disrespect to the musical efforts of your favorite artist, you can boil them down to glorified T-shirt salespeople in the way the lion’s share of their profits come from the merch table. It’s what puts gas in their tank and food on their table, and allows them to make a respectable living.
It says a lot about where country music is, and where Wheeler Walker Jr. is going, that his show at Austin’s new Grizzly Hall was one of the most highly-anticipated country shows in Austin in months. Bloggers, radio DJ’s, and even Texas country artist Sam Riggs turned out to see what all of the hype was about surrounding the country’s newest raunch artist.
One of the few saving graces for the show beyond a Chris Stapleton performance of “Parachute” and a scant, 1-minute tribute to Merle Haggard via Dierks Bentley, was that foul-mouthed country music comedic country singer Wheeler Walker Jr. crashed the shindig and offered side splitting photos, updates, and commentary throughout the night.
Whether you like what he’s throwing down, or you think he’s a foul-mouthed yob, there’s no denying that Wheeler Walker Jr. has become nothing short of a country music phenomenon, with continued strong album sales, high streaming numbers if from nothing else than a curiosity factor, and even some unexpected recognition from mainstream artists.
And then here comes this foul-mouthed comedy country artist named Wheeler Walker Jr., and all of a sudden we have a new man taking the point at trashing pop country. None of Wheeler Walker Jr.’s songs are “country protest” songs like we hear dozens and dozens of other traditional country artists perform. It’s the attitude he’s taking that’s slowly making him into a pretty serious gadfly for pop country and its suitors.