To enumerate everything that has happened with The Band Perry since they went from winning awards and selling out mid-sized arenas, to now playing 300-capacity rooms, is a convoluted, and somewhat sordid story of chasing a pop dream of Taylor Swift-level superstardom, and striking out demonstrably.
Zac Brown Band
At this point you just can’t even look away. Like coming up on some grizzly roadside accident, you know it’s going to be grotesque, horrific, and mentally scarring for the rest of your life. But even as you cover your face, the index finger raises ever so slightly, and you sneak a peep. And yes, it’s as bad as you expected.
Can we go back to the time when the biggest worry we had with The Zac Brown Band was that his song “Chicken Fried” was a precursor to Bro-Country? Remember that moment in 2009 when he took the stage at the CMA Awards and ripped into a badass version of “Devil Went Down to Georgia” and had us all pumping our fists?
Boy, you thought witnessing the never-ending drama and identity crisis roiling The Band Perry was dizzying to the point of hilarity, and then began to feel downright sorry for them as matters got even worse as they grappled for mainstream relevancy. Well now Zac Brown has just said, “Hold my beer and watch this.”
The 2nd Annual Party in the Pines Festival scheduled to occur in White Springs, Florida October 19th and 20th at the Bienville Plantation has been abruptly cancelled just 10 days before gates were set to open, leaving fans and artists in the lurch and looking for refunds and explanations.
Whether there’s any need for panic among fans and artists who are part of the new reshuffle remains to be seen, but it is certainly something to keep an eye on. Often these label reshuffles are enacted with the best of intentions, and the devil is ultimately is in the details.
Zac Brown just can’t help himself. You can’t fault the guy for wanting to follow his musical passions, if in fact that’s the motivation here and not just padding his pockets. But he’s broken a promise to country fans once again by releasing a song that is admittedly not country to country radio.
While in the independent realm of country music, 2017 went down as a record year for quality projects, the mainstream was downright abysmal pretty much across the board for both songs and albums. There actually were quite a few pretty good songs, but most struggled to gain traction in the charts.
Austin City Limits has just announced the lineup for their upcoming 43rd season, and sorry Austin musicians who the show was originally commissioned to chronicle and document, but you won’t get any attention from your local Public Television Station, , unless it’s a seminar about what to do about Austin’s evaporating music scene.
Give Zac Brown credit. He listened to his fans, as opposed to speaking down to them about how music needs to evolve, or some other line of flawed reasoning where he could justify his actions to himself if nobody else. It’s hard to describe Zac Brown Band’s ‘Welcome Home’ as anything but what it is, which is a complete about-face.
Zac Brown promised last September that the band would be bringing the music back to its roots, and he certainly delivers on that promise with Zac Brown Band’s latest single called “My Old Man.” But how we got here and why such a return to the roots is even possible or necessary is important context.
On Saturday, 12-17, Music City Roots, Yee-Haw Brewing Co., and Ole Smoky Moonshine are organizing a benefit for the fire victims called Mountain Tough that will include performances by Jim Lauderdale, Mo Pitney, The Secret Sisters, Sam Bush, Chuck Mead, Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley, and headliners the Zac Brown Band.
I’ll tell you exactly what’s going on with Zac Brown folks. He’s tired of just playing country and Southern rock, and he would sell out his entire career and fritter away all the cred he’s accrued with dedicated fans for going on two decades just for the chance to indulge his fancy that he can be some sort of power player in the weirdo hybrid EDM pop world.
Don’t blame me for taking an “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude after listening to “Beautiful Drug” and “Tomorrow Never Comes” off of their latest album Jekyll + Hyde, but Zac Brown and the Zac Brown Band have just released a new missive putting their fans on alert that they’re heading back into the studio soon, and will be “returning to their roots” on the new album.
I’m speaking of Thomas Rhett’s “Vacation,” with its diabolically ridiculous baggage of 14 songwriters, and viral video featuring pubescent girls singing about drinking “cold ones.” “Vacation” is nothing more than two previous songs mashed together.
And so continued on the unrelenting march of terrible songs in 2015. This year included some especially diabolical turns that puts the last 12 months in contention for the worst run for songs in country music history. Of course the usual suspects appear on the rap sheet like Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett, and Sam Hunt. But 2015 ushered in the worst year for watching previously heralded artists turning their coats from blue to red.
Alabama, Bret Michaels, Brett Eldredge, Cole Swindell, Danielle Bradbery, Eli Young Band, Eric Paslay, Gary Allan, Granger Smith, Jennifer Nettles, Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Bryan, Randy Houser, Sam Hunt, Scotty McCreery, The Band Perry, Thomas Rhett, Ucle Ezra Ray, Zac Brown Band
The “Benedict Arnold of Country Music,” a.k.a. Zac Brown, sat down recently with the always-complicit Rolling Stone Country to participate in yet another puff piece, and shoved his foot so far down his throat, Cheryl Tiegs would be colored impressed by his the once country star’s incredible pliability.
“. . . we play all of our own instruments, we write the best songs that we can, and we put harmony on the songs, we have a real band,” Zac Brown said in response to Luke Bryan’s “That’s My Kind of Night” not two years ago. And now the exact criticisms he leveled at Luke Bryan could be leveled at him. But they won’t be.
When many country and Southern rock fans got their copy of Zac Brown Band’s latest release Jekyll + Hyde, they feverishly ripped off the cellophane, struggled with the stupid sticker the runs across the top edge and never comes off in one piece, and then put that puppy into the CD player so full of excitement and anticipation, they found themselves nothing short of crestfallen and shockingly confused…
The idea that Jason Isbell saved country music when his latest release Something More Than Free inched out Alan Jackson for the #1 spot on Billboard’s Country Albums chart has been offered as a discussion topic by cosmic songwriter and east Nashville sage Todd Snider. Above all else, how awesome is it to have the old version of Todd Snider back in our midst?
Training camps for the 2015 NFL season haven’t even commenced yet, and one of the NFL’s star defensive tackles has already recorded his first sack . . . that is unless you take a second look on instant replay and want to throw a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct. Houston Texans defensive superstar J.J. Watt was in attendance for the Zac Brown Band portion of Summer Fest…
Zac Brown covered Isbell’s “Dress Blues” on his recent release Jekyll + Hyde. Though it was fairly common back on the 70’s through the 90’s to have bigger artists cover songs from alt-country voices such as Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, and Lucinda Williams, the “Dress Blues” cover is one of the first examples of the newer generation of Americana artists garnering wider exposure through the vehicle of bigger stars.
July 17th can’t get here quick enough for fans of the highly-decorated songwriter and Americana star Jason Isbell. That’s the day his much-anticipated release Something More Than Free hits stores—the followup to his heavily-decorated album Southeastern from 2013. Isbell has just made the new album available for pre-order, and has also released the first single from the album called “24 Frames.”
Music is not a skills competition. This isn’t the decathlon. They don’t hand out Grammy Awards for the band that can play songs from the most genres. They give Grammys to the artists who steady themselves and prove they are the best in a given musical discipline. I’ll give credit to the backing band of Weird Al for their alacrity. With the Zac Brown Band, I just want to hear good songs.