Alright, so we’ve run down the Saving Country Music Album of the Year nominees, and awarded The Winner. And we’ve also populated the 2019 Essential Albums List. Now it’s time to single out the dogs of the last calendar year and let them hear it. Here ladies and gentlemen are your WORST “Country” Albums for 2019.
Zac Brown Band
One sign that mainstream country music continues to improve is the decrease in “country” songs that were worthy of rants in 2019 compared to previous years. However there were a few exceptions in 2019, and songs worthy of taking out back to the woodshed. Our full-throated opposition to these monstrosities misappropriated as “country.”
You hate to keep coming back to this stupid topic of Zac Brown going off the rails with his two latest releases—The Zac Brown Band’s The Owl, and his solo album The Controversy. There’s just too much great music out there right now to keep harping on this subject. But once again Zac Brown is spouting off in the media.
On NBC’s ‘The Voice’ Monday night (10-28), a contestant named Jake Hoot performed Jason Isbell’s “Cover Me Up” as part of the singing show. Taylor Swift, who was acting as a coach on the episode, even remarked “I love Jason Isbell,” when Jake Hoot said he was covering “Cover Me Up.” It’s more evidence the song has become a standard.
The worst part about Zac Brown’s The Controversy is that it was released on September 27th—one of these “Super Release Days” that we’ve been getting more and more of recently, where there are quite literally a dozen marquee albums being released simultaneously, and ones that are much more worthy of people’s attention than this.
This new Zac Brown Band record is so bad, the label BMG appears to have pulled any and all promo behind it.The lead single from the record called “Someone I Used To Know” flunked out of the country radio charts. In short, with his new record, The Zac Brown Band appears to have just offed their mainstream career.
Zac Brown brought the class of country music’s “also ran” awards show down yet another notch when he decided to drop an F-bomb on live television, and in a prepared statement, and on a show that was rated by the cable network as family friendly.
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.
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.