This story has been updated.
Everybody has a Spotify playlist now. It’s the new paradigm and all that. Even Randy Travis—the 58-year-old Country Music Hall of Famer and man most responsible for the neotraditional rebirth of country in the mid 80’s—he’s jumped into the action, despite still suffering from the results of his stoke in 2013, and being unable to fully speak or walk without assistance. His new Spotify playlist launched recently is called “Diggin’ Up Songs.” And it is complete trash.
The effrontery of whomever is really responsible for compiling these five songs together and presenting it as an expression of Randy’s tastes or desires is appalling. This is ridiculous, and everyone involved in the perpetration of this ruse must think we are all incredibly gullible. First, why only five songs? Famous folks are launching these playlists all over the place, and they’re often filled with 30 songs or more. And all they can come up with for Randy Travis is five?
But these songs are a joke. And this isn’t really a matter of taste. What is the impetus of a playlist compiled by a famous artist? It’s so the listener can say, “Hey, I like Randy Travis. I wouldn’t mind listening to some songs similar to his, or what he might listen to.” But instead what you get here is the same exact refuse you find on virtually all of Spotify’s officially-curated “country” playlists.
Granted, there does seem to be some sort of relationship Randy Travis has stoked with newcomer Kane Brown, who has the first song on the playlist. “Heaven” also might be one of the better tracks from Kane, if such a thing exists. But just the intro to the next song on the playlist, “The Long Way” by Brett Eldredge has you tossing your breakfast. This leads into what Saving Country Music has officially declared as the worst song in the history of country music, that being Walker Hayes’ “You Broke Up With Me.”
Next comes the very mild Luke Combs song “One Number Away,” which may be the only tolerable track on the playlist, leading into the terrible “Doin’ Fine” by Lauren Alaina.
These five tracks are the exact type of selections you see on playlists you know are being manipulated by streaming-era payola. Kane Brown and Luke Combs are literally #1 and #2 on the list of suspected country playlist manipulators, with the whole career of Kane Brown predicated on fudged numbers. And get this: All five of these songs on this playing are the current singles from these respective artists, all of which are on the B-level of the mainstream, and all are looking to push their career through streaming boosts.
“Digging Up Songs”? How deep are you digging when you simply select the current singles of the five artists you are featuring? Okay maybe Randy Travis doesn’t know about Cody Jinks or Zephaniah Ohora. But you would expect to at least see maybe some William Michael Morgan, Mo Pitney, or Jon Pardi on here. Why isn’t there anything from Shane Owens since Randy Travis was the executive producer of Shane’s last record?
Simply put, they’re using the name and visage of Randy Travis to push an incredibly-obvious Music Row-manipulated Spotify ruse. This is the most conspicuous and blunt attempt at swindling the public I have ever seen in the history of Saving Country Music, and is the most glaring example of the playlist manipulations happening on Spotify we’ve experienced heretofore. They basically just outed themselves. And what’s even dumber is that whomever signed off on this on Randy’s behest probably thinks that putting Randy’s name behind this garbage is a way to keep him relevant.
“Though Randy may not be able to perform right now, his love and affinity for music stands strong,” says his wife, Mary Davis-Travis. “We like to say he is ‘singing a new song’ and spending his time giving back to the community and supporting fellow artists — streaming is a great new outlet to do just that.”
But don’t blame her here. Trust me, there are bigger forces at play.
I don’t want to be rude. Randy Travis is an absolute legend. But if you think we’re stupid enough to believe that these were five songs hand selected by Randy Travis from all the amazing country music out there from the present and the past, you’re a dumbass.
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Editor’s Note: Saving Country Music has spoken to people familiar with this playlist that insist Randy Travis did select these songs, though he selected them from a list of songs that had been curated for him to choose from. They also point out that more songs will be added in the coming weeks.
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The Randy Travis “Diggin’ Up Bones” Spotify Playlist:
(and no, I’m not linking to it or embedding it)
- Kane Brown – “Heaven”
- Brett Eldredge – “The Long Way”
- Walker Hayes – “You Broke Up With Me”
- Luke Combs – “One Number Away”
- Lauren Alaina – “Doin’ Fine”