Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Not a what, again?

April 8, 2014

Wow. I would call Luke Bryan’s merchandise manager a tool, but that’s arguably an insult to things that actually have a use. I can almost hear my Gerber multitool’s indignant sneers.

Seriously. George Strait is “not an entertainer”? What the fuck ever. I hate to break it to assholes like Hunter Jobes, but there are a lot of us out there who don’t have any more use for the dancing chicken than Dusty Chandler’s preferred audience did in 1992. And whether or not Strait’s Entertainer of the Year award was gotten by the sympathy or sentimental vote, the facts pretty much speak for themselves — 30-plus years of playing packed arenas from coast to coast, right up to the present day. When Luke Bryan pulls that off then we can talk. Until then Hunter Jobes and his ilk can just sit down and shut up.

Well now, this just warms the cockles of my cold black heart.

April 3, 2014

Seen at Saving Country Music this morning:

Johnny Cash is once again the big man in music as his recently-released “lost” album Out Among The Stars has come in at #1 on the Country Albums chart, and #3 on the all-encompassing album sales chart according to Mediabase, with a total of 54,000 copies sold. The sales success will likely result in Cash also cresting Billboard’s country chart, and hitting near #3 on their all genre album chart when the new week’s charts are posted.

Further down in comments:

It wasn’t even close. Niemann only sold 14,000 copies of his album which will bring him barely inside the top 20 on the big chart.

Now, I don’t know exactly what that says about where country music fans are in relation to their tastes for experimentation in the genre to the level that Niemann supposedly brings it, but it would seem to suggest that, as the Triggerman says, Niemann indeed sold his credibility down the river for commercial gain. I’m sure it’ll be spun as him taking a risk that ended up being a spectacular failure, as sometimes happens — but taken hand-in-hand with him defending his music the way he has, it leaves him with a good amount of egg on his face.

And as a nice little bonus, Blake Shelton looks like an even bigger idiot now.

“Nobody wants to listen to their grandpa’s music. And I don’t care how many of these old farts around Nashville going, ‘My God, that ain’t country!’ Well that’s because you don’t buy records anymore, jackass. The kids do…”

“The kids do…”

“The kids do…”

You know what  I’m getting at, yes? Either the kids bought more of Johnny Cash’s album than Jerrod Niemann’s album, or Shelton’s “old farts and jackasses” still buy records — or, better yet, both.

Monday music musings, 31.3.14

March 31, 2014

Call me an old fart, jackass, or whatever, but Colt Ford can take his evolution of country music and blow it out his fat fucking ass. Sorry for the strong language, kids, but I am nigh well sick and tired of ass muppets like him throwing all this shit up in our faces as the way it should be, when it should be obvious to anyone who’s paying attention that what’s happening here is, as I have said before, not evolution of the genre, but watering down and bastardization of it. And I daresay that no one who pukes out bilge like this has any business lecturing anyone on anything music-related.

Furthermore, Hank Jr. is “the benchmark for country music”? That’s a new one on me. Don’t get me wrong, I never outright considered Bocephus not country — but he’s surely not a benchmark by any means, no more than Alabama or Earl Thomas Conley. I realize that’s pretty much the only way Colt Ford’s argument might even work, as HWJ did his share of cringeworthy stuff (“Gonna Go Huntin’ Tonight,” anyone?), but it’s still more than a little disingenuous.

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Speaking of evolution, I think Brandy Clark nailed it with this comment:

…it bothers me that sometimes we are ashamed of country music.

Well, except for the “sometimes” part of it. Seems like pretty much all we have anymore is people ashamed of the genre, to the point that they’re trying to make it into something it isn’t. Exhibit A: the thinly-disguised EDM of “Drink To That All Night.” Exhibit B: Florida-Georgia Line rapping in “This Is How We Roll.” And you know the list goes on…

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It’s nice to know Brantley Gilbert thinks George Strait made himself a country music legend and the “benchmark for country music” by more or less lying to his fans. I don’t see writing one’s own songs as a selling point in and of itself. George Strait became a country music legend singing other people’s songs; up until about 2009 you could count on one hand the songs he recorded that he had a hand in writing. And while what he’s come up with since he’s started writing again is quite good, his catalog would be much poorer for the lack of songs like, say, “Poison” and “A Showman’s Life.” George Strait may not have written a lot of his own material, but even so I think there’s a lot to be said for a good song interpreter, which Strait arguably is. And even though Alan Jackson has written a lot of his own songs, some of his best, most memorable songs were written by others, i.e., Bob McDill’s “Gone Country.” I remember kvetching about Shania Twain back in the late ’90s and one of the most frequent defenses of her that everyone put up was — wait for it — that she wrote her own songs. And my thought was, “Well, so? They’re still crap.”

(h/t Country California)

Random Tuesday musings, 26.3.14

March 26, 2014

Some people absolutely slay me. “HURR HURR HURR, if insurance covers Viagra and erectile dysfunction equipment, why should it not cover birth control, HURR HURR HURR…” Looks like the old Thomas Pynchon quote is as true as it ever was:

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”

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So Jerrod Niemann is over here running his mouth about Willie and Waylon (which got a rather brilliant fisking by the Triggerman here) and doing what boils down to little more than Electronic Dance Music and hip-hop being marketed as “country,” Eric Church is scribbling in the coloring book, and Keith Urban keeps recycling the same talking points over and over and over again. Meanwhile, Iced Earth did this on their latest album:

While I don’t know what Jon Schaffer and company’s thoughts are on country music in general, I think it’s still worth asking which act has more respect for the genre. After all, you don’t see this being called a country song, although I suppose it might well be just a matter of time…

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What else to say about Bill Maher, besides that he’s a hideous little troll, on the inside and out? Worst congressman in America? Honestly, I would put this under the same category that I would put Russell Simmons trashing the NRA — you could hardly pay for a better endorsement. I would campaign on that in a second: “Bill Maher hates me! Do you really need any more proof that I am more than worthy of your vote?”

After all, as Kurt Hofmann so often says, “there is as much nobility in being despised by the despicable as there is in being admired by the admirable.”

Monday music musings, 24.3.14

March 24, 2014

Via Country California, Jerrod Niemann sets up a nice little straw man here:

When people think about country music, and they use the term ‘Traditional Country,’ they’re talking about something that has happened in the past. But, when those songs were out currently, they were the freshest thing on the radio. Nobody was saying ‘Let’s go record traditional country.’ They just wanted to record music that meant something to them. Willie and Waylon were getting flack for being progressive at the time because they were mixing it with rock and the outlaw thing. Those guys were just doing what they wanted to do creatively. It’s such a bizarre argument because all those things were fresh back then.

Wait, what? I haven’t a clue as to where Niemann gets off saying that those of us who want traditional country are talking about the past. We’re talking about the likes of Jason Boland and George Strait just as much as we are Merle Haggard and Buck Owens. That just strikes me as incredibly disingenuous of him, and it’s quite the commentary on how weak his argument is. Of course innovation is good no matter the genre, but when you discard pretty much everything but certain subject matter and replace it with elements from other genres, what you end up with is something entirely different.

Speaking of that, and of Jerrod Niemann, at what point do we get to say “this isn’t country music” without pretentious jagoffs like Keith Urban bringing up countrypolitan and the Nashville Sound for the 1,490th time? Because when you listen to crap like Florida-Georgia Line’s “This Is How We Roll,” the Niemann song, and Tim McGraw’s “Lookin’ For That Girl,” it ought to be obvious that those songs are pretty much just top-40 pop/dance music. And at the end of the day, sonically speaking, I don’t really have a problem with that particular genre of music beyond the fact that it’s just not my thing, but it seems that it (along with hip-hop) is completely taking over the genre.

Yes, I know. Why genres in the first place? Which brings me to what I was saying after the hot mess known as Eric Church’s The Outsiders dropped:

I know a lot of people pooh-pooh the idea of genres, but another advantage of genres as a concept (besides what I’ve already pointed out) is that they give you as an artist some sense of direction. And if you discount that concept as an artist, unless you really know what you’re doing — which Eric Church obviously doesn’t — your work is going to come across as more or less the audio equivalent of scribbling in the coloring book. Which is why I thought that line from the title track was so funny, even if it was unintentional:

We let our colors show, where the numbers ain’t. We’re the paint where there ain’t supposed to be paint.

(Yeah, Scooter, it sounds like it. And that isn’t a compliment.)

Of course, the songs mentioned in the beginning aren’t really so much examples of coloring outside the lines as they are of completely hijacking the genre and making it into something else completely — but I’d still be willing to bet that sooner or later they’d make the same argument Church himself did, that “genres are gone in music.” And it’s just as self-serving when anyone else does it, too.

Oh, the things you find screwing around on YouTube…

March 18, 2014

…or, FAVORITE tune from these guys…

I’ve been a fan of Asleep at the Wheel since, well, since I don’t remember when. Don’t think I ever heard ‘em on the radio, so pretty much everything I bought from them I got, well, sound unheard. During my short stint in North Texas in the early 200s, though, on 99.5 the Wolf they played a few AATW songs quite frequently, including “Way Down Texas Way,” “House of Blue Lights,” “Hot Rod Lincoln,” and this one, which got to be my favorite…

On a certain “country music” deejay…

March 5, 2014

I don’t know what the deal is with Bobby Bones and his obsession with Kacey Musgraves, but it honestly borders on the creepy. She seems to have made it obvious that she isn’t interested in mending fences with him, yet he still pursues her. What gives? It could be as Trigger has said elsewhere, that Mr. Bones thinks he’s on the same level as people like Musgraves and deserves their respect and treatment as a peer, but whatever. If he thinks that, maybe he should prove himself worthy of it by not being a petulant jerk.

Speaking of that, another thing that gets my goat about that whole thing: You let Zac Brown say one thing about one song from an artist that he otherwise admires, and the bro-country hacks go apeshit about it. But let some self-righteous asshole deejay badger and belittle Kacey Musgraves and no one in country music bats an eye. Does that seem off to anyone else?

It’s all quite appalling, really. You’d never see the likes of Eddie Stubbs, Justin Frazell, or Rowdy Yates doing this sort of thing. I guess along with the quality decline in country music we’d see a corresponding decline in the quality of country radio as well, but it’s still quite disturbing.

Monday music musings, 3.3.14

March 3, 2014

…mostly brought to you by Country California

Dierks Bentley on Blake Shelton:

We’re such honky-tonkers at heart and love traditional country music. No matter how far Blake bends or does other stuff, the guy really loves country music.

Perhaps he does, but I really don’t see what that has to do with anything. I am reminded of this recent quote (via) from Ashley Monroe:

And there is not one person, and I’m not just saying this, who could sit there and quote every musician who’s played on every record. I can text him right now and say, “Hey, who wrote such-and-such song in 1982?” and he would tell me. He is an encyclopedia of country music….And for someone who cares so much, for them to attack him, I was thinking, “Ugh! That should be the last person they should be attacking!”

And you know, that’s a really nice straw man. The outcry didn’t have to do with Blake Shelton’s knowledge and alleged respect of country music as it did his flagrant disrespect of the people who made it what it was, both the legends and the fans. I’m sure Marty Stuart has forgotten more about country music than Blake Shelton will ever know, but you don’t see him calling anyone names, do you?

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Yes, Jason Aldean really said this, apparently without a trace of irony:

The thing is, if everyone was traditional and everyone was recording the same stuff, it would get boring after a while.

Funny that Aldean talks about things getting boring if everyone recorded the same thing, considering that’s exactly what he and his bro-country hacks are foisting on all of us — over and over again, even.

Not that I expected him to be smart enough — or self-aware enough — to see that, but I thought it deserved to be pointed out.

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And, once again, what’s with the Garth Brooks and ’90s country love fest after all these years? Sabra has made the observation before that pointing to one decade of country music as the best is an indicator of childhood nostalgia, and I completely agree with that. As she said on Facebook regarding the 1990s, “Garth’s hype way outstripped his talent, everybody thought they were Don Henley, and there was that whole mini trend of doing boy band songs.” It’s enough to make me wonder if all these people worshipping at the feet of ’90s country were listening to the same radio stations I was. I always thought ’90s country was quite overrated as well and agree that pegging any one decade as the best is a bit short-sighted — after all, every decade had its share of crap — but on the other hand I am rather comfortable saying that as a whole the best mainstream country had to offer came out in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. And sure, the ’90s did have its share of good stuff, but not nearly enough to justify forgetting about everything before 1989, as country radio seemed to do after about 1992….

Friday music musings, 28.02.14

February 28, 2014

So, if I am reading Chase Rice correctly (via Farce the Music), he’s perfectly content to be singing the same clichéd, misogynistic filth about girls, trucks and beer over and over again. I am reminded of what I said about Dallas Davidson: The man is the very definition of “one-dimensional,” and he wears it like a badge of honor. I can hardly wait to see how it can get worse than “get ya little fine ass on the step shimmy up inside.”

Speaking of how it can get worse, I finally heard Tim McGraw’s latest, “Lookin’ For That Girl,” for myself yesterday evening…

Wow. Just…wow. I mean, I thought Tim McGraw jumped the shark with “Truck Yeah,” but “Lookin’ For That Girl” is just…spectacularly bad. I mean, so bad it circles around to good and back to bad and back to good and back to bad and so on for freaking infinity. It’s…fractal, recursive badness, the likes of which I have never before seen in music. Between the horrid lyrics, the dance beat, and them auto-tuning the shit out of his voice…yeah. I mean, I know I approach this from the perspective of someone who thinks the concept of genres still has utility, but this song is just a FAIL as music, period. There’s a reason I don’t listen to top-40 pop or electronic dance music, and “Lookin’ For That Girl” is pretty much the perfect encapsulation of that.

On a more positive note, looks like Justin Frazell got promoted to the position of Program Director at 95.9 the Ranch. Couldn’t have happened to a better dude either, as far as the Ranch’s Texas music format goes. Contrary to your typical corporate program director who gets shuffled between formats and has no great appreciation for any specific genre, Justin Frazell has been a vocal, tireless advocate for Texas and red dirt music for more than a decade, going back to his earlier days at 99.5 the Wolf in the late 1990s. I was damn glad to see him land on his feet after Cumulus nuked the station in late ’08. Here’s to many more years of success, for him and the Ranch too.

Random weekend musings…

February 23, 2014

So we went to Blanco BBQ tonight for dinner with the kids — after going for lunch today. It was packed both times. Yes, we did hit it during the lunch & dinner rush, but I figured if it wasn’t popular it wouldn’t be so crowded. I am really glad to see that place thriving, because it’s really, really good. This was about the 5th time we’ve been, if I remember right. I’m not such a barbecue maven that I’d feel comfortable putting them in the same league as Barbecue Station or Cooper’s, but every time we’ve gone the food has been great.

You know, it struck me, listening to the song yesterday, that all these stupid songs people make anymore about sitting on the tailgate drinking your light beer with the hawt honehhs in cutoffs are all fifth-rate ripoffs of Hank Jr’s “Country State of Mind.” Still like THAT song though, but then Bocephus sang about a lot of things.

(Really, do you think a douchebag like Chase Rice would be caught dead singing something like “I’ve Got Rights”?)


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