Thursday musical observations, 4.9.14

Seen at Rolling Stone Country:


“For so long we were that regional band down in Texas,” Eli tells Rolling Stone Country. “We were all kind of lumped together. I think a lot of times maybe we were misunderstood, or discounted. It took some time to convince everyone that we had something to offer nationally and commercially.”

Eli also hopes it gives a little validation to other Texas-bred artists looking to gain recognition on Music Row. “Hopefully what we’re doing will open some doors for them,” Eli says.

Oh, boy. Where does one even start with this?

You longtime readers all know my feelings on awards like this, but for those of you that don’t:

Being a fan of a lot of non-mainstream artists, I’ll admit I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t really put much if any stock in awards shows anymore. Not that I ever really did, but there was a time that I got a little ticked if my favorites didn’t win. That changed after I started getting into the Texas music scene and discovered a lot of great music from artists who in all likelihood won’t ever make it to the stage at the CMAs, ACMs, Grammys or what-have-you. Since then I’ve pretty much gotten to the point that I go, “another awards show, yawn, that’s nice…” I’d run into people here and there who would point to those awards as some sort of justification for liking the artists who won them — as if those awards made said artists better than all the others — and I’d just have to roll my eyes.

Now, with that said…

There is so much I could say to that Rolling Stone bit, but here’s what my answer boils down to:

To the extent a CMA award nomination would serve as a “validation” of Texas and Red Dirt music, it would do much, MUCH more so if it went to, say, the Jason Boland and the Stragglers album Dark and Dirty Mile or the Josh Abbott Band song “I’ll Sing About Mine.” (Or, hell, even the Brian Keane recording of that song.) It strikes me that the Eli Young Band anymore is about as good a representative of Texas music as Shania Twain was for mainstream country music circa 2002 — that is to say, not a very good one. I know that might sound harsh, but one of the raisons d’être of this music was and is to give fans an alternative to the bland pop Nashville turns out. I don’t know if I’d categorize the Eli Young Band as having sold out, as I am not sure they ever really “bought in” in the first place, but they more or less fit right in with what’s going on in mainstream country anymore. I don’t know if I’d fully commit to this next observation, but I’d just about call Kacey Musgraves as a better representative of Texas country anymore than the EYB; even if she is signed to a big Nashville label and is considered a mainstream artist, she seems to ride the line between Nashville and Texas better than anyone since probably Steve Earle.

As for this…

Next year, he’s hoping to see Texas acts like Lubbock troubadours Josh Abbott Band and traditional honky-tonker Cody Johnson crack the list…

It’d be nice, but I am not optimistic about the chances of that happening. And if anyone’s gonna be on the CMA Awards from Texas without any kind of artistic compromise, I’d much rather it be Jason Boland than Cody Johnson. I remember commenting on Reddit that JB had the best voice in Texas music, and some dude replied to me that was because I hadn’t heard Cody Johnson. I did, not long after that, and was kinda underwhelmed. He’s a good singer, don’t get me wrong, but he’s no Boland.


Quote of the week, from Trigger at Saving Country Music, on Clear Channel deejay Bobby Bones’ whining about not getting a CMA nomination (emphasis mine — ed.):

Bobby Bones continued,

“its not an ‘injustice’. I simply don’t play the political games the format is known for. Also Jason Aldean got screwed too! Id like to thank the almost 500 radio stations Im on & you the listener for the millions of $$$ we’ve raised for charity this year,”

This charity card is another indolent, insulting, and misrepresenting card Bobby Bones overplays predictably. Just because you give to charity doesn’t absolve you of all your sins. Why doesn’t Bobby Bones set up a charity for the hundreds of local DJ’s he’s put out of work, or the thousands of people laid off by Clear Channel in the most historic and sweeping homogenization and nationalization of a cultural institution since the dawn of American media? Give all the money to charity you want. It will never make up for the damage of poisoning people with the cultural filth broadcast on the Bobby Bones Show to millions every morning.

That pretty much sums it up, if you ask me. I also saw that George Strait was up for yet another Entertainer of the Year nod at the CMAs. It would be quite worth it to see him win, just to see Luke Bryan fans’ heads explode like they did when he won at the ACMs earlier this year…

Speaking of Saving Country Music, via that site I also saw that the new single from Garth Brooks made its debut earlier this week. Saw it described in comments as “‘We Shall Be Free’ with a touch of ‘Right Now’ by Van Halen.”

Man. If that doesn’t make you run away in shrieking, gibbering terror, I don’t know what would…



2 Responses to “Thursday musical observations, 4.9.14”

  1. Michael Rauch (@TheCheapSeats_) Says:

    I’m totally with you on the Eli Young Band. Not very representative of Texas/Red Dirt at all.

    Also, I think Brian Keane’s version of “I’ll Sing About Mine” is the best out there.

    • southtexaspistolero Says:

      Yeah, I mean, I liked their earlier stuff, but even then it was, shall we say, right in the middle of the mainstream. Not that that was necessarily a bad thing then, but even then (~2008), there was a lot of other Texas music I’d rather have been listening to.

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