Archive for May, 2015

It’s a symptom, not the disease.

May 28, 2015

Wow, country radio consultant Keith Hill actually said this:

“If you want to make ratings in country radio, take females out…The reason is mainstream country radio generates more quarter hours from female listeners at the rate of 70 to 75%, and women like male artists….Trust me, I play great female records and we’ve got some right now; they’re just not the lettuce in our salad. The lettuce is Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and artists like that. The tomatoes of the salad are the females.”

Where does one even go with that? I really don’t know. The willful gender imbalance is disheartening for sure, and it’s been ongoing for a while now as the mainstream component of the genre has gotten to be all about the songs about partying in the woods with the moonshine and hawt gurrrrl and whatnot. Worse yet, though, is the contention that the women in the country radio (you’ll note I didn’t say country music) audience who are driving that gender imbalance. The implications of such are absolutely staggering. I really do shudder to think that women are, shall we say, enabling their objectification, especially in this day and age. Of course, talking about that takes us down a different path pretty quick, namely, if the modern woman wants to enable her objectification, then who are we to say she’s wrong to want to do so? Not that I agree with that, but it would make for an interesting discussion elsewhere.

But here’s the deal:

While what Keith Hill said was rather offensive, I’m having a rather difficult time getting as worked up about it as everyone else is. Does it suck that more females aren’t on country radio? In a way you could say that, but ask yourself this:

Do we really want more of the likes of Kelsea Ballerini, RaeLynn, and Haley Georgia on the radio? And more songs like “Somethin’ Bad” and “Little Red Wagon”?

Because in practice, that’s what more females on the radio would mean. Call it trading one pile of shit for another. I mean, sure, we could all think of great music that deserves airplay from the likes of Kacey Musgraves, Brandy Clark, and so on, but if they were going to play that they’d also play Sturgill Simpson, Aaron Watson, and William Clark Green. Put another way, the lack of a female viewpoint is a symptom. The dearth of meaningful country-sounding music from both genders is the disease. I do see what people are getting at when it comes to this — that everyone should get an equal playing field — but I don’t think making that the primary goal based on gender would necessarily be the thing to do. I get why people are talking about it, but I still think that if we got back to what country music was once upon a time, that issue would take care of itself.

But maybe that’s just me…

Something to remember today.

May 25, 2015

Back in 2009, I remember going to the big Memorial Day celebration in Orange. The Patriot Guard Riders didn’t get to make their grand entrance as planned because of the torrential rains, but they still came. I remember that I just about lost it  when Beaumont PGR chapter president Sandra Womack told everyone why they still came. She said of the fallen soldiers, “They didn’t get an opportunity to choose the weather they fought in, or to choose whether or not to go.”

We should remember that, today and every day.

Wednesday music musings, 20.5.15

May 20, 2015

With apologies to Natalie Maines, I am ashamed that Haley Georgia is from Texas.

In all seriousness, as I am wont to do anymore, I listened to that song just to, y’know, give it a fair shake. Just to see if it’s as bad as it sounds…

…yeah. That’s three minutes of my life that I’ll never get back. The whole thing can perhaps best be described as pasty white suburban girl affecting a valley girl accent as she raps over a drum machine and a token banjo, but even that doesn’t fully convey just how pathetic it is. I went and listened to George Strait covering Webb Pierce’s “There Stands the Glass” to heal my poor ears. Haley Georgia said in Billboard that genres weren’t really a thing for her generation. Which is all fine and good, but then why even bother categorizing this as “country”? I mean, you can’t have it both ways. Or at least you shouldn’t be able to.

As for country music needing a Ke$ha…in a way you could call that astoundingly ignorant, because if what I’ve read is right, the real Ke$ha has at least some modicum of respect for country music and ostensibly would never take such a steaming shit on it as Haley Georgia has with this…this…thing.

Now, I could be wrong. I mean, once upon a time (some years ago) I thought Bret Michaels might have at least a good country song in him — yes, I know, how naive of me — but my reaction upon hearing “Girls On Bars” was pretty similar to Trigger’s. But there’s got to be a bottom to this hole somewhere. At this point I shudder to think of where it might be, though.

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Oh, Clay Walker

I don’t think the fan base has changed at all. When I was growing up in the late ’80s and early ’90s everyone loved hip-hop. That’s not new. There’s no secret there. But I do blame our format a little bit for feeling like we needed to add that element to our format….I can’t stand to see outdated rock-and-rollers coming in to play country music. That really pissed me off…We have great singers, great country musicians. There’s no reason we have to dilute it by letting people in the format that don’t have any business being in the format.

Huh. NOW he has a problem? Wasn’t that long ago that Clay Walker was singing an entirely different tune:

I think it’s the perfect evolution and it’s the way it should be. It’s time. It’s time for that change. And, albeit rough at the moment, it’s a beautiful rough.

Now, the title of that Taste of Country interview just might hold the key to his change of tune: “Man With a View: Clay Walker on Why He’s in a Great Place to Have a Big Year in 2014.”

Big year, eh? The cynic in me says he’s just bitter because that “big year” he was supposed to have fizzled like a firecracker in the rain, partly because of that evolution in the genre that he was touting. Most of it was probably because of him being 45 years old, but Walker was a B-lister at best even back in his heyday. I don’t know what he thought he was going to do to get himself back to the top of the heap, but I can only hope that it wasn’t as embarrassing as Tracy Lawrence’s last gasp at relevance. Whatever the case may be, I find it a little off-putting that he’s changed his opinion now given the fact that nothing of significance has changed in the genre between then and now; the whole thing just reeks of sour grapes to me.

Musings on free speech, 7.5.15

May 7, 2015

Quote of the day, from Tamara:

It used to be that if there was one thing you could at least count on liberals for, it was a vigorous defense of free speech; it’s a cause that has found the ACLU in bed with the NRA on at least one occasion I can think of. This new turn is… chilling.

Pretty much. Not much I can say in addition to that, but I do have a couple of observations:

That road that gets you to saying that certain groups of people deserve to have their First Amendment rights violated because they choose to ah, engage in interstate commerce (see: Hobby Lobby)? You go down that road further and it gets you to where that intrepid emailer sits of which Tamara speaks. The slippery slope is real, kids, and it isn’t just for the Second Amendment.

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Unfortunately, such an attitude isn’t isolated, as you’ll see in today’s LTE in the Houston Chronicle:

We poke them in the eye; they retaliate; we poke them in the eye; they retaliate and so on. Is this really how we want to use our wonderful gift of free speech?

Uh, bloody fucking right it is. If people get a pass on shooting at and/or killing you because you offended their delicate religious sensibilities, you don’t really have the “wonderful gift of free speech” then, do you? No, you do not. Maybe I’m just fondly remembering things from the mists of time, but strangely enough, I don’t remember us having this conversation after “Piss Christ.” Which should tell you all you need to know, really.