Archive for August, 2015

Monday music musings, 24.8.15

August 24, 2015

Sigh. No, Kelsea Ballerini. Just, no:

I think that the key is respecting the roots and traditions of country music and always putting value in that, but country radio has really opened its arms to other influences. It’s been really cool to me to watch someone like Sam Hunt, whose lyrics and roots are in country but you can hear that he listens to Drake and Justin Timberlake — and that’s OK. It allows songwriters to be more honest, because it’s like, “This is who I’m listening to.”

This is, in a word, crap. Prime example: Aaron Watson listens to Sam Hunt. He straight-up admitted to Saving Country Music that he had Hunt’s album and that he thought it was good, even as in the same sentence he said it was the most un-country thing he’d ever heard. Yet if you listen to even The Underdog, even at its poppiest, you’re not going to hear anything that sounds like Sam Hunt. Why? Because Aaron Watson is a country music singer and he’s not ashamed of it. Granted, he’s not my favorite non-Nashville guy (that honor goes to Jason Boland), but even so, I’d still be very hard pressed to say that Watson didn’t love country music with every fiber of his being or that he was being even slightly dishonest with his fans by not sounding anything like Sam Hunt.

But I am not the least surprised with such self-serving claptrap coming from an early-Taylor-Swift wannabe like Kelsea Ballerini, who seems to be only trying to make a name for herself in country music because she couldn’t hack it as a pop singer right off the bat.

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I really wanted to believe Jody Rosen was trolling Grady Smith here

Mainstream country, it’s smart music. Even if it’s a big dumb song about kicking the dust up or whatever, it’s very intelligently done.

…but unfortunately, he appeared to be deadly serious. I don’t know. I guess that tripe is smartly done in that the writers figure out what the most lucrative demographic likes and then give it to them, but then when you look at it that way, that seems to imply that all the people outside mainstream music that isn’t writing about trucks, beer, and girls are the dumb ones — and surely I don’t have to spell out the obvious problem with that.

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On a more positive note, via Galleywinter on Facebook, today marks the 11-year anniversary of the release date of the Randy Rogers Band’s Rollercoaster — a seminal Texas music album if ever there was one. I actually discovered that album in 2008, strangely enough as I was looking for another piece of red dirt music (Cross Canadian Ragweed’s Garage, for the curious), and I was floored at how great it was — not that I’d have expected anything different with the writers on that album (Rogers, Cody Canada, Radney Foster, and Kent Finlay, among others). I bought it for “Tonight’s Not the Night,” but I also really liked “Somebody Take Me Home,” Finlay’s “They Call It The Hill Country,” and the RRB versions of “Again” and “This Time Around.”

I thought it was pretty funny that “This Time Around” was on that album, because the Ragweed version of that song was the reason I was looking for Garage….

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Oh, Darius Rucker…

August 18, 2015

As if Darius Rucker hasn’t been a big enough disappointment, now we have this:

…there’s this whole fashion of people who want to take back country music and make it old school and country music to those people is the only kind of music that’s not allowed to evolve. […] I mean, rock ‘n’ roll, there’s nobody sounds like The Beatles. There’s nobody sounds like Bill Haley and The Comets right now. Pop music has changed drastically over the years and keeps changing. And, you know, everybody wants country music to be the same. All the country music fans only want to listen to classic country music and the umbrella’s just much bigger now.

So — mischaracterization, or foul and malicious lie? You make the call. As for me, I would lean toward the latter.

Why? Because with Rucker’s self-professed musical heroes — Radney Foster, Nanci Griffith, and the like — there’s no way you’re going to get me to believe that he doesn’t know better than to characterize “all the country music fans” like this. I could probably write a book on it, but Deryl Dodd said it best not long after Pearl Snaps came out:

“It doesn’t have to be the actual old hits of the ‘70s or ‘60s, but a music that puts a new twist on the traditional sound, like Dwight Yoakam and Alan Jackson.”

Or, in other words, music that at least maintains some link to its roots as it moves forward. I mean, really. All those Texas, Red Dirt, and Americana people that everyone sings the praises of don’t sound like Waylon or George Jones, but you can clearly tell they were at least influenced by those folks and all the folks that came after, like Keith Whitley, George Strait, Ricky Skaggs, etc. I would argue the opposite of what Darius Rucker says, though — that is, country is the only genre, it seems, where wanting the genre to have some semblance of a signature sound with certain instruments and beats is seen as holding the genre back instead of keeping it grounded in its identity. Just as another example, metal has changed a pretty good bit between, say, 1970 and now — I mean, there’s a world of difference between ParanoidPainkiller, and Symphony X’s Iconoclast, but I never heard anyone claim that the latter wasn’t a metal album, and they’d rightly have been laughed off the planet if they’d tried. And I’m pretty sure I never heard anyone claim that even Symphony X wasn’t metal, or that Accept was stuck in 1982 with their last three albums.

My favorite response to this, though, came in the comments at Saving Country Music back when Rucker started spouting this line of crap:

“Dude got famous for ripping off REM and has the nerve to say this? People talk about rock being dead or needing saving all the time. How many bands have been credited as saving rock? In my lifetime at least 2 (Nirvana and The Strokes). Maybe if he wasn’t in one of the most famous one shot wonder bands and had to slum it in country because fucking NO ONE bought any other Hootie albums except for the first one (which is currently clogging up the user bins and landfills near you) he wouldn’t be so defensive about his career.”

I will still say, though, that with this new talking point, Darius Rucker shows himself to be at least as big a fraud as Ryan Adams. Why? Because Rucker, just like Ryan Adams, has in a way been lying to his fans and country music fans in general. Rucker has been saying, from the beginning of his career, that he’s a fan of that kind of music and that he wanted to do more of it, but the label wouldn’t let him do it because it ostensibly wasn’t commercial enough — which implies that he believed that country music should still sound, well, country, as it evolves. This new talking point suggests that he didn’t believe any of that, and in a way, that’s even more disappointing than his actual music.

(h/t Country California)

10,000th verse, same as the first.

August 9, 2015

Record of violent crime going back a decade and a half, and they still let that motherfucker out of jail:

The man accused in the murderous rampage that left six children and two adults dead inside a northwest Harris County home climbed through an unlocked window, restrained them and shot each one in the head, according to prosecutors….

He was last arrested in July for allegedly smashing Jackson’s head into a refrigerator multiple times…In another case, a Harris County judge in 2013 issued an emergency protective order to keep Conley away from Jackson who was later sentenced to nine months in jail.

Nine. Months. As opposed to THE REST OF HIS WORTHLESS FREAKING LIFE.

But by all means, let us all jack our jaws some more about how the inanimate object is the problem.