Saturday music musings, 10.10.15

Well, this is interesting:

There was another big battle at the top of the country albums charts last week, and once again the good guys won….In the end it was The Eagles drummer, singer, and songwriter Don Henley coming in at #1 with 87,500 albums sold of his traditional country effort Cass County….Running up was George Strait‘s Cold Beer Conversation, which came in with sales of 82,700, despite limited availability through Wal-Mart and Apple Music only, and was announced less than a week before its release….Thomas Rhett‘s Tangled Up ended up selling 62,900 copies…

I’m sure Rhett’s defenders would say, “But buying albums isn’t really a thing anymore!” And it’s been noted elsewhere that the younger generation is streaming more, which would explain at least part of it.

However, it has also been noted elsewhere that the artists get paid peanuts (figuratively speaking) for streaming compared to downloading albums or buying them physically, as we’re not yet to where that particular model is that profitable. And we all know that money is ultimately what keeps things rolling. So from that perspective, it looks like Real Country Music has won quite a victory here.

You could say — as some people have — that this is meaningless with streaming on the rise, but then on the other hand it isn’t; it makes for a handy reminder that traditional country music fans can make a difference, as we are willing to spend the cash for those full-length albums as opposed to streaming them and the artists barely getting paid for that.

Now, whether Nashville or radio pays attention to that is anyone’s guess, but there you go.


Chris Lucas, of LoCash (h/t Country California):

‘Bro country’ has changed country music for the better. I don’t know why people call it bro country, maybe because it has a beat behind it. Country music has been singing about trucks, drinks, and girls for years. Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, ‘There’s a Tear in my Beer.’ It’s always been there, and I just think when something gets so popular, people tend to be negative.

What Chris Lucas seems to miss, as does everyone else making his “argument,” is that folks like Merle Haggard sang about a lot of other things too, whereas these new people all sing (almost literally) the same song over and over. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at that, coming as it does from one of the folks who brought us “Truck Yeah.”

Also, regarding “(There’s A) Tear In My Beer”, as Sabra said, “More to the point, he’s using a song about self-destruction in the wake of heartbreak to make a point about drinking and partying songs, which makes it painfully obvious he’s never so much as listened to the chorus of it.”

I said not long ago that Thomas Rhett was the very personification of the song “Gone Country.” I should amend that statement to include Chris Lucas also.

“…I hear down there, it’s changed, you see, well they’re not as backward as they used to be…”


Speaking of Thomas Rhett

As weird as it may sound coming out of my mouth, I’m probably the biggest country music fan that is such a fan of Justin Timberlake and of Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift.

One hears Rhett talk over and over again about the pop artists he likes, but never anything about the country artists he likes other than all his contemporaries. I wonder why that is? It could never be because he’s not really a fan of country music beyond the extent that he can get filthy rich doing whatever and calling it that, could it? Naaaaaaahhhh…


Back on a more positive note: Jason Boland’s latest album, Squelch, came out yesterday, but we pre-ordered it and got it last Friday. Condition Hüman, the second Queensryche album with Todd La Torre, was released Friday a week ago also.

I’ll have to listen to the Jason Boland album more to get a better bead on it…

…but I can say that new Queensryche album is really damn good. That first album was anything but a fluke. I’ll probably have more in-depth observations on it at some point, but for right now I can say this: If you look at the first five albums of the original QR lineup and how the music progressed from the self-titled EP to Promised Land, and compared the self-titled EP to the first album with La Torre, Condition Hüman would be right about where Rage for Order was as far as the refinement of the sound goes. And you can hear influences from all of that era all the way up to the Promised Land album. Ever since Geoff Tate was fired, I’ve seen here and there that while there were all-new songs written by the current lineup on the self-titled album, Michael Wilton and Scott Rockenfield had written and demoed for the last few albums with Tate a number of songs that Tate had rejected, which would be included on this album. If that is indeed true, it’s a real shame, because there’re some damn fine songs here that compare very favorably with the band’s best work. So far my favorite songs on it — in chronological order — are “Arrow of Time,” “Guardian,” “Eye9,” “Bulletproof,” “Just Us,” and “All There Was.”

I tell you what, I was surprised as shit that Michael Wilton didn’t have a hand in writing that last song, because it has a freaking awesome twin-guitar bit that sounds like it came straight off the EP or The Warning



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