Saturday music musings, 27.2.16

Well now, isn’t this something

While the opening of ticket sales for RodeoHouston’s lineup of concerts always leads to an online scrum for the best seats, plenty of tickets are still available for 20 of this season’s 21 concerts as of the weekend before the rodeo.

The 2016 RodeoHouston concert lineup includes The Band Perry, Chris Young, Jason Aldean, Jason Derulo, Cole Swindell, Shawn Mendes, Miranda Lambert, Pitbull, Brett Eldredge, Luke Bryan, Darius Rucker, Los Huracanes Del Norte, Banda Los Recoditos, Kenny Chesney, Kid Rock, Jake Owen, Florida Georgia Line, Little Big Town, Brad Paisley and Keith Urban.

Like I said before elsewhere, that’s just a real dumpster fire all the way around. And it’s looking like the potential rodeo attendees agree. I told a college buddy who lives in Houston that you’d probably be better off going to the Hideout if you’re a fan of real music. Trigger at Saving Country Music had the best response to this:

“Look, I understand you’ve got to have some mainstream names to put butts in seats. This is all about busine$$. But are you really going to try and tell me that Cole Swindell and Billy Currington are going to draw better than if you put Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers on the same night, especially after they just name dropped your event in their last record together? This lineup sucks ass. They might as well just project a rebroadcast of the CMA Fan Fest on the side of the Astrodome and save the talent budget, or just loop the latest Now That’s What I Call Country CD over the loud speakers. All the great work artists like Aaron Watson have done on the rodeo circuit, and this is the lineup we get? Ever heard of Chris Stapleton? He’s like the hottest country music artist on the planet right now. Maybe look into it.”

Would Rogers, Bowen, Watson, Stapleton, and the like have sold better than The Band Perry, Jake Owen, and Brett Eldredge? I don’t know, but given the popularity of the first three here in Texas it certainly couldn’t have hurt to find out. (The San Antonio rodeo organizers certainly weren’t afraid to book Stapleton; he’s playing the rodeo here tonight.) It’d be interesting to find out what was behind those sales figures — especially those of The Band Perry, who have reportedly been catching a ton of flak from fans and others for taking a more pop direction with their latest music. It’s probably not a big stretch to conclude the two are related, especially considering their latest album was supposed to have been released last November but has been repeatedly delayed and in fact has yet to see the light of day.

At any rate, I just can’t help but point and laugh, because I don’t remember the numbers of unsold tickets being quite so high. Evolution of the genre, huh? Yeah, okay.

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Speaking of SCM, Trigger pretty much nailed Granger Smith to the wall:

Despite some declaring the #1 for “Backroad Song” as a victory for Texas country, it is anything but. It was Granger’s abandonment of Texas country and the values of that scene, and walking away from the decent songwriting evidenced earlier in his career that finally got him the commercial success he has clearly craved over the last few years.

In getting to #1, Granger ditched Thirty Tigers—the label/distribution company for many other Texas country artists including Randy Rogers Band, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Aaron Watson, The Josh Abbott Band, and the Turnpike Troubadours—and went with the newly-minted imprint of Broken Bow Records (Jason Aldean, Randy Houser) called Wheelhouse Records. There’s nothing Texas about Granger Smith’s #1 except that Texas was the scene he left behind to get there. It’s a shallow victory, if a victory at all; like proclaiming Kelsea Ballerini’s #1’s for purely pop songs at the top of the country charts as a victory for female artists.

Yep. All the great artists that come out of this scene, and Granger Smith is the one they choose to propel to mainstream stardom? It boggles the mind. I remember bitching about Pat Green’s Nashville output back in the day, but this business makes even “Country Star” sound like the second coming of Jason Boland and the Stragglers. In the comments it was suggested that Smith made the moves he did to provide for his family. Which is perfectly legit, but at the same time I think yet again of Aaron Watson. He has a wife and kids too, and I’m sure he’d like to provide for them just like Granger Smith wants to provide for his family. And you see how radically different their respective approaches were. They yielded different results, to be sure, but I think Aaron Watson’s approach probably worked out better when everything is taken into consideration.

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And speaking of Mr. Boland, you know why he’s awesome? Because instead of singing about tailgates and bonfires, he sings about “re-gentrify(ing) the shitty part of town.”

I gotta say, Squelch is really growing on me. I figured it might; after all, it’s Jason Boland, and how can you go wrong with that? This probably my favorite song on it right now, along with “Fuck, Fight, and Rodeo.” But I never saw that last one coming.

Still can’t be arsed to spin Traveller anymore, though. When I get my new Mac next week and get everything moved over from the dead one, it’s probably gonna go off the ‘pod…

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