Worst. Country Year. Ever.

Comic Book GuyI’ve just gotta ask: Is this the worst year ever for country music?

Forgive me, but I can’t remember ever being so uninspired and uninterested in mainstream country music as I have been this year. I started listening to country around 1991, so that would make this the worst of the nineteen years I’ve been listening to it.

Even the nineties artists have been limiting themselves to covers albums and even sequels.  Not that some of those aren’t good projects, but what does a guy have to do to get a solid studio album these days?

The reissue market hasn’t been any better. Even the upcoming Dolly Parton box set is a disappointment, a collection that abruptly stops in 1993. A collection claiming to be definitive that ends with her Billy Ray Cyrus duet “Romeo” does not bode well.

Am I just being a grouch, or has this really been a bummer of a year?

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84 Responses to Worst. Country Year. Ever.

  1. plain_joNo Gravatar

    I started listening to country in 1995, and I totally agree with you. “The State of the Country” is weak. I like to hear artists cover other artists stuff, but there has been alot it going on lately. Maybe it starts with the writers…and the whole list song thing thats been going on. I am sure there are better songs out there but they settle for less in order to gain mass appeal.

    Don’t know if any of that made sense but oh well.

  2. Greg MNo Gravatar

    I’m disappointed because I expected a new album from SheDaisy by now. It’s not out yet and I haven’t heard why. As for this year in other country news, there is stuff I like and stuff I don’t like. I don’t think I’ve heard a single song that I could say was the best song I heard this year though. Seems like Country Music is going towards the Hannah Montana crowd (Hence, something like Cyrus’ “The Climb”, which might be the worst song I’ve ever heard) and that’s a shame.

  3. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    I don’t know that it’s been the worst year, because I’ve kind of been uninspired by a lot of the mainstream stuff for the last couple of years now. Maybe you’re a couple years behind me? I think I kind of knew my taste was leaning away from the mainstream since the mid-2000s, but I don’t think I truly admitted it to myself until I had to start thinking more analytically/critically about what I was hearing. I’ve bought a ton of music this year (just consult my debit card) but I admit that most of it hasn’t been from mainstream artists. I like Paul W. Dennis’ theory that country music has always gone in cycles of good and bad and that it’ll come back around at some point. That helps me sleep at night at least.:)

  4. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    I have to admit (and I probably shouldn’t) that I’m already concerned/dreading trying to come up with our end-of-the year list for 2009, especially the singles list.

  5. K-ManNo Gravatar

    I started listening to country music probably around 2003/2004, so the more poppy stuff is what I’m more into. I suppose I’m just more used to the fact that I like some things on the radio and don’t like others.

    I’m kind of disappointed that my old favorites haven’t been quite as consistently interesting to me, but I’m finding some new different artists that are continually bringing out interesting material, even if I don’t like the odd song by them.

    I guess the other difference with this year is that I’ve relied a lot more heavily on the internet in order to find more music this year, which has been very rewarding at times.

  6. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Yeah, ever since I’ve given up on radio, the internet has really helped me fill the potential void.

  7. Mike WimmerNo Gravatar

    In terms of singles at radio? It has been incredibly weak. There have been a few highlights, but they have been pretty rare and further apart than it once seemed. I think most disturbing has been the number of artists who once were dishing out good to really good songs to Country radio, putting out “Sideways” or “Love Your Love The Most”.

  8. K-ManNo Gravatar

    It’s a novel concept really. I get to listen to the music I want to hear, rather than hearing the uninspiring “I Wanna Make Close Your Eyes” for the fifth time in the same day.

  9. Mike WimmerNo Gravatar

    Oh, the internet has been great, I never would have discovered some of my favorite songs from this past year without, like Daryle Singeltary’s take on “Take Me Home Country Roads” and the Chris Young/Willie Nelson version of “Rose In Paradise”.

    But isnt it also pretty damning of music row’s song writers that two of the best songs from this year and one of the better songs at radio (I Told You So) were written decades ago?

  10. Erik NorthNo Gravatar

    I really couldn’t name a single d***ed song on country radio that I thought actually stood out this entire year, nor could I name a single new artist that I could care for over the long haul. But then, an industry that seems to settle for mediocrity if it makes money, instead of quality that stands the test of time, is pretty much what exists in Nashville.

    And it’s nothing new, really; I think this has been going on now for a good portion of this decade. I’m not, in any way, hostile towards REAL country music, mind you. But the genre that gave the world Waylon, Willie, and Johnny Cash is now a shell of what it used to be. Instead of real country music, what exists on country radio is what Linda Ronstadt, who loved the genre both as a youngster and as a performer herself and who never minces words, called derisively, back in 2003, “Mall Crawler Music.”

  11. I agree with Leeann; I’ve been becoming more and more disillusioned with mainstream country for quite a few years now. This has been an uninspiring year, to be sure. I know these things tend to run in cycles — or they have in the past, but I’m beginning to wonder if the genre will ever get back on track.

    I’ve been listening to country music since 1980, and in my opinion, mainstream country has never been worse than it’s been these past few years. And bear in mind that period of time I’m talking about (1980 to 2009) includes the Urban Cowboy period, which seems almost like a golden age compared to the dreck we’re getting now.

    I started getting a little bored with the more pop-sounding stuff in the late 90s, but I still liked most of what I heard on the radio. When LeAnn Rimes, Sara Evans and Lee Ann Womack made their debuts, I thought the pendulum was swinging back towards traditional country, but it never happened. The fact that I’ve now been waiting for about 13 years for that to happen isn’t exactly reassuring.

    What worries me is the consolidation of radio stations and record labels, which has limited competition, and the marketing of country to teens and tweens, which was never done before. The good news is that with the internet, there are a lot of alternate sources for finding the music you like, even though it can be a lot of work at times. The downside to that is that a lot more people are giving up on the mainstream and many of them will never go back. And instead of trying to woo them back, the industry continues to market and pander to the lowest common denominator.

  12. With respect to the upcoming Dolly boxed set, I’m with you, Kevin. It’s probably a good start for someone who doesn’t have much of her music, but for the rest of us, it’s too much of what was already available on CD and not enough unreleased or rare material. I’m not bothered so much by the fact that it ends in 1993 (though I could have done without the horrendous “Romeo”, her worst single ever). Sony doesn’t have the rights to anything in the Parton catalog after 1995. But I wish they’d at least gone back and pulled some rare album cuts from the early years out of the vaults. I keep going back and forth about whether I’m going to buy this set or not. I may wait for a half-price sale at Amazon.

    On a more positive note, Bear Family Records released two wonderful boxed sets covering George Jones’ complete Musicor catalog. They were expensive, but worth every penny. And I’m looking forward to the new Connie Smith set that they’re planning for 2010.

  13. It’s been a pretty bad year, and I never really noticed until we started our CMA predictions awhile ago. I do think there are a handful of substantial mainstream artists who have the potential to carry mainstream country music in a positive direction in the next few years, but it seems kind of hit or miss with some of them, as someone mentioned above.

  14. highwayman3No Gravatar

    I completely agree this is the worst year in country music since I stated listening in ’96. I would pin point the decline being Rascal Flatts appearence on American Idol 4 years ago, performing ‘God Bless The Broken Road’ and that single imploding to pop teen girls. Then shortly after the introduction of Carrie, Taylor, and Kellie catering to the same demographic.
    Country music is a big marketing scheme, and the number 1 position on the country charts is still the prized poscession. This year I stopped buying new albums from Keith Urban, Martina McBride, and Reba, who all likely took in meetings on the current state of country and altered, and dumbed down their sounds to cater to it, in hopes of staying relevent and scoring another number 1.
    Anyone wanting proof this is the worst year ought to go on Wikiepia and search ’2009 in country music’ and look at all the number 1 records of the year. Even last year’s no.1′s and any other year’s, if looked from an open mind for the most part, could have been justified and accepted, but this year is just embarassing and mind boggling.
    It took untill the end of September, for the best mainstraim record, Miranda Lambert’s ‘Revolution’ to be released, that’s a long wait for a quality mainsteam record to be released. It makes me take for granted 10 years ago I could experience this listening pleasure many times throughout the year.
    I don’t listen to country radio these days, and have great respect for artists who agree with me and ignore it and don’t cater to it when they are putting together their respected albums, which is hard to do these days when quality is so far attached from a number 1 country record these days.

  15. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar

    I definitely share the general feeling that mainstream country has been dipping into the toilet for a few years now. It’s gotten to the point where I find myself playing the apologetics game every time I tell someone I’m a country fan – and I live in Nashville.

    Still, I think we might have actually hit rock-bottom last year. This year hasn’t been significantly better – and we certainly haven’t had a single as good as “Dig Two Graves” or “This Is Me You’re Talking To” yet – but I’m starting to see signs of improvement. Brad Paisley got back on the good train, Zac Brown Band and Jamey Johnson show a lot of creative potential, and Miranda Lambert seems poised for a great year overall. Granted, it’s not all “pure” country, but I think those days have probably passed, and that’s OK; as long as the music feels like a legitimate evolution of traditional country, as long as it’s creative and relevant, I can still get into it.

    Or that’s what I’m telling myself to maintain sanity, at least. I have no idea how far the pendulum can really swing at this point, but we all know that the current industry isn’t turning much profit, and if you ask me, there are only two ways it can ultimately go: lose a lot of money and completely reorganize, or start making better, more interesting music that doesn’t just grab ears between commercials, but connects deeply enough with listeners to make them want to buy it, stream it, and go see it live. I really do believe that people will ultimately recognize great art over poor art if you give it the same opportunity and attention.

  16. You’re blaming the decline of mainstream country music on “Bless the Broken Road”? Talk about hitting me where it hurts :)

    Actually, I think 2006 and 2007 were decent years for mainstream country music.

  17. highwayman3No Gravatar

    ha, sorry Tara, I just always thought Rascal Flatts’s appearance on that show, and them becoming superstars thereafter opened the floodgates for that teen girl demographic that eats up ‘Twilight,’ ‘Celine Dion’ and ‘Dawsons Creek’ to come into country music and call the radio stations and demand the same.
    Before then, country music was far from all that and the Hall of Fame was announced on the CMA Awards and Lee Ann Womack was gettin top 10′s ect, just the patten I noticed.
    It’s a great song, it’s just the appearence on that particular show I’m referring to.
    sorry for confusion

  18. Greg MNo Gravatar

    You know this discussion comes up a lot about using the internet the find good music and avoiding country radio. It always ends up turning into a negative conversation but no one talks about anything positive or what they would recommend.

    So I ask, what do you recommend as good listening. For me, I’m pretty much all over the map when it comes to country either old or new, so are there artists out there who I should be paying attention to? I really like what Paisley has done the last year, as well as Miranda Lambert (She has a free I guess bonus track from amazon which I like), and always like hearing new artists. I remember when there was a wave of harmony bands coming out like Whiskey Falls and Crossin’ Dixon but those seemed to fizzle out. I am thinking about getting Eric Church’s new record (Still waiting for Story to Tell as a must buy) but who should I look out for. Also, I do listen to Last.fm but wonder if I’m doing the whole searching for new artist thing wrong. Any recommendations are good recommendations.

  19. KnightwalkerNo Gravatar

    Although I like a number of current mainstream country artists, I’m getting more and more disillusioned with them as country artists. They all seem to be drifting further and further into pop and adding elements of pop and rock to everything they do, and having less compunction about it with every passing single released to radio. A number of them are good-to-great artists (imo) that could do so much to bring real fans to Country music, but instead are diluting it and watering it down with some misguided notion that that’s what people want, or that this marriage of genres is some novel approach to keeping their music fresh and appealing. I’ve recently gone back in time and been relistening to various 80s country artists and albums and even though there was already quite a bit of pop infiltrating the sound back then, it still was authentic and genuinely distinct from the pop and rock genres. Songs like Vern’s “This ain’t my first rodeo” and “Is it raining at your house” and George Straits’ and Randy Travis’ early 80s stuff, along with a number of others that aren’t remembered by many. John Conlee and Kathy Mattea were also among the artists that first drew me to Country music. Over the years I’d kind of forgotten a lot of those old songs and not really paid attention to the change in country radio, but lately it’s really been starting to be in the forefront of my consciousness every time I turn on the radio and hear the same song replayed over and over, just by different artists. Every male seems to have his “She’s Country” song, every female (and they rarely play songs by females in my area, on country radio. not even the main artists like Taylor and Carrie and Martina et al)

    I find it sad that the artists I consider talented and charismatic enough to actually have revitalized country radio are instead going along with the mainstream and infusing even more pop and rock and everything else into it. I kind of think its all a reflection of the homogenization of every aspect of society. And I pessimistically and/or realisitcally don’t see it ever reversing, not in popular mainstream Country Music radio.

    I still enjoy some of the artists like Taylor Swift and Carrie and Keith Urban as well as others, but I listen to them with a bit of sadness as well because of the feeling that they could have done so much more and made much more lasting positive impacts on the genre they believe they are part of, if they could only see it for what it is and value it for all it was.

  20. TomNo Gravatar

    “backroads” was kind of a scary experience, wasn’t it kevin? i needed an overdose of dwight to wash it out of my ears. aren’t there any penalties for littering country? and yeah, i could live happily without having heard the nadir of mainstream country.

  21. If there is one song that sums it up for me, it’s “It Happens” by Sugarland. Talk about a formulaic, calculated piece of, well, you get the gist. And of course it got released as a single. Sugarland is capable of so much better, and they should be using that influence to bring some class and clout back to country music, but instead they give in to the lowest common denominator. That’s why “Live from the Inside” was such a revelation, because I felt like they a) showed their roots, and b) showed what a great country act could be like.

    In no particular order, this is what I’m tired of:
    - Patriotic songs, simply for the sake of patriotic songs.
    - Songs that call out country/rural roots, just for the sake of calling them out.
    - Gimmicky songs (Rascal Flatts, I am SO looking at you and your wasted potential)
    - Acts that are actually doing solid country music not making it.
    - Ballads for the sake of ballads, not for the feeling (Luke Bryan, anyone?)
    - Pop music pretending to be country

    Let’s face it…the fact that Kid Rock had as big a hit as he had on the country chart last year really sums it up.

  22. While I can see the points about the decline of country music, I actually thought this past years was pretty decent. Maybe I had just felt the disappointing feeling early, as ever since 2006 I had felt that country music was really lacking on radio. I had only begun to change my mind about it in late 2008, and I can’t remember why that was.

    But as far as new acts go, there aren’t many I’m interested in, although Lady A(while not a completly new act) seems to take the cake for one of the better newer artists.

    As for singles, I think artists are just coming out with some good ones for radio. Carrie’s “Cowboy Casanova”, Miranda’s “White Liar”, Reba’s “Consider Me Gone”… are just a few for me. Maybe it’s just a matter of personal taste, I usually favor songs that are like those I heard as a kid from the mid-late 90′s country scene.

  23. KNo Gravatar

    I absolutly 1005 disagree with the RF Idol nappearence having any negative effect on country music. These guys were the biggest thing going in country before Carrie, Kellie, Taylor and company came along. Although Carrie is a remarkable talent, I think the noticable differences in country started with her.

    I thought this year was pretty bland as well. Lady A has tons of potential but most of their songs have been formulaic and forgettable. Miranda has a pretty strong case, but her album was released way too late. Taylor had amazing success in all aspects of every genre, but nothing in terms of her music or videos was particularly memorable.

    Kellie had potemtial, but her single hasn’tdone much at radio even though it’s one of the better songs out now.

    RF has tons of potential as well, but I don’t understand their singles choices as of late; a band as huge as them has the best material Nashvile can offer and they have the nerve to put out “Summer Nights” AND “Bob That Head?” Thank god they released “Why” as the next single; hopefully it will redeem them a little.

    Carrie was dissapointing as well. She has the biggest, most loyal fanbase in country music, yet she still puts out another below-average song; don’t we deserve better than that from one of the greatest vocalists in modern music?

    Zach BB has been dissapointing. I loved “Whatever It Is,” but “Toes” amd Chicken Fried” are just useless, forgettable dreck.

  24. Thank god they released “Why” as the next single; hopefully it will redeem them a little.

    I so agree. Finally, a smart choice.

  25. MichaelNo Gravatar

    Everyone has already pretty much hit on my feelings about the current state of country music (except for highwayman3: I love Celine Dion! :) – but not neccessarily Twilight or, I think a better choice would be, Gossip Girl). I started listening to country in the early 90s and have never heard such an abundance of bland, uninspired music as I did this year. I think a lot of it has to do with radio and the pandering, inoffensive singles that are played incessantly. I really need to look for another venue to hear new music. I’ll have to check out the tracklisting for the Dolly box set as I was really looking forward to that one. Well said, Comic Book Guy: “Worst. Year. Ever.” I hope that pendulum does swing back soon.

  26. CaseyNo Gravatar

    I wish Garth would come back…

  27. Paul DennisNo Gravatar

    I’ve been listening seriously since the mid-1960s and it was around my home at all times since my birth in 1952. I don’t know that 2009 was the worst year, although it’s been an uninspiring year as far as what radio plays.

    I remember getting really frustrated with the country music of the “Urban Cowboy” era – the best stuff was okay but there was a lot of uninteresting stuff being played on the radio. Because playlists were much deeper then, a lot of dreck was played that never gets played on oldies shows because it didn’t chart high enough, and is therefore simply forgotten.

    I have obtained a lot of really good albums this year. True, most of them came from Texas or from off-labels like Heart of Texas,but there has been some good major label product as well. If I were to put together a top twenty albums list this year, qualitatively, it would stack up with all but the most exceptional prior years; however, unlike some years, the dropoff after the first twenty would be more pronounced.

    One area where I differ from many is that I’d rather have new recordings of good older material, than be stuck with mediocre new songs that the artist recorded because the song was previously unrecorded (or more likely, to pick up a piece of the songwriting royalties or to encourage their favorite songwriters to keep feeding them their best material).

    It is a fact of life that if an artist puts covers of classic material on an album, it deprives the current crop of writers of the royalties a throwaway track on a album would earn. Consequently it often feels like the artist is more concerned about the ‘care and feeding of today’s songwriters’ than about putting out an album that is consistantly good throughout

    Yes. I’ve heard all lot of gimmicky songs, but there’s also been many good songs to air. I won’t knock Taylor Swift as a songwriter – although she can’t sing at all, I find her lyrics to be well-crafted and often interesting. One of the best new songs I’ve heard this year is a gimmick song called “Seven Vern Gosdins Ago” – I don’t know if it will be a hit for Darren Kozelsky but it certainly should be

    Don’t give up on the genre yet, Kevin !

  28. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Paul,
    I really imagine the Urban Cowboy era would have been even more painful for me than what I’m hearing now.

  29. I really imagine the Urban Cowboy era would have been even more painful for me than what I’m hearing now.

    Not really. I would take worst of the Urban Cowboy era over much of what gets played on the radio today. Granted, I was just a kid and wasn’t as discriminating in my tastes back then, but at least there was more variety back then. A lot of the music was overproduced, but it wasn’t as mind-numbingly dull as what we’re hearing today. Like Paul said, radio playlists were wider back then and you could still hear a lot more variety. Waylon and Willie were played alongside Rosanne Cash, Ricky Skaggs, Dolly Parton, Mickey Gilley, George Strait, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Kenny Rogers, and Lee Greenwood. I’ll take that over Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney and Taylor Swift any day of the week.

  30. NicolasNo Gravatar

    The latest Miranda Lambert CD more than makes up for any shortcomings of this year in country music, for me anyway =)

    I think this year was quite good for country music <3

  31. BobNo Gravatar

    It has been a bad year. Songs like Joey & Rory’s “Play the Song” and “To Say Goodbye” and Caitlin & Will’s “Even Now” can’t make it on country radio. Take a look at this weekend’s ACC Top 40 and name even a half dozen songs there that are better. Hope they don’t get too discouraged.

    Hal Ketchum had what I thought should have been a contender for song of the year in 2007 with “In Front of the Alamo”, a Gary Burr song which featured LeAnn Rimes singing harmony. It went nowhere. If any of the regular residents of country’s top 40 attempted to sing the same song, it probably would have gone to #1. When Hal came out with his latest album, “Father Time” just over a year ago, the cellophane covering the cd had an optimistic sticker attached which read: Featuring the Hits “Millionaire’s Wife”, “Invisible”, “Continental Farewell” and “Ordinary Day”. At the time I wrote that I hope the sticker is prophetic but I’d say there’s a greater chance of George Strait making a Doo Wop cd than any of these great songs becoming a hit. I admit that I wasn’t exactly going out on a limb with my prediction.

    When I lived on Long Island, I used to think it was a shame that NYC hasn’t had a country music radio station since Y-107 folded in 2002. Now I think that New Yorkers are probably better off. They can do better on the internet.

  32. Hoggy from OzNo Gravatar

    New Brad Paisley album = a good year for me…not much else good though…

  33. The latest Miranda Lambert CD more than makes up for any shortcomings of this year in country music, for me anyway =)

    I think this year was quite good for country music <3

    One artist cannot possibly compensate for all the bad music that has been released this year; I don’t care who the artist is or how good the album is.

  34. For people who can’t stand whats on the radio right now, I suggest going to I-tunes radio cause it’s bound to at least offer you a good sense of nostalga. ;D

  35. My favorite film critic, Walter Chaw, gets a good deal of mileage out of the adage, Things are only as bad as they’ve ever been, and I think there’s a great deal of truth in that idea… most of the time. I agree with Paul and Razor X when they say that they’d put the especially bad music from today’s market up against the especially bad music from the Urban Cowboy era and that it’s the lack of distribution or depth to the genre’s music that gives the current era a disproportionately higher density of crap.

    I’d also add that the early part of this decade was a particularly dead period for mainstream country, and that artists like Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley, Gary Allan, Little Big Town, and LeAnn Rimes have put the mainstream on equal footing with the alt-country/americana/whatever scene during the middle part of the aughts.

    But this year has been pretty wretched as far as country releases go. Even the stronger albums by Miranda Lambert and Brad Paisley have some significant flaws, and I honestly can’t think of more than a handful of country singles that I can imagine listening to in five months, let alone five years. Other than Jason Isbell and Todd Snider, the “whatever” acts haven’t really picked up the slack, either: The new Drive-By Truckers’ B-sides collection is as much of a let-down as Dierks Bentley’s Feel That Fire.

    On the horizon, though, Rosanne Cash’s The List is a terrific project, and the new Joe Nichols album would be a standout in an even more competitive year.

  36. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Jonathan, how do you rate the Nichols album with his previous work? I’ve been very underwhelmed by his material so far, but I’ve been hearing good things about this upcoming album. I really dislike “Believers” (the lead single), so I’ve been quite skeptical. What do you think? If you think it’s better than “Believers” and his prior albums, I’ll have hope. If you say it’s “as good”, I’ll remain skeptical of the chance of me liking it.

  37. sheldonNo Gravatar

    I place the blame squarely on radio’s shoulders. I live near two small towns here in Northern Mn. The only country station in the one town pipes their music in from Colorado – Jones Radio Broadcasting, I believe. I have actually gotten thru to the listener line, and the DJ himself agreed that he was bored to tears of the same 15 songs he was being forced to play, but that was orders from the top.
    The other lone radio station in the other town 100 miles West still employees local Djs, but they think they are in down-town Atlanta, not a town of 4000 people…and refuse to play anything but whats on the Billboard Country Singles Chart. Once in a while we will be treated to a classic country track, which usually means a single off of Rascall Flatts first CD.
    I guess my point is that folks buy what they hear for the most part, and if the radio station is only playing a handful of artists, it makes sense that there is a whole lot of artists not being heard, and therefore their CDs not being bought.

    Sites like this one we are all on right now help a lot when it comes to finding great real country – I often check out suggestions from other folk’s posts on here, and have found some real gems.

    The Dolly box-set has a few old never-before-released tracks that should cancel out Romeo…actually Romeo did what Dolly hasn’t been able to do in a long while – It put her back on the radio…Check out Dollymania.net – the guy who does it is a complete professional, and has all the details – including track-listing of the box set.

  38. Leeann,

    I’ve honestly never been impressed by Nichols until this album– “Brokenheartsville” and “If Nobody Believed in You” are two of my least favorite singles of the last few years– and “Believers” is easily the weakest cut on Old Things New and was a poor choice for the lead single. What I like most about the album is that it’s lean: 10 songs, none of which I would call a complete miss and several of which are really top-notch. That the album was a pleasant surprise from someone I’d largely written off as an also-ran works in its favor, as well.

  39. I place the blame squarely on radio’s shoulders …

    I guess my point is that folks buy what they hear for the most part, and if the radio station is only playing a handful of artists, it makes sense that there is a whole lot of artists not being heard, and therefore their CDs not being bought.

    There’s a lot of truth in what you say, but to a certain extent, this is a chicken-and-egg argument. Radio plays what the major record labels send them, and the labels release what they think radio will play.

    What I don’t understand is why, when the occasional album has a sales breakthrough despite a lack of radio support — the Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack or Miranda Lambert’s albums, radio doesn’t eventually get on board. If a lot of people are buying those albums, it stands to reason that they would like to hear some of that music on the radio. So why doesn’t radio play it?

  40. sheldonNo Gravatar

    Good point, Razor – I remember a just a few years ago when Anne Murray was riding high in the country Lp top 10 – with no single in sight, so I have thought of that too – somebody is buying these records – how did they hear about them!?

    Where’s Nancy Jones to add her two cents? lol

  41. Kevin J. CoyneNo Gravatar

    @ Paul,

    The good news is that rather than abandoning the genre, the current dry spell has rejuvenated my interest in classic country. This was aided and abetted by Princeton Record Exchange in NJ, which has more country CDs for less money than any place I’ve ever seen – and I lived in Nashville for four years!

    I picked up Gary Stewart, Bobby Bare, Jimmie Davis, Kitty Wells, even the Conway Twitty box set, for shockingly little money. It should tide me over until the good stuff comes back around to country radio again.

    I’ve also yet to listen to the new Miranda Lambert and Patty Loveless. Digging the Rosanne Cash. Only album of new material I’ve loved this year was Todd Snider’s.

  42. Kevin J. CoyneNo Gravatar

    @ Razor,

    I’m mystified by the same trend, especially when there are consistent sales. Alison Krauss should’ve been a core radio act years ago. How many artists have sold so consistently over the last fifteen years?

    The O Brother period was interesting, as the video channels helped push album sales up while country radio stubbornly resisted. CMT essentially broke Nickel Creek and helped Patty’s Mountain Soul outsell its more radio-friendly predecessor.

    It’s a shame that CMT doesn’t program as creatively as it once did.

  43. Kevin J. CoyneNo Gravatar

    @ Sheldon,

    The Dolly box set does have a handful of rarities and unreleased tracks, but the final two discs are essentially useless. RCA didn’t even bother to really delve into her first few albums for the label that represent her artistic peak. With the exception of “Daddy” and “Comin’ For to Carry Me Home”, there’s nothing that hasn’t been released on CD already. I’d much rather have heard great album cuts finally remastered instead of hearing an early version of “God’s Coloring Book” or having to suffer through “Potential New Boyfriend” one more time.

    I’d also consider “Romeo” her failed attempt to stay on the radio, rather than her attempt to get back. Her previous album had gone platinum and spawned the #1 hit “Rockin’ Years” and the top 15 “Silver and Gold.” Then came “Romeo”, which petered out at #27 and had a whiff of desperation.

    Of course, Parton returned the following year with her outstanding collaboration with Loretta and Tammy. Now that would’ve been worth ending the box set with. Heck, even her final Sony hit with Vince Gill redoing “I Will Always Love You” would’ve been a better ending. Or “PMs Blues.” Pretty much anything but a track featuring Billy Ray Cyrus (and yes, I’ve done my best to block out that Chapin, Pam, Tanya, and Kathy are on it, too.)

  44. ZackNo Gravatar

    YES. IT. HAS. =/

  45. … Of course, Parton returned the following year with her outstanding collaboration with Loretta and Tammy.

    Speaking of albums that sold very well despite a lack of support from radio …

  46. DeniseNo Gravatar

    I do enjoy the good-looking country boys, but the representation by the female artist is very weak on country radio. Could we hear something from a woman over 25 years old???

  47. BobNo Gravatar

    Could we hear something from a woman over 25 years old???

    Denise, I highly recommend Lisa Brokop, Canada’s best kept secret. She was born in ’73 and has 7 cds, the last 6 I thought were outstanding. I’ve seen her perform. She sounds just as good live as on her cds. In addition to her outstanding vocals, Lisa is an accomplished songwriter with 145 credits on BMI and 33 on ASCAP (some of the same songs appear on both). She has co-written almost all of the tracks on her last four cd’s.

  48. johnny 123No Gravatar

    its a shame the dixie chicks aren’t in the country music scene anymore.

  49. TomNo Gravatar

    …the real shame is that we are sold BOMSHEL as an alternative.

  50. johnny 123No Gravatar

    tom, i’ve couldn’t said it any better!

  51. Pingback: Caitlin & Will/Keith Anderson Dropped; Gretchen Wilson’s Redneck Records; Initial Lineup for CMA Awards | The 9513

  52. Sam G.No Gravatar

    Has it been a bad year for mainstream country music? Yes. But, it’s been a great year for Americana. New stuff from Neko Case, the Avetts, Corb Lund, Robert Earl Keen, Gary Louris & Mark Olson, Justin Townes Earle, Guy Clark, Kieran Kane… so much good music to be had.

    I think the bad thing about today’s country music is that so many of the “new” fans brought in by Carrie, Taylor, Kellie, etc., are people who don’t like country music except for their particular favorites. They don’t like/haven’t listened to traditional country music, they think the addition of pop music into country is a good thing, and they think anyone who disagrees is a “hater” who’s scared of change. Unfortunately, they’re buying the most records, and we get things like Fast Ryde and Jessie James from record labels as a direct response. I don’t know how that trend ends, to be really honest.

  53. Craig R.No Gravatar

    Country Music started this great decline with Garth Brooks and Shania Twain. Once you start selling music to teenage girls and boys who have image issues instead of adults you have to dumb down the music. You can’t sell real life if your audience hasn’t had a real life so far. Example: Taylor Swift- when will someone come out say that she is a little girl, without a great deal of talent or vocal charm, selling cds to other little girls? Tanya Tucker was younger than Taylor Swift and was singing about real life. Country is just the cloak that is worn for identity. I can count on my hands the real country singersout there. I blame radio, the labels, and must of all CMT and GAC for pushing whatever crap is served to them and calling it country music. Country Music is dying-no more – no less- and we are just watching its last days.

  54. TenPoundHammerNo Gravatar

    I agree that this is a weaker year in country music. But at the same time, I can tolerate some ebb and flow. I am getting a little tired of the “I’m country” type songs, but they’re not bugging me too much. Enough really good songs have come out this year (“People Are Crazy,” “Red Light,” “Welcome to the Future,” “Space,” “Cold,” “Last Call,” “I Told You So,” “Strange,” “Gettin’ You Home,” etc.).

    It helps greatly that my radio station of choice (WATZ) has an almost ridiculously wide playlist, generous on indie artists I might never have heard of otherwise. And their recurrents? Wow. Classics, obscure acts, lesser-known songs from big artists (e.g. “Grandpa Told Me So”), and so on.

  55. Steve from BostonNo Gravatar

    I tuned into the top 20 countdown on CMT a few weeks ago, and saw all the fuff that I WASN’T missing. With some exceptions, like the ole reliables Brad Paisley and Alan Jackson, there wasn’t much there to give me hope. I’m not likely to tune in again anytime soon.

    Thank God for artists like Patty Loveless who are still able to make quality music and get it to the people, and at a seemingly renewed prolific pace once again, no less.

    In this current climate, I don’t see the reliance on some covers as a bad thing, however. With gifted interpreters like Patty to resurrect them, they represent some of the best stuff still out there…the golden age of Country music may well have passed, and whether or not the pendululum swings back to a time when we can once again look forward to great studio albums once again still remains to be seen.

    At the very least, covers albums, (or partial cover albums like Mountain Soul II) keep the great stuff front and center, and accessible as a an inspirational template for bright and gifted song writers to aspire to, making better studio albums more likely and perhaps even inevitable.

    Funny, one never hears dissapointment expressed at Opera divas performing “covers” of timeless greats like Mozart and Verdi..The great stuff, classical or country…will endure.

  56. I’m just going to list country albums from this year that are great:

    Charlie Robison – Beautiful Day
    Chris Knight – Trailer II
    Corb Lund – Losin’ Lately Gambler
    Gurf Morlix – Last Exit To Happyland
    Kieran Kane – Somewhere Beyond The Roses
    Slaid Cleaves – Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away
    Justin Townes Earle – Midnight At The Movies
    Malcolm Holcombe – For The Mission Baby
    Tom Russell – Blood and Candlesmoke
    Gretchen Peters & Tom Russell – One To The Head, One To The Heart
    Nanci Griffith – The Loving Kind
    Jimbo Mathus – Jimmy The Kid
    Radney Foster – Revival
    Robert Earl Keen – The Rose Hotel
    Scott Miller – For Crying Out Loud
    The Flatlanders – Hills and Valleys
    Kris Kristofferson – Closer To The Bone
    Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Speed of Life
    Ramblin’ Jack Elliot – A Stranger Here
    Steve Earle – Townes

  57. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    I agree that some of those albums are very good, but Kevin specifically mentions “mainstream”, which does not include those albums.

  58. Cutting The TreacleNo Gravatar

    Most of the complaints I see about the state of country music are usually that it’s not really country music. But that fight was lost in the mid-70′s when Dolly Parton recorded “Here You Come Again”. She made a straight up pop record, pretended it was country, and that’s the end of the notion of pure country music. Since then the two genres (country and pop-by-country-artists) have existed side-by-side. The pop side has the upper hand for now. But that too will change. It always does.

  59. “I agree that some of those albums are very good, but Kevin specifically mentions “mainstream”, which does not include those albums”

    Good Point. Sounds like just the type of music list someone who has become disenchanted with “mainstream” country might need to see ;)

    Oh and can’t believe I forgot:
    Bettysoo – Heat Sin Water Skin
    Wayne Hancock – Viper of Melody
    Buddy & Julie Miller – Written In Chalk

  60. VickiNo Gravatar

    I think part of the problem is some non writing artists feel they have to co-write, since that is Taylor’s gift. Either you can write or you can’t. Are there gobs of good writers laying in the streets unemployed in Nashville who have a great country song to give? Luckily, when Martina felt she needed to write, someone or herself, quickly saw she put out a so-so song and gave it up quickly. Her songs recently have been better. Now if we can get Carrie to give it up. Carrie and Martina are singers not writers. Taylor is a writer, not singer. Where’s the great written country song? I think Miranda’s “This House that Built Me” could take it.

  61. Music ManNo Gravatar

    Cutting The Treacle says:

    Most of the complaints I see about the state of country music are usually that it’s not really country music. But that fight was lost in the mid-70’s when Dolly Parton recorded “Here You Come Again”. She made a straight up pop record, pretended it was country, and that’s the end of the notion of pure country music. Since then the two genres (country and pop-by-country-artists) have existed side-by-side. The pop side has the upper hand for now. But that too will change. It always does.

    Treacle, there are those from my generation who say that when Chet Atkins wanted to make country more palatable to the modern audiences of the early 1960′s he created the Nashville Sound and Countrypolitan style. Eddy Arnold, Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline have all been called out for their songs that were in their day not considered country, but today are considered county classic.
    So, for some 50 plus years country and pop-by-country-artists has existed side-by-side.

    The pop side been rulin’ the roost for sometime now, actually the better part of 10 years, I’d say. I’m not sure that the tide can be turned. I will always hope though.

  62. I think the bad thing about today’s country music is that so many of the “new” fans brought in by Carrie, Taylor, Kellie, etc., are people who don’t like country music except for their particular favorites. They don’t like/haven’t listened to traditional country music, they think the addition of pop music into country is a good thing, and they think anyone who disagrees is a “hater” who’s scared of change.

    It’s certainly not that black and white. I’ve met many, many people who were drawn into country music by their favorites –pop and mainstream country artists—but who have grown to deeply admire and enjoy the traditional country artists. I’d even go so far as to say that some of these pop/mainstream country artists influence said fans to listen to traditional country music.

    You can’t sell real life if your audience hasn’t had a real life so far.

    Again, it’s not that black and white. I think Taylor Swift’s “Fifteen” is a great example. It’s a very poignant look at the lack of perspective teenagers have; my favorite line is: “In your life, you’ll do things greater than dating the boy on the football team.” Her audience hasn’t lived a full life yet, but does that make their experiences any less real? No way.

  63. KNo Gravatar

    I think part of the problem is some non writing artists feel they have to co-write, since that is Taylor’s gift.”

    I don’t nesscarily agree with that statement. I think it’s great that artists are willing to spread their wings and at least try to write, instead of rufusing to develop or explore that.

    It’s also fair to keep in mind that Carrie has only been around for four years with only five albm co-writes. She hasn’t developed the craft for writing great songs yet, but she is still very new to doing so; putting her against Taylor isn’t a fair assumption, considering she has written songs since an incredibly young age.

    Carrie also co-wrote over half the songs on “Play On,” and some of the songs sound like they will show a spactacular maturation for Carrie. I think it’s fair to hold off judgement until after the new album is released, considering so much has happened to her both personall”Sy and proffesionally since the release of “Carnival Ride in 2007.

    She co-wrote a song called “Change” after reading the novel “A Purpose Driven Life-” That book has done wonders for so many people, I think we are in for a treat with this track.

    She also co-wrote “Temporary Home”- Carrie fans at her “Invitation Only” special say this is by far her best song yet.

  64. It’s certainly not that black and white. I’ve met many, many people who were drawn into country music by their favorites –pop and mainstream country artists—but who have grown to deeply admire and enjoy the traditional country artists. I’d even go so far as to say that some of these pop/mainstream country artists influence said fans to listen to traditional country music.

    The problem is that the people who are drawn into country music by the pop-sounding stuff aren’t getting much opportunity to hear the traditional music. In the past, that wasn’t the case, so the argument that artists like Carrie, Taylor, Rascal Flatts, etc are gateways to the real thing isn’t as valied as it once was.

  65. ….the argument that artists like Carrie, Taylor, Rascal Flatts, etc are gateways to the real thing isn’t as valied as it once was.

    That should read VALID.

  66. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar

    The problem is that the people who are drawn into country music by the pop-sounding stuff aren’t getting much opportunity to hear the traditional music.

    I agree. This is probably my biggest problem with the mainstream right now – there’s no balance. That and that it’s all become so commercially self-conscious.

  67. Tara SeetharamNo Gravatar

    The problem is that the people who are drawn into country music by the pop-sounding stuff aren’t getting much opportunity to hear the traditional music. In the past, that wasn’t the case, so the argument that artists like Carrie, Taylor, Rascal Flatts, etc are gateways to the real thing isn’t as valied as it once was.

    Not refuting this point at all. But – at least the appetite is there, right? After all, people can and do seek out music on their own…isn’t that what we all do? :)

    She co-wrote a song called “Change” after reading the novel “A Purpose Driven Life-”

    K – I think you’re mixing “Change” with “Temporary Home”…

  68. KNo Gravatar

    “The problem is that the people who are drawn into country music by the pop-sounding stuff aren’t getting much opportunity to hear the traditional music. In the past, that wasn’t the case, so the argument that artists like Carrie, Taylor, Rascal Flatts, etc are gateways to the real thing isn’t as valied as it once was.”

    Anyone who pefers tarditional country has access to it; it’s not dead by a long shot. While I understand the validity of younger audiences not getting exposed to older country, it can still be passed down from older generations and such.

    I also think a lot of the current country music listening audience is old enough to seek and expand their own tastes in tarditonal and current music; the real question is whether they care enough about country music’s history to do so.

    Tara,

    I don’t think I got the two songs mixed up, although I couldn’t find anything to prove that. Carrie does have co-writing credit on both “Temporary Home” and “Change” which both made the album, so it is possible I switched the two. But I do remember reading somewhere that Carrie had co-wrote “Change” after reading the book; it seems to concide well, considering that change and evaluation is what the novel is about.

    “Change” was also co-written by Katrina Elam; I saw the lyrics posted on the internet today, and it sounds like a solid song for Carrie.

    I really do believe this album will take her to another level, judging by what I’ve heard about it.

  69. After all, people can and do seek out music on their own…isn’t that what we all do? :)

    We do but most people don’t. Ultimately I think that creates a bigger divide between the mainstream and the alt.country/Americana stuff. Those of us who seek out music on our own are more likely to find indie artists that we like because we’re disillusioned with the mainstream. Meanwhile, the mainstream tries to replace us with more Carrie/Taylor/RF-type fans, most of whom really do not care much about country music other than their favorite artist — as somebody pointed out earlier.

    Anyone who pefers tarditional country has access to it; it’s not dead by a long shot. While I understand the validity of younger audiences not getting exposed to older country, it can still be passed down from older generations and such.

    Traditional music does not necessarily mean older music. I’m not so concerned so much about the next generation not being exposed to “older” country — though it is their loss that they dont get to hear Haggard, Jones and Loretta. I’m more concerned that newer traditional-based acts aren’t able to get a foothold on the market, and they remain on the fringes where only the people who actively go looking for them can find them.

  70. KNo Gravatar

    “Meanwhile, the mainstream tries to replace us with more Carrie/Taylor/RF-type fans, most of whom really do not care much about country music other than their favorite artist — as somebody pointed out earlier”

    It is still the listener’s choice if they want to seek out new music; there isn’t going to be an artistic overhaul of radio or records, I’m afraid. The labels make too much money of Taylor, Carrie and RF models; you really think they’d start playing Americana or tarditional music, where money or popularity is not a gaurnteed factor? If the labels lost the yonger fans they’d missing a huge change to market to the largest demograpic; no one is going to pass up popularity over quality.

  71. joNo Gravatar

    The writers of “Change” are Katrina Elam, Chris Tompkins, Josh Kear.

    “Temporary Home” is the song that Carrie thought of while reading the Rick Warren book. TH is written by Carrie Underwood, Luke Laird, Zac Maloy.

    I’ve noticed that I’ve become bored with country radio lately, but it’s been the guys boring me more than the women. Unfortunately there aren’t enough women artists getting radio play.

  72. dudleyNo Gravatar

    Yeah, this has been a pretty boring and weak year for country music. I’ll focus on artists I like in the following, since I don’t really expect better from the ones that I don’t like.

    Sugarland keeps releasing singles I don’t like. Dierks sounded indifferent on on album that was loaded with lyrically limp songs and an attempt to rock that came nowhere near his live energy. Keith’s album is his blandest yet, and surprisingly, he didn’t redeem it with interesting production choices. I’m in the minority (?) that thinks Martina’s song choices on her current album are a step down from her previous album, because outside of “I’m Tryin’,” and perhaps “Lies,” the lyrics tend toward the impersonal and declarative and the melodies aren’t particularly interesting. She strikes me as searching for an identity.

    I’m also in the minority in thinking that Brad’s album is a step down from 5th Gear except in one admittedly important way. I just don’t think the melodies on American Saturday Night are all that great and there is some greater awkwardness in the way that Brad’s lyrics scan on the current album than on his previous efforts. That said, I think Brad’s album is an important step forward in updating the cultural country sensibility to the 21st century. I think it is incredibly important that a mainstream country star, especially the guy whose writing style is so everyman and who gets so much mileage from the quotidien, can nonchalantly present a view of us that is inclusive and even a little progressive (not meant in a political sense).

    I like Carrie’s “Cowboy Casanova” better than many of you, maybe because I’m overrewarding her for doing something different (for her and from everyone else). I also hear a genuinely country vocal melody in there, so my complaint about it lies more with the production. Is it a classic song, though? No. I just happen to think it’s a clever and credible amalgamation of her different influences that comes a bit short of being fully realized.

    In any case, I’ve tempered my hopes for Carrie’s upcoming album in the sense that I know it won’t be the Bill Anderson/Jon Randall/Vince Gill/Ashley Monroe/Natalie Hemby/Marcus Hummon/Darrell Scott loaded effort I had hoped for after she released “I Told You So.” My expectation now is that the album will have its encouraging/compelling moments as well as its exasperating ones. I can only hope that the former outnumber the latter.

    I’m also concerned about Lady Antebellum. I don’t think “I Run to You” is a good song (I liked the verses, but felt the chorus didn’t connect well with them melodically and that lyrically, it didn’t follow through on the evocativeness of the verses). So I’m disappointed that their lead single is following in that vein — lyrically, it may just be their weakest effort yet. Moreover, I really didn’t need to see them go along with this revival of the cheesy 80s soft/”yacht” rock sound that Hall & Oates/Paul Young/Foreigner popularized. But “Need You Now” has the potential to be their biggest hit yet, so it will certainly do its job for them. I’m just concerned because the group is smart, likable and talented, but I think they have gotten stretched too thin as writers (see: the Luke Bryan single, their weak effort on Miranda’s album, and their own stuff) and I’m concerned about their stylistic evolution.

    The highlight for me thus far has probably been Chris Young’s airplay breakthrough with “Gettin’ You Home,” a breakthrough that he had richly deserved for the beautiful “Drinkin’ Me Lonely.” Miranda’s album is an encouraging and really strong effort, but the reverb and layering of her voice on the record gets a kneejerk “ARGH” from me and I don’t think her punk explorations work too well. I’m on board for the way she is developing as a lyricist, though, and I hope that she keeps writing with Ashley Monroe and Natalie Hemby.

    So I guess I share that concern a few here have expressed that a number of talented artists with the potential to really enrich and extend country music’s legacy aren’t living up to that potential. I’m not ready to write them off yet but I do hope they do better.

  73. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar

    I’m with you on Sugarland, dudley. “Keep You” is a good track and all, but it baffles me that someone could listen through Love On The Inside and peg that song, “All I Want To Do”, “Joey”, “Love” and “It Happens” for the spotlight. They can get anything played at radio and CMT; why not send out something game-changing like “We Run” or “Very Last Country Song” already?

  74. ThomasNo Gravatar

    …something game-changing out of music row? that place seems to be littered with quarterbacks without arms these days.

  75. dudleyNo Gravatar

    “They can get anything played at radio and CMT; why not send out something game-changing like “We Run” or “Very Last Country Song” already?”

    Those exact two would be my choices and I thought for sure “Very Last Country Song” would be a single. I actually never expected to like most the singles from Love on the Inside, but that was when I thought the singles would include the lead single, “It Happens” and “Take Me As I Am.”

    I give credit to Sugarland for making some offbeat decisions — I like the idea of not just going with the obvious singles and challenging radio if one really believes in a song. I just happened not to care for “Joey” or “Love.” I like most of “Keep You,” but it’s that darn cat-like sound Jen Nettles makes on “hiiiiiide” in the chorus that drives me nuts. I just don’t think it serves the song to sound like that. She’s a great vocalist and I just can’t understand why she would choose to sound like that.

    In any case, I applaud the band’s attitude when it comes to showcasing songs. They have chosen to sing album tracks instead of the predictable current single at the last two country awards shows. They’re doing some very smart things to keep their core fans interested. For me, Sugarland is the best combination of out-of-the-box musical and marketing savvy out there right now. Whether or not I always like the musical output that follows, I think their attitude is needed in our genre.

    I’m off to see Keith Urban and Sugarland at MSG tonight. Super-excited — this will be my first time seeing Sugarland live. Given Jennifer’s bout with cancel-itis I’ve been nervous about jinxing the show with my anticipation, but what the heck. I can’t wait.

  76. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Dang it, I still love “It Happens.” I’m not ashamed. I. Am. Not. Ashamed.

  77. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar

    I give credit to Sugarland for making some offbeat decisions — I like the idea of not just going with the obvious singles and challenging radio if one really believes in a song. I just happened not to care for “Joey” or “Love.” I like most of “Keep You,” but it’s that darn cat-like sound Jen Nettles makes on “hiiiiiide” in the chorus that drives me nuts. I just don’t think it serves the song to sound like that.

    Our opinions on all this are so similar, it’s a little spooky.

    I actually do like “It Happens”, and I wouldn’t have minded seeing it released as part of a generally stronger pool of singles. But in the company of “All I Want To Do” and “Joey”, it just makes me feel like they’re skipping over the real meat of the album.

  78. I’m in the minority (?) that thinks Martina’s song choices on her current album are a step down from her previous album, because outside of “I’m Tryin’,” and perhaps “Lies,” the lyrics tend toward the impersonal and declarative and the melodies aren’t particularly interesting. She strikes me as searching for an identity.

    I must be in the minority, too. I think “Waking Up Laughing” is superior and much more interesting. “Shine,” as you noted, seems to have less “Martina.”

    The highlight for me thus far has probably been Chris Young’s airplay breakthrough with “Gettin’ You Home,” a breakthrough that he had richly deserved for the beautiful “Drinkin’ Me Lonely.”

    You know, when I first heard the song, I found it a tad too explicit (for me – I realize it’s not really that explicit :) ). But the more I listen to it, the more genuine and tasteful the performance feels. I’ve grown to really love it. And that voice!

  79. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    I’ve warmed up to that Chris Young song too. He does have a great, strong/resonant voice.

  80. K-ManNo Gravatar

    I too have felt that the women have been more impressive than the men lately. For the most part, Sugarland, Carrie Underwood, and Taylor Swift have kept me at least somewhat constantly interested in their music. And am I the only one thrilled that “Keep You” was released?

    However, some of my fav. male singers have very much disappointed me. I used to love Dierks Bentley’s music, and Long Trip Alone was a very high point for me. And then he followed it up with “Feel That Fire” and the horrid “I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes”. (I won’t complain about “Sideways” because I happen to like it.)

    I really enjoyed a lot of the stuff from Keith Urban’s Love, Pain, and the Whole Crazy Thing album, especially the singles “I Told You So” and “Everybody”. But then he followed the album up with a much more boring album, and released a bunch of boring singles. I can forgive him for “You Look Good In My Shirt” because although it didn’t blow me away, I thought it was full of energy. But the rest are forgettable.

    I won’t go into any more examples, but it is certainly interesting that the women have been much more consistent. I even liked 3 of the other top 10s or near top 10s by women this year: “Ride”, “Strange”, and “Best Days of Your Life”, even if their follow-ups aren’t as strong for me.

  81. I wish Garth would come back too, Casey …

  82. I’ve warmed up to that Chris Young song too. He does have a great, strong/resonant voice.

    Which is why, Leeann, that Sony Music Nashville stuck with him, they knew that he had something and with his good looks and charm, all he needed was the right song to break through. I fully expect him to break through even bigger with a follow-up single, even if it’s either “That Makes Me” or “21 Candles” (which went over REALLY well when I saw him perform a month ago.

  83. Dan MillikenNo Gravatar

    My fear for Chris Young is that he’ll get James Otto’d by radio – one sexy song that hits hard and brings in sales, then shut out again.

  84. tristianNo Gravatar

    the main thing that really bothers me is people like rhett akins, mindy mccready, david ball, and lila mccann not getting the credit and recognition they deserve. In 2008 Mindy Mccready released “I’m Still Here” and Lila Mccann released “That’s What Angels Do”. Those 2 are my top 5 best songs of the past decade. “I’m Still Here” didnt even make it onto the country charts and “That’s What Angels Do” made it far from the Top 40…country music is basically a popularity contest and the singers i mentioned are way better than 99.8% of today’s mainstream singers

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