Sunday Selections: August 13, 2016

Country radio needs to be “Fix”ed.

We took a week off from Sunday Selections, and we ended up missing the ascent of Eric Church’s “Record Year” to the top of the airplay charts… Only to return in time to see Chris Lane’s “Fix” take over as #1. Whenever country radio starts to make some headway, it just can’t help but fall back into its most regrettable habits. For what it’s worth, Lane’s album, Girl Problems, couldn’t capitalize on his lead single’s airplay, selling just a scant 6,000 copies in its first week.

Outside of that bit of unfortunate business, there’s some good news to be found. Dwight Yoakam announced a surprise new album, and Chely Wright talked to the always on-point Jason Scott about the recording of her upcoming album, I Am The Rain. Scott also dropped a must-read, long-form essay about “fandom” culture, including several prominent country artists.

Elsewhere, Jason Isbell proved that he is the Michael Phelps of Twitter, but Blake Shelton turned out to be more like Russian diver Nadezhda Bazhina. Both Miranda Lambert and Lauren Alaina gave candid, revealing interviews that gave insights into their latest singles, and Kellie Pickler got animated. There were noteworthy live performances from Carrie Underwood, Eric Church, and Isbell, along with new music videos from Shovels & Rope, Brothers Osborne, and Maren Morris.

Onward!

Alan Jackson - GenuineNew Releases & Reissues, 8/05/2016
American Young, AY. (Curb)
Blackfoot, Southern Native. (Loud & Proud)
The Cadillac Three, Bury Me In My Boots. (Big Machine)
Ry Cooder & David Lindley, If Walls Could Talk: Live On Air 1979. (Laser Media)
Diamond Rio, The Definitive Hits Collection. (Real Gone Music)
Alan Jackson, Geniune: The Alan Jackson Story. (Arista Nashville / Legacy)
Waylon Jennings, Nashville Rebel. (RCA / Legacy)
Cody Johnson, Gotta Be Me. (COJO Music)
The Lacs & Hard Target Present Racket Country, Welcome To Dodge City. (Barn Burner)
Chris Lane, Girl And Very Basic Music Problems. (Big Loud)
Andrew Leahey & The Homestead, Skyline in Central Time. (Skyline Music)
Little River Band, Little River Band (1975). (Music On Vinyl)
Neal McCoy, You Don’t Know Me. (New Design)
O’Connor Band (With Mark O’Connor), Coming Home. (Rounder)
Elvis Presley, Way Down In The Jungle Room. (RCA / Legacy)
Chelle Rose, Blue Ridge Blood. (Lil’ Damsel)

Cody Jinks - I'm Not The DevilNew Releases & Reissues, 8/12/2016
The Allman Brothers Band, Almost the 80s: Nassau Coliseum, NY, 30th December 1979. (Leftfield)
Blind Pilot, And Then Like Lions. (ATO)
Dave & Sugar, Greatest Hits / New York Wine & Tennessee Shine. (Morello)
Stewart Eastham, Dancers In The Mansion. (Long Bar Music)
John Fogerty, Tales From The Bayou. (Platinum Sounds)
Janie Fricke, Singer of Songs, Love Notes, I’ll Need Someone to Hold Me When I Cry, and From the Heart. (BGO)
Don Gibson, The Complete Singles As & Bs 1952 – 1962. (Acrobat)
Hymn for Her, Drive Til U Die. (Hymn for Her)
Cody Jinks, I’m Not The Devil. (Thirty Tigers)
Edwin McCain, O Edwin, Where Art Thou?. (Edwin McCain)
Justin Moore, Kinda Don’t Care. (Valory)
Willie Nelson, New Year’s Eve in Houston 1984. (Golden Rain)
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Nashville 1974: The Tennessee Broadcast. (All Access)
Charlie Rich, Every Time You Touch Me, Silver Linings, Take Me, and Rollin’ With The Flow. (BGO)
Dylan Scott, Dylan Scott. (Curb)
Kelsey Waldon, I’ve Got a Way. (Monkey’s Eyebrow)

Chris Lane FixCharted Territory
Billboard Country National Airplay:
#1: Chris Lane, “Fix”
Most Increased Audience: The Band Perry, “Comeback Kid”
Debuts: The Band Perry, “Comeback Kid” (#39); Florida Georgia Line w Tim McGraw, “May We All” (#51); Mickey Guyton, “Heartbreak Song” (#56).
Most Added: Kenny Chesney feat. Pink, “Setting the World on Fire” (36); The Band Perry, “Comeback Kid” (34); Luke Bryan, “Move” (27); Dylan Scott, “My Girl” (19); LANCO, “Long Live Tonight” (17).
Notes: Last week, Eric Church took one of the finest songs on the chart, “Record Year,” to the #1 position, but he loses that spot this week to Chris Lane’s execrable “Fix,” easily the worst song currently at radio; Carrie Underwood’s recent chart-topper, “Church Bells,” is dropping somewhat slowly (#6 – #9 this week), but it should soon give way to “Dirty Laundry,” which has officially been announced as Underwood’s next single; Miranda Lambert’s “Vice” moves up from #25 to #21 in its third chart week and should soon surpass its #18 debut position; Thomas Rhett’s “Vacation” loses its bullet at #35 after 8 weeks, so maybe there is some hope for country radio; after spending a solid month at #41, Chris Janson finally cracks the top 40 with his terrific single, “Holdin’ Her,” which moves up to #40; Runaway June’s “Lipstick” continues to lose steam (#50 for a second week), while The Last Bandoleros’ “Where Do You Go” drops hard from #52 to #58.

Elsewhere on Billboard‘s radio charts:
The venerable alt-country pioneers Wilco continue to make inroads at AAA radio with “If I Ever Was A Child,” which moves up from #30 to #26; even more encouraging is the debut of Shovels & Rope’s “I Know” at #28 on the AAA chart; Amanda Shires’ “When You’re Gone” and Drive-By Truckers’ “Surrender Under Protest” each landed 4 station adds at AAA, while Sturgill Simpson scored 3 adds with his cover of Nirvana’s “In Bloom;” despite those new additions, overall, the tenor of the AAA chart has shifted away from Americana and alt-country artists over the past year in favor of artists who, a few years ago, would have been more at-home at Adult Top 40; on that chart this week, Florida Georgia Line’s “H.O.L.Y.” moves up from #29 to #25; despite gaining spins at 2 new stations, Tim McGraw’s “Humble & Kind” drops from #13 to #14 at Adult Contemporary radio; Hillary Scott & The Scott Family post another big gain at Christian radio this week, where “Thy Will” moves up to #7.

IAmTheRain-wborderNews & Notes
“Joe [Henry] repeated to me something a poet friend had said to him, ‘Sometimes the poem possesses an intelligence the poet doesn’t necessarily have.’ What that told me was that you have to follow your intentions. It can take you a number of places. If you really surrender and acquiesce to what you intend to do in the universe, chances are you are going to get somewhere close to that. That really changed a lot about me. It changed how I approach friendships and a discussion with my wife.”
— Chely Wright gave a wide-ranging interview to friend-of-the-blog Jason Scott for AXS. Scott raves about Wright’s upcoming album, I Am The Rain, which sounds like it will be a career-best for the singer-songwriter, and he digs deep into Wright’s recording and songwriting processes. Throughout the interview, Wright impresses with her technical know-how– her discussion about incorporating a bass clarinet into her live band is a true peek behind-the-curtain– with her incorporation of classic country influences, and with her willingness to take risks. It’s a must-read profile. (JK)

“Fans have a lot of pride in the artist they support from the beginning. That’s probably healthy. Then, fans expect that artist to always be exactly how they were when they had nothing. That can be dangerous. You can’t acknowledge every single fan, like when there were five of them. As much as you want to acknowledge the people who got you there, every artist struggles with that. They stay after every show and meet people at the merch table. Then, if you are Luke Bryan, you can’t do that. Or if you are Kip Moore and you do do that, you stay three hours after a show.”
— Annie Dineen, founder of The Shotgun Seat, spoke at length about the relationship between artists and their most dedicated fans as part of “Fandom Culture in 2016: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly,” a fascinating long-read by, once again, Jason Scott for PopDust. Scott delves into contemporary “fandom” culture, speaking to Country Universe favorites Vickye Fisher of For The Country Record and Zackary Kephart of Country Perspective among others, and he even talks to fans on both sides of the greatest political divide of our time, The Carrie Underwood Vs Miranda Lambert Debate. (JK)

In addition to debuting at AAA radio, Shovels & Rope’s fantastic single “I Know” now has a shiny new music video. (JK)

“I want to use my time to fix the things I can and put as much love as I can into the world before the boatman rows me across the big river. I’m not afraid. We all have to face this one day. I want to continue my cosmic adventures. I want to see my beloved grandmother Brigid again. (Elvis will just have to wait).”
— Irish singer-songwriter Bap Kennedy wrote about the results of his recent surgery for his health blog. 2016 has been a bad year for the music industry, and cancer is about the worst thing on the planet. So it’s not surprising that cancer has hit the music world twice more in recent weeks. Kennedy announced several months ago that he was diagnosed with cancer. He had surgery at the end of July, but the tumor was found to be inoperable. Bap has released a stellar line of solo albums, starting with “Domestic Blues” on Steve Earle’s E2 records in 1998. His most recent album was the critically lauded “The Sailor’s Revenge” from 2012, produced by Mark Knopfler. In between is a stellar catalog, including a Hank Williams tribute, a cycle of songs about Williams and Elvis Presley, and a rare duet with Shane MacGowan of The Pogues, to name just a few highlights. If you want to send Bap an e-mail, send it to info@bapkennedy.com. His team says that he is determined to write and respond to every message he gets. (SG)

Austin bass-player/producer/engineer George Reiff was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in his brain liver, adrenal gland and right lung. He has undergone surgery to remove a tumor from his brain. The family is requesting privacy at this time, but a GoFundMe account has been set up to help with his medical expenses. If you would like to contribute, go to https://www.gofundme.com/georgereiff. (SG)

Ryan Adams joined Jason Isbell on stage in San Fransisco to perform a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Sway” that is exactly as great as you think it is. (JK)


On Saturday, Twitter users took a stroll through Blake Shelton’s verified Twitter account and began re-tweeting a series of Shelton’s tweets that reveal a far more insidious side of his calculated aw-shucks public persona. Given Shelton’s prominence, it’s certainly problematic to see this type of validation of the stereotype that country music is steeped in prejudices that fester just beneath its surfaces. While social media outrage cycles are a daily occurrence and have been used to vilify both celebrities and non-celebrities alike, we believe it’s still important and relevant to call out instances of overt racism when they occur. Yes, the Tweet is several years old, but that means that there have been countless opportunities when it could have been addressed. At this point, Shelton has deleted the Tweet without comment, but he hasn’t issued any sort of statement about the attention his remarks have garnered, nor has he doubled-down on this statement or any of the homophobic tweets that have also gone viral. Considering how quick he has been over the years to tell people to “Kiss [his] country ass,” it will be interesting to see how, if at all, he responds to this situation. (JK)

“Michael Phelps is the Alison Krauss of swimming.”
— Jason Isbell, in far less controversial Twitter news, drew an apt parallel between two all-time greats. (JK)

“Dad’s singing harmony on it and we have a couple of male voices on it, but for the most part it’s a ‘girl’ song, it’s a ‘sister’ song.”
— Hillary Scott spoke to Rolling Stone about “The River,” which interpolates a few bars of the well-known hymn “Down to the River to Pray” and on which her mother, Linda Davis, sings lead. “Thy Will” is still posting gains at radio, but “The River” is a standout track on the surprisingly great Love Remains. (TS)

ABC seems to have removed the official CMA Fest video from YouTube, but, since our last Sunday Selections post, the “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night To Rock” broadcast has aired, which means it’s fair game to post the video of Carrie Underwood throwing down on the harmonica and belting the ever-living shit out of “Choctaw County Affair,” which had better make for the first time she’s ever released a fifth single from one of her albums. (JK)

In one of the year’s most exciting announcements, Dwight Yoakam is scheduled to release an album of Bluegrass covers of eleven of his hits on September 23rd. The project is titled, Swimming Pools, Movie Stars… (LMW)

“Friday, the Dixie Chicks will return to Dallas for the band’s first performance here in a decade. The last time the Chicks took to the stage, at American Airlines Center, they were contending with death threats (as seen in Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck’s vital 2006 documentary Shut Up & Sing), and while it would seem reasonable that anger has cooled, and fans are willing to forgive and forget any perceived slights, such an assumption would be incorrect.”
— Preston Jones of the Star Telegram asked, “Should The Dixie Chicks Just Shut Up & Sing” in advance of the trio’s first show in Dallas in a decade; Jones was surprised to find out how many locals felt that the answer was a resounding, “yes.” (JK)

Eric Church opened his recent show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre with an acoustic version of “Mistress Named Music” from Mr. Misunderstood, and his performance of the song took a detour into a medley of songs by Bob Seger, Kenny Loggins, Little Feat, Billy Joel, and George Strait. (JK)

“The sassy confidence, yes, that’s what I’ve kind of built my career on. But it also takes a lot of confidence and strength to be willing to be vulnerable. And I feel like when you listen to this song, there’s really nothing to read into. It says what it says. Everybody has a vice. Everybody goes through a time in their life when they run to it a little bit more than when they don’t. When I’m journaling my life and putting it on paper to a melody and then allowing people to hear it, I can’t worry about what somebody might twist it into, because it’s not like I’m hiding anything.”
— Miranda Lambert admitted that she isn’t afraid to be vulnerable while speaking to Chris Willman of Billboard about her new single, “Vice,” and her songwriting process in preparing for her upcoming album. (JK)

Kellie Pickler has always been a pretty animated character, so it’s not a huge stretch as she prepares for her new role as… an animated character. She’ll be lending her vocal talents to play the role of a pirate in the Nick Jr. show “Shimmer and Shine.” She’ll sing a couple songs in the 2-part episode. (SG)

Speaking of the always-delightful Pickler, she recently appeared on Celebrity Family Feud, and it ended up being one of the best thing that has ever been televised, as her effervescence caused host Steve Harvey to get increasingly befuddled all the way through Pickler’s attempt to play “Fast Money.” (JK)

Mary Chapin Carpenter reads an essay about finding love in life’s “final lap” for the Modern Love podcast, which pairs celebrities with essays written about love for the New York Times‘ “Modern Love” column. (LMW)

Brothers Osborne premiered the music video for their wistful single, “21 Summer.” (JK)

“I went to the doctor for my vocal cords, because I was really struggling with my vocal cords… The doctor asked if I had ever had an eating disorder. I was like, ‘Uh, no.’ My mom was in the room and I was like, ‘No.’ My mom said, ‘Lauren’. You know, like in that mom tone. I lost it. I thought I was hiding it. You know you always think when you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing that no one knows. For my mom to know really embarrassed me. They sent me to a beach house with my mom for two weeks and put me on vocal rest, so I wasn’t allowed to speak at all. It really made me think, and I think that was part of the point. It was really for my voice, because my voice was done. It was destroyed at that point. My mom pretty much stayed with me at all times to make sure that there were no problems. I had bulimia, that’s why I was destroying my vocal cords.”
— Lauren Alaina opened up to Lisa Konicki of Nashville Daily News about her recovery from an eating disorder, which threatened to cause permanent damage to her voice. Alaina spoke candidly about her impact of the eating disorder, which began before her run to the American Idol finale, and how that figures into the inspirational tone of her new single, “Road Less Traveled.” (JK)

Joey+Rory’s Hymns That Are Important To Us is one of our favorite albums of the year, and it scored three nominations for the 2016 GMA Dove Awards. Shenandoah, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, and The Oak Ridge Boys are also among the nominees. (JK)

To follow-up on the great discussion from the last Sunday Selection post, video from the recent tribute to Linda Ronstadt at Nashville’s Basement East has finally turned up on YouTube. Here, a line-up that includes Annie Clements, Emily West, The Watson Twins, Margo Price, and Kree Harrison tackle “When Will I Be Loved.” (JK)

But for the way Maren Morris drawls some of her vowels, her single “80s Mercedes” really doesn’t scan as country in any meaningful way, but it’s a strong pop single that, once again, draws favorable comparisons to Sheryl Crow’s 90s output. Morris premiered a candy-colored music video for the single. (JK)

That will do it for this week. There are several new single reviews in the works, along with the final installment of the Dixie Chicks: Revisited series, so be sure to check back in!

18 Comments

  1. “For what it’s worth, Lane’s album, Girl Problems, couldn’t capitalize on his lead single’s airplay, selling just a scant 6,000 copies in its first week.”

    This is the part of the equation/problem that confuses me; what is the point of labels and radio supporting all of these faceless, ‘bro’ hits if they don’t sell albums? Lane can get a #1 hit – which I assume takes a lot of money to achieve – and then sells less albums than Brandy Clark. Doesn’t it stand to reason that with more of a promotional push, Clark could sell a lot more albums?

    More so, what are labels getting out of pushing non-sellers like Lane?

  2. I Told You So was the 5th single off of Carnival Ride. We are all definitely routing for Choctaw County Affair though! :)

  3. Are you guys going to review “Road Less Traveled” rumors are swirling that Lauren Alaina will get OTV. I love the song so much and I’d love to see a review on it.

    Reading that interview about Lauren Alaina made me cry a little. She deserves a big break and I hope “Road Less Traveled” leads to great things.

    I also hope you guys review “Lipstick” another great female song imo.

    I am so hopeful “Choctaw County Affair” will be released 5th but I’m afraid “The Fighter” that features Carrie Underwood on Keith Urban’s album Ripcord will be released soon and ruin any other single getting released.

    I am so sad Kellie Pickler is no longer on Black River records. I really want new music from her and I can only hope another latches onto her.

    Finally I have to say I love that “80’s Mercedes” music video, so colorful and Maren Morris is such a huge talent that I hope she stays for a long time in the mainstream light.

  4. Not understanding the hate for Chris Lane. His style doesn’t seem that different than most of Carrie Underwood’s songs and she’s won every country music award you can name. Seriously, other than a remake of ‘I Told You So’, most of her hits in the last few years sound just like Whitney Houston. And I love Carrie – but her music isn’t traditional country by any means.

    Unfortunately, there are very few country artists recording today that sound like traditional country. But if we’re going to insult some and not all, then what’s the point?

    It’s just like when Reba wanted to make her records sound more traditional back in the 80s when cross-over country was the norm. Her producer tried to steer her that way. Luckily, Jimmy Bowen was head of MCA and told her to make the kind of record she wanted. She was lucky.

    I saw an interview with Vince Gill recently where he said he was very supportive of the newer artists. He said ‘is it my style? Probably not. But was MY music Merle Haggard’s style? Probably not. And was Merle’s music…’

    Lane is just like every other struggling newcomer – he wants to get his songs out there. And he’s a great singer, so that’s a plus in my book.

  5. caj – I am not saying Carrie’s music is traditionally country, but in no way does it sound like Whitney Houston. What Whitney song sounds like “Smoke Break,” “Little Toy Guns,” or “Church Bells?” Please name one.

    I do agree with you that we shouldn’t expect current artists to sound “traditionally country,” but the point is a lot of what is currently played on country music has few if any signifiers that make them country music. It’s one thing to combine country elements with elements of other genres, but it’s another to basically leave out the ‘country’ altogether.

  6. I see your point, Jason. And you’re right – the songs you listed don’t sound like WH. But when I hear Carrie go all barrels with her amazing voice, it does remind me of WH. Songs like Good Girl, Blown Away, and Undo It sound like some of WH’s more upbeat songs.

    And I may not have fully explained in the Reba example, but maybe the fault in this pop-sounding (or even rap) music may have more to do with the producers and record companies than with the artists themselves. Someone like Easton Corbin would’ve probably been a superstar 10 or more years ago. But even he sounds more like everybody else on his latest cd – and unfortunately that probably has to do with pressure from above.

  7. Much of the “male stuff” on the radio is really not pop, but rather appropriation of rap and hip-hop into a country context, hence the term “Bro Country”, I guess (or “Hick-Hop”, or “Metro Bro”, or whatever the heck else you want to call it; it just isn’t pop or rock [IMHO]). In any case, I think we have to accept that pop and rock have been influencing country music in one way or another since the first explosion of rock and roll in the mid-1950s; it’s an unavoidable fact. It’s in how the artists of today do it that is the problem.

    And kudos to Kree Harrison, Margo Price, Caitlin Rose, Emily West, and company for their fine birthday tribute to Linda. When we talk about the pop/country problem, we should always remember that Linda had tremendous respect for the traditionalist spirit of country music, while also displaying progressive musical values, and mixing in rock and roll, thus influencing four successive generations of female artists, including the young ladies in that tribute video.

  8. Not sure if this is the same controversy as far as homophobic tweets, but I found this from Entertainment Weekly in May 2011:

    GLAAD, meanwhile, wasn’t laughing. Apologize now. #LGBT #gay #thevoice @NBCTheVoice.” Contacted by EW, a GLAAD rep said the organization was working with Shelton on a tweet that addresses anti-gay violence. UPDATE: Shelton has tweeted, “@glaad hey I want my fans and @nbcthevoice fans to know that anti-gay and lesbian violence is unacceptable!!!!! Help me!!!! And DM me…” GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios released the following statement: “Following outrage from community members and allies, Blake Shelton took the right step in speaking out against anti-gay violence and sending an important message to his fans and viewers of The Voice.”

    I would say he’s done what was necessary to apologize and resolve that issue.

  9. I wouldn’t say a perfunctory tweet that Shelton likely never truly followed up on (as in, has he taken a real stand and/or is he still involved with any sort of charities that aid the cause?) isn’t quite ‘resolving’ the issue. He just tweeted for PR purposes. Big whoop.

  10. Well, I didn’t post the whole article so here’s the beginning:

    “Re-writing my fav Shania Twain song.. Any man that tries Touching my behind He’s gonna be a beaten, bleedin’, heaving kind of guy… ” Shelton tweeted. Ten hours later, he woke up to find a lot of replies. ”Ba! Ha! Reading all my anti-gay hate tweets…. Ha! Ha! If people only knew even a little about me, my family and friends. Dumb asses… ” he tweeted. “Please make it right! I want 2 like u again” tweeted one follower. Shelton’s response: “Ha! Ok try this. Its meant to be from a girls point of view.. Thus, ‘Shania Twain.’” Then, it hit him why people had misunderstood his original tweet. “Hey y’all allow me to seriously apologize for the misunderstanding with the whole re-write on the Shania song last night… It honestly wasn’t even meant that way… I now know that their are people out there waiting to jump at everything I say on here or anywhere. But when it comes to gay/lesbian rights or just feelings… I love everybody. So go look for a real villain and leave me out of it!!!”

    This all happened before he and GLAAD began to communicate. To me, it just says that his tweet was misunderstood and had nothing to do with homosexuality, but more of a woman’s reaction to being touched by a man.

  11. Chris Lane a great singer? We might just have to agree to disagree on that one. He sounds to me like a Tim McGraw knockoff, only without the good songs, at least if “Fix” is any indication. Tim’s voice never was all that, but at least he’s had the sense to pick good, even GREAT, songs to record. “Fix” is just hot garbage any way it’s sliced, and there’s little if any reason to expect anything else from him to be better — especially with him saying to Rolling Stone in a recent interview that “country music has room for a little bit of everything.”

    And he follows that up with mentions of FGL, Sam Hunt…and Chris Stapleton.

    HELLO! One of those things is not like the other, on a couple of different levels! Sam Hunt and FGL are just two different kinds of bad yet they score hits left and right, and country radio barely gives Stapleton the time of day! I mean, that’s not quite as ignorant as Kelsea Ballerini’s commentary on the state of country radio in relation to female artists, but it’s more than close enough for government work.

  12. Whoa! I don’t remember that racist Blake Shelton tweet, but I’m shocked by it, even from him! I’m also saddened that it’s from 2011 and didn’tcause any real waves.

  13. Also, I will say that it is rather gratifying to see Lane’s low album sales in relation to his radio airplay. I know album sales are getting to be less and less of a thing, but it’s good to see that people won’t give that dude their hard-earned money no matter how much “country” radio tries to force him down their throats.

    6,000 copies…Jason Boland and the Stragglers’ latest album, Squelch, sold 2/3 of that in its first week, and they’ve never had a radio hit outside of certain regions in Texas and Oklahoma. And then, of course, there are the successes of the likes of Aaron Watson, Sturgill Simpson, and Jason Isbell, who between them have sold more than 400,000 copies of their latest albums all without any airplay from country radio, and who all probably had at least as good or better chart debuts than Lane.

    Also…a cover of Mario’s “Let Me Love You”? Really?! WHAT THE…? The original version of that song sucked! We didn’t need a cover of it! I mean, yeah, Aaron Watson covered John Mayer on his last album, but at least it sounded country, which I would bet my next paycheck is more than can be said of the Chris Lane monstrosity!

  14. With respect to Blake Shelton’s “tweets”–setting aside for a second the arguments of whether or not he was being homophobic, sexist, misogynistic, or whatever else, or whether he shot himself in the foot by even posting those tweets in the first place in 2011, i think the longer-term fallout from those tweets is far more damaging, because it can be argued that they raise the old, hoary stereotype of country musicians and their fans as being racist, intolerant, inbred rednecks. I don’t know about Shelton himself, but I would at least like to think that the country music fan base has evolved beyond that, even if Shelton and others of his type still haven’t.

  15. Earlier this week, I went to AT&T Park for a Giants game and Matt Cain’s (Giants Pitcher) walk up song was from a guy I’ve never heard of before, but I really liked the song. It ended up being Loud and Heavy from Cody Jinks and I went home and listened to more songs from this guy and I started to get this sensation like I got last year when Chris Stapleton’s album was just about to come out.

    A few days later I decided to buy both Adobe Sessions and I’m Not the Devil and man why didn’t I discover this guy before? Both albums are awesome, and that Devil album is hardcore country that I’ve been looking for all year long. I was worried 2016 might be the year where I wouldn’t get excited about an artist like I did last year with Stapleton, Maddie and Tae, and Jason Isbell.

    I’ve pretty much been listening to these albums almost non-stop for the last couple of days. Right now in fact, I have David on repeat, and man what a song this is. So far my favorite songs from him include:

    David
    Cast No Stones
    Vampires
    Grey

    I would love to see Country Universe do a review for his Devil Album if you have some time. When the year is done, this guy might be at the top of my list for Album of the year. He’s definitely on the list for most exciting artist I found this year.

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