In a just world, this throwaway co-write by the great Bobby Braddock (“He Stopped Loving Her Today”, “D-I-V-O-R-C-E”, “Time Marches On”) wouldn’t even have made it to the song-plugger. Instead, it’s the new single for a rising star who doesn’t have to do much to get anything he releases played by radio.
“People Are Crazy” is basically two minutes of flat barstool poetry, then there’s a quirky little twist in the bridge, then the song ends and you move on with your life. Billy Currington’s voice has warmth and character to spare, and he could be using it to create memorable records in the vein of “Good Directions.” This isn’t awful, but coming from a songwriter like Braddock and a singer like Currington, it could be so much better.
ntry radio these days. While there is a ton of great country music out there, the play lists for mainstream country stations seem to be very inflexible and limited to a frustratingly low number of artists/songs. Furthermore, what country radio embraces these days is not well-aligned with my music tastes. Consequently, I keep up with country music through satellite radio, copious research and suggestions by other bloggers whose music tastes I trust.
Judging by the volume of music I’ve acquired in the past 4 years since I’ve stopped regularly listening to mainstream country radio, I’ve been doing a more than satisfactory job of keeping up. Even more importantly, I’ve been able to maintain my love of country music, which surely would have fizzled out if I had continued on the mainstream country radio track.
C.M. Wilcox, proprietor of Country California (who incidentally is one of my most trusted bloggers that has turned me onto an inordinate amount of music), has inspired me to borrow tonight’s discussion topic from his live blogging of 30 minutes of country radio. I decided to check into one of my own local country radio stations for a half hour to hear what was happening there.
At 6:20 P.M., on Tuesday night, I turned my alarm clock radio (my only way to listen to the radio without sitting in the car) to a local country station, q106.5, where it seemed that a local disc jockey was at the helm. Here is what I heard during my half hour of radio:
Billy Currington, “Must Be Doing Something Right”
Brooks & Dunn/Reba McEntire, “Cowgirls Don’t Cry”
Neal McCoy, “Wink”
Kenny Chesney, “Don’t Blink”
Keith Urban, “Sweet Thing”
Craig Morgan, “That’s What I Love About Sunday”
While it certainly could have been worse, I have to say that it was a rather uninspiring half hour of radio. I think I’ll stick to my current regimen of music discovery for now.
So, since C.M. Wilcox and I have done it. I would like all of you to do the same. Turn on your radio for thirty minutes and come back here and report what you’ve heard. We can commiserate. It’ll be fun.
In this era of rampant piracy and economic recession, things aren’t looking good for the music industry. We don’t post too often about the business side of the music business here, as we tend to keep the focus on the music. But the reality is that these numbers matter. If Little Big Town’s second Equity album had performed as well as the first, the label might still be in business.
It’s not all doom and gloom, as many artists go on to make their best music once they leave major labels. But this Christmas, you can guarantee that some artists and record executives will be bracing for the New Year, while others are embracing it.
Here’s a look at some totals for albums released in 2008, ranked by total sales (rounded to the nearest thousand):
Taylor Swift, Fearless – 1,519,000
Sugarland, Love on the Inside – 1,179,000
George Strait, Troubadour – 693,000
Alan Jackson, Good Time – 628,000
Toby Keith, 35 Biggest Hits – 530,000
Kenny Chesney, Lucky Old Sun – 479,000
Faith Hill, Joy to the World – 341,000
Lady Antebellum, Lady Antebellum – 337,000
James Otto, Sunset Man – 332,000
Rascal Flatts, Greatest Hits Volume 1 – 330,000
Darius Rucker, Learn to Live – 284,000
Julianne Hough, Julianne Hough – 260,000
Toby Keith, That Don’t Make Me a Bad Guy – 224,000
Jewel, Perfectly Clear – 203,000
Dierks Bentley, Greatest Hits: Every Mile a Memory - 195,000
Jamey Johnson, That Lonesome Song – 183,000
Heidi Newfield, What Am I Waiting For – 162,000
Jessica Simpson, Do You Know – 153,000
Brad Paisley, Play – 137,000
Kellie Pickler, Kellie Pickler – 129,000
Montgomery Gentry, Back When I Knew it All – 127,000
Tim McGraw, Greatest Hits Vol. 3 – 127,000
Emmylou Harris, All I Intended to Be – 119,000
Zac Brown Band, Foundation – 118,000
Randy Travis, Around the Bend – 89,000
Ashton Shepherd, Sounds So Good - 84,000
Jimmy Wayne, Do You Believe Me Now – 81,000
Trace Adkins, X – 72,000
Billy Currington, Little Bit of Everything – 65,000
She’d long been an afterthought with the Country Music Association, failing to secure an award in her six-year career, but the organization righted past wrongs by honoring Shania Twain with its most significant trophy in 1999.
Twain had taken losses twice for the Horizon Award, and had been defeated in both her Female Vocalist of the Year nominations, including earlier in the evening. But Reba McEntire beamed with joy as she read Twain’s name to make her only the fifth female artist in history to take the CMA’s top award.
As trite as it sounds, Billy Currington’s finest instrument is his voice. The smoldering sensuality of “Must Be Doing Something Right” and the boyish charm of “Good Directions” were effectively conveyed by the way Currington interpreted the songs with that unique voice. Unfortunately, it seems that both the natural sensuality and charm were snuffed out of Currington’s voice for this project called Little Bit Of Everything, which actually ends up sounding like a whole lot of nothing.
Instead of achieving his ultimate goal of making the album sound diverse and positive, as reported in his promotional materials and interviews, all of the songs tend to blend together in an amalgam of drums, electric guitars, unappealing beats and lifeless melodies—not to mention the cringe-inducing lyrics that pervade the eleven tracks.
Currington follows up his multi-week #1 “Good Directions”, a charming country shuffle, with “Tangled Up”, which has Currington trying on Keith Urban’s boots and finding that they don’t quite fit. His vocal is unconvincing and lacks the twang that makes his singing work. He just can’t pull of the rock star vibe, and he shouldn’t try. Unfortunately, this is the lead single from a new project, but hopefully it’s an anomaly. He’s a lot more believable singing about turnip trucks than tangled sheets, and he’s a much better singer than this record allows him to be.