“Run Away With You” Big & Rich Written by Michael Ray and John Rich One thing’s for sure about Big & Rich: They’re pros at what they do. They’ve correctly assessed the general sound and lyrical themes that brought them their biggest radio success, and “Run Away With You” is a competent attempt to recreate what worked.
As one of the finest new traditionalists of the eighties and nineties, John Anderson pushed the boundaries of country music without sacrificing its distinctive heritage.
The 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade, Part 3
Martina McBride, Timeless
McBride has a voice that would have been as relevant in country music fifty years ago as it is today, and her album of cover songs exemplifies this. She doesn’t attempt to move any of the songs to a different level, but instead inhabits the artists’ original style with precision and spirit. The result is a pure, respectful homage to the country greats. – Tara Seetharam
Recommended Tracks: “Make The World Go Away”, “Pick Me Up On Your Way Down”
Felice Brothers, Yonder is the Clock
The Felice Brothers are the least-known among the members of ‘The Big Surprise Tour’ headlined by Old Crow Medicine Show and featuring Dave Rawlings Machine with Gillian Welch, and Justin Townes Earle. Melding country-rock and folk-rock, they are roots-influenced and made their start playing in the subway. While it may take an extremely big tent to call them “country,” consistent Dylan comparisons make Yonder is the Clock hard to ignore. – William Ward
It’s time for an album sales update, our first since May 23. Brad Paisley is off to a strong start with American Saturday Night, selling 130k in its first week. That’s about 70k less than his previous two studio albums – Time Well Wasted and 5th Gear – opened with, but not a terrible drop-off, considering the state of the music market.
Meanwhile, the new studio albums by Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban are slowing down considerably, now being outpaced on a weekly basis by 2008 releases by Taylor Swift, Zac Brown Band, Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum.
Among younger acts with a new album in 2009, the most impressive sales are coming from Jason Aldean, while 2008 releases from Kellie Pickler, Billy Currington, and Randy Houser are showing new signs of life.
Biggest disappointments? It’s hard not to look in the direction of Martina McBride, who has barely cleared the 100k mark on her new studio set. Lee Ann Womack’s 2008 set just made it over that mark, too. Then again, one only needs to have sold 455 copies to make the chart this week, with the anchor position going to Wynonna with that total. Her covers album Sing – Chapter 1 has sold 41k to date.
Here are the latest totals for albums released over the past three years that are still charting:
- Rascal Flatts, Unstoppable – 842,000
- Keith Urban, Defying Gravity – 452,000
- Jason Aldean, Wide Open – 384,000
- Kenny Chesney, Greatest Hits II – 281,000
- Dierks Bentley, Feel That Fire – 219,000
- Martina McBride, Shine – 104,000
- John Rich, Son of a Preacher Man – 103,000
- Eric Church, Carolina – 94,000
- Rodney Atkins, It’s America – 88,000
- Jake Owen, Easy Does It – 81,000
There is really no new way to pontificate about the fascinating longevity of George Strait’s career. Many, including myself, have speculated regarding the many possible reasons behind his staying power, but it is more than likely that many of the factors that we have already considered could be easily applied to other artists with lesser careers to show for it. Therefore, the consensus that can be agreed upon by most everyone is that George Strait is consistent. In the last three decades, without being loud or splashy in any way, Strait has consistently remained a vibrant country music artist, both on the charts and in concert sales. As a result, he is one of the most respected, if not intriguing, artists in the business.
On May 27, the Academy of Country Music honored George Strait as their Artist of the Decade in a two hour CBS special. The show consisted of many of today’s biggest artists paying homage to Strait by singing the songs of the Man of Honor.
Unlike most tribute shows, this show moved along at a reasonably fast clip with few over-dramatic or slick moments to weigh it down, which was highly appropriate considering the man who was being honored that night.
The show opened with a rousing version of Strait’s Cajun flavored “Adalida” ably performed by Sugarland. Jennifer Nettle’s exaggerated drawl, while very different from Strait’s laid back vocals, gave the song energy and seemed to be a wise way to invigorate the crowd. Other energetic performances included a rocked up version of “All My Exes Live in Texas” by Jack Ingram, which was fun but lacked the whimsical charm of Strait’s western swing flavored interpretation. Alan Jackson did a faithful steel laden cover of “The Fireman”, which is always sung at events such as these, though it’s certainly not one of Strait’s most interesting classics.
* Rascal Flatts, Unstoppable – 669,000
* Keith Urban, Defying Gravity – 349,000
* Jason Aldean, Wide Open – 241,000
* Dierks Bentley, Feel That Fire – 189,000
* Martina McBride, Shine – 89,000
* John Rich, Son of a Preacher Man – 89,000
* Rodney Atkins, It’s America – 72,000
* Jake Owen, Easy Does It – 70,000
* Eric Church, Carolina – 66,000
* Randy Travis, I Told You So: Ultimate Hits – 59,000
* Randy Rogers Band, Randy Rogers Band – 57,000
* Pat Green, What I’m For – 54,000
* Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel, Willie & The Wheel – 50,000
* Billy Ray Cyrus, Back to Tennessee – 29,000
* Jason Michael Carroll, Growing Up is Getting Old – 26,000
* Dean Brody, Dean Brody – 5,000
I guess I should say from the outset that this review isn’t being written in the real world, but rather in “that New York City town.” For what it’s worth, here’s the view from New York City: this album stinks.
I’m going to keep this review brief. There’s honestly not much to be said. There are only three types of songs on Son of a Preacher Man anyway:
1. Power ballads, minus the power.
John Rich may be the least convincing love singer in history. He doesn’t sound desperate when he’s trying to sound desperate (“I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love.”) He doesn’t sound head over heels in love when he’s trying to sound head over heels in love (“Another You.”) He doesn’t sound fully committed when he’s trying to sound fully committed (“I Thought You’d Never Ask.”)
2. Loud rockers, minus the rocker.
He may sing that “Everybody Wants to Be Me”, but his timid vocal and anemic backing band suggest that there wasn’t a single person in the studio who believed that line. His ode to the “Trucker Man” has all the potency of an eight year old boy playing with a toy big rig on the living room carpet.
3. Message songs, minus the message.
The album is dominated by messages large and small, personal and political, and every single one of them is garbled and incoherent. Any woman with dignity who believes John Rich’s advice on how to “Turn a Country Boy On” will know that she’s better off alone than lowering herself to do what he suggests.
ENTERTAINER: Carrie Underwood
ALBUM: Taylor Swift, Fearless
SINGLE: “You’re Gonna Miss This” – Trace Adkins
FEMALE VOCALIST: Carrie Underwood
MALE VOCALIST: Brad Paisley
VOCAL DUO: Sugarland
TOP NEW ARTIST: Julianne Hough
VOCAL GROUP: Rascal Flatts
SONG: “In Color” – Jamey Johnson
11:00 Wonderful ending to a pretty good night!
10:59 ENTERTAINER: Carrie Underwood!!!
10:57 Matt and Jamie Foxx should co-host next year.
10:56 Matthew M. was the “Walkaway Joe” in Trisha’s video from 1992.
10:54 The show got better as it went on. I’ve really enjoyed most of the later performances.
10:49 This is the best I’ve heard Rascal Flatts in a very long time. I would buy this song arranged and performed like this.
One of country music’s finest journalist has a new outlet for his talents. Chris Willman has written for Entertainment Weekly for many years and he also wrote the essential book Rednecks and Bluenecks, which explored the history of politics in country music. He’s now joined The Huffington Post, and the online format allows him to write exponentially longer essays. His first explicitly country article is up now, and it’s a fascinating read: Jamey Johnson and John Rich Help Country Radio Get Real. One of Willman’s gifts as a writer is his ability to get artists to speak more deeply and more candidly about their craft. Thus, even an interview with an artist like John Rich, who I generally find insufferable, is still interesting. The article closes with tidbits about upcoming Tim McGraw and Brad Paisley songs, too. The Huffington Post isn’t for everybody, so thankfully I can link directly to Read More
As one half of Big & Rich, John Rich has certainly demonstrated that he knows how to throw a big, ostentatious party. However, in “Shuttin’ Detroit Down,” Rich’s recent solo release, the Nashville Star judge and Gone Country host takes to task those with the audacity to be ostentatious in these tough economic times. Rich pulls no punches (and rightly so) in lambasting the fat cats on Wall Street who are giving out bonuses and throwing lavish parties with Government bailout money. However, the song falls short of inspiring righteous anger and garnering sympathy. Instead of striking the right emotional chord, the song comes off as vaguely preachy as Rich draws an arbitrary line between those who live in the “real world” and those who don’t. The failure to truly resonate is primarily the result of a lyrical approach prevalent in country music of late: the lyrics attempt to push Read More