Sunday Selections: January 31, 2016

The final week of January was a big one for Aubrie Sellers, who gave her first television performance, released her first album, and appears poised for an outstanding 2016. Elsewhere a fairly light news week which includes a short but solid list of new releases as well as troubles for Jamey Johnson, Tyler Farr and Katie Armiger.

New Releases & Reissues, 1/29/2016

Dianna Corcoran, In America (Krian)
Sierra Hull, Weighted Wind (Rounder)
Buddy Miller, Cayamo Sessions at Sea (New West)
Guy Penrod, Live: Hymns & Worship (CD & DVD) (Gaither)
Gretchen Peters, The Essential Gretchen Peters (Scarlet Letter)
Aubrie Sellers, New City Blues (Carnival/Thirty Tigers)

News and Notes

Aubrie Sellers makes her television debut by singing “Light of Day” on Late Night with Stephen Colbert. Be sure to check out her new album. It’s good! (LW)

While we wait for new music from Jamey Johnson, he appears to be trapped in a country song. He’s had to radically alter his backing band after most of them were arrested for drug possession.  Some of the details are scarce, but “Cowboy” Eddie Long, Mark Crum, John Scott, and Mike Kennedy were all arrested in Mississippi late last year for possession of a controlled substance following a show. As a result, Scott and Kennedy have left the band, as has guitarist Jason Cope, who was not involved in the arrest. Johnson’s recent shows have included Long, Crum and several new band members. If he can’t get a song or two out of this, I’d be shocked. (SG)

Tyler Farr has been placed on vocal rest following micro laryngeal surgery to remove a polyp from his vocal chords, forcing him to cancel several shows as well as bow out of the Life Off My Years Tour with Lee Brice. (BF)

Katie Armiger’s former label Cold River Records has filed a lawsuit against her for “refusing to perform the remainder of her contracts with the label.” Armiger has filed a countersuit alleging that she was pressured by label executives to dress and behave provocatively in order to further her career. (BF)

In a performance that promises to be 50% awesome, Carrie Underwood and Sam Hunt will share the stage at the 58th annual Grammy Awards on February 15. (BF)

A new book and CD help celebrate the life of a staple of the Austin music scene. Dreamer: The Musical Legacy Behind Cheatham Street Warehouse pays tribute to Kent Finlay, who died last year at age 77. Finlay helped up-and-coming artists on the Texas music scene from George Strait and Stevie Ray Vaughan to Todd Snider and Randy Rogers. The book is co-written by Brian T. Atkinson and Jenni Finlay, Kent’s daughter and a music PR whiz. Their record label, Eight 30 Records is also releasing a tribute album to Kent Finlay, featuring his original songs as performed by the likes of Sunny Sweeney, Slaid Cleaves, Terri Hendrix and Walt Wilkins. Both the book and album are due to be released on March 2. (SG)

The Oak Ridge Boys announced a string of U.S. tour dates for 2016. (BF)

Cyndi Lauper unveiled the track list and cover art for her classic country covers album Detour, out May 6 on Sire Records. The album features guest appearances by Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Jewel and Alison Krauss. (BF)

Shania Twain again teased with the prospect of new music, this time with an Instagram photo of herself recording in studio. (BF)

Zac Brown has partnered with winemaker John Killibrew to launch his own wine brand Z. Alexander Brown. (BF)

Vince Gill spoke with The Tennessean about the upcoming NHL All-Star Game. His first choice as enforcer on a hockey team of Country Music Hall of Fame inductees? Dolly Parton. (BF)

“When Americana gets written about, it’s described as a genre loosely associated with beards and banjos and the recent folk-rock revival sparked by the mainstream success of bands like Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers. The Americana label is applied liberally to R&B, blues and traditional country artists as well, which can make things confusing. For the past 20 years, Americana has lacked a clear identity – and that’s partly by design – but everything is changing quickly.” – The Guardian’s Grady Smith in an extensive, intelligent and entertaining piece on the evolution of Americana as a genre – past, present and future (LR)

“…From a business standpoint, it’s hard to find a model more unsustainable than one that relies on a single human body. This is why we have vice presidents, relief pitchers and sixth men. When applied to music’s seemingly limitless streaming future, the only scarce resource left is the artists themselves. You would think the industry would protect such an important piece of its business model, but in fact, the opposite is true.” – Writer/recording artist and professor of songwriting Mike Errico, in a vital New York Times piece about the limited options faced by musicians and artists in the era of Spotify and relentless touring. In many ways, the abundance of streaming platforms has created a golden age for fans seeking out music from all over the world. But the business model is squeezing the livelihood of many of the creators. (LR)

“In hindsight, I think I was right about the plus-sign in Joey+Rory, but not about the math. One-plus-one does not equal two. It actually equals much, much more.” – Rory Feek, reflecting on he and his wife Joey’s initial decision to use the plus sign for their stage name – and the way this sign has deepened and evolved over the years. Rory’s blog, This Life I Live, continues to offer an intimate portrait of the couple, their young daughter and their large extended family as Joey lives with terminal cancer. This Life is often heartbreaking, but it’s filled with warmth, humor and a cascade of memories. Joey + Rory’s final album, Hymns That  Are Important to Us, will be released Feb. 12. (LR)

“[Kelly] Clarkson has no ceiling, whatsoever. She’s very rare. One of those very rare artists I don’t know if I’ve ever heard the top of her range, so, it’s amazing. But I gotta tell ya, the person that kills me probably the most right now was actually at the show in Chicago, it was weird to have her in the audience, knowing that she was in the audience the whole time because it was a lot of pressure, was Lady Gaga. She’s a monster. Great entertainer. And the thing she did at the Oscars just showed everybody, hey, flip a coin. Want to go talent? She could go head-to-head with anybody. You want to go entertainment and craziness? She could go head-to-head with anybody. Another little singer like that, and she probably doesn’t want me to say this, is Miley Cyrus. She’ll try to make you think she’s crazy as she can be, but that little gal is talented as hell. I mean, I sat at soundcheck with her, right off to the left, mic wasn’t on and she was just singing and it was just her. That gal’s got talent coming out of her ears.” – Garth Brooks on his dream collaborators from outside the country genre (BF)

“Without any disrespect for the American Music Awards and without any disrespect for the people who voted, for all the people who should be honored I’m gonna leave it right here.” – Garth Brooks, after he was announced as Favorite Artist of the Year at the 23rd annual American Music Awards, which took place 20 years ago yesterday at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. This is the original Los Angeles Times report, published January 31, 1996. (LR)


  1. Re. Aubrie Sellers–I saw her performance on Stephen Colbert’s show, and I thought she did well, establishing a musical niche for herself. Now if only radio will give her even half as much love as they once gave to her mom….

    Re. Katie Armiger–what happened to her is, to me, really kind of typical of the record industry in general when it comes to female artists, but it seems much more pervasive in country music now, where the labels want the women to act like hood ornaments on some “bro”‘s Ford F-150. It’s a shame, because here’s one more good female act a label is throwing under the bus just because she won’t play the bro-game.

  2. Ms Sellers is an okay singer but the songs I’ve heard from her do not seem as if country radio is the right place for them to get airplay – this is pop music of some description

    Armiger has considerable talent but I don’t think her label ever had much of a idea what to do with her. We will see what the courts have to say about this matter

    I check on Rory’s blog every few days – I admire his faith and courage and his wife’s ability to smile through such devastating circumstances.

  3. I really hope whatever happened with Katie Armiger gets resolved. Such a talent and I hope what she says is true.

    I wonder are u guys going to review Lindsay Ell “By The Way” or Lauren Alaina “Next Boyfriend” both songs are really catchy and I’d love to see a review on either one of them.

  4. Your welcome Larry. I always like reading your reviews you have a very unique way of writing reviews that make it fascinating to read. The rest of you guys are also great writers.

    I also want to say that I do feel really bad for what is happening to Tyler Farr and Katie Armiger. Both are polar opposites of singers in vocals and arguably production but I do hope Katie’s label thing gets settled quickly and Tyler Farr can get back to singing.

  5. I’ll have to listen to Aubrie Sellers more before I make a judgment although tentatively my response is quite positive. I first heard her on David Nail’s Like a Fire album. She sang backup to his track, Brand New Day. (As he said it was inspired by a walk through Boston, it became my favorite on the album!). At first, I thought it was Lee Ann Womack who did perform Galveston on it with David. I then discovered that Aubrie was the backup singer and that she was her daughter. Her voice and appearance bear strong resemblances to her mother. Like many good artists (Ashley Monroe comes to mind), her talent can bring well deserved acclaim even without radio play.

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