Sunday Selections: February 14, 2016

The season of inexplicable artist PR continues. Last week, we had Chase Rice insisting that his aLBuM is going to be super deep and meaningful even though its lead single is the same venal garbage he’s been peddling. This week, we have The Band Perry… doing something. When it comes to their tone-deaf response to the way their new material has been received, all we want to be is done.

Not every artist in the news this week, however, seems so hell-bent on career sabotage. There are interviews with Vince Gill, Mavis Staples, and Kelly Hogan, a cutting-edge new video from Corb Lund, and terrific live performances from Wynonna and Maddie & Tae. And there is a plethora of new releases, including Joey+Rory’s final album and the latest from Vince Gill, Wynonna, and Lorrie Morgan.


Wynonna&TheBigNoiseNew Releases & Reissues, 2/12/2016:
Applewood Road, Applewood Road. (Gearbox)
Eddy Arnold, Let’s Make Memories One More Time. (Jasmine)
Ry Cooder, Ditty Wah Ditty: Live in Cleveland 1972. (Good Ship Funke)
Alex Dezen, Alex Dezen. (Rock Ridge Music)
Vince Gill, Down to My Last Bad Habit. (MCA Nashville)
John Hiatt & The Nashville Queens, Sigma Studios 1996. (Gossip)
Fay Hield, Old Adam. (Soundpost)
Joey+Rory, Hymns That Are Important to Us. (Gaither Music Group / Universal)
Stephen Kellogg, South, West, North, East. (Fat Sam Productions)
Lissie, My Wild West. (Lionboy / Thirty Tigers)
Hank Locklin, Please Help Me I’m Falling (1960) & Happy Journey (1962). (Jasmine)
The Louvin Brothers, The Louvin Brothers Collection 1942 – 62. (Acrobat)
Barbara Mandrell, This Time: Almost Made It: The Lost Columbia Masters. (Real Gone Music)
Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark, & Chris Hillman, Back Stage Pass. (Iconography)
Lorrie Morgan, Letting Go… Slow. (Shanachie)
Dolly Parton, Country Girl in the Big City: Live at The Bottom Line, New York City 1977. (Golden Rain)
J.D. Souther, Black Rose (1976) & Home By Dawn (1984). (Omnivore Recordings)
Henry Wagons, After What I Did Last Night. (Goldview / Metropolitan Groove Merchants)
Wheeler Walker, Jr., Redneck Shit. (Pepper Hill)
Wynonna & The Big Noise, Wynonna & The Big Noise. (Curb)

News & Notes

the-band-perry-300x300“More than that, though, we wanted to get on here and talk about something a little more important. And we wanted you all to look us in the eye and say The Band Perry is not going any where. We are here to stay. Our music is here to stay. We want you guys to rest easy. All is good, and all is moving forward. We do want to say one more thing: Coming very soon, you guys are going to hear some news. We wanted to say it right here. It’s great news and it’s very positive. We can’t wait to talk about it with you.”
— The Band Perry took to Periscope on Friday evening to issue a statement about the fact that, earlier in the day, all evidence of their failed single “Live Forever” appeared to have been scrubbed from the digital world. Just prior to their social media non-event, the garish music video for “Live Forever” returned to YouTube and the single, minus any attachment to Big Machine Records, was back up on iTunes. Country music writers have been speculating as to what TBP’s angle is and what all of Friday’s goings-on meant for the band and their current direction. Though the statement neither confirms nor denies that The Band Perry have parted ways with their label, it smacks of protesting too much about “great news” that is “very positive.” Moreover, the statement is in-line with The Band Perry’s social media presence over the past nine months– petulant in the face of any criticism yet somehow willfully oblivious to how poorly “Live Forever” and “Put Me In The Game Coach” have been received. (JK)

“What happened was, I wrote the song and I sent it to Tim [McGraw] right away… this choppy little work tape I made. And I didn’t hear back from him about it until a while later. When he did reach out and said, ‘I’m putting this on the record,’ I just was floored… For him to sing that song has been such a blessing, because I wrote it for my kids.”
Lori McKenna on “Humble and Kind,” already one of the year’s highlights at country radio thanks to Tim McGraw’s hit single, in a terrific interview with Country 102.5’s Carolyn Kruse. (JK)

Last week, we posted a preview of Loretta Lynn’s upcoming PBS special. Noisey premiered an exclusive new clip from the documentary this week. (JK)

Kip Moore premiered the new music video for his single “Running for You.” (JK)

“I have rabies for making music.”
— Kelly Hogan discloses a surprising medical diagnosis during a must-listen interview with Justin Kaufman of WGN Radio. (JK)

“My lyrics are being ripped off so many times and, naturally, nobody buying this stuff would ever know that the people who actually CREATED these lyrics are seeing ZERO benefits. It’s a huge problem I face every day. There are correct ways to go about using intellectual property to sell and it’s not being done. And yeah, sure, it’s flattering and it’s ‘getting my message out there’ but I’ve got bills to pay, too. Theft is not a compliment.”
— Kacey Musgraves took to her Instagram to let her fans know that she hasn’t been properly compensated for the increasing use of her lyrics on kitschy home decor products that have been cropping up in boutiques and a major western-wear chain. (JK)

Wynonna & The Big Noise performed “Ain’t No Thing” on Late Night with Seth Meyers. Wynonna’s first album with her ace new backing band, which she has called her “tantrum record,” is out this week and is definitely worth a listen. (JK)

Lola, the new album from Carrie Rodriguez, is available for streaming at NPR’s First Listen. (JK)

“Blake Shelton is a 39-year-old man. He should not be chasing trends with the Sam Hunts of the world. He should be putting out some of the best music of his career and becoming the elder statesman of a genre that badly needs one in the mainstream realm. And it’s not like he would lose any radio appeal. Tim McGraw has been proving that with his single choices in recent years. There’s no reason Blake Shelton can’t follow his lead.”
— Josh Schott of Country Perspective suggests that Blake Shelton could re-brand himself as a worthwhile country artist again if he used some of the upheaval in his personal life as a source of inspiration for his upcoming album rather than chasing trends. (JK)

“I don’t know that the fans care. Although it’s funny. When you hit that No. 1 spot, it gets picked up, and used and spread around in ways that you don’t get when you’re No. 2. I’m talking about little things like Entertainment Tonight and news magazines will tag it and say, ‘This is the No. 1 record in the country this week.’ And it’s a little mention. But if you’re (UMG artist) Luke Bryan and you’ve got your first No. 1, having that said in front of the mainstream media matters.”
— Mike Dungan, CEO of Universal Music Group Nashville, responding to the recent controversy about Billboard‘s frankly inexplicable decision to exclude Green River Ordinance’s 15 from the Top Country Albums Chart, where it would have debuted at #1 last week. The album was limited to the Folk and Rock albums charts, despite the album’s metadata on digital platforms tagging it as a country record and its lead single, “Red Fire Night,” having topped the Texas country airplay charts. Dungan also had some interesting things to say to ABC News about the performance of “Girl Crush” in its pop crossover bid and how the current climate at country radio discourages crossover hits. (JK)

Maddie & Tae gave a spirited performance of “Shut Up & Fish,” one of our top 10 singles of 2015, on Live with Kelly and Michael. (JK)

Merle Haggard resumed his current tour after his recent bout of double pneumonia. (JK)

“It puts a wonder on your mind. I’m losing all of my friends, and you really wonder how much longer you have, and how it will be when you leave. But whenever I have to go, I feel like I’m ready. I feel like I have lived a wonderful life.”
— The legendary Mavis Staples, a nominee in the American Roots field at the Grammy awards, talks about her longevity in a must-read profile by Jude Rogers of The Guardian. (JK)

“Did you feel pressure to follow up Southeastern? That same question every damn time! I know people who can’t pay their fucking bills. Following up a successful piece of work with another piece of work is the most ridiculous first-world problem I can think of.”
— Jason Isbell, quoted from an interview with Stereogum, in a profile for People magazine in anticipation of this week’s Grammy awards. (JK)

Indiewire landed the exclusive premiere of the Saul Bass inspired music video for Country Universe favorite Corb Lund’s new single, “Weight of the Gun.” (JK)

Songwriter Kim Williams, co-writer of such hits as Randy Travis’ “Three Wooden Crosses,” Reba’s “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” and Garth Brooks’ “Papa Loved Mama,” passed away this week at age 68. (JK)

“I’m writing better songs and I play better than I ever have … I think I sang with more intensity than maybe any record I’ve made to this point.”
— Vince Gill, talking about his new album Down to My Last Bad Habit with the one and only Juli Thanki of The Tennessean. (JK)

I call that the percolation of the subconscious. You take an idea like the ‘when I get where I’m going,’ and you drop it down into the sea of your subconscious and when you have a hook, something comes up with it, and whatever that hook snags on is where I start looking for something to write about.”
— Rivers Rutherford, in a detailed interview with Annie Dineen at The Shotgun Seat, about the origins of Brad Paisley’s & Dolly Parton’s “When I Get Where I’m Going.” (JK)

And… as though we would go an entire week without Chris Stapleton… he performed the song “Either Way” at the CRS 2016 showcase. (JK)

Be sure to check out Ben’s interview with Lorrie Morgan and R.S. Williams’ review of the new Buddy Miller album from earlier this week, along with our personal picks and predictions for the Grammy Awards!


  1. I’m happy to see that “Humble and Kind” debuted in the #36 position on the Media base survey for the week of February 15th. Hope it continues to move up.

    Regarding the passing of Kim Williams, besides “Three Wooden Crosses”, I always liked the song he wrote for Joe Diffie, “If the Devil Danced in Empty Pockets”. Funny songs though don’t seem to get much respect.

  2. Re. The Band Perry–Maybe it’s just me, but there seems to be something really bizarre about this group. Didn’t they start out being something of a group that more or less tried to revive the string-band tradition, with “If I Die Young”? Since then, with the exception of their cover of “Gentle On My Mind”, where they couldn’t help but be bluegrass, they’ve tried to sound a hell of a lot like another loud wanna-be rock band. I don’t think they have the musical muscle to do that; and Kimberly Perry is, in my opinion, totally unsuited at trying to be a rock and roll belter.

    If there’s any group in any genre to have come along in the last ten years or so that has fallen so precipitously in artistic terms from when they started, I have to say that it would be The Band Perry.

  3. Wow there is a lot of intresting stuff.

    The Band Perry, what happened they had so much potential with songs like “If I Die Young” and “Postcard From Paris”. Now I can’t even recognize what happened to them. “Live Forever” was pop garbage and considering how bad it bombed you’d think they’d take that as a hint and go to their original sound. Now their statement gave nothing of substance and honestly it screams of wanting relevance. Also any sort of comments on their Facebook page saying “To please return to their original sound” they were immediately deleted. So mature! I’m calling it their careers will bomb.

    That Maddie & Tae performance just makes me love “Shut Up & Fish” even more. Please do a review so it can be properly explained why it hit the year end list.

    Tim McGraw “Humble and Kind” another fascinating song. So glad it’s getting the love it deserves.

    Country Perspective is a blog some of you guys should check out it’s really interesting and an all around good website to follow.

  4. The Band Perry is the most disappointing group to go all Taylor Swift (country artist who apparently hates country and went pop and sold it to country radio). This is the same group that put out good songs like Postcards from Paris and If I die Young. They had so much potential and then decided to spit in their fans faces first with Pioneer, which I liked at first, and now with the latest singles.

    I don’t know what their angle is but its so frustrating. They are so much better than this and the direction they are going in makes me wish they would split up.

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