The Hodgepodge: What Is Going To Happen to Mainstream Country Music Next?

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Over the last couple of weeks we’ve discussed right here in The Hodgepodge what I think is going to happen to mainstream country music next. Two weeks ago I discussed why mainstream country music is on a path of destruction and how decision-making now can have a huge impact on the future of the genre. This would lead to the mainstream country bubble popping. Last week I then discussed what the state of the genre would be like after that bubble popping and why I advocate for it to happen. So if you haven’t read those first two posts, read them before proceeding with this post.

This week I’m keeping it short in my opener because I want to hear more from you the readers on what you think of all of this. I want to know what you think will happen next in mainstream country music. Your guess is as good as mine. We’ve discussed in the past the genre splitting, something I pretty much ruled out happening for now. But maybe you feel different. Perhaps you think we’re on the cusp of another neo-traditional movement like in the mid-to-late 80s. Whatever you feel I want to know what you think is going to happen to country music in the next five to ten years. There are no wrong answers, as I’m pretty sure none of us own a crystal ball or time machine. And if I did have one of those I would be using it to get tomorrow’s lottery numbers.

So what is going to happen to country music next? Voice your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll be there waiting to discuss.

Upcoming/Recent Country Music Releases

  • Roots/Rock artist Pat McGee is releasing a self-titled album next Tuesday. I’ll have a review on that one.
  • The bluegrass quartet Della Mae will be releasing a self-titled album next week. I’m not very familiar with this group, but my interested to hear what they have come up with on this new album.
  • Craig Wayne Boyd just released a new single, “I’m Still Here.” Thank you Ryan for brining this to my attention. For those unaware Boyd was kicked off his label Dot Records and is now with an independent label. You can definitely sense the emotions Boyd went through after being let go by Dot on this new single. I hope to have a review on this one soon.
  • A few weeks ago I forgot to mention that Canadian country artist Dean Brody released a new album titled Gypsy Road. It was on my radar, but with so many releases it slipped through the cracks. It’ll be reviewed by Ryan.
  • Brantley Gilbert is releasing a platinum edition of his 2014 album Just As I Am later this month to commemorate the one year anniversary of it. It includes eight new songs and no I am not reviewing it. We will review singles from it though. One interesting song in particular is a pro bro country song titled “Same Old Song.” That’s right pro. If it gets released as a single, it will be reviewed. If not it will be promptly ignored.
  • The Cadillac Three just released a new single titled “White Lightning.” No, it isn’t a cover of the iconic George Jones song. Based on one listen it sounds better than their previous singles. We hope to have a review on this one soon.
  • Ashley Monroe announced she will be releasing her sophomore album on July 24. No album name has been officially announced, but you can view the track list for it here. Vince Gill is once again producing, after being the producer for Monroe’s first album Like A Rose.

Throwback Thursday Song

Sturgill Simpson – “You Can Have The Crown/Some Days” – Simpson recored this live at the Sun King Brewery in Indianapolis, Indiana two years ago before he was heralded by everyone in the country music industry as the next big thing. These two songs mesh together perfectly. It’s still hard to believe how far he has come in just a couple of years. That third album can’t here quick enough.

Non-Country Music Recommendation of the Week

You see the name Lunchmoney Lewis and you’re thinking this guy isn’t much of a singer. But you’re dead wrong. He just came out with his debut EP Bills and some of you may be familiar with the lead single of the same name. Lewis is one of the charismatic hip hop artists I’ve heard in some time. He brilliantly combines hip hop and R&B in this EP, while also mixing in some great humor. The horn production and piano play is stout too. If you’re going to listen to pop music, this is an artist worth checking out.

Tweet of the Week

I see nothing wrong with this meme. Keep our highways clean! By the way if you’re not following Farce the Music yet you’re doing it wrong.

An iTunes Review That Will Make You Smile

iTunes Hero Slams FGL

This week instead of jeering an idiot iTunes reviewer, let’s applaud an iTunes reviewer doing it right. This was under Florida Georgia Line’s album Anything Goes. Bravo to you sir or madam for this nice little takedown of a terrible album. Usually they’re compared to Nickelback (the comment above this one did this), but an N’Sync and New Kids on the Block comparison works too.

That’s it for the Hodgepodge this week! Be sure to sound off in the comments! 

21 thoughts on “The Hodgepodge: What Is Going To Happen to Mainstream Country Music Next?

  1. Raymond May 7, 2015 / 12:15 pm

    Ok I think I’m gonna break each artists down I think the legends like George Strait Reba Garth Trisha they’ll get good album sales but radio won’t back them up. Other females like Faith Hill might get the occasional hit song Martina won’t be back same thing with Lee Ann Womack everybody else won’t have a shot at radio. Next up let’s go to current females I think Carrie will keep up this year and probably come back with her new album which a very hyped single a real strong-seller. Miranda is gonna start struggling due to bad single choices. Kelsea Ballerini and I think Mickey Guyton will break out while I think Raelynn and Hayley Georgia will both drop off Cam will get dropped Ashley Monroe I think will suffer middle success when Cassadee Pope Danielle Bradberry return I think they’ll get a modest hit. For the guys I think Sam Hunt Cole Swindell, Thomas Rhett Brett Eldredge Tim McGraw Dierks Bentley Blake Shelton Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan will remain as relevant as ever Chase Rice will probably drop off Brantley Gilbert will probably be more of seller than with radio Michael Ray Chris Janson and Chase Bryant aren’t gonna last much longer. Gary Allan won’t make a comeback expect his album to be pushed back Dustin Lynch will cool-down Billy Currington will just stay meh same thing with Chris Young and I’m expecting Joe Nichols and Josh Turner to comeback with more traditional albums.
    For duos if you’re FGL or Maddie & Tae you’re good Brothers Osborne will probably get dropped along with Thompson Square and The Swon Brothers Dan + Shay will be the inferior but sticking around FGL. Last up vocal groups Lady A will always get a good lead off single like Bartender then pull a Freestyle LBT will be the thing EYB will be back later with a decent album. Rascal Flatts are in the same boat as Lady A. The Band Perry are gonna be back with decent results and probably more like Gentle On My Mind than Chainsaw. Parmalee is gonna have Already Calling You Mine around this entire year. Gloriana is gonna get the album out Trouble in the Top 20 and probably release the summer song off their album.

    Other news

    I watched my recording of CMT 100 greatest videos and well I’m gonna have this at the end of the Hodgepodge for myself ok Josh here are the songs

    The Seashores Of Old Mexico by George Strait vs Hurt by Johnny Cash
    South Of Santa Fe by B&D vs Whiskey Lullaby by Brad Paisely
    TearDrops On My Guitar by Taylor Swift vs Martina McBride Independence Day
    Concrete Angel by Martina McBride vs Faith Hill Breathe
    My Love Will Not Change The Del McCourdy Band vs Hank Williams Jr All My Rowdy Friends are Coming Over Tonight

    I’m asking for which of the 2 is better

    Like

  2. Derek Hudgin May 7, 2015 / 5:56 pm

    As great as Genre Splitting would be… and I hope to God it happens, but I think what we may see will be what really happened with Rock.

    Eventually the pop country trends that dominate the charts will ultimately crash and burn hard core from the general fan. Who knows, some of these acts might actually have hardcore fans who will believe in them and still support them, but pop country’s dominance away from pop music will subside soon enough. Then you have top 40 pop music, then genres like rock and pop country flying under the radar of the general music fan because no one really cares about it anymore. As for Indie Country and Classic acts, I think they’ll be unharmed and continue doing their own thing. Maybe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raymond May 7, 2015 / 7:05 pm

      I think if country music do more of the 2005-2009 where we had traditional like Alan Jackson Reba Lee Ann Womack Brad Paisely Gary Allan George Strait Josh Turner Martina McBride and we had the pop country of Miranda Carrie Taylor Swift Blake Shelton Jason Aldean Luke Bryan that was when for me country music had the best of both worlds. I still think Dirt Road Anthem started it all than Hunter Hayes than FGL really started this down. I don’t mind the pop country trend but the straight up pop autotune junk where the production ruins everything from Jerrod Nirmann Chase Rice Raelynn Haley Georgia and well Sam Hunt. Sam has hardcore naive fain but he will always be around. Rock in country music is like the perfect fit for it same thing with a little pop that stuffs good. Oh the Indie acts will be fine they’ll just never have radio to back them up.

      Like

  3. Zack May 7, 2015 / 10:07 pm

    Josh, I really wish I had a good answer for this…… The mystery of not knowing what will happen next excites me and at the same time scares me. I mean I feel like there’s something hidden being brewed and waiting to be unleashed, but at the same time we could just be drifting further and further away from country. Btw speaking of this “Nirvana moment” you keep alluding to, I decided to take a listen to some of their songs recently and I like what I hear so thanks for turning me on to more music!

    Good god, Craig Wayne Boyd already got dropped by a label? Jeez, I never really cared for his first song but that’s a bit harsh…

    I love that Sturgill song, well I actually I love all of them haha, but definitely another winner in the throwback category!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott May 7, 2015 / 10:30 pm

      It’s definitely an exciting and scary time in country music. I want to believe something is brewing underneath the surface. I just don’t know how to feel. That’s why I wanted to throw this question out to everyone.

      No problem! Always like to turn people onto new music, whether country or not.

      Like

  4. Raymond May 7, 2015 / 10:46 pm

    I’m actually thinking we might see the mainstream ease off a little and go more in the pop-country/rock/traditional that we had in 2005-2009 with new releases from Jake Owen The Band Perry Hunter Hayes bound to be here soon along with Danielle Bradberry Cassadee Pope eventually we might see a little back to 2005-2009 era. I also think if Sam Hunt does crossover to pop like Taylor Swift the truth will show just how gosh awful the sales are. Is the iTunes review now gonna be like that because I’d rather smile than get mad. I did decide to listen to some of Sunny Sweeneys latest album why does she get dropped and Raelynn stays it’s just not fair. If you do wanna face palm review there is one I don’t have a link but there’s one of a guy saying that Jon Pardis debut album was nothing but pop music. Listened to that as well man is that stuff good.

    Like

  5. Pete Marshall May 8, 2015 / 12:13 am

    We are going through scary times in country music, but we still have a lot of good country singers out there. Scotty McCreery, Josh Turner, The Band Perry, Jake Owen, and Joe Nichols. I would like to see Easton Corbin have good country on his up coming cd unlike his first single and his second single is o.k. I thought it was harsh that Craig Wayne Boyd got dropped by his record label like that. I hope there will be good country music in the near future. Sam Hunt is more of a pop artist who is mistakenly labeled as country. he should go pop which his last single “Take Your time” is on the pop chats now.

    Like

  6. NoahHibiscusEaton May 8, 2015 / 5:12 am

    Firstly, in the more generalized sense, I think we can expect a temporary uptick in ratings among the much-coveted 18-34 demographic for the first time in nine months………but only because there is, cyclically, a rise in country music listenership during the summer months.

    Still, even though Nashvile executives will inevitably spin this dishonestly as “evidence” of country radio’s stability……….the net audience will be notably smaller compared to not just 2014, but 2013 as well………..and will be followed in the autumn by a second-consecutive year of steeper-than-average declines in listenership.

    *

    Secondly, between now and then, I think we can expect three trends to continue:

    1) The guitar will gradually phase out at the forefront in favor of electronic beats and production. There was already a stirring article earlier this week centered around the guitar solo becoming a thing of the past on country radio (mostly due to radio edits). Which leads into the second trend…

    2) …the continuation of the two minute, thirty second single trend. We can expect to see the release of more songs that are purposefully under three minutes in duration for the sole purpose of utmost demographic reach and to further the trend of breaking total weekly spin and audience records; thereby also encouraging further chart homogenization. This will also result in continuing sales declines because, let’s face it: just as there are risks of sending songs above four minutes in length to radio, there are equal risks with sending songs that are too short that aren’t discussed nearly as much………………in that they just don’t provide enough time to get lodged in your memory and have too fleeting an impression.

    3) With Urban Adult Contemporary being only one of two formats that has gained audience recently (the other being sports, due to it being a cyclical format)………….country radio will continue to court the 18-34 demo listeners that have since abandoned the format in pursuit of the next hot bandwagon by means of groove-driven tracks that more closely resemble R&B. This will continue to rule the roost through mid-autumn.

    *

    Sadly, I don’t see lyrical quality will see an earnest comeback in 2015……………and it’s not going to happen until the country genre is effectively able to catch up with most other formats in terms of streaming. Until they are able to replicate the success stories of rappers like Fetty Wap, Bobby Schmurda and O.T. Genasis, who were rocketed to cult single success due to unbelievable grassroots support via YouTube and streaming (granted all three are mediocre to outright bad, but then again rap has produced many solid albums already this year that received scant to no airplay), there won’t be a populist crashing of the gates from everyday country fans. Whether country gains ground or not on streaming will directly determine how quickly we can turn the page.

    *

    However, there is one final force to be reckoned with that can really shake up country music during the middle of the third quarter to fourth quarter this year……………………Adele!

    Kelly Clarkson has said in a recent interview that Adele’s forthcoming third album is notably much more country-influenced. Adele has yet to confirm this herself, but considering “21” consisted of ample gospel, blues and folk influences with a contemporary sheen, that is not far-fetched to imagine.

    Mark my words: Adele CAN shake up the country music scene. Keep an eye out on the late summer through early autumn. If her lead single (which will all but certainly debut at #1 due to the fanboy/fangirl effect) is anything like Clarkson is suggesting, Nashville IS going to take notice. And this can prove to be the beginning of a much more official, dramatic sea change.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott May 8, 2015 / 11:36 am

      I completely agree with you on your first point and three trends. I definitely see this happening. I want to agree with you on lyrical quality, but I have slight hope lyrical quality could improve. That hope is Chris Stapleton. I just read this article Windmills brought to my attention: http://www.tennessean.com/story/money/industries/music/2015/05/07/universal-thinks-outside-box-stapleton/70965730/

      Stapleton could get a shot at radio and if he does it could be a big moment for country music. If Stapleton was given a shot, the likes of Brandy Clark and Sturgill could get a look too. Stapleton’s album is selling well too, as it’s #4 on overall albums chart on iTunes. The success of Stapleton will determine if lyrical quality can make a comeback in 2015.

      Your last point on Adele really fascinates me and something I have yet to hear brought up. A heavily-influenced country album would certainly turn heads, especially in Nashville. Wouldn’t it be ironic that the most country album in mainstream in 2015 would be an Adele album while all of the country artists are trying to make pop music. I would love to see what the label executives would say in regards to how marketable country is when Adele is racking up tons of sales success with a country like album. Man now I’m looking forward to the Adele album. You could be on to something here. I’m definitely going to be monitoring Adele news now, as it could be one of the most important albums in music in 2015.

      Like

      • Raymond May 8, 2015 / 11:48 am

        Well Josh what do you think overall about Adele’s music just in general.

        Oh yeah I forgot to mention it appears that Craig Wayne Boyd voluntarily left his label because the recording company and label didn’t wanna make the music he wanted so he just strait up left.

        Like

      • NoahHibiscusEaton May 8, 2015 / 5:23 pm

        I’m 110% serious on this, by the way.

        If you’ve listened closely to both “19” and “21” (but especially “21”)……….they are both highly influenced by traditional American music. At the time “19” was released, a secondary wave of a trend known as “blue-eyed soul” was ravaging Europe like wildfire: namely a disputed term used for traditional rhythm, blues and soul music performed by white entertainers. Duffy’s “Rockferry” also is considered a landmark blue-eyed soul album of that time.

        Adele’s “19” was also highly influenced by “blue-eyed soul”. And though “21” also was to a large extent, Adele disclosed she had listened to a lot of contemporary country music between “19” and “21” (“Need You Now” being her favorite song)………..and honestly, “Rumor Has It” and “Rolling In The Deep” both are replete with influences to gospel and swampy grooves that are obviously much more country than the vast majority of what is played on country radio presently.

        So, when Kelly Clarkson is acknowledging that her upcoming album is even more influenced by country music, I believe her. Even Clarkson, whose music I don’t care for overall in that it’s just so interchangeable and overproduced, nonetheless has a respect for genre contrasts. She is in the process of making a country record herself, and each time she has dabbled into the format before via two features with Jason Aldean and Reba McEntire, and her own single with Vince Gill………….it felt sincere. It didn’t strike me as carpetbagging.

        *

        Forget the talk about Garth Brooks being the one who has the most clout to shake up Music Row and country music as a whole.

        My money is on an outsider to the format: Adele.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Josh Schott May 8, 2015 / 6:49 pm

          I know you are. And I think you’re on to something.

          I don’t know if I’ve said if before, but I’m a huge fan of Adele. I think she is one of the greatest artists to emerge in the last decade of music. I’ve listened to the 21 album a lot and I enjoy it thoroughly. There’s undoubtedly a heavy gospel and earthy influence on her music. That combined with her amazing voice makes it easy to enjoy her music.

          I think she is one of three people who could shake up country music dramatically in 2015. Those three are Adele, Sturgill Simpson and Chris Stapleton. Adele has the best chance though.

          Like

      • NoahHibiscusEaton May 8, 2015 / 8:22 pm

        And………………..such a breakout comeback by Adele would also be absolutely symbolic in that Adele, already, has defied pretty much every odd and stereotype in modern pop music.

        I for one think Adele looks great, but as you may recall, many attempted to fat-shame Adele throughout the “21” promotional cycle. Thankfully, Adele walked tall and remained resolute through all that scrutiny, in addition to remarks about her face to a lesser extent.

        In the meantime, it’s tragically sexist when male entertainers with higher body masses like Jason Aldean, Toby Keith and Colt Ford are normalized and are the frequent recipient of comments regarding how hot and sexy they are (Aldean, actually, not so much the other two)………….yet female entertainers that are not tall and slender are constantly nagged at to outright ridiculed for their weight. Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott has been targeted a notable lot lately for the weight she has put on. Right after she gave birth to a child, many reacted: “Hey, cut her some slack! She just gave birth! Give her a little time and she’ll be back to where she was in no time!” Then, after some time passed by, many continue to refuse to leave her alone about this saying: “What happened to you, Hillary? You’ve really let yourself go! You need to lose some weight if you’re going to keep performing for the long haul!” (bangs head on wall) -__-

        In a current corporate country music climate where females are understandably feeling absolutely discouraged, if there’s anyone they can look to for revived confidence and inspiration, it is Adele. She has prevailed against pretty much every odd imaginable, and the result is an album that is a near-unprecedented triumph of a success story globally.

        Liked by 1 person

    • bob May 8, 2015 / 1:44 pm

      My wife introduced me to Adele’s music. We’re both looking forward to her new album but neither of us ever thought she would affect the country music scene. Should be interesting.

      Regarding the 2 minute, 30 second trend, when I was a kid listening to rock, doo wop, etc in the late 50’s, early 60’s it seemed like almost every song on the NYC rock stations was less than 2 1/2 minutes.

      Liked by 1 person

      • NoahHibiscusEaton May 8, 2015 / 5:27 pm

        As true as that is, I personally think you have more to lose than gain with pitching a bunch of songs with especially short runtimes these days.

        Because they don’t provide you enough time to seep into your memory bank. They are assembly-line produced and all but certainly won’t consist of any pure emotional release or payoff. They’re just Jolly Ranchers for the ear canals: catchy upon first listen, but catchy for the sake of being catchy and, without anything distinctive between them, will be forgotten in as soon as three months after peaking on the charts.

        Like

  7. Fat Freddy's Cat May 8, 2015 / 9:36 am

    “The dancing tools”. Ha, great name for a band.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pete Marshall May 8, 2015 / 11:55 pm

    I do like Adele’s music and I am looking forward for her to make a country cd. Kelly Clarkson? I’m not a fan of her music but in country maybe she will do good. Clakson had 2 top 10 hits (#1 hit) 2 top 30, and 2 top 40 hits on the country charts.

    Like

    • NoahHibiscusEaton May 9, 2015 / 2:41 am

      I trust that, when Kelly Clarkson does release her first professed country album, it’s going to sound quite distinctive from her work with Dr. Luke, Max Martin, Greg Kurstin and Sound Kollectiv.

      Kelly Clarkson EASILY could have had a solid country career if she wanted to alongside Carrie Underwood. Instead, she decided her heart was primarily in Mainstream Top 40 and Adult Contemporary, but has been willing to dedicate her vocal talents as a feature on several other artists’ tracks as well as release a couple of stand-alone country singles. And in each of those instances, the intentions felt authentic to me.

      “Don’t Rush” certainly didn’t scream “CARPETBAGGER!!!”. In fact, that song felt out of place on radio at the time in how intimate the production was and having a throwback sound to thirty years ago. And “Tie It Up” was admittedly more rock than country, but lyrically it was certainly closer than the majority of songs serviced to country radio in 2013.

      As for her features, well, you already know you’re in for a treat when you collaborate with Trisha Yearwood. Vince Gill is, well, Vince Gill. And while I know her involvement with a Jason Aldean hit may ignite siren alarms to some here………….firstly it was Aldean who consulted Clarkson’s promotional team, not the other way around. And, secondly…………..I may find the song pretty cheesy and lightweight as a whole, but you can’t deny Clarkson does her level best to elevate it.

      If I had one concern with Kelly Clarkson preparing a full-scale country album, it’s that she finds a way to distinguish herself from Carrie Underwood. Leave it to Underwood to wade more in the rock and roll-infused side of country replete with bombastic powerhouse vocals, and Clarkson should consider experimenting with more intimate songs that require more nuanced, interpretive vocals instead of hot-and-cold sink faucet dynamics.

      Like

  9. ron12274 May 9, 2015 / 11:05 am

    I just noticed a song explode onto the media base chart this morning called buy me a boat by Chris Janson…I can’t find a version of it but I’m guessing I should be very afraid?

    Apparently he’s an independent artist but the song is quite bro-ish. I’ll let the lyrics speak for themselves

    “Buy Me A Boat”

    I ain’t rich, but I damn sure wanna be
    Working like a dog, ain’t working for me
    I wish I had a rich uncle that’d kick the bucket
    And that I was sitting on a pile like Warren Buffett
    I know everybody says money can’t buy happiness

    But it could buy me a boat, it could buy me a truck to pull it
    It could buy me a Yeti 110 iced down with some Silver Bullets
    Yeah, I know what they say, money can’t buy everything
    Well, maybe so, but it can buy me a boat

    Like

    • Josh Schott May 9, 2015 / 11:51 am

      Funny you should mention that song. You’ll be hearing my thoughts on this one very very soon…

      Like

      • ron12274 May 9, 2015 / 3:35 pm

        Lol yes I just read it. Funny I had that reaction without even having heard the song

        Liked by 1 person

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