Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past week, the country music industry has been abuzz over comments country radio consultant Keith Hill made in the weekly Country Aircheck. Here are those comments again to refresh your memory:
Many people, including myself, are rightfully in an uproar over these comments. Then again I wasn’t that surprised. As you regular readers know, I take a look at the Billboard Country Airplay chart every week and observe the shenanigans taking place. There aren’t too many female country artists populating the chart right now. It’s been a sausage fest for the last few years. Many country artists, male and female, have also spoke out against Hill’s comments. Miranda Lambert had a pretty straightforward response:
And there were several more tweets expressing distaste in Hill’s comments. Of course Hill doesn’t know better to shut his mouth and went on to make a bigger ass of himself in articles on CMT and The Tennesseean. Not even bro country artists have been dumb enough to say something stupid (yet). But the flames continued to build bigger over the weekend when country radio personality Carson Johnson not only backed Hill up on his comments, but made even dumber comments himself:
Now you probably expect me to tear into these comments, but there’s been more than enough of these articles. Many great articles that do a better job than I could, have already been published and are well worth your time reading. Windmills Country has a great, data-driven post on MJ’s Big Blog. Trigger at Saving Country Music has weighed in with his always intriguing thoughts and ForTheCountryRecord.com has several posts giving analysis on the situation too. So I’ve been sitting and observing all of this stuff happening. No doubt I’m thrilled that this issue is finally being given the attention it deserves, as this problem has been persistent in country music for years. I’m a big champion of female country artists and we feature several talented artists right here on the site. But I see a problem with this movement.
People are not looking at the whole picture. This is bigger than not enough female country artists being played. This is about not enough quality country artists being played. This needs to be about all quality artists being left out, not just all female country artists. Why? Not all female country artists deserve to get airplay and quite frankly some people getting involved with this movement don’t need to be involved. For example, Maggie Rose getting involved:
Really? You’re the same artist that recorded “Girl In A Truck Song” in 2014. It was one of the worst songs of the year. It completely pandered to bro country and in my opinion tarnished Rose’s image. So in one year’s time Rose went from bro country supporter to female empowerment? I’m supposed to get behind an artist that was just pandering to radio? This is called bullshit trend riding and seems to be the only thing Rose is willing to do in her career. Speaking of bullshit…
Go away, Bobby Bones. I don’t want you involved in this at all. You’re part of the establishment poisoning country radio right now and really you don’t belong in country music period. Take your pandering and shove it up your ass. Kelsea Ballerini doesn’t belong on country radio either. She’s a pop artist. Her music is not high enough in quality to play on country radio. See why I have issues with this movement? People equate female country music to quality, just like the idiots who run country radio equating chart success to quality. Neither are the case.
More female country artists deserved to get played on radio. But so do underplayed male artists who make quality music. Eric Paslay and Jon Pardi put out some of the best albums in mainstream country music in 2014. They barely get any radio play. Pardi’s new EP is wonderful and yet there isn’t a single from it in the top 60 on the airplay chart. Mo Pitney is one the most promising upcoming artists in mainstream country music and where’s his airplay? Multiple Texas country artists such as Aaron Watson, Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers should be on mainstream country radio. Sturgill Simpson had a huge year in 2014 and didn’t even sniff country radio, despite the fact that he outsold several mainstream artists in album sales. He achieved a top ten album without any airplay or major label push. Yet I have to hear that untalented hack Cole Swindell on the radio?
Country music’s biggest problems are what I’ve been saying all year: there aren’t any gatekeepers to vet the quality of the music or even if it’s country at all, the payola going on behind the scenes (specifically On The Verge), and dirty politics. This is what is holding back not just female country artists, but all quality country artists. Luke Bryan no doubt has a huge fan base, but he wouldn’t be near the star he is without the pushes he has gotten from his label and radio. This goes back years and I hope to talk about a little unknown story from before he became a big star in a future Hodgepodge. It’s really interesting. All of the bro country artists (Swindell, Chase Rice, Thomas Rhett, Michael Ray) wouldn’t be nothing without the support of radio and their labels. In a world with justice they remain obscure and never become the stars they are right now. Country radio executives wanted mimbos with hunky looks who were willing to do whatever it took to get to the top and willing to perform brainless, watered-down music filled with cliché hooks. They didn’t have standards and were looking for dollar signs.
If Kacey Musgraves got the same kind of push Cole Swindell has gotten, she would have #1 hits on radio. But she doesn’t conform to what the sexist, clueless pigs at country radio and country labels want out of an artist. You can say the same thing about Mo Pitney. So you shouldn’t be campaigning for more female country artists. You should be campaigning for more quality male and female country artists on the radio. You should be demanding the crap currently populating radio being taken away. However demanding things won’t get you your desired result. You want to make an impact? Boycott country music radio indefinitely. Don’t listen at all. Tell everyone you know not to listen to country radio. Hit them where it hurts and that’s in their bottom line. Listen to your own music library or your CDs. Listen to radio stations that play quality country music. It’s the best way to make a difference. In the summer of 2015 I’m declaring war on mainstream country radio and I hope you join me in doing the same.
Upcoming/Recent Country Music Releases
- A Thousand Horses will released their major label debut album Southernality next Tuesday. Their lead single “Smoke” has had a lot of success on the airplay charts and will reach #1. It’s also got a lot of hits right here on the site. We’ll definitely be reviewing that one.
- Montgomery Gentry’s new album Folks Like Us will also come out next Tuesday. It was originally supposed to come out in the early spring, but it was pushed back until now. I’m really not sure what to expect with this album, as their music has been a mixed bag in the last five years or so. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to review it.
- Chris Hennessee, signed to Jamey Johnson’s Big Gassed Records, will release an album next week titled Greetings From Hennessee. I listened to the lead single from it and I thought it was pretty good. Johnson has an eye on for talent, so I’m definitely giving this one a listen.
- Hunter Hayes just recently came out with his new single, “21.” There will be a review on this one soon.
- Kip Moore announced on Twitter last week that his new album will finally be released on August 21. It will be called Wild Ones. So you only have to wait a little longer for an album, Kip fans.
- Kellie Pickler just released a new song titled “Feeling Tonight.” It was originally released exclusively to Spotify, but is now available in most music outlets. I’m sure we’ll get around to reviewing it.
- Brett Eldredge will release his new album on Friday, September 11 and it will be called Illinois.
Throwback Thursday Song
The Dixie Chicks – “Not Ready To Make Nice” – Yeah this fits this Hodgepodge perfectly. Country music needs The Dixie Chicks back. Save us Dixie Chicks! I would love to hear what they think of Keith Hill.
Non-Country Song of the Week
Guns N’ Roses – “Welcome To The Jungle” – One of my favorite rocks songs from one of my all-time favorite albums, Appetite For Destruction.
Tweet of the Week
So many choices this week, but I’ll go with Twitter king Jason Isbell’s comments on Hill.
iTunes Reviews That Rock!
This week’s reviews are for Jake Owen’s new song “Real Life.” Thank you to reader Ben for sending this one in! Looks like Owen’s own fans felt the same way you and myself also felt about the song. Remember Jake if you’re going to copy 90s music, copy 90s country radio, not 90s pop radio.
That’s it for the Hodgepodge this week! Be sure to sound off in the comments!