Album Review – George Strait’s ‘Cold Beer Conversation’

George Strait Cold Beer Conversation

The King of Country. The Cowboy. The Man. George Strait is a man of many names and many timeless country songs that will be remembered for decades and decades. While some may dispute the king moniker place upon him by his many fans, you at the very least have to put him near the top when counting the all-time greats in country music. He’s closing in on three decades of music and shows no signs of slowing down making music. Last week at this time none of us had any idea we would be getting a new Strait album this year and then Strait surprises everyone last Tuesday by announcing Vegas concert dates and a brand new album. Clearly an old dog can learn new tricks, as Strait essentially “pulled a Beyoncé” on us (where an artist surprise releases new music, as made famous by the pop star). Cold Beer Conversation is the name of the new album and I was definitely eager to dig into it because it’s George Strait and any new music from him is very welcome to this listener.

Cold Beer Conversation opens up with the love ballad “It Was Love.” It feels like your classic Strait love ballad, where with each listen it gets better and better. This Keith Gattis-penned song fits Strait like a glove and is a solid opener to the album. The album’s title track and current single follows. It’s a nostalgia driven song about two friends reminiscing, “shooting the shit” and wondering what lies ahead in the future. This song is definitely aimed more at a younger listener and I think it will appeal well to this group. Your mileage may vary with this song, as it will depend on whether or not you can connect with the theme. Personally it reminded me a lot of hanging out with an old friend.

The lead single from the album, “Let It Go,” is next. When this song came out earlier this year I reviewed it and my thoughts have remained unchanged. I will say though I was disappointed it didn’t even sniff the top 30 at radio. From my review of “Let It Go”: It’s sunny and happy. He co-wrote the song with his son Bubba Strait and Keith Gattis (also co-wrote Strait’s “I Got A Car”). The song is about how tough life can be, but you shouldn’t let that get you down and just let your problems go. Instead move past them and be sure to enjoy the truly good times and let them roll. It’s a pretty simple theme, as that is the intention. This song is intended to be a carefree and easygoing summer song.

“Goin’ Goin’ Gone” is your classic working man’s blues song. Strait sings about being overworked, not having a 401k and drinking your troubles away. It’s catchy, fun and relatable to the everyday American. In the 90s or even the 2000s this song is a number one song at country radio easily. This is the kind of fun country song we need at radio right now, but radio doesn’t want it. The album slows down with “Something Going Down.” It’s a love ballad where a man is having a romantic evening with his wife. He’s trying to get “something going down.” I can see what Strait is going for here, but the phrase comes off a little clunky to me. It just feels like something better could have been used. This surprised me considering the writers of the song are Jamey Johnson and Tom Shapiro. Despite this slight misstep, it’s still a good song, albeit one of the weaker ones on the album.

Strait goes back to his roots with “Take Me To Texas.” He proudly sings of his home of Texas and what it means to him. Now as most of you know Texas country artists love to have these songs on almost all of their albums and it comes off so hokey and clichéd. But for some reason it’s charming coming from Strait. It’s hard to explain. I guess it just sounds natural from him and speaks to his talent. One of my favorite tracks on Cold Beer Conversation is “It Takes All Kinds.” King George drops some good old Western Swing on us! It’s definitely one of the most pleasant surprises of the album and Strait’s little wink towards traditional country fans. The song itself is about how the world takes all kinds and it’s okay if others are different. In fact he makes a possible veiled reference to today’s mainstream country artists with these lyrics halfway through:

Some wear a backwards baseball cap/If that’s you I’m cool with that/Me I’m more a cowboy hat/It takes all kinds

It may not be a reference to mainstream country artists of today, but I could definitely see it being one. Nevertheless it shows George Strait is always the gentleman.

“Stop And Drink” feels like another classic Strait song from beginning to end. It’s about observing the craziness of the world around you and making you want to drink a cold one in response. You listen to this song and you mutter to yourself, “I’ve been here.” I have to mention the instrumentation on this song is fantastic, but that’s no surprise with Strait. One of the gems of the album is “Everything I See.” Strait reflects on the death of a close friend and how he’s trying to move on after losing him. Everywhere he looks he sees a little piece of his friend and still finds himself dialing his number everyday. It’s a heartfelt song and will really hit home if you’ve just lost a friend. Strait wrote this song with his son Bubba, Gattis and Dean Dillon.

A song that took me more than a few listens to really grasp was “Rock Paper Scissors.” It’s about a woman leaving a man and how she left a rock (diamond ring), paper (“she slapped ink on a good-bye note”) and scissors (what she used to “cut his face out of every picture”) on the table. The song is a really clever take on the classic heartbreak country song. Not to mention Jamey Johnson joins Strait on the song, making it even better. It should be said that it’s nice to see Strait have Johnson involved a lot in this album. By the way we’re still waiting on that new album from you too, Jamey. “Wish You Well” is a drinking/heartbreak song. A man is drinking at the bar as he recovers from his woman leaving him and remarks that there are six beers separating him from wishing she was there with him and wishing her well. Being that there are several strong songs on this album, this song is one of the weaker ones. It’s solid, yet unspectacular.

A troika of prolific songwriters for Strait wrote “Cheaper Than A Shrink.” That troika is Johnson, Bill Anderson and Buddy Cannon. This same trio wrote the Strait classic “Just Give It Away.” While “Cheaper Than A Shrink” may not be at that song’s level, it’s still pretty damn good. With a wry sense of humor, Strait sings of how spending money on drinking is much cheaper than a shrink to solve your problems. This is another song that if released in another decade, would have reached #1. The album closes out with “Even When I Can’t Feel It.” And it may just be the best song on the entire record. The song is basically about life and how even when life is unfair and keeping you down, you can still believe things will get better even when you can’t feel it. Once again it’s another classic Strait song where he just hits it out of the park with the right amount of emotion and lyrics that describe it perfectly.

Just as I expected, George Strait delivers with Cold Beer Conversation. It’s a very good album full of a variety of songs about life, love and drinking. Pretty much any country fan could pick this album up and find at least one song they can enjoy. Strait is simply timeless and shows no signs of losing his magic touch. Many artists when they get older lose what makes them great, but Strait still very much has it and seems poised to release a lot more great music for years to come. Go get this album and just listen to it repeatedly. And thank you, George, for another memorable album.

Grade: 9/10

There are currently no available ways to hear songs on the album via YouTube (at least legally, as I don’t like to advocate illegal videos on here) or Spotify. Your only way to hear it legally is via Apple Music, iTunes or Walmart. But as I said above I definitely recommend getting it.

 

Album Review – The Malpass Brothers’ Self-Titled Album is Pure, Classic Country

The Malpass Brothers

“This is who we are…My brother Taylor and I do the type of music we do because this music speaks to us, and speaks to the souls of its listeners. For us, traditional country music is the ‘real deal’ – every song portrays life’s joys, heartaches, problems and happiness. It comes from the heart, and has depth and truth. Nothing is sugar coated. Our goal, really, is to see this music be revived, to help ensure it doesn’t fade away. It is so encouraging to have young people come to our shows with a new interest in our ‘old music.’ Being able to introduce what we love to another generation feels like a great accomplishment for us. We want this music to be around for our children’s children…” – Chris Malpass

Ladies and gentlemen, meet The Malpass Brothers. They’re a duo made up of brothers Taylor and Chris Malpass. Together they make country music. Not just any country music, but classic country music. They’re inspired by the likes of Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash. Speaking of The Hag, they toured with him for six years and released an album under Hag Records. To top it all off, look at the way they dress and their haircuts above. They’re rocking the Conway Twitty look! I think you get the picture: The Malpass Brothers couldn’t be anymore country if they tried. So does their new self-titled album sound as country as they look? Oh yes, yes it does.

The first song to kick off the album is “A Death in the Family.” The brothers prove right away they can tackle classic country on this Bill Anderson song. The fiddles and pedal steel guitar are perfect. Next the Malpass Brothers cover the Bobby Bare song, “Which One is to Blame.” Once again they knock it out of the park, as their vocal delivery is spot on. You think you’re listening to some artist from the 60s when it’s two brothers in their early 20s in the year 2015. One of my favorite covers the brothers do on the album is the Jerry Lee Lewis song, “It’ll Be Me.” It just feels like a perfect fit for the two and the piano play is dazzling. Once again I want more piano in country songs.

“Learn To Love Me Too” is a love song where the man is not only convincing his love to love him, but trying to convince himself to love himself too. He’s made some mistakes in the past and is hoping to make up for them now. I’m assuming this is a new song and not a cover, as I couldn’t find anything indicating it was a cover. Regardless whoever wrote it did a great job and brought a new perspective to a love song. Taylor Malpass takes the lead vocals on the Willie Nelson tune, “Hello Walls.” They’re phenomenal, as his bellowing vocals on the opening notes instantly pull the listeners in. Not too many artists can do so much justice to a Willie song and that’s exactly what the brothers do here. This album continues to get better as next is the Marty Robbins song, “Begging To You.” Chris Malpass nails the higher notes on this song and adds the right amount of emotion to this heartbreak classic. The sweeping piano play in the bridge is just icing on the cake to this sweet song.

“Here In Alberta I’ll Stay” is one of three new songs on the album and the Malpass Brothers of course nail it even. Written by Pete Goble, the song is about a cowboy from Texas finding the love of his life, a cowgirl from Alberta, Canada. This is my favorite song on the album because these two simply get country love ballads and I hope they tackle more original material on their next album. So far in the album the Malpass Brothers have covered Bill Anderson, Marty Robbins and Willie Nelson. Next? George Strait’s “I Met A Friend of Yours Today.” The song is about a man overhearing another man talk about his wife at a bar and realizing she’s cheating on him. Once again they brilliantly cover a song from an iconic country artist.

Oh, but the Malpass Brothers decide to go even higher up on the country music legend scale in their covers. They perform a song by the country music king himself, Hank Williams. Now this is ballsy! “Baby, We’re Really In Love” is a simple love song that is part of the foundation of what country music truly is. I think Hank would be pretty proud of the Malpass Brothers performing this song. The third original song on the album (at least I think it is, as I couldn’t find any information that says it is a cover) is “I Found Someone To Love,” a song about a man falling in love with a woman, but she doesn’t love him back. Despite her not feeling the same way, the man is still persistent in his love for her. Again the Malpass Brothers simply get love ballads.

Once again the brothers tackle a Hank song, this time it’s “I Just Don’t Like This Kind of Livin’.” It’s a heartbreak song about a man not enjoying the life he has with his woman and wanting to get out of it. I think I’m running out of superlatives to describe how great The Malpass Brothers are. The final song on the album is “Satan and The Saint,” which I knew was a Louvin Brothers song just by looking at the title. There’s plenty of acoustic guitar and mandolin on this song, the signature sound of The Louvin Brothers. Congratulations to you Malpass Brothers, as I’m now convinced you could cover any country song you want and it would be awesome.

Very rarely am I left speechless and a loss for words when listening to a great album, but this is the case with The Malpass Brothers’ new self-titled album. This is just pure, classic country that words can’t do justice. I’ve listened to this album over and over. I can’t get over how great it is and how two young artists like Chris and Taylor Malpass get country music so damn well. These guys were born to make country music. If you’re a fan of pop country music, don’t listen to this album. It’s simply too country for you. For those who love traditional and classic country, buy this album, press play and prepare to be amazed. You can’t get anymore country than this album. This is one of my favorites of 2015 and I can’t wait to hear more music from The Malpass Brothers for years to come.

Grade: 10/10

 

Hodgepodge of Country Stuff: Bro Country is Fading, Sam Hunt is Rising & Country Music is Shattering Into Pieces

The Division of Country Music

The Hodgepodge of Country Stuff is a weekly column where I discuss some country stuff, non-country stuff and maybe even stuff in-between. So that’s a lot of stuff! I’m sure you’ll find some stuff you even like. So welcome! 

Over the past few years country music has been dominated by a sub-genre called bro country. If you’re a music fan who hasn’t been living under a rock, you’re well aware (even non-country fans). It was coined by writer Jody Rosen and it refers to party songs that rely on the same old tropes of drinking, trucks, tailgates, river banks, moonlight, fields and most of the time involves a bro trying to get some sex from a girl. Most of the time the “girls” in these songs (they’re never called women) are treated like crap and are referred to in a derogatory manner. Bro country been the bane of existence for traditional country fans. It’s dominated radios, charts and in my opinion dragged the good name of country through the mud several times.

Those days are coming to an end. Bro country is on it’s very last legs and is no longer the popular taste of the month in country music. Sure there are a few songs of this nature on the charts and playing on radio, but they aren’t as widespread as before. Now just because bro country is on its death bed doesn’t mean it’s not going to fight until the end. The artists who have gained the most from it will fight tooth and nail to keep it alive. I’m looking at you Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Chase Rice and Jason Aldean. To me the final litmus test for this will be Luke Bryan’s new album later this year. Will it feature a lot of bro country and if so will it be popular? We’ll have to wait and see.

On top of this a lot of bro country is being replaced by quality music. Tim McGraw finally woke up and realized trying to keep up with the bros wasn’t going to fly with his fans and went back to his old late 90s and early 2000s sound. It’s paid dividends as “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” and “Shotgun Rider” both became #1 songs. He also netted a Grammy nomination for Best Country Song. Maddie & Tae’s debut EP was a nice sample of traditional country music and continue to gain more popularity. Carrie Underwood’s “Something in the Water” has been a hugely popular songs on the Billboard and iTunes charts. Mickey Guyton has caught everyone’s attention early in 2015 with her country waltz single “Better Than You Left Me.” Even Jake Owen, who benefitted greatly from the bro country fad, put out a great single in “What We Ain’t Got.” On top of this Sturgill Simpson signed with major label Atlantic Records recently.

Things are going great for traditional country fans, right? Well there’s one big elephant in the room you’re kind of forgetting. While a good bit of bro country has been replaced by more quality country songs, the rest has been replaced with something arguably worse. I’m of course referring to Sam Hunt. While independent country fans point to the aforementioned Simpson’s meteoric rise in the last year, mainstream country fans will point to Hunt’s own impressive rise. Last year at this time hardly anyone knew Sam Hunt. He was just another songwriter in Nashville. Then his single “Leave The Night On” came out and became a huge hit. I hoped he was just a flash in the pan and just a one-hit wonder. But at the same time I knew this was naive. When something shows any success in country music, everyone else will rush to copy it and ride the trend.

Jason Aldean surely did as his single “Burnin’ It Down” became one of the biggest hits of 2014. Half of his album featured EDM and heavy pop influences similar to Hunt’s album. I can say the same of Chase Rice and Florida Georgie Line’s albums. Meanwhile Sam Hunt has four songs in the top 40 of iTunes. That’s insane. Each song is also a straight pop song and people are eating it right up. What’s the deal? Well last week I really explored the review sections on Sam Hunt’s Montevallo album and there was a comment I saw a lot that stood out to me. “I usually hate country music, but I love this album and Hunt’s music.” In other words, they like this country music because it isn’t country music. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Sturgill Simpson gets the same exact comment from people and has said as much in interviews. Another similarity both Hunt and Simpson share is they get showers of love from the critics.

So what we got here are two completely different artists with completely different music with both sides claiming it’s country music. It’s truly a sight to behold. Country music is in a war right now. In one corner you have the bro country fans touting the success of Florida Georgia Line and have a legitimate claim. Then you have the traditional country fans who can preach the success of Sturgill Simpson. And of course the pop/EDM country fans who have their poster-boy Sam Hunt. All are having success and gaining more fans by the day.

So you’re probably wondering who’s going to win? Well right now all of them. In the future, all of them can win too. Remember the splitting of country music is coming. It’s pretty much inevitable because I find it impossible to have all of these different sounding acts under one genre. The fans and critics can’t stand it. The labels know there’s money in a split too. But there’s one thing I do disagree with about this whole split. Everyone says it will simply split into two parts, but I find that to be unbelievable. There isn’t a lot of crossover between Sam Hunt fans and Luke Bryan fans. There are many on each side that despise the other. Go read message boards and comments sections. Country music is going to split into multiple sub-genres similar to rock music. You could conceivably have traditional country, rock country, pop country, bro country, EDM country, hip-hop country and even more.

This could be a good thing. No more quarreling amongst opposing fans of what is and isn’t country music. A possibility of a fair platform for all artists of all kinds. This could also be a bad thing. Look at how divided rock music is with its hundreds of sub-genres and it’s presence in the mainstream. It’s an absolute mess and country music could end up in the same boat. I have no idea what’s going to happen, but everyone will have a side in this fight. I know one thing for certain: It’s going to be entertaining. So grab your popcorn and get ready. Also go traditional country!

Upcoming/Recent Country Music Releases

  • The Lone Bellow just released their new album Then Came The Morning. They performed on Letterman the album’s title track on Letterman this past week and it was a fantastic performance. I already wrote a review for the album and trust me you don’t want to miss this one.
  • Carrie Underwood announced her next single will be “Little Toy Guns.” It was the second new song she released on her greatest hits album released last November along with “Something in the Water.” It was only announced a few days ago and it’s already in the top 20 of the iTunes country chart. We’ll have a review on this one soon.
  • Lindi Ortega teased her new upcoming 2015 album on Instagram this past week. If you haven’t heard it yet, click here to hear it. Based on this small sample, we have another great country album to look forward to. 2015 is going to be a great year to be a country music fan.
  • Maddie & Tae recently released their second single “Fly.” I would’ve personally released “Sierra” as the second single as it’s a better song with more of an edge. “Fly” could be successful though because it’s an inspirational song that appeals to younger women. It’ll be interesting to see how it fares on the charts and the radio.

Throwback Thursday Song

 

Brad Paisley, George Jones and Bill Anderson – “Too Country.” One of the many great songs off of Brad Paisley’s Part II album. Nothing would please me more if did another album like this one. My other favorite from that album is his cover of “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive.” It’s kind of funny looking back at this now after his latest album.

My Non-Country Song of the Week

 

Fall Out Boy – “Uma Thurman.” Yeah yeah I know it’s a mindless pop song, but sometimes I like to take a break from the more substantial stuff and listen to something upbeat. In my opinion, Fall Out Boy used to be a pretty good band. Their quality lately however has slipped and there are several bad tracks on their new album. But “Uma Thurman” works for me and I’m a sucker for a song that samples The Munsters’ theme song.

Tweet of the Week

The Brothers Osborne are definitely one of the most underrated follows on country music Twitter. And this tweet is proof.

A Google Play Review That Will Make You Face Palm

RaeLynn Google Play Review

This was left under RaeLynn’s Me EP on Google Play. I shit you not. I think this wins the prize for most ridiculous review to date.

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

Photo Credit: SturgillSimpson.com/MCA Nashville/Republic Nashville. Special thanks to PicMonkey.

Album Review – The Roys’ The View

Screen shot 2014-09-28 at 10.12.24 PM

Early in September, brother-sister duo, The Roys, released their fifth studio album titled The View. They are a busy duo, releasing five albums in six years, but Lee and Elaine Roy have marked their territory in the bluegrass genre. The duo won ICM’s (Inspirational Country Music) Artist of the Year award for three consecutive years from 2011-2013, and this 11 track, completely original studio album shows why. At least one of the sibling’s is a credited co-writer on every track alongside country legends and contemporaries including Bill Anderson and Josh Thompson. The View is pure bluegrass with impressive fiddle and mandolin instrumentation, great songwriting, and beautiful vocals from both Lee and Elaine.

Best Songs on The Album

There are several strong tracks on The View. The first standout track is “Those Boots” a song about hardworking men who’ve made impression in jobs where they wear boots. The first verse is about a farmer, the second a military man serving overseas, and the third verse is about a country singer. The chorus ties each of these stories together about how their respective stories are deeper and have put in more work than a simple boot print in the dirt will show. The song immediately following this song is “Heaven Needed Her More.” Co-written with Josh Thompson, Lee Roy sings a song about accepting the passing of an unnamed woman, most likely a mother or grandmother. The point of the song is that there is a grander plan to life, even though it’s tough to say goodbye to this person. The song has simple instrumentation driven by a fiddle and accompanied by an acoustic guitar, but the quality lyrics and story telling show why this duo has an impressive collection of inspirational music hardware. The third song, and arguably the best on the whole record, is “Sometimes.” It’s a heartbreaking song about an older woman who is beginning to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. The verses of this song detail the things that lead to the diagnosis with lines like “It started with a simple missed appointment.” The choruses of the song are memories of this woman “Sometimes she’s running in an open field of clover,” and the chorus ends with the wonderful, yet heartbreaking line “In her mind she’s still there, sometimes.” Depending on how you listen to that line, you can infer that “there” is her mind in the present or her mind is “there” as in her memories. The double meaning infused in that one line is great storytelling, and can allow the listener to feel differently with each listen.

Worst Song on The Album

This album is pretty good. There wasn’t a song that really jumped out at me as “bad” or “awful.” “Black Gold” is the only song that really didn’t do much for me. It’s a song about a man who worked 72 hours a week in a gold mine up until his death. There isn’t much of a chorus to the song, and the verses are essentially just a short biography of the workaholic coal miner. There’s nothing really stand out about the song.

The Rest of The Album

The album kicks off with “No More Lonely” in which Elaine Roy sings about how falling in love has helped her find joy in life again. “Live The Life You Love” is a rather simple, cliché song about the adage “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” The siblings add in a few lines about how you should provide for your family and give thanks to the Lord for what you have. The album’s title track is a small town song the duo wrote with Bill Anderson. Outside of other small town songs in country music, “The View” is more about a short visit back home after being away for an extended period of time. Elaine beautifully sings about the sights of home that she loves. “No More Tears Left to Cry” is about getting through a break up. “Mended Wings” is another inspirational song about God’s grace and getting to heaven after death despite the sins in life. A well-written song that again shows why The Roys have the awards they do from ICM. The album wraps up with “Mandolin Man.” A good song written as a tribute to the one and only Bill Monroe. The chorus is rather repetitive, but overall it’s a good song to close this album out.

Overall Thoughts

This album is solid from start to finish. The Roys and their band have great instrumentation within every song. In fact, “Northern Skies” is a two and half-minute instrumental that is an excellent showcase of those skills. Bluegrass fans should enjoy this album. Even if you’re not a big fan of bluegrass music, I think you’ll be able to find a song or two worth listening to more than once. The Roys just signed with one of Nashville’s top talent agencies, Buddy Lee Attractions. With their skilled musicianship and a solid album to promote here with The View, both parties should stay busy and see continued success with their future shows.

Grade: 9/10

What Are You Thinking Brad Paisley?

Brad Paisley
Wikimedia Commons

As a country music fan, everyone remembers the artists they grew up listening to that made them fall in love with the genre. Many older fans grew up with big names like Cash, Waylon, Jones, Haggard, Willie, Loretta, etc. But I’m little younger. I grew up with 90s and 2000s country, which many of these traditional fans from previous eras shunned for its pop sound. Nevertheless there was still a lot of great country music being made in this era. There were three artists I could always listen to on the radio and enjoy their music. These three are the reason why I got into country music and became a fan for life. Those three artists were George Strait, Alan Jackson and Brad Paisley.

Strait just retired from touring, but is still making great country music. Jackson is sadly no longer featured on the radio, but he’s still making great country music too. He even made a pretty good bluegrass album recently. These two have stuck to their roots regardless of the current trends plaguing the genre. And then there’s Brad Paisley. I remember last year at this time I was still a fervent defender of Paisley, even though I found Wheelhouse to be sub par compared to his previous albums. There were still a few quality songs on it though and he was still regarded by myself and many others to be one of the few “good ones” left in mainstream country music.

Then in the spring of 2014, Paisley announced he was releasing a new album and released the first single from it titled “River Bank.” I was hoping for the best. Then I listened to the single and became disgusted and enraged. My first thought was he sold out to the latest trend in country music. It prompted to me to write what I believe to be my first ever negative review of Paisley. But I then convinced myself to hold out hope that “River Bank” was the anomaly of his new album and that the rest of it would be much better. That hope was squashed when I read this in an interview he had with Billboard:

Produced with longtime collaborator Luke Wooten (Dierks Bentley, “Nashville”), “Moonshine” sees Paisley adapting the modern technology of EDM and dubstep to the classic country formula. “When you hear a banjo through stutter edit, it’s the coolest thing you ever heard,” Paisley said. “I have a song that’s a basic love song, it’s got a great groove, and I cut this guitar part that gets distorted when I turn the nob up. I would say to Luke, ‘Oh, that should’ve been done 20 years ago, but they couldn’t.’ The rulebook’s gone, or was there ever one? They try, but I don’t play by it.”

EDM and dubstep? Are you kidding me? What the hell are you smoking? I had a bad feeling that after his previous album Wheelhouse didn’t perform great on radio or the charts that he could sell out (or the insane thought he could go back to this roots). And it looks to me he’s desperate to remain relevant in mainstream country. While I shun him for his desperation, I do understand the other side of the coin. As I said in my Ronnie Dunn post, it’s hard for artists to accept they’re no longer one of the most popular names in their genre. But they fail to realize that there are a lot of fans that still support them. Many of them have been supporting them for years. I still recall Paisley’s earliest material, songs such as “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” and “We Danced.” Paisley sang with two all-time country greats George Jones and Bill Anderson on “Too Country.” Remember this Paisley?

 

That collaboration happened 13 years ago. Now who’s he collaborating with? The latest monstrosity for him to release (actually leaked by Bobby Bones) is a rap remix of “River Bank” with Colt Ford. Yes, ladies and gentlemen this is not a joke. Paisley has now teamed up with Colt Ford of all people on a “country” song. He went from singing with the likes of country royalty to the bottom of the barrel in his desperate attempt to remain relevant. I’m not going to put the video of that remix in this article because unlike Paisley I appreciate my readers. If you insist on hearing it, just click the link above.

I know critics of my sentiments will counter with statements such as: “He’s evolving country music. Nobody listens to old country anymore.” “The music he’s making now is appealing to the fans.” “Have an open mind.” I’ll address each one of these statements. First, he isn’t evolving country music. EDM and rap collaborations are not evolving the genre, but rather mainstream country’s desperate attempt at popularity. Country may be the most popular genre right now, but it’s only temporary. It’s a passing fad. The bubble is going to burst eventually, so this is really hurting country long-term. You know who’s evolving country music? Sturgill Simpson on his latest album. His music on Metamodern Sounds in Country Music is steeped in the roots and traditions of country music, yet have a modern sound too. Zac Brown Band collaborated with Dave Grohl on their latest EP. The single from that EP, “All Alright,” is doing good on radio. The marriage of Brown’s sound and Grohl’s sound make great music that feels fresh, yet still country. And Old Crow Medicine Show is proof you don’t even have to evolve your sound to make great country music.

The music he’s making now is not appealing to the actual country music fans. What fans is he appealing to with his latest single and album? The fad fans. These are the fans that simply hop from one fad to the next. Five years ago these people never even bothered with country music. They’re only interested now because it’s the most popular music to listen to right now. They listen to this music for the social status (or they want to f*ck the artist singing the song), not because they truly love it. How else do you explain the popularity of such shitty music? These are the types of people who couldn’t name you one George Jones song, but could recite every song on the latest Luke Bryan album. In a few years these people won’t give a shit about country music and yet these are the people Paisley is appealing to with his latest music. I’ll still be listening to country music though. And as far as having an open mind? Look at Country Perspective’s Top Songs of 2014 so far. There’s plenty of variety. I assure you my mind is open to all forms of country music.

What’s the point of this long rant? Paisley cares more about the almighty dollar and fame than he does his loyal fans and making quality music. Once he saw his stature slipping he ran towards the open arms of Nashville executives and their dirty trends. Why does he even wear a cowboy hat still? He should just throw those in the garbage and borrow some of Luke Bryan’s ball caps. Then put it on backwards, get some dark sunglasses and start shaking his moneymaker at all of his concerts. He clearly doesn’t care about his legacy or reputation anymore. I’m not even that angry at Paisley. I’m just disappointed. He once made great country music and now he’s lowering himself to everyone else’s standards. Enjoy your temporary fans, Brad. This longtime fan is turning your music off.