Album Review – Mark Chesnutt’s ‘Tradition Lives’

Mark Chesnutt Tradition Lives

When it comes to music I’ve realized there are two groups of artists: those who make the music they want to and those who make what everyone else wants. In other words, who does and doesn’t compromise their artistic integrity. If you turn on country radio today, you’ll hear a lot of compromising. So obviously you won’t be hearing the music of Mark Chesnutt. Throughout the 90s you would hear Chenutt all the time until he was faced with the same dreaded compromise forced by a major label. This came in the form of his cover of Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing,” which he just revealed recently that he didn’t feel comfortable doing (his mentor and friend George Jones was angry about the cover too):

“As luck would have it, it ended up going to No. 1 hit for four damn weeks!” he says, bursting out laughing. But he maintains, “It didn’t sell anything. So I asked to leave the label, ’cause when it was time to go back in the studio, there was another pop hit they wanted me to cover. I said no, absolutely not. That made everyone at the label mad at me, and I got the reputation in town of being hard to work with. And once you get that label, then you’re pretty much done.”

Ever since then Chesnutt has been out on his own making music with smaller labels and playing lots of shows every year. Of course after an artist leaves a major label, it leaves the impression on casual fans that the artist has retired and faded into the sunset. That’s far from the case for Chesnutt as he returns with his first new album in eight years, Tradition Lives. It’s the culmination of years of writing and work that Chesnutt is quite proud of releasing to the public. And I have to say he should be beaming with pride, as this album is a true example of why artists should stick to their guns and make the music they want to make.

Chesnutt takes us back to early 90s country radio from the get go with “I’ve Got a Quarter In My Pocket.” It’s one of many heartbreak songs on the album, as Chesnutt schools us on the lost of art of country heartbreak tunes. The lamenting “Is It Still Cheating” tackles the complications of cheating partners. Written by Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser and Jerrod Niemann, the song begins with a husband listening to his wife leave yet another message on the answering machine saying she’ll be home late. He knows of course that she’s out cheating, but this is fine to him because he’s at home cheating on her. Both sides are lying and cheating, but the husband ponders if it’s really cheating. It’s a complex conundrum that leaves it up to the listener to decide. Either way I find it to be an intriguingly great song and one of the best on Tradition Lives.

The upbeat “Lonely Ain’t the Only Game In Town” puts me in mind of the dance halls down in Texas. The steel guitar and fiddle driven tune is about a woman feeling lonely, so she heads to where the neon shines bright and goes for a night on the town. In a perfect world, this song would be playing on country radio because I think it could have been a hit in the 90s (although there are several songs I could say that about on this album). “Oughta Miss Me by Now” sees a man wishing and hoping for his ex to realize she made a mistake ending their relationship. Keep in mind this isn’t from a vindictive point of view like many mainstream country artists would frame this type of song, but rather from a person who is heartbroken and having trouble moving on. It’s desperate hoping that he probably knows deep down isn’t going to happen. Chesnutt comes from the point of view of experience in relationships on “Neither Did I.” It sees an older gentleman bestowing advice to younger men on what happens in relationships and what to expect when it can hit the rocks. It’s not a bad song, but one of the more forgettable tracks on the album. I will say though I enjoy the instrumentation, as there’s plenty of fiddle and steel guitar throughout the song.

There are a lot of great songs on this album, but the best to my ears is “So You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore.” An always-present steel guitar throughout gives the song a reflective feel, as a man realizes he needs to break up with his woman so she can’t hurt him anymore. It’s not an easy decision after all they’ve been through, but he realizes he has to move on for his own sake. I should point out that the writers of this song are producer Jimmy Ritchey, Roger Springer and William Michael Morgan. It’s cool to see the latter’s name associated with this song, proving once again Morgan wants to carry on what artists like Chesnutt did before him. This is also the type of song that shows why Mark Chesnutt is far from being done in his career.

“You Moved up in Your World” is about a man reuniting with a woman who had left his hometown and made a life outside while he’s been living there the whole time. To the rest of the world she’s kind of a celebrity, while he still sees her as the woman he grew up and fell in love with. It’s a very bittersweet song, as you can tell the man never really expressed how he felt to her. Contrasting lives are put on display on “Look at Me Now.” A man sits in a hotel room in the dark and flipping through channels on TV while he listens to a new couple making love next door. He realizes what a mess he has become and is haunted by his past decisions that led to this situation. It’s a solid tune, where once again the traditional instrumentation really shines and hooks the listener in.

Another standout on Tradition Lives is “Losing You All Over Again.” Chesnutt once again delivers a classically great heartbreak song, with plenty of steel guitar. After listening to this album multiple times, it still doesn’t sink in how great Chesnutt is when it comes to these types of songs. It’s like secondhand nature to him and makes it look so easy. Today’s country artists would be wise to take note. Chesnutt lets his thoughts on the country music industry be known on “Never Been to Texas.” It’s not necessarily a protest song, but he pointedly calls out Music Row for saying people aren’t interested in drinking and cheating songs anymore. He refutes their claims by pointing to Texas as an example of real country songs being made. He also sings about how the steel guitar won’t ever die in country songs despite Music Row’s attempts to minimize it. It’s a fun song, both lyrically and instrumentation-wise. It also avoids the pitfalls of how cliché protest songs have become.

“What I Heard” welcomes the listeners with a warm melody that harkens back to better days in country music. The song is about a woman telling goodbye to her man with tears rolling from her eyes. To the man, what he heard was more than just goodbye. Rather he thinks that this is just temporary and that she’ll come back someday. He’s clearly in denial over the breakup. It’s refreshing to hear this type of song because so many male artists today come off as trying to look cool coming off a breakup (in other words trying to win it), whereas Chesnutt shows the more true feelings someone goes through (denial and false hope). The laid back “Hot” is one of the less serious songs on the album. Chesnutt sings about how hot it is outside, which at this time of the year in the United States is quite accurate (especially for folks down in the southern portion of the country). Just like “Neither Did I,” this song isn’t bad, but there’s not much to it. Tradition Lives closes with the subdued “There Won’t Be Another Now.” Chesnutt superbly covers the 1985 Merle Haggard song, as there’s a lot of heart behind his vocals. Chesnutt did it to honor not only the late legend Haggard, but also the writer of the song Red Lane who passed away. It’s another example of the deep respect he has for all the artists that paved the way for him. I would suggest listening to both Haggard and Chesnutt’s versions. It’s a fantastic and classy way to conclude the album.

Mark Chesnutt really impresses me with Tradition Lives and reminded me of why I was such a fan of his music growing up as a kid. I have to admit I was unsure of how good this album would be, as I’ve been disappointed by some recent releases by veteran artists. But Chesnutt clearly still has his “fastball” and sounds just as great as he did when radio played him. For some fans, this will be their favorite album of the year and I don’t blame them. This album is full of wonderful heartbreak songs, as well as some fun tunes too. If you loved 90s country or are just someone who appreciates traditional country, you need to check this out. Tradition Lives without a doubt lives up to its name, reminding us all that traditional country will never fade away.

Grade: 8/10

The Hodgepodge: It’s Impossible to Choose One Defining Song for a Genre

I stumbled upon a New York Times article this week that made a big claim about rock music. The author basically says that when our grandchildren’s grandchildren look at rock music, the only name that’ll matter is Chuck Berry. Not Springsteen, Zeppelin, the Stones, or The Beatles, but Chuck Berry. I’m not saying he’s wrong about Berry being a figurehead and representative of rock music, but rock’s different styles don’t warrant such a narrow-minded claim. Yes, “Johnny B. Goode” is an excellent song and Chuck Berry fathered rock music like Hank fathered country. The author says Berry made simple, direct, rhythm based music, which best exemplifies rock music. He’s not wrong, but I think it’s wrong to pigeon-hole the genre into one song.

The big part of his claim comes from the fact that when NASA sent Voyager I into space, they included a mix record which included “Johnny B. Goode” on the track list – the only rock song on the list. So this got me thinking, is it possible to narrow down country music into one song that best represents the genre over the 70+ years of artists and songs who’ve done so much? I’ll argue that you need a Mount Rushmore of songs, not just one, because even country’s best songs and artists had different styles that are all country music.

Take “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” arguably the best country song of all time. Listening to the song with its grand crescendo and a faint steel guitar, it’s vastly different from Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” a song electric guitars and simple percussion beat, also argued to be the best country song. Both songs sound way different, yet they’re both country music, and they’re both great representations of the genre. Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings couldn’t be more different in their sounds, yet both artists not only exemplified the Outlaw movement, but country music as a whole. Waylon’s rock sound is more in line with Cash’s style, but even then, the two artists are distinctly different.

The Bakersfield Sound has its own unique flair different from the aforementioned artists, yet Merle Haggard and Buck Owens are just as influential to country music. Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette don’t exactly sound like Kitty Wells, but all of their music is a big part of country’s history. Many of these styles stem from Hank Williams, and all these styles are equally important to country’s roots. These are the styles that have influenced many of today’s Americana and Country stars. The early generation brought out singers like George Strait, Reba, and Alan Jackson, who have gone on to influence the likes of Kacey Musgraves, Sturgill Simpson, Cody Jinks, and pretty much everyone we’ve reviewed here.

The point is I think it’s impossible to simply try to find one song or artist to represent a music genre rich with history and talent. Country, Rock, Rap, and every other genre has their top-tier of artists who’ve gone onto to influence the genre. At the end of the day, one can always trace the history back to the root of the genre, which is never a bad option to choose as a genre head. But dismissing Waylon or Merle as a defining artist of country music because their sound was not Hank’s country sound is blasphemous, as is dismissing rock’s eclectic history because it’s not as simple and rhythmic as Chuck Berry.

Upcoming/Recent Country Music Releases

  • On July 8, Mark Chesnutt’s new album, Tradition Lives will be released.
  • David Nail’s Fighter will be released the following week on the 15th.
  • At the end of the month on July 29, Lori McKenna’s The Bird & The Rifle will be released.
  • Shovels and Rope recently released a new single called “I Know.” Their new album Little Seeds will be out October 7.
  • Southern rockers/Texas Country band Whiskey Myers are working with producer Dave Cobb on their new album, Mud. The first single from the album is “Lightning Bugs and Rain.”

Throwback Thursday Song

“False Accuser’s Lament” by Jason Boland and the Stragglers. I’ve been listening to a lot of Boland lately, and this song has jumped up my list of favorites from him. “False Accuser’s Lament” can be found on Rancho Alto, one of Boland’s best albums in my opinion.

Non-Country Suggestion

Velvet Portraits by Terrace Martin – an album mixed with Jazz, Hip Hop, and R&B, Velvet Portraits is a diverse album. It’s a fun listen though, with the relaxing Jazz instrumentals and hip hop lyrical deliveries on the others. It’s different, but worth the listen.

Tweet of the Week

Wheeler Walker, Jr. is a great follow on twitter if you don’t mind some profanity on your timeline. As streaming continues to rise, labels getting songs on “featured playlists” on Spotify or Apple Music will be the new way of getting on the charts.

A Chase Rice iTunes Review

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Chase Rice’s new single, “Everybody We Knows Does,” is the same generic BS from every other generic bro before him. After his letter apologizing for “Whisper,” I expected at least something that shows a little effort in a follow-up single, but I was mistaken.

The Hodgepodge: Community Chat and Q&A

I’m embarrassed to say, but I have no muse or ideas for a Hodgepodge this week. I look at mainstream country, radio in particular, and it’s the same old rehashed mess that’s been around for a while. Americana continues to be home to great albums worth checking out. Nothing has really popped up in the past week to comment on.

The news of Zac Brown’s presence at a Palm Beach drug bust was swept under the rug rather quickly. Perhaps more fallout or news may surface in the near future, but for now it looks like Zac got nothing more than 15 minutes in the shameful spotlight. The star-struck police tried to keep him out of it, and Zac responded via social media admitting he was there, but only for a short time before the raid occurred.

All in all, this has just been kind of a dud week. There’s a couple local Red Dirt music events on the horizon in town that I hope I can attend and comment on in the future, and I’m planning my next historical snapshot piece. So I hope that in the coming weeks I can bring some good posts for you all to read and enjoy. But for this week, I’ll leave it open for discussion and entertain any questions you may want to ask.

Upcoming/Recent Country and Americana Releases

  • Sundy Best will release a live album tomorrow called It’s So Good Live. The 24 song project was recorded live at concert in Louisville.
  • Martina McBride‘s Reckless will be released on April 29.
  • Lonestar will also release a new album on April 29 called Never Enders.
  • Zac Brown Band‘s “Castaway” will go for radio adds on April 25.
  • Chris Stapleton‘s next single “Parachute,” officially goes for adds on May 2.
  • The Honeycutters will be releasing a new album on May 20 titled On The Ropes.

Throwback Thursday Song

“Golden Ring” Tammy Wynette and George Jones. When it comes to duets in country music, Tammy Wynette and George Jones are a marquee pairing, not to mention that they’re both great vocalists. This 1976 duet may be their most famous duet, and also hit number one on the charts.

Non-Country Suggestion of the Week


PJ Harvey’s The Hope Six Demolition Project. English rocker PJ Harvey gets quite political with her ninth studio album. While the lyrics may be off-putting to those who either don’t agree with her message or don’t care for politics in music in general, Harvey’s excellent folk rock music style is still ever-present on this album. Overall, PJ Harvey is an underrated musician, and I’d suggest listening to any of her music.

Tweet of the Week

Perhaps they’ll be a day when the good ol’ boys club of country radio is broken for another all female top 5.

An iTunes Review for a Bad EP

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This past week, I made the unfortunate discover of Elizabeth Lyons’ song “Luke Bryan.” Yes, she sings a song about her love for Luke Bryan. It actually exists. In fact, she has an entire EP full of songs for immature teenage girls with titles like “Girls Like Shoes, Bags, & Boys.” It’s like a clone of RaeLynn. I’m all for more women on the country charts, but we need Maren Morris and Kacey Musgraves, not Elizabeth Lyons or RaeLynn.

Album Review – Vince Gill’s ‘Down to My Last Bad Habit’

Vince Gill Down to My Last Bad Habit

There are very few voices in country music that are better or equal to that of Vince Gill. When talking about 90s country, it’s always about the likes of Garth Brooks, George Strait and Reba. I feel like people to overlook and under appreciate the work of Vince Gill. He put out some of the finest music of that decade, including a song I would put in my top ten songs of the 90s, “Go Rest High on That Mountain.” I’ve always had a great respect for Gill and his work. I especially admired the way he gracefully bowed out of the spotlight and accepted that his “prime” years were over, something many older artists have trouble coming to terms with. In recent years Gill has settled into a behind the scenes role, helping produce many songs and records for top artists, including Ashley Monroe and Taylor Swift.

Now he’s releasing his first album of new music in five years, after releasing in 2013 a very cool tribute album to Merle Haggard with Paul Franklin, Bakersfield (highly recommend checking this out if you haven’t heard it). This new album is titled Down to My Last Bad Habit and Gill handled everything on it, from the production to the songwriting. It’s an all Vince Gill project. With this in mind and it being Vince Gill, I had pretty high hopes for this album. How could you not be expecting something great? Well it doesn’t exactly live up to my expectations, but I definitely wouldn’t call it bad either.

Vince Gill kicks the album off with the grooving “Reasons For The Tears I Cry.” It’s a soulful, slightly R&B influenced heartbreak tune where Gill is just singing his ass off. It’s not just on this song though, but the entire album. Gill is 110% in the vocal department and may be his best album vocal performance wise. He sounds no different now than he did when he was in the prime of his career. The album’s title track is a slow love ballad about a man who has kicked all of the bad habits that brought him down in the past. But now he only has one bad habit left and that’s his woman. It’s a tad cheesy, but it mostly comes across as heartfelt. It can feel a little 80s at times, but then the steel guitar creeps in and it’s not so bad. A little less production and more steel guitar would have helped make this a better song.

“Me And My Girl” is an upbeat, acoustic-driven tune about driving down a back road with a girl. Upon your first few listens you may not realize this because the instrumentation and Vince Gill are pretty good. But then you listen to the lyrics and this is a cliché filled song no different from the ones churned out on radio all the time. It’s definitely one of the most lackluster efforts on Down To My Last Bad Habit. Gill tackles another love ballad with “Like My Daddy Did.” The song is about a woman who grew up with a terrible dad who left her and her mom at an early age. Now she’s untrusting of men. The man she has met grew up with a great dad who did fun stuff with him like take him fishing and promises to treat her like his daddy did. If you think this sounds saccharine, you are correct. It’s pretty predictable and hard for me to care about.

While the previous two songs are lackluster and boring, there is one song on this album I just flat-out don’t like and that’s “Make You Feel Real Good.” Let’s not beat around the bush here. This song is about having sweaty sex. It’s not the type of song I like to hear from Gill, as it just doesn’t suit him at all. You then have the generic rock production that accompanies it and it just makes for one bad song. I guess even the great ones can have big swings and misses too. Fortunately, Gill gets back on track with “I Can’t Do This.” It’s one of the best tracks on the album, as it hones in on where Gill excels the most and that’s piano-driven ballads. The song is about a man whose love left him and now he has come across her making out with another man in a bar. It absolutely tears him apart and turns him into an emotional mess seeing them together, comparing it to coming upon a car crash. Gill’s soaring vocals add even more emotion and it reminds you of just how damn great he can be at heartbreak ballads.

“My Favorite Movie” is another romantic love ballad. Gill compares having his woman in his arms to his favorite move running through his head. It’s kind of a clunky comparison and a little sappy too. However the production and instrumentation are pretty good, with some lingering steel guitar throughout. This song could have been better, but it’s not terrible. Well-known trumpeter Chris Botti joins Vince Gill on “One More Mistake I Made.” Botti’s trumpet play is definitely the focal point and also the best part of this song. He’s undoubtedly talented. But does this really fit on a country record? It doesn’t help that it overshadows the lyrics completely, which aren’t that good. Outside of the trumpet play, this song is pretty ordinary.

Gill is joined by Little Big Town on “Take Me Down,” the lead single from this album and the first single from Gill in five years. It’s a solid, but unspectacular love song. Little Big Town’s contributions are pretty minimal, as they’re just backing vocals on the chorus. Really I think they’re only on this song to help get it traction at country radio. I’m not going to complain though, as it’s certainly an upgrade over a lot of songs at country radio. My biggest complaint with this song is I wish it didn’t sound like a Foreigner song at times. Just like “I Can’t Do This,” “I’ll Be Waiting For You” allows Vince Gill’s voice to be front and center on the song. The instrumentation is kept light throughout, mixing a combination of acoustic and steel guitar. Cam joins Gill on the song and like Little Big Town on the previous song, is basically just the backing vocal on the chorus (although we hear Cam sing one line). I wish this were a more proper duet, as I think Cam and Gill go together perfectly. Once Cam’s “Mayday” is done at radio in a few months, I could see this song getting pushed as a single.

“When It’s Love” is your standard love song. You can take it or leave it and there’s not much more to say about it. The album closes out with an absolute bang with Gill’s tribute to George Jones, “Sad One Comin’ On.” Hands down the best track on the record, Gill sings about the king of heartbreak and drinking songs. It also doubles as a great heartbreak song, as Gill sings about wanting a sad song with his beer as he drowns his sorrow. Its only appropriate one golden voice sings about another golden voice. Jones was truly one of a kind and I think the Possum would be quite proud of Gill’s tribute.

Overall when it comes to Down to My Last Bad Habit, Vince Gill gets more things right than wrong on it. When Gill gets it right, you really enjoy this album and it reminds you of why Gill is held in such high regard. He clearly still has the magic and his voice is as golden as ever. Just like Dwight Yoakam, Gill is ageless and should be making more music for several years to come. Unfortunately the production and songwriting just lags too much at times on this album to call it a good one. As I said at the beginning, this is an all Vince project and that means both the good and bad fall directly on him. If you’re a fan of Gill, it’s worth a few listens. For everyone else, it’s just a decent record; nothing more, nothing less.

Grade: 6/10

The Hodgepodge: What I’d Like to See From Country Music in 2016

A new year brings forth the desire to reflect upon the past year. What went well, what went poorly, what can we learn, and how can we improve. That’s sort of the universal mindset for most of us in early January, and that’s the mindset I’m going to use for this first Hodgepodge of 2016. Last year had quite a bit of buzz worthy events in country music from Keith Hill’s comments regarding females on radio to Chris Stapleton’s rise and triumph at the CMAs. But instead of looking back at the year that was 2015, I want to approach this as how can we build on what happened in 2015 to make 2016 a great year for country and Americana music.

These aren’t predictions or theories of what I think may happen. These are merely my hopes for what I’d like to see happen. This is how I’d like to see country music (primarily mainstream country music) move forward in 2016. I realize some of these hopes may be outlandish and not as realistic as others given the culture of country music right now. The overall goal of this first Hodgepodge is to get a discussion moving about country music in 2016.

More Traditional Country Music on Radio

The success of Chris Stapleton as 2015 came to a close should not be taken lightly. Stapleton’s Traveller was released to critical acclaim, and his three CMAs in November proved traditional sounding country music still had popular appeal. Kacey Musgraves continued her commitment to traditional country music with Pageant Material. While her sophomore album didn’t quite have the same success as Stapleton this year, Musgraves still has some popular appeal maintaining a steady headlining tour in support of the new album. And, of course, Sturgill Simpson has signed on with a major label and may release an album this year.

Traditional newcomers like Mo Pitney, Jake Worthington, and William Jake Worthington EPMichael Morgan have released singles and EPs that have impressed critics. Jana Kramer found success with her single “I Got The Boy”, a ballad that calls back to the sounds of 90s country. And The Dixie Chicks, one of the top acts in country in the past 15 years, has announced a reunion tour which could result in new music. I hope more and more artists with a traditional leaning style come out of the woodwork, including full length albums from several of the aforementioned artists. The demand for more traditional country music is high, and the supply appears to be growing. I’d like to see more traditional country music on the radio, especially if Stapleton’s “Nobody to Blame” charts well.

A Radio Split

The mere fact that Billboard has recently added a new country chart solely dedicated to radio play (the Hot Country Songs chart takes streaming and digital sales into account) tells me that radio is still an important media source even in this digital age today. If traditional country music does gain more popularity while singers like Sam Hunt, Luke Bryan, and Kelsea Ballerini continue to spew pop garbage onto country radio, I think the argument for radio split could be reignited. Putting traditional singers on their own format with newcomers and legends alike will allow fans to listen to that music on radio without having to wait for “Break Up in a Small Town” and “Home Alone Tonight” to play first.

Bigger Spotlight on Americana and Indie Country

Dave Cobb winning a CMA award for Chris Stapleton’s Traveller was huge. Cobb has produced many critically acclaimed albums for artists like Sturgill Simpson and Jason Isbell. Those two artists have gained more popularity in their own independent music world. And as Saving Country Music suggested, Miranda Lambert dating indie rocker Anderson East could lead to more eyes on the indie music side of things. 2015 saw many non-mainstream artists have number one albums and earn new fans. Even Kacey Musgraves pushed her new music to Americana radio. Americana radio could grow this year, giving these true artists a much deserved audience increase.

137650_4657More Females on Radio

In the wake of Keith Hill’s tomato comments, we saw Kelsea Ballerini get a number one single. Newcomer Cam peaked at number 2 with “Burning House” on the Airplay Charts, and Carrie Underwood had a few singles find some great, if still underwhelming, chart success. Mickey Guyton’s “Better Than You Left Me” received more radio adds upon its release than any other artist ever. More awareness was brought to the disparity between male and female artists in regards to radio play, and I hope 2016 continues the trend of bringing more females onto country radio. There’s a talented pool of women who are ignored.

Mainstream Country Music Defining Itself/Gatekeepers

The term “country music” is rather arbitrary these days. You have club songs like “Beautiful Drug” and R&B inspired pop songs like “Break Up in a Small Town” sitting in the top 30 of the Country Airplay chart, alongside truer country songs like “Nobody to Blame.” It doesn’t matter what the song sounds like, if it’s labeled country, it’ll be played on country radio. It’s this type of saturation of musical forms which should drive a split. But if the radio split does not happen, country music is in desperate need of a gatekeeper to tell Sam Hunt to take his shitty pop music out of Nashville and onto top-40 pop radio.

Fair Payouts from Streaming

This is more concerned with the music business as a whole, but something that’s important in this day and age. Apple Music, Amazon, Pandora, Spotify and others are growing the availability of online music streaming. We’ve seen several complaints about the low artist payouts that come from Spotify play counts. If music continues to trend toward online streaming options and away from standard radio, then these companies need to find a better way to compensate the artists whose music is played on these services. Or music listeners just need to suck it up and pay $12 for an album if they want to listen to the music uninterrupted.

Upcoming/Recent Music Releases

Josh covered the upcoming album releases earlier this week, but here are few known coming single releases:

  • Trace Adkins’ “Jesus and Jones” goes for radio adds on January 19.
  • Old Dominion’s newest single for radio is “Snapback”
  • Cole Swindell’s newest single is called “You Should Be Here.”
  • Drake White has a new single out called “Livin’ The Dream.” Zack’s first post for Country Perspective will be a review for the song published tomorrow.

Throwback Thursday Song

“Yesterday’s Wine” by George Jones & Merle Haggard. “Yesterday’s Wine” was written by and originally recorded by Willie Nelson in 1971, but I’ll admit that I like Jones & Haggard’s cover better. The song is great, and Blackberry Smoke even has a cover which they recorded with George Jones and Jamey Johnson.

Non-Country Suggestion of the Week


Twenty One Pilots – Blurryface. I listened to a lot of Alternative Rock music over my Christmas vacation and heard “Stressed Out” quite a bit. I hadn’t listened to Twenty One Pilots at all before then, but I was intrigued and liked their album Blurryface. The album was released early last year, but it’s a good one to revisit.

Tweet of the Week

Hard to argue with that.

Two iTunes Reviews That I Don’t Understand

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The top review was left under Chris Stapleton’s Traveller. I don’t understand how you can listen to Chris Stapleton sing and think his voice is the worst thing ever.

The second review was for Old Dominion’s Meat and Candy. The worst album of 2015 deserves some more hating on. I don’t understand how you could possibly compare Old Dominion to Alabama.

Both reviews are just absurd.

Note from the author: I’m happy to take the reigns of The Hodgepodge back from Josh after a short hiatus last year. The end of 2015 was insanely busy for me at work and at home (all good things!). But things have calmed down for now and I’m glad to have more time to write again. 

I omitted the “This Day in Country Music History” for this week. Was this a category you enjoyed to read when I wrote The Hodgepodge last year? If so, I’ll gladly bring it back. If not, I’ll come up with something else to add to the feature. Thanks!