Album Review — Tim McGraw’s “Here on Earth”

Something felt different about this album from the moment I saw it’s album cover art. Tim McGraw has certainly not shied away from trying out different sounds and approaches in his career, although his temporary fling in bro country scared him away from this for a bit. But he’s started inching back towards this. The concept and production’s presentation of this album is intriguing. The experimentation of the production shouldn’t be entirely surprising, as McGraw shows hints and dabbled with it a lot on his previous album. With Here on Earth, he dives deeper into experimenting and while it works for the most part, it feels like a lot is left on the table too.

It starts off promising with the lush and string-laden “L.A.” It sounds very much like something you would hear on a Glen Campbell album. The same can said of “Not From California,” which has one of the best deliveries on the album as he conveys his ache and yearning. Then you get to a song like “Chevy Spaceship.” It feels like this album mostly contains songs like this: corny and a bit cliché, but well intentioned heart behind them. When it comes to these songs on this album, it’s hit and miss.

“Chevy Spaceship” surprisingly works for me, but in kind of an ironic way because it’s unintentionally one of the funniest songs I’ve heard this year. This is thanks to McGraw delivering lines like “I got the good stuff sittin’ right here/We can catch a little buzz lightyear” and “Let me come by and pick you up/We can do some intergalactic lovin’” with utmost seriousness. It’s just stupid and goofy enough to win me over. I can say the same of “Good Taste in Women.” This is usually a song that would annoy me, yet McGraw’s charisma and the catchy delivery make it effective.

“Sheryl Crow” comes off a bit forced at first, but again I find the charisma and joyful nature of the song to be endearing. “7500 OBO” sounds quite stupid on paper, but once you figure out it’s more about erasing the memory of an ex and less about selling a truck, it’s an easy song to find a connection with. Also McGraw sampling his own “Where the Green Grass Grows” and directly referencing it in the song is a surprise, but a welcome one. It’s a bit egotistical, but since the sampling fits the song and is done to the benefit of the song, I can overlook this. The fiddles are so memorable and reintroducing them on another song won’t get a complaint out of me.

There’s also though the flip side of corny on this album where it doesn’t work. “Hallelujahville” and “Doggone” are gratingly mawkish. With the album being too long for my taste at 16 songs long at just over an hour, these are the first two songs I would cut. “War of Art” and “Hard to Stay Mad At” are based around solid ideas, but it’s too cookie cutter and bland in style. “Here on Earth,” “Hold You Tonight” and “If I Was a Cowboy” are a little better, but suffer the same issue to a lesser extent. If these three songs were less formulaic (lending to better replay value) and given a bit more “depth,” it would have went a long way into help making this a great album.

McGraw would have did better too by having a few more serious songs on the album, as he does a pretty good job delivering on the few songs in this vein. “Damn Sure Do” is a warm ode to reaffirming your commitment to a loved one and lead single “I Called Mama” is a nice song about how reminders of mortality makes you reexamine your appreciation for what and who you have in your life. “Gravy” is another song in this same lane, as the laid back and smooth nature of the production lends well to conveying the emotions of the lyrics.

What’s funny is if you asked ten different people who listened to Tim McGraw’s Here on Earth about their thoughts on it, I think each would give you completely different answers about each song on this album, as each song’s appeal and this album as a whole’s appeal is very much going to come down to your own personal preferences with corny country music. Not to mention the production’s lack of focus could come off as interesting like it does for me or make for a lackluster listen.

Ultimately for me it works more than it doesn’t work. On one hand I could easily make the argument that this album is only a couple changes away from being great. On the other hand I feel like this is an album I’m going to remember because it’s so weird and different from what McGraw has done previously. Here on Earth is an odd album, yet it’s quite interesting and worth at least one listen if only to figure out for yourself where you stand with it.

Grade: 7/10

Review – Ashley Campbell Pays Tribute to Her Father With “Remembering”

Ashley Campbell Remembering

One of the painful realities of growing up is realizing how short life can be. It’s something we all think about at some point and not something that really hits home until you start to see your loved ones get older and eventually pass away. It’s something that Ashley Campbell is going through right now. She’s the daughter of country music icon Glen Campbell, who has been battling Alzheimer’s disease since being diagnosed with it in 2011. It’s a crippling disease where a person slowly loses their memories and something very hard for their loved ones to go through (my own great-grandfather died of the very same disease). Campbell’s final song he ever recorded, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” reflects on this sad reality. Now his daughter Ashley has released a response song to this, titled “Remembering.”

It’s the first single Campbell has ever released as a solo artist and was sent to radio for airplay in late June. It was released through Dot Records, the imprint that’s part of Big Machine Label Group that is also home to country duo Maddie & Tae and rocker gone country artist Steven Tyler. As I said above, “Remembering” is Campbell’s thoughts on watching her father slowly die and lose his memories. I can’t imagine how tough it is for her and how tough it was to record this song because even I get a little choked up listening to it. Campbell reflects back on the memories she’s made with her father over the years, including comforting her during a storm as a kid and struggling to learn the guitar at first. She knows these memories are starting to slowly fade from his mind, but she reassures him that she’ll do all of the remembering for him. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Campbell, who wrote the song with Kai Welch, had this to say about the song:

“I came up with the idea and the melody when I was living with my mom and dad in Malibu a couple of years ago. I wanted to write something that expressed to my dad how much I wanted him to feel safe. . . that he didn’t have to worry; I’ll take care of him when he can’t take care of himself. When you’re little, your parents take care of you and make the world not such a scary place. As you get older, those relationships change and kind of swap places. The kids are the ones taking care of the parents and making sure the world’s not a scary place for them.”

Like I said, I can’t imagine how difficult it was to record this song. The lyrics are so beautiful and poignant. The tempo of the song is mid for the most part and the instrumentation of it is a combination of the acoustic guitar, mandolin and steel guitar. It’s very country and the production doesn’t overshadow Campbell’s great voice and lyrics. I would’ve maybe slowed the song down just a tad, but this tempo works well too. I know the version of this song on the Glenn CampbellI’ll Be Me EP dedicated to Campbell is slower. But I’m guessing they sped the tempo up here to appeal more to radio.

Ashley Campbell’s “Remembering” is one of the most heartfelt songs I’ve heard this year. It’s a touching tribute from daughter to father. The song is also a great introduction of Ashley to the fans of country music who may not be familiar with her yet. She’s definitely a chip off the old block and I’m looking forward to hearing more music from Campbell. In the same Rolling Stone interview I cited above, Campbell is said to be recording more new music with producer Julian Raymond, so perhaps we’ll here some more new music by the end of the year from Campbell. But that’s for another time. For now I definitely I recommend checking out “Remembering.” It’s the kind of country music that comes straight from the heart, the best kind of country music you can hear.

Grade: 9/10

Predictions For The 2015 ACM Awards: The Winners, The Losers & Maybe Some Country Music?

2015 ACM Awards

Well here we are; another country music awards show is here. The 50th ACM Awards show has arrived. Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan will once again host the show, which will air on Sunday on CBS at 8 pm ET from Dallas. It’ll be held in Cowboys Stadium, aka Jerry Jones’ Death Star. Also with Bryan and Shelton hosting again we are guaranteed to have some stupid moments/sketches that further embarrass country music. Aren’t awards shows great? There really isn’t a lot in my opinion to be excited about with this year’s ACM Awards, unlike last year where everyone tuned in to see if George Strait or Luke Bryan would in Entertainer of the Year. No, I’m more interested in ACM Presents: Superstar Duets where we get to see Cole Swindell try to sing alongside Alan Jackson. The train wreck factor is sky-high and I love to watch a good train wreck. But sadly that won’t be airing until May, as it’s only being taped this weekend. Don’t worry I’ll be live blogging that one too.

Back to this year’s ACM Awards, which look pretty predictable on paper. Miranda Lambert leads all artists in nominations with nine, which shocks nobody. Dierks Bentley follows with seven nominations and Florida Georgia Line after that with five nominations. Miranda will once again rack up a lot of hardware. That’s inevitable. I’m hoping for some sort of surprise so I don’t go crazy watching this show. I’ll be posting live results here on Sunday night, as we do on every awards show. You can follow along and react together right here on Country Perspective. And I’ll be live tweeting my thoughts too. One way or another I’m going to find a way to make this show entertaining because ACM surely isn’t. So without further ado let’s take a look at the 2015 ACM Awards:

Entertainer of the Year

  • Garth Brooks
  • Jason Aldean
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Luke Bryan
  • Florida Georgia Line

Who I Think Wins: Luke Bryan because he got “snubbed” last year according to this camp. Whatever. Garth Brooks and his camp have been pushing hard, but I have yet to be convinced that Garth has the same sway and power he did in his heyday. He has done nothing on radio upon his return due to the fact that he picked the worst single choices possible. I have no idea what the hell his team was thinking by choosing “People Loving People” and “Mom” as singles. Garth’s comeback has been nothing but a giant yawn. But hey he still sells out stadiums and arenas.

Who I Would Pick to Win: None. Sturgill Simpson is better than all of the above artists and would be my pick to win.

Male Vocalist of the Year

  • Blake Shelton
  • Brad Paisley
  • Dierks Bentley
  • Eric Church
  • Jason Aldean
  • Luke Bryan

Who I Think Wins: Jason Aldean has won this award two years in a row. Blake Shelton won in 2011. I think it comes down to these two on who wins. I’ll go with Aldean just because he whined about the CMA Awards snubbing him and the ACM Awards seem to like him. Plus Aldean has had more success with his newest album and singles.

Who I Would Pick to Win: Dierks Bentley because he was the only one of those six above to put out a good album in 2014. Bentley’s singles also performed well across the board. I still don’t understand how Brad Paisley got nominated and Tim McGraw didn’t.

Female Vocalist of the Year

  • Brandy Clark
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Martina McBride
  • Miranda Lambert

Who I Think Wins: Miranda Lambert. You can take this one to the bank.

Who I Would Pick to Win: Carrie Underwood because she arguably released the best single in mainstream country music in 2014. Her newest single “Little Toy Guns” will also be one of the best singles in mainstream country music in 2015. I’d think Carrie would get tired of losing to Miranda, but many Carrie fans would point out former Sony Nashville CEO Gary Overton would be to blame. We’ll have to wait and see if the new CEO helps Carrie on the next round of awards shows.

Vocal Duo of the Year

  • Brothers Osborne
  • Dan + Shay
  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Maddie & Tae
  • The Swon Brothers

Who I Think Wins: Florida Georgia Line. Maddie & Tae aren’t ready to compete with them yet. The rest of the candidates are laughable.

Who I Would Pick to Win: None. I would pick First Aid Kit, winner of Country Perspective’s 2014 Group of the Year award.

Vocal Group of the Year

  • Lady Antebellum
  • Little Big Town
  • Rascal Flatts
  • The Band Perry
  • Zac Brown Band

Who I Think Wins: Little Big Town because they by far have gotten the most acclaim and attention in the last year. The recent buzz about “Girl Crush” guarantee they win this award. Zac Brown Band will be the favorites next year since they’re releasing a new album this year. The Band Perry and Rascal Flatts are just filling spots. Lady Antebellum is irrelevant.

Who I Would Pick to Win: None. Write-in Old Crow Medicine Show.

New Artist of the Year

  • Sam Hunt
  • Cole Swindell
  • Thomas Rhett

Who I Think Wins: Shoot me. You know my thoughts on these three nominees. All three get their asses kissed pretty hard by Music Row and country radio, but out of the three Hunt is the most prized asshole. He’ll win this one and be declared the new face of country music while I contemplate throwing stuff.

Who I Would Pick to Win: None of these three, that’s for damn sure. If it was up to me I would give New Artist of the Year to Karen Jonas. If I had to pick a mainstream artist, it would be Eric Paslay.

Album of the Year

  • Jason Aldean – Old Boots, New Dirt
  • Little Big Town – Pain Killer
  • Miranda Lambert – Platinum
  • Dierks Bentley – Riser
  • Eric Church – The Outsiders

Who I Think Wins: Conventional wisdom says to pick Miranda to win, so I’m going to pick Platinum to win. I thought about picking Church’s The Outsiders, but then I remembered Lambert won a Grammy for best country album. If you’re going against Miranda in a category, you’re screwed. Sorry Church fans.

Who I Would Pick to Win: Once again, none of these nominees. Sure Dierks Bentley’s Riser album was good, but it’s not album of the year good. I’d go with Sturgill Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, our 2014 Album of the Year winner.

Single Record of the Year

  • “American Kids” – Kenny Chesney
  • “Automatic” – Miranda Lambert
  • “Dirt” – Florida Georgia Line
  • “Drunk on a Plane” – Dierks Bentley
  • “I Don’t Dance” – Lee Brice

Who I Think Wins: Remember when I said above if you go against Miranda in an award category, you’re screwed? Well I would like to add an addendum. If you’re Florida Georgia Line you have a chance. Those are the two it will come down to here. It’s a real tossup, but I think Florida Georgia Line will pull off the minor upset. “Dirt” was a much more popular song than “Automatic” last year.

Who I Would Pick to Win: Not only do I think “Dirt” will win, but I would also pick it. Listen, these two tools do a lot of stuff wrong and we picked their 2014 album Anything Goes as the winner of Country Perspective’s 2014 Worst Album of the Year. But they deserve to be recognized for finally getting a song right. As they say a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then, so it wouldn’t be fair to rob blind squirrels.

Song of the Year

  • “American Kids” – Kenny Chesney
  • “Automatic” – Miranda Lambert
  • “Drink A Beer” – Luke Bryan
  • “Follow Your Arrow” – Kacey Musgraves
  • “Give Me Back My Hometown” – Eric Church
  • “I Hold On” – Dierks Bentley

Who I Think Wins: This is by far the most wide open award this year. Each song has some sort of case to win. I’ve decided to pick Kacey Musgraves’ “Follow Your Arrow” to win for two reasons. First the song has already won numerous awards, so giving it another one wouldn’t look out of the ordinary. The second reason and this is the most important is because of the recent incident with “Girl Crush.” A lot of cries of homophobia in country music was echoed by people across the country with this incident and giving “Follow Your Arrow” song of the year would help country music’s image and silence some vocal opponents.

Who I Would Pick to Win: I’d give Song of the Year to Dierks Bentley’s “I Hold On” because it was an underrated song and arguably one of Dierks’ best singles of his career. People wonder why Dierks releases stupid songs like “Drunk on a Plane” and the reason why is because he never gets enough credit for his more substantial singles.

Video of the Year

  • “American Kids” – Kenny Chesney
  • “Cop Car” – Keith Urban
  • “Drunk on a Plane” – Dierks Bentley
  • “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” – Glen Campbell
  • “Somethin’ Bad” – Carrie Underwood & Miranda Lambert

Who I Think Wins: Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert’s “Somethin’ Bad” because it gives Carrie an award and Miranda another one.

Who I Would Pick To Win: I don’t care about this at all.

Vocal Event of the Year

  • “Lonely Tonight” – Blake Shelton & Ashley Monroe
  • “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” – Tim McGraw & Faith Hill
  • “Somethin’ Bad” – Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood
  • “This Is How We Roll” – Florida Georgia Line & Luke Bryan
  • “The South” – The Cadillac Three, Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley & Mike Eli

Who I Think Wins: “This Is How We Roll” because it’s the collaboration of country music’s two biggest cash cows. It experienced some cross-over appeal too. I’m just glad this is the last we’ll hear of this song on an awards show. By the way I have to ask: Have any of you even heard “The South”? I’m guessing no. And if you’re wondering why it’s here it’s because of politics.

Who I Would Pick to Win: “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” because McGraw deserves some kind of award for his good 2014 album Sundown Heaven Town. If I’m a McGraw fan, I’m pretty angry about the ACMs practically shutting him out. We’ll see if they give him anything.

That’s all of this year’s major awards at the ACMs. Who are your picks to win? Do you have much interest at all in this year’s show? Weigh-in below!

Billboard Top 25 Country Albums This Week [March 14]

Hunt Montevallo

  1. Sam Hunt – Montevallo  (Grade: 1/10)
  2. Aaron Watson – The Underdog (Grade: 8/10)
  3. Jason Aldean – Old Boots, New Dirt (Grade: 3/10)
  4. Florida Georgia Line – Anything Goes (Grade: 0/10)
  5. Carrie Underwood – Greatest Hits: Decade #1
  6. Chase Rice – Ignite the Night (Grade: 2/10)
  7. Luke Bryan – Crash My Party
  8. Eric Church – The Outsiders
  9. Miranda Lambert – Platinum
  10. The Mavericks – Mono (Grade: 10/10)
  11. Blake Shelton – Bringing Back The Sunshine (Grade: 4/10)
  12. Little Big Town – Pain Killer (Grade: 3/10)
  13. Garth Brooks – Man Against Machine (Grade: 7.5/10)
  14. Steve Earle & The Dukes – Terraplane
  15. Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me Soundtrack
  16. Brantley Gilbert – Just As I Am (Grade: 5/10)
  17. Blackberry Smoke – Holding All The Roses 
  18. George Strait – The Cowboy Rides Away: Live From AT&T Stadium
  19. Zac Brown Band – Greatest Hits So Far…
  20. Cole Swindell – Cole Swindell
  21. Kenny Chesney – The Big Revival (Grade: 4.5/10)
  22. Tim McGraw – Sundown Heaven Town (Grade: 7.5/10)
  23. Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music (Grade: 10/10)
  24. Lee Brice – I Don’t Dance (Grade: 5/10)
  25. Thomas Rhett – It Goes Like This


  • Sam Hunt and his album Montevallo are now #1 again, knocking last week’s #1 Aaron Watson’s The Underdog to #2.
  • The Mavericks’ new album Mono fell five spots to #10.
  • Blake Shelton moved up five spots to #11 with Bringing Back The Sunshine.
  • The biggest gainer this week was Little Big Town’s Pain Killer, which moved up 11 spots from #23 to #12.
  • The biggest loser this week was Steve Earle & The Dukes’ Terraplane, which fell 11 spots from #3 to #14.
  • Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me soundtrack moved up five spots.
  • Blackberry Smoke’s Holding All The Roses fell five spots to #17.
  • Thomas Rhett’s It Goes Like This is the only new album to enter the top 25 this week.

Source: Billboard

Billboard Top 25 Country Albums This Week [March 7]

Aaron Watson The Underdog

  1. Aaron Watson – The Underdog (Grade: 8/10)
  2. Sam Hunt – Montevallo  (Grade: 1/10)
  3. Steve Earle & The Dukes – Terraplane 
  4. Jason Aldean – Old Boots, New Dirt (Grade: 3/10)
  5. The Mavericks – Mono (Grade: 10/10)
  6. Florida Georgia Line – Anything Goes (Grade: 0/10)
  7. Carrie Underwood – Greatest Hits: Decade #1
  8. Luke Bryan – Crash My Party
  9. Chase Rice – Ignite the Night (Grade: 2/10)
  10. Miranda Lambert – Platinum
  11. Eric Church – The Outsiders
  12. Blackberry Smoke – Holding All The Roses
  13. Garth Brooks – Man Against Machine (Grade: 7.5/10)
  14. Brantley Gilbert – Just As I Am (Grade: 5/10)
  15. Zac Brown Band – Greatest Hits So Far…
  16. Blake Shelton – Bringing Back The Sunshine (Grade: 4/10)
  17. Cole Swindell – Cole Swindell
  18. George Strait – The Cowboy Rides Away: Live From AT&T Stadium
  19. Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music (Grade: 10/10)
  20. Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me Soundtrack
  21. Robert Earl Keen – Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions 
  22. Kenny Chesney – The Big Revival (Grade: 4.5/10)
  23. Little Big Town – Pain Killer (Grade: 3/10)
  24. Lee Brice – I Don’t Dance (Grade: 5/10)
  25. Tim McGraw – Sundown Heaven Town (Grade: 7.5/10)


  • Aaron Watson’s new album The Underdog debuts at #1 this week! It’s the first #1 album of his career, so congratulations to Watson on this big accomplishment.
  • Steve Earle & The Dukes enter the top country albums chart this week at #3 with their new album Terraplane.
  • The Mavericks also enter the chart with their new album Mono at #5.
  • Miranda Lambert’s Platinum fell five spots to #10 due to so many new arrivals.
  • Chase Rice’s Ignite The Night jumped up six spots into the top ten, making it the biggest gainer of the week.
  • Two albums tied for the biggest loser spot this week. Last week’s #1 Blackberry Smoke and their new album Holding All The Roses fell 11 spots to #12. Also Robert Earl Keen’s album Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions fell 11 spots to #21.
  • George Strait and his goodbye live album fell seven spots on the chart.
  • Kenny Chesney’s The Big Revival and Lee Brice’s I Don’t Dance each fell six spots.
  • Tim McGraw’s Sundown Heaven Town fell eight spots.
  • The fourth and final new arrival of the week is the Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me Soundtrack.

Source: Billboard