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.

Hodgepodge of Country Stuff: iTunes Should Keep the Free Single of the Week

ITunes_12_logo

So what exactly is this? That’s what you thought when you read the title above. Well I’m going to explain this to you. This is a new weekly feature that will be on the site and as you can see it’s called Hodgepodge of Country Stuff. If you’re a sports fan that visits major sites like ESPN, Sports Illustrated and FOX Sports, you’ll see some of their writers do weekly columns where they’ll discuss something and then have a variety of interesting tidbits that will follow it (think Bill Simmons and Peter King). This is just like those, except about country music of course. Got it? Good. 

One of the most under-the-radar stories in music so far in 2015 has been iTunes quietly killing off its Free Single of the Week. Not only is it being killed off here in the United State, but in all countries. It’s probably being underreported because Apple did it without making a big announcement and has only been noticed by fans who checked this feature out on a weekly basis. Also many tech outlets are afraid to say anything bad about Apple because they don’t want to be banned from their events (I learned this when I was dabbling in tech journalism). Well I’m a music journalist now and I don’t use iTunes to purchase and listen to my music anymore, so I have no problem saying cross words about the Cupertino tech giant.

I was pretty disappointed when I found out about this because over the years of using iTunes I’ve found several new artists to listen to through the Free Single of the Week. In fact I think it was this feature that made me set up an iTunes account. Going back to 2008, one of the free singles of the week was Jamey Johnson’s “In Color.” This was before he was a household name and won any Grammys. I guarantee he gained several new fans by offering this free single. In 2009, I found out about Eli Young Band and David Nail through their free singles of the week. In 2010, Easton Corbin’s “A Little More Country Than That” is what introduced me to his music.

As I’ve stated numerous times on the side, rock music is my second favorite genre and a free Bob Seger EP in 2011 is what introduced me to his music and made me explore his catalog. I mentioned in my review of Greg Bates’ “Sand” this week the first time I heard his music was when I heard “I Did It For The Girl,” which was an iTunes Free Single of the Week in 2012. In 2013, two of my favorite non-country songs of the year, John Newman’s “Love Me Again” and Bastille’s “Pompeii”, were free singles of the week and these two songs went on to have huge success. It really helped put these artists on the map. Go take a look at the list of all of the free singles that have been offered by iTunes over the years and I guarantee you’ll see artists and songs you like.

The point of this free single of the week was to introduce fans to artists they’re not familiar with and bring new music into their library. Many times I would go on to explore and buy more music from the artist. Judging from the comments I’ve seen on message boards and social media, many others did the same. This Free Single of the Week acted as a “gateway drug” to get fans to check out artists and their catalogs. It gave a platform to lesser known and independent artists to grow their fan base. Many artists and labels understood this, which is why so many different artists participated in this program (some of them multiple times).

So why did iTunes do away with this feature? Personally I think it’s the answer to most questions: money. It’s no secret that music sales are progressively getting worse and this is forcing everyone in the industry to take notice. The Free Single of the Week was financially beneficial to artists, but it wasn’t financially beneficial enough for iTunes. So iTunes selfishly got rid of this feature. Instead they’ll push their streaming service down your throat because that’s better for their bottom line. As a result fans and artists will pay the price. What was a great feature that benefitted fans and artists is now gone because the suits aren’t making the money they want to make.

With that being said, Google Play still offers weekly free music. They once had a free single of the week feature, but now it has been replaced with a free album of the week (they also feature a sampler of free music from all genres every month). Just like the iTunes Free Single of the Week, this has introduced me to new music. I’ve bought more music as a result of these free offerings. And iTunes wonders why I took my business to Google Play. Their competitor understands if you want to keep your customers, you have to keep them happy. While I don’t condone giving away a bunch of free music or having artists pay fans to listen to their music, giving away a little free music is something that can benefit everyone. I hope iTunes will learn the error of their ways, for the good of the fans and artists.

Upcoming/Recent Country Music Releases

  • Ryan Bingham just released his new album, Fear and Saturday Night. I haven’t got a chance to listen to it yet, but I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about it. Despite what Bingham says, his music is country to my ears and many other people. Derek’s review of it will be coming soon.
  • Cody Jinks came out with a new album called Adobe Sessions last week. I can’t believe I overlooked this one. One of my goals this year is to review more Texas country music. I’ve listened to some of Jinks’ album and I definitely don’t hate it. I’ll be reviewing this one really soon.
  • Jamey Johnson just released “Alabama Pines” as a single and is now available on iTunes and Google Play. He released it as a free gift through his site on January 1 (it’s no longer free). I thought it was a great comeback song for the Alabama artist. It’s currently in the top 70 of the iTunes country charts, so not a bad return for Johnson.
  • Keith Urban just released “Raise ‘Em Up” as a new single from his album Fuse. He’s joined on the song by Eric Church. The song is also nominated for the 2015 Grammy for Best Country Duo/Group Performance. We hope to review this song soon.

Throwback Thursday Song

 

Alan Jackson’s “Pop a Top.” I heard this song come on the radio the other day and it was so refreshing to hear an Alan Jackson song. Most people will remember this song as the one he was playing at the 1999 CMA Awards when he stopped halfway through the performance to play George Jones’ “Choices” as a protest of the CMA not allowing Jones a full performance. Jackson then of course walked right off stage and out of the building. It was a true badass moment from Jackson. Too bad we don’t have those kind of moments at country music awards show anymore. I hope Jackson’s new album this year blows everyone away.

My Non-Country Thought of the Week

While the last two weeks I’ve had negative thoughts in this section of the Hodgepodge, this week I come bearing positive thoughts. Originally I was only going to have one non-country album suggestion, but then I heard another great album that I have to also suggest. The first non-country album I suggest checking out is James Wolpert’s The Entire City. (If you follow me on Twitter you’ve already saw this suggestion, so this is for those not on Twitter) It’s a fantastic rock album that fuses Americana, folk, pop and even a little bit of country. There is one song on the album that features some lengthy fiddle play.

 

The other non-country album I suggest checking out is Lupe Fiasco’s Tetsuo & Youth. This is hip-hop at it’s best and just like Wolpert’s album does a great job fusing influences from other genres. I heard some jazz, pop, electronic, classical and even country. Yes country influences on a hip-hop album! On Fiasco’s “Dots & Lines” there is prominent play at the beginning and end of the song from, get this, a BANJO. They don’t even have these in most mainstream country songs nowadays and there’s one on a damn hip-hop album. Lupe Fiasco’s Tetsuo & Youth is more country than Florida Georgia Line’s Anything Goes, Chase Rice’s Ignite the Night and Sam Hunt’s Montevallo combined. So ironically this week’s non-country suggestions are more country than some of the country albums I’ve recently reviewed. I don’t understand anything anymore.

Tweet of the Week

My thoughts exactly. For those unaware, Thomas Rhett covered Bruno Mars’ hit “When I Was Your Man.” I didn’t even bother listening to it because I have no respect for Rhett. I guarantee Bruno Mars has no idea who Rhett is and never will. Once bro country officially becomes uncool (which is happening) Rhett will disappear and fall off the radar.

An iTunes Review That Will Make You Face Palm

Dumb Sam Hunt Comment 1 Dumb Sam Hunt Comment 2

These reviews are from Sam Hunt’s Montevallo album. I actually couldn’t choose just one this week. You have no idea who how many potential comments I could have put here for this album. These two were the best though. The first one goes with the traditional hater comment. The second one goes in a different direction. According to the second review, only the Queen of England has the authority to move artists or genres around. So Queen Elizabeth II, your majesty, if you’re reading this could you please move Sam Hunt out of country music forever? It would be greatly appreciated.

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

Hodgepodge of Country Stuff: Can NASH Icon Be a Success?

Reba McEntire HOF

So what exactly is this? That’s what you thought when you read the title above. Well I’m going to explain this to you. This is a new weekly feature that will be on the site and as you can see it’s called Hodgepodge of Country Stuff. If you’re a sports fan that visits major sites like ESPN, Sports Illustrated and FOX Sports, you’ll see some of their writers do weekly columns where they’ll discuss something and then have a variety of interesting tidbits that will follow it (think Bill Simmons and Peter King). This is just like those, except about country music of course. Got it? Good. 

One of the big developments in country music in 2014 was Scott Borchetta and Cumulus Media announcing the NASH Icon project. For those unaware of NASH Icon, there are two main facets to focus on with this project: it’s creating a label for older artists who have been popular at some point in country music in the last 25-30 years and several radio stations across the country are being launched playing more traditional country music that was heard in the 80s and 90s. It’s an endeavor that has captured disenfranchised traditional country fans everywhere who are quite frankly sick and tired of the garbage on the radio being advertised as “country music.”

So far the label has signed Reba, Martina McBride and Ronnie Dunn (he was finally officially announced this past week). It’s a solid group of artists to launch the label. Reba was one of the biggest female artists in country music in the last two decades and McBride was quite popular in the late 90s and early 2000s. Dunn has been one of the most vocal older country artists in recent years to speak out on how country radio has pushed out older artists like himself off the radio dial. The biggest NASH Icon radio affiliate in Nashville beat Bobby Bones’ show in the ratings late last year.

Despite some good choices and good news, I’m skeptical if this project will be a success. First of all they’re really putting a lot of eggs in the Reba comeback basket. The first single from that comeback album, “Going Out Like That,” is a mediocre mess. It doesn’t sound country hardly at all and is probably more suited for pop radio. I thought this project was trying to bring back the traditional country sound? Sure the most hardcore Reba fans love this song, but most traditional fans are pretty displeased to hear such a pop country song. It’s also a risk to be placing such a big bet on Reba because female country artists haven’t exactly thrived on radio or in the charts the last several years (unless of course your name is Miranda, Carrie or Taylor). I understand why they chose her as the “face” of NASH Icon because they aren’t going to sign a bigger name than her (no chance at Garth, Strait, Jackson or a Brooks & Dunn reunion).

Second, I quite frankly expected more from NASH Icon by now. There are rumors out there Hank Williams Jr. is going to sign with them after he wore an Icon hat on the American Country Countdown Awards back in December. Many fans are clamoring for Clint Black and Vince Gill to be picked up by the label, but there hasn’t even been rumors on this front. I expected more radio stations adopting this format at this point too. Maybe I’ve been expecting too much from this project, but Borchetta and Cumulus really hyped this up when they announced it. And with Borchetta leading the way you should always expect something big to happen.

The other problem I see with NASH Icon is they need to expand further back into the past, while also looking towards the future. Why limit yourself to such a small window of the late 80s to the late 90s? Why not get Merle Haggard and Dolly Parton involved with this venture? There’s plenty of fans out there who still want to listen to their music and they don’t plan on stopping making music anytime soon. At the same time I think they should sign artists like Jamey Johnson, who many fans are thrilled to have back, and big independent artists like Sturgill Simpson and Jason Isbell. Other than the elitist, hipster independent country fans and the crotchety, old traditionalists who hate new artists, everyone would be thrilled to have a radio station in their area that played this mix of artists.

There’s clearly money to be made on the table, while at the same time satisfying the large group of country fans who want traditional sounding music back on the radio. What I’m afraid of is they will only accomplish the former, while failing with the latter. I have no doubt NASH Icon will find some way to make this profitable or exhaust all options to make this happen. I’m highly skeptical the fans will be happy with NASH Icon. I’m hoping everyone wins this deal in the end, but Nashville gives me little reason to think it will happen. All we can do is wait and see.

Upcoming/Recent Country Music Releases

  • Kip Moore just released a new single from I’m assuming a new album coming soon titled “I’m To Blame.” He also of course was just announced as an opening act for Dierks Bentley’s Sounds of Summer tour. You’ll see Derek’s review of this new single really soon.
  • RaeLynn came out with her Me EP this week. I didn’t know it was coming out and Derek was the one who alerted me of it. I was quite distraught to learn she was releasing new noise music to torture my ears. Her 2014 single “God Made Girls” was a finalist for Country Perspective’s Worst Song of 2014. Here’s the scary thing though: it isn’t the worst song on the EP. I’m sorry if I just ruined your day. Derek also reviewed this one because I don’t think I could calm myself enough to do another RaeLynn review.
  • Greg Bates, who has fallen off the radar in recent years, came out with a new single called “Sand.” For those who don’t remember Bates, he sang “Did It For The Girl” and “Fill in the Blank,” which had some radio success. I have it on my to review list, so you’ll see my thoughts on it soon.
  • Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers announced they’re releasing a collaborative album called Hold My Beer on April 26. For details on it, check out Trigger’s great article on it at Saving Country Music. Based on the first track released from the album, “Good Luck With That,” this could be one of the best country albums of the year.
  • Zac Brown Band’s “Homegrown,” which I gave high praise to in my review earlier this week is doing great on the iTunes charts. It’s the top song on the country chart and in the top ten on the all genres chart. It makes me happy to see a good country song do well on the charts.

Throwback Thursday Song

 

The Mavericks’ “Come Unto Me.” I’m going to be honest with you. I’m getting pretty excited to hear the new album Mono from The Mavericks coming out in February. I’ve been listening to their 2013 album In Time a lot lately and the best song from it of course is “Come Unto Me.” Not only do they sing it great in English, but their Spanish version is just as good. Really I not only recommend this song, but the entire album if you don’t have it. It’s a timeless listen that never gets old. Never stop singing Raul Malo!

My Non-Country Song/Thought of the Week

A non-country album I had been anticipating to listen to for a while is Mark Ronson’s Uptown Special. The lead single from it, “Uptown Funk,” with Bruno Mars has been one of my favorite non-country songs to listen to lately. I thought it would be a preview of a great funk album, something that hasn’t come out for a while. Instead it’s a giant pile of soft pop crap. It’s so soft and dull that I nearly fell asleep while trying to listen to it. Stevie Wonder’s talent is completely wasted on this album and his songs may in fact be the worst on the album. Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” is the only upbeat, funk song on this album worth listening to and the rest is forgettable pop music. What a shame!

Tweets of the Week

Yes that’s right multiple tweets from one of the best country music follows on Twitter, Jason Isbell. Believe me this won’t be the first time he makes Tweet of the Week. This is his reaction to Zac Brown Band covering his song “Dress Blues” at the pre-game festivities for the College Football National Championship Game on Monday. Knowledgable country fans everywhere lit up when they heard Brown singing one of Isbell’s best songs. Isbell thought it was a good performance, but some people were angry that Brown covered the song. Isbell has the perfect response and throws in some humor after that as always. I can’t believe people are getting angry because this is beneficial to everyone, especially if Brown covers this on his new album. It brings better music to the mainstream, while getting Isbell more exposure, fans and a nice check for being the songwriter of it. It’s a win-win people so just enjoy it!

An iTunes Review That Will Make You Face Palm

RaeLynn Comment

This is an actual review on RaeLynn’s new EP. I’ll let you readers react to this one.

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

Hodgepodge of Country Stuff: No Moron, Artists Shouldn’t Pay You To Listen

So what exactly is this? That’s what you thought when you read the title above. Well I’m going to explain this to you. This is a new weekly feature that will be on the site and as you can see it’s called Hodgepodge of Country Stuff. If you’re a sports fan that visits major sites like ESPN, Sports Illustrated and FOX Sports, you’ll see some of their writers do weekly columns where they’ll discuss something and then have a variety of interesting tidbits that will follow it (think Bill Simmons and Peter King). This is just like those, except about country music of course. Got it? Good. 

When I go on social media and check out what is happening in the world around me, I don’t go in with the intent of getting pissed off. It just simply happens. Well that happened earlier this week when I read the replies to a tweet sent out by Rolling Stone. The story tweeted out was this story, which was about Kanye West and his team using data to better maximize their profit. Why wouldn’t they take data and use it to make more money? It’s what any smart business does with their customers. And then I saw this:

Seriously? Are you kidding me? I’ve read plenty about the idea of artists paying fans to listen to their music and I just laughed about it because I thought there wasn’t actually people out there naive enough to think this to be true. Sure enough there are and it sent me into a Twitter rant. If you want to see that click here. I can’t imagine how infuriated an artist must feel when they read these comments. They put their heart and soul into making music (most of them), yet some fans just don’t give a shit.

If you share the sentiments of the commenter I called out above, you’re an entitled dipshit. First off nobody is forcing you to listen to music. Second you’re not that important. To put this into context, should Leonardo da Vinci have paid people to look at the Mona Lisa? No because that’s stupid. “But their music sucks! Music has gone down hill for the most part anyway.” You know why the quality of music has slipped compared to decades before it? It’s because people started stealing it and not paying for it. All of the sudden artists aren’t making what they’re supposed to with their music. So why should they try as hard? The fans don’t care, so why should they?

“But Katy Perry and Taylor Swift don’t need more money. They’re rich!” Sure they’re rich, but these artists are part of the 1% of the musicians’ industry. What about independent artists, the 99%? This all has a ripple effect on their livelihoods. Streaming is the name of the game today, largely because of illegal downloading of music. Spotify pays artists per song streamed, between $0.006 and $0.0084. So after about 10,000 plays the artist makes $10. Can you live on $10? No! Nobody can live on this kind of financial mean.

The point of all of this is thanks to selfish music listeners, songs have been devalued into less than a penny. The quality of music has decreased in many people’s eyes. Labels and artists are making less money. Music sales are tanking. The Tennesseean had a great piece recently highlighting all of these problems. If you don’t have time to read the whole piece, here was the real eye-opening part to me:

Since 2000, the number of full-time songwriters in Nashville has fallen by 80 percent, according to the Nashville Songwriters Association International. Album sales plummeted below 4 million in weekly sales in August, which marked a new low point since the industry began tracking data in 1991. Streaming services are increasing in popularity but have been unable to end the spiral.

So in the end nobody is winning with the current system. Everybody is losing money and there’s no easy solution that can appease everyone. This problem was created by the selfish music listener though and this problem will have to be solved by music listeners. If you love an artist’s music, go buy it. Go to their concerts and buy their gear. Don’t support artists you don’t like. Don’t listen to their music. And don’t steal music ever. Be part of the solution, not the problem.

Upcoming/Recent Country Music Releases

  • Reba McEntire just released her new single “Going Out Like That” this week. It’s the first song released under the NASH Icons label and the first single from Reba’s new album coming out this year. You’ll see my thoughts on this song real soon.
  • Justin Townes Earle will release his new album Absent Fathers next Tuesday January 13. It’s the followup to his 2014 release Single Mothers. By the way I can’t believe I forgot to put this on my 2015 albums list. I didn’t realize it until after the article was published. My bad!
  • Cody Canada & The Departed will release a new album that day also, titled Hippielovepunk. That’s certainly an interesting name. I plan on reviewing this as soon as possible.
  • Zac Brown Band will debut his new single “Homegrown” during the College Football Playoff Championship Tailgate on ESPN next Monday January 12. It’ll be the first single off his new album coming out in 2015. It was announced several months ago he would be performing here and it’s a smart move on his part. Anything beats hearing “Centuries” by Fall Out Boy for the millionth time this season (college football fans know what I mean when I say this).

Throwback Thursday Song

 

Little Jimmy Dickens’ “Sleep At The Foot of the Bed.” The country music world lost a great artist and an even better person in Dickens this past week. I was going to write a post about it, but I didn’t feel like I could do him justice. I’ll admit I’m not the most familiar with Mr. Dickens, but I’ve known about him since I was a kid and I have heard some of his music. I definitely want to go back and listen to more of his catalog now. I saw a lot of great tributes to Little Jimmy, but my favorite was Brad Paisley’s tribute to him. I guess his tribute means a little more personally because Paisley is the one who introduced Dickens to me. If you haven’t read Paisley’s tribute, click here. I definitely recommend reading it. Rest in peace Little Jimmy Dickens.

My Non-Country Song/Thought of the Week

I have to say something about Kanye West’s new song with Paul McCartney, “Only One.” I have never understood the appeal of Kanye’s music and I still don’t understand it’s appeal. This song dropped on New Year’s night to the surprise of everyone and I thought this was a cool move on Kanye’s part. I decided to give his music a chance again, especially since Sir Paul was involved. I’m not going to beat around the bush: I think “Only One” sucks. The lyrics are good, but the auto-tune is so terrible. I don’t understand why people enjoy hearing auto-tuned singing. It’s grating, robotic and devoid of human emotion. If you want to hear this song for some reason, you can click here. By the way, Paul McCartney is barely present on the song too. I’m also not shocked Kanye fans aren’t familiar with him either. This is coming from a fan base that views Kanye as a genius.

Tweet of the Week

Never change, Michelle Beadle. Also seems like every week I see a non-country music person diss Florida Georgia Line. I hope America’s hate for the group continues to grow until the point this group is a laughingstock like Nickelback. It’s not that farfetched of an idea.

Something To Make You Laugh

An actual search term somebody used to find Country Perspective:

What

Yeah I don’t know what to say. Get it together, Google!

 

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