Tag Archives: music

Five on Friday :: March 13, 2015

I got slightly riled up this week (again) when someone made a dig about Nashville killing country music. Why? Because there is still lots of great country music being made in Nashville today… its just not on the radio. So here I bring you five songs I think should be on radio RIGHT NOW.


1. Route 5 Box 109 – Joe Diffie  :: I fell in love with this song the first time I heard it on Joe’s bluegrass album released in 2010. I told everyone about this song. I hoped so much it would be released to country radio. SO WHAT if its bluegrass. Its a good song. No, its a GREAT song. Period. Close your eyes. Listen to the lyrics. And you absolutely can’t tell me you that you don’t go on a trip to a simpler time and place. Now that’s country, y’all.

2. More Afraid of Livin’ – David Adam Byrnes :: The fact that this song isn’t on the radio is a crime. A CRIME. The first time I heard this song just acoustically done on stage it stopped me in my tracks. It captured me and would NOT let me go. Those lyrics… just… If I said I’m not scared,  I’d be lying. I’m just more afraid of livin’ than dyin’. THAT’S powerful. And the way David delivers it like he’s living that feeling right now with his thick southern accent its just as country as it gets. And if you don’t just fall in love with this song and this guy’s voice… well… you might want to turn in your country card immediately.

3. Where Have You Been – Brad Anderson :: I can’t even begin to tell you why I love this song so much. Brad has a ton of great music, but somehow when he performs this song it just shuts me up and makes me pay attention. Maybe its the raw pain in Brad’s voice when he sings the song. Maybe its the fact its an amazing, amazing love song. I missed you so much, where have you been? This song just… the power of heartbreak, hope, love and forgiveness… Maybe we need more of that on the radio and less booty shaking one night stands, huh?

4. Mexico – Matt Willis :: Like Brad, Matt has a ton of songs that I absolutely love. But this one is the one I find myself hitting repeat on over and over and over again when I listen to his album. Often cranking it to 10 and getting lost in the lyrics. Matt sings it in such a way you find yourself in the moment with him. It takes a total different take on a break-up song that what usually hear. It’s not a party song. It’s not a revenge song.  It’s refreshing, and it needs to be on the radio. Right now.

5. Good Side of this Bar – Chuck Courtenay :: This song is personal. I’ll be honest, I can’t listen to it any more without tearing up. Because it was written about The Fiddle & Steel Guitar Bar. And I’m quickly finding I’m having a harder time with its closing than I expected I’d have. Three months since we closed those doors for the last time, and I’m missing that place more than ever. But this song needs to be on the radio. For one, its just a GREAT song. For two, I think people should know about the Fiddle. It’s legacy and 18 years of success should not be lost to a hotel and developers. It was a beloved bar of many, and it launched careers. That belongs on the radio.

6. Entertaining Angels – Mark Wills :: (Hey its MY blog and if I want to do more than five I can.) But this song goes very close to the previous song, because the first time I heard it, it reminded me of the Fiddle & Steel. But beyond that, its just a REALLY REALLY REALLY AMAZING SONG that has to be on this list. And the more I listen to it, the more it reminds me of my life in general. It tells a story. It has a message. You used to find this on country radio… it needs to come back to it.  There was no tall white steeple or big stain glassed cathedral, just ordinary people sharin’ life and tellin’ jokes, trying to find a little hope…

Speaker@LowHappy listening, y’all!


Making it happen Monday: In music, money talks

222: CDsLast night was the Academy of Country Music awards. Anyone who follows me on Twitter not only knows this, but also knows how I felt about parts of the show.

As always, the show left me sitting back, pondering the direction of country music, the genre of music I’ve loved for years and that, well, pays my bills. I spent time on Twitter following some discussions, and I realized some glaringly obvious things.

Today, country almost needs to be broken into more than one genre. Perhaps its always really needed that, but it feels stronger than ever now.

I say that because much of the modern country is being called “Bro Country” and its gone in a pop, rock and rap direction. It’s catchy and gets stuck in your head. The lyrics are far from deep and tend to go in a very similar direction of trucks, hot girls, parties in the country, bonfires, and just riding around. It creates an idealistic view of “country living.”

Fighting to stand beside the “Bro country” is what I’d call the people holding on to the more traditional approach… with its own modern twist. Songs that strike a chord and/or tell a story. Songs that make me want to find a dancehall and dance the night away with my honey. Songs that respect women, history, family and true love.

I’d also say there’s a solid section that fits right in between the two. And I think its that fact right there that makes the idea of breaking the genre up in any way would never work. And honestly, I don’t WANT to see the genre broken up. I’m not opposed to there being the existence of “Bro Country.” (Yeah, I just said that. But I’m not.) I’m opposed to the fact that its shoved down country fan’s throats. I’m opposed to the fact that I never hear the new stuff I would like, because I get so fed up with country radio that I keep my radio set firmly on Sirius’ Prime Country. 

While watching the awards while on Twitter, I’m left going, “Who is requesting this stuff??” as the Bro Country thing came on multiple times. The outrage I saw over Florida Georgia Line performing twice, while Lee Brice’s passionate acoustic performance of his award-winning “I Drive Your Truck” was regaled to a verse and a chorus.

I’ve known all along that what we hear on radio is (not quite) equal parts what the labels back, what fans request and what fans purchase. The first and the last are all about the money. It’s something that many who make music in Nashville lament and fuss about, but its money that decides what we hear. And within that, its why many aim at the teenage demographic. Teens will purchase singles off iTunes faster than those of us that are older. Parents will buy their teens music while foregoing their preferred music. Those of us that are older are more worried about paying the electric bill than we are buying a new album. We’re more willing to buy a hot cup of coffee from Starbucks to get us going in the morning than we are to buy a new single for $1.29.

Is it a messed up mentality? Yeah. It is. But I do it myself… and I’m married to a musician!

How do we make sure artists that are carrying to torch for country music stay successful? We buy their music. I think we’re all still, in a way, ingrained to buy a whole CD versus single tracks. “Oh I’ll get it when the album comes out.” Then we go get a vanilla latte instead of the album. Maybe next month.

Meanwhile, the “Bro Country” that’s popular with teens and young adults is being played over and over and over because sales have shown its what “the majority” wish to hear. And you know what? Maybe it is the majority that wants it. Maybe I’m stuck in my own little world and I’m clueless. Maybe we DO need to consider splitting up the genre some. But maybe we can instead make our statement 99¢ or $1.29 at a time. And in doing so, we hear more of what we want to hear, and we support the creation of even more songs to love in the future.