Dolly to Recieve Lifetime Achievement Award; Critics Unimpressed with ‘Country Strong'; The Hollyfelds’ Debut Video

Brody Vercher | December 23rd, 2010

  • Dolly Parton, the Ramones, Julie Andrews, the Kingston Trio, the Juilliard String Quartet, jazz musician and bandleader Roy Haynes and gospel singer-composer George Beverly Shea will be recognized by the Recording Academy with Lifetime Achievement Awards early next year.
  • Randy Rogers on his latest album:

    The album is about sad stuff a lot of the time, but I think there’s some feel-good, positive stuff. I just try not to be too happy. That makes for bad songwriting.

  • The new Gwyenth Paltrow film Country Strong has only opened in two theaters, but so far it’s taking a beating from critics. PopWatch’s Josh Rottenberg weighed in on the music itself:

    This is not Coal Miner’s Daughter or Crazy Heart. It’s hard to fault the cast—Paltrow and co-stars Tim McGraw, Garrett Hedlund, and Leighton Meester do their best to wring some life out of the material they’re given. And there are some well-crafted, if ultimately fairly forgettable, songs in the film, which are gamely performed by Paltrow and company (though it seems odd that the one genuine singer in the cast, McGraw, doesn’t sing at all). […] If you’re wondering whether Paltrow has the pipes to make a credible country-pop star, though, she absolutely does. If anything, she should have been allowed more opportunities to show off her performing chops—she spends so much screen time sobbing and brooding and drunkenly melting down, we hardly get more than a snippet here and there of her singing until close to the end of the movie, and by then it’s too little, too late.

  • The Tennessean‘s Cindy Watts interviewed Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, and writer-director Shana Feste for their own take, insights, and reasons for doing the movie.
  • NPR: Trampled By Turtles on Mountain Stage | The Infamous Stringdusters on Mountain Stage
  • Farce the Music: 10 Worst Country Singles of 2010
  • For the entire month of December, which, if you’re keeping track, won’t last much longer, Joe Purdy is giving away his new album This American as a free download.
  • There’s music outlaws and then there’s just plain outlaws. Twang Nation’s latest, six-song playlist is all about the latter from some of the former.
  • HoustonPress’ Chris Gray has a quick run down of the upcoming Hayes Carll record KMAG YOYO (& Other American Stories):

    The title is a military abbreviation of the phrase “Kiss my ass guys, you’re on your own”; Carll co-wrote the song about a soldier in Afghanistan with Houston’s John Evans. Elsewhere, Carll peeks inside the Great Recession on “Hard Out Here” and “Stomp and Holler,” delivers a few of his signature “degenerate love songs” in “Bye Bye Baby,” “Chances Are” and “Grand Parade,” talks politics (sexual and otherwise) with Tuesday’s opener Cary Ann Hearst on “Another Like You,” and trades licks with fellow Americana road warriors Corb Lund and Todd Snider on “Bottle in My Hand.”

  • CMT posted an excerpt on Miranda Lambert from Marshall Chapman’s book They Came to Nashville.
  • The Austin Chronicle‘s Jim Caligiuri says the new hits collection from Kevin Fowler, Best Of…So Far, is the only LP of his you’ll ever need.
  • All Things Considered’s Robert Christgau cites Carrie Underwood‘s take on “You’re Looking Country” as his favorite track on Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn:

    Even if Underwood is pushing it a little, she’s also having a ball. So are a whole bunch of female singers who want the world to know how much they owe the honky tonk girl — Gretchen Wilson, Allison Moorer, Reba McEntire, Martina McBride. Duet partners Alan Jackson and Steve Earle let loose too.

  • You know all those TV shows about how women shouldn’t leave their drinks unattended at a bar? If the new video from The Hollyfelds for “Ain’t It Something” tells us anything, it’s that guys should keep an eye out too. Check it out below, then go listen to all the band’s music on MySpace. You can thank me later.

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  1. [...] in the News Roundup, Brody reported on some unfavorable reviews of Gwyneth Paltrow’s new movie Country [...]
  1. Jonathan
    December 23, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Farce The Music’s list is spot on. Besides “Country Boy,” which I haven’t heard, all but two of these songs made my worst list for the year. I’m the only one on the planet who enjoyed “The Breath You Take” and while I hated Reba’s latest at first, it’s really grown on me.

  2. Ben Foster
    December 23, 2010 at 10:52 am

    I’ll probably end up watching “Country Strong” at least out of curiosity. But now I know not to expect too much.

    I love that Randy Rogers quote: ‘Being too happy makes for some bad songwriting.’ So true!

  3. Jon
    December 23, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    So not true. Bad songwriting makes for bad songwriting.

  4. Matt B
    December 23, 2010 at 3:24 pm


    I don’t know…Happiness can breed some of the best songwriting. Take, for example, the Dave Pahanish and Joe West-penned “Without You” that Keith Urban has on his new record. That song was written from a happy spot, as Dave says himself when regularly playing it live.

  5. Lewis
    December 23, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    At first I thought that Country Strong would possibly be a good movie but something tells me now it’ll share the same fate as Pure Country 2. I wonder if Pure Country 2 has ever come out in a movie theater yet or have they decided to release it only to DVD a la Clint Black’s Flicka 2.

  6. Noeller
    December 23, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    I can’t put my finger on it, but something in the trailers for Country Strong just rubs me the wrong way. I dunno if it’s that Paltrow looks too much like Faith Hill, and the whole thing looks like the resurrection of Faith’s career, and I just am not a fan of FH…I dunno if it’s THAT, or what, but I’m just not diggin’ it. The girlfriend desperately wants to see it, so I likely will, but I’m not going to enjoy it, I don’t think.

  7. Noeller
    December 23, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Also, just read the Farce “Top 10 Worst…” and the first 6 songs on there are spot on perfect! Probably my most hated songs as well. Glad to see someone else backing me up on “Felt Good…” and “Radio…” — and if we’re all in agreement about Strait’s “Breath…”, how the hell did it get nominated for a Grammy???

  8. Nicolas
    December 23, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    @Noeller: Interesting. Though when I think of Country Strong, I think of Mindy McCready. Probably because that’s the only female country artist I can think of who fits the description… minus the “comeback.”

    Anyways, I’m excited for this movie. I’ve been looking forward to it for quite some time now. <3

  9. Rick
    December 23, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    Trailer’s Worst Singles list is spot on per usual, although as vapid as “Hip To My Heart” is, its still a decent bit of mindless fun, sort of. What I really want to know is if Trailer also hates Bobbie Gentry’s original version of “Fancy” as opposed to Reba’s typical vocal theatrics? Hmm…

    Was anyone really expecting “Country Strong” to be a good film? Everything revealed in advance about the plot and characters was completely derivative and uninspired, so is it surprising the movie is as well?

    I can understand why Jim Caligiuri would recommend the purchase of only one Kevin Fowler album. I made the mistake of purchasing “Loose, Loud, & Crazy” for the live version of “Don’t Touch My Willie” and the rest of the album was mostly filler crap. I’d gladly trade it for the new “Best Of” album! I have heard the “Girls In Trucks” song though and will probably purchase it as a single download.

    Why oh why did the female lead singer of the Hollyfelds get those ridiculous tattoos on her upper arms? She should wear a top with at least short sleeves at every show, well apart from biker bars. Crikey! On the other hand her voice reminds me of Rosanne Cash without all of the touchy-feely Obamavoter angst! Good show!

  10. addie
    December 23, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    I think it’s odd how much info has been released about Country Strong. The director said she was thinking Britney Spears when she developed the character. That aside, the critics were unimpressed with the Blind Side, too. Box office receipts are all anyone is interested in at this point, not awards. I know a few people who have seen LA screenings and they liked it. I like the cd.

  11. Rick
    December 23, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Christmas Opry Alert! (Not that many folks will be listening though.) Friday Night’s “Christmas Eve” Opry will be featuring Holly Williams, Eddy Raven, James Intveld, and Daily and Vincent. If they’d just leave out all of the Opry Legends that could be a great show! (lol) Grade: B. Saturday Night’s Christmas Opry will feature the same artists except Emily West gets substituted for James Intveld. Emily’s presence earns this a B+! (lol)

    Opry schedule:

  12. Jon
    December 23, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Mountain Heart’s fiddle player, Jim Van Cleve (who also did some giggage with The Band Perry earlier this year), will be filling in with Dailey & Vincent on the Opry this weekend. Nice combo!

  13. Paul W Dennis
    December 23, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    “giggage” ???????????

  14. WAYNOE
    December 24, 2010 at 1:09 am

    I am about as interested in “Country Strong” as I am in what the critics have to say about it. And that ain’t much.

  15. Barry Mazor
    December 24, 2010 at 8:38 am

    So Waynoe, why are other people supposed to be interested in your lack of interest?

  16. Ben Foster
    December 24, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Well I don’t think happy songs are inherently evil – I like a good one every now and then – but it seems like they do often end up being rather lazily written, and I think that’s mainly what Randy Rogers was commenting on.

  17. Jon
    December 24, 2010 at 10:59 am

    I think he was commenting on what he was commenting on, which was not the subject of whether happy songs are lazily written. It’s a good interview, although in my opinion and experience, lumping “hmm, this finished song would be cool for xxx to do” and “I think I’ll write a song to pitch to xxx” are two pretty different things.

  18. Kyle
    December 24, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Seems like there were a ton of songs this year that could have made a “worst of…” list. I might have put Steel Magnolia’s “Halo & Wings” up there too, and maybe that JaneDear whatever. A bad song on country radio is annoying, but a bad song on country radio that doesn’t even try to resemble country actually makes me kind of mad.

    And yes Noeller, “Breath You Take”s Grammy nomination is one of the great mysteries of our time. It almost sounds like a parody song to me.

  19. luckyoldsun
    December 24, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    On happy vs. sad songs.
    Singers who sound happy don’t last beyond their own generation. It’s the singers who sound miserable–preferably suididal–whom the critics love and who last forever.

  20. Jon
    December 24, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Singers who sound happy don’t last beyond their own generation. It’s the singers who sound miserable–preferably suididal–whom the critics love and who last forever.

    That’s an attempt at comedy, right?

  21. luckyoldsun
    December 24, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    No, it’s an attempt at stating a general truth in an interesting way. In general, the singers whose recordings endure and who are revered as icons–Sinatra, Piaf, Billie Holiday, Hank, Haggard– are the ones who convey abject misery and despair. The singers who sound delighted when they sing–Perry Como, Petula Clark, Buck Owens–don’t endure in that fashion.

    (Yes, there are exceptions–and Frank and Hank had some giddy songs as well as their miserable ones.

  22. Jon
    December 25, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    There are so many exceptions to that rule that it’s really no rule at all. What might be an actually useful generalization is that singers whose careers and reputations last a long time are usually those who are seen by many listeners as capable of expressing a range of emotions in which “despairing” and “delighted” are merely two small points. Sticking to the world of country music – this is, after all, a blog about country music, not pop, jazz or Gallic chanson – both Hank Williams and Merle Haggard are multi-dimensional, not just miserable and suicidal, and the same is true of other singers in the Country Music Hall of Fame, from Jimmie Rodgers,the Carter Family and Uncle Dave Macon through Bob Wills, Ernest Tubb, Hank Thompson and Hank Snow to more recent inductees like Emmylou Harris and Vince Gill. Generally speaking, artists who are perceived as emotionally one-dimensional usually fare more poorly than those who are perceived as emotionally multi-dimensional.

  23. WAYNOE
    December 26, 2010 at 1:39 pm


    How long did you spend to come up with that very intelligent reply? Your assumptions are very elementary.

    Oh, thanks for being interested enough to post a reply. I am honored.

  24. Barry Mazor
    December 26, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Waynoe, that wasn’t really just about you. The general Net-fostered (festered?) tendency of people announcing jumping into to volunteer their LACK of interest in whatever may come up is one I’d love to see fade away with the new year.

    I mean, personally, there are a lot of things that don’t interest me. I just don’t comment on them. Because they don’t intrerest me.

  25. Jon
    December 26, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Barry, sometimes people just like to see their names in (virtual) print. Although about the only thing sadder than someone posting just to see his name in print is someone posting just to see his fake name in print.

  26. WAYNOE
    December 26, 2010 at 10:37 pm


    And you don’t like to see your name in print? You, one of the most prolific posters on here? You who have several times been scolded by your “know-it-all” and condescending attitude?

    I can’t keep up on here as well as you can Jon. I have a real job and it pays better than a starving musician or a retired musician who is bitter because he never got as high on the musical ladder as he would have liked.

  27. WAYNOE
    December 26, 2010 at 10:39 pm


    Shouldn’t you be writing more books rather than stooping so low to trivialize with folks such as I?

  28. Matt
    March 2, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Brody, my man. You spelled “receive” wrong!

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