Eric Church’s Chief Goes Platinum; How Listeners Shape Music Evolution; Chatham County Line Video Premiere

Juli Thanki | June 22nd, 2012

  • Kathleen Edwards, Sara Watkins, and Trampled By Turtles made NPR’s listener-voted list of the year’s best albums to date.
  • Phil Barton talks to American Songwriter about one of his co-writes, Lee Brice’s “A Woman Like You.” The song “was recorded the actual night that we wrote it by Lee Brice on his home pro tools rig, and then the final recording was put down a day later, so we really did not have much time to make any edits on it. Thank goodness we did a good job on it on day one. It is Lee’s first take on the vocal and took him something like 7 minutes. Pretty impressive, really.”
  • Here’s an interesting Scientific American article that discusses a recently-published paper about how listeners shape the evolution of music: The research supports the theory that culture and art are shaped by processes similar to those in biological evolution. Whereas past research using computer models has probed whether popular songs could evolve by selecting for particular musical attributes, “the real difference here is the selection process,” says Armand Leroi, professor of evolutionary developmental biology at Imperial College London and a co-author of the paper. Instead of using a computer program or an individual to select which songs “reproduce,” “we just let public taste decide,” Leroi adds. He says that people are very comfortable with the idea of natural selection in organisms, but when it comes to music they fail to recognize the creative power of consumer preferences on which songs survive. There is a perception that only the composer and performer are the innovators.
  • Peter Cooper talks with producer Garth Fundis about Don Williams’ new record.
  • Jeff Giles of American Songwriter interviewed Jerry Douglas about new album, Traveler. An excerpt, where Douglas talks about bringing in Russ Titelman instead of self-producing the record like he’s done with his other solo releases: “All my other records I’ve produced myself, and that’s always been a chore. I’ve never felt like I played as well on my own records as I did on other people’s. What I wanted to get out of this was that I played as well as I could play on my record, and not look back and wish I’d had more time to put into my own work. It’s different when you’re making a record and paying attention to everyone else, thinking about the big picture — you can’t focus on what you’re doing. This time, Russ was there to take care of it. It felt great.”
  • Go behind the scenes of the video shoot for Taylor Swift and B.o.B.’s duet “Both of Us.”
  • MusicRow magazine held its 24th annual subscriber-voted awards on June 20. Frank Liddell took home Producer of the Year honors, while Matraca Berg and Deana Carter’s “You and Tequila” was named Song of the Year. Here is the full list of winners.


  1. Rick
    June 22, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Opry Alert! Tonight’s show will feature what’s left of Love & Theft, what’s left of The Derailers, Mark Wills, and Big and Rich. Ummm, that’s what I call slim pickens. Grade: B-

    Oh great, as if Eric Church wasn’t conceited enough already…

    Thanks for the Corb Lund and Chatham County Line links. That’s good stuff, eh?

  2. luckyoldsun
    June 22, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    “… a recently-published paper about how listeners shape the evolution of music: The research supports the theory that culture and art are shaped by processes similar to those in biological evolution…”

    One of my favorite country music anecdotes is about a hotshot label or publishing executive who was telling a colleague that he’s looking for only contemporary, upscale sounding material, and “none of that country bumpkin stuff.” The conversation was overheard by a songwriter named Wayne who was incensed at the attitude and based on that snippet of conversation was inspired to write a song called “Country Bumpkin”–and it became Number 1 hit career record for Cal Smith and the CMA/ACM song of the year.

    In essence, the song was written precisely because its subject matter was thought to be out of fashion–and it turned out to be bigger than any of the in-fashion material that the executive bought that year.

    Maybe someone else who knows the story better than I do will correct me if I got parts of it wrong or provide additonal info.

  3. bll
    June 23, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    How ironic that Don Williams started with Garth Brooks’ producer and is now with Trisha Yearwood-Brooks’ producer.

  4. Barry Mazor
    June 23, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    That becomes less “ironic,” BLL, if you follow back where Garth Fundis came from, too..and the role Alan Reynolds–protege of Cowboy Jack Clement –played in that story..

  5. bll
    June 24, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Do tell, Barry, I love finding out about people; I knew Allan worked with Cowboy Jack (hence Jack’s Tracks)but I’m unaware of the connection with Garth Fundis. This site is a fount of information!

  6. Barry Mazor
    June 24, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Yes; Garth Fundis was working with Reynolds–at first, as a back-up singer (and Garth still sings back-up on the new Don Williams, btw) –and that’s also where his production work and experience began.. The musical side of Nashville is a small town in many ways..

  7. luckyoldsun
    June 25, 2012 at 1:41 am

    (and Garth still sings back-up on the new Don Williams, btw)

    Not only that, but he sings in a high, soaring female voice.

  8. Jon
    June 25, 2012 at 10:43 am

    <iThe musical side of Nashville is a small town in many ways..

    A small town that’s evidently on a different planet than the one luckyoldsun lives on.

  9. luckyoldsun
    June 25, 2012 at 10:54 am

    The line is a quote from the article.
    Maybe Peter Cooper’s writing got garbled in the editing. Or maybe he was being “ironic”–to use a word that’s popular in this thread.

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