Jewly Hight wrote the Nashville Scene’s new, engaging Reba cover story. It turns out that the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum got more Reba “artifacts” than they’ve ever received from anyone else, including high school report cards, shell casings, and unopened bags of Reba Fritos. (Fingers crossed for a Reba-centric episode of Hoarders.)
Designated Hits cataloged the entrance music of every MLB player. There’s a lot of Jason Aldean, but a few surprises too: the Cards’ Matt Carpenter uses Turnpike Troubadours’ version of John Hartford’s “Long Hot Summer Days” and Ian Kennedy chose Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble.”
Jody Rosen on “bro-country”: Country has always been pop’s most mature genre. If rock strives to “hold onto 16 as long as you can,” as Mellencamp once put it, country aims for the opposite. Young country singers have learned to project gravitas beyond their years, singing songs about home and hearth and other grown-up stuff. Bro-country breaks with that tradition… It’s easy to make fun of bro-country, but in at least one respect it’s cosmopolitan. Listen to Bryan, Aldean, and Owen, and you’ll hear a surprising sound: hip-hop…What’s noteworthy about these songs is their unself-consciousness, how easefully they integrate rap into country’s lingua franca. Compare bro-country’s hip-hop mash-ups with “Accidental Racist,” Brad Paisley and LL Cool J’s painfully gauche racial-reconciliation duet. Bro-country doesn’t bother with politics; it’s less thoughtful and conscientious than Paisley but more modern.
Peter Cooper’s new Tennessean column focuses on Tim Easton and his new record, Not Cool.
Juli Thanki is the editor of Engine 145 and a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, Bluegrass Unlimited, and M Music & Musicians Magazine. In 2011 she received the International Bluegrass Music Association Print Media Person of the Year award.