John Rich Blasts ‘Nashville Star’ and Contestants

Brody Vercher | March 24th, 2009

  • Remember that whole Nashville Star thing? John Rich is trying to distance himself from his involvement in the show.

    “I wouldn’t touch ‘Nashville Star’ with a 40-foot pole,” he told The Tennessean. “NBC completely bastardized what country music is about. I thought this was really going to represent country music, put us on a new level. Now, I will tell you, two artists … you will hear from are Melissa Lawson and Gabe Garcia. Those two acts were the saving graces of that show.”

  • Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Hal Ketchum and Jamie O’Neal are playing at the Country Music Hall of Fame tonight as part of the The Stars Go Blue fundraiser for colon cancer.
  • Sarah Rodman on Martina McBride‘s new album, Shine: “Hope may be in short supply of late, but on “Shine,” it springs eternal.”
  • The lineup for the concert honoring George Strait as the ACM artist of the decade just got a little bit bigger. Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, Jamie Foxx, Miranda Lambert, Montgomery Gentry, LeAnn Rimes, Blake Shelton, Lee Ann Womack, John Rich and Jack Ingram will join the previously announced guests on April 6 to record George Strait: ACM Artist of the Decade All Star Concert.
  • Ted Jarrett, a country music writer, producer and talent scout among other things, passed away on Saturday from liver failure. He was 83. A couple of his songs include the Webb Pierce 1955 No. 1 country hit “Love, Love, Love” and “You Can Make It If You Try.”
  • Brooks & Dunn may have had a bigger audience in Houston on Saturday night, playing the rodeo and all, but Scott Moore says Pam Tillis charmed the intimate audience at the Dosey Doe in the Woodlands with her stories, sharp wit and soulful vocals.
  • Shawn Sahm didn’t want the tenth anniversary of his dad’s passing to go by without being acknowledged, which led to today’s release of Keep Your Soul: A Tribute to Doug Sahm. However, Augie Meyers, who was part of the Texas Tornados with Sahm, thinks the end product has its shortcomings.

    “The album is good,” said Augie Meyers, one of the creators of the Sir Douglas Quintet sound. “I played on a couple of tracks. But there are three or four guys on it that I think Doug didn’t even know. I think there should have been more of Doug’s compadres, people Doug knew. I don’t think the album will help the legacy because it’s too different. I just think it could have been done better.”

  • Funeral services were held on Saturday for pedal steel guitarist William Donald “Bill” Johnson, who played for artists such as Red Sovine, George Jones and Marty Robbins. His song “A Wound Time Can’t Erase” (Listen: George Jones, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn) was recorded by more than 150 artists.
  • Album releases for the week of March 24, 2009 include:

    As always, feel free to leave a comment letting me know of any I overlooked.

  • Listen to the new Kenny Chesney single, “Out Last Night,” which will appear on the May 19th release of Greatest Hits: Volume 2.
  • Britain’s Lily Allen has been described as a pop sensation, but her latest video for “Not Fair,” in which she sings about her sexual frustrations, pays major homage to country music variety shows like the Porter Wagoner Show; she even has Wagoner introduce her to the stage.
  • Dan Rosensweig, a newly hired executive in charge of the video game division that handles Guitar Hero, responded to a question about the lack of country music in the popular video game by saying, “there will be increased content of all kinds.” Take that as you will.
  • The folks at My Kind of Country are giving away two copies of Eric Church‘s new album, Carolina.
  • Watch the new video for Ridley Bent‘s “Arlington” from the album Buckles and Boots. Twang Nation rated the album a 4.5 when it was released.

  1. Kelly
    March 24, 2009 at 11:17 am

    I love Doug Sahm and the Tornadoes and all, but I heard the version of Medocino that is on the new album, and I was bored with how similar it sounded to the original…

  2. Todd
    March 24, 2009 at 11:37 am

    How does John Rich get to criticize anyone for bastardizing country music after what he has done with Big & Rich and the accompanying sideshow?

  3. Jon
    March 24, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Scott Moore could have done more than just namecheck my BFF Megan Lynch in that Pam Tillis thing.

  4. Zach
    March 24, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Kenny seems to be giving up on his latest album pretty quickly..

  5. Paula_W
    March 24, 2009 at 11:46 am

    NBC completely bastardized what country music is about.

    If that’s not the pot calling the kettle black, I dont know what is!!

  6. Rick
    March 24, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Knowing John Rich’s ego, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if his rage at NBC arose from being notified there would be no additonal “Nashville Star” shows on that network, or none with his involvement anyway.

    I agree with Scott Moore. I’d much rather see Pam Tillis perform than Brooks and Dunn. Come to think of it, you couldn’t drag me to a Brooks and Dunn concert!

    As for Lily Allen’s new video, the concept is not original for a pop artist. I seem to recall that Jenny Lewis of the Rilo Kiley band did something similar awhile back. (Well, I think it was Jenny Lewis, but with my memory these days…)

    So My Kind of Country is giving away Eric Church CDs eh? I’ll have to go to the sporting goods store and pick up some ammo! (lol)

  7. Drew
    March 24, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    After hearing “Ride”, I thought Martina’s new album would be a repeat of the disappointing stuff she’s done lately. But like with Aldean’s new record, the lead single is one of, if not the weakest track on the album. It’s still not great by any means in my opinion… but not as bad as that song would lead you to believe.

  8. Michael
    March 24, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Yeah, so what exactly did “CMT’s Gone Country” do for the industry? Also, another tidbit to file away under too much information about John Rich: after claiming that he wants to keep his private life private, he does let us know that he and his wife are working on having babies.

    As for Kenny Chesney, I think there’s only one new song on the upcoming compilation so he’ll probably go back and mine Lucky Old Sun for one or two more singles after “Out Last Night” has run its chart course. Overall, I’m disappointed with the songs he selected for this Volume 2. I’m not a huge fan and I don’t own any of his studio albums, so I was hoping some of his singles that I’ve enjoyed had made the album’s tracklist instead.

    A Pam Tillis concert sounds like a great experience!

    I think I may go pick up the new Martina disc today. I didn’t plan on it, but the reviews seem favorable and many are citing “Ride” as one of the weakest cuts.

  9. Michael
    March 24, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    That being said, I don’t think a B&D show would be horrible. They have some pretty strong singles (“My Maria”) and could entertain me for 90 minutes.

  10. Sam G.
    March 24, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Good for John Rich to distance himself from Gone Country. Now all he has to do is distance himself from the rest of his professional career, and I may start revising my opinion of him.

    It’s nice to see Special Consensus still around and kicking. Greg Cahill has been a figurehead in the Chicago bluegrass scene for decades, and it’s a pity that he’s not more well-known than he is. If nothing else, he helped give Robbie Fulks a start by hiring him in an early version of Special C.

    As far as Doug Sahm tributes go, I thought the Bottle Rockets’ Songs of Sahm was pretty good. I was more of a fan of the Rockets than I was Sahm, but that album gave me a real appreciation for him beyond the Texas Tornados and “She’s About a Mover.”

  11. Chris N.
    March 24, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    @Rick: Jenny Lewis it was. How I adore her.

  12. Leeann Ward
    March 24, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Sam, did Rich distance himself from Gone Country?

  13. Sam G.
    March 24, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Crap, wrong reality show. My bad.

  14. Occasional Hope
    March 24, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    He *should* distance himself from Gone Country, though.

  15. Leeann Ward
    March 24, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Jamie Fox will be at Strait’s tribute concert? Do they know each other? I thought Fox’s love for Country music would stop with Rascal Flatts.

  16. Rick
    March 24, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Alert: Emily West will be performing on TONIGHT’s Opry at 7:15 PM Nashville time. Here’s Paul W. Dennis’ chance to hear what the fuss is about! (lol)

    Don’t forget the new Thursday Night Opry Classics debuts this Thursday and will feature Loretta Lynn and Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers along with other artists. I really don’t see where the Opry square dancers fit in though….

    Opry Schedule Link:

    PS – Chris N., thanks for confirming that! There seem to be a lot of Jenny Lewis fans lurking out there. I wonder if Jenny and Neko Case appeal to the same audience? Hmmm….

  17. Nicolas
    March 24, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    John Rich needs to distance himself from music, TV, etc. in general

  18. Stormy
    March 24, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    I love how Melissa and Gabe are the saving grace of Nashville Star, and not the only person who has managed to get a career out of it.

  19. Leeann Ward
    March 24, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    Actually, according to the CMT blog, it’s Jamey Johnson who’ll be at the Strait concert. I don’t know who it’ll be, but Johnson would make sense.

  20. glory2001
    March 24, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    What I do not get is, awhile ago everybody was mad because NBC took over Nashville Star and was ruining it. John Rich decided everybody was right and now you are blaming him. He did not say Nashville Star did not make good singers, just that NBC made the show bad, which I agree with. If you could possibly get past your John Rich hater hobby, you might realize he was named songwriter of the year for THREE years running. He is outspoken and people do not like that, but I would rather hear an honest opinion than a bunch of yes people.

  21. Stephen H.
    March 24, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    Stormy, I assume (hope?) he was only referring to season 6.

  22. roger
    March 25, 2009 at 1:33 am


    I don’t mind outspoken people, but i can’t stand an arrogance a$$ that cannot speak without having to use four-letter words to get a point across like John Rich. I’m told that six top shelf lead guitar players in nashville have turned down the big and rich tour for this summer (and everyone of them likes Big Kenny)…hmmmmm….word on the street is John Rich is actually having to pay Big Kenny (in addition to their 50/50 split) so he will put up with him. That pretty much says it all right there.

  23. Chris N.
    March 25, 2009 at 9:49 am

    @Rick: I have a suspicion that Jenny and Neko Case appeal to dudes who like insanely hot women who sing like angels.

  24. J.R. Journey
    March 25, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Great article on Pam Tillis.

    And thanks for the link!

  25. Peter
    March 25, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Just showing my love for Ridley here; that’s a great song, but y’all should check out his tune “Nine Inch Nails”…. SU-poib!

  26. Charles Murphy
    March 25, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    While I am not a big fan of John Rich or his ego, I am glad that Nashville Star is not being continued. That was one of the biggest jokes ever played on country fans. Most of the singers completely sucked and the judges they had weren’t much better. The show started off bad on USA and just got worse as the few years went on then totally jumped the shark upon moving to NBC. The only singer I can think that remotely got anything out of this show is Miranda Lambert and she didn’t win. The same can be said for most of these flash in the pan reality show winners. I wish the entire music industry would stop looking to game shows for talent and go back to looking for the acts that continue to build a fan base while playing live..being able to do so with NO technical “Help”.

  27. Stormy
    March 25, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    Chris: Jenny and Neko are also favs among the Bust set.

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