Mailbag: Saying Goodbye To Country Music

Staff | June 30th, 2010

How do I say goodbye Country Music?
Turn on the radio–it will help expedite the process. — Karlie

Put on a Rascal Flatts album. — Sam

What is “Undo It” about?
“Uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh… don’t know…” — Ken

It’s not widely known, but “Undo It” is actually Carrie’s tribute to Mel Tillis. — Brady

It’s about proving Kara Dioguardi can ruin multiple genres of music. — Sam

What is a good song lyric for someone looking out a window?
If the person happens to be on uppers: “Outside My Window” — CM

George Jones’ “The Window Up Above.” But you might not like what you see. — Juli

On a good day: George Strait’s “Blue Clear Sky.” On a bad day: Garth Brook’s “Thunder Rolls.” — Karlie

What is Tim McGraw’s pet peeve?
When people speak in multisyllabic words. — CM

Faith keeps gifting colognes that are something other than McGraw. — Ken

Singers who like their record labels. — Sam

Is “A Lot of Boot Left To Fill” about Jason Aldean?
Unbeknownst to Eric Church, it’s about Eric Church. — CM

Who sings “Framer Darther?”
Luke Skywalker–He thinks his father was framed. — Ken

What was Miranda Lambert’s favorite dog’s name?
It’s a five-way tie between Gunpowder, Ammo, Buckshot, Shotgun and Lead- they were all girl dogs. — Ken

Blake Shelton. Oh, wait–you mean dog, as in an animal? — Karlie

How to make a concept album?
1. Have a concept
2. Make an album
3. …
4. Profit — Juli

Songs about women who use men?
“She Got The Goldmine (and I Got The Shaft)” — Ken

How does Eric Church feel about underwear being thrown up on stage?
Hold on, let me reread the chapter in Waylon Jenning’s autobiography about how the late singer felt about underwear on stage–because that’s how Eric Church will feel about it. — Karlie

Womens: Pretty cool. Mens: Not so much. — Ken

What is the name of the Taylor Swift song where she loses her husband?
Our resident The 9513 psychic says “Your Sugar Momma Misses You” will be written in 2055. — Ken

When does Nashville Star start again?
The producers are scrambling to find a date that’s most convenient for all seventeen viewers. We’ll have to get back to you on this. — Juli

As soon as anyone can remember the name of the last winner. — Sam

Pretty sure they only let you qualify once, Buddy Jewell. Time to move on. — CM

How to think of song titles?
Just choose a random word: water, online, alcohol, ticks. I’ve got one coming up pretty soon called “Fridge.” — Brad Paisley

Who is Kellie Picklers?
Kellie Picklers is a great pickling company outside of Nashville. Try their beets. — Sam

The fiancee of songwriter Kyle Jacobses. — CM

Who is Toby Keith singing about?
I’m not sure which song you’re referring to, so I’ll go with the safe answer: Toby Keith. — Karlie

Dogs of all shapes and sizes. — CM

Buck Covington, how he knew how?
Because he knew how that he knew how… in the know. — Ken

What does Charlie Daniels pick off the table in his commercial?
A big fat check — Ken

What is Ford country?
The side of the road where most Fords break down. — Sam

Zac Brown, where is TA?
No need to ask Zac Brown–if your professor’s teaching assistant is late, the 10 Minute Rule automatically kicks in. — Karlie

Why country music is good?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nw9RyFXmwwwCM

  1. Derek
    June 30, 2010 at 7:35 am

    I’m pretty sure Eric Church included himself when talking about how much boot there is left to fill. The last line goes like this…

    “I guess WE ALL got a lotta boot left to fill!”

    I don’t understand most of the hostility thrown toward this guy.

  2. CMW
    June 30, 2010 at 7:56 am

    I like Eric Church, believe it or not, but…

    I don’t understand why people think one line tossed in at the end of “A Lot of Boot Left to Fill” cancels out the combativeness of the entire rest of the song.

  3. Derek
    June 30, 2010 at 9:09 am

    It don’t think it cancels out the combativeness. The purpose of the song is to call out a lot of things that are wrong with the Nashville music scene these days. I think some people believe that this song calls out all artists who name-drop the pillars of country music (when Eric does it himself). I don’t believe it calls them all out; just the ones that do it without respect for who the country music icon is/was. One of the finest country music songs is “Whose gonna fill their shoes”. But what does it do? It name-drops just about every icon George could think of. The reason why people don’t have a problem with that song is because it is highly respectful to each and every artist that’s mentioned. To me, this song has two sides:
    1. Calling out things that are wrong with the industry.
    2. A tribute to the outlaw spirit of Waylon and Hank.

    The last line in “Lotta Boot Left to Fill” is not Eric’s way of admitting he is including himself as part of the problem. It’s Eric way of proclaiming that he has a long way to go before he can be considered an equal beside Waylon and Hank.

  4. Leeann Ward
    June 30, 2010 at 9:40 am

    I dunno, Eric just sounds like the others on the radio today. He blends in right with them. So, I can’t hear what sets him apart in any way, especially on this second album.

  5. Jim Malec
    June 30, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Nothing sets Eric Church apart. His “outlaw” image, just like his “great songwriter” image, is a complete fabrication. I’m not sure anyone really believes it but himself.

  6. BRIAN
    June 30, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Eric Church puts on one helluva live show! That’s all I know!

  7. nm
    June 30, 2010 at 10:04 am

    It always feels like Church is saying to his audience “what do you want me to be? I’ll be it! I’ll be it to the extreme!” and right now he has an audience who wants him to be an “Outlaw,” so he’s playing one. But being an outlaw to please the audience doesn’t work, for obvious reasons. Unlike Brian, I went to a recent show of his prepared to enjoy it (I’m a fan of his second album), but ended up wondering if he could pander any harder. Diff’rent strokes, I guess.

    Brady FTW on this mailbag, I think.

  8. Leeann Ward
    June 30, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Jim,
    I think his fans are sincere, even if I don’t necessarily agree with them.

    I liked stuff from his first album, though I don’t even think it really set him apart from other good mainstream songs.

  9. Jim Malec
    June 30, 2010 at 10:34 am

    We should ask some of them. It would be interesting to ask those fans, “what makes Eric Church an outlaw?”

  10. Leeann Ward
    June 30, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    I was more referring to his songwriting. I think they are sincere in thinking that he’s a great songwriter. As for the outlaw thing, they could really think he’s that too, but have people really been calling him an outlaw or is that more what people think he’s trying to portray himself as?

  11. Derek
    June 30, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    NM – I don’t think you have any evidence to claim that Eric is whoever his audience wants him to be. Other than becoming more comfortable on stage, I don’t see where he has ever changed, let alone changed to whatever his fans wanted to be. Before he even knew who his audience was he embarked on his own “Me and Myself Tour” (look it up, it showed his “F*@$ the norm” ways).

    Leann – I don’t know what it is, but his music seems different than most to me. I’ve heard this comment from people who have only heard him on the radio and have never listed to his albums. Not saying you haven’t, but if not you should give them a listen. Maybe its just his producer, Jay Joyce, because I also really enjoy Ashley Ray’s EP, also produced by Mr. Joyce.

  12. Leeann Ward
    June 30, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    I own his first album and have listened to the current one.

  13. Mayor JoBob
    June 30, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    It’s his rough facial hair. That’s about all you need these days to be an outlaw. You’re rebelling against shaving!

  14. Leeann Ward
    June 30, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Hmmm…I don’t think my husband is an outlaw though.:)

  15. Dizzee
    June 30, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    My issue with Eric Church is he is basing much of his outlaw cred on being fired from the Rascal Flatts tour. In that he was fired for being too long and too loud and that’s just who he is.

    While I am not fans for RF, they hired you to do a particular job. For that not only do you get paid (i would guess pretty well), but you get access to their fans of which there are many, no matter your feelings of the band. If you can’t get in and out in 45mins then thats a problem on you and not on RF. You are not being an outlaw, but disrespectful.

    I can’t help but notice that now that he is playing in front of Jack Ingram and Montgomery Gentry we do not hear about him going long. So which is it Eric. I’m an outlaw and I am going to play as long as I feel like it or I only do what I want to those I do not respect.

  16. nm
    June 30, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Derek, did you read what I wrote? I said that that’s the feeling Church gives me. I don’t need evidence beyond my own reactions to know how he makes me feel. And to me he feels fake. Maybe because he tells us how he’s an outlaw instead of showing it in any way? Maybe because he’s so eager to have the label pasted all over him? Whatever the reason, that’s how he feels from over here.

  17. Fizz
    June 30, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    On the one hand, I agree with the “Boot To Fill” song, in that the country legends invoked by the likes of the odious Justin Moore would cut their own genitals off before they sang a pathetic song like … well … any of Justin’ Moore’s. (Substitute JM’s name with any of his interchangeable counterparts, if you like.) At the same time though, Eric Church … he’s like the kid at the sandlot who never gets picked to play ball, but who always shows up and tries to horn in any way possible. Has a pricey signature catcher’s mitt but can’t catch a cold. Blackberry Smoke would roll him up and smoke a little smoke, indeed.

  18. Leeann Ward
    June 30, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    I don’t much pay attention to what Eric Church says, but does he mention the RF situation a lot or something?

    Getting fired from the RF tour was a natural consequence for his behavior that he certainly deserved, but I’ve never found it in me to care that he did it in the first place.

  19. Fizz
    June 30, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    And while i was assassinating Eric Church’s character in my last post, it occurred to me: I like a lot of the guy’s songs, but does anybody else find something a little bit desperate about David Allan Coe’s constantly mentioning Waylon, Willie and Hank?

  20. Zach
    June 30, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    When Church was dismissed from the Flatts tour, he was replaced by some lesser-known who had just released “Tim McGraw” as her debut single. Can we blame Church for Swift’s rise to fame? Probably not, but it sounds fun.

  21. dave
    June 30, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    Eric Church hasn’t once called himself an outlaw…just because you have influences doesn’t mean to you have to sound just like them. “these boots”, “lightning”, “caroling”, “how bout you” are not like everything else on the radio today. he hangs with Jamey Johnson…that’s all you need to know.

  22. Dizzee
    June 30, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Leeann – The way the media works, I don’t know if he actually mentions it alot or if it is lazy writers including the story in the articles I read about eric chuch to explain his outlaw cred. Walyon and Willie had to do what they do inspite of the industry. He had the industry backing and chose to be disrespectful.

    I know in at least one article he directly attributed the too long and too loud to the reason he started playing smaller clubs. That is all well and good until you read the Billboard article about different ways to country success (Church vs Joe Nichols vs Laura Bell Bundy) and he states how it was a strategy on his part.

    Plus as I mentioned earlier he doesn’t seem to be going long on the Country Throwdown tour.

    Guess it just irks me.

  23. Leeann Ward
    June 30, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Ugh…Jamey Johnson also hangs out with Kid rock, among other people whose music I dont like. I can like his music without thinking everyone he hangs out with deserves my respect just because they hang out with him. Most people aren’t cool by association.

  24. Rick
    June 30, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    I need to correct Karlie’s first answer in the name of accuracy:

    Q: How do I say goodbye to Country Music?
    A: Turn on the radio to your nearest Top 40 mainstream AirHead pop-rock country music station–it will help expedite the process. — Karlie

    My other favorite:
    Q: What is Tim McGraw’s pet peeve?
    A: When people speak in multisyllabic words. — CM
    So that explains why Timbo prefers democrat politicians! When everything they say ultimately decodes to “Vote for us and we will give you money earned by other, more productive people!”, its something Timbo can grasp! Thanks, CM! (lol)

    I’ll say one thing about Eric Church and his cocky claims to being an outlaw, on country music blogs its an effective “rope a dope” promotional tool!

  25. Patrick
    June 30, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    I cannot BELIEVE you have all spent so much time and energy here on the likes of Eric Church! He always ceases to amaze me!

  26. Stormy
    June 30, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    dave
    June 30, 2010 at 3:34 pm Permalink Eric Church hasn’t once called himself an outlaw…just because you have influences doesn’t mean to you have to sound just like them. “these boots”, “lightning”, “caroling”, “how bout you” are not like everything else on the radio today. he hangs with Jamey Johnson…that’s all you need to know.

    Getting tangled up in his beard isn’t hanging out.

  27. Jon
    June 30, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    What’s fascinating is that people feel invested in deciding who has the “cred” to be described with the image marketing term that Hazel Smith dreamed up 30 some odd years ago. Less fascinating, but also less surprising, is that some folks seem to believe they are more qualified to make that determination than others.

  28. Leeann Ward
    June 30, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    Here’s a great Nashville Skyline (by Chet Flippo) that gives background:
    http://www.cmt.com/news/nashville-skyline/1493238/nashville-skyline-willie-waylon-and-the-outlaw-thing.jhtml

  29. badrockandroll
    June 30, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    nothing to do about outlaws or pseudo-outlaws. Just a big howdy from the great white north. It’s Canada Day, and I’m settling into some country and pseudo-country from Stompin Tom, Ian Tyson, Corb Lund, Hank Snow, Blue Rodeo, Wilf Carter, kd, Rizzdales for Rick and a grand finale with the railroad trilogy from Gordon Lightfoot. (no Shania, no Emerson Drive, no Anne Murray – and no apologies).
    Happy early 4th of July to those of you slightly south!

  30. Stormy
    June 30, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Jon
    June 30, 2010 at 9:05 pm Permalink What’s fascinating is that people feel invested in deciding who has the “cred” to be described with the image marketing term that Hazel Smith dreamed up 30 some odd years ago. Less fascinating, but also less surprising, is that some folks seem to believe they are more qualified to make that determination than others

    What it comes down to is when Mark Chestnutt sings Rolling With The Flow, he doesn’t get down into the growl that made you believe that he really does have an angel at home raising kids while he is out raising hell. Mark, its more like he’s got a wife and kid in the ice cream aisle while he sneaks over to buy a 6 pack of Zima.

  31. Fizz
    June 30, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    What Stormy said: it’s about artists being believable. If you’re going to say your Mr. Numero Uno Bad Boy, you better convince me.

  32. Jon
    July 1, 2010 at 7:10 am

    Good link, LeeAnn. Notice how what Flippo describes has next to nothing to do with “raising hell.” It mostly has to do with career control. That’s what makes it so funny when people start arguing passionately about who’s got outlaw “cred,” who’s a “bad boy,” etc. You’ve got to admire a marketing image that still has the power to suck people in like that after 30 or so years!

  33. Stormy
    July 1, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Jon: Its not about image–its about taking on the persona of the protagionist of the song while you are singing it. What you do when you are not in that 3.5 minutes is irrelevant. If Mark wants to sing song about Outlaws, he needs to be able to convey that in his vocals.

  34. Jon
    July 1, 2010 at 8:22 am

    @Stormy. And you are better qualified to detect what Chesnutt conveys than, say, Pete Anderson is, because…?

  35. Stormy
    July 1, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Mostly because Pete Anderson didn’t say anything about the characters Mark Chestnutt conveys in his songs. He was merely discussing the Outlaw movement as marketing stratedgy.

  36. Fizz
    July 1, 2010 at 10:16 am

    What is all this horse-dung about who is and isn’t “qualified” to comment or have an opinion? It’s music, not neuroscience. It’s for everybody to enjoy, or not enjoy, as they choose.

  37. Jon
    July 1, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Exactly my point. Musical communication requires both a performer and a listener. Stormy doesn’t hear Chesnutt’s singing as believable, and wants to blame Chesnutt, whereas the problem might be a defect in her perceptual abilities. Or perhaps it’s a subjective matter, and no blame need be assigned at all.

  38. Stormy
    July 1, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Jon: So how would I need to listen to Rolling With the Flow to hear Mark Chesnutt growl?

  39. Fizz
    July 1, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Oh, I guess you first just have to come to terms with your perceptual inferiority. Then maybe you can sort of, I don’t know, imagine that you hear the growl. Or just acknowledge that it’s there, but that you aren’t able to hear it because of some missing synapses.

    Perception is reality.

  40. Brady Vercher
    July 1, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Stormy: “What it comes down to is when Mark Chestnutt sings Rolling With The Flow, he doesn’t get down into the growl that made you believe that he really does have an angel at home raising kids while he is out raising hell.

    For one, “Rollin’ with the Flow” isn’t on the Outlaw album, so I don’t know why it’s being discussed in the context of this whole outlaw argument.

    Second, that’s not what the song is about, but evenso, Chesnutt doesn’t need to growl and walk around with a sneer on his face for his singing to be believable.

  41. Stormy
    July 1, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    No, but he does have to sing like the protagionist in the song. Otherwise, its like Richard Thompson singing “Ooops I Did It Again.”

  42. Brady Vercher
    July 1, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    How is it anything like that?

  43. Razor X
    July 1, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    It’s been a long time since I listened to the Charlie Rich version, but off the top of my head, I can’t remember any “growl” being a significant part of the song. I thought Chesnutt did a very good job covering that song.

  44. Leeann Ward
    July 1, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Stormy,
    Have you listened to “Rollin’ with the Flow” lately? If you revisit it, you’ll hear that it’s not about what you’re expecting him to vocally interpret it as. To me, it’s lamenting not having settled down yet, since he doesn’t even have a wife and kids yet. And as Brady pointed out, this isn’t even on the Outlaw album, not to mention that Charlie Rich didn’t sing the song much differently, albeit with some prominent background singers.

    Once was a thought inside my head
    ‘Fore I reached thirty I’d be dead
    Somehow on and on I go
    I keep on rollin’ with the flow

    Folks said that I would change my mind
    I’d straighten up and do just fine
    But oh I still love rock ‘n roll
    So I keep on rollin’ with the flow

    While guys my age are raising kids
    I’m raising hell just like I did
    I got a lot of crazy friends
    And they forgive me of my sins

    Some might be calling me a bum
    But I’m still out here having fun
    Jesus loves me yes I know
    So I keep on rollin’ with the flow

    While guys my age are raising kids
    I’m raising hell just like I did
    I got a lot of crazy friends
    And they forgive me of my sins

    You can’t take it with you when you’re gone
    But I want enough to get there on
    And I ain’t never growing old
    If I keep on rollin’ with the flow

    And I ain’t never growing old
    If I keep on rollin’ with the flow

  45. Brady Vercher
    July 1, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    If you were to listen to other songs on Rollin’ with the Flow, you’d realize that Chesnutt is capable of imbuing his performances with the raucousness that you’re seeking, which to me, indicates that he interpreted “Rollin’ with the Flow” the way he did on purpose.

    In that case, his performance can either belie the hollowness of the lifestyle the lyrics are trying to glamorize or suggest that he’s content with his choices and the direction he’s taken in life. It’s the ones that are growling and trying hardest to make you believe something that are usually the ones that are trying to convince themselves first.

    Either way, the phrase “rollin’ with the flow” itself better supports one of those interpretations over the case for it being a sneering outlaw anthem.

  46. Fizz
    July 1, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Okay … so maybe “Rollin’ With The Flow” isn’t the best example, but I understand the point Stormy was trying to make. In a style of music that is so dependent on character and storytelling, a singer HAS to play the part and make it beliefable.

  47. Stormy
    July 1, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    I didn’t hear it on Love In A Hot Afternoon either.

    In that case, his performance can either belie the hollowness of the lifestyle the lyrics are trying to glamorize or suggest that he’s content with his choices and the direction he’s taken in life. It’s the ones that are growling and trying hardest to make you believe something that are usually the ones that are trying to convince themselves first.

    But the lyrics of Rolling With The Flow do imply that the protagionist is having a damned good time and not planning on stopping ever.

  48. Jon
    July 1, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Well, to tie up one loose end, when Stormy says Pete Anderson “was merely discussing the Outlaw movement as marketing strategy,” she’s full of it. Among other things that Anderson said which relate directly to Chesnutt’s abilities as a singer -which, of course, are ultimately not “technical” but communicative:

    “mark is one of the best country singers alive & he out does the originals on every turn.. …he stood in front of a mike 4 2&1/2 hours w/out taking a break & sang each song about 3x ..& each take was amazing …i have worked w/a few g8 singers in my day but none surpass mark chestnutt a true ‘honky tonk singer’he is a treasure 2 a fading art”

    Now, for Fizz, who seems to be a little slow on the uptake: you say “perception is reality.” Fine. So here’s Stormy’s perception that Chesnutt isn’t “believable” singing these songs (apparently because he doesn’t “growl”) and Pete Anderson’s perception that he is. Which one is the reality, dude? Why is Stormy’s version of reality better than Pete Anderson’s? Or mine? Or yours?

  49. Michelle
    July 1, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    The day Mark Chesnutt so much as “acts” like he’s going to growl is the day I’ll tune him out!

  50. Fizz
    July 1, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    Jon: Stormy’s take ISN’T better, but it’s her take and she’s entitled to it. Personally, I several ways to interpret the lyrics, and maybe Chesnutt’s performance doesn’t fit with hers. Personally, I think he gives the song a bit of an undercurrent of … regret? Maybe that’s too strong a word. A wondering how his life could have been different.

    Anyway, I’ve read and heard producers or artists say things about music that have contradicted my own perceptions, and while it often makes me pull those records out again for another listen, it doesn’t automatically make me say, “Oh, that person is more QUALIFIED than I am, I must be wrong, so sorry!”

  51. Stormy
    July 1, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    Now, for Fizz, who seems to be a little slow on the uptake: you say “perception is reality.” Fine. So here’s Stormy’s perception that Chesnutt isn’t “believable” singing these songs (apparently because he doesn’t “growl”) and Pete Anderson’s perception that he is. Which one is the reality, dude? Why is Stormy’s version of reality better than Pete Anderson’s? Or mine? Or yours?

    I never said Mark couldn’t sing Honkey Tonk. He has done a great job on songs like “Too Cold At Home” and “Broken Promise Land.” He just has a hard time stepping into rougher skin.

  52. Jon
    July 1, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    He just has a hard time stepping into rougher skin.

    In the immortal words of Carter Stanley, do you mind if I ask myself a question and then answer it? How do you know what Chesnutt has a hard time doing? Answer: you don’t. And in fact, according to someone who was there when he was actually singing the songs for the record, he pretty much sailed through.

    No, the hard time here is the hard time that you have in liking the way Chesnutt sings these songs – and that’s all about you. Why not put it in a way that makes that clear? That’s what a good writer would do: clarify, not obfuscate.

  53. Stormy
    July 1, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    Exactly. I have a hard time liking Mark Chestnutt doing these songs like I have a hard time watching Russell Crowe make a Under The Tucan Sun remake. It has nothing to do with how poorly they fit into the role. Its all me.

  54. Jon
    July 2, 2010 at 7:37 am

    Dunno about the movies; let’s stick with country music, which is what The9513 is about. Once again, why would anyone want to take your statement about how Mark Chesnutt doesn’t “fit” the songs he sings as a statement about Chesnutt, rather than as a statement about yourself? After all, one subject you know something about, whereas the other, you demonstrably don’t.

  55. Stormy
    July 2, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Jon: Why should I take your word that he does?

  56. Fizz
    July 2, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Why, because he’s more qualified than you. Can’t you tell by his professorial tone?

    jon, dude, seriously, time to cool out. Don’t take everything literally.

  57. Observer
    July 2, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Jon is definitely “that” guy.

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