Merle Haggard Praised at Kennedy Center Honors; Songs From Hank, Willie, & Bob Wills Added to GRAMMY Hall of Fame

Brody Vercher | December 7th, 2010

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  1. [...] Merle Haggard Praised at Kennedy Center Honors; Songs From Hank, Willie, & Bob Wills Added to GR... ( [...]
  1. Ben Foster
    December 7, 2010 at 11:21 am

    I’m glad to hear that TBP’s “You Lie” is going to radio. I thought it was one of the best songs on the album. I love how it reaches a peak at the end when Kimberly sings about takin’ off that ring and givin’ it a big ol’ fling!

  2. Noeller
    December 7, 2010 at 11:30 am

    I’m not one to question The Boot, but i really can’t say that I agree with the top songs of the year list. With everything from Dierks’ disc, JJ’s double project, MirLam’s Revolution, Jerrod Niemann, ZBB….there was a lot more material to choose from than what they had. That was like a Top 10 AC Radio Rejects list as much as anything, not counting House That Built Me and Highway 20 Ride.

  3. Sam G.
    December 7, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Just this morning I was complaining about the lack of good Christmas music this year, and along comes Scott Miller to make it better.

  4. Leeann Ward
    December 7, 2010 at 11:45 am

    I dunno, Noeller, my list won’t look exactly like that, but I think the singles list is pretty solid.

    Fun story about the Scott Miller Christmas album.:)

  5. Thomas
    December 7, 2010 at 11:46 am

    …hit and miss in abundance. clearly, the boot is the wrong sort of instrument, if you’re looking for accuracy.

  6. Noeller
    December 7, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Both of Jerrod Niemann’s singles, to date, are better than most of that list. I’d personally put JJ’s “Playing The Part” on that list, along with ZBB’s “As She’s Walking Away”, both the Dierks singles from UOTR are better than most of that list, and my own personal “I’ll-Fight-You-For-This” pick goes to Church’s “Smoke A Little Smoke” over most of that list. And that’s just singles — never mind the album cuts.

    So, while we’re never going to all agree, I just really felt they missed a ton of quality material for that list.

  7. Leeann Ward
    December 7, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Hmmm…you make a good point. People love that Zac Brown/Jackson single, but I’ll admit that it’s never done anything for me. I’ve tried to like it, but I’m bored by it. I like the Johnson single, but I don’t think it’s one of the best of the year. I do enjoy the Church single though. It’s fun and the production is innovative. I don’t like any of the Nieman songs or Bentley’s “Up on the Ridge”, but “Draw Me a Map” will make my list for sure.

  8. Noeller
    December 7, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Wow, I respect your right to choice, but man, that Niemann album is absolutely one of my Top 5 of the year, and the first two singles are two of the best written songs to be released as singles to radio in a really long time. “What Do You Want” is stunning, for lack of a better term.

    As far as singles, UOTR was the better song, in my opinion, from that disc, but I’m still more partial to Roving Gambler, Pride (In The Name Of Love), and Bad Angel from the disc, though there are no bad tracks, IMO.

    As She’s Walking Away was a brilliant track, because not only were the harmonies great, and the lyrics well thought out and presented, but the melody itself was one of the most interesting pieces of music to be presented in a very long time. You could strip the lyrics, and just release that as an instrumental, and I would still find it captivating. As I said when the single review came out “The guitar work reminds me of Alabama at their peak”.

    Again, though, different strokes for different folks.

  9. stormy
    December 7, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Sam: Try The Killers’ Boots. Its simple, its subtle, is grown up and its very good:

  10. Leeann Ward
    December 7, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    I have to ask, Noeller, have you been to one of Church’s shows yet? I went to one at the beginning of October when he opened for Lambert and I was very unimpressed. I at least thought I’d enjoy him live even if I didn’t like most of his latest album. For his part, however, most of the people that I talked to who were at the show enjoyed him more than they liked Lambert’s show (which was also disappointing, btw). Like me, my friend who accompanied me for the show didn’t like Church’s set at all and wanted it to be over long before it was. Lambert’s was decent, but lacked something intangible. Strangely, even though the Alan Jackson show that I attended the month before was famously low key, it had an amazing connection to the audience, including for me and my friend (the same person who went to the Church/Lambert show with me). Just wondering what your perspective on a Church show is, since you’re are an unabashed champion of his.

  11. Leeann Ward
    December 7, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Somebody at Country Universe just pointed out a similarity between “As She’s Walking Away” and “Hey There, Delilah.” I hadn’t noticed before his comment, but I hear it now.:) Just about everyone that I know loves the song, so I gladly concede the minority there. I like “Pray for You” the first few times that I heard it, but it hasn’t stuck with me; the novelty’s worn off.

  12. Kyle
    December 7, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    The Ashton shepherd song is great. Much better than the jasmine rae version.

  13. Jon
    December 7, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    The Grascals record is mighty fine, and the bonus track version of “I Am Strong” is outstanding – well, it’s a good enough song to stand on its own, but it’s very cool with all the guests.

  14. Leeann Ward
    December 7, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    I’m looking forward to it. Just hate the shipping on those Cracker Barrel exclusives.

  15. Charles Murphy
    December 7, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Chris Stapleton…The BEST male singer in or out of Nashville right now!!!


  16. Kelly
    December 7, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    I’m a bit surprised at the Johnson album coming in at #6, just ahead of The Band Perry and a couple of spots behind Rucker’s album. Something tells me most upcoming lists wont look that way (for good reason, in my opinion).

  17. Noeller
    December 7, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Leeann — I’ve dealt with a lot of internal turmoil (only partially tongue in cheek) over the state of EC’s live show.

    I discovered the “Sinners…” album shortly after it came out (Summer of 2006) and was completely taken by it. Just one of those discs that I knew, immediately, was written by someone exactly like me. If I were a better songwriter, that’s the album I’d write.

    In January of ’07, imagine my surprise when Church was announced as the opener for Dierks’ Canadian Tour with the Doc Walker boys. We went to that show specifically to see Church, and were blown away. His short set is still one of the best pieces of live show that I’ve ever seen, to this day.

    Flash forward nearly 3.5 years, and after months (years?) of talking about making grandiose road trips into the States to see Church play, it’s announced that he’ll be playing the famed “Nashville North” venue at the venerable Calgary Stampede. A buddy of mine, and I, who are both fanatical about EC, immediately made plans, booked off work, the whole 9 yards. Locked down our spots, stage right, and had our faces melted by one of the hardest rock shows I’ve ever seen. Sigh. I’m not sure if my taste in music has changed, or if I just wasn’t “feeling it” that night, but it was a non-stop in-your-face hard rock show. I walked outta the show saying “The songs are still great. They’re still as well written as I imagine, but the presentation isn’t what I wanted…” It felt less like Waylon, and more like Van Halen. Don’t get me wrong, I like Van Halen, but that’s not what I wanted from that show.

    I maintain that Church, in a club, no band, on a stool with his guitar, will blow most people (including Aldean, thank you very much…) outta the water.

  18. Jonathan
    December 7, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    I agree with The Boot’s list of top albums, but “Hello World” as their single of the year? This year has been all about “If I Die Young” for me, it’s my favorite song to come around in years and I also adore the video for it.

    “Hello World” is an okay song, it sounds a bit bombastic and has worn thin for me over time. I have a very hard time calling it country in any way. It’s one of those songs that you tire of very quickly after repeated listenings and I don’t get the message in the song at all.

    The Lady A song that should be getting the praise is “American Honey.” That’s my favorite of their singles from this year even if some reviewers haven’t been so positive about it. It’s actually country and has some life to it.

    I just listened to The Band Perry’s new single “You Lie” and really like it. Another solid song from them. I didn’t care for “Hip To My Heart” that much but they have shown marked improvement since. They may be my favorite act to come around in years and they seem to care about not going pop.

    After the domination from Rascal Flatts for all those years it’s nice to see some other groups reaching a similar level of success. It’ll make the Vocal Group category a bit more interesting come award show time.

    Also, I’m one of those who love “As She’s Walking Away” because it seems fresh and a has 90s country throwback kind of vibe. Plus, I love Zac Brown Band. “Colder Weather,” their next single, is outstanding and a very well-written song. I cannot wait to see the video treatment.

    My only problem with “As She’s Walking Away” is I’m very sick of Alan Jackson who seems to have overstayed his welcome a bit. When he did his Greatest Hits Medley at the ACAs last night, it left me kind of bored. His release of “Ring of Fire” is just further proof to me that he’s loosing his touch. I don’t expect that song to be a hit for him.

    He used to be the go to guy for great country music but I feel like he’s now stuck in the past. His brand isn’t fresh or new anymore and he seems keen on not changing it up. Like Brooks & Dunn, I’m very glad for the run he’s had but I wouldn’t be sad if he chose to retire. He’s had his day in the sun.

    And, the duet album from The Grascals is very exciting. I saw them in concert a few years ago and they are fantastic. Their song on Joe Diffie’s album HOMECOMING is the reason I bought the CD. I cannot wait to pick up this album when it comes out.

  19. stormy
    December 7, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    I like the mandolin on Walking Away.

  20. Leeann Ward
    December 7, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    The second show that you saw is exactly what I saw two months ago. Glad to know we’re on the same page there. Btw, I’d take Church over Aldean any day…not another live show though. Then again, I would automatically skip an Aldean show, which I didn’t do with Church.

    I haven’t looked at the Boot’s album list yet, but it sounds like you’re right. Rucker’s album wouldn’t even be on my top forty for the year, if I could even come up with forty albums for 2010.

  21. Leeann Ward
    December 7, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Of, you’re right that their choice for single of the year is baffling.

  22. Kelly
    December 7, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Leeann, Same here. Truth be told, I’m all for various lists of this sort being unique and having some surprises thrown in, but it’s hard to not scratch your head in a case such as this one. It would be boring to have everyone’s Top 10 look the same. Maybe I’m just so in-love with the JJ album and I’m clouded, but I have a very hard time believing that he’ll be lower than #3 on just about any other prominent 2010 list (and I doubt Rucker will be #1 or #2 in those cases).

  23. Leeann Ward
    December 7, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    I don’t yet know how our list will shake out, since a couple of the CU writers aren’t big on Johnson at all, but I know that he’ll be very near the top for me. I can’t say where yet, because I haven’t even started the process of my final listening for the list yet. I try to listen to all of my potential albums at roughly the same time period before committing to personal rankings.

  24. Thomas
    December 7, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    …hello world? – hello boot???

  25. Vicki
    December 7, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    I disagree with the boot. Hello World as #1? The one song this year had that had everyone feeling was “The House that Built Me”. Also, I still say Jamey Johnson’s The Guitar Song is much better that Zak Brown;s, Lady A’s or Taylor’s. Dierks would be a close second.

  26. Steve Harvey
    December 7, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    That Ashton Shepherd song was the title of Aussie country singer Jasmine’s Rae first album a couple of years ago. Spent eight weeks at #1 on country radio here.

  27. Michael A.
    December 7, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Even if I didn’t quite appreciate numbers 10 through 2 on The Boot’s list of songs, I could at least understand them. “Hello World” was definitely a headscratcher though. There were a few puzzling choices on the albums list too.

  28. Leeann Ward
    December 7, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Surely Rucker and Shelton did not make two of the best albums of the year.

  29. Rick
    December 7, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Wow, I’m really curious as to who put Ashton Shepherd onto that Jasmine Rae song. Jasmine has performed live at Fan Fair in Nashville within the last couple of years after winning the Toyota Starmaker talent quest down under, so my guess is that’s the connection. As much as I like Ashton’s vocals and the mellow production on this take, it pales in comparison to Jasmine’s kick ass original. Jasmine’s version has been known to get a spin at LA’s “Grand Ole Echo” Americana shows whenever I get to act as fill in DJ! (lol)

    The Boot focuses on Top 40 mainstream country artists for the most part, so its “Top 10, Best Of” choices don’t surprise me in the least. Also don’t forget almost all of the staff and contributors are women at that operation. I don’t know which is worse the fact I don’t own any of their Top 10 Albums of 2010 or that I have no interest in acquiring any of them. If I won a contest where I could pick two of them, my choices would be Jamey Johnson and The Band Perry.

    Last night’s ACA show was marred mostly by that idiotic ventriloquist and his redneck dummy. Jeff Foxworthy that combo ain’t by a long shot! Maybe they could have finished more of the songs if that claptrap had been wisely eliminated. On the other hand Rodney Carrington was in the perfect venue to sing “Show Them To Me”! (lol)

  30. Rick
    December 7, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Sunny Sweeney Update! Sunny’s current single “From A Table Away” is currently sitting at the # 21 chart position on the Mediabase 24/7 Country Singles chart and is about to crack the Top 20! To make the Top 20 is a real challenge these days for a new to radio female artist, but Sunny is about to pull it off. Ashton Shepherd peaked at # 20 with her debut single “Takin’Off This Pain” as an example.

    Here is an interesting chart that shows the current number of Mediabase reporting radio stations that have added a particular song to their play lists (out of 126 stations total). These songs are nearing a “close-out” where all 126 stations are giving or have given them a spin:

    Blake Shelton/Who Are You When I’m Not Looking (125 stations)
    Toby Keith/Bullets In The Gun (122-stations)
    Taylor Swift/Back To December (119-stations)
    Lady Antebellum/Hello World (114-stations)
    Joe Nichols/The Shape I’m In (114-stations)
    Sunny Sweeney/From A Table Away (114-stations)
    Jerrod Niemann/What Do You Want (111-stations)

    Sunny is in some pretty good company there! Yes, its taken six months for “From A Table Away” to get to # 21, but it just keeps plugging its way up the charts. Go Sunny!

  31. Noeller
    December 7, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    @Rick — the fact that it’s female staffers makes sense. Not to sound sexist, but that list is more indicative of the type of music that ladies would be into, moreso than dudes. Nothing wrong with it at all, just different tastes.

  32. Jon
    December 8, 2010 at 7:15 am

    @Rick — the fact that it’s female staffers makes sense. Not to sound sexist…

    Too late.

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