Strait’s Songs Becoming Caricature And Jason Aldean Films Johnny Cash Video

Brody Vercher | February 19th, 2007

  • There are some country executives in Nashville who aren’t happy with the way the Grammys unfolded. They feel snubbed since Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts couldn’t perform their own songs and say that this isn’t the only year that country music has been discriminated against, but years past as well, and all the pent up frustration has finally got them to start speaking out.

    “I don’t like to be disrespected for our art,” Galante said. “All I hear is this pious stuff: ‘We’re not commercial. We don’t worry about sales.’ Fine. Recognize the art. Don’t make us sing someone else’s art. No one here in any category is good enough to sing our own material? You are telling me that in a 3½-hour show that you couldn’t find seven minutes for anybody in this town to sing two songs?”

  • Ramiro Burr reports that Montgomery Gentry ended the San Antonio Rodeo with a bang.
  • An all star lineup that was scheduled to include Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Joe Ely and Guy Clark came up one short at the Manship Theater in Louisiana last Thursday night. The flu caused Guy Clark to pull out of the performance, but John Wirt says it was still a special night.

    Frequently singing passionate, even primal material, Hiatt and Ely were by far the most demonstrative and aggressive of the trio. Lovett leaned to the quiet side, singing introspective, nostalgic songs as well as material featuring his unusually clever, wry lyrics.

  • Mark Guarino from the Daily Herald wrote a concert review about George Strait and questions whether he should change his musical style. A few quotes:

    Yet there were times when that familiarity, stretched to a nearly two-hour limit, began thinning. Despite his everyman swagger, a change would do Strait a world of good.

    Aside from that, how many songs about cowboys missing his Texas home can one man sing before it becomes caricature? These songs stuck to the same palette until they became indistinguishable. He — and particularly his band — only flickered to life on the more challenging material, whipping the antiquated blues standard “Milk Cow Blues” into a dazzling group interaction or using the western swing of “Take Me Back To Tulsa” to get couples dancing in the aisles.

    I personally like Strait’s style and wouldn’t want him to change, he’s obviously found a formula for success (hello, fifty-four number ones) and should stick with what works for him.

  • Daryle Singletary’s new album, Straight From The Heart, is due out next week and About.com already has a nice review, giving it four and a half stars. I didn’t realize it was going to have so many covers, but it should be interesting to see how he interprets them. I also noticed that he’ll be coming out with a live CD tomorrow.
  • Remember that new Jason Aldean single, Johnny Cash, that’s getting a lot of press lately? All About Country says that the video for the single was shot in Las Vegas over the weekend (one of the more exciting NBA All-Star games took place in Vegas this weekend as well, just sayin’). Aldean almost lost all the work he’s done on his new album when the studio he was recording in burned to the ground. His producer said had the fire spread four more feet everything would have been gone. We’ve linked to it before, but in case you missed it Country Universe has a review of the single.
  • I guess being photographed with model Marissa Miller for the 2007 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition will help convince some of the skeptics that Kenny Chesney isn’t gay.
  1. Matt C.
    February 19, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    Great news roundup, Brody. I have several comments (sorry):

    Grammys: Joe Galante is exactly right. It’s pathetic that at America’s biggest music awards show, the country’s most popular genre does not get to perform one current song and is reduced to covering politically correct West Coast rock songs. Of course, the Grammys’ dislike of country music is nothing new and most Music Row figures have come to accept it but this year their efforts to snub and insult mainstream country and Nashville were extraordinary.

    This year, with all the awards the Chicks got, the Grammys can’t even take the sanctimonious position that they’re only about rewarding artistry. Besides, I agree with Keith Urban, who has commented that there’s nothing wrong with making popular music and there’s a unique kind of artistry involved in building strong hooks that people like. Ok, Rascal Flatts excepted.

    King George: This is nothing new. People have been complaining for George’s entire career that all of his songs sound the same. He’s the only traditional Honky-Tonk artist left on country radio and I don’t want to see him change. I wonder how long he can keep going as is and reinventing himself at this point would only hasten his demise. If he or his band seems flat at times, I imagine it has a lot to do with the fact that George Strait probably likes being a country star about the least of any artist out there.

    “Straight From The Heart”: Daryle Singletary is a great cover artist. He released a similar album several years ago called “That’s Why I Sing This Way.” The title cut, an original, is bright, fun and traditional, probably my favorite Daryle Singletary song (though “I Let Her Lie” is close). The album contains several great covers of underappreciated classic country songs, including one of my all-time favorites, Johnny Paycheck’s “Old Violin.” At times I even think that Daryle improved on the original.

    Kenny: Not sure if this photoshoot is an intentional PR move following the gay rumors or just a coincidence, but it’s not going to put anything to rest. There were whisperings about Kenny Chesney even before his divorce and the reference to “fraud” in the divorce petition certainly didn’t help anything. Honestly, I think that Kenny Chesney looks gay and wouldn’t be shocked to find out that he is.

  2. Brady Vercher
    February 19, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    I always like reading your insightful comments, Matt, but could you clarify what you meant about George Strait? Are you saying that he likes being a star the least or that he has a problem with country? I do have to agree with you about not wanting to see him change, though.

  3. Matt C.
    February 19, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    I have no doubt that George Strait loves country music. However, it is well known that he is a shy, humble guy who dislikes many aspects of stardom. He doesn’t give many interviews or make many music videos and doesn’t play a lot of live shows. I’m sure at this point that retirement has crossed his mind and I don’t think touring has ever been his favorite activity so I wouldn’t be suprised to hear that he seems flat in some of his live shows.

  4. Kevin
    February 21, 2007 at 3:20 am

    I’m so tired of the whining about the face time country artists get on the Grammys. Could somebody please name for me another genre that gets two 3-hour prime-time network award shows to exclusively showcase that one type of music? There was only one rock band and one rap artist on the Grammys this year, and those genres don’t have their own ACM and CMA awards interrupting regularly scheduled programming. The shows are even well-timed to capitalize on big months for record releases (May, November). Other genres would kill for that kind of visibility, but the country music industry takes it for granted.

    This year, the Grammys gave all four of the big categories to country artists for the first time, and all the Nashville industry does is bash them for still calling the Chicks country and not letting Carrie Underwood sing her own song, despite the fact that the whole Wills/Eagles tribute was initiated by Underwood’s reps. Instead of capitalizing on that success, the country industry has made a point to separate itself from it. The new ways Music Row finds to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory never cease to amaze me.

  5. Brady Vercher
    February 21, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    Thanks for clearing that up, Matt, I just didn’t know what you meant at first. I’m pretty sure George Strait loves country as well. I’ve only seen him in concert one time and it was from the uppermost seat in the arena, but I had a good time. I wonder if he really seems flat or maybe people just don’t understand his personality and are expecting some high flying act. Either way, I hope he doesn’t change.

  6. Brody Vercher
    February 21, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    I know you said you were tired of the whining, Kevin, but here’s another article from GAC with an intriguing quote from Don Henley, “the Eagles camp feels very badly that these young artists were not allowed to perform their own material.”

  7. bruiser
    August 8, 2007 at 12:58 am

    Yeah, those pictures should take care of the rumors. No one would ever suspect a man that does modeling could be gay.

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