What’s Wrong With Modern Country – Part 3: Name Dropping

Alright, so we’ve talked about dirt roads. We’ve talked about Pop Singers. What’s missing from our rants and raves about what Nashville has done to ruin the name of Country Music, in the modern world? Hmm…AHA! I know…NAME DROPPING! Here we go…


Ever since Hank Williams Jr. released the song “A Country Boy Can Survive”, everybody has tried to have their own song just like that! That’s never been more obvious than it is now. But, the problem is not so much that they try to copy the song. The problem is, they reference that song every chance they get, and they name off the same artists, as if they’re just words: Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Waylon Jennings, and Willie Nelson. And, they rarely say Hank Williams. They say “Hank” or “Ol’ Hank” or something like that, as if they’re connected to him somehow. I heard a song the other day by a guy named Brantley Gilbert, and of course, the music sounded like Slipknot. And, as expected he sounded like Jethro when he sang, and as expected, he sang about “redneck hell yeah dirt road” things. The chorus contained the most irritating name dropping I’ve ever heard. It referenced “Cash, Hank, Willie, and Waylon” all in the same breath. He’s not the only one who’s done this, though. Other modern Nashville artists have gone the route of name dropping legendary Country artists, in hopes that it will somehow validate their own music. Here’s the problem with that, though. The new artists have no talent. They CERTAINLY aren’t on the level of Cash, Hank, Willie, or Waylon, and they certainly don’t play the same style of music! But, if you combine the dirt roads with the name dropping, they think it’s hard to not call them country. I mean, after all, you find dirt roads when you’re in the country, and you hear Cash, Hank, Willie, and Waylon in Country music, so obviously, if these guys write songs with lyrics about both of those things, that automatically makes them Country artists, right? WRONG! Take this as a lesson, kids: Name dropping established, respected, legendary artists DOES NOT validate your own music! If anything, it just shows that you’re perfectly fine with riding off their name and the name of Country music, and you’re perfectly fine with putting their names and the name of Country Music to shame. There’s nothing I can respect about that!


And with that, we’ve successfully wrapped up what’s wrong with Nashville! I’m surprised I didn’t die of high blood pressure problems! Thank you all for putting up with my rants over the past few months! I’ll be taking a break for a bit. Hopefully, we’ll meet again soon! For now, so long, have a Merry Christmas, and hopefully you’ve learned something from these posts!


Name dropping – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8peBUdlUNmM

REAL Country – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WXYjm74WFI



What’s Wrong With Modern Country – Part 2: Pop Singers

So, in Part 1, we discussed the dirt road songs, and how they’ve helped ruin Country Music. Well, this time I’ll be ranting and raving about Nashville’s Pop Singers, and how THEY’VE ruined the name of Country Music. Here we go…


Towards the late 90’s, singers like Trisha Yearwood and Martina McBride were HUGE stars! They also just happened to be from the last generation of singers that had some aspects of real Country in their music. Then, American Idol became popular, and a young girl from Oklahoma auditioned. Her name was Carrie Underwood…that should be all I’ve got to say, but I’ll continue anyway. Once she won American Idol, she was immediately signed to a record deal, and she wasn’t allowed to have ANY aspects of real Country in her music. This is when the Nashville business executives finally figured out how to make money! At the time, the biggest artists were people like Kelly Clarkson, so Nashville figured out that all they’ve got to do is hire songwriters that write hit songs for people like Kelly Clarkson, and then once they have a young, pretty female singer, they make her sing those songs, and they add synthesizers and a Pop/Rock band, and all of a sudden, they have an artist almost identical to Kelly Clarkson. Then, they call it Country music, and they promote the heck out of it. Slowly, corporations like Clear Channel sneak the songs onto Country stations AND Pop stations, that way it artificially creates a “Crossover Hit” for the artist, and they tell the Pop music fans that it’s Country music, although there’s absolutely no difference between that and Kelly Clarkson. But, the fans follow just like sheep, and all of a sudden, the Nashville executives have all the Pop fans under the “Country” roof, and they get all the money! The most successful example of this happened recently with Taylor Swift, who has NEVER put out any music that sounds like Country music. She’s also never put out any good music, but that’s another story. Used to, female Country singers sang honest, real life songs. Taylor Swift should never be put in the same category as Tammy Wynette. This, my friends, is one more reason to boycott Nashville. They’re the ones who have done this.


Next, we’ll wrap it all up by calling out Nashville’s “Country” artists for name dropping!


This is what Nashville calls Country – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNoKguSdy4Y

REAL Country – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsaQoSBJ7PQ


What’s Wrong With Modern Country – Part 1: Dirt Roads

Alright. Now it’s the moment that you’ve all been waiting for…I’m going to rant and rave about everything that’s wrong with modern Country Music, otherwise known as Nashville Music, since it’s the furthest thing from Country Music that could ever be made! First thing’s first: Dirt Roads.


So, what’s the big deal with dirt roads, some of you may ask. Well, that’s kind of my point, exactly. A few years ago, there was a Jason Aldean song that mentioned dirt roads. After that became a huge hit on the charts, everyone had to get a piece of the action. The result is what you hear today. Songs about dirt roads, back roads, country roads. It’s all the same thing. Everybody talks about how there are parties on these dirt roads, and they get loud and proud and “Hell yeah! Pickup truck! High school flame! Cold beer! Get loud! Hell yeah! Redneck!”, or something to that affect. Well, I’ve lived on a dirt road my whole life. Believe me when I tell you that there is no partying to be done on a dirt road. It’s all fake. This is all part of the “Redneck rebel hell yeah” image. The image consultants that work for the record labels take the artists, and force them to adopt the redneck image, because it sells better. But, back to the dirt road. Used to, Country Music was popular because the songs were about real things, that people could relate to. Well, the only reason people can relate to modern songs is because they live on dirt roads…that’s it…that’s as far as it goes. There’s nothing to a dirt road. There certainly aren’t meaningful songs in them. And, if you actually pay attention, rather than being sucked into the Nashville game, you should notice that the lyrics are all the same. They’re just flipped around. It’s all for money. If one guy has a hit with a dirt road song, everybody wants to have a dirt road song. The music has nothing to do with Country. It sounds like Slipknot. It doesn’t matter if the singer sounds like Jethro, and talks about dirt roads and hell yeah rebel redneck country pride pickup truck beer I’m from the south hell yeah. And that’s the problem.


Next, we’ll talk about Nashville’s Pop Stars.


Dirt Road – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lb9q1ScC4cg

REAL Country – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sdwCoR0HeA


How To Have Longevity

Every time you hear discussions about the music business, you always hear one word: longevity. Well, if you don’t hear it every time, you probably should. The reason is, nobody seems to know how to have longevity in a music career anymore. The answer has always been right in front of everybody. It’s right under your nose. It’s so close you can taste it. It’s so close that you’re on fire, if you happen to be playing the “Hot or Cold” game. It’s something that was done in the 60’s and 70’s more than any other time period in music history. It’s something that became strongly associated with the Singer/Songwriter movement, and rightfully so. It’s the key to longevity. Are you ready? Do you think you can handle it? Prepare to have your mind blown…here it goes…honesty. That’s it. Just be honest. Why do you think guys like John Prine, Kris Kristofferson, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, and Bob Seger made it so big? They were honest. They didn’t make up a bunch of music that nobody could relate to. That’s what Pop music was for, and still is for. The singer/songwriters are like the “Checks and Balances” for the music business. They’re there to make sure that there’s always someone in the music business that’s telling the truth. You don’t hear that on the radio. Why? Well, it doesn’t sell today. But, it will sell tomorrow, and if you weren’t honest today, you won’t be relevant tomorrow. Every day, somebody gets sick and tired of the fairytale life they’ve been told about through the music on modern Pop radio, so they go listen to singer/songwriters that are very rarely played on any radio station. That’s how they find honesty in music. Afterwards, those people will be loyal to the artist, just as long as they artist continues to be honest with them. So, if you want to be successful today, sing a fairytale. If you want to be successful from tomorrow til’ the end of time, be honest. Tell it like it is. It works a lot better that way.


John Prine – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9DA-u2EhmA

Kris Kristofferson – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=men-059FGL0


Who Has The Perfect Song For Every Mood?

There are songwriters that even I take for granted every day. Songwriters that have influenced my style, and have changed my life. Songwriters that changed the music world forever. Songwriters that said everything that I was feeling at a particular time. But, that being said, there’s one guy, who I’ve written an blog about before, who has the perfect song for every mood I’m in. He has funny songs. He has sad songs. He has happy songs. He has fast songs. He has slow songs. He has every kind of song I need to get through a day. That guy is John Prine. I didn’t realize until today that he’s written the perfect song for any mood you could ever be in. And I’ve never been able to figure out how he did it until now. His songs are the perfect songs for any mood, because he doesn’t try to lace the storyline in clever riddles or big words. He just tells it like it is. If his woman’s running away for no reason, he doesn’t say something like “Your roving eye rambles like the sky under the autumn stars as they sneak past a runaway train thing.” or some junk like that. He says “You’re out there running just to be on the run.”, which as any Prine fan knows, is from The Speed of The Sound of Loneliness. If you spent the weekend with the one you love, and you’ll have to be without her until the next weekend, the only thing in your mind is “It’s gonna be a long Monday.” Well, that’s a John Prine song, too. If your life’s a roller coaster, then “You’re up one day. The next you’re down.” That’s a John Prine song. He’s written life. Simple as that.


Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2e9wWFg-pI

Long Monday – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yrfWZU0ltM


When Johnny Cash was left alone

After the 80’s, Columbia Records dumped Johnny Cash, after a series of albums that didn’t come anywhere close to selling as many copies as the “popular” artists of the time. At the time, groups like Alabama were at the top of the charts, simply because “Country” radio and Nashville business executives were going after a certain demographic, simply because they knew how to make a quick buck. They took Pop music, and called it Country, so they could get more fans under the same roof, and make more money. They have done this now more than ever, but in the 80’s and 90’s, they ignored Johnny Cash while doing it. I don’t think they would ever get away with that today, if Johnny were still alive. After Johnny signed with Rick Rubin on American Recordings in the 90’s, he began to make records that reflected the roots of his music, and of Country music in general. These albums have been regarded as classics, yet they’re only about 20 years old. As soon as they were released, Johnny became the center of attention in the Rock and MTV world, gaining awards and video plays from MTV, and several Grammys. Yet, Nashville completely ignored him, which made them look like fools, to those who hadn’t already been sucked into the Nashville game, which was growing at the time. Later, the Nashville establishment would honor him for these great albums…after he died. This proved how phony Nashville is. Everyone acted all sad when he passed away in Nashville, but they didn’t do anything to respect him in his final years. They treated him like he didn’t exist. That can’t be forgiven, and they don’t deserve to be forgiven for it, probably. Funny…see a recurring theme? Nashville’s to blame for almost everything wrong in music. Hmm…coincidence…I think not.


Great documentary about Cash’s Rick Rubin albums: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uL-oFV9SE6U

Live version of Drive On from the first Cash/Rubin album: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5h1139x_ns


Les Paul – A Man Taken Forgranted By Many

For every musician, we can’t go a day without being near something that Les Paul did. Every time we pick up a solid body electric guitar. Every time we use multi-track recording devices or software. Every time we do live looping. We’re using the inventions of Les Paul: The man who changed the music world forever! I play a Les Paul, so I experience his magic every day! This man left behind a life full of accomplishments, and creations that have helped all of us in the music business. I remember the first time I saw a Les Paul, and knew that it’s what I wanted to play. It was Ace Frehley of KISS on a VH1 Special documentary. I loved the sound of it. It was like nothing that I had ever heard before. Later, I heard players like Billy F. Gibbons of ZZ Top, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Joe Walsh of The Eagles and The James Gang, and more that would give me the reassured feeling that a Les Paul was the guitar I needed. I ended up saving up enough money to get one that was basic. It didn’t have special binding, gold hardware, or any other flashy cosmetic details that usually raise the price considerably in Gibson guitars. It was just a Les Paul. No fancy details. Just the instrument. It cost $600, and that’s cheap for a Les Paul. Once I plugged it in, it sounded and felt like all of the $2000 Les Paul’s that I had tried out in stores. That’s when I realized that the flashy cosmetic details don’t make the sound. The guitar does. I still have it, and it still works great! And, although I’m a very simple musician, I have used multi-track recording before. As I said before, it’s hard to go a day without using something that Les Paul graced in some way. I doubt there will ever be another human being as influential as him again. R.I.P. Les. Still miss ya!


The reason I play a Les Paul: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xENOhoyQw5U

Great interview with Les Paul: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhdAWQaEsjA