- Loretta Lynn, for retaining her fire. Asked (by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) what she’d still like to accomplish in her career, Lynn shot back: “I want to have more hits. Giving up is for quitters! No one says anything anymore [in songs]. They need me out there.” Go get ‘em, Loretta.
- The estimable George Jones, for knowing when to quit. His voice has been in decline for years – it’s rare to find a concert review that doesn’t mention shortness of breath – so it comes as something of a relief to see that he has announced his farewell tour for 2013. Getting out while there’s still a little something left in the tank isn’t a bad thing.
- Darrell Scott and Tim O’Brien, who are releasing a live duo album called We’re Usually a Lot Better Than This on October 9. Recorded at two shows in 2005 and 2006, the setlist includes covers of Townes Van Zandt, Lefty Frizzell, Hank Williams, Gordon Lightfoot, and Keith Whitley. If you’ve heard Real Time, their Grammy-nominated studio collaboration from 2000, you know this’ll be a treat.
- The Pistol Annies, for prominently featuring (in their Henhouse) a Spotify playlist that includes Merle Haggard, Patty Loveless, Buddy & Julie Miller, Hayes Carll, Brandi Carlile, Guy Clark, Chris Knight, Old Crow Medicine Show, and more. Between promoting great acts like these, giving Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe a larger platform, and serving as the de facto home of Miranda Lambert’s better musical instincts, the Pistol Annies are doing quite a bit of good for country music.
- The designer of the Darrell Scott/Tim O’Brien album cover above… presumably, Borat Sagdiyev.
- Taylor Swift, for the regression signaled by “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Might as well throw in the 623,000 people who enabled her by paying to dowload it – the biggest digital sales week ever for a female artist – and the 116 reporting country stations that rushed to add it to their playlists. (The second most-added song in that same time period? Dierks Bentley’s “Tip It on Back”… with 21.)
- Rascal Flatts, for thinking that a line of Rascal Flatts theme restaurants is a good idea. I’ll take two of your Deep-Fried Gary LeVox Bacon Sirloin Sliders, please.
- The Grand Ole Opry, for throwing its doors open to this: