Bless ‘Em, Blame ‘Em – October 3


The MacArthur Foundation, for awarding Chris Thile (Punch Brothers, Nickel Creek, Goat Rodeo Sessions) one of its ‘genius grants’ worth $500,000 over the next five years. Thile has indicated he might use some of the money to fund a chamber music project for a bluegrass quintet.

Taylor Swift, for donating $10,000 and concert tickets for every student to Boston’s Horace Mann School for the Deaf after internet pranksters voted to send the, er, occasionally pitch-challenged singer there to perform a free concert. If the Mann School had to be disqualified from the contest (the on-campus concert went to Harvey Mudd College in California), kudos to Swift for showing some class in navigating a tricky situation.

The Grand Ole Opry, for a nice 50th anniversary celebration for Loretta Lynn that featured Lee Ann Womack, Pistol Annies, Crystal Gayle, and Trace Adkins.


The Grand Ole Opry, for inviting Darius Rucker to become a member. Early inductions are by no means unprecedented – in fact, Lynn joined just two years after her first single, before any of the hits she’s known for now. But in light of the people who haven’t yet been asked, Rucker’s invitation feels a bit like Pete Fisher and company are so flattered by the novelty of a crossover star showing a sincere interest in the genre that they’ve lost their heads. Charley Pride waited 23 years longer than Rucker to receive his invitation.

Jennifer Nettles, Keith Urban, and Taylor Swift, for tweeting about how much they enjoy “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line. How much does FGL suck? Their EP is titled It’z Just What We Do. That’s “it’z,” with a Z. Yeah.

These guys. Also, the (apparently real) girls replying with YouTube comments such as “i would sooo Cruise with any of y’all anytime without any hesitation whatsoever!” and “Back row, center guy. Marry me?? We can cruise any day antime(; … But seriously ur Hott(; lol call me lol.” I think I need a Zoloft now…

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  1. says

    Considering that the Opry needs country singers more than country singers need the Opry, they’ll probably offer membership to anyone who shows a remote interest in the place. Colt Ford can’t be too far behind.

  2. ChurchsChicken says

    I was reading about the Rucker invitation, and realized I just don’t care anymore who is or isn’t in the Opry, or which singer is or isn’t making good music, or doing well on the charts. It just no longer matters to me. I listen to country music a bit in my car to make the trip less boring and lately thats about it. I guess I’m moving on to new interests. So I wont be visiting this site anymore. I’ve enjoyed reading it over the years though, but im just no longer that into country music.

  3. Robert Atcher says

    I was appalled when Rucker got the new artist award. Did they really think his time with Hootie and the Blowfish was in an alternate universe? He had a built in audience. Kinda like Kenny Rogers post-First Edition. Just more Nashville pandering.

  4. Blake Boldt says

    Part of the problem with the Opry has been the sporadic attendance of some of its cast members. Carrie is one of the few cast members under the age of 50 who make regular appearances. The Opry has to fill their slots somehow, I suppose.

  5. Paul W Dennis says

    I don’t have any problem with inviting Darius Rucker to become an Opry member. He brings many positives to the Opry, and I don’t doubt his sincere interest in the Opry. There are many tracks on the Hootie & The Blowfish albums that you could slip onto country radio (labelling them with a different group name) and no one would be the wiser – heck, local country stations around here DID play some ‘Hootie’ material

    The word is that the first album Rucker submitted to his label was “too country” – that says a lot

    I’m not trashing this decision

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