This isn’t okay.

Vince Gill Moments ads

Right? We can all agree that this isn't okay? Upon clicking a link to see's "Five Times Vince Gill Astonished Us With His Talent" and enduring a pop-up video ad I couldn't escape, I arrived at the page to find five embedded YouTube clips and 157 airy words of alleged 'content' followed by the below collection of irredeemably trashy, bottom-of-the-barrel ads disguised as related posts. A far cry from the astonishing, artful experience I had been promised. This sort of … [Read more...]

Garth Brooks isn’t on iTunes.


Garth Brooks isn't on iTunes. You probably already know that. It's not a big secret. In fact, with the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, and AC/DC having all come around within the past few years, Garth is one of the only major iTunes holdouts remaining. Apparently a big believer in album-as-body-of-work, he doesn't want his songs available à la carte. He doesn't like the fixed pricing structure, either. And so he vows to not do business with iTunes until they effectively let him control how … [Read more...]

Critics aren’t the problem. Opinions are.

Shania Twain still

In a recent interview with CMT's Craig Shelburne, Shania Twain revealed the last potential hiccup that all the months of preparation and rehearsal for her big return to performing (in her own Las Vegas spectacular, no less) had failed to address. Namely, the critics. I think the only thing that makes me nervous is the critics. The fans are who I’m out there for. I’m there for them, and I feel it. They’re there for the same reason that I’m there. We love music, and we love the … [Read more...]

The best of songs, the worst of songs.

What if we based our opinion of every singer on his or her worst song? - George Jones would be known for "I'm a People," not "He Stopped Loving Her Today." - Randy Travis couldn't get through an interview without being asked about "I'll Be Right Here Loving You." - Every Dolly Parton retrospective would begin and end with "Drunkenstein." - Jamey Johnson's lasting legacy would be "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" and "Rebelicious." - We'd never let Miranda Lambert live "Over You" … [Read more...]

Love ‘em while they’re here.

At my first Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in 2009, I planted myself in front of the Banjo Stage for a stellar Sunday line-up that ran, in order: Darrell Scott, Hazel Dickens, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, Del McCoury. (Overcrowding and shot nerves meant skipping out on Emmylou Harris for an Old Crow Medicine Show hootenanny in one of the festival's less claustrophobic areas.) It wasn't that long ago, but it'll never happen again. In fact, it can't. Nearly half of the 2009 … [Read more...]

Most people don’t get it.

Once you get over the initial shock, that fact can actually be pretty liberating. After nearly four years of blogging, this site is seen by thousands of people each week. Only a fraction of them find enough value in it to return for a second visit, much less become regular readers. Even fewer comment. Bloggers spend considerable time figuring out what's worth covering, thinking about how to write it up as succinctly and entertainingly as possible, designing a pleasing page on which to display … [Read more...]

How bad can it be, anyway?


That's the question that sometimes compels me to tune into a local country station to study up on what the average mainstream music listener in 2012 conceives of as 'country music.' More often than not, I end up surprised, reminded of why I stopped listening to country radio some time ago and haven't bothered reviewing any singles since last April. (Basically, I got tired of being disappointed all the time and decided to focus more of my attention on things that don't drive me crazy.) Now, … [Read more...]