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I knew the second that we put this song out, that I’d get picked on in every little way. I play a Takamine guitar [built overseas], so I’m gonna get picked on. But the truth behind that is that Fender [a U.S.-based company] owns Takamine. ●
- – Toby Keith has a big ol’ target on his back, but “Made Overseas by a Company Based in America” doesn’t have quite the same patriotic ring to it.
Todd is a genius, a funny guy, one of the only people I could put my hand on a Bible and say, ‘This guy was born on stage, he is fantastic.’ ●
- – Robert Earl Keen on Todd Snider. Keen covers “Play a Train Song” on his new album, out tomorrow.
‘Concrete’ is the best album from a new artist this year. Technically it’s the singer’s second album, but the first was released with so little fanfare that it’s plenty safe to call this her debut album. ●
- – As a big fan of Sunny Sweeney’s “Heartbreaker’s Hall of Fame” (which was, by the way, reissued on Big Machine after its initial self-release), I am understandably galled by this logic.
An aw-shucks troubadour with a regular-guy mien, Mr. Shelton has been an important figure in the sanding down of country’s rougher aesthetic edges, as important as Brad Paisley and his humor, Mr. Chesney and his beach-bum attitude, and Keith Urban and his hair.
The true patron saint of contemporary country soft rockers, though, is Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum, lighter in presence and better in grooming than anyone since Kenny Rogers. (Or Eddy Arnold.) What’s emerging now is practically a modern updating of the countrypolitan movement, the moment in the late ’60s and ’70s when country became almost indistinguishable from certain strains of pop music. ●
- – Jon Caramanica has an interesting New York Times editorial on the current generation of male country hitmakers called “Their Soft and Not-So-Rowdy Ways.” Recommended reading.
If you’re a George Strait fan, a good month just got better with the announcement of his new greatest hits album. “Icon”, an 11-song single disc collection of No. 1 hits and signature tracks will be released September 13. ●
- – If you’re a George Strait fan excited by the release of yet another Strait hits collection, I’ve got some ocean front property in Arizona for you.
… my voice is unique in that it does a lot of things. I’m sure my record label thought it was a curse, but for me it was a blessing. The country record is the one that I asked them to please try to do for me. So here we are 10 years later. The next one will probably be opera. ●
- – Now that she has, ahem, mastered country with “I Want Somebody (Bitch About)” and its soon-to-be-released album, Kristin Chenoweth is ready to try her hand at opera.
Country always wanted to really be country, and I don’t blame them – be what you want to be. I spoke at a country seminar one year, and I told them, “Guys, what you’re trying to do is protect a type of music, and those of us who are out there doing it are trying to protect careers. We’re trying to last longer, touch more people with our music. I guarantee you in three years you won’t be playing Garth Brooks or Shania Twain.” This was in the peak of their careers-and they all laughed at me. Sure enough, three years later, they weren’t playing them. So what are [these artists] supposed to do if they don’t have some other source of income [or] airplay other than country? When that’s over, our careers are over. ●
- – Country radio being the fickle mistress she is, Kenny Rogers think it behooves artists to diversify and seek crossover airplay elsewhere.
I’ve invented my own name for it. It’s ‘funtry’ music. It doesn’t matter if it’s country or rock and roll or R&B or whatever it is, as long as it’s fun to play. ●
- – Pretty sure Jeff Cook (of Alabama and the Allstar Goodtime Band) will keep that coinage all to himself.
People remember when you feed them. They do. ●
- – Zac Brown on the simple philosophy behind his eat-and-greets.