Luke Bryan, you officially have a rival for the clumsiest entertainer in country music. When we first heard of the return of Garth Brooks, we all wondered if he would ring up the score on the younger Bro-Country pups, but we didn’t know it would be from how many times he’s waxed on stage.
Garth experienced a pretty serious fall during his Saturday, January 10th show at Tulsa’s BOK Center, the third such fall since his comeback tour commenced, and the culprit was once again a familiar one.
Garth’s stage setup on his comeback tour has more gadgets than a Swiss Army knife. It breathes fire, shoots lasers, belches smoke, has retractable video screens, endless lights, and a glowing “orb” as a centerpiece. Another feature of the stage is two conveyor belt-type devices running opposite ways that work like suped-up people movers at an airport, rushing Garth from one side of the stage to the other.
And once again while in the midst of singing his cover of Aerosmith’s “Fever” from his 1995 albumFresh Horses, it appears Garth loses his footing on the conveyor belt, sending him careening out-of-control. One of the reasons Garth might see YouTube as the devil is because now the incident isn’t just captured in the minds of the Tulsa concertgoers, but is here to relive over and over…at least until his bulldog lawyers threaten lawsuits and it gets yanked like the previous footage of falls.
Yuck it up fuzzballs, like you’ve never taken a spill … on a million-dollar stage while performing for tens of thousands, on weird-ass conveyor belts that don’t seem to serve very much purpose.
Many already regarded the Travis Tritt song “Country Ain’t Country” from his 2002 album Strong Enough as a slightly-veiled protest song preaching against the changes in the country genre, even though the actual lines of the song deal much more with wider reaching cultural and geographical issues. But apparently there’s an original verse that doesn’t appear in the recorded version that overtly criticized CMT (Country Music Television), that Tritt has been using in the tune during the last few years on tour.
Written by Teresa Boaz, Carson Chamberlain, and Casey Beathard, “Country Ain’t Country” became the second single from Strong Enough and did decent in the charts, ending up at #26 on Billboard. But Columbia Nashville may have never allowed it to see the light of day if the controversial verse Tritt’s been using lately had been included. “You turn CMT on, and you wonder what for. Country ain’t country no more,” it chides.
For a while now, Tritt has been touring as a one man band, taking the stage with just a stool and a guitar, telling stories and showing off his under-appreciated guitar skills. When he took the stage Saturday night, January 10th in Greensboro, NC at the sold out Carolina Theater, the dig at CMT was well-received by the audience.
What’s interesting about the omitted line is that according to Tritt, it isn’t something new. It was part of the original composition and was cut out for political correctness. That means even in 2002, the line “You turn CMT on, and you wonder what for,” some dozen years before CMT and its parent company Viacom would turn the network into nothing more than yet another reality show channel perpetuating negative stereotypes of the previous demographic it used to serve, the sentiment of the censored line still resonated with the writers. Even more interesting is that Tritt actuallyperformed the song on CMT near its release.
The line that replaced the CMT line in the studio recording is “There’s no turning back, and you just can’t ignore,” but Saving Country Music also dredged up another version of the line used in the late oughts by Tritt before the CMT line where he says, “He turns his radio on, sometimes he wonders what for…” so maybe the CMT line is more recent, and the original line was about radio. Either way, people who thought Tritt was making a deeper statement about the state of country music when the song first came out were apparently right.
Travis Tritt has been flashing a penchant for speaking out about the state of country lately. In June of 2014 he went on a Twitter rant against Brantley Gilbert after he felt the young star disrespected him as an opener. And in January of 2014, he told Peter Cooper of The Tennessean, “I’d say to any of the new people coming out, ‘Find the courage to step out and try it your way.’ Otherwise, what we get is a cookie-cutter mentality that isn’t good for artists who are having to portray themselves as something they aren’t, or that are capable of doing so much more but are being stifled.”
Something tells me we won’t see the revised version of “Country Ain’t Country” on CMT’s Top 20 countdown anytime soon
On Wednesday morning (1-7) when Saving Country Music received an unsolicited email from a “Sir Mashalot” touting a video that had been uploaded to YouTube back on November 4th of 2014, who knew that it would become the first country music viral sensation of the young, fertile year. As some have pointed out, it is not exactly a new concept or enterprise to put together a mashup of similar songs.
There’s been numerous of these examples presented over the years, but mostly within the pop medium, once again offering further evidence that country music has become the pop of the present-day music world. But this mashup seemed to be done with an extra bit of heart, really delving deep to illustrate similarities and trends; technical enough in nature to be smart, but with an audio element to be easily accessible. That is why it resonated as it did.
So even though Saving Country Music has seen similar illustrations and passed on featuring them previously, it seemed this one was worth shining a little bit bigger of a spotlight on in whatever capacity could be achieved. Subsequently a video that racked up only 400-something views in the two months after it had been initially posted has gone über viral, racking up nearly 2.2 million views at the time of this post, and counting.
Mashup Illustrates How Many Country Hits Are The Same
The post went so viral so quickly Thursday morning, Saving Country Music’s server crashed momentarily. Within 36 hours, media outlets all over the internet, including legacy magazine Timehad featured the mashup, and NPR’s All Things Considered had interviewed its creator, Nashville songwriter Greg Todd. The “Mind-Blowing Six Country Song Mashup” had gone mega-viral.
So the next question is, why does something like Greg Todd’s mashup, or Saving Country Music’s review of Florida Georgia Line’s Anything Goes from October, or Grady Smith’s video “Why Country Music Was Awful in 2013,” or Blake Shelton’s “Old Farts & Jackasses” comments find a way to resonate so widely when on the surface they seem to represent dissenting, minority viewpoints?
Beyond the technical reasons dealing with an interconnected social world, it’s because a distaste for what has happened to country music permeates American culture within a silent majority. It may be easy to see all of the attention acts like Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan are getting and think this is what the masses want, but underneath the surface there’s another parallel universe that is sickened by these trends, and when they see a piece of media or read something that perfectly illustrates what they feel inside, then said media can reach the viral capacity.
What’s even more interesting is that many of the people who this new mashup video resonates with are people who don’t really consider themselves country fans, traditional or mainstream. But country music still inhabits a place in their cultural ethos, and they have a profound sense that something is wrong. Their grandfather listened to it, they hear it in passing, and they know what country music is supposed to sound like, and the place it exists in culture. And even now these people—people who come from the outside looking in, with only a surface understanding of what country music is—are concerned for what is happening to what they see as an American cultural institution.
On Friday, a local sports station out of Dallas, TX called The Ticket had their afternoon show The Hardline dedicate an entire segment to the mashup. The show semi-regularly lampoons Bro-Country and its offshoots, and had been smattered with emails all day, proving how broad and effusive the distaste for modern country is where it bleeds into other cultural segments.
Some laugh that there’s a contingent of folks out there that actually enjoy the mashed up song, while others will point out that songwriter Greg Todd says himself he’s not necessarily hating on the songs as much as trying to prove a point. Part of this has to do with some media outlets wanting to get in on the viral event, but not wanting to cheese off their buddies on Music Row and trying to paint a more rosy picture. Make no mistake, this mashup made its rounds to the power players at Nashville’s major labels, and they will soon be huddling up to make damage control assessments. But if people enjoy the song, it’s just more proof how effective the mashup is.
This isn’t a “if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it” type of scenario. These songs are everywhere, playing in commercials and sporting events, at the grocery store and in the car at the stop light beside you. And more and more Americans of all stripes and backgrounds are asking, “What has happened to country music? It all sounds the same.”
Greg Todd and his mashup video answered that question.
The voice of George Jones continues to reign as one of Country Music’s most hallowed instruments. Beginning this spring, fans will have a chance to get a never-before-seen look into the life and career of the musical icon with the opening of the George Jones Museum in Nashville.
Jones’ wife Nancy has announced the museum will open the weekend of April 24, which will coincide with the second anniversary of his passing (April 26). The world-class museum will offer Jones fans a chance to get up close and personal with the singers’ story as never before.
The George Jones Museum will tell the story of the singer – born September 12, 1931 in Saratoga, Texas. Exhibits will show his development from his childhood to singing as a teenager on the streets of Galveston.
There will also be documentation of his time spent serving his country in the United States Marines, as well as his time behind the microphone as a radio announcer for KTXJ in Jasper, Texas – one of the jobs Jones held before stardom.
There will also be screens devoted to each era of his career. He earned his first hit in 1955 with “Why Baby Why,” and continued to be a chart presence well into the 2000s. Footage of historic Jones performances and interviews throughout his career will also be featured. Among his career highlights include the 1962 classic “She Thinks I Still Care,” his marriage and recording partnership with Tammy Wynette from 1969-1975, the recording of “He Stopped Loving Her Today” in 1980, as well as his 1992 induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Visitors will also get a chance to sing along with Jones in an interactive booth, and view many of his awards, Gold and Platinum records, and career memorabilia. There will also be a theater that will show videos of landmark Jones performances, a restaurant, event space, and a gift shop, as well as a 75-foot rooftop bar overlooking the Cumberland River.
The opening weekend will also feature the launch of White Lightning’ Moonshine.
A partnership with Silver Trail Distillery (winners of the 2012 SIP Award for best Whiskey Moonshine – as well as developers of the LBL Moonshine that was just picked up by a national distributor), the brand pays homage to the J.P. Richardson-written song of the same title – which became Jones’ first Billboard chart-topper in 1959.
The George Jones Museum will be located at 128 2nd Avenue North in downtown Nashville. Further details regarding opening weekend festivities will be announced in the coming weeks.
For more information, please visit georgejones.com
– Posted by TawnyTucker CMTT
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