Two Things Not to Miss

1. Eric Church pulls a John Rich.

2. A discussion of religion in fantasy. I’m surprised to hear that most fantasy authors are atheists or agnostics. I would have thought there’d be a huge pagan contingent.

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7 thoughts on “Two Things Not to Miss

  1. 1. One day when I have the time, I’ll go into why I think there’s a kernel of truth in Eric Church’s nonsense.

    2. That is one fantastic article.

  2. I thought so, too. I’m going to be mulling it over for days, I bet.

    I feel like, if Church had not been playing “look at the balls on me,” he could have made some interesting points. But he got caught up in that John Rich/Hank Jr. bullshit of becoming more enraptured by the sound of his claims grown more outrageous than the claims themselves.

    And, plus, great that he’s going to be (semi-) famous forever, but fuck anyone who would fault any performer for milking whatever short time they have in the spotlight for all it’s worth by judging reality shows.

    That strikes me wrong. And I hope Blake Shelton is socking his money away.

  3. Re: #1 — oh good… I’m not the only one mulling this pseudo brouhaha over too. Because I can’t help but think “isn’t this just a modern day ‘I don’t think Hank would’ve a done it this way’?”

  4. Yeah, it seemed like the same old “authentic” vs. “commercial” argument that we always have, just in a slightly different manner.

  5. I’m not so sure that it’s the same conversation. Church isn’t saying that winning a reality show contest is an inauthentic way of creating a career. If he were, it would be super easy to dismiss him: lots of classic country stars won talent contests on their way up the ladder. But underneath the bluster, he’s saying that winning a contest alone isn’t going to give you an instant career, and I think he’s right.

    Who are the two most successful reality-show alumni in country music right now? Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood. The person who won Nashville Star the year Miranda was in it had one gold record, one single, and disappeared. Miranda came in third, and got a publishing deal out of it. It was three years of nurturing, working on her singing voice, etc. after that before anyone let her make a record. Not a contest appearance and security at the top. And Carrie Underwood, who won a much more visible contest, has had to learn how to sing all over again. She came out doing all the highly emotional, over-dramatic, melismatic vocal things that American Idol rewards, and she was losing country fans and on track to sing out her voice by doing it. If you listen to her now, she’s singing in a very different manner than she did when she got started. I suppose you could say that the reality show gave her enough initial success to buy her the time to make those corrections, but most contest winners don’t score that big to begin with, and without using the time to make those changes I think she’d be gone by now.

  6. Yes, but at first, he said that anyone on reality shows–contestant or judge–wasn’t a real artist. He may now be backing into a more thoughtful position, but his first one was all swagger and “I’m real. They’re fake.”

  7. Yeah, as I started out by saying, he’s full of nonsensical bluster. But I think, based on the direction he’s backing away in, that he genuinely did mean “acts who come out of contest shows haven’t had the experience and the need to work at stuff,” not “they haven’t paid the dues,” but couldn’t say it without his usual load of faux-macho posturing.

    Of course, I happen to agree with him that most of these contest/reality shows promote and reward a really bad sort of singing, so I have no patience with the judges — but evidently Carrie Underwood agrees, too, or she wouldn’t have stopped screeching the way she used to.

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