Tiny Gloating

I keep forgetting that I wanted to make this point. So, Chris Stapleton remade George Jones’s “Tennessee Whiskey” (well, Jones made it famous, but anyway).

George:

I one-hundred percent recommend just watching George’s face through this whole performance. He just has such great expressions.

And Chris:

Okay, you all know that I had a belief that Gretchen Wilson could have salvaged her career with an album of country standards (I, myself, was especially keen on her doing “I’m Going to Hire a Wino” which I think would have been brilliant).

I thought it was such a good idea I even pitched it to someone who was, at the time, in a position to rip the idea off from me and do something with it. I would not have minded! It would have been worth it just to have the album!

But, boy oh boy, did I get told what a stupid idea that was and that nobody wants to hear artists doing other people’s songs anymore. The fans don’t know old songs so they don’t care about them. Labels, in fact, have forbidden covers on albums unless you’re a “niche” artist.

Years go by. This happens. I laugh.

4 thoughts on “Tiny Gloating

  1. I remain of the opinion that one of the stupidest things the country music industry has done in my adult lifetime is to stand like a deer frozen in its tracks at the success of the O, Brother soundtrack. A new market for a type of country music was coalescing right there–evidence of a sound people missed or never knew they’d missed. It was proof that alt,country (whatever that means) wasn’t just a tiny niche.

    I’m truncating a lot of history here in an ugly manner, but there was a lot of music floating around then that seemed like, if “country” would but open its umbrella a bit wider, they would fit under it happily and that the audience was hungry for music that was good and that rewarded listeners who knew or came to know a lot of older music.

    And, from where I sat,it looked like the country music industry saw a juggernaut and decided to pretend it was a fluke.

    Things worked out. Obviously. And what country music couldn’t figure out what to do with on the front end is obviously heavily influencing country music (as it has all kinds of music) now. But still, it was strange to watch when it happened.

  2. You know that, thanks to the CMA performance (which led to appearances on late-night shows, which led to performing at the Grammys), Stapleton’s album is about to go (or maybe already has gone) platinum? Even without radio. You know that the country albums and even some of the singles that are selling the most right now don’t get played on radio? I think the labels are starting to see that they can have sales success without needing radio, and while I don’t suppose the cookie-cutter approach that country radio prefers is going to go away, I think labels are going to start to be more expansive in their approach.

  3. I hope so, because I’m finding a lot of the good stuff really exciting and I’m glad to hear artists I like finding ways to enthusiastic audiences. I think i told you how surprised I was when I was driving around the other weekend to hear Justin Timberlake on country radio (which I KNOW is a direct result of that CMA performance, because that’s what they were playing). I wonder if we might see whatever independent country stations there are left playing an outsized roll in expanding the country umbrella.

  4. I don’t know. I don’t really know what’s out there in terms of indie country stations, other than WSM, which is so totally sui generis. I also don’t know how other genres/formats have dealt with decoupling radio and sales. I just think that labels are kind of desperate for sales right now, and terrestrial radio doesn’t pay royalties. While radio could claim to be promoting sales, that didn’t matter, but now that there’s more and more evidence that they aren’t necessarily doing it you figure the labels will have some sort of reaction….

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