John Anderson Readies New Album, ‘Bigger Hands’

Brody Vercher | April 10th, 2009

  1. Barry M
    April 10, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Ramblin’ Jack has some things to say about his history and that blues record himself–here::

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123905726535894711.html

  2. Sam G.
    April 10, 2009 at 11:00 am

    I’m seeing Doug Stone in a different light now. I hope the next time he goes to a bar to find a jukebox with a country song, he pays attention to the warning labels on the beer bottles and drinks responsibly. Now he’s facing another court date and is probably wondering if he’s not better off in a pine box.

  3. Hubba
    April 10, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Sam G here’s another-
    “The only excuse I’ll give at the trial;
    I was too busy beating my child…”
    I’m terrible, huh?

  4. Rick
    April 10, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Doug Stone has had so many serious health problems since his salad days on the charts he shouldn’t be beating up anyone let alone his own kid! Doug was on the Opry awhile back and his voice was in terrible shape. Maybe he’s hooked up with Mindy McCready’s PR agent…

    Now that John Anderson is at Stroudavarius does this mean his connection to John Rich has been severed or at least greatly reduced? I sure hope so.

    Levon Helm has announced his next, next album will be titled “Electric Dirt Farmer (With an Insulated Tractor)”…

    Chet Flippo’s Nashville Skyline is pretty spot on at times. What I call AirHead Country in his vocabulary is probably ADHD Country.

    Thanks for the link to the Sarah Buxton video at ABC news. Since her latest “Space” single tanked at Top 40 country radio I wonder what Lyric Street will do next? Probably just shift her to their Carolwood imprint and call it progress.

  5. J.R. Journey
    April 10, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Why Didn’t I Think Of That, Sam G.?

  6. Paula_W
    April 10, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    @ SamG … good one!!!

  7. Paula_W
    April 10, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    I stopped reading Chet’s article when he said:

    And, of course, Swift is hardly a “pop-music teeny-bopper.”

  8. Razor X
    April 10, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Chet’s article started off OK but it sort of fell apart with the Swift comment and it was all downhill from there.

  9. Pierce
    April 10, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Ever since Jamey Johnson’s mainstream success (OK, I know he’s only had one hit and it’ll probably stop there…but his album sales, critical acclaim and concert attendances speak for themselves) but, I’ve been wondering–does all of this boil down to a lack of talent?

    For Chet’s ADHD crowd, talent is really a non-factor.

    But for the other crowd, I believe talent is a huge factor. Are there any other Jamey Johnson’s out there (as talented or more talented)? With Merle, Waylon, Cash, Strait, Willie, etc. as barometers for talent, perhaps the artists just don’t exist to be able to shift things towards a more traditional landscape.

  10. Paula_W
    April 10, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Pierce – when Merle, Waylon, Willie were ‘making waves’ they werent considered “traditional” – now they are. Country music is evolving, and I can live with that as long as the music is quality music, with songs that have some substance to them, and the singers can sing on key. Yes, I’d love if they held to the country roots, and I hope some of them do – but then again everyone on this board (the professional critics at least) tend to frown on anyone who doesnt “take risks” in their music and try “something new”. You cant have your cake and eat it too (I almost typed “Kate and Edith” there! – only the oldtimers will understand that).

    I know there is some GREAT music out there. I heard a lot of it last week. The talent is definitely there. It’s just not making it to radio.

  11. Razor X
    April 10, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    You cant have your cake and eat it too

    Why not, Paula? Can’t artists take risks and experiment with new sounds without sacrificing the core country elements? Why does that seem to be too much to ask these days?

  12. Paula_W
    April 10, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    What are you calling “core country elements”?

  13. Matt B
    April 10, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Ugh… more what is or isn’t country debates… Can’t we just call it good music or bad music and realize everyone will have differing opinions on what’s good or bad.

  14. Jon
    April 10, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Pierce, with all due respect, I think you missed Chet’s point, which wasn’t about fans who are drawn to talent vs. those who are drawn by something else, but rather about fans who consider themselves fans of and loyal to a genre vs. fans who follow particular artists for limited periods of time. They’ll all tell you they appreciate talent.

    Paula_W makes a good point (well, not so much with respect to Haggard, but definitely with Nelson and Jennings, and especially the latter – anyone who doubts that ought to give a close listen to the lyrics of “I Don’t Think Hank Done It This Way”). I don’t think country music is “evolving” so much as it is expanding, but the basic point is that it’s been doing so steadily for close to 100 years, and from a starting point that was already diverse. It’s always incorporated a lot of elements, and it’s always added new ones, and there has never really been a unified set of core elements.

  15. Paula_W
    April 10, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Matt – thought it might appear that way, it wasnt my intention to debate what is or is not country. I just wanted to know what Pierce calls “CORE country elements” and which of those he is not willing to give up in return for a “risk” element.

  16. Paula_W
    April 10, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    grr – we need an ‘edit’ button — “thought” = “though” …

  17. Paula_W
    April 10, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Jon – thanks for agreeing with me – sort of. ;-)

  18. Pierce
    April 10, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Paula, I didn’t make that “core elements” comment. The name seems to have disappeared. I personally appreciate country music in all of its forms and agree with you for the most part.

    I’m with Matt on qualifying things with “good” or “bad” rather than putting labels.

    Jon, you’re right. I guess I wasn’t trying to respond to Chet’s article, as much as bring up another issue. I get that part of Chet’s argument, but I’m taking it a step further to say that talent isn’t a deciding factor in the ADHD criteria of choosing who to like (IMO).

    The question for me is: the format (particularly the radio/mainstream) open to more traditional artists? If another traditional artist who was a great vocalist, excellent songwriter, and great stage performer came along, would they be able to have that same level of success?

    I don’t have a problem with letting everyone in and having a big umbrella–as long as that’s an equal opportunity umbrella–which currently, it isn’t.

    Am I making any sense here? Maybe I’ll take a nap and make more sense later :-P

  19. Matt B
    April 10, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Paula,

    I wasn’t responding to you per se but rather the tired, no make that VERY tired, arguments about what “is” or “isn’t” country. I know you don’t talk in those terms.

  20. Razor X
    April 10, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    I’m the one who made the “core elements” comment. All I meant was, why can’t artists experiment with new sounds without giving us overproduced, watered-down pop and calling it country? There are a variety of sounds within country — bluegrass, western swing, cowboy songs, honkytonk, folk, etc. Why must there always be a push towards the bland, middle-of-the-road stuff, and since when is that considered risk-taking, anyway? These days that approach is the epitome of playing safe.

    Saying that there are only two types of music — good and bad — is a complete cop out, because whether one wants to acknowledge it or not, there are different styles of music. Throwing out the labels accomplishes nothing except to let the people who are slowly but surely killing country music off the hook.

  21. Paula_W
    April 10, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    @ Matt — at least I try not to.

    I just like good music. Dont ask me to define good, I just know it when I hear it. ;-)

    I will say, part of what makes me like a song is that it makes me “feel” something. Whether it makes me happy, sad, angry, nostalgic or just makes me wanna get up and dance around the room and act silly – as long as it makes me “feel” I will probably like it. Even a really great song can just be so-so or even unlikeable to me if the lyric has no relevence to me personally, or the music doesnt make my body wanna move.

    Was that a vague enough description for ya? :-p

  22. Paula_W
    April 10, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    @ Pierce & RazorX — sorry for confusing who said “core elements”. For some reason on this blog the posters name doesnt always show up. Pierce had the honor of making the last comment prior to RazorX so I got confused.

    My apologies gentlemen.

  23. Razor X
    April 10, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    My apologies gentlemen.

    No need. :)

  24. Matt B
    April 10, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Razor,

    “middle of the road” sells the most. So even though many singers/songwriters get into the business for the right reasons, to continue to do it they have to ‘appeal’ to what will ‘appeal’ to the most people. I do agree that there should be room for all ‘types’ or styles of the genre on the charts but sadly all ‘types’ of music don’t sell or ‘get’ airplay, its just the nature of the business side of the music business.

  25. nm
    April 10, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Why must there always be a push towards the bland, middle-of-the-road stuff

    You’ve heard of this normal distribution/bell curve thing?

  26. Razor X
    April 10, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    You’ve heard of this normal distribution/bell curve thing?

    You’ve heard of selling out?

  27. Paula_W
    April 10, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    I may be nieve but I still think given a wider exposure to ‘better’ (and I know that definition is subjective – so I’ll say to ‘more variety’) music, the public would eventually switch from the stuff that is currently all they know of ‘country music’.

  28. nm
    April 10, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    You’ve heard of regression towards the mean?

  29. nm
    April 10, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Sorry, Paula, my comment was directed at Razor X’s latest, not you.

  30. Matt B
    April 10, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Paula,

    You’re right. Unfortunately, some powers that be don’t agree or think there’s anything wrong with what is out there today. I Like a lot of what I hear but wouldn’t be opposed to getting some great stuff like Daily & Vincent or Mark Olson & Gary Louris on the charts.

  31. Jon
    April 10, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    “There are a variety of sounds within country — bluegrass, western swing, cowboy songs, honkytonk, folk, etc.”

    Including pop-influenced country. The unassailable fact is that “watered-down pop” has had a place in country music since before many of those sub-genres existed.

    On a slightly different train of thought, it’s my belief that a lot of complaints directed against “mainstream country music” or against Music Row would better be directed at major market country radio, because that’s still the chokepoint where a lot of variety gets stripped away. The labels could and should do a better job of reaching around the reporting stations, but in my view that’s a secondary failure. When you get out into the secondary and tertiary country radio markets, you can find folks like Dailey & Vincent getting some play, and when you look at the video channels, you’ll also see more variety than you’ll get on the stations reporting to the big charts. Those stations and the folks who program them are, in my opinion, the biggest problem with the industry at this point, and it’s been that way for a decade or so.

  32. Matt B
    April 10, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    People need to look no further than the Music Row chart to see how powerful the secondary market is to artists. It’s the kind of charts people used to see.

  33. idlewildsouth
    April 10, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Maybe we shouldnt be so hardline on making sure the people killing country music from getting off the hook, but instead, maybe we should focus on pointing at the people killing the rural culture that produced what we define as country music. The fact of the matter is, the more cable tv and sattelite radio become accessable, that rural sound is going to slowly go away. Waylon Jennings brought in the heavier rock groove, Willie Nelson brought alot of Jazz to the table. Admit it or not, what we call traditionalist today were the Big and Rich of their time.

  34. Razor X
    April 10, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Including pop-influenced country. The unassailable fact is that “watered-down pop” has had a place in country music since before many of those sub-genres existed.

    True. And there’s been plenty of good pop-influenced country music over the years. But there’s a point when it stops being pop-influenced country and starts becoming country-influenced pop. Where that point begins is debatable.

    …it’s my belief that a lot of complaints directed against “mainstream country music” or against Music Row would better be directed at major market country radio, because that’s still the chokepoint where a lot of variety gets stripped away.

    I agree.

  35. Jon
    April 10, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    “there’s a point when it stops being pop-influenced country and starts becoming country-influenced pop. Where that point begins is debatable.”

    Yep – and as “debatable” means one should be offering up cogent reasons for a view on a particular artist or piece of music at a particular point in time (because where the point of change is located is necessarily a moving target that changes over time), not bumper sticker slogans and one-sentence dismissals.

  36. Rick
    April 10, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Matt, I soooooo disagree with your “Big Tent / Its Just Good vs. Bad Music” approach to country music! When I want to hear good country music I specifically don’t want to hear good rock, or good pop, or good whatever else either. If the concept of country music as a genre becomes completely open and undefined, it ceases to exist as an identifiable segment of the musical spectrum and loses its uniqueness. A good portion of the stuff played on Top 40 country radio is turning a once meaty musical form into watered down sonic gruel….

    I actually agree with Jon on something! My railings against the pop-rock crap that dominate mainstream country music these days are directed primarily at the radio programming gatekeepers who determine what is “acceptable” for airplay. The Top 40 radio establishment is the giant tail wagging the Mainstream Nashville dog to produce the kind of pop-rock dreck they will play.

    NM, our current political regression towards a marxist dictatorship has sure left me mean! (This comment is purely for Kelly’s enjoyment and has no statistical significance…lol)

  37. Razor X
    April 10, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    What’s the point of taking three paragraphs to say that something leans too heavily towards pop?

  38. Jon
    April 10, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Rick: “If the concept of country music as a genre becomes completely open and undefined, it ceases to exist as an identifiable segment of the musical spectrum and loses its uniqueness.”

    Even the loosest concept of country music is a long, long way from being completely open and undefined.

    Razor: “What’s the point of taking three paragraphs to say that something leans too heavily towards pop?”

    You already said that the “too” is debatable; don’t you know what “debatable” means? Hint: it is not synonymous with “reducible to bumper sticker sloganeering.”

  39. Chris N.
    April 10, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    I was so sick of this argument six months ago. Now it’s just background noise.

  40. Rick
    April 10, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    OPRY Alert: On the topic of (mostly) real country music this Saturday night’s Grand Ole Opry will feature Jo Dee Messina, Mel Tillis, Rhonda Vincent, Martina McBride, Ricky Skaggs, and Vince Gill along with the Opry regulars.

    Rhonda Vincent will also be hosting the Ernest Tubb Record Shop’s “Midnite Jamboree” Saturday night at midnight Nashville time after the Opry. Should be a good one!

  41. PaulaW
    April 10, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    I love M-M-M-M-M-Mel. ;-)

  42. Hollerin' Ben
    April 13, 2009 at 3:16 am

    Chet Flippo says

    “We’re inexorably moving toward two separate and perhaps not equal country music societies. And I don’t mean traditionalists vs. modernists or Americana vs. mainstream country radio. I mean a total, radical, separatist split.”

    Flippo is under the impression that the break between Americana fans and radio country music fans isn’t radical nor total. Meanwhile he thinks that the fans of the “New Others”, presumably Taylor Swift, Julliana Hough and the like, threaten to permanently splinter the country fanbase.

    It’s hard to imagine a better way for him to illustrate how out of touch he is. He doesn’t realize that the “americana” fans are more often than not already completely disinvested from country music, meanwhile he hasn’t figured out that the fanbase that wholeheartedly got onboard with “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” aren’t cut from a finer cloth than the teeny boppers who adore Taylor Swift. The output of the last decade makes it clear that they are just fine with climbing onboard for a popularity contest devoid of serious musical content. Rest easy Chet, those guys are along for the ride.

    and this

    “That group includes the George Jones and Strait trad fans”

    it’s terrifying how commonly this equivocation is made.

    and one more beef with the column…

    “Part of the result of the uncertainty and upheaval in the entire music market is an encouragement of everyone in the world to become both music critic and forecaster of music trends. Roam around the Web. You’ll find more than you need in the way of instant experts pontificating on what Taylor Swift or Kid Rock or Miley Cyrus mean to civilization and its future. And more.”

    Chet’s probably right about this, it’s best we leave music criticism to “pros” like him and his colleagues at CMT.com where he is the editorial director.

    And you may be thinking, “well, how smart could the guy be if he has a hack like Alison Bonaguro on his staff?”

    But I’ve learned two things from reading Chet Flippo’s column, 1.I can’t believe my lying eyes when it comes to how bad country music seems right now and 2. I don’t have the credentials to criticize Chet Flippo.

  43. Jon
    April 13, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Wow, Ben, there sure is a big gap between what Flippo wrote and what you read.

  44. Brian
    June 30, 2009 at 4:25 am

    The problem with country music is that the record labels have turned a blind eye to true artistic talent and focused
    more on marketing a made-up product.How
    great they can make you look instead of how great you really sound.After a few hits,kick you to the curve,they cash in.Let me tell you something,The people that write all these songs you hear on the radio are the people with the talent that makes the artist and
    the record label.writers never get the
    credit they deserve.You hear what the record labels want you to hear.Thats why all of these independant record
    labels are cropping up.They are exposing new artists that play traditional style country.And the listeners like it,like Jamie Johnson.
    The major labels can’t stand it. It’s that controlling factor.and they can do nothing about it.

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