Sunday Morning Comment Corral & Forum Roundup, Issue #3

Jim Malec | October 5th, 2008

It’s been a while since our last edition of the roundup, but not to worry–it’s back this week, and it’s back to stay. Just consider this your Sunday morning newspaper–The 9513 style!

Big things are happening here at The 9513–we think you’re going to love what we’ve got in store for you over the next few weeks. For now, here’s a recap of what’s been happening site-wide recently. Enjoy.

Forum Roundup for Sunday, October 5th. Get along little doggies…

  • Vote in our poll for your favorite album of September 2008.
  • In “Why Do We Care About Hits,” President Dan (not really the President), wonders why we’re so obsessed with country music marketing strategies and sales figures:

    “Why do we still talk about singles and chart positions so much? Why does it bother us that Jessica Simpson hits number one, or that Brad Paisley’s five number ones record-tying might be cheating? Why do we critique the marketing strategy of the most recent Tim McGraw album? Is this just the American obsessiveness about who’s on top financially? We already know that when Taylor Swift drops her new album it will dominate the charts regardless of quality, so what do her numbers have to tell us?”

  • Roughstock’s Matt B. speculates that the recent string of rumors regarding a possible Reba jump to Big Machine might be slightly off the mark–could she be headed to newly-formed Lyric Street imprint Carolwood, he asks?
  • American Idol also-ran Kristy Lee Cook recently released her debut country album–Why Wait to weigh in with your opinion on the album?
  • Chris D. wants to know about your favorite lyrics. He says one of his favorite pasages comes from Nickel Creek’s “Doubting Thomas:”

    I’m a doubting Thomas,
    I took a promise,
    But I do not feel safe,
    Oh me of little faith.

  • Brody is not exactly in love with the packaging for Tim McGraw’s third greatest hits disc, due October 7th:

    “How did this cover ever get approved? Am I the only who thinks it looks like he had a rough night out on the town, decided to take a leak, got caught mid-pee with a spotlight in the face, and has the deer-in-the-headlights look?”

  • When you think of an artist’s “career record,” what album or albums come to mind? Clemson Brad defines a career record as, “The one CD [the artist] realeased that stands out as their best work.” One of the thread’s emerging debates: Which Gary Allan album is better, Smoke Rings In The Dark or Tough All Over?
  • Razor X. digs up an interesting quote, directed at country radio DJs, from former RCA exec Steve Sholes: (1966–from the liner notes of Connie Smith: Born To Sing.)

    “Your older listeners who want old country music sounds are wonderful people, the backbone of this country, loyal radio listeners when the kids aren’t around, but they don’t buy records, not enough to keep us in business, not enough to keep even the old fashioned artist in guitar strings. It’s the kids who buy. The little red schoolhouse is no more.”

  • If someone wanted to give you a free Rascal Flatts CD, would you take it, or would you run the other way screaming bloody murder?
  • Rainbow uncovers a dusty diamond–check out the “old school, fiddle heavy country” sounds of one Miss Leslie.
  • Thanks to angent713 for pointing out that The 9513 was featured in a recent issue of Country Weekly.
  • If you haven’t taken the time to register for our brand spankin’ new forum yet–what are you waiting for? We talk about both kinds of music over there, along with a little Bluegrass and Americana tossed into the mix.
  • Comment Corral: Choice nuggets from the peanut gallery…

      Kelly, Regarding Craig Morgan’s response to his apparently long awaited Opry induction:

    • “I didn’t realize that Craig Morgan was such a massive star that induction into the Opry was such a given for him? I guess I can relate, as I continue to be amazed at how even though I have a blog that like 10 people read, I am repeatedly passed over for the Nobel prize in favor of people that actually seem to contribute to the betterment of mankind.”

    • And from Amazace:

      “Morgan an Opry member? Is this is the same Morgan who was up on the Opry stage with Ray Price, and didn’t even know the words to Heartaches By the Number? The Grand Ole Popry continues it’s decline.”

    • On Carrolwood, Lyric Street’s new imprint, and the genius of one Scott Borchetta, head of Big Machine:

      “I think Scott Borchetta should start an imprint just for really talented artists that get dropped by their labels (e.g. Ashley Monroe, Susan Haynes, Katrina Elam, Amy Dalley, etc.) and for those who deserve better treatment from their labels (e.g. Sarah Buxton, Emily West, Bomshel, etc). If Scott was able to take Taylor Swift to superstar status, imagine what he could do with artists with real talent!” — Rick

    • Album Reviews:

    • Chris Knight — Heart of Stone

      From the opening bars of the groovy “Homesick Gyspy” to the fiddle laced fade-out at the end of “Go On Home,” Heart of Stone is a record that’s strength is its aesthetic–a groovy, fuzzy, Stones-ish roots rock that works flawlessly with Knight’s bourbon soaked, slurring growl of a vocal.” — review by Ben Cisneros

      “You seem to suggest that [Knight] should be Dylan Thomas or Faulkner, and that would be missing the point.” — Kelly

      “Even the worst Chris Knight album is better than 99.9% of the rest of the music industry.” — Mike W.

      “I find it sad that a review of a non-talent like Kellie Pickler can attract so many comments and a real country artist like Chris Knight receives scant attention. Maybe this is why country radio is in so much trouble.” — Steve M.

    • Kellie Pickler — Kellie Pickler

      The vapidity of the message of the albums opening track and first single, “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful,” is probably best expressed by a line from the closing track: “Spread my ashes in the shoe department/Everybody knows that’s where I want to be.” That line owes it’s existence to “Going Out In Style,” which opens with a little girl introducing “the new hit song from Kellie Pickler.” The sparse intro is reminiscent of something by Christina Aguilera before it kicks into bandstand mode complete with horns aplenty near the forty second mark.” — review by Brady Vercher

      My music is awesome. You guys suck. Stop picking on me. — Chris Lindsey, Producer

      “I am impressed an album’s producer would show up to in essence, defend his craft and then answer questions. Good going.” — J.R. Journey

      “Wow, Brady, sorry man, I have to tell you, I totally agreed with this review you wrote and published on this super popular website that you run that thousands of people visit every day…BUT…then Chris showed up and totally busted out that AP article.” — Hollerin’ Ben

      “I guess I decided to skip reading the comments on this post because I didn’t think there would be any interesting discussion, but then the producer of the album shows up! I guess I should check every post every day!” — Chris D. (Yes, Chris, you should! I hope you’ve learned your lesson!)

      “You’ve finally put a name to what I’ve been complaining about for a while now–Shrieking Diva Syndrome, which seems to have infected all of the current crop of female “country” singers. The question is, now that we’ve put a name to it, are we close to finding a cure?” — Razor X

      “The genre needs as many personalities as possible, so Pickler would be a welcome commodity in the country music community for years to come. But ultimately, it’s the music that’s remembered, and on most occasions her vocal performances and songwriting have been far from substantive so far.” — Blake Boldt

      “Is it just me or is “Rocks Instead of Rice” kind of disturbing? The imagery throughout is so violent (wishing the limo was a hearse? really?).” — Katie

      “[Pickler] could be the Suzanne Somers of the ’00s.” — Partridge

      “This may be the first negative review I actually agree with on this website. Glory be!” — Glads Gal

    • Bruce Robison — The New World

      By Bruce Robison’s estimation, roots music in this digital day and age needs to be a lot rootsier than its current status affords it. It’s getting a little too slick and his latest album, The New World–a departure of sorts from his previous efforts–attempts to set a precedent by taking cues from an earlier time in Austin’s illustrious music history, recalling ’70s stalwarts by the likes of Michael Martin Murphey, Jerry Jeff Walker and Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen.” — review by Brody Vercher

      “The bulk of the album is very pleasing. I think Bruce is at the top of his lyrical game. My favorite by far is “Larosse.” The lyric is a master class in subtext.” — Mike Parker

    • Darius Rucker – Learn To Live

      The overall sound of Learn To Live is pleasant, if not as country as Rucker insinuated, and the lyrics don’t exhibit many flaws, but the lack of originality, occasional cloudy interpretations, and obvious catering to commercial influences makes for an album that can’t be considered much more than good ear candy.” — review by Brady Vercher

      “Rucker, with his vocal talent and claim to fame, had the resources and the freedom available to make an interesting country album, but instead chose to make a slickly commercial one.” — Blake Boldt

      “I actually do think that “All I want” and “Drinkin and Dialin’” are far more “country” than what’s on radio these days…but not countrier than Dale Watson!” — Kelly

      “If I hear one more song about an old man dispensing advice, I’m going to punch the first old man I see.” — Chris N.

      “Man, Bon Jovi, Hootie, Jewel, and Jessica Simpson = mainstream country music in 2008. What a freakin’ drag, man. Is there any other genre of music that’s more self-loathing?” — Hollerin’ Ben

    • Single Reviews:

    • Jimmy Wayne — “I Will”

      While Jimmy Wayne’s Valory Music Co. label mate, Jewel, is testing the transition from pop to country, it seems Wayne is headed the opposite way. After topping the charts for multiple weeks with the less-than-stellar title track from Do You Believe Me Now, he’s ready to hit us with his second single, “I Will.” This time, however, any semblance of actual country music is completely lost.” — review by Brady Vercher

      “If all the little girlies that make up a sizable share of the Top 40 Crapola Country radio think Jimmy is cute enough, then the quality of the singles he puts out is almost irrelevant. The young female audience Taylor Swift has attracted will support the careers of the pretty boys, who can put the pretty boy posters next to The Jonas Brothers on the walls and ceilings of their frilly, foo-foo bedrooms…” — Rick

      “My tent is not big enough for this song!” — Leeann Ward

      “What’s more absurd, linking fried potato sticks with freedom or this song with country music?” — Thomas

      “I don’t know what all the criticism is about. This is a beautiful love song and Jimmy Wayne has just the voice for it.” — Robin

    • Mark Wills — “The Things We Forget”

      Continuing the now (at least) decade-long trend of lyrics that are boiled down to their most basic substances, “The Things We Forget” follows in a long line of contemporary songs that chip away at any semblance of cognitive relevance that remains in mainstream country music.” — review by Jim Malec

      “I started to listen to this song. Then I remember the last note or so. I don’t remember the middle at all. It’s completely pointless. It’s inconsequential. It’s unnecessary. Blah.” — MikeKY

    • Taylor Swift — “Love Story”

      It’s not brilliant–in fact, much of it is quite cliché. But there’s still an emanating sense that Swift is a unique talent, and while those of us predisposed to preferring a less glossy style of country music might not find her music particularly appealing, “Love Story,” like her previous work, hints at an artist who might just surprise us someday.” — review by Jim Malec

      “I just can’t completely quit the kid.” — Leeann Ward

      “The song has grown on me a great deal (thanks, in large part, to the excellent video) and I do think it showcases Swift’s potential as a writer, but for me, it’s just one of those songs like “Better As A Memory” where the execution just doesn’t quite live up to the solid idea.” — Dan Milliken

      “I wonder if when they were talking in the garden, if they were talking slow so nobody could hear them.” — Mike Parker

      “Look out for Taylor’s next single: “The Great Expectations of Gatsby and Men who eat Grapes from Glass Menageries of Wrath.” I hear it’s about the h.s. quarterback who hit on her in the school cafeteria and then she turned him down for being so lame…” — Kelly

      “[Question] By the way, who would you rather listen to, Taylor or Jessica Simpson. [Answer] That’s like asking whether I’d rather be punched in the face or in the stomach.” — John Maglite

    • Rascal Flatts — “Here”

      And there you have it folks, the secret to Rascal Flatts’ success: automatic poignancy and instant relatability. “Here” isn’t so much terrible as it is unoriginal and bland, but any song starting with an intro as uninspired as this one probably isn’t worth listening to.” — review by Brady Vercher

      “I am a bit intrigued as to how they went through walls. Are they ghosts or did they merely use a sledgehammer?” — Stormy

      “I think I dislike this band so much because they were actually decent enough for me to call them a “very very guilty pleasure” on their first two albums, but everything since then has been third rate or banal.” — Trailer

      “Yuck. I can usually deal with bland RF songs, but this is blander than bland. It’s like they tried to do another “Broken Road”, but instead came out with a broken song.” — Bobby

    • Dierks Bentley — “Feel That Fire”

      ‘Feel That Fire’ contains a weak narrative that settles for what’s easiest by barely delving into the subject. It doesn’t take much imagination to write a song of this caliber and to do so with such meager results doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the direction of Bentley’s next album.” — review by Brady Vercher

      “Have songwriters just stopped trying because they know that radio will play pretty much anything that is uptempo and doesn’t say much of anything?” — Razor X

      “The song is bland and so is Bentley’s vocal on it. It’s not horrible, it’s not a Taylor Swift or Rascal Flatts awful, but for someone as talented as Bentley it is a let down.” — Mike W

      “I think guys will relate to the type of woman who wants a little more in her life such as in the song. Perhaps you folks do not feel any fire and wouldn’t dare make love on a train.” — TammyH

      “Say something dirty to me: AMTRAK!” — Thomas

    • Becky Schlegel — “Jenny”

      In its simplicity, Becky Schlegel’s latest, “Jenny,” stands in stark contrast to the bulk of songs currently garnering airplay. She’s backed by a sparse, acoustic arrangement limited to a guitar, bass, mandolin, and light percussion, with Randy Kohrs providing harmony. It’s a study in interpretation and supportive arrangement that maximize the emotional significance of the lyric, reflecting artistry without becoming inaccessible.” — review by Brady Vercher

      “My favorite cut on her album. The fragility in her voice brings something really special to the lyric. Lyrically and interpretively, this song is what Sugarland’s “Joey” strives for but doesn’t quite achieve.” — Dudley

    • One Night Rodeo — “Alive And Living”

      One Night Rodeo can see the trends and they’ve tried their best to adhere to them. “Alive and Living” is an exercise is pleasantly arranged, familiar noise, with lyrics that feel like they make sense. These guys aren’t expressing themselves musically with their instruments. Nothing “creative” is happening here. It’s just a bunch of guys who seem to desperately want to stand out from all the other guys in the world and it seems like they think that being able to fashion a believable facsimile of a contemporary “country” song in the style of Rascal Flatts will allow them to do so.” — review by Ben Cisneros

      “Shouldn’t their first single be titled something along the lines of “Long Gone and Forgotten”, or ‘Where Have All The Voters Gone?’” — Rick

      “If the music career thing doesn’t pan out, the songwriters can always get a job writing captions underneath those ridiculous motivational posters that employers favor.” — Sam G.

    • Awards Potpourri:

    • International Bluegrass Music Awards:

      “I picked Dailey & Vincent’s album up last week and after listening to it non-stop, I have to agree with all of their wins. They are fantastic and VERY deserving.” — Agent713

      “Dailey & Vincent deserve every award they won, with the possible exception of entertainer of the year. I suspect that they would’ve won song of the year if they hadn’t been nominated twice in that category. I predicted when the nominations came out that the D&V vote would be split…” — Matt C.

    • Americana Music Awards:

      “I sure was surprised to see [Mike] Farris win. Nothing against him or his music, but that’s some pretty stiff competition.” — Patrick

      “I guess the left wing leanings of so many “Americana/Alt. Country” artists carries all the way to the top of the Americana organization. Who’s getting this award next year, Woody Guthrie?” — Rick

      “What can you do? It’s tough to find right-wingers who actually support free speech. Perhaps they should start a “Shut Your Mouth, Commie Pinko Hippie” award.” — Chris N.

      42nd CMA Awards Nominees:

      “The Wreckers? Again?? I don’t understand…” — Zach

      “‘Stay’ is such a damn good song and was such a stark contrast to everything else. That song SHOULD win song/single based on what it’s up against.” — Matt B.

      “The biggest surprises are probably Miranda’s nomination for “Gunpowder and Lead” and Trace Adkins ACTUALLY getting nominated for the first time… ever? In a decade? Who knows.” — David S.

      “Rodney Atkins, Jason Aldean, and Kellie Pickler are new artists?? That’s a new one to me. Way too many questionable nominations here to make these awards seem respectable.” — Drew

      “Every time they release these nominations it’s like another trip to beatdown town.” — Hollerin’ Ben

      “Trisha’s absence from Album of the Year and Female Vocalist is ridiculous.” — Josh Preister

      “Why do you lot care about these things!? It is NOT a legitimate awards show. Votes are traded among managers, label people, publicists, and everyone else for purely political reasons. No one gets nominated or wins based purely on the skill or talent of the thing. Why just the other day Joe Galante sent out an internal Sony memo telling us who we’re voting for this year.” — Rand

      “A singer doesn’t have to be talented or ever have a song that resonates to have a passionate commenting and blogging force behind them. I am amazed constantly at some of the artists who are routinely defended…” — J.R. Journey

      Select Interviews:

      Mike Eli from Eli Young Band:

      JM: Let’s talk about Jet Black & Jealous.

      ELI: We’re extremely proud of this record. We feel like Jet Black & Jealous is more “us” than anything we’ve done so far. When we recorded most of Level, I wasn’t even old enough to drink yet. My understanding of life was probably extremely jaded. I feel like this record just has a very good grasp on life.

      “The nation is just now catching on to what we’ve known in Texas for a long time. Eli Young is a great band. They are real in a refreshing way. People say it’s not country music? What is country music these days? Half of what we hear on country radio now would have been rock a few years back. The Eli Young Band is a great addition to the music world.” — Guy

      “I loved “When It Rains”. I would now like to congratulate EYB on their accomplishment of becoming EXACTLY like everyone else. Its a long hard walk to the middle of the road, but they did it in less time than anyone.” — Mike

      Ray Benson from Asleep At The Wheel:

      “”Willie’s our lead singer [on the new album], and we do all the Western swing stuff,” said Benson. “And I mean the old stuff. Milton Brown, Cliff Bruner, Spade Cooley, Bob Wills. It’s got Willie, the Wheel, and some horns. It’s gonna be pretty cool.”


      This cycle we gave away music from Old Crow Medicine Show, Randy Rogers Band, and Sugarland.

      You have until 11:59 PM EST on Sunday to register for the Sugalrand giveaway, so get going!

  1. Jaime
    October 5, 2008 at 7:04 am

    You’ll want to change the poll for “favorite album of 2007″ to 2008.

    Excellent roundup, as usual.

  2. Rainbow
    October 5, 2008 at 8:00 am

    Wooho! Two of my posts made the roundup! I’ve fallen completely in love with Miss Leslie. Her album is easily a conteder for best album of 2008.

  3. Marc
    October 5, 2008 at 8:53 am

    “This cycle we gave away music from Old Crow Medicine Show, Randy Rogers Band, and Sugalrand.”

    Sugalrand.. aren’t they the Culture Club cover band?

  4. Amazace
    October 5, 2008 at 11:16 am

    …and yet it goes unchallenged.

  5. Chris D.
    October 5, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Yes I learned my lesson. I also enjoyed the posting of Chris Lindsey’s comment, I must have missed that specific one. xD

    Wow, I got mentioned twice!

    Also, I love the forums, if anyone hasn’t registered yet, they should because there’s usually a good discussion going on.

  6. J.R. Journey
    October 5, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Yay! This feature is back. I love you guys!

  7. Rick
    October 5, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    I visit the forum once in awhile to see what’s going on, but I waste way too much time on the net as it is. Talk about opening Pandora’s box……..

    If a topic hasn’t been started yet on the forum about the stagnation on Top 40 country radio, someone should. I check the Top 60 R&R country singles charts every week and its amazing how little it changes from week to week. Most songs that are gaining traction move up a position or two and the songs that become Top 20 hits are typically on the charts for months. This slow turnover, which seems to be getting worse, makes a format featuring mostly banal music unbearable.

    In the related matter it appears that the XM/Sirius “a la carte” programming packages may just relate to add ons to the customer’s existing base subscription packages. I was hoping for a stand alone $ 5 a month country/bluegrass channel package, but no such luck. Darn.

    I was put onto Miss Leslie Sloan and Her Juke Jointers recently by a friend in Australia. I purchased Leslie’s new self-penned album “Between the Whiskey and the Wine” and there are some killer cuts on there with “I’ll Stand In Line” and “Honky Tonk Hangover” being my favorites. I even got the house DJ at The Grand Ole Echo club in Echo Park to give “I’ll Stand In Line” a spin before the band “I See Hawks In LA” hit the stage. Great stuff…..

  8. J.R. Journey
    October 5, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    It’s always interesting to me how the population of other countries have such a higher appreciation for true country music than we do here in the U.S. – most notably bluegrass.

  9. Chris D.
    October 5, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    I also like how the “Love Story” review created some of the funniest comments I have ever read. xD

  10. idlewyldsouth
    October 6, 2008 at 11:18 am

    So maybe someone can help me. I registered for the Forum sometime ago, but now when I go to log in…its a blank screen. Basically, everything seems to be on the page except for the place to login…sad day.

  11. Hollerin' Ben
    October 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    I really, really, really love these roundups.

  12. John Maglite
    October 6, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    I’m with Ben. Really glad to see this feature back.

    Kudos to Chris N. for this, which I missed the first time around:
    “If I hear one more song about an old man dispensing advice, I’m going to punch the first old man I see.”


Juli Thanki on WAMU's Bluegrass Country

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