Summer is a slow time in the music industry. Artists are either on tour, vacation, or generally hiding from the spotlight. Some go to the beach, some stay at home watching Netflix and generally chilling. But no one is like Sturgill Simpson who is winning the hearts and minds of the Japanese people one karaoke song at a time.
Last week, the Backstreet Boys ascended to the top of the country music charts with Florida Georgia Line. "God, Your Mama, and Me" is one of the worst songs ever released to country radio, but it still peaked at the top. Last summer, P!nk joined Kenny Chesney on a No. 1 country hit, "Setting the World on Fire." And, then, of course there's Nelly. He had a No. 1 hit on the Pop Chart with Tim McGraw in 2005 and is a part of the highest-selling country music single of all-time.
Country music has become a broad genre encompassing everything from pop to bluegrass. It is easy to forget the roots of country-- the story telling and back country musicianship that laid the foundation for bigger pop names. American roots music is not as big as most country music, but the soul of the music is powerful.
Willie Nelson, Erich Church, Chris Stapleton, Toby Keith and Many More Pay Homage to Waylon Jennings With Upcoming Concert Special
Willie Nelson, Eric Church, Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Kris Kristofferson, Toby Keith, Alison Krauss, Kacey Musgraves, Ryan Bingham, Jamey Johnson, Lee Ann Womack, Shooter Jennings, Buddy Miller, Jessi Colter, Robert Earl Keen, and Bobby Bare are paying tribute to Waylon Jennings.
"Waylon Jennings was my friend, brother, and musical soul mate," Willie Nelson says. "All of these performers came together to pay tribute to an original Outlaw."
During the show, you'll see Willie and Toby Keith perform "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys," Eric Church singing "Lonesome, On'ry And Mean," Chris Stapleton does his rendition of "I Ain't Living Long Like This" and Willie, Kris Kristofferson, Shooter Jennings and Jamey Johnson come together for "Highwayman."
Outlaw: Celebrating the Music of Waylon Jennings is a once-in-a-lifetime concert that was taped at Austin's ACL Live in the Moody Theater It will air on April 7 at 10pm on CMT. You can pre-order the CD/DVD combo of the two-hour event at http://waylonoutlaw.com.
Sturgill Simpson Releases New Video for "All Around You," Which Features a Giant Wall and Faceless Politician
After taking the GRAMMY stage and walking away with the trophy for Best Country Album, Sturgill Simpson has released a poignant, beautiful video for his tune, "All Around You."
Simpson collaborated, once again, with acclaimed director Matt Mahurin, who also directed his previous two videos.
The video features a young boy walking the earth in a cape and mask, whose special power seems to be his big, golden heart. Along his journey he meets a shadowy character, who is likely President Donald Trump, tanks and guns.
To be transparent, the boy fights and overcomes all of his foes with love-- you know, love trumps hate.
Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Kelsea Ballerini and Maren Morris to Perform at the 2017 Grammys
She joins the previously announced Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and Sturgill Simpson.
Little Big Town will also be on hand for the Bee Gees tribute celebrating the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Fever with Demi Lovato, Andra Day and Tori Kelly.
Maren Morris is also scheduled to perform with Alicia Keys.
Also on the docket are Lukas Graham, Cynthia Erivo, John Legend, Adele, William Bell, Chance the Rapper, Gary Clark, Jr., Daft Punk, Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, A Tribe Called Quest, The Weeknd.
The Grammys 2017 air Sunday, Feb. 12, on CBS at 8pm ET.
The performance will celebrate Sturgill's two nominations, Album of the Year and Best Country Album -- for his acclaimed new album A Sailor's Guide To Earth.
The awards show will be broadcast live on CBS from L.A.'s Staples Center on Sunday, February 12 at 8/7c.
Sturgill and his band will also be performing at select concerts later this year, including newly announced headlining slots at Louisville's Forecastle Festival and Birmingham's Sloss Music & Arts Festival.
Sturgill Simpson Turned the Entire "Saturday Night Live" Studio Into His Stage with Two Amazing Performances
After Sturgill Simpson garnered a surprising nomination for Album of the Year at the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards,
the Internet was abuzz trying to figure out who Simpson was and just what A Sailor's Guide to Earth is all about.
Some Twitter users, Simpson included, asked, "who the f*ck is Sturgill Simpson?" Simpson even decided to sell a shirt with the question on it.
Though being mentioned in the same breath as Beyonce, Adele, Justin Bieber and Drake are certainly going to help music fans across the globe figure out who Simpson is, it's more likely that his two performances on "Saturday Night Live" will serve as excellent introductions.
Simpson's first performance of "Keep It Between the Lines" was backed by a seven-member horn band, but somewhat subdued compared to his explosive performance of "Call to Arms."
Simpson seemed to make all of Studio 8H his own, as he danced around stage and gave each member of his band a chance in the spotlight.
Definitely one of the best performances of his career and definitely one "Saturday Night Live" cast members and fans will be remembering for a while.
As we near the end of 2016, it's only fitting that One Country shares a few of those classic, end of the year lists. Like you, we are kind of bored with the typical end of the year lists, so we're putting our own spin on a few!
This year for One Country's Best Country Albums of the Year list, we combined the picks from our two biggest country music connoisseurs. There were a few crossovers, but most notably-- this was a standout year for the ladies of country music. Any album released in 2016 was considered.
1. Midwest Farmer's Daughter // Margo Price (JS)
With a songwriting pen as strong as Loretta Lynn's and Dolly Parton's, Price shattered the glass ceiling with her debut album. Her voice is unmistakable and easily identified with the honky-tonk era of country music--just take a listen to such gems as "Hurtin' on the Bottle," "About to Find Out" and "Desperate and Depressed." There is a quaking wit and boldness not many have today, and she's not afraid to call it like she sees it. "This Town Gets Around" is an especially delightful moment, as she takes direct aim at the music business and how hard it is to break through the clutter. When she pulls back the reigns, as she does with "World's Greatest Loser," she demonstrates the power in the haunting quiet.
Highlights: "Hands of Time," "Hurtin' on the Bottle," "Tennessee Song," "This Town Gets Around," "How the Mighty Have Fallen"
2. The Bird & The Rifle // Lori McKenna (LC)
McKenna's 10th album was produced by the fantastic Dave Cobb and is up for Best Americana Album at the 2017 GRAMMYs. I think it will be strongly considered for CMA Album of the Year during the 51st annual show too. McKenna's stories and lyrics are raw and truthful. She also carries a profoundness in every note she sings. The Bird & The Rifle makes you hurt in the way that only really good music can.
Highlights: "Wreck You," "The Bird & The Rifle," "Old Men Young Women"
Highlights: "Soap Opera," "Homecoming Queen," "Three Kids No Husband," "Since You've Gone to Heaven"
3. Big Day in a Small Town // Brandy Clark (JS)
The Grammy-nominated disc is a concept album about one particularly fanciful day in middle America. There is plenty of gossip ("Soap Opera," "Big Day in a Small Town"), reflections on aging ("Homecoming Queen") and "Drinkin' Smokin' Cheatin'" to be larger-than-life but rooted in reality. Her most impressive moments are when she is at her most vulnerable, as she is on "Three Kids No Husband" (about a woman struggling as a single parent) and "Since You've Gone to Heaven," in which she remembers a long lost soul gone from this earth.
4. The Weight of These Wings // Miranda Lambert (JS)
Lambert bares her soul on her risky double-album. Anchored by the introspective and potent lead single "Vice," the 24-track collection is heavy on the balladry and devoted to peeling back the layers of heartache and misery. As the apt follow-up to 2014's more polished Platinum record, Lambert goes all in on this straight-chaser Americana album. Music Row wanted more mainstream friendly material, and she didn't care. She is far less concerned about radio hits these days--even though "We Should Be Friends" is one of the album's most accessible tracks--and far more interested in her craft, in telling real stories about real people and staying true to herself. Split into two halves, "The Nerve" and "The Heart," Wings barrels through self-loathing, addictive hookups and booze as a way to cope and heal. Ultimately, she does but not without collecting a few more scars along the way.
Highlights: "Use My Heart," "Tin Man," "To Learn Her," "Pushin' Time"
5. Pawn Shop // Brothers Osborne (LC)
With the help of Nashville heavyweights (Shane McAnally, Ross Copperman, Craig Wiseman) and their close friends and songwriting community (Maren Morris, Ryan Hurd) the Brothers co-wrote each song on the album which propelled them to a CMA Vocal Duo of the Year win. Pawn Shop is some swampy, funky goodness that manages to capture a new side of American country music fans. To date, two songs off the debut project have garnered GRAMMY nominations to along with their widely loved and accepted grins in Nashville.
Highlights: "Stay A Little Longer," "Greener Pastures," "American Crazy," "21 Summer"
6. A Sailor's Guide to Earth // Sturgill Simpson (JS)
Simpson's third album is not your typical Simpson album. His 2014 landmark release Metamodern Sounds in Country Music put him on the map, and instead of continuing along that musical strain of honky-tonk branded music, he ventures into the sea of jazz, funk, rock and soul music on the follow-up. Rich in brassy horns and sweeping orchestral arrangements, A Sailor's Guide to Earth is a well-plotted concept album into all matters of the heart. Seafaring sounds are peppered throughout the project, to remind the listener of his personal voyage. Even covering Nirvana's "In Bloom" is a refreshing surprise, as he was made for that style of music.
Highlights: "Breakers Roar," "Brace for Impact (Live a Little)," "Oh Sarah"
7. Hero // Maren Morris (LC)
Morris' debut album was nominated for CMA Album of the Year and Best Country Album at the GRAMMYs. Each and every track on the album is full of Morris' soulful, country-fied vibe and her unprecedented use of the word "shit" throughout was done so productively and effectively, I'm convinced there are no other words she could have even use in its place. Without a doubt, this album will go down as one of the greatest country music debuts of all-time and likely a record that will be noted on timelines for years to come.
Highlights: "Rich," "My Church," "I Wish I Was," "Drunk Girls Don't Cry"
And the others:
Ripcord // Keith Urban
The more I listened to Ripcord the more I figured out the cohesiveness of it all. It was easily the most progressive album of the year.
Black // Dierks Bentley
Bentley does concept albums better than most, whether he calls them that or not. Black is full of fun, sing-along anthems and sexy grown-up country music too. Bentley is truly at his best right now, but he has been for a while.
Pure & Simple // Dolly Parton
Parton's 43rd studio album was as good as any she's released. The traditionalism seeped through her breathy vocals like she's still in her prime-- which she is.