If there's a silver lining to this virus outbreak, it's that we'll get a lot of streamed concerts and content from musicians. Keep your eyes open for StageIt events where you can help out independent artists in particular, but it's nice to get music from big stars like Combs as well. He sings a lot better when he's not hollering.
Mar 18, 2020
Feb 28, 2020
Larry Jack Pullen of West Memphis, Arkansas, who may be in possession of a device that can transport humans through time, is very upset with the Academy of Country Music awards nominations that were announced yesterday. He took to Facebook to announce his displeasure, saying “No George Jones, Johnny Cash or Ray Price. They are getting awards for ruining Country Music.” The comment was in response to a Facebook post that listed the likes of Thomas Rhett and Luke Combs as 2020 nominees.
When reached by Messenger for comment (I didn't tell him the artists he listed were no longer alive because I assumed he knew), Pullen went on a long rant about the fabric of America, smart phones, and something about “the Chinamen,” before finally getting back around to country music.
“Riley Green, who’s she? If Johnny Paycheck isn’t up for best male artist, then what the hell is even going on? Nobody respects are elders any more and that’s why Jimmy Carter got elected.”
I asked Larry Jack if he could share the secret of time travel with me, but he said I must be on the reefer to ask something like that. “Your one of them what’s trying to make country music liberal and gay, aren’t you?” he asked. “IF YOU PEOPLE BY GOD RUIN WHAT GLEN CAMPBELL AND CONWAY TWITTY WORK EVERY DAY TO KEEP STRONG I WILL FIND WHERE YOU LIVE and you will regret it!”
I tried to calm the conversation, but it was no use. “It’s a g***amn shame what their doing.” said Pullen, “I bet Tammy Wynette won’t even be preforming on the show, will she?” When I let him know that Wynette had sadly passed on, he told me to send condolences to her family and let him know where to send flowers.
*this is based on a real Facebook comment (just the first one) - only the name was changed*
Feb 18, 2020
A lot of people ask me about maintaining integrity in songwriting. They say, “John, how do you stay relevant in the country songwriting field without compromising your beliefs in the sacredness of the genre, or your love of the craft?”
I get it. Despite the popularity of a few somewhat traditional sounding artists like Jon Pardi and Luke Combs, it seems that country music is drifting toward the pop landscape more and more. The lyrics are becoming more repetitive, the stories are becoming non-existent, and there are less “real” instruments in the music. I understand your concerns and have some advice for you.
Get over it, boomer. Can’t compromise your integrity if you never had any! This is a business, not an art gallery. I can sell more Bocephus on velvet paintings down by the interstate than I can Monet prints, and I’m all about that almighty dolla dolla bill y’all, so shove your authenticity and get busy hanging up the Hank Jrs.
I went through a few years of thinking I could still get songwriting cuts and hits with the old tried-and-true formula, but it wasn’t because of some virtuous bullshit - I was just lazy. But nowadays I’m getting back on the horse, punching them buttons and dropping them beats. Just got through kissing Kane Brown’s ass on Twitter, too, so hopefully that’ll get me in good graces with the execs and the producers with stupid one-word names. It’s time for the pimp daddy with the bull-horn Caddy to ride again. And if snap beats are cranking out the speakers and you don’t like it, just shut yo washed ass up.
Country music is like Silly Putty. Bend it and twist it however you want. Stick it down on a picture of Drake and Voila! You’ve made a weak, distorted version of Drake appear on the ‘country music.’ Who cares about tradition? Get that green son.
*not actually written by John Rich
Dec 24, 2019
Luke Combs' accountant
My face when I hear some Jason Aldean playing in public
Me, talking to the FCC about the local mainstream country station
Dear God, please give Florida-Georgia Line a permanent case of laryngitis
Is Willie's "Pretty Paper" the best Christmas song?
Some of the Americana is just as boring and vapid as mainstream country but y'all not ready for that conversation
Hear ye! Hear ye! Kane Brown sucks!
When you make it the entire season without hearing "The Christmas Shoes"
Dec 13, 2019
The current Poop Rating of the Mediabase Top 20 is (-19) overall which is a 8(!!) point decrease from October (the previous time we did this chart). The best song on the chart is Jon Pardi’s “Heartache Medication.” The worst is Dan + Shay and Justin Bieber’s “10,000 Hours.”
Chart info from Mediabase/Country Aircheck.
Dec 11, 2019
Zac Brown Band - The Owl
You tell everybody you like everything Zac Brown puts out no matter how he experiments, but in secret, you think this sucks.
Beyonce - Homecoming: The Live Album
You will taunt, threaten, curse, dox, and possibly inflict bodily harm upon anyone who says anything negative about this album, but otherwise you’re pretty nice.
Highwomen - s/t
You’re a strong, beautiful, independent woman and so is your significant other.
FGL - Can’t Say I Ain’t Country
You have a jacked up truck with exhaust stacks, fight with your girlfriend in public, and are drunk right now. Dad says your seventh year of community college is your last, graduation or not.
Maren Morris - Girl
You can’t get into the Highwomen album because it’s too country. You use way too many hashtags on Instagram.
Tyler Childers - Country Squire
You have a homemade bootleg live version of the album that’s “way better.” You sold a car out of your front yard for parts to get tickets to Sturgill and Tyler next year.
Puddle of Mudd - Welcome to Galvania
Wait, Puddle of Mudd still exists? You are a member of some guy in the band’s family.
Luke Combs - What You See is What You Get
Just gonna go out on a limb with this one and guess that you enjoy beer.
Vandoliers - Forever
You skate, fish, have purple hair, and are polite to your mama.
Zac Brown - The Controversy
You usually tell everybody you like everything Zac Brown puts out no matter how he experiments, but you gave up your fan club membership and started an anti-Zac Brown Facebook page after hearing this shit.
Post Malone - Hollywood’s Bleeding
You toss around words like ‘molly’ and ‘yeet’ but your 6th grade teacher doesn’t like you to say them in class.
This is satire. Don't take it seriously.
Idea stolen from Medium.
Nov 27, 2019
Nov 26, 2019
Nov 19, 2019
By Megan Bledsoe
What You See is What You Get. It’s the perfect album title for this unassuming collection of songs and especially for Luke Combs, a guy who someone once told me looks like he could change your oil at Jiffy Lube and whom you actually believe when he sings about drinking beer and fishing. It’s this difference which sets Combs apart from so many mainstream artists; it’s neither completely disingenuous, like Luke Bryan in skinny jeans singing about dirt roads and moonlight, nor a calculated marketing strategy to establish country cred, the obstacle barring so many people from getting onboard with Midland despite the quality of their music. However you view authenticity, Luke Combs has shown that it matters, and shows, and isn’t always about fiddle or steel or even deep lyrics, but more about being true to yourself.
The great thing is that Combs staying true to himself results in a very country record, not some 70’s throwback affair, but a great example of how traditionalism can move forward and still exist in modern country. This is exactly what you want in the mainstream, and the numbers have shown that the general public still wants this as well. Sonically, this is what the evolution of country music should mean. There are a couple of moments of overproduction, but most of this is decisively country, and injected with the energy that you don’t always find on independent records.
Lyrically, there’s nearly always enough substance to further separate Combs from the crowd and hold the attention of the listener. The hooks are smart, and the songwriting is strong, offering simplicity without losing the substance. Songs like “Even Though I’m Leaving” and “Refrigerator Door” even go deeper, providing something meaningful and yet still relatable to a wide audience. “Dear Today” is the hidden gem here, with its thoughtful perspective and gentle warning not to take tomorrow for granted. On a 17-song record, there will always be filler, and this is no exception, but the filler is just that as opposed to what we often see on mainstream albums, where an otherwise good record is hindered by one or two terrible missteps. This could have been trimmed, but it is solid throughout.
Regardless of your personal stance on Luke Combs, the most important factor concerning him and What You See is What You Get is the influence on the genre as a whole. There will be staunch traditionalists and independent fans who never give Combs even a passing glance simply because he comes from Music Row. But Music Row is where the future of country music either lives or dies, where the artists and albums that define country music for generations originate, and where the torch for country music is passed down to its listeners. And with Luke Combs carrying that torch, the sound of our beloved country music is country, the lyrics are substantive, and the artistry is real. If Combs is the future of country music, then the future is indeed beginning to look brighter.