Aubrie Sellers - "Loveless Rolling Stone"
fr "New City Blues"
I would like to note my environment and that I am sitting in a dark room that has been freshly cleaned by moa', listening to Aubrie Sellers, "New City Blues" start to finish (BTW I still think you need to buy), with only the light of my computer (Carrie Bradshaw Style) and just the company of Jack Davis. Who, by the way was almost just whooped by a cat. I panicked at first thinking it was a opossum because all I could see were glowing eyes, but once I turned the light on my phone on I was relieved to see it was a feline. You'd think I'd be super good at telling critters apart being that I'm from the country, but in a panic they all sound the same to me. For those who follow me on Facebook, I guess it was a cat in the tree, but who knew cats climbed tree's???!!! Does everyone other than me know this? Is it cause I'm a dog person? Wait, I'm off track!! Kinda feels like you are watching the CMA's, huh?! LOL!!! How was I to resist?! I nearly sat down to write this blog at 11:35 p.m. Wednesday night. That's right, immediately after the CMA's had wrapped, but I didn't. I decided to wait till the dust settled a bit. Wait until folks sent out their virtual gratitude's, snap's (which is a social media source that I still think is shady), Insta's, Tweets, wtf's, and flat out confusion or perhaps a better word would be frustration over performers, presenters, and/or winners. Fair warning: This weeks #NewMusicMonday is going to come in two parts, Part 1 - Drama , Drama, Drama and Part 2 - Why we actually watched.
Beyoncé w Dixie Chicks
I feel I need to start this blog off with what EVERYONE has been talking about since the airing of the show this last Wednesday. A performance that basically overshadowed all other performances and even the winners of the evening. Not because the performance was necessarily that outstanding, it was good, but it wasn't like, call someone to turn on their T.V. good. Instead it overshadowed because of the performers themselves, Beyoncé with the Dixie Chicks. Reportedly Beyoncé was invited to perform and she then invited the Chicks, who have been covering her tune, "Daddy Lessons" on their most recent tour, to collab with her for the evening. It may be worth noting that the Chicks have been absent from the CMA's for about ten years prior to this performance. Natalie Maines, front woman for the group tweeted post performance that they'd been invited to host next year with "B", but that they all are busy that day. I suppose no one is all that surprised that is how she feels about the backlash. I have been reading what feels like endless articles, press releases, social media posts, etc. from not just fans, but also entertainment news outlets, country artists and even the CMA's themselves. Everyone has a opinion. Why would #NewMusicMonday be any different?!
Kenny Chesney was virtually attacked by a viewer who said his body language and facial expressions during the performance implied his disapproval. Chesney felt so misread by this assumption he felt the need to send out a press release. I'm not gonna type the entire thing, but the basics are that he is a fan of music. He doesn't see race, sexual orientation, gender, genre, or whatever other category one would use in limiting an artist. His love is for the music as well as for the performers who leave it all on the stage, which he feels Beyoncé and the Chicks did. It was reported by multiple entertainment media outlets that the CMA's seemingly deleted any trace of the performance. They haven't, it can still be found with the rest of the evenings performances at abc.com. Chris Stapleton when speaking with media after his win for Best Male, stated that he felt honored that Beyoncé would take the time to collab and perform with the country community. Not everyone was in a tizzy, but Travis Tritt, a seasoned country artist tweeted after one of his shows in Kentucky that he was sorry they didn't play any Beyoncé tunes for the "Real" country fans. Sarcasm laced tweets followed with he and his band are gonna learn, "Single Ladies" and they look forward to see who BET invites from the Country genre to perform at their awards show. While it is dripping with attitude I somewhat agree with the point Tritt is trying to make in these tweets. It is something I saw on social media through out the evening, "Beyoncé is my favorite country singer", "I'm glad REAL country artist are getting to perform this year", "Where the H is Kip Moore, The Cadillac Three, & Kelleigh Bannen??!!!", O.K. That last one might be one of my own, but you catch my drift. I tried to find my actual post when reading the news leak, but for whatever reason I can't find it now. Freakin' technology. The jest was, "why for the love of country music, why??!!". This isn't a new question. I have observed over the last several years via social media that the majority of country music fans are asking the same questions. Where are the country artist??!! Why, at a 50th Anniversary ceremony that had been billed for MONTHS as a throw back through the decades of CMA's, with performers, presenters, special honoree's that all where going to be about the Country Music Community, get a pop princess, I mean Queen, add in??!!! I mean what else was the point of that three way of a song, "Forever Country"???!!!!!! Again, perfectly fine song, but totally false advertising!!!!! Yes, it was one performance out of a nearly 3 hour show, but it is a performer that overshadowed everything else that was intended to be in the spotlight.
Some outlets have claimed it's a race issue that needs to be addressed in the country music genre. Stating that this much hub bub wasn't raised when Justin Timberlake performed last year with Chris Stapleton. I disagree. I disagree so much that "disagree" isn't even the right word. I'll return to the comparison of these two performances later in the post. Some outlets want to blame it all on the stigma of Beyoncé choosing to perform with the formerly shunned, Dixie Chicks. I'll admit there may be an ounce of truth in that, but I do not think it is the main "issue". It is my observation and personal irritancy, that the fact that the only association we have known Beyoncé to have with the Country Music community, other than having been raised in Texas and having one of her tunes covered by Queen Reba, was when she reportedly kept local law enforcement from aiding with security at her most recent performance in Nashville. When I heard of her possibly performing on the CMA's this was the first thing I thought of. "This is an effort to smooth the ruffled feathers" of the country/Nashville community."Daddy Lessons" performed by Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks was a solid performance. I like Beyoncé!!!! I wouldn't classify myself as apart of the "Bee Hive", but I respect her work. I even had a respect for what she was doing back when what she was doing was, "Bootylicious". I mean, what more does everyone want from me???!!!!! And I have been A Dixie Chick fan from way back in the day, like, "Cowboy Take Me Away", back in the day. So, for me it isn't all of that other "stuff" that I just listed. I know, why list it? Because not all of you will read all the things I've read and even though this post seems endless I'm considering it a brief overview on the topic for those that won't read the other stuff.
Justin Timberlake w Chris and Moran Stapleton
"Tennessee Whiskey" & "Drink You Away"
Beyoncé fans where mad that the performance was a solid hour and some minutes into the show. Meaning that they "had" to watch an hour something of country music just to see the performance from Queen B. Well, Bee Hive, you aren't the only irritated ones when it comes to having to watch one thing in order to get to the reason you are actually watching to begin with. Which is how a lot of viewers qualified the performance. The day began with a media news leak that "B" would be performing at that nights CMA ceremony. Personally, I feel that this leak was possibly done not just for the sake of amping ratings, causing discussion, or for setting the trend online, but also to hide the fact that Taylor Swift would be returning to the CMA stage and presenting the last, most anticipated award of the evening, Entertainer of the Year.
I think that the reason there wasn't such an outcry when Timberlake performed with Stapleton is multifaceted. There had been social media posts prior to the performance implying that he was taking part in Little Big Town's next project. Meaning, prior to his performance he had some sort of a relationship with popular country artists and was even aiding in the production of new country tunes. As far as had been popularly reported concerning Beyoncé, there was no scuff between Justin and any Nash law enforcement. I'm not even sure the last date JT played Nashville prior to the 2015 CMA's. JT is from Memphis. Nashvill-ians and Memphis Citizens have a kinship that is founded in music. JT might as well be from Nashville in the eyes of the industry and probably even the community. Lastly, he collaborated with Chris Stapleton. This was a night that Chris was mutli-nominated and won nearly every category he was in for that year. Chris is friends with seemingly every single artist and or band that was in the room that night, as well as industry folk. His wife Morgan use to work for a music publishing company. Chris and Morgan had been around the genre for YEARS prior to this shot at the main stage. To say their ties run deep is an understatement when it comes to the relational part of the industry and the relational part of country music is what makes it country music. JT was introduced by hanging out with the most popular guy in the room. Queen B was introduced to everyone by the Goth chicks that folks can't decide if they totally have the most respect for and want to be just like or are completely afraid of because they follow no one's rules. For me it is a bit of both when it comes to my love of the Dixie Chicks. Back to topic, plus, the song meshed into Timberlakes', "Drink You Away" performance, was George Jones', "Tennessee Whiskey". There is a chance, had these performances been switched out, had Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks played last year and JT and Chris performed this year, we wouldn't be having this discussion.
To make this epically long post even longer, I think the heart of it is what it's always been, why pretend to be something you aren't?! The CMA's and ACM's have seemed to be the kid trying to act cool by following the trend instead of being who they actually are and just being cool. Last ACM we seem to have traded Nick Jonas and Brad Paisley at the iHeart festival. Let's ask Kelsea Ballerini how that worked out. Do I understand the need for ratings? Yes. Do I understand the responsibility owed to advertisers of those time slots? Yes. Do I understand the desire to collaborate cross genre in the simple efforts of making good music/performances? Yes. I repeat, had this performance happened last year I truly don't believe it would have caused such an uproar. When Charlie Daniels only sings one line of his ICONIC country song, but a out of genre performer is given an entire 4 minute slot at a show that is advertised as country through the years, there is gonna be upset by the "real" fans. As in Kenny's comments, it has nothing to do with race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, etc. it has to do with the music. I don't think folks would've even minded all that much had it just been the Dixie Chicks. Again, nothing to do with anything that is Beyoncé other than her genre and iconic musical style. Had it been another show, had it been another year, had it been a different collaboration. I'm just gonna end this with a "Sex and the City" quote cause I'm sitting here all Carrie Bradshaw style, "Could, Woulda, Shoulda".
Gonna leave ya with two of my FAVORITE tunes from DC and B, respectively.
Dixie Chicks - "Travellin' Solider"
Beyoncé - "If I Were a Boy"