Showing posts with label 90's country. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 90's country. Show all posts

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Where've I Been?

I used to be so fastidious about updating my blog. Now I realize my last post was on October 3. So, where've I been?

I've taken a lot of winding roads. I started a new novel that I realize I don't care about, I started a podcast that no one listens to, and mostly I've been making playlists on Spotify. It started innocently enough -- my podcast was going to feature a particular year, so I began compiling hit songs from each of those years. Then when I realized (finally) that no one cared, I started making playlists for myself.

Here is mine for nineties country:

It's really good, if I say so myself. And quite comprehensive -- 215 songs, 12 hours and 19 minutes of really good.

Of course, I couldn't stop there, so I created a playlist for the eighties:


Then the seventies:


And who could forget the sixties?


What the heck? The fifties weren't my time, but I was familiar with several fifties hits, so dang, why not?



Where does it end? Well, I can't do the 2000's, because it would be a paltry list of maybe twenty five songs. Sorry, I gave up on country the first time I heard "Breathe" on the radio and realized everything had gone to hell.

You may think this was a needless exercise -- the ultimate time-waster -- but believe me, it wasn't easy! I don't have much to be proud of, but at least I can say I created better country playlists than 99.9% of all the Spotify users who created country playlists.

So, you see, I haven't been wasting my time after all. 

P.S. I'm coming back to my blog full force.



Friday, August 16, 2019

Why Mark Chesnutt May Be The Best Country Singer Ever

I've got a short list of "best" country singers ~ I've always placed George Strait at the very top. I love the fact that that silky voice is instantly recognizable, even if the song isn't. Don't get me wrong; King George is no Sinatra ~ he's got that heart-clenching break in his voice, when he does it right.

Gene Watson is pure perfection. Is there a country performance better than "Farewell Party"?

Merle is his own category. There's no point in even attempting to lump him in with the others. It's ludicrous.

Others? Well, there's Faron Young, Randy Travis, Dwight Yoakam, Marty Robbins, Ray Price.

Then there's Mark Chesnutt.

Mark Chesnutt should have been a superstar with laurels strewn at his feet. He was definitely a star, but why did he never get his due? I don't know ~ ask Dwight Yoakam why he's suddenly been inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame after being systematically snubbed by the country music establishment for thirty-odd years.

Maybe, like Gene Watson, Mark Chesnutt is just too damn country.

The nineties was a time of transition for me. In 1990 I turned thirty-five and embarked on a road that would determine my default profession for the next thirty years. My kids were suddenly teenagers and I had the luxury to think about what I wanted to do with my life. My ambition was surging. I'd finally, through dollars I couldn't afford and dogged determination, gotten down to a size three, the tiniest I'd been since age eighteen. I was shopping for clothes at the local thrift store because my size kept shrinking. I was a peon insurance examiner, but the sky was the limit. I wanted to do more ~ I wasn't exactly sure what, but I would grab any flicker of opportunity that flashed before my eyes. And I was suddenly working alongside 29 like-minded confederates, who, like me, were country music fans.

Radio was vital; necessary. We discussed hits with each other; compared our favorite artists. There were so many:  Pam Tillis, Diamond Rio, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Tracy Lawrence, Clay Walker, George Strait, Kathy Mattea, Dwight Yoakam, Vince Gill, Shania Twain, Randy Travis, Brooks and Dunn, Patty Loveless, Travis Tritt, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Restless Heart, Lorrie Morgan, Little Texas.

Throughout that journey, from 1990 to 1999, was Mark Chesnutt.

It was odd that Mark Chesnutt never came up in our conversations, and yet I bought every single one of his CD's. And played the hell out of them. I think the lack of discussion about Mark was that it was simply a given there was nothing to debate. Nice as Clay Walker was, Mark was no two-hit wonder. Much like George Strait, we all knew that Mark Chesnutt would release another single that'd stir the hearts of true country-lovin' connoisseurs.

Even when Mark covered an Aerosmith song, he suffused it with country music bona fides.

In countless ways, the music of the nineties was magnificent; yet, by the strict definition, not all of it was stone country; not even George Strait sometimes. Little Texas was technically pop, and one could argue the same for Restless Heart. Shania was pop. Dwight was some kind of amalgam. I still loved it all.

There are those who like "country", and then there are people like me who love country. Mark Chesnutt was country. He was (is) principled. I admire principles.

In 2004 Mark released an album that lives in my heart, "Savin' The Honky Tonk", which features a track that can only be described by those of us who love country as stupendous:

Yep, Mark Chesnutt's the real deal.

No discussion required.


Friday, September 28, 2018

Faking Country

You know me -- I don't listen to today's country. I am easily irritated by cacophonous sounds, like sirens and repetitive construction noises....and US senators preening for television cameras. So, I admit I'm not exactly "hip" to the latest sounds. But I was browsing The Federalist the other day (not actually for music news) and ran across this article regarding a new song by someone named Walker Hayes. The hook is, apparently, that the lyrics reference titles of nineties country songs.

The song was written by Shane McAnally and "LYRX", a suspicious name -- a global conglomerate like "EXXON"; a corporation that features thirty-something brunettes in sensible pantsuits in its commercials, sagely reassuring us that their cabal is environmentally-friendly, while in fact they are poisoning us.

The song is clever! And lazy! "I can't seem to write a good song, so I'll just string some titles together and voila!"

The recording itself is as far away from country music as The Captain and Tennille.

I'm okay with people saying country music is dead, because it is; but don't disingenuously co-opt the name. It's fine -- we get it -- you want country to be a lukewarm glass of 2% milk. But why not call it something else? It denigrates the name "country" when your gas-passing is lumped together with actual music. 

My honest review of this song? It's horrible. Don't try to make excuses. It reeks. 

If one was to listen to any of the songs referenced in the lyrics, they'd slink away in shame.

Okay, since you asked for it:

Meanwhile, I'll get my new music from TV commercials.

At least it's genuine.