Tag Archives: country music

#1 Country Billboard Song for July 30, 2011

22 Jul

This week’s #1 country song proves that there are no genre distinctions when it comes to today’s popular music. What is it that really classifies a song as country, rock, pop, or even rap these days? Today’s artist are trying to reach out to fans from all genres and are blurring the distinctions that make each genre its own unique style of music that we’ve grown to love. Jason Aldean is doing just that with his current #1 song this week “Dirt Road Anthem,” which was written by Colt Ford and Brantley Gilbert.

I love all of Jason Aldean’s music, such as “The Truth” and the rock anthem “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” but this song has me very torn. In this song about southern pride and country living, Jason throws in raps on the verses and then has very smooth country sound on the chorus. I am huge fan of most music, from rock and pop to country, so when they mix a little pop into country such as Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood I love it, but mixing rap into country is a whole different story. I have nothing against rap, I just think that country and rap should not be mixed.

Matt Bjorke of Roughstock gave “Dirt Road Anthem” a 4.5 star rating, saying “Jason Aldean knows he’s not a rapper and this isn’t a style of music that he’ll continuously do…but as for a new song with a different sound, it certainly works.” (Source: Wikipedia) I sure hope this is not a trend that will catch on. I think people like all types of music and may even like country and rap, but when you are listening to country such as Jason, you want to hear country and when you’re listening to rap, like Kanye West, you want to hear rap. I think it’s a huge mistake to mix the two permanently, but if this is just a one time thing for Jason, maybe it was a good move on his part to bring him a new audience that never would have listened to country before.

Jason is not the first country artist to dabble in adding hip hop influences into country. Toby Keith’s singles “Getcha Some” and “I Wanna Talk about Me” had spoken parts that sounded a lot like rap. Other country artists that have experimented with rap are Trace Adkins and Sugar Land. What are your thoughts on this? I can’t decide if “Dirt Road Anthem”  is worth a download or not. I love Jason’s voice on the country parts, but I’m not too fond of the rap parts and feel like he is just speaking instead of actually singing and, as a result, the song loses all its momentum in my opinion.

#1 Country Billboard Song for May 14, 2011

9 May

This week, Sara Evans claims the #1 country slot with “A Little Bit Stronger,” which was written by Luke Laird, Hillary Lindsey and Hillary Scott (Lady Antebellum). One of the first times I heard this song was in the movie “Country Strong” and even though Gwenyth Paltrow’s song “Country Strong” is the theme song for this movie, it was “A Little Bit Stronger” that resonated more with me.

This song is very well constructed and is a powerful and emotional song. It’s a story about getting through a tough breakup and getting “a little bit stronger” everyday. My favorite line in the song is “I turned on the radio / Stupid song made me think of you, I listened to it for a minute / But then I changed it”) clearly stating that the things around her still remind her of him everyday but she’s getting stronger every day. I also love the simple phrase “Doesn’t happen overnight” giving comfort and hope to anyone in that situation to continue powering through.

Here are a few other people’s opinions on this song compiled on Wikipedia:

Blake Boldt of The 9513 gave the song a thumbs up, complimenting the song’s “flourishes of steel and piano” and the “authentic, organic vocal.”

Matt Bjorke of Roughstock gave the song 4 stars out of 5, complimenting the song’s lighter production and Evans’ vocals, which he felt “wring every bit of emotion out of the lyrics that chronicle a woman’s ability to move on after a long relationship ends.”

Kevin John Coyne of Country Universe awarded the song a C rating, stating that the song could’ve been better “with a stronger melody and a more refined concept.” He also compared it unfavorably to her previous singles, “Fool, I’m a Woman,” “Cheatin’,” and “Shame About That.”

This song has a very simple message and basic structure, but really hits home with both men and woman alike. I think Sara Evans and the writers have set the bar for what a #1 Country song should be. This is Sara Evans’ first single in 5 years and her first #1 song since 2005 when” A Real Fine Place to Start” took the #1 spot for two weeks.

All three of the writers on this song have had their share of #1 songs as well. In 2010, Luke Laird shared a few #1 hits including “Undo it” and “Tempoary Home,” both by Carrie Underwood, and “Hillbillie Bone,” by Blake Shelton and Trace Atkins. Hillary Lindsey is probablly best known for “Jesus Take the Wheel,” by Carrie Underwood, but has had too many #1’s to count including “Just a Dream”, “So Small”, “Unstoppable”, “Blessed” and “American Honey.” The third writer, Hillary Scott, better known as a third of the group Lady Antebellum, has seen the #1 spot along with her Lady Antebllum partners with songs such as “Need You Now”, “I Run to You” and “Our Kind of Love.”

Let me know your thoughts on “A Little Bit Stronger” by Sara Evans. I consider it worthy of a download.

Nashville 2011

22 Apr

I just recently returned from a week long trip to Nashville to pitch some music and hang out in Music City. Overall I had a very productive week, getting some great feedback on my songs as well as meeting some future co-writers while hanging out with some great songwriter friends from Houston. I spent most of the days pitching music and the nights at hit songwriter’s shows presented by Tin Pan South with new and old friends.

Meeting Allen Shamblin in Nashville, April 2011

I can’t even begin the explain the experience I had with Tin Pan South. I saw so many great hit writers up close and personal. My mind was overflowing with inspiration just listening to each of their unique stories. My favorite show was one of the first nights at the Hard Rock Cafe on Broadway. It included Phil Vasser, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Brett James and  Josh Kear. You may have heard of Phil Vasser and Carolyn Dawn Johnson, but many of you may not know Brett James and Josh Kear. Brett James wrote many of Carrie Underwood’s songs, including “Jesus Take the Wheel” and “Cowboy Casanova.” Josh Kear has many hits, but most people know him now as the writer of Lady Antebellum’s huge smash “Need You Now.” Josh also wrote “Before He Cheats” for Carrie Underwood.

That night was the highlight of my Tin Pan South experience, but other great writers that I saw that week were Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin, who wrote “The House that Built Me.” I actually saw each writer seperate and both put on a great show, including their performance of Miranda Lambert’s huge hit. What was interesting is Tom Douglas actually played it on the keyboard, while Allen Shamblin played it on the guitar.

New and old friends in Nashville, April 2011

I could go on and on about the Tin Pan South shows, but the main reason I was in Nashville was to get feedback on my own music. I set up appointments with representatives at NSAI and ASCAP as well as with a producer in Brentwood that  a friend recommended. All of them gave me great feedback and said I was on the right track. I had three songs that I was pitching. The first is a brand new song called “Red Eye,” which I wrote with Jon D’Agostino from New York and Jason Eustice from Louisville, Kentucky. Jason did a guitar vocal of it and I got really good compliments on his presentation of the song.  The second song I pitched is a song I wrote last year with Beth Kille from Wisconsin. Beth lived here in Houston for a while, which is where we met, but didn’t start writing until she moved back to Wisconsin. Now we co-write via Skype. The final song I pitched is called “Doing the Best I Can,” which was inspired by my cousin going to Afghanistan. All three songs got great reviews. Now it’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time and of course continuing to write great songs!

I love Nashville and the musical vibe that surrounds the city and hope to make it back soon.