Just Checking In…Does Country Music Still Have My Attention?

I thought I would do a little “check in” with the blog and my views on the topic, country music. Its mid-November 2014, about 7 months since I really got this blog going.

I can’t believe it’s only been 7 months! I never would have thought the blog would have evolved the way it did. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a long ways to go in getting the name really out there, but it has taken an unexpected direction. I made the Facebook page and Twitter account to promote the website, but they have taken on lives of their own. Each social media account serves its purpose, but Twitter has really opened up my world.

I never liked Twitter before so it was a struggle for me at first, but then unknown musicians and bands started following me. So I followed back. Random people followed me. I followed back. I quickly learned the flaws in that plan, thank goodness. I don’t like my newsfeed littered with topics outside of country music. Anyway, a lot of musicians began to follow me and in the beginning I would listen to their stuff online before I followed them because I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. That was a flawed plan as well, oh well. In a way that’s the precise moment when it began to evolve.

I was never into indie or unsigned bands, I hate bad production and they always sounded bad to me. I don’t know if times have changed or if it’s a country music thing but I liked what I heard! Then I started reviewing them and everything has kind of built from there.

One day some random person on Twitter recommended I check out a singer I had never heard of. His name is Ry Bradley. I’ve reviewed his music and rambled on about him on this blog a few times since then so if you’re paying attention you already know how talented I think this guy is. All he wants to do is go out there and play for people. And eventually he will be playing for A LOT of people. Last night he won Country Music Artist of the Year at the LA Music Awards. But even more importantly Ry has become a good friend of mine; it’s a friendship that I value very much and a friendship that has led to many other friends! Thank you Ry, you have helped me out more than you know.

Through Ry Bradley I learned of something called “California Country”, a whole mess of crazy talented country music artists in my own backyard! Not only did I never listen to indie and unsigned bands, I definitely never went to see them live. However, that’s pretty much all I do now. I love it. Through the whole “California Country” thing and apparently becoming a Ry Bradley groupie, I’ve come to know quite a few other local talents that I love to listen to and call friends as well.
Brooke Ansley, who I don’t see to see as much as I would like because she has an amazing voice! This talented songwriter needs to quit her day job! Seriously, though, she’s awesome.
Daniel Bonte (and the Bona Fide), rocks hard. I can watch the full band rock all night or just see him and his guitarist, Billy, play an acoustic set in a tiny bar. This guy is bursting with energy that I can’t wait to watch blossom.
Sheyna Gee, keep rockin’! She has that “too cool for school” style like nobody else and she busts her butt out there every damn week. I’m exciting to hear new music from her.
Katelyn Marie, the little song bird. She’s so sweet and so is her voice. She’s got the talent at a young age to write amazing originals.
Southern Caliber, who plays today’s country hits better than some of the original artists (I won’t mention who)! I love seeing these guys play, and they play EVERYWHERE. I can’t to hear some more originals.
Thank you everyone for being so damn cool and letting me and the California Country Crüe follow y’all everywhere!

And there’s this week’s Artist of the Week at RMC.com, Emma Lane. She’s a singer and songwriter from New York that I’ve bugged the crap out of this summer, to the point where we HAD to become buddies. She had no choice and I don’t care. But I chose to feature her more than once on this blog because she’s talented, period. It really doesn’t get that more complicated than that. All these people are good and add their own flavor to the genre.

Another thing I’ve learned is the diversity in country music. If you turn off the radio (and please do) you’ll discover, just like I did, new sounds. There’s so much more to country than what radio plays. Everyone is crying about how all this junk out there isn’t true country, and they are right, but they aren’t willing to go find the real stuff. I’m new to all of it and I still found it.
Radio has taken a huge shift lately and I really don’t get it. Case in point, Sam Hunt. I don’t usually talk smack on here because I want this to be a positive experience for myself and the readers so I won’t go on and on, but c’mon!

Garth Brooks released his first album of new material in over a decade so we’ll see if he can shift things back. And I recently posted a little blurb about how I’m obsessed with Brantley Gilbert’s latest Just As I Am. It reminds me of 80s metal, which is all I used to listen to. I like every damn song on the album; it has a good mix of ballads and up tempo songs to keep you interested. Little Big Town, my favorite country music group, just released Painkiller. I don’t hear much talk about this but I personally hear a huge shift in their sound that I’m not particularly happy about. Overall I love the album but many songs on it are just so far from their beginnings that it worries me.

But does country music still have my attention? After all this listening and reviewing and reading and tweeting and blogging?
Yes. Yes it does.
And to prove it, tonight I just bought the Christmas album by the cast of Nashville at Target. Hah. Truthfully speaking most of the songs featured on that show are better than what’s being playing on country radio.

As everything kind of grew (in my own, little way) this summer with this blog, I also started selling t-shirts. I wanted to thank the people that ordered one or at least showed interest. It means the world to me, it truly does. I’m shocked that some of the singers wanted to wear one on stage, you have no idea how cool I think that is! The t-shirt purchases, the Likes, the Shares, the Follows and all that help me out big time. And trust me; this is only the beginning because there is so much more I plan to do.

And that is my “check in” up until this point. November 13th, 2014. I can’t wait for the next one…