This Week’s News

By now, every country artist, DJ and their mother has sounded off with their own hot take on Sturgill Simpson’s recent comments about the Academy of Country Music Awards and its perceived disrespect towards late country music legend Merle Haggard.

AUSTIN, TX – APRIL 30: Bobby Bones had a thing or two to say about the recent Sturgill Simpson controversy. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

After Simpson took the Academy to task for creating an award in Haggard’s name, claiming the Academy was merely trying to ride the coattails of a legend whom the institution hadn’t paid any attention to in the years before his death, Americana artist Jason Isbell rallied behind  Simpson:

I don't know what he said but I agree 100%

— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) August 30, 2016

Ok now I know what Sturgill said and I still agree

— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) August 30, 2016

After the dust settled, rebuttals were issued by country journalists, Triple crown ACM award-winner Jason Aldean and uber-DJ Bobby Bones.

“The Tennessean”‘s Nate Rau took issue with Simpson’s summation of Nashville, writing: “However, if Simpson is truly serious about leaving town, then he is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Whatever his issues with commercial country music, there is a significant sector of the music industry here that has been supportive of Simpson’s career. I wonder if the guy whose pre-fame background includes time working on a railroad would have achieved his great success without Music City?”

Aldean took to “Rolling Stone Country” to express his views on the matter: “I don’t know Sturgill, never met the guy, but I know he’s a great artist. The flip side of [his argument] is I feel like everybody in this town – every artist, every writer, every producer – we all are very much aware of the contribution [Haggard] had to this business.”

Never one to shy away from offering his opinion, country DJ Bobby Bones remarked on his morning radio show Aug. 30:

“I like Sturgill Simpson. I respect him, because he’s been able to do it pretty much independently … I also love it when artists speak their mind. I love the fact that he’s speaking out, even if I disagree with him…There is no such thing as ‘actual country music.’ … That’s your definition of country music. Don’t put it on me. So I have a problem with that. If you hold on to your roots, you don’t grow.”

Man, country music hasn’t had a good feud in a while.

This Week’s Best New Song

Margo Price wasn’t nominated for anything at this year’s Country Music Association awards, which is a shame, because “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter” is one of the year’s best albums. Her latest single from that album, “Four Years of Chances,” is a scornful love ballad full of country, rhythm and blues. It’s one of the catchiest tunes she’s released yet. Hopefully it will catch on and she’ll get recognized at next year’s CMAs. Or at any country awards show, for that matter.


This Week’s Worst New Song

To call Colt Ford’s new sound “evolved” is to place more emphasis on his humble beginnings as a hick-hop rapper who burst onto the scene with the “can’t tell if serious or joking” single “Chicken and Biscuits.” His new song “4 Lane Gone,” comes  with a viral marketing campaign video that has everyone from Brantley Gilbert to Larry Fitzgerald wondering “Who sings that ‘4 Lane’ song?” in order to build up momentum.

It was available on YouTube earlier, but for now the only version I can find is on Spotify. The heartbreak and drinkin’ song is a step up from Ford’s earlier songs. There’s no rapping, at least. But it’s still not a great piece of country music. Plus, the dude in the song comes thiiiis close to driving drunk.

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This Week’s Best Country Show in Austin

Clint Black. (Photo: Kevin Mazur)

Clint Black plays One World Theatre Sunday in West Austin. Tickets are starting at $140 a pop, but you’ll get to hear old gems like “Killin’ Time” and “Like the Rain,” as well as new songs from his 2015 album “On Purpose.” I’ll have a review Monday morning.

This is the Country Music Roundup, a weekly blog where we’ll give you the latest news in country music releases and local country shows. For a more in-depth analysis of the genre and where it’s headed, check back with our weekly Gone Country blog every week.

Questions, comments, suggestions? Let me know on Twitter @jakeharris4 or by email: