One Toke Over The Line
October 25, 2013
Jimmy Carter in his homebase Nashville.
The pop-ification of Country Music is nothing new. Every few years something or someone comes along to take the twang out of the thang. From 'Blue Moon Of Kentucky" to Eric Church is a long ride.
This week Eric closed his new opus with some cosmic guitars. Some folks yelled "uncle" and neutralized them from the on-air version. The song a little shorter and probably taken very differently.
Change can be jarring but that might have been a little north of where the map shows the road going.
Garth shook it up once with "Ain't Goin Down Till The Sun Comes Up." The last part of that song was wild with the late Terry McMillian's mouth organ wailing. Many stations cut that off. But that does seem minor to this.
Taste is on the eye of the beholder. The powers-that-be had to know this was going to get a reaction and maybe that was the point.
Eric Church is a hot concert artist ... loudest I've ever heard. (Yes, I saw Hendrix, Zeppelin and The Who -- they were loud ... he is louder!)
Don't understand the need to blow people's clothes off with the decibels, but if you want to stick your head inside a jet engine ... go for it.
Eric doesn't need to loud to be a bold artist but that's how he rolls. If that's how he hears his art, that's how he should share it. I respect the honesty of his work.
I don't think Country radio should ever be a home for AC/DC and Cheap Trick ... There are places for that music. The river is very wide and one size does not fit all. BUT there has to be some kind of limits or you have no format at all. Common sense.
The Beatles did songs that weren't radio-friendly. Great artists. Expanded their musical vision with "I Want You," "Helter Skelter," "Why Don't We Do It In The Road," "Revolution #9." Album lovers soaked it all up, but those songs weren't played on their home radio formats ... WABC or KHJ or WLS. Didn't fit the format. The greatest group ever format-unfriendly! It happens.
The great programmers of that day knew there were boundary markers. You know it when you hear it.
This week I heard it ... so did the audience and even some deaf programmers. Some highways need road signs ... ignore them at your own peril.
Long live Eric Church. Unafraid. A real artist if the true sense of the word! Shake 'em up, Eric, but expect a push back now and again.
CMA week is almost here ...Who will take the statues home?
I hope I am not offending anyone this week. We all have ears and eyes and opinions ... I leave you with one more...
How can anyone honestly look at the CMA ballot and say, "I had a better year than Taylor Swift?"