You may recall that I pointed out in my post: Jester’s Music Picks of 2006 that the album “Taking the Long Way Around” by the Dixie Chicks was my favorite for the year. I hate to say “I told you so…” but well… didn’t I?
Seems the Chicks cleaned up at the Grammy Awards last night, picking up five, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Best Country Album, and Best Country Performance.
Oh, but making the radio programmers and bandwagon in Nashville and the Bible Belt face their foolishness is not a good way to get back in their good graces.
From an Associated Press article:
“Most country stations aren’t playing the Chicks, and they aren’t going to start now,” said Jim Jacobs, owner of WTDR-FM, a country radio station in Talladega, Ala.
The awards might have the opposite effect, sparking another radio backlash against the group. Country broadcasters said Monday that the group’s five Grammys show how out of touch the Recording Academy is from the average country fan.
Wait a second… why does it mean that the Recording Academy is out of touch with the average country fan? Can’t it also mean that the “average country fan” is out of touch with reality? And just who is the “average country fan”? Is the assumption being made that the average fan is a bible-banging, NRA membership card carrying, fundamentalist republican whack job? I think that’s a very limiting and dangerous assumption for country music executives and radio programmers to make. I know plenty of country fans who come from all walks of life, from every political viewpoint, race, sexual orientation and homeland.
Country music sales have been circling the drain for the past 6 or 7 years. The executives on music row would like to have you believe that the problem is illegal internet downloads and piracy. They haven’t even for a moment considered the fact that the quality of their product is a tremendous problem. They have promoted the hell out of artists like Toby Keith who has released a couple of songs that make my skin crawl with all the over the top ‘patriotism’ and American Flag symbolism. And ignore albums like Loretta Lynn’s Van Lear Rose that are truly amazing.
They have fallen victim to a backlash to their ‘formula song’ concept.
I have to admit that I haven’t been following very many new artists. Frankly, I can’t distinguish between them. Was that Brad Paisley or Joe Nichols? Oh, it was a new artist? Funny, I can’t tell.
I do know that if you turn on any country station right this moment, you’re going to hear songs that were popular back when I was an active country fan, about 10 years ago. I don’t mean that the stations mix it up… I mean the playlists are almost identical to what they were in 1996, Reba, Vince, Garth, Clint, Martina… all the same songs. It’s like listening to an oldies station.
Just who is out of touch, gentlemen?
The article continues:
Wes McShay, program director of KRMD-FM, in Bossier City, La., said country fans understand that the big stars don’t win Grammy awards.
“If you’re talking about who’s selling out 15,000-seat auditoriums, those acts are not awarded at the Grammys year after year,” McShay said.
Consider the Country Music Association awards handed out a few months ago in Nashville: Entertainer of the year went to Kenny Chesney; the other big winners were radio favorites Brooks & Dunn, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts.
That the Chicks weren’t even nominated for a CMA award shows how narrow-minded and parochial Nashville’s Music Row can be, [Natalie] Maines [singer for the Dixie Chicks] said.
So wait, are you saying that popularity has nothing to do with the awards? And that’s a problem because??
From the Grammy.com website:
A GRAMMY is awarded by The Recording Academy’s voting membership to honor excellence in the recording arts and sciences. It is truly a peer honor, awarded by and to artists and technical professionals for artistic or technical achievement, not sales or chart positions.
So there are complaints that awards for excellence in artistic achievement aren’t given out based on album sales or chart position? What? Since when does artistic excellence ever equate with popularity? Umm… almost never.
Radio stations are by and large all owned by one of three or four major corporations, their job is to sell you things. That’s it. Their job is not to showcase music and further the arts. Their job is to play something that you might enjoy so that you will sit still and listen to Crazy Bob scream about the WILD DEALS you can get on a gigantic gas-guzzling Fuck You Mobile. When the programmers are choosing songs, they don’t care about soaring bridges, minor key modulations, or sensitive and poetic lyrics. They look at market research and sales figures. It’s almost never based on the music. One programmer I’m quite familiar with once put a god awful Spice Girl song on the air because he liked their tits in the video.
The AP article goes on:
The Dixie Chicks peaked at No. 36 on the Billboard country charts with “Not Ready to Make Nice.” That ought to disqualify them from winning best country album, said Jacobs, the Alabama radio station owner.
“How do you win country music album of the year, when country music radio is not playing you?” he said.
Dixie Chick Emily Robison said the Grammy organization is known for recognizing great albums that don’t necessarily get played on the radio.
“Especially in country, it does have that tradition of honoring the unsung great albums,” Robison said.
I want to know how the song peaked at #36 when Country Radio wasn’t playing them? Could it be that there are country music fans out there that have the ability to separate their political beliefs from their appreciation of a great song? Could it be that there are ::gasp:: country fans who shared the opinion of Natalie Maines when she announced that she was “ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas”?
I want to know how Country Radio can refuse to play the Dixie Chicks when they were just recognized as being the BEST of Country Music by THEIR PEERS?
And for those readers out there who share the opinion that the Chicks have no place on country stations anymore, I would like to challenge you to examine that opinion and determine whether this opinion is something that you would have come up with on your own, or if some fat cat radio executive sold it to you along with Big Macs, jewelry, and TREMENDOUS SAVINGS on wall to wall carpeting.