NASHVILLE SKYLINE: 2012: Bah, Humbug

Bring It On, 2013! We Need Some New Music

(NASHVILLE SKYLINE is a column by CMT/ Editorial Director Chet Flippo.)

Some year, huh, in 2012? Let’s just wipe the slate clean and start with a clean, new 2013.

For one thing in this new year, I want to extend congratulations to Big Machine chief Scott Borchetta for being named one of the “most disruptive” people in the music industry. I consider that an honor. May Scott continue to vigorously disrupt the corrupt, hidebound side of the industry in 2013. And to keep stirring the soup.

And for this new year, how about no more guns ever again being featured in music videos? Ever.

And how about no more talking about being country in songs and music videos? Or singing about being country. Just be country, dammit. If you have to work at it, you’re not country.

Speaking of trying to be country, did you ever catch a glimpse of Nickelback ’s so-called video for the song “This Afternoon”? The song was lame to begin with, but then they fashioned together a video that was their idea of what a cool country music video should be. They threw in every possible cliché — the hot chicks around a pool, the endless beer, the cool dudes, the hapless cops, enough, already. Didn’t Kid Rock already do all that?

2012 was an extremely anemic year for country music. There was a whole lot of Music Row’s songwriting factories churning out cobbled-together songs that country radio wants and demands. Forgettable and disposable ditties. What’s the solution? Follow your ears. You don’t have to listen to the crap. Fortunately, there are alternatives, like Sirius XM, Spotify, Pandora and the like online. See what you can find.

I’m hoping for more good music from folks like Chelle Rose, Pam Rose , Lori McKenna , Matraca Berg , David Olney , the Lumineers , Kacey Musgraves , Kellie Pickler , the Avett Brothers , Alan Jackson , Jamey Johnson , Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Kip Moore , Rodney Crowell , Dwight Yoakam , Little Big Town , Ashley Monroe , Darrell Scott and a whole bunch more I’ll remember later.

I’d like to see more reissues of significant artists and albums. We could start with someone such as the underappreciated Gary Stewart , Tracy Nelson and Mother Earth, and Lester “Roadhog” Moran and his Cadillac Cowboys.

I’m hoping for reasonable ticket prices for concerts and club shows, like figures that are not in the triple digits.

How about less pork belly and more bacon?

How about fewer compressed downloads and more vinyl? And less digital and more analog.

May all dirt roads lead off the edge of the Earth.

May all competitive music shows die a horrible death from their own bad breath.

How about fewer pickup truck songs and more van and SUV songs (after the kids come along, when the country audience gets a family)?

How about fewer fedoras and skinny jeans polluting the so-called “hipster” landscape?

How about some real songs this year? Merle Haggard recently observed there are no standards being written and recorded any more. He’s right. Name a 2012 country song that could become a standard and live for year after year, like a “Silver Wings” or “Hello Walls” or “Crazy.” The closest that a song came in 2012 was Keith Gattis ’ composition “El Cerrito Place,” which is actually several years old and has been recorded by Charlie Robison and most recently by Kenny Chesney . Go back through this year’s chart hits and you’re not going to find any candidates for standards. Maybe that’s fine with the country music industry these days. They just need those nonsensical radio hits that resonate in short listener research tests. Hey, country listener, do you like the first seven seconds of this song? Great! It’s a hit!

Happy New Year.