Tag Archives: Jason Aldean

2012 CMA Nominations

They’re out!  What are your thoughts on this year’s CMA nominations?  Discuss in the comments section.

Entertainer of the Year 

Jason Aldean
Kenny Chesney
Brad Paisley
Blake Shelton
Taylor Swift

Female Vocalist of the Year

Kelly Clarkson
Miranda Lambert
Martina McBride
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood

Male Vocalist of the Year

Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Blake Shelton
Keith Urban

Vocal Group of the Year

The Band Perry
Eli Young Band
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
Zac Brown Band

Vocal Duo of the Year

Big & Rich
Love and Theft
The Civil Wars
Thompson Square

New Artist of the Year

Lee Brice
Brantley Gilbert
Hunter Hayes
Love and Theft
Thompson Square

Album of the Year (Awarded to artist and producer)

Luke Bryan, Tailgates and Tanlines – Produced by Jeff Stevens and Mark Bright

Eric Church, Chief – Produced by Jay Joyce

Miranda Lambert, Four the Record – Produced by Frank Liddell, Chuck Ainlay, and Glenn Worf

Dierks Bentley, Home – Produced by Brett Beavers, Luke Wooten, and Jon Randall Stewart

Lady Antebellum, Own the Night  – Produced by Paul Worley and Lady Antebellum

Song of the Year (Awarded to songwriters)

Eli Young Band, “Even if It Breaks Your Heart” – Will Hoge and Eric Paslay

Blake Shelton, “God Gave Me You” – Dave Barnes

Dierks Bentley, “Home” – Dierks Bentley, Dan Wilson and Brett Beavers

Miranda Lambert, “Over You” – Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton

Eric Church, “Springsteen” – Eric Church, Jeff Hyde and Ryan Tyndell

Single of the Year (Awarded to artist and producer)

Jason Aldean, “Dirt Road Anthem” – Produced by Michael Knox

Blake Shelton, “God Gave Me You” – Produced by Scott Hendricks

Dierks Bentley, “Home” – Produced by Brett Beavers and Luke Wooten

Little Big Town, “Pontoon” – Produced by Jay Joyce

Eric Church, “Springsteen” – Produced by Jay Joyce

Musical Event of the Year

“Dixie Highway,” Alan Jackson and Zac Brown Band

“Feel Like a Rock Star,” Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw

“Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die,” Willie Nelson featuring Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson and Jamey Johnson

“Safe and Sound,” Taylor Swift featuring the Civil Wars

“Stuck on You,” Lionel Richie and Darius Rucker

Music Video of the Year (Awarded to artist and director)

Eric Church, “Springsteen” – Directed by Peter Zavadil

Kenny Chesney, “Come Over” – Directed by Shaun Silva

Miranda Lambert, “Over You” – Directed by Trey Fanjoy

Little Big Town, “Pontoon” – Directed by Declan Whitebloom

Toby Keith, “Red Solo Cup” – Directed by Michael Salomon

Musician of the Year

Sam Bush
Paul Franklin
Dann Huff
Brent Mason
Mac McAnally


Posted by on September 5, 2012 in News and Events


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Jason Aldean – “Fly Over States”

Songwriters:  Wendell Mobley, Neil Thrasher 

It seems today’s country hitmakers never tire of singing about how awesome small town life is.  But when compared with countless hits of similar theme, Jason Aldean’s “Fly Over States” comes across as both twice as intelligent and half as self-important.

“Fly Over States” places its narrator on a cross-country flight from New York to Los Angeles, where he overhears two first-class passengers speaking in a derogatory manner of the field-covered rural states they’re passing over, musing “Who’d want to live there?” 

Aldean becomes indignant upon hearing such talk, thinking of all the hardworking people who call such areas home.  He believes that if urban dwellers could travel through those states instead of over them, “they’d understand why God made those fly over states.”  He’s got a point:  Though lacking the media exposure afforded to big city areas such as New York, a small town in the middle of Kansas is no less important.  For some people, that little town is their whole world.

Far from stringing together a random laundry list of rural signifiers, “Fly Over States” demonstrates that it has a clear point to make, while showing that it is indeed possible to sing about the country lifestyle without sacrificing all lyrical intelligence. (Are you listening, Justin Moore?)  Also worth noting is the fact that “Fly Over States” builds appreciation for the rural without tearing down the urban, or taking on a confrontational attitude.  It expresses an actual feeling instead of just sticking to surface-level imagery – The narrator’s appreciation and regard for those “Fly Over States” clearly comes through.  These are qualities that many a mainstream country hit could take a few cues from.

Of course, Aldean’s label will likely realize the error of this release, and thus swap it out for a safely mediocre ode to dirt roads, girls, small towns, parties, “Ol’ Hank,” etc.  But until then, country radio listeners can enjoy a glimpse of the more thoughtful side of Jason Aldean.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)


Posted by on March 23, 2012 in Single Reviews


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Kelly Clarkson – “Mr. Know It All”

Songwriters:  Brian Seals, Ester Dean, Brett James, Dante Jones

Yes, you read that right.

Kelly Clarkson’s recent pop hit has been remixed for the country market, and shipped to country radio.  It currently sits at #48 on the Billboard country chart.

Not surprisingly, the track has been given a moderate dose of country instrumentation, with some peals of fiddle and steel, and some interesting though scarcely audible banjo work.  The acoustic intro is pleasant, but the fact that the single retains the same heavy pop beat and bass line as the original makes the country trimmings feel like window dressing, as it obviously a pop song at its core – acknowledging of course, that the same could be said of many a current country hit.  It’s hard to deduce what qualities of the song would make one think it well-suited to a country reinterpretation, though the fact that Clarkson has already enjoyed a pair of hit country duets with Reba McEntire and Jason Aldean could be a sign that country radio is generally accepting of her.

Of course, the fact that the song is pop is not a criticism in itself.  Indeed, regular readers of this blog now that I am not a genre purist by any means.  But how good of a pop song is it when evaluated on its own level?  One certainly cannot fault Clarkson’s vocal delivery – That much is sure.  Though she sings in a much more narrow range than we know her to be capable of, Clarkson remains fully engaged in her spitfire performance, which imbues a bit of life into the song’s rather pedestrian melody.

The main problem is that the production and mixing is already so busy that to squeeze in country instruments only adds to the clutter, making the finished product sound like something of a mess.  That combined with the average melody and the so-so hook of “You don’t know a thing about me” keeps the countrified mix of “Mr. Know It All” from fully taking flight.

Of course, I should stipulate that I am not approaching this song with any inherent negativity.  I enjoy Clarkson’s pop efforts as much as the next kid, and should she ever release a full-fledged country album, I would heartily embrace it.  But if the intent here is to introduce Clarkson to country music audience as a solo performer, independent of any established country star duet partners, “Mr. Know It All” is not the right single to do it with.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)


Posted by on March 18, 2012 in Single Reviews


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2011 In Review: Singles I Would Rather Forget

It would be extrememly redundant if I were to mourn over what a weak year 2011 has been for country music, but really, let’s face it.  Country music just doesn’t get “good years” anymore these days, at least not from a mainstream perspective.  Periodically we are treated to a something genuinely great that offers a glimmer of hope for the genre’s future – Last year it was “The House That Built Me”; this year it was “Cost of Livin’.”  But even then, we still have an enormous amount of duds foisted upon us at the same time.

The following is a candid list of 2011 single releases that, as far as I’m concerned, unequivocally missed the mark.  I will indulge in one last breath of biting sarcasm, and afterwards I shall never speak of these songs again.  I don’t care at all if the songs were big hits or not – They’re being judged solely on the basis of how badly they make my skin crawl.

Trace Adkins, “Brown Chicken Brown Cow”

A heaping helping of distasteful over-the-top sexual imagery built around a corny pun that grows more intolerable with each chorus.  When I first heard this, I thought surely this would be the worst country single of 2011.  At any rate, not playing this song was one of the few things that country radio got right in 2011.

Aaron Lewis, “Country Boy”

A rocker-gone-country du jour sets out to prove his country cred by coughing up every rehashed country cliché in the book.

Eric Church, “Homeboy”

An annoying title pun and a few slight tinges of rascism fail to disguise this dud as anything other than just another throwaway tune about how country life trumps city life.

Sugarland, “Tonight”

There were two good songs on Sugarland’s largely atrocious album The Incredible MachineOnly two good songs.  After they were both sent to radio, it figures that the inevitable third single would sum up everything that’s gone wrong with Sugarland’s music lately.  The lyrics make no sense.  The production is bloated and tasteless.   Worst of all, the typically stellar Jennifer Nettles turns in one of her weakest performances to date.

Jake Owen, “Barefoot Blue Jean Night”

With inspid lyrics set against an arrangement that sounds like bad eighties pop music, “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” plays like a big heap of almost everything I hate about stale mainstream country music all wrapped up in one package.

Luke Bryan, “Country Girl (Shake It for Me)”

Lyrics?  Dumber than dumber than dumb.  Bryan’s playful vocal almost saves this from being a complete dud.  Almost.  But not quite.

Brantley Gilbert, “Country Must Be Country Wide”

“In every state, there’s a station…” playing crappy country pride anthems that shamelessly namedrop legends in a vain attempt to compensate for their own utter lack of artistic merits.

Jason Aldean, “Dirt Road Anthem”

This gets a nomination for Song of the Year?  I don’t get it.  What unique and amazing qualities does this song possess that deem it worthy to compete against the work of Matraca Berg and Deana Carter?  Because it’s the first song in forever to crow about dirt roads and cold beer?  Because it’s so revolutionary to namedrop George Jones?  Way to knock your credibility, CMA.

Gloriana, “Wanna Take You Home”

This song is like air to me.  I get nothing out of it whatsoever.  It starts by rhyming “girl” with “rock my world”… and then it’s all downhill from there.  What more is there to say?

Kristin Chenoweth, “I Want Somebody (Bitch About)”

Hey!  Yeah you!  Y’all better listen up!  Uh-huh!  O-kay!  She’s a Broadway star – It’s not like she’s never sung before.  So how on earth does she turn in a performance so awful?  Never mind that the song itself was pretty much a turd to begin with.  Every now and then, I might get the lurge to listen to this song just to chuckle at how amazingly bad it is, but even then, I rarely stay with it past the first chorus.  When I first heard this, I though surely this must be the worst country single of 2011.

The JaneDear Girls, “Merry Go Round”

Oh, my ears.  Oh, my ears!  I’m so sorry, but these girls are total vocal hacks, and smothering them in auto-tune only makes it worse.  It just blows my mind that a major Nashville label is throwing their support behind such godawful music.  Sorry, Adkins and Chenoweth, we have a winner.  This is undoubtedly the worst country single of 2011.

Martina McBride, “I’m Gonna Love You Through It”

Just in case you didn’t hear her, she said “I’M GONNA LOVE YOU THROUGH IIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTT!!!!!”

Justin Moore, “Bait a Hook”

This whole “country-good-city-bad” shtick wore out its calling card a long, long, LONG time ago.  Why, oh why, do country music’s frat boys insist on selling us the same unintelligent one-dimensional character over and over again?  Or perhaps the better questions is why are people still buying it?  I hate to wax philosophical here, but isn’t it just so sad that this is what country music has come to?  Drivel like this undermines the overall credibility of the country genre, disrespects its rich history and heritage, and gives genre outsiders one more reason to be instantly dismissive of country music in general.  If I didn’t already love country music, songs like this would probably make me hate it.

Brad Paisley, “Camouflage”

Yet another sign that Paisley’s creative batteries are begging for a recharge.

Lady Antebellum, “We Owned the Night”

Glorified elevator music.  But, to keep it in perspective, the rest of the album was even worse.

Well, there you have it.  I’ve had my say, so now it’s your turn.  What were your least favorite singles of 2011?


Posted by on December 19, 2011 in Year In Review


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