CMA Awards Drama? Now I Have To Rant.

When the news leaked that Beyonce would be performing on the 50th CMA Awards with the Dixie Chicks, a lot of country fans and even industry people voiced objections to it — some fans on my Facebook page and others said they wouldn’t watch the show! That’s right, they would choose to ignore a three-and-a-half-hour celebration of our music’s history and current artists because of a five-minute segment they didn’t approve of. Crazy, right?

Beyonce (r) with Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks at the CMA Awards

Beyonce (r) with Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks at the CMA Awards

After the awards, there were a lot of negative comments about the performance. I heard about, but didn’t see, some racial comments that have no place in ANY forum and certainly don’t represent country music fans as a whole (so if you’re one who is feeding into THAT stereotype, knock it off). What I did see were complaints about the fact that, yet again, producers at ABC thought a bunch of hillbillies could never pull the ratings they wanted unless they brought some pop stars on the show. If you check my page, you’ll see I’ve complained about the same thing — especially when the country artists are largely put in the background of those “collaborations,” which they were the other night.

That said, I was there in the auditorium and can tell you that every single person in the room was on their feet for that performance. It was fun. It was a good song — I’d dare say it was as country a song as any other that was performed that night. I never had a problem with Beyonce herself (or the Dixie Chicks, whose lead singer has continued to spew disgusting comments about country fans and radio stations even 15 years after “the incident” and wonders why we haven’t all “just let it go” by now) performing on the show.

Then, on top of the negativity about the performance (or the race of the performer — y’all knock that crap off), I hear that Bey’s fans think Kenny Chesney dissed their girl by not smiling enough or dancing during the set. Seriously? So, the following comes from a press release that came out today:

…to be told the following afternoon that there was a buzz about him dissing Beyonce, the 8-time Entertainer of the Year was astounded. With an interview with ABC completed, Chesney thought people who knew him at all would more than know if anything his serious expression was one of respect, a man knowing he was seeing a once-in-a-lifetime performance.

“I love Beyonce… I loved her Super Bowl performance, her sense of how to make the music hit really hard – and give it drama when she’s onstage,” Chesney responded. “The idea her fans were so quick to judge me, or know what I was thinking doesn’t feel like the woman I’ve always imagined Beyonce to be – and honestly, the people who love her music, either.

“As someone who believes in the message of Spread the Love, we try to find the best in people – and in this case, that meant really watching the musicianship on that stage, as well as a guest in our format who’d written an incredible song. I am amazed and saddened this is the response my respect for her art gets.”

“I believe music is great or not,” says Chesney. “It has nothing to do with genre, gender or color. Just did you bring it, and how great are your songs? To me, there’s no question about Beyonce – or my response to their performance.”

What the hell is going on???

If I had a choice, would I have wanted Beyonce to play the 50th CMA Awards? No, because that show was to celebrate the history of country music and that spot could have been used to spotlight a current artist or a legend, but not because Beyonce is black or the song wasn’t good. But she DID play and she did a great job, and y’all? That horn section was the BOMB.

Do me a favor: quit hating. Believe it or not, there is room for everyone in music and the walls are crumbling between any genres that have traditionally been established. You don’t have to like her performance or her music, but the hate is getting out of control in every aspect of public pop culture and it needs to quit. There’ is no room for hate in music! There’s no room for hate in LIFE. It’s too short.

What are your thoughts? Comment below or on Facebook or Twitter.

Old Blake Shelton had a farm… a funny, funny farm.

Jimmy Fallon is from New York like me. And while there are farms up there, he’s clearly not visited any of them. But Blake Shelton gets a little payback for that sushi incident a while back.

It’s here, and it’s HOT.

11067645_828726487218113_9173937992353866201_nJust in time for today’s start of CMA Music Festival (which will forever be known to me as Fan Fair), the temperatures are sweltering hot as usual.

If you’re not here in Nashville for the Fest, there’s good and bad. I mean, the good is, you’re probably sitting all up in your office or house enjoying some air conditioning and only breaking a sweat if you have to get up for more beer, amiright?

The bad? EVERY. BODY. In country music is here right now. There are free concerts literally all over downtown Nashville. New artists you might not have heard of yet, already up-and-coming artists and even artists you know pretty well are playing on stages at just about every corner. Tonight, the BIG concerts start at LP Field, where the Tennessee Titans play. These shows are a parade of country music superstars, four nights in a row. If there was any such thing as concert overload (and there’s not, in my book), this is where you’d get it.

If you want to torture yourself you can see the full lineup here. I’d also suggest you use that link to get your tickets for NEXT YEAR’s CMA Music Festival as soon as humanly possible, because those things sell out super fast and I don’t want you to miss it again. Cool? Cool.

Brantley Gilbert shows again that he’s a class act.

As if it’s not enough that he’s openly a mama’s boy, says romantic things about his fianceé and is a huge supporter of our military, Brantley Gilbert has taken things one step further to show he’s just a good guy.

It started when Wounded Warrior Staff Sgt. Justin Patterson gave Brantley his first purple heart as a thank you for his support of veterans, and for joining the Wounded Warriors motorcycle ride, Project Odyssey.

So, awesome dude that he is, Brantley then went on Fox & Friends and said, while he knows he can never repay a gift like that, he’s giving Staff Sgt. Patterson his two tickets to the CMT Music Awards in Nashville this week.

Watch it here, and then go ahead and swoon.

Artist Of The Year: Florida Georgia Line!

FGL AOTYTwelve months ago, Slacker picked a new country duo by the name of Florida Georgia Line as an Artist to Watch in 2013. Not to brag or anything, but boy, we chose good. Their debut album “Here’s to the Good Times” generated four Country Top 10 singles, including “Cruise,” which spent 24 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, a new record. That song’s remix with Nelly went on to win the American Music Award for Single of the Year. Thanks to their pop hooks, appealing personality, and let’s be honest, good looks, their popularity has grown way beyond just the country audience. This station features their music as well as influences, collaborators and inspirations. Florida Georgia Line is Slacker’s Artist of the Year.

Will 2014 Be The Year Of Garth?

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Garth Brooks really knows how to stir things up, doesn’t he? He’s made the rounds of TV and radio all week to talk about his upcoming world tour — three years of it! He hasn’t revealed the cities or dates but we’re hearing it will start some time next Fall, allowing him to keep his promise not to go back on tour until his youngest daughter graduates. She’ll do that in the Spring.

He also dropped a new live duet with Trisha Yearwood, called “The Call”. Garth hinted at some other big news, saying it will be bigger than anything he’s ever done. All of this comes after he released his 8-disc box set, Blame It All On My Roots, at Walmart on Black Friday. And by the way, he’s been hiding under bulky sweatshirts, but it looks like Trisha isn’t the only one who’s lost some weight. Garth is looking good!

Listen to Garth and Trisha’s biggest hits here on Slacker’s ’90s Country and check back for more updates on Garth as we get all the juicy details!

[By Jess Wright – Slacker, Nashville Correspondent]

Artist of the Week’s Florida Georgia Line are Country’s New Stars

Florida Georgia Line - Slacker's Artist of the WeekSlacker’s new Artist of the Week is Florida Georgia Line. The band is composed of two friends that met in college: Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard. Brian’s from Florida and Tyler’s from Georgia, hence the name. And when they meet in the middle, they make some of the biggest hits in Country music right now.

Even though they’ve been releasing their own music since 2010, this time last year the band didnt have a record deal and they were touring the country in a used SUV. Their first proper album “Here’s To The Good Times” came out 3 months ago, and they’ve already scored a number 1, Double Platinum song with “Cruise”. They’re also up for the “New Artist Of The Year” and “Vocal Duo of the Year” awards at this year’s Academy of Country Music awards. They’ve spent the last few months touring non-stop, and it was their fans’ response at the live shows that lead them to pick their new single, “Get Your Shine On”.

The band’s rise was so quick that they have the distinction of scoring a spot on both Slacker’s Top 50 Country Songs of 2012 countdown AND our Artists To Watch 2013 station.

The boys make feel-good Country- not unlike Jason Aldean or Eric Church- with an occasional hip hop twist. On their station you’ll hear their hits- like “Cruise”, their influences- like Jimmy Buffett and Garth Brooks- and music from their contemporaries like Jake Owen and Brantley Gilbert.