On my way to The Sutler Saloon to talk with Tawnya Reynolds about her latest record, 8 Tracks, I was listening to the album for the fourth or fifth time in my car. Tawnya’s straight-forward brand of country songwriting pumped out of the speakers of my silver Dodge Grand Caravan and caught me feeling a little nostalgic for my time growing up in the Southwest.
It’s refreshing when an artist lives up to the hype. I always feel relieved for the artist, and selfishly, relieved as a listener that a great single hadn’t gotten my hopes up. Breakout artist Cam released Untamed, her first full length album, this week to much anticipation. And by much anticipation, I mean you couldn’t listen to country radio in Nashville for the past two months for thirty minutes without hearing “Burning House,” her breakout single, at least once.
“Everything but country and rap” at its core is a class issue. While they seem completely separate, hip hop and country sit on the extremes of the spectrum of popular musical genres, and find themselves subject to many of the same criticisms. This, to me, threw open the door on why “everything but country and rap” is a bigger deal than it seems.
Country Music’s biggest night is this week, which means two things: Predators road games and a little contest called Fantasy CMAs. Casey and I will go head to head with our guesses of who will win at the CMA Awards this year, and we will tweet the results at @runoutnumbers during the broadcast on Wednesday night. In the meantime, I’ll be sharing my choices as my version of a viewing guide, and you are welcome to join in the Fantasy CMA fun by playing against these. Just remember, play clean: no changing your answers during the commercial breaks.
None of us is immune to a solid radio hit, and I figured Thomas Rhett’s “Crash and Burn” would be my country single du jour to simply sing along to on the way home from work. Each time I heard it, though, I liked it more and more, and realized there was more to it than just being a well-timed pop-infused earworm. It has the elements of soul and old school pop that country has increasingly been embracing in a fresh, radio-ready mixture.