Cody Johnson, Mo Pitney and William Michael Morgan work to Bridge the Nashville and Texas Country Gap
- Something that is intended to reconcile or form a connection between two things.
It’s something that is much needed in the Texas and Nashville worlds of country music if both are intend to civilly co-exist. Many of us are guilty of the occasional bashing towards Nashville and their sub-par offerings to the mainstream arena, but Nashville is home to some serious talent - not just Texas. While the latter has seen a massive boom in recent years and increased exposure, much of the artists garnered their inspiration from the same idols. It’s the recognition of those similarities that I believe brought Cody Johnson, Mo Pitney and William Michael Morgan together for their acoustic verse swap of Merle Haggard’s, Okie from Muskogee.
Don’t worry folks, I did the dirty work for you. I have been dying to see just how well the Texas and Independent artists stack up against the mainstream Top 40 with Spotify Followers. Sure, it doesn’t tell the whole story, but let’s face it. Spotify is here to stay and it is an incredible way to find new music. Let’s see what the numbers look like.
Phoenix, Arizona born Tommy Ash is one of the women that continues to impress the hell out of me with her stark country vocals. It’s her defiant non-conformity attitude that has allowed her to continue her rise in recognition and respect among some of the top names in true country music. Instead of following the pack in Nashville, she took a hard left and is determined to keep the old fashioned twang alive. Earlier this summer she released a series of live session videos that show off her stage presence and some highly anticipated new material.
A while back, I had posted on Facebook about stumbling across country artist, Jason James, while listening to a Pitstop for Country favorite, Dustin Sonnier. Just one of the many examples of why I see the value of Spotify, this find came courtesy of “Related Artists” - a tactic I have used to expand my library 10 fold. After taking to Facebook to share Jason James and tagging Sonnier in the process, I was sent a list of artists to check out. Sonnier took a moment to share some of his fellow Louisianian and Texas area friends that are certainly worthy of a share. Well let’s get into it, shall we?
Rapidly closing in on a year of Pitstop for Country’s existence, I’ve been recalling some of the artists that stood out to me the most. I always forget just how invested I am from so far away when talking to some local New England Texas country fans. Sure, they know the Cody Johnsons, Aaron Watsons, Casey Donahews and Josh Abbotts, but when it comes to smaller artists, many have no idea. I take that for granted because I enjoy so many of these up and comers, and seeing them work to create a fan base from next to nothing is incredible. It’s exactly what I am trying to do, so there is a lot of relate to. Texas has been home to some very talented female artists, and Kensie Coppin is one that you should be keeping tabs on.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how quickly our world has changed. Technology in my short life alone, has changed how we communicate, buy goods, get jobs, and view our world. It’s created platforms for people like me to share their thoughts to the world and just a few short years ago, it would have been difficult without social media. What I have observed and am very aware of, is the changing landscape with music and journalism. With Rolling Stone for sale and other publications fading away, it is a reminder that we as consumers have changed how we find and seek opinions about new music.
I don’t buy my music from iTunes, but I know it’s a popular place for many people. I find myself now buying directly from the artists’ stores in hopes that more goes into their pocket and sometimes I get a merch bundle because I like shirts haha. But once in a while, I will go on iTunes and browse the top charts to see what is going on with album sales. Curiosity got the best of me this past weekend, and I noticed that Frank Sinatra was sitting at spot 48 on the entire iTunes chart. Amongst friends or people that have discussed music with me, I’ve used Sinatra as a prime example of timeless music. In today’s landscape, I think we’re in trouble on being memorable.
David Cobb on songwriting: “Intangible has just become reality”
That has to be one of the best quotes I have heard on songwriting. Artists find inspiration in some of the most simple of things. Maybe it’s an event in their life. Something they see walking down the street. Or it could a piece of history. Whatever it is, crafting a song takes a creative process that causes artists to pull pieces of the puzzle from where ever they see fit - by accident or purposefully. Songwriting is an art form that many mainstream music listeners don’t understand. That can make it very difficult to relate to listeners who just want the latest head bob. For Brent Cobb, he teamed up with Ram Trucks to debut his music video for Ain’t A Road Too Long and share some insight into his inspirations.
I believe one of the most rewarding experiences one can have, is attending live music show. Sure, you can go to a bar and have some background noise with the music play list, but it just isn’t the same. Here in New England, it’s pretty difficult to have a consistent and accessible music scene because the concentration of venues are often in the city. See, here in Massachusetts, you may refer to someone like me as being from Boston, but I’m not actually from the city. Most people live in suburbs and we have to travel into the city to see the shows we want. As annoying as that may be, live music has been one of the most incredible experiences I’ve had.
Aaron Watson won’t exactly be able to bring the iconic Bluebonnets of Texas here to Boston, but he can certainly bring real country music when he arrives this Sunday at Berklee Cafe 939. The artist that has gone on to defy all the naysayers, and make history time and time again, will certainly show all us Bostonians what Texas Country Music is all about.
Just a Massachusetts guy supporting Texas and other independent country/Americana artists.
Check out my spotify for good tunes!