This Week’s News
Despite Chris Stapleton opening for Hank Williams Jr. on his latest tour that kicks off this Friday, Williams says he doesn’t really know who Stapleton is.
Ahead of his Tampa gig this Friday, Williams wrote in an email interview with the Tampa Bay Times that he hasn’t heard Stapleton’s award-winning album “Traveller,” and that “I don’t listen to much radio, so if it’s somebody that I don’t know, I probably don’t know their music either.”
Williams goes on to write that “I have not worked with Chris in the past, nor do I remember ever meeting him,” but that he always asks the artists he tours with to come out with him at the end of the set to perform “Family Tradition,” if the artist knows the song.
But this tactic isn’t new; Williams told the Tampa Bay Times that he regularly doesn’t interact with his opening acts.
“Normally I don’t know who is opening a show until I get to the show just before going on stage,” Williams wrote.
Williams and Stapleton are coming to the Austin 360 Amphitheater Aug. 13. Tickets are still available here.
This Week’s Best New Song
If “Surrender Under Protest” was a warm-up to the political subject matter of Drive-By Truckers’ September 30 album “American Band,” then latest single “What It Means” is the band in full game time mode.
Patterson Hood’s thick Alabama drawl combine with the Truckers’ acoustic and electric guitars and rousing church organs to deliver a scathing indictment of race relations in America at the end of an Obama presidency.
Invoking Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin and countless other black victims of police shootings, Hood plaintively asks “what it means”:
“If you say it wasn’t racial
When they shot him in his tracks
Well I guess that means that you ain’t black
It means that you ain’t black
I mean Barack Obama won
And you can choose where to eat
But you don’t see too many white kids lying
Bleeding on the street”
But then again, politics are nothing new to the Truckers, they of the proponent of “The duality of the Southern Thing” in “The Three Great Alabama Icons.”
Hood told Rolling Stone Country that he wrote the song a few years ago “protesting the Ferguson decision and the Trayvon Martin killing. Unfortunately, the song is still timely today. I hope and pray that one day it won’t be.”
Whether you agree with Hood’s politics or not, you can’t fault them for at least voicing their opinion in a genre that’s typically devoid of political discussion.
This Week’s Worst New Song
Kenny Chesney delayed his album release for this? In previous interviews Chesney said that his latest collaboration with P!nk would be “a song of being,” would “capture the best part of being alive” and that P!nk’s voice would elevate the song to a better place.
Instead, “Setting the World on Fire” sees Chesney churning out another boring pop-country crossover, as is the trend of late. There’s nothing particularly bad about the song, but it’s not really great either. It’s entirely middle-of-the-road, which is why Chesney’s hype machine for the song makes it feel like such a letdown. But it does sound tailor-made for radio, which was no doubt Chesney’s intention.
This Week’s Best Country Show in Austin
Was there any question? The Dixie Chicks are back in Austin for a sold-out show at the Austin 360 Amphitheater.
Tickets went fast for the return to the concert stage of Natalie Maines, Emily Robison Strayer and Martie Maguire for their first U.S. tour in a decade. There’s no new album, but this is a big deal regardless, especially in their home state. Natalie’s father, Lloyd Maines, will sit in with the backing band, which also includes Austin bassist Glenn Fukunaga. We’ll have more about the show in Sunday’s American-Statesman, including an interview with Lloyd Maines. Vintage Trouble and Smooth Hound Smith open. Sold out. 7 p.m. 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd. austin360amphitheater.com. — Peter Blackstock
This is the Country Music Roundup, a weekly blog where we’ll give you the latest news in country music releases and local country shows. For a more in-depth analysis of the genre and where it’s headed, check back with our weekly Gone Country blog every week.
Questions, comments, suggestions? Let me know on Twitter @jakeharris4 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.