Monthly Archives: April 2012

Eric Church Slams Blake Shelton, Idol, The Voice

In an interview with Rolling Stone (see this picture), country music rocker Eric Church seems to get just a little carried away. Eric, who supported Miranda Lambert on her 2010 “CMT  On Tour: Revolution” headlining tour, slams Blake Shelton, American Idol, and The Voice. Eric takes a hit against American Idol and reality show television, saying that the country music industry is filled with talent from reality competitions – saying that trying out for a show like The Voice means you aren’t a true artist. In the interview, Eric says:

“It’s become American Idol gone mad. Honestly, if Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green f—ing turn around in a red chair, you get a deal? That’s crazy. I don’t know what would make an artist do that. You’re not an artist.”

Eric wasn’t done just yet. He takes a little dig at Blake, who is a coach on the highly successful The Voice, and says that anyone who’s career depends on something outside their music then they also aren’t a real artist.

“If I was concerned about my legacy, there’s no f—ing way I would ever sit there [and be a reality-show judge]. Once your career becomes something other than the music, then that’s what it is. I’ll never make that mistake. I don’t care if I f—ing starve.”

In case that wasn’t enough, the “Country Music Jesus” singer also had a few things to say about rock fans and Lollapalooza:

“Rock & Roll has been very emo or whatever the f—. It’s very hipster. We played Lollapalooza and I was stunned at how pussy 90 percent of those bands were. Nobody’s loud. It’s all very f—-n’ Peter, Paul and Mary sh–.”

What do you think about Eric’s interview in Rolling Stone? Do you agree with him, or do you think he needs a bit of a reality check? Sound off below and get your voice heard. Read Eric’s interview for yourself in the current issue of Rolling Stone with President Obama on the cover.

Jason Charles Miller Signs With Render Records

Congratulations to the team at Render Records and Jason Charles Miller! Jason, the front man for Godhead, sold over 200,000 albums as part of the rock group but now will be taking on a solo venture and rediscovering his Virginia roots with his first release on the label due out later this year. His lead-off single “Up To Me” will be sent out to radio May 1st. His influences include country music greats Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, Neil Y0ung, and Johnny Cash.

“Jason is no stranger to success or the hard work it takes to achieve it. As unique as he is, I know that Jason will fit right in with the rest of our artist roster. His music is groundbreaking, the second I heard it I not only wanted him on the label, but I became a fan. He knows who he is as an artist and his music reflects his passion and understanding of the country format and it’s diverse audience. When I look at our roster, I see different pieces of a puzzle that come together and make an amazing portrait. Not having Jason would leave us without a crucial piece of that puzzle. I am excited to have him join us at Render and help us complete our music masterpiece” says Render Records Co-Founder Steve Freeman

Jason has been featured in some of music’s top magazines such as Rolling Stone, Billboard, Guitar World and many more. His music has been featured on MTV, MTV2, Fuse and VH1. Make sure you keep your ears peeled to your local radio for his single and let us know what you think!

REVIEW: Carrie Underwood – Blown Away

Carrie Underwood first achieved crossover success in 2006 with her treatise on appropriate responses to infidelity, “Before He Cheats”. That track hit number eight on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the country charts, propelling the blonde bombshell to new heights of popularity. Since then, though, she’s stuck closer to home while occasionally dipping a toe in the pop realm as with “Cowboy Casanova” and the duet “I Told You So”.

But it sounds like three straight number one records and seven years of continuous success have given her the confidence to step outside her comfort zone.

Underwood’s new album, “Blown Away”, does just that to all previous attempts at country-pop crossover. There’s some great traditional country on this release, but it’s completely overshadowed by a trio of spectacular crossover songs.

The album’s lead single, “Good Girl”, follows her previous success with the similarly themed “Cowboy Casanova”, warning girls away from bad-news men. This rock and club-infused number is catchy as all hell. A throbbing electric guitar opens the song and pulls you in, and a slightly synthed lyrical echo is perfect to sing along to. Although it’s hard to find the country in this one, the way it’s climbing the charts shows that country fans really don’t mind.

Underwood follows that with the title track – a song that will prove a landmark in country music. “Blown Away” is a dark tempest. Drums thunder, cymbals crash like lightning, rain tinkles from a piano in quieter moments, and Underwood’s voice wails like the twister in the song. The vivid instrumentals and her astonishing vocal work tell the story at least as much as the lyrics. The mood is set for the darkest song the American Idol winner has ever performed. It’s “The Thunder Rolls” for a new generation, only more intense. And although there’s nothing to mark it as a country song, it’s a stunning piece of music that can’t help but impress.

“Two Black Cadillacs” is similarly dark and dramatic, evoking the smouldering anger of the women inside the eponymous Caddys – “One is for his wife/the other for the woman who loved him at night”. The song is subtler only compared to the previous track, but does come across more brooding – think “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia”, with Carrie’s smooth, pitch-perfect singing.

The latter two songs turn a page for Underwood, who, to date, hasn’t tried anything nearly so adventurous. The result isn’t just refreshing; it’s exceptional.

The album’s mood lifts considerably after that stormy interlude. “See You Again” would have been a hit for Shania Twain ten years ago. The Oklahoma native does the song great justice with her dynamic and uplifting voice, and at times it feels like her early single, “Some Hearts”. Next she reminisces about young love in the enjoyable “Do You Think About Me”.

“Forever Changed” is a soft piano-backed ballad about the challenges of Alzheimer’s. It feels a little out of place so quickly after its powerful predecessors, but it is a sweet song that will find a loyal following.

The singer then reassures teenage girls in “Nobody Ever Told You”, a song in the vein of Martina McBride’s “This One’s for the Girls”, before taking off for spring break in “One Way Ticket”. This Caribbean-infused ditty has more than a hint of a Jimmy Buffett attitude.

It’s around here that you realize that Carrie has a much more refined capability than in previous efforts. Where in the past her dominant voice has threatened to overpower both the studio band and your speakers, she seems in more control now, softening and nuancing her voice as much as needed. That’s experience. The evolution makes her one of the best singers in popular music today.

Underwood goes on to pay tribute to her roots with “Thank God for Hometowns”, where she finds rejuvenation every time she goes back. That’s followed by the post-breakup “Good In Goodbye”. The singer makes peace with the past, having recognized the incompatibility, moved on, and presumably having found happiness.

A strumming acoustic guitar gives “Leave Love Alone” a contemporary country feel more than any other song on the disc. It’s a simple, likeable little number that will undoubtedly chart if it’s released as a single. It’s refreshing to hear Carrie in a pure country song. It may not make full use of her range as a singer, but every now and then you just want to hear a good tune with a solid hook. She delivers that here.

“Cupid’s Got a Shotgun” is another fun piece, with a fast-paced Brad Paisley-style guitar line – which makes sense. Paisley plays the instrument for this slightly redneck track. The pair seems to like working together. They also hosted the CMA Awards for the fourth time in 2011, and their duet, “Remind Me”, hit number one on the country music charts last fall.

After the bitter “Wine After Whiskey”, about a relationship gone south, Underwood closes the album with another Shania-esque track in “Who Are You”. Her voice soars in this religious anthem, which, not coincidentally, was penned by Twain’s former producer and ex-husband, Mutt Lange.

“Blown Away” is the most diverse and exciting album that Carrie Underwood has released to date. It’s got the Dear Carrie advice column, the contemporary country sound, the redneck feel, the faith-based anthem, and the electrifying crossover hits. With her newfound vocal control and nuance, there’s no sound she can’t tackle, and it’s all on show in the album’s 14 tracks.

Expect “Good Girl”, “Blown Away”, “Two Black Cadillacs”, and probably “Leave Love Alone” to rocket up the charts upon their release as singles. The title track is a contender to top the Billboard Hot 100, too – it’s that good. As for the album…number one on the charts won’t be enough. This is an award-winner.