In less than 24 hours, Blake Shelton’s Musician Fan Page has blown up in the “Posts by Others” section with hundreds of fans expressing their distaste (that’s putting it mildly) of Blake Shelton’s blatant disrespect for Traditional Country Fans. This is all in response to an article on the infamous Roots Country Music Blog, SavingCountryMusic.com. The blog was written by owner/moderator “Trigger” in response to comments made by Blake Shelton on GMC’s Backstory, here’s some of what Trigger had to say:
The reigning Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year and reality TV personality Blake Shelton made some disparaging remarks about traditional country fans in a recent interview with GAC as part of their Backstory series. The “Hillbilly Bone” singer and judge on NBC’sThe Voice made the remarks as part of an update to the original GACBackstory episode to include more information on Blake Shelton’s continued success. In connection with Blake’s first CMA for “Male Vocalist of the Year” award in 2010, Blake Shelton said,
“If I am “Male Vocalist of the Year” that must mean that I’m one of those people now that gets to decide if it moves forward and if it moves on. Country music has to evolve in order to survive. Nobody wants to listen to their grandpa’s music. And I don’t care how many of these old farts around Nashville going, “My God, that ain’t country!” Well that’s because you don’t buy records anymore, jackass. The kids do, and they don’t want to buy the music you were buying.”
The new version of Blake Shelton’s GAC Backstory aired first in mid December 2012, and will be airing numerous times in February.
Read the full Blog and the hundreds of comments left by music fans, HERE.
Some people have expressed they felt that he was “taken out of context.” But seriously, there is nothing vague or unclear about those statements.
Responses have come from Country Fans, Musicians and even a couple of music legends who have taken to social media to express their distaste. I used to be very outspoken on this subject matter but have mellowed over the last few years, preferring to focus on positive music attention and not give any more attention to music that is created with Commercial ($$$$) appeal in mind. But this struck me deep in a place I can’t explain and I (along with hundreds of others) expressed my opinion on his Shelton’s Facebook page:
“No respect for true Country legends like Waylon, Haggard, etc. You’re in the machine, Blake. You’re going to lose more fans than you realize by your ridiculous comments about Old Farts, etc. Turn this around. Now. Take this MISTAKE and turn it into something that actually helps the INTEGRITY of music. If you don’t, the backlash may be too much to recover from. Because you won CMA award- you say you get to decide where Country goes? Uh, nope. Music buyers decide.”
The first Country Star to respond and the most talked about was the the post made by Country Legend RAY PRICE who had this to say on Facebook this morning:
“It’s a shame that I have spend 63 years in this business trying to introduce music to a larger audience and to make it easier for the younger artists who are coming behind me. Every now and then some young artist will record a rock and roll type song , have a hit first time out with kids only. This is why you see stars come with a few hits only and then just fade away believing they are God’s answer to the world. This guy sounds like in his own mind that his head is so large no hat ever made will fit him. Stupidity Reigns Supreme!!!!!!! Ray Price (CHIEF “OLD FART” & JACKASS”) ” P.S. YOU SHOULD BE SO LUCKY AS US OLD-TIMERS. CHECK BACK IN 63 YEARS (THE YEAR 2075) AND LET US KNOW HOW YOUR NAME AND YOUR MUSIC WILL BE REMEMBERED.”
This afternoon, Shelton responded on his Twitter account:
“Whoa!!! I heard I offended one of my all time favorite artists Ray Price by my statement “Nobody wants to listen to their grandpas music”..And probably some other things from that same interview on GAC Backstory.. I hate that I upset him.. The truth is my statement was and STILL Is about how we as the new generation of country artists have to keep re-inventing country music to keep it popular. Just EXACTLY… The way Mr. Price did along hid journey as a main stream country artist.. Pushing the boundaries with his records. “For The Goodtimes” Perfect example with the introduction of a bigger orchestrated sound in country music.. It was new and awesome!!! I absolutely have no doubt I could have worded it better(as always ha!) and I apologize to Mr. Price and any other heroes of mine that it may offended.. I meant every word I said. Country music is my life and it’s future AND past is important to me. I’ll put my Lo(v)e and respect and knowledge About it up against anybody out there… ANYBODY…”
But other Twitter posts seemed to indicate that he’s not that concerned. And is this really an apology? He says, “I meant every word I said.” We pointed that out to him on Twitter – and he engaged with Outlaw Magazine as well as one of our writers, Lonesome Liz, and he responded saying he apologized for the “wording” and “nice try.” Nice Try? Yeah, we really don’t like his response. We’re not the only ones. And as Liz said, “LL prayer tonight: Dear Lord, let this much of my day never again be taken up by Blake Shelton. Amen.”
Amen. But let’s go back a minute.
As soon as the article was published on SavingCountryMusic.com, Radio Stations across the country – and world – began stating they would no longer play Blake Shelton. Every radio station matters, so this is indeed big news. GAYLON KING, Program Director of Texas Pride Radio, posted on his facebook page immediately:
“If theres anything In my rotation by Blake Shelton, it will not be in there tomorrow and you have my word on that! I refuse to play anyone that puts down the Legends of Country Music period!”
GEORGETTE JONES, daughter of Tammy Wynette and George Jones (who would be considered “grandpa’s music” to her children), had this to say on the Facebook page of Tracy Pitcox (owner of Heart of Texas Records):
“Wow! Hard to respect someone who insults a huge group of people for no reason. Apparently he thinks his new found popularity gives him the right to decide the future of country music. How arrogant! I sure did like him, but he really is just an ignorant man. There is room for all types of music….Money shouldn’t be what makes music “evolve”. “
GORDON AMES (otherwise known as “Big G”) had a little fun with it on his morning show on AM1230 KERV Kerrville, TX and 93.5 FM THE REAL DEAL, where he was ironically interviewing a new ROOTSY Country music group, Jack Grelle and The Johnson Family. They’re a band from St. Louis that features four members on banjo, bass, guitar and mandolin who are all UNDER 27 YEARS OLD. (Old Farts, indeed). When I asked Big G his feelings on all of this, he said:
“They should give him (Blake Shelton) and his ilk their own genre and quit trying to pass it off as Country Music. ”
Oh yeah- we love those 20-something Old Farts in that photo, don’t you?
Big G also engaged on a spirited Facebook thread on the page of deeply respected Texas songwriter BRIAN BURNS. Burn posted:
“You know, I don’t know anything about this Blake Shelton, but I just went out to his web site to check his “music” out, and the first picture that came up was him on stage flashing one of those black hip-hop gang signs that they make with their hands. That just ain’t “country”, nor is it a viable direction for country to “evolve”. Waylon Jennings could eat alphabet soup and shit better songs than Blake Shelton.”
Many of the posts on Shelton’s facebook page were angry and graphic. While we don’t condone that and hope people can have a civilized discussion, it is clear that Country Music Lovers are very passionate about their music and really took Shelton’s derogatory sentiments to heart.
Texas Legend DALE WATSON even threw his two cents in (from Europe where he’s currently touring) on his FB page:
“Ray price is the best voice in country music period !!!! And some supremely Mediocre voice like this fuck Blake Shelton should whince!” He is the Lance Armstrong of country music !! HYPE, Mr. Miranda Lambert!”
And another great songwriter, singer and musician chimed in on our Outlaw Magazine Facebook page as well. BILLY RAY REYNOLDS toured and played guitar with Waylon Jennings (on albums like Honky Tonk Heroes & Ladies Love Outlaws) and wrote multiple songs for Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Dickey Betts, Tanya Tucker and Johnny Rodriguez, to name a few. Reynolds had this to say:
“I’m an “old fart,” who loves Jimmie Rodgers, Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams, Jimmie C. Newman, Red Foley, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, Wynn Stewart, Johnny Horton, Johnny and Jack, Vince Gill, Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, Ray Price, George Jones, Waylon Jennings, and a hundred other great male singers. That does not even include the ladies, like Kitty Wells, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Patty Loveless, Patsy Cline, and I could go on and on, etc. Now who is this Bloke Shetland guy? I would probably like him a lot more and recognize his name if he were to record some of my songs…”
So many more comments I could post, but I’ll include just one more that I especially liked (in response to Ray Price’s rebuttal to Shelton) from the FB page of MISS LESLIE (of Houston’s Miss Leslie and Her Jukejointers):
I have a whole new respect for Ray Price. What a response. Traditional country may not be in vogue, but it deserves respect. So many of those recordings were done by musicians that Blake could not hold a candle to… and if he wanted to respond to someone that criticizes his music as not being “country”, a polite response of “well it’s my kind of country” would serve better than an insult. . . . Why are we all so polarized? Does anyone accept each other?”
Something is about to break in the Country Music world. You can feel it. This might be the very thing that sets it off. Fans are STILL coming out of the woodwork more and more to post on Shelton’s FB page how they feel, no matter how fast the comments get deleted. I don’t think this is going away as fast as Shelton thinks it will.
Why are we so upset? Integrity and authenticity deserve to be in Mainstream. Why does it matter? Well, I may be okay with only a roof over my head and eggs for breakfast and one pair of jeans, but some artists do need to make a living. And they deserve to be heard.
There is Art. Then there are businessmen. They don’t mix well. One always dominates over the other. It’s a matter of priority.
If you don’t agree, to each his or her own. But if you do – speak up. Wherever, whenever you can. We the People deserve non-cookie cutter-shallow-crafted music. There’s MORE OF US than you think, Music Row.
Thanks to Trigger at Saving Country Music for bringing this subject up for debate and discussion and creating awareness. I leave you with Dale Watson. Hey Blake, “That’s Country, My Ass.”
~ Brigitte London
Writer’s Note: Not everyone at Outlaw agrees with me entirely, just want to point out that this article is my own opinion. But all of us here fight for Real Music – of all Genres – to be heard. We all agree on that.
Brigitte London, otherwise known as The Highwaywoman, is a Singer/Songwriter out of Austin, Texas. She’s a poet, a dreamer and a crusader. She is also the host of internationally syndicated radio show, The Highwaywoman Radio Show. Visit www.brigittelondon.com or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/brigittelondon.
Outlaw Magazine. Country, Rock and Roll, Blues, Folk, Americana, Punk. As long as it is real, it is OUTLAW. Overproduced mediocrity need not apply.