Tag: Country Music

How Country Star Hunter Hayes Uses Gifts To Tell A Story

“In songwriting, you’re trying to tell a story,” Hunter Hayes says, “and every detail matters.” Hayes, who rose to music stardom in 2011, cares about people’s stories. He knows that listening is a key ingredient in writing his own lyrics and composing his own music. The dude plays 30 plus instruments, so being detailed with […]

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Navajo Country Music Pays Tribute to ‘Indian Cowboys’ and Outlaw Legends

SHIPROCK, N.M. — They started out from hamlets deep in the Navajo Nation, driving hours on washboard roads. When the Saturday night crowd finally arrived at Redd’s, the parking lot swelled with pickup trucks. Clad in Wrangler jeans and cowboy boots, they danced under the dim lights to bands playing outlaw country classics by singers […]

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Is There Anything We Can All Agree On? Yes: Dolly Parton

Maybe you’ve heard the rumor about the tattoos. Some people believe that Dolly Parton’s arms — which haven’t been seen bare in public for decades — are secretly covered in ink. Roseanne Barr claims to have once spied the elusive tats (“No black or blue lines,” she told Craig Ferguson in 2011, “all like, pastel […]

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Grammy Nominations 2020: Lizzo, Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X Dominate

Lizzo, a charismatic new pop and R&B star, has been nominated for eight prizes at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards, leading a class dominated by fresh faces like Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X. Lizzo spent much of the last decade as a struggling rapper and singer, but broke through this year with hits like […]

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CMA Awards 2019: 5 Key Moments, From Kacey Musgraves to Kris Kristofferson

For the 53rd annual Country Music Association Awards, held Wednesday night at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, the organization made a pledge to celebrate “legendary women in country music throughout the ceremony” — though the topic of the industry’s much-criticized gender disparity would have been in the air regardless. But in a night of grand […]

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Yeahhh, Lil Nas X Is Gonna Take His Historic 2019 CMA Award to the ‘Old Town Road’

Lil Nas X is still riding the winning wave until he can’t no more. “Old Town Road (Remix)” scored the 2019 Country Music Association (CMA) Award for Musical Event of the Year, which means Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus both took home awards on Wednesday night. Producers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of […]

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Luke Combs and Miranda Lambert, Both Bound by Country’s Gendered Rule Book

There’s a familiar kind of country song that functions essentially as a listicle. A laundry list of tropes about rural life. A slide show of small-town imagery. They’re a staple of the genre, an easy — too easy — go-to for performers hoping to trigger pleasure centers. There are a few of these songs on […]

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Miranda Lambert Doesn’t Mean to Offend. She’s ‘a Little Too Honest.’

One night not long ago, Miranda Lambert was drinking wine on her porch in Nashville with a friend who’d planned to drive home. Lambert discouraged her from getting behind the wheel: “You’re way too pretty for prison,” she said. The next day, Lambert and three other songwriters turned that phrase into a song. Over the […]

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Sturgill Simpson Leaves His Old Sound (and the Spotlight) in the Rear View

JACKSON, KY. — Earlier this month, Sturgill Simpson headed eastward from Lexington until he hit Highway 15, which he drove until it dead-ended into Highway 30. This was the way into Jackson, the sparse, hilly town of around 2,000 people he grew up in. Just before the intersection, a small sign announced that he was […]

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Ken Burns’s ‘Country Music’ Traces the Genre’s Victories, and Reveals Its Blind Spots

Tell a lie long enough and it begins to smell like the truth. Tell it even longer and it becomes part of history. Throughout “Country Music,” the new omnibus genre documentary from Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan, there are moments of tension between the stories Nashville likes to tell about itself — some true, some […]

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Country Music Is More Diverse Than You Think

This spring the rapper Lil Nas X, who is black, released “Old Town Road,” a twang-inflected song that rocketed to the top of the country music charts — even though Billboard temporarily removed it from the list, saying it wasn’t sufficiently “country.” A few months later, when the Country Music Association announced that three women […]

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Country Music Is a Man’s World. The Highwomen Want to Change That.

NEWPORT, R.I. — The Highwomen’s first-ever public performance went off so well at the Newport Folk Festival in July that Nashville’s newest supergroup repeated its laid-back, harmony-rich lead single, “Redesigning Women,” as an encore. A standing ovation was inevitable: The audience had been on its feet before the quartet stepped onstage. The only snafu was a […]

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Put the Horses in the Back Because Lil Nas X Scored a CMA Awards Nomination After All!

Lil Nas X poses in the Press Room during the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards on August 26, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. Photo: Roy Rochlin (Getty Images for MTV) Hey, Lil Nas X, I know “can’t nobody tell [you] nothin’,” but allow us to give you a hearty “congratulations!” The Country Music Association (CMA) […]

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Tanya Tucker Would Rather Be Celebrated While She’s Alive

NASHVILLE — In her hometown hair salon on a July afternoon, most things appeared to be going Tanya Tucker’s way. Her longtime stylist, whom she had persuaded to give her a hot-pink dye job last year, was touching up her roots. An attentive assistant kept her stocked with American Spirit cigarettes, took her English bulldog […]

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Someone Has Dethroned Lil Nas X From the No. 1 Spot, So He Can’t Ride That Horse No More

Lil Nas X performs on stage during Internet Live By BuzzFeed on July 25, 2019 in New York City.Photo: Eugene Gologursky (Getty Images for BuzzFeed) Has the time come when Lil Nas X can’t ride his horse “no more?” Well, he won’t be riding it on No. 1 Boulevard any longer because “Old Town Road” […]

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In Southern Appalachia, Searching for the ‘Big Bang’ of Country Music

ImageA scene outside Bristol, Tenn., where the famous Bristol recording sessions showcased future stars of the country music scene.CreditMike Belleme for The New York Times While the rest of America was roaring to jazz during the ’20s, in a small corner of the South, where back roads snake through early-morning mist and porches are used […]

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Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ Will Get Nominated for CMA Awards, Right? Some Voters Don’t Seem to Think So

Lil Nas X performs onstage during Internet Live By BuzzFeed on July 25, 2019 in New York City. Photo: Eugene Gologursky (Getty Images for BuzzFeed) Welllll, I’m going to take my horse to the Old Town Road, I’m gonna riiiide ‘till I can’t no more… *record scratch* Welp, the Country Music Association voting board may […]

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Lil Nas X Is ‘Workin’ 9 to 5’ Till He Can’t No More, Possibly Collaborating with Dolly Parton on ‘Old Town Road’ Remix

(L-R): Lil Nas X attends the 2019 BET Awards on June 23, 2019 in Los Angeles; Dolly Parton attends the gala evening of Dolly Parton’s ‘9 TO 5′ The Musical on Feb. 17, 2019 in London.Photo: Frazer Harrison (Getty Images), Eamonn M. McCormack (Getty Images) Lil Nas X is a goddamn masterclass in social media […]

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The Country-Rap Song Taking Over Nashville? It Isn’t ‘Old Town Road’

The second most-viewed version of Blanco Brown’s “The Git Up” on YouTube — after the original, audio-only clip — is a video in which he teaches the country singer Lainey Wilson the song’s accompanying dance. “The Git Up” is an instructional number: almost every lyric is a direction for where to place your foot, your […]

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