Separately, Elora Taylor and Dee Filc are just two twenty-something ladies from Oakville, Ontario. Together, they become something even better, a folk duo called Tallulah Darling that plays stripped down, bare bones rock and country. Though the two cite influences like Miranda Lambert, Loretta Lynn, Dixie Chicks, and Toby Keith, you’ll find more street edge in tracks like Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop. There, a serpentine bass, buzzsaw guitar riffs, and cheeky lyrics are loosely combined for raw, unrefined rock. Metal Heart, on the other hand, is a more lackadaisical meditation on love, wrapped up in acoustic guitars and falsetto vocals. Finally, on This Is Not A Joke, those country roots are unearthed. With the wistful, confessional appeal of Taylor Swift, Mulligan delivers her simple request: This is not a joke so please stop smiling. Mute adoration, however, is permitted.
- X Factor really knows how to dole out the 15 minutes of fame.
- We can’t wait to see what kind of “We Hate Government” song the Dixie Chicks make their comeback with.
- You have no excuse to lose the GRAMMY now, Skrillex.
- How many people are going to rage on the Twitter redesign?
- $205 million loss? That’s gotta hurt.
- Call us old fashioned, we’ll take Matt Lauer over Ryan Seacrest any day.
- You can’t use “fame” in two album titles and then you’re afraid you’re too famous, Gaga.
- We want whatever chapstick Madonna is using.
- Just buy the new Black Keys album, ya cheapskates…
- …people clearly bought Adele’s.
- Why get naked when you can get naked in 3D?
Jenna Bryson isn’t your typical rising talent. You won’t find a long-winded backstory or moment of musical revelation in her bio”just Jenna, her songs and her humble personality. It’s these traits and more that helped the LA songwriter rise the ranks of the June Artist Access Premium Member Competition on OurStage, eventually landing her a mentoring session with one of the music industries most sought after resources”IMO president/ founder and former Sony Music and Columbia Records chief, Don Ienner.
In the nearly forty years of working in the music industry, Ienner has helped further the careers of legends like Springsteen, Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Billy Joel, Pink Floyd and has guided the passage of talents like John Mayer, Dixie Chicks, Alice in Chains, Jeff Buckley, Beyoncé, Matisyahu, Franz Ferdinand, Nas, Lauren Hill, Cypress Hill and many, many more.
Bryson and Ienner recently sat down for a chat in NYC and, well, we’ll let her tell you all about it herself. Check out Jenna’s video below”featuring a performance of her winnings song Happy and a personal recount of her mentoring session with Don Ienner. Want a mentoring session with industry powerhouse Rob Stevenson? Sign up for OurStage Premium Membership and enter the August Artist Access Competition now!
Here’s something that happens, well, never. You’re a new band, playing a show, and an A&R guy from a favorite label happens to be there. You give him your demo, he invites you out to Seattle to showcase, and a week later you have a deal. Thus goes the serendipitous back story of Poema, a folk-pop sister duo from Albuquerque signed to Tooth & Nail Records. Growing up in a musical family, sisters Elle and Shealeen Puckett had ample time to perfect their vocal harmonies and learn their instruments (piano and guitar). The results of their woodshedding can be heard on 2 AM, a catchy acoustic pop number that puts the Puckett sisters’ talents on full display. A sugared ditty about first-date recriminations, the song is cheerfully woeful and rings oh-so-true. But even more than the subject matter, we love the lilting vocal harmonies and hooky melody, which call to mind a youthful, more mainstream version of the Dixie Chicks. Poema’s story is just beginning”can’t wait to hear more from this sister act.
“Spurs of the Moment” is your up-to-date source for all happenings in the country music community. Make sure to check in bi-weekly to see just what’s going on with your favorite country singers and stars!
For the most part, January 2010 has been pretty low-key for many country music stars. However, the devastating effects of Haiti’s earthquake brought out their power in force for the victims and their families. These humanitarian efforts come as no surprise to those of us who know that country stars readily flock to the aid of others, no matter where or for whom, at the first sign of distress. Now, as the world anxiously watches, the giving hearts of millions is truly showcased. America’s sweetheart Taylor Swift, and apparently Haiti’s too, represented the country community during MTV’s Hope for Haiti Now telethon that aired Friday on MTV. Keith Urban and Sheryl Crow also joined T. Swift to raise funds to aid the relief efforts of the disastrous effects from the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked Haiti on January 12th.
No matter what is going on in our country”from the magnitude of presidential elections and impending war, to the circus that is our nation’s media”everyone seems to have something to say. Country stars are no different. By using their songs as platforms, country music fans always know just what their favorite stars are thinking, whether we want to or not. Ironically, we hold their relatable stories of love, loss and Friday nights on a pedestal but when it comes down to something we see on the news, many fans suddenly prefer that these innate songwriters turn a blind eye. Country stars have boldly confronted national issues for years; some have been applauded for their honest portrayal of national concerns, while others pay for speaking out with their careers.
An artist that has always been able to pack a punch lyrically is none other than Toby Keith. Back in 2001, after the tragic events of September 11th, Nashville started cranking out song after song in support of the country. Keith was no different. His single, Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue (The Angry American) certainly stirred up emotions throughout the country music community. With lyrics like, Justice will be served, and the battle will rage. This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage. And you’ll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A.’Cause we’ll put a boot in your ass, it’s the American way, Keith was literally and lyrically threatening the forces that sucker punched our country on that fateful day. Because of its sentimental value, Keith had originally decided to only perform this song when touring for troops, but after Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, James L. Jones, told Keith it was his American responsibility to record the song and lift the morale of the troops, Keith could not keep this rabble-rousing song to himself. However, after the release of this single, reviews were mixed on Keith’s in-your-face, vengeful lyrics. Natalie Maines, lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, came forward against the song, saying she felt it was ignorant, and it makes country music sound ignorant, fueling a long and tiresome feud between the two. The opposition didn’t stop there. When Keith was asked to perform on a patriotic special on ABC, host Peter Jennings requested that he tone down the aggressive lyrics in this song. Keith refused and did not play in the special. But, in a 2003 interview, Keith responded to all the heavy opinions of the single with this, It wasn’t written for everybody. And when you write something from your heart”I had a dad that was a veteran, [who] taught me how precious our freedom is”I was so angry when we were attacked here on American soil that it leaked out of me.
On the other end of the lyrical spectrum, Brad Paisley wrote a progressive and historically-relevant single with his Welcome to the Future. In it, Paisley references the many ways in which our country has evolved, from technology to the growth in equal rights through the years. He sings about a black friend of his from high school who had a cross burned in his front yard because he asked out the Homecoming Queen, and how he wished he could see how far we’ve come. He calls Wake up, Martin Luther. Welcome to the future! When Paisley was invited to play at the White House for President Obama and family, he recalls choking up as he sang the lyrics. Obama says of the song, and country music; It’s captured our restlessness and resilience, and told so much of our story in the process.” Usually a comical lyricist, Paisley’s song is subtle, poignant and graceful as it delicately exhibits his hope for continuing growth in our country.
For Natalie Maines and the Dixie Chicks, a song was born after a media fire storm no one could have ignored. In March of 2003, Maines made comments at a London concert regarding the band’s views on the impending Iraq War, the President and their shared Texan roots. To be specific, she declared to the crowd, Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence. And we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas. But, after the doctored, Just so you know¦we’re ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas hit the American media outlets, all hell broke loose for the trio. After country music radio stations boycotted the threesome’s music, and protests sprouted throughout the country, it seemed as though the Chicks’ career was over.
The group’s songs were no-where to be heard in the country community, who felt that disrespecting the President on foreign soil was nothing less than an unpatriotic sin. However, with hard work just as resilient as Natalie’s unforgettable words, the Dixie Chick’s determination and talent could not be quelled. In 2006, the women came back with their seventh album, Taking the Long Way, with their first single being Not Ready to Make Nice. The single frankly addresses the public reactions and disturbing events that followed their defiant stand against the war and the President. While they aimed for a universal interpretation, and not a literal one, there are lines in the song that cannot be translated otherwise. In reference to a particularly rattling death threat Maines received, lyrics question And how in the world can the words that I said, send somebody so over the edge that they’d write me a letter, saying that I better ˜Shut up and sing’ or my life will be over? The Chicks also filmed a rockumentary appropriately named “Shut Up and Sing,” chronicling their ordeal post comment-heard-round-the-world. Both the film and comeback album did shockingly well, Taking the Long Way earning five Grammy Awards in 2007.
As country music fans, we are rooted in the honesty and integrity of our favorite songs on the radio. We love that these are real stories that we can relate to and believe in. But, when a song is written that has such a strong message that it can either polarize or unite their fans, paradoxically, we must accept this rarity as the most raw form of art and songwriting. Appreciation for these frank testimonials of American life must be a priority for country fans, or all we will be left with are empty verses leaving us cold and needing more from our favorite artists.