Music is written and recorded each day all across the globe. Scoring a song that will connect with a wide audience isn’t as simple as it used to be. And it was never simple. There’s so much noise now. Cutting through the vast loudness of modern life is a difficult chore. Over the past decade, with the rise of streaming and social media to ubiquity, that difficulty was ratcheted up even further. It takes something special to cut through the clutter. Your music must have a distinct hook, style, sound or marketing campaign. Lil Nas X started as a joke TikTok win and now has the #1 song of all time. Koe Wetzel wrote about receiving a DWI, backed it up with a rock n’ roll show experience and is now the top draw in Texas not named Cody Johnson. CoJo packaged George Strait style melody with Chris LeDoux attitude and rode out of NRG on a horse.
Tyler Childers has grabbed hold of the entire country music landscape on the strength of his songs. His music sounds familiar enough to not take people aback. But, his phrasing and lyrics are miles ahead of just about everyone else at the moment. Getting higher than grocery bills and belt buckle imprints are truly unique turns of phrase.
Standing out amid the herd today is harder than it’s ever been. Yet, time after time, it continues to be the artists that stay true to themselves that cut through and deliver. Take Mike and the Moonpies for instance. Seminal Austin honky-tonk band who refused to withhold their sonic ambitions to the White Horse or Broken Spoke. They dropped one of the best records of 2018, hit the road hard then followed it up with an album recorded at Abbey Road complete with strings and horns. It’s caught a buzz and people are favorably reacting because it is different, unique and true.
When young artists ask me for advice that’s usually what I tell them. Stay true to yourself. Don’t try to be the next Randy Rogers or Cody Canada or Koe Wetzel. Be yourself. You can lean on those inspirations, but if you want to be in it for the long haul and want to build your career to last you must be honest with yourself and your motivations. Write for yourself. The rest will come if it’s good enough. Always remember to remain truly unique.
-It’s finally football season. One year, Texas bands need to coincide a tour of Cali with the Cowboys being out there. I need a good reason to go soak up the best weather on the planet.
-6 months to Mile 0!
-What Casey Donahew et al are doing for Clear The Lists is very cool.
-The one Texas haunt I did not make it to this summer despite the best intentions was The Oasis. Best sunsets around. Trademarked for a reason.
-Had a buddy show up to a wedding recently and when one of the ushers didn’t show, he got put to work because his dress shirt matched the motif. A true Curb Your Enthusiasm moment. So great.
-Music promo in 2019. Post meme someone sent you: 698 likes/RTs/shares etc Post well thought out and time stakingly written album recommendation: 2 likes, 1 share. Idiocracy creeps ever closer.
-This month’s recommended album: Erik Dylan – Bones of a Flatland Boy. This album came my way via recommendation from Josh Abbott. And I’m sure glad it did. Dylan is becoming a known and desired co-writer in Nashville, but this bare bones acoustic project is full of the best songwriting I’ve heard in 2019. Raw, deliberate, heartfelt and full of stories…this is one to dig into immediately.
-“Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” – Mark Twain