Country Music Roundup: Miranda Lambert cancels 3 Texas dates; Jason Aldean says ‘bro-country’ is a ‘f—ing stupid’ term

This Week’s News

Citing “mandated vocal rest,” Miranda Lambert has cancelled three of her upcoming “Keeper of the Flame” shows in Texas, including Friday night’s show at the Frank Erwin Center. The other two shows canceled were her Thursday stop in Corpus Christi and her Saturday stop in San Antonio. Brothers Osborne and Kip Moore were also scheduled to open the shows.

Miranda Lambert performs at the 2016 iHeartCountry Fest Saturday, April 30 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin. (Suzanne Cordeiro/Austin Amrican-Statesman)

Miranda Lambert performs at the 2016 iHeartCountry Fest Saturday, April 30 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin. (Suzanne Cordeiro/Austin Amrican-Statesman)

For all ticket refunds, fans should return to their original point of purchase. Purchases made by phone or internet will be refunded automatically.

The three Texas dates were the last shows on the 23-date tour. The last time Lambert was in Austin was to headline the 2016 iHeart Country Festival.

This isn’t the first time Lambert has cancelled a show due to vocal rest. She cancelled multiple dates in 2012 and once in 2015 in Calgary due to vocal issues and vocal cord inflammation, respectively.

Some reports have pointed to declining ticket sales on the tour, which might give another reason for the cancellation, but that’s just speculation at this point.

This Week’s Best New Song

“Lightning Bugs and Rain” is the first single from Whiskey Myers’ just-released album, “Mud.” The East Texas band is carrying on the legacy of Southern Rock in the vein of Lynyrd Skynyrd and .38 Special, and “Mud” is poised to be the album that gives them national attention after their 2014 breakout “Early Morning Shakes.”

The album was produced by Dave Cobb, and he lends his arrangement chops to this song about a mountaintop getaway where “there ain’t nothing on this mountain but us, lighting bugs and rain.” The song has as much horns as any track on Sturgill Simpson‘s “Sailor’s Guide” and manages to take a somewhat overdone concept and put a new spin on it.

The rest of the album ain’t that bad, either. With their gritty Southern pride and stellar songwriting and musicianship to match, Whisky Myers are the band The Cadillac Three desperately wish they could be.

This Week’s Worst New Song

Jason Aldean’s approach to promoting his new album could be described as antagonistic at best and flagrantly hostile at worst. The new album is called “They Don’t Know,” and the title song is positioned as a blue-collar farmer anthem about how a non-specified “they” don’t know about all the struggles of praying for rain and having to provide for a family in a small town.

The blue-collar alignment is something that Aldean has been pushing relentlessly in the press as a way to distance himself from his “bro-country” image, calling the musical beer-n-trucks term “f—ing stupid” in an interview with “Billboard Magazine” this week. “It’s meant to talk down to us — me, Luke BryanFlorida Georgia Line, all of us,” Aldean said. “They haven’t bothered to listen to the body of work I’ve recorded over the years. At least take time to do your homework.”

He also said that the title track of the album is meant to respect those small-town workers that Aldean grew up around in Macon, Ga. and his desire to give a true representation of the South: “Don’t talk down about things you’ve never experienced.”

Interesting that he should say that, since while new single “A Little More Summertime” doesn’t traffic in bro-country tropes in its lyrics, it does in its musicianship, right from the drum machine synths at the beginning. His earlier single from the new album, “Lights Come On,” is a faux-rock arena song about arena songs.

He can argue all he wants about his true “blue collar image,” but trust me, my family is from East Tennessee, and a lot of them are blue-collar folk. Many of them are or were farmers. They listen to Gospel, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams and stopped listening to country on the radio right around the turn of the new millennium. They don’t need to hear songs about how “nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen” from someone who is worth an estimated $36.5 million.

So, in reality, this “Worst New Song” is going to the whole “They Don’t Know” album in general, but since “A Little More Summertime” is the only one available on any streaming services, it gets the brunt of the criticism, if only because of the way the whole package is presented.

This Week’s Best Country Show in Austin

Since Miranda Lambert cancelled, this weekend’s best bet is going to be Martina McBride’s “Band against Cancer” benefit Saturday night at Bass Concert Hall, with special guests Thompson Square, Cassadee Pope and Hudson Moore. Tickets range from $34.75—$79.75.

 

This is the Country Music Roundup, a weekly blog where we’ll give you the latest news in country music releases and local country shows. For a more in-depth analysis of the genre and where it’s headed, check back with our weekly Gone Country blog every week.

Questions, comments, suggestions? Let me know on Twitter @jakeharris4 or by email: jharris@statesman.com.

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