Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Music Musings: Billy Currington and Rascal Flatts

Why, Billy Currington? Why?

I remember I first came out with a song that I really promise I was never going to put on an album or come out with first. It was called ‘Walk a Little Straighter.’ It was personal about my dad. It was sad, not sad, but it was happy sad. I learned that I really don’t want to be a part of those types of songs on the radio. 
I remember "Walk A Little Straighter." I thought it was a great record and thought it was a shame that song didn't do well on the charts. What's wrong with those sad songs? I thought those songs were part of the backbone of country music. Why would Billy Currington not want to make more beautifully poignant music like that? Does he WANT to be known as a one-trick pony with little to no depth? *really bad segue following here* Sabra told me she hated the Jamey Johnson song "In Color." She told me she heard it and thought, "How vapid!" or something to that effect. I don't agree with her assessment, as you might remember if you're a longtime reader; I thought it was quite poignant and beautifully evocative, arguably the best single song to come out of Nashville in at least the last decade. But I was thinking the other day as Currington's "Pretty Good At Drinkin' Beer" was playing on my daily radio-surf on the ride to work, "You know, even if I did share Sabra's opinion of 'In Color,' this song would still make it sound positively Haggardesque." I'm all for fun, uptempo songs, but some of them just really suck. I hate to see Currington waste that voice on such crap. Like C.M. Wilcox said, "Since 'Walk a Little Straighter' was the song that got me interested in him in the first place, I guess it’s safe to stop paying attention now?" Sure sounds that way...

Next up in the sights, songwriter Chris Sligh on writing for Rascal Flatts:
They kind of have a formula that works very, very well for them, and the nice thing about [lead singer] Gary’s voice is that he has one of the few in country music that has that range of an octave-and-a-half. That’s the nice thing about writing for Flatts — you can write real pop songs...
Contrary to what you might think, I didn't think about the 'pop songs' mention when I pondered this comment. (Hellooo, broadening horizons!) It was this:

Octave-and-a-half vocal range? Sligh sounds like he thinks that's something really special. And I suppose it might be -- until you consider the fact that Iron Maiden lead singer Bruce Dickinson has about a three-octave range, Queensryche frontman Geoff Tate can go four octaves, and then there was Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury with his seven(!)-octave range. Different genres, I know, but since Sligh was talking about pop songs anyway I still think it's a valid comparison. Let's see what Gary LeVox could do with "Aces High" or "Deliverance." On second thought, how about we not go there...

(h/t Country California)