Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Blake Shelton - BS or “The Voice” of Truth?

Blake Shelton - BS or “The Voice” of Truth?

CountryRoutesBlog examines Blake Shelton’s recent controversial remarks and a look at his career to date

Blake Shelton recently found himself in hot water after Saving Country Music reported that in his episode of GAC's Backstory, which first aired in December 2012, Shelton, the reigning Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year and reality TV personality made some disparaging remarks about traditional country fans in a recent interview.
Blake Shelton GAC Backstory screenshot
The “Hillbilly Bone” singer and judge on NBC’s The Voice made the remarks as part of an update to the original GAC Backstory episode which included more information on Blake’s continued success.

Saving Country Music calls out Blake Shelton for making the following comment:
If I am “Male Vocalist of the Year” that must mean that I’m one of those people now that gets to decide if it moves forward and if it moves on. Country music has to evolve in order to survive. Nobody wants to listen to their grandpa’s music. And I don’t care how many of these old farts around Nashville going, “My God, that ain’t country!” Well that’s because you don’t buy records anymore, jackass. The kids do, and they don’t want to buy the music you were buying
The new version of Blake Shelton’s GAC Backstory will be airing numerous times in February.
Without his “Politically Correct” filter in place, Blake offended some folks = Cue the torches and pitchforks!
The blogosphere was a buzz with the backlash and Blake Shelton’s Facebook Page came under fire which consequently got taken down. In true Blake fashion, the CMA Entertainer of the Year said what was on his mind unfortunately for him, it just so happened to be some country legends and country fans.

In response to Blake Shelton’s controversial comments:
  • Ray Stevens, country and “comedy music legend” on his 74th birthday, released the following statement: "I just heard Blake Shelton's remarks about 'old farts and jackasses' and all I want to know is how he found out the title to my next single because it's been a closely guarded secret here at the 'Home.' It will be available on vinyl or 8-Track at your nearest Tower Records store."  Source Absolute Publicity Press
    Mr. Ray Price
  • Ray Price, “Country music legend” responded to Blake Shelton’s comments through his Facebook page to excoriate the younger singer: “It’s a shame that I have spend 63 years in this business trying to introduce music to a larger audience and to make it easier for the younger artists who are coming behind me. Every now and then some young artist will record a rock and roll type song, have a hit first time out with kids only. This is why you see stars come with a few hits only and then just fade away believing they are God’s answer to the world. This guy sounds like in his own mind that his head is so large no hat ever made will fit him. Stupidity Reigns Supreme!!!!!!! Ray Price (CHIEF “OLD FART” & JACKASS”) ” P.S. YOU SHOULD BE SO LUCKY AS US OLD-TIMERS. CHECK BACK IN 63 YEARS (THE YEAR 2075) AND LET US KNOW HOW YOUR NAME AND YOUR MUSIC WILL BE REMEMBERED. – Ray Price
  • Dale Watson also weighed in: “Ray price is the best voice in country music period !!!! And some supremely Mediocrre voice like this f#ck Blake Shelton should whince!” He is the Lance Armstrong of country music !! HYPE, Mr. Miranda Lambert! Watson also ripped into Shelton with this “Song For Blake” >> YouTube

Jean Shepard, “The Grand Lady of the Grand Ole Opry”, made a comment on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry on Friday night (Jan 25) as follows:  We’ve got a young man in country music who has made some pretty dumb statements lately. What did he say?  That traditional country music is for old farts and jack-you-know-whats? Well, I guess that makes me an old fart.  I love country music. I won’t tell you what his name is….but his initials is BS….and he’s full of it! 

  • Willie Nelson has renamed his current tour the “Old Farts & Jackass” tour.
  • Marty Martel the opinionated President of R.O.P.E (the Reunion of Professional Entertainers) a long time member of the Country Music Industry and known and loved by most of the “TRUE legends” (?) of the Music Industry took Blake to task in his editorial Rounds #1 - #3. As an “unconfirmed” voice of conscious for German Blog CMNI and on his Facebook Martel fighting the corner for the traditional movement and fans writes: I remember getting into some tough confrontations with Blake Shelton fans about a year or so ago, when I thought about his trashy mouth, and those comments still hold true from me.  I said that Blake Shelton could be the Pied Piper that country music needed, if only he would act the part of a leader, instead of a spoiled brat with an ego larger than the industry.  I said he was a great singer, and that he should use the opportunity to be a leader in a way that does not irritate the demographics that he talks about in his GAC interview.  He does not control the industry and never will.  I complimented his talent, but not his mouth.  If he wants to use trash talk on his personal appearances and drink beer on stage, that is his world, but it is not everyone’s world. …….........Shelton is a grown adult as most of the newer artists are, so there is no reason for any of them to think that they will make the country music industry a better place for the artists of this time and of the future, by making statements such as Shelton that can only injure the country music industry and there is no place for these remarks in our industry.  I am not sure if Shelton will recover totally from his negative comments......... We are not talking about entertaining, we are talking about keeping your mouth shut, or using a better choice of words to express yourself, instead of drawing the wrath of many artists who have paid their dues so guys like you can have the success you think you have now. 
  • Also all the fans who supported and still support that old music, and many of the older artists are still recording great music, but evidently it is not the kind you like.  SILENCE IS GOLDEN!!  I wonder what type of medication you were on to say what you did.  You have alienated a complete demographics of country music fans; no matter if you think they are ole farts and jackasses, they still have money to purchase CD’s and concert tickets.  You should welcome them with open arms, but I guess you are too big of a superstar to want ole fans. You want those young beer drinkin fans, those who can cuss with you, who do not know the difference between rock and country, which incidentally is hard to know in this new age of country music, what you call evolving.  You sure have left something in your mess kit and I hope you have to clean it up. Your tendency to think you are some kind of rock star or idol to the music world is B.S.  You will never be the savior or spokesman for Country Music because you do not know how to handle it.
Marty Martel (pictured centre) pictured with two Wildhorse Entertainment Independent "superstars" Allen Karl and Donna Cunningham. As a standard bearer for veteran artists and views of  “legends” of country music and indie artists listen to Mr. Martel’s latest "Off The Cuff News" on whisnews21.com  >>  Audio

Blake Shelton responded to Ray Price through Twitter:
Whoa!!! I heard I offended one of my all time favorite artists Ray Price by my statement “Nobody wants to listen to their grandpas music”..And probably some other things from that same interview on GAC Backstory.. I hate that I upset him.. The truth is my statement was and STILL Is about how we as the new generation of country artists have to keep re-inventing country music to keep it popular. Just EXACTLY… The way Mr. Price did along hid journey as a main stream country artist.. Pushing the boundaries with his records. “For The Goodtimes” Perfect example with the introduction of a bigger orchestrated sound in country music.. It was new and awesome!!! I absolutely have no doubt I could have worded it better(as always ha!) and I apologize to Mr. Price and any other heroes of mine that it may offended.. I meant every word I said. Country music is my life and it’s future AND past is important to me. I’ll put my Lo(v)e and respect and knowledge About it up against anybody out there… ANYBODY…

On the 26th, Ray Price accepted Blake Shelton’s apology, saying in part, “I HAVE ACCEPTED BLAKE SHELTON’S APOLOGY TO ME PERSONALLY. I think Blake is a fine young man with a big future in Country Music. I AGREE that he should be given a chance to restore his credibility with the MILLIONS OF FANS who were deeply offended by those HURTFUL WORDS AND RENAMING US ALL AS….

Will Reba McEntire still want Blake to sing at her stepsons wedding to Kelly Clarkson?

Will Shelton put out an Official apology Press Statement, who knows?
To use the title of his recent Digital Billboard chart topping single it would “Sure Be Cool If You Did"!

Miranda Lambert stood by her man, posting her support for him on her own Twitter page. “My husband has taught me so much about country music. He studies it. He loves it. It’s his life’s work. @blakeshelton we all have your back!” she wrote.

Martina McBride also voiced her support. “We all know where your heart is Blake,” she said. “Love you

In April 2012 after a Rolling Stone interview appeared with Eric Church (image) Miranda Lambert and hubby Blake Shelton both took to Twitter to tear into Church, after he was quoted at length in Rolling Stone questioning the credibility of stars appearing on The Voice and other reality shows.
Blake Shelton
TV Show "The Voice"

Church is quoted as saying in Rolling Stone. "Honestly, if Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green f---ing turn around in a red chair, you got a deal? That's crazy. I don't know what would make an artist do that. You're not an artist... If I was concerned about my legacy, there's no f---ing way I would ever sit there... Once your career becomes about something other than the music, then that's what it is. I'll never make that mistake. I don't care if I f---ing starve."
"I wish I misunderstood this," Shelton tweeted, in unusually succinct and humor-free fashion.
Miranda Lambert was fierier and followed with: “Thanks Eric Church for saying I'm not a real artist. Or @kelly_clarkson, @carrieunderwood & @KeithUrban. You're welcome for the tour in 2010.”
Clarkson and Underwood are previous American Idol winners, and Urban was a mentor on the Australian version of The Voice.
The “Springsteen” singer issued a statement through his publicist
It's not just the Voice-related stuff that raised eyebrows. Church also alleges in Rolling Stone, when playing state fair gigs, he sent his guitarist out to do Pantera instrumentals before their sets to make sure it was only rock-tolerant fans left when he came on. "It didn't interest me to play for people who were 80 years old," he says in the article. "They'll be dead soon anyway. By the time you come back on tour and play again, they'll be gone."
Good quotes for the Rolling Stone audience, which presumably wanted the more rebellious side of country. Church’s comments did not it seem cause the same fire storm which Shelton’s have done.

Taking a look at Blake Shelton's Career

It not the first time that Blake has put his foot in it with remarks on Twitter. The 3 times CMA Male Vocalist Blake Shelton loves his booze, and he doesn’t care who knows it! He hasn’t been bashful about his romance with alcohol. He is becoming just as famous for his drunken tweets as he is for his music. Blake tweets his “signature” “I’m so drunk…”

At the 2012 CMA Awards in November one of the nights’ biggest shocks, was the big one, for Entertainer of the Year, which went to Blake but looked destined for the home of Jason Aldean or possibly Taylor Swift.
Accepting the trophy, an incredulous Blake said, “Oh, my gosh. Taylor Swift? I know I'm not out there as much I’m not sure how this happened, but I freakin’ love it!”
Shelton said he tries to represent country music as best he could, adding, “I love country music more than anybody in this room!”
The shocked country singer-songwriter and popular TV judge on America’s The Voice said:  "I try to represent country music as best I can with everything I do. It's television, it's touring, it's alot of things”. Country music’s most mass-audience good will ambassador done good!  >> Audio Link

Blake Shelton’s fourth studio album was titled PURE BS (a great double entendre)! It was released in 2007 and peaked at #2 on Billboard and earned Gold Certification. It was Shelton’s girlfriend, now wife, Miranda Lambert who actually kept "Pure B.S." out of the No. 1 country spot with her album released "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” even though, Shelton said, "musically she and I don't see eye to eye."
Quoting from a professionally rated review – “What the sum total of these 11 songs reveals is that Shelton is really and truly a singer of modern country music....Pure BS is the album Shelton's been waiting to make his entire career and gives us an absolutely stunning new view of an established artist who is here to stay” !
In 2008 Blake was described as an obsessive sort of traditional country fanatic who'll "spend $300 a week at Ernest Tubb Record Shop" when he's in Nashville. And where Lambert swears by Ashlee Simpson, Shelton would usually rather listen to John Conlee. -

On one of the previous GAC's Backstory series Blake was described as a “traditional” act and it then went on to say that when he opened for Rascal Flatts some years ago is was a “Come Wake Me Up moment” for Shelton which helped catapult his career.
Blake "The Make-Over"

Blake, as a card-carrying member of the country music mullet club, would just stand at the microphone and sing and The Rascal’s offered him some stage tips and grooming advice!.

We got him to cut that nasty a– hair. We got him to move around a little bit on stage…” said Jay DeMarcus all in good fun. “It was like Billy Ray Shelton for a long time,” said lead singer Gary LeVox. 

The Old v The New

Regarding Blake’s quote:Well that’s because you don’t buy records anymore, jackass. The kids do, and they don’t want to buy the music you were buying” Some of this has been taken out of context. Blake whilst taking to Twitter to respond to Ray Price said ” Still sad that Ray thought I was talking about artists,” he wrote. “I was only referring to people who don’t like the new direction country is going.. I’m so proud of where country music is today”
There is certainly evidence that young fans are buying the albums. Taylor Swift’s album RED was largely responsible for the 4% increase in “country music” sales in 2012. "RED" has sold a total of 3.2-million in America alone. 2.3 million were Physical albums and 914,000 were Digital Albums.

It is untrue that mature fans are not buying albums. The trouble is they aren’t buying them in big enough numbers for artists to chart on Billboard anymore. 5 STAR UK reviewed 2012 albums such as The Time Jumpers and Kathy Mattea barely managed to sell 1,000 copies in their debut weeks despite placed adverts on music sites but will no doubt have received little or no airplay on country radio stateside. Airplay isn’t everything as proved to be the case with O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.
The film revenue returns were a pittance compared to Hollywood blockbusters and the critical consensus to the Depression-era movie was that it was a weak film. However the album, though, was a runaway hit, selling an incredible 9 million copies (9x Platinum), inspiring renewed interest in long-neglected rootsy music where people couldn’t seem to get enough of that old-timey stuff.
Single “Man of Constant Sorrow” received little significant radio airplay reaching a lowly #35 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & chart.  Every song on “Oh Brother” was recorded for the film by an impressive assembly of old-time country veterans (Fairfield Four, Ralph Stanley, the Whites) along with the talented and by comparison relative newcomers Gillian Welch, Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris!

The success of “Oh Brother” proved to be catalyst for UK publication Maverick Magazine when they brought it out to cater for those sucked in by the soundtrack and in 2001 by newer acts like the Be Good Tanyas and followers of both trad country and alt country.
The country UK fan demographic tends to be of the more mature audience.
Shelton is correct in that the genre needs to adapt and evolve. It does however need to have a polite respect for the past without hanging onto it. Likewise traditional country fans should not dismiss and attack the new artists on the country scene who bring forth a young fanbase.

Scott Borchetta from Big Machine Records, which has amongst others Taylor Swift and The Band Perry on its books, identified  . “Most of the other formats have imploded and there are only two that are ubiquitous – Top 40 and Country. Everything else splintered. So we have lots of strength and momentum to bring to the marketplace. Plus, we have a younger-skewed target than we did 15 years ago"
 Some of the newer acts like Brantley Gilbert have a harder rock edge and the country-meets-rap acts like Colt Ford can be hard to take but it does have a following.

For the purists Pop Country is all too much for them and a spin of Taylor Swift on a UK country radio show can result in negativity and a flood complaints. One specialist BBC country show which has allowed its listeners to determine the playlists each week has resulted in no new songs being played in the whole of January and a few other shows are not far behind.
Have they no appetite for new music and the latest releases? Instead the listeners regularly request songs like Johnny Cash ‘Boy Named Sue’, Glen Campbell ‘Galvaston’, Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring Of Fire’ and Dolly’s “Jolene”, tracks which the average man in the street would recognise. A new year without new music output cannot be good thing whilst satisfying its loyal audience to maintain radio figures.

Back to Blake

BS Factfile
  • Born in Ada, Oklahoma on June 18, 1976, Blake Shelton now aged 36, moved to Nashville when he was 17 to become a country music songwriter.
  • In 2011, Shelton became a coach on NBC's new show, The Voice, along with Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine. TV Breakout star: From Shelton’s Bio it reads: Week after week, millions have gotten to see the talent and charisma that have made Blake one of country music's brightest lights. Perhaps no one summed it up better than Entertainment Weekly editor-at-large Ken Tucker, who cited Blake's "steady transformation into a real TV star, a country sage whose charm is squarely in the great TV traditions of Roger Miller, Jimmy Dean, and Tennessee Ernie Ford."
  • Blake Shelton’s Fan Club members are know as BS’er’s
  • 2011 - Shelton married long-time girlfriend and country music star Miranda Lambert. He was previously married to Kaynette Gern, a former longtime fiancée on Nov 17, 2003. They divorced in 2006.
  • 2012 - Shelton and Miranda performed together at the Super Bowl XLVI.
  • 2012- RED RIVER BLUE, became his first Billboard 200 No. 1 album, it bowed atop the Billboard Top 200 list and Country Album chart with his best ever sales week selling 116,000 back in July 2011. The album also spawned three No. 1 singles, "Honey Bee," "God Gave Me You" and "Drink on It."
  • No.1 Country Singles include: "Austin" (2001),  "The Baby" (2002), “Some Beach” 2004, Home “2008”, "Hillbilly Bone" (featuring Trace Adkins) (2009), "Honey Bee" (2011 / 2× Platinum cert.), "God Gave Me You" (2012 /  Platinum cert.), "Drink on It" (2012)  and "Over" (2012 / Gold cert.)
  • Album releases - BLAKE SHELTON (Released July 31, 2001 / #3 Billboard Country / Gold cert.); THE DREAMER (Released Feb 4, 2003 #2 Billboard Country / Gold cert.); BARN & GRILL (Released by Warner Bros. Oct 26, 2004 / #3 Billboard Country/ Gold cert.); PURE BS (Release May 1, 2007 / #2 Billboard Country / Gold cert.); STARTIN' FIRES (Released Nov 18, 2008 / #7 Billboard Country); RED RIVER BLUE (Released July 12, 2011 / #1 Billboard Country #1 Billboard Top 200 / Gold cert.) and CHEERS, IT'S CHRISTMAS (Released Oct 2, 2012 /  #2 Billboard Country, #8 Billboard Top 200 / Gold cert.) which was the second highest selling seasonal Country release selling 428,000 copies by year ending 2012.
  • In Jan 2013 RED RIVER BLUE became Billboard Catalog eligible in its 79th week giving Shelton his highest-charting Catalog album when it debuted No.5 having sold 914,368 copies up to this date.
  • Awards: Academy of Country Music Awards Male Vocalist of the Year 2012; CMA Male Vocalist of the Year (2010 - 2012) and CMA 2012 Entertainer of the Year. CMA 2012 Song of the Year "Over You" (written by Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton) 
Shelton’s latest single “Sure Be Cool If You Did" made its bow at No.1 on the Billboard Country Digital Chart selling 97,557 copies in its first week.
At the time of writing it holds at #3 on the Billboard Country Digital Chart, #7 on Billboard Hot Country Songs (peak #6) and #12 Billboard Country Airplay. The song is written by Nicolle Clawson, Chris Tompkins and Jimmy Robbins.
Official Lyric Video - YouTube  Available on Amazon.com and US iTunes

Are you still Team Blake? Or will you visit the Old Farts & Jackasses fan page at www.facebook.com/JackassesAndOldFarts

The Price Is Right? ! (Source Country Weekly – Jan 31, 2013)
UPDATED: Blake Shelton and wife Miranda Lambert were the welcome guests of Ray Price tonight at the country legend's show in Durant, Okla. The superstar couple met with Ray backstage and posed for photos prior to Ray's performance at the Choctaw Casino Resort. Later, Ray brought Blake onstage and warmly introduced him to the audience. 
Blake, Miranda & Ray Price  Photo- Mark Bickham

*** UPDATE ( Feb 5, 2013)  ***
We Are Family!
Miranda Lambert posts: Country music binds us together! We are a family. Forever and always. Tonight was a celebration of friends and hero's

600+ Comments; 35,500+ FB like's

Facebook Photo of Ray & Blake
(C) 2013 Miranda Lambert

Has Ray Price sold out?
Was this a publicity damage limitation exercise)?

Will Blakes controversial remarks quickly blow over or will it hurt his career and lose him the CMA votes in 2013?
Watch this space

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