The Sunday Morning Paper: Billy Bob and Charlene’s Love Reportedly Bigger Than the Beatles (April 4, 2021)

The Sunday Morning Paper is a weekly feature where I share news that’s occurred within the country music industry over the past week and quote from any further pieces that interest me, and may interest you. Click on the hyperlinks provided at the end of each blurb to find out more.

All things considered, it was a really light week. There is one new music announcement, though, that has me very excited. And if you celebrate it, have a happy Easter holiday today. Anyway, onward!


On the Horizon

New album releases:

April 2

  • Sturgill Simpson – Cuttin’ Grass – Vol. 2: The Cowboy Arms Sessions (vinyl)
  • Cristina Vane – Nowhere Sounds Lovely
  • Johnny Cash & Various Artists – Johnny Cash: Forever Words Expanded
  • Ottoman Turks – Turks II
  • Canaan Smith – High Country Sound
  • Hope Dunbar – Sweetheartland
  • John Schneider – Truck On
  • Reece Sullivan – Middle Sea
  • Jon Randall – Neon Texas (EP)

April 9

  • Parker Millsap – Be Here Instead
  • Dallas Moore – The Rain
  • Katie Jo – Pawn Shop Queen
  • Rhiannon Giddens & Francesco Turrisi – They’re Calling Me Home
  • Willie Nelson – Texas Willie (old demo collection)
  • Luke Bryan – Born Here, Live Here, Die Here (Deluxe)

Impacting country radio:

April 5

  • Cam, “Till There’s Nothing Left”

Review log:

I have a few albums in my backlog, but I’m not really itching to cover anything right now. Starting next week, I promise that will change. I still have some collaborations in the works, and I’m also making some nice headway on that long piece I’ve been teasing for a while. Stay tuned!


Just the Facts, Jack

Alan Jackson

There’s new Alan Jackson music on the way, and, just, heck yeah to that. Where Have You Gone will be released on May 14 and will include a whopping 21 songs, including a Merle Haggard tribute in “That’s the Way Love Goes.” (American Songwriter)

In other new music news, Sean McConnell will release A Horrible Beautiful Dream on August 6, featuring contributions from Natalie Hemby, Audra Mae, and Dan Tyminski, among others. Blake Shelton will release his first album in four years on May 21, (seriously) titled Body Language. Also, Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley has something coming, though I’m more inclined to tell y’all about things you’ll actually care about. (Music Row – McConnell, Music Row – Shelton)

A new music video roundup is here: First for Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen’s “Hold My Beer,” the title track to their 2020 album. There’s also one for Sierra Hull’s remix for “Less,” from last year’s 25 Trips. Finally, Lainey Wilson has a music video for “Things a Man Oughta Know,” off of Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin’, released this year.

In honor of the one year anniversary of Joe Diffie’s death from COVID-19, an anonymous artist in Old Hickory, Tennessee, painted “Billy Bob + Charlene” (in reference, of course, to Diffie’s own “John Deere Green”) inside of a heart on a water tower, painted in none other than John Deere green. (Blythewood)


Potent Quotables

“I would never try to write your story because I didn’t live it, but maybe I could help because I’m an outside perspective, but I feel your pain talking to me right now.” – Miranda Lambert, on writing 2012’s “Over You” with ex-husband Blake Shelton, and how pain translated into a cathartic experience for both of them. (Billboard, by Katie Atkinson)

“I was worried that my career, which had finally taken off after a decade of work, would become a casualty of the pandemic. Canceled work and the thought of missing years in my prime turned regular days into one long, lost weekend. My drinking ebbed and flowed throughout quarantine, as it always has through my life. I drank because I was worried about the state of the world, I drank because I was bored, I drank because I missed tour, I drank because I was unemployed, I drank because everyone else drinks. And I drank even though I didn’t really want to.” – Margo Price, revealing the darker side effects of the pandemic that, unfortunately, are likely too relatable for other musicians out there … and the regular folks, too. (GQ, by Margo Price)

“As a country music fan, it’s not what I want to hear. What I want to hear is a song about my life. A song that I can relate to. I wanna hear a song that makes me go, ‘Oh, man, that’s exactly how I feel!’ And, you know, without a lot of women’s point of view on the radio, it’s not there for me anymore. No offense to the guy artists, I’m just saying I can’t find what I need there, so I don’t listen to it to be honest. And I can’t really tell you what’s going on on radio.” – Martina McBride, chiming in on the age-long country radio debate on a recent episode of the Shady Ladies of Music City podcast.

“At 15, Carpenter was a high school dropout, living in the Shoney’s Inn Motel in Nashville with a ‘manager’ her parents met at a bar. The situation, she explains, turned out, ‘just about as well as you would think.’ But she made her way as a teenager and even considered the Grand Ole Opry as her high school … ‘My career had a lot of false starts. Because I grew up this way, I never had the chance to find myself as a teenager because I wasn’t around kids my age.’ At 20, she fled her situation with her manager and found safety in a hiatus before signing with Sony at 25. Her first single was charting, then pulled.” – An incredibly illuminating read on Candi Carpenter’s background that we’ve never heard in such candid detail before, I don’t think. Some country fans may remember Carpenter’s “Burn the Bed” as the referenced single mentioned in the quote above, and she’s got a new single, “Dirt Around the Tree,” produced by Brandi Carlile (that I reviewed earlier this week). (American Songwriter, by Madeline Crone)

“Church says he has reached an understanding with country radio, too. ‘There are a lot of people [who just want] to put something out that’s going to go to No. 1 every time. And that’s fine,’ he says. ‘That’s just not my goal. I’m trying to push the narrative a bit for the whole industry, for the whole format.’ ” – Eric Church, in what is yet another loaded piece promoting his upcoming triple album release that, to me, covers it all pretty well. The main point of the article, though: Get vaccinated, if you can! (Billboard, by Melinda Newman)


That’s seriously it, folks. Told you it was a light week. On that note, if there’s anything else you feel I missed, let me know down below!

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