It has been all over Facebook and the Internets for the last couple of weeks, the #tomatogate controversy at Country Radio. Back in the old days of Top 40 radio in the 60s and 70s, the house rule was you never played two women singers in a row. It was partially because there were so many more male voices, that you were supposed to sprinkle the females in like tomatoes in the lettuce. Unfortunately, the concept is still alive today at country radio. It has been particularly hard for female artists to get radio airplay in these BroCountry days, where indeed ‘the party never ends.” Grab a six pack, your girl in her cut-off jeans, and drive your pickup truck down to the lake. Pretty one dimensional stuff. Country music used to present all the emotions, not just the celebratory. And it is not just women being left out of the mix, any honest to goodness country is absent as well from the rap infused party style that is today’s “country” music.
The pendulum always swings back, though. I wonder if the next wave will be Neo Traditional, with artists like Sam Outlaw, Chris Stapleton, Whitey Morgan & the 78s; Kacey Musgraves, Ashley Monroe, Angaleena Presley, and of course including Sturgill Simpson, Blackberry Smoke, Robert Ellis, and Jason Eady. Wouldn’t it be great if Country Radio played COUNTRY MUSIC again? I don’t even dare mention the roots of this new wave of traditional country, but Dale Watson does. His new album, Call Me Insane, came out on Tuesday, and it is anchored smack dab in the spirit of this long legacy of true country music. Here’s to Johnny, Willie, Waylon, Conway, Loretta, Dolly, Tammy - and let’s raise a glass to George Jones! Music Fog filmed Dale and His Lone Stars at Midtown Live in NYC back in January. Here is “Jonesin’ For Jones.” Yeah we are! Get ‘em Dale!