Dept. of Disconnects

This story suggests that the Grammy haul enjoyed by the Dixie Chicks is representative of a “disconnect” between the Academy and country music fans. Apparently, the fact that country radio doesn’t play them anymore, and that the same radio stations didn’t play the last couple years’ Best Country Album artists — in 2006, Alison Krauss; in 2005, Loretta Lynn for her Jack White-produced Van Lear Rose.

But the rift with country-music radio seems impossibly wide. The Chicks have said they never felt at home on Music Row, even when they were a top-selling country act.

“If you’re trying to offer an olive branch to country radio, that’s not the way to do it,” said Ken Tucker, Billboard country music correspondent. “The Chicks are celebrating being the outlaws.”

Outlaws? You mean like Willie and Waylon and Billie Joe — otherwise known as “real country artists” compared to the generic bullshit Music Row produces?

Uh, duh. And it’s a good thing they are, too.

The mouthbreathing jokers who consider Music Row’s output the pinnacle of the form aren’t exactly discriminating consumers. How else could we explain the never-ending stream of crap they produce? Remember, Music Row is who abandoned Johnny Cash, and country radio is who provided zero support for his Rick Rubin-produced end-career masterworks.

The problem isn’t a disconnect between the Recording Academy and country fans. The problem is that mainstream country fans wouldn’t know good music if it bit them on the ass, and country radio is too busy pandering to the lowest common denominator to do any education at all. (Of course, Nashville perpetuates this, by having their own ghetto awards at the CMAs where everyone sounds exactly the same, and all the politics are reactionary and Bushite.)

So, yes, there’s a disconnect. One organization cares about good, groundbreaking music of all kinds — jazz, rock, rap, metal, classical, country, bluegrass, you name it. They reward on quality, not sales. And then there’s Nashville, which has driven out groundbreaking and interesting artists almost as long as it’s existed.

As Robbie Fulks said, Fuck This Town.

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