In the last year, it’s been made clear that mainstream country music has a problem. Well, a few problems.
First, there’s Morgan Wallen, the country star who was taped angrily using a racial slur. Though the music industry barred him from awards shows and some radio stations stopped playing his tunes, his record sales soared in the days after the video of Wallen using the n-word was released, and by increase we’re talking a 1,220% increase in digital album sales and 327% in physical album sales, which is problem numero dos.
While country music deals with its, well, shit, there are some major voices in the genre that are flipping the script on the hateful narratives pushed by other country folks. Enter Chris Stapleton, the 43-year-old Kentucky native who told CBS News that he supports the Black Lives Matter movement. “I think everybody should be doing more,” he said in 2020. “There’s a very broad awakening I guess that’s come about, and it’s time for me to listen. And it’s time for other folks to listen.” Mmm. That level of awareness goes down like a glass of chilled bourbon.
Stapleton, who took home the award for Album of the Year at this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards for his record Starting Over, is taking his celebrated record and catalog on the road via his upcoming outing aptly named the “All-American Roadshow,” with support by “America’s Sweetheart” Elle King on Friday and, on Saturday, England’s Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Yola, who is quite literally stomping country music’s nasty reputation with her “Diamond Studded Shoes’’ will take the stage. Meanwhile, "Hard Time With the Truth" singer Kendell Marvel will perform both nights.
Doors open at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 6 and Saturday, Aug. 7 at DTE Energy Music Theatre; 33 Bob Seger Dr., Clarkston; 313-471-7000; 313presents.com. Tickets are $78+.
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