Monday, Apr 23, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Brian Dugger

New faces require homework


Sunny Sweeney


This apparently is what getting old feels like.

It's when you're driving down the road, jamming to Tracy Byrd, and your teenage daughter has no clue who he is.

Then you drive a little farther, and she's jamming to a different artist, and you have no clue who that is.

I have no idea who a lot of these new singers are.

My life was simple when Kenny, Tim, Shania, even Carrie Underwood ruled the charts. It was easy to keep track of who's who in country music. Now my life is more like WHO?

I turned on the radio the other day and JB and the Moonshine Band was playing a very catchy tune THAT I HAD NEVER HEARD BEFORE IN MY LIFE!

Terrified, I rushed home, flipped on my computer, and sought reassurance from the Billboard chart that I wasn't getting uncool, that I was still up to date on the latest hitmakers in Nashville.

Turns out I'm incredibly out of date. Label consolidation was supposed to keep my life simple, making it harder for new acts to break into the music biz.

Then artists figured out they can sign with an independent label, develop a really good social networking page, and get their music released to consumers almost as easily as the bigger stars.

A quick check of this week's Billboard chart revealed a bunch of unfamiliar names.

Josh Kelley, James Wesley, Sunny Sweeney, the JaneDear girls, Thompson Square.

Turns out Josh Kelley really isn't the guy from Lady Antebellum who decided to release a single, but he is Charles Kelley's brother.

Wesley actually released a country album more than 10 years ago, but he was then known as James Wesley Prosser, making me wonder if 10 years from now JB and the Moonshine Band will rename themselves JB and the Band.

Believe it or not, Sweeney used to be a comedian until her friends persuaded her to be a singer. I'm not sure what that says about her comedy career, but "From a Table Away" is the No. 13 song on the charts this week.

I have to be honest, I figured the JaneDear girls were spelled like the tractor. But they're really not the Jane Deere girls. Again, I've checked, and they're actually really good — and coming to Toledo next week with Jason Aldean.

Thompson Square? They're a husband and wife duo that's in the Top 10 this week with "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not."

As for JB, he gave up a successful advertising career to make my life more difficult, but the band's single, "Perfect Girl," is one of the better new songs I've heard.

I'm willing to give the new guys a chance. Who knows, maybe the Thompsons will have a child who sings with them one day, and I can check out some new music by Thompson Cubed.

Brian Dugger's column on country music appears in The Blade the final Saturday of each month.

Contact him at: Follow him on: Twitter@DuggerCountry.

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