INSIDER’S TAKE: WHAT THEY GOT RIGHT VS. WELL…KINDA.
What They Got Right:
1) Vita talks her way into an open mic. I love this “talk your way into a gig” scene with newcomer Vita Martin. Yes, it’s kind of cliche, but there are so many stories in this town of gumption, and people talking their way into opportunities. Don’t be an asshole. Do be assertive and put yourself out there. Everyone’s path to getting “discovered” is different, but you have to make yourself visible and get after it. What is not realistic is that before she’s even played in town, executives, managers and A&R people would be at her open mic night. I wish! But no. I understand the plot line here, but the pros are skeptical; they don’t just run out to hear the newest thing that’s rolled into town. Also, managers and execs do not usually gush over brand new talent. Call it cynical or realistic, but I think they are cautiously optimistic at BEST when they hear newcomers….I think most execs can spot talent, but they know how much development goes into pretty much any career. The town is part of the process, so almost no one comes to town ready in advance. Also, the bar here is set so high, and industry insiders are so used to an astounding level of talent, you just don’t hear people freak out over a newcomer at a single open mic performance.
2) Maddie writing session with Cash. I think Lennon Stella (who plays Maddie) has one of the best voices on the show. It’s unique. And I think she could use it to tell some really contemplative and beautiful stories. And I hope after the show she can write and release an album of her own. It’s really hard to properly portray a writing session because every single one is different. Some days are quick and easy, some days you labor and labor and don’t come up with anything. Some days you know where you’re going, and write straight at an idea, and some days the creative process takes you somewhere completely unexpected. But I like the way the show depicts this writing session between Cash and Maddie—sure, it makes the writing process seem a little more effortless—and some days it is! But it shows an element of collaboration that I do think is present in good writing sessions. Just a reminder, though, most writing sessions are a minimum of 5-6 hours—sometimes you don’t walk away with a finished song…though most days you do.
3) Bottle Throwing. I talk more about the scene where Will get’s assaulted during a show in the next section, but you can’t really argue with the bottle throwing. Remember when Dustin Lynch was hit in the head by a beer can in 2014? You can read about it here.
3) Album talk.Layla and Rayna are having a conversation about the new demos Layla has been turning in, and they’re discussing releasing a first record as well as beginning work on a second. Here’s what’s unrealistic about all this: rarely is an album released on a new act without a song working (meaning, being successful) at radio. I’ve heard a few different numbers thrown around–that the label might consider putting an album out with a top 25 radio single, or a top 10 hit, but not before that. The only exceptions I can think of in the last few years are Ashley Monroe— whose album The Blade came out without a real hit on the radio, and even more notably Chris Stapleton, whose album Traveller wasn’t even being worked to country radio at the time of it’s release. So while it isn’t unheard of, it’s not very likely that an album and tour would be planned in the order Rayna and Layla are discussing. In mainstream country and the traditional label system, radio success precedes album release. And even less likely, would be a scenario where the label allocates a budget for a second album on a brand new artist before a first album has even come out. Not only that, but this would be premature (in my experience) because the life of an album (1-1.5 years) is usually long enough that you would do a lot of writing and growing while the album was out and active, and you’d want to put that most recent material on that 2nd album.
2) Will being harassed on stage during his set. I’ve really been waiting to discuss the way the show navigates homosexuality as it relates to country music. In some ways I think it’s accurate, in others I think it’s shockingly inaccurate (I get it, it makes great TV.) But this level of open homophobia at a live show— especially being pointed toward someone on stage— would not be tolerated in Nashville.
That’s all! I know I’m behind…tour, then vegas, then 11 day of the CRUD have got me down. But I’m trying to knock the rest of the recaps out in the next day or so! XO