Last week most of the top
country radio programmers and DJs in the nation traveled to Nashville
for a week of free-flowing music and beer at the Country Radio Seminar,
Nashville's biggest annual industry-only confab. All the top labels
hosted blowout parties or concerts for what they like to call their "radio partners"
-- i.e., the sometimes fickle folks they know can make or break the
careers of returning superstars as well as newcomers. Our Country was on
the scene to take in all those high-profile showcases and low-key
parties, too. What did we learn?
Mavericks will have the hottest comeback of 2012. Maybe not the hottest
sales-wise. But there was no performance all week more fiery than the
one by the Mavericks, reunited for the first time since 2003, in one of
those hell-freezes-over reconciliations. Their show at the Mercy Lounge
was for CRS attendees only, even though everyone in the alt-country
world in Nashville was desperate to get in. Though Americana might seem
like their most natural format at this point, it was clear that this is a
passion project for the mogul who signed them -- Big Machine big guy
Scott Borchetta, who used to work with them in their MCA days. It's
clear that Borchetta wants their projected summer release to work at
mainstream country radio. And since all the radio-voted CRS awards for
label promotion guys went to Big Machine's execs, they are the guys to
reestablish the Mavericks in the country firmament, if anyone can.