Charlie & Debbie

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Blake Shelton performs onstage during day three of 2015 Stagecoach, California's Country Music Festival, at The Empire Polo Club on April 26, 2015 in Indio, California.

Over the years, we’ve been fortunate to develop friendships and relationships with other people from around the country in the radio business.  Many times, these people have become more than just casual acquaintances, but REAL friends and mentors.

One such person recently retired from the business, but is always fun to talk to.  Like us, he’s completely perplexed by the incredibly stupid criticism Blake Shelton is having to endure over his new single, “Minimum Wage.”

His criticism of those up and arms and explanation as to why they need to change their tune, is 100% on point…

I have to laugh at the “backlash” over Blake Shelton’s new song “Minimum Wage.” I haven’t heard it, but apparently, the fuss is over the fact that “Blake is rich, so what does he know about living on minimum wage?” (full disclosure, he did make $43.5 million last year-according to reports)

Couple of thoughts: Did he even write the song? I don’t know, and can’t find any info on it. He may have been a co-writer, but hardly anything anymore is written by one person, and usually not the artists. There are some exceptions to that, but it’s generally true. For example, he was not any of the 3 writers of his song, “God’s Country.”

Singers are storytellers. Johnny Cash was never in prison, Merle Haggard was-but not for life-and he never killed anyone despite the lyrics to “Mama Tried.” Brad Paisley was never adopted, his parents never divorced, but he did write “The Man He Didn’t Have To Be,” along with Kelley Lovelace and Frank Rogers.

Songwriters tell stories with words, singers bring the stories to a level that most (not all) writers can. I don’t think anyone could do a better job on “Go Rest High On That Mountain” than Vince Gill. Listen to Mark Chesnutt’s version of “Friends In Low Places,” then compare it to Garth’s. Neither of them wrote it, but Garth’s interpretation of the story struck a much bigger chord. Going back to Blake, most people don’t know that he wasn’t the first person to record “Ol’ Red.” Kenny Rogers recorded it many years ago, in the 90s, and George Jones recorded it before Kenny. Blake just told the story better than either of them. Is he a better singer than either of them? That’s up to you, the listener to decide. BTW-George Jones didn’t write “He Stopped Loving Her Today” either. Ironically, Blake’s producer of his early stuff, Bobby Braddock did, along with Curly Putnam.

And don’t even get me started on rich actors telling stories with roles and movies. Julia Roberts was filthy rich but played a poor hooker in “Pretty Woman.”

Further, most of the singers you listen to that are “filthy rich” didn’t start out that way. They worked construction (Alan Jackson was on the crew that did some work on the Opry House at Opryland), waited tables, tended bar, parked cars (Kenny Chesney at The Hermitage Hotel among others) etc., usually while sharing a s****y apartment with 2, 3 or 4 other guys (and or girls).

Okay, I’m done

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