Threesology Research Journal
Entertainment... C

(The Study of Threes)

Executives who staff Nashville's Music Row have long been accused of finding an act that works, and then signing a dozen more just like it. Whether by coincidence or truly by design, that's a scenario we'll be seeing play out this year with the likely emergence of several country trios.

[I arranged the listings alphabetically even though the article is not set up as such...H.O.B.]

3 Pistol Annies (16K) Pistol Annies

Meanwhile, the Sony-signed band Pistol Annies, which includes Miranda Lambert in its ranks, had a successful debut album in 2011, joining Carter's Chord and the Lunabelles in the all-female country trio category.

(Columbia Nashville)

Edens Edge Trio (11K) Edens Edge Trio

Another up-and-coming trio, Edens Edge, have already begun to establish themselves in the country music world with the top 20 debut single "Amen," and opening spots on three major tours last year: Reba McEntire, Brad Paisley and Lady Antebellum. This Arkansas-bred group, comprised of Hannah Blaylock, Dean Berner and Cherrill Green, is bucking the trend a bit with a one-male-and-two-females configuration. Their debut album is set for release this year. In June, they'll join Rascal Flatts' American Band tour.

(Big Machine)

Particularly front and center will be the two-male-and-one-female configuration that has worked so well for Lady Antebellum and the Band Perry.

The Farm Trio (28K) The Farm Trio

Already at bat is new Warner Music Nashville trio the Farm. That group's debut single, Home Sweet Home," is in the 30s on the national radio charts and climbing. The band, a refreshingly inter-racial country music act, consists of longtime Kenny Chesney band member Nick Hoffman, plus musician-songwriters Damien Horne and Krista Marie.

(Warner Music Nashville)

Rascal Flatts Trio (11K) Rascal Flatts

All of these new and established bands will be attempting to follow in the footsteps of one of country music's best-selling - and still hugely popular - trios. With 21 million albums and 25 million digital downloads sold, as well as 13 No. 1 singles to their credit, Rascal Flatts have set the bar high for country music trios of any gender.

(Big Machine)

Gloriana Trio (12K) Gloriana

One other band was forced into the two-men-and-one-woman configuration last year by the abrupt departure of a member, but they're making things work as a threesome. Gloriana went from quartet to trio in 2011 when Cheyenne Kimball left the band shortly after finishing recording Gloriana's second album. Remaining members Mike Gossin, Tom Gossin and Rachel Reinert chose not to replace her, and instead reworked their act to fit their new, slimmed-down composition.

(Warner Music Nashville)

The 3 Henningsens (13K) The 3 Henningsens

Attempting to make their mark later this year will be family band the Henningsens, who have already provided pals the Band Perry with their hit "You Lie." Last year, Sony Music Nashville signed the trio from Illinois, consisting of father Brian, son Aaron and daughter Clara. In addition to the Band Perry, Sara Evans, Wynonna Judd and other artists have also cut their songs.

(Sony Music Nashville)

3 Lunabelles (12K)
The 3 Lunabelles

Similarly, new all-girl band the Lunabelles lost a member last year and have now recast themselves as a trio after their first single failed to catch fire at country radio. Gone is multi-instrumentalist Alex Kline, the only unrelated member of the band, which now comprises sisters Olivia, Dominique and Gabby Arciero. They're still looking for songs to finish their Sony Music Nashville debut album.

(Sony Music Nashville)

Veteran entertainment journalist Phyllis Stark has covered music and the music industry for two decades. Her work has appeared in numerous publications and sites, including, where she authors the newsletter Stark Country. She previously was Nashville bureau chief at Billboard magazine.

--- Three's a Charm: Country Trios on the Rise ---
By Phyllis Stark— 2012
Special to MSN Music

With respect to Ms. Stark's comment about the Rascal Flatts group having set the bar high for other country music trios of any gender, I would add: any interracial trio as well, since Ms. Stark emphacized this departure from the common, with the word "refreshingly," but she failed to make note of it even though her comment brought up the topic of raciality; thus suggesting a personal bias and supportive promotional intent. Is Ms. Stark a journalist about country music or unknowingly being used as a promotional agent reporter for a music industry that attempts to impose its own underlying pecuniary interests on a public whose taste and interest (e.g. "mood") can be quite fickle?. Journalists do not perpetrate biases, reporters do, while a writer may make use of both techniques in telling their story...H.O.B.)

And here we have another form of story telling, that doesn't quite measure up to a "Threes" representation as the previous selection, but some may find it amusingly ludicrous with a hint of "threeness" peering from behind fences, bleechers, and non-chalant attempts to enter by various perfunctory approaches. Not the reporting there of, but that the American Presidential Circus has come to town with all its clowns, side-show oddities and acrobatic show-man-ship. In short, its showing itself to many Americans for what it actually is: A serious joke measured by standards of incredulity prefaced by the mythology that we have an Of, By and For the people Democracy that only the truly politically ignorant believe in. So grab your refreshments and take a seat. Even though the show has begun with its typical commercialized accreditation, the characters behind the curtains are about to make their debut after their initial introduction... and I don't think I need to mention that the press corps always gets free tickets and an opportunity to interview all the "trained wild animals... and sometimes even their trainers."

msnbc-logo (3K)

By NBCs Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro, and Brooke Brower

We've entered the silly season. In fact, there have been three manufactured controversies in the past month (Etch A Sketch, hot mic, and Hilary Rosen); What yesterday did teach us: It didn't take much for conservatives to rally to Romneys side; Team Obamas not-so-good week; Romney calls Obama incompetent after North Korea's incompetent missile launch; Romney addresses NRA at 2:20 pm ET, while Obama gives a speech in Tampa, FL at 1:20 pm ET and sits down for interview with Telemundo before departing to Colombia; Lugar gets Super PAC help; And Meet interviews Treasury Secretary Geithner.

*** The silly season: If this first week of the general election has taught us anything, this is going to be a long next six months. It started with the Obama White House and campaign hammering away at the "Buffett Rule," which was more of an effort to embarrass Mitt Romney (and his low effective tax rate) than a realistic policy proposal. And then on Wednesday and Thursday, the Romney campaign seized on comments by Hilary Rosen, a Democratic strategist with thin ties to the White House, who said that Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life. It was a manufactured controversy -- fueled by Twitter and social media -- because no serious political actor in this presidential contest is criticizing stay-at-home moms or the value of the work they do. In fact, Rosen was referring to the Romneys wealth, not Ann Romneys decision to raise her five sons at home. While the two major parties are fundamentally divided (over taxes, entitlements, the role of government, and national security) and while so much is at stake (control of Washington, potentially two Supreme Court justices), we find ourselves smack-dab in the silly season.

*** Three manufactured controversies in the past month: Of course, manufactured controversies are nothing new in American politics. There was Nixons famous Checkers speech. Even four years ago, political observers were obsessing over Michelle Obama's patriotism and John McCains' seven homes. What is new, however, is how much faster and professionalized -- due to Twitter and the drive to make something go viral -- these manufactured controversies have become. Indeed, we've now seen three of them in the past 30 days: Etch A Sketch, hot mic, and Hilary Rosen. Now all three were related to a bigger issue or narrative (doubts about Romney's true beliefs and ideology, conservative suspicions about Obama's intentions, and a real gender gap in American politics).

But, unfortunately, we talk about the manufactured controversy and not the real story here:

  1. That a general-election candidate always moves back to the center.
  2. That a President's second term with no more elections on the horizon does give him more flexibility to do certain things.
  3. That women do have real anxieties about the balance between working and raising a family.

The fact is, these next few months before the conventions are probably going to be filled with these manufactured shiny metal object controversies because of what we noted -- just how professionalized both political parties are at creating them. And some in the media are easily susceptible to helping these manufactured controversies go viral because they are seen as simply more interesting than the serious eat your vegetables-like issues that divide the two parties.

Mr. and Ms. Romney (3K)

*** Rallying around Romney: Yesterday also taught us something else: Conservative elites are going to rally around Romney. They needed just the tiniest spark (Hilary Rosen) and they went into over-drive for Romney. It remains to be seen whether conservatives will stick around the former Massachusetts governor when the going gets tough -- thats the true definition of a strong base (see African Americans for Obama, evangelical Christians for George W. Bush) -- but the folks in Boston have to be pleased with the past 24 hours. But today will be an interesting when Romney addresses the National Rifle Associations conference in St. Louis at 2:20 pm ET. After all, its been well chronicled that Romney, who only became a lifetime member of the NRA in 2006, lacks a natural appeal with gun-rights groups, having supported some gun-control measures in the past. But so far this cycle, he's avoided awkward missteps like in the 08 cycle, when he --- said (falsely) --- on Meet the Press that:

  • he'd been endorsed by the NRA,
  • claimed to have been a hunter pretty much all my life,

and the --- Varmint hunter --- press conference.

By the way, expect a lot of anti-Obama chatter out of the NRA convention. While not surprising, do consider this so-called anti-gun president signed one of the largest expansions of rights for gun owners in recent history, allowing loaded guns to be carried in National Parks.

*** Team Obama's not-so-good week: This was supposed to be a week when the White House and the Obama campaign focused on tax fairness and Mitt Romney's wealth, punctuated by today's release of Obama's and Biden's tax returns (more on that below). But the last seven days have been rough for Obama. There was last Fridays disappointing jobs report (which led to a nervousness and recalibration on Wall Street and in the economic community in general), the rallying around Romney (due to Rick Santorum's exit and the Hilary Rosen flap), and the Romney campaigns success in manufacturing a distraction (when Romney was having a rough time erasing his gender gap). Even ye Obamas local TV interviews didnt go so hot, with the -- RNC clipping this exchange ---. That said, it shouldnt be lost that Obama has had a GREAT last three months:

  1. With strong jobs numbers,
  2. The divisive GOP primary season,
  3. And the GOPs focus on abortion and contraception.

But the last seven days havent been as good for Team Obama, and these last 7 days constitute the first REAL week of the general election.

*** Obama campaign to urge Romney to release his tax returns: Speaking of tax returns, the Obamas and Bidens will release theirs today -- with a statement calling on Romney to do the same, the -- New York Times --- reports.

While Mr. Obama has long acknowledged being in the nations high-income echelon, thanks largely to sales of his best-selling books, he and his wife, Michelle, have paid an effective federal tax rate nearly twice that of Mr. Romney and his wife, Ann, according to tax returns released by both couples. The Obama campaign will post the 2011 tax return for the Obamas, as well as those dating back to 2000, on the campaigns' Web site, an official said. It will also post tax returns for Mr. Biden and his wife, Jill. In January, under intense pressure from his Republican rivals, Mr. Romney released his tax return for 2010, plus an estimate of his tax payment in 2011. But he has not released returns from earlier years, when he was governor of Massachusetts or a financial executive at Bain Capital. Obama gives a speech in Tampa, FL at 1:20 pm ET and sits down for an interview with Telemundo before departing to Colombia.

*** Romney calls Obama incompetent after North Korea's incompetent missile launch: Last night, Romney released a statement criticizing Obama for North Korea's failed missile launch. President Obama sought to appease the regime with a food-aid deal that proved to be as naive as it was short-lived. At the same time, he has cut critical U.S. missile defense programs and continues to under-fund them. This incompetence from the Obama Administration has emboldened the North Korean regime and undermined the security of the United States and our allies. Two things jump immediately to mind with this release:

  • Wasn't the real incompetence on North Korea's side due to the failed launch
  • and the nation squandering its chance at food aid?

The tone of this statement appears to reinforce a growing perception in serious foreign policy circles that Romney is willing to say anything, no matter how knee-jerked, to try to get an upper hand on these issues. What would Romney do when it comes to North Korea? Isn't his criticism of Obama on North Korea also a criticism of Bush's handling of the country as well?

*** On the GOP trail, per NBCs Adam Perez: As mentioned above, Romney speaks at the NRA conference in St. Louis at 2:20 pm ET, while Gingrich addresses it at 3:00 pm ET.

*** Veepstakes watch: NBCs Jamie Novogrod reports on Rob Portman stumping last night for Romney in Pennsylvania: Portman began his academic-feeling speech with a lengthy tip of his hat to Santorum in an effort to nurture a spirit of party unity. But later, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), the evenings keynote speaker, seemed to resist Portman's entreaty, stopping short of rallying would-be Santorum voters behind Romney. We're going to have a presumptive nominee for 2012 really soon, Blackburn said tepidly, per Novogrod. Blackburn, in fact, did not mention Romney by name during her speech -- and only later, during an on-camera interview with NBC, did she say: I will support our nominee. We are moving to having that presumptive nominee, and its going to be Governor Romney from what it appears, and I look forward to supporting the nominee.

*** Lugar gets Super PAC help: --- Politico --: After massive ad buys against Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar by national conservative groups like the Club for Growth, the establishment cavalry is coming to his rescue, with the American Action Network launching a nearly $600,000 broadcast buy just in Indianapolis. The ad, called Problems, is an ad slamming Lugar's primary opponent, state treasurer Richard Mourdock, accusing him of receiving illegal tax breaks, and hitting his failed stewardship of his government office, according to a release. The ad, which launches tomorrow on broadcast, will run through May 4. The cost of the flight is $590,000. There will also be a digital ad component, and a limited statewide mail buy, in the AAN campaign.

*** On Meet this Sunday: On Sunday's Meet the Press, NBCs David Gregory will interview Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and have a round-table featuring Hilary Rosen, Michele Bachmann, NBCs Savannah Guthrie, Harold Ford Jr., and Mike Murphy.

Countdown to the CT, DE, NY, PA, and RI primaries: 12 days
Countdown to Election Day: 208 days

=== The Silly Season ===

Don't think we haven't noticed. From the GOP perspective, the 2012 Presidential race centers on their millionters on their million/billion dollar Disinformation Advertizing machine.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Your Questions, Comments or Additional Information are welcomed:

Herb O. Buckland