In any genre of music, including country, creative minds and big egos can clash under the spotlight.
It’s no surprise artists will butt heads, especially with fame, money and reputations at stake. These ten scuffles made big headlines and left a mark not soon forgotten on the country music industry.
10. Luke Bryan vs. Zac Brown
In 2013, Zac Brown discussed his disdain for the cliché-ridden songs at the top of the charts. He took aim at Luke Bryan’s “That’s My Kind Of Night,” stating it was the worst song he had ever heard. He later took to Twitter, saying he was Bryan’s fan but not the song. At the CMA Awards short after, Bryan responded to a joke about the feud from host Brad Paisley by hopping up from his seat and hugging it out with Brown.
9. Eric Church vs. Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton
Eric Church has never sugarcoated his opinions. In a 2012 Rolling Stone interview, he made his feelings on music-themed reality shows clear. He voiced his distaste for shows like The Voice, which caused bad blood between Church and television vocal coach Blake Shelton.
Shelton responded to the article with a tweet saying, “Thanks Eric Church for saying I’m not a real artist.” Miranda Lambert also tweeted in support of her husband, stating, “You’re welcome for the tour in 2010,” which featured Church as an opening act. Church later apologized for his comments and voiced his respect and admiration for both artists.
8. Blake Shelton vs. Ray Price
During a television special in 2013, Shelton made a comment about the evolution of country music and stated, “Nobody wants to listen to their grandpa’s music.” One of the biggest revolutionaries in country, Ray Price, voiced his frustrations on Facebook, exclaiming, “Stupidity reigns supreme!”
Shelton then responded on Twitter with an apology and further explanation of his comments. Shortly after, Price publicly accepted his apology and said Shelton deserved an opportunity to restore credibility with fans that were offended by Shelton’s hurtful words.
7. Jason Isbell vs. Dierks Bentley
In 2012, Jason Isbell posted a series of tweets describing his disgust at Dierks Bentley and accused him of ripping off his song, “In a Razor Town.” He launched some sharp personal insults and told any fans of Bentley’s to swiftly unfollow his account. Bentley responded to the tweets with obvious amusement, using some sarcastic hashtags like “#getoveryourself.”
Although Isbell later responded saying he wasn’t going to fight with Bentley over Twitter, there never seemed to be a clear end to the feud or amends between the two artists.
6. Hank Williams III vs. Shooter Jennings
The feud between these two sons of country royalty began in 2003, when Hank Williams III accused Shooter Jennings of ripping off the title of his new album. Through the years, Williams spouted many harsh comments, while Jennings only responded with confusion over Williams’s negativity toward him. Six years later, Jennings thanked Williams for a care package on Twitter, and the two seem to be on good terms since.
5. Kristen Hall vs. Sugarland
Why would a talented musician leave a group quickly hitting the big time? Many wondered this when it was announced Kristen Hall would be leaving the then trio, Sugarland, in January 2006. In 2008, after Sugarland rocketed to the top of the charts, Hall filed a lawsuit against her ex-band mates Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush for $1.5 million dollars. The suit was settled in 2010 for an undisclosed amount.
4. Travis Tritt vs. Billy Ray Cyrus
The ’90s were arguably the heyday of big hair and big egos in country music. Cyrus had huge success with “Achy Breaky Heart,” which didn’t sit well with Tritt. He reportedly called the song “frivolous” and was unhappy with the kitschy image and ideals that the song conveyed.
Cyrus responded shortly thereafter by accepting his CMA Award for Single of the Year, using a play on words with Tritt’s hit song. He announced, “To those who don’t appreciate the song, ‘Here’s a Quarter, Call Someone Who Cares.’” The two have since apologized to each other and have performed together publicly.
3. Garth Brooks vs. Waylon Jennings
When Garth Brooks took over the country music scene in the 1990s, outlaw legend Waylon Jennings saw his rise to stardom as the epitome of the wrong turn their genre was taking. Jennings was quoted many times in regard to his dislike of Brooks, calling him “overrated” and “plastic.” Jennings died in 2002, and Brooks never publicly addressed the bad blood between the two until recently. He stated he never took the comments personally and had the utmost respect for Jennings as an artist.
2. Dolly Parton vs. Porter Wagoner
These two country legends had a long and tumultuous relationship. After an incredibly successful musical partnership together through the ’70s, Dolly Parton decided to leave Porter Wagoner’s band to focus on her solo career. Wagoner responded by filing a breach of contract lawsuit against her for $3 million. After being estranged for over 20 years, the two reconnected before Wagoner’s death from lung cancer in 2007.
1. Dixie Chicks vs. Toby Keith
In 2003, the Dixie Chicks ruffled feathers when lead singer Natalie Maines’ made public comments about President George W. Bush on stage during a concert in London. Shortly after, Maines stated she thought Keith’s song, “Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue,” was “ignorant.” This sparked a set of public insults between the two, beginning with Keith’s choice to show a manipulated image of Maines and Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein as a backdrop during a string of live performances.
Later in the year, Maines sported a shirt with the letters “FUTK” emblazoned on the front, which she later admitted was an acronym meant to show her anger toward Keith. A few months later, Keith publicly put the feud to an end, stating in an interview that after dealing with the death of his bandmate’s child, the scuffle seemed “so insignificant.”