Canada: Country rock band defies “unofficial ban” from radio

18 August 2008
If a band is not getting mainstream acceptance, it is not necessarily because it has been banned or blacklisted. But the borderline can be hazy. Take the Canadian country rock band Dry County. They feel they’ve been ‘unofficially banned’ from the industry and recently wrote in a headline of their press release: ‘Banned From Radio’. Freemuse asked the band’s manager to elaborate on that statement.

“We don’t have proof of Dry County being formally banned. What we do know that is the industry here in North America is small and when there appears to be momentum brewing, Dry County have always had the carpet pulled from under them. Now the band is snubbing the industry and going through the backdoor, looking towards corporations, lifestyle branding, advertising opportunities, and the internet to get their music heard — which is a strategy that most independent bands should be doing,” replies Johnny Ionnou of Dry County Management and President of

Dry County, a band from Brantford, Ontario, released their first album ‘Dry County’ in 2002 and got radio airplay on over 50 radio stations in Canada. They were busy touring and opened shows for many major Canadian country acts at the time. Their music, image, and live show has always been on the edgy side. Although edgy, this ‘tough as nails’ country act was making fans, and lots of them. Dry County’s lively and free-spirited performances were often better received than some of the headlining bands.

Johnny Ionnou explains:
When they started to get traction in the industry and selling out venues, that’s when all the major players in the Canadian music industry surprisingly told Dry County that they “don’t fit their format” and “its not industry standard”. Similarly, they got the same feedback from major US labels upon the completion of their first Nashville tour in March 2008. As a result of years of rejection, Dry County fueled their frustration by releasing the album called ‘Waitin on Hank’ in 2006. The title song was a rant about the fabricated and weak state of the country music scene and was a total shot against the industry. It starts out with the lyrics:

    “What the hell’s really going on these dayswho called for the no balls radio crazeI don’t turn the damn thing on much anymore…”

…and there’s also reference to the “suicide of music row”.

Well, that was it for radio play. When that album came out, no radio station would play it except a handful of internet and small town radio stations who were close to Dry County. All the major stations would not play any songs from that album nor the previous one hence to this day. Dry County feels they’ve been ‘unofficially banned’ from the industry on both sides of the border.

A press release of 12 August 2008 carries the headline: ‘Banned From Radio. Edgy Country Rock Band Finally Gets Heard by Millions at UFC 87’ and states that, “On Saturday 9 August 2008, Dry County finally broke from the shackles and muzzles of the music industry to have their cult single ‘Waitin On Hank’ debut as an entrance song for super heavyweight UFC fighter, the ‘Texas Crazy Horse’ Heath Herring. Millions of MMA fans from around the world [Mixed Martial Arts, a full contact combat sport] finally got the chance to hear, what many call a rant against the industry, the song ‘Waitin On Hank’ and its infamous chorus line ‘You don’t pee with the puppies and crap in the big dog’s yard.’ (…)

The song ‘Waitin on Hank’ is somewhat controversial because of its non-radio friendly lyrics but more so because it’s a shot against the industry. Its message resonates with many independent artists who similarly face the same struggles and challenges.”




Dry County’s ‘bad boy’ and lead singer Jeff Gallagher

Sources – 12 August 2008:

‘Banned From Radio. Edgy Country Rock Band Finally Gets Heard by Millions at UFC 87’ (PDF)

Dry County’s official home page:

Dry County’s official profile on MySpace:

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