“I’m a dirt road, in the headlights. I’m a mama’s boy, I’m a fist fight,” is how “Small Town Boy” starts off. What does this stuff even mean? It’s just nonsensical self-referential, self-ingratiating pap. There’s no point to it except identity politics tied to the demographic country radio is looking to serve, which is primarily people who don’t live on dirt roads.
‘Nothin’ Unexpected’ is traditional country, meaning you’ll hear fiddle and steel guitar, and many other indicators that your brain will immediately recognize as the familiar modes of country’s original and authentic sound. But it’s all done in a voice and perspective authentic to Ags himself instead of trying to stretch the truth, or do his best impression.
Fans of oldtimers such as Townes Van Zandt, Todd Snider, and Ray Wylie Hubbard know that when it comes to the best songwriters, they don’t just know how to put a good story into song, they know how to take a good story back out of a song to introduce a live performance. California-based songwriter John Craigie has perfected this art just about as good as any.
“I don’t even know you yet, but I know I love you,” Sweeney sings in such a specified honesty that its hard to handle, and hard to not believe. It’s lines like this that even if you do have kids, or find yourself on the opposite side of the gene pool from being able to bear children, you can still put yourself in those shoes.
Even taking into consideration the monstrosities from pop stars calling themselves country because they’d get their asses handed to them in pop like Sam Hunt and Chris Lane, “The Fighter” very well may be the most non-country “country” song released as a single in the history of the genre.
Andrew Combs utilizes inspired perspective, a keen falsetto, and strings indicative of the old Nashville Sound approach to production in the song “Dirty Rain” to not just decry gentrification and abandonment, but put a musical context to the feelings of nostalgia and remorse one feels when stricken by the realization of what once was will never ever be again.
Brantley Gilbert’s music may not be for you, but it’s hard to argue it’s not 100% him. He’s a roided-out, tatted-up, tribal Tap-Out truck-nutted horn-flashing Jesus-praising great American meat head who makes no apologies for himself and has built an entire army of fans that are just as hard headed and proud, and will follow Brantley over a bridge if asked.
You want to like Luke Combs. He one of us, not one of them. At least that’s what you think, or that’s what you thought, or that’s what you want to think. Let’s face it, he’s no matinee idol. He’s a big ol’ corn fed boy from North Carolina with a scruffy Amish beard and a cheap haircut tucked under a properly-aligned baseball cap.
I don’t blame Dave Simonett for wanting to take some time away from what has been his main gig for 15 years as the frontman of the bluegrass-esque Trampled By Turtles. As stellar of a collective of musicians as Trampled By Turtles is, at some point the experience of a string band is going to feel limiting to someone who is a songwriter first.
Zac Brown promised last September that the band would be bringing the music back to its roots, and he certainly delivers on that promise with Zac Brown Band’s latest single called “My Old Man.” But how we got here and why such a return to the roots is even possible or necessary is important context.
Apologies to any die hard Lady Antebellum fans out there, but I just don’t see the value of them coming back from their extended hiatus. From the beginning, Lady Antebellum has felt so forgettable, so superfluous, so fleeting of impact and falling short of any serious contribution to country music or popular music in general, would anybody really miss them if they never reunited?
Whitney Rose has relocated to Austin and can be regularly seen playing the famous haunts in the heart of Texas such as Austin’s Continental Club, and Luckenbach. Whitney Rose’s new EP ‘South Texas Suite’ finds her standing on her own two feet as producer, not just songwriter, and putting together what is tantamount to a love letter to her newfound home.
Jinks stopped by the set of Conan on Thursday (1-26) in a Scott Copeland and The Haters T-shirt to make his national television debut. The honesty, the emotion, and the real-life themes that resonate with listeners well after the song has ended is the reason Cody Jinks has won himself a fervent fan base.
Ultimately it’s not the voice, but the image that has earned Kane Brown whatever following he’s cobbled together. He’s got the whole bad boy thing going for him, where your 14-year-old thinks he looks just dangerous enough for you to disapprove of. And oh he sings too, so he’s the perfect male sexpot for bored suburban youth. Beyond that, it’s a mess of disparate influences.
The prog rock stylings of Pink Floyd are probably not the first segment of classic rock you would pick for translating well into the country format, especially with so much old rock stuff now sounding more like country than the country music of today. But “Wish You Were Here” is an exception to that rule with its acoustic heart.
Much of the attention of ‘Noisey: Nashville’ is expended when Zach Goldbaum embeds with country rapper Mikel Knight’s street team, which Saving Country Music has covered extensively in the past. Independent country artist Margo Price is also involved, and tells the story behind her song “Hands of Time.”
She didn’t choose the title Puxico for the way it popped for focus group audiences. It’s the name of her less than 1,000 population hometown in southeastern Missouri that sets the scene for an album that feels devoutly personal, humble in approach, and eager to express things a professional songwriter just can’t with total fulfillment through the voices of others.
In the music business, they call it a “moment.” Some artists go their entire careers without ever having one, even quite successful artists. A “moment” is what caused Chris Stapleton to rocket to the biggest artist in all of country music. A “moment” is what rockets the obscure to the profound. And a “moment” is what Sturgill Simpson experienced late Saturday night.
It was bound to happen at some point. It’s almost strange it took so long. Two guys who have long called Austin, TX their main haunt, and who have made careers out of steadfastly sticking to their guns in their particular styles of country music, be damned of the financial ramifications, what fleeting trends come and go, or what Nashville thinks of it all, joining forces on a duets record.
Yeah, I know. I know. I don’t need you to tell me how not country Sturgill Simpson’s A Sailor’s Guide to Earth is. I don’t want to hear how horn sections have no place in country music. Did you happen to notice the name of this website as you navigated here? Don’t think the country-ness of A Sailor’s Guide hasn’t been a hot topic of discussion?