Midnight Motel is not just an album, it is an experience. Many artists try this, but Jack Ingram, producer Jon Randall, and his Beat Up Ford Band pull it off. Jack Ingram wanted to let everyone know as soon as they turn this record on that he doesn’t give a damn anymore about “making” it in music, or making tons of money from it.
Rockingham—the first solo album from American Aquarium’s frontman and songwriter B.J. Barham—was an album that made me come to a pretty keen realization, yet it probably was not the one Barnham set out to impart. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what a song or album leaves you with as long as it leaves you with something.
Dan + Shay seems to be about the most superfluous band in country music at the moment. What function are they fulfilling in the country music space? Do we really need another male singing duo? Aren’t there already too many mouths to feed at the top of country music, while incredible talent remains crowded out?
Once comprising one half of the ravishing country singing duo Copper and Coal, Mamma Coal, a.k.a. singer and songwriter Carra Stasney, has re-imagined Willie Nelson’s country music epic ‘Red Headed Stranger’ into an epic of her own. This may be a story about a mother and her child, but just like Willie’s original, ‘Raven Haired Vixen’ is a Western.
The West Coast Country Music Festival, like many small festivals all across the country, shows that family over fame creates the greatest environment to share and enjoy music, and the funds and awareness raised through the event will help ensure the next generation will be able to share in those joys as well.
Bekkah McAlvage, Caleb Klauder, Eight Dollar Mountain, Greensprings, Honey Don't, J.P. Harris & the Tough Choices, Jan Purat, Justin Gordon, Laura Benitez, Laura Benitez and the Heartache, Miss Lonely Hearts, Modern Roots Foundation, Ned Folkerth, Patti Maxine, Rainy and the Rattlesnakes, Reeb Willms, Sage Meadows, Simon Linsteadt, Steep Ravine, The New Autonomous Folksingers, West Coast Country Music Festival, Wyatt Hesemeyer
Normally, an artist either declaring or just plain evidencing their abandonment of country music, especially one who has contributed worthy music to the genre in the past, would be grounds for disappointment, or even anger. But in the case of Lydia Loveless, it’s a different story. I’m glad she said she wants to shed the alt-country label.
Granted, Kinda Don’t Care is just kinda bad when you listen to it in totality. It’s not some horrifically terrible album when you compare it to some other efforts coming out of the mainstream at the moment. But Justin Moore does what all musical artists should refuse to do no matter what the cost—cross your core fans.
To decide that classic country music is the way you’re going to make it through life is like choosing the toughest of all paths to climb to the top of a mountain, with steep inclines and sharp drop off’s and all manner of obstacles and wild dangers besetting your course on every side, all while an inviting elevator to the top sits with open doors waiting to spirit you to the same apex.
His new album I’m Not The Devil is an ambitious, unwavering, slow and plodding volley of songwriting body blows that makes no apologies, incorporates no compromises, and gives no quarter to those with open hearts that love to listen to music that makes them swoon with one emotional onslaught after another, all served in a down home deep-fried country style.
If Cowboys Like Me was Cody Johnson selling out in an attempt to garner more national attention with a super-polished and radio-friendly product, the appropriately-titled Gotta Be Me is Johnson reeling it all back in and being truthful about who he is, where his sound lies, and what his prospects are. Gotta Be Me is Cody Johnson being Cody Johnson again.
There are bigger festivals. This is for sure. And there are bigger performers and headliners. But few festivals can boast the ability to not just support worthy music from a wide swath of the American audio palette, but truly launch major careers for artists that go on to have an international impact—artists that music needs.
Alvvays, Alynda Segarra, C.W. Stoneking, Cahalen Morrison, Caleb Klauder, Foghorn Stringband, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Jeff Tweedy, Jessica Wilkes, Kacy & Clayton, Kevin Black, Margo Price, Pickathon, Red Yarn Band, The Deslondes, The Wild Reeds, Vhol, Western Centuries
Dawn in the Distance is Justin Wells getting it just about right. With stunning insight and honesty, Wells speaks upon the disillusion of dreams, the realization of new ones, the reality of the pitfalls of the rock and roll fantasy, and does so with cutting clarity and poetic facility.
What is so striking about the album listening back to it after nearly 35 years of perspective is not just the big hits, the #1’s, and the now country standards that it contains. It’s the variety in Strait From The Heart that makes it the perfect study of where country music had been, where it was in the present tense, and where it would be going.
So wait, Kenny Chesney changed the name of his new record and delayed the release … for this? Don’t bother shaving your legs or changing out of your sweatpants for this one ladies, “Setting the World On Fire” is a non-plussing, generic, lame, cliché, afterthought of a song, not worth the paper it was written on.
I just find it a bit hard to conjure up any sympathy for The Band Perry at this point, especially if they’re the ones asking for it. So your single flopped, and then your label dropped you. You’ve still seen more success and wealth via music than what 99% of musicians could ever dream of. And now you want to play the victim, like it was someone else’s fault for the state you’re in.
Lori McKenna couldn’t have anticipated that her song “Humble and Kind,” recorded by Tim McGraw would become the first solo-written #1 song to top the country charts in four years right as she was getting ready to release an album produced by Dave Cobb—one of the hottest names in Nashville.
Can someone start up a Go Fund Me campaign to help Brantley Gilbert surgically remove the marbles out of his damn mouth? By golly I can’t understand a word this dude says. Brantley’s about the best case I’ve ever seen for someone’s self-absorbed, too-cool-for-school attitude translating into a debilitating speech impediment.
If nothing else, ‘This Old Thing’ fleshed out that Kree Harrison is not a mainstream reject, she is an Americana hopeful. Instead of starring at a future of slogging it out with mainstream execs to record the music she wants, she can build grassroots support behind quality songs and recordings on the path to a sustainable career.
Dolly Shine is a young, hungry, and adept Texas country band in the truest sense, shifting between bluesy rock and traditional country, and calling regularly on the fiddle to carry songs with the strong influences of Texas music right out front for listeners to latch onto.
Flying low over the country music masses to survey the landscape, it’s patently clear that in the 48-hour aftermath of Miranda Lambert releasing her first single in over a year, how you feel about it has a lot to do with how you feel about Miranda Lambert, or Blake Shelton. The fact that “Vice” has become so polarizing proves that music is no longer about music, but personality.