Ringling Road is a vibrant and well-written pronouncement of William Clark Green’s arrival as one of the new creative leaders of the next generation of country. The sensibilities to appeal to a big audience are there, but so are the country roots, and the depth of songwriting to where he can draw in both the passive toe-tappers and die hard song junkies.
As the first single from his currently-unnamed sophomore album, Eldredge dons an expensive suit and does his best Justin Timberlake impression as he sips on a Scotch and lets the impossibly-hot Rachel Hilbert playing nurse feel him up. Because what could be more country than that? Oh, and there’s a song mixed in there somewhere too called “Lose My Mind.” It’s about a hot girl that’s so hot it makes him crazy.
Like an ancient family photo happened upon in an old box in a dusty attic, with gaunt faces from the late 1800’s all Stoic and staring forlorn into the distance with blurry eyes from being unable to sit still as the exposure took, Bad Omen leaves you with a foreboding feeling well after you’ve left its presence simply from the knowledge that such a haunting thing exists.
Boy howdy did Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers absolutely clobber the ball out of the park with this one. When I first heard they were making this album, I thought we’d something more for the serious Red Dirt fan. Instead we get a completely fleshed out album full of original songs that rival or potentially surpass the work either of these Texas country stalwarts have done on their primary projects.
If 2013 was the “Year of the Song” and 2014 was the “Year of Sturgill Simpson,” 2015 may just go down as the “Year of the Collaboration.” The Congress of the United States has yet to recognize 4/20 as a holiday, or that the possession of the leafy green is legal in all 50 states, but it made for the perfect excuse for Willie & Merle to release the first single from their upcoming collaboration called, “It’s All Going to Pot.”
There’s just a cool factor about Dwight that appears will never wear off, regardless if the hips don’t shake and the knees don’t knock as much as they used to, or even if he’s the perfect specimen for male pattern baldness under the low brim of that cowboy hat. He’s still Dwight, and that caramel voice and cutting yodel will never be deprecated.
I can remember it almost like it was yesterday. Granger Smith released a hilarious song and video under his pseudonym Earl Dibbles Jr. called “Country Boy Song,” and we were all falling over each other and high-fiving at how it was the perfect illustration of just what a scourge laundry list country songs had become. This was the early in the summer of 2012. The term “Bro-Country” was over a year from being coined.
Some 70 years behind the times and yet still cooler than the rest of us, Pokey LaFarge is like the musical equivalent of the Austin Powers character brought out of cryogenic freeze to do battle with the forces of bad music by reminding the world of a time when popular songs still embodied taste, composition, and a timeless charisma instead of the diarrhetic pap dictated by the fickle tastes of 15-year-olds.
It appeared nearly preordained that The Civil Wars weren’t built to last for the long term when you really pondered how bright they burned each time they took the stage. Now Joy has released a new single called “Woman (Oh Mama)” ahead of a solo project named Venus, and as you may be able to surmise from the titles, it is a very woman-centric foray into the power of the female identity.
Haunting stages at The Bluegrass Inn or Robert’s Western World on any given night is the ravenesque Sarah Gayle Meech. This isn’t the overnight sensation approach to making it in the music business. This isn’t about moving to town and pitching your songs to superstars in buildings out on Music Row. Sarah Gayle Meech’s approach is one that’s cousin to the blue collars she sings for every night.
Last time I was paying attention to Tyler Farr, he was touching off a firestorm for singing about parking his truck in his ex’s yard and whipping beer cans at her window. Then Colt Ford and the cast of Duck Dynasty showed up in the video, machine gunning out rolls of toilet paper at this poor chick’s abode just because she finally figured out Tyler Farr had a big bag of nothing and gave him the boot.
Not your run-of-the-mill country protest song, “Standards” makes use of sharp wit and country stylings to land a poignant and cutting point about the plight many musicians face when they interface with the music industry. Though protest songs droning on and on about how Nashville is no longer country are just as cliché as the songs they’re criticizing, “Standards” has an appeal beyond…
Raelyn Nelson and the Raelyn Nelson Band are just too much damn fun. The granddaughter of Willie is like a modern day country music Punky Brewster with a sound and energy reminiscent of the nascent 90’s country punk scene when things were just a little more unhinged and energetic, yet still rooted in the country music spirit more so than what most of what modern country offers today.
Beneath the surface of Australian country, traditional artists still fight for attention and find it amidst both Australian and international listeners. Roo Arcus is one of those traditional country artists, and one who can quiet American naysayers arguing an Australian can’t birth authentic country songs, and not just from the songs that his life has inspired, but the country lifestyle Roo Arcus leads.
Down to Believing nestles right down in that classic alt-country approach of building up from a country foundation, but then striking out with a decidedly rock and roll sound. It’s a bold, full experience that in some ways reminds one of the nascent alt-country period when the sounds were still fresh and renewed, yet still had the essence of what made you a country fan to begin with.
Chris Janson becomes the perfect pitchman for exuberant and unhealthy American consumerism in the wholly-unoriginal, culturally-deprecated, and easily-forgettable Bro-Country track “Buy Me A Boat.” Burying any of the wisdom found embedded in countless American music standards about how things such as love and hard work are the way to true fulfillment and happiness.
Just what country needed—a cute little pop girl pretending to be country, and pushing all the female singers who actually are country yet another step towards the back of a line that they’re already being crowded out of because of the sausage fest at the top of the country charts. Oh, and give an assist to country expat Taylor Swift who tweeted out her admiration for this song.
Brandi Carlile is exactly the type of strong-willed, vibrant and inventive female artist country music needs, yet country’s charts continue to be crested by the likes of interlopers such as Sam Hunt. Can we trade Sam Hunt to rock for Brandi Carlile, players to be named later, drafts picks, and/or cash considerations? Everyone wants to talk about where to find relevant female talent for country music, well here it is.
Here we go country music fans, it’s time to usher in the new Metro-Politan era of poorly-conceived country music hyper-trends, so turn your dirt roads and tailgates in for club hookups and cocaine mirrors because it’s Katy bar the door, here come the dance club “country” songs at you hard and fast. Bro-Country who? That was so 2014.
Hailing from the Florida region, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine is not exactly your grandpa’s bluegrass band, but they’re not solely a speed freak punk-gone-bluegrass outfit either. Combining the meticulous and highly-skilled artistry of authentic bluegrass traditions and modes with a punk-ish attitude and tempo, and adding a little bit of ribald and offbeat humor in their lyricism….