Canaan Smith, Cole Swindell, Chase Bryant, Chase Rice, Chris Lane, who are these clowns? It’s like one douchebag with many faces. Their songs, their styles, their personalities are indistinguishable and interchangeable. They might as well be the same person. Nashville’s overcrowded enough these days. Pick one of these guys and release all the music through them.
Old, forgotten memories get stirred to the forefront. Theories on life are recalled and reflected upon. And you don’t end up more happy like music is supposed to do, you end up a little sad and nostalgic, but in a way that’s strangely comforting in a manner simple happiness is incapable of delivering.
It’s not very common that you can preface a 70-year-old folk country songwriter that never had a big hit and the 14-year-olds in your family have probably never heard of as a “hot commodity,” but that’s exactly what John Prine feels like these days. “Beyond Words” is a songbook combined with a photo anthology in big, coffee-table form.
Jason Eady can do what they can do, but they can’t do what Jason Eady does, which is strip it all back and have the appeal for the music rest entirely on the written composition of a song. Even the most minimalist of performers have to rely a little bit on style, groove, or some sort of window dressing. But for Jason Eady, it’s like a type of Zen.
Make way you mamby pambys for the steel-jawed and fully-cocked musical madness coming at you like a face full of claws from the unhinged and wild-eyed “Dirty Ol’ One Man Band” known as Scott H. Biram. That grit in your eyes and those shotgun pellets you’re spitting out is how you know this is the real deal.
Sam Outlaw didn’t become one of the fastest-rising artists in independent country because of his name. He did it in spite of it. Everybody wants to hide behind layers of forced authenticity in country music these days, and bray about how country they are because of where they were born, or what kind of bad things they’ve done.
The poem “Gold All Over The Ground” was first composed in March of 1967 about Johnny Cash’s wife June Carter, and was published in 2016 in the posthumous Johnny Cash poetry collection called Forever Words. It’s not just Johnny Cash’s 50-year-old word that make Brad Paisley’s “Gold All Over The Ground” traditional though.
With 75 years of history hanging thick in the air, Floore’s Country Store booked two nights of stellar talent Easter weekend to celebrate their 75th Anniversary. Friday and Saturday evening saw Robert Earl Keen and the Randy Rogers Band taking the stage, with Bruce Robison joining them on Friday, and Red Shahan opening the show on Saturday.
It may be a stretch to call My Own Way Aaron Vance’s “Outlaw” album, but he certainly uses it as his opportunity to tell Nashville, his fans, and maybe himself that he’s not changing for anything. He came to Music City to make country music, and that’s what he’s going to do. He’s not changing course, or shifting what the term “country” means just to make his way easier.
Music can be both a portal of escapism for the conformed, and a type of therapy for the ill-adjusted. People listen and play music to fit in, or to stand out. No matter the application, all people use music to help cope with being human. Some music helps more than other music with coping with the human condition.
The trouble with Trace Adkins has never been a lack of talent. The dude has one of the coolest, baritone and bass singing voices in all of modern country music. The bigger problem with the Trace Adkins career track has always been his terrible, terrible song selection. Perhaps Adkins would learn from his past mistakes, and start taking the music more seriously.
Unless you were stuck on an island recently, I’m sure the article called “10 Lamest Americana Acts” by the once prestigious, and now click-hungry newsweekly alternative known as L.A. Weekly passed under your nose. Here are the 10 artists presented by L.A. Weekly and in the same order, but filling in the positives and counterpoints left out of their piece.
Dave Rawlings, Devil Makes Three, Gillian Welch, Jack Grelle, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Jason Isbell, L.A. Weekly, Lucinda Williams, Robert Ellis, Sam Outlaw, Shovels & Rope, Wayne 'The Train' Hancock
If for nothing else, give Thomas Rhett credit for this: He’s taken an incredibly average set of marginal skills and talent, and made himself into a bona fide arena-level superstar. That in itself takes a level of cunning that your ordinary citizen doesn’t posses. Music Row in Nashville has an implausible knack for making mediocrity seem exceptional.
Lindi Ortega is no stranger to the dark regions of the mind, or the mortality that hangs over all of us like an ever-present nightmare, just waiting to swoop down and become our fateful reality. As a student of the folk rituals surrounding Día de Muertos through her half-Mexican heritage, her funeral veil, her ghostly pale skin…
Well, this Tim McGraw/Faith Hill collaboration looked good on paper. And it still might result in some favorable and lasting contributions to country music. But “Speak To a Girl” feels a bit like a misfire, at least on the creative side. “Speak To a Girl” is not a bad song, but it does a lot of the little things wrong.
One of the things that has made Jason Isbell such an enlightening songwriter over the years is his distinctly worldly view panned to a Southern perspective. As a son of the deep South himself, he is incapable of trivializing the nuances of the culture war, deliberately speaking to both sides, and the flaws and virtues of each.
There are only four females total in the current country radio Top 40, and one of them is former American Idol contestant Lauren Alaina. No matter what opinion one holds on Lauren Alaina’s “Road Less Traveled” song, to see a female not named Ballerini crack the Top 5 is a miracle in itself.
Once considered rockabilly by some since most of her music carries an old-school backbeat and 50’s styling, it’s probably more relevant now to call Sallie Ford just plain rock, yet with a decidedly strong bent towards vintage modes which allows it to slither right into the soundscape of all old souls looking for something more their speed than the present day noise.
The biggest takeaway from SXSW 2017 will be that for the first time since the very inception of the idea over 30 years ago, the annual music gathering experienced a palpable draw down in attendance and industry participation to a degree that it fundamentally changed many of the dynamics and rigors one must endure to attend.
A. Michael Uhlmann, Alice Wallace, All My Exes Live in Texas, Beth Lee and The Breakups, Billy Joe Shaver, Brennen Leigh, Brent Cobb, Brooklyn Country Cantina, Cale Tyson, Cary Baker, Croy and the Boys, Elle King, G&S Lounge, Giddy Ups, High Plaines Jamboree, Jenni Finlay, Jimmy Samon, John Conquest, Kelsey Waldon, Kem Watts, Leo Rondeau, Luck Reunion, Lukas Nelson, Lustre Pearl, Margo Price, Nate Boff, Noel McKay, Not SXSW, Parker Millsap, Paul Cauthen, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Sarah Shook, Shinyribs, Simon Flory, Spring Fling, Sunny Sweeney, SXSW, Teri Joyce, The Defibulators, The Wild Reeds, Threadgill's, Whitney Rose, Wide Open Country, Willie Nelson
For most artists, their careers start off by driving around in vans to club shows across the country, and if they’re lucky perhaps they graduate to a bus sometime down the road. Most artists start by making some noise in their home state, and then maybe hope to garner the attention of a national audience. For Sunny Sweeney, the arc has been nearly the opposite.