Neotraditionalism has given way to plain old traditionalism as a trend in country music, Hank Williams III is nowhere to be found, and many of those fans from the 90’s and early 00’s now have kids and mortgages and can’t make it out to every show. But “The Train” rolls on just like he has for over 20 years now.
Brett Young and his rising single “Sleep Without You” is just the latest in a line of preordained male country debut singles looking to launch yet another heartthrob music franchise with lots of sizzle and extremely little substance. “Sleep Without You” isn’t the premise of a country song, it’s the whining of a P-whipped moron missing his snuggle buddy.
Zane Williams is a smart one, and like many others are recognizing, he understands that the new trend in country music, is actual country music. And this has been exemplified in the Texas scene as much as anywhere. Zane Williams senses that people want by God country music again, and that’s exactly what he delivers on the aptly titled ‘Bringin’ Country Back.’
It’s within the anticipation her first record inspired that the sophomore effort ‘Country Songs’ from Karen Jonas comes spilling out of her songwriting pen just as fervent and hungry as her first effort, yet with more refined and deliberate results due to the wisdom won through the experience of her debut.
If I were Tracy Byrd, I wouldn’t have released an album in the last decade either. What would have been the point, just to have it summarily ignored by an industry obsessed with youth and debauchery as some of the best country music voices of our time get shoved out to pasture?
“Today” isn’t particularly great, but it’s actually aimed at adults instead of children, features steel guitar, mandolin, and fiddle, and if we’ve figured out nothing else about Paisley’s still unnamed upcoming album (of which this is the second single), it appears he’ll at least have opportunities to unsheathe the Telecaster again.
Courtney Granger delivers a surprising, touching, well-rounded, and frankly stunning performance of classic country tunes made anew by the power and passion behind his voice. Courtney Granger is Cajun music royalty. The grandnephew of the formidable Balfa Brothers, Courtney grew up surrounded by the music of Southern Louisiana, and currently performs in the Pine Leaf Boys.
Blackberry Smoke isn’t just saving country music, they’re rehabilitating the status of all American music by baptizing it in the muddy waters of the all-immersive guitar riff delivered unencumbered and fully amplified, flying in the face of all notions of present-day style or trend that acquiesce to eepish tones and textures.
If Garth’s comeback is going to be broad based and lasting, he’s got to impact beyond being a vessel for nostalgia. He needs a “Kokomo,” or at least something that impacts radio even slightly so he’s not just re-singing “Friends In Low Places” forever. And that’s what you get with “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance.”
Just as Bill Kirchen was the country twang compass for country rock’s Commander Cody, Austin De Lone was the keyboard-playing rock maestro for the country rock outfit Eggs Over Easy. Both their sensibilities and respective expertise make them a complimentary pairing that just downright works, and that is evidenced in their new album together.
Produced by his cousin Dave Cobb, ‘Shine On Rainy Day’ is more country than it is anything else, but the soul and folk rock influences are palpable on the tracks that roll out so smoothly, they envelop the consciousness not just in enjoyment, but in the presence of nostalgia like a thick memory that feels so present in the here and now, it’s haunting.
Jon Pardi might be one of the performers we love to point at as being a party to repatriating mainstream country music with more palatable material as part of a new wave of traditional-leaning young talent, but as his new single proves, the effort to save country music is sometimes an imperfect one.
As a long-standing member of The Foghorn Stringband, Caleb Klauder has studied classic melodies and can call upon an incredible repertoire of songs ranging from Appalachian old time, Celtic folk, classic Cajun, and all of the variations in between that went on to form many of the major roots genres of today.
The troika of Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, and Chris Stapleton isn’t the only gaggle making waves in country music and giving folks hope for the future. All signed to major labels and making more traditionally-oriented country fans salivate for what the future may have in store are Jon Pardi, William Michael Morgan and 23-year-old Illinois native Mo Pitney.
Jim Lauderdale decided that since he’d never made a Texas country record, he’d head down to Austin and assembled a hot shit band of Texas pickers and players, and record himself a Texas country project in one day at Arlyn Studios. Lauderdale wrote or co-wrote every song on the record, and each one has a Texas flavor of some sort.
Tami Neilson is the greatest singer of any genre I have ever witnessed, and if there’s any justice in this crooked world, soon the rest of humanity will at least be given a chance to behold this for themselves. But just like it took Sturgill Simpson many years before his talents were recognized beyond a few dedicated fans and studious bloggers, it may still take a while.
This is it folks. Without qualifiers, caveats, or commercial dalliances outside of his tightly-knit traditional-leaning comfort zone, William Michael Morgan has released a country record that is quality cover to cover, true country at every turn, and most importantly, one that might actually pique the interest of the masses as its lead single eyes a top spot in the charts.
List making either before or after events has become a dubious enterprise of mainstream outlets just looking to troll the fan bases of independent performers to get these performers to dutifully post the coverage to their social network feeds and drive unique views to the outlets while little if any true discovery for said artists by new fans actually occurs.
Americana, AmericanaFest, Angaleena Presley, Beverly Keel, Bluebird Cafe, Change The Conversation, Dori Freeman, Jack Ingram, Leslie Fram, Luke Bell, Matt Haeck, Sarah Shook, Tami Neilson, The Accidentals, Tommy Ash, Wanda Jackson
Screw me, but I just don’t have a strong opinion about this thing one way or the other. Sometimes that happens. If you think this song and video is amazing, then awesome. If you think it’s stupid, I can see that perspective too. In the end it’s kind of a wash for me.
Just the idea of Dwight Yoakam making a bluegrass album is like some sort of gift from the country music Gods. Before a lick of music was heard, the news of Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars was its own viral event. The primary issue with this album is that none of these songs were written to be bluegrass songs.