If you want your musical experience in life to be the most fulfilling and enjoyable, then you have to be without prejudice when approaching music. There are many reasons on paper that one might decide they would never like the country music of the Staind frontman turned occasional country crooner Aaron Lewis.
If you’ve been hearing about this heartbreaking songwriter named John Moreland for the last few years and been waiting for the right time to check him out, this would be the perfect opportunity—if you have a Spotify account that is.
Singer-songwriters can sing about things such as love and loneliness as well, but their true trade is in being like a reflection pool of the present day, questioning our modes of life and the perspectives we keep. They are the poet’s of modern times, saying things we all know deep in our hearts, but in a way that awakens our inner selves.
If you’re looking for music that immerses you in a sea of sludgy, gritty, thumping and twangy Southern melody served unfiltered and full-bodied, and mired deep in the honey and depression of the authentic Southern identity, then you have come to the right place.
It takes more than a few really good songs to make a great album. David Nail’s ‘Fighter’ has some really good songs. I’d even be willing to go on the record saying it’s got some really great songs. But it also has some of the usual suspects of mainstream songwriting tropes that you have to sift through to get to those great songs.
Those true, hardcore fans of music always want to keep digging until they find that original nugget of a musical movement or influence, or in the case of Pat Reedy, the revitalization of a style of country and roots that has been forgotten by neglect throughout the generations.
Hell I thought that George Strait had retired. Maybe a new day is dawning in country, because listening to William Michael Morgan’s “Missing” immediately gets you swaying, singing along, and settling into a good mood whether you can go missing yourself, or you’re stuck at work or in traffic and wish you could.
I think I liked Florida Georgia Line more when their music was worse. Now they’re writing songs about getting married and hanging out with their parents, yet still with much of the same manic, douchebag production and stupid rapping vocals of before, and the entire enterprise just comes off like a sad whimper.
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.