My life took a devastating and decidedly palpable turn for the worse when I cued up Shania Twain’s long-awaited new single, “Life’s About To Get Good.” Somewhere Robert “Mutt” Lange is cackling like the Wicked Witch of the West. Did someone pull a practical joke on Shania in the studio? Because this thing’s a stinker, and it’s all the fault of the production.
Apologies if you came here looking to replenish your 3rd generation iPod with a fresh platoon of booty shakers. That’s not what this practice is all about. Feel good songs are just fine and help fleet us through the tiresome days, but when we talk about the “Best Songs,” were talking about songs that deliver moments that can change entire lives.
For the last two years, it’s felt like a lull for projects that really set themselves apart and set the pace for creativity and cultural importance. 2017 is a different story. It feels like this has been a banner year already, with some of the year’s biggest projects still in the offing.
Those who’ve been waiting impatiently for a new Taylor Swift single finally have their wish. It just happens to be coming from Kelsea Ballerini. Many have considered Kelsea as the most obvious choice to replace Swift in country music since similarly to Taylor, there’s really nothing country about Kelsea.
Zephanaiah OHora’s This Highway just very well might be a modern classic country masterpiece. It’s flawless for what it is, which is a reawakening of everything brilliant and beautiful about the Countrypolitan era of country music, while leaving all the superfluousness of strings and choruses and other overproduction aside.
There have been many true country music “Outlaws” over the years, and many more that claim to be. But there can be only one original Outlaw, and that is Bobby Bare. Without Bobby Bare, there may be no Waylon Jennings. When Bare discovered Waylon in Phoenix, AZ in 1964, Waylon was still very much a regional act.
The fact that Luke Combs can write a good song, and can find a genuine country sound when he wants to isn’t the reason we should look at ‘This One’s For You’ through rose-colored glasses, it’s the reason you should be disappointed. But let’s also give credit where credit is due.
It was said by many after the release of Wheeler Walker Jr.’s first album Redneck Shit, “Okay, that was fun. But where do you go next?” Wheeler Walker Jr. has an entirely new album’s worth of songs. That’s what he’s got. And he’s got ’em in a pretty short turnaround, and they’re just as funny and wit-filled as the first, if not more.
The 4th Annual Westport Roots Festival occurred this Memorial Day weekend in Kansas City’s Westport District, with over 80 bands participating on six separate stages. One of the most anticipated and talked about moments of the festival was the reunification of Jayke Orvis and The Broken Band.
Based out of Brooklyn, The Brother Brothers is the closest thing you can find to Simon & Garfunkel in this century, yet with a primitive country sound. Incredible singing, some of the sweetest fiddle playing and cello accompaniment I’ve heard, and songs that are amazing in their simplicity, and their ability to put rhyme and reason to complex human emotions.
Adam Moss, Ana Egge, Cactus Blossoms, Church Sisters, David Moss, Natalie Hemby, Session Americana, The Blue Hit, The Brother Brothers, The Defibulators, The Malpass Brothers, The Quebe Sisters, The Secret Sisters, Tugboat
Folks who just hopped on the country insurgency train when they heard about Chris Stapleton or Sturgill Simpson may wonder what the deal is with a guy like Justin Townes Earle. Maybe they recognize the name and draw the connection to his famous father, but is he something special, or just another name in “Americana,” whatever that means?
Left Lane Cruiser has now released nine of these ornery sons of bitches, and each one spitting venom and hitting the groove with the same ferocity. Where so many hard charging bands lose their edge as they age and their output gets stale, or they decide they need to wisen up and start singing lullabies, Left Lane Cruiser keeps on digging.
For 21 years, The Americana Music Jam has assembled some of the finest talent in Texas music to raise funds for worthy causes. Co-sponsored by Gruene Hall, and hosted by KNBT 92.1 FM out of New Braunfels, this year proceeds went to benefit Hope Hospice and Communities in Schools of South Central Texas.
Americana Music Jam, Cody Canada, Dalton Domino, Drew Kennedy, Flatland Cavalry, Gruene Hall, Josh Grider, Lloyd Maines, MIke McClure, Randy Rogers, Robert Earl Keen, Terri Hendrix, The Statesboro Revue, William Clark Green
Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland Resort and the greater Music Valley portion of the city filled up this weekend with thousands of revelers in throwback duds celebrating the annual Nashville Boogie Vintage Weekender presented by Muddy Roots. Over 90 acts on 5 different stages and at three separate venues.
Asleep at the Wheel, Big Sandy, Bobby Bare, Chris Casello, Country Side of Harmonica Sam, Deke Dickerson, Gaylord Opryland, Grand Ole Opry House, J.P. Harris, Jerry Jeff Walker, JM "Jimmy" Van Eaton, Joshua Hedley, Kristina Murray, Nashville Boogie, Nashville Palace, Nikki Lane, Ray Benson, W.S. "Fluke" Holland, Wanda Jackson
Lee Brice has built his career not off of catchy singles, but songs that straddle the lines between emotional substance and commercial aptitude, making him a bright spot of Music Row, despite a few blemishes and his spurious label situation. You really have to search for things to dislike about “Boy,” when you really should just sit back and enjoy it.
A love song with avid participation from his wife and singing partner Amanda Shires, the song delves into the sad perspective that forever in a marriage or a relationship is ultimately a relative term. But Isbell doesn’t point these things out just as a lament or a sharp lesson of reality.
You may have never heard of Carly Pearce or her debut single “Every Little Thing,” but you soon will. As the latest benefactor of iHeartMedia’s “On The Verge” radio program that puts a shot of adrenaline behind the single from an emerging star, it’s virtually guaranteed to rocket to the top of the charts.
Don’t think of Swimming Alone as a commercial release. Think of it as something Liz Rose made for herself and maybe a few close friends and family that you somehow got a copy of. It’s sweet, quirky, funny at times, delightfully dated, refreshingly honest, and just a simple joy to listen to.
Give Zac Brown credit. He listened to his fans, as opposed to speaking down to them about how music needs to evolve, or some other line of flawed reasoning where he could justify his actions to himself if nobody else. It’s hard to describe Zac Brown Band’s ‘Welcome Home’ as anything but what it is, which is a complete about-face.
Strap yourself in, buckle up, and mentally prepare yourself as best you can, because there isn’t anywhere Robyn Ludwick won’t go on ‘This Tall To Ride.’ Unabashedly exploring the dark underbelly of life where cocaine and sex are the ruling currency, and creatures of the night cuddle up with each other for comfort…