Another glass ceiling has just been shattered in mainstream country music’s monopoly on the independent side of music. Jason Isbell has just been nominated for Album of the Year by the Country Music Association, or CMA’s, for his most recent album The Nashville Sound. This is a virtually unprecedented feat for an independent artist.
When it comes to neotraditional singing duos, The Secret Sisters are regarded at the very top of the discipline. However that hasn’t exactly won them the fame and comfort that is usually reserved for the esteemed and elite of a medium.
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.
For the better part of two years now, country music fans with any sort of taste have been waiting not-so-patiently for the long-awaited arrival of the Dave Cobb-produced fourth album from 3rd generation performer Holly Williams. You can’t blame fans for their impatience after the performance she turned in on her 3rd record, ‘The Highway.’
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.
Styles and dialects and phonetics change, but the eternal themes that stir the soul remain, and it’s the seamless tie to what Colter sings about and how he sings it that makes the experience something beyond music. It is the ability to introduce the element of time into the mix, not just as a texture, but as a vehicle for transporting perspective….
Stapleton’s From A Room: Volume #1 will be released on May 5th, and a second installment, and From A Room, Volume #2, will be released later in 2017. This is the news coming out of a mostly private album release party conducted Wednesday evening (4-5) at Nashville’s Studio ‘A’.
Last week the current King of Americana Music Jason Isbell got fans jazzed by releasing a 30-second teaser video (see below) for his upcoming, but still-unannounced Dave Cobb-produced album that promises to feature a bit more of a rock vibe than previous efforts. Though we have no hard release date or title yet, we have both for a live studio album.
Just what 2017 has in store for us in the country music department remains to be seen. But we do know about what to expect in the release department for at least the first quarter of the year, while rumors abound about the big projects that could come to light later in 2017. Here’s a run down of what we know, what we think we know, and what we would like to believe.
Aaron Watson, Ags Connolly, Alison Krauss, Casey James Prestwood, Charlie Worsham, Chris Knight, Chris Stapleton, Colter Wall, Curtis McMurtry, Dale Watson, Dan Auerbach, Dave Cobb, George Jones, Guy Clark, Holly Williams, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Jaime Wyatt, Jason Isbell, JB Beverley, Justin Townes Earle, Marty Stuart, MOderna Mal, Nikki Lane, Old Crow Medicine Show, Otis Gibbs, Phoebe Hunt, Ray Benson, Ray Scott, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Rhiannon Giddens, Robbie Fulks, Scott H. Biram, Shinyribs, Son Volt, Steve Earle, Sunny Sweeney, The Gibson Brothers, The Sadies, The Secret Sisters, Tift Merritt, Valerie June, Whitney Rose
Whether one may ultimately settle upon ‘The Weight of These Wings’ with a more positive or negative take, what is next to indisputable is that it is a significant release. ‘The Weight of These Wing’s is the symbolic entry of Miranda Lambert—the biggest female country star for the last six or so years—into the Americana/independent/east Nashville mindset
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.
After the awards, Jason Isbell did like so many artists of country music’s storied past once did after playing at the Country Music Mother Church. He ambled out of the backstage exit into the famous alley that separates the Ryman and the bars of Lower Broadway, and took the stage with his wife Amanda Shires at Robert’s Western World.
Adam Meisterhaus, Amanda Shires, Americana, Americana Music Awards, Cary Ann Hearst, Dave Cobb, Jack Ingram, Jason Isbell, Jeremy Pentacost, Josh Hedley, Robert's Western World, Ryman Auditorium, Sam Outlaw, Sam Palladio, Shovels and Rope, Steve Earle
AmericanaFest is one of the biggest annual gathering of the tribes on the roots music calendar, and the crown jewel is the Americana Awards on the Wednesday of the festival week. This year Saving Country Music showed up early to take in the rehearsal for the festivities taking place at the Mother Church of Country Music, the Ryman Auditorium.
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.
Lori McKenna couldn’t have anticipated that her song “Humble and Kind,” recorded by Tim McGraw would become the first solo-written #1 song to top the country charts in four years right as she was getting ready to release an album produced by Dave Cobb—one of the hottest names in Nashville.
With no disrespect meant to the albums highlighted here, which represent the exception and not the rule, 2016 has begun where the second half of 2015 left off, where it feels like country and roots music across the board is out of ideas, and the search for music that truly enlivens the spirit is becoming harder. Nonetheless, there are still some excellent albums out there worth highlighting.
Texas-born and Nashville-based singer songwriter Bonnie Bishop has just released a new record produced by Dave Cobb called Ain’t Who I Was that in many ways is like a victory statement after so many years struggling as a female artist in the Texas music scene, and then a songwriter working for a publisher in Nashville.
Believe it or not, you can draw a straight line between underground roots music, and Chris Stapleton becoming the most successful country music artist in the last two years in regards to awards and album sales. Let me explain how:
Sturgill Simpson sat down with Marc Maron of the WTF podcast recently, and the hour or so interview was released on Thursday (5-12). If you’re a diehard Sturgill Simpson fan, it would be strongly encouraged that you listen. Here are some of the more interesting tidbits from the conversation.
And then here comes this foul-mouthed comedy country artist named Wheeler Walker Jr., and all of a sudden we have a new man taking the point at trashing pop country. None of Wheeler Walker Jr.’s songs are “country protest” songs like we hear dozens and dozens of other traditional country artists perform. It’s the attitude he’s taking that’s slowly making him into a pretty serious gadfly for pop country and its suitors.