What makes a country boy like Vince Gill think he has the ability to fill some of the biggest shoes ever rendered vacant in American music? Well, 21 Grammy Awards, and incredible voice, some of the most underrated guitar chops in music, and a longer lineage with the music of The Eagles than one might think.
Love them, hate them, evoke the strong opinions of the Coen Brothers’ fictional character Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski all you want, but Glen Frey and The Eagles turned millions of music fans from all around the world into country music listeners through the evocative power of simple, universal sentiments bathed in twangy tones, however filed off the edges may have been, or however commercially successful the pursuit ultimately was.
Too often in music we tend to focus on the here and now, the young and the new. Who are the hot names that are rising up in the ranks? Who’s going to make a big splash in music in the coming months and years? All this talk is understandable. It’s fun. But this is not always the best exercise for fleshing out who actually has the music most worthy of being recognized.
2015’s Album of the Year candidates might constitute the most wide open field of contenders since this exercise has been in practice. There’s no clear front runners, anyone could win, and each candidate has pluses and minuses. Like every year, your opinion counts, and may even count more this year with no clear front runner.
Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Don Henley, James McMurtry, Jamie Lin Wilson, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Jason Isbell, Jason James, John Moreland, Kacey Musgraves, Lindi Ortega, Lonesome Wyatt, MIke and the Moonpies, Rachel Brooke, Randy Rogers, Roo Arcus, Ryan Bingham, Turnpike Troubadours, Wade Bowen, Ward Thomas, Whitey Morgan, Whitey Morgan and the 78's, Yelawolf
Heading into the final couple of months of 2015, there may not be a hotter name in country music among critics and distinguished listeners than Chris Stapleton. The long wait for his often-rumored and much-delayed debut album was finally rewarded on May 5th with the release of the Dave Cobb-produced “Traveller,” and fans were not let down.
Henley’s been out there outwardly criticizing the state of country music and the state of music in general, though doing so with a lot more of a thoughtful and informed tone than many others, including tracing the problem back to the disappearance of the agrarian way of life that was once prevalent throughout America, and now finds itself quickly receding.
Andrew Combs, Ashley Monroe, Bill Monroe, Cale Tyson, Cass County, Dolly Parton, Don Henley, Dottie West, George Jones, Hank Williams, J.P. Harris & the Tough Choices, Jamey Johnson, Jason Isbell, Jed Hilly, Jeffrey Foucault, Jim Reeves, Johnny Cash, Kelsey Waldon, Kitty Wells, Merle Haggard, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Patsy Cline, Shovels & Rope, Striking Matches, Sturgill Simpson, The Eagles, The Milk Carton Kids
There was another big battle at the top of the country albums charts last week, and once again the good guys won. Despite the perception by so many in the mainstream country business that radio play and youth is the key to success, two guys in their 60’s with no mainstream radio love topped the charts, and not just from statistical anomalies based on weak numbers, or on an off week for releases.
The songwriter, singer, guitar player, and frontman for the legendary Western Swing and classic country band Asleep At The Wheel had some harsh things to say about today’s country music in a recent interview, and specifically about the reigning CMA and ACM Entertainer of the Year, Luke Bryan.
Whatever you could want or hope from Don Henley’s “Cass County” as a country music fan, this album delivers it and in ample quantities. I don’t know that any country fan’s expectations can meet the actual enjoyment this music deals out. And this is a traditional country record.
Alison Krauss, Ashley Monroe, Cass County, Dolly Parton, Don Henley, Jesse Winchester, Lucinda Williams, Merle Haggard, Mick Jagger, Review, The Eagles, The Louvin Brothers, Tift Merritt, Trisha Yearwood
I don’t expect Don Henley’s entire country record to sound this classic, but his take on the old Louvin Brothers standard with Dolly helping out was a welcomed treat that tells you this album isn’t going to be Don reaching for commercial relevance. It’s going to be Don making the country record he wants to make.
Don Henley, the singer and drummer for the Eagles, will be releasing a country album called Cass County via Capitol Record—his first solo album in 15 years. This was the news coming out of an exclusive listening party held at the Ruby event space as part of this week’s CMA Fan Fest in Nashville. And don’t expect this to be an aging rocker looking for a second wind in country by chasing the current trends.
Alison Krauss, Ashley Monroe, Cass County, Dolly Parton, Don Henley, Jamey Johnson, Lucinda Williams, Martina McBride, Merle Haggard, Mick Jagger, Miranda Lambert, Stan Lynch, The Eagles, The Louvin Brothers, Tift Merritt, Trisha Yearwood, Vince Gill