There’s been much talk so far this year about how the women of country are outpacing the men when it comes to the quality of music, we’ve talked about possible reasons why that is. But we haven’t talked about some of the men that if simply given a chance, could shoot an immediate injection of substance into the country music format. They just need similar chances to their female counterparts.
Reno, Nevada’s Hellbound Glory has just come off two legs of arena shows opening for Kid Rock on his nationwide Rebel Soul tour, and are recovering now to get ready for their own tour in early summer. Saving Country Music talks with Hellbound front man Leroy Virgil about the tour, the potential for new music, and about the new single “The Feud.” Leroy releases an alternative version of the song through SCM.
Fans of Reno, Nevada’s Hellbound Glory who’ve been waiting patiently for new music since the release of their last album Damaged Goods can tide themselves over on a brand new single just released called “The Feud.” A fiery, raucous account of the rigors of rural living, the song features a more rock vibe compared to most Hellbound Glory material, and raw, gunpowder-stained lyrics.
Every day hundreds of people wake up, put their pants on, and head to Music Row in Nashville to try to find “the next one.” They cull through reams of new material being produced by big songwriting operations, when right under their noses are battle tested songs with proven appeal waiting to be cherry picked from the independent and underground music world. Here are just a few.
Adam Hood, Alabama Pines, Brian Keane, Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley, Elanor Whitmore, Every Girl, Good Lord Lorrie, Hellbound Glory, I'll Sing About Mine, Jason Isbell, Josh Abbott Band, Kacey Musgraves, Old Crown Medicine Show, Shooter Jennings, The Long Road Ahead, Tom Morello, Turnpike Troubadours
Leroy Virgil is country music’s best kept secret, but the cat may soon be out of the bag as none other than Kid Rock has tapped Hellbound Glory as the opener on his 29-date arena tour. With Kid Rock’s place as a polarizing figure to some of the same country fans that Hellbound Glory appeals to, the association has drawn some ire. At the same time, it’s hard to not credit Kid Rock for stepping up.
By request, here is my list of the greatest underground country albums of all time. The underground country movement started roughly in the mid 90’s on lower Broadway in Nashville that at the time was a run down part of town. Young musicians from around the country, some from punk backgrounds, came together from their mutual love of authentic country music.
.357 String Band, Andy Gibson, Bob Wayne, BR549, Dale Watson, Donnie Herron, Hank Williams, Hank3, Hellbound Glory, Jayke Orvis, JB Beverley, Joe Buck, Justin Townes Earle, Legendary Shack Shakers, Leroy Virgil, Lonesome Wyatt, Lucky Tubb, Rachel Brooke, Slackeye Slim, The Boomswagglers, Those Poor bastards, Wayne Hancock
Reno, Nevada’s Hellbound Glory with be touring with Kid Rock on his “Rebel Soul” tour to transpire at the very start of 2013, trekking through the Midwest and South. Leroy Virgil, the frontman of Hellbound Glory is one of country music’s best kept secrets in regards to songwriting. The band first rubbed elbows with Kid Rock on his “Chillin The Most” cruise down in Florida last March.
I have been struggling to write this article for almost two years, but have been putting it off because there’s some hard things to say, and I didn’t want to “talk down” a movement that was already trying to deal with pretty alarming trends. But I think that especially now, zooming out and trying to be honest and critical in a constructive way is important, because there is positively no doubt that underground country is dying.
.357 String Band, Bob Wayne, Dale Watson, Hank3, Hellbound Glory, Larry & His Flask, Leroy Virgil, Muddy Roots, Pickathon, Rachel Brooke, Reinstate Hank, Reverend Horton Heat, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Shooter Jennings, Sturgill Simpson, Th' Legendary Shack Shakers, The Goddamn Gallows, Those Poor bastards, Underground country, unknown hinson
About this time every four years the political rhetoric reaches critical mass as TV, radio, and the internet are permeated with political ads, while your personal social network feed is filled with political memes and other such oversimplification of issues we’ve been fighting to resolve for decades. Here are some apolitical, or anti-political songs to help survive the political season.
.357 String Band, Centreville, Chris Knight, Derek Dunn, Hellbound Glory, Lee Bains and the Glory Fires, Lery Virgil, Merle Haggard, Nothing On Me, Rainbow Stew, What's This World Coming To (If It Ain't Coming To An End)
A few days ago, CMT launched a new format and website called CMT Edge with the intent of covering artists outside the norm of mainstream country music. Since then I’ve been asked many times what I think of it, and my stock answer has been that I don’t exactly know what I think of it yet. Having said that, I see no reason at this point not to stay positive about it.
Hellbound Glory just finished up a big 6-week tour, and behind them they left a trail of rumors that a future album might have a contribution from electro pop star Ke$ha. Pop stars positioning themselves for a country move by claiming they’ve always been into the music is nothing new. The difference with Ke$ha though is her references to her country roots and influences are actually true.
That’s right ladies and gentlemen, your hero, the lord of underground roots, the savior of independent music, Shooter Jennings, is releasing a duet single and video with the most pop-ity pop of pop country uber doches, the “Nickelback of Country Music”, American Idol’s Bucky Covington. The song is called “Drinking Side of Country” and all indications is that it will suck hard enough to send a golf ball through a garden hose.
For months, Leroy Virgil of the infamous Hellbound Glory has been dropping little tidbits about a potential triple album coming out in the future to be called MericA. For the holiday, Leroy has released the lyrics to the upcoming title track, and in true Virgil fashion, they work just fine without the musical accompaniment.
The original Boomswagglers album has become an underground classic, and Hillgrass Bluebilly has finally decided to give it a proper physical and digital release, with a brand new version completely remastered from the original studio sessions. It will be a collector’s edition that will include a handmade emergency fishing kit attached to the CD.
Hollywood seems obsessed with finding talent among the masses with their silly reality show contests like American Idol and The Voice, when in reality there’s a boatload of talent just sitting there waiting to be discovered right under their surgically-crafted, cosmetically-sculptured noses. So here’s a list of some bands that are go ready, right now, no excuses.
Anderson Family Bluegrass, Dale Watson, Hellbound Glory, Leroy Virgil, Mad Max and the Wild Ones, Marty Stuart, Paige Anderson, Rachel Brooke, Ruby Jane, Sturgill Simpson, Sunday Valley, Turnpike Troubadours, Waylon Jennings, Wayne Hancock, Whitey Morgan & The 78's, Wyatt Maxwell
Legendary country music songwriter Billy Don Burns, who over his 40 year career has written songs for Willie Nelson, Connie Smith, Sammy Kershaw, and many others has partnered up with Rusty Knuckles Records and will be releasing a new album this summer, Nights When I’m Sober (The Portrait of a Honky Tonk Singer).
I think at this point it is pretty much a forgone conclusion that in 2012 we’re all going to die of death. You know, that whole Mayan thing. But I thought just to be on the safe side, just in case we all don’t die, we’ll probably want to listen to some music, so wouldn’t it be cool to know what some of your favorite artists have planned for 2012.
Adam Lee, Austin Lucas, Bob Wayne, Derek Dunn, Hellbound Glory, James Hunnicutt, Jayke Orvis, JB Beverly & the Wayward Drifters, Lone Wolf, Lonesome Wyatt, McDougall, Olds Sleeper, Peewee Moore, Possessed by Paul James, Rachel Brooke, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Roger Alan Wade, Ruby Jane, Slackeye Slim, Sunday Valley, Those Poor bastards, Whitey Morgan & The 78's, Willy Tea Taylor
It may be years before something impresses us like this again. I’ve given many albums two guns up, and have and will hand out many Albums of the Year. But there’s only two albums I’ve reviewed that I’ve ever felt confident enough to refer to as masterpieces, and Slackeye Slim’s El Santo Grial, La Pistola Piadosa is one.
When I sat down to name the top 10 live performances of 2011 as seen through my eyes, I didn’t know what a mess I was making for myself, and it wasn’t until then that I realized what a power packed year for live music it has been. My 10 stretched to 15 fast, and I’m still leaving many live acts out.
Austin Lucas, Bloodshot Records, Charlie Parr, Hank3, Hellbound Glory, James Hunnicutt, Jayke Orvis, Justin Townes Earle, Lukas Nelson, Marty Stuart, Micah Schnabel, Pickathon, Possessed by Paul James, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Ruby Jane, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Sunday Valley, SXSW, The Goddamn Gallows, The Muddy Roots Festival, Two Cow Garage, Wayne Hancock, Whitey Morgan & The 78's, Willie Nelson
There is nothing I take more seriously than naming what I think is the best album of any calendar year. The Album of the Year offers a guidepost for future generations to find the best music that was forgotten by the mainstream, while at the same time being a current ambassador to the mainstream to illustrate what great music they are overlooking.