The legendary Newport Folk Festival is the new old place to discover the music that is righteous and relevant at this very moment in time, however loosely used the term “folk” has become when perusing the fest’s lineups of recent years. The place where Dylan first went electric, and where Johnny Cash first introduced the world to Kris Kristofferson has been working extra hard over the last few seasons…
The idea that Jason Isbell saved country music when his latest release Something More Than Free inched out Alan Jackson for the #1 spot on Billboard’s Country Albums chart has been offered as a discussion topic by cosmic songwriter and east Nashville sage Todd Snider. Above all else, how awesome is it to have the old version of Todd Snider back in our midst?
Boy how the entertainment media loves to ruminate on country music’s female dilemma, and how unfair it is that so many fine and talented female voices are going unheard. It’s the perfect topic for Northeast-based periodicals to piggy-back their political and sociological parallels onto, to prove the patriarchal oligarchy is still very much alive in America’s rural and Southern landscapes.
Along with his multiple Americana Music Awards, and many accolades from critics declaring him one of the best songwriters of this generation, Jason Isbell is now the owner of the #1 album in all of country music according to Billboard. Isbell’s album Something More Than Free—released by Isbell’s Southeastern Records via Thirty Tigers—pulled off a last-minute rally to best Alan Jackson’s latest.
In one corner you have the wily veteran who’s sold more than 80 million records worldwide and racked up untold awards and accolades during his quarter century career. In the other corner you have the scrappy young upstart who after years of paying dues on the club circuit can now sell out three consecutive nights at The Ryman Auditorium in 30 minutes and is on the tip of everyone’s tongue as the name of one of the best songwriters around.
Okay all you Texas, Rocky Mountain, and West Coast Sturgill Simpson fans that were bitching you had no tour dates on the left side of the Mississippi, the Sturgill Simpson train is going to be coming your direction hard and heavy, so stretch out your ticket ordering fingers because he’s just announced a new slew of dates and many of the shows will be selling out fast.
In the natural world they’re referred to as apex predators and alpha males. They’re the ones that rule the roost and crest the food chain. They’re the specimens of natural design that exhibit the ideal mix of physical abilities and/or favorable disposition to become the creatures all others are measured by.
In the crumbling ruins of America’s agrarian landscape, men and women move like ghosts as they watch the legacies of their forebearers and the communities that fostered their formative memories fall into states of irreconcilable disrepair in hectares of forgotten space. It’s a world where it was once undignified to ask another man for work, and even more undignified to have no work at all.
Guy Clark is in an Austin area hospital after having a bad reaction to medication right before he was scheduled to appear at an Austin City Limits Hall of Fame induction ceremony on his behalf. On Thursday evening (6-18), Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Asleep At The Wheel, and Flaco Jiménez were all inducted into the long-running TV show’s sophomore class of Hall of Fame inductees.
Zac Brown covered Isbell’s “Dress Blues” on his recent release Jekyll + Hyde. Though it was fairly common back on the 70’s through the 90’s to have bigger artists cover songs from alt-country voices such as Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, and Lucinda Williams, the “Dress Blues” cover is one of the first examples of the newer generation of Americana artists garnering wider exposure through the vehicle of bigger stars.
July 17th can’t get here quick enough for fans of the highly-decorated songwriter and Americana star Jason Isbell. That’s the day his much-anticipated release Something More Than Free hits stores—the followup to his heavily-decorated album Southeastern from 2013. Isbell has just made the new album available for pre-order, and has also released the first single from the album called “24 Frames.”
Music is not a skills competition. This isn’t the decathlon. They don’t hand out Grammy Awards for the band that can play songs from the most genres. They give Grammys to the artists who steady themselves and prove they are the best in a given musical discipline. I’ll give credit to the backing band of Weird Al for their alacrity. With the Zac Brown Band, I just want to hear good songs.
For those tragic songphiles who were done with popular music by late adolescence, started rummaging through their parents’ record collections and taking suggestions from older siblings and cousins about what was cool, and seem to be engaged in a lifelong pursuit of the essence of the listening experience—this is the manna, this is the potent stuff that still makes you feel like a listening virgin.
The highly-anticipated follow up to Jason Isbell’s critically-acclaimed 2013 album Southeastern will be called “Something More Than Free.” The album will be released through Thirty Tigers, and Isbell’s own Southeastern Records. Like his last album, the effort was produced by vaunted producer Dave Cobb.
It was only a matter of time before mainstream artists started plucking songs from the heralded discographies of thriving independent artists like Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson. We know these are the artists many of the mainstream acts are listening to. Then again Zac Brown has always been sort of his own animal when it comes to the establishment.
We had confirmation that NBC’s The Voice was looking to stack the deck this year when it was revealed Americana music star Jason Isbell was approached to participate. Now we’ve received word that another established star Meghan Linsey, the female half of the once Big Machine-signed duo Steel Magnolia, and a solo artist in her own right, will be participating on the newest season of the singing competition.
The music epicenters of Muscle Shoals, AL and Lubbock, TX find their native son and daughter melding their respective talent offerings into a tempest of love and emotive expressions in this two-song, surprise release called Sea Songs. Maybe as a stop gap from both halves of this super couple as we all endure through the dark moments between proper LP releases, this 2-sided single satiates the belly…
2015 just might be the year of American Aquarium, or that’s at least the popular sentiment being kicked around in certain circles. Written and recorded after a long hiatus between releases, American Aquarium took their time with this one, letting the songs maturate, and allowing a stylistic shift in their sound to emerge, something that would hopefully get them over that hump.
As the college football consciousness of the country zoomed in on Arlington, TX and the first official National Championship game ever played at the collegiate level Monday night, Zac Brown Band was tapped as the entertainment for ESPN’s College Gameday presentation leading up to the big game. Zac Brown Band played Jason Isbell’s much-appreciated but fairly obscure song for fallen soldiers.
Lexington, Kentucky-based Southern rock / sometimes country band Fifth on the Floor is breaking up, according to a missive sent out by the band today (1-6-15). Led by songwriter and lead singer Justin Wells, Fifth on the Floor was seen by many as one of the most promising upstart Southern rock bands of the last decade, releasing three albums over the eight year span of the project.