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.
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?
2017 is turning out to be a banner year for country and roots music, and we still have some of the most highly-anticipated titles still yet to be released. In an attempt to keep up and help you sift through the musical selection process, Saving Country Music has just juiced its Top 25 Current Spotify Playlist with some new selections.
‘Big Bad Luv’ is exactly the type of album that John Moreland needed to make, where his songcraft suffers none, but is bolstered by the virtue of a more compositional approach to the music itself. And this is the only place he could improve or “evolve,” because the songwriting was already at the pinnacle.
2017 is shaping up to be a stellar year for new music, with some highly-anticipated new albums from Chris Stapleton and Jason Isbell already on the way. It’s also shaping up for a good year for singles ahead of some of the year’s most anticipated album releases, and this week some great premier tracks make it into Saving Country Music’s Top 25 Current Playlist.
‘Big Bad Luv’ promises to be a shift in John Moreland’s focus. Where before you could expect some of the most tear-soaked material you could hear in all of roots music, the new album is said to be more sentimental. This should not come as a shock to Moreland fans since he was recently married, and has seen a shift in his personal life.
You want to like Luke Combs. He one of us, not one of them. At least that’s what you think, or that’s what you thought, or that’s what you want to think. Let’s face it, he’s no matinee idol. He’s a big ol’ corn fed boy from North Carolina with a scruffy Amish beard and a cheap haircut tucked under a properly-aligned baseball cap.
Well-known, and well-loved throughout the Austin music scene and beyond, the death of Chris Porter sent shockwaves throughout the independent roots music community, and now that same community is coming together to raise funds for the posthumous release of Chris Porter’s final record.
Aaron Lee Tasjan, Alejandro Escovedo, Bonnie Whitmore, Calvin Abney, Chris Porter, Drew Carman, John Moreland, Porter and the Bluebonnet Rattlesnakes, Sarah Green, Shonna Tucker, The Mastersons, Will Johnson
John Moreland has already received the praise of the likes of Jason Isbell who he’s toured with before and dozens of others, but an endorsement from one of the biggest females in country music at the moment is a pretty big deal. Apparently during AmericanaFest a couple of weeks ago, Miranda Lambert took time out of her busy schedule to take in a set by Moreland.
With over 200 artists playing AmericanaFest this third week of September, it can be a little bit intimidating for the folks either looking to attend in person, or experience the gathering vicariously through various social channels and video streams. So here is a curated list of artists battle tested and approved by Saving Country Music.
AmericanaFest, Austin Lucas, Brent Cobb, Caitlyn Smith, Dori Freeman, Jason Eady, John Moreland, Lori McKenna, Luke Bell, Parker Millsap, Sammy Brue, Sarah Shook, Tami Neilson, The Secret Sisters, William Clark Green, Willie Watson
If you’ve been hearing about this heartbreaking songwriter named John Moreland for the last few years and been waiting for the right time to check him out, this would be the perfect opportunity—if you have a Spotify account that is.
Nobody knows the formula, or how to navigate the whims of music to steady and sustainable employment, or God-forbid a modicum of stardom. But what we do know is Austin Lucas is an artist worthy of being heard, whether the music industry agrees or not.
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:
Iconic American songwriter Bob Dylan will be celebrating his 75th birthday on May 24th, and country and roots artist, including many songwriters who cite Dylan as a primary influence on their music, will be coming together to pay tribute to the man in numerous events across the country.
Bob Dylan, Cain's Ballroom, Elizabeth Cook, Emmylou Harris, Holly Williams, J.D. McPherson, Jason Isbell, Jimmy LaFave, John Fullbright, John Moreland, John Paul White, Kacey Musgraves, Nikki Lane, Steve Ripley
It’s not the usual train of events for a multi Grammy-winning and double CMA-awarded major label country artist to play South by Southwest for the first time some three years after first attaining major success, but that’s what Kacey Musgraves is experiencing this week as she shimmies through traffic snarls like everyone else to make appearances during Austin’s biggest annual music gathering.
Starting around 2011 or so, if you hung around and talked to up-and-coming country and roots bands attending SXSW, you’d hear whispers about an invite-only event out at Willie Nelson’s ghost town outside of Austin called Luck, TX. Luck was originally constructed as part of the set of the movie The Red Headed Stranger released in 1986—a companion to Willie Nelson’s legendary album.
With Letterman’s retirement, the concern was this once important roots music outlet on television would dry up. But since Stephen Colbert has taken the reigns at The Late Show, quite the opposite has happened. Monday night (2-1), critically-acclaimed songwriter John Moreland will be making his network television debut from the Ed Sullivan Theater courtesy of Stephen Colbert.
When it comes to picking the “best” songs from a given time period, it’s a much more subjective chore than selecting the best albums or the best artists. Our relationship with songs is just so much more intimate. The emotions songs can touch tend to range so much farther on the spectrum. To discover a song that really touches you, it’s not just dependent on the songwriter to write and perform a compelling tune.
Being willing to go where a song takes you is the challenge in the heart of every music lover. Hopefully one of these songs released in 2015 will take you some place you want to be, or somewhere you’ve never been before. These songs were selected on their own merit, not from the strength of the artist or album from where they came.
Brennen Leigh, Cody Jinks, Dawes, Eric Church, Eric Paslay, Evan Felker, James McMurtry, JB Beverley, John Moreland, Justin Townes Earle, Kacey Musgraves, Love and Theft, Mo Pitney, Randy Rogers, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Sunny Sweeney, Turnpike Troubadours, Wade Bowen