Each year when Saving Country Music sits down to compile the best songs, it’s done so with a solemn reverence and understanding that the idea embedded in a song has the power to change a life, and change the world. There are many songs out there that are a joy to listen to, but a Song of the Year must say something that can evoke shivers, and do so in a way nobody else has done before.
2014 has revealed itself as the “Year of the Dark Horse” when it comes to compiling the greatest albums released in the last 12-month span. Tami Neilson, Karen Jonas, Charlie Parr, Matt Woods? Who’s heard of these people outside of their respective fan bases? And meanwhile the realm of mainstream music can’t field one candidate, unless you want to count First Aid Kit.
2014 Album of the Year, Charlie Parr, Don Williams, Doug Seegers, Dynamite!, First Aid Kit, Hollandale, I'm A Song, Jason Eady, Jim Lauderdale, John Fullbright, Joseph Huber, Karen Jonas, Kelsey Waldon, Matt Woods, Metamodern Sounds In Country Music, Oklahoma Lottery, Reflections, Stay Gold, Sturgill Simpson, Tami Neilson, With Love From Brushy Mountain, Zoe Muth
2014 so far has been an interesting year for album releases for sure. Some names we were hoping big things from like Sturgill Simpson and Jason Eady delivered in big ways. Other dark horse names we’d never heard of like Karen Jonas came out of the woodwork to stun. Some names like Don Williams and Charlie Parr put out surprising albums that have to be considered high water marks of their career.
Best Albums So Far, Charlie Parr, Dalight & Dark, Don Williams, First Aid Kit, Hollandale, Jason Eady, John Fullbright, Joseph Huber, Karen Jonas, Matt Woods, Metamodern Sounds In Country Music, Oklahoma Lottery, Reflections, Songs, Stay Gold, Sturgill Simpson, With Love From Brushy Mountain, World of Strangers, Zoe Muth
Joseph Huber is one of those country roots gems with potent tunes that impact the open heart with such resonance and penetration, it remains with the listener much after the music stops. The Hanging Road is an exposition of Huber’s multi-talented musical skill set, engaging and vibrant, yet humble and rootsy as he takes his country, folk, bluegrass and blues influences into heavy account.
There are songwriters, and then there are songwriters; those folks that so effortlessly set words to the moods and moments of life and that can make you weep like a baby or wildly happy to be alive. These songwriters are there for us, creating a soundtrack for our most enduring memories, making the most of the life experience by enhancing it with music.
Austin Lucas, Bonnie Price Billy, Charlie Parr, Chris Knight, Corb Lund, Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit, Johnny Cash, Joseph Huber, McDougall, Micah Schnabel, Possessed by Paul James, Tom VandenAvond, Two Cow Garage, Will Oldham, Willy Tea Taylor
The Farmageddon Records family suffered a grave loss last week when Richard Laferte II unexpectedly passed away Saturday, January 5th while visiting family and friends in Maine. Following a formal time of remembrance, the gathering turned to celebrating Richard’s life through music. The celebration included the reunification of 3 original members of the .357 String Band, Jayke Orvis, Derek Dunn, and Joseph Huber.
Here is the list of 25 albums Saving Country Music deems essential for 2012 listening, and then I added an extra one I couldn’t leave off. Please note this list only includes albums that have been reviewed so far. There are a few more good and important albums in 2012 that have yet to be reviewed. The first 7 albums on the list (from Little Victories to Lee Bains) were all serious considerations for SCM’s Album of the Year.
Billy Don BUrns, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Chris Knight, Davy Jay Sparrow, Don Williams, essential albums, Foghorn Stringband, Jackson Taylor, James Leg, Joe Buck, Joseph Huber, JP Harris & The Tough Choices, Justin Townes Earle, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, Left Lane Cruiser, Lone Wolf, Marty Stuart, McDougall, Paige Anderson, Rachel Brooke, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Restavrant, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Sara Watkins, The Alabama Shakes, The Calamity Cubes, Tom VandenAvond, Willie Nelson
the loss of .357 String Band may go down as underground country’s greatest tragedy. I can think of no other project that was so ripe for becoming a success story of authentic American underground roots. They were brilliant, but accessible at the same time. It is a great sin of American music. They have re-issued their landmark 2008 album “Fire & Hail” on vinyl.
It is difficult to describe Tongues of Fire without comparing it to Joseph’s first solo album Bury Me Where I Fall which in contrast was very dark from deep and intelligent songwriting and eery chord structures. Tongues of Fire takes almost an exact opposite approach, with a lighter feel to virtually all these songs even when the lyrics deal with dark subject matter.
Joseph Huber, the former banjo player and songwriter for the explosive (and now defunct) .357 String Band has a new album on the way called Tongues of Fire, and you can listen to the song “Iron Rail” from the album below, and help Joe get the album to print by pre-ordering the vinyl version. As Joe explains, Tongues of Fire will be a different approach, and includes some songs originally written for .357.
I know I didn’t make a list of candidates for some stupid “Artist of the Year” like I did for Album of the Year or Song of the Year for 2010. I know I didn’t even announce that there would be an Artist of the year for 2010, and up until a few days ago, the idea of doing it didn’t even cross my mind. But that is what is great about having your own website, you can do whatever the hell you want.
As with the Albums of the Year, 2010 will go down as a high water mark for the amount of top quality songs released.
A Song of the Year can’t just be good, it has to touch you. You have to be a different person, in whatever small way, after listening to it. Points are rewarded for things like catchiness and accessibility, but you’ll have to get at least a little bit deep to makes this year’s list. Great songs speak to many people, but to each individual in different ways. We also saw a lot of songs this year with an epic approach, whose sheer vision and grand design deserves to be highlighted.
.357 String Band, Hank III, Hellbound Glory, Hillstomp, Jayke Orvis, Joseph Huber, Lucky Tubb, Possessed by Paul James, Reverend Deadeye, Roger Alan Wade, The Boomswagglers, Trampled by Turtles, Wayne Hancock
Following is my list for the essential albums for 2010, broken down into a few of categories.This is meant to compliment the Album of the Year candidates in this super-packed year for stellar music. Hopefully next year, Saving Country Music can branch out a bit and cover the more traditional mainstream acts, but it will always be on top of the smaller acts trying to get their music out there, not instead of them.
.357 String Band, Brigitte London, Dale Watson, Farmageddon Records, Hank III, Hillstomp, Jayke Orvis, Joseph Huber, Legendary Shack Shakers, Lucky Tubb, Peewee Moore, Pete Berwick, Reverend Deadeye, Shelli Coe, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, The Shivering Denizens, Those Poor bastards, Tom VandenAvond, Trampled by Turtles, Wayne Hancock, Whitey Morgan & The 78's
It might be easy to gloss over just how good of a songwriter Joseph Huber is from his work with the .357 String Band. The break neck nature of their music tends to make your brain focus on the energy instead of the enigmatic lyricism and above average song structuring. But slow the songs down and you can see it, and that is exactly what Joe has done with Bury Me When I Fall.
Joseph Huber, one of the primary songwriters and banjo/fiddle player for the high-octane bluegrass outfit The .357 String Band has released a solo album called Bury Me Where I Fall. This album marks a completely different direction from the punk-inspired string music Joe & .357 are known for, but not in the emphasis on top-notch songwriting. Joe takes a more poetic, Townes Van Zandt approach to the lyrics, and a more artistic approach to the music.