Being willing to see where a song takes you is at the heart of every music lover, and in this spirit I present eleven hand selected songs released in the first half of 2015 that will hopefully take you someplace you want to be, or somewhere you’ve never been before. This is the cream of the crop in my opinion; the gut punchers not for the faint of heart.
Justin Townes Earle
See, this is why we’re fans of music. Because there’s something about the perseverance of the human spirit wrapped in every single piece of audio material, and every single album, regardless of how good it is. We have artists that we follow, that we’re fans of, not just because they do things that seem esoteric, but because they’re human and apt to fail.
This isn’t going to be some long form praising of Sturgill Simpson’s work in 2014, or yet another rundown of his long list of successes last year. There’s already been plenty of that, arguably too much of it, and I am just as tired of writing about it as you are of reading of it. Yeah yeah, Sturgill Simpson’s great, but his name has become the independent country version of click bait.
Who will be releasing new albums in 2015? What are some of the most-anticipated projects? What are the rumors swirling out there about new albums that may be coming down the pike? Here’s a rundown of upcoming projects from artists recommended by Saving Country Music that you can look forward to in 2015. Please feel free to leave your thoughts about what you’re excited about being released.
The past 24 hours has seen some big signings by some worthy artists to record labels. The old-school throwback St. Louis singing and strumming song man Pokey LaFarge has signed to the prestigious Rounder Records. Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band has signed with Yazoo Records, and the Alabama-bred gritty and greasy Banditos have signed to insurgent country label Bloodshot.
Alison Krauss, Banditos, Bloodshot Records, Charley Patton, Del McCoury, Jack White, Justin Townes Earle, Lydia Loveless, Mississippi John Hurt, Neko Case, Pokey LaFarge, Re. Peyton, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Ricky Skaggs, Robert Plant, Rounder Records, Ryan Adams, Scott H. Biram, So Delicious, SXSW, Wayne 'The Train' Hancock, Willie Nelson, Yazoo Records
Raleigh, North Carolina-based country rock band American Aquarium, and specifically their frontman, singer, and principal songwriter BJ Barham have been known to twist off about the state of country music upon occasion, both online and on stage. Such was the case on Tuesday (10-28) when the band reminisced about the time one of today’s biggest pop country acts actually opened for them.
Eliot Bronson is Americana in the truest sense of the word—instead of simply falling back on the term as a default. His lyrics come inspired from America’s country and roots past, but the music refers to more progressive folk rock and blues legacies. First and foremost though, his self-titled LP is a songwriter’s showcase, capturing moments of spectacular insight and feeling…
That’s right, don’t rub your eyes or adjust your monitors. Justin Townes Earle, who just released his latest album Single Mothers on September 9th, is doing a quick turnaround and releasing yet another brand new full length album Absent Fathers on January 13th, 2015—a companion to his September release that takes its theme from the Single Mothers title track.
Acting as a guide through both the explanation of the roots of country music and the streets of Nashville, Justin Townes Earle and many others try best to define “country” for a foreign audience in the film. The Country Roads DVD also includes an entire Justin Townes Earle concert performed at Pace University on October 26th and 27th of 2012 called “The Spirit of Woody Guthrie.”
Amanda Shires, Angaleena Presley, Artic Monkeys, Ashley Monroe, Brazilbilly, Caitlin Rose, Country Roads The Heartbeat of America, George Hamilton IV, John Carter Cash, Johnny Cash, Justin Townes Earle, Kevin Costner, Lisa Marie Presley, Liz Rose, Marieke Schroeder, Miranda Lambert, Norah Guthrie, RCA Studio B, Review, Robert's Western World, The Carter Family, The Carter Family Fold, The Pistol Annies, The Ryman Auditorium, Woody Guthrie
Every Justin Townes Earle album cover has featured Earle himself and a pretty woman somewhere in close vicinity to him, and just exactly who these pretty women are is part of the fun and mystery. But Justin Townes Earle broke from this tradition on his latest record “Single Mothers” and put someone else on the cover instead of himself. Or did he?
Amanda Isbell, Amanda Shires, Asleep at the Wheel, Bob Wills, Gillian Welch, Hayes Carll, Jason Isbell, John Moreland, Joshua Black Wilkins, Justin Townes Earle, Lukas Nelson, Sammy Brue, Single Mothers, Steve Earle, the cover of Justin Townes Earle's Single Mothers
This release might mean just a little bit more to Justin Townes Earle. The harder you work for things, the more value they tend to hold. After concluding a five-album contract with the scrappy and street-accredited independent label Bloodshot Records, Justin Townes Earle moved on to what he hoped would be greener pastures, and quickly got his nose pushed in.
It’s that penultimate moment—that tipping point—when a town or neighborhood known for it’s cool, rich, and creatively-vibrant culture becomes so awash with interlopers, gentrifying hipsters, and retiring baby boomers that the critical mass point is reached in redevelopment, rising rents, and real estate prices and the entire thing implodes.
Amy Lashley, Caitlin Rose, Chuck Mead, Cory Branan, East Nashville, Guy Clark, Jason Isbell, Joe McMahan, Justin Townes Earle, Kevin Gordon, Lindi Ortega, Liz Rose, Marty Robbins, Mike Grimes, Nashville, Otis Gibbs, Roy Acuff, Sergio Webb, Skip Litz, Steve Earle, Sturgill Simpson, Susanna Clark, Todd Snider, Townes Van Zandt, Tristen, Waylon Jennings
The wait by both Justin Townes Earle and his fans for new music is finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. Announced earlier today, Earle will be releasing a new album in the fall on Vagrant Records. After the resolution of Earle’s five-album Bloodshot contract, he found himself in the midst of an intense battle with the British-based label Communion Records.
In an era when nothing in music is universal, and music has become one of the primary battlefronts in the culture war, the likeability of Jack White was one of the few things that passed for a consensus builder. And then something changed. I’m not exactly sure where or when specifically, but it changed. At some point it seemed like Jack White has started to buy into his own image…
Adele, Amy Winehouse, Axl Rose, Dan Auerbach, Dave Grohl, Dex Romweber, Dex Romweber Duo, Flat Duo Jets, Jack White, Jason Aldean, Justin Townes Earle, Karen Elson, Loretta Lynn, Nirvana, The Black Keys, The White Stripes, Van Lear Rose, Wanda Jackson
Sturgill Simpson has arrived ladies & gentlemen, thanks to the resounding critical success of his new album Metamodern Sounds of Country Music that has permeated just about every corner of the independent roots music culture. From NPR, to The New York Times, to important periodicals in Europe, wherever you turn, someone is singing the praises of the Kentucky native.
Karen Jonas, whether she knew it or not, heeded the advice of the great Ray Wylie Hubbard to all songwriters: don’t just listen to The Ghost of Tom Joad, read The Grapes of Wrath. How do we know this? It’s not just from the wisdom interwoven in the lyrics, it’s from the amount of pain Ms. Jonas is able to capture in her performance.
Country music isn’t just a genre of music, it is a musical religion, a way of life, a cultural lineage passed down from generation to generation and preserved through the blood and bond of its performers and fans. That’s why it seems country music performers so very often tend to turn out to be the parents of country music performers themselves.
Amy Nelson, Ben Haggard, Billy Joe Shaver, Bobby Bare, Bobby Bare Jr., Carlene Carter, Cathy Guthrie, Chelsea Crowell, David Allan Coe, Eddie Shaver, Folk Uke, George Jones, Georgette Jones, Hank Williams, Hank Williams III, Hank Williams Jr., Hank3, Holly Williams, Jesse Keith Whitley, Jessi Coulter, Jett Williams, Jody Payne, John Carter Cash, John Hiatt, Jubal Lee Young, June Carter, Justin Townes Earle, Lilly Hiatt, Lucas Hubbard, Lucky Tubb, Lukas Nelson, Merle Haggard, Pam Tillis, Paula Nelson, Rosanne Cash, Roy Nichols, Sammi Smith, Shel Silverstein, Shelli Coe, Shooter Jennings, Steve Earle, Steve Young, Tammy Wynette, Terrye Newkirk, Tyler Mahan Coe, Waylon Jennings, Waylon Payne, Whey Jennings, Willie Nelson
Up until this point Saving Country Music’s “10 Badass Moments” series has only featured men. But can women be badasses as well? Well if you look at the life and times of one Wanda Jackson, the answer would most certainly be “yes”. Whether it’s from a country or a rock & roll perspective, Wanda Jackson had a significant impact on both….
When it comes to the preservation of the history and sound of country music, you can make the case there is nobody who does it better and with more passion and dedication than Marty Stuart. Tireless and true to his convictions, from his music, to his archive of memorabilia, to his presence on television and the Grand Ole Opry stage, and to some of the thankless things he does well out of the public eye…
B-Bender, Badlands Ballads of the Lakota, Brandy Clark, Clarence White, Connie Smith, Corb Lund, Del McCoury, Don Maddox, Gene Parson, Hummingbyrd, Jim Lauderdale, Johnny Cash, Justin Townes Earle, Lester Flatt, Let There Be Country, Marty Stuart, Merle Haggard, Old Crow Medicine Show, Porter Wagoner, Roland White, Stonewall Jackson, Sturgill Simpson, The Byrds, The Grand Ole Opry, The Kentucky Colonels, The Marty Stuart Show
Directed by Wayne Price, with producer Brian Devine and Graham Leader, Heartworn Highways Revisited is reported to be in post production, with hopes it will be released later this summer. They have also released a trailer for the new film on their website, and have revealed the new cast that includes Guy Clark, David Allan Coe, and Steve Young from the original film, as well as newer artists…
Andrew Combs, Bobby Bare Jr., Charlie Daniels, David Alan Coe, Deer Tick, Graham Leader, Guy Clark, Heartworn Highways, Heartworn Highways Revisited, John McCauley, Jonny Fritz, Josh Hedley, Justin Townes Earle, Langhorn Slim, Larry Jon Wilson, Matraca Berg, Phil Hummer, Robert Ellis, Rodney Crowell, Shelly Colvin, Shovels & Rope, Steve Young, Townes Van Zandt, Wayne Price