2015’s Album of the Year candidates might constitute the most wide open field of contenders since this exercise has been in practice. There’s no clear front runners, anyone could win, and each candidate has pluses and minuses. Like every year, your opinion counts, and may even count more this year with no clear front runner.
2015 was supposed to be a year for new arrivals and big surprises from the ravenesque throwback bluesy country maven Rachel Brooke, and lo and behold, it was. The new arrivals and big surprises just weren’t all of the music variety. In April, Rachel released her long-anticipated second collaboration with Lonesome Wyatt of Those Poor Bastards called “Bad Omen.”
So we’re close enough to the half way pole in 2015 to start thinking about what the best has been so far, and to get ready for what is sure to be a pretty exciting second half of 2015 for album releases. There’s been some big surprises, a few letdowns, but overall 2015 so far has been a pretty varied season for releases.
Bad Omen, Best albums of 2015, Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Complicated Game, Cowboys & Sunsets, Fear & Saturday Night, Hold My Beer, James McMurtry, Lonesome Wyatt, Love Story, Rachel Brooke, Randy Rogers, Roo Arcus, Ryan Bingham, Sonic Ranch, The FIrewatcher's Daughter, Traveller, Wade Bowen, Whitey Morgan, Yelawolf
Like an ancient family photo happened upon in an old box in a dusty attic, with gaunt faces from the late 1800’s all Stoic and staring forlorn into the distance with blurry eyes from being unable to sit still as the exposure took, Bad Omen leaves you with a foreboding feeling well after you’ve left its presence simply from the knowledge that such a haunting thing exists.
Less country music Christmas albums, and more country music Halloween albums I say. And if a cottage industry happened to crop up for spooky country music every October, it would stand to reason Madison, Wisconsin’s Those Poor Bastards would have the market cornered. Beware interlopers and carpetbaggers, these bastards have been purveyors of their self-described “Country Doom” for a decade.
One of the great things about roots music is its Gothic legacy of cautionary tales, ghost stories, murder ballads, messages to the infirmed, and other such methods of macabre that allow country and roots artists to paint in dark colors when they so choose. This makes roots music one of the best realms to draw from when putting together your Halloween playlist.
.357 String Band, Black Jake & The Carnies, Creech Holler, Dad Horse Experience, Devil Makes Three, Filthy Still, Goddamn Gallows, Jay Munly, Jayke Orvis, Joe Buck Yourself, Joel Kaiser & The Devil's Own, Larry & His Flask, Lincoln Durham, Lindi Ortega, Lonesome Wyatt, Nick Cave, O' Death, Pine Box Boys, Pinebox Serenade, Rachel Brooke, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Reverend Glasseye, Rodentia, Serial Killer, Shakey Graves, Slackeye Slim, Slaughter Daughters, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Sons of Perdition, Squidbillies, Strawfoot, Th' Legendary Shack Shakers, The Bloody Jug Band, The Dinosaur Truckers, The Haunted Windchines, The Perreze Farm, The Slow Poisoner, Those Poor bastards, Tom Waits, unknown hinson, Viva Le Vox, Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys
The underground country movement initially formed around the mid 90’s not because somebody launched a website or a record label. It wasn’t because of a festival or because someone came up with a special name for a new genre. It came from the songs artists were writing, recording, and performing; songs that spoke very deep to the hearts of hungry listeners.
.357 String Band, Goddamn Gallows, Hank Williams, Hank Williams III, Hank3, Jayke Orvis, JB Beverly & the Wayward Drifters, Joe Buck, Lonesome Wyatt, Rachel Brooke, The Boomswagglers, Those Poor bastards, Wayne Hancock
Lonesome Wyatt is a pioneer of Gothic country with his band Those Poor Bastards, and one of the originators of underground country whose song “Pills I Took” was covered by Hank Williams III on his landmark album Straight to Hell, he is one of the few artists who will never be forgotten regardless of the long-term fortune of the underground country sub-genre.
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
Rachel Brooke is one of the few select artist with enough mustard to rise out of the ashes of the country music underground and become a force in the greater roots world. Like an early Emmylou Harris, the music industry should be shuttling her across the country to lend her singular vocal texture to other projects in between putting out excellent solo albums that time finds hard to forget.
The Queen of Underground Country, the lovely and talented Rachel Brooke will be releasing her new album A Killer’s Dream on December 4th, featuring Florida’s Viva Le Vox as her backing band, and a duet with Lonesome Wyatt of Those Poor Bastards. This will be her 3rd full-length album. Watch the world premier video for the song “The Black Bird”.
There’s never been a question in anyone’s mind if Johnny Cash actually shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. But that lyric, and Johnny’s song “Folsom Prison Blues” have gone on to become an iconic piece of country music history. This language was nothing new in 1955. Murder ballads and gunslinger tales trace back to the very roots of country music and America’s Gothic, violent identity.
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
So here it is, the list of albums Saving Country Music deems essential for 2011 listening. Please note this list only includes albums that have been reviewed so far. And as always, your feedback is encouraged. What are your essential albums? What did we miss? What was released in 2011 that deserves a review?
Bob Wayne, Coday Canada, Eilen Jewell, Gillian Welch, Hank3, Husky Burnette, Jason Boland, Jimbo Mathus, Larry & His Flask, Little Lisa Dixie, Lone Wolf, Lonesome Wyatt, Lucky Tubb, Lydia Loveless, Nick 13, Olds Sleeper, Rachel Brooke, Scott H. Biram, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Sunday Valley, The Damn Quails, The Dirt Daubers, The Goddamn Gallows, Tom Waits, Ugly Valley Boys, William Elliot Whitmore, Willy Tea Taylor
Rachel Brooke’s new album Down In The Barnyard has been creating a lot of buzz lately, and on Wednesday she talked with Jashie P of Outlaw Radio Chicago about the album, her upcoming tour with Those Poor Bastards, a proposed 7-inch release on Farmageddon Records, and how Shooter Jennings is helping her with his “XXX” movement.
On New Year’s Day in 1953, country music’s first superstar Hank Williams died of what could be considered an early-era overdose–heart failure due to a lethal combination of morphine and alcohol. He was the first superstar musician to die in this manner, issuing in an era that would see the deaths of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Elvis, and many many more.
The female reincarnation of Hank Williams, one Rachel Brooke, has announced she will have a new album coming out this Fall called Down in the Barnyard. No specific release date yet, stay tuned. This comes on the heels of some concert dates she will be sharing with Jayke Orvis coming up in late September, early […]
Rachel Brooke isn’t just a musician, she’s a muse. If she was an illustration, it would be an old one, from the 1920’s with tattered edges. Rachel would be sitting on a high cliff overlooking the sea like a Greek Siren, and ships full of suitors would be trying unsuccessfully to approach her position. The […]
It seems like whenever I start making “Best Of” lists, I draw the ire of one group of people or another. I think I am misunderstood quite commonly that my “Top” picks mean that they are my favorite personally, or that maybe I am even trying to push some agenda. I really do agonize over […]
A Bitter Harvest, Damn the Luck, Justin Townes Earle, Lonesome Wyatt, Lucky Tubb, Midnight at the Movies, Poor Fool, Rachel Brooke, Scott H. Biram, Someday I'll Fall, Something's Wrong/Lost Forever, Those Poor bastards, Thowin' Away My Money, Viper of Melody, Wayne Hancock
The Hank Williams female reincarnation known as Rachel Brooke and Lonesome Wyatt of Those Poor Bastards have just finished up a tour through the Midwest, Texas, and Florida in support of their duo record A Bitter Harvest. All the eyewitness accounts I have come across have had nothing but glowing things to say, and as […]