Browsing articles tagged with " Lucky Tubb"
Apr
1

16 Great Sons & Daughters of Country Music Greats

April 1, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  39 Comments

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.

Let’s take a look at some of country music’s greatest sons and daughters.


Justin Townes Earle

justin-townes-earleSon of alt-country pioneer Steve Earle, and middle namesake of the man who was good friends with his father and considered one of the greatest songwriters ever, Justin Townes Earle has spent the last seven or so years trying to live up to the lofty expectations of both names, and has done so valiantly. Releasing a startling debut EP in 2007 called Yuma, Earle and his obsession with the craft of songwriting have led to critical success for the five albums he’s released through Bloodshot Records. Considered by many as one of the biggest names in the new generation of alt-country/Americana performers, Justin has done it not by being a chip off the old block, but by forging his own path.

Justin’s relationship with his father has been rocky over the years. Steve Earle left Justin and his mother when Justin was just 2-year-old, and the younger Earle had a tumultuous, troubled, and at times, drug-fueled childhood. But he has soldiered on to carry a name all his own.


Waylon Payne

The son of Willie Nelson’s long-time guitarist Jody Payne and Grammy Award-winning country music singer Sammi Smith, Waylon is named after his Godfather, Waylon Jennings. Raised by his aunt and uncle due to his parents’ heavy touring schedules, Payne attended seminary after high school and was on track to become a minister before catching the music bug. For a while Payne was part of the popular Eastbound and Down country night at the King King Club in Hollywood where performers would swap classic country songs. Payne later released the album The Drifter in 2004 through Republic Universal.

Music isn’t Waylon Payne’s only creative calling though. He may be known more as an actor than a musician. In the award-winning Johnny Cash film I Walk The Line, Payne played Jerry Lee Lewis. He also played country great Hank Garland in a small film called Crazy, along with making numerous television appearances, including on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


Hank Williams III (or Hank3) 

hank3-photoThe grandson of Hank Williams and the son of Hank Jr., if there was ever a spitting image of country music’s first superstar, it would be him. He not only carries the visage and build of Hank Sr., but also the voice and writing style when he wants to go in that direction. The youngest Hank though has a hankering to delve into the wild side of music as well, and has released multiple punk albums during his career that has now stretched into two decades.

Hank3 started out playing drums and guitar in underground punk bands, with no real drive to be a part of the country music machine. But when a paternity suit put him in court, he decided to sign with Curb Records, and entered into a tumultuous period with the label that at the least resulted in multiple landmark records, including the neo-traditional country stalwart Lovesick, Broke, & Driftin’, and his double album opus Straight to Hell. Hank3 is now an independent artist, and carries on the family tradition of doing the music he wants and defying expectation.


Holly Williams

The granddaughter of Hank Williams, daughter of Hank Jr., and half sister of Hank Williams III has had a somewhat strange musical journey, but one that has seen her bloom recently to become one of the leading females in country/Americana, keeping the music true to its roots while moving it forward.

Holly’s early career saw her sign to major labels like Universal South and Mercury Nashville, trying to break into the big time, but always seemingly with one foot in, and one foot out of that mainstream approach to music. She was also seriously injured in a near fatal crash in 2006 along with her sister Hilary who also is a performer. Then in February of 2013, Holly released The Highway independently, and since then has become a critical darling and a live performer not to miss. Though there were some that at times wondered if Holly was just a famous name, she’s proven recently that she’s so much more.


Ben Haggard

ben-haggardThe son of Merle Haggard and an official member of Merle’s legendary backing band The Strangers, Ben is a chip off the old block when it comes to slinging Telecasters and perfecting the West Coast, twangy Bakersfield tradition of loud and electric country music. Patterned in the mold of the pioneer of the craft, the under-appreciated Roy Nichols, Ben can be seen plying his craft and staring at the back of his father on any given night out on the road. This isn’t just your usual slot filled by a family member on stage. Ben’s skills are regarded by his musician peers as being standalone from any famous name.


Shooter Jennings

shooter-jenningsThe only child of Waylon Jennings and Jessi Coulter, Shooter started his musical journey in the rock band Stargunn before signing with Universal South in 2005 and releasing his first country record, Put The ‘O’ Back In Country. He subsequently released two more country records infused with some Southern rock & roll before putting out his rock opus, the experimental album Black Ribbons. Shooter re-established his country roots with the 2012 album Family Man, followed up by 2013′s The Other Life.

Like many of country music’s famous sons and daughters, Shooter Jennings marches to his own drum, but always seems to come back to the country music fold.


Jubal Lee Young

Son of legendary Outlaw country songwriter and performer Steve Young (Lonesome, Onry & Mean, Seven Bridges Road), and songwriter Terrye Newkirk, Jubal Lee Young from Muskogee, Oklahoma put out an album in 2011 called Take It Home that included the song “There Ain’t No Outlaws Any More” that loudly proclaims, “Here comes another badass sellin’ Nashville rock and roll, long hair, denim and tattoos, lookin’ on’ry and mean. Singin’ songs about that lonesome road, some of ‘em might even be true. But there ain’t no outlaws anymore…”

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Hank Williams Jr.

hank-jrThe most obvious and most successful of country music’s greatest sons, Hank Williams Jr. is very likely a future country music Hall of Famer, and has won multiple CMA Entertainer of the Year Awards and sold millions of albums. He started out his career as a virtual impersonator of his famous father, but rebelled against this preordained future to become so much more. Hank Jr. took a precipitous fall off of Ajax Mountain in Montana in 1975, landing on his face, and having to go through multiple surgeries before he could return to performing. And when he did, he quickly became known as “Rockin’” Randall Hank as he emerged with a sound that was just as much Southern rock as country.

In the mid 80′s, Hank Williams Jr. was one of country’s biggest stars, and now sits as a legend in the genre. He also is responsible for two other famous country offspring: Hank Williams III and Holly Williams, and a 2nd daughter Hilary Williams has also been a performer.


Georgette Jones

The only daughter of the country music super pairing of George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Georgette was said to have a recording contract on the day she was born. She recorded her first song at the ripe age of ten with her dad called “Daddy Come Home.” From there Georgette began singing backup for her mom, and she has gone on to become an accomplished songwriter and solo performer herself. Georgette has released numerous albums, including three for Heart of Texas Records. Her latest album Til I Can Make It On My Own is a tribute to her mother.

Georgette also appeared in the TV Series Sordid Lives and recorded numerous songs for the soundtrack, including Tammy Wynette tunes. She also recently released a memoir called The Three of Us: Growing Up with Tammy and George, Georgette Jones.


Shelli Coe

shelli-coeDaughter of David Allan Coe, Shelli was born in Nashville and raised in Austin, and appeared at the tender age of 3-years-old on her father’s Family Album project. She later worked as a backup singer for her father before landing in Branson, MO for a while where she performed in clubs, collaborated with other songwriters and appeared on the album Branson Songwriters Out in the Streets. Shelli subsequently returned to Austin where she is known to perform off and on. Her first full-length CD A Girl Like Me was released in 2010, and is worth a listen for folks that like traditional country music.


Lukas Nelson

lukas-nelson-sxsw-2014Surrounded by a bevy of musical siblings and one awfully famous father, the argument can be made that Lukas was the Willie offspring that received the most potent douse of Willie’s musical genes, and has a powerful voice to match his father’s. A dynamic, top-flight performer with a sound that trends much closer to rock than country, but still has an earthy, rootsy feel nonetheless, Lukas is on a fast track to becoming a superstar all his own.

From his towering leg kicks, to playing the guitar with his teeth, at only 23-years-old, Lukas could already be crowned as a guitar god. Leading his band The Promise of the Real, they’ve made waves in the music world on big tours. About the only thing holding the young star back is that rock music is in a weird spot right now, and guitar blazers are not what the masses are particularly looking for. But like his father, Lukas is not worried about anything but following his heart, and he promises to have a very bright future ahead of him with a tower of talent to draw from.


Eddie Shaver

Son of Outlaw country legend Billy Joe Shaver, Eddie Shaver was one of the best country music guitar shredders to ever take the stage. Aside from being his father’s right hand man for many years, Eddie Shaver studied under Dickey Betts of The Allman Brothers, played with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Guy Clark, The Eagles, and was Dwight Yoakam’s guitar player for the first two years of Dwight’s career.

It’s only because of Eddie’s untimely death that he’s not better known. He was scheduled to release his first solo album in 2001 when he died of a heroin overdose on New Years Eve of 2000. Though Billy Joe Shaver is known most for his songwriting, and Eddie as a guitar slinger, it only takes a glimpse at either to see that the musical talent runs very deep with the Shaver clan.


June Carter

01374463.JPGThough one might first think of June Carter as more of a mother of famous country artists instead of a daughter of them, June Carter is arguably the first daughter of country music. Her mother is “Mother” Maybelle Carter, given her nickname for being the mother of her performing daughters, and arguably the mother of country music. June began performing at the age of ten in 1939 as part of the landmark country outfit The Carter Family. It was through their mutual love of country music that she would eventually meet and fall in love with Johnny Cash, and the two went on to be one of country music’s powerhouse couples. June Carter was a muti-instrumentalist with a classic voice, and defines the nexus between country music’s primitive, classic, and modern eras.


Rosanne Cash

rosanne-cashIt can be easy to overlook just what kind of impact Rosanne Cash has had on American music over the years. She seems to always be overshadowed by her father, by other famous sons and daughters of country legends, measured against them, and dogged by preceding labels that don’t always allow her to be judged on her own merit, while her musical accomplishments veer towards being somewhat misunderstood because she’s not always been nestled smack dab in the country realm as people want, expect, or anticipate.

But Rosanne’s critical and commercial accomplishments are far more than complimentary, they define a very successful career: Eleven #1 country singles, twenty-one Top 40 singles, and thirteen Grammy nominations is nothing to sniff at, and ultimately might at least get her mentions as a potential Hall of Fame inductee.


john-carter-cash-001John Carter Cash

The only offspring between the country music super marriage of Johnny Cash and June Carter, John Carter Cash has spent his time as a singer and performer, but many of his important contributions to country music have come behind-the-scenes as a producer, songwriter, author, and general champion of the Cash estate and all things country music. It’s remarkable how many places you see John Carter’s name attached to projects as his puts effort out to make music happen in whatever capacity he can help in. Like his father, he has that selfless streak of service that surfaces in some of the most generous and cool ways.


Bobby Bare Jr.

Born in Nashville, TN to the original Outlaw Bobby Bare, Bobby Bare Jr. grew up next door to Tammy Wynette and George Jones in Hendersonville, and was nominated for a Grammy next to his father for the Shel Silverstein-written song “Daddy What If” from his father’s tribute album to Silverstein. Fronting roots rock bands like “Bare Jr.” and “Young Criminals Starvation League”, Bare’s career has been the result of avoiding “working a real job at any cost,” despite earning a psychology degree from the University of Tenessee, and not really getting deep into his own music until later in life. His high energy on stage and dark sarcasm in his songs have won him fans worldwide.


Other Famous Sons & Daughters:

Pam Tillis – 1994 CMA Female Vocalist of the Year, and daughter of country great Mel Tillis

The Carter Family Daughters – Carlene Carter, Helen Carter, Anita Carter, Rosie Nix Adams.

Jett Williams – Daughter of Hank Williams that found out about her famous father later in life. Jett has been a performer and plays an important role as one of the executors of the Hank Williams estate.

Jesse Keith Whitley – Son of Lorrie Morgan and Keith Whitley

Marty Haggard, Noel Haggard, and Scott Haggard- More performing sons of Merle.

Dean Miller – Son of Roger Miller

Lilly Hiatt – Daughter of John Hiatt

Chelsea Crowell – Daughter of Rosanne Cash and Rodney Crowell

Paula Nelson – Leader of The Paul Nelson Band.

Tyler Mahan Coe – Guitar player and writer who spent years touring in his father’s band.

Folk Uke – Made up Willie Nelson’s daughter Amy, and Arlo Guthrie’s daughter Cathy.

Whey Jennings – The son of Terry Jennings, and grandson of Waylon Jennings.

Lucas Hubbard – Son of Ray Wylie Hubbard who often plays lead guitar with his father.

Lucky Tubb – Not technically a son or daughter, but a great nephew of Ernest.

Bluegrass – There are many performing sons and daughters of famous bluegrass musicians, but for fear of forgetting some and getting yelled at for it, this sentence is in dedication to them all. You rock! Or pick, or strum, or pluck! Go YOU!

Jan
5

Bobby Joe Owens Entertains with “Liquor, Love & Laughter”

January 5, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  5 Comments

I first heard about the rambunctious and ribald Bobby Joe Owens through guitar maestro Zach Sweeny—Wayne “The Train” Hancock’s lead guitarist that has also played with folks like Lucky Tubb, Danny Kay & The Nightlifers, and many others. Sweeny appeared on Bobby Joe’s first two albums, including 2010′s Watermelon Tea that prominently featured the Squirrel Nut Zipper’s Jimbo Mathus. Bobby Joe always seemed like an interesting character, but his recent release Liquor, Love & Laughter was my first chance to get a face full of his full tilt sidesplitting musical antics.

Bobby Joe Owens & Retro Deluxe

Bobby Joe Owens & Retro Deluxe

Recorded at the famous Cash Cabin—the cabin formerly owned by Johnny Cash in Hendersonville, TN that has been converted into a studio—Liquor, Love & Laughter is not a particularly slick album, with little flubs and hiccups here and there, and some mixing issues. But damn if this album isn’t a real good time and a wild ride from beginning to end.

Bobby Joe Owens is a guy who didn’t even start doing anything in music until 2006 when he started writing songs under the name “Robert J. Thompson.” He doesn’t play an instrument, is probably not going to win any singing competitions, but his songs will jerk tears from you, whether you’re laughing out loud, or relenting to a truly heartfelt ballad. The former Marine Corps veteran names off his occupations as inventor, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and despite all the signs that he comes to the music realm from the outside looking in, his songwriting will kick the ass of many who claim music as their full-time gig.

Liquor, Love & Laughter starts off with with a straight up rockabilly tune called “Hopeless Romantic,” and though the song captures a fun vibe, you start to worry, especially with a backing band by the name of “Retro Deluxe” that getting into this man’s music will require either a quaffed pompadour or Betty Page bangs. But one of the best parts about Bobby Joe Owens and this album is that it is all over the place as far as influence, touching on just about every texture of the American roots world, from straight up country and honky tonk, to singer-songwriter type Americana-feeling tunes, to no holds barred off-color comedy songs.

bobby-joe-owens-liquor-love-laughterAfter the rockabilly intro, Owens careens straight into country music with the cunning and crafty “From Beer To There.” The drinking theme is carried over through most of the first half of the album, including the salty “Long Time Until Next Time” and “Drinkin’ My Heartbreak Away.” And then Bobby Joe takes you completely by surprise with an exquisitely-written, somber and sober ballad evoking the feeling of sincere heartbreak called “Don’t Forget To Forget.” Even if you think this dude is a complete goof, “Don’t Forget To Forget” is one diamond in the rough worth digging for. So is the spatial and mood-drenched “Tennessee Tar” that could come from your favorite songwriting-focused Americana band.

As the album progresses, the comedy songs start coming quick and often. No, “My Dickel” is not about Bobby Joe’s favorite uncle named Richard, but it will leave you in stitches like a head first dive off a couch into the side of the coffee table. “Friends Don’t Le Friends Face Book Drunk” (yes two words for “Face Book”) is the funny song whose off-color wit is what forced Bobby Joe Owens to include a Parental Advisory sticker on this album, and the jokes keep coming (no pun intended) in “Text Me You Love Me.”

Though I spoke about the little recording flubs here and there on this album, it is nothing short of expansive in how it was fleshed out by Retro Deluxe and a cast of mercenary musicians. Every song gets expansive treatment with quality and tasteful musicianship, backing vocals, and those extra treatments like mandolin, or the piano on “Don’t Forget To Forget” that fits the song perfectly instead of using what was easily available.

Not for everyone, but like a Roger Miller-style approach to country, Bobby Joe Owens and Retro Deluxe leave you quite entertained with a combination of wit and substance that speaks to a sincere appreciation for the joy of music.

1 1/2 of 2 guns up.

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Oct
5

Five Feet From Stardom: The Story of Zach Sweeney

October 5, 2013 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  13 Comments

“I always tell people that one day my book will be entitled “Five Feet From Stardom.”Zachary Sweeny

The fate of the sideman in music is one of always playing second fiddle to the big star. But one of the things we love about the other players in a country band is they generally don’t care. Though many times they do an equal share, if not the majority of the heavy lifting for the music, they’re just fine blending into the background.

zach-sweenyMy first encounter with the young, fresh-faced Zach Sweeny was when he was playing with Lucky Tubb at a Halloween show last year at Johnny B’s in Medford, OR. He was on loan from Wayne Hancock’s band and was setting the place on fire. It was one of those moments where you have to tap your neighbor on the shoulder and ask, “Is that kid for real?” As effortless as breath, Zach was raising the ghost of hollow body guitar god Hank Garland, while waylaying the wild crowd decked in their Halloween regalia.

Wayne “The Train” Hancock’s band over the years has been like its own Hall of Fame/proving ground for remarkable guitar players. From the incomparable Eddie Biebel, to James Hunnicutt, to Wyatt Maxwell (of Mad Max & The Wild Ones), Wayne has had some of the best in the business at his side. Zach Sweeny gives up nothing to these players and has become one of the most ubiquitous sidemen in underground country, appearing on albums from Danny Kay and the Nightlifers, working in the studio with Jimbo Mathus, and wowing crowds coast to coast as the anchor of Wayne Hancock’s band.


How old are you?

I was born January 31, 1990. So that makes me twenty three years old.

Where are you from?

Beltsville, Maryland. It’s between Baltimore and Washington DC. It was a great place to grow up playing music because I could play in Washington D.C., Baltimore and northern Virginia. I had lots of opportunities to play and not overexpose my self too much.

Where do you live now?

Right now I live with Wayne Hancock in Denton, Texas. It’s about forty miles north of Dallas.

Who are the current artists or bands that you play with?

At this time I am just playing with Wayne Hancock. He goes out on the road like clockwork two weeks on and two weeks off. I really enjoy touring with him. He lets me shine on every song all night long. It’s a great gig for developing your chops as a soloist and I love every minute of it.

Who are artists or bands that you used to play with?

I have been in so many bands over the years I could not possibly name them all but I’ll name some that were important to me. One band is Danny Kay and the Nightlifers. I’ve played on two of his records Heading Home and Crazy Lonesome Blue. Another band is Retro Deluxe with my friend Bobby Joe Owens. We recorded a record called Watermelon Tea down in Mississippi with Jimbo Mathus from the Squirrel Nut Zippers. I played on Bobby Joe’s solo record Please Rise—Jimbo was also a part of that project as well. Other bands I have played with but have never recorded with are Glenn Moomau and the Blue Flames, who have a standing gig every Friday at Berthas Mussels in Fells Point in Baltimore. Brook Yoder is a really good singer, a traditional Rockabilly band called the Garnet Hearts, and countless bar bands and last minute call when someone cancelled at the last minute.

How did you get starting playing with Wayne Hancock and Lucky Tubb?

Up until a few years ago I only played mostly with older musicians and I made a conscious decision to find younger bands to play with. So I joined Danny Kay and the Nightlifers and The Garnet Hearts. On a trip to Fayetteville, North Carolina with Danny Kay, I met a singer songwriter named Ronnie Hymes. He sat in on a few songs that night and we exchanged business cards. A few months later in July he contacted me and asked if he could pass my number on to Lucky Tubb because he had a tour coming up and his steel player and guitarist backed out at the last minute. I said, “That would be fine” thinking nothing would come from it. About 5 hours later, Lucky called me and asked me if I could do the tour and the first stop was in Eureka Springs, Arkansas at Chelsea’s. All I had to do was get there. Lucky offered me a bus ticket but I didn’t think Greyhound would get me there on time so I drove out in my car having no idea how this gig would go.

At Chelsea’s in Eureka Springs I met a woman named Gina Gallina who happened to be Wayne Hancock’s wife. She filmed me on her phone during the show and sent a video to Wayne. Gina offered to let me leave my car at her house while I was on tour with Lucky. While I was still on the same tour with Lucky, Wayne called me up and said he needed a guitarist pronto, I told him when I finished out the tour with Lucky I would meet him in NC the next day to start the tour with him. Wayne offered me a job after the tour so I took it, but for a few tours I did double duty with Lucky and Wayne. Lucky and I parted very amicably and will play together in the future most likely. That being said I hope to be with Wayne for a long time. I am very proud to be in his band and grateful to Ronnie and Gina for giving me great opportunities.

Who are your primary guitar influences?

I have a lot of guitar influences but one of my favorite players is Hank Garland. I like his tone and note choice. He also was a very in demand session musicians which is what I want to do. Another guitarist that I admire is George Barns. Unlike a lot of people my age, I grew up liking live music and playing in bar bands and I met some very talented musicians in my own area growing up that showed me how to be a well rounded musician. Two of my favorites are guitarist Rusty Bogart and Chick Hall Jr. They are just great guitarists that can play almost any kind of music. Since I’ve been in Wayne Hancock’s band, I have really been studying Paul Skelton and Dave Biller’s playing trying to get all of their nuances, phasing and tones. They are both fabulous players. I also like Junior Brown’s playing a lot.

Who are your primary influences in music in general?

My primary non-guitar influence is defiantly Oscar Peterson. What an amazing musician. Another non-guitar influence is Nat King Cole; he had a very unique soloing style especially in his early trio recordings that was personal and articulate.

Do you ever see yourself fronting your own band, or do you consider yourself a pure sideman?

I hope to be part of a band one day where everyone is on the same page musically, business wise and has the time and energy to put into something special. If that’s a sideman or front man will depend on how my life turns out. That being said I always tell people that one day my book will be entitled “Five Feet From Stardom.”

Is it true you never drink or smoke?

I don’t drink alcohol or smoke anything. It really is just a personal choice of mine I made a long time ago. I always want to play my best for people. I started playing bar gigs at around 13 or 14 and people would always try to get me to drink with them and I never did, I just never wanted to. People used to say to me “you know that you’ll be 21 one day” or “one beer won’t kill you.” I think I just got tired of sorority chicks and frat boys yelling “Free Bird” and “Mustang Sally” after the band had already played them. Another reason is I have seen what that lifestyle does to people on all sides of the equation, so I keep it out of my life.

When did you start playing guitar, and who introduced you to playing music?

I first started playing bass guitar at age 8. My dad played in bands in high school as a bassist. Before I was born my mother gave him a guitar. Growing up I did not have to ask my parents to buy me an instrument; I was simply able go and get it out of the case when I showed an interest in music. My dad introduced me to music; he was always bringing home new music and learning songs by ear just because he wanted to when I was younger. My father taught me to figure songs out by ear, and sometimes he would show me how a song went, but mostly he would nicely tell me that I was close but not quite right yet. This was great for me, but at the time I didn’t realize it. I would get frustrated sometimes but he never got frustrated with me.

My mother and father really fed my brother and I’s musical interests; my brother plays classical guitar, piano and is a good drummer. When I was twelve my mom found a guitar teacher for me and we got along really well. His name is Bruce Casteel he is a very dedicated musician and a great teacher, I studied with him for a long time. He taught me how to apply what I had learned by ear to music theory and helped me build a classical repertoire. Bruce also taught me to read music and to Travis pick. Around the same time I started attending open mic nights. This taught me to improvise and learn how to play well with other musicians. A few years later I started getting calls for gigs and I started running my own open mics, at one point in time I was running four open mics a week and playing gigs the other nights. I did this until I started going on the road full time.

What type of guitars do you play, through what amp?

My favorite guitar to play is a 1993 Gibson ES-165 Herb Ellis. I like the tone and feel of it. I can do anything I hear in my head with this guitar. My second guitar is a Gretsch 6120. I bought this guitar when I was seventeen years old. It was my favorite till I bought the Gibson but it is a great guitar nonetheless. My other guitar is a Dean Palomino, I bought this guitar so I could have a nice hollow body guitar that I could put on an airplane if need be. My main amplifier is a 1971 Fender twin reverb. I bought it in Austin after my second tour with Wayne because I wanted a nicer amp to tour with. My backup amplifier is a Reverend King Snake amp. I have had it since I was fifteen. I don’t like to use pedals. I prefer to get all my sounds by picking technique and manipulating the knobs on both the guitar and amp. But if I need to use an effect pedal to get the right sound I am not against it, I just prefer to play straight into the amplifier.

Where would you like to see yourself in 20 years?

Hopefully in twenty years I’ll be playing music for a living. Ideally I would be a studio musician playing on lots different kinds of projects in all genres of music, but I love going out on the road. I would be happy if I could do both studio and live work equally for the rest of my life.

Sep
7

Danny Kay & The Nighlifers Are “Crazy Lonesome Blue”

September 7, 2013 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  12 Comments

We live in a charmed time in music where if all you want to listen to is the throwback, neo-traditional sounds of artists like Wayne “The Train” Hancock, Lucky Tubb, BR549, and early Hank Williams III, then you can bury your nose deep in the internet and find darn near enough bands of that style that you don’t have to listen to anything else. And if you’re one of those country throwback types that prefers the drums be replaced with the slap of an upright bass while the lonesome sounds of swinging country blues fills your ears, Danny Kay and the Nighlifers can quench that rumble deep in your old school country music gut.

danny-kay-and-the-nightlifers-crazy-lonesome-blueCrazy Lonesome Blue comes at you with no frills, offering up a bevy of original songs, a few covers and traditionals, and an all-star cast comprising the Nightlifer’s lineup. It’d take a DNA test to convince me that Danny Kay isn’t a cousin of Lucky Tubb in the way his lonesome drawl with a rounded cadence really pulls the emotion out of the words to a song while pulling the listener’s ear right in. After laying down the foundation and setting the story of the song, Danny’s gets out of the way and lets the hillbilly maestros in the Nighlifers do their handiwork.

It starts off with blazing lead guitarist Zach Sweeney from both Wayne Hancock’s and Lucky Tubb’s touring bands laying down some of the sickest, most tasteful leads you can find in country music. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again about Sweeny—he is a guitar-playing superstar of independent country, and deserves to get way more buzz and recognition. Then comes Liz Sloan (also in Jayke Orvis’s “Broken Band”) who matches Sweeny note for note for style and taste, while her beau and fellow Broken Band member Jared McGovern slaps out a dizzying bed of bass notes.

And Danny Kay is willing to share the spotlight with his Nightlifers. Crazy Lonesome Blue offers up two instrumental tracks, including “Urban Pioneer” that was penned by his sidemen. Dustin Delage offers some minimal, tasteful drums on a few tracks, and Mark Whiskey handles backing vocals.

Standout tracks for this listener were the aforementioned instrumental “Urban Pioneer,” “Heart of a Fool,” “Nothing’s Wrong (But There Sure Ain’t Nothing Right)” and the fun “Must Have Been Drunk.”

While listening to Crazy Lonesome Blue, you get the sense that acts like BR549 and Wayne Hancock are the teachers, while Danny Kay is still the student, but Danny Kay would probably tell you just as much himself. Nonetheless there’s not a bad track on this album, and it’s good to see new blood make their voice heard in the neo-traditional ranks.

1 1/2 of 2 guns up.

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Mar
20

Independent Music Awards Announces 12th Annual Nominees (& Winners)

March 20, 2013 - By Trigger  //  News  //  9 Comments

independent-music-awardsThe Independent Music Awards has announced their 12th Annual nominations, and it includes many great names from the independent country/roots world like Rachel Brooke, The Boomswagglers, Lucky Tubb, The Steel Wheels, Tom VandenAvond, JP Harris, Langhorn Slim, and The Carper Family just to name a few.

Celebrating the democracy of creativity and meritocracy of talent, The Independent Music Awards honor exceptional independent artists traditionally ignored by mainstream media and big box retailers. For the past 12 years, artists and labels from around the world have found new fans and prominence through The Independent Music Awards. Winners will be determined by a panel of judges that include varying talent from the independent music world, including Tom Waits, Del McCoury, Jim Lauderdale, Brandi Carlisle, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and Kevin Lyman from the Van’s Warped Tour. Fans can also register to vote.

The Independent Music Awards nominate albums and songs from nearly every genre of music and include many international artists. Here are the nominees most relevant to the Saving Country Music world. Who would you vote for?

Album Nominees

Alt. Country Jason McNiff April Cruel
Kids From Nowhere Kick It In
Langhorne Slim & The Law* The Way We Move
Mama Rosin Bye Bye Bayou
The Great Unknowns Homefront
Americana Deanna Cartea Open Road
Evie Ladin Band Evie Ladin Band
The Steel Wheels* Lay Down, Lay Low
Tom VandenAvond Wreck of a Fine Man
Bluegrass Collin Ingram Pavement Ends
Stephen Wade Banjo Diary: Lessons from Tradition
The Dust Busters with John Cohen* Old Man Below
Blues Little Freddie King Chasing tha Blues
Rachel Brooke* A Killer’s Dream
Soulstack Big Red
Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps Come On Home
Tom Feldmann Lone Wolf Blues

 

Country JP Harris and The Tough Choices I’ll Keep Calling
Julianne Ankley Vivid
Katie Quick Valley Between Love
LiveWire Livin’
Whisky Row Whisky Row

 

Song Nominees

 

Alt. Country Bronwen Exter Poor Quentin
Langhorne Slim & The Law* The Way We Move
Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours Heard Your Name
The Boomswagglers Run You Down
Tom Freund Cruel Cruel World
Americana Ana Egge Hole in Your Halo
Lily & The Parlour Tricks Darwin Song
Suzie Brown* I’ll Be Gone
The Carper Family Cold, Dark, and Lonely
The Western Swing Authority I’ve Got a Feelin’
Bluegrass Beef Tea Bring Me Along
Mark Linford, Denny Johnston & The Buckeye Bluegrass Band It’s Okay To Pick It
Matt Harlan Darker Shade of Grey
The Dust Busters with John Cohen* Because He Loved Her So
Truman’s Ridge Heather’s Gate
Blues Amanda Broadway Somethin’ Funny Goin’ On
Fife & Drom Wicked Tongue
Fiona Boyes Baptized in Muddy’s Sweat
Root Doctor Featuring Freddie Cunningham The Message
Son Roberts Brakeman

 

Country Bryen Willems Hello Beer
James Meadows Somebody Up There Likes Me
Kelsey Country Mess
Rachel Potter The Verdict
Shari Rowe Silly Boy
The Rob Ryan Roadshow Good For Nothing

(6/13/13) UPDATE:

The winners for the 12th annual Independent Music Awards have been announced! See complete list of winners.

Best Albums

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Best Songs

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Dec
31

Saving Country Music’s Best Live Performances of 2012

December 31, 2012 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  18 Comments

SCMLOGOLAYERSWhere 2011 felt like a high water mark year for live performances and an average year for recorded projects, 2012 feels vice versa. When I look back on 2011, it seemed like there were moments I experienced that I will never top the rest of my life. 2012 is the year that some albums and songs were released that may never be topped. Still there were a quite a few memorable performances worth noting.

Unlike Saving Country Music’s other yearly awards, since omnipresence isn’t an attribute I posses, this is simply based on my own experiences, not meant to capture the overall pulse of the live events that transpired all year. And please consider that even though I may have attended events like Pickathon, The Muddy Roots Festival, or SXSW, I was unable to catch every performance, or enough of certain performances for it to feel fair to include them here. If you feel there is an omission, please share it with the rest of us below.

15. The Calamity Cubes – XSXSW 5 – Austin, TX

Usually in music you get the raw, primal, gut punching experience, or you get the introspective, heartfelt, cerebral experience. The Calamity Cubes are one of those few live performers who can deliver both. They put on a great set at the Muddy Roots Festival in Tennessee as well, but their XSXSW performance in a more intimate, tight-knit setting rose to being something special.

Kody Oh! doing a bass stand in the center of the crowd:

the-calamity-cubes-xsxsw-5

14. Jayke Orvis – Stage 2 – Muddy Roots Festival

Jayke Orvis is always a crowd favorite, and Jayke and the crowd were pretty miffed when the sound crew pulled the plug on them at 2-something in the morning. But sometimes the worst situations breed the most memorable moments, and that’s what happened when Jayke and his Broken Band hopped into the crowd and kicked it acoustic style, sound guys be damned. Other highlights of the set were JB Beverley singing “Streets” with Jayke from his album It’s All Been Said, and Rachel Brooke singing her duet with Jayke “Hold Me Tight” from the .357 String Band’s magnum opus, Fire & Hail.

jayke-orvis-crowd-muddy-roots

13. L.C Ulmer – Stage 2 – Muddy Roots Festival

L.C.’s friend Robert Belfour deserves praise for the craziest performance story of 2012. Crashed out on the highway from the torrential rains of the tropical storm that had made its way to middle Tennessee, Robert hopped into the tow truck and told them forget the car for now and point their nose to the Muddy Roots site, he had a gig to play. He showed up late, but he showed up, with the tow truck driver carrying his amplifier and guitar.

Meanwhile during the delay, L.C. Ulmer laid down one of the baddest-assed extended sets of blues music all weekend, chicken hopping across the stage and playing guitar behind his back. It was one of the most surprising sets of music I saw all year.

lc-ulmer-muddy-roots

12. Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – Stage 2 – Muddy Roots Festival

The first time I ever saw Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band live I straight up walked out. Too much chicken and fried potatoes for me. Granted, I was mainly there to see Austin Lucas who opened the show, and it was at the armpit of Austin music venues–the now condemned and shuttered Emo’s. But nonetheless after 15 minutes, I was done.

Rev. Peyton did something in 2012 though. He figured out the right formula for his music, both recorded and live. And his set at Muddy Roots was sheer madness from downbeat. It culminated in the crowd throwing handfuls of hay up in the air while Washboard Breezy lit her washboard on fire in a mad scene I will never forget, and neither will drummer Aaron “Cuz” Persinger who has an acute hay allergy and had to rush off the stage after the last song to keep his lungs from collapsing.

Audio sucks in the video below, but you get the drift.

11. Lake Street Dive – Workshop Barn – Pickathon

After seeing them perform at Pickathon’s “Pumphouse”–a small shack isolated in the woods where bands go in and make top notch videos for the site Live & Breathing–I made a vow to catch their set on Sunday at Pickathon’s Workshop Barn. Right up there with Thee Oh Sees, Lake Street Dive from Boston was one of the new take-aways for me from 2012 Pickathon. Though maybe a little more polished and jazzy for traditional Saving Country Music fare, their style and musicianship was enthralling and made me a fast fan. After their last Workshop Barn song, they got the biggest ovation I think I have ever seen for a live performance, possibly ever. I was afraid the floor was going to cave in.

10. Thee Oh Sees – The Galaxy Barn – Pickathon

Yes I know, not really country. At all. Though I would say there’s some serious roots influences at play here. Regardless of what you want to label them, Thee Oh Sees are a force of nature in the live context, and it is about time that they busted out of their San Francisco scene to find a place in the greater music consciousness. They are sonic craftsmen (and craftswoman) who seem to understand intuitively how to tickle all the nerves that make your mind and body submit to music and make you wiggle around like an unruly child. Thee Oh Sees are a must see.

9. Bob Wayne – The Continental Club,  Austin, TX & Muddy Roots

Three times in 2012 I was regaled by Bob Wayne and his Outlaw Carnies, but there was something special about the night at The Continental Club. Seeing him in one of Austin’s most legendary venues, and with probably his best Outlaw Carnie lineup yet in Ryan Clackner on guitar, Lucy B. Cochran on fiddle, Elmer on bass, and with a full-time drummer in the lineup for the first time, they laid down an ass whooping of a set. This is where I realized that Bob Wayne had completely separated himself from the crowd of crusty, post-punk screamo bands with banjos to become a professional touring act capable of breaking into the next level. Like his music or not, Bob Wayne has arrived and can put on one hell of a show.

Picture from Muddy Roots:

bob-wayne-muddy-roots

8. Lucky Tubb w/ Don Maddox – Johnny B’s – Medford, OR

Lucky Tubb is not just another famous name. He’s bursting with authentic, classic talent, and wields one of the best voices in country music by combining cadence and style. Sometimes discipline can keep this from being evidenced in full force, but when he’s on, he’s on. And he was on Halloween night and so was his excellent band, with the added bonus of sharing the stage with the legendary, 90-year-old Don Maddox of the Maddox Brother & Rose. (see videos and full review)

don-maddox-lucky-tubb-modern-day-troubadours

7. Slim Cessna’s Auto Club/Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers/The Goddamn Gallows – Muddy Roots Festival

I can’t say enough about these bands, and at this point I’m afraid to say anything more from fear of coming across as redundant. Every year when I talk about live bands, they topped the list. And they will continue to top the list of bands you must see, except for Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers who at least for the moment are no more, giving you even more reason to make sure you see these bands live any chance you get because you may not get another. Slim Cessna’s Auto Club, Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, and The Goddamn Gallows are as good as it gets live.

Slim Cessna:

slim-cessnas-auto-club

Col JD Wilkes of Th’ Shack Shakers:

shack-shakers-muddy-roots

6. Joe Buck Yourself – Stage 1 – Muddy Roots Festival

One of those “you had to be there” moments when Joe Buck, surrounded by a sea of his fans chanting every word of his songs, created one of those magical moments of musical camaraderie.

joe-buck-muddy-roots

5. Austin Lucas & Glossary – The Mohawk – Austin, TX

This is a touring combination I had wanted to catch for a long time. To hear Glossary is one thing. To hear Austin Lucas is another. And then to hear them together is completely something else. It is two autonomous music acts that you swear were built to compliment each other. There is no better way to experience Austin Lucas than with Glossary behind him, and there’s no better band to hear before Austin Lucas than Glossary. It is because they both build their music from the songs out, but still give such great attention to the live performance, and their styles of roots and rock take the same approach and blend perfectly.

4. Sturgill Simpson – The Rattle Inn- Austin, TX

I’ve been open about my reservations about the retooled Sturgill Simpson following the dissolving of his previous band Sunday Valley. Putting an acoustic guitar in his hands seemed like such a travesty after experiencing Sturgill in the raw with the electric guitar and the country music power trio. But however exciting it was, it was a hollow experience for Sturgill in the long run. Many songwriters covet the idea of being listened to instead of heard, but Sturgill actually has the talent to have one of his best tools taken out of his hands and still command an audience. Now Sturgill is making you listen, betting himself to see if he can hush a room, and winning that bet. (read full review)

3. Anderson Family Bluegrass – Scott Valley Bluegrass Festival, California

“People first, then music” is the mantra on this site, and it is such a blessing when you discover people who are just as inspiring as the music they make. Such is the case with the Anderson Family Bluegrass Band from Grass Valley, CA. Hovering above the fray of most stock family bands and stock bluegrass bands, there is a realness to their music that sets them apart. Yes, their set lists include many standards you would expect from any bluegrass band, but then they’ll completely surprise you with some spice, like Iris Dement’s “Our Town” or Hank Williams III’s “D Ray White.”

I went to the Scott Valley Bluegrass Festival hoping to catch the Anderson Family’s set and shake their hands, and the Anderson Family ended up making me feel like one of the family for the weekend (Trigger Anderson, if you will). The music is excellent, but this is just the excuse to get you to pay attention to the profound warmth and by-gone family strength the Anderson Family conveys. (read full review)

2. Restavrant – Stage 2 – Muddy Roots Festival

There are two types of primary music experiences: visceral and carnal. Uh yeah, this one would be firmly ensconced in the carnal category. A Restavrant set is like a physical, violent assault on your personage that in some weird, masochistic way you addictively crave.  I don’t think I still have fully processed exactly what happened on that stage. But rest assured, if I had another chance to see these chaps perform, I’d blow paychecks and cross state lines to put myself in harm’s way and let them run me over like a barreling Mack truck again and again. Restavrant has always been an amazing live experience, but with the addition of drummer/junk smasher Tyler Whiteside, it’s downright out of control.

Wow.

restavrant-muddy-roots-2012

1. Ralph Stanley – Stage 2 – Muddy Roots Festival

It goes without saying that any time you get to see a true music deity on stage, it will be memorable. Sometimes when this happens, especially with a performer in their 80′s, you have to go in knowing the performance itself may not be the greatest, that they’ve aged beyond their abilities, which will happen to us all. What made Ralph Stanley’s set at the Muddy Roots Festival so memorable is how his band had really thought out how to take a legendary performer who was probably is no longer fit to put on a full set of music himself, and still make you feel like you were taking in a performance from him in his prime.

But true music lovers live for those extremely rare moments when everything comes together, the sky parts and the world hushes, and the very fabric of human experience bends to the will of a truly magical musical moment. That my friends is what unfolded when Ralph Stanley stood in the center of the Muddy Roots stage looking out across a disheveled, soaking wet sea of rednecks and post-punk refugees who all fell as silent as the day after the end of the world when Ralph Stanley recited “O’ Death.” Your goosebumps got goosebumps. And for that brief moment, all of it, all of the reasons we live and struggle, the importance of friends and family and community, and everything we do to ensure music is a part of our lives, the sacrifices, the money, the travel, all came into full reflection.

Dec
13

The Greatest Underground Country Albums of All Time

December 13, 2012 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  81 Comments

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 to create a counterbalance to the pop country that was prevailing on Music Row a few blocks west.

Underground country started with mostly neo-traditionalists like Wayne “The Train” Hancock, Big Sandy, and Dale Watson, but spread to the punk and heavy metal world through acts like Hank Williams III and Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers. This list does not just consider the appeal of these albums, but also the influence they had on other underground artists and albums, and on country music and music in general.

Please understand that this list is just for underground country albums. This means artists better defined by the Deep Blues like Scott H. Biram or Possessed by Paul James, or Texas artists like James Hand or Ray Wylie Hubbard, or country artists who may work on the fringes of underground country but would not necessarily be considered underground like BR549 or Roger Alan Wade, are not included. Americana acts are not included. This is strictly underground country’s opportunity to bask in the spotlight.

Please feel free to leave your own list below.

16.  The Boomswagglers- Bootleg Beginnings – 2011

This very well may be the most authentic album of music put out in the modern era for any genre. The Boomswagglers have always been and continue to be more myth than reality, with original Boomswaggler Lawson Bennett long gone and a cavalcade of replacements shuffling in an out with Spencer Cornett. Even if they never put out another album, The Boomswagglers made their mark, and it is a deep one.

“The music is wildly entertaining and deceptively deep. If you’re going to be a Boomswagglers song, someone’s got to die, and likely a woman. Some may find this silly, monotonous, or even offensive, but you have to listen beyond the lyrics, and unlock the carnal wisdom that is hidden in these songs.” (read full review)

15. JB Beverley & The Wayward DriftersDark Bar & A Juke Box2006

Dark Bar & A Juke Box was an instant underground country classic, and so was the anti Music Row song that the album got its name from. JB and his Wayward Drifters grit out a superb selection of songs displaying taste, restraint, and a sincere appreciation for the roots of country music, which may have surprised some who knew JB more for his work with heavy metal bands like The Murder Junkies and the Little White Pills. Dark Bar & A Juke Box also boasts appearances from the famous son and grandson of a country music royal family, who due to contractual issues had to work incognito (wink wink).

14. Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours – Del Gaucho – 2011

Some (including Lucky himself) may point to Hillbilly Fever as being the seminal Lucky Tubb album with its big budget and appearances by Wayne “The Train” Hancock. But Del Gaucho is where Lucky Tubb came into his own, found his sound, and the unique musical flavor only he has to offer the world. Dirty, rowdy, rocking, but still steadfastly neo-traditionalist country, Del Gaucho scores off the charts when it comes to style points. When you’re talking about some of the greatest neo-traditional country albums and artists of all time, Lucky Tubb and Del Gaucho deserve to be in that conversation.

13- Bob Wayne & The Outlaw CarniesBlood to Dust – 2008

They say you have your whole life to write your first album, and what makes Bob Wayne’s Blood to Dust so special is how true and touching he told his life’s story through song. His subsequent albums aren’t too shabby either, but with signature songs like “Blood to Dust”, “Road Bound”, and “27 Years”, this still stands out as his signature album, and a signature album of the underground country movement. It was performed, produced, and recorded by an all-star cast of contributors that included Donnie Herron, Joe Buck and Andy Gibson, and brought Bob Wayne out from behind-the-scenes as Hank3′s guitar tech, and made him one of the movement’s most well-known songwriters and performers.

12. Jayke Orvis – It’s All Been Said – 2010

This is the album that launched Farmageddon Records, and that launched Jayke Orvis as a formidable, premier front man in underground country. One of the founding members of the now legendary .357 String Band, Jayke was asked to leave the band because of irreconcilable differences and almost immediately began touring with The Goddamn Gallows and trying to make this album happen. The result was a slick, tightly-crafted LP showcasing excellent songwriting and instrumentation. From ballads to blazing instrumentals, Jayke Orvis has proved himself to be one of the singular talents of underground country roots.

11. Lonesome Wyatt & Rachel BrookeA Bitter Harvest – 2009

This album was destined to become an underground country classic. The mad genius music mind of Lonesome Wyatt of the Gothic country duo Those Poor Bastards has the uncanny ability to procure the absolute most appropriate sounds to evoke the desired dark mood in his music. Then you combine that with one of the best voices not just in underground country, but in all of music in Rachel Brooke, and magic was bound to happen. The creativity on A Bitter Harvest is spellbinding. More of an artistic endeavor than a toe tapper, Lonesome Wyatt and Rachel create a soundtrack to human emotion and despair. For people looking for a place for country music to evolve, A Bitter Harvest shows how you can take authentic country themes and an appreciation for the roots of the music, and envelop it in layers of textural color culled from the wide experience of human sounds.

10. Justin Townes EarleMidnight At The Movies – 2009

Midnight At The Movies was Saving Country Music’s 2009 Album of the Year. Today it would be difficult to characterize Justin Townes Earle as underground country because the quality of this album launched him into the inner sanctum of Americana.

“Justin Townes Earle has done an awesome thing with this album; he has figured out a way to unite all the displaced elements that make up the alternative to mainstream Nashville country, while still staying somewhat accessible to the mainstream folks as well. You might even catch the bluegrass folks nodding their head while listening to it. Folkies like it, and there’s a few tunes blues people can get into. This isn’t just the REAL country album of the year, it is the “Alt-country” album of the year and the “Americana” album of the year.” (read full review)

9. Slackeye Slim - El Santo Grial, La Pistola Piadosa – 2011

El Santo Grial was Saving Country Music’s 2011 Album of the Year.

“Every once in a while, an album comes along that changes everything. It’s an album that inspires other albums, and dynamic shifts in tastes and approach throughout a sector of music, while at the same time dashing the dreams of other artists, as the purity and originality are way too much to attempt to rival. Slackeye Slim’s El Santo Grial, La Pistola Piadosa is one of those albums.

“El Santo Grial is a masterpiece, exquisitely produced, arranged, and performed. This is a patient, uncompromising album. You can tell time was never introduced into this project as a goal. The goal was to flesh out Slackeye’s vision without ever settling for second best, and that goal was accomplished.” (read full review)

8. Wayne “The Train” HancockThat’s What Daddy Wants – 1997

Thunderstorms & Neon Signs is the Wayne Hancock album most people gravitate towards as their favorite because it was their first, and the first to showcase Wayne Hancock’s unique blend of country, Western Swing, rockabilly, and blues. But pound for pound, That’s What Daddy Wants is just as good of an offering, boasting some of The Train’s signature songs like “87 Southbound” and “Johnny Law”. Wayne Hancock has never put out a bad album, and distinguishing between them is difficult. But it’s not difficult to say that the underground country movement would have not had as much class if That’s What Daddy Wants hadn’t seen the light of day.

7. .357 String Band – Fire & Hail – 2008

“They were all the absolute best possible musicians you could find at their respective positions, each challenging each other, pushing each other to keep up with the band’s demands for artistic excellence in both instrumental technique and creative composition.

“Listening back now at Fire & Hail, with so much talent in one place, no wonder the project was untenable, and no wonder the respective players have moved on to become their own trees instead of respective branches of the same project. Still, the loss of .357 String Band may go down as underground country’s greatest tragedy.” (read full review)

6. Hank Williams III - Lovesick, Broke, & Driftin’ – 2002

BR549 and Wayne “The Train” Hancock spearheaded the neo-traditionalist movement in the mid 90′s, but Hank Williams III was the one to carry it into the oughts and introduce it to a brand new crop of fans he brought along from his dabblings in the punk/heavy metal world. After having to tow the line somewhat for his first album Risin’ Outlaw, Hank3 was unleashed and able to showcase his own songwriting, heavily influenced by Wayne Hancock and Hank3′s famous grandfather, but still all his own. His voice was wickedly pure with a heart wrenching yodel and commanding range. The songwriting was simple, but powerful. This is a masterpiece, and remains an essential title of the neo-traditionalist era.

5. Hellbound GloryOld Highs & New Lows – 2010

Hellbound Glory had already been around for years, but they burst into the underground with this magnificent, hard country album highlighted by head man Leroy Virgil’s world class songwriting. Despite the “hell” in their name and the hard language in their songs, Hellbound Glory hadn’t gone through any retooling as post punk refugees. They were pure country through and through and Old Highs & New Lows combined excellent Outlaw-style bar stompers and ballads with some of the most wit-filled songwriting since Keith Whitley. As far as honky tonk albums go, it may be years before this one is trumped. And when it is, it might be Leroy Virgil and Hellbound Glory doing the trumping.

4. Dale WatsonLive in London…England – 2002

Dale comes out on stage and starts slinging guitars, cutting classics, and speaking the truth. Before Dale was the hometown boy and house band for Austin, he was pissed off and willing to sing about it. Dale’s anti-Nashville classics “Real Country Song”, “Nashville Rash”, and “Country My Ass” can all be found here, but Live in London isn’t all pissing and moaning. Songs like “Ain’t That Livin’” showed off Dale’s superlative voice and suave style. Honky tonk albums are sometimes hard to make because it is hard to capture that live, sweaty energy in the recorded context. So what better way to solve that problem than making a live one? Live in London remains the best Dale album to date.

3. Th’ Legendary Shack ShakersCockadoodledon’t – 2003

This was one of the first albums to bust out of the burgeoning music scene on lower Broadway in Nashville where one can argue the undergorund country movement started. It showed the world what kind of mayhem could be created by mixing country, blues, and punk music together without compromising taste and soul. It is the album which acts as a guidepost to the eclectic, yet intuitive and inter-related mix of influences that you will find in underground country: honest to goodness appreciation to the roots of American music, with a punk attitude and approach. And if you ever wondered why Joe Buck is considered part of underground country, appreciate that he played most of the music on Cockadoodledon’t.

2. Wayne “The Train” HancockThunderstorms & Neon Signs – 1995

There are two albums that you can look back on an make a serious case that if they did not exist, underground country music may not exist–the album below this one on this list, and Wayne Hancock’s Thunderstorm & Neon Signs. There are two types of music artists: originators and imitators. Sometimes imitators can be very successful, and very creative artists themselves. But it always takes the originators to set the plate for the imitators to do what they do. Thunderstorms & Neon Signs was an original album from one of America’s most original country roots artists of all time. It doesn’t get much better or more influential than this.

1. Hank Williams IIIStraight to Hell – 2006

This album isn’t underground country’s Red Headed Stranger. It isn’t underground country’s Honky Tonk Heroes. It is both. It is the album that both was a novel concept, a breakthrough sonically and lyrically, and had a massive impact on the business side of music, for artists winning control of their music and inspiring and showing artists how to do it themselves. The deposed son of country music royalty had taken on a major Nashville label, and won, and all while being one of the first to successfully bridge the energy and approach of punk and heavy metal music with traditional country, all while keeping the music solidly country in nature.

It was the first album to be put out through the CMA with a Parental Advisory sticker. It was the first to ever be recorded outside of a traditional studio setting. Of course only a select few were paying attention, but it broke through many barriers that to this day have changed music in significant ways, sonically and behind the scenes.

The approach also had wide-ranging impacts outside of underground country and country music in general, to rock music and punk and heavy metal, inspiring thousands of rock kids to put down their electric guitars and AC/DC records, and pick up banjos and Johnny Cash records. The impact on mainstream music may have not been seen, but it was felt, and just like all great albums, it’s legacy will grow and be more appreciated and understood as the future unfolds.

Nov
4

Where In The World Is Lucky Tubb? (An Interview)

November 4, 2012 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  13 Comments

The most common questions I get at the Saving Country Music help desk are, “Where’s Lucky Tubb?” “How can I find his tour dates?” “What’s he up to?” “Where can I buy his albums?” Like many of the brilliant musicians making a living in the country music underground, communication and self-promotion seem like an afterthought to Lucky. That’s where sites like this one are supposed to come in, but even I’ve had historic trouble keeping up with Lucky over the years. Making matters even more complicated, Ernest Tubb’s great nephew, and the torch-bearer of the Tubb name on the performance side of things also signed an exclusivity deal with Lone Star Music early in his career, meaning that the only place you can find his first three albums is At Lone Star’s Lucky Tubb store, making iTunes, Amazon, and other online stores Lucky Tubb-less.

On Halloween when he rolled through my area to play a show with the legendary Don Maddox, I made it a point to sit down with Lucky and let him answer some of our most pressing questions, which he was more than happy to do. Lucky also enlightened us on a new album he’s working on the moment tentatively titled Son of a Bad Man, and on the new faces making up his backing band “The Modern Day Troubadours.”

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The Triggerman: So I heard you say earlier that you’re out touring 220 days a year. But I get so many people emailing me saying, “What’s going on with Lucky Tubb?” There’s seems to be a disconnect of information.

Lucky Tubb: Boy you ain’t never lying about that. There’s a place you can go, it’s real easy. You can go to actionpackedevents.com, or you can go to luckytubb.nl. That will show you all the tour dates. And if you’re looking to buy the CD online, if you’re looking for Del Gaucho and you’re having a hard time, go to CD Baby, and you can get it there. I am doing everything I can to rectify all those communication lapses that have been happening.

The Triggerman: Well and I know you’ve been in Europe a lot. There was one time people were like, “Where’s Lucky Tubb? He’s disappeared off the face of the Earth.” And then I heard from some guy in France who said, “Yeah, I just saw him a week ago. He’s tearing it up out here.” You’ve been spending a lot of time in Europe, haven’t you?

Lucky Tubb: I love Europe. I do spent a lot of time there. I’ve got really great friends there, I have a great road manager. We’ve been over there about 9 times. It’s a lot of work but it’s also so rewarding to play for people who appreciate the music so much like they do. The response is so much better because they don’t get it all the time. It’s the Southern-ness, it’s the realness of it. It doesn’t have anything to do with being an American or even being from the Republic of Texas. They want to hear the legends. They want to hear those songs they grew up on, that were so hard for them to get until my uncle Ernest started distributing records overseas. He was the first one to ever distribute (country) records overseas.

The Triggerman: Through the Ernest Tubb Record Shops?

Lucky Tubb: Yep. That’s a fact. And he was the first one to ever play electric guitar on the Opry.

The Triggerman: And here you are playing tonight with Don Maddox, who toured with Ernest Tubb. So it’s come full circle.

Lucky Tubb: Well you know we’ve played with Red Simpson, we did a tribute for my uncle Ernest in Nashville, Glenn Douglas my uncle, a bunch of the Troubadours were there. An all-star cast. It’s great to see those people. It’s an honor to play with them. Just to shake their hands. Because they can see where country’s going, you know all the different diversities like the Farmageddon crowd, the Hank3 crowd, the Lucky Tubb and Wayne Hancock crowd, they’re all the same crowd, but they’re all these different diversities of country music. Is it bluegrass? Is it cowpunk? Is it hillbilly? Well back in the day it was just country. Is it pop country, or mainstream country? It’s hard to put a face to the name sometimes.

The Triggerman: About a year-and-a-half ago at the Muddy Roots Festival you handed me this album called Del Gaucho that just blind-sided me. I had no idea you had a new album coming out. As I’m driving home from Tennessee to Texas, I pop this thing in and it’s like “Holy shit! Where did this come from?” It was completely out of the blue. It was a new sound and a new direction for you, yet at the same time exactly what you do. Where did the inspiration for that album come from?

Lucky Tubb: It was half recorded in Berlin, and half recorded in Texas. It was about a year-long process. Recording in Germany was different, and recording in Texas was different. Having both those scales of the spectrum, like the studio in Germany was 1934. 1/4-inch reel, no punch. If you mess up, you do the whole song over. It was intense. We’d make a mistake and they’d go, “Nein! Do it again!” There was 28 takes of “I Guess I’m A Fool”.

The Triggerman: Del Gaucho seemed like where it all came together. Like this is Lucky Tubb.

Lucky Tubb: I wanted to be Hank (Hank3) and Wayne (Hancock) on Generations. Those were my idols and they still are. I really drew off of them for Generations. I wanted to sound like them, I wanted to sing like them. And then there was so much time before Damn the Luck was recorded, and I’d written more and I’d toured more. And so I went into the studio and recorded that, and it came out a little bit more like Lucky. And then we did Hillbilly Fever, which was really a fun album. I think that’s my best album to date. But I love Del Gaucho because it raised the bar. I got to really truly do what I wanted to do.

The Triggerman: How about the new faces in the band?

Lucky Tubb: Casey Gill retired from this band after 8 years. He doesn’t even play shows any more, he watches shows. And he’s very happy in Austin. The new guitar player Zach Sweeny, he alternates from me and Wayne (Hancock). He’s that talented to where he can jump on either one. Anything you play, he can play it. And he’s 22 and he’s just going to get better. I have a lot of faith in his career. I’m sure he won’t be with me for a real long time. He’ll figure out there’s bigger, better things waiting for him. He has no vices to speak of. Doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drink. Great driver after the show.

The Triggerman: So you’re working on a new record?

Lucky Tubb: Well, I’ve done a lot of time in Europe like we were talking about earlier. I was in Florida, had just got back from Europe and was really drained. And I met this band called “Son of a Bad Man”. And I thought, “What a great title for a record.” So I asked them if they minded if I write a song using their name and they said, “Naw, we’d love it.” So I’ve worked on that song and I’ve got that one in the can. So that’s basically the jest of the album. It’s gonna be more Outlaw, going kind of full circle. Like we talked about. We started with Wayne (Hancock) and Shelton (Hank3) on Generations. This one is going to be different. It’s gonna have a lot of bluegrass in it. Not even bluegrass, but banjo. There’s gonna be some banjo in there. I can tell you that. There’s gonna be twin fiddles. There’s gonna be steel guitar. There’s gonna be lead guitar. And it’s gonna be very torn down, to the point where were looking at the wood. And that’s kind of my plan for this record, to get it as gritty and dirty as possible. So we’ll be doing that one real soon.

We’ve already recorded two tracks in Holland. One is “Feel About You”, the Hank Williams tune. And the other one is “Hotel Prison”, which is basically about how when you’re on the road, even though you have the key to your room, you’re not free, because there’s always someone telling you what to sing and where to be. And your hotel room is actually your prison cell. They let you out to go play, and then you have to get right back in. And being a prisoner, I did five years, I was sitting in my hotel room one night and said, “I traded one for another!”

I mean, this one’s better by all means.

Nov
2

Lucky Tubb & Don Maddox Share Stage for Halloween

November 2, 2012 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  13 Comments

From all the music festivals I attended this summer, from South by Southwest this Spring, to all the other musical events intermixed throughout the year, few rival the magic that transpired Halloween night when Lucky Tubb and the Modern Day Troubadours pulled their tour van up to Johnny B’s in Medford OR all the way from Austin, to share a night of music with the legendary Don Maddox of the Maddox Brothers & Rose, complimented by a slew of local bands.

The Maddox Brothers & Rose toured with Lucky’s great uncle Ernest many times back in the 50′s, and Don and Lucky sharing the stage in an intimate setting felt like a musical story coming full circle. Don Maddox first slayed the crowd with his own band, and then was invited on stage by Lucky where he lead the Modern Day Troubadors in one of his own numbers, and then played lead fiddle while Lucky sang his great uncle’s signature song, “Thanks A Lot”.

Having followed Lucky Tubb for a few years now, I have been forthright that a Lucky show can sometimes be a roll of the dice. But what there’s no denying is when the man is on, he’s on, and Lucky was on Halloween night. The Modern Day Troubadours, which didn’t have a familiar face amongst them, were nonetheless tight and superlative, and included new upright bass player and background vocalist Josef Pelletier, snare drummer Marty “The Hammer” Carpenter sitting in, and lead guitarist Zach Sweeny who Lucky shares with Wayne “The Train” Hancock. Zach gives the legendary guitar players who’ve filled that position like James Hunnicutt and Eddie Biebel a run for their money. Check out Zach’s chill-inducing work on “Officer Garero” below.

I have a full interview with Lucky Tubb coming up, but I will let the pictures and video tell the rest of the story.

Two guns up!

Lucky Tubb and Don Maddox discussing Ernest before the show (b&w by request)
Lucky saying “Thanks A Lot” to Don Maddox for sitting in
Guitarist Zach Sweeny that Lucky Tubb shares with Wayne “The Train” Hancock
Dec
31

Initial Lineup for 2012 Muddy Roots Festival Europe

December 31, 2011 - By Trigger  //  News  //  13 Comments

2012 will go down as the year that the roots music revolution went transcontinental, as the Muddy Roots Festival heads over to the Old World to storm the beaches of Europe with a ridiculous lineup of talent. Though the festival is happening in Europe, it will mostly feature American acts, similar to the lineup of the original American Muddy Roots Festival going down in Cookeville, TN August 31st-September 2nd, but a few European acts will be featured as well.

“The inspiration for doing a festival over there came from the fans,” according to Muddy Roots promoter Jason Galaz. “We had just as many people come to Muddy Roots from other countries as from Nashville. Seems like they deserve a party in their own back yard. You could say I got a “calling” from the Good Lord to spread the Muddy Roots Gospel to every living creature.”

The invasion will go down June 9th and 10th, at the Cowboy Up Steakhouse Saloon in Waardamme, Belgium. Please note this is the initial lineup. More bands will likely be added later, and other bands currently on the list could change.

Click Here to Purchase Tickets

Dec
19

Album Review – Ray Lawrence Jr. “Raw & Unplugged”

December 19, 2011 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  18 Comments

Before we get started here, let me just address the folks that will say the only reason I’m doing a review for this album is because Hank Williams III included some of Ray Lawrence Jr.’s songs on his latest Ghost To A Ghost/Guttertown release. Well of course that’s the only reason I’m doing this review, and it’s the only reason I know Ray Lawrence Jr. exists, and it’s the only reason this album exists.

And I’ll even take it step further and say even though I liked the songs entitled “Ray Lawrence Jr.” on Hank3′s album as maybe a bootleg or something you nab off of YouTube, I didn’t think they were worthy of including on a serious release. Frankly, these days I’m apt to look at many Hank3 decisions with cocked head, like a cocker spaniel looks at you when you loudly pass gas. But what the Ray Lawrence/Hank3 tracks did was got us to pay attention to this artist, and after listening to Raw & Unplugged, it is hard to say anything except that Hank3 once again deserves credit for playing pusher for another relatively unknown artist who wholeheartedly deserves the recognition.

As the title of this album implies, this is Arizona-based singer/songwriter Ray Lawrence Jr. with just him and his guitar. The album was quickly put together after Hank3 released Ghost To A Ghost, to meet the demand Hank3′s exposure created. It is in this context you must judge and listen to this album. Some albums are recorded raw and unplugged as a purposeful approach to create a desired aesthetic. This one is done more out of time and necessity.

However you want to look at the approach, this is some of the best true country songwriting I have heard all year. I am floored folks. I’ll be honest with you, knowing the context of this album going in, I didn’t think it had much chance to charm my little music heart, but that is exactly what it did. Ray’s songs are just so true, honest, well-written, and authentic, it makes his adeptness at song craft absolutely undeniable. And screw the fact that there’s no accompanying instruments here, who needs them. The strength of song is enough to make this album accessible despite it’s sparseness.

Ray is an example of how songs about truck driving and divorce will never get old in country music, as long as they’re being sung by someone who sings from personal experience, and with heart. Songs like “Check’s In The Mail” and “Just Kick My Ass To Texas” work in that timeless country manner of conveying simple wisdom through wit. “There’s Another Cheatin’ Heart” was my favorite track from the album, from the way Ray uses the simple countryism “off somewhere” to draw you in with it’s authenticity. And songs like “My Hurtin’ Will Be Done” show that Ray isn’t just about engaging lyrics, but also has a great ear at structuring the music around the mood he wishes to convey.

Ray’s guitar playing is great for the solo acoustic context; not just cord strumming, but not over noodling either. Good walks up and down, and the rhythm and cords are always present. And his voice is one of those aged, authentic instruments of song that so many a young man can try and duplicate, but aside from William Elliot Whitmore, can never match. In places the edges of the notes are frayed just so from the years of drink and smoky bars, but there is still a strength to it, and a desert twang that Ray wields with confidence. There is a little David Allan Coe to his vocal delivery.

From Homeless To Hank3: The Story of Ray Lawrence Jr.

I don’t mean to keep going back to the context of Ray’s Hank3 connection, but something I can’t drive home enough is how country this album is. This isn’t some Hellbilly kick or punk meets country as some may assume from seeing Hank3′s name, this is an album you could play for your grandmother, and you know what, she might like it. No hard language, just simple, universal country themes and stories that touch your heart from their authenticity.

Is this album like a “best of” from a songwriter whose been going at it for decades, and put all his top notch material together making a follow up an inevitable letdown? Will Ray exploit this opportunity Hank3 has given him as artists like Lucky Tubb, Bob Wayne, and Those Poor Bastards did before? Time will tell, but what I am hear to tell you right now is Raw & Unplugged is top notch. And as a pure country singer/songwriter album, I highly recommend it.

Two guns up!

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Preview Tracks and Purchase Ray Lawrence Jr. Raw & Unplugged

Purchase from CD Baby

Dec
8

Saving Country Music’s Essential Albums for 2011

December 8, 2011 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  46 Comments

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. There are a few more good and important albums in 2011 that have yet to be reviewed, and there is a list of some of them at the bottom. Aside from the first few albums mentioned, which should be considered close runners up to the SCM Album of the Year (which includes albums not on this list), the albums are in no special order.

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? Please leave your feedback below.

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Rachel BrookeDown In The Barnyard

Every year, there is going to be one album that gets screwed out of being a nominee for Album of the Year. Even if I double the amount of nominees, still the line is drawn somewhere, and that next album on the list is the odd one out. Last year it was Jayke Orvis’s It’s All Been Said. This year it is this amazing offering from Rachel Brooke. Call it 2011′s “Most Essential” album.

You can tell Rachel has studied many modes of classic country, not just some. I hear Charlie Louvin, not just Hank Williams. I hear The Carter Family, not just Johnny Cash. And the themes are not just from the 1950′s, but the 1850′s as well. There’s no big branches for you to grab on to and say, “Hell yeah, this is the kind of country I like!” but the originality embellishes the album to such a more magnanimous degree. (read full review)

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The Boomswagglers- Bootleg Beginnings

Another album I wouldn’t argue with you over if you wanted to call it the best of the year. One of the most authentic albums of 2011 for sure.

The music is wildly entertaining and deceptively deep. If you’re going to be a Boomswagglers song, someone’s got to die, and likely a woman. Some may find this silly, monotonous, or even offensive, but you have to listen beyond the lyrics, and unlock the carnal wisdom that is hidden in these songs. They were Boomswagglers, and that low form of living is ever present in every note on this album.(Read full review)

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Lone WolfLone Wolf OMB

Probably the album with the most original approach in all of 2011; something nobody else has done before. And at the same time, it is the most viscerally engaging. Excellent album you’d be foolish to overlook.

The first time I turned this album on, I was out of my chair, stomping my foot on the floor, banging my head, making a complete ass out of myself for the entertainment of the four walls of the Saving Country Music headquarters. It made a music virgin out of me again. (read full review)

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Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day TroubadoursDel Gaucho

One of the best of the year, and one of the best from Lucky Tubb. In Del Gaucho, you really feel like he has found his voice and sound.

So many other artists and bands, to take this same selection of covers and originals and record them, it would just come across as cheesball retro country with it’s anachronistic language and outmoded style. But Lucky Tubb has a swagger that makes him immune to such concerns. To him, this isn’t playing country like it used to be done, this is playing country like it is supposed to be done. (Read full review)

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Husky BurnetteFacedown in the Dirt

The best album of 2011 from the Deep Blues side of things in my opinion.

This is music to get you moving. I can’t listen to this album at home. I’ll get flying around and break things. I can only listen while driving, with a foot pumping on the gas pedal to the groove. If somebody was listening to this album and wasn’t at least bobbing their head or tapping their foot, the next thing I’d do is put a mirror in front if their mouth. (read full review)

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Nick 13Nick 13

This solo country project from psychobilly’s Tiger Army is certainly essential, and one of those albums that was not on your radar at the beginning of the year, but you’re still listening to at the end of it, especially the essential songs of “101,” “Gambler’s Life,” and an updated version of “In The Orchard”.

With Nick 13′s first self-titled release, he hasn’t just stuck his foot in the door of country music, he’s kicked the door down. This is a good one folks! The California native’s brand of country is hard, with a lot of Western influences mixed in to the instrumentation and lyrics, contrasted with his soft and delicate, but deliberate voice. (read full review)

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Ugly Valley BoysDouble Down

Another surprise album out of left field that has become one of the year’s best.

So many bands try to imbibe their music with a vintage feel and Western space by using copious amounts of chorus or reverb. Guitar player, singer, and songwriter Ryan Eastlyn takes the road less traveled with the use of moaning, melodic chorus lines that are so excellent, they vault this band from a relative unknown to one responsible for one of the better albums put out so far in 2011. (read full review)

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Cody Canada & The DepartedThis Is Indian Land

I was surprised to find out a few months after reviewing this album that not many Cross Canadian Ragweed fans, or critics for that matter have much use for this album. I have to respectfully disagree. Quit wanting what you’re used to expecting from Cody Canada, and start listening to what he is offering. There is a little fat here, but This Is Indian Land also has some of the best songs put out all year.

This is one of the funnest, freshest, well-written, well-produced albums to come out this year. There’s good songs, good performances, and it’s bold. While still sounding relevant and un-obscure, Cody and The Departed were able to stay out of the well-worn grooves that run like tired veins through so much of mainstream music. (read full review)

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The Dirt DaubersWake Up, Sinners!

Along with Larry & His Flask’s All That We Know, I’m afraid these are the two albums being grossly overlooked this year.

I love this album. You may look at the track listing and ask yourself why we need yet another version of “Wayfaring Stranger”. The answer is because the great Col. JD Wilkes has never done one before. A perfect mix of classics and originals, don’t just pigeon hole this project as just another rag tag bluegrass bit, there a lot of hot jazz, rockabilly and blues mixed in with the old time string band approach. (Read full review)

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Larry & His FlaskAll That We Know

Larry & His Flask from the ultra hippie nouveau town of Bend, OR have been making the rounds on the live circuit for years now, leaving legions of disciples and gallons of sweat behind at every stop. Putting out as much energy as any band has in the history of ever, and a lineup that necessitates shoving multiple tables together at every restaurant the tour van stops at, LAHF’s live show is impressionable to say the least.

Along with all the other elements, LAHF build their music using dark cords and unusual, unintuitive changes and progressions that give them a unique sound beyond any traditional string or punk music. (Read full review)

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Willy Tea Taylor- 4 Strings

If you’re a tragic, tragic audiophile like myself, then you understand just what a blessing it is when out of the blue you discover an artist that really speaks to you, and it opens a brand new vein of music for you to enjoy for years to come. This is the experience most people come away with when hearing Willy Tea Taylor for the first time.

Like so many albums that take the stripped down approach, there is just less to criticize, allowing the pureness of the music to flow. I cannot give you one reason not to like Willy Tea Taylor or 4 Strings, only reasons you’d be a fool for not loving it. (Read full review)

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Slim Cessna’s Auto ClubUnentitled

When this album came out early in the year, it was the frontrunner for Album of the Year. At the end of the year, it still holds up. Slim Cessna is not for everyone, and his take on pop music may make this album even more obscure, but it is nonetheless genius and engaging.

At first I didn’t know what to make of this album. In places, this is the most accessible, most non-dark music they have ever done. There are many bands that if they had put out an album like this, grumbles of “going mainstream” or “selling out” would be heard. But The Auto Club is so weird, so fey to begin with, being more normal actually makes them even more weird than they were before, adding to the mystique and mythos behind the band. (read full review)

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Hank3Guttertown

Still can’t get into Ghost To A Ghost, the first album of this double album set, but the second album is solid from beginning to end.

The first record in the 4 record salvo from Hank3 Ghost to a Ghost felt very much like business as usual in the post-Straight to Hell era. But Guttertown is where Hank3 gets it right by doing the same thing he did in the early and mid oughts, following his heart, defying any expectations for sound and genre, and letting his creative passion flow. Simply put, this is the best album Hank3′s put out since his 2006 opus. (Read full review)

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Jason Boland & The StragglersRancho Alto

One of the standouts in both Red Dirt and real country for 2011.

The heavy thematic focus on Texas and Oklahoma in Red Dirt music is what has made the movement strong throughout that region. It’s also what keeps it from progressing beyond. I’ve always believed that good songwriting allows you to look past proper names, and delve into the meaning of what a songwriter is attempting to convey. Jason Boland does this in Rancho Alto. (Read full review)

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Scott H. BiramBad Ingredients

When it comes to one man bands, Scott H. Biram is the franchise. He is the top of the heap, the one that inspired so many others. He’s tussled with semi trucks and spilled his guts out on the highway just like he’s spilled his guts out on countless stages all across the Western world until he earned that glorious ‘H’ in the middle of his name.

Biram may deliver his best album yet, and possibly one of the best albums in this calendar year, buoyed by one of the year’s best songs in the aforementioned “Victory Song”. With Bad Ingredients, Scott H. Biram simply delivers. (read full review)

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Tom WaitsBad As Me

One of the most pressing questions I’ve seen about his music in the context of his new album Bad As Me is if it should be considered “roots” or “Americana.” 7 years ago, when Waits put out his last real original album, I would have probably said no, but loaded with qualifiers. Today my answer would be “absolutely.”

What can I say, it’s Tom Waits, and he’s better than everyone else. It’s pretty much unfair and bullshit, but that’s just the way it is. All other artists, back to the drawing board with you. There has never been another artist worthy of the title of “transcendent” than Tom Waits. (Read full review)

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Olds Sleeper – I Will Follow You To Jail

Olds has a few other albums out in 2011 including Plainspoken which SCM has yet to review, but I Will Follow You To Jail may be the best primer to get you in touch with this genuine and prolific songwriter.

Unless you frequent a few small music circles in the underground world, you may have never heard of the artist Olds Sleeper, but that doesn’t diminish the argument one can make for him being one of the best songwriters of our generation. Of course, saying anyone is the “best” of anything is always disputable, but numbers are not, and by the numbers, Olds is indisputably one of the most prolific songwriters out there. (Read full review)

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Gillian WelchThe Harrow & The Harvest

I firmly believe that one of the problems with modern music is that there’s too much of it. So to see Gillian Welch wait 7 years to put out an album, is refreshing, and wise. But time and patience don’t guarantee a good album. What does is excellent songwriting, and that is exactly what Gillian delivers in The Harrow & The Harvest.

This album is one of those that needs multiple listens before you can fully appreciate it, but once it sticks to your bones, not listening to it enough will not be an issue, because you might need a pry bar to get it out of your player. (Read full review)

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Little Lisa DixieLittle Lisa Dixie

One of the few that made the Essential List that was not rated “Two guns up,” but belongs here from the strength of the songs.

With her first self-titled album, Little Lisa Dixie is helping make the case that in independent/underground country, 2011 might be the year of the woman. With surprisingly good, classic songwriting, excellent use of texture, and solid instrumentation, she has made the album that her fans have waited years for be one that is well worth the wait. (read full review)

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Bob WayneOutlaw Carnie

The first thing you need to appreciate about Outlaw Carnie is that it is country. Forget that it’s on a metal label, and that Hank III’s name is being put out there for context. There’s no fusing of metal and country here. There’s no sludgy BC Rich or Flying V guitars, no screamo, cookie monster lyrics. There’s banjo, fiddle, dobro, upright bass, brushes on snare, if there’s any drums at all.

I would assert that Outlaw Carnie is better than good. It is great, and worthy of affording Bob Wayne the much wider audience that his music deserves. (Read full review)

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Jimbo MathusConfederate Buddha

There’s no pretentiousness in Confederate Buddha, no premeditated attempt to appeal to demographics. Just like Gram once explained to Emmylou about country music, the beauty of Jimbo’s songwriting is in the simplicity.

Confederate Buddha is yet another exercise in what Jimbo Mathus does best: Delving auspiciously into various styles of classic American music, while blurring the lines between them and injecting his deep-rooted Mississippi blood. It continues and perpetuates the music mythos of Mathus as a genuine student and steward of American roots music, and a Mississippi and National treasure. (Read full review)

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Sunday ValleyTo The Wind And On To Heaven

First and foremost Sunday Valley is a live band, and that is how they approached this recording. The guitar is unapologetically loud and heavy–kind of the Stevie Ray approach of simply not worrying about what people say, just continue to do it until that is what you’re known for. This is about the loudest and heaviest you will hear guitar that still has the identifiable country “twang.”

Sunday Valley is definitely worth your consideration and raising a blip on your radar, because mark my words, I have a feeling that this will not be the last time you will hear about this band, from me or others. (Read full review)

Other albums yet to be reviewed:

The Goddamn Gallows7 Devils

Lonesome Wyatt & The Holy SpooksHeartsick

The Damn QuailsDown The Hatch

Other albums many folks recommend & received positive SCM reviews:

Dale Watson – The Sun Sessions

Lydia LovelessIndestructible Machine

William Elliot WhitmoreField Songs

Eilen JewellQueen of the Minor Key

Oct
31

Album Review – James Hunnicutt’s “99 Lives”

October 31, 2011 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  11 Comments

The term of endearment I have for James Hunnicutt is “The Glue That Binds.” At this year’s Muddy Roots Festival, no other musician contributed more, from playing drums behind the legendary Don Maddox, to playing lead guitar with JB Beverly & The Wayward Drifters, Jayke Orvis, Owen Mays, and Rachel Brooke. James Hunnicutt is the ultimate selfless musician, who makes so many projects and tours that wouldn’t happen without him come to life, and makes projects already happening that much better.

But Hunnicutt’s most memorable contribution at Muddy Roots was his solo set, just him and a guitar, standing in a pool of water with folks huddled around him under a tent as the rain poured down, giving an intimate performance with no amplification. This ultimate test for any performer, when you strip everything back and solely rely on song craft and the art of performance, is what is captured brilliantly in the album 99 Lives. Think of Billy Bragg without the political baggage. Considering the amount of friends and favors James could call in, he’d have a fully instrumented album cut and pressed in no time, but instead he chose this methodology as a means to convey his dark, open, and lonesome sound, and make it more about the message.

99 Lives is one of those projects I have to give the disclaimer “Not for everyone” to. It’s no coincidence this review is being posted on Halloween. The album is dark to say the least, but not from the usual suspects of dark elements in music, like screaming drug references or double bass hits. Think more Edgar Allan Poe than Hank3, or The Misfits more than Metallica. The darkness comes from Hunnicutt’s mastery of chord progressions and the minor key, and his ability to match those chords up with the themes of his songs seamlessly.

And though I say 99 Lives may not be for everyone, certainly there’s songs from the album that are. The title track made it on my Top Songs of 2011 So Far list in June, and will likely be among the top candidates for Song of the Year. “My Pain” in the middle of the album takes a breather from the dark shades a bit, and this understated approach may make it a good staring point for people first getting into Hunnicutt’s music.

99 Lives calls upon the Gothic elements of country, like Johnny Cash and The Carter Family before: the cautionary tales, the struggles between the soul and temptation. These themes run like a backbone through the album, giving it a classic feel, grounded in the very early roots of Gothic Americana culture. James delves into the depths of human frailty with clarity and honesty: how guilt pummels the mind, and Will is compromised by the whims of the heart and the spell of addiction.

James speaks in the second song “The Misery That’s In Me,” “I sold my soul, so that the pleasure of flesh might ease my pain.” and then resolves in the final song “Never Meant” about his real-life sobriety, “This much has become evident, that past is rarely Heaven sent. So I’m letting it go to hold the promise of today.” In 99 Lives, Hunnicutt creates a circle of wisdom through fearlessly conveying his personal, intimate experiences in life, and by intimating his fears and frailties, and his victories against them. Honesty is the benchmark of all great albums, and 99 Lives’s honesty is unchecked.

And those words and honesty are complimented by the most powerful voice in all of independent country roots. There may be more colorful, more unique singers like Dale Watson, Rachel Brooke, or Lucky Tubb, but when it comes to sheer power and control, Hunnicutt has no peer.

And all the stuff I’ve mentioned about this album, and I still haven’t mentioned two of the most important elements of James Hunnicutt himself. The first is that he is a ringer of a lead guitar player, one of the few up to the task of standing to the right of Wayne “The Train” Hancock and in the shadow of Eddie Biebel and hold his own. However, Hunnicutt’s lead guitar skill set is displayed very little on this album, favoring more of a melodic, chord-based approach that compliments the music and mood better, and this might be the wisest element of the album: to resist the temptation to add overdubs that could have only taken away from the mood, and blurred the focus on James’ excellent lyrics and message.

And the last important element to James Hunnicutt, if not the most important element is who James is as a person. As we always say around here at Saving Country Music, it’s about people first, and then music, and you will be hard pressed to find a better person in music than James Hunnicutt. I touched on his selflessness before, but this is just the beginning. Unfortunately in 99 Lives, you will not hear about what a wise, patient, and inspiring person James is to be around, but anyone who has ever been around him can’t help but be candid about it at the first mention of his name.

Again, probably not for everyone, but for those who enjoy songs meant to be listened to and not heard, and a dark, sparse, and classic approach to music will find James Hunnicutt’s 99 Lives right in their wheelhouse.

1 3/4 of 2 guns up.

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Purchase 99 Lives from Farmageddon Records



Sample band press kits

Oct
3

Texas Fires Hit Close to Home for Lucky Tubb

October 3, 2011 - By Trigger  //  Random Notes  //  8 Comments

On Labor Day weekend of 2011, artists and fans of independent/underground country and roots music from all around the country and world gathered in a big field just north of Cookeville, TN for the annual Muddy Roots Festival. Record heat on Saturday was chased by torrential downpours on Sunday, as the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee that made landfall in the middle of the Louisiana coast veered east into the deep South corridor.

As buckets of rain were falling on Muddy Roots, 950 miles away, in a portion of central Texas undergoing a drought of historic proportions, Lee’s remnants weren’t offering any rain, but whipping up massive winds. By the time one central Texas resident named Lucky Tubb was taking the Muddy Roots stage in Cookeville on Saturday, dozens of brush fires were burning out of control, causing massive evacuations, strapping local fire resources, and causing general panic back home.

On Sunday, things got even worse. About the time the first drops of rain began to fall on The Muddy Roots Festival, back in Texas a massive gust of wind snapped branches off of a loblolly pine tree that was already under stress from the historic drought, knocking over power lines and starting what would become the biggest and most destructive of the 2011 Texas fires in the area is known as “Lost Pines” for it’s thick concentration of loblolly trees unusually-far west from the Piney Woods of east Texas. The Lost Pines are in and around the town of Bastrop, just east of Austin.

The fire quickly spread out of control, with residents forced to evacuate with little or no time to grab personal effects. The whole area between Austin and Bastrop became like a war zone, with massive evacuations and smoke bellowing into the sky. Lucky Tubb was . . . well . . . Lucky, and his home was not effected. However his brother and road manager Brian Kelly was.

He may not have any blood relation, but he’s definitely my brother. My best friend, my driver, my mechanic, therapist, hunting and fishing buddy, he’s the whole 9 yards. I’ve never had a best friend as close as Brian is to me. He’s my Hoot, just like Ernest.

The “Hoot” Lucky refers to is Hoot Borden, a legendary bus driver, and just like Brian Kelly, so much more. Hoot got his start driving for Lucky’s Great Uncle Ernest, but then moved on to rock n’ roll and was known and respected from people as wide reaching as Willie Nelson to Megadeth. (Read more about Hoot Borden). While in the Texas State Prison in Huntsville, Lucky decided the best thing he had going for him was his last name, and learned guitar from an old black man who was in for life. When he got out, Brian Kelly helped him get on his feet.

He started driving me around in his pickup truck when we first started doing shows. He’d load up all the stuff and drive me to these shows at his own expense. I didn’t have any money back then. Hell, I still don’t. He’s a wonderful person, and he’s still out here driving with me after all that time.

The Bastrop County Complex Fire destroyed over 1,500 homes, burned 34,000 acres, and Brian Kelly’s family’s land was right in the heart of the fire, on Cottle Town Rd. The 2 people that died in the fire lived on the same road as Brian’s property.

Everything I had out there is gone. Trucks blowing up, cars meting down. Motorcycles, 4-wheelers, boats, all my tools, pictures and family stuff that you just can’t replace. We’re talking 30 acres of stuff. I heard from one of my boys that a truck was 100 feet from where he left it because the gas tank blew on it. Chicken coops, animals, two outbuildings, workshop. 25 years worth of saving whatever you got. A lot of the stuff is financial, but some of the stuff is your life. Pictures and things. Titles, papers, and legal things, it’s all gone. 25 years of stuff that I’ve pushed, pulled, dragged, hold on to it, rat holed, set it somewhere, looked after it, move it around, store it in a shed.

I’d really been trying to liquidate down, so the things I lost were very close and personal. It’s like moving. Every time you move, you throw a little away until you’re down to the memories you want to keep. Driving down the road, I just keep thinking, “If I don’t have it, you can’t take it from me.”  My folks live on the other side. My dad just retired from Houston and they lost everything. He had just retired on Friday, then got evacuated Saturday.

Despite Brian’s loss, he never went home. He is still on the road, driving for Lucky who has a set of Florida dates to play before returning to Texas. He’s still by Lucky’s side like he’s been since Lucky was released from prison.

I’ve been there from the beginning, when we had to go out and book our own gigs, before there was an album, before “Generations.” We were working at an iron shop in Austin. We started playing little coffee shops and such.

I can go look at a big pile of burned up today, or I can look at it in a week. I still can’t bring it back. It takes a while for insurances and stuff like that, and the money you get is like tenths on the dollar. I don’t want to put a number on what I lost, but say 25 years of your life. Fire takes everything and you don’t get it back.

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Donate to the Texas Wildfire Relief Fund.

It sounds like Brian Kelly has some insurance and a place to stay in Austin, but if anyone wants to donate something to him, you can simply use the SCM donate button near the top right corner of the page. Make sure to put a note that it’s for Brian Kelly, and we will get it to him.

Read a review of Lucky’s latest album Del Gaucho.

Lucky Tubb is this month’s guest on IBWIP.

Lucky’s Florida Dates:

  • Thursday, October 6 – The Chop Shop, Lakeland, FL
  • Friday, October 7 – J&J’s Our Place Saloon, Titusville, FL
  • Saturday, October 8 – Kreepy Tiki Festival, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  • Sunday, October 9 – Junkyard Saloon, Deleon Springs, FL
Sep
11

Album Review – Lucky Tubb’s “Del Gaucho”

September 11, 2011 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  20 Comments

A pleasant surprise for early Fall is the unexpected release of Lucky Tubb’s fourth LP entitled Del Gaucho, and folks, this is a good one.

Right after Lucky’s set at The Muddy Roots Festival, in a rush, he handed me this CD. I asked him when it was going to be released. He said “Now”, and jumped in his tour van to play the world famous Midnight Jamboree named after his Great Uncle in Nashville.

Though I was surprised to see the album was ready to go, this wasn’t the first I had heard of Del Gaucho. When Lucky was touring Europe earlier in the year with his band The Modern Day Troubadours, I’d heard rumors of a recording session over there that had given rise to a slightly new direction for Lucky, one using drums, with a more rockabilly or Western feel, and that I was going to be blown away once I heard it. That Euro session and another one in Austin is what comprises Del Gaucho’s 13 delicious tracks.

In some ways, I’m surprised that the music on Del Gaucho works so well. So many other artists and bands, to take this same selection of covers and originals and record them, it would just come across as cheesball retro country with it’s anachronistic language and outmoded style. But Lucky Tubb has a swagger that makes him immune to such concerns. To him, this isn’t playing country like it used to be done, this is playing country like it is supposed to be done, and with that purity of purpose, and with heart and a good barometer for what is cool, he’s able to take classic sounds and themes and makes them as fresh and relevant as anything else being put out right now. He’s also aided by a solid band, with a ‘Robin’ to his ‘Batman’ in fiddler and singer Natalie Page, Casey (The Barber) Gill on bass, and the silly-sided William Owen-Gage, who has the tone and taste of Lucky’s neo-traditional style dialed right in.

Like most of Lucky’s albums, Del Gaucho includes a few songs from Tubb’s famous songwriting family, a song highlighting Natalie Page, and is finished out with Lucky’s originals. Though a few of the selections took a little warming up to, I wouldn’t second guess any track on this album, even the two sappy ones not written by Tubb blood, “White Silver Sands”, and “Lil Ole Wine Drinker, Me”. Lucky’s choices of Justin Tubb’s “Bachelor Man”, his uncle X Lincoln’s “Never Shoulda Fell In Love” and “Stood There” by Glen Douglas Tubb all feel like they could be written for this album exclusively. And like all of Lucky’s previous albums, his originals are the best songs of all.

Lucky Tubb pens instant classics. The songs are so good, and carry such classic themes, you keep looking back at the liner notes, swearing someone must have done that song before. There’s a few songs here that will fit right into his top tier of his signature songs. There’s possibly more of these from this album than any other. The fun “Officer Garero”, the classically-sweet “Guess I’m a Fool”, the exquisitely-arranged “Heard Your Name”, “Rhythm Bomb”, and my personal favorite, the final track “That’s What I Get” are all ‘A’ list material. The instrumentation, performances, singing, style, songwriting on these songs, it’s all superb.

My only nit pick about this album, and it was something I noticed immediately when I first listened to it, is that the music sounds a little foggy, like it wasn’t mastered, or was mastered hastily. Or maybe it was made that way on purpose, but either way, I found it slightly frustrating to the ear, though the fervor for the music subsides this concern over time. I’m also not sure about Lucky’s tendency to use backup singer chorus lines in his songs. It reminds me a little too much of the Nashville Sound, and seems to stick out a bit in his style. Stylistically though, this is Lucky’s best album, if not his best grading it on all fronts. He creates that classic Western space in “Heard Your Name”, has an almost mod 50′s feel in “Never Shoulda Fell” and “Rhythm Bomb”. There’s a lot of boogie here, though staying solidly more country than rock n’ roll.

To say that songwriting is strong in the Tubb bloodline is an understatement, but beyond Ernest, performance and singing have mostly been second thoughts. Until it came to Lucky. He has the smooth, unique voice and sense of style, with a showbiz swagger that commands a room from center stage. He also has the demons that tend to haunt those humans with the aforementioned attributes, but as long as they’re tamed, at least to some extent, those demons help to draw an energy and authenticity to the music, making Lucky a wickedly-engaging performer. And above all the other kudos for Del Gaucho, translating Lucky’s engaging persona is the album’s marquee accomplishment.

Two guns up!

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Preview Tracks on Roots CD

Please note: Lucky’s music is never available on Amazon or iTunes, and he does not have a personal online store. The best place to get his music is at his Lone Star Music store, but Del Gaucho is not available there at the moment. The only place to get it at the moment is at a Lucky Tubb live show or an Ernest Tubb Record Store, or on rootscd.com from the UK. You can find his current tour date with Ronnie Hymes below. The only place to currently find Lucky Tubb tour dates are on the Saving Country Music Calendar.

Lucky Tubb tour dates with Ronnie Hymes:

  • Sunday Sept. 11th – Martin’s Downtown, Roanoke, VA
  • Monday, September 12 – Snug Harbor, Charlotte, NC
  • Tuesday, September 13 – Black Cat Lounge, Fayetteville, NC
  • Thursday, September 15 – Yellow’s Beard, Parkersburg, WV
  • Saturday, September 17 – The Basement, Kingston, NY
  • Sunday, September 18 – Cafe Nine, New Haven, CT
  • Tuesday, September 20 – Snug Harbor, New Paltz, NY
  • Friday, September 23 – Portland, ME
  • Saturday, September 24 – Hill Country BBQ, New York, NY
  • Friday, September 30 – Hillcountry, Washington, DC
  • Thursday, October 6 – The Chop Shop, Lakeland, FL
  • Friday, October 7 – J&J’s Our Place Saloon, Titusville, FL
  • Saturday, October 8 – Kreepy Tiki Festival, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  • Sunday, October 9 – Junkyard Saloon, Deleon Springs, FL

Aug
29

Shooter Jennings Releases New Video for “Outlaw You”

August 29, 2011 - By Trigger  //  News  //  77 Comments

On August 17th, Shooter Jennings fired a shot across the bow of Music Row and the “new Outlaw” country movement by releasing the song “Outlaw You” on CMT. Now with the help of long-time independent country music filmmaker Blake Judd of JuddFilms, Shooter has released a more fleshed out, viral-style video for the song. It was released today, once again with the help of CMT.

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“Shooter called me about using a photo I took in New York while shooting the EPK for is upcoming album ‘Family Man’”, filmmaker Blake Judd explains. “Of course I was all for it, and soon after he sent me the first ‘Outlaw You’ video and wanted to see if I was interested in doing another video in Nashville last minute. So Jacob Ennis and I loaded up, drove to Nashville, and picked him up from the airport. We set up camp at Bob’s Idle Hour on Music Row, did a couple run throughs in the heat, shot a one-take viral-feeling video, and then hung out back at Bob’s until his plane went out that afternoon. Some friends came out like Joshua Black Wilkins, Joey Allcorn, Young Struggle, and Justin Wells of Fifth on the Floor.”

Judd Films has produced videos and EPK’s for names such as Hank3, Scott H. Biram, Joe BuckLucky Tubb, Wayne “The Train” Hancock, as well as work with JD Wilkes of Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers on his film Seven Signs, and is currently in the final stages of a film on Charlie Louvin called Still Rattling The Devil’s Cage co-directed by Keith Neltner, featuring George Jones, Emmylou Harris, Emmylou Harris, and Marty Stuart among others.

“I like ‘Outlaw You’ a lot. It’s relevant right now from all aspects. This video, done in one take, on music row, all accomplish what Shooter was trying to do and say with this campaign. Think about it, this is a one-take, low budget video that’s going to be in heavy rotation on CMT. That is an accomplishment right there. Shooter’s album ‘Family Man’ is a dark, beautifully written, personal, pure country record that I truly believe is going to blow people away.”

A concern some had when “Outlaw You” was first released was that the song sounded similar to the music Shooter was criticizing. This was Shooter’s response to Saving Country Music:

“My intention was to put a little irony into it. I was hearing a lot of what happens on the radio and how it sounds. Radio mostly is very far from anything I would ever listen to, but for this song, I felt it was important to put it in a language that Nashville could understand. Sometimes to get a message across to another culture, you gotta speak in the culture’s native tongue. Without taking myself or my music too seriously, or crossing into cheeseball overproduced territory, it was meant to be a reply to what they’re doing there and I didn’t think a “retro” or “old school” type sound would even make it 5 feet here. It needed to have that upbeat and catchy element I think for it to have any impact.”

Mar
2

Album Review – Adam Lee’s “When The Spirits Move Me”

March 2, 2011 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  27 Comments

Let me level with you, when this album first found its way into the Saving Country Music compound, I looked at the front cover, the endless parade of drinking songs and thought, “I’ve seen this bit before. Can’t we evolve beyond boozer ballads and retro bits?” But good music abides friends, and When The Spirits Move Me by Adam Lee & The Dead Horse Sound Company, is good music.

Adam Lee likes to drink, and then write songs and sing about it with a voice somewhere near the slickness of Dale Watson, that can also limbo down looowww like Junior Brown, all while holding himself like a slightly plumper version of Pokey LaFarge. You may get pulled in the door with the voice, but you will stick around for the songwriting. Though the theme is one (drinking), the witty lines and turns and stories are many, and the quality stays top shelf throughout the album. And words are just words without music, and the music arrangements, instrument selection, and tone throughout this album fits each song amazingly well, and speaks to Adam’s insistence at pulling out all the stops to represent these songs as best as possible, and getting perfection in the performances that must be as slick as his hairdo on the front cover.

This album includes 12 originals. The opening track “Drinking, Cheating, Loving, and Leaving” is just so damn dialed into the classic country mode, it sucks you right into the album, while songs like “When The Spirits Move Me” and “Liquor’s a Prison” work the ol’ country idiom bit quite well, accompanied with instrumentation that speaks to a very well-versed and studied country music ear. A duet with Abigail Henderson called “Wishful Drinking” was another standout track.

The best song by far is “Misery to Ruin”, which catches you completely off guard with it’s more modern feel and universal relevancy and appeal. A knock on an album such as this would be that it’s some sort of a retro gimmick. It’s the difference between Dale Watson and Wayne Hancock, and Lucky Tubb and Junior Brown; one side being guys who try to take old styles of music and move them forward, and the other side guys that try more to re-create the old sound. “Misery to Ruin” transcends all of that. Adam Lee’s voice fits seamlessly with the mode and textures of the music, and it is surprisingly honest and soulful. This song is so good, it makes you wonder why Adam wouldn’t want to knock off the period piece show and kick it modern, but maybe that’s the genius in it. As soon as you think The Dead Horse Sound Company is some easily-definable thing, it hits you from another direction.

I will say that except for “Misery to Ruin”, the album is one that’s more to put on every few months and appreciate for a spin or two, instead of one that gets stuck in your player for long periods. And if you think that ribbon ties and pompadours and retro country is hokey, you probably want to steer clear. But I was really impressed with the songwriting and authentic style, and for you neo-traditionalist, classic country nuts like myself, it will be right down your alley.

1 3/4 of 2 guns up.

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Adam Lee is also heading out on a Midwest tour, including a date with Wayne “The Train” Hancock! Check dates.

Find a preview of the entire album below, but here’s two full length songs for your listening edification:

Drinking, Cheating, Loving, and Leaving

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Misery to Ruin

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Purchase When The Spirits Move Me


Feb
22

Upcoming Tours For Hellbound Glory, Lucky Tubb

February 22, 2011 - By Trigger  //  News  //  33 Comments

Well the country is finally starting to thaw from the double arctic blast of a few weeks back, some to get another blast all over again, others to see green buds peek out from under the brown, birds fluttering on thawing branches, young ladies basking their pallid skin in the inviting warmth, and for me, the non-stop lovemaking of an infestuous pair of raccoons living in the crawl space under my house. Yes Spring is beginning to sprung, in some places at least, and as highways are reopened and paroles lifted, the great mass of musicians get ready once again to hit the open road.

Of greatest importance to Saving Country Music, this includes the 2010 Album of the Year winner Hellbound Glory, and fast-rising neo-traditionalist Lucky Tubb & his Modern Day Troubadours. Full tours have just been announced from Road Bound Booking (see dates below), as well as additional dates for Wayne “The Train” Hancock & Bob Wayne. (See full Road Bound Booking calendar).

You can find all of these dates as well on the Saving Country Music Calendar, which has been very adequately saved from the depths of neglect by Gillian The Benevolent Calender Goddess. Right now the Google calendar system is the best thing for keeping people informed and from missing concert dates. You can use them to view dates, or if you want to be more involved, you can set up your own Google calendar to add dates with a click. We will continue to try to do everything we can to keep you informed about concerts here in this post-MySpace Apocalypse environment!

More dates could be added to either tour.

Hellbound Glory Tour

Date City Venue
03/10/11 Hellbound Glory in Salt Lake City, UT The Garage
03/17/11 Hellbound Glory in Ft. Worth, Texas The Wild Rooster
03/18/11 Hellbound Glory in Austin, TX SXSW
03/19/11 Hellbound Glory in Austin, TX SXSW
03/25/11 Hellbound Glory in St.Pete FL Dave’s Aqua Lounge
03/26/11 Hellbound Glory in Ft. Lauderdale, FL The Monterey Club
03/29/11 Hellbound Glory in Fayetteville, NC The Black Cat Lounge
03/31/11 Hellbound Glory in Cookeville, TN JD’s Sandwich Shop
04/01/11 Hellbound Glory in Lexington, KY Green Lantern
04/02/11 Hellbound Glory in Fort Wayne, IN The Brass Rail
04/06/11 Hellbound Glory in Lawrence, KS Jake’s Place (formerly the Gaslight)
04/07/11 Hellbound Glory in Hill City, KS Cowboy Junction
04/15/11 Hellbound Glory in Portland, OR The Ponderosa Lounge

Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours

03/17/11 Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours in Tulsa, OK Marquee
03/18/11 Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours in Springfield, MO Lindberg’s
03/19/11 Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours in Carbondale, IL Hangar 9
03/20/11 Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours in Evansville, IN Lanhucks Bar
03/22/11 Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours in Fort Wayne, IN The Brass Rail
03/23/11 Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours in Chicago, IL Martyrs
03/24/11 Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours in Grand Rapids, MI Billy’s
03/25/11 Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours in Kalamazoo, MI -TBA Kalamazoo, MI -TBA
03/26/11 Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours in Circleville, OH Tootles Pumpkin Inn
03/29/11 Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours in Cleveland, OH Beachland Ballroom
03/30/11 Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours in Buffalo, NY Sportsman Tavern
04/01/11 Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours in Kingston, NY The Basement
04/02/11 Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours in Portland ME Portland ME – TBA
04/03/11 Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours in New York, NY Rodeo Bar
04/06/11 Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours in DC Hill Country
04/07/11 Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours in Fayetteville, NC The Black Cat Lounge
04/08/11 Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours in Huntington, WV V Club
04/09/11 Lucky Tubb & The Modern Day Troubadours in Lexington, KY Green Lantern
Jan
21

Charlie Louvin, Bob Wayne, Lucky, More to Muddy Roots

January 21, 2011 - By Trigger  //  News  //  46 Comments

The Muddy Roots Festival happening this September 3rd & 4th in Cookeville, TN has just announced a new slew of names to their lineup, and they might be just as impressive as the initial list. Marquee names for me were the country music throwback and hillbilly royalty blood of Lucky Tubb and his Modern Day Troubadours and the Outlaw Carnie Bob Wayne (who you can now stream his latest record from in its entirety for a Facebook request).

But the one name that makes me awe struck, and humbled, and proud to see on this list, is Country Music Hall of Famer, Charlie Louvin. It made me appreciate the gravity of everything going on here, whether it is Muddy Roots, or the various discussions that transpire on Saving Country Music. What we are fighting for is the preservation of the old while forging the new,  and having him on board just adds a layer of legitimacy and importance to the whole thing. I’m getting shivers right now thinking of a Hall of Famer and a Grand Ole Opry legend walking out on that Muddy Roots stage to a standing ovation of a generation that makes it an imperative to remember the contributions of a man like Charlie.

The rest of the additions can be seen below, but I also want to alert everyone that the biggest headliner of Muddy Roots 2011 has yet to be announced, and will not be announced for quite some time. And all I can say boys and girls, is that if you have any ability to be there in September, it will be worth your time. When I heard who it was, I had to take out a spatula to scrape my jaw off the floor. If you’re worried that this lineup is a little too this, or a little too that for your taste and wish there was another big name to help seal the deal, this will be it, trust me.

Purchase tickets for Muddy Roots

New Names Added to Muddy Roots:

  • Charlie Louvin – JUST ADDED DESPITE HEALTH!
  • Lucky Tubb and the Modern Day Troubadors
  • Bob Wayne & The Outlaw Carnies
  • Whiskey Folk Ramblers
  • James Hunnicutt
  • Viva Le Vox
  • Hellfire Revival
  • Slim Chance and the Can’t Hardly Playboys
  • Derek Hoke
  • Joshua Black Wilkins
  • Cashman
  • Black Jake and the Carnies
  • Ronnie Hymes
  • The Dirt Scab Band
  • The Spinderellas -Hula Hoop act
  • Thomas Maupin (Champion buck dancer) and Daniel Rothwell
  • Burlesque Le Moustache
  • Hans Condor
  • The Krank Daddies
  • Sasquatch & The Sick-A-Billies

And there is also talk of having a screening of the movie The Folksinger as well!

Rest of the Lineup:

  • Wayne Hancock
  • Possessed By Paul James
  • Hellbound Glory
  • Goddamn Gallows
  • Left Lane Cruiser
  • Calamity Cubes
  • O’Death
  • Cutthroat Shamrock
  • McDougall
  • Soda
  • Ten Foot Pole Cats
  • Porter Hall Tennessee
  • Jayke Orvis and the Broken Band
  • Rachel Brooke
  • The Perreze Farm
  • JB Beverley & The Wayward Drifters
  • Owen Mays
  • Scissormen
  • Rev Deadeye
  • Mark Porkchop Holder
  • Slackeye Slim
  • Highlonesome
  • Last False Hope
  • Cletus Got Shot
  • Hillbilly Casino
  • Hellbillies
  • Smokestack
  • Foothill Fury
Jan
19

Wayne Hancock & Bob Wayne on Tour / New EPK

January 19, 2011 - By Trigger  //  News  //  34 Comments

A month or so ago when I attended a JB Beverley show here in Austin, it occurred to me how much Wayne “The Train” Hancock has emerged as a leader and true elder of the music in the last year. That night he made his way on stage with The Wayward Drifters, and later collaborated with them on a song back at his house. Earlier in 2010, he cut two duets with the up and coming Lucky Tubb for his release Hillbilly Fever. And now on the upcoming Bob Wayne release from Century Media, “The Train” has lent his name once again to an emerging star.

Outlaw Carnie features a collaboration from the two Wayne’s called “Everything’s Legal in Alabama,” and you can see Bob talking about this track, and all the others on the JUST released EPK!

Bob Wayne and Wayne “The Train” are going to be heading out on tour together, check below for confirmed dates, but more dates will be added soon. It will start in April in Colorado and end in Tulsa on May 7th. Bob has another tour starting in March, and both Bob Wayne and “The Train” have some other dates just added, so make sure you go to Road Bound Booking to keep up to date on these and the other artists in their stable, which now includes JB Beverley and Hellbound Glory!

  • April 21 – Last Chance Saloon – Gunnison, CO
  • April 23 – Oriental Theater – Denver, CO
  • April 28 – Lee’s Liquor Lounge – Minneapolis, MN
  • April 29 – Eagles Lodge – Rochester, MN
  • April 30 – Rock Island Brewing Co. – Rock Island, IA (Bob Wayne only -but w/ Whitey Morgan & The 78′s!)
  • April 30 – Maquoketa, IA – Vintage Torque Fest Jackson County Fairground (Hancock w/ Whitey Morgan)
  • May 5 – Hangar 9 – Carbondale, IL
  • May 7 – The Marquee – Tulsa, OK

Bob Wayne, Wayne Hacock, Outlaw Carnies, Wayne's Band, Gina Gallina, Dog Bite Harris circa ???

Bob Wayne, Wayne Hancock, & Zach Shedd (Hank III bass player) recording "Everything's Legal in Alabama"

Del Maguey
Old Soul Radio Show
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