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.
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 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.
Bobby Joe Owens, Danny Kay, Danny Kay and the Nightlifers, Garnet Hearts, Gina Gallina, Glenn Moonau, Hank Garland, Jimbo Mathus, Junior Brown, Lucky Tubb, Nat King Cole, Paul Skelton, Ronnie Hymes, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Wayne Hancock, Zach Sweeny, Zachary Sweeny
Crazy 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.
The 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, Langhorn Slim, and The Carper Family to name a few. The Awards honor exceptional independent artists traditionally ignored by mainstream media and big box retailers.
12th Annual, 2013, Brandi Carlisle, INdependent Music Awards, Jim Lauderdale, JP Harris & The Tough Choices, Langhorn Slim, Lucky Tubb, Nominees, Rachel Brooke, The Bommswagglers, The Carper Family, The Steel Wheels, Tom VandenAvond, Tom Waits, Weird Al Yankovic Kevin Lyman
Where 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.
.357 String Band, Anderson Family Bluegrass, Austin Lucas, Bob Wayne, Don Maddox, Glossary, Goddamn Gallows, Jayke Orvis, JB Beverley, Joe Buck, Lake Street Dive, LC Ulmer, Lucky Tubb, Muddy Roots, Pickathon, Rachel Brooke, Ralph Stanley, Restavrant, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Robert Belfour, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Sturgill Simpson, Th' Legendary Shack Shakers, The Calamity Cubes, Thee Oh Sees, XSXSW
By request, here is my list of the greatest underground country albums of all time. The underground country movement started roughly in the mid 90’s on lower Broadway in Nashville that at the time was a run down part of town. Young musicians from around the country, some from punk backgrounds, came together from their mutual love of authentic country music.
.357 String Band, Andy Gibson, Bob Wayne, BR549, Dale Watson, Donnie Herron, Hank Williams, Hank3, Hellbound Glory, Jayke Orvis, JB Beverley, Joe Buck, Justin Townes Earle, Legendary Shack Shakers, Leroy Virgil, Lonesome Wyatt, Lucky Tubb, Rachel Brooke, Slackeye Slim, The Boomswagglers, Those Poor bastards, Wayne Hancock
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. So I sat down with Lucky to let him answer some of our most pressing questions.
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.
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.
.357 String Band, Bob Wayne, Cashman, Derek Dunn, Heinrich XIII, Hillbilly Moon Explosion, Hollowbelly, Honkeyfinger, James Hunnicutt, Jayke Orvis, Lucky Tubb, Molly Gege, Muddy Roots Festival, Reverend Deadeye, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, The Buckshots, The Hackensaw Boys, Tio Gringo, Tom VandenAvond, Wayne Hancock
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.
So here it is, the list of albums Saving Country Music deems essential for 2011 listening. Please note this list only includes albums that have been reviewed so far. And as always, your feedback is encouraged. What are your essential albums? What did we miss? What was released in 2011 that deserves a review?
Bob Wayne, Coday Canada, Eilen Jewell, Gillian Welch, Hank3, Husky Burnette, Jason Boland, Jimbo Mathus, Larry & His Flask, Little Lisa Dixie, Lone Wolf, Lonesome Wyatt, Lucky Tubb, Lydia Loveless, Nick 13, Olds Sleeper, Rachel Brooke, Scott H. Biram, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Sunday Valley, The Damn Quails, The Dirt Daubers, The Goddamn Gallows, Tom Waits, Ugly Valley Boys, William Elliot Whitmore, Willy Tea Taylor
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, complimented by the most powerful voice in all of independent country roots.
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. Lucky Tubb was . . . well . . . Lucky, and his home was not effected. However his brother and road manager Brian Kelly was.
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.
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 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.
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.
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).
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, the Outlaw Carnie Bob Wayne, and the legendary Charlie Louvin.
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. And now on the upcoming Bob Wayne release from Century Media, “The Train” has lent his name once again to an emerging star.