Every year, Saving Country Music goes through the exercise of choosing the “best” song in its humble estimation. In 2016, this winner happens to be a song about losing and defeat. A song like this is only made possible from the total collapse and unrelenting broken heart of a musician at the end of their rope.
A song can change a life, and a song can change the world. And if you’re a real music fan, you know this to be true because you’ve felt it, and seen it yourself. We’re not looking for fanciful ditties that get stuck in your head here. There is a time and a place for those, but that’s not here. We’re looking for songs that barrel you over.
Normally, an artist either declaring or just plain evidencing their abandonment of country music, especially one who has contributed worthy music to the genre in the past, would be grounds for disappointment, or even anger. But in the case of Lydia Loveless, it’s a different story. I’m glad she said she wants to shed the alt-country label.
As was said in reference to the Best Albums of 2016 So Far, it has been fairly slim pickings for the first part of the year for finding music that really touches the heart, and has the fortitude to last beyond the calendar year. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions, and 2016 already boasts a number of serious, gut-punching songs.
Austin Lucas, Brandy Clark, Chris Stapleton, Dori Freeman, Dry Up or Drown, Evan Webb and the Rural Ramblers, Heaven Sent, Jeff Shepherd, Lew Card, Lydia Loveless, Parker Millsap, Ryan Scott Travis, Since You've Gone to Heaven, Someday, The Cactus Blossoms, Wrong Side of the Dream
Nobody knows the formula, or how to navigate the whims of music to steady and sustainable employment, or God-forbid a modicum of stardom. But what we do know is Austin Lucas is an artist worthy of being heard, whether the music industry agrees or not.
“Sidelong” may find itself in a dark and troubled place much of the time, but it’s good old country music at its heart. You know, country music? That stuff they used to make before Music Row lost its everloving mind? Music that said something, and conveyed a feeling that bred a sense of commiseration and shared grief with the audience resulting in a strange healing? Yeah, that stuff.
Going back to what the Supersuckers do best, which is come out kicking with a shit eating grin, and then hitting you in between the eyes with something meaningful when you least expect it, this raucous group sets you right about what is real and raw about country punk roots. In a rather pedestrian year for music that has included some high-profile letdowns, Holdin’ The Bag holds up to the legacy they started nearly 20 years ago.
Every true music fan craves those moments when a song and story truly disarm you and make rudimentary rubble of your capacity to keep the saline fountains at bay. Fiction can sometimes achieve these results, but there’s something deep inside the listener that is sparked when they intuitively know they’re hearing a true story being told by the one who lived it.
Each year when Saving Country Music sits down to compile the best songs, it’s done so with a solemn reverence and understanding that the idea embedded in a song has the power to change a life, and change the world. There are many songs out there that are a joy to listen to, but a Song of the Year must say something that can evoke shivers, and do so in a way nobody else has done before.
Don Williams, Everything's Gone, First Aid Kit, Garry Nicholson, Hellbound Glory, Hurray For The Riff Raff, I Lost You, Jim Lauderdale, Joseph Huber, Leon Virgil Bowers, Lloyd Maines, Lydia Loveless, Parker Milsap, Ray Benson, Streets of Aberdeen, Sturgill Simpson, Tami Neilson, The Body Electric, The Lonely Island, The Secret Sisters, Truck Stop Gospel, Turtles All the Way Down, Waitress Song, Wanchese & Manteo, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Willie Watson
The past 24 hours has seen some big signings by some worthy artists to record labels. The old-school throwback St. Louis singing and strumming song man Pokey LaFarge has signed to the prestigious Rounder Records. Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band has signed with Yazoo Records, and the Alabama-bred gritty and greasy Banditos have signed to insurgent country label Bloodshot.
Alison Krauss, Banditos, Bloodshot Records, Charley Patton, Del McCoury, Jack White, Justin Townes Earle, Lydia Loveless, Mississippi John Hurt, Neko Case, Pokey LaFarge, Re. Peyton, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Ricky Skaggs, Robert Plant, Rounder Records, Ryan Adams, Scott H. Biram, So Delicious, SXSW, Wayne 'The Train' Hancock, Willie Nelson, Yazoo Records
Indio, California’s country version of the massive Coachella Festival bucks the trend of most corporate country music festivals by casting independent artists and legacy acts in their lineup right beside some of the biggest current names in the country music industry as well as major label up-and-comers. This is the environment that cultivates cross-pollination between independent artists and a wider fan base.
Daniel Romano, Della Mae, Gregg Allman, John Moreland, Kacey Musgraves, Lineup, Lydia Loveless, Merle Haggard, Nikki Lane, Parker Milsap, Stagecoach, Stagecoach Festival, Stagecoach lineup, Steve Earle, Sturgill Simpson, The Devil Makes Three, The Quebe Sisters, The Time Jumpers, Vince Gill
That’s right ladies and gentlemen, the Nelson clan can now field three generations of performers on the stage, and the new generation is about as defiant and ass kicking as you might expect. Rearing out of the gates comes the rambunctious and ribald Raelyn Nelson and the Raelyn Nelson Band: a full throttle country rock experience, just as much Loretta Lynn as it is The Ramones.
Oh you poor little non-SXSW goers, you’re social network feeds are about to get positively inundated with South By Southwest information, riddling your psyche with scores of free music events you’re unfortunately missing out on, resulting in an experience for you somewhere between the teasings of a cruel temptress, and Chinese water torture. Here’s a list of artists that all happen to be attending SXSW…
Andrew Combs, Caitlin Rose, David Rawlings, Gillian Welch, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Jeremy Fetzer, John Fullbright, Lydia Loveless, Old Crow Medicine Show, Possessed by Paul James, Robbie Fulks, Robert Ellis, Shakey Graves, South by Southwest, Spencer Cullum, Steelism, Sturgill Simpson, SXSW, Townes Van Zandt, Turnpike Troubadours, Willie Watson
Her latest album and second LP from Bloodshot Records Somewhere Else is decidedly a more dark project with moments of real depth not seen before in Lydia’s young career. Lydia Loveless shows great maturity, depth, and diversity in her songwriting that really shines through whatever shortcomings, and makes Somewhere Else a project certainly worthy of your ears.
2014 promises to be another great year for music, and the first part of the year might just be one of the busiest seasons for anticipated releases we have seen in quite a while. From a lost Johnny Cash album, to a new one from his daughter Rosanne, to Jason Eady, a big re-issue from Lucina Williams, and releases from Scott H. Biram and Robert Ellis, there’s enough here to get your music taste buds salivating.
Beck, Bob Wayne, Charlie Parr, Dolly Parton, Doug Paisley, Goddamn Gallows, Hank3, Hard Working Americans, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Jason Eady, Jimbo Mathus, Johnny Cash, Justin Townes Earle, Lake Street Dive, Lucinda Williams, Lydia Loveless, Ray Benson, Reverend Horton Heat, Robert Ellis, Rosanne Cash, Scott H. Biram, Slackeye Slim, Suzy Bogguss, The Boomswagglers, The Whiskey Shivers, Todd Snider, Whiskey Myers
Ahead of a new full-length album promised from Lydia in 2014 is a quick little EP called “Boy Crazy.” It is a straight ahead power pop album with punkish and country undertones that draws you right in with it’s juicy hooks and melodies, witty lyrics, fun themes, and general good-timedness. It really wets your appetite for what Lydia might have coming with her new full-length project.
This Saturday, April 21st with be the 2012 installment of Record Store Day, the annual event started in 2007 to help the struggling independent record store. 2012 will go down as the year when country came busting through the Record Store Day scene with full representation, with so many projects being released taking stock of it all can be dizzying. So here is your 2012 Country Music Record Store Day Field Guide.
Blitzen Trapper, Bonnie Prince Billy, Buck Owens, Caitlin Rose, country, Everley Brothers, Justin Townes Earle, Lydia Loveless, Ralph Stanley, Record Store Day, Ricky Skaggs, Ryan Adams, Sara Watkins, The Civil Wars, The Pistol Annies, Tony Rice, Townes Van Zandt, Uncle Tupelo, Will Oldham
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
Country and folk music have a long history of joining forces to create infrastructure to help support music, principally in festival gatherings. And as the corporate music world continues to crumble and is able to support fewer artists, while capital and infrastructure to develop upcoming acts continues to contract, hip-hop and indie rock bands have been flocking to traditional roots festivals for support.
From Columbus, OH, the lovely and talented 21-year-old Lydia Loveless offers up her first album with international aspirations in Indestructable Machine, through the Bloodshot Records imprint. Rest assured, I like this album more than I don’t. But as legendary football coach Bill Parcells once said after one decent game by a young, promising quarterback, “Put the anointing oil away.”