Good music is entertaining. Great music changes lives. And on the front lines of life altering music experiences are the one man bands. Courageous, pioneering, persevering through obscurity and misunderstanding, one man bands might make up a majority of the music world’s boldness and creativity per capita. Here’s 16 of them from a wide swath of the roots world.
There are songwriters, and then there are songwriters; those folks that so effortlessly set words to the moods and moments of life and that can make you weep like a baby or wildly happy to be alive. These songwriters are there for us, creating a soundtrack for our most enduring memories, making the most of the life experience by enhancing it with music.
Austin Lucas, Bonnie Price Billy, Charlie Parr, Chris Knight, Corb Lund, Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit, Johnny Cash, Joseph Huber, McDougall, Micah Schnabel, Possessed by Paul James, Tom VandenAvond, Two Cow Garage, Will Oldham, Willy Tea Taylor
Here is the list of 25 albums Saving Country Music deems essential for 2012 listening, and then I added an extra one I couldn’t leave off. Please note this list only includes albums that have been reviewed so far. There are a few more good and important albums in 2012 that have yet to be reviewed. The first 7 albums on the list (from Little Victories to Lee Bains) were all serious considerations for SCM’s Album of the Year.
Billy Don BUrns, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Chris Knight, Davy Jay Sparrow, Don Williams, essential albums, Foghorn Stringband, Jackson Taylor, James Leg, Joe Buck, Joseph Huber, JP Harris & The Tough Choices, Justin Townes Earle, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, Left Lane Cruiser, Lone Wolf, Marty Stuart, McDougall, Paige Anderson, Rachel Brooke, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Restavrant, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Sara Watkins, The Alabama Shakes, The Calamity Cubes, Tom VandenAvond, Willie Nelson
Every year this list stirs a little controversy because people misunderstand that these are not supposed to be the songs you “like” the best, but instead is supposed to be compositions in a given year that have the most impact. They’re songs that make you change the way you see the world, or change the way you see yourself. It is reserved for those few compositions that have the ability to change lives and to change the world.
Bigsky/Flatland, Billy Don BUrns, Chris Knight, Corb Lund, Drinking Whiskey, Eric Strickland, Good Lord Lorrie, Justin Twones Earle, Kacey Musgraves, Life Ain't Fair and the World Is Mean, Man In Gray, McDougall, Merry Go Round, New Year's Eve At The Gates Of Hell, Olds Sleeper, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Sara Watkins, Shooter Jennings, Song of the Year, Stranger, Sturgill Simpson, T Junior, Tom VandenAvond, Turnpike Troubadours, Unfortunately Anna, Wreck of a Fine Man
Not everybody will be able to make the trek to The Farmageddon Music Festival going down on July 20th-22nd in West Yellowstone, Montana at Hebgen Lake. But if you’re sitting on the fence, hemming and hawing, sweating because you only have two days left before you have to ask off for that extra day of work, here’s 12 random reasons to pull the trigger.
Aran Buzzas, Bob Wayne, Dead Tree String Band, Farmageddon Fest, Farmageddon Records, Graham Lindsey, Husky Burnette, McDougall, Slackeye Slim, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Soda Gardocki, Southern Culture on the Skids, Stevie Tombstone, The Calamity Cubes, The Goddamn Gallows, Tom VandenAvond, Ugly Valley Boys
Tom VandenAvond is one of these wheel guys. They may not be the flashiest of artists, but when you sit back and study the music, you find these wheel guys are essential to it in so many ways; how everything seems to revolve around them. They are the trunk from which so much other music grows. Trace the veins of the music and you find that their songs and work create foundations and inspiration.
Some confusion always seems to dog my lists of top songs, because I’m not just looking for that catchy tune you can’t take off of repeat, I’m looking for the song that changes your world. For a song to qualify, it must be original, and barring exceptional circumstances, it must be composed by the performer. These are songs that take you somewhere.
Scott McDougall from Portland, OR might be the last of the true Romantic-era troubadours: a bardic-like, almost fantasy character that arrives in town with a bass drum on his back and guitar in hand, and sets up at the local pub to sing songs, spin tales, slay lonesome moments, and save the spiritually repressed before whisking out of town like something out of a dream.
Slowly over the past few years we’re seeing the re-emergence of both God and Jesus in roots music content, and the popularization of gospel. Why? Possibly for the same reason the devil works so well, because God and Jesus are beginning to re-emerge as “folk” characters too, that even non-religious people can identify with as personifications of good.
instead of looking at politics or ideological movements as realistic agents of change, we should look towards art and music, and let the lessons of artistic expressions enter our hearts. That, in my opinion, is the path to true happiness, and where we will find the true meaning of The American Dream.
Few artists can articulate the important and poignant message of resetting priorities in life, and do it in such an enthralling manner as Scott McDougall. The Oregon-based One Man Band is set to release his sixth album A Few Towns More on April 10th, and promises to continue to carry his fans vicariously with him as he journeys across the country.
As the new music reality continues to take shape, where one big mono genre serves the masses and micro genres crop up to serve the rest, the shape of the way live music is delivered to people is adapting as well. House concerts have gone from a kitschy trend to a legitimate way for artists to connect with attentive fans. For the upcoming festival season of 2012, a new trend is emerging: the micro festival.
Black River Bluesman, Christyfest, Cigar Box Guitars, Danny Kay, GravelRoad, Husky Burnette, Hymn For Her, Johnny Lowebow, Last Watch, Lonesome Shack, Lowebow Fest, McDougall, No Brow Productions, Olds Sleeper, Purgatory Hill, Robert Mitchell, Scissormen, Sean K Preston, Ten Foot Polecats, Weber's Deck
I think at this point it is pretty much a forgone conclusion that in 2012 we’re all going to die of death. You know, that whole Mayan thing. But I thought just to be on the safe side, just in case we all don’t die, we’ll probably want to listen to some music, so wouldn’t it be cool to know what some of your favorite artists have planned for 2012.
Adam Lee, Austin Lucas, Bob Wayne, Derek Dunn, Hellbound Glory, James Hunnicutt, Jayke Orvis, JB Beverly & the Wayward Drifters, Lone Wolf, Lonesome Wyatt, McDougall, Olds Sleeper, Peewee Moore, Possessed by Paul James, Rachel Brooke, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Roger Alan Wade, Ruby Jane, Slackeye Slim, Sunday Valley, Those Poor bastards, Whitey Morgan & The 78's, Willy Tea Taylor
The One Man Band’s of the world are the soldiers on the front lines of the cultural war. With such sonic limitations, there is no opportunity for subtly. Instead their charge is to rattle and shake awake the sleeping potential in all of us, to right the skewed priorities that the indoctrination of modern society has gilded us with, to release us from the want of the wealth and shiny things that weigh down the human spirit …
Well I’m not too sure who the hell Larry is, and why his flask is so predominately edified in the band name. What I do know is that to a man, the attendees of this year’s Muddy Roots Festival stumbled out of the hills of east Tennessee saying Larry and His Flask stole the show, […]