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Announced on paste.com this morning, up-and-coming authentic country performer Sturgill Simpson will release his second solo studio album called Metamodern Sounds In Country Music on May 13th. Born in Kentucky, the former from man of Sunday Valley released his debut album High Top Mountain in 2013 to critical acclaim and was nominated for Saving Country Music’s Album of The Year. Sturgill went on to be named Saving Country Music’s Artist of the Year.
“Myriad worldly offerings—religion, drugs, and more—all claim to be the omnipotent universal truth, but in my experience, love is the only certainty. That is what this record is about,” Simpson tells Paste.
The cover art is contributed by longtime Sturgill Simpson friend Jason Seiler, known for his illustration of Pope Francis for Time Magazine.
As part of the announcement, Sturgill has also released the first single from the album “Living The Dream” (listen below).
Track List for Metamodern Sounds In Country Music:
1.Turtles All the Way Down
2. Life of Sin
3. Living the Dream
5. Long White Line
6. The Promise
7. A Little Light
8. Just Let Go
9. It Ain’t All Flowers
10. Pan Bowl (bonus track)
Pictures provided by Almost Out Of Gas.
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One of the questions that comes up often in country music is “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?” There’s a lot of industry country stars that would love to tell you they’re the ones, and they record songs, print up merch, and proselytize at every turn for their candidacy to fill in for the lost country greats. But beyond the glitz and the market-driven image campaigns that surround some of mainstream country’s “New Outlaws” is an artist like Whitey Morgan and his band The 78′s—a no frills, hard-charging honky tonk outfit that tours more than anyone and brings the twang and Outlaw bass beat to country night in and night out, garnering a deep and loyal grassroots following.
But it has been around three and a half years since Whitey Morgan released a record, and rumors of an unreleased live album have been out there for the better part of two. Whitey has recently been hanging around Texas, playing some shows and getting ready to make an appearance at Dale Watson’s inaugural Ameripolitan Awards show on Tuesday, February 18th, and I sat down with him before a Friday night show at The Rattle Inn in west Austin to catch up, and ask him the question Saving Country Music has been swamped with from readers over the last few months.
People ask me this all the time and so I’ll ask you: What can you tell us about new music from Whitey Morgan?
There’s definitely been some label things happening. I’m actually off Bloodshot [Records] now. That was of my doing. I’m a do-it-yourself kind of dude. I just felt like I can do all of this on my own. The next record is going to be huge. I bust my ass out on the road like almost no other band does, and everything I have is from that. It was just time for me to do something on my own and not give away too much of my money to someone who maybe wasn’t holding up their end of the deal. I’m sure they’ll argue with you on that, but that’s a record label. I have a great booking agent now and great management. I can release a record tomorrow, on my own. I have the distribution outside of a label, I have everything I need. So what do I need a label for?
What’s the story of this live album that’s been swirling out there for a while?
The live album has been done for a year and a half. That was part of the Bloodshot thing. As soon as the live album got finished and I gave it to them is when the talk started from my end that I didn’t want to be on the label any longer. Understandably, they recoiled and said “we’re not going to really release this until we resolve whatever is going to happen in this relationship first.” It will come out when it comes out, but I’ve already forgotten about it.
So a new album is in the works?
We just recorded in El Paso for five days at an unbelievable studio with an killer producer. We got three songs just about in the bag, and we’ll be back in May for seven or eight days, and try to finish up the rest of it. It’s a place called The Sonic Ranch. It’s like no other studio I’ve ever been in or even heard about. They have three live rooms and three control rooms, all on a 3,000-acre property. They have accommodations for I think up to 30 or 40 people in different haciendas. They have a staff that does your laundry and cooks every meal for you. My management is friends with the owners. I hate the studio, but I didn’t hate this studio. I didn’t feel like I was in this studio because I could leave and walk out the studio and be forty feet to my front door and it’s just me; I have my own little hotel room right there. Most studios you can’t do that. You’re stuck in there. You can go out to the parking lot and sit in the van.
Creativity is squashed by studios that don’t have that kind of environment. I almost don’t want to tell anyone about it because I don’t need any more musicians recording there than there already are. And the equipment is unreal. Not just the recording equipment, they have tele’s galore, amps, and everything. It’s unreal. Anything you want, they have it. And it’s all because a guy that has money is passionate about music and recording. To him, it’s the ultimate dream to have musicians come hang out at his place. He’s a great dude.
I’m excited. One of the songs we recorded is an old Bobby Bare tune called “That’s How I Got To Memphis”. We put that one down and I’m really excited about that tune. It’s a little different than my kind of sound. It’s kind of got that early 80′s era sound; it’s got that minor chord in there. It’s slick. I’m trying to move on without moving too far. I know what everybody wants, they want another classic, Waylon-ish sounding album. This one’s going to be a little different, but it’s not going to be that different. We’re doing a Waylon song. I’m not going to say what Waylon song we’re doing, because I don’t think anyone’s ever covered it so I’ll keep my mouth shut on that one. But that was another song we recorded and it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever recorded in my life. The three songs are already leaps and bounds better than the last two albums I did.
The plan is we’re probably going to do an EP, maybe 7 songs. The plan is just to record as much as we can over the next few years. Even if it’s not albums, put out a 7-inch here and there, digitally release two songs. Just keep it going. Never a six month stretch without new songs. And now that I’ve got the studio I want to go to, I can’t wait to just start putting music out, now that I’m able to do it legally.
Who is the producer?
His name is Ryan Hewitt. He’s one of those guys who’s been in a lot of sessions where he was either mixing or engineering or co-producing. He mixed a lot of the Johnny Cash stuff with Rick Rubin, he did The Avett Brothers last three albums. I’ve only ever produced my shit myself. Maybe five years ago I would have been more stubborn. But now, when he’d open his mouth about something, instead of just automatically being like “No, it’s got to be my way,” I think about it from someone else’s point of view and most of the time he’s right. We worked really well together.
How are The 78′s treating you?
The last time I saw you I said that was the best band I ever had. It’s even better now. The band right now, we all get along like brothers on stage and off and that’s never happened in the history of my band. Right now, every night I’m smiling, I’m having a good time. It’s been a while. I’m trying to live a little better. But when we went into the studio my anxiety was through the roof because it’s been a while and I only had a few songs prepared really. And it just jelled.
So you feel like things are going in the right direction. Can you see it in the crowds?
Oh yeah. We’re doubling, tripling, quadrupling every show we play. The internet stuff’s been going better. Everything’s been going better. I never go into a show and it’s disappointing. It’s the management and the booking, but really it’s all of it together. The fucking band is good. The old days, we’d be touring forever but it was a half-assed band. Like I’d have a fill-in drummer for eight shows. And the last year and a half to two years it’s been a fucking good band. I would go see this band.
You played Dale Watson’s new bar down in San Antonio recently. How was that?
Big T’s Roadhouse. It’s cool man, its like Little Ginny’s Longhorn Saloon, but out in the middle of nowhere. It’s even white and red, just like Little Ginny’s. About the same-sized joint. We played it on Sunday; it was Chicken Shit Bingo. It was cool, really cool.
I want to know about your guitar.
It was brand new in 2001 I believe. But it was black with white binding. I loved it, but I always wanted a tobacco burst Tele. That’s the look I always love is tobacco burst anything. So I stripped it down, repainted it, and the “WM” I painted it on there by taking some pin striping, masking it, and spraying it. Once the original frets wore out, instead of getting a fret job, I just bought a new neck. That’s the third neck I’ve had on it. It’s the U-shaped, big baseball bat neck, and it’s got new Grover tuners on it. I love it. I go to these vintage shops and pick up these 70′s tele’s and I’m like, “Oh this thing is so rad,” and then I play it and I say, “Mine plays better” because I made it exactly how I want it to play. I ended up using mine in the studio even though they had like six unbelievable tele’s there from the 60′s and 70′s.
The 78′s are Brett Robinson – Pedal Steel, Tony Dicello – Drums, Benny James Vermeylen – Guitar and Backing Vocal, and Alex Lyon – Bass.
The grandson of Hank Williams and the son of Hank Jr. is having to deal with yet another post-contract release from Curb records, this time called Rambin’ Man, slated for release on April 1st. Insert your April Fool’s jokes here. The album will include 8 tracks of outtakes, unreleased material, and cover songs Hank3 contributed to tribute albums and other projects during his Curb years. Most of the music is stuff Hank3 fans have already heard, repackaged to look like a new album.
Hank3 entered into a 6 album contract with Curb in the late 90′s after a child custody suit and a judge forced him to get a “real job”. Curb was able to stretch Hank3′s album count to 7 by releasing Hillbilly Joker in 2011; a “hellbilly” album Curb initially rejected, but released after Hank3 had fulfilled his contract at the end of 2010. Then Curb released an outtakes album in 2012 called Lone Gone Daddy that brought the total of Curb releases on Hank3′s 6-album contract to 8. Ramblin’ Man would make it 9.
With the news of the release of Long Gone Daddy, Hank3 fans knew Curb still had unreleased material from the 3rd generation star, because a cover of Johnny Paycheck’s “I’m The Only Hell (My Momma Ever Raised)” that was rejected on his Damn Right, Rebel Proud album had yet to surface. Though Curb decided at the time that the cover song was not fit for public consumption, similar to how they rejected Hank3′s Hillbilly Joker album altogether, they see perfectly fit to release the song now on this new record.
Hypothetically, Ramblin’ Man would be the last of Hank3′s material from the Curb era, though the inevitable “Greatest Hits” card has yet to be played by the label.
Some other interesting notes from the track list: “On My Own” was a song from Hank3′s previous Curb record Risin’ Outlaw. “Ramblin’ Man” is a song by Hank Williams that Hank3 once recorded a cover of with The Melvins, as was Merle Haggards “Okie From Muskogee”. “Fearless Boogie” is a ZZ Top song Hank3 once covered on the tribute Sharp Dressed Men. “Marijuana Blues” originally appeared on Rare Breed: The Songs of Peter LaFarge.
Hank3 has previously encouraged fans to burn these albums and share them instead of buy them. He’s also indicated intention to release new material in 2014.
Ramblin’ Man Track List:
- Ramblin’ Man
- Fearless Boogie
- Okie From Muskogee
- The Only Hell (My Momma Ever Raised)
- On My Own [Full Length Version]
- Marijuana Blues
- Hang On
- Runnin’ & Gunnin’
Billy Joe Shaver is getting ready to record and release his first studio album in 7 years, according to the 74-year-old Outlaw country songwriter and performer. Shaver released a couple of live albums last year, Live At Billy Bob’s Texas and the Live from Austin, TX: Austin City Limits – August 14, 1984, but this will be the first album of new material since his 2007 predominantly Christian album, Everybody’s Brother.
“I’m doing my first studio album in seven or eight years and I’ll be doing that I think December first, second or something like that,” Shaver told the Fort Stockton Pioneer ahead of a show in Alpine, TX. “Hopefully getting it out in a couple of months. It’s all new too and different…There are some political things. The songs are so different then what’s on the radio now. It’s either going to change things around or get kicked out. One or the other. I’m hoping that this here will, as a matter of fact I know it will, it’ll kick ass…it’s going to be a good one.”
Shaver, who got his big break in country music when Waylon Jennings’ breakout album Honky Tonk Heroes included all but one Shaver-written song, also couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do a little sabre rattling about the current state of country music.
“I feel like that I’m still doing the same thing I always did, it just got lost in the shuffle because all this new stuff came in. There’s a lot of money behind these people…It’s just people trying to make money, that’s all it is and I can’t begrudge anybody for trying to make money. We’re all trying to make a living and do the best we can. I feel that the art part of it just went out the window…but every once in awhile you will hear a good song. I can’t say that it’s all bad, it’s not. It’s just most of it’s bad…It’s kind of gotten way out of hand right now I think, but the solid foundation is still there.”
Billy Joe Shaver has had a tumultuous last 7 years. After coming out of a period where his wife, his son and guitar player Eddy, and his mother all passed away in a span of 2 years, Shaver battled a bad shoulder injury, and charges stemming from a shooting at the Papa Joe’s bar near Waco in 2007 that resulted in an assault trial against the songwriter, and a song chronicling the event by Dale Watson called “Where Do You Want It?” Shaver was eventually acquitted when it was found he acted in self-defense, with help from character witnesses Willie Nelson and Robert Duvall.
***NOTE: This story has been updated.
Garth Brooks, who’s been making overtures recently about a country music comeback and new releases, will reportedly be releasing a box set called Blame It All On My Roots: Five Decades of Influences through Wal-Mart on November 28th. The initial announcement about the release was made briefly during Garth’s television special also entitled Blame It All On My Roots that aired Saturday night (11-9) on GAC. The box set will include 6 CD’s and two DVD’s, with 10 songs on each disc covering the various influences that went into Garth’s country career.
The project appears to be mirroring the theme of Garth’s recent shows in Las Vegas of exploring his roots through cover songs. Four discs will be entitled Country Classics, Classic Rock, Blue-Eyed Soul, and Melting Pot for their respective influences. Some of the songs that will be covered in the release include the classic Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn duet “After The Fire Is Gone” with wife Trisha Yearwood, Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls Of Fire,” Cat Stevens’ “Wild World,” and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson.”
Garth’s final show at Wynn Casino’s Encore Theater in Las Vegas is set to air as a CBS Special on November 28th.
Oh the irony that the man whose name is on the tip of many people’s tongues as the one who brought country music to its knees and made it more about money than music, could also be the man in the best position to ultimately help save it.
Yes ladies and gentlemen, I’m talking about Garth Brooks.
Over the past few weeks and months, Garth has been dropping hints to fans that the future will hold some big announcements, and big events. Last week he released the cryptic message, “The sevens have aligned. It has begun… Thank you for believing… love, g.” He also announced recently that he will be ending his Las Vegas residence, and that his last show on November 29th will be televised on CBS. Rumors and conjecture are swirling, but so far there has been little information that is either concrete or confirmed about Garth’s future.
In truth there’s a lot less mystery here than some would like you to believe. What’s going to happen is that here very soon, either on his November 29th TV special or shortly before or after, Garth will announce a new album, and plans for a subsequent arena/stadium tour in support, and it will all transpire in 2014. As much as Garth may want to get everybody buzzing with speculation and anticipation, this is exactly what he said he was going to do when he quote “retired” from country music in 2000. He said then that he wanted to take more time to be with his family, and that once his kiddos were done with school, he’d ponder a return. And lo and behold, his youngest daughter Allie is now 17, and scheduled to graduate High School this year. So yes, 7′s are aligning, or whatever.
This is 2013, and everything surrounding the name “Garth Brooks” has changed. If you’re taking to some social network channel to beam, “Hey you know what? With the crap that’s out there today in country music, Garth Brooks doesn’t even sound half that bad,” then you are already a couple of years behind the relevant opinion curve. Whatever Waylon Jennings said or didn’t say about Garth, pantyhose, and a certain element of foreplay that Garth was the equivalent to, it’s all virtually irrelevant at this point. The simple fact is Garth Brooks, despite a nearly 15-year absence from the full-time music hustle, is as poised as any to make major waves in the country music world, and to do so his way.
In many ways the 7′s have aligned for Garth, and not just because of the particulars of his personal life. Last year George Strait announced he would end full-time touring, and he’s making his final rounds on the arena/stadium circuit as we speak. Both Alan Jackson and Vince Gill have recently accepted their fate that they’re no longer top tier concert draws, and have gone in a more rootsy direction and taken their places as country music legacy acts. Even Kenny Chesney said recently he’s going to take a break from touring. All of this leaves a massive void in the country music touring realm for a big-drawing, well-established artist.
But just what shape will Garth’s triumphant return take? That is really the only question left to answer. We really don’t have much intel or insight into this subject this early in his phase of returning, but what I do feel confident in going on the record as saying is that I don’t see Garth getting involved in either the country rap or laundry list lyric craze, or any other current pop country trend. As much as Garth’s detractors hate to admit it, one of the reasons he retired, and one of the reasons his regrettable Chris Gains era reared its ugly head is because Garth was bored, and didn’t want to chase trends. Garth wanted to make his own trends, and his own music. Whatever Garth does, it will be true to Garth.
And Garth also won’t do anything unless he knows it’s going to be successful, both with its reception and its financial reward. He’s already voiced concerns about how the digital age will effect his ability to release music. If/when he does release music and go on tour, he will have all bets hedged, and it will be huge.
And even if Garth gets out on stage and acts like a jukebox of his Greatest Hits with some new material mixed in, this will offer such a stark contrast to country music’s current flavors, it will immediately constitute a positive counter-balance, swinging the scales in whatever degree back to the true sound of country music. Look at what Garth has been doing at his Vegas shows. He’s been stripping them back, just him and his acoustic guitar, playing songs from Merle Haggard and George Jones. I don’t expect to see this specifically from his reboot, but I do expect it to be traditional and substantive in nature compared to the current country mainstream. Garth isn’t going to be able to fool anyone. He can’t fit in Luke Bryan’s skinny jeans. He’s going to get out there and be Garth, and by the sheer draw of a man who’s bested only by Elvis in album sales in music history will create a dramatic amount of interest, and assert a tremendous amount of influence.
The Coal Miners Daughter and Country Music Hall of Famer Loretta Lynn has been forced to cancel a couple of weekend shows after cracking two ribs last weekend right before a big concert at her ranch in Hurricane Mills, TN. The 78-year-old was trying to get her guitar out of a closet when it apparently fell on her, forcing her into a dresser and breaking two of her ribs. She persevered through the pain for her big Labor Day show, not appreciating the severity of her injury, but has decided the pain is too unbearable to play two separate shows at Choctaw Casino Resorts in Oklahoma this weekend. Both shows have been rescheduled for December 29th and 30th.
“I’ve had to cancel my shows in Oklahoma this weekend. I hate more than anything to miss shows, but sometimes you just have to,” Loretta explained to her fans. “I’m like an accident waiting to happen these days. I was trying to get my guitar down out of my closest and the dang thing fell on top of me causing me to fall into my dresser. All this happened right before my big Labor Day Concert at my Ranch in Hurricane Mills. I didn’t know how bad I hurt myself until the next day. Come to find out I had broken two of my ribs. We are rescheduling the shows now.”
Loretta’s next set of shows, staring in Daytona Beach, FL on September 13th are still scheduled.
Even at 78, Loretta has been staying busy, telling Billboard Magazine recently that she wishes to collaborate with Jack White again. The pairing was responsible for Loretta’s landmark album Van Lear Rose in 2004. She also said she has three separate projects on the way—a Christmas album, a gospel album, and a collaboration with singer songwriter Shawn Camp on an album of mountain songs.
Texas singer/songwriter, one man band, multi-instrumentalist, Teacher of the Year, and dedicated husband and father Possessed by Paul James has announced that he will be releasing his next album There Will Be Nights When I’m Lonely on October 29th through Hillgrass Bluebilly Records. The follow up to his 2010 Independent Music Award-winning Feed The Family features 13 brand new original tracks recorded in Austin, TX.
Nights When I’m Lonely was recorded at Burns Audio by Grammy Awarded engineer Cris Burns, and features contributions by world-renown producer and steel-guitar player Lloyd Maines, legendary harmonica player Walter Daniels, Cary Ozanian and Darren Sluyter from The Weary Boys, and members of Austin-based band East Cameron Folkcore. Mastered by Jim Diamond (The White Stripes, The Fleshtones & more) and recorded in the spring and summer of this year, Night’s When I’m Lonely showcases Possessed by Paul James’s creative brilliance with more attention and effort than ever before, while taking great care to not suffocate, but enhance the magic that has made him one of the most coveted live solo performers throughout The United States and Europe.
Possessed by Paul James is a titan of the deep blues scene, a well-respected songwriter, a musician known equally for his prowess as a singer, fiddler, banjo and guitar player, and a leader of independent roots music. Drawing from blues, country, folk, and punk rock, Possessed by Paul James’s music has been described by many as more of a life-changing event than a musical experience. He channels the spirit of music through himself like none other on stage, and leaves crowds staggered.
By day Possessed by Paul James, aka Konrad Wert is an elementary school teacher working with developmentally disadvantaged children, and was awarded Teacher of the Year honors at his school last year, illustrating how music is just one way this gifted musician can touch lives.
There Will Be Nights When I’m Lonely can be pre-ordered now through the link below. It will also be available for pre-order on iTunes on October 1st.
- Songs We Used To Sing
- Back Down Here On Earth
- Where Does All The Time Go
- There Will Be Nights When I’m Lonely (Intro)
- There Will Be Nights When I’m Lonely
- Soy Muriendo
- 38 Year Old Cocktail Waitress
- 40 Days & 40 Nights
- Sweet But Bitter Life
- Pills Beneath Her Pillow
Hank Williams III has been on extended touring hiatus, one of the longest of his career, as his drummer Shawn “McNasty” Williams had surgery to repair a rotator cuff, reattach his bicep tendon, and remove bone spurs. But the grandson of Hank Williams has apparently been using the time well, writing and recording a big chunk of new material. He announced on his website this morning that he has two new albums on the way and 25 new songs written:
“I’m workin as hard as I can and as fast as I can to finish two records up. Right now I’m 25 songs deep in writin’ while playin’ guitar, singin’, doin’ my own drum tracks, then recording the other players. After that comes mixin’ it, master’n it, the artwork…Once all that is done it’ll be turned in. One is a country record…I’m not really sayin’ anything about the other record…As it looks right now, hopefully we can be on the road by May…“
In January drummer Shawn McWilliams said the “The green light was real close” in regards to his physical therapy regiment and recovery. “This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to go through,” McWilliams said, “I can not wait to start playing.”
Hank3 released an unprecedented 4 albums on September 6th of 2011 after his production had been stymied by Curb Records for over 14 years. His initial plan was to focus on touring for years after, but the break in the action from his drummer’s injury means fans will be getting new material sooner than later. As always, Hank3 is recording in a DIY style, and will be releasing the records himself. As he told Saving Country Music in an interview:
Nowadays the independents have an opportunity they didn’t have 20 years ago. You don’t need a major label. All my new records are done on that same D1600 machine “Straight to Hell” was done on.
UPDATE 5/2/13: From Hank3′s website, “Artwork for the new releases is being finished up and after that, it will all be turned over for distribution. A release date will be posted when possible, as well as any tour dates, once a full schedule is confirmed.”
2013 is already shaping up to be an excellent year for real country music, with some of the heavy hitters slating new releases before we even hit Easter. Just announced, Dale Watson and his Lone Stars have a brand new album titled El Rancho Azul to be released January 29th through Red House Records, featured 14 original songs and being touted as his “honkiest tonkiest” album yet of his 21-album career.
Recorded at Willie Nelson’s legendary Pedernales Studio in Austin, Dale used his own band of Chris Crepps on upright bass, Mike Bernal on drums, Don “Don Don” Pawlak on pedal steel, with Danny Levin sitting in on piano and fiddle.
Originally it was announced that the album would be titled I Lie When I Drink (the opening track) when the first single from the album “Daughter’s Wedding Song” was released in late August of 2012. “I’m often asked to recommend a song for the father/daughter dance,” Dale says. “I usually say Merle Haggard’s ‘Farmers Daughter.’ The only problem is that, in the song, the mother is gone. So one day I told this couple I would write one special for the dance. While writing, I drew on my two daughters for inspiration and started crying halfway through it. I figured if it hit my heart strings, maybe it’ll hit the heart strings of fathers and daughters everywhere.”
The recently-divorced Dale takes the listener on a journey through love and heartache in El Rancho Azul. As you can expect with Dale spending most of his time entertaining Texas two-steppers in Austin’s dancehall haunts like The Broken Spoke, the album includes some songs written specifically for dancing. “Quick Quick Slow Slow” is a two-step tune, while the following “Quick Slow Slow” is a waltz.
|1. I Lie When I Drink|
|2. Where Do You Want It|
|3. I Drink to Remember|
|4. Cowboy Boots|
|5. We’re Gonna Get Married|
|6. Daughter’s Wedding Song|
|7. Quick Quick Slow Slow|
|8. Slow Quick Quick|
|9. Give Me More Kisses|
|10. Drink Drink Drink|
|11. I Can’t Be Satisfied|
|12. I Hate to Drink Alone|
|13. Smokey Old Bar|
|14. Thanks to Tequila|
The King of Juke Joint Swing, The Viper of Melody, one Wayne “The Train” Hancock will be releasing his first album in nearly 3 years on February 26th called Ride through Bloodshot Records.
“Well folks just wanted to let ya know I’m now a Double A Daddy (means I’m clean and sober),” Hancock announced on Saturday (1-4), referencing one of the signature songs from his first album Thunderstorms & Neon Signs. “Starting the New Year off with a new attitude! We got the new album coming out in Feb. and tours to follow. See ya all down the road.”
UPDATE: The title track and first single from ride has just been released! Listen below.
And that’s not the only new Wayne Hancock album out. On the day after Christmas, Bloodshot Records released Choice Cuts: Best of Wayne Hancock as part of the label’s digital-only series meant to give new fans an easy way to catch up on an artist, or old fans the ability to find an artist’s best songs in one place. Wayne’s Best Of also includes a rare duet track of his hit “Juke Joint Jumping” featuring Hank Williams III. Previously the track was only available on Bloodshot’s For A Decade of Sin compilation released in 2005.
Hancock has had substance and alcohol issues in the past. In June of 2011, Wayne entered rehab to help with his “long-term fight with addiction.” But hopefully Wayne is on the right track now, and as the saying goes, THE TRAIN WILL ROLL ON.
Sitting on a shelf somewhere inside the Curb Records complex was an album called This Ain’t Country that Hank III had turned into them for release. The ensuing legal battle over the release of the album is where the cold war between Curb and Hank III became hot. Curb sat on the album, never releasing it, and refusing to allow Hank III to release it independently or on another label. Now Curb has decided to release it many years later, as well as possibly other shelved recordings as a title called Hillbilly Joker. It is due out April 5th, 2011 and can be pre-ordered through Amazon. It appears it will be available on vinyl, as well as CD & MP3.
This Ain’t Country would probably be best described as a blend of Hank III’s country band, and his heavy metal band Assjack. Hank III regularly performs a ‘Hellbilly’ set between the two distinctly different live sets, and the This Ain’t Country material takes from that middle set. This Ain’t Country has been distributed in the underground for years as a bootleg, and some of the songs appeared on Hank III’s heavy metal Assjack release. The name ‘Hillbilly Joker’ comes from This Ain’t Country’s opening track.
The album was recorded in the early 2000′s, and once Curb would not release it, an online petition was started that read in part:
Music is probably the most widespread form of expression throughout the world, crossing many boundaries of race, religion, and gender. When an artist is not allowed to have his or her voice heard because of oppression from those with different views, I consider this a sad and unrighteous act by those who won’t let them speak out.
The purpose of this petition is to bring to light the voices of those people who would like to have a fair chance to listen to the recorded material by Hank Williams III and Assjack known as “This Ain’t Country.” By having Curb Records release this material as an album available to us, the consumer, the true diversity and talent of the performing artists can finally be heard.
I believe that Curb records and fans of Hank Williams III would both benefit from the release if this proposal were accepted, the records would sell and the public would not be denied what we want to hear; it’s the right thing to do financially and morally. Thank you.
Hypothetically this release is the resolution of this petition. I am very curious to find out what Hank III feels about this. He might be happy that it is finally getting released, or he may not appreciate Curb making money off of him now that he has left.
Hank III is saying “Don’t buy it, but get it some other way and burn the hell out of it and give it to everyone.”
The cover art and track list has also been added:
|1. Hillbilly Joker|
|2. I’m Drunk Again|
|3. Life Of Sin|
|4. 10 Feet Down|
|5. Pistol Packin’|
|6. Tennesse Driver|
|8. Now He’s Dead|
|9. Drink It, Drug It|
- – - – - – - – - – - – -
The female reincarnation of Hank Williams, one Rachel Brooke, has announced she will have a new album coming out this Fall called Down in the Barnyard. No specific release date yet, stay tuned.
This comes on the heels of some concert dates she will be sharing with Jayke Orvis coming up in late September, early October. The tour will also feature James Hunnicutt, and members of The Goddamn Gallows fleshing out the band.
“There are other projects in the works, including another album with Lonesome Wyatt, which I have also been working on. More info on that later!”
And she’s now drumming for a punk band called The Clots. AND she’s hot. Real hot. That’s makes Rachel Brooke officially cooler than everyone else in the world, and I hate her for it.
Here’s the concert dates so far, more coming:
- Sep 23 2010 8:00P Linnemans Milwaukee, WI
- Sep 24 2010 9:30P Bottoms Up Pekin, Illinois
- Sep 28 2010 8:00P Brass Rail Fort Wayne, IN
- Sep 30 2010 8:00P Handlebar Greenville, SC
- Oct 2 2010 8:00P Kung Fu Neck Tie Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Oct 5 2010 8:30P Belvedere’s Pittsburgh, PA
- Oct 6 2010 8:30P The Crooked I Erie, PA
Well after a long drought of Hank III news, now it’s coming hard and heavy. The latest is that his next album, and the first as an independent artist free of the iron claw of Curb Records, will be called Whiskey Hound With A Southern Sound, and is scheduled to be released in April 2011.
This info comes from Hank III’s Wikipedia page, and we all know Wikipedia can be a shaky source. But hell, I’ll run with it and if it turns out to be false, I’ll figure out a way to blame Toby Keith and Tim McGraw for it.
The timing would makes sense, as it was recently revealed right here that Hank III’s Curb contract is up on Dec. 31st, 2010. Hypothetically any music he writes or records between now and New Years would still be property of Curb, so a 4 month cushion would make sense. Hank III has said in interviews recently that he will first attempt to be a truly independent artist, and try to use his strong grass roots network and a distribution company to sell his music. But if this does not work, he is open to the idea of signing with another label. III has also mentioned wanting to release a heavy metal album as well shortly after the Curb contract is up.
Hank III recently said that Curb had been “holding me back creatively for years.” (read or listen to recent Hank III interviews)Now fans and critics of his recent albums will finally get to see what the Free Hank III has to offer. It will easily be his most anticipated release.
When maestro mandolin player and songwriter Jayke Orvis left the .357 String Band, some heavy metal transplants were screeching that he took all of their grittiness, guts, and anger with him. Taking that theory to its natural conclusion, I guess a few were expecting his solo project to be some sort of bloodletting ritual that would summon the mandolin Mephistopheles to harvest our souls in a moment of death metal ecstasy. Unfortunately they will have to settle for great songwriting, and superb arrangement fleshed out by a mouth-watering assemblage of country superpickers.
If I got a bug to make an album and could put together a dream list of people to help me, James Hunnicutt (Wayne Hancock, The Revolvers, to many others to list) would be at the top for lead guitar. “Banjer” Dan Mazer would be there as well. Then take the other traveling members of JB Beverley & The Wayward Drifters and Old-Timey Avery from Jayke’s current band The Goddamn Gallows, and you’ve got a comic book-style supergroup assembled ready to fight crime. Well, more like supervillans ready to make it.
First and foremost, It’s All Been Said is a country album. There’s some bluegrass and some of the gothic feel at times, but this is a singer/songwriter album straddling the mid-tempo and exploring traditional country themes. This doesn’t mean there’s no energy and attitude; on the contrary. If years down the road underground country dries up and we all move on to become heroin addicts listening to fusion jazz or something, this album will be almost a textbook example of the post-punk country era when kids growing up listening to punk and metal infused a new energy into traditional country in a brilliant way.
The album starts out with a dark montage, then launches right into one of the standout tracks, the bluegrass instrumental “Yankee Taste.” Every good album has what I like to call a ‘sweet spot’ or a series of songs that you can listen through without fast forwarding, and that work together as a group. The whole second half of this album is a sweet spot, starting with the rapid fire lyrics and blazing Hunnicutt guitar on “Thunderbolts and Lightning.” The song “Streets” might be the best on the album, and it certainly is the best arranged, with infectious harmonies, JB Beverly singing a verse, and a pseudo-live audio bed that gives it a very Viva Terlingua feel.
There’s not a ton of blazing mandolin on this album as some might expect, but the songs “Dreadful Sinner” and “Shady Grove Gypsy Moon” illustrate what the Jayke Orvis mando style is all about. He has an uncanny ability to orchestrate notes, chords, and runs that present the theme and mood of a song perfectly, and then he executes with a dizzying preciseness. His playing is super clean; very wise and thought out, almost like he’s playing off of sheet music. And the way he utilizes dark chords and minor movements makes his mandolin songs hauntingly epic.
I didn’t feel a ton of direction or continuity in this album, especially in the first half. But I think that is what Jake is hinting at with the album title. He not trying to be cute or conceptual. This is a collection of songs he’s written over a period of time assembled on an album, instead of concocting some grand idea to work from, and letting the concept get in the way of the content as is so often the case. Jayke is not a dedicated frontman, nor a crooner. He’s a sideman who can write a song, and has the confidence and the skills to be the frontman when called upon. This unselfish, wise approach has resulted in some superb music with numerous projects.
When Jayke was let go from the .357 String Band, fans took sides and debated the move. Regardless of the outcome or opinions, what it illustrated was that people cared, and that people were paying attention. This is good. It was a sign of vitality. Jayke could have gone back to Michigan and worked in a machine shop after that. But he emerged as much more than just the former .357 mandolin player. He emerged as Jake “Goddamn” Orvis, a name that has meaning without being prefaced by a band. He took a punch, got right back up, and now stands as a top-tier musician in underground roots in talent, accomplishment, and legacy.
It’s All Been Said is the maiden voyage for Farmageddon Records, and can be purchased at newrootsorder.com.
Have to say I was impressed with the artwork as well.
Dale Watson has ready a new album called Carryin’ On, and it will be released on August 24th via Koch Records.
Dale has made a country music career out of defying convention, but he defies his own convention with this new album. As discussed in Separating Music City From Music Row, the writer of “Nashville Rash” recorded the album at Nashville’s Hilltop Studios, and used legendary Nashville session players Lloyd Green, Hargus Robbins, and Pete Wade.
From The Tennessean:
“People say, ‘What are you doing? You hate Nashville. But I don’t hate Nashville. I hate what has been done to the music that I love, the music that came from Nashville and that was invented in Nashville. I’m 100 percent inspired by what Nashville was.”
Apparently Koch Records did not pick Dale, Dale picked them. He funded the album himself, and then sought out distribution.
“I knew the only way to make a record like this was to keep the labels out of it. I financed it myself. It cost me a lot of money, but I don’t do this for the money. This was the dream record for me. It’s been my dream to get a record done in this town, in Nashville, in the way I knew it could be done.”
Carryin’ On can be pre-ordered HERE, and as album artwork, track list and previews get populated, you should be able to find them there as well.
Probably the best pure songwriter in underground country, one Bob Wayne, has announced that he has signed with the record label Century Media, and will be releasing an album through them called From The Camper to The Cadillac.
“I just turned in the album and it sounds killer. All my other CD’s–’Blood To Dust’ was kinda a fluke, we just did it for fun, I didn’t really know what I was doing. At that point I was just techin’ for Hank III and those guys helped me out. And ’13 Truckin’ Songs,’ we just kinda threw that one together too. ‘Driven By Demons’ we kinda took our time on but most of that we recorded in the motorhome behind clubs. The songs were there, but this record we actually had money and time.
“I did it with Andy (Gibson) but we actually took our time, and actually revisited some of the old songs that were kinda half-assed recorded. So we re-visited some of the old greats, and there’s some new ones on there too. And the old ones are WAY better sounding, so it’s gonna be awesome, but its not coming out till February, because they need time to press.”
“I would’ve never went with them (Century) if I didn’t already have some family roots with them. I have some close friends and stuff that work there, and that’s how it all kind of happened.
Bob Wayne made his announcement on Outlaw Radio’s 100th Episode, where you can hear the rest of Bob’s interview, as well as words from many other artists who called in to congratulate Jashie P on #100.
Previously it had been announced that Joe Buck singed with Century, but it sounds like that might be up in the air. We still might see his Demon in My Head CD, but it may not be released by Century.
Simply put, Brigitte London is one the best singers of our time, and if you have heard her, you’re nodding in agreement right now.
On Tuesday (6-21) she will release her latest record called Bare Bones, which as the name implies, is just her, a guitar, and a little bit of reverb. No band, no bull, just Brigitte’s bold voice and beautiful songs. It was recorded at the studio for the band Vallejo.
“I was talking with Omar (Vallejo) about wanting to do an acoustic record, and instead of using a full band even with an acoustic based sound, I decided to just go in with my guitar. Omar poured us some Gentleman Jack, I sat down with my guitar and ran through the songs while he rolled tape, and kept them warts and all – so that they were real. No do overs.”
This may sound like a lazy, low-budget alternative to a fleshed out LP, but the effect is mining the pure heart of Brigitte’s songs, and forging a memorable, noteworthy project.
I wonder what would happen to most of the pop country stars in Nashville nowadays if you stripped them down to their bare bones: took away their nine-piece nameless band in the back shadows of the stage, hid their auto-tuners, handed them an acoustic guitar and said “good luck” as a lonely stool awaited them at stage center. With Bare Bones, Brigitte takes this dare willingly, bearing all brave-faced and bold, with the result being some of her best music to date.
Good songwriters write good songs. Great songwriters know how to write good songs that also play to their strengths. Brigitte London exemplifies this, matching the sweet spot of her vocal range with the poignant moments in the lyrics, driving the theme of the song home like a dagger in a broken heart. The inflections and runs she delivers with her voice are no less mesmerizing than a maestro with their instrument. She’s purified soul that is so painful it transcends genre, and she meshes it all together with subtly masterful guitar playing.
Stripped down, Brigitte is allowed at times to toy with tempo. Nothing is in danger of diluting the dynamics of her voice, or walking over the subtitles of her surprising guitar playing. In the 90′s acoustic albums were all the rage, spurned on by MTV’s “Unplugged.” Then it began to feel contrived. But with Brigitte, it feels just right. When listening to her other music with a band, you hear different things now, you spy the subtitles, you appreciate the skeleton from which the meat of the song hangs.
There’s no better example of how Music Row lets the best talent of our time slip away in lieu of the glittering sugar high of pop than Brigitte London. Her song “Fools Gold” on the surface is about jilted love, but seems to take a double meaning:
“You want what you have, to stay the same
Don’t rock the boat, don’t speak my name
But nothing is as it seems, someday you will know
That a diamond slipped through your fingers
When you grabbed on to Fools Gold.”
I will say that this album is not for every mood, or every moment. Individually all the songs can stand alone, but this may not be the best album to listen to cover to cover. Standout tracks are the brilliant lyricism of “Desperately,” the aforementioned “Fools Gold,” and Brigitte’s new take on her signature song “Saddle Mountain,” as well as her take on Roger Alan Wade’s “The Reckless Kind,” which is the only song on the album she didn’t write. My favorite was the title track “Bare Bones,” which about perfectly matches songwriting with the concept of this album.
Most music is by men, for men. My guess is this record, just like Brigitte’s others, will speak to women in their own language, without alienating the male listener. Brigitte does a beautiful job portraying the hard, strong exterior of an “Outlaw” woman, without being afraid of showing the frail side as well. In Bare Bones, there’s nothing to hide behind.
Bare Bones is available at Brigitte London live shows, and will be available through iTunes and other digital distributors on June 21st.
Justin Townes Earle has finished his 3rd full length album called Harlem River Blues, and it is due out September 14th on Bloodshot Records. It was recorded in late May, and according to JTE, “We got a little Rock n roll on this one folks,” as he wanted to re-create the “soulful sounds of Memphis, The Staple Singers and Otis Redding.”
Justin now lives in the East Village of New York, and talked about the album and it’s title in a Paste Magazine Interview:
“I drove over the Harlem River one time and it was just the most desolate-looking thing I’d ever seen…it’s just the nastiest body of water you’ve ever seen in your life. And I guess it just kind of inspired me a little bit.”
A fairly all-star cast of contributors was lined up for the album, including former Drive By Trucker Jason Isbell, Paul Niehaus from Calexico, and Ketch Secor from Old Crow Medicine Show. Earle co-produced the album with long time friend Skylar Wilson; the first time JTE has tried his hand at producing.
Below you can click on links to live performances of songs likely to make their way on to the album.
*This story has been updated.
Well I knew there was a new album called Hillbilly Fever coming from traditional country rising star Lucky Tubb and his band the Modern Day Troubadours, but I didn’t know it was coming so quickly.
The album will be released tomorrow (5-11) and will feature 10 tracks, including a few with Wayne “The Train” Hancock, including the title song. 6 of the songs can presently be heard in their entirety on Lucky’s myspace site. You can also preview all the tracks and order the album from Lone Star Music by clicking here. Lucky’s albums are solely available through Lone Star Music.
I really like what I’m hearing so far, and as soon as I get a copy in my hands, you’ll be getting a review in front of your eyes.
Also for anyone in or around the Dallas TX area, Lucky and Wayne will be playing a show together at the famed Granada Theater on July 9th.
This is traditional country at its finest!
2. Sweet Sweet Kisses
3. Blue Monday Blues
4. Honky Tonkin’s All We’ve Got
5. Hillbilly Fever
6. You Sure Look Lonesome
7. Tired of What You Don’t Do
8. Not At All
9. Nashville Operator
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