So we’re close enough to the half way pole in 2015 to start thinking about what the best has been so far, and to get ready for what is sure to be a pretty exciting second half of 2015 for album releases. There’s been some big surprises, a few letdowns, but overall 2015 so far has been a pretty varied season for releases.
Like an ancient family photo happened upon in an old box in a dusty attic, with gaunt faces from the late 1800’s all Stoic and staring forlorn into the distance with blurry eyes from being unable to sit still as the exposure took, Bad Omen leaves you with a foreboding feeling well after you’ve left its presence simply from the knowledge that such a haunting thing exists.
If you’re looking for the country music female revolution’s representative for true neotraditional country, Kelsey Waldon might just be your perfect match. If this album was released in the 70’s, it would have birthed a slew of indelible country standards. Such inconsolable heartbreak, such sorrow-drenched insight is captured on these tracks and then embellished with tasteful production…
Brandy Clark, Brett Resnick, Caitlin Rose, First Aid Kit, Holly Williams, Jeremy Fetzer, Kacey Musgraves, Kelsey Waldon, Kitty Wells, Lindi Ortega, Merle Haggard, Michael Rinne, Rachel Brooke, Review, Skylar Wilson, Steelism, Tammy Wynette, The Gold Mine
Every New Years as revelers across the country celebrate the symbolic reset of the calendar, a much more somber anniversary passes in the realm of country music. On January 1st, 1953, Hank Williams passed away in the back seat of his powder blue Cadillac somewhere on the road near Oak Hill, West Virginia of heart failure, forever robbing country music of its first superstar at the age of 29.
Andy Norman, Arty Hill, Bobby Tomberlin, Braxton Schuffert, Charles Carr, death, Hank Williams, Jake Penrod, Joey Allcorn, Kyle Wilson, Midnight, Midnight: The Death of Hank Williams, Rachel Brooke, The Last Ride, Wayne Mills
One of the great things about roots music is its Gothic legacy of cautionary tales, ghost stories, murder ballads, messages to the infirmed, and other such methods of macabre that allow country and roots artists to paint in dark colors when they so choose. This makes roots music one of the best realms to draw from when putting together your Halloween playlist.
.357 String Band, Black Jake & The Carnies, Creech Holler, Dad Horse Experience, Devil Makes Three, Filthy Still, Goddamn Gallows, Jay Munly, Jayke Orvis, Joe Buck Yourself, Joel Kaiser & The Devil's Own, Larry & His Flask, Lincoln Durham, Lindi Ortega, Lonesome Wyatt, Nick Cave, O' Death, Pine Box Boys, Pinebox Serenade, Rachel Brooke, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Reverend Glasseye, Rodentia, Serial Killer, Shakey Graves, Slackeye Slim, Slaughter Daughters, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Sons of Perdition, Squidbillies, Strawfoot, Th' Legendary Shack Shakers, The Bloody Jug Band, The Dinosaur Truckers, The Haunted Windchines, The Perreze Farm, The Slow Poisoner, Those Poor bastards, Tom Waits, unknown hinson, Viva Le Vox, Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys
The underground country movement initially formed around the mid 90’s not because somebody launched a website or a record label. It wasn’t because of a festival or because someone came up with a special name for a new genre. It came from the songs artists were writing, recording, and performing; songs that spoke very deep to the hearts of hungry listeners.
.357 String Band, Goddamn Gallows, Hank Williams, Hank Williams III, Hank3, Jayke Orvis, JB Beverly & the Wayward Drifters, Joe Buck, Lonesome Wyatt, Rachel Brooke, The Boomswagglers, Those Poor bastards, Wayne Hancock
Country music throwback Joey Allcorn, known for his classic style and appreciation for traditional country, is putting together a benefit album for the Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery, AL. Also slated to appear on the album are the Queen of Underground Country, Rachel Brooke, Jake Penrod, David Church, Arty Hill, Andy Norman, and Bobby Tomberlin.
Andy Norman, Arty Hill, benefit, Bobby Tomberlin, Braxton Schuffert, Charles Carr, David Church, Hank Williams, Hank Williams Museum, Jack Cardwell, Jake Penrod, Joey Allcorn, Midnight: The Death of Hank Williams, Rachel Brooke, The Death of Hank Williams
We’ve talked about 7 Men Who Could Immediately Make Country Music Better, now let’s take a look at 9 women who could do the same. It’s been well documented that here in 2013, the women of country are outpacing the men when it comes to the quality of music–women like Kacey Musgraves who’ve seen breakout commercial success.
Ashley Monroe, Cary Ann Hearst, Dixie Chicks, Emmylou Harris, Eric Church, First Aid Kit, Holly Williams, Kellie Pickler, Lindi Ortega, Pistol Annies, Rachel Brooke, Shovels & Rope, The Civil Wars, The Trishas, Valerie June
As evidenced by Ashes & Angels, Fifth on the Floor doesn’t need to piggy back off of any name. They are a tight knit group of musician friends with formidable musical skills and a top notch ear for arrangement and composition. Despite the average songwriting effort– an effort that still boast some elevated moments–the appeal for this band rests in their ability to get you to lose yourself in the music.
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
“Country must evolve” is the way it is sold to the country music public when pop and hip-hop influences are invited into the country music fold. What these folks fail to point out is that country has been trying to evolve for 30 some odd years right under their noses. Are you looking for true progress and evolution in country music? Look no further than this list of women.
Abigail Washburn, Amanda Shires, Anderson Family Bluegrass, Asleep at the Wheel, Be Good Tanya's, Bela Fleck, Brandi Carlile, Caitlin Rose, Dale Watson, First Aid Kit, Hank Williams, Jolie Holland, Kacey Musgraves, Kasey Chambers, Liz Rose, Neko Case, Paige Anderson, Rachel Brooke, Rounder Records, Ruby Jane, Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, The Beach Boys, The Carter Family, The Trishas, Tom Waits, Uncle Earl, Willie Nelson
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
One of the most remarkable music events of 2012 must be how Nashville and some of its biggest, most bloated and notorious corporate citizens did the inexplicable: they began to tackle the issue of the massive talent glut in American roots music. All of a sudden the big boys in the media business are playing a part in re-populating the country and roots music farm system that for years has been anemic and ignored.
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
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
Rachel Brooke is one of the few select artist with enough mustard to rise out of the ashes of the country music underground and become a force in the greater roots world. Like an early Emmylou Harris, the music industry should be shuttling her across the country to lend her singular vocal texture to other projects in between putting out excellent solo albums that time finds hard to forget.
2012 was a bumper crop year for great albums in the greater country music world, and that necessitates a bolstered lineup of candidates for Saving Country Music’s coveted Album of the Year. 7 total made the list, with others admittedly getting completely screwed by their absence. I already have a bead of sweat forming across my brow brought on by the impossible decision of who I’m supposed to pick off this list.
100 Proof, Bloody Jug Band, Cabin Fever, Calamity Cubes, Cigarettes & Truckstops, Coffin Up Blood, Corb Lund, Eric Strickland, Goodbye Normal Street, Honky Tonk Till I Die, James Hand, Justin Townes Earle, Kellie Pickler, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, Lindi Ortega, Mighty Lonesome Man, New Year's Poem, Olds Sleeper, Rachel Brooke, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Turnpike Troubadours
I have been struggling to write this article for almost two years, but have been putting it off because there’s some hard things to say, and I didn’t want to “talk down” a movement that was already trying to deal with pretty alarming trends. But I think that especially now, zooming out and trying to be honest and critical in a constructive way is important, because there is positively no doubt that underground country is dying.
.357 String Band, Bob Wayne, Dale Watson, Hank3, Hellbound Glory, Larry & His Flask, Leroy Virgil, Muddy Roots, Pickathon, Rachel Brooke, Reinstate Hank, Reverend Horton Heat, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Shooter Jennings, Sturgill Simpson, Th' Legendary Shack Shakers, The Goddamn Gallows, Those Poor bastards, Underground country, unknown hinson
The Queen of Underground Country, the lovely and talented Rachel Brooke will be releasing her new album A Killer’s Dream on December 4th, featuring Florida’s Viva Le Vox as her backing band, and a duet with Lonesome Wyatt of Those Poor Bastards. This will be her 3rd full-length album. Watch the world premier video for the song “The Black Bird”.
Lindi Ortega evokes the ghost of Patsy Cline and the cool factor of Wanda Jackson. Like with Elizabeth Cook, you almost can’t believe that an artist whose beauty is so stark would find appeal in the lower rungs of the music world; that they would settle on being real instead of real famous. But don’t let the beauty fool you, Lindi is the real deal.