Ringling Road is a vibrant and well-written pronouncement of William Clark Green’s arrival as one of the new creative leaders of the next generation of country. The sensibilities to appeal to a big audience are there, but so are the country roots, and the depth of songwriting to where he can draw in both the passive toe-tappers and die hard song junkies.
Boy howdy did Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers absolutely clobber the ball out of the park with this one. When I first heard they were making this album, I thought we’d something more for the serious Red Dirt fan. Instead we get a completely fleshed out album full of original songs that rival or potentially surpass the work either of these Texas country stalwarts have done on their primary projects.
There’s just a cool factor about Dwight that appears will never wear off, regardless if the hips don’t shake and the knees don’t knock as much as they used to, or even if he’s the perfect specimen for male pattern baldness under the low brim of that cowboy hat. He’s still Dwight, and that caramel voice and cutting yodel will never be deprecated.
Some 70 years behind the times and yet still cooler than the rest of us, Pokey LaFarge is like the musical equivalent of the Austin Powers character brought out of cryogenic freeze to do battle with the forces of bad music by reminding the world of a time when popular songs still embodied taste, composition, and a timeless charisma instead of the diarrhetic pap dictated by the fickle tastes of 15-year-olds.
Brandi Carlile is exactly the type of strong-willed, vibrant and inventive female artist country music needs, yet country’s charts continue to be crested by the likes of interlopers such as Sam Hunt. Can we trade Sam Hunt to rock for Brandi Carlile, players to be named later, drafts picks, and/or cash considerations? Everyone wants to talk about where to find relevant female talent for country music, well here it is.
Hailing from the Florida region, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine is not exactly your grandpa’s bluegrass band, but they’re not solely a speed freak punk-gone-bluegrass outfit either. Combining the meticulous and highly-skilled artistry of authentic bluegrass traditions and modes with a punk-ish attitude and tempo, and adding a little bit of ribald and offbeat humor in their lyricism….
Some would argue it has been a dereliction of Saving Country Music duties that the name Eric Paslay has failed to be exclusively featured here for your reading edification previously. When you’re populating lists of mainstream artists that traditionalists or independent-minded fans might find appealing, this ginger-headed 30-something from Abilene, TX signed to EMI Nashville is an easy candidate to include.
On March 9th, 2015, the suspenders depressingly slumped off the collective shoulders of America’s over-educated and under-employed string bands, the hipster mustaches had a little less starch, and the slide in banjo sales turned into an downright tailspin as the British outfit that symbolized the very apex of 2012’s old-timey (and in many ways, unfortunate) acoustic craze officially went electric.
As a quality, not quantity kind of songwriter, James McMurtry, waiting six years to release this newest album Complicated Game, made it well worth the aching wait. McMurtry has been quoted as saying he hates writing new material, but listeners are no wiser once they behold these 12 finely-tuned works of songwriting eloquence.
Listening to the first song from the album “All Night Long,” you might be mistaken that Mono starts off right where In Time ends, but in reality if there’s any one most dominant influence on the new effort it would be Jamaican ska. The style that emphasizes the two and four of the beat is called upon in multiple tracks during ‘Mono.’ But this isn’t a ska album, or a Latin album. It’s a Mavericks album.
Who would have thought a few years ago that in 2015, Aaron Watson, Aaron Watson, would be releasing one of the most-anticipated, and potentially most impactful albums in all of 2015 in country music? Oh it’s not that Watson hasn’t been setting country music fans in Texas, Oklahoma, and on the rodeo circuit ablaze for many years.
Blackberry Smoke comes rip rearing out of Atlanta, GA with their asses on fire, delivering this power packed, rockin’, country-fried brand new offering called ‘Holding All The Roses’ that doesn’t let up, doesn’t give in, and keeps spitting out flavorful hooks, delicious riffs, and infectious grooves one after another, all adding up to one hell of a good time worthy of immediate repeat.
Fear and Saturday Night might be Bingham’s best album yet. This is an album of all peaks and no valleys. As the perfect experience for the classic rock buff hiding in every country and Americana fan, Bingham scrapes the grime off the sweaty denim of 70’s Stones and douses it with a little Dylan poetry set to grooves left in the residue of a Faces studio session and articulated with riffs that awaken the spirit of a freer time.
Why in the world as the proprietor of a country music outlet am I being tasked once again to talk about this guy? I know what some of you are going to say. “Well Trig, just ignore him!” As if I close my eyes and pretend he’s not there he will magically go away. I only wish. But instead Sam Hunt is not only very much real and in the flesh, and firmly ensconced now as a mainstream country music performer.
Looking like a hippy, writing like an Outlaw, sounding like a Texas country stalwart, and touring like there’s no tomorrow, the name Cody Jinks belongs smack dab in the mix when you’re speculating on who is the best and the brightest in the current crop of insurgent country songwriters. “Adobe Sessions” is a really solid album, and one that some are saying marks an early entry for Album of the Year.
See, this is why we’re fans of music. Because there’s something about the perseverance of the human spirit wrapped in every single piece of audio material, and every single album, regardless of how good it is. We have artists that we follow, that we’re fans of, not just because they do things that seem esoteric, but because they’re human and apt to fail.
What gives Zac Brown Band a lot more creative latitude with their music is the fact that they’re honest about not really being country. We’re all music fans first, and then our loyalties split down the lines of various genres. If only more artists were honest about their intentions, it would give us the opportunity to enjoy the music more. Zac Brown Band is a Southern rock band…
“Going Out Like That” is not just another single. It symbolizes the very first song from the NASH Icon enterprise pairing Big Machine Records with Cumulus Media in an effort to revitalize overlooked legacy artists, and the first single from Reba McEntire in nearly four years. As the precursor to a planned 2015 album release, the single also may give us a glimpse into what we can expect from a revamped Reba.
Once again Roger Alan Wade makes his case for being one of the most criminally-underrated songwriters of our generation, releasing his newest album Bad News Knockin’ right before the end of 2014 through Johnny Knoxville Records, and rocketing himself near the top for the most notable songwriting efforts for all of last year.
If you’re looking for the female equivalent to Bro-Country songs, i.e. something featuring lower brow formulaic songwriting, however less frequently they may find their way onto your radio, the proper comparison would be the “attitude song.” That’s what Miranda Lambert calls it. Miranda Lambert’s latest attitude song is called “Little Red Wagon,” and it has been announced as her latest single.