Just like classic old country songs from the 60’s that still hold up today, Daniel has the insight to pinpoint a very specific emotional defect embedded in the human condition, and then create the favorable environment for that emotional frailty to be called to the forefront through poetic insight set to precisely-appropriate music.
In some respects, broaching a discussion on this album seems nearly futile. Or maybe not futile, but at least frustrating. It’s almost fait accompli that it will fail to achieve the commercial feats and radio success the quality of the material warrants, but that’s just the way it is for women in this particular era of country music. We should be basking in the enjoyment of a new generation of inspiring country music females…
As long as Alan Jackson is around and relevant and releasing records, then country music still has a fighting chance. They may squeeze country music through the sausage press and stamp the country label on all manner of crazy-ass hip-wiggling pseudo-rapping modern techno EDM mumbo jumbo in a desperate attempting to sell the audio equivalent of pet rocks to the prattling, gullible public.
In the natural world they’re referred to as apex predators and alpha males. They’re the ones that rule the roost and crest the food chain. They’re the specimens of natural design that exhibit the ideal mix of physical abilities and/or favorable disposition to become the creatures all others are measured by.
In 2013, one of the biggest and most unlikely musical takeaways for this particular music junkie was a breakneck, high-octane bluegrass band from Germany called the Dinosaur Truckers. Yes, Germany is not necessarily what most would consider a hotbed of American string band music, but however unlikely the story, the music of the Dinosaur Truckers spoke for itself.
Operating a site called “Saving Country Music” for the last eight years, I’ve learned the patient art of losing every single day with grace. It is the ever-present conceit of the living to believe that the present times are the worst there’s ever been, and country music is no exception. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that people weren’t yelling that the sky was falling when John Denver was winning the CMA Entertainer of the Year…
This isn’t any slick and polished nouveau bluegrass with lilting runs and brazen compositional poise, this is Stringbean and Grandpa Jones slapping away at strings while sucking on corn pipes trying to entertain folks on back porches and beyond. Unpretentious and fun, and fairly authentic to the Appalachian traditions, The Urban Pioneers will make you chuckle and strut, and see the timeless value in the old traditions of primitive country.
This song is so good—whether it’s the album version, just Hubbard with his guitar, or with a four-piece band like he played it on Conan—at first I truly believed it had to be a cover of a hit from a previous era that had been forgotten about. The song feels so classic, yet remains fiercely original, it’s a wonder how it was never written before.
Tyler Farr has morphed into the hardcore emo post grunge “my dad hated me so I’m angry at the World” guy of country music, and it’s not pretty. What a bizzaro world we live in where Aaron Lewis of Stand is sitting on stools and singing fairly straight laced country songs, and Farr is all bent over like he’s taking a BM, and clasping the mic like it was his bag of jewels after getting kicked in it.
Upon first listen, this new Jake Owen single is a superior candidate for an unabashedly scathing review. What, is he trying to rap again for goodness sakes? And though there may be a message, there’s really no story. At it’s heart, “Real Life” is yet another example of replacing rhythm for melody, and lists for story. So much for all of Jake Owen’s rhetoric about bringing more substance to country music.
The Deslondes is not a songwriters project per se. This is not a superpicking troupe or a project that’s all about exuding a bunch of punk energy through unplugged instruments. On paper, this band doesn’t work at all. It’s too busy, there’s no discernible frontman, and there’s nothing fashionable or cutting edge about their approach or style. But The Deslones have something that every band wants but few have…
Kacey Musgraves has found her niche, and she’s not wavering. When she released “Biscuits,” which was so eerily similar to “Follow Your Arrow” (partly because the two songs were dreamed up in the same writing session), we assured ourselves that it was just one song, and once we hear the full breath of Musgraves’ upcoming album Pageant Material it would exhibit much more variety.
Sam Outlaw is not his real name. Well, not really. His real name is Sam Morgan. But his mother’s maiden name is Outlaw, so it’s close. But he’s not a real Outlaw. Nor is he a real cowboy, even though he apparently owns a fine collection of over half a dozen Stetsons. The 32-year-old Sam Outlaw was an advertising salesman up to a few months ago.
Written solely by Carlson, the 5-song Release Me EP is a throwback, honky-tonkin, foot-stompin’ true country affair that lays full throttle on the twang and layers in the steel guitar hard and heavy. But this isn’t just all about styling and posturing to prove how country it is. Darci crafts some really smart songs and has an understanding of chords and arrangement and songwriting that separates her from the crowd.
The only thing I conclusively walked away with from this new Mickey Guyton EP is that Capitol Records Nashville has absolutely no idea what to do with this young lady. And that’s about par for the course for just about any up-and-coming female country artist at this moment. Mickey Guyton already released a 4-song EP in March of 2014. So what’s the deal?
You look at these two guys, and it is living history right in front of you. But they aren’t living history museum pieces. They are lucid, active participants in the music community, still writing and singing songs, still with the fire inside them to contribute to the genre they helped create, and pay country music forward to yet another generation of loyal and appreciative fans.
Some bad songs make you angry that such a monstrosity would ever be released under the country banner. Some make you sad for what country music has become. This one? Randy Houser’s entry into this new R&B sexy time Bee Gees-inspired country music disco craze? This thing had me laughing out loud so hard from being so embarrassing and absurd, I had milk shooting out of my nose. And I wasn’t even drinking milk.
A hiatus in The Trishas project presented a window for Jamie to spread her wings, and that’s what she does in Holidays & Wedding Rings. Far from a songwriter who has spent her best material on past projects, or is too burdened with home and family to find time for the guitar and notepad, Wilson taps into the keenest observations and inspirations of her career.
Well it’s about damn time. What an ass backwards country music world we live in where you get clued into a great new song through an advertisement, while radio continues to descend into a wasteland. But that was the fate of “Roots & Wings.” Now Miranda Lambert and Dodge have released the full thing, or actually two separate extended versions.
Amidst the graveyards of American dreams is where you’ll find the grey, bent, and wiry folklore rhythm master known as Charlie Parr nosing around, looking for his next discovery. With a resonator on his knee, and a tapping foot you could calibrate a Swiss timepiece to, Mr. Parr bends his back to looking for the perfect rhythm or melody for a mood like an archeologist looks for a lost civilization’s prized possession.