Merchandise sales are the manna of the independent music world. With no disrespect to the musical efforts of your favorite artist, you can boil them down to glorified T-shirt salespeople in the way the lion’s share of their profits come from the merch table. It’s what puts gas in their tank and food on their table, and allows them to make a respectable living.
With absolutely no hyperbole intended, William Michael Morgan earning a #1 on country radio for his debut single “I Met A Girl” is a historic moment in country music. It’s a point in time when an undeniably traditional country song from an undeniably traditional country artist has topped the chart after a long vacancy for a traditionalist at the top spot.
If you’re wondering where the hell all the real country music has gone, it has joined forces and is headed towards a venue near you. Texas country singer songwriter Cody Jinks, and throwback honky tonk badass Whitey Morgan have embarked on a co-headlining tour set to roll through Texas, the South, up the eastern seaboard and into the Midwest.
Too often in music we tend to focus on the here and now, the young and the new. Who are the hot names that are rising up in the ranks? Who’s going to make a big splash in music in the coming months and years? All this talk is understandable. It’s fun. But this is not always the best exercise for fleshing out who actually has the music most worthy of being recognized.
To be a Saving Country Music Artist of the Year, you can’t just be “good.” It’s not about releasing some great songs or a significant album in a given calendar year. You have to be committed to the cause, both on and off the stage. You have to care about country music, even when you’re not playing it, even when it doesn’t affect you specifically, and even when it’s not politically expedient . . .
2015’s Album of the Year candidates might constitute the most wide open field of contenders since this exercise has been in practice. There’s no clear front runners, anyone could win, and each candidate has pluses and minuses. Like every year, your opinion counts, and may even count more this year with no clear front runner.
Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Don Henley, James McMurtry, Jamie Lin Wilson, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Jason Isbell, Jason James, John Moreland, Kacey Musgraves, Lindi Ortega, Lonesome Wyatt, MIke and the Moonpies, Rachel Brooke, Randy Rogers, Roo Arcus, Ryan Bingham, Turnpike Troubadours, Wade Bowen, Ward Thomas, Whitey Morgan, Whitey Morgan and the 78's, Yelawolf
Voting opens for the 2016 Ameripolitan Awards on Thanksgiving, Thursday Nov. 26th., and can happen one of two ways. Founded by Dale Watson three years ago after the “Old Farts & Jackasses” comments of Blake Shelton, the Ameripolitan Awards was Dale’s answer to the concern that so many artists doing their best to keep roots traditions alive were going unrecognized by the rest of the country music industry.
Ameripolitan, Ameripolitan Awards, Asleep at the Wheel, Billy Joe Shaver, Charlie Thompson, Doyle and Debbie, Georgette Jones, James Hand, Jason Roberts, Justin Trevino, Kim Lenz, Ray Benson, Red Simpson, Rosie Flores, The Country Side of Harmonica Sam, unknown hinson, Wanda Jackson, Whitey Morgan
Heading into the final couple of months of 2015, there may not be a hotter name in country music among critics and distinguished listeners than Chris Stapleton. The long wait for his often-rumored and much-delayed debut album was finally rewarded on May 5th with the release of the Dave Cobb-produced “Traveller,” and fans were not let down.
Like a slow moving thunder roll, Whitey Morgan continues to tour, night in and night out, delivering crisp, throbbing performances every time that leave crowds embedded with Whitey passion in every town they tackle until the crowds are swelling, and the word is spreading about this bearded guy from Flint who refuses to compromise, who has his heart in the right place, and who puts on amazing shows.
Some independent country fans love to harp on whose name is in the biggest font in the headliner positions, but the names Stagecoach invites each year to fill out the roster gives you great hope for the future of country, and tells you who to look out for in the coming months and years, this year especially.
Aaron Watson, Amanda Shires, Billy Joe Shaver, Chris Stapleton, Cody Jinks, Dale Watson, Emi Sunshine, Emmylou Harris, Jamestown Revival, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Langhorne Slim and the Law, Luke Bell, Marty Stuart, Mo Pitney, Robert Earl Keen, Sam Outlaw, Stagecoach, Stagecoach 2015, The Deslodes, The Malpass Brothers, The Turnpike Troubadours, Whitey Morgan, William Elliot Whitmore
Being willing to see where a song takes you is at the heart of every music lover, and in this spirit I present eleven hand selected songs released in the first half of 2015 that will hopefully take you someplace you want to be, or somewhere you’ve never been before. This is the cream of the crop in my opinion; the gut punchers not for the faint of heart.
Charlie Parr, Chris Knight, Cody Jinks, Eric Paslay, James McMurtry, John Moreland, Justin Townes Earle, Lee Ann Womack, Love & Theft, Miranda Lambert, Randy Rogers, Townes Van Zandt, Wade Bowen, Whitey Morgan
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.
Bad Omen, Best albums of 2015, Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Complicated Game, Cowboys & Sunsets, Fear & Saturday Night, Hold My Beer, James McMurtry, Lonesome Wyatt, Love Story, Rachel Brooke, Randy Rogers, Roo Arcus, Ryan Bingham, Sonic Ranch, The FIrewatcher's Daughter, Traveller, Wade Bowen, Whitey Morgan, Yelawolf
Like rolling Buick sedans off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan one after another, day after day, year after year, not stopping to take breaks or reveling in little victories, but winning fans over one at a time, night after night, tour after tour in America’s derelict honky tonks until the word of mouth grew into a rumble, the crowds went from nearly empty to nut to butt, Whitey Morgan is now like a locomotive.
Singer and songwriter Sarah Potenza first entered my music consciousness in February 2014 at the Inaugural Ameripolitan Awards presented by Dale Watson. Here was this boisterous girl with big glasses paling around Elizabeth Cook, and posing for pictures with Whitey Morgan and his guitar player Joey Spina that I had never seen or heard of before.
Whitey has been telling fans to not expect the similar Waylon vibe of his last albums on Sonic Ranch, and we see this coming to fruition in this Townes cover. Expansive, epic, dynamic, and moving, Whitey Morgan and the 78’s really delve into the spirit of the song and make it sound new. And most importantly from a lead single, it gets you really excited about what Whitey has in store with the new release.
Fans of Flint, Michigan’s rambunctious throwback wild-eyed honky tonker Whitey Morgan and his backing band The 78’s have been waiting half a decade for a new studio album, and their country music prayers are about to be answered, or at least they will be in May when Whitey Morgan releases his latest record ‘Sonic Ranch.’
This isn’t some beer league bar band made up of 2nd shifters from the machinist union out on a Friday night to give the jukebox a spell, this is Whitey Morgan & the 78’s dammit—the most wild-eyed honky tonk hard-stomping band ever to put their boots through a bass drum head. And to have a high quality rig on site recording it all in their home confines of The Machine Shop of Flint, Michigan…
Fans of the hard driving, honky tonkin’ throwback country band of the new generation known as Whitey Morgan & the 78’s have been waiting a very long time to hear something new since the release of their self-titled Bloodshot Records debut in 2010, and the floodgates are about to open, beginning with the long-awaited release of “Born, Raised & LIVE from Flint.”
You can’t go long talking about badasses in country music without bringing up the one, the only Billy Joe Shaver. Though he may have never received the recognition of Willie, Waylon, or even Coe or Paycheck, his influence is arguably just important. When you have Elvis cutting one of your songs, Willie Nelson calling you his favorite songwriter, have Bob Dylan name dropping you…
Billy Joe Shaver, Bob Dylan, Dale Watson, Dickey Betts, Dwight Yoakam, Eddie Shaver, Elvis, Green Gables, Guy Clark, Honky Tonk Heroes, Kris Kristofferson, Squidbillies, The Allman Brothers, The Eagles, Waylon Jennings, Whitey Morgan, Willie Nelson
Tuesday, February 18th was the inaugural Ameripolitan Music Awards at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Austin, TX. To see a complete list of winners, a play by play account of the night, and more pictures, please check out the 2014 Ameripolitan Awards LIVE Blog. Here are some photographs of the night from photographer C. C. Ekström of the excellent website Almost Out Of Gas.
2014, Ameripolitan, Ameripolitan Music Awards, Big Sandy, Dale Watson, Dawn Sears, Earl Poole Ball, Elizabeth Cook, James Hand, Jason Roberts, Jim Heath, Johnny Bush, Mike Bernal, Mojo Nixon, Pearls Mahone, Redd Volkaert, Reverend Horton Heat, Rosie Flores, Sarah Gayle Meech, Tonya Watts, Wayne Hancock, Whitey Morgan