Singer-songwriters can sing about things such as love and loneliness as well, but their true trade is in being like a reflection pool of the present day, questioning our modes of life and the perspectives we keep. They are the poet’s of modern times, saying things we all know deep in our hearts, but in a way that awakens our inner selves.
When it comes to picking the “best” songs from a given time period, it’s a much more subjective chore than selecting the best albums or the best artists. Our relationship with songs is just so much more intimate. The emotions songs can touch tend to range so much farther on the spectrum. To discover a song that really touches you, it’s not just dependent on the songwriter to write and perform a compelling tune.
Lucinda Williams isn’t slowing down anytime soon. After releasing a double album in September of 2014 called Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, and walking away with the Americana Music Awards’ Album of the Year, the legendary alt-country Americana songwriter has been back at work and is ready to release a new record called ‘Ghosts of Highway 20.’
Just 40 miles west of where Woody Guthrie was born in Okemah, Oklahoma is the town of Shawnee, where Ramseur Records-signed singer songwriter Samantha Crain was born and raised. And like Woody did many years before, she has decided to champion the causes of the common man through the music of her fourth LP.
Acting as a guide through both the explanation of the roots of country music and the streets of Nashville, Justin Townes Earle and many others try best to define “country” for a foreign audience in the film. The Country Roads DVD also includes an entire Justin Townes Earle concert performed at Pace University on October 26th and 27th of 2012 called “The Spirit of Woody Guthrie.”
Amanda Shires, Angaleena Presley, Artic Monkeys, Ashley Monroe, Brazilbilly, Caitlin Rose, Country Roads The Heartbeat of America, George Hamilton IV, John Carter Cash, Johnny Cash, Justin Townes Earle, Kevin Costner, Lisa Marie Presley, Liz Rose, Marieke Schroeder, Miranda Lambert, Norah Guthrie, RCA Studio B, Review, Robert's Western World, The Carter Family, The Carter Family Fold, The Pistol Annies, The Ryman Auditorium, Woody Guthrie
From the dark, weary, poetic side of the roots world, where lost souls born into the wrong time period go to dwell and dispel their misery in song, comes Petunia & The Vipers—a complexly influenced country and roots band with a mutable sound whose only constant is a call back to the earliest times of popular music when people like Woody Guthrie and Django Reinheardt …
As the lives of most songwriters go, John Fullbright has lived a charmed one for sure. His debut studio release, 2012’s “From The Ground Up” found its way to the very highest reaches of industry accolades when it was nominated for Best Americana Album at the 55th Grammy Awards, and he seemed to be quickly anointed as a songwriting golden boy out of the gate.
On paper, nothing about this album should work. You can’t take one guy, and one guy only, no overdubs or band, just acoustic instruments and a cued mic and call it good. Not to mention that this is an album entirely consisting of covers and traditionals. So yeah, this isn’t Billy Bragg or Charlie Parr. I’m sorry, but that’s just not enough to hold the listener’s ear for an entire album. Or is it?
With a gift for poetry like Townes Van Zandt, and a penchant for the whimsical, progressive approach to bluegrass akin to John Hartford, Robbie Fulks releases a stunningly entertaining, brilliantly-balanced, deep, yet instantly-engaging comeback album called Gone Away Backward through longtime associates Bloodshot Records.
Lonesome Wyatt is a pioneer of Gothic country with his band Those Poor Bastards, and one of the originators of underground country whose song “Pills I Took” was covered by Hank Williams III on his landmark album Straight to Hell, he is one of the few artists who will never be forgotten regardless of the long-term fortune of the underground country sub-genre.
As simply as I can put it, making the case that spoken word and rapping in music are the same thing is an ignorance-based insult to the artistic integrity and creativity of both spoken word and rap artists, and to the intelligence of anyone who that case is being made to. Battling the infiltration of country rap is hard enough without revising history.