In 99 Lives, Hunnicutt creates a circle of wisdom through fearlessly conveying his personal, intimate experiences in life, and by intimating his fears and frailties, and his victories against them. Honesty is the benchmark of all great albums, and 99 Lives’s honesty is unchecked, complimented by the most powerful voice in all of independent country roots.
Posts by Trigger Coroneos:
Late last week it was announced that dozens of local DJ’s from the US’s largest radio station operator Clear Channel were being cut all across the country. The cuts are to regional markets, that cover more rural, outlying communities, or the country, where much of country music’s traditional demographics live.
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.
One of the most pressing questions I’ve seen about his music in the context of his new album Bad As Me is if it should be considered “roots” or “Americana.” 7 years ago, when Waits put out his last real original album, I would have probably said no, but loaded with qualifiers. Today my answer would be “absolutely.”
The release of Hellbound Glory’s newest album Damaged Goods on November 15th symbolizes a big opportunity for independent country to put its best foot forward in the form of one of the most cunning and engaging songwriters country music boasts at any level. I talked to Leroy just before a show at The Dirty Dog Saloon in Austin, TX on Oct 21st about Damaged Goods.
Dale Watson’s gray hair may be filling in nicely, but he’s not slowing down. On the heels of The Sun Sessions, he is releasing a video for each individual song. He’ll also be doing an exclusive tour with his “Texas Two” lineup in Europe. But at the moment he is also mourning the loss of his long-time bass player Gene Kurtz, who passed away over the weekend.
The Last Ride, a movie depicting the last days of Hank Williams, has finally been released to the public. On Friday (10-21-11), it debuted in 7 cities in the South, including 4 in Arkansas, where both director Harry Thomason and star Harry Thomas (Elliot from ET), who plays Hank Williams, are from. It will see a wide release in January of 2012.
Two of country music’s most famous sons have apparently buried the hatchet on a long, 6 year feud that in many ways was one-sided, and was fueled by misunderstanding. “Got an amazing care package from Hank III with all 3 new records on vinyl & CD + a sweet rebel flag lighter,” Shooter fired off on his Twitter Feed over the weekend.
Remember the viral song “Friday” by Rebecca Black? When that song blew up, some were saying this symbolized a historic shift in the good music/bad music paradigm, where the song wasn’t popular despite being bad, it was popular because it was bad. we might have the first song taking this paradigm-shifting concept and applying it to a song.
The first song on the “Ray Lawrence Jr.” track from Hank3’s Ghost to a Ghost is “When You Lose All You Have.” They say to write it, you have to live it, and Ray wrote the song while living in a Phoenix homeless shelter. A truck driver and a divorcee, Ray had reached the end of his rope in 2008, and penned the song as a self-portrait.
Caleb’s name deserves equal billing beside the other top shelf independent roots artists from across the country. And though you may have not heard of Caleb until recently, or just right now, the 40-year-old with flecks of gray hair sticking out from under his trucker hat has been touring and making music for 20 years now. It just has not always been music that bears his name.
Here at Saving Country Music, we have put ourselves squarely on the front lines of opposing the infiltration of hip hop into the country genre, or possibly, the takeover of country by hip-hop, that seems to be pervading the current mainstream country music landscape. Unlike many others that flee from this fight, I am willing to take the charges of racism and closed-mindedness…
I’m not sure many other artists, even the ones that are big Johnny Cash fans, would be up for pulling this project off with this adeptness. It would almost take a small team of musical historians, creative writers, and musicians to evoke what Dale Watson does in a seemingly effortless manner simply from his fandom, understanding, and deep appreciation for The Man in Black.
Now that mainstream country music has been seen as just another version of pop music by so many people for so long, my concern is that talented musicians are being turned off by the mere mention of the term ‘country’, seeing it as a genre without gravitas, obsessed with money and image, making it even more likely for the one-in-a-million music talent to stay away.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t remember Hank Williams ever recording any drunken sea shantys. I can’t remember any Ol’ Hank songs featuring trumpets, or classically-styled lilting mandolin parts either. And I guess the Hank song that is built around incongruent, sloppily-overdubbed harmonies is on that $70 box set I could never get the scratch to buy.
Listen to me and listen good. This new Boomswagglers lineup, with Steven Bracamontez on guitar, and Natalie McDougall on drums has it. And when I say ‘it’, I’m not just saying it’s good, I mean it has that undefinable thing that when you watch it live, it makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck, the kind of ‘it’ that overrides appeal based simply on taste.
When it comes to one man bands, Scott H. Biram is the franchise. He is the top of the heap, the one that inspired so many others. He’s tussled with semi trucks and spilled his guts out on the highway just like he’s spilled his guts out on countless stages all across the Western world until he earned that glorious ‘H’ in the middle of his name.
When I saw a new Ryan Adams album was coming down the pike, I honestly didn’t know what to think. I’ve been so hot and cold on the guy over the years as he shape shifts from the whims of identity crises and style changes, it’s harder to form a solid opinion about him than it is to conjure up a firm stool after 6 weeks in interior Mexico.
Since the beginning of Saving Country Music over 3 1/2 years ago, nothing but respect has been shown to The Country Music Hall of Fame. It is the last major country music institution that considers the preservation and promotion of the traditions and history of country music above commercial concerns, as other institutions bend and sway with the current popular trends in country music.
So many bands try to imbibe their music with a vintage feel and Western space by using copious amounts of chorus or reverb. Guitar player, singer, and songwriter Ryan Eastlyn takes the road less traveled with the use of moaning, melodic chorus lines that are so excellent, they vault this band from a relative unknown to one responsible for one of the better albums put out so far in 2011.
So I guess the founder of Apple Steve Jobs died or something? I don’t know. But it reminded me of a very strange but interesting piece of Hank3 T-shirt art that he debuted sometime in 2009, an all black shirt that simply showed the well-recognized Apple symbol with the bite out of the right side, an equals sign, and then a pentagram.
On February 13, 2002, Waylon Jennings, one of the great country music Outlaws, passed away due to complications from diabetes. Now a Phoenix-based organization along with the Waylon Jennings Estate, have partnered to set up The Waylon Fund to support state-of-the-art investigations into the genetic and genomic origins of diabetes.
With Working in Tennessee, Merle Haggard adds yet another solid volume to his already legendary arsenal of albums. Mainstream radio’s love affair with Merle may be over, but it doesn’t mean the fountain isn’t still flowing. When that vintage voice comes cracking out of that sideways cowboy smile, it still hits you like a precious memory.
It usually takes 6-9 months for the bloated machine of Music Row to realize and catch up on trends, but no doubt that within the next few months, we will begin to see more and more hip-hop infiltration into mainstream country. The next question will be, will the one artist that sits at the very top of the totem pole decide to lead ahead of that trend, or follow it?