With the widespread prevalence of electronic crutches in popular music these days, happening upon pure, raw talent is an unfortunate rarity, but deliciously welcome when it does present itself. It has most certainly bubbled to the surface in the form of the soulful blues Southern rocker Marcus King.
The career of Dustin Lynch is now such a catastrophic natural disaster, it is visible from space. Need a coaster to keep those unsightly water stains off your coffee table? Maybe something to shove under the leg of that tipsy table to keep it from wobbling? Shit, who are we kidding. Nobody even buys CDs anymore, so you can’t even use it for that.
Over the years, Eleven Hundred Springs and Matt Hillyer would stretch their footprint beyond Dallas and Texas, but they found their calling as Dallas’s country music house band, becoming synonymous with the city, and the only right answer when someone asked who one of the coolest country bands in the DFW area were.
Where in the world has Wade Hayes been? He’s been hiding in the same dark honky tonk on the edge of town as actual county music for the last decade or so. How country is his latest record Who Saved Who? The title track is about the love of his dog if that gives you any indication. That’s to say his newest album is unapologetically country.
Shirking the bubblegum pop sensibilities that seem to sugar coat most of the new “country” music emanating from Music Row these days, Tenille Arts took a year full of spills in a bad breakup, and put them into the 12 songs of this surprisingly deep and smart record with Tenille herself taking a hand in co-writing every track.
Country music is also one of the few constants in a world of change. The onslaught of technology and the incursion of automation into our lives hasn’t made country music less relevant, it’s made it even more imperative. These are the themes and reminders you will find throughout the latest record from Noel McKay and Brennen Leigh.
If you’re wondering what to look forward to hearing in country and Americana music in early 2020, let this be your guide. Here’s all the information Saving Country Music has been able to compile on the most anticipated upcoming releases, along with a more extensive catalog of releases to have on your radar & the always fun “rumor mill.”
Welcome ladies and gentlemen to Saving Country Music’s most comprehensive list of top-rated albums for your listening consideration. As has happened every year since the site’s inception, more albums were reviewed this year than ever before, meaning this list has become more expansive than ever before.
Saving Country Music’s Song of the Year is specifically for a composition so moving and impactful, the mere notion of it gives you chills. Album of the Year is about the title that had the most positive impact in the genre, and what was the most enjoyable and fulfilling to listen to. But Artist of the Year goes much deeper.
Album of the Year is not an accolade handed out lightly. Obviously, the title chosen has to be regarded as the best record of a given calendar year in Saving Country Music’s estimation. Though universal agreement will never coagulate around any album, there needs to be at least some groundswell of momentum behind the record.
Slogans, mantras, and hashtags may be a helpful way to spread awareness or channel grievances. But art, and music specifically, has always been uniquely gifted in its ability to cross ideological boundaries, and break down the barriers surrounding hardened hearts, but only if it sidesteps the spouting of platitudes, cliches, and talking points.
On Saturday, December 21st, 2019, the hottest show in the Live Music Capital of the World commenced at 3:30 in the afternoon, and came with free admission. It was Redd Volkaert’s final Saturday afternoon matinee residency at The Continental Club on South Congress, a spot he’s held for 20-something years.
Casting aspersions on all the fools who cemented their 2019 end-of-year lists before Santa came to town, this singing, yodeling, whistling, mustachioed, Louisiana weirdo named Nick Shoulders just screwed up everyone’s 2019 country music flow charts by releasing a serious “best of” contender here in the middle of shivery December.
A website whose beat is country music really doesn’t have any business broaching a discussion on this song. Not that it’s completely out-of-bounds or objectionably opportunistic to do so. It’s just that despite the characterization of some, this song really doesn’t have anything to do with country music.
2019 was a stacked year for top live performances. This was supposed to be a list of the top 10 live performances, but due to such a crowded field, things boiled over. And yes, there are three #1 acts. All should be considered equals at the very top level of live performance. They were all so great, it seemed unfair to put one over the other.
Amanda Shires, Billy Strings, Bri Bagwell, Cedric Burnside, Charles Wesley Godwin, Courtney Marie Andrews, Jack Ingram, Kaitlin Butts, Logan Ledger, Lukas Nelson, MIke and the Moonpies, Raul Malo, Shane Smith and the Saints, Sierra Ferrell, Tami Neilson, The Brother Brothers, The Mavericks, The Tender Things, Tyler Childers, Whitey Morgan and the 78's, Yola
Garrett T. Capps is like a country artist without a country. Or more like a country artist without a planet. Space country is what he likes to call his music to attempt to convey the atmospheric and psychedelic flavoring of his brand of honky tonk. It’s a little bit out there, but more country and grounded than you might think.
Built around recording sessions captured in the barn of Elijah Ocean’s parent’s home in Maine back in 2017, ‘Back to the Lander’ finds Elijah Ocean in a deeply reflective mood, rattling off memories like turning pages in a travelogue, fondly recalling the people, places, and moments of the last many years.
All country albums, regardless if they emanate from a major label or receive radio play, are considered for Saving Country Music’s Album of the Year nominations. But not every year does a mainstream album make it. Even though one didn’t make it to the top of the heap in 2019, we had a bumper crop of quality mainstream country releases.
There are a few ways you can attempt to achieve country music perfection. With The Country Side of Harmonica Sam, it is to so expertly recreate the classic era of country music when artists like Lefty Frizzell and Webb Pearce were topping the charts, the results are downright jaw dropping. We’re not talking about close approximations.
In the immortal words of Tom Petty, it’s Christmas … again. That’s means we have a bunch of seasonal releases from a slew of your favorite country and roots artists to round up just in case Christmas music is your thing. Here’s a run down of all the best releases, as well as a playlist to listen to the best selections.
Alison Krauss, Amanda Anne Platt and the Honeycutters, Amos Lee, Brenda Lee, Buddy Miller, Charlie Marie, Christmas, Cody Canada, Darryl Worley, Dave Cobb, Dualtone Records, Dusty Winds, Gabe Lee, Gene Autry, George Ducas, JD McPherson, Jenny Tolman, Jerry Douglas, Kacey Musgraves, Kathleen Edwards, Keb Mo, Langhorne Slim, Lockwood Barr, Maddie & Tae, Mike Aiken, Phoebe Hunt, Phoebe Hunt and the Gatherers, Randall King, Richard Lynch, Saw Black, Scott Southworth, Sean McConnell, Shut-Ins, Sofia Talvik, Stephanie Urbina Jones, Steve Idlett, Steven James and the Jaded, Tara Thompson, The Briars, The Delta Spirit, The Imaginaries, The Lone Bellow, The McCrary Sisters, The Oak Ridge Boys, Wade Bowen, Warren Haynes, Will Carter
When populating your list of insurgent acts from Kentucky helping to turning country music right side up, don’t forget to key in Dillon Carmichael. In fact he might be one of the most important names to remember since he’s right in the thick of the mainstream as a signee to Riser House Records, working from the inside out.
A Saving Country Music Song of the Year candidate is not just your favorite ditty that gets stuck in your head. These are songs that change hearts, change lives, rest in your head for years to come, open up new ideas, or unlock memories or emotions you haven’t felt in years. Song of the Year nominees are the reason you’re a music fan.
Dallas Moore is about the last guy you’d ever have to worry about pulling a country music Benedict Arnold on you. He would choose death before coming out on stage gesticulating to a tractor rap beat, or turning his twang in for the dulcet tones of “Americana.” He’s the kind of Outlaw many want to imitate, but few have the fortitude to emulate.
When it comes to top-tier releases in the country and roots realm, 2019 was a year like we’ve never seen before. Though it feels like we say that every year, 2019 truly was exceptional. The albums selected to be considered for Saving Country Music’s Album of the Year are so elite, all of them should be considered the winners.
Aaron Watson, Caroline Spence, Chane Smith and the Saints, Charles Wesley Godwin, Charlie Marie, Chris Knight, Cody Jinks, Croy and the Boys, Emily Scott Robinson, Erin Enderlin, Ian Noe, Jason Hawk Harris, Michaela Anne, MIke and the Moonpies, The Steel Woods, Tyler Childers