Like Ralphie from ‘The Christmas Story’ waiting for his Little Orphan Annie secret decoder pin to arrive in the mailbox, we’ve been dutifully checking our email inboxes and social media feeds for any news on new music coming down the pike from the King of Country Music himself, George Strait.
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.
Thomas Gabriel doesn’t need a history lesson on Johnny Cash; he received one while growing up. In his album ‘Long Way Home,’ Thomas Gabriel takes you through an autobiography of a very turbulent, incarcerated, addiction-riddled life with an eerie connectivity and continuation of the Johnny Cash story.
In the humble estimation of Saving Country Music, 2018 has been the second bumper crop year in a row for excellent, top shelf efforts in country music. To reflect that, the number of nominees for Saving Country Music’s vaunted Album of the Year recognition has been pushed to its capacity of 10 once again.
American Aquarium, Blackberry Smoke, Caitlyn Smith, Cody Jinks, Colter Wall, Courtney Marie Andrews, Dillon Carmichael, El Coyote, Jamie Lin Wilson, Jason Eady, John Prine, Kacey Musgraves, Lori McKenna, MIke and the Moonpies, Pistol Annies, Randall King, Sarah Shook and the Disarmers, Tom Buller, Whitey Morgan and the 78's
The Turnpike Troubadours never started out to be some huge band. The best never do. This wasn’t a business venture for these boys. This was a bunch of corn fed Oklahomans from Tahlequah getting together to pick a few tunes for fun, eventually inviting their friends and family over to listen, then venturing out to play a few bars.
On the three-bearded hydra that is Cody Jinks, Whitey Morgan, and Ward Davis, Ward is the one you turn to when you’re looking for something more thoughtful, more introspective, and where the songwriting is the foremost concern. He’s more Sunday morning than Saturday night….
Kane Brown is not country, and by insisting that he is, unnecessary conflict is created. Understand that many country fans would rather listen to a hip-hop, R&B, or pop record as opposed to Kane Brown, because at least that music will be authentic and honest, and genuine about its nature, as opposed to an aberration of the truth.
Usually Christmas music gets shoved to the back burner around these parts, but this year there is such a surprising amount of quality selections of Holiday music being released, it’s worth a dedicated roundup. So if Christmas music is your thing—especially with a country or roots kick—give a gander to what 2018’s got in store.
Aaron Watson, Ana Christina Cash, Brennen Leigh, Chris Janson, Christmas, Dailey & Vincent, Emi Sunshine, Grant Maloy Smith, JD McPherson, Jeff Clayborn, Jerico Woods, Kacey Musgraves, Lera Lynn, Lonestar, Mary Karr, Otis Gibbs, Paul Bogart, Phil Vasser, Raul Malo, Rhyan Sinclair, Rodney Crowell, Shane Owens, The Mavericks, The McCrary Sisters
West Texas ain’t the cosmos, but it’s vastness and history have inspired many songs and artists over the years no different than gazes skyward at the celestial heavens. That’s why the region has consistently churned out some of the best songwriters and performers from the Lone Star State and beyond.
As albums for cover-to-cover listening, most movie soundtracks can be quite tedious, even if the music is good, and even if the movie holds a favorable grade. But some soundtracks are so good, you can enjoy them without having even seen the movie.
Boy, you thought witnessing the never-ending drama and identity crisis roiling The Band Perry was dizzying to the point of hilarity, and then began to feel downright sorry for them as matters got even worse as they grappled for mainstream relevancy. Well now Zac Brown has just said, “Hold my beer and watch this.”
Songwriter Will Hoge has spend his career canonizing the common man and singing about his struggles, becoming sort of a more thoughtful, alt-country version of Mellencamp with music that carries the tone and meter of Heartland rock. But with his most recent album, Will Hoge leaves all nuance and allegory behind.
If artists such as Luke Bell and Pat Reedy suit your fancy, Nick Shoulders will slide right into your wheelhouse. But where these artists perhaps own a deeper arsenal of original songs at the moment, Nick Shoulders distinguishes himself by possessing an incredible, world-class high voice and yodel the likes of which we’ve rarely heard.
Jason Isbell has ascended to being considered the King of Americana by making all of the right moves at the right time. Isbell’s Ryman Auditorium residencies over the last few years have become a thing of legend all to themselves. But the simple truth is that ‘Live From The Ryman’ is a rare misstep by Isbell and his crew.
On the Pistol Annies’ third record and their first in a long while, you will find the songs you would expect from the supertrio. But beneath the Southern female glitz and unruly frivolity on the surface of the Pistol Annies’ persona is perhaps the trio’s most involved work.
How many times can you remake the same movie and it still be good? If it’s a classic story told with passion, is well-acted and directed, and expertly updated for the modern context, the answer would be at least four. “A Star Is Born” is a big moment for Americana music.
Every year Saving Country Music travels to the West Coast during the summer to scout for musical talent that is often overlooked in the Nashville and Texas music echo chambers. In 2018 the biggest discovery was singer, songwriter, and recovering punk musician Jesse Daniel of Santa Cruz, California.
It’s not exclusively the music from our favorite artists that inspires us. It’s how they’re gifted with the tenacity to pursue their dreams fearlessly, and with a willingness to sacrifice we all wish we had, or maybe we did have at one time before life got in the way. But they don’t let life get in the way. They get in the way of life.
It’s not just the words, but the music of Carson McHone’s Carousel that help create an audio illustration of this emotional battlefield that it’s haunting at times in how well it mirrors our own experiences. This is her opportunity to slip out of the “velvet handcuffs” of Austin. “Carousel” is worthy of that charge.
William Michael Morgan has sent us selling our stock, and then buying it all back again just in a matter of a couple of weeks. The first taste from his upcoming and unannounced sophomore record was a song called “Tonight Girl.” And then here comes “Brokenhearted.”
Screw it all. You want to save country music? Put it on the back of the Buick City Badass Whitey Morgan along with his backing band The 78’s, and let them carry the whole damn genre. Whitey Morgan is like the embodiment of all the rage and frustration of true country music fans channeled into one hairy human vessel.
We’re not talking honky tonk country by close approximations and burdened with qualifiers. Dillon Carmichael is the pure, unadulterated, 100 proof version of country. If the term was still cool, you would call it “Outlaw.” This record is nothing short of merciless in how it grinds out one deeply-powerful plodding track after another.
I have taken the past two days to find the words I’d like to share in regards to the concert at Notre Dame. I am a seasoned Garth fan, having seen him 17 previous times at various locations (Chicago, Denver, Wynn) over the past 30 years. Garth is my coming of age music. He began the tour scene as I got my drivers license.