Beware of the women who write songs for the mainstream of country. To make it in that evil world often dominated by men, you’ve got to be a real tough mother cut from a different cloth, capable of being told “no” over and over again and still continue on, and agile enough to deliver songs that can succeed.
From Austin, TX comes a unique take on American country music that is cosmic in scope, West Coast in attitude, but still well-inferred and tethered to the roots of Appalachia and the rust of Texas honky tonks. The group is called The Tender Things, and this new album titled How You Make a Fool evokes strong memories of the Flying Burrito Brothers.
Cody Jinks has just released an unexpected song called “Fast Lane.” You could call it typical Cody Jinks in how it plods along in half time, with the bass rattling your rib cage. But typical Cody Jinks also means you get a killer country song with writing that sounds like something composed specifically for you.
Classic country music fans, train your attention squarely upon the skinny shanks and fresh face of California songwriter and singer Jesse Daniel, for he’s about to become your next favorite artist, and ‘Rollin’ On’ your next favorite album. It’s only a few precious times each year we get to enjoy a landmark release that really defines the best in country music.
You won’t find the 1982 film ‘Six Pack’ archived in the Smithsonian or in the short list of Oscar-awarded efforts. But for thousands, maybe millions of Americans who grew up in the 80’s, ‘Six Pack’ looms quite large in their little cultural ethos. It’s where they learned to cuss. It’s where they learned about love.
Traditional country to the core and produced by the legendary Lloyd Maines, this collection of twelve songs penned mostly by Gummersall himself, but with a few assists from Devon O’Day and the great Jim Lauderdale, is bound to slide under-the-radar due to the straightforward nature of the approach, but is determined to be heard.
“Our Song” reminds us that the most important thing in our lives is each other. “You make it right when everything’s wrong,” Willie sings, which is a message that rings true as many sit virtually locked down with our loved ones due to the Coronavirus. A song like this may seem a little too sappy coming from some, but it’s welcomed from Willie.
If you’re apt to fall in love with the albums and songs from sincere and critically-acclaimed songwriters such as Lori McKenna, Emily Scott Robinson, and Caroline Spence, take a listen to this new EP from Anna Lynch called Apples in the Fall that is likely to nestle quite smartly into your tastes and sensibilities.
‘Honky Tonk Hell’ isn’t just a great record. It verifies that Gabe Lee will be one of the next great artists in country and roots music that we’ll hopefully be hearing plenty from and enjoying for years to come. Gabe Lee will continue to fly under-the-radar for many because he’s just too damn good, but it should win him the bigger audience he deserves.
Margo Price will release her latest record called That’s How Rumors Get Started on May 8th after moving on from Jack White’s Third Man Records to Loma Vista, an imprint of Concord Records. Margo released her first taste of new music in mid January with the song “Stone Me.” Now we get the first proper single.
“Your Life is a Record” is a little bit of a different approach for Brandy. Where usually her songs follow more of a proven methodology in the use of double entendres and witty turns of phrase and perspective to render themselves enjoyable, this record strikes a more personal chord.
Comprised of husband and wife Cole Michael Porter and Kendra Porter, they met in their hometown bar and soon became fast friends and singing partners. But this isn’t a Captain and Tenille bit where they gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes while singing other people’s songs. Both Cole and Kendra are respected singer/songwriters.
The Panhandlers aren’t just bound by their ties to the region. The geography and people of the upper portions of West Texas is what this music is all about. From falling water tables to failing farms, this is an account of an unforgiving land nobody would ever choose to call home. Yet people still do.
Like we saw with American Aquarium’s last record, the very well-received “Things Change,” BJ Barham might perform best when his back is against the wall, folks are counting him out, and he’s got something to prove. He relishes the underdog position.
“Hey, so what does everyone think about American politics?” That’s basically the anthill you’re kicking over whenever you invoke the name of the Dixie Chicks, even though their music was never really that political, and the polarization of their name was more due to misunderstanding and hysteria
What has every good country music fan crashing silly little sites like Saving Country Music on a regular basis? It’s the hope of discovering some piece of music or a performer whose quality far outpaces the popularity it enjoys, or in many cases, doesn’t. Johnny Falstaff is just that kind of guy, where less people know about him than should.
We’ve already run down the Greatest Country Albums of the Decade, and in there, albums in the mainstream were given fair competition to be included, and some made the cut. But in the spirit of inclusiveness and impartiality, let’s make sure the great records from the mainstream get their due as well.
Alan Jackson, Ashley McBryde, Brandy Clark, Caitlyn Smith, Chris Stapleton, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, George Strait, Jamey Johnson, Jon Pardi, Kacey Musgraves, Kalie Shorr, Kellie Pickler, Kip Moore, Miranda Lambert, Mo Pitney, Pistol Annies, Randy Houser, Reba McEntire, William Michael Morgan
Somewhere the idea of penning really good songs, and then heading into the studio to record them with your road band in a way that does the inspiration behind the compositions justice got sifted down the ladder of priorities. But this is exactly what you’ll find with the latest record from Nora Jane Struthers.
If word comes down that Tami Neilson is making her way to your town, pitch the tent, prop up the podium, assemble the pews, pass out handbills and burn up the telephones lines to put everyone on alert that the new queen of rockabilly herself is coming to testify and save souls with her earth-shattering shouts and dulcet coos.
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit have announced their sixth studio album to be released on May 15th called ‘Reunions.’ Ahead of the new album, Jason Isbell has released the blistering and politically-charged anthem “Be Afraid.” Far from roots or even notions of Americana, it’s only fair to label it rock with a highly-charged political message.
Place whatever qualifiers you wish on the estimation of John Moreland as the overlord of all modern songwriters, like his stuff isn’t very commercial, or that sometimes he strains to find a proper melody. But on paper, his lines are pure poetry, putting words to the fears and anxieties that wash over us on a daily basis.
Here are the greatest country and roots albums of the last decade in Saving Country Music’s estimation. Albums were regarded primarily on quality, and how they held up over the decade, as well as the influence they had on country music, and music at large. These are the albums that should not be overlooked over the last 10 years of music.
Brent Amaker and the Rodeo, Caitlin Rose, Chris Stapleton, Cody Jinks, Emily Scott Robinson, First Aid Kit, Hellbound Glory, Jack Ingram, James McMurtry, Jason Eady, Jason Isbell, John Moreland, Joseph Huber, Kacey Musgraves, Kellie Pickler, Lindi Ortega, MIke and the Moonpies, Miranda Lambert, Olds Sleeper, Roger Alan Wade, Sarah Shook and the Disarmers, Slackeye Slim, Sturgill Simpson, Sunny Sweeney, Tami Neilson, The Mavericks, Turnpike Troubadours, Tyler Childers, Zephaniah OHora
With a reverence and aptitude at reviving multiple cherished roots disciplines within their sphere of the bluegrass realm, and with a new lead singer that can supercharge songs that already hold a cherished place in the minds of established fans, the SteelDrivers aren’t just weathering storms, they’re taming the sea, and possibly hitting their stride.
Steal yourself for the roller coaster of emotional moments and life-altering epiphanies that often accompany any foray into a recorded effort or live performance by the one man musical marvel known by the name Possessed by Paul James. You leave the company of the expressions of Possessed by Paul James a changed person.