If you’re looking for a little levity amid a world gone mad, and music served with a surprising bit of twang, the latest release from long-standing alt-country stalwarts The Bottle Rockets will do you good. Called Bit Logic and brought to you by the fine folks at Bloodshot Records, they put the “country” in front of the “alt” on this one.
Tom Buller opens his mouth, and you’re immediately transported back to the Golden Era of country music, whichever era you choose the ‘Golden’ one to be. Where has true country music gone, you ask? It’s gone right down the gullet of Tom Buller, and comes back out in the form of one of the purest country voices you’ll hear.
Tim McGraw recently took time from crushing his core-sculpting exercises and scratching items off of Faith Hill’s honey do list to record a new single called “Neon Church.” If someone handed you a lyric sheet for this song, you’d probably nod in approval. It’s the production of “Neon Church” where the battle lines will be drawn.
Talent, opportunity, and fortuitous timing are not the only underlying indicators of success in music. One of the most critical elements to most any prosperous career is the willingness of the artist or performers involved to sacrifice of their personal lives for the music, and to be dexterous and fleet of foot to make their dreams a reality.
Without an ounce of hyperbole, one can decree Colter Wall’s voice as a one-in-a-million phenomenon among humankind, and find very little resistance to that pronouncement. Yet the most remarkable thing about his voice is that he’s chosen to employ it in the service of keeping the most primitive forms of roots music alive.
Enough trying to settle for the latest Eric Church record simply because it’s better than most of the stuff in the mainstream, or squinting at Luke Combs and trying to make him the second coming of Waylon. You’re in the mood for a honky tonk fix? Quit throwing darts at the Billboard charts, and pick up the latest from JP Harris.
On the dark side of country and roots lurks some the most creative and disturbing expressions and stories ever written into song. From murder ballads to ghost stories, to tales of struggle and lunacy, Gothic country and dark roots never get their full due, nor do the denizens of these art forms who help keep these traditions alive.
There is a war going on for control of Eric Church’s soul. It’s similar to the war that persists in the hearts and minds of most every mainstream country music artist. But for Eric Church, the war is different. It’s more pronounced, and has been playing out through the span of his career.
The name Dustin Lynch is quickly becoming a direct match synonym for derivative bottom shelf white boy culturally appropriating pseudo rap R&B bullshit. Don’t let the cowboy hat and rugged jawline fool you. This guy’s like the Wyle E. Coyote from Looney Tunes, dressed to blend in with the rest of country music….
Whether it’s crying over bills at the kitchen table, pondering the impact of an absent father, or fearing that life itself is nothing more than a slow process of death, Murray at times is merciless in her effort to make you feel the pain of personal and fictional stories that feel all too patently real to yourself as they hit the ear.
The Pistol Annies present an important element to mainstream country as a unique project that compiles well-recognized star power with independent substance and a rootsy sound. Ahead of the release of their third album ‘Interstate Gospel,’ they have made available three new songs which pick up where the trio left off in 2013.
James Steinle’s debut album ‘South Texas Homecoming’ is a songwriter’s record driven home at times with a hard country backbone. Finely-crafted, erudite, and thought-provoking in moments, and then bouncy and playful when it needs to be, it touches plenty of erogenous zones on the country music palette.
Beyond the words and twang the voice and music may carry, you just have a belief in what you’re seeing and hearing from Jaime Wyatt. This isn’t some delicate flower. This is a woman who’s lived through the worst to tell her tale, unafraid of shame or judgement, and hoping to spin her story toward one of redemption and victory.
After it was announced right before AmericanaFest that Nashville resident Logan Ledger was working with legendary producer T Bone Burnett and had signed to Rounder Records, he quickly became one of the artists people were putting on their radar to watch perform.
Who are the mysterious Stryker Brothers? And are we to believe the elaborate back story about a couple of singing brothers named Coal and Flynt from the 70’s who hobnobbed with the Texas Outlaws of the era & other country music royalty, only to die in a prison fire & have tapes of their music discovered after all of these years?
Not since Keith Urban have we witnessed an artist trying so transparently to defy their age, and grasp for radio relevancy. “Young As We Are Tonight” is just bad all around, from the writing to the production. And “Young As We Are Tonight” will not go anywhere.
As real as the sharp curves of mountain roads and the abandoned shucks of coal towns, John R. Miller weaves his stories of struggle and survival with a poetic wit, honesty and abandon, and a palpable authenticity. These are songs so tucked away up a holler, to find them you have to creep past No Trespassing signs.
The role of mainstream country music in this contentious time of ever-present social cataclysm and perennial political polarization is starting to materialize, and in pretty conclusive form. Country music is seeing all the turmoil, and wanting to be a calming, unifying voice, instead of choosing sides, and lending to the discord.
Despite the undeniable instrumental shift to amplification, Chains Are Broken still feels very much like a Devil Makes Three record, surprisingly so. The minor chords, the dark themes, and the punk roots attitude is still what’s most prevalent. You almost don’t notice they’ve basically morphed into a rock band.
The summer is winding down, but the fall and winter release cycle in country and roots music is heating up, with some of the most anticipated projects of the entire year to be released between now and when the hammer falls on 2018. To help you keep up, here’s a list of Saving Country Music’s most anticipated releases for the final portion of 2018.
Adam Hood, Blackberry Smoke, Bri Bagwell, Colter Wall, Dillon Carmichael, James Carothers, Jamie Lin Wilson, Jason Isbell, John Howie Jr., JP Harris, Kristina Murray, Loretta Lynn, The Black Lillies, Whitey Morgan and the 78's, William Elliott Whitmore, Willie Nelson
Just the name “Shooter” elicits strong opinions from people in country music. This is the result of being the son of a country hero whose legacy looms so large, the history of the man himself could never match the mythos. Hank Williams Jr. was saddled with such burdens. He’s also the primary inspiration behind “Shooter.”
Well I’ll be damned, Cody Jinks and Co. pulled it off. You normally talk about learning curves when it comes to first year festivals. That’s not even part of the conversation when it comes to the inaugural Loud and Heavy Fest. It didn’t really feel like a festival ….
CID Presents, Cody Cannon, Cody Jinks, Colter Wall, Corrosion of Conformity, Flockers, Loud and Heavy Fest, Nikki Lane, Panther Island Pavilion, Paul Cauthen, Sunny Sweeney, Tennessee Jet, The Sword, Tony Martinez, Ward Davis, Whiskey Myers, Whitey Morgam Whitey Morgan and the 78's