It’s not that ‘Fun’ isn’t without it’s moments. But Garth Brooks is too much of a cheeseball, and too surrounded by yes men to be given the reigns to produce his own stuff. Or what you get is a record like ‘Fun.’
Some of the best Miranda Lambert songs can be found on the stuff she does outside of her regular album cycles. A song about how it’s often our heartbreak and failures that lead to the insight and inspiration that becomes our greatest triumphs, “Champion” is a song of perseverance.
From growling tracks to get your blood pumping, to some of the easiest country songs to ease into, to songs written with such searing insight you’ll be squeezing back tears, ‘Black Cats and Crows’ may have been inspired by bad luck and worse decisions, but it results in immense measures of good fortune for listeners.
More than anything else, it’s the songs on Doug Supernaw’s debut album ‘Red and Rio Grande’ that makes it to hold up so well now 27 years later. Though Doug only wrote or co-wrote four of the songs, he sure knew how to pick ’em, and some of them went on to be the pick of the litter for early 90’s country.
Chris Stapleton has always been the most unlikely of superstars. Slightly overweight 36-year-olds with beards and a burly countenance aren’t supposed to be the beneficiaries of the confluence of positive circumstances that powered Stapleton so high into the stratosphere of country music, he’s transcended the genre.
When rattling off a list of the most hard charging, unapologetic honky-tonk Outlaw country bands out there who tour until it hurts, don’t know when to quit, and will kick your teeth in with their live show, The Piedmont Boys based out of South Carolina never receive their fair share of recognition.
Combining the splendid messiness of Lucinda Williams, the warrior poet heart of James McMurtry, the rock and roll abandon of east Nashville alley cat Lilly Hiatt, and enough grit and groove to make ol’ Ray Wylie Hubbard nod in approval, Becky Warren turns in a rough and tumble travelogue.
Whether you remember her from her days on Rounder Records as one of the premier vocalists in bluegrass, or if she’s just now raising a blip on your radar, Alecia Nugent and her new album ‘The Old Side of Town’ is worth bending your ear towards.
The Bloody Jug Band released their latest record ‘Stranded’ on Halloween, which is only appropriate for a band whose majority of material leans towards the macabre. But you can also overlook this band as just a horror gimmick if you’re not careful, which would be to your detriment.
The challenge of traditional country is how adhere to all those tried and true traditions, while also asserting something unique. Bringing an authentic Australian perspective to the music, James Ellis and the Jealous Guys inject a distinctive flavor.
Kalie Shorr started out trying to become a pop country starlet, and has now become one of the most pointed voices of dissent in Nashville. Now Kalie Shorr is like the embodiment of mainstream country’s guilty conscience coming to life, giving a voice to all of its sins.
Sometimes you just want to listen to something to help pass the time on a long drive, or to chill out to, but something that is still smartly composed. That’s what you get from Great Peacock’s latest album “Forever Worse Better.” It reminds you of all your old favorite alt-country records.
Apparently not enough hearts have been broken, not enough tears cried, not enough minds sent swooning, and not enough sorrow sown. If you want something done right, you often have to do it yourself, and the Queen of Underground Country is back to show all you whipper snappers how it’s done.
We’ve been warning your ever since the West Virginia gypsy jazz ragtime roots country songbird Sierra Ferrell signed to Rounder Records last August that she was one to have on your short list for the next breakout artist from the independent country and roots realm.
With the embarrassment of riches independent country music fans enjoy these days amid countless options of where and who they can get their country fix from beyond corporate radio, you can make the mistake of overlooking Midwest-based country singer and performer David Quinn.
If you’re a traditional country fan, you’re already used to feeling like a foreigner in your own time and place; an oddball, an outcast, forgotten, a freak. Who would want to listen to those old, outmoded songs, or even new ones that emulate them? The new movie called ‘Yellow Rose’ delves into this.
‘Yellow Rose’ follows Rose Garcia as she takes her feelings of formlessness and not fitting in, and puts them into country songs. One evening when sneaking into the famous Broken Spoke honky tonk in Austin, Texas with her friend Elliot who works at a local music store, Rose makes the acquaintance of Dale Watson
With little room for noodling or improvisation, and not a ton of conversation or rehearsal before heading into the studio, Cuttin’ Grass is still finely crafted and deftly executed by all involved, offering good to excellent bluegrass renditions of Sturgill Simpson songs.
From the way he expertly plys his passion for country music, to the trueness he shows to himself, Roo Arcus is one of the best places to turn for more of that straight-laced and squared away version of country music indicative of George Strait, yet it’s still country that cuts to the bone with ruggedness and authenticity.
‘Co-Starring’ is a spirited, ambitious, well-written and performed late career effort by Ray Wylie Hubbard that makes a strong case why he deserves major label backing, why all the praise and opportunities he’s been receiving lately (however late) are warranted, while also making a worthy introduction into why so many revere this man.
Here comes the Brothers Osborne’s new record ‘Skeletons,’ which most certainly has it’s moments. But where Port Saint Joe surprised us for all the right reasons, Skeletons is decidedly much more rock than country, more boisterous than understated, and more riff-driven than lyric-driven.
There is an entire world of old-time music out there just waiting to be discovered. As The Onlies attest, this is not just an old man’s game either. With all the members in their 20’s, these wickedly proficient players bring a power, potency, and a cool factor to the oldest incarnation of country.
It’s easy to soliloquize the expansive mountains or the rolling sea. It’s another to find inspiration in the expansive stillness of America’s midriff. But as Brennen Leigh can attest from her intimate acquaintance, you’ll never believe the brilliance of it unless you’ve beheld them with your own eyes.