Nominees For 2010 SCM Album of the Year
2010 has been a bumper crop year for outstanding REAL/Outlaw/roots/underground/insurgent country to say the least. And no, I’m not just being a cheerleader for our team. I’ll be the first to admit that 2009 was a down year, except for some good ones from the Bloodshot Records gang (Justin Townes Earle, Scott H. Biram, Wayne Hancock) and a few other select projects. The result is some projects that may have been serious candidates for Saving Country Music’s Album of the Year in another calendar cycle will not appear, and the requirements must become even more rigorous.
For an album to be considered this year, it must be a top-caliber project not just for this year, but for all-time. It must be groundbreaking, earth-shatteringly good, as well as accessible, innovative, and must be measured against the artist’s other projects as well. Is it the best the individual artist has put out during the span of their career? For example, some will grumble that Hank III’s Rebel Within is not here, but it cannot compete with 2005’s Straight To Hell, and even Hank III has said he’s holding something back until his post-Curb Records era begins. The Album of the Year will likely be the best album put out since Hank III’s 2005 offering, making it really more like the album of the last decade.
And this album must be a good ambassador for independent roots music. When someone chides us for only liking things because they are obscure, or when we say our music is better in quality, will this project reflect the best music we have to offer, and be listenable to a mainstream ear?
There will be an “Essential Albums for 2010” list coming soon that will be much more broad, so don’t worry, people like Jayke Orvis, Lucky Tubb, and .357 String Band will get their due. There will be a “Song of the Year” list coming too, and please, leave your votes, thoughts, complaints, write-in campaigns etc. below. Feedback by readers WILL be considered in the final decision.
After laying out a harsh gauntlet of provisions, here are my Album of the Year candidates:
Ray Wylie Hubbard – A. Enlightenment
Back in the day, Ray Wylie Hubbard had the handle of “The Forgotten Outlaw.” I’m afraid that this album too will be “forgotten” but it deserves as bright of a spotlight as any in 2010. He was the artist that other Austin artists listened to in the early Austin days. His style has dramatically changed since then, but not his level of influence, and innovation in sound. This album is as fresh and relevant as any put out by artists half his age, and defines a new chapter in country blues. (read review)
PREVIEW TRACKS AND/OR PURCHASE ALBUM
Hellbound Glory – Old Highs & New Lows
This album came out of the gate as an Album of the Year candidate early in the year. It has been sitting in the clubhouse while many other projects take their best shots, and here it still sits atop the leaderboard. The quality of this album is undeniable, from the songwriting, to the musicianship, and the accessibility. This is not some obscure project that you must have an ear for underground country to appreciate. Save for the racy-drug-infused lyrics, it is an album for the masses that is nealy impossible to wear out. (read review)
PREVIEW TRACKS AND/OR PURCHASE ALBUM
Possessed By Paul James – Feed The Family
The first thing you will hear from fans of Possessed by Paul James is how amazing he is live. Well I’ve seen him live twice in the last few months, and as amazing as the live version is, I like the album better. Yes, a man whose name is always proceeded by “You HAVE to see him live,” has topped himself by the sheer quality of this project. This was the only album this year I could not find anything to pick on. If you’re looking for heavy twang, there’s not much of that here, Possessed works more in the mold of the Texas songwriters, the Townes and Guy Clarks. But he’s also evolved from that to his own style that can’t be pigeon holed, including deep ties to the roots in the instrumentation and themes. (read review)
PREVIEW TRACKS AND/OR PURCHASE ALBUM
Roger Alan Wade – Deguello Motel
Who says music is dominated by youth? This is the second album by an older artist who might have put out the best work of their career, or the best work this year, period. Dequello Motel might lack the instrumentation of the other candidates, but it doesn’t lack the scope, or the transcendent songwriting and staying power that an Album of the Year must have. And yes, Dequello Motel is a ‘must have’ to say the least. Great album cover too. (read review)
PREVIEW TRACKS AND/OR PURCHASE ALBUM
Also a special mention goes out to the Outlaw Radio Compilation, certainly an essential album for 2010, and may have as many great original songs as any of the other candidates above. But in such a banner year for music, it seems wrong to give a compilation this distinction, though certainly if a fifth candidate would be added, the Outlaw Radio Vol.1 would be it.
November 28, 2010 @ 12:27 pm
This is great Triggerman. In a year with so many great albums come from this scene, it will be fun to see your lists, share our own, and celebrate so much good music. I have to admit that about halfway through the year I couldn’t keep up anymore. I spent so much money on music that I had to back down, especially since I’m saving for a new guitar myself. So I only have one of the albums above at this point, thankfully it IS my album of the year:
Hellbound Glory: “Old Highs and New Lows” gets my vote, and if I could vote for it twice I would. I saw these guys live several months before you began talking them up on this site, but their new album hits it out of the park. Like you say, you just don’t get sick of it no matter how often you listen. I also had the honor of hanging out and opening for the band this summer (no influence on my vote, true story), and they are a bunch of really great guys. I can’t wait to see and hear what they do next!
November 28, 2010 @ 12:47 pm
Old Highs and New Lows gets my vote too, but only because I don’t own the other two yet. I was gonna spend every last dime I had on a new winter coat to replace the one I wrecked, but after all the praise you’ve given all these other albums, I may have to put that off. When I freeze to death, I’m gonna come haunting you, Triggerman.
November 28, 2010 @ 1:17 pm
Hehe. Buy the coat now, and ask Santa for the albums, or vice versa.
November 28, 2010 @ 1:08 pm
Hellbound Glory’s album is amazing, every song is a winner. And their live show is fantastic. I vote for them.
November 28, 2010 @ 1:23 pm
Another vote for Hellbound Glory’s album. It is non-stop perfection.
November 28, 2010 @ 1:34 pm
I’ve been going back and forth between Old Highs, and Deguello Motel for awhile.
At the end of the day I gotta go with Hellbound Glory. The album is so complete, and I listen to it damn near everyday and it never stops sounding new.
November 28, 2010 @ 2:08 pm
Hmmm.. I very surprised that I don’t see Orvis” album above. With all the fuss about Hellbound Glory I guess Im gonna have to give them another listen. I’ve listened to a few songs and they didn’t leave me with the feeling that I needed to hear more. With that being said Im going to give it a good honest and undisturbed listen.
I seem to keep talking about the new Marty Stuart album and it is falling upon deaf ears.But I highly suggest you give that a good honest listen. Maybe I’ll feature it on a show very soon. ?????
And last but not least I don’t think the Whitey album gets the credit it deserves. The more I listen to it the more I appreciate it. But hey, maybe I am biased because of my Flint, MI roots. 😉
November 28, 2010 @ 2:12 pm
Whitey’s in my personal top 5 for sure.
November 28, 2010 @ 2:42 pm
Both Whitey Morgan and Marty Stuart will be in the essential 2010 list for sure, and Jayke. Like I said, the best album is going to have to be beyond just great because the bar is so high this year. I really don’t feel any of those albums are groundbreaking, except maybe Whitey’s, but that’s only from a business standpoint. It’s really a shame that some of these albums couldn’t have their own years to shine, but I guess in some ways this is a good problem to have. Last year Justin Townes Earle won by default.
November 28, 2010 @ 3:46 pm
My favorite of last year was “Watch America Roll By”, J.B. Beverley & the Wayward Drifters.
November 28, 2010 @ 5:03 pm
that was released in late 2009.
November 28, 2010 @ 5:15 pm
My favorite of last year, being 2009. Trigger said JTE got album of the year by default, I was just mentioning my favorite of last year. I should have been more specific. J.B. Beverley & the Wayward Drifters are one of the few bands that DIDN’T release a great album this year it seems.
November 28, 2010 @ 8:46 pm
Still think Justin Townes Earle was better. Gonna get to see JB Beverley live for the first time in a few weeks. I’m hoping my experience give me a deeper appreciation for their music.
November 28, 2010 @ 8:50 pm
J.B. Beverley & the Wayward Drifters was the band that first introduced me to this whole scene, and despite all the bands I’ve discovered since they are still one of my favorites. I’ve tried to get in to JTE, listening to the first two albums at least. But he just doesn’t do it for me. However I’m not going to accuse you of being a loser virgin living in your mom’s garage just because we disagree!
November 29, 2010 @ 7:52 am
Agreed Aran. Ive been following the Wayward Drifters for a number of years now and to this day with all of the others bands that have come along, they still stand out and are one of my favorites.
November 28, 2010 @ 2:57 pm
Hellbound Glory: “Old Highs and New Lows” gets my vote.
November 28, 2010 @ 3:04 pm
Whitey Morgan and the 78’s, Deguello Motel, Viper of Melody, Hillbilly Fever, Old Highs & New Lows GREAT STUFF!
November 28, 2010 @ 8:48 pm
Viper of Melody was last year, but a good one that I’ve come to appreciate more over time. Lucky’s Hillbilly Fever is definitely on the “Must Have” list.
November 28, 2010 @ 3:11 pm
Cant put the hellbound glory album down. Its gritty and true roots country.
November 28, 2010 @ 3:15 pm
No question…Hellbound Glory!
November 28, 2010 @ 3:36 pm
It’s been a great year for albums and Hellbound Glory’s latest batch of tracks is a damn amazing collection of songs. I can put it on, hit the highway and get lost as every song takes me on a journey. What an honor to put out such an amazing album.
November 28, 2010 @ 4:04 pm
Possessed By Paul James ”“ Feed The Family
November 28, 2010 @ 4:15 pm
Hellbound Glory, Old Highs & New Lows.
November 28, 2010 @ 4:17 pm
The cd that’s broken ground for me personally is the Outlaw Radio Compilation. It’s turned me on to some great bands that I didn’t even know exist and it gives rare offerings from the bands I’m already into. It’s been in consistent rotation in my music player since I got it.
If we’re playing by the rules, I stick with Possessed by Paul James ’cause that guy is gifted and his cd blew me away.
November 28, 2010 @ 4:34 pm
Hellbound Glory, “Old Highs and New Lows” all the way!!!
November 28, 2010 @ 5:19 pm
Hellbound Glory for the win!!
November 28, 2010 @ 5:25 pm
I feel the need to say here, though I will take comments as feedback on who the winner should be, Saving Country Music is a benevolent dictatorship, and I will not be tabulating on a comment by comment basis to determine the winner.
November 28, 2010 @ 6:14 pm
Yeah, that’s good man. Like I said above it is interesting to hear EVERYBODY’S opinion, including yours when the time comes.
Behind the Barn
November 28, 2010 @ 5:40 pm
My vote goes to Hellbound out of the choices. You should hear my recording of Lee Roy’s unreleased track ‘Malt Liquor.’ It may just by my track of the year.
November 28, 2010 @ 6:30 pm
I’ve heard a few of the unreleased tracks, and am really excited to see how Hellbound follows up Old Highs and New Lows, and see if they can keep all this positive momentum going.
Here’s a video of the song if anyone’s interested:
November 28, 2010 @ 5:54 pm
Jayke orvis album was very damn good man. and in my opinion any hank III album is the best over the rest..that goes without even sayin
November 28, 2010 @ 6:39 pm
It’s All Been Said is a perfect example of a great album that would be in the top 5 any other year. This year you have to reinvent the wheel to grab the top spot.
Rebel Within is a good album, and it certainly will make the “Best of the Rest” list, but it I just can’t put it above these stellar albums made by guys putting every last bit of energy into them, when Hank III himself is saying he’s holding stuff back until Curb is gone. Hank III can do better, and he’ll get his chance. No more excuses.
November 29, 2010 @ 1:25 pm
completely agree with you man
November 28, 2010 @ 6:00 pm
Hellbound Glory for sure! Every songs a classic!!
November 28, 2010 @ 7:02 pm
My favorite album of the year is Ray Wylie Hubbards. My runner ups would be.
Guy Clark – Somedays the song writes you
Roger Alan Wade – Deguello Motel
Robert Earl Keen – The Rose Hotel
Jerry Jeff Walker – Moon Child
The Carter Family III – Past & Present
November 28, 2010 @ 8:50 pm
Guy Clark’s is a good one. I still need to check out The Carter Family III, I’ve heard lots good about it.
November 28, 2010 @ 7:41 pm
tough call to make but somebody’s gotta do it. hellbound glory is my favorite band, but for me it is classic apples and oranges as they say between “Old Highs…” and “Deguello Motel”. each is near perfect in its own right, with old highs being up there with “straight to hell” and “fire and hail” in my opinion as the best of this underground-or-whatever-you-call-it type country music we all love, but deguello has a different kinda magic that i think makes it an all-time great of any genre of music. when i’m headin out on another bender its hellbound, when i’m comin back from the other side its degeullo, if that makes any fuckin sense.
November 28, 2010 @ 8:09 pm
hellbound glory gets my vote
November 28, 2010 @ 9:38 pm
With the list here I have to vote for Feed The Family by PPJ. That album truly blew me away from start to finish! I am somewhat surprised to not see Tom Vandenavond’s “You Oughta Know Me By Now” get any mention. It truly is one of the finest country albums I’ve heard in a long time!
November 28, 2010 @ 10:57 pm
Many albums will get more attention in my 2010 Essential list coning up. These albums represent the very tip top in multiple roots/country movements, in a year where there is a glut of albums that deserve top praise. It makes my job difficult, but it is a good problem to have.
November 30, 2010 @ 8:57 am
I agree with Muller. Where do we actually vote?
November 30, 2010 @ 9:34 am
You vote, I decide. This isn’t really an up and down thing. I, the benevolent dictator of Saving Country Music, will decide, after taking people’s comments or “votes” under advisement.
November 30, 2010 @ 2:19 pm
I know another benevolent dictator who calls himself “el c”…
I think you should go by Shiva. It’s so appropriate.
November 28, 2010 @ 11:09 pm
I just hope next year has as many great albums
November 29, 2010 @ 10:13 am
Well just in January we have scheduled Rachel Brooke, Little Lisa Dixie, and Bob Wayne.
Martin Luther Presley
November 29, 2010 @ 4:24 am
The Fox Hunt – Long Way To Go
The .357 String Band – Lightning From The North
Otis Gibbs – Joe Hill’s Ashes
November 29, 2010 @ 10:18 am
Some more good ones to look into.
November 29, 2010 @ 6:29 am
Early Christmas present from Mother Hubbard, send me your address at email@example.com and I’ll send you a copy of RWH Enlightenment. Not looking to sway votes here just don’t wanna see any of you coatless this winter. In the meantime I’m gonna go pick up a copy of Hellbound Glory!
November 29, 2010 @ 10:18 am
Thanks Mother Hubbard!
Martin Luther Presley
December 21, 2011 @ 11:17 am
I know it’s been a while and I’m not trying to be a dick here, but has anyone actually gotten a CD? Perhaps mine just got lost?
November 29, 2010 @ 8:30 am
i’ve finally had time to listen to more of what I’ve come across touring this year…
I dig the Hellbound Glory..good stuff…
I have not heard the Roger Alan Wade album yet..and definitely need to.
I freely admit, I haven’t heard a lot of new material…I still obsess over my old records…finally took the opportunity to really sit down and enjoy the Drive By Truckers latest…I resolved to do so before their new one comes out…and, well, they are basically my favorite current band…so, that gives you an idea of how behind I am.
Bands are lucky to have people like you all out there that are passionate and paying attention—and thankfully, more caught up than I am…we need you guys.
I can make a I must listen to soon list though:
Orvis, R.A.W., Finally saw Rev Payton, gotta check out one of his records, I’m late to the party but loving Unknown Hinson these days…and I’m sad to see a lack of Dale Watson’s current record listed here…I love it.
Also, taking submissions for 2011’s Honky Tonk Throwdown…let me know if there’s someone I’m missing out on that I gotta bring to the party…
November 29, 2010 @ 9:23 am
How in the world did I not mention Dale’s new album.. ?.. Good call.
November 29, 2010 @ 10:15 am
Dale’s is another great one that I’m afraid will be overlooked by most. I think it’s his best in years.
Both Kinds of Music
December 7, 2010 @ 12:13 am
Really? I thought it was his weakest album EVER. No edge to it at all. Totally over produced. C’mon, back up singers? He takes all the fun out of Ain’t That Livin’ and the crush of Heart of Stone that were easily heard in his live releases. Not a song on there I’d recommend.
December 7, 2010 @ 8:04 am
No question, nothing holds up to Dale’s live releases. I made that observation in the review of Carryin’ On.
November 29, 2010 @ 10:09 am
boy- I cant get into any of the listed albums, except for the Outlaw Radio Comp. I’ve tried several times each over the months- just not my style. I think my top 5 so far-
Trampled By Turtles
All You Mother Fuckers Need Justice
Hank III is really close though.
I like the idea of a ‘Honerable Mention’ list. It gives a little more attention to some others
November 29, 2010 @ 10:17 am
All those will be on the Essential list for sure. Trampled by Turtles is another one that could have been an Album of the Year if there wasn’t such stiff competition.
November 29, 2010 @ 11:52 am
Hellbound Glory for me. Just because the whole thing is near perfect and gets better everytime.
November 29, 2010 @ 3:10 pm
Hellbound Glory is fantastic, but there’s something about RAW and Deguello Motel that has just haunted me since I first heard it. My vote goes to him.
November 30, 2010 @ 1:46 am
Ahite, you already know where I’m goin’ but I have a point. It’s always weird for me to see folks pick an “album of the year” from nominees that are exclusive to bands that have been reviewed on this site. But I like a lot of bands featured here. I just kinda wish more people in the know would bring different or unheard of bands to the table of suggestion. Any suggestions country folks? … Anyway, I like Lucky Tubb’s new record but I would like to see them venture more into what I hear as their own sound developing rather than the older songs they do. I do like Hellbound Glory’s new album and think it probably deserves a good spot in the nominees, but I think the Rebel Within is a considerable nominee for many reasons. As sometimes Hellbound’s humorous, hell-raising songs are well written and good listening, songs on TWR seem to be coming from a more serious place and more autobiographical and personal. For example III’s Drinkin’ Over Mama is a rare meant to be humorous, goofy song for him – as that vibe dominates much of the songs on Hellbound’s record. While the other songs on the Rebel Within seem straight up country directness: Traditional drinking songs ‘Gettin Drunk and Fallin’ Down’ and ‘Drinkin Ain’t Hard To Do’ – slow lonesome, depressed country songs: ‘Gone But Not Forgotten’ and ‘#5’, the later with subject matter unheard on a song like that – uncharted territory new style for Hank III : Lookin for a Mountain (genius honest bluegrass/hybrid ripper) ‘Rebel Within’ and ‘Tore Up and Loud’ (Completely original hell-raisers in country, but taken for granted because III invented this sound and has used it before) Karmageddon (unlike anything else in country) …………’Moonshiner’s Life’ (completely relevant subject matter about an important country folk-hero to the underground country scene and to III and his personal family in an energetic music that can pass off as country more than rockabilly/psychobilly vibes of Goddamn Gallows or 357) and ‘Lost In Oklahoma’ ..displaying thoughtful autobiographical moments with references of “Arizona”, for people who know the connection with that ,and “New Orleans”. I don’t think this record’s quality should be judged by what Hank III said about it or how it compares to Straight to Hell. As I’ve said before, it’s still a hell of a lot better and more country than a lot of other shit, especially considering III’s touring schedule and side projects in addition. Hellbound Glory – Old Highs New Lows: pretty good fun, light-hearted song writing quality. Good record. Hank III – Rebel Within: pretty good heavy-hearted song writing quality.Good record. Hank III ain’t gotta prove shit, he re-invented real country music.
I would mention Haggard’s new one (or was that last year?) anyway Those, and of course, Taylor Swift’s Whining and Dining
November 30, 2010 @ 4:18 pm
That’s a good point about III’s approach being more real, I hadn’t looked at it like that before. The different approach by Hellobund though may be why their music sounds more fresh than III’s. Numerous people have knocked III for only singing about drinking and drugs, but like you point out here, and like I pointed out in my review, he does open up some new themes in this album. Problem is, it is still a majority drinking/drugging songs, and people are beginning to get tired of them. To III’s defense, we have no idea if he’s playing with a full deck. I almost want to recuse judgment until he is completely free of Curb.
David Lee is a goddamn State Line Warrior
November 30, 2010 @ 6:47 pm
I truly don’t understand that point. I don’t think anybody is tired of Hank III’s songs, except for maybe some who have an agenda to take away from Hank’s talent to shed the spotlight on newer bands.. Which is okay in a sense, but III’s lyrics aren’t forced they are natural and representative to the hard living lifestyle and fans around him. So I guess what I meant is that Hellbound is good but the songs have a voyeuristic approach with traditional Nashville style song writing about drugs and alcohol, which is top notch. And Hank III’s record is natural style song writing about country themes like drinkin that isn’t goofy and personal subjects. I vote for Hank III Rebel Within. I still listen to it more than others albums and I think it is legitimate barebones organic traditional rebel country music that he does best. It’s always what a person can relate to. I had to get past Hellbound’s western accent and what I saw as Hank IIIish hellraising lyrics before I warmed up to them and realized they are a good band. I just think their record is less relatable to what I look for in music.
November 30, 2010 @ 9:11 pm
Rebel Within doesn’t get the accolades it deserves because of III’s back catalogue. It’s that way for many artists who have that huge break-through album. If Metallica never wrote Master of Puppets their material since would be shown more appreciation. Down had NOLA… The list goes on and on. It is a stellar album, however, and has become my favorite of 2010… Old High’s And New Low’s is a close second. Unfortunately I have a very limited budget these days so I haven’t bought many of these albums that are being discussed. Shelton gets my money because of his track record, and always will before anyone else. Guess when I win the lottery I’ll have to check the SCM year- end archives and go on a shopping spree.
November 30, 2010 @ 7:56 pm
I’d hesitate to call Hellbound Glory’s songwriting light hearted. Nothing like hearted about a friend dying of a heroin overdose, or about slowly coming to grips with the face that your lifestyle is just an extended form of suicide. Too Broke to Overdose? “I pawned the gun I would have used to put a bullet in my head.”
Don’t let the up tempo music fool you. That album is full of some dark shit.
November 30, 2010 @ 8:54 pm
That is a true story.
December 1, 2010 @ 12:32 am
I don’t buy it. The lyrics seem kinda parody or spoofy to me, but that’s just an opinion. Leroy don’t seem like that kind of person, he seems happy. Candidate for Suicide has been done. But that doesn’t matter… what I was tryin to say was Their lyrics are all about the shit that Hank III is apparently being criticized for. I’m sure there are some dark moments on Hellbound, but I don’t feel it in the music. Hank III expresses it the exact same way Hiram did, the country way. The boy can’t help it. If you live it, it can’t help but to. And what you said was true Scott, but I see no reason for an album to be measured against a preceding one, they are different works ( I actually like Over the Under by the way). And I don’t buy the bullshit that Hank III has to prove himself post-curb. It’s all an agenda and going with what is more accessable. If Hellbound is number one, which I know it will be, Rebel Within should at least be number two, as far as this crowd goes. But in the ‘anti-scene’ candidates for country Rebel Within is Album of the Year, taking nothing away from Old Highs New Lows…maybe Joe Buck is the new nominee.. Okay, there’s my rebel flag!
December 1, 2010 @ 1:22 am
You buy Hank III’s hard living songs over Hellbound Glory’s?
I love III, but to think the man is a hard partying rebel anymore is just plain wrong. Old High’s and New Lows was a very autobiographical album, spend ten minutes with the band, trade some stories with them, and you’ll change your mind.
III, I love him, but he’s got an image that he displays. He’s not out drinking and drugging every night. Hasn’t been for along time. He’s 100% business.
December 1, 2010 @ 1:27 am
Not to mention Old Highs was a collection Leroy’s drinking and drugging songs. Some of those songs are 10 or 11 years old. He even said he wanted to get out the songs about being self destructive since that’s what he had spent so much time being.
He’s married now, with a baby on the way so yeah he is happier. I think it’s a very personal album, and that shines through.
David Lee is a goddamn State Line Warrior
December 1, 2010 @ 9:44 pm
There wasn’t anything that you said that I didn’t already know. You’re still not getting what I’m saying, but it don’t matter. I know your choice. That’s exactly what I said, I don’t think Leroy is suicidal. I don’t care what Leroy does.. I do like him. I was still refering to the delivery of the songs. There is a lot about Hank that nobody knows about including me. No one can say what he does especially if they don’t understand where he’s coming from or the music. I’m talking about the music , I don’t want to get. Into the musician’s personal lives. For certain people claiming what a person is about or what expectations they should have, I know it’s all an agenda. geography and personal beliefs
Shouldn’t get in the way of the music. But. I have nothing against Leroy or his band. I think there is something against Hank III. But I’m not losing sleep over anything but my own detractors.
December 1, 2010 @ 10:32 pm
Alright, first off, just like I said above, I think the point you make about the difference between Hank III and Hellbounds approach is a good one. I still like Hellbound’s approach, but I think it helps people understand why they may prefer one over the other beyond just saying “Well I like this and I don’t like that.”
As for Hank III, a couple of things need to be said here that really deserve their own article, but I will try to summarize:
Without question, support for Hank III has been on a slow and steady decline since late 2007. There are numerous reasons for this. Hank took off from touring for over a year. Then there was the blowup with Joe Buck. Then there was the blowup with Lucky Tubb. There there was the fallout with Keith Neltner who did all III’s artwork, and Blake Judd who was making the Reinstate Hank movie. These were all very popular people with Hank III’s base. And there are more less-public relationships that he has ended for one reason or another. He just fired his manager, and is reportedly not going to have a manager from now on. There’s been merch problems. This is all aside from the music. And the dwindling of Hank III support is undeniable. I see it everywhere. Yes, he still has a very strong base, but it has shrunk. I am on his message board every single day, and I have seen the posts drop there probably 75% since late 2007. Where he used to be the indisputable leader of underground country, he is now this polarizing figure, which can be seen in the comments right here in this blog.
There are some that have stopped supporting him because of the music he’s put out, and like it was pointed out above, part of that is because they measure his music now against his past stuff. I measure everything knowing that he’s been in a 14 year battle with his label, and has a very deep vested interest in not putting out the best music he is capable of right now so that it won’t be the property of Curb Records for eternity.
When I’m picking the Album of the Year, I have to judge a work against all the other albums, and I also have to ask, “Is this the best that this artist can do?” I measure it against itself. And it is not my opinion but Hank III’s own words where he says it is not. Hank III said specifically that he did not want to give Curb anything too good. The reason he hasn’t played any new metal songs in years and is playing medley’s and covers is because he doesn’t want to hand Curb over that intellectual property. The way I look at it, I am super excited at what Hank III has coming, because I know he’s been sandbagging songs since 2005 for the day he is free of Curb. I do still like Hank III’s stuff, but I do think it has tailed off, but I also think it is not his fault, and we have a very big potential to get our minds blown apart when he dumps a ton of new music on us.
I am not playing politics here. My honest assessment of Hank III’s music is that it is good, but it is not as good as the people who say it’s the best stuff ever, and its not as bad as the people who say everything after Straight to Hell is shit. Trust me, there’s plenty of people pissed off at me because they think I’m giving his music too much credit. Its the polarization.
As for the regional stuff, all I can say is Roger Alan Wade is from Chattanooga, TN, and the other two candidates are from Texas. Simple fact is the majority of underground country right now is not coming out of the South. Except for III, Ronnie Hymes, Honky Tonk Hustlas and a few others, its pretty bare. I’ve wondered about this publicly myself, but it is not a symptom of anybody playing favorites when judging music. Joey Fuckup a while back on a Roundtable said he though it was because pop country is so strong in the south. Derek Dunn of .357 said they didnt think about pop country because they’re not exposed to it up there. If I was from the deep South, I’d be pissed off too that there’s not enough home grown music happening there, but I don’t think that’s Hellbound Glory’s fault, and I know you’re not saying it is, I’m just saying.
December 2, 2010 @ 1:08 am
I like Rebel Within, and have been a huge supporter of Hank III, like most of us have, for a long time.
The one question I have is, why the hell would you bring geography into the discussion? What in the blue fuck that does that have to do with anything.
December 2, 2010 @ 1:12 am
It’s imaginary lines that people drew hundreds of years ago. It has nothing to do with music.
December 3, 2010 @ 9:40 pm
II and Over The Under are both classics in my book. I agree that it is unfair to measure any artist’s work by how it compares to what they have done previous, but it will always happen. I often times do it myself, but in reverse. I’ll hold some bands accountable for being crappy and never forgive them for it without ever hearing anything more from them. I must say that I felt the same way you did about Old Highs… when I first listened to it. It has definitely grown on me, as it apparently has with many judging by the comments on this page. I also felt it was a rip-off of what III was doing. I have literally listened to this album 5 times a week since June and I really feel that it is genuine. Although Rebel Within has overtook it for me as of late. I think it would have to be for the diversity that it has. I am certainly looking forward to Shelton’s post curb material but I feel that his last four albums have set the bar pretty high…
November 30, 2010 @ 6:09 am
Triggerman (and SCM cohorts) — keep the lists coming, I apparently missed out on a number of great releases this year that I need to catch up on… for my two cents, of the entries listed Ray Wiley Hubbard is personally head and shoulders above the other releases…and Rebel Within is up there with it…. I’ll have to revisit the Hellbound Glory as it just didn’t grab my attention at least initially and I only listened to snippits from RAW and never got pulled in…. so much great music, so little time, and even less $$$ ….thanks SCM for helping me keep the groove alive (and defaulting on my mortgage … gotta take the good with the bad eh!?)
December 2, 2010 @ 3:02 am
I was just giving on opinion on the music Miller, I wasn’t refering geography talk to you and I don’t want to explain the party lyric scenerio to you again. Yes I still see what you’re sayin Trigger, as we have heard every word of what you just said again for the 50th time. Yes I understand III’s contractual restraints and what it means for his music and what he’s been doing..blah, blah. I’m not trying to start shit and responding like yall do says alot about what I have suspected in the past and lately. Yes I agree with Joey Fuckup, it’s true but there are a lot more bands down here and many notherners are embracing what they see as underground country as their own, but I’m not taking anything out on Hellbound Glory or saying I’m mad…it’s you. You are the one that is trying to make me look bad for giving an opinion, which is what this site is supposed to be about. That, along with other things I have heard that I can’t mention, remarks in articles plus things said bout people on here from the South on your roundtables (my geography reference-I was guess I was just thinking out loud) was my suspicion of an agenda and I may be wrong. I just wanted to hear what you said about it. The only falling off of III’s support is here in words or with friends who are friends of people pissed at Hank III for one reason or another. It has nothing to do with his fans. Every year I make the New Orleans show, it’s bigger and bigger. This year they completely packed out the House of Blues way beyond capacity. The more something is said on here about III and the more said about this band or that band, the more impressionable people believe it. It’s whatever you want people here to believe, hence an opportunity to engage with an agenda. I had different reason for believing that, it wasn’t because I carry a big chip on my shoulder. Don’t try and make me look like I’m attacking Hellbound Glory, I was just making an album comparison and explaination of my choice that for the most part was misinterpreted. Just because I say Rebel Within is an Album of the Year candidate, I am the target of the sometimes seemingly opposition. Still, obviously that’s not to say that I don’t appreciate this forum for this music and the efforts behind it, or I wouldn’t be wasting my time finger fucking this computer or trying to take up, somewhat, for my favorite music artist. Chris Miller is obviously very protective of Hellbound Glory. And geography does have a lot to do with music. Maybe I do have an unwarranted attitude. Maybe you and Chris do too. So Fuck You lol.
December 2, 2010 @ 9:15 am
Well if you think I have an agenda David, and this point it is unlikely I will be able to convince you otherwise, but I will say the back and forth here is in no way meant to discredit you or your opinions, it’s only me trying to defend my position. And no worries about the people here forging their opinions to mine, I get kicked in the nuts all day, every day around here and that is fine. When you put your opinions out for all the world to see, you have to expect that.
I know you’re not the only one that thinks I have an agenda. At any given time there is one group or another that is pissed off at me for something, and sometimes they leave forever, sometimes they come to battle, and sometimes the situation is resolved and we all shake hands, like what just happened with Dog Bite Harris and I. I give you a lot of credit for coming here and voicing your opinion, and I wish more would do so. It may not change my opinion, but I do think that its important all sides get a voice.
December 31, 2010 @ 7:56 pm
David Lee, it’s true: SCM and The Triggerman do have agenda. There’s no point in us denying it further. There’s also a conspiracy! I can’t say too much but it involves little green men, pop country stars disappearing with a *poof* and anal probing. Shhhhhh!
November 30, 2010 @ 6:26 am
since 2006 I secretly hoped we’d obtain a Possessed by Paul James album or 2 for Hillgrass Bluebilly “Records”, so we did everything we could to have him out for Hillgrass Bluebilly “Entertainment” events & tours. Well, in 2008 he toured the country with Scott H. Biram & Bob Log III on the 2008 Hillgrass Bluebilly Summer tour, and now, 2010, we release “Feed the Family”, and we are damn proud to have it made, produced and parked with an American label, Hillgrass Bluebilly. We essentially wiped the music slate clean, and only allow the hardest hitters in. Possessed by Paul James is our grand champion, the belt he holds is physical in spirirt, lyrics & song. I hope to put his championship on paper for the 1st time with Saving Country Music.
November 30, 2010 @ 4:46 pm
i think that PPJ outshines Hellbound Glory and the others with regards to sheer ass-kicking originality and artistic vision…he has my vote.
November 30, 2010 @ 6:04 pm
Much as I love PPJ and what he does, I think it’s hard to argue that any of these besides Hellbound Glory takes the cake in accesibility, which was one of our criteria here; I play Old Highs and New Lows for my friends who (from where I’m standing) have no appreciation for real country music at all, and they like it. At the same time, it’s got top-notch song-writing and musicianship.
December 1, 2010 @ 1:12 am
Possessed By Paul James ”“ Feed The Family !!!
December 1, 2010 @ 8:28 am
I’m puttin my vote in for Ray Wylie Hubbard
December 1, 2010 @ 8:54 am
I am still holding onto “Gospel Haunted” as my favorite album of the year with “Old Highs” and “Lightning from the North” being my runner-ups. All three of these albums I can listen to straight through with out wanting to ever skip a track. Very solid.
December 1, 2010 @ 6:44 pm
I really need to buy a copy of Gospel Haunted. Satan Is Watching was brilliant, in my opinion.
December 1, 2010 @ 1:30 pm
My vote definately goes to Hellbound Glory’s “Old Highs & New Lows.” They’re one of the best bands to come around in a long time. “Hella~good!”
December 3, 2010 @ 11:43 am
DEAR LORD……THANK YOU FOR ROGER ALAN WADE’S “DEGUELLO MOTEL.” THANK YOU LORD FOR SENDING THE “COWBOY ANGEL” TO SAVE COUNTRY MUSIC…..AMEN!!!
LISTENING TO “DEGUELLO MOTEL” IS LIKE GOING CANE POLE FISHING FOR BREAM AND LANDING A TEN POUND BASS. WHAT A SUPRISE AND WHAT A TREAT. IF YOU’RE TIRED OF ALL THE COMMERCIAL COUNTERFEIT COUNTRY CRAP THAT’S ON THE RADIO THESE DAYS, GIVE RAW’S NEW ALBUM A SPIN. YOU’RE MUSIC LOVING SOUL WILL THANK YOU!!!
December 3, 2010 @ 1:35 pm
I’m going to vote for “Deguello Motel”, by Roger Alan Wade. I got “Deguello” when it first came out and have listened to it again and again. This is music at it’s best in my opinion. Just an artist and his guitar bearing his heart and soul, allowing you to hear every emotion because it’s not covered up by a lot of BS over production by some soulless, corporate hack.
From the title cut, to the last song, there isn’t a throw away in the bunch. Lines like “The girl in 112, she goes by Juanita. Juanita’s a dancer, she does the naked ballet, I keep an eye on her stuff while she’s away. She spends all her money and half of mine to trying to get high enough to get naked for you.” are everywhere you look in this album.
I’m definitely a guy that comes from the corner of the singer/songwriter genre and I actually am beginning to think that this album belongs up there with “Old No.1” by Guy Clark, “John Prine” by John Prine, “GP” by Gram Parsons and “Live at the Old Quarter, by Townes Van Zandt. To me that’s like comparing a writer to Hemingway or Shakespeare; or a painter to Renoir or Van Gogh. I just can’t say enough about this release.
Having said this, I’ve always got to pay respects to Ray Wylie Hubbard, another nominee, who without his influence this thing called Outlaw country might have never been. But, that said, count my vote for RAW and “Deguello Motel”.
December 5, 2010 @ 5:53 pm
I cast My Vote for The AWESOME!!!!! “Deguello Motel”, by Roger Alan Wade. He is a TRUE MUSICIAN and What i Consider a “Soon to Be” , If Not Now a TRUE LEGEND in Country Music!!!!!!!
December 5, 2010 @ 6:59 pm
Great album Rog!!!!
December 5, 2010 @ 7:01 pm
Vote for Deguello Motel by Roger Alan Wade
December 5, 2010 @ 7:01 pm
Love me some Roger Alan Wade!!! 🙂
December 5, 2010 @ 9:19 pm
ROGER ALAN WADE FOR SURE!!!!! Any kind of music that comes from Roger is always AWESOME!!!!!! EVERYONE VOTE FOR ROGER ALAN WADE!!!!!
December 5, 2010 @ 11:33 pm
OK, I feel the need to say this again: This decision will not be a strict vote by vote tally. Feedback will be considered though. And feedback in all caps will be considered twice.
December 6, 2010 @ 8:28 am
CALLING A CAPS…….ALLRIGHT BROTHER TRIGGERMAN, “I FEEL THE NEED TO SAY THIS AGAIN:” “DEGUELLO MOTEL” IS TRUE BLUE COUNTRY MUSIC AT IT’S BEST. WE HAVE A GREAT OPPORTUNITY HERE TO DO COUNTRY MUSIC, AS WELL AS A LEGENDARY SONGWRITER JUSTICE.
P.S. THE DEFINITION OF TRUE BLUE IS—-LOYAL AND UNWAVERING IN OPINION AND SUPPORT FOR A CAUSE.
December 6, 2010 @ 8:04 pm
Roger Alan Wade’s Deguello Motel has my vote for sure!!! It is simply a masterpiece!!! The poetic genius of RAW comes to life as all the songs seem to calibrate to tell a story…I can’t get enough!!!
December 7, 2010 @ 3:38 pm
HELLBOUND GLORY! HANDS DOWN!
December 7, 2010 @ 9:15 pm
My vote to a Great Singer/Songwriter Roger Alan Wade for Deguello Motel. Fantastic Work. Go “RAW”
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