For 10 years now, The SteelDrivers have been a preeminent bluegrass band of the hard-charging variety and a proving ground of talent that includes Chris Stapleton as an alumni. After announcing the newest member to take what was once Stapleton’s spot in guitar player and singer Kelvin Damrell, the 5-piece outfit is ready to hit the road.
The band that has the strongest candidate for Saving Country Music’s Album of the Year so far has officially left their label. Reno, Nevada’s Hellbound Glory has left Gearhead Records after months of minor spats and disagreement between the two sides, and is now working with Rusty Knuckles. “We were afraid that we would get overlooked if we were on a label that wasn’t actively putting out new records,” says lead singer and songwriter Leroy Vrigil.
As lower Broadway became a hoping place in the mid 90’s drawing talent from all around the country, competition for choice time slots at the best bars became fierce, and if you didn’t keep the patrons entertained, there was no money in the tip jar. With so much talent and so few bars and dollars to go around, competition became hyper. In this environment, talent and originality were pushed to their limits and it created some of the most dynamic frontmen in any genre of music at any time.
Amazon.com has made available 50 country albums for only $5, and once again, they’ve put titles from independent artists and legends right next to the more popular artists. Of course your average consumer will take whatever they can get for however cheap or free they can get it, but the conscientious music consumer wants to make sure that their favorite artists get paid, and that the most music dollars possible get directly into the artists’ hands.
Sometimes Nashville’s major labels behave so ridiculously, they do things you thought could only exist in a make-believe world, and this is the case with Curb Records and their incessant, redundant “Greatest Hits” album releases for perfume magnate Tim McGraw.
This is an important album. It is important for the burgeoning country scene in Michigan. It’s important for Bloodshot Records. And it’s important for all REAL country fans. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but in some ways that’s what makes it so important. It is straightforward, honest to goodness, good old fashioned country music delivered with no frills, and it’s about time something like this found its way back into “New Release” listings.
I know some of you think that I’m a little crazy for touting Austin’s 15-year-old fiddling phemon Ruby Jane so highly. That is because you have never seen Ruby Jane live. If you had (or have), then you know that despite all of my ridiculous accolades, nothing I’ve written about her does any justice to how astonishing a Ruby Jane Show is. It is the best music I have ever seen live.
Every once in a while an album comes along that you can tell the extra effort was put out to make it right. It’s far beyond just a collection of songs, it unfolds like a story, with all the songs together becoming stronger than the sum of their parts. Its an album that shows patience and wisdom. There’s a grand vision, and more importantly, that vision is realized in the final cut. Deguello Motel is one of those albums.
Right now the #1 country song in America is Kenney Chesney’s “The Boy’s of Fall.” How anybody can even take Kenney seriously after he clearly lip synced his performance at at the ACM Awards in April, I have no idea. Well I’m feeling froggy, and I find this song a little offensive, so I think it is time to take the cover off the smoker, get a bag of Kingsford, throw some mesquite chips on top, and do a little roasting.
Roger Alan Wade, one of the best songwriters out there, has released his new album called Deguello Motel, created from sober reflection of 30 years of hard living. Wade, known just as much for his irreverent songs and being the cousin of Jackass’s Johnny Knoxville as he is for penning songs for Waylon Jennings and Hank Jr., took a more serious approach with this album than his previous two. . .
I am happy, proud, and humbled to announced that two of the best podcasts out there, Outlaw Radio Chicago hosted by Jashie P, and The Reverend Nix shows of Stink Finger Radio and the Mojo Medicine Show are now permanent fixtures (till I figure out how to screw it up) of the SCM LIVE media channel. Outlaw Radio has been archiving their show on the site for a while, but now it will be broadcast here LIVE!
The Ryman is what lower Broadway revolves around, and it is easy to think that however it goes, so goes lower Broadway. When The Ryman was virtually shuttered in 1974 and The Grand Ole Opry moved to the Opry House, that is when the seeds of the lower Broadway decline were sowed.
This is not music that you sit back and marvel at the eloquence as your foot taps. It is like a chest-thumping ritual that makes you succumb to the carnal cry of the country. Imagine the music you would hear coming out of a ramshackle shack far out deep in the woods in the dead of night, with a dusty light and the raw energy of people and music bleeding out between the cracks of the old boards that are perceptibly pulsing to the sweaty beat. This is Hillstomp.