Kellie Pickler’s 2012 album 100 Proof shocked the country music world with its bold, traditional sound and soulful compositions, so much so that Rolling Stone and Saving Country Music both named it the Album of the Year. Well Kellie is now back in the studio and wants folks to know that 100 Proof was not an aberration. We can expect the same type of authentic country sound on her next one.
Kellie did something quite remarkable. She decided that by her own hand, she would rather relinquish the spoils of her American Idol past and her major label endorsement than to continue living a lie through her music. Of course Kellie would have loved to have it both ways, but she decided she would rather make music that was true to her heart and take the risk of losing it all than continuing to play the part.
2012 was a bumper crop year for great albums in the greater country music world, and that necessitates a bolstered lineup of candidates for Saving Country Music’s coveted Album of the Year. 7 total made the list, with others admittedly getting completely screwed by their absence. I already have a bead of sweat forming across my brow brought on by the impossible decision of who I’m supposed to pick off this list.
100 Proof, Bloody Jug Band, Cabin Fever, Calamity Cubes, Cigarettes & Truckstops, Coffin Up Blood, Corb Lund, Eric Strickland, Goodbye Normal Street, Honky Tonk Till I Die, James Hand, Justin Townes Earle, Kellie Pickler, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, Lindi Ortega, Mighty Lonesome Man, New Year's Poem, Olds Sleeper, Rachel Brooke, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Turnpike Troubadours
Think what you want about former American Idol contestant Kellie Picker’s latest album 100 Proof and its striking traditionalist approach, but what may be even more interesting and inspiring than the album itself is the story behind it. After recently parting with her label, Kellie’s narrative is becoming similar to the one of Waylon Jennings, the country music Outlaw that Kellie cites as a primary influence.
Though the 3rd album from the 6th place-finishing 2005 American Idol contestant will probably sell more copies than most traditional country artists will sell in their lifetimes, it was possibly not enough for her label Sony Records Nashville and it was announced today, on Kellie’s 26th birthday, that her and Sony have parted ways.
2012 so far has been a remarkable year for top flight albums throughout the country world. That compelled me to tweak my regular mid-year format to not just include any album that has received a positive review (though these are all listed at the bottom), but instead highlight the ones that I think have a serious chance to be considered for Album of the Year.
100 Proof, Goodbye Normal Street, Justin Townes Earle, Kellie Pickler, Marty Stuart, Nashville Vol. 1 - Tear The Woodpile Down, New Year's Poem, Nothing's Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now, Olds Sleeper, Ray Wylie Hubbard, The Grifter's Hymnal, Turnpike Troubadours
If you are truly a fan of country music and have an open heart, you will like 100 Proof. In the Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn mold, 100 Proof revives the lost appreciation for the strong, yet sweet country woman, while staying away from the surface symbolism that erodes the substance from many of the other artists that attempt this difficult feat.