When you think of the modern country music landscape, you think of a clear delineation line between the independent and mainstream. However the songwriting credits for Miranda Lambert are the one clear exception. Looking through her list of collaborators, it’s pretty incredible.
When Steve Earle threw Hayes Carll under the bus in mid June by calling Hayes a “younger, skinnier, less talented singer-songwriter” than himself, it set up a potential showdown at Willie Nelson’s annual 4th of July Picnic where both men were scheduled to play this year.
Let’s call it what it is at this point: Steve Earle is going scorched earth. Ahead of the release of his latest album So You Wanna Be An Outlaw, the 62-year-old alt-country songwriter isn’t just refusing to pull punches, he’s looking for targets. His latest are modern country, Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher, and the new partner of his former wife, Hayes Carll.
Every album constitutes a herculean undertaking by all the parties involved, from the amount of decisions to be made, the various directions the production and arrangement can go, let alone writing and selecting the right songs, finding the right players and studio, and then trying to hunt down a label that’s willing to release it. But the road to Hayes Carll’s Lovers and Leavers feels especially long and winding.
Down to Believing nestles right down in that classic alt-country approach of building up from a country foundation, but then striking out with a decidedly rock and roll sound. It’s a bold, full experience that in some ways reminds one of the nascent alt-country period when the sounds were still fresh and renewed, yet still had the essence of what made you a country fan to begin with.
The River & The Thread is an album that was worth waiting for. Produced and co-written with Rosanne’s husband, accomplished musician John Leventhal, this album is exhaustive, thematic, all-encompassing, and compromises nothing when it comes to desiring the highest degree of quality in songwriting and production.
Allison Moorer, Americana, Derek Trucks, John Leventhal, John Paul White, John Prine, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Review, Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash, The Civil Wars, The River & The Thread, Tom Waits, Tony Joe White