2019 was a stacked year for top live performances. This was supposed to be a list of the top 10 live performances, but due to such a crowded field, things boiled over. And yes, there are three #1 acts. All should be considered equals at the very top level of live performance. They were all so great, it seemed unfair to put one over the other.
On the day after the CMA Awards, it’s always important to take a deep breath, and remind yourself, “It’s just the CMA’s.” But it does feel important to address what turned out to be the biggest controversy Wednesday night, which was Garth Brooks winning Entertainer of the Year over Carrie Underwood.
Amanda Shires, Ashley McBryde, Brandi Carlile, Carrie Underwood, Charley Pride, CMA Awards, Dolly Parton, Eric Church, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Hootie and the Blowfish, Jenee Fleenor, Kacey Musgraves, Kelsea Ballerini, Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire
On NBC’s ‘The Voice’ Monday night (10-28), a contestant named Jake Hoot performed Jason Isbell’s “Cover Me Up” as part of the singing show. Taylor Swift, who was acting as a coach on the episode, even remarked “I love Jason Isbell,” when Jake Hoot said he was covering “Cover Me Up.” It’s more evidence the song has become a standard.
As if answering a distress call sent out over the airwaves or via a spotlight beamed over Music City, the Highwomen have assembled in the form of the Grammy-winning Brandi Carlile, fiddlemaster Amanda Shires, songwriting markswoman Natalie Hemby, and superstar Maren Morris. “Redesigning Women” is their first taste.
Amanda Shires, Brandi Carlile, Cam, Dave Cobb, Erin Rae, Hailey Whitters, Jason Isbell, Jimmy Webb, Lily Hiatt, Lori McKenna, Maren Morris, Miranda Lambert, Natalie Hemby, Natalie Stovall, Raelynn, Ray LaMontagne, Tanya Tucker, The Highwomen, Wynonna Judd
For 32 consecutive years, bluegrass fans, folkies, country freaks and outcasts, and a cast of other cool characters from the roots realm and beyond have bivouacked at various locations around the Austin area under the heading of the Old Settler’s Music Festival. 2019 was the festival’s second season at the now permanent site.
Amanda Shires, Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons, Brandi Carlile, Del McCoury, James Hunter Six, Jason Isbell, John Calvin Abney, Kelvin Damrell, Old Settler's Fest, Paul Cauthen, Penny and Sparrow, Robert Ellis, Samantha Fish, Shinyribs, The Lone Bellow
Though some Jason Isbell fans may have balked at the idea of not getting the full, roaring version of The 400 Unit live, at the 32nd Annual Old Settler’s Fest, it seemed even more appropriate than the electric alternative. It gave fans of Jason Isbell and his band an opportunity to see them in a way few have.
If come July you’ll be looking to get out of the summer heat, and don’t mind trekking to darn near the Canadian border, the inaugural Under The Big Sky Festival has assembled a pretty impressive lineup that includes Dwight Yoakam, Cody Jinks, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Amanda Shires, Nikki Lane, and more.
It’s both weird that fellow Texans and country legends Willie Nelson and George Strait have never collaborated together or even performed side by side in their illustrious careers, and yet it also makes perfect sense. But it was bound to happen eventually that the two would sing together.
Amanda Shires, Bubba Strait, Buddy Cannon, Chris Stapleton, Eric Church, George Strait, Jamey Johnson, Lee Ann Womack, Margo Price, Ray Benson, Sing One With Willie, Sturgill Simpson, The Avett Brothers, Willie Nelson
A new country music supergroup is on the way that will combine the talents of Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires, and Margo Price. Called the Highwomen, it will take inspiration from legendary country music supergroup The Highwaymen. Jim Lauderdale is also involved in the project as a co-writer.
Southern rock gods Blackberry Smoke have just added even more dates to an already-stacked 2019 tour schedule, but these come with an interesting wrinkle. Piggy backing off of the release of their Southern Ground Sessions EP, they’ll be playing a series of acoustic-only shows.
The 10th annual 30A Songwriters Festival set for January 18-21, 2019 in Walton County, Florida will take on extra significance this year, and not just because it’s the event’s 10th Anniversary. Located in the Florida Panhandle, and just west of where the devastating Hurricane Michael made landfall in October.
30A Songwriters Festival, Amanda Shires, Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, Justin Townes Earle, Lucinda Williams, Patty Griffin, Radney Foster, Rosanne Cash, Steve Earle, The Secret Sisters, The War and Treaty
Live records can often be a wild card when it comes to sales, but Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit’s “Live From The Ryman” has proven to be a hit. The successful debut also comes as Jason Isbell just wrapped up another sold-out six night run at the Ryman Auditorium October 22nd through the 28th.
The 17th Annual Americana Music Awards held at the Ryman Auditorium Wednesday night (9/12) found the organization addressing the social tensions boiling in America, the call for more diversity throughout culture, and facing it’s own transitionary period for the awards themselves.
About the only thing hotter than John Prine in Americana music at the moment is the is the foreign country destination festival, so why not combine the two. And if you have a boatload of money, and/or a boat or plane to get your ass to the Dominican Republic, then you too can be part of John Prine’s inaugural “All The Best Festival.”
There’s nothing new about staring at the “New Artist” nominees for a country music industry awards show and being bewildered at the names you see. It’s an annual exercise. This year the names included in the CMA’s “New Artist of the Year” category were no different.
If you didn’t get your fill with Blackberry Smoke’s recent record ‘Find a Light,’ or it just increased your appetite for their infectious classic Southern rock vibe, well then you’re in luck. The Atlanta, Georgia boys will be releasing the ‘Southern Ground Sessions EP’ as an accompaniment to ‘Find A Light.’
Netflix has released the 5th Season of their hit original series The Ranch, and as per usual, the episodes are textured with lots of great songs from often overlooked and deserving country music artists, hand selected to help set the mood and theme of each scene.
Amanda Shires, Ashton Kutcher, BoDeans, Cactus Blossoms, Corb Lund, Dolly Parton, Dwight Yoakam, Eilen Jewell, Jeff Hahn, John Moreland, Mandi Collier, Merle Haggard, Ramsay Midwood, Sam Elliott, Sam Outlaw, The Ranch, Whitney Rose
Americana stalwart Jason Isbell has just loaded his tour schedule up with a ton of new tour dates with his band The 400 Unit, and fans better be on their toes because certain dates will sell out. Adding to previously-announced dates, he’s now announced additional dates starting in July and going into late September.
The Country Music Hall of Fame has partnered with Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings to release a 36-song companion double album to coincide with what the public can expect to see and hear as part of the upcoming Outlaws & Armadillos exhibit. The track list of the album reveals just how deep the exhibit will go.
Amanda Shires, Ashley Monroe, Billy Joe Shaver, Bobby Bare, Chris Gantry, Colter Wall, Commander Cody, Country Music Hall of Fame, Dave Cobb, Doug Sahm, Gary P. Nunn, Jack Ingram, Jamey Johnson, Jason Boland, Jason Isbell, Jessi Colter, Joe Ely, John Hartford, Kimmie Rhodes, Kinky Friedman, Michael Martin Murphey, Mickey Newbury, Outlaws & Armadillos, Shooter Jennings, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Terry Allen, Townes Van Zandt, Willis Alan Ramsey
Screw talk of saving country music, or even notions of “Southern rock.” With their latest album Find A Light, Blackberry Smoke prove they’re singlehandedly saving rock and roll and everything that stands for—Southern, countrified, and everything in between.
I don’t care how bad your week has sucked, or how mopey you are that you’ve already reneged on your New Year’s resolutions, Blackberry Smoke just announced they have a new album on the way, have just unveiled a new song, and all is right in the world, at least where hard-driving Southern-inflected roots rock is concerned.
Netflix released the latest season of its comedy drama ‘The Ranch’ on December 15th, and just like the first three seasons, country music plays a big role in both the dialog and the soundtrack. Apparently the creators want to make discovering the songs part of the fun of the series, because they keep their soundtrack close to the vest.
Amanda Shires, Blitzen Trapper, Brenda Lee, Brothers Osborne, Conway Twitty, Eric Church, Jason Isbell, Mandolin Orange, Merle Haggard, Miranda Lambert, Netflix, Patsy Cline, Ricky Nelson, Sam Outlaw, Sara Watkins, Sturgill Simpson, The Cactus Blossoms, The Ranch, Thomas Rhett
You may have not known his name or who he was, but it would be hard not to notice the tall, lanky, dreadheaded dude in big white glasses behind the drums backing up a dozen or so different independent country artists from Nashville over the years as they toured through your town, and doing his best to not just keep the beat, but bring the energy.
Aaron Lee Tasjan, Adam Meisterhans, Amanda Shires, Americana, BJ Barham, Brian Ritchey, Buddy Miller, Caitlin Rose, Chance McCoy, Chuck Mead, Cory Branan, Derek Hoke, Emma Swift, J.P. Harris, Jason Isbell, Jerry Pentecost, Jonny Fritz, Kristin Weber, Leigh Nash, Lilly Hyatt, Robert's Western World, Robyn Hitchcock, Ron Pope, Steve Earle, Tommy Scifres, Whiskey Gentry
The 16th Annual Americana Music Awards will transpire on Wednesday, September 13th at the Mother Church of Country Music, The Ryman Auditorium, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Central as part of the week-long AmericanaFest in Nashville, and they have just announced the performers for the presentation, and how folks can tune in.
Aaron Lee Tasjan, Amanda Shires, Americana, Billy Bragg & Joe Henry, Brent Cobb, Buddy Miller, Chris Wood, Graham Nash, How to watch the Americana Music Awards, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Iris Dement, Jason Isbell, Jerry Pentecost, Jim Hoke, Jim Lauderdale, John Prine, Larry Campbell, Margo Price, Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives, Old Crow Medicine Show and Lori McKenna along with The Lumineers, Rhiannon Giddens, Robbie Crowell, Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm, Rodney Crowell, Sam Outlaw, The Drive-By Truckers, The McCrary Sisters, Van Morrison