The two common threads that run through most of the candidates this year, is a progressive approach to the music, and poignancy in the message. These are changing and troubled times, and the songs that speak to us the deepest will act as the soundtrack for our 2011 memories for years to come.
Jason Isbell, former member of The Drive By Truckers and current solo artist had his van, trailer, and all contents stolen in Dallas, TX on Saturday afternoon. Jason and his band, The 400 Unit, were in Dallas Friday night, playing the city’s legendary Granada Theater on lower Greenville in support of his latest album Here We Rest.
Caleb’s name deserves equal billing beside the other top shelf independent roots artists from across the country. And though you may have not heard of Caleb until recently, or just right now, the 40-year-old with flecks of gray hair sticking out from under his trucker hat has been touring and making music for 20 years now. It just has not always been music that bears his name.
On July 26th, the always polarizing “new Outlaw” Eric Church will be releasing his latest album entitled Chief, which includes a song called “Country Music Jesus”. Saving Country Music has learned that the idea behind Eric Church’s “Country Music Jesus” very well might have come from none other than your humble, lovable Triggerman.
As hard as I am on albums and artists, I am double hard on songs. An album can have it’s low points, a song can’t. And just like with the Best 2011 Albums So Far, the songs so far in 2011 present a weak field. But there a few good ones worth noting from Jason Isbell, James Hunnicutt, Jimbo Mathus, Amanda Shires, Austin Lucas, and Rachel Brooke.
Great songs are able to have universal appeal by the message of the song morphing to fit one’s unique life experience. In “Ghost Bird”, this isn’t just an attribute of the song, it is the foundation the song is built from. “Ghost Bird” is a progressive, new-school country roots-based song that starts with an ambient music bed, similar to how the songs on Emmylou Harris’s album Wrecking Ball are constructed.
South by Southwest last year was my first full on experience with the event that brings over 8,000 bands from all over the world to Austin for 5 days of musical mayhem, and it went great. With proper pacing and maybe a little luck, I got everything out of the experience I could ever want. 2011 was one of those experiences you hear many people talk about that is proceeded by “…and I will never go back.”
Amanda Shires, Apache Relay, Bloodshot Records, Caitlin Rose, Drag The River, Eddie Spaghetti, Ha Ha Tonka, Hayes Carll, Hellbound Glory, Jason Isbell, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Leroy Virgil, Muddy Roots Festival, Otis Gibbs, Possessed by Paul James, Robin Wiley, Ruby Jane, Shake It Like A Caveman, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Soda, Ted Russel Kamp, The Civil Wars, The Harmed Brothers, The Waco Brothers, Trampled by Turtles, Two Cow Garage, Whitey Morgan & The 78's