You know how you may root for a hometown sports team for years even though they’re terrible, and then out of the blue when they start to get good you don’t know how to behave because you’ve identified with losing for so long? Well that is what is happening in 2013 with many of the artists Saving Country Music and so many loyal fans have been following for years.
If you need any more validation that it is a new day in music, just sit back and appreciate that Austin Lucas is now signed to the prestigious New West Records. Preceding Stay Reckless is a song established Austin Lucas fans will already know well. “Alone In Memphis” typifies what makes Austin Lucas such a unique performer.
There are songwriters, and then there are songwriters; those folks that so effortlessly set words to the moods and moments of life and that can make you weep like a baby or wildly happy to be alive. These songwriters are there for us, creating a soundtrack for our most enduring memories, making the most of the life experience by enhancing it with music.
Austin Lucas, Bonnie Price Billy, Charlie Parr, Chris Knight, Corb Lund, Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit, Johnny Cash, Joseph Huber, McDougall, Micah Schnabel, Possessed by Paul James, Tom VandenAvond, Two Cow Garage, Will Oldham, Willy Tea Taylor
There’s been much talk so far this year about how the women of country are outpacing the men when it comes to the quality of music, we’ve talked about possible reasons why that is. But we haven’t talked about some of the men that if simply given a chance, could shoot an immediate injection of substance into the country music format. They just need similar chances to their female counterparts.
Austin Lucas, Corb Lund, Dirty River Boys, Dwight Yoakam, Eli Young Band, Evan Felker, Garth Brooks, Hayes Carll, Hellbound Glory, Jason Boland, John Fullbright, Lady Antebellum, Leroy Virgil, Mumford & Sons, Sturgill Simpson, The Lumineers, Turnpike Troubadours, Whitey Morgan, Will Hoge
Forget all your stuffy old outmoded notions of what Nashville is. Right now Nashville is the center of the music universe in so many more ways than what is represented by the few city blocks of old houses and mini-rise office buildings on Music Row. Right here, right now, Nashville is the place to be for independent music. It’s Haight Ashbury circa 1965. It’s Guy Clark’s kitchen in the movie Heartworn Highways.
Amanda Isbell, Amanda Shires, ATO Records, Austin Lucas, Bloodshot Records, Caitlin Rose, Drive By Truckers, Escondido, Guy Clark, Heartworn Highways, Jash Hedley, Jason Isbell, Jonny Fritz, Justin Townes Earle, Nikki Lane, Rayland Baxter, Roger Miller, Shonna Tucker, Skylar Wilson, Spencer Cullum, Sturgill Simpson, Texas Playboys, Thrift Store Cowboys, Tristen
With the appeal for roots music on the rise throughout the music landscape, it’s no wonder Southern rock is making a resurgence. Where a few years ago Southern rock seemed to be all about nostalgia and/or rehashing the same old tired twangy rock guitar riffs, the sub-genre now finds itself flush with a new crop of talent bringing creativity and a fresh, more progressive approach to the format.
Alabama Shakes, American Aquarium, Austin Lucas, Blackberry Smoke, Bottle Rockets, Dexateens, Drive By Truckers, Fifth on the Floor, Glossary, Jason Isbell, Jimbo Mathus, Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires, Leroy Powell, new Southern rock, North Mississippi All Stars, Old 97's, Shooter Jennings, Sons of Bill, Southern rock, Truth & Salvage, Wrinkle Neck Mules, Zac Brown Band
Where 2011 felt like a high water mark year for live performances and an average year for recorded projects, 2012 feels vice versa. When I look back on 2011, it seemed like there were moments I experienced that I will never top the rest of my life. 2012 is the year that some albums and songs were released that may never be topped. Still there were a quite a few memorable performances worth noting.
.357 String Band, Anderson Family Bluegrass, Austin Lucas, Bob Wayne, Don Maddox, Glossary, Goddamn Gallows, Jayke Orvis, JB Beverley, Joe Buck, Lake Street Dive, LC Ulmer, Lucky Tubb, Muddy Roots, Pickathon, Rachel Brooke, Ralph Stanley, Restavrant, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Robert Belfour, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Sturgill Simpson, Th' Legendary Shack Shakers, The Calamity Cubes, Thee Oh Sees, XSXSW
One hard and fast rule around Saving Country Music is that I don’t review EP’s except for in “extreme cases.” There’s just too much music out there these days to consider half efforts, and in many cases, this is what EP’s are. So what is an “extreme case?” Well in 5 or so years, not once have I had an EP cross my desk that I felt qualified. Until now.
I think at this point it is pretty much a forgone conclusion that in 2012 we’re all going to die of death. You know, that whole Mayan thing. But I thought just to be on the safe side, just in case we all don’t die, we’ll probably want to listen to some music, so wouldn’t it be cool to know what some of your favorite artists have planned for 2012.
Adam Lee, Austin Lucas, Bob Wayne, Derek Dunn, Hellbound Glory, James Hunnicutt, Jayke Orvis, JB Beverly & the Wayward Drifters, Lone Wolf, Lonesome Wyatt, McDougall, Olds Sleeper, Peewee Moore, Possessed by Paul James, Rachel Brooke, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Roger Alan Wade, Ruby Jane, Slackeye Slim, Sunday Valley, Those Poor bastards, Whitey Morgan & The 78's, Willy Tea Taylor
It may be years before something impresses us like this again. I’ve given many albums two guns up, and have and will hand out many Albums of the Year. But there’s only two albums I’ve reviewed that I’ve ever felt confident enough to refer to as masterpieces, and Slackeye Slim’s El Santo Grial, La Pistola Piadosa is one.
Saving Country Music is very sad to report that Bee Spears, the perennial bassist for Willie Nelson, who played in Willie Nelson’s “Family Band” for 40 years, died on Thursday, 12/8/2011 after falling outside of his home in Nashville and being exposed to the elements overnight.
When I sat down to name the top 10 live performances of 2011 as seen through my eyes, I didn’t know what a mess I was making for myself, and it wasn’t until then that I realized what a power packed year for live music it has been. My 10 stretched to 15 fast, and I’m still leaving many live acts out.
Austin Lucas, Bloodshot Records, Charlie Parr, Hank3, Hellbound Glory, James Hunnicutt, Jayke Orvis, Justin Townes Earle, Lukas Nelson, Marty Stuart, Micah Schnabel, Pickathon, Possessed by Paul James, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Ruby Jane, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Sunday Valley, SXSW, The Goddamn Gallows, The Muddy Roots Festival, Two Cow Garage, Wayne Hancock, Whitey Morgan & The 78's, Willie Nelson
There is nothing I take more seriously than naming what I think is the best album of any calendar year. The Album of the Year offers a guidepost for future generations to find the best music that was forgotten by the mainstream, while at the same time being a current ambassador to the mainstream to illustrate what great music they are overlooking.
I am very excited to announce a unique partnership between Saving Country Music, Hillgrass Bluebilly Records & Entertainment, and Muddy Roots Music (The Muddy Roots Festivals) to bring together the 5th Annual XSXSW showcase, aka XSXSW 5, as part of the annual mid-March gathering of the tribes in Austin, TX known as South By Southwest.
Austin Lucas, Cracker Swamp Productions, Hellbound Glory, Hillgrass Bluebilly, Hillstomp, Husky Burnette, James Hand, Left Lane Cruiser, Lone Wolf, Los Duggans, Muddy Roots Festival, O'Death, Possessed by Paul James, Rachel Brooke, Restavrant, Ruby Jane, SXSW, The Harmed Brothers, XSXSW
First country sold its taste, then its heritage to keep the dinosaur corporations that run country music afloat. Now it has sold it’s greatest the asset that has always given country music a distinction from the rest of popular music. It has sold its values, and is creating a generation of knuckle-chucking assholes in Affliction T-Shirts, and the girls who love them.
One of the standouts in 2011 so far has been Bloomington, Indiana-based singer/songwriter Austin Lucas, and his album A New Home in the Old World. He sat down with me for about a hour to discuss his experience on the Country Throwdown and touring with Willie Nelson, how he got into country, and how his goals are measured and focused on the art of songwriting first, above his own popularity.
Yesterday I was fortunate enough to attend the most talent-rich event I have ever been to, as the convergence of Willie Nelson’s 38th Annual 4th of July Picnic met up with the finale of this year’s Willie Nelson Country Throwdown tour at the largest honky tonk in the world, Billy Bob’s Texas, in the historic Ft. Worth stockyards.
Amy Nelson, Arlo Guthrie, Austin Lucas, Billy Bob's Texas, Billy Joe Shaver, Brantley Gilbert, Caitlyn Smith, Cathie Guthrie, Folk Uke, George Reiff, Jamey Johnson, Jason Aldean, Lee Brice, Lucas Hubbard, Lukas Nelson, Ray Benson, Ray Price, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Rick Richards, Willie Nelson
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.
Well, we’ve just about reached the half way point of 2011, and let me level with you folks, so far this has been a down year for music. Yes, there’s been a few good projects and some surprises as well, but generally speaking it’s been pretty bleak compared to 2010, which was such a bumper year for music.
Austin Lucas, Caitlin Rose, Gillian Welch, Hellbound Glory, Jimbo Mathus, Left Lane Cruiser, Little Lisa Dixie, Lone Wolf, Pokey LaFarge, Rachel Brooke, Scott H. Biram, Shooter Jennings, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Ted Russell Kamp, Wanda Jackson, William Elliot Whitmore
A New Home, In The Old World is a parade of high-caliber, heartfelt songs set to good music, with some of the most twangy and eloquent country singing you will hear from any modern artist. The depth of his soul-wrenching themes, and the breadth of his singing ability, exercising masterful pitch and control, combine to be like a rock in between the eyes, striking you down to the depths of human emotion from where the song’s inspiration sprouted from.
Despite my SXSW preview blogs being horrifically under-read, and misunderstood as boastful bragging pieces about what others can’t experience instead of creative ways to promote artists I may otherwise not be able to talk about, and despite Saving Country Music being eaten by Facebook, ripped in half by XXX, and the last vestiges of readers descending into pointless polarized rants about Hank III and Jamey Johnson…
Austin Lucas, Brent Amaker & The Rodeo, Brigitte London, Caitlin Rose, Drag The River, Eddie Spaghettie, Have Gun Will Travel, Hellbound Glory, O'Death, Otis Gibbs, Possessed by Paul James, Rose's Pawn Shop, Ruby Jane, Scott Biram, Shake It Like A Caveman, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Soda, Ted Russell Kamp, Tom VandenAvond, Trampled by Turtles, Two Cow Garage, Whitey Morgan & The 78's, Willy Tea Taylor