There are big changes in the latest update to Saving Country Music’s Top 25 playlist. They start with four new songs added from four stellar new releases. It’s also worth noting that two songs that have appeared on the playlist for the longest have been replaced, while the songs from two other artists have been refreshed.
As we move past the musical halfway pole for 2018, it’s time once again to look back in the rear-view mirror and see what has wowed us the most so far. Along with some excellent albums that will go on to be considered for some of the best all year, the spring of 2018 has also revealed itself as one of the busiest release periods for in years.
Blackberry Smoke is once again #1 in country, at least when you consider pure album sales. Their most recent album Find A Light released on April 6th sold more cohesive records last week than any other country release according to the Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart. They also charted in Rock and Americana.
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.
Well damn, it’s less than a week since the last Saving Country Music Top 25 Playlist update, but the badass songs have been rolling out so hard and heavily lately, it’s worth calling a audible and adding them to the playlist post haste. Leading the pack are a couple of new songs from new artists who were already on the playlist.
Southern rock Gods Lynyrd Skynyrd—or at least what’s left of them—have announced a massive final farewell tour, planning to leave the stage afterwards for good in the midst of a few of the post-1977 crash member’s declining health, including primary leader Gary Rossington who has suffered from heart issues over the past few years.
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.
Since 1974, the Charlie Daniels Volunteer Jam concert has been a mainstay on the country music calendar, and a worthy fundraiser for veterans. Now in 2018, the event will hold special importance as it also acts as a tribute to Charlie Daniels himself, as he partners with tribute concert promoter Blackbird Presents for this year’s presentation.
Alison Krauss, Billy Gibbons, Blackberry Smoke, Blackbird Presents, Bobby Bare, Chris Janson, Chuck Leavell, Eddie Montgomery, Jamey Johnson, Justin Moore, Ricky Skaggs, The Oak Ridge Boys, Volunteer Jam
The Southern rock side of the country music space is blessed with some serious stalwart bands that have been around for years. At the same time, just like with every genre of music, the flux of bands breaking up and legends passing means there’s always room for fresh faces and new perspectives on the music to help keep it vital.
Ashley McBryde, Blackberry Smoke, Charlie Daniels, Jamey Johnson, Jason "Rowdy" Cope, Matt Woods, Nick Dittmeier and the Sawdusters, The Plott Hounds, The SAcooter Brown Band, The Steel Woods, Uncle Lucius, Wes Bayliss, Whiskey Myers
The Outlaw Country Cruise has just announced the lineup for their 3rd Annual voyage, and it’s a doozy. As opposed to leaving from Florida this year, the Outlaw Country Cruise’s Norwegian Pearl will set sail from New Orleans on its way to Costa Maya, Mexico and back, leaving on January 22nd, and returning January 28th.
Blackberry Smoke, Bottle Rockets, Dale Watson, Elizabeth Cook, Jason & the Scorchers, Jesse Dayton, Junior Brown, Kinky Friedman, Lucinda Williams, Mojo Nixon, Nikki Lane, Outlaw Country Cruise, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Rodney Crowell, Roger Alan Wade, Sarah Gayle Meech, SiriusXM, Sixthman, Steve Earle & The Dukes, The Mastersons, The Mavericks, The Supersuckers, Webb Wilder
It has once again come that time of year for reflecting back on some of the best albums released in the last 12 months or so, not to treat country music as competition per se, but as an exercise undertaken with the intent of expanding your musical knowledge in hopes the gaps that formed due to the busy lives we all live get filled in with joyous little music projects.
Austin Lucas, Blackberry Smoke, Brandy Clark, Cody Jinks, Courtney Marie Andrews, Dori Freeman, Doug Bruce, Honest Life, I'm Not The Devil, I've Got a Way, Jack Ingram, Justin Wells, Kelsey Waldon, Like An Arrow, Lori McKenna, Luke Bell, Mark Chesnutt, Midnight Motel, Nick Dittmeier, Nick Dittmeier and the Sawdusters, Sturgill Simpson, The Bird & The Rifle, The Cactus Blossoms, Tradition Lives, Unsung, You're Dreaming
When Blackberry Smoke’s album ‘Holding All The Roses’ went #1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart in February 2015, it was the first time an independently-released country album had climbed to the top of the country charts in the modern era. And now Blackberry Smoke has done it again.
Blackberry Smoke isn’t just saving country music, they’re rehabilitating the status of all American music by baptizing it in the muddy waters of the all-immersive guitar riff delivered unencumbered and fully amplified, flying in the face of all notions of present-day style or trend that acquiesce to eepish tones and textures.
“It’s not an afterthought like the kind of crap that is on country radio now,” said Blackberry Smoke frontman and primary songwriter, Charlie Starr in a recent interview. “It might be some people’s thing but it’s not mine. There’s not much of a statement, there’s no emotion — it’s hollow and that’s a drag.”
In January of 2016, Saving Country Music published an article explaining how 2016 Could Be 1975 All Over Again in country music—how an upsurge in more traditional and substantive talent and music could really take hold in country, from the independent realm to the mainstream. And that is exactly what we’ve seen as 2016 has progressed.
“You have to always be conscious of the songs. I never want the songs to be too songwriterly or too clever,” Jason Aldean said in a recent interview. “I think you do have to make it, to some extent, black and white. The song has to say what it means and it means what it says. If you try to get too tricky with the lyrics, it gets confusing.
Blackberry Smoke isn’t just helping to save country music, they’re helping to save Southern rock music, rock music, American music, and music made by real humans sweating on a stage, holding real damn instruments, and testifying. In a time when we can’t agree on anything, music fans from a major swath of the population can agree on Blackberry Smoke.
After recently finishing up a tour in California, frontman Charlie Starr and the rest of the Blackberry Smoke band decided to fly back to Atlanta ahead of the tour bus. But bassist Richard Turner decided to enjoy the long bus ride back across the country, and along with the lighting guy Chris “Thumper” Hathaway and bus driver Harry Wing, they happened up a burning car upside down on Interstate 10.
Forget all the sappy relationship stuff, and how it happened and where it might lead. Miranda Lambert ditching Blake Shelton and ending up with Anderson East might be the perfect illustration of the drastic role reversal 2015 has ushered in throughout the greater country music realm, and how 2016 could be poised to completely turn everything upside down.
Aaron Watson, Adam Hood, Anderson East, Ashley Monroe, Blackberry Smoke, Brandy Clark, Chris Stapleton, Dave Cobb, David Rawlings, Fred Eaglesmith, Gillian Welch, Holly Williams, Jason Isbell, John Prine, Miranda Lambert, Patty Griffin, Steve Earle, Sturgill Simpson, Zac Brown
It was a busy year in country music, with lots of controversy, lots of legal issues, and even death surrounding country music artists. It was a tumultuous 2015 to say the least. Here are the top news stories of the year taking into consideration 1) Their importance to country music overall 2) The interest, or accumulated interest in the story if covered in multiple articles, based on traffic registered at Saving Country Music.
Aaron Watson, Blackberry Smoke, Chris Ferrell, Chris Stapleton, Garth Brooks, Gary Overton, Jason Aldean, Jason Isbell, Joey + Rory, Joey Feek, Keith Hill, Little Jimmy Dickens, Luke Bryan, Merle Haggard, Randy Howard, Stoney LaRue, Tim McGraw, Wayne Mills, Willie Nelson
The Americana Music Association has compiled their year-end list of the Top 100 albums of 2015. Unlike many of the other lists you’re bludgeoned with this time of year, this one isn’t based off on anyone’s opinion. It’s based on the reporting to the Americana Airplay Chart during the period of December 2, 2014 through November 30, 2015. The list also a good tool to see what you may have missed in 2015.
“Awards shows don’t matter.” This is the bill of goods fans of true country music, and fans of independent music have been forced to sell themselves for years as a consolation prize for continuously being overlooked, losing in bulk, and being generally embarrassed during the moments when America and the world crowds around the boob tube for the spectacle of a televised award show like the CMA’s or the Grammys.
Aaron Watson, Americiana, Ashley Monroe, Blackberry Smoke, Brandy Clark, Cam, Chris Stapleton, Grammy Awards, Jason Isbell, Kacey Musgraves, Lee Ann Womack, Leon Bridges, O Brother Where Art Thou, Ralph Stanley, Willie Nelson
“18,700”: This is the number of albums Toby Keith sold upon the debut of his new record 35 MPH Town, and it got me to thinking, which artists and bands have beat that number in a year of unprecedented ascent in independent country music? 2015 is the year it became common to see one of your favorite independent acts and aging legends compete at the top of the album charts.
That’s right, I said Hellbound Glory. And I said Leroy Virgil instead of Leon Virgil Bowers—the name Leroy Virgil decided to go with after he officially killed off Hellbound Glory and launched his solo career. If you’re sufficiently confused now, don’t worry. Just understand whatever he calls himself, he’s one of the best songwriters of our generation, and he’s still around kicking out tunes.