Will 2018 be yet another banner year for independent country releases like 2017 was? We’ll have to see, but what we do know is what to expect in the release department for at least the first quarter of the year, while rumors abound about other projects that could come to light later in the year. Here’s a detailed run down.
When the topic of discussion turns to legacy alt-country bands, it’s easy for the Old 97’s to get left out of the mix, and unfairly so. Since their epicenter revolves around Dallas, and not Austin, Nashville, or Los Angeles, it seems like they’re always a little more out-of-sight, out-of-mind than their mammoth output and legacy deserves.
When it comes to neotraditional singing duos, The Secret Sisters are regarded at the very top of the discipline. However that hasn’t exactly won them the fame and comfort that is usually reserved for the esteemed and elite of a medium.
New religious freedom laws in North Carolina and Mississippi, and pending legislation in Tennessee, has the South and the United States in an uproar over religious and civil liberties in an already contentious political season. And all of a sudden, music, and country music specifically, is getting caught in the crossfire.
Reviews have been mixed for the show so far, but country music listeners may have an extra incentive to watch the program. Featured on the 10-episode series has been a slew of independent country artists who will hopefully see decent paydays and a bump in exposure. There are also ample country music references and jokes in the series.
American Aquarium, Ashley Monroe, Brandi Carlile, Cam, Corb Lund, Justin Townes Earle, Lukas Nelson, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Netflix, Shooter Jennings, The Ranch, The Turnpike Troubadours
2015’s Album of the Year candidates might constitute the most wide open field of contenders since this exercise has been in practice. There’s no clear front runners, anyone could win, and each candidate has pluses and minuses. Like every year, your opinion counts, and may even count more this year with no clear front runner.
Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Don Henley, James McMurtry, Jamie Lin Wilson, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Jason Isbell, Jason James, John Moreland, Kacey Musgraves, Lindi Ortega, Lonesome Wyatt, MIke and the Moonpies, Rachel Brooke, Randy Rogers, Roo Arcus, Ryan Bingham, Turnpike Troubadours, Wade Bowen, Ward Thomas, Whitey Morgan, Whitey Morgan and the 78's, Yelawolf
Boy how the entertainment media loves to ruminate on country music’s female dilemma, and how unfair it is that so many fine and talented female voices are going unheard. It’s the perfect topic for Northeast-based periodicals to piggy-back their political and sociological parallels onto, to prove the patriarchal oligarchy is still very much alive in America’s rural and Southern landscapes.
Beyond what Darius Rucker is saying, it’s unfortunate that it’s coming from him specifically—someone who has worked in multiple genres, and someone who I would have assumed is a little more informed on these subjects, and would be a little more salient with his points. And let’s just all appreciate that Rucker is a country music carpetbagger himself.
So we’re close enough to the half way pole in 2015 to start thinking about what the best has been so far, and to get ready for what is sure to be a pretty exciting second half of 2015 for album releases. There’s been some big surprises, a few letdowns, but overall 2015 so far has been a pretty varied season for releases.
Bad Omen, Best albums of 2015, Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Complicated Game, Cowboys & Sunsets, Fear & Saturday Night, Hold My Beer, James McMurtry, Lonesome Wyatt, Love Story, Rachel Brooke, Randy Rogers, Roo Arcus, Ryan Bingham, Sonic Ranch, The FIrewatcher's Daughter, Traveller, Wade Bowen, Whitey Morgan, Yelawolf
Over the last few years, David Letterman and The Late Show have become tireless supporters of many of the older country artists and up-and-comers that mainstream country so unfortunately pays little to no attention to. To giving artists like Ray Wylie Hubbard, Dale Watson, and Sturgill Simpson their first network debut, to being one of the few shows regularly willing to book Willie Nelson and other legends…
Amos Lee, Asleep at the Wheel, Band of Horses, Ben Bridwell, Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Dale Watson, Dave Matthews Band, David Letterman, Elizabeth Cook, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Iron & Wine, Mumford and Sons, Norah Jones, Ralph Stanley, Ray Wylie Hubbard, The Avett Brothers, The Late Show, Tom Waits, Tracy Chapman, Willie Nelson
In 2015, the names and music residing at the top of Billboard’s respective genre charts seems topsy-turvy and misguided. While Sam Hunt and his music that resembles next to nothing country is at the top of the country charts, an artist like Brandi Carlile who does uphold some of those country standards has the top album in rock. A very serious case can be made that those two artists should be switched.
Brandi Carlile is exactly the type of strong-willed, vibrant and inventive female artist country music needs, yet country’s charts continue to be crested by the likes of interlopers such as Sam Hunt. Can we trade Sam Hunt to rock for Brandi Carlile, players to be named later, drafts picks, and/or cash considerations? Everyone wants to talk about where to find relevant female talent for country music, well here it is.
To All The Girls is Willie Nelson’s third album to come from his recent partnership with Sony’s Legacy Recordings, and the second to come out this year. The record features an ample 18 tracks, each constituting a duet with a female counterpart drawing from a wide swath of talent that includes both legacy names like Loretta Lynn and Emmylou Harris, and some new names like The Secret Sisters and Brandi Carlile.
Alison Krauss, Brandi Carlile, Buddy Cannon, Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn, Mavis Staples, Paula Nelson, Shelby Lynne, The Secret Sisters, To All The Girls, Willie Nelson, Wynonna Judd
“Country must evolve” is the way it is sold to the country music public when pop and hip-hop influences are invited into the country music fold. What these folks fail to point out is that country has been trying to evolve for 30 some odd years right under their noses. Are you looking for true progress and evolution in country music? Look no further than this list of women.
Abigail Washburn, Amanda Shires, Anderson Family Bluegrass, Asleep at the Wheel, Be Good Tanya's, Bela Fleck, Brandi Carlile, Caitlin Rose, Dale Watson, First Aid Kit, Hank Williams, Jolie Holland, Kacey Musgraves, Kasey Chambers, Liz Rose, Neko Case, Paige Anderson, Rachel Brooke, Rounder Records, Ruby Jane, Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, The Beach Boys, The Carter Family, The Trishas, Tom Waits, Uncle Earl, Willie Nelson