We’ve run down the Album of the Year Nominees for 2020, as well as the Song of the Year nominees, and an Essential Albums list is also coming together. But since the mainstream of country isn’t always well-represented on these lists, let’s look back on some of those best albums.
The 2021 Grammy Award nominees were announced on Tuesday (11/24), and as can be expected, there is some good, some bad, many worthy nominations, a few probably born of virtue signaling as you can expect. But overall, it’s about par for the course.
Ashley McBryde, Black Pumas, Brandi Carlile, Brandy Clark, Brittany Howard, Brothers Osborne, Charley Crockett, Dan Auerbach, Dave Cobb, Grammy Awards, Ingrid Andress, John Anderson, John Prine, Linda Ronstadt, Lori McKenna, Lucinda Williams, Mickey Guyton, Miranda Lambert, Sarah Jarosz, Sierra Hull, Sturgill Simpson, The Highwomen
Here comes the Brothers Osborne’s new record ‘Skeletons,’ which most certainly has it’s moments. But where Port Saint Joe surprised us for all the right reasons, Skeletons is decidedly much more rock than country, more boisterous than understated, and more riff-driven than lyric-driven.
2020 is not done just yet offering up country and roots music worthy of listening to, and perhaps some of the projects we’ll regard as the best all year once late December rolls around. So just to make sure you don’t miss anything, here are some of Saving Country Music’s top recommendations for the final portion of 2020.
Brent Cobb, Brett Resnick, Brothers Osborne, Chris Stapleton, Dale Watson, David Quinn, Josh Abbott Band, Laur Joamets, Rachel Brooke, Sunny Sweeney, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt, William Elliot Whitmore, Yellow Rose
COVID-19 has country and Americana artists doing all kinds of creative things to stay busy and afloat. But there’s only a few artists that can take an acoustic guitar and a song and steal your undivided attention, and Hayes Carll is one of them.
“If ‘Pawn Shop’ was our introduction, and ‘Port Saint Joe’ was like the first conversation we had with someone over a beer, then ‘Skeletons’ is the moment where you start getting down to the real stuff and showing who you really are,” says John Osborne. “If you really want to get to know us, this is the record to do it.”
In 2019, an interesting new destination festival popped up just outside of Whitefish, Montana called Under The Big Sky. With acts such as Dwight Yoakam, Cody Jinks, Whitey Morgan, and Amanda Shires on the bill, it got the attention of true country fans, but the question was if it would be worth the trek.
20 Grand, Archertown, Badger Hound, Billy Strings, Brothers Osborne, Charley Crockett, Colter Wall, Corb Lund, Emmylou Harris, Jason Isbell, Johnny Shockey, Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs, Lukas Nelson, Nick Spear, Snowghost, Swagar and Company, The Lil Smokies, Tyler Childers, Under The Big Sky Festival, Whitney Rose
That’s right. The 83-year-old is blowing off the 2019 CMA’s and won’t be in attendance to receive is CMA Lifetime Achievement trophy. Instead of walking out on the stage at the Bridgestone Arena, Kris Kristofferson has elected to honor his contract to play the Adler Theater and Apartment Complex that night in beautiful downtown Davenport, Iowa.
It’s kind of curious that the Country Music Mother Church hasn’t become a conveyor belt for live records like some other important venues in country music have. Now after Jason Isbell released a Live from the Ryman album in 2018, others are getting in on the action, including Old Crow Medicine Show and Brothers Osborne.
Willie Nelson and the usual suspects, along with some fresh talent will once again reunite for the plight of the American farmer as part of the 2019 installment of Farm Aid, which this year will focus its attention on the land of dairy. The location was chosen specifically due to the crisis affecting many of America’s dairy farmers.
Bonnie Raitt, Brothers Osborne, Dave Matthews, Farm Aid, Jamey Johnson, John Mellencamp, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Margo Price, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Neal Young, Particle Kid, Tanya Tucker, Willie Nelson, Yola
“Yeah, it’s pretty catchy,” Luke Combs says. “But I feel there’s a little bit of sarcasm there I don’t necessarily appreciate. I feel like I’m being poked fun at a bit. Country music is near and dear to my heart, and one of the things that’s most important to me is that the music should be taken seriously.”
“This dude puts out a song with kind of quasi country lyrics? Something about a horse, boobies and some shit? Don’t create controversy and expect that to give you a hall pass. We need great songs. Go listen to Kris Kristofferson, and then go listen to that song, and if you tell me they have anything to do with each other.”
Maren Morris certainly isn’t the first, will most definitely not be the last, and can’t even be described as the worst to ply pop elements in country either in part or predominantly. It is certainly true from any honest and objective perspective that Maren Morris’s second record, GIRL, is one of the most exclusively pop albums to ever be released in country.
The heart welled up with excitement in many true country music fans when word came down that Brooks & Dunn had a new title on the way, only to be tempered by the fact that it’s a Reboot (nice double entendre there) of some of their old classics re-recorded with contemporary stars.
If you missed Chris Stapleton and his All-American Roadshow Tour in 2017 or 2018, you have another chance next year with reams of new tour dates just released. 44 total dates are now included on Stapleton’s tour itinerary, and they include a cool new mix of openers.
Saving Country Music unapologetically leans towards the independent and traditional side of country music. But that doesn’t mean the mainstream of country doesn’t get it right every so often. It’s important that we highlight those positive albums and artists too.
Of course people are different. We learn that at six-years-old. Of course everyone should be respectful to each other, and try to see other people’s perspectives. But this is the premise for a nursery rhyme, not a country song. Adults use subtly, nuance, and story to get important points across they wish to convey in music.
The nominees for the 2019 Grammy Awards were announced Friday morning (12-7), and some of the things we anticipated happening have happened. But the biggest takeaway, and surprisingly so, is Brandi Carlile earning six total nominations, including all-genre nominations for Album, Song, and Record of the Year.
Ashley McBryde, Brandi Carlile, Brothers Osborne, Chris Stapleton, Dan + Shay, Dave Cobb, Jeff Tweedy, John Prine, Kacey Musgraves, Lee Ann Womack, Loretta Lynn, Maren Morris, Shooter Jennings, Vince Gill, Waylon Payne, Willie Nelson, Wood and Wire
“As far as government politics, hell no!” said original ‘Rolling Stone Country’ Senior Editor Beville Dunkerley in May of 2014, assuring readers the publication would not engage in political discourse as part of its country music coverage. Now that has all changed.
Heretofore, the greatest asset of the Brothers Osborne has been that they’re not Florida Georgia Line. This is how the singing and guitar playing brother duo hopscotched Beavis and Butthead to become the shoo-in duo for all of mainstream country’s industry awards, despite having not nearly the commercial prowess, or frankly, the influence.
As much of the country music nervous system was affixed to the 60th Annual Grammy Awards on Sunday (1-28), another high-profile event was happening down in Tampa, Florida where the NHL was holding their annual All-Star Game. “Country” artist Brett Young is a native of the area and was tapped to sing the National Anthem.
Quietly, the Brothers Osborne have deposed the terrible Florida Georgia Line as the biggest duo in country music, at least when it comes to peer recognition and appreciation by the industry. Florida Georgia Line is still a juggernaut in radio play mind you, but that appears to be slipping from their grasp too.
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
Chris Stapleton fans were greeted with the unfortunate news Wednesday morning (5-31) that Chris Stapleton will not be making scheduled appearances at eight separate shows, and has also canceled his appearance at the upcoming CMA Fest in Nashville.