The quality of talent was never the concern about FairWell Fest, and the weekend was one killer set after another. The concern was always about a big out-of-town promoter coming into local-oriented Central Oregon and taking over.
The final months of 2022 are here, and just like the first portion of the year, it is jam packed in an increasingly cluttered environment for new releases. Instead of being overwhelmed, use this guide to help you navigate through the crush of titles, with the first 20 albums listed considered some of the top releases.
Perhaps the name is new to you. But to those who’ve been carefully curating their listening catalogs with the most emotionally-cutting and forward-thinking country music for over a decade with be both intimately familiar with the name Caitlin Rose, and extremely excited to hear about a new album.
Taking a little bit of the funky country spirit from “The Snowman” Jerry Reed, mixing it with the poetic, yet unpretentious tongue-in-cheek attitude of Roger Miller, and infusing it all with an imaginative and untethered take on a retro style of 60’s and 70’s country…
With his aching, painful delivery of poetically elegant songs ripped straight out of his own biography and smeared with tears and the residues of addiction, Justin Townes Earle embodied everything you wanted from the tragic troubadour holding on just enough to perform for you.
Here are the greatest country and roots albums of the last decade in Saving Country Music’s estimation. Albums were regarded primarily on quality, and how they held up over the decade, as well as the influence they had on country music, and music at large. These are the albums that should not be overlooked over the last 10 years of music.
You may have not known his name or who he was, but it would be hard not to notice the tall, lanky, dreadheaded dude in big white glasses behind the drums backing up a dozen or so different independent country artists from Nashville over the years as they toured through your town, and doing his best to not just keep the beat, but bring the energy.
Cale Tyson has been one of the hottest names in independent country and Americana for the last couple of years, yet with no full-length album to back it up. Usually it’s the other way around—an independent artist riding rave reviews of a debut LP to big opportunities.
Alt-country perennials The Old 97’s have been making the late night rounds to promote the release of their latest record Graveyard Whistling, and have been sharing that opportunity with some worthy east Nashville artists. Tuesday evening, The Old 97’s will be enjoying the company of Caitlin Rose on stage when they make an appearance on Conan O’Brien.
There’s not much worse than having a hankering for some new music from one of your favorite artists, but feeling like you’ve been waiting forever for it to happen. There are many reasons an artist or band may have a delay in output. But dammit, sometimes you feel like you just can’t wait. Here’s a few folks that it feels like are past due for new projects.
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.
Country throwback and old soul Daniel Romano has just announced he’s got a brand new album on the way. Self-produced, and recorded in his hometown of Welland, Ontario, the album is said to include strings, horns, piano, pedal steel, accordion, and be much more than your average neo-traditional release from its countrypolitan feel and exploration of nostalgia. Romano himself calls it “Mosey” music.
Have you ever been scanning through photos of your favorite (or least favorite) artists and thought, “Hot damn! That dude look just like this other dude!” From eery similarities like Sturgill Simpson and Javier Bardem’s creepy character from the movie No Country For Old Men, to Johny Paul White and Johnny Depp who I am pretty much convinced are the same exact person…
Acting as a guide through both the explanation of the roots of country music and the streets of Nashville, Justin Townes Earle and many others try best to define “country” for a foreign audience in the film. The Country Roads DVD also includes an entire Justin Townes Earle concert performed at Pace University on October 26th and 27th of 2012 called “The Spirit of Woody Guthrie.”
If you have a strong penchant towards wondering about the untold stories of music’s most adept sidemen like I do, then perhaps you have already pondered upon Telecaster player Jeremy Fetzer and pedal steel player Spencer Cullum Jr. from seeing them on stage with artists like Caitlin Rose, Andrew Combs, and Jonny Fritz just to name a few.
It’s that penultimate moment—that tipping point—when a town or neighborhood known for it’s cool, rich, and creatively-vibrant culture becomes so awash with interlopers, gentrifying hipsters, and retiring baby boomers that the critical mass point is reached in redevelopment, rising rents, and real estate prices and the entire thing implodes.
If you’re looking for the country music female revolution’s representative for true neotraditional country, Kelsey Waldon might just be your perfect match. If this album was released in the 70’s, it would have birthed a slew of indelible country standards. Such inconsolable heartbreak, such sorrow-drenched insight is captured on these tracks and then embellished with tasteful production…
“The No-Hit Wonder” is old school country rock at its finest, with exquisitely-crafted, cunning lyrical runs that make you laugh, amazing insight enhanced by brilliant timing and pentameter, and musical clothing that enhance each song’s strengths and endear them to the audience, pointing them the way to the album’s enjoyment. This is the album Cory Branan needed to release.
Last year about this time, music periodicals left and right were falling over themselves to declare 2013 the “Year of the Woman” in country music. Music Row in Nashville may be dumb, but it’s not stupid. They saw the need to ramp up the female quotient to restore some diversity. Here in the summer of 2014, we’re very much seeing the results of those efforts. And unfortunately, it’s not very pretty.
The draw of traditionally-poor East Nashville as a haven for musicians looking to make it in music and collaborate with like-minded artists has been one of the ingredients not just to Nashville’s current output, but to its allure. But all that is in jeopardy now as development bulldozes much of the city’s affordable housing inventory, and rents and real-estate prices continue to spike.
Oh you poor little non-SXSW goers, you’re social network feeds are about to get positively inundated with South By Southwest information, riddling your psyche with scores of free music events you’re unfortunately missing out on, resulting in an experience for you somewhere between the teasings of a cruel temptress, and Chinese water torture. Here’s a list of artists that all happen to be attending SXSW…
Tristen is not a hunter, she’s a gatherer, listening intently to any song or influence regardless of format or era, and eagerly mining the little nuggets of nostalgic, retro gold that allow the warmth of memories to flow freely from the inner mind of listeners to lovingly embellish a song. She then embeds this warmth into her completely original, modern-day compositions resulting in music that is both fresh and hauntingly familiar.
The modern-day music video is a really strange enterprise. Lots of money is spent by artists, and sometimes labels to produce something special; something that really represents the spirit of a song well. But when you look at what people watch, especially when it comes to independent musicians, many times it’s the fan video captured on a consumer-grade piece of technology that draws the most interest.
When you sit down to assemble a list of candidates for Song of the Year, you almost start to tremble in the face of so much creativity, inspiration, and insight, and grow humbled by how fortunate we are to live in such a bountiful time for music. Candidates for Song of the Year can’t just be songs we enjoy, they are songs that make you change the way you see the world, or change the way you see yourself.