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.
First Aid Kit
As we near the end of the year, it’s time to start thinking about the Song of the Year and Album of the Year candidates, and to start sifting back thought this year’s playlists and reviews to see what resonated the most, and what we might have missed. But there are still new songs and new albums being released as well.
Swedish sister singing duo First Aid Kit has announced their latest album “Ruins.” “Finally,” the duo said on Friday (10-27) as part of the announcement. “Words can’t possibly describe how thrilled we are to announce our upcoming record. We poured our hearts and souls into this. Soon it’ll be yours.”
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.
In 2014, you had two previously-unknown women release towers of country music brilliance in Tami Nelison’s Dynamite! and Karen Jonas’s Oklahoma Lottery. You had folk blues songwriter Charlie Parr deliver a masterpiece in his instrumental triumph in Hollandale. You had the Swedish sister duo First Aid Kit feature what very well would had been considered an Album of the Year on any other year…
From crude videos taken on somebody’s phone, to full production videos with scripts and actors and sets, to animated shorts and everything in between, you never know what’s going to capture the imagination and become the perfect compliment to a song in the visual form. what breaks through the crush of visual material to be called the best in 2014?
Don Williams, First Aid Kit, Florida Georgia Line, Gary Nicholson, Ray Benson, Steelism, Sturgill Simpson, The Tillers, The Whiskey Shivers, Townes Van Zandt, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Willie Watson
Each year when Saving Country Music sits down to compile the best songs, it’s done so with a solemn reverence and understanding that the idea embedded in a song has the power to change a life, and change the world. There are many songs out there that are a joy to listen to, but a Song of the Year must say something that can evoke shivers, and do so in a way nobody else has done before.
Don Williams, Everything's Gone, First Aid Kit, Garry Nicholson, Hellbound Glory, Hurray For The Riff Raff, I Lost You, Jim Lauderdale, Joseph Huber, Leon Virgil Bowers, Lloyd Maines, Lydia Loveless, Parker Milsap, Ray Benson, Streets of Aberdeen, Sturgill Simpson, Tami Neilson, The Body Electric, The Lonely Island, The Secret Sisters, Truck Stop Gospel, Turtles All the Way Down, Waitress Song, Wanchese & Manteo, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Willie Watson
2014 has revealed itself as the “Year of the Dark Horse” when it comes to compiling the greatest albums released in the last 12-month span. Tami Neilson, Karen Jonas, Charlie Parr, Matt Woods? Who’s heard of these people outside of their respective fan bases? And meanwhile the realm of mainstream music can’t field one candidate, unless you want to count First Aid Kit.
2014 Album of the Year, Charlie Parr, Don Williams, Doug Seegers, Dynamite!, First Aid Kit, Hollandale, I'm A Song, Jason Eady, Jim Lauderdale, John Fullbright, Joseph Huber, Karen Jonas, Kelsey Waldon, Matt Woods, Metamodern Sounds In Country Music, Oklahoma Lottery, Reflections, Stay Gold, Sturgill Simpson, Tami Neilson, With Love From Brushy Mountain, Zoe Muth
As an offering for Record Store Day’s upcoming Black Friday releases, Johanna and Klara Söderberg have covered Simon & Garfunkel’s iconic tune “America,” written by Paul Simon. A master work of the American songbook, the song peerlessly encapsulates the forlorn beauty of youthful restlessness and underlying abject fear that are an indelible part of the American experience.
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…
Brandy Clark, Brett Resnick, Caitlin Rose, First Aid Kit, Holly Williams, Jeremy Fetzer, Kacey Musgraves, Kelsey Waldon, Kitty Wells, Lindi Ortega, Merle Haggard, Michael Rinne, Rachel Brooke, Review, Skylar Wilson, Steelism, Tammy Wynette, The Gold Mine
The virtual disappearance of female country music stars on American radio is a dilemma that has now stretched out for nearly half a decade. Now the senior director of music programming at SiriusXM is looking to try and do something about the problem and hopefully create interest around some of country music’s undiscovered and worthy female talent.
Angaleena Presley, Brandy Clark, Carrie Underwood, Chase Rice, Cole Swindell, First Aid Kit, Florida Georgia Line, Fresh Female Voices, John Marks, Kelleigh Bannen, Leah Turner, Miranda Lambert, SiriusXM, Sunny Sweeney, Taylor Swift
So who could step up of in the country music vocal duo space who could duel with the heavyweights of the mainstream, and offer more substance to that category like The Civil Wars did? Of course there will only be one Civil Wars and nobody will be able to replace them completely, but here are some ideas who could have a similar impact.
Bruce & Kelly Show, Bruce Robison, Carolina Story, Dave Rawlings, First Aid Kit, Gillian Werlch, Jayke Orvis, Kacey Musgraves, Kellie Willie, Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison, Mandolin Orange, Shovels & Rope, Simon & Garfunkel, T Bone Burnett, Taylor Swift, The Cactus Blossoms, The Church Sisters, The Everly Brothers, The Lovin Brothers, The Milk Carton Kids, The Secret Sisters, The Urban Pioneers
Make no mistake about it, “Girl In A Country Song” will be a huge hit, because Scott Borchetta will make it that way. The pretty faces help, and so does the fact they they can write and sing a little bit—just exactly how much though has yet to be truly battle tested. But this one song is good enough apparently to give the duo a green light. Yes ladies and gentlemen, this is the brave new world of country music.
Big Machine Records, Blake Shelton, bro-country, Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton, Dot Records, First Aid Kit, Girl In A Country Song, GIrl In A Country Song lyrics, Joe Dee Messina, Kacey Musgraves, Lee Ann Womack, Listen to Girl In A Country Song, Maddie & Tae, Maddie Marlow, Miranda Lambert, Review, Scott Borchetta, Shania Twain, Taelyn Elizabeth, The Dixie Chicks, Tyler Farr
Compared to albums, making picks of songs is such a tough, arbitrary business. This year seems especially tough, not because the field isn’t strong, but because many of the best moments are coming from unlikely sources, including a cadre of cover songs that despite the spirit of the “Best Songs” approach being about original compositions, seem almost criminal to omit.
Bob Wayne, Dierks Bentley, Don Williams, Eric Church, First Aid Kit, Hellbound Glory, I'll Be Here In The Morning, Jason Eady, John Fullbright, Karen Jonas, Kirsty Lee Akers, Leroy Virgil, Liberty Bell, Lonely Island, Matt Woods, Melody Williamson, Miranda Lambert, Parker Milsap, Red Eye Gravy, Streets of Aberdeen, Sturgill Simpson, Take Me Back, The Promise, The Secret Sisters, The Wall, There's No Country Here, Turtles All the Way Down, Willie Nelson, Willie Watson, Zoe Muth
2014 so far has been an interesting year for album releases for sure. Some names we were hoping big things from like Sturgill Simpson and Jason Eady delivered in big ways. Other dark horse names we’d never heard of like Karen Jonas came out of the woodwork to stun. Some names like Don Williams and Charlie Parr put out surprising albums that have to be considered high water marks of their career.
Best Albums So Far, Charlie Parr, Dalight & Dark, Don Williams, First Aid Kit, Hollandale, Jason Eady, John Fullbright, Joseph Huber, Karen Jonas, Matt Woods, Metamodern Sounds In Country Music, Oklahoma Lottery, Reflections, Songs, Stay Gold, Sturgill Simpson, With Love From Brushy Mountain, World of Strangers, Zoe Muth
Like the moan of the steel guitar or the cut of the banjo tone, there is just something about the precision and flow of sister harmonies that awaken something in the human spirit that is uncanny, and characteristic of the highest reaches of audio diversion. Considering the long and noble lineage of close sister harmonies, marked on its path by such noteworthy names…
You talk to most any independent country, roots, or Americana artist, and to a man they will tell you their fortunes tend to be better in the European market. With so many European tours and the continued spread of American country music, it was only a matter of time before country began to rub off on the locals and American roots music spread like wildfire throughout the Old World.
country music in Europe, Crooks & Straights, Dad Horse Experience, Dinosaur Truckers, Emmylou Harris, English, European country bands, First Aid Kit, G-runs 'n Roses, German country bands, Gram Parsons, Heinrich XIII, Jens Kruger, Kruger Brothers, My Darling Clementine, Rattleshack, Steve Martin, The Rip Roaring Success, UK
Sex has been used to sell music almost since music became a commercial enterprise. From the shaking of Elvis’s hips, to Madonna’s “Sex” book, to Miley Cyrus doing all manner of gratuitous things with a foam finger. but in truth there’s plenty of positive female role models. From huge, internationally-known pop stars, to promising up-and-coming artists, positive female role models in music are out there.
Adele, American Idol, Anderson Family Bluegrass, Asleep at the Wheel, Avril Lavigne, First Aid Kit, Gwen Stephani, Hayley Williams, Kelly Clarkson, Loretta Lynn, Miley Cyrus, Paige Anderson, Paige Anderson and the Fearless Kin, Paramore, Ruby Jane, Sarah Jarosz, Sugar Hill Records, The Church Sisters, VMA's, Willie Nelson
Whenever I find myself thirsting for inspiration, I tend to search out the blessed gift that is the harmonies of sister pairings. Any two great singers can harmonize, but few can match the instinct and tone of two blood relatives, making the artform seem as effortless as breath. Following is a list of singing sisters who never cease to inspire.
Anderson Family Bluegrass, Asleep at the Wheel, First Aid Kit, Marty Stuart, Merle Haggard, Paige Anderson, Paige Anderson and the Fearless Kin, Ricky Skaggs, T Bone Burnett, The Carter Family, The Church Sisters, The Louvin Brothers, The Marty Stuart Show, The Quebe Sisters, The Secret Sisters, The Shook Twins, The Staves
We’ve talked about 7 Men Who Could Immediately Make Country Music Better, now let’s take a look at 9 women who could do the same. It’s been well documented that here in 2013, the women of country are outpacing the men when it comes to the quality of music–women like Kacey Musgraves who’ve seen breakout commercial success.
Ashley Monroe, Cary Ann Hearst, Dixie Chicks, Emmylou Harris, Eric Church, First Aid Kit, Holly Williams, Kellie Pickler, Lindi Ortega, Pistol Annies, Rachel Brooke, Shovels & Rope, The Civil Wars, The Trishas, Valerie June