What elevates this album the most, the intangible of Nights When I’m Sober is the authenticity Billy Don Burns can approach these songs with. The battle will rage on forever about if songwriters and performers have to live what they sing and write about to be authentic, but with Billy Don, the point is moot.
If there’s honor amongst thieves, then it only seems fitting there should be a Grifter’s Hymnal. And if there’s going to be a Grifter’s Hymnal, it’s only fitting Ray Wylie Hubbard should compose it. The ingredients of grifters are already mixed there on his palette: Tales of dead and dying things and dens of iniquity, the struggle or the soul between good and evil, and the difficulty sometimes of telling the two apart.
We were wrong about Taylor Swift. I was wrong about Taylor Swift. We were blinded by our prejudices. When Taylor Swift first came on to the scene, she sang cheesy teenage pop songs, and we chastised her for it, when she was doing what all the great songwriters did over the years: write what they knew about, what inspired them.
When I saw a new Ryan Adams album was coming down the pike, I honestly didn’t know what to think. I’ve been so hot and cold on the guy over the years as he shape shifts from the whims of identity crises and style changes, it’s harder to form a solid opinion about him than it is to conjure up a firm stool after 6 weeks in interior Mexico.
I really want to like Hayes Carll…People like to compare him to Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt and Tom Waits. But in the end, though he’s a good songwriter, he’s not a great one, and the overselling and mischaracterizing of his music has led to some unnecessary criticism, and a missing of the point that his music is fun, and meant to be enjoyed.
Every once in a while an album comes along that you can tell the extra effort was put out to make it right. It’s far beyond just a collection of songs, it unfolds like a story, with all the songs together becoming stronger than the sum of their parts. Its an album that shows patience and wisdom. There’s a grand vision, and more importantly, that vision is realized in the final cut. Deguello Motel is one of those albums.
I’d love to tell you that I know a lot about Larry Jon Wilson, who died Monday at 69 from a stroke, but truth is I only know him through the bits of his music that have passed under my nose over the years, and from his appearance in the documentary Heartworn Highways. There isn’t […]
“Every great artist has had a place where their music could be birthed.” That quote from the new documentary Anderson Fair – For The Sake of The Song about a small, long-lived acoustic room in Houston puts into perspective how important the venue is to music more than any other I could procure. We talk […]
Lately so much music has been coming out from oldtime artists I follow, I can hardly keep up. Hopefully in the future I will have features or reviews on all of these projects, but in the meantime here they all are to bring you up to speed. If there’s one album you like to see […]
Can't You Hear the Mountains Calling, Closer to the Bone, Guy Clark, Hank Williams, IBWIP, Kris Kristofferson, new vinyl, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Ralph Stanley, re-release, release, Revealed, Robert Earl Keen, Somedays The Song Writes You, Speed of Life, The Rose Hotel, Waylon Jennings