The Saving Country Music Top 25 Playlist is built to keep you informed on all the best songs and albums coming out right here, right now in country and roots music. It’s available on most all streaming formats, or just use the song recommendations to find something new to listen to. New songs just added.
Get as hot and bothered as you want about the newest names hitting the independent country scene, but those who know their stuff know that Leroy Virgil and Hellbound Glory are the some of the original country insurgents of the modern era who helped turn country music upside down, and open the doors for many of today’s heavy hitters.
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.
Brent Amaker and the Rodeo, Caitlin Rose, Chris Stapleton, Cody Jinks, Emily Scott Robinson, First Aid Kit, Hellbound Glory, Jack Ingram, James McMurtry, Jason Eady, Jason Isbell, John Moreland, Joseph Huber, Kacey Musgraves, Kellie Pickler, Lindi Ortega, MIke and the Moonpies, Miranda Lambert, Olds Sleeper, Roger Alan Wade, Sarah Shook and the Disarmers, Slackeye Slim, Sturgill Simpson, Sunny Sweeney, Tami Neilson, The Mavericks, Turnpike Troubadours, Tyler Childers, Zephaniah OHora
The Paramount Western series Yellowstone starring Kevin Costner doesn’t just make for compelling television, it also works as a great discovery mechanism for good country and roots music that much of the rest of popular culture ignores. Season 2 of the series that started in June has been no different.
You have to go all the way back to 2002’s ‘Tanya’ to find the last time country icon Tanya Tucker released a proper album of new material; her classic covers album from 2009 notwithstanding. That’s 17 years to save up songs and inspiration, and now Tanya is ready to make a roaring return.
As support continues to swell for independent country music, so do the events with local, regional, and national impact looking to create sustainability for the music and an alternative to the mainstream in markets big and small.
Ameripolitan, Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, Billy Don BUrns, Carolyn Sills Combo, Darci Carlson, Grass Roots Music Festival, Hellbound Glory, Jenny Don't and the Spurs, Jesse Daniel, Miss Lonely Hearts
Many folks were caught off guard when the curious tour lineup of the Wet Cigarette of Music Kid Rock, Bro-Country Godfather Brantley Gilbert, and foul-mouthed comedic country artist Wheeler Walker Jr. was revealed last week, dubbed the “Red Blooded Rock N Roll Redneck Extravaganza Tour.”
Hellbound Glory’s latest record Pinball comes across as brash and unapologetic, and it’s underpinned by one of the highlights of the project, the song “Hellbound Blues.” But at the heart of the song is how the scourge of addiction can rule and ruin one’s life, especially in the throes of the dark hours.
If tasked to do so, I will unflinchingly and wholeheartedly endorse that Leroy Virgil of Hellbound Glory is one of the greatest songwriters of our generation—up there with Jason Isbell, Cody Jinks, John Moreland et al, even if it’s of a different breed—puffing my chest out and challenging any man willing to assert otherwise.
For those fed up with the political system, scared to vote either way for two of the most unlikable Presidential candidates in recent memory, voting with trepidation, not voting in spite, or just plain wanting this whole election thing to end and hoping that somehow the United States can find a modicum of healing after it is all over…
Brennen Leigh, Canned Heat, Hayes Carll, Hellbound Glory, Jackson Taylor and the Sinners, Kinky Friedman, Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires, Leroy Virgil, Merle Haggard, Peter Dawson, Ronnie Dunn, Sunny Sweeney, Tom Waits, Waylon Jennings
Leroy Virgil has the tragic grandeur that many songwriters only wish they could capture, and some attempt to emulate, but few have the authenticity to truly live down. Virgil has no need to cut an ear off for inspiration. Whatever troubled demons that get stirred up when the most brilliant wordsmiths go searching their innermost depths for inspiration, they are alive and well in the Hellbound Glory frontman.
The Rusty Knuckles record label has just announced they will be releasing a new album from Leroy Virgil of Hellbound Glory called The Excavators on Black Friday, November 27th. It features just Leroy Virgil, and the much-beloved lap steel player Rico Peterson in a stripped down setting playing some songs never heard in the recorded context before, and a few released previously in different forms.
That’s right, I said Hellbound Glory. And I said Leroy Virgil instead of Leon Virgil Bowers—the name Leroy Virgil decided to go with after he officially killed off Hellbound Glory and launched his solo career. If you’re sufficiently confused now, don’t worry. Just understand whatever he calls himself, he’s one of the best songwriters of our generation, and he’s still around kicking out tunes.
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
In September of 2012, Blake Judd of JuddFilms brought a camera crew to the famous Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville, TN to shoot a pilot episode for a television series that has never been aired. The idea was to take well-known established artists, worthy undiscovered musicians and songwriters, and stick them all in Johnny Cash’s legendary cabin with an open bar, and set the camera’s rolling.
Amanda Isbell Shires, Col, Hellbound Glory, Jason Isbell, JD Wilkes, Jessica Wilkes, Joey Allcorn, John Anderson, John Carter Cash, Johnny Cash, Judd Films, Kellie Pickler, Leon Virgil Bowers, Leroy Powell, Leroy Virgil, Rico, Scott Icenogle, Shooter Jennings, Th' Legendary Shack Shakers, The Cash Cabin Studio, The Midnight Special
Hellbound Glory, the raucous Reno, Nevada-based country band is no more, and the band’s long-time frontman and songwriter has taken on a new moniker. The band had the internet buzzing on October 1st when they announced that Hellbound Glory would be killed off. “31 more nights… till the death of Hellbound Glory” the band stated, leaving fans of the resurgent country outfit wondering what the hell would be happening next.
Ever since October 1st when Reno, Nevada-based country outfit Hellbound Glory posted on their Facebook page “31 more nights… till the death of Hellbound Glory…” speculation has run rampant about what might befall the band on All Hallows’ Eve as it fastly approaches. Subsequently Hellbound Glory has booked a concert they’re advertising by saying “Witness The Death of Hellbound Glory.”
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
As for the music, the Red Fest lineup was built on good intentions. Big names like Florida Georgia Line, Tim McGraw, Kellie Pickler, and Lynyrd Skynyrd were billed alongside lesser-known bands from the local and national landscape like Hellbound Glory, The Whiskey Sisters, and Bri Bagwell. Instead of segregating independent and mainstream music, integrating it.
Bri Bagwell, Colt Ford, Earl Dibbles Jr., Florida Georgia Line, Granger Smith, Hellbound Glory, Imagine Dragons, Jeff Foxworthy, Kellie Pickler, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Parmalee, Red Fest, Review, Sundy Best, The Derailers, The Whiskey Sisters, Tim McGraw
Sturgill Simpson has arrived ladies & gentlemen, thanks to the resounding critical success of his new album Metamodern Sounds of Country Music that has permeated just about every corner of the independent roots music culture. From NPR, to The New York Times, to important periodicals in Europe, wherever you turn, someone is singing the praises of the Kentucky native.
Reno’s Hellbound Glory has just released a new 5-song EP called LV, named for the initials of lead singer and songwriter Leroy Virgil. The album was recorded in and partially inspired by Leroy’s hometown of Aberdeen, Washington, and marks the first new music from Leroy and Hellbound Glory in nearly three years. On the occasion of the new release I gave Leroy a call…
Brand new, long-anticipated music from Reno, Nevada’s Hellbound Glory is finally on its way in the form of a brand new EP scheduled for release on May 13th called LV. It is exclusively a digital release, and is the first new music aside from a few individual singles since the band released its last full-length Damaged Goods in November of 2011.
The greatest album, and the greatest recorded song will never be able to trump the truly live musical experience where music is shared in real time with both the artist and listeners. It is in this spirit that each year I assemble a list of the Best Live Performances to reinforce that as technology and the busying of life incrementally encroach upon us, we must remember that the live music show deserves its own attention and reverence.
.357 String Band, 2013, American Aquarium, Andrew Bird, Austin City Limits, Best Live Performances, Bob Wayne, Dirty River Boys, Eric Church, Gruene Hall, Hellbound Glory, James Hunnicutt, Jared McGovern, Jason Eady, Jason Isbell, Jayke Orvis, LeAnn Rimes, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, Lincoln Durham, Liz Sloan, Patsy Cline, Pickathon, Punch Brothers, Red 11, The Crooks, The Mavericks, The White Horse, Tift Merritt, Turnpike Troubadours, Valerie June, XSXSW
You won’t see Reno, Nevada’s Hellbound Glory at the top of anyone’s ‘Best Of’ lists this year, unless it relates to touring or live performances. Leroy Virgil & the boys didn’t leave much time for recording and releasing albums in 2013; they were too busy ripping off one of the toughest, busiest, and arguably the most notable touring schedules in 2013 from an independent country act.