In a brilliant economy of words, James McMurtry can bring alive entire characters and expansive landscapes in songs, revealing details down to the crevices in the dried soil, and the contours of a face in the mind’s eye. He’s compiled a body of work that rivals most any other songwriter.
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
An oral history on the life of songwriting legend Billy Joe Shaver is on the way. Called ‘Live Forever: The Songwriting Legacy of Billy Joe Shaver,’ it will be about Shaver’s life and songs told through his peers, friends, and disciples like Ray Wylie Hubbard, Dale Watson, James McMurtry, Scott H. Biram, Dallas Moore, and Jessi Colter.
Billy Joe Shaver, Courtney S. Lennon, Dale Watson, Dallas Moore, James McMurtry, Jessi Colter, Live Forever: The Songwriting Legacy of Billy Joe Shaver, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Scott H. Biram, Waylon Jennings
Jason Isbell has just added a slew of brand new tour dates for the spring to go on top of an already-packed winter touring schedule. The new dates now take Jason Isbell’s touring schedule well into April and May, with marquee performances at the Savannah Music Festival, and the Stagecoach Music Festival.
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit just started an incredible six-night sold out stint at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on Monday (10-9), and after a tour in Europe this fall, Isbell & Co. will be hitting the road yet again as part of an extended winter tour stretching into 2018, with brand new dates just added.
We’ve all heard of the “Class of ’89” in country music, right? That was the year that Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Clint Black, Travis Tritt, and others came to power. Well have you ever heard of the “Class of ’87”? That was the year Todd Snider, James McMurtry, Bruce Robison, Hal Ketchum, and Terri Hendrix all played regularly at an old wooden music venue in San Marcos, Texas called the Cheatham Street Warehouse.
Brennen Leigh, Bruce Robison, Cheatham Street Warehouse, Dreamer, Hal Ketchum, James McMurtry, Kent Finlay, Owen Temple, Randy Rogers, Randy Rogers Band, Slaid Cleaves, Terri Hendrix, Todd Snider, William Clark Green
Too often in music we tend to focus on the here and now, the young and the new. Who are the hot names that are rising up in the ranks? Who’s going to make a big splash in music in the coming months and years? All this talk is understandable. It’s fun. But this is not always the best exercise for fleshing out who actually has the music most worthy of being recognized.
Being willing to go where a song takes you is the challenge in the heart of every music lover. Hopefully one of these songs released in 2015 will take you some place you want to be, or somewhere you’ve never been before. These songs were selected on their own merit, not from the strength of the artist or album from where they came.
Brennen Leigh, Cody Jinks, Dawes, Eric Church, Eric Paslay, Evan Felker, James McMurtry, JB Beverley, John Moreland, Justin Townes Earle, Kacey Musgraves, Love and Theft, Mo Pitney, Randy Rogers, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Sunny Sweeney, Turnpike Troubadours, Wade Bowen
2015’s Album of the Year candidates might constitute the most wide open field of contenders since this exercise has been in practice. There’s no clear front runners, anyone could win, and each candidate has pluses and minuses. Like every year, your opinion counts, and may even count more this year with no clear front runner.
Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Don Henley, James McMurtry, Jamie Lin Wilson, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Jason Isbell, Jason James, John Moreland, Kacey Musgraves, Lindi Ortega, Lonesome Wyatt, MIke and the Moonpies, Rachel Brooke, Randy Rogers, Roo Arcus, Ryan Bingham, Turnpike Troubadours, Wade Bowen, Ward Thomas, Whitey Morgan, Whitey Morgan and the 78's, Yelawolf
Being willing to see where a song takes you is at the heart of every music lover, and in this spirit I present eleven hand selected songs released in the first half of 2015 that will hopefully take you someplace you want to be, or somewhere you’ve never been before. This is the cream of the crop in my opinion; the gut punchers not for the faint of heart.
Charlie Parr, Chris Knight, Cody Jinks, Eric Paslay, James McMurtry, John Moreland, Justin Townes Earle, Lee Ann Womack, Love & Theft, Miranda Lambert, Randy Rogers, Townes Van Zandt, Wade Bowen, Whitey Morgan
So we’re close enough to the half way pole in 2015 to start thinking about what the best has been so far, and to get ready for what is sure to be a pretty exciting second half of 2015 for album releases. There’s been some big surprises, a few letdowns, but overall 2015 so far has been a pretty varied season for releases.
Bad Omen, Best albums of 2015, Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Complicated Game, Cowboys & Sunsets, Fear & Saturday Night, Hold My Beer, James McMurtry, Lonesome Wyatt, Love Story, Rachel Brooke, Randy Rogers, Roo Arcus, Ryan Bingham, Sonic Ranch, The FIrewatcher's Daughter, Traveller, Wade Bowen, Whitey Morgan, Yelawolf
As a quality, not quantity kind of songwriter, James McMurtry, waiting six years to release this newest album Complicated Game, made it well worth the aching wait. McMurtry has been quoted as saying he hates writing new material, but listeners are no wiser once they behold these 12 finely-tuned works of songwriting eloquence.
Everywhere you turn, the new movie about American Navy Seal Chris Kyle called American Sniper has been causing a political stir amongst movie goers and beyond. But one country star, Jimmy Michael Montgomery, known for such hits such as “Beer Truck” and “Remember Back When” surprisingly says it’s not his place to enter the fray of what has become a political discussion.
Who will be releasing new albums in 2015? What are some of the most-anticipated projects? What are the rumors swirling out there about new albums that may be coming down the pike? Here’s a rundown of upcoming projects from artists recommended by Saving Country Music that you can look forward to in 2015. Please feel free to leave your thoughts about what you’re excited about being released.
In the fall of 2012 when Ronnie Dunn (of Brooks & Dunn) was looking to write and record material for his upcoming album, he reached out to Texas music songwriting guru Ray Wylie Hubbard after falling in love with the gritty sound Hubbard imbibes on all his records. Dunn flew into Austin as Ray Wylie wrangled up an A-list of Austin musicians to to participate in a recording session.
Bobby Keys, Brooks & Dunn, Bruce Robison, Buddy Holly, Bump Band, Chelle Rose, Faces, George Reiff, Gurf Morlix, Ian McLagan, James McMurtry, Jennifer Nettles, Joe Ely, John Hiatt, Kelly Willis, Lucinda Williams, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Mary Gauthier, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Robert Earl Keen, Rod Stewart, Ronnie Dunn, Small Faces, Sugarland, The Rolling Stones, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
Fans of elite folk/Americana songwriter James McMurtry have been waiting a long time for new music from the famous son and fixture of Austin’s Continental Club. McMurtry released his last studio record Just Us Kids in April of 2008. Soon fan’s patience will be rewarded. James McMurtry has partnered with the label Complicated Game out of Los Angeles to release a new record in February of 2015.
Fred Eaglesmith puts fresh-faced country music interlopers riding a popularity wave in their place in “Johnny Cash,” a song off of his 2012 release 6 Volts, and whose new video was just released this month. Eaglesmith chides the brittle, shallow understanding of Johnny Cash that starts with his American Recordings era, but overlooks his prolonged career struggles, and Johnny’s well-documented and deep religious devotion.
Alright, so we all had a good chuckle poking fun at the 6 Pop Country Archetypes, now let’s see what happens when I turn the poison pen towards the folks much more likely to frequent Saving Country Music; those folks that live on the fringes of the greater country music world.
Jason Isbell, former member of The Drive By Truckers and current solo artist had his van, trailer, and all contents stolen in Dallas, TX on Saturday afternoon. Jason and his band, The 400 Unit, were in Dallas Friday night, playing the city’s legendary Granada Theater on lower Greenville in support of his latest album Here We Rest.
A while back it was brought to my attention that industrial rocker Shooter Jennings, along with No Depression blogger Adam Sheets had crafted the idea of starting a new genre of music, or more specifically, a radio format, called “XXX” after the nomenclature found on the front of moonshine bottles. The idea is to give a home to music that “is too rock for country, and too country for rock.”
.357 String Band, Adam Sheets, Arson Anthem, Avett Brothers, Black Joe Lewis, Black Ribbons, BR549, Dale Watson, David Allan Coe, Hank III, James McMurtry, Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, Pantera, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Rebel Meets Rebel, Reverend Horton Heat, Shooter Jennings, Whitey Morgan & The 78's, XXX