Naming the best live performances of a given year is not the same exercise as naming the best songs, albums, or artists, because it is specifically dependent on the experiences of the individual making the list. But it’s still an important exercise.
Jason Boland and the Stragglers
Founding member of Jason Boland and the Stragglers, and long-time Texas/Red Dirt community member Brad Rice has left the band to pursue other interests. Brad Rice had been Jason Boland’s drummer for over 20 years. The two met while attending Oklahoma State University in Stillwater Oklahoma in the late 90’s.
The man who’s most responsible for keeping the traditional country backbone in Red Dirt music strong and rigid for many many years is probably not the one your would finger as being the most enigmatic of all the founding fathers. But that’s exactly what Jason Boland has become as his mane has gone silver.
It’s been a great time to be a country music fan over the last few weeks as incredible album releases from a cavalcade of artists has put a stress test on people’s physical copy budgets, and pushed Saving Country Music to maximum capacity for publishing reviews. But these are all good problems to have.
“We’ve always just wanted to entertain ourselves and put out music that would be a part of people’s lives, not just something passing to them,” says Jason Boland. “We want to be something more monolithic. We’re just a social experiment at this point .”
The 5th Annual Medicine Stone Music Festival focusing on the best of Red Dirt music and sponsored by the Turnpike Troubadours, and Jason Boland & The Stragglers will once again commence at the Diamondhead Resort in Talequah, Oklahoma. This year the event will be held on September 21st-23rd, and they have just revealed the fest’s initial lineup.
Bri Bagwell, Charley Crockett, Dalton Domino, Dave Kay, Flatland Cavalry, Jacob Tovar, Jamie Lin Wilson, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Jonny Burke, Kaitlin Butts, Lucero, Medicine Stone, MIke McClure, Randy Crouch & Flying Horse, Red Shahan, Shane Smith and the Saints, Shinyribs, Sunny Sweeney, the Red Dirt Rangers, The Washitas, Thomas Trapp, Turnpike Troubadours
Unless you were stuck on an island recently, I’m sure the article called “10 Lamest Americana Acts” by the once prestigious, and now click-hungry newsweekly alternative known as L.A. Weekly passed under your nose. Here are the 10 artists presented by L.A. Weekly and in the same order, but filling in the positives and counterpoints left out of their piece.
Dave Rawlings, Devil Makes Three, Gillian Welch, Jack Grelle, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Jason Isbell, L.A. Weekly, Lucinda Williams, Robert Ellis, Sam Outlaw, Shovels & Rope, Wayne 'The Train' Hancock
Right now, Texas and Oklahoma is being robbed of its female talent from Nashville and the two coasts. And these women are regularly sucked up into a system that absconds with their creative freedom, sexualizes their image, and drops them unceremoniously whenever their commercial viability is perceived to be spent.
American Aquarium, Aubrie Sellers, Billy Joe Shaver, Brennen Leigh, Bri Bagwell, Courtney Patton, Hot Club of Cowtown, Jamie Lin Wilson, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Kacey Musgraves, Lee Ann Womack, Maren Morris, Medicine Stone, Miranda Lambert, Randy Rogers Band, Ryan Engleman, Samantha Crain, Shane Smith and the Saints, Sister C, Stoney LaRue, Sunny Sweeney, The Quebe Sisters, Turnpike Troubadours
Scheduled to take place this year between April 18th to the 23rd, the Larry Joe Taylor Festival will welcome an estimated 50,000 people through the gates over 6 days, and feature music on three stages from over 50 bands at the Melody Mountain Ranch in Stephenville, TX. One of the biggest and oldest music festivals in the country, Larry Joe Taylor Fest has been going on for over a quarter century.
But what’s the fun of getting to the top when you’ve compromised everything to get there? Despite some declaring the #1 for “Backroad Song” as a victory for Texas country, it is anything but. It was Granger’s abandonment of Texas country and the values of that scene, and walking away from the decent songwriting evidenced earlier in his career that finally got him the commercial success he has clearly craved.
According to Blake Shelton, nobody wants to listen to grandpa’s music anymore. But somebody forgot to tell the throng that assembled at Austin’s historic Paramount Theatre on Tuesday evening (2-16) and filled the venue to capacity for the 3rd installment of the Dale Watson-helmed Ameripolitan Awards.
Ameripolitan, Asleep at the Wheel, Bill Kirchen, Charley Pride, Dale Watson, Georgette Jones, James Hand, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Jason Roberts, Kim Lenz, Paramount Theatre, Ray Benson, Red Simpson, Roger Alan Wade, Rosie Flores, unknown hinson, Wanda Jackson
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
Angry, subversive, pointed, and powerful, the eighth album from one of the few performers left who can call themselves Red Dirt and nobody will cry foul is a lot to digest, and hard to leave behind. Squelch is what Jason Boland and his backing band The Stragglers chose to name this work, which is the same name given to the knob that truckers use to eliminate the static and idle chatter.
Some independent country fans love to harp on whose name is in the biggest font in the headliner positions, but the names Stagecoach invites each year to fill out the roster gives you great hope for the future of country, and tells you who to look out for in the coming months and years, this year especially.
Aaron Watson, Amanda Shires, Billy Joe Shaver, Chris Stapleton, Cody Jinks, Dale Watson, Emi Sunshine, Emmylou Harris, Jamestown Revival, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Langhorne Slim and the Law, Luke Bell, Marty Stuart, Mo Pitney, Robert Earl Keen, Sam Outlaw, Stagecoach, Stagecoach 2015, The Deslodes, The Malpass Brothers, The Turnpike Troubadours, Whitey Morgan, William Elliot Whitmore
High Cotton: A Tribute To Alabama gets right what so many cover and tribute albums get wrong, including its 2013 counterpart Alabama & Friends. A good tribute album doesn’t just pay tribute to the band or artist. It should be a 50/50 proposition, with the contributing artists also benefiting from the name recognition the tributee affords.
Alabama, Blind Boys of Alabama, Bob Schneider, Drive By Truckers, Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Jason Isbell, JD McPherson, Jessica Lea Mayfield, John Paul White, Luke Bryan, Shonna Tucker, The Civil Wars, Turnpike Troubadours
If Red Dirt spans a wide sonic palette that ranges from hard country to straight rock n’ roll—with alt-country, country rock, Southern rock, and even some country pop thrown in between—then Jason Boland is the hard-edged bookened defining Red Dirt’s country border. In other words, it is pretty difficult to be more country than Jason Boland and the Stragglers.