The problem with the whole Texas Music/Texas Country/Red Dirt “scene” is just that—what to call it. Texas Country is not really Red Dirt, even though the two regularly get lazily lumped together. Texas Country and Texas Music are separate things as well, but once again get summarily bundled. Yet all of these things are intertwined.
So apparently Americana and some of its top artists aren’t above criticism by a major media outlet. This is what the independent country and Americana communities had to face down on Friday (3-31) when an author by the name of Jonny Whiteside writing for L.A. Weekly published an article slamming some of Americana’s elite.
10 Lamest Americana Acts, Devil Makes Three, Don Maddox, Gillian Welch, Jack Grelle, James Intveld, Jason Boland, Jason Isbell, Jonny Whiteside, LA Weekly, Lucinda Williams, Maddox Brothers and Rose, Red Simpson, Robert Ellis, Rose Maddox, Sam Outlaw, Shovels & Rope, Wayne 'The Train' Hancock
Turnpike Troubadours frontman Evan Felker is one of the most respected songwriters in Texas Country/Red Dirt and beyond, including just having his song “The Bird Watchers” named Saving Country Music’s Song of the Year for 2015. But after numerous drunken performances, some fans are in an uproar, while others are reaching out with sympathy and concern for the songwriter.
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.
You may not be comfortable with how exactly to define the quasi country, quasi-rock music that comes out of the Texas / Oklahoma region known as Red Dirt, but what you can be confident in is that it would never have come to life like it did without a man named Tom Skinner. Bass player, songwriter, and father of Red Dirt music Tom Skinner passed away Sunday evening, July 12th.
Ringling Road is a vibrant and well-written pronouncement of William Clark Green’s arrival as one of the new creative leaders of the next generation of country. The sensibilities to appeal to a big audience are there, but so are the country roots, and the depth of songwriting to where he can draw in both the passive toe-tappers and die hard song junkies.
Who would have thought a few years ago that in 2015, Aaron Watson, Aaron Watson, would be releasing one of the most-anticipated, and potentially most impactful albums in all of 2015 in country music? Oh it’s not that Watson hasn’t been setting country music fans in Texas, Oklahoma, and on the rodeo circuit ablaze for many years.
As the lives of most songwriters go, John Fullbright has lived a charmed one for sure. His debut studio release, 2012’s “From The Ground Up” found its way to the very highest reaches of industry accolades when it was nominated for Best Americana Album at the 55th Grammy Awards, and he seemed to be quickly anointed as a songwriting golden boy out of the gate.
Destitution and heartbreak are the theme of Dust Bowl Hangover, however the music itself is a very enjoyable experience, with great melodies, catchy hooks, smart and engaging arrangements, and a remarkable amount of spice and variety in the instrumentation to really elevate this album to something much higher than the band’s humble, unknown status.
Lone Star Music, the Texas music cornerstone that has such good taste and cool vibes that appreciation for it’s unique approach of putting the music first spreads well past the Texas border, has just announced the nominees for their 6th Annual Lone Star Music Awards, and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t hit the sweet spot in showcasing many of the artists that are helping to save country music.
American Aquarium, Chris King, Cody Canada, Dave Cobb, Guy Clark, Jason Boland, Jason Isbell, Kacey Musgraves, Lincoln Durham, Lloyd Maines, Lone Star Music, Lone Star Music Awards, Nominees, Patty Griffin, Reckless Kelly, Shinyribs, Slaid Cleaves, Sturgill Simpson, Turnpike Troubadours, Will Hoge, Zane Williams
“Some Old, Some New, Maybe a Cover or Two” feels like Canada taking a moment to reflect on his past, refocus on his roots, and ready himself for the future. This album is much more than just running through some old Ragweed material, a couple of Departed tunes, and a few of his favorite songs. There’s something unspoken between the tracks (in an album with a lot of speaking and stories)….
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.
There’s been much talk so far this year about how the women of country are outpacing the men when it comes to the quality of music, we’ve talked about possible reasons why that is. But we haven’t talked about some of the men that if simply given a chance, could shoot an immediate injection of substance into the country music format. They just need similar chances to their female counterparts.
Austin Lucas, Corb Lund, Dirty River Boys, Dwight Yoakam, Eli Young Band, Evan Felker, Garth Brooks, Hayes Carll, Hellbound Glory, Jason Boland, John Fullbright, Lady Antebellum, Leroy Virgil, Mumford & Sons, Sturgill Simpson, The Lumineers, Turnpike Troubadours, Whitey Morgan, Will Hoge
So here it is, the list of albums Saving Country Music deems essential for 2011 listening. Please note this list only includes albums that have been reviewed so far. And as always, your feedback is encouraged. What are your essential albums? What did we miss? What was released in 2011 that deserves a review?
Bob Wayne, Coday Canada, Eilen Jewell, Gillian Welch, Hank3, Husky Burnette, Jason Boland, Jimbo Mathus, Larry & His Flask, Little Lisa Dixie, Lone Wolf, Lonesome Wyatt, Lucky Tubb, Lydia Loveless, Nick 13, Olds Sleeper, Rachel Brooke, Scott H. Biram, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Sunday Valley, The Damn Quails, The Dirt Daubers, The Goddamn Gallows, Tom Waits, Ugly Valley Boys, William Elliot Whitmore, Willy Tea Taylor