Like we saw with American Aquarium’s last record, the very well-received “Things Change,” BJ Barham might perform best when his back is against the wall, folks are counting him out, and he’s got something to prove. He relishes the underdog position.
There is no doubt that by any objective assessment, when it comes to the world of creative types in the realm of music or otherwise, their ranks tend to veer more towards liberal ideals when it comes to politics. But that in no way excludes the gift of creativity from people who happen to be more conservative or independent of mindset.
Aaron Watson, Alan Jackson, Bill Anderson, Billy Joe Shaver, Brennen Leigh, Charlie Daniels, Chris Knight, Hank Williams Jr., Jamey Johnson, Jason Isbell, John Anderson, John Rich, Larry Gatlin, Loretta Lynn, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Maddie Marlow, Merle Haggard, Oak Ridge Boys, Ronnie Dunn, Sunny Sweeney, Toby Keith, Tracy Lawrence, Travis Tritt
“If it ever gets to be too much for you, there are a lot of great songwriters out there who agree with you politically. Oh wait, no there aren’t,” Jason Isbell responded to a Twitter user. But this assessment severely discounts to work of conservative songwriters who’ve contributed to the American songwriting canon.
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit have announced their sixth studio album to be released on May 15th called ‘Reunions.’ Ahead of the new album, Jason Isbell has released the blistering and politically-charged anthem “Be Afraid.” Far from roots or even notions of Americana, it’s only fair to label it rock with a highly-charged political message.
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
In yet another sign that reigning Saving Country Music Artist of the Year Tyler Childers is one of the hottest commodities in country music at the moment, he has officially sold out his four-night “Country Squire Residency” at the Country Music Mother Church, The Ryman Auditorium, starting with his show Thursday evening (2-6).
It’s time. In fact, it’s well past time. And the people calling the shots shouldn’t make the same mistake they did with Chris Stapleton’s rendition of “Tennessee Whiskey.” We’re talking of course about Morgan Wallen’s cover of Jason Isbell’s song “Cover Me Up.” It’s time to release it as a proper radio single.
In 2019, an interesting new destination festival popped up just outside of Whitefish, Montana called Under The Big Sky. With acts such as Dwight Yoakam, Cody Jinks, Whitey Morgan, and Amanda Shires on the bill, it got the attention of true country fans, but the question was if it would be worth the trek.
20 Grand, Archertown, Badger Hound, Billy Strings, Brothers Osborne, Charley Crockett, Colter Wall, Corb Lund, Emmylou Harris, Jason Isbell, Johnny Shockey, Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs, Lukas Nelson, Nick Spear, Snowghost, Swagar and Company, The Lil Smokies, Tyler Childers, Under The Big Sky Festival, Whitney Rose
This is what Jason Isbell promised during the closing night of his seven night residency at the Ryman Auditorium. It’s been a slightly more elongated release cycle for Jason Isbell and his last record ‘The Nashville Sound.’ Where he took about two years in between his last four records, ‘The Nashville Sound’ was released now 2 1/2 years ago and counting.
On NBC’s ‘The Voice’ Monday night (10-28), a contestant named Jake Hoot performed Jason Isbell’s “Cover Me Up” as part of the singing show. Taylor Swift, who was acting as a coach on the episode, even remarked “I love Jason Isbell,” when Jake Hoot said he was covering “Cover Me Up.” It’s more evidence the song has become a standard.
For those fans of songwriting that hits so hard you’re apt to fold in two and end up in a fetal position on the floor, John Moreland has been one of your favorite poisons over the last few years. Those who crave Moreland like a drug had to feel their internal clocks ringing that he was about due for another record.
Strong songwriting underpins inspired performances delivered by four women with passion for this project and its material in this initial effort by The Highwomen. Instead of writing it all themselves, they took the Nashville approach of utilizing co-writers to refine each effort that began with their original ideas, and it shows in the results.
Tulsa, Oklahoma native Zach Bryan took many fans of Texas, Red Dirt, and independent country music by surprise recently when he released an album of solo acoustic recordings on August 23rd under the title “DeAnn.” But the biggest question many have is, who is Zach Bryan?
“Yellowstone” provided a ton of music and artists for fans of the show to explore, especially throughout the country and roots realm, and especially artists that the mainstream often ignores. And the success of the show has also resulted in deserved attention for the songs and artists featured.
It’s kind of curious that the Country Music Mother Church hasn’t become a conveyor belt for live records like some other important venues in country music have. Now after Jason Isbell released a Live from the Ryman album in 2018, others are getting in on the action, including Old Crow Medicine Show and Brothers Osborne.
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.
As if answering a distress call sent out over the airwaves or via a spotlight beamed over Music City, the Highwomen have assembled in the form of the Grammy-winning Brandi Carlile, fiddlemaster Amanda Shires, songwriting markswoman Natalie Hemby, and superstar Maren Morris. “Redesigning Women” is their first taste.
Amanda Shires, Brandi Carlile, Cam, Dave Cobb, Erin Rae, Hailey Whitters, Jason Isbell, Jimmy Webb, Lily Hiatt, Lori McKenna, Maren Morris, Miranda Lambert, Natalie Hemby, Natalie Stovall, Raelynn, Ray LaMontagne, Tanya Tucker, The Highwomen, Wynonna Judd
Mile 0 Fest set to transpire in Key West, Florida January 28th through February 1st has just announced their initial 2020 lineup. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit lead the list of headliners along with the Randy Rogers Band, Robert Earl Keen, and Whiskey Myers. 36 other names from Texas Music/Red Dirt/Americana have also been announced.
Natural Disasters is quite a bit more on the up-tempo and agreeable side from its predecessors in the Matt Woods catalog, but in a good way. Leaning more in the rock direction will cause some to miss the steel guitar and such that has textured his music in the past, but the energy and attitude embedded in the 10 tracks give it power.
If you weren’t already frothing with anticipation for the return of HBO’s Western Series ‘Deadwood’ in movie form, they’ve figured out how to suck you in even further by activating your country music bone. In the new, official trailer for ‘Deadwood: The Movie,’ appears the unmistakable voice of Canadian songwriter Colter Wall.
You’ll be hard pressed to present another country music personality more responsible for helping to save country music in the last quarter century than Marty Stuart. Though he never had the big hits as some of his contemporaries, his work both in the public eye and behind-the-scenes to preserve the legacy of country music is unparalleled.
For 32 consecutive years, bluegrass fans, folkies, country freaks and outcasts, and a cast of other cool characters from the roots realm and beyond have bivouacked at various locations around the Austin area under the heading of the Old Settler’s Music Festival. 2019 was the festival’s second season at the now permanent site.
Amanda Shires, Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons, Brandi Carlile, Del McCoury, James Hunter Six, Jason Isbell, John Calvin Abney, Kelvin Damrell, Old Settler's Fest, Paul Cauthen, Penny and Sparrow, Robert Ellis, Samantha Fish, Shinyribs, The Lone Bellow
Though some Jason Isbell fans may have balked at the idea of not getting the full, roaring version of The 400 Unit live, at the 32nd Annual Old Settler’s Fest, it seemed even more appropriate than the electric alternative. It gave fans of Jason Isbell and his band an opportunity to see them in a way few have.
Spearheaded by the positively Wallen received for his Jason Isbell “Cover Me Up” cover, he’s just released a studio version of the song, and surprisingly, it’s lossless in quality compared to the original acoustic version. Tastefully produced and arranged with sparse accompaniment, it’s arguably even better.