It’s not that ‘Ruthless’ is terrible or anything. And if you’re a hardcore Gary Allan fan—of which there are a few—you will probably find enough to enjoy to think of the effort as satisfactory. Still, ‘Ruthless’ is full of compromises and half measures, and it’s only country in spurts.
Move aside all you pop country prima donnas of both the the male and female persuasion, because a bona fide redneck warrior princess has just shown up looking to shake up the mainstream scene with unapologetic and boisterous modern country songs served with unabashed attitude and honesty.
Here comes the Brothers Osborne’s new record ‘Skeletons,’ which most certainly has it’s moments. But where Port Saint Joe surprised us for all the right reasons, Skeletons is decidedly much more rock than country, more boisterous than understated, and more riff-driven than lyric-driven.
“If ‘Pawn Shop’ was our introduction, and ‘Port Saint Joe’ was like the first conversation we had with someone over a beer, then ‘Skeletons’ is the moment where you start getting down to the real stuff and showing who you really are,” says John Osborne. “If you really want to get to know us, this is the record to do it.”
With “Stick That In Your Country Song,” Eric Church has once again proven himself to be one of the most bold and ballsy members of the mainstream country class, emboldened by the artistic freedom he’s earned, and willing to do something with it as a platform, and a podium.
Ashley McBryde was already considered one of the best artists from mainstream label crowd, and a bright spot for country music moving forward. With her new album ‘Never Will,’ she cements her place as one of the best current artists in country music, period. Inspired, inspiring, well-performed and written, make ample room in your listening rotation
Ashley McBryde is resetting what we’ve come to expect from mainstream country performers, mainly bringing grit, guts, tattoos, honesty, and plenty of rock attitude to her roosty sound that has made her a favorite of many fans and critics, and had her waking away with the CMA for Best New Artist back in November.
Grammy nominated, CMA-winning, and well-respected and admired songwriter Brandy Clark is prepping the release of a new album called ‘Your Life Is A Record.’ Brandy says the album is country, but can also live in Americana, and is much more personal than her previous works. She also released a new song, “Who You Thought I Was.”
Grammy nominated, CMA-winning, well-respected and admired singer and songwriter Brandy Clark is prepping the release of a new album in the new year called ‘Your Life Is A Record.’ Though details on the new record are still a little light, Brandy did preview the new record recently during a promotional event.
Adam Wright, Barry Dean, Brandy Clark, Chase McGill, Clint Daniels, Hailey Whitters, Jay Joyce, Jesse Frasure, Jessie Jo Dillon, Jonathan Singleton, Kacey Musgraves, Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire, Shane McAnally, Sunny Sweeney, Wade Bowen, Your Life Is A Record
‘Wildcard’ is just that—a spin of the wheel and a roll of the dice, because you just don’t know what you’re gonna get dealt when you cue up the next track. But there’s too much good stuff here to cast it off as just another mainstream country pop record. You have to be willing to dig a little. But it’s ultimately worth the patience and effort.
The first single from Ashley’s upcoming second major label release is everything you want from an Ashley McBryde song. It’s edgy and gritty, but still country in the way the words and melody tell a true story we all can relate to, and deftly employ the double entendre to give it that classic country feel.
Miranda Lambert is back with a big new single called “It All Comes Out in the Wash” ahead of a new album out this fall, and the big question on a lot of people’s minds once the single was released was if radio would play it. But “It All Comes Out in the Wash” makes its entrance with its first week on radio like it was shot out of a canon.
“It All Comes Out in the Wash” is lighthearted and playful, and country and folksy in its mannerisms, if not entirely in its music. Literally built out from a colloquialism by the Love Junkies (Lori McKenna, Liz Rose, and Hillary Lindsey) with an assist from Lambert herself, it calls back to the more classic style of Miranda, with sass and attitude.
It felt quite significant this week when Miranda Lambert revealed that she’s doing something that she hasn’t done over the 14 years and six major studio albums of her career, which is switch producers. A long time collaborator with Frank Liddell, Miranda has let it be known she’s now going with well-known mainstream country producer Jay Joyce.
Heretofore, the greatest asset of the Brothers Osborne has been that they’re not Florida Georgia Line. This is how the singing and guitar playing brother duo hopscotched Beavis and Butthead to become the shoo-in duo for all of mainstream country’s industry awards, despite having not nearly the commercial prowess, or frankly, the influence.
We’re at war for the soul of country music ladies and gentlemen, and recruiting cute little pop stars from affluent Southern suburbs, and then attempting to refine their sugary styles to be even more pop, and more cute under the misguided notion that this is how to tap into the passion of the masses has only resulted in continuing losses.
Songwriter and promising mainstream performer Ashley McBryde’s debut major label release on Warner Nashville will be arriving March 30th, and will be named after the song she wrote for her Grand Ole Opry debut that helped spark off a national narrative behind the Arkansas native. She’s also released a new song called “American Scandal.”
After careful consideration of “Big Day in a Small Town,” it feels fair to say that this effort by Brandy Clark and producer Jay Joyce is worthy of being considered right up there with a very select few others as one of the best mainstream country music albums released in the last two or three years, and arguably trumps Clark’s previous effort that was also well-received.
It’s more fairly described as roots rock, and don’t worry, there’s still some of those plaintive and even painful moments that remind you that you’re listening to a modern-day Music Row release. But that doesn’t take away from the fact the Pawn Shop should be considered a healthy alternative on the mainstream music menu.
Saving Country Music has a rich, storied history when it comes to sharing opinions about Eric Church. Forget that just as much of the ink spilled for Church has been praising as it has been critical, when you’re dealing with an artist who enjoys a strong, grassroots fan base, you’re almost never going to win when you have something less than favorable to say.
Andrea Davidson, Eric Church, Jay Joyce, Jeff Hyde, Jeff Tweedy, Jeremy Spillman, Luke Dick, Mr. Misunderstood, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Review, Rhiannon Giddens, Susan Tedeschi, Travis Meadows, Valerie June