The Chicago Sessions in many ways is a hearkening back to the original Rodney Crowell, indicated by how the cover is similar to the one for his debut album ‘Ain’t Living Long Like This’ in 1978. It takes on a decidedly loose attitude and bluesy disposition.
Spoiler alert: This album is not country. Instead, “Cruel Country” is very much a late-career Wilco album, a Jeff Tweedy album, and when you’re expectations are recalibrated to this reality of things, you can actually appreciate this album for what it is.
Over the last few years we’ve something completely unexpected from Eric Church, and unprecedented from many mainstream country stars. Whether it was a natural maturation, becoming a father, or actually listening to his critics, Eric Church changed, and in a meaningful way.
The Tyler Childers set was captured on Pickathon’s legendary Woods Stage in the tall Douglas Fir forest that surrounds the festival grounds the weekend he released his latest album ‘Country Squire.’ Yours truly was standing stage side for the set, and can attest to its quality. Admission is free, but the concert is a MusiCares fundraiser.
The nominees for the 2019 Grammy Awards were announced Friday morning (12-7), and some of the things we anticipated happening have happened. But the biggest takeaway, and surprisingly so, is Brandi Carlile earning six total nominations, including all-genre nominations for Album, Song, and Record of the Year.
There are bigger festivals. This is for sure. And there are bigger performers and headliners. But few festivals can boast the ability to not just support worthy music from a wide swath of the American audio palette, but truly launch major careers for artists that go on to have an international impact—artists that music needs.
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.