As we get to the halfway pole in the musical year, it’s time to look back and asses the best albums that have been released in 2020 so far. At the moment, we are very top loaded with stellar releases, with many albums already feeling like strong contenders for Album of the Year.
With his new album ‘Country Shade,’ John Baumann fortifies his spot in Texas music and beyond as a songwriter. Sure, there’s a lot of artists who write songs in Texas music. But with John Baumann, writing songs is the singular and pure pursuit—to find the perfect sentiment, to put a notion to rhyme.
Keeping up with all the releases in the country and roots realm is hard enough. COVID-19 has made it even more difficult with numerous delays and postponements on big titles, along with many artists waiting to announce their new records with all the uncertainty in the marketplace. But there are still many important records coming up in 2020.
The Saving Country Music Top 25 Playlist is built to keep you informed on all the best songs and albums coming out right here, right now in country and roots music. It’s available on most all streaming formats, or you can just use the song, artist, and album recommendations to find something new. New songs just added.
Not your standard and cliche-riddled country protest song, this more thoughtful, reflective, and hushed effort bemoans the passing away of important things in life—country music included—to the onslaught of progress and noise, while resisting the new favorite Americana pastime of laying blame.
The Saving Country Music Top 25 Playlist is built to keep you informed on all the best songs and albums coming out right here, right now in country and roots music. It’s available on most all streaming formats, or just use the song, artist, and album recommendations to find something new to listen to. New songs just added.
The Panhandlers aren’t just bound by their ties to the region. The geography and people of the upper portions of West Texas is what this music is all about. From falling water tables to failing farms, this is an account of an unforgiving land nobody would ever choose to call home. Yet people still do.
If you want to know just how much pent up appeal there is for the music of Evan Felker and his band the Turnpike Troubadours, here’s a pretty good sign. This week on the Americana Music Association’s Radio Albums Chart, the recently-released The Next Waltz – Volume 2 compilation produced by Bruce Robison has landed at #1.
Bruce Robison, Carrie Rodriguez, Carson McHone, Evan Felker, James Steinle, John Baumann, Kyle Nix, RC Edwards, Reckless Kelly, Ryan Engleman, Shakey Graves, The Next Waltz, The Panhandlers, Turnpike Troubadours, William Clark Green
The only thing better than a badass Texas music songwriter from the Panhandle is four of them combining their powers in a country music supergroup. That’s what you have with The Pandlandlers, which sees William Clark Green, Josh Abbott, John Baumann, and Cleto Cordero of Flatland Cavalry coming together.
“It really is a representation of what we’re trying to do here, which is connecting the greatest music in Austin with country music in a greater sense,” Bruce Robison says about the upcoming compilation. Though all the names and songs are worth getting excited over, it’s Turnpike Troubadours frontman Evan Felker that has many talking.
Bruce Robison, Carson McHone, Cleton Cordero, Evan Felker, Flatland Cavalry, James Steinle, John Baumann, Kyle Nix, RC and the Ambers, RC Edwards, Roger Miller, Ryan Engleman, Shakey Graves, The Next Waltz, The Panhandlers, Turnpike Troubadours, Uncle Walt's Band, William Clark Green, Wood & Wire
Man, there’s nothing better to get your country music pants going crazy like a good ol’ supergroup, and it appears we got a new one that’s formed right under our noses. Called The Panhandlers, it’s not in reference to vagrants, it pertains to that flat-ass piece of land in West Texas that sticks up like a chimney pipe on the map.
Nearly everything about “Better Boat” is right. The songwriters Travis Meadows and Liz Rose are right. The entirety of the instrumentation being performed by Mac McAnally on an acoustic guitar is right. Kenny choosing songwriter Mindy Smith to perform the song with instead of some pop star is right.
Originally appearing on John Baumann’s 2014 record ‘High Plains Alchemy,’ the song has the nautical references common to a Kenny Chesney tune, but is much more poetic and deep than a beach bum ditty—more indicative of a song you may have heard from Guy Clark back in the day, or perhaps James McMurtry.
The original concept of South By Southwest was not to be a funnel for corporate brand recognition through music, or as a springboard for superstars to increase their street cred on social media. It was a place for artists and industry to come together in the discovery process so worthy talent could find support for their music.
Aaron Lee Tasjan, Alice Wallace, Billy Strings, Caroline Rose, Colter Wall, Elijah Ocean, Emily Herring, John Baumann, Joshua Hedley, Luck Reunion, Lukas Nelson, Margo Price, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Nikki Lane, Ruby Boots, Sarah Shook, The Brother Brothers, Tyler Childers, Willie Nelson, Wood and Wire
Man do we have a few doozies to add to the Saving Country Music Top 25 Current Playlist, amplifying an already jam packed lineup that’s hard to know what to let go of just to add the best of what’s new. But somehow, someway, space must be made for a few stellar new song releases.
When we broach the exercise of whittling down the field of songs of a given year to a list of a chosen few to be considered Song of the Year, we’re not looking for booty shakers or boot scooters. We’re looking for those songs that through the power of words and music, hit you so deeply, you’re a different person after you’re done listening.
When you come across someone making traditional country music for a living, you know they’re not focused on fame and treasure. If anything they must be a glutton for punishment. But when you have a passion that can’t be quenched by compromise, it’s better to scrape by doing what you love than succeeding at what you hate.
As times get lean for alternative newsweeklys, their penchant to dispose of any and all journalistic class, fact-based reporting, or positive counterpoints to their dubious assertions goes out the window in lieu of mercilessly ripping into entire segments of artists without a single word of objectivity or credit where credit is due.
Both sides of Texas country are well-represented in upcoming artist John Baumann’s third official release, Proving Grounds. You don’t have to go digging for a bio on Baumann to find out what he’s all about, it’s all articulated right there in his songs.
Zephaniah Ohora is quickly revealing himself as one of the greatest country music discoveries in 2017, and so there’s no better place for him at the moment than leading a collection of the Top 25 Current Songs for Saving Country Music’s official Spotify playlist.
Apologies if you came here looking to replenish your 3rd generation iPod with a fresh platoon of booty shakers. That’s not what this practice is all about. Feel good songs are just fine and help fleet us through the tiresome days, but when we talk about the “Best Songs,” were talking about songs that deliver moments that can change entire lives.
Ben Dorcy is the nearly 92-year-old original roadie who started in 1950 and worked with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and June Carter, Jerry Jeff Walker, and even more modern artists like Randy Rogers and Jack Ingram. Though he may not be as well known as the artists themselves, Ben Dorcy is one of the most beloved individuals in all of Texas music.
Call it cautious or guarded optimism, but after the abomination that was the 2016 Houston Rodeo musical lineup led by folks such as Luke Bryan, Pitbull, and Florida Georgia Line, and where only one artist with Texas ties and only one female performer were booked (and both were Miranda Lambert), they couldn’t go any lower, that’s for sure.
Aaron Watson, Bri Bagwell, Cameran Nelson, Chris Stapleton, Conno, Curtis Grimes, Darrin Morris Band, Flatland Cavalry, Hoss Mayfield, Houston Rodeo, Jason James, John Baumann, Josh Ward, Max Stalling, MIke and the Moonpies, No Dry County, Randy Brown, Texas Renegade, The Strayhearts, Wade Andrew Smith, Willie Nelson, ZZ Top