Get as hot and bothered as you want about the newest names hitting the independent country scene, but those who know their stuff know that Leroy Virgil and Hellbound Glory are the some of the original country insurgents of the modern era who helped turn country music upside down, and open the doors for many of today’s heavy hitters.
You have to go all the way back to 2002’s ‘Tanya’ to find the last time country icon Tanya Tucker released a proper album of new material; her classic covers album from 2009 notwithstanding. That’s 17 years to save up songs and inspiration, and now Tanya is ready to make a roaring return.
Hellbound Glory’s latest record Pinball comes across as brash and unapologetic, and it’s underpinned by one of the highlights of the project, the song “Hellbound Blues.” But at the heart of the song is how the scourge of addiction can rule and ruin one’s life, especially in the throes of the dark hours.
If tasked to do so, I will unflinchingly and wholeheartedly endorse that Leroy Virgil of Hellbound Glory is one of the greatest songwriters of our generation—up there with Jason Isbell, Cody Jinks, John Moreland et al, even if it’s of a different breed—puffing my chest out and challenging any man willing to assert otherwise.
For those fed up with the political system, scared to vote either way for two of the most unlikable Presidential candidates in recent memory, voting with trepidation, not voting in spite, or just plain wanting this whole election thing to end and hoping that somehow the United States can find a modicum of healing after it is all over…
Brennen Leigh, Canned Heat, Hayes Carll, Hellbound Glory, Jackson Taylor and the Sinners, Kinky Friedman, Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires, Leroy Virgil, Merle Haggard, Peter Dawson, Ronnie Dunn, Sunny Sweeney, Tom Waits, Waylon Jennings
Leroy Virgil has the tragic grandeur that many songwriters only wish they could capture, and some attempt to emulate, but few have the authenticity to truly live down. Virgil has no need to cut an ear off for inspiration. Whatever troubled demons that get stirred up when the most brilliant wordsmiths go searching their innermost depths for inspiration, they are alive and well in the Hellbound Glory frontman.
That’s right, I said Hellbound Glory. And I said Leroy Virgil instead of Leon Virgil Bowers—the name Leroy Virgil decided to go with after he officially killed off Hellbound Glory and launched his solo career. If you’re sufficiently confused now, don’t worry. Just understand whatever he calls himself, he’s one of the best songwriters of our generation, and he’s still around kicking out tunes.
In September of 2012, Blake Judd of JuddFilms brought a camera crew to the famous Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville, TN to shoot a pilot episode for a television series that has never been aired. The idea was to take well-known established artists, worthy undiscovered musicians and songwriters, and stick them all in Johnny Cash’s legendary cabin with an open bar, and set the camera’s rolling.
Amanda Isbell Shires, Col, Hellbound Glory, Jason Isbell, JD Wilkes, Jessica Wilkes, Joey Allcorn, John Anderson, John Carter Cash, Johnny Cash, Judd Films, Kellie Pickler, Leon Virgil Bowers, Leroy Powell, Leroy Virgil, Rico, Scott Icenogle, Shooter Jennings, Th' Legendary Shack Shakers, The Cash Cabin Studio, The Midnight Special
Hellbound Glory, the raucous Reno, Nevada-based country band is no more, and the band’s long-time frontman and songwriter has taken on a new moniker. The band had the internet buzzing on October 1st when they announced that Hellbound Glory would be killed off. “31 more nights… till the death of Hellbound Glory” the band stated, leaving fans of the resurgent country outfit wondering what the hell would be happening next.
Ever since October 1st when Reno, Nevada-based country outfit Hellbound Glory posted on their Facebook page “31 more nights… till the death of Hellbound Glory…” speculation has run rampant about what might befall the band on All Hallows’ Eve as it fastly approaches. Subsequently Hellbound Glory has booked a concert they’re advertising by saying “Witness The Death of Hellbound Glory.”
Compared to albums, making picks of songs is such a tough, arbitrary business. This year seems especially tough, not because the field isn’t strong, but because many of the best moments are coming from unlikely sources, including a cadre of cover songs that despite the spirit of the “Best Songs” approach being about original compositions, seem almost criminal to omit.
Bob Wayne, Dierks Bentley, Don Williams, Eric Church, First Aid Kit, Hellbound Glory, I'll Be Here In The Morning, Jason Eady, John Fullbright, Karen Jonas, Kirsty Lee Akers, Leroy Virgil, Liberty Bell, Lonely Island, Matt Woods, Melody Williamson, Miranda Lambert, Parker Milsap, Red Eye Gravy, Streets of Aberdeen, Sturgill Simpson, Take Me Back, The Promise, The Secret Sisters, The Wall, There's No Country Here, Turtles All the Way Down, Willie Nelson, Willie Watson, Zoe Muth
Reno’s Hellbound Glory has just released a new 5-song EP called LV, named for the initials of lead singer and songwriter Leroy Virgil. The album was recorded in and partially inspired by Leroy’s hometown of Aberdeen, Washington, and marks the first new music from Leroy and Hellbound Glory in nearly three years. On the occasion of the new release I gave Leroy a call…
You won’t see Reno, Nevada’s Hellbound Glory at the top of anyone’s ‘Best Of’ lists this year, unless it relates to touring or live performances. Leroy Virgil & the boys didn’t leave much time for recording and releasing albums in 2013; they were too busy ripping off one of the toughest, busiest, and arguably the most notable touring schedules in 2013 from an independent country act.
I then thought about how he had left me in stewardship of his old guitar, an instrument that, from my perspective, already has provenance and should rightly wind up in a museum one day. I decided that, to honor that trust he had in me, I would continue to add to the instrument’s already storied life by doing a running portrait series of every musician that plays his old guitar.
Billy Don BUrns, Django Reinhardt, Filthy Still, Hellbound Glory, Husky Burnette, James Hunnicutt, Jared McGovern, JB Beverley, Leroy Virgil, Leroy Virgil's guitar, Liz Sloan, Lone Wolf, Mike Fiedler, Olds Sleeper, Phillip Roebuck, Shore Road Tavern, Stevie Tombstone, Ten Foot Polecats, The Calamity Cubes
the image of the angry face and the raised middle finger has become an iconic symbol of defiance against the direction of country music. As indecent as a raised middle finger happens to be in the first place, and the propensity for some seedy country fans and artists to have it make an appearance in every single photo of them, it has come to mean more than its vulgar connotation in the fight to save country music.
Bob Wayne, Country Music, country music flipping the bird, country music middle finger, Dale Watson, David Allan Coe, flipping the bird, Hank3, Hellbound Glory, Jeff Austin, Jim Marshall, Johnny Cash, Jonny Fritz, Keith Richards, Kid Rock, Lenny Kravitz, Leroy Virgil, middle finger, Rick Rubin, story of willie nelson middle finger, Willie Nelson, Yonder Mountain String Band
Eric Strickland is Country with a capital ‘C’ and couldn’t make a bad album if he tried. He may be more locally-oriented than the other big names in honky tonk music, but gives up nothing to his more well-known comrades when it comes to cutting songs and records. Eric Strickland and The ‘B’ Sides are doing their part to save country music. Now it’s time to do your part by giving them your ear and attention.
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
Fans of Reno, Nevada’s Hellbound Glory who’ve been waiting patiently for new music since the release of their last album Damaged Goods can tide themselves over on a brand new single just released called “The Feud.” A fiery, raucous account of the rigors of rural living, the song features a more rock vibe compared to most Hellbound Glory material, and raw, gunpowder-stained lyrics.
By request, here is my list of the greatest underground country albums of all time. The underground country movement started roughly in the mid 90’s on lower Broadway in Nashville that at the time was a run down part of town. Young musicians from around the country, some from punk backgrounds, came together from their mutual love of authentic country music.
.357 String Band, Andy Gibson, Bob Wayne, BR549, Dale Watson, Donnie Herron, Hank Williams, Hank3, Hellbound Glory, Jayke Orvis, JB Beverley, Joe Buck, Justin Townes Earle, Legendary Shack Shakers, Leroy Virgil, Lonesome Wyatt, Lucky Tubb, Rachel Brooke, Slackeye Slim, The Boomswagglers, Those Poor bastards, Wayne Hancock
Reno, Nevada’s Hellbound Glory with be touring with Kid Rock on his “Rebel Soul” tour to transpire at the very start of 2013, trekking through the Midwest and South. Leroy Virgil, the frontman of Hellbound Glory is one of country music’s best kept secrets in regards to songwriting. The band first rubbed elbows with Kid Rock on his “Chillin The Most” cruise down in Florida last March.
I have been struggling to write this article for almost two years, but have been putting it off because there’s some hard things to say, and I didn’t want to “talk down” a movement that was already trying to deal with pretty alarming trends. But I think that especially now, zooming out and trying to be honest and critical in a constructive way is important, because there is positively no doubt that underground country is dying.
.357 String Band, Bob Wayne, Dale Watson, Hank3, Hellbound Glory, Larry & His Flask, Leroy Virgil, Muddy Roots, Pickathon, Rachel Brooke, Reinstate Hank, Reverend Horton Heat, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Shooter Jennings, Sturgill Simpson, Th' Legendary Shack Shakers, The Goddamn Gallows, Those Poor bastards, Underground country, unknown hinson
For months, Leroy Virgil of the infamous Hellbound Glory has been dropping little tidbits about a potential triple album coming out in the future to be called MericA. For the holiday, Leroy has released the lyrics to the upcoming title track, and in true Virgil fashion, they work just fine without the musical accompaniment.
Hollywood seems obsessed with finding talent among the masses with their silly reality show contests like American Idol and The Voice, when in reality there’s a boatload of talent just sitting there waiting to be discovered right under their surgically-crafted, cosmetically-sculptured noses. So here’s a list of some bands that are go ready, right now, no excuses.
Anderson Family Bluegrass, Dale Watson, Hellbound Glory, Leroy Virgil, Mad Max and the Wild Ones, Marty Stuart, Paige Anderson, Rachel Brooke, Ruby Jane, Sturgill Simpson, Sunday Valley, Turnpike Troubadours, Waylon Jennings, Wayne Hancock, Whitey Morgan & The 78's, Wyatt Maxwell
There is nothing I take more seriously than naming what I think is the best album of any calendar year. The Album of the Year offers a guidepost for future generations to find the best music that was forgotten by the mainstream, while at the same time being a current ambassador to the mainstream to illustrate what great music they are overlooking.