Even in this confounding day and age in country music, it all still starts with a song. Not a beat, not a riff, but a song. Words, music, and melody. Story and inspiration. It’s what separates country music from certain other musical art forms, no matter how much it may get boiled down.
Lori McKenna is a hit country songwriter and a heralded Americana performer, and whenever a new song emerges with her name on it, you’re smart to take a pause from whatever trifle you’re busy with, and listen. This will be music for adults, by adults.
‘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 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. It’s available on most all streaming formats (see below), or you can just use the song, artist, and album recommendations to find something new to listen to. New songs have just been added.
Miranda Lambert’s latest album will be called “Wildcard.” Along with the album release date and artwork, we also get to see track list and songwriting collaborators Miranda Lambert worked with on the album. A regular champion of quality songwriters, ‘Wildcard’ will be no different, even if the sound and approach is.
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.
A Saving Country Music Song of the Year candidate is not just your favorite ditty that gets stuck in your head. These are songs that change hearts, change lives, rest in your head for years to come, open up new ideas, or unlock memories or emotions you haven’t felt in years.
An album cut is one thing, especially in 2018 when most fans don’t even buy records anymore, and instead stream the top singles on Spotify or Apple Music, and ignore the rest. The real test would be if Kenny Chesney had the fortitude to release “Better Boat” as a single.
If Kenny Chesney hadn’t spent the last 20-something years of his career beating down the country music listening public with his barrage of island and beach songs, we probably would be talking about how his latest record ‘Songs For The Saints’ is a striking piece of conceptualized album making/
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.
If there’s any hope for the future of mainstream country music, it lies in songwriters like Lori McKenna. Whenever you see a quality song from a major label country artist, it’s uncanny how often Lori McKenna’s name comes up in the songwriting credits. True country fans know that if you want to find the best music, you have to go straight to the source.
Carrie Underwood and songs like “Cry Pretty” will never be the cup of tea of many of country music’s more traditional fans. But it’s a far cry from the terrible pursuits of the Bro-Country era that now feel far in the past, and are quickly being replaced by a regime of more expressive, heartfelt, and enriching songs closer akin to country’s roots.
Miranda Lambert will release her latest single, and the 4th from her current album The Weight of These Wings when “Keeper of the Flame” gets shipped to radio April 11th. Likely targeted for a single from the album originally, it first appeared a few weeks ahead of The Weight of These Wings as a teaser track.
Saturday evening (2-24) at Austin’s Paramount Theatre, the Texas Heritage Songwriters Association held its annual induction ceremony for a dignified and power-packed class of new honorees. Quite an impressive lot of musical dignitaries were also on hand, but I’m not sure anyone expected a star of the caliber of Eric Church to show up.
Don’t think of Swimming Alone as a commercial release. Think of it as something Liz Rose made for herself and maybe a few close friends and family that you somehow got a copy of. It’s sweet, quirky, funny at times, delightfully dated, refreshingly honest, and just a simple joy to listen to.
Little Big Town’s latest single called “Girl Crush” is stirring a little bit of controversy from what some perceive as racy, lesbian themes, while others are acting shocked that the song could be misconceived in such a way, making “Girl Crush” a country music battleground for conservative values being fought in the shadow of country music’s big coming out party lately.
This song from former The Voice contestant and now Valory Music-signed 20-year-old country music starlet Raelynn has been lurking out there for a while now, garnering tacit approval from the country music listening public and sitting down in the 30-something range in chart performance, while driving other listeners crazy for a host of reasons.
Acting as a guide through both the explanation of the roots of country music and the streets of Nashville, Justin Townes Earle and many others try best to define “country” for a foreign audience in the film. The Country Roads DVD also includes an entire Justin Townes Earle concert performed at Pace University on October 26th and 27th of 2012 called “The Spirit of Woody Guthrie.”
Amanda Shires, Angaleena Presley, Artic Monkeys, Ashley Monroe, Brazilbilly, Caitlin Rose, Country Roads The Heartbeat of America, George Hamilton IV, John Carter Cash, Johnny Cash, Justin Townes Earle, Kevin Costner, Lisa Marie Presley, Liz Rose, Marieke Schroeder, Miranda Lambert, Norah Guthrie, RCA Studio B, Review, Robert's Western World, The Carter Family, The Carter Family Fold, The Pistol Annies, The Ryman Auditorium, Woody Guthrie
It’s that penultimate moment—that tipping point—when a town or neighborhood known for it’s cool, rich, and creatively-vibrant culture becomes so awash with interlopers, gentrifying hipsters, and retiring baby boomers that the critical mass point is reached in redevelopment, rising rents, and real estate prices and the entire thing implodes.
Amy Lashley, Caitlin Rose, Chuck Mead, Cory Branan, East Nashville, Guy Clark, Jason Isbell, Joe McMahan, Justin Townes Earle, Kevin Gordon, Lindi Ortega, Liz Rose, Marty Robbins, Mike Grimes, Nashville, Otis Gibbs, Roy Acuff, Sergio Webb, Skip Litz, Steve Earle, Sturgill Simpson, Susanna Clark, Todd Snider, Townes Van Zandt, Tristen, Waylon Jennings
“Country must evolve” is the way it is sold to the country music public when pop and hip-hop influences are invited into the country music fold. What these folks fail to point out is that country has been trying to evolve for 30 some odd years right under their noses. Are you looking for true progress and evolution in country music? Look no further than this list of women.
Abigail Washburn, Amanda Shires, Anderson Family Bluegrass, Asleep at the Wheel, Be Good Tanya's, Bela Fleck, Brandi Carlile, Caitlin Rose, Dale Watson, First Aid Kit, Hank Williams, Jolie Holland, Kacey Musgraves, Kasey Chambers, Liz Rose, Neko Case, Paige Anderson, Rachel Brooke, Rounder Records, Ruby Jane, Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, The Beach Boys, The Carter Family, The Trishas, Tom Waits, Uncle Earl, Willie Nelson
When music fans think about the art of songwriting, they usually want to have a romantic vision of the process–their favorite songwriters sitting down late at night in a dimly lit room, deep in the throes of passion and inspiration. Maybe a candle flickering above a blank piece of paper, with a glass of wine or whiskey to the side, and tears staining the page as they alleviate their heartache by bearing their soul in a song.
In truth, mainstream songwriting more resembles the unappealing aesthetics of industrial food production . . .