The inaugural Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival set to transpire in Franklin, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville on September 26th and 27th, just made a rookie move by replacing headliner Willie Nelson with country music interloper/carpetbagger Steven Tyler—a.k.a. the frontman for the legendary rock band Aerosmith.
Gone are the days of Loretta Lynn singing “One’s On The Way.” Gone are the days of adult issues like divorce, resonating with mature audiences. Gone are the days of originality, not only in style but in songwriting. In that classic era you could tell the difference between Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. Artists were easily discernible and legends arose because of their unique qualities…
The past 24 hours has seen some big signings by some worthy artists to record labels. The old-school throwback St. Louis singing and strumming song man Pokey LaFarge has signed to the prestigious Rounder Records. Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band has signed with Yazoo Records, and the Alabama-bred gritty and greasy Banditos have signed to insurgent country label Bloodshot.
Alison Krauss, Banditos, Bloodshot Records, Charley Patton, Del McCoury, Jack White, Justin Townes Earle, Lydia Loveless, Mississippi John Hurt, Neko Case, Pokey LaFarge, Re. Peyton, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Ricky Skaggs, Robert Plant, Rounder Records, Ryan Adams, Scott H. Biram, So Delicious, SXSW, Wayne 'The Train' Hancock, Willie Nelson, Yazoo Records
Near the end of 2013, Saving Country Music rewarded Jason Isbell’s live streaming set on August 13th from the Austin City Limit’s stage as the #2 live event in all of 2013. Now Jason Isbell’s entire Austin City Limits set will be released to DVD on November 24th via Isbell’s Southeastern Records, and will include his entire 15-song performance.
Ryan Adams was one of the unquestionable leaders of this punk-infused country music conquest, and that is why it was so disconcerting to read recently that apparently he not only does not like country music, but he apparently never has, never really cared about it even when he was playing it, and certainly doesn’t want anything to do with it now.
Pickathon is the roots music experience like no other. It offers one of the most forward-thinking lineups in the independent festival circuit, is two steps ahead in featuring artists that are on the verge of becoming the next big thing, and presents the artist in some of the most unique settings to be found. Even if you can’t make it to the Northwest extremity of the country next weekend….
Charlie Parr, Chris Thile, Della Mae, John Doe, Jon Langford, Neko Case, NIckel Creek, Old Crow Medicine Show, Possessed by Paul James, Robbie Fulks, Sara Watkins, Sean Watkins, Shakey Graves, The Black Lillies, The Sadies, Valerie June, Willie Watson
Membership to the Grand Ole Opry is seen a one of the most prestigious accolades a country music artist can be bestowed, and the recognition is sought after by performers both big and small, mainstream and traditional because it is one of the hardest gets in music. But the cavalcade of mainstream pop country music stars recently added as members are not fulfilling the Opry obligations.
Barbara Mandrell, Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Byron Fay, Darius Rucker, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Grand Ole Opry, Hank Williams, Keith Urban, membership rules, Nashville, Neko Case, Old Crow Medicine Show, Pete Fisher, Rascal Flatts, Trace Adkins
The Sadies from Toronto, Canada should be modern day music gods. All they do is stand on their head every time they put on a live show or release an album, throwing a proverbial musician’s clinic with their cutting-edge instrumentation and jawbreaking prowess. Their music appeals to a broad panoramic of the music listening public.
In 2013, there is only one music artist who can say they’re officially banned for life from country music’s most storied institution: the Grand Ole Opry. No, it’s not David Allan Coe, Hank Williams III, or some other hothead, firebrand artist quick to call out the Opry and other mainstream country music institutions at any perceived slight. No, the offending party is none other than alt-country luminary Neko Case.
We’ve been saying it all year—right now it is women taking the leadership role in trying help to save country music. But they’re not the only ones, and if you wanted to look for another significant segment of artists doing more help than harm to the genre, there’s no better place to look than north of the border. Here are six Canadian showing the type of creative leadership country music needs.
“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
The thing I am most thankful for when it comes to Pickathon is that in this age of music and cultural mypoia, where technology and media that intuitively should give us access and awareness to so much more seem to instead be fueling the narrowing of the music reality tunnel, Pickathon works to erode music myopia by filtering off the cream of many different scenes and styles of music and offering them all in one place.
Abigail Washburn, Andy Bean, Cajun Country Revival, Caleb Klauder, Dr. Dog, Foghorn Stringband, Gordon Gano, Hot 8 Brass Band, Lake Street Dive, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Neko Case, Pickathon, Shovels and Rope, Southeast Engine, The War On Drugs, Thee Oh Sees, Two Man Gentlemen Band, Whitey Morgan & The 78's
From Columbus, OH, the lovely and talented 21-year-old Lydia Loveless offers up her first album with international aspirations in Indestructable Machine, through the Bloodshot Records imprint. Rest assured, I like this album more than I don’t. But as legendary football coach Bill Parcells once said after one decent game by a young, promising quarterback, “Put the anointing oil away.”
Certainly Pickathon is an expensive festival in a severe corner of the country (just outside of Portland, OR), and these natural barriers will always keep some from being able to attend. But as far as creating the best environment to allow creativity to happen, and a model for other festivals and public events to learn and be inspired from, Pickathon has no peer…