There are songwriters, and then there are songwriters; those folks that so effortlessly set words to the moods and moments of life and that can make you weep like a baby or wildly happy to be alive. These songwriters are there for us, creating a soundtrack for our most enduring memories, making the most of the life experience by enhancing it with music.
Possessed by Paul James
One hard and fast rule around Saving Country Music is that I don’t review EP’s except for in “extreme cases.” There’s just too much music out there these days to consider half efforts, and in many cases, this is what EP’s are. So what is an “extreme case?” Well in 5 or so years, not once have I had an EP cross my desk that I felt qualified. Until now.
The Muddy Roots Festival has just announced that they will be heading back over to Europe once again this summer for the 2nd Annual Muddy Roots Europe June 14-16, 2013 at Cowboy Up Saloon Waardamme Belgium. Muddy Roots will also be adding a brand new domestic show called the Muddy Roots Spring Weekender on May 10-11 in Adams TN, just north of Nashville.
“People first, then music” is the mantra on this site, and it is such a blessing when you discover people who are just as inspiring as the music they make. Such is the case with the Anderson Family Bluegrass Band from Grass Valley, CA. The music is excellent, but this is just the excuse to get you to pay attention to the profound warmth and by-gone family strength the Anderson Family conveys.
Though Americana may be a less-institutionalized and much smaller genre that tends to have better music and promote artists that are easier to respect, sometimes it can seem almost as exclusive as Music Row. So here is a list of artists that even considering Americana’s heavy requirements, could make it big and improve the Americana world if only given a chance.
The Notorious and Legendary Deep Blues Festival, brain child of BBQ Restaurant owner Chris Johnson in Bayport, MN, has decided to return for 2012 after a 2 year hiatus. The Deep Blues Festival ran from 2007 to 2010, becoming one of the biggest alternative blues festivals in the world before deciding to call it quits due to financial concerns.
Live At Antone’s is an essential for any serious Possessed by Paul James fan, if only for the coolness factor of seeing the man’s face on vinyl. It serves the purpose of what both a live album and a vinyl experience should: capturing those magical musical moments that when you experience them personally, it seems like such a shame that you can’t share them with the rest of the world.
I think at this point it is pretty much a forgone conclusion that in 2012 we’re all going to die of death. You know, that whole Mayan thing. But I thought just to be on the safe side, just in case we all don’t die, we’ll probably want to listen to some music, so wouldn’t it be cool to know what some of your favorite artists have planned for 2012.
Adam Lee, Austin Lucas, Bob Wayne, Derek Dunn, Hellbound Glory, James Hunnicutt, Jayke Orvis, JB Beverly & the Wayward Drifters, Lone Wolf, Lonesome Wyatt, McDougall, Olds Sleeper, Peewee Moore, Possessed by Paul James, Rachel Brooke, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Roger Alan Wade, Ruby Jane, Slackeye Slim, Sunday Valley, Those Poor bastards, Whitey Morgan & The 78's, Willy Tea Taylor
When I sat down to name the top 10 live performances of 2011 as seen through my eyes, I didn’t know what a mess I was making for myself, and it wasn’t until then that I realized what a power packed year for live music it has been. My 10 stretched to 15 fast, and I’m still leaving many live acts out.
Austin Lucas, Bloodshot Records, Charlie Parr, Hank3, Hellbound Glory, James Hunnicutt, Jayke Orvis, Justin Townes Earle, Lukas Nelson, Marty Stuart, Micah Schnabel, Pickathon, Possessed by Paul James, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Ruby Jane, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Sunday Valley, SXSW, The Goddamn Gallows, The Muddy Roots Festival, Two Cow Garage, Wayne Hancock, Whitey Morgan & The 78's, Willie Nelson
I am very excited to announce a unique partnership between Saving Country Music, Hillgrass Bluebilly Records & Entertainment, and Muddy Roots Music (The Muddy Roots Festivals) to bring together the 5th Annual XSXSW showcase, aka XSXSW 5, as part of the annual mid-March gathering of the tribes in Austin, TX known as South By Southwest.
Austin Lucas, Cracker Swamp Productions, Hellbound Glory, Hillgrass Bluebilly, Hillstomp, Husky Burnette, James Hand, Left Lane Cruiser, Lone Wolf, Los Duggans, Muddy Roots Festival, O'Death, Possessed by Paul James, Rachel Brooke, Restavrant, Ruby Jane, SXSW, The Harmed Brothers, XSXSW
When it comes to one man bands, Scott H. Biram is the franchise. He is the top of the heap, the one that inspired so many others. He’s tussled with semi trucks and spilled his guts out on the highway just like he’s spilled his guts out on countless stages all across the Western world until he earned that glorious ‘H’ in the middle of his name.
Schnabel has the bravery to delve to places in the human soul most folks are way too afraid to go; the shit that we all push down and compartmentalize in ourselves, the ugly parts and the fears that we are unwilling to acknowledge. That stuff is Micah’s commodity. He expels it into a big bucket, and then with wide, careless swaths, paints huge, chaotic landscapes with it…
South by Southwest last year was my first full on experience with the event that brings over 8,000 bands from all over the world to Austin for 5 days of musical mayhem, and it went great. With proper pacing and maybe a little luck, I got everything out of the experience I could ever want. 2011 was one of those experiences you hear many people talk about that is proceeded by “…and I will never go back.”
Amanda Shires, Apache Relay, Bloodshot Records, Caitlin Rose, Drag The River, Eddie Spaghetti, Ha Ha Tonka, Hayes Carll, Hellbound Glory, Jason Isbell, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Leroy Virgil, Muddy Roots Festival, Otis Gibbs, Possessed by Paul James, Robin Wiley, Ruby Jane, Shake It Like A Caveman, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Soda, Ted Russel Kamp, The Civil Wars, The Harmed Brothers, The Waco Brothers, Trampled by Turtles, Two Cow Garage, Whitey Morgan & The 78's
Despite my SXSW preview blogs being horrifically under-read, and misunderstood as boastful bragging pieces about what others can’t experience instead of creative ways to promote artists I may otherwise not be able to talk about, and despite Saving Country Music being eaten by Facebook, ripped in half by XXX, and the last vestiges of readers descending into pointless polarized rants about Hank III and Jamey Johnson…
Austin Lucas, Brent Amaker & The Rodeo, Brigitte London, Caitlin Rose, Drag The River, Eddie Spaghettie, Have Gun Will Travel, Hellbound Glory, O'Death, Otis Gibbs, Possessed by Paul James, Rose's Pawn Shop, Ruby Jane, Scott Biram, Shake It Like A Caveman, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Soda, Ted Russell Kamp, Tom VandenAvond, Trampled by Turtles, Two Cow Garage, Whitey Morgan & The 78's, Willy Tea Taylor
For those that have never been to SXSW, the whole thing is broken down into showcases. A showcase can be put on by a record label, a booking agency, a publicity agency, a radio station, a blog, it doesn’t matter. And where doesn’t matter either. Wherever there is space in or near downtown Austin, there’s a band playing. Find yourself a space and make it happen!
Billy Joe Shaver, BR549, Brigitte London, Chris Scruggs, Dale Watson, Hank III, Hellbound Glory, Possessed by Paul James, Rosie Flores, Ruby Jane, SXSW, The Boomswagglers, Tom VandenAvond, Whitey Morgan & The 78's
Of course, not every one can be here, but I will be, and leading up to SXSW, I will be doing my best to get everyone ready for the big shindig, including everyone that cannot attend. As I prepare for it, cover it, and then wrap it up, I’ll do my best to encapsulate the experience for everyone, and through articles, pictures, videos, audio, and interviews, help you live the experience vicariously through me, and through osmosis hopefully turn you on to some great music.
As the name implies, Hillgrass Bluebilly Records defines the nexus of where hillbilly, country, bluegrass, and blues meet. This rich and diverse environment that has been created in the independent/underground music world embodies all roots music as unified expressions of purity and soul, regardless of the origins. Keith Mallette and co-founder Ryan Tackett have created a burgeoning homespun record label that is getting…
Bloodshot Records, Bob Log III, Fat Possum Records, Hillgrass Bluebilly, Hiran & Huddie, James Hand, Jesse Dayton, Keith Mallette, Larry & His Flask, Left Lane Cruiser, Possessed by Paul James, Roger Wallace, Scott H. Biram, Shooter Jennings, Soda, Ten Foot Polecats, The Boomswagglers, Tom VandenAvond, Wayne Hancock, William Elliot Whitmore
As I said in the nominations, all four albums could have won on any given year, and simply by the strength of the 2010 field, they each were unfairly pitted against each other. When all the dust settled, I was still left with two albums that were both masterpieces, both great examples of real country, both accessible and great ambassadors for the independent country movement…
I saw both of these acts recently at the Hillgrass Bluebilly Lunch Party, but because I was too busy managing the live internet audio stream during the Boomswaggler’s set, and the stage was so surrounded by teeming “dirtyfoots” for Possessed’s nightcap performance that I couldn’t steal even a peep, I headed down to Beerland in Austin, TX Friday night to take in the double bill of Hillgrass artists.
As with the Albums of the Year, 2010 will go down as a high water mark for the amount of top quality songs released.
A Song of the Year can’t just be good, it has to touch you. You have to be a different person, in whatever small way, after listening to it. Points are rewarded for things like catchiness and accessibility, but you’ll have to get at least a little bit deep to makes this year’s list. Great songs speak to many people, but to each individual in different ways. We also saw a lot of songs this year with an epic approach, whose sheer vision and grand design deserves to be highlighted.
.357 String Band, Hank III, Hellbound Glory, Hillstomp, Jayke Orvis, Joseph Huber, Lucky Tubb, Possessed by Paul James, Reverend Deadeye, Roger Alan Wade, The Boomswagglers, Trampled by Turtles, Wayne Hancock
2010 has been a bumper crop year for outstanding REAL/Outlaw/roots/underground/insurgent country to say the least. The result is some projects that may have been serious candidates for Saving Country Music’s Album of the Year in another calendar cycle will not appear, and the requirements must become even more rigorous. For an album to be considered this year, it must be a top-caliber project not just for this year, but for all-time.
.357 String Band, Deguello Motel, Feed The Family, Hank III, Hellbound Glory, Jayke Orvis, Justin Townes Earle, Lucky Tubb, Old Highs and New Lows, Possessed by Paul James, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Roger Alan Wade, Scott Biram, Wayne Hancock
On Saturday night the Hole in the Wall in Austin, TX was transformed into “Dirtyfoot” headquarters for fans, bands and extended family of Hillgrass Bluebilly Records for their Launch Party. Folks from as far as Canada, Seattle, Minnesota, and Boston flew in exclusively for the event and helped pack the walls of the Hole to near capacity, while over 150 people from around the world tuned in through SCM Live to share the experience.
7 bands and 5 hours of music meant both Hole in the Wall’s stages were pressed into service….
Austin, Billy Joe Shaver, Dale Watson, Darren Hoff & The Hard Times, Hillgrass Bluebilly, Hole in The Wall, Jim Stringer, Larry & His Flask, Lisa Pankratz, Possessed by Paul James, Roger Wallace, Ten Foot Polecats, The Boomswagglers, Tom VandenAvond, Wayne Hancock
On Saturday the mother of all SCM Live events will be going down, as we will be broadcasting Hillgrass Bluebilly’s Launch Party, featuring 7 bands, 2 stages, and 6+ hours of music, all LIVE to anywhere in the world from the Hole in the Wall in Austin, TX!
Darren Hoff and The Hardtimes, Hillgrass Bluebilly Records, Hole in The Wall, Larry And His Flask, Possessed by Paul James, Roger Wallace, Ten Foot Polecats, The Boomswagglers, Tom VandenAvond, Willie Nelson
The diversity in this insurgent roots movement gives us strength. If you ask me, Scott Biram, Hillstomp, or Larry & His Flask are much more country than most of the stuff you can hear on the radio that flies that flag. Hank Williams and Jimmy Rodgers were both country bluesman, and I see that same spirit, and musical open-mindedness here.