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.
The Queen of Underground Country, the lovely and talented Rachel Brooke will be releasing her new album A Killer’s Dream on December 4th, featuring Florida’s Viva Le Vox as her backing band, and a duet with Lonesome Wyatt of Those Poor Bastards. This will be her 3rd full-length album. Watch the world premier video for the song “The Black Bird”.
Lindi Ortega evokes the ghost of Patsy Cline and the cool factor of Wanda Jackson. Like with Elizabeth Cook, you almost can’t believe that an artist whose beauty is so stark would find appeal in the lower rungs of the music world; that they would settle on being real instead of real famous. But don’t let the beauty fool you, Lindi is the real deal.
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.
the loss of .357 String Band may go down as underground country’s greatest tragedy. I can think of no other project that was so ripe for becoming a success story of authentic American underground roots. They were brilliant, but accessible at the same time. It is a great sin of American music. They have re-issued their landmark 2008 album “Fire & Hail” on vinyl.
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.
Some confusion always seems to dog my lists of top songs, because I’m not just looking for that catchy tune you can’t take off of repeat, I’m looking for the song that changes your world. For a song to qualify, it must be original, and barring exceptional circumstances, it must be composed by the performer. These are songs that take you somewhere.
From Nashville to New York , from Detroit to Seattle, fans will be getting together to raise funds for diabetes research and to pay tribute to one of country music’s biggest Outlaws. From Whitey Morgan & The 78’s to Shooter Jennings, from Rachel Brooke to Jackson Taylor, bands and artists will be giving of their time to help out a good cause.
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
From the outside looking in, one may look at the lineup of The Muddy Roots Festival for example, and wonder how all these bands could all be booked right beside each other and it work seamlessly. This illustrates the dramatic sonic and geographical diversity that goes into creating what we know now as the underground country roots, or “Muddy Roots” world.
.357 String Band, Ben Prestage, Black Diamond Heavies, Bob Wayne, Bobby Bare, BR549, Calamity Cubes, Dale Watson, Deep Blues Festival, Emmylou Harris, Fat Possum Records, Greg Garing, Hank3, JB Beverley, Junior Kimbrough, Justin Townes Earle, Kris Kristofferson, Legendary Shack Shakers, Lone Wolf OMB, Loretta Lynn, Los Duggans, Mike Ness, Muddy Roots Festival, Pickathon, Rachel Brooke, Ramseur Records, Restavrant, Reverend Horton Heat, RL Burnside, Rusty Knuckles, Scott H. Biram, Slackeye Slim, Some Velvet Evening, Split Lip Rayfield, Steve Erale, Supersuckers, t Model Ford, Ten Foot Polecats, The Avett Bros, The Black Keys, The Devil Makes Three, The Everymen, The Goddamn Gallows, The Pine Box Boys, The Ryman, Those Poor bastards, Tompall Glaser, Trampled by Turtles, Waylon Jennings, Wayne Hancock, Whitey Morgan & The 78's, Willie Nelson, Yep Rock
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
Late Night Lover’s tracks are quite strong. We have watched as Rachel Brooke has evolved from the conflict of her punk and country roots trying to mix and blend, to a classic, cohesive style that is all her own, and compliments one of the most naturally-blessed voices in country today. Late Night Lover is a gift that I am grateful for.
Michigan songbird Rachel Brooke has a new project on the way that can now be pre-ordered called Late Night Lover. It is a 7″ vinyl release that will only be sold in a limited-edition 500 numbered quantity accompanied by a digital download card. Late Night Lover features just Rachel and her guitar.
So here it is, the list of albums Saving Country Music deems essential for 2011 listening. Please note this list only includes albums that have been reviewed so far. And as always, your feedback is encouraged. What are your essential albums? What did we miss? What was released in 2011 that deserves a review?
Bob Wayne, Coday Canada, Eilen Jewell, Gillian Welch, Hank3, Husky Burnette, Jason Boland, Jimbo Mathus, Larry & His Flask, Little Lisa Dixie, Lone Wolf, Lonesome Wyatt, Lucky Tubb, Lydia Loveless, Nick 13, Olds Sleeper, Rachel Brooke, Scott H. Biram, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Sunday Valley, The Damn Quails, The Dirt Daubers, The Goddamn Gallows, Tom Waits, Ugly Valley Boys, William Elliot Whitmore, Willy Tea Taylor
The two common threads that run through most of the candidates this year, is a progressive approach to the music, and poignancy in the message. These are changing and troubled times, and the songs that speak to us the deepest will act as the soundtrack for our 2011 memories for years to come.
99 Lives, Amanda Shires, City of Shame, Codeine, Ghost Bird, James Hunnicutt, Jason Isbell, Life Is Beautiful, Rachel Brooke, Run You Down, Scott Biram, The Boomswagglers, The Goddamn Gallows, Victory Song, Willy Tea Taylor
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.
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
In 99 Lives, Hunnicutt creates a circle of wisdom through fearlessly conveying his personal, intimate experiences in life, and by intimating his fears and frailties, and his victories against them. Honesty is the benchmark of all great albums, and 99 Lives’s honesty is unchecked, complimented by the most powerful voice in all of independent country roots.
As hard as I am on albums and artists, I am double hard on songs. An album can have it’s low points, a song can’t. And just like with the Best 2011 Albums So Far, the songs so far in 2011 present a weak field. But there a few good ones worth noting from Jason Isbell, James Hunnicutt, Jimbo Mathus, Amanda Shires, Austin Lucas, and Rachel Brooke.
Well, we’ve just about reached the half way point of 2011, and let me level with you folks, so far this has been a down year for music. Yes, there’s been a few good projects and some surprises as well, but generally speaking it’s been pretty bleak compared to 2010, which was such a bumper year for music.
Austin Lucas, Caitlin Rose, Gillian Welch, Hellbound Glory, Jimbo Mathus, Left Lane Cruiser, Little Lisa Dixie, Lone Wolf, Pokey LaFarge, Rachel Brooke, Scott H. Biram, Shooter Jennings, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Ted Russell Kamp, Wanda Jackson, William Elliot Whitmore
I am very excited to announce that the podcast legend by the name of Tim Pop is moving his “Rebel Rouser” country music podcast to SCM LIVE! Rebel Rouser is an hour-long weekly podcast that mixes old-school, classic country music with the new school underground stuff. It may be new to you and SCM LIVE, but Tim Pop is already done over 60 episodes of Rebel Rouser…
I am quite astonished with this in so many different ways I don’t even know where to start. Actually I do. How about with the fact that Gwyneth, across multiple platforms, including movie, radio, and performance, and from a critical and commercial standpoint, has already failed in country music. The movie “Country Strong”, which is the impetus for this whole country music career, was a colossal critical and commercial failure.
I’m not giving any answers here, only questions and concerns. Not criticisms, just observations. I have severe, deep loyalty to Hank III, but I am loyal to the music above any man. As inexplicable as it is to think that Shooter Jennings has now taken the helm from Hank III in the effort to help highly-talented up and coming country bands, it is also undeniable.
Rachel Brooke’s new album Down In The Barnyard has been creating a lot of buzz lately, and on Wednesday she talked with Jashie P of Outlaw Radio Chicago about the album, her upcoming tour with Those Poor Bastards, a proposed 7-inch release on Farmageddon Records, and how Shooter Jennings is helping her with his “XXX” movement.