Every year to make sure the best titles in mainstream country don’t get overlooked, and to encourage the quality in the mainstream to rise to the top, we run down the best mainstream country albums to compliment the Album of the Year nominees. Some years there is overlap.
Whether you’re an adventurous traditional country music fan willing to cross enemy lines to seek out some of the best of the mainstream, or the mainstream country fan who insists on seeking out the country music of substance that the radio and awards tend to ignore, both paths will lead you to Randy Houser’s new album.
While you were putting on 40 pounds and watching Tiger King twice during the pandemic, Jamey Johnson was out there working towards earning his commercial pilot license. Apparently the songwriter has been flying to gigs fairly regularly while on tour.
Beware of the women who write songs for the mainstream of country. To make it in that evil world often dominated by men, you’ve got to be a real tough mother cut from a different cloth, capable of being told “no” over and over again and still continue on, and agile enough to deliver songs that can succeed.
This year the Luck Reunion had an incredible lineup. But like everything else, it has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus. Nonetheless, they will be celebrating Thursday (3-19) with a live streaming event showcasing many of the artists originally scheduled to perform, and a few surprises.
David Ramirez, Devon Gilfillian, Early James, Edie Brickell, Ian Ferguson, Ida Mae, Jeremy Ivey, Jewel, Katie Pruitt, Lucinda Williams, Luck Reunion, Lukas Nelson, Margo Price, Matt Bizer, Micah Nelson, Nathaniel Rateliff, Nikki Lane, Paul Cauthen, Paul Simon, Randy Houser, Sunny War, SXSW, Tami Neilson, Thomas Csobra, Tre Burt, Willie Nelson
We’ve already run down the Greatest Country Albums of the Decade, and in there, albums in the mainstream were given fair competition to be included, and some made the cut. But in the spirit of inclusiveness and impartiality, let’s make sure the great records from the mainstream get their due as well.
Alan Jackson, Ashley McBryde, Brandy Clark, Caitlyn Smith, Chris Stapleton, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, George Strait, Jamey Johnson, Jon Pardi, Kacey Musgraves, Kalie Shorr, Kellie Pickler, Kip Moore, Miranda Lambert, Mo Pitney, Pistol Annies, Randy Houser, Reba McEntire, William Michael Morgan
Willie Nelson will release his triumphant 70th studio album called First Rose of Spring come April 24th via Sony’s Legacy imprint. Seceding much of the songwriting to others on this effort aside from a couple of tunes, the title track comes from the pen of Randy Houser, Allen Shamblin, Mark Beeson, and has been released ahead of the record.
All country albums, regardless if they emanate from a major label or receive radio play, are considered for Saving Country Music’s Album of the Year nominations. But not every year does a mainstream album make it. Even though one didn’t make it to the top of the heap in 2019, we had a bumper crop of quality mainstream country releases.
Eric Church’s latest album Desperate Man will win the CMA Album of the Year in 2019, beating out Thomas Rhett’s Center Point Road, Dan + Shay’s self-titled release, Girl by Maren Morris, and Carrie Underwood’s Cry Pretty. This is the bold prediction Saving Country Music is putting out there right here and now.
In many respects, the CMAs did that this year with their 2019 nominations, or at least better than many years. But the Album of the Year nominations were especially easy to pick apart in 2019. The biggest reason to second guess these nominations is that this current awards shows cycle has been exceptional for excellent mainstream albums.
What started out to be a small and intimate alternative to Austin’s sprawling SXSW gathering every March, and that was only known initially through invite or word of mouth, has now become arguably the most important and exclusive gatherings in all of American roots music every year.
Amy Winehouse, Angie McMahon, Bonnie Bishop, Chris Masterson, Chris Shiflett, Courtney Marie Andrews, Elanore Whitmore, Haley Heynderickx, Hayes Carll, Logan Ledger, Luck Reunion, Lukas Nelson, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, Mavis Staples, Miss Tess, Mountain Main, Nikki Lane, Paul Cauthen, Randy Houser, Ray Charles, Steve Earle, Sunny War, The Mastersons, Townes Van Zandt, Tyler Childers, Willie Nelson, Yola
For the benefit of the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, or HAAM, Ray Benson hosted his 19th annual birthday bash Tuesday night (3-12) in downtown Austin, which also acts like an unofficial kickoff party for the country side of SXSW. Benson assembled one hell of a talented lineup to come out and play.
Asleep at the Wheel, Ben Dickey, Blaze, Blaze Foley, Brendon Anthony, Chris Shiflett, Collective Soul, Dale Watson, Ed Roland, Eddier Rivers, Jamie Lin Wilson, Katie Pruitt, Katie Shore, Lindsey Kris, Randy Houser, Ray Benson, Robert Earl Keen, Robert Ellis, SXSW, Wade Bowen, Walking The Floor Podcast, Waylon Payne
The wonderful thing about a Tuttle, is that a Tuttle is a wonderful thing. Clawhammer guitar maestro Molly Tuttle has announced her debut album When You’re Ready will be released April 5th, and her lead single, the plucky and infectious “Take The Journey” leads the latest additions to the Saving Country Music Top 25 Playlist.
If you needed any further evidence of just how boss Country Music Hall of Famer Alan Jackson is, appreciate that on his upcoming 2019 tour, instead of sifting through the usual cast of major label characters in search for openers, he’s delved deep into the well of undiscovered country music talent.
Alan Jackson, Amanda Daughtry, Anna Laprad, Chris Monhollen, Emily Vince & Neal, Eric Holmgren, Francelle, Gary Gibson, George Dunn, Jake Shafer, James Carothers, Jay Bragg, Joel Shewmake, Justin Andrews, Kayley Hill, Lindsay Bowman, Lucas Barela, Luke Lander, Mark Box, Martin McDaniel, Mindy Campbell, Randy Houser, Sarah Martin, Steel Blossoms, The Skahls, Warren Garrett, William Michael Morgan
Tag Randy Houser’s Magnolia as yet another entry into the evidence file that the era of Bro-Country continues to wane, and it’s slow but steady expiration has allowed the latitude of some established artists to return, giving them the ability to select and record the material of their choosing, and reuniting them with their more […]
2019 is here ladies and gentlemen, and soon your ears will have a fresh new bounty of new releases in the country, roots, and Americana world to feast upon. In such a crowded landscape and with so many releases to choose from, having a road map certainly helps. So in that spirit, here are Saving Country Music’s top picks.
Aaron Watson, Alice Wallace, Charles Wesley Godwin, Cody Johnson, Dale Watson, Flatland Cavalry, George Strait, Hayes Carll, Joshua Ray Walker, Randy Houser, Ray Charles, Ryan Bingham, The Cactus Blossoms, The Steel Woods, Yola
Country Music legend and Hall of Famer Alan Jackson recently announced the first round of tour dates for his upcoming 2019 arena tour to the excitement of many. And now three other names have been added to select stops which you may have not heard before, but you should be paying attention to.
Yes, Country Music Hall of Famer Alan Jackson will tour in 2019, and we’ve now got the dates to prove it. After announcing a few dates earlier this week, he let some more loose on Thursday (12-13), with more to come soon. Starting on January 25th, he’ll be heading out on an arena tour that will see him hit multiple stops.
“What Whiskey Does” is a return of Randy Houser to his more original form, and for the better. This is the Randy Houser who had built a fan base who would back bite you when you mentioned Randy’s participation in “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” or other offenses, and assure you he was true country.
Even if you’ve never heard Erin Enderlin sing, you’re clearly familiar with her work. She is the highly acclaimed songwriter behind songs “Monday Morning Church” by Alan Jackson, “Last Call” by Lee Ann Womack, and a number of other songs from Randy Travis, Terri Clark, Joey + Rory and Tyler Farr among others.
And though we’re a good half decade from when Toby Keith was still relevant in the country mainstream, and a healthy 15 years removed from when he was telling would-be terrorists where he rudely wanted to ensconce his manly footwear, Toby Keith still has a reserved seat at the very top of these “highest paid” lists, despite not showing a Top 5 single since 2011.
Usually such a list is only reserved for the worst songs at the halfway pole of a given year, but 2016 has been especially lush with heartbreakily bad efforts, including from some artists who tend to be on the right side of the good music/ bad music divide. So before we really take the gloves off, let’s reflect back on 2016 biggest disappointments in the album category.
Randy Houser may want to spend more time perfecting his faux hawk instead of speaking his mind after he put his foot in his mouth in a recent interview with radio.com (see below). The co-writer of “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” and the close friend of Bro-Country Godfather Dallas Davidson decided to go on the offensive against Bro-Country haters.
New Theory: Many 3rd tier mainstream major label country stars are nothing more than musical dumping grounds for all the excess songwriting material left over at the tail end of a dying trend. That’s about the only explanation for the relentless onslaught of outdated and terrible material you’re exposed to on Randy Houser’s new album “Fired Up.”