The career of Dustin Lynch is now such a catastrophic natural disaster, it is visible from space. Need a coaster to keep those unsightly water stains off your coffee table? Maybe something to shove under the leg of that tipsy table to keep it from wobbling? Shit, who are we kidding. Nobody even buys CDs anymore, so you can’t even use it for that.
Where in the world has Wade Hayes been? He’s been hiding in the same dark honky tonk on the edge of town as actual county music for the last decade or so. How country is his latest record Who Saved Who? The title track is about the love of his dog if that gives you any indication. That’s to say his newest album is unapologetically country.
Shirking the bubblegum pop sensibilities that seem to sugar coat most of the new “country” music emanating from Music Row these days, Tenille Arts took a year full of spills in a bad breakup, and put them into the 12 songs of this surprisingly deep and smart record with Tenille herself taking a hand in co-writing every track.
Country music is also one of the few constants in a world of change. The onslaught of technology and the incursion of automation into our lives hasn’t made country music less relevant, it’s made it even more imperative. These are the themes and reminders you will find throughout the latest record from Noel McKay and Brennen Leigh.
Casting aspersions on all the fools who cemented their 2019 end-of-year lists before Santa came to town, this singing, yodeling, whistling, mustachioed, Louisiana weirdo named Nick Shoulders just screwed up everyone’s 2019 country music flow charts by releasing a serious “best of” contender here in the middle of shivery December.
Garrett T. Capps is like a country artist without a country. Or more like a country artist without a planet. Space country is what he likes to call his music to attempt to convey the atmospheric and psychedelic flavoring of his brand of honky tonk. It’s a little bit out there, but more country and grounded than you might think.
Built around recording sessions captured in the barn of Elijah Ocean’s parent’s home in Maine back in 2017, ‘Back to the Lander’ finds Elijah Ocean in a deeply reflective mood, rattling off memories like turning pages in a travelogue, fondly recalling the people, places, and moments of the last many years.
There are a few ways you can attempt to achieve country music perfection. With The Country Side of Harmonica Sam, it is to so expertly recreate the classic era of country music when artists like Lefty Frizzell and Webb Pearce were topping the charts, the results are downright jaw dropping. We’re not talking about close approximations.
When populating your list of insurgent acts from Kentucky helping to turning country music right side up, don’t forget to key in Dillon Carmichael. In fact he might be one of the most important names to remember since he’s right in the thick of the mainstream as a signee to Riser House Records, working from the inside out.
Putting one’s personal story into song is the timeless way to deliver music with resonance and lasting impact irrespective of whatever trends are hip in popular music, or whatever current events are roiling the world. That is what legacy Americana singer and songwriter Allison Moorer has done with her latest record, ‘Blood.’
What Jason Aldean has done with this his 9th major album release is truly incredible. Who knew anyone had the stamina, the fortitude, the wherewithal, and the stick-to-itiveness to doggedly cram so many small town red meat chest-pounding machismo cliche’s into a single music album. Leave it to our boy from Macon to rear back & get it done.
For those searching for something a little more elaborate and offbeat in the country and roots realm that isn’t just another litany of drinking songs and verse/chorus repetitions, this slightly fey, but fully inspired and involved work by Austin-based music composer Graham Reynolds is worthy of a spin.
We’re far past calling Ags Connolly’s passion for Austin style honky-tonk some sort of passing phase or lark. Now on his third full-length album of original country released in the last five years, he’s become one of the first names you cite as an example of how anyone can make country music as long as a sincerity resides in their heart.
Any frustration you might have experienced with The Mavericks for not releasing an original album this year is chased pretty quickly when they light into their version of “Swingin'” made popular by John Anderson, and then “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way” written and recorded by Waylon Waymore Watasha Jennings.
Luke Combs is not the William Faulkner of country music. He’s the Grisham, or the Clancy. Ripe for mass consumption, easy to get into, riveting in moments, it’s a much more healthier alternative to a People Magazine or some trashy romance novel for a long flight, but it’s not exactly material for the Pulitzer Prize.
Now this is what we’re talking about ladies and gentlemen. It’s been way too long since we had a proper Cajun album with enough country tie-in’s for honky tonkers to sink their teeth into and not feel traitorous towards to their stack of country records, and Lafayette, Louisiana’s Grammy-nominated The Revelers have just released one.
When you want to record one of those absolutely devastating country music tearjerkers that holds back nothing and mercilessly goes to work on the audience’s emotional receptors, the songbook of Erin Enderlin is where you turn. Now she’s more posed than ever to emerge from the songwriting shadows.
‘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.
But what Kalie Shorr has also done in Open Book is what every true artist wishes to do whenever the make a record, which is capture raw emotions in bold strokes that resonate deeply with an audience and connect us with our shared humanity. But just like the career of Kalie Shorr, the question is, “Who is the audience?”
Breaking out of Las Vegas like a bunch of bad characters that just knocked over a bank and have an appointment to keep at a high desert cathouse, here comes The Rhyolite Sound roaring out of Southern Nevada, seasoned in the seedy lounges and casino bars of Sin City where it’s not just smoking that’s still allowed inside.
If your hat is mesh and your right foot heavy, and if you consider Red Sovine and Dave Dudley just as much country music Gods as Willie and Waylon, then the Franklin County Trucking Company is right for you. No, we’re not talking about a fulfillment business with a yard full of Peterbilt’s idling away…
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If you’re looking for the experiences of rural America spun into songs devoid of diluting agents or phony embellishments, this is where to start. There’s no dulling the edges of Waldon’s molasses thick and unapologetic Southern accent. There’s no effort to commercialize these songs with any sort of electronic beeps or pop sensibilities.
During an era when we search for heroes and better alternatives, but the letdown and heartbreak you often feel as a true country music fan seems to linger around every corner, Cody Jinks has risen to become the artist who uncompromisingly delivers on the promises of his potential.
Music is what we turn to for reprieve from the common irritations and emotional burdens of everyday life. Galax, Virginia’s Dori Freeman is uncommonly blessed with the ability to dispel those difficulties and replace them with a warm appreciation for the simple joys of living through the pacifying nature of her songs.