When considering her music, many would probably cite 2010’s ‘Welder’ as her master work. But Elizabeth Cook enjoyed an entire era of straight up traditional country output at the start of her career, peeking with her 2007 record ‘Balls,’ which has just been reissued.
The sonic baseline for Southern Circus is the stuff Coleman’s father calls Hellbilly music. But ‘Southern Circus’ is surprisingly omnivorous and diverse from there, and favorably so, mixing in more understated songwriting material than you expect, including songs that are a bit more purposeful.
It’s also just really damn cool that Hank Jr. took of his time to do this instead of releasing yet another album of semi-original late career stuff that country radio wouldn’t play, and his fans would quickly forget in favor of his classic stuff anyway. So have a little fun. Make a passion project.
How to communicate all of the joys and virtues of country music while remaining connected to the roots of the genre, but also offering something unexpected and enriching is the challenge that every country artist faces. It’s one Stacy Antonel rises to and meets with her debut album.
Matt Daniel immediately appeals to your country bone with a great country voice. And like the Turnpike Troubadours, it’s a traditional country sound with fiddle and steel, but with just a dash of rock and roll energy and swagger to give it a bit more immediacy.
Maintaining a blue collar edge to the music, and a firm grasp on the perspectives and struggles of common people is how BJ Barham has kept American Aquarium credible and current for going on 17 years now. The content and style of the songs may shift slightly…
Digging up the ghosts of popular music’s past, and using themselves like arrays to reflect some of the most potent sounds and moods ever devised in music, The Red Clay Strays bring to life chilling moments that remind you so much of what modern music has forgotten.
Spoiler alert: This album is not country. Instead, “Cruel Country” is very much a late-career Wilco album, a Jeff Tweedy album, and when you’re expectations are recalibrated to this reality of things, you can actually appreciate this album for what it is.
Undeniably baby faced, but sounding as mature as anyone and standing at an imposing 6’5″, young Alex Miller is here to re-instill your faith in the future of the country music genre, and maybe in life itself. The Kentucky native is definitely country.
34 songs? Hell, why not. Stroke your chin and espouse all the conventional wisdom about music that you want, including what a boner Zach Bryan is pulling here with this hard drive dump of an album. Then sit back and watch as this thing tops the charts.
With this album, Family Shiloh isn’t running through folk and bluegrass standards, relying on the advanced skill of the teenagers and the cuteness of the youngest members to earn your applause. This is a conceptualized work of all original songs.
Powerfully evoking stirring elements of American music mythology, pairing them up with a superior understanding of style and presentation, and delivering it all to the rafters with a soaring voice, Orville Peck has taken what should have been a niche-appealing music, and…
Lyle Lovett is truly an American original. The singer/songwriter class, country music proper, and the jazz set all want to want to selfishly claim dominion over his legacy, because he offers such important appeal and support to them all, and does so with a handsome level of talent.
The chemistry of this band, the exuberance and infectiousness of their live performances, and the hometown hero aspect of their story makes you want to egg them on even more. 49 Winchester is fun to root for. But really, it’s the effortlessly soulful voice of Isaac Gibson…
What makes ‘Obsessed With The West’ not just another Western Swing record is how Brennen Leigh is able to emphasize the playfulness that this approach to country music allows through its bouncy rhythm, and the boundless possibilities of chords and lyricism.
It’s as if a hole was ripped open in the space-time continuum, and out walked some bygone baby-faced character from an era 60 years earlier than the present, serenading our famished ears with classic country songs so fetching in tones…
It’s called ‘Palomino,’ and it’s a Miranda Lambert record. That means it includes some up-tempo sassy songs, and some slow and meaningful singer/songwriter songs. It means it’s more country than most of the mainstream, but not country enough for the country snobs.
You show up with your chest puffed out, wearing funnyglasses with bunch of feathers shoved into the front of your Stetson, and telling everyone you’re slinging “Piss-hot freightlining country music,” then you better deliver, son. But Ellis Bullard has nothing to worry about.
“A Beautiful Time” was constructed like all country albums should be: start with whatever worthy original new songs the performer can muster, and then canvas country music’s rich population of career songwriters to find other stuff that’s worthy of wide attention.
There was a time in country music when your worth was measured in the amount of dues you paid, and also in how many of the old classic songs you knew. With ‘Jukebox Charley,’ Crockett proves his body of knowledge is quite deep, as is his pool of talent to interpret these songs.
Genre is not really the big issue with “Humble Quest.” It’s the energy, or lack thereof, and the generally uninspired matter-of-fact approach to the lyrics and really the music too that make Humble Quest just kind of pedestrian, especially for pop country.
You queue up this record and the opening title track, and you immediately know you’ve made a smart decision with your country music time and attention. “Country Fresh” is mostly a good-time country groove record. But when he decides to get depressive…
Fans of Kaitlin Butts have been waiting like patience on a monument for a new album. But maybe the release of ‘What Else Can She Do?’ will finally be her moment. Taking a critical assessment of the record, it’s hard to argue why it shouldn’t be.
Once again chock full of half-time Waylon beats, Jerry Reed hot licks, with a touch of Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd influence as well, it’s the kind of 70’s cool a lot of the hipster kids in country music try to emulate these days, but colossally fail at.