As real as the sharp curves of mountain roads and the abandoned shucks of coal towns, John R. Miller weaves his stories of struggle and survival with a poetic wit, honesty and abandon, and a palpable authenticity. These are songs so tucked away up a holler, to find them you have to creep past No Trespassing signs.
Just the name “Shooter” elicits strong opinions from people in country music. This is the result of being the son of a country hero whose legacy looms so large, the history of the man himself could never match the mythos. Hank Williams Jr. was saddled with such burdens. He’s also the primary inspiration behind “Shooter.”
It seems like just a few short years ago we were thinking about William Clark Green as the “Next Big Thing.” Now all the young frat bros in Lubbock have moved on to Koe Wetzel, and William Clark Green has graduated to headliner status. His new album ‘Hebert Island’ finds the songwriter settling into his established career.
Let’s be honest, pairing up Robbie Fulks with the sister of Jerry Lee Lewis and having Fulks write songs from her perspective seems like such a strange concept for an album, it’s hard to conceive of releasing such as thing beyond maybe some quirky passion project with a pressing of 250 units for Record Store Day.
How to resolve adding a little bit of enthusiasm to the music, but still adhering to Jason Eady’s acoustic-only proclamation was a tough riddle to solve. But adding a couple of hot shot bluegrass ringers was the exact injection Jason Eady’s music needed to not just coast, but soar, and the results speak for themselves.
If you want to listen to a fine example of a record and an artist who embodies this Texas spirit in sound, song, and substance, Drew Moreland and his self-titled debut with his backing band The Neon Hustle is a great place to start. The solo-penned nine songs announce the up-and-comer as someone worth paying attention to.
If Kenny Chesney hadn’t spent the last 20-something years of his career beating down the country music listening public with his barrage of island and beach songs, we probably would be talking about how his latest record ‘Songs For The Saints’ is a striking piece of conceptualized album making/
True country fans don’t need to be told that trying to hold onto the roots of the music has been a war of attrition over the last 20 years or so. As more legends and oldtimers pass away or get put out to pasture each season, you search for stability and glimmers of promise as the heap of shoes to fill of the artists gone by grows.
AHI’s In Our Time is the album you never knew you wanted, but once you listen, you feel you absolutely needed. The underlying messages of uplifting perseverance, the poetry set in fiercely personal narratives, and a genuine soulful voice and perspective is all so powerfully compelling…
The Mason Ramsey EP is three classic Hank Williams songs done in tasty renditions that are respectful to the original compositions and Ramsey’s original appeal, with three non sequitur Bro Country orphans rescued from a Music Row dumpster by a night janitor and included under the misguided notion of commercial appeal.
Mother of five Lori McKenna from Stoughton, Massachusetts is saving country music. You no longer have any legitimate license to say, “Oh, I’ve heard the name. Isn’t she a songwriter or something?” and consider yourself and enlightened music fan. Brushing Lori McKenna off is brushing off one of the greatest living songwriters of our generation.
Nearly everything about “Better Boat” is right. The songwriters Travis Meadows and Liz Rose are right. The entirety of the instrumentation being performed by Mac McAnally on an acoustic guitar is right. Kenny choosing songwriter Mindy Smith to perform the song with instead of some pop star is right.
Hot damn. I don’t know who the hell Cliff Westfall is or where he’s been hiding out for so many years, but he just released a hot shit country record that will whip the pants off of most others released this year and many from years prior, and get you making room on your list of favorite artists.
“Desperate Man” is a song you give a weird look the first time, tolerate the 2nd, and can’t stop listening to after the 3rd. Shake your little fists at the music industry all you want, but the way of things is for the pure, unadulterated songwriters to revel in obscurity for most of their careers, while the adored superstars rake in all the fame and cash.
Playing original songs directly inspired by the classic recordings of country music with a little Western Swing, jazz, and rockabilly mixed in, Blue Yonder has become a beloved local fixture, with music worthy of consideration from an international audience. Their new album Rough and Ready Heart includes 12 originals….
‘Ramble’ is just how damn enjoyable it is to listen to. So many songwriters these days get too swept up in one-upping the competition with their compositions. This approach has resulted in some great songs, but we sometimes forget that music is there to be heard and enjoyed. A record like ‘Ramble’ reminds you of that.
You complain that the songs from today’s top country stars are no good and they should start cutting songs that are halfway decent like the ones your favorite independent and underground artists play … until they attempt to do that very thing, and come across like total dork asses.
The 17-year-old Rhyan Sinclair proves this Kentucky wave of country music is no anomaly. It’s broad-based, and multi-generational. She like a chute of new country music life rising from the soil. But don’t slot her as just another name in a gaggle of artists emerging from Kentucky. She has the voice, the style, and songwriting to stand out.
Like some time-shifting hybrid between a hillbilly preacher and the human vessel for a Johnny Cash voodoo seance, Paul Cauthen and his barrel-chested voice come bounding out of a reality warp with seven new songs packaged together in an EP titled ‘Have Mercy.’
The promise and hope ahead of Garth’s return from retirement was one of revitalizing country music by hearkening back to the early 90’s, which compared to today’s sounds, were super twangy and most certainly country. For the first time since his un-retirement, Garth has shown a little bit of country music backbone.
Not exactly sure what has gotten into 2018, but all of a sudden we’re finding ourselves in the midst of one hell of a twangy, honky-tonkin’, 90’s-style resurgence in country music. Add Jay Bragg and his new album Honky Tonk Dream to the list of names and projects you need to check out.
Apparently there is a hard and fast proviso in the mainstream country music bylaws stating that artists signed to major labels must release a torpid, moronic ode to coincide with the official observance of summer each calendar year. Over the years Luke Bryan has been one of the most steadfast observers of this natural summer phenomenon.
The music of Pharis and Jason Romero is stripped-down and rootsy, born from the traditions of country and folk similarly, and steeped in songwriting customs and the interplay of harmony. If you’re looking for an entry point into what Pharis and Jason Romero are capable of as a steadfast country fan or otherwise, ‘Sweet Old Religion’ is it.