Music is just one of the many factors to weigh when naming the Artist of the Year. Unlike Album of the Year nominees, and Song of the Year nominees, this is not a distinction that is put up for a vote to the public, and it’s not just about the appeal any particular artist might garner for their yearly musical output, live or recorded.
They will tell you that women can’t make it in country music these days, and it’s certainly true that it appears to be more difficult than ever. And if you think it’s tough being a woman in country music, try being a woman in country music who is actually making country music, putting you in the most marginalized category of all.
Remember a couple of weeks back when the 85-year-old Willie Nelson had the runs so bad he couldn’t perform in Charlotte? They’ve announced additional performers for the makeup date, and all of a sudden what was supposed to be a simple makeup performance for Willie has turned into a pretty badass show all unto itself.
Sarah Shook and the Disarmers have arguably the most badass record out there in country music right now with Years on Bloodshot Records, and they’re also one of the most badass bands to step foot in a dive bar and see live. This might be one of those bands you’ll be kicking your own ass for not seeing in a smaller venue when you had a chance.
There’s just something about certain artists and songs where it only takes a few seconds into a track before a smile cracks across your face, and you immediately know, “This is what I mean when I say country music.” Many had that feeling when they feasted their ears on the self-titled, full-length debut from Texas country artist Randall King.
We’ve known for years that per capita, Europe is a better support center for independent country and roots music compared to the United States. But something is brewing in Sweden specifically that is helping to give rise to one of the strongest, most vibrant enclaves for country music outside of North America.
Albin & the Honky Tonk Express, Amber Digby, Basko Believes, Cina Samuelson, Country Heroes, Doug Seegers, Ellen Sundberg, Fami, First Aid Kit, Hold Your Horses, Jill Johnson, Johnny Paycheck, Red Jenkins, Rootsy, Sarah Shook, The Country Side of Harmonica Sam, The Green Line Travelers, The Spinning Jennies, Willy Clay Band
Being an independent music artist is not easy. Adversity lurks everywhere, and the cards are stacked against you. But it’s nice to have auspicious enclaves of support to help you upon your journey. For many years, a small nonprofit radio station based in Seattle called KEXP has been that very thing for bands.
It’s been a great time to be a country music fan over the last few weeks as incredible album releases from a cavalcade of artists has put a stress test on people’s physical copy budgets, and pushed Saving Country Music to maximum capacity for publishing reviews. But these are all good problems to have.
What ‘Years’ has that so many albums fail to capture is a trump card that supersedes all other concerns, benchmarks, and gradients. It’s the part of music you can never learn, never practice up, never teach or toil to capture. Either you have it, or you don’t. And Sarah Shook has it. She has it in spades.
Well damn, it’s less than a week since the last Saving Country Music Top 25 Playlist update, but the badass songs have been rolling out so hard and heavily lately, it’s worth calling a audible and adding them to the playlist post haste. Leading the pack are a couple of new songs from new artists who were already on the playlist.
The original concept of South By Southwest was not to be a funnel for corporate brand recognition through music, or as a springboard for superstars to increase their street cred on social media. It was a place for artists and industry to come together in the discovery process so worthy talent could find support for their music.
Aaron Lee Tasjan, Alice Wallace, Billy Strings, Caroline Rose, Colter Wall, Elijah Ocean, Emily Herring, John Baumann, Joshua Hedley, Luck Reunion, Lukas Nelson, Margo Price, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Nikki Lane, Ruby Boots, Sarah Shook, The Brother Brothers, Tyler Childers, Willie Nelson, Wood and Wire
Corporate country has figured out a way to weasel its same command and control structure strangling commercial radio into online playlists and leave many of the best and the brightest of country on the wayside. But Saving Country Music is doing its level best to even the playing field by offering a healthy alternative.
The good news about great artists releasing new albums just keeps coming, setting up 2018 as a potential bumper crop year of critically-acclaimed releases, with the latest being Bloodshot Records signee Sarah Shook and her band The Disarmers announcing the release of her sophomore record “Years” on April 6th.
Saving Country Music’s official Top 25 Current Playlist has just been juiced with reinforcements and fresh horses to spirit listeners into the heart of spring with some of the best country music selections overlooked by most of popular media, but holding an appeal that is deemed worthy enough to be heard worldwide.
The biggest takeaway from SXSW 2017 will be that for the first time since the very inception of the idea over 30 years ago, the annual music gathering experienced a palpable draw down in attendance and industry participation to a degree that it fundamentally changed many of the dynamics and rigors one must endure to attend.
A. Michael Uhlmann, Alice Wallace, All My Exes Live in Texas, Beth Lee and The Breakups, Billy Joe Shaver, Brennen Leigh, Brent Cobb, Brooklyn Country Cantina, Cale Tyson, Cary Baker, Croy and the Boys, Elle King, G&S Lounge, Giddy Ups, High Plaines Jamboree, Jenni Finlay, Jimmy Samon, John Conquest, Kelsey Waldon, Kem Watts, Leo Rondeau, Luck Reunion, Lukas Nelson, Lustre Pearl, Margo Price, Nate Boff, Noel McKay, Not SXSW, Parker Millsap, Paul Cauthen, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Sarah Shook, Shinyribs, Simon Flory, Spring Fling, Sunny Sweeney, SXSW, Teri Joyce, The Defibulators, The Wild Reeds, Threadgill's, Whitney Rose, Wide Open Country, Willie Nelson
Announced Wednesday morning (1-25), North Carolina’s Sarah Shook and her band The Disarmers have officially signed to insurgent country label Bloodshot Records, and there will be a relaunch of Sarah Shook’s debut album Sidelong coming on April 28th. There will also be a new album coming in 2018, Sarah has promised.
List making either before or after events has become a dubious enterprise of mainstream outlets just looking to troll the fan bases of independent performers to get these performers to dutifully post the coverage to their social network feeds and drive unique views to the outlets while little if any true discovery for said artists by new fans actually occurs.
Americana, AmericanaFest, Angaleena Presley, Beverly Keel, Bluebird Cafe, Change The Conversation, Dori Freeman, Jack Ingram, Leslie Fram, Luke Bell, Matt Haeck, Sarah Shook, Tami Neilson, The Accidentals, Tommy Ash, Wanda Jackson
With over 200 artists playing AmericanaFest this third week of September, it can be a little bit intimidating for the folks either looking to attend in person, or experience the gathering vicariously through various social channels and video streams. So here is a curated list of artists battle tested and approved by Saving Country Music.
AmericanaFest, Austin Lucas, Brent Cobb, Caitlyn Smith, Dori Freeman, Jason Eady, John Moreland, Lori McKenna, Luke Bell, Parker Millsap, Sammy Brue, Sarah Shook, Tami Neilson, The Secret Sisters, William Clark Green, Willie Watson
“Sidelong” may find itself in a dark and troubled place much of the time, but it’s good old country music at its heart. You know, country music? That stuff they used to make before Music Row lost its everloving mind? Music that said something, and conveyed a feeling that bred a sense of commiseration and shared grief with the audience resulting in a strange healing? Yeah, that stuff.