2018 has been incredibly busy with new albums in the country and roots realm, and the 2nd half of the year looks to be just as busy. So to help you keep track of it all and perhaps help separate the wheat from thew chaff, here is a handy guide to some of the top releases to anticipate, a more expansive list of confirmed releases, and a rumor mill.
Tami Neilson is a full tilt badass monster of music, and I will puff my chest out and challenge any man, woman, or beast who dares questions the full-throated pronouncement that she is the one of the best living singers in all of roots music and beyond. Now she is back with a new selection of songs compiled under the name “SASSAFRASS!”
Tami Neilson is the greatest singer of any genre I have ever witnessed, and if there’s any justice in this crooked world, soon the rest of humanity will at least be given a chance to behold this for themselves. But just like it took Sturgill Simpson many years before his talents were recognized beyond a few dedicated fans and studious bloggers, it may still take a while.
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
Think of this album like a time capsule that has been unearthed with some of the best music written during the golden age of country that never saw the light of day, so it’s still fresh and new to your ears. And by going through his uncle’s entire song catalog to find the best selections, it’s like a Greatest Hits collection from some long lost legend at the same time.
“Lonely” is no ordinary song. In February of 2015, Tami’s father, Ron Neilson, passed away. Tami grew up performing in a family band with her father and the rest of her family, touring throughout Canada and the United States, even opening for Johnny Cash and other notable country stars along the way. Ron Neilson began writing “Lonely” in 1972, and recorded a demo for it outside a hotel room.
I don’t know what they’re lacing the Canadian municipal water supplies with these days that allows the great frozen north to churn out authentic country and roots artists worthy of ears in bumper crop fashion, but they better import some of that concoction down here to the States post haste because Canada is kicking our ass in cool new country artists per capita.
“Moving to New Zealand is career suicide!” was one of the responses country music singer/songwriter Tami Neilson received when she announced she was leaving her native Canada to live in a place where country music was generally synonymous with two words: achy and breaky. But after 5 years of being in a long-distance relationship with her Kiwi boyfriend (now husband) it was time for them to finally live in the same hemisphere.
In 2014, you had two previously-unknown women release towers of country music brilliance in Tami Nelison’s Dynamite! and Karen Jonas’s Oklahoma Lottery. You had folk blues songwriter Charlie Parr deliver a masterpiece in his instrumental triumph in Hollandale. You had the Swedish sister duo First Aid Kit feature what very well would had been considered an Album of the Year on any other year…
Each year when Saving Country Music sits down to compile the best songs, it’s done so with a solemn reverence and understanding that the idea embedded in a song has the power to change a life, and change the world. There are many songs out there that are a joy to listen to, but a Song of the Year must say something that can evoke shivers, and do so in a way nobody else has done before.
Don Williams, Everything's Gone, First Aid Kit, Garry Nicholson, Hellbound Glory, Hurray For The Riff Raff, I Lost You, Jim Lauderdale, Joseph Huber, Leon Virgil Bowers, Lloyd Maines, Lydia Loveless, Parker Milsap, Ray Benson, Streets of Aberdeen, Sturgill Simpson, Tami Neilson, The Body Electric, The Lonely Island, The Secret Sisters, Truck Stop Gospel, Turtles All the Way Down, Waitress Song, Wanchese & Manteo, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Willie Watson
2014 has revealed itself as the “Year of the Dark Horse” when it comes to compiling the greatest albums released in the last 12-month span. Tami Neilson, Karen Jonas, Charlie Parr, Matt Woods? Who’s heard of these people outside of their respective fan bases? And meanwhile the realm of mainstream music can’t field one candidate, unless you want to count First Aid Kit.
2014 Album of the Year, Charlie Parr, Don Williams, Doug Seegers, Dynamite!, First Aid Kit, Hollandale, I'm A Song, Jason Eady, Jim Lauderdale, John Fullbright, Joseph Huber, Karen Jonas, Kelsey Waldon, Matt Woods, Metamodern Sounds In Country Music, Oklahoma Lottery, Reflections, Stay Gold, Sturgill Simpson, Tami Neilson, With Love From Brushy Mountain, Zoe Muth