Another glass ceiling has just been shattered in mainstream country music’s monopoly on the independent side of music. Jason Isbell has just been nominated for Album of the Year by the Country Music Association, or CMA’s, for his most recent album The Nashville Sound. This is a virtually unprecedented feat for an independent artist.
For those who’ve been to a Turnpike Troubadours show over the last year or two, or were somehow otherwise tuned into the throwback country soul of Charley Crockett through his first few self-released records, they need not be assuaged to the idea that he could be the next big thing in roots music.
Over the decade of conducting business under the heading of “Saving Country Music,” no artist has created more anticipation and intrigue into what their future prospects may be, yet with so few national accomplishments and recognition than Tyler Childers.
There are so many unofficial parties, we could list 200 here and still leave some out. But in an effort to curate the noses of those Saving Country Music-oriented readers in the right direction, here is a smattering of recommended showcases presented in a similar fashion to SXSW itself, meaning a blobish mess.
The 10-track album was produced by longtime collaborator Kevin Welch at Blueroom Studios in Nashville. It will feature backing vocals by Vince Gill on a song called “No Genie in This Bottle,” as well as instrumental contributions from noted musicians Lloyd Maines on steel guitar, and the SteelDrivers’ Tammy Rogers on fiddle.
I remember saying it myself when the Carolina Chocolate Drops first came on the scene. Excellent band, and great to see some diversity represented in country and Americana music in a way that illustrates the role African American’s played in creating roots music. But there was something a bit off about watching a black band playing for a distinctly white audience.
In 2014 when Saving Country Music received an unsolicited submission from an relatively unknown artist named Luke Bell, it felt like striking gold. It’s so rare, and so welcome and fulfilling when an artist that has been flying so criminally far under the radar shows up and it’s so immediately obvious their music is destined for bigger things.
But what’s the fun of getting to the top when you’ve compromised everything to get there? Despite some declaring the #1 for “Backroad Song” as a victory for Texas country, it is anything but. It was Granger’s abandonment of Texas country and the values of that scene, and walking away from the decent songwriting evidenced earlier in his career that finally got him the commercial success he has clearly craved.
Justice has finally been done, and the current King of Americana finally has his Grammy. Actually, he now has two of them. Alabama-born songwriter Jason Isbell walked away with Best Americana Album honors at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards for his latest record Something More Than Free during the pre-telecast awards Monday afternoon (2-14), as well as Best American Roots song for “24 Frames.”
“Working with Dave felt great from the first day of our sessions,” says Carpenter. “He is always willing to try something new, believes that â€˜yes’ is the only answer, and surrounds himself with wonderfully talented and generous musicians; by the end of the project, I felt as if I was a part of a new family.”
The country music Outlaw movement didn’t happen overnight either. It took years and years of gnawing away at the obtrusive oligarchy that had set up shop on Music Row to get to the point where many of the genre’s most prominent stars could call their own shots, and the music could finally open up to new ideas and fresh faces.
Billy Joe Shaver, Bobby Bare, Brandy Clark, Chris Stapleton, Dave Cobb, Florida Georgia Line, Hillbilly Central, Holly Williams, Jason Isbell, Jessi Colter, Jon Pardi, Kris Kristofferson, Luke Bryan, Merle Haggard, Miranda Lambert, Mo Pitney Williams Michael Morgan, Southern Family, Sturgill Simpson, Sugar Hill, Thirty Tigers, Tompall Glaser, Wanted The Outlaws, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Zac Brown
The long, arduous wait for new music from Hayes Carll appears to be coming to a close. After an extended pause between 2011’s ‘KMAG YOYO,’ Carll and Thirty Tigers announced a partnership in May of 2014, with a new album set to be released in “early 2015.” Even at that point, the wait of some eight or nine months seemed like it would take forever. Then early 2015 came and passed, and still no new Hayes.
The allure of ABC’s hour-long drama Nashville lost its luster for yours truly many seasons ago after the drama got so ridiculous you could see the plot twists coming from a mile away. And the music—though still a decent component—got somewhat sidelined in recent seasons in lieu of keeping the sappy and seductive scenes coming to keep eyes glued on the TV screen.
Granted, it is a different day in the music business, and independent country bands are appearing on the country album charts more and more often. But still, to behold the steady rise of the Turnpike Troubadours from a bar band from Oklahoma to the top of the country music charts without ever having to reshape their sound or sign their life away to a major label is an incredible feat.
From the “I have no idea what the hell is going on here” file comes the curious case of Wheeler Walker Jr., an incredibly foul-mouthed country artist who apparently is gearing up to release a Dave Cobb-produced record through Thirty Tigers, and has just released his first single.
Sturgill rescheduled the dates to make it up to the communities he missed because of the cancellation, including one of the few available dates in Charlottesville at The Jefferson Theater—the same night as 2015’s Americana Music Awards. Sturgill had a choice, and it couldn’t have been an easy one.
Beg, borrow, steal, sell a kidney, refinance your student loan, start working a second job if you have to, but either way you’re going to want to have some expendable cash laying around October 7th when Red Dirt legend Jason Boland and his venerable backing band The Stragglers release their eighth studio album Squelch via Proud Souls/Thirty Tigers.
The idea that Jason Isbell saved country music when his latest release Something More Than Free inched out Alan Jackson for the #1 spot on Billboard’s Country Albums chart has been offered as a discussion topic by cosmic songwriter and east Nashville sage Todd Snider. Above all else, how awesome is it to have the old version of Todd Snider back in our midst?
Texas country artist Pat Green recently released a new single called “While I Was Away” ahead of the release of his new record Home on August 14th, and when asked what he thought about the new artists and the new style of country music prevailing in the mainstream today, he not only took the high road, he had some high praise for one of country music’s most notorious repeat offenders.
There’s been a Clint Black sighting! And there’s been a Clint Black signing! And now one of the lost artists of country music’s famed “Class of ’89” is back in the saddle, and one of the most forward-thinking and upwardly-rising record labels in Nashville have landed arguably their biggest fish yet.