It was catching lightning in a bottle. And that is what we’re all searching for when we listen to a record, go out to a live show, pen or play a song ourselves, invite some friends over for supper and songs, and search for the manna of life with friends that is enhanced that much more through the incredible gift of music.
“It was my girlfriend’s birthday, and I had to borrow 40 bucks from a buddy to take her out to dinner,” Willy Taylor explains. “This car drove by and something flew off the roof and hit our van. It was dark, and I said, ‘Wow that sounded important’ because it was heavy and it came off the top of the car. It’s just a classic move. I’ve done it before, leaving stuff on top of the car.”
If you asked me point blank who I thought was the best songwriter of our generation regardless of genre, scene, commercial or critical success, I would tell you without hesitation that it is Willy “Tea” Taylor from the interior valley cattle town of Oakdale, CA. Willy “Tea” Taylor is an enigma, while at the same time being the most down-to-earth person you would ever meet.
Larry & His Flask is an interesting music specimen. The biggest advice I could give to an underground roots band right now would be, “Get away from underground roots if you want to grow,” and Larry & His Flask’s success is the perfect example why. Their 2011 stint on the Warped Tour and taking the time to do things right on the business side….
There are songwriters, and then there are songwriters; those folks that so effortlessly set words to the moods and moments of life and that can make you weep like a baby or wildly happy to be alive. These songwriters are there for us, creating a soundtrack for our most enduring memories, making the most of the life experience by enhancing it with music.
Austin Lucas, Bonnie Price Billy, Charlie Parr, Chris Knight, Corb Lund, Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit, Johnny Cash, Joseph Huber, McDougall, Micah Schnabel, Possessed by Paul James, Tom VandenAvond, Two Cow Garage, Will Oldham, Willy Tea Taylor
The Independent Music Awards has announced their 12th Annual nominations, and it includes many great names from the independent country/roots world like Rachel Brooke, The Boomswagglers, Lucky Tubb, The Steel Wheels, Tom VandenAvond, Langhorn Slim, and The Carper Family to name a few. The Awards honor exceptional independent artists traditionally ignored by mainstream media and big box retailers.
12th Annual, 2013, Brandi Carlisle, INdependent Music Awards, Jim Lauderdale, JP Harris & The Tough Choices, Langhorn Slim, Lucky Tubb, Nominees, Rachel Brooke, The Bommswagglers, The Carper Family, The Steel Wheels, Tom VandenAvond, Tom Waits, Weird Al Yankovic Kevin Lyman
This song is about losing yourself, which we’ve all done, and will all do again, and how we all start off life with a firm grasp on who we are that life does its level best to wrestle away from us. But inside “Stranger” there is also a glimmer of hope in how the realization of one’s self can stimulate renewal. And above all of that, the beauty of “Stranger” is its fierce simplicity–the attribute of all excellent country songs.
Billy Don BUrns, Brigitte London, Eric Strickland, Johnny Paycheck, Kacey Musgraves, Merle Haggard, Olds Sleeper, Rusty Knuckles, Stranger, Sturgill Simpson, Tom VandenAvond, Turnpike Troubadours, Whitey Morgan, Willie Nelson
Here is the list of 25 albums Saving Country Music deems essential for 2012 listening, and then I added an extra one I couldn’t leave off. Please note this list only includes albums that have been reviewed so far. There are a few more good and important albums in 2012 that have yet to be reviewed. The first 7 albums on the list (from Little Victories to Lee Bains) were all serious considerations for SCM’s Album of the Year.
Billy Don BUrns, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Chris Knight, Davy Jay Sparrow, Don Williams, essential albums, Foghorn Stringband, Jackson Taylor, James Leg, Joe Buck, Joseph Huber, JP Harris & The Tough Choices, Justin Townes Earle, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, Left Lane Cruiser, Lone Wolf, Marty Stuart, McDougall, Paige Anderson, Rachel Brooke, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Restavrant, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Sara Watkins, The Alabama Shakes, The Calamity Cubes, Tom VandenAvond, Willie Nelson
Every year this list stirs a little controversy because people misunderstand that these are not supposed to be the songs you “like” the best, but instead is supposed to be compositions in a given year that have the most impact. They’re songs that make you change the way you see the world, or change the way you see yourself. It is reserved for those few compositions that have the ability to change lives and to change the world.
Bigsky/Flatland, Billy Don BUrns, Chris Knight, Corb Lund, Drinking Whiskey, Eric Strickland, Good Lord Lorrie, Justin Twones Earle, Kacey Musgraves, Life Ain't Fair and the World Is Mean, Man In Gray, McDougall, Merry Go Round, New Year's Eve At The Gates Of Hell, Olds Sleeper, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Sara Watkins, Shooter Jennings, Song of the Year, Stranger, Sturgill Simpson, T Junior, Tom VandenAvond, Turnpike Troubadours, Unfortunately Anna, Wreck of a Fine Man
Not everybody will be able to make the trek to The Farmageddon Music Festival going down on July 20th-22nd in West Yellowstone, Montana at Hebgen Lake. But if you’re sitting on the fence, hemming and hawing, sweating because you only have two days left before you have to ask off for that extra day of work, here’s 12 random reasons to pull the trigger.
Aran Buzzas, Bob Wayne, Dead Tree String Band, Farmageddon Fest, Farmageddon Records, Graham Lindsey, Husky Burnette, McDougall, Slackeye Slim, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Soda Gardocki, Southern Culture on the Skids, Stevie Tombstone, The Calamity Cubes, The Goddamn Gallows, Tom VandenAvond, Ugly Valley Boys
Tom VandenAvond is one of these wheel guys. They may not be the flashiest of artists, but when you sit back and study the music, you find these wheel guys are essential to it in so many ways; how everything seems to revolve around them. They are the trunk from which so much other music grows. Trace the veins of the music and you find that their songs and work create foundations and inspiration.
Some confusion always seems to dog my lists of top songs, because I’m not just looking for that catchy tune you can’t take off of repeat, I’m looking for the song that changes your world. For a song to qualify, it must be original, and barring exceptional circumstances, it must be composed by the performer. These are songs that take you somewhere.
Scott McDougall from Portland, OR might be the last of the true Romantic-era troubadours: a bardic-like, almost fantasy character that arrives in town with a bass drum on his back and guitar in hand, and sets up at the local pub to sing songs, spin tales, slay lonesome moments, and save the spiritually repressed before whisking out of town like something out of a dream.
Few artists can articulate the important and poignant message of resetting priorities in life, and do it in such an enthralling manner as Scott McDougall. The Oregon-based One Man Band is set to release his sixth album A Few Towns More on April 10th, and promises to continue to carry his fans vicariously with him as he journeys across the country.
2012 will go down as the year that the roots music revolution went transcontinental, as the Muddy Roots Festival heads over to the Old World to storm the beaches of Europe with a ridiculous lineup of talent. Though the festival is happening in Europe, it will mostly feature American acts.
.357 String Band, Bob Wayne, Cashman, Derek Dunn, Heinrich XIII, Hillbilly Moon Explosion, Hollowbelly, Honkeyfinger, James Hunnicutt, Jayke Orvis, Lucky Tubb, Molly Gege, Muddy Roots Festival, Reverend Deadeye, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, The Buckshots, The Hackensaw Boys, Tio Gringo, Tom VandenAvond, Wayne Hancock
If you’re a tragic, tragic audiofile like myself, then you understand just what a blessing it is when out of the blue you discover an artist that really speaks to you, and it opens a brand new vein of music for you to enjoy for years to come. This is the experience most people come away with when hearing Willy Tea Taylor for the first time.
“Life Is Beautiful” is a laundry list song; a laundry list song that schools all of it’s counterparts by simply being honest, and thankful. It is one of the best songs of the year, and not a better, more necessary year could it have been presented to us. It is a masterpiece, and if it doesn’t move you, then well, I just give up. So give up 4 minutes of your time, and change your life.
We’ve been waiting for a legitimate, Larry Jon Wilson reissue for a long time, but fans of the crazy, punk-infused string band Larry & His Flask have been waiting for a full-on LP release from them for years as well, and finally got it today in the release of All That We Know in digital form, with CD’s to be ready in August.
Despite my SXSW preview blogs being horrifically under-read, and misunderstood as boastful bragging pieces about what others can’t experience instead of creative ways to promote artists I may otherwise not be able to talk about, and despite Saving Country Music being eaten by Facebook, ripped in half by XXX, and the last vestiges of readers descending into pointless polarized rants about Hank III and Jamey Johnson…
Austin Lucas, Brent Amaker & The Rodeo, Brigitte London, Caitlin Rose, Drag The River, Eddie Spaghettie, Have Gun Will Travel, Hellbound Glory, O'Death, Otis Gibbs, Possessed by Paul James, Rose's Pawn Shop, Ruby Jane, Scott Biram, Shake It Like A Caveman, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Soda, Ted Russell Kamp, Tom VandenAvond, Trampled by Turtles, Two Cow Garage, Whitey Morgan & The 78's, Willy Tea Taylor
For those that have never been to SXSW, the whole thing is broken down into showcases. A showcase can be put on by a record label, a booking agency, a publicity agency, a radio station, a blog, it doesn’t matter. And where doesn’t matter either. Wherever there is space in or near downtown Austin, there’s a band playing. Find yourself a space and make it happen!
Billy Joe Shaver, BR549, Brigitte London, Chris Scruggs, Dale Watson, Hank III, Hellbound Glory, Possessed by Paul James, Rosie Flores, Ruby Jane, SXSW, The Boomswagglers, Tom VandenAvond, Whitey Morgan & The 78's
As the name implies, Hillgrass Bluebilly Records defines the nexus of where hillbilly, country, bluegrass, and blues meet. This rich and diverse environment that has been created in the independent/underground music world embodies all roots music as unified expressions of purity and soul, regardless of the origins. Keith Mallette and co-founder Ryan Tackett have created a burgeoning homespun record label that is getting…
Bloodshot Records, Bob Log III, Fat Possum Records, Hillgrass Bluebilly, Hiran & Huddie, James Hand, Jesse Dayton, Keith Mallette, Larry & His Flask, Left Lane Cruiser, Possessed by Paul James, Roger Wallace, Scott H. Biram, Shooter Jennings, Soda, Ten Foot Polecats, The Boomswagglers, Tom VandenAvond, Wayne Hancock, William Elliot Whitmore
Following is my list for the essential albums for 2010, broken down into a few of categories.This is meant to compliment the Album of the Year candidates in this super-packed year for stellar music. Hopefully next year, Saving Country Music can branch out a bit and cover the more traditional mainstream acts, but it will always be on top of the smaller acts trying to get their music out there, not instead of them.
.357 String Band, Brigitte London, Dale Watson, Farmageddon Records, Hank III, Hillstomp, Jayke Orvis, Joseph Huber, Legendary Shack Shakers, Lucky Tubb, Peewee Moore, Pete Berwick, Reverend Deadeye, Shelli Coe, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, The Shivering Denizens, Those Poor bastards, Tom VandenAvond, Trampled by Turtles, Wayne Hancock, Whitey Morgan & The 78's
On Saturday night the Hole in the Wall in Austin, TX was transformed into “Dirtyfoot” headquarters for fans, bands and extended family of Hillgrass Bluebilly Records for their Launch Party. Folks from as far as Canada, Seattle, Minnesota, and Boston flew in exclusively for the event and helped pack the walls of the Hole to near capacity, while over 150 people from around the world tuned in through SCM Live to share the experience.
7 bands and 5 hours of music meant both Hole in the Wall’s stages were pressed into service….
Austin, Billy Joe Shaver, Dale Watson, Darren Hoff & The Hard Times, Hillgrass Bluebilly, Hole in The Wall, Jim Stringer, Larry & His Flask, Lisa Pankratz, Possessed by Paul James, Roger Wallace, Ten Foot Polecats, The Boomswagglers, Tom VandenAvond, Wayne Hancock
On Saturday the mother of all SCM Live events will be going down, as we will be broadcasting Hillgrass Bluebilly’s Launch Party, featuring 7 bands, 2 stages, and 6+ hours of music, all LIVE to anywhere in the world from the Hole in the Wall in Austin, TX!
Darren Hoff and The Hardtimes, Hillgrass Bluebilly Records, Hole in The Wall, Larry And His Flask, Possessed by Paul James, Roger Wallace, Ten Foot Polecats, The Boomswagglers, Tom VandenAvond, Willie Nelson