It’s not very common that you can preface a 70-year-old folk country songwriter that never had a big hit and the 14-year-olds in your family have probably never heard of as a “hot commodity,” but that’s exactly what John Prine feels like these days. “Beyond Words” is a songbook combined with a photo anthology in big, coffee-table form.
Not all music awards have to go to the worst artists of an industry like we’re used to, or be ushered in with “high school pageantry” (to quote Sturgill Simpson). For 15 years now, the Independent Music Awards have labored to highlight the artists that slip through the cracks in all the major genres of music.
Anna & Elizabeth, Baltic Crossing, Benny Turner, Cashavelly Morrison, Dori Freeman, Emily Roig, INdependent Music Awards, Jack Grelle, Little Freddie King, Rebecca Patek, The Danberrys, Tift Merritt, Tom Waits, Warren Haynes
For those fed up with the political system, scared to vote either way for two of the most unlikable Presidential candidates in recent memory, voting with trepidation, not voting in spite, or just plain wanting this whole election thing to end and hoping that somehow the United States can find a modicum of healing after it is all over…
Brennen Leigh, Canned Heat, Hayes Carll, Hellbound Glory, Jackson Taylor and the Sinners, Kinky Friedman, Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires, Leroy Virgil, Merle Haggard, Peter Dawson, Ronnie Dunn, Sunny Sweeney, Tom Waits, Waylon Jennings
Pushing 300 bills, living and dying off of junk food and cigarettes, apt to have a damn seizure right there in front of you, Husky Burnette isn’t some singer/songwriter looking to entertain your town’s upper crust as they dine on chef-prepared meals in a local listening room. This is a one man wrecking crew shack shaking country blues force of nature.
Like a wild animal pacing restlessly in a cage all day and then suddenly let free, Lindsey’s presence was an immediate burst of energy spilled on stage as he feverishly fulfilled his role as the Damn Band’s and Assjack’s screamer/singer. But if that’s all you knew of Gary Lindsey, you may hardly recognize him in a black sport coat and fedora, fronting Black Eyed Vermillion or The Pleasure Tide…
Over the last few years, David Letterman and The Late Show have become tireless supporters of many of the older country artists and up-and-comers that mainstream country so unfortunately pays little to no attention to. To giving artists like Ray Wylie Hubbard, Dale Watson, and Sturgill Simpson their first network debut, to being one of the few shows regularly willing to book Willie Nelson and other legends…
Amos Lee, Asleep at the Wheel, Band of Horses, Ben Bridwell, Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Dale Watson, Dave Matthews Band, David Letterman, Elizabeth Cook, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Iron & Wine, Mumford and Sons, Norah Jones, Ralph Stanley, Ray Wylie Hubbard, The Avett Brothers, The Late Show, Tom Waits, Tracy Chapman, Willie Nelson
Written by Johnson and Dan Couch somewhere around 2004 or 2005, “You Can” was kept on the sidelines as Jamey’s major releases The Dollar, That Lonesome Song, and The Guitar Song came out, never making the final cut. But now that Johnson is out from under the thumb of the industry, if he wants to randomly release a single on a cold day in February, he can. Whether it suits his best interests or not.
Less country music Christmas albums, and more country music Halloween albums I say. And if a cottage industry happened to crop up for spooky country music every October, it would stand to reason Madison, Wisconsin’s Those Poor Bastards would have the market cornered. Beware interlopers and carpetbaggers, these bastards have been purveyors of their self-described “Country Doom” for a decade.
A troubadour in every sense of the word, Otis Gibbs is an artist who can inspire even the most timid among us to shush a burly bar troll talking over one of his performances. This is music to lean in and listen to. This is music to get lost in as the lives of characters you’ve never heard of before become as intimate and familiar as family in the span of four minutes.
“The No-Hit Wonder” is old school country rock at its finest, with exquisitely-crafted, cunning lyrical runs that make you laugh, amazing insight enhanced by brilliant timing and pentameter, and musical clothing that enhance each song’s strengths and endear them to the audience, pointing them the way to the album’s enjoyment. This is the album Cory Branan needed to release.
As the lives of most songwriters go, John Fullbright has lived a charmed one for sure. His debut studio release, 2012’s “From The Ground Up” found its way to the very highest reaches of industry accolades when it was nominated for Best Americana Album at the 55th Grammy Awards, and he seemed to be quickly anointed as a songwriting golden boy out of the gate.
Yes, yes, it’s the age-old complaint that music doesn’t sound as good as it used to, and that the singers of today aren’t nearly as good as the ones we grew up with. Though there is certainly a bit of “old man syndrome” that creeps into this endless debate about the direction of popular music, there is also very specific and irrefutable data that backs up these claims that music isn’t as good.
Texas native and current Nashvillian Robert Ellis is certainly a candidate to take that critical acclaim baton from Jason Isbell and run with it as an artist who seems to effortlessly deliver songs with cutting emotional moments in an awe-inspiring display of deft creativity. His much-anticipated new album Lights From The Chemical Plant is full of those instances that give you shivers…
The River & The Thread is an album that was worth waiting for. Produced and co-written with Rosanne’s husband, accomplished musician John Leventhal, this album is exhaustive, thematic, all-encompassing, and compromises nothing when it comes to desiring the highest degree of quality in songwriting and production.
Allison Moorer, Americana, Derek Trucks, John Leventhal, John Paul White, John Prine, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Review, Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash, The Civil Wars, The River & The Thread, Tom Waits, Tony Joe White
“Hey, have you heard of The White Buffalo?” This is one of the questions that has plagued the second half of my 2013, as devotees of the shadowy, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter pursue me, knowing what a sucker I am for narrative-based songwriting told through a thematic album. And that’s just what The White Buffalo, aka Jake Smith delivers in his latest record “Shadows, Greys, and Evil Ways” released in September.
One of the great things about roots music is its Gothic legacy of cautionary tales, ghost stories, murder ballads, messages to the infirmed, and other such methods of macabre that allow country and roots artists to paint in dark colors when they so choose. This makes roots music one of the best realms to draw from when putting together your Halloween playlist.
.357 String Band, Black Jake & The Carnies, Creech Holler, Dad Horse Experience, Devil Makes Three, Filthy Still, Goddamn Gallows, Jay Munly, Jayke Orvis, Joe Buck Yourself, Joel Kaiser & The Devil's Own, Larry & His Flask, Lincoln Durham, Lindi Ortega, Lonesome Wyatt, Nick Cave, O' Death, Pine Box Boys, Pinebox Serenade, Rachel Brooke, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Reverend Glasseye, Rodentia, Serial Killer, Shakey Graves, Slackeye Slim, Slaughter Daughters, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Sons of Perdition, Squidbillies, Strawfoot, Th' Legendary Shack Shakers, The Bloody Jug Band, The Dinosaur Truckers, The Haunted Windchines, The Perreze Farm, The Slow Poisoner, Those Poor bastards, Tom Waits, unknown hinson, Viva Le Vox, Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys
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
“Country must evolve” is the way it is sold to the country music public when pop and hip-hop influences are invited into the country music fold. What these folks fail to point out is that country has been trying to evolve for 30 some odd years right under their noses. Are you looking for true progress and evolution in country music? Look no further than this list of women.
Abigail Washburn, Amanda Shires, Anderson Family Bluegrass, Asleep at the Wheel, Be Good Tanya's, Bela Fleck, Brandi Carlile, Caitlin Rose, Dale Watson, First Aid Kit, Hank Williams, Jolie Holland, Kacey Musgraves, Kasey Chambers, Liz Rose, Neko Case, Paige Anderson, Rachel Brooke, Rounder Records, Ruby Jane, Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, The Beach Boys, The Carter Family, The Trishas, Tom Waits, Uncle Earl, Willie Nelson
Though Americana may be a less-institutionalized and much smaller genre that tends to have better music and promote artists that are easier to respect, sometimes it can seem almost as exclusive as Music Row. So here is a list of artists that even considering Americana’s heavy requirements, could make it big and improve the Americana world if only given a chance.
This album is good both because it is Willie, and because it is good. After years of navigating through a gray area in his career and having to dabble with some record labels probably less able to do a Willie release justice, he’s back with the same company who released Red Headed Stranger, and back to making albums worthy of the world stopping down to pay attention to.
If there’s honor amongst thieves, then it only seems fitting there should be a Grifter’s Hymnal. And if there’s going to be a Grifter’s Hymnal, it’s only fitting Ray Wylie Hubbard should compose it. The ingredients of grifters are already mixed there on his palette: Tales of dead and dying things and dens of iniquity, the struggle or the soul between good and evil, and the difficulty sometimes of telling the two apart.
When you consider yourself some type of high fallutin’ music critic, you get asked many times what your favorites albums of all time are. I would honestly say that Happy Birthday, Sabo! by the long since defunct band Royal Fingerbowl sits in my top 3 albums of all time, and can reside in the very top spot depending on the current mood. Happy Birthday, Sabo! is an album of sheer madness.
Despite the safety, there is a good flow to this music, and a patience. In most music, you have a group of guys doing their best individually, hoping it fits in the context of the song. With Velvet, everyone is on board, listening to the music and what the song is calling for. It’s the difference of four horsemen riding side by side across the plain, or four horses yoked together.
So here it is, the list of albums Saving Country Music deems essential for 2011 listening. Please note this list only includes albums that have been reviewed so far. And as always, your feedback is encouraged. What are your essential albums? What did we miss? What was released in 2011 that deserves a review?
Bob Wayne, Coday Canada, Eilen Jewell, Gillian Welch, Hank3, Husky Burnette, Jason Boland, Jimbo Mathus, Larry & His Flask, Little Lisa Dixie, Lone Wolf, Lonesome Wyatt, Lucky Tubb, Lydia Loveless, Nick 13, Olds Sleeper, Rachel Brooke, Scott H. Biram, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Sunday Valley, The Damn Quails, The Dirt Daubers, The Goddamn Gallows, Tom Waits, Ugly Valley Boys, William Elliot Whitmore, Willy Tea Taylor