Editor’s Note: This is a contribution to Saving Country Music by Zac McDaniel who is a freelance writer. Zac is also a rancher and small business owner from Oklahoma. Along with immersing himself in the music of others he is also an aspiring songwriter. He enjoys spending time with his wife, children and Gibson guitar. […]
There’s no stopping the Turnpike Troubadours. The mainstream country music industry may continue to turn a blind eye to their regional and national success, but that won’t slow them down at all. As they continue to put on one of the most engaging live shows in country music, the crowds at their shows continue to swell.
Zane Williams is a smart one, and like many others are recognizing, he understands that the new trend in country music, is actual country music. And this has been exemplified in the Texas scene as much as anywhere. Zane Williams senses that people want by God country music again, and that’s exactly what he delivers on the aptly titled ‘Bringin’ Country Back.’
If your a recent Turnpike Troubadours convert and never got a chance to own their very first debut album Bossier City, you better jump on the opportunity now because for a limited time they’re making it available to the public once again, with proceeds going to a good cause.
Dolly Shine is a young, hungry, and adept Texas country band in the truest sense, shifting between bluesy rock and traditional country, and calling regularly on the fiddle to carry songs with the strong influences of Texas music right out front for listeners to latch onto.
No, it’s not a Nirvana cover, but it is quite a surprise from the Turnpike Troubadours, who usually tend to leave their fans salivating for new music between album releases with agonizing impatience. Without pretense or explanation, the Oklahoma natives dropped a new single called “Come As You Are” on Friday, and it has folks all abuzz and for good reason.
Aaron Lewis, the frontman for the emo noise band Staind, whose been dabbling in country music for years now, has just signed to Dot records—a division of the Big Machine Label Group—and will be releasing a new record called Sinner on September 16th. And as part of the announcement, Aaron has released a country protest song called “That Ain’t Country.”
There’s not much worse than having a hankering for some new music from one of your favorite artists, but feeling like you’ve been waiting forever for it to happen. There are many reasons an artist or band may have a delay in output. But dammit, sometimes you feel like you just can’t wait. Here’s a few folks that it feels like are past due for new projects.
Now that we are well into May, many people are wondering where the announcement for Willie Nelson’s annual 4th of July Picnic is. The country music institution, started in 1972 with the Dripping Springs Reunion (not officially held on the 4th) has been going strong ever since, despite skipping a couple of years here and there.
Right now, Texas and Oklahoma is being robbed of its female talent from Nashville and the two coasts. And these women are regularly sucked up into a system that absconds with their creative freedom, sexualizes their image, and drops them unceremoniously whenever their commercial viability is perceived to be spent.
American Aquarium, Aubrie Sellers, Billy Joe Shaver, Brennen Leigh, Bri Bagwell, Courtney Patton, Hot Club of Cowtown, Jamie Lin Wilson, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Kacey Musgraves, Lee Ann Womack, Maren Morris, Medicine Stone, Miranda Lambert, Randy Rogers Band, Ryan Engleman, Samantha Crain, Shane Smith and the Saints, Sister C, Stoney LaRue, Sunny Sweeney, The Quebe Sisters, Turnpike Troubadours
Scheduled to take place this year between April 18th to the 23rd, the Larry Joe Taylor Festival will welcome an estimated 50,000 people through the gates over 6 days, and feature music on three stages from over 50 bands at the Melody Mountain Ranch in Stephenville, TX. One of the biggest and oldest music festivals in the country, Larry Joe Taylor Fest has been going on for over a quarter century.
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.
Turnpike Troubadours frontman Evan Felker is one of the most respected songwriters in Texas Country/Red Dirt and beyond, including just having his song “The Bird Watchers” named Saving Country Music’s Song of the Year for 2015. But after numerous drunken performances, some fans are in an uproar, while others are reaching out with sympathy and concern for the songwriter.
Too often in music we tend to focus on the here and now, the young and the new. Who are the hot names that are rising up in the ranks? Who’s going to make a big splash in music in the coming months and years? All this talk is understandable. It’s fun. But this is not always the best exercise for fleshing out who actually has the music most worthy of being recognized.
When it comes to picking the “best” songs from a given time period, it’s a much more subjective chore than selecting the best albums or the best artists. Our relationship with songs is just so much more intimate. The emotions songs can touch tend to range so much farther on the spectrum. To discover a song that really touches you, it’s not just dependent on the songwriter to write and perform a compelling tune.
The Americana Music Association has compiled their year-end list of the Top 100 albums of 2015. Unlike many of the other lists you’re bludgeoned with this time of year, this one isn’t based off on anyone’s opinion. It’s based on the reporting to the Americana Airplay Chart during the period of December 2, 2014 through November 30, 2015. The list also a good tool to see what you may have missed in 2015.
Being willing to go where a song takes you is the challenge in the heart of every music lover. Hopefully one of these songs released in 2015 will take you some place you want to be, or somewhere you’ve never been before. These songs were selected on their own merit, not from the strength of the artist or album from where they came.
Brennen Leigh, Cody Jinks, Dawes, Eric Church, Eric Paslay, Evan Felker, James McMurtry, JB Beverley, John Moreland, Justin Townes Earle, Kacey Musgraves, Love and Theft, Mo Pitney, Randy Rogers, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Sunny Sweeney, Turnpike Troubadours, Wade Bowen
Many of the creators and producers of these involved and more distinguished television series are fans of these lesser-known artists, and look for opportunities to plant Easter eggs for independent listeners. As non-mainstream music continues to increase in market share, such occurrences are happening more frequently on cable shows and elsewhere.
2015’s Album of the Year candidates might constitute the most wide open field of contenders since this exercise has been in practice. There’s no clear front runners, anyone could win, and each candidate has pluses and minuses. Like every year, your opinion counts, and may even count more this year with no clear front runner.
Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Don Henley, James McMurtry, Jamie Lin Wilson, Jason Boland and the Stragglers, Jason Isbell, Jason James, John Moreland, Kacey Musgraves, Lindi Ortega, Lonesome Wyatt, MIke and the Moonpies, Rachel Brooke, Randy Rogers, Roo Arcus, Ryan Bingham, Turnpike Troubadours, Wade Bowen, Ward Thomas, Whitey Morgan, Whitey Morgan and the 78's, Yelawolf
“18,700”: This is the number of albums Toby Keith sold upon the debut of his new record 35 MPH Town, and it got me to thinking, which artists and bands have beat that number in a year of unprecedented ascent in independent country music? 2015 is the year it became common to see one of your favorite independent acts and aging legends compete at the top of the album charts.
How cool is it to have a father and a son in the same band? There’s a beer league factor to the Electric Rag Band, and not in a bad way. They make music when they can, how they can, and for the right reasons. And they’ve been doing it for quite a while now. Formed in 1994, their new record My Side accounts for their sixth release.
‘Things That Can’t Be Undone’ is one of those albums you ultimately enjoy, but you may have initial reservations about, or maybe even concerns over, or downright complaints about for some listeners because it is full of unexpected curve balls. This album is not like anything Corb has ever released before. Pairing up with Corb is producer extraordinaire and the man of the hour in Americana Dave Cobb.
Who knows what goes into deciding what bands and artists launch into the stratosphere. and which ones are destined to slag it out on a slow build spending umpteen hours in a smelly tour van. All I know is I’ve seen Mike and the Moonpies get name checked by Sturgill Simpson and open for the Turnpike Troubadours on numerous occasions, and never did their music strike me as second class.
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.