Oh the irony of so many people demanding all music sound the same in the name of “diversity.” The only reason we’re even having a discussion of where Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” should be placed on the charts is because you can’t tell the difference between most any given piece of popular music anymore.
For many years, the influence and contributions of African American musicians in country music went mostly overlooked, or overshadowed by their Caucasian counterparts. However there has been a recent trend by media and even some artists to overstate the influence of African Americans.
Aaron Vance, Allison Russell, Amythyst Kiah, Charley Crockett, Charley Pride, Darius Rucker, DeFord Bailey, Dom Flemons, Hank Williams, Jimmie Allen, Jimmie Rodgers, Kane Brown, Leyla McCalla, Mickey Guyton, Ray Charles, Rhiannon Giddens, Rufus Payne, Valerie June
It’s almost becoming an annual tradition for Eric Church: Show up to a country music awards show, and share the mic and the moment with a woman that the rest of us need to know about. In 2018 at the 52nd Annual CMA Awards, it was a familiar face to many of Eric Church’s most devoted fans, but a new face to much of America.
Of the many traditions of country music that have been trounced upon and forgotten in recent history, the culture of male country artists being complimented by women on stage is one of the most regrettable. Whether it was Dolly playing with Porter, Emmylou singing with Gram, or scores of other examples…
AmericanaFest, Ashley McBryde, Elizabeth Cook, Eric Church, Erin Rae, JP Harris, Kristina Murray, Michaela Anne, Rhiannon Giddens, Sam Outlaw, Sunny War, The Secret Sisters, The Watson Twins, Valerie June
There would be no mainstream country music career for Ashley McBryde if it weren’t for the help of Eric Church. Eric Church isn’t a guy you would expect to be a big champion of country music’s women on the surface. But quietly, Church has become a champion of many of country music’s most deserving women.
Ashley McBryde, Brandi Carlile, Eleanor Whitmore, Eric Church, Jaime Wyatt, Lzze Hale, Michaela Anne, Molly Jensen, Molly Parden, Patty Griffin, Rhiannon Giddens, Sam Outlaw, Shooter Jennings, Valerie June
Let’s face it. For a host of reasons, it’s pretty rare to see African Americans making country and roots music. But when they do, more often that not, they’re doing it the right way, pushing the music forward creatively while fiercely helping to preserving the past, becoming part of the solution instead of prolonging the problem.
Aaron Vance, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Charley Crockett, Charley Pride, Cleve Davis, Darius Rucker, DeFord Bailey, Dom Flemons, Jerry Pentacost, Kaia Kater, Kane Brown, Mickey Guyton, Milton Patton, Rhiannon Giddens, Rufus Payne, Tony Jackson, Valerie June
Valerie June is the kind of cool everybody wants to be. She started out as roots music’s own little special creature with her primitive country Gospel soul songs—an unearthed gem of Americana made that much more cherished because it was a personal discovery way before the general population caught on.
Just what 2017 has in store for us in the country music department remains to be seen. But we do know about what to expect in the release department for at least the first quarter of the year, while rumors abound about the big projects that could come to light later in 2017. Here’s a run down of what we know, what we think we know, and what we would like to believe.
Aaron Watson, Ags Connolly, Alison Krauss, Casey James Prestwood, Charlie Worsham, Chris Knight, Chris Stapleton, Colter Wall, Curtis McMurtry, Dale Watson, Dan Auerbach, Dave Cobb, George Jones, Guy Clark, Holly Williams, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Jaime Wyatt, Jason Isbell, JB Beverley, Justin Townes Earle, Marty Stuart, MOderna Mal, Nikki Lane, Old Crow Medicine Show, Otis Gibbs, Phoebe Hunt, Ray Benson, Ray Scott, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Rhiannon Giddens, Robbie Fulks, Scott H. Biram, Shinyribs, Son Volt, Steve Earle, Sunny Sweeney, The Gibson Brothers, The Sadies, The Secret Sisters, Tift Merritt, Valerie June, Whitney Rose
Saving Country Music has a rich, storied history when it comes to sharing opinions about Eric Church. Forget that just as much of the ink spilled for Church has been praising as it has been critical, when you’re dealing with an artist who enjoys a strong, grassroots fan base, you’re almost never going to win when you have something less than favorable to say.
Andrea Davidson, Eric Church, Jay Joyce, Jeff Hyde, Jeff Tweedy, Jeremy Spillman, Luke Dick, Mr. Misunderstood, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Review, Rhiannon Giddens, Susan Tedeschi, Travis Meadows, Valerie June
I know you probably receive dozens of these types of letters, and they all make strong cases for who the author wishes you select for the next season. But in the case of Ray Wylie Hubbard, I really think it would not only mean a tremendous amount to Ray, but it would mean a tremendous amount to Austin City Limits to finally and formally recognize one of Austin’s most important performers, and help preserve his place in Austin music.
“Just Me and These Ponies” is a Christmas song for people who do not like Christmas songs, but still like country music and Corb Lund. And if you do happen to dig on a little ring ting tingling, you might find something to appreciate here too, even if the mood and perspective Corb works in is a dour one. And like all great Christmas songs, it may do so for years to come.
Pickathon is the roots music experience like no other. It offers one of the most forward-thinking lineups in the independent festival circuit, is two steps ahead in featuring artists that are on the verge of becoming the next big thing, and presents the artist in some of the most unique settings to be found. Even if you can’t make it to the Northwest extremity of the country next weekend….
Charlie Parr, Chris Thile, Della Mae, John Doe, Jon Langford, Neko Case, NIckel Creek, Old Crow Medicine Show, Possessed by Paul James, Robbie Fulks, Sara Watkins, Sean Watkins, Shakey Graves, The Black Lillies, The Sadies, Valerie June, Willie Watson
The greatest album, and the greatest recorded song will never be able to trump the truly live musical experience where music is shared in real time with both the artist and listeners. It is in this spirit that each year I assemble a list of the Best Live Performances to reinforce that as technology and the busying of life incrementally encroach upon us, we must remember that the live music show deserves its own attention and reverence.
.357 String Band, 2013, American Aquarium, Andrew Bird, Austin City Limits, Best Live Performances, Bob Wayne, Dirty River Boys, Eric Church, Gruene Hall, Hellbound Glory, James Hunnicutt, Jared McGovern, Jason Eady, Jason Isbell, Jayke Orvis, LeAnn Rimes, Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires, Lincoln Durham, Liz Sloan, Patsy Cline, Pickathon, Punch Brothers, Red 11, The Crooks, The Mavericks, The White Horse, Tift Merritt, Turnpike Troubadours, Valerie June, XSXSW
When you sit down to assemble a list of candidates for Song of the Year, you almost start to tremble in the face of so much creativity, inspiration, and insight, and grow humbled by how fortunate we are to live in such a bountiful time for music. Candidates for Song of the Year can’t just be songs we enjoy, they are songs that make you change the way you see the world, or change the way you see yourself.
2013, Adam Hood, Alone In Memphis, Ashley Monroe, Austin Lucas, best songs, Brandy Clark, Brennen Leigh, Brian Keane, Caitlin Rose, Charlie Robison, Deadman's Blues, Disappear On Down The Line, Drinkin', El Camino, Elephant, Hank3, Holly Williams, I'll Sing About Mine, Jason Isbell, JB Beverley, John Moreland, Josh Abbott Band, Lindi Ortega, Matt Woods, Noel McKay, Shane McAnally, Song of the Year, Stripes, Sturgill Simpson, Tin Star, Valerie June, Wade Bowen Songs About Trucks
Country music in 2013 feels like the best of times, and the worst of times. While a few top male performers perpetrate untold atrocities on the integrity of the genre, the rise of independent music and infrastructure in the marketplace is now almost to the point where it equals its corporate counterpart. Quality songs and worthy artists are beginning to see more and more support…
Ashley Monroe, Austin Lucas, Avett Brothers, Blake Shelton, Bobb Bare, Caitlin Rose, CMA Awards, Cory Branan, Country Music Hall of Fame, Dale Watson, Darius Rucker, David Letterman, East Nashville, Gary Allan, Grand Ole Opry, Guy Clark, Hellbound Glory, Jack Clement, Jason Isbell, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Urban, Kid Rock, Lindi Ortega, Mumford and Sons, Nashville, Old Crow Medicine Show, Old Farts and Jackasses, Outlaw Country Music Hall of Fame, Pokey LaFarge, Rascal Flatts, Ray Price, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Shovels and Rope, Sturgill Simpson, Taylor Swift, The Lumineers, Tom Petty, Twones Van Zandt, Valerie June, Zac Brown
Everywhere in the independent music world you’re seeing songwriters who have struggled for years finally starting to get singed to record labels and releasing career-caliber albums. Whereas other sectors of the music industry seem to be gripped by the fear that digitization and streaming may ultimately doom the business of music, talented songwriters are benefiting from the search for the next writer to break out.
Amanda Shires, Ashley Monroe, Austin City Limits, Austin Lucas, Caitlin Rose, Dale Watson, Drive By Truckers, Jason Isbell, Kacey Musgraves, Pokey LaFarge, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Rolling Stones, Shovels & Rope, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Sturgill Simpson, Valerie June
I know very little about Valerie June, and aspire to keep it that way. A natural mystery swirls around this woman similarly to the tresses emanating from her topside like a living, organic crown. Valerie June seems more apparition than woman—vanishing and appearing in the most random moments like a mythical character born in the mind of an early European troubadour….
You know how you may root for a hometown sports team for years even though they’re terrible, and then out of the blue when they start to get good you don’t know how to behave because you’ve identified with losing for so long? Well that is what is happening in 2013 with many of the artists Saving Country Music and so many loyal fans have been following for years.
Valerie June, the self-proclaimed purveyor of “Organic Moonshine Roots Music,” had her fans in sheer disbelief, while the rest of the audience was wondering, “Who is this astounding singer?” when she unexpectedly appeared on national television singing an intimate, stripped-down version of the song “Like Jesus Does” with Eric Church at the ACM Awards a few weeks ago.
We’ve talked about 7 Men Who Could Immediately Make Country Music Better, now let’s take a look at 9 women who could do the same. It’s been well documented that here in 2013, the women of country are outpacing the men when it comes to the quality of music–women like Kacey Musgraves who’ve seen breakout commercial success.
Ashley Monroe, Cary Ann Hearst, Dixie Chicks, Emmylou Harris, Eric Church, First Aid Kit, Holly Williams, Kellie Pickler, Lindi Ortega, Pistol Annies, Rachel Brooke, Shovels & Rope, The Civil Wars, The Trishas, Valerie June
About a half hour in to Sunday night’s 2013 Academy of Country Music Awards presentation, Eric Church took the stage to perform an acoustic version of his latest single “Like Jesus Does.” As much as Eric Church’s performance caught the ACM crowd and Eric’s fans by surprise, so did this virtually unknown singer accompanying him. Eric Church’s duet partner was none other than Memphis, Tennessee native Valerie June.
ACM Awards, Dan Auerbach, Eric Church, girl who sanf with Eric Church on the ACM Awards, girl who sang with Eric Church on the ACM Awards, Like Jesus Does, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Black Keys, Valerie June