Rolling Country 2017

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Nashville Scene will publish the seventeenth annual Country Music Critics Poll January 26, 2017. While we're waiting (or not), might as well paste comments I sent them that weren't from RC '16---anybody else got some of those? Or comments on newer releases would be good (still haven't gotten to Natalie Hemby's album, but nice clips).

dow, Thursday, 12 January 2017 01:45 (eight months ago) Permalink

Buck Owens’ The Complete Capitol Singles 1967-1966 starts with so-what songs and subdued settings, but his voice is already flexible and on point, mining each note and syllable just enough to check for whatever might be worth extracting--carefully but quickly (2 hours, 12 minutes of music here, and virtually every track is under three minutes, some of the best and worst just over two).
In the booklet he’s the first to assert that these early tracks were not so hot, because he didn’t have the cred to things his way under the success of “Under Your Spell Again” proved his point (several follow-ups glance off its template; whatever the commercial results, takes a while before one sounds nearly as good). It’s still a startling quality bump to a leap, the classic Buck suddenly materializing, declaring (no complaints, not like before). “You’ve. Got. Me. Unn-der, your spellll again, “ doing all the things he does with beats and short phrases in the California melding of country with rock ‘n’ roll appeal----in brief of course, though later he’ll sometimes bring in a suggestion of Latin and/or Caribbean curvature in the held vocal notes and supporting sounds, or, more on the per se country side, wail each note of the chorus over a thin ticky-tocky snare and rhythm guitar pick: this is music from another hit factory, for sure. Starting, as he says, with the rule of treble---no more tracks “where it sounds like the bass player is standing in front of the singer”----and little mono speakers in the control room, to check how the mix will sound on transistors and car radios: he wants it clear, and it sounds like he wants it edgey, baby: the bright metallic “Bakersfield Sound” of money-making machinery, in synch and bouncing off the tin roof sun, with jangling breezes and currents, dust and foliage and the available or at least glimpsed waters: all in in California chrome reflections cruising by.
Cruising by what, you may ask. Well--- not that he spends much time, after label-imposed early stints, hunkered down and brooding, but when he does, it’s all somebody else’s fault. Or, if he gets up and stumbles by the house that used to be his home, where his wifenkids still live, where he mumbles that he maybe kinda blew it---but he paid for it, and there they are, all warm and together and shit---but he can make himself grudgingly acknowledge his sins and thus join them in Heaven someday, after everybody’s dead---and this is all, at most, that taking responsibility etc can get you---so the exception proves the rule.
But he has no flair for “J’accuse!”, nor for guilt and expiation and other whiskey-selling Jukebox Gothic rituals, none of that cobwebbed indoor stuff. This is Cali, dude! Responsibility and wide-opening-mindedness gradually appear organically---transition first noticed in “Mental Cruelty”, where he brings Rose Maddox into a Divorce Court reenactment of how she took him to the cleaners; really nobody’s fault, shit happens, but all she had to do was drop those two little words---one starts with an “M.”, the other with a “C.”---and cha-ching. But, as she recites her part, dryly enough to seem wry, and hollow-toned, suggesting a prisoner-of-war’s forced confession, subliminally conveyed---time enough to devise a code, in that cell, she caps it all by barely bearing down on the mention of his “way of life”, which she declined to participate in any longer...and this is allowed! In a perhaps alternate time, he proposes that they stop “Kickin’ Hearts Around”, ‘cause it’s just too time-and-maybe-other consuming; in “Loose Talk”, he and Maddox rally against a common threat, of a mobocracy of gossiping, even gaslighting neighbors and fremenies: he assures her that the terrible things they tell her he does go ditto for tales of that flaming Rose. This same thing happens in another song on down the line----see, you just gotta keep moving. In yet another possibly alternate-universe turn, he gets turned on, not scandalized, by her going out, “Foolin’ Around”---didn’t know she had it in her, maybe, or maybe his competitive side, gets turned on, in a sporting way---he cheerfully proposes that she “come on home, and fool around with me..” Subsequently, when he’s got “A Tiger By The Tail”, he sounds a bit apprehensive, but also “one hand waving free”, as young Mr. D, can only wish for”--here ‘tis, over the Buckaroos’ rodeo jolt and swirl ( despite a few duds and placeholders, sound quality gets better and better, with more room for instrumental interplay, without stretching out).
The swirl gets get a little braincloudy in the resonant street-wide sunlight of “Waiting In Your Welfare Line”, where an inspired gentleman caller is sure you’ll give him another shot---after all, he gave up everything the first time he saw you, and it’ll all make sense when you bring it back---and if you do so in a “Welfare Cadillac”, that’s gravy---that song isn’t here, but it’s nice the way this one leaves its strictures in the dust of absurdist pop social commentary, if you want to take it as such. Mostly, of course, we get good clean fun---the speedy corn-plucking seasons of Hee-Haw aren’t far away--and here we also have some vocal x instrumental turns that still conjure drooling Byrds, Beatles, Parsons, Mavericks, and certainly certainly Yoakam (for instance).

dow, Thursday, 12 January 2017 01:49 (eight months ago) Permalink

Listened to Amanda Shires' 2016 album today, but better give it more spins before commenting. Meanwhile another from Nash Scene ballot reissues:

Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, The Complete Trio Collection: the title isn’t quite accurate, as the Wikipedia article on this round-up points out: several more tracks from the original Trio and Trio II’s 80s and 90s sessions turned up on solo albums, as did a few of the 20 that are included on the bonus disc. Some of the alternate takes and previously unreleased titles (which could have added variety of style, detail, and/or dynamics to the troika’s LP-length albums) sung strictly or nearly solo, seem more effective than the previously released versions: when the song is about and from a solitary place, other voices, at least when they enter at predictable points, can slightly dilute the brew, pad the impact, no matter how much they want you to know, “ You ‘n’ me both, Kid” and furthermore ,” I’m with you, Sister.”
But those responses are never far away, even in the darkest, starkest moments. It may seem, especially given Parton’s weepier tendencies as singer and writer, that they’ll all get stuck on a lover’s cross, and they def have their hang-ups, but don’t we all, and ain’t that country, but mainly there is, often enough (usually every few seconds, only a few DOA, although that’s another country tradition too, of course), at the very least, an implicit yet not too polite strength in self-assertion and solidarity. Which certainly goes with the blend of traditional and modern, in the sounds and sentiments. “Lover’s “Return”, written or anyway copyrighted by principals of the Original Carter Family, is mountain-y and civil, while informing the one who once dumped her, and now comes crawling back, “God doesn’t give us back our youth.” Parton writes and sings “Wildflowers” with folk tropes calmly moving to her wish granted, “the garden set me free.(Had to be, for the garden’s sake as well: “The flowers grew/Too close together.”).
Ronstadt’s robust tones are at their most flexible here, sometimes suggesting Karen Carpenter negotiating the maybe chromatic turns of “Goodbye To Love”, but then again she wisely lets the other two take most of the highest notes, but say if Carpenter had lived to cover “Live To Tell” or something with the same burnished intrigue---not the cheesier 80s….mainly I’m thinking of the 1987 Trio’s version of “I’ve Had Enough”, which is immediately recognizable by its combination of romantic to almost but never quite post-romantic eloquence, blunt and frilly, in lyrics and melody. It sounds sophisticated, wised-up yet still maybe naive and nostalgic at some points, or wanting to be, hoarding the crumbs, the scars, the hopes, the history (in the Wikipedia entry, Parton is quoted as saying they didn’t understand what the hell “After The Gold Rush” meant, and supposedly they called Neil and he said he didn’t know either, but conceptually it’s perfectly, ruefully at home in these sessions, while still sounding a little drippy, as always--though more so here, when Parton changes the candidly confessional “I felt like getting high” to feeling like she could cry). The alternate “I’ve Had Enough” is one of the few easy choices for exclusion, since it draws the harmonists into tiny waves of insular, rainy day consolation around the old upright (no longer the cosmopolitan, note-bending electric on Trio II). This is good as far as it goes,(which is backwards, sonically: they’re not walking it like they talk it), but reminds me of the stylish young Canadienne in an 80s (maybe early 90s) documentary about the McGarrigles, who said that their songs reminded her of “what the nuns used to make us sing,” and why she moved to the big city.
(Perhaps to be included among this year’s Related Reissues, Kate and Anna McGarrigle mine their rich mix of signals in several directions on
Pronto Monto, from 1978: the sometimes exhilarating results are still mixed too, appropriately enough)(wonder what 70s Neil Young thought about them?)
Emmylou Harris’s choice of material is not so striking, but in this context, her solo voice can seem to draw in properties of the other two---who, when they come in, can seem like further definitions, a new mix, of her high and low ends---until the unified effect becomes a sonic spectrum (helps with the nuances and other details too).
As far as left-behinds now adding the aforementioned variety of etc., the hymn “Softly and Tenderly” is just like the title says without cloying or clotting. The Roebuck Staples-co-write “You Don’t Knock” truly and briskly believes in abstaining from timidity at Heaven’s door. “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind” is Parton leading a tailfeather tambourine handclapping parade in the face of and past another no-good ex, with another reminder of what’s being missed on the Hallelujah Trail (a good thing or three).

dow, Friday, 13 January 2017 01:50 (eight months ago) Permalink

http://www.savingcountrymusic.com/no-the-randy-rogers-band-is-not-playing-at-trumps-presidential-inauguration/

But Randy Rogers is playing at a long-running event that’s been held since 1953 by the Texas State Society called Black Tie and Boots in Oxon Hill, Maryland that has become one of the most prestigious events leading up to the inauguration for the last 60 years, but has no direct affiliation with Mr. Trump’s official inauguration itself.

curmudgeon, Friday, 13 January 2017 14:53 (eight months ago) Permalink

I'm not that big a KK fan, though some of his songs are good vehicles for other singers, and some of his own tracks are okay--- though he's better with other voices, the Highwaymen etc., so some of these guests might help (maybe even Steve Earle, which tells you something about how I hear Kristofferson):

KRIS KRISTOFFERSON: THE AUSTIN SESSIONS

1997 Recording Featuring Stripped-Down Versions Kristofferson's Best Songs
Has Been Remastered And Expanded With Two Unreleased Outtakes

Available From Rhino On February 10

LOS ANGELES - In the summer of 1997, Kris Kristofferson spent a few days in Texas recording stripped-down versions of his best-known songs. Released by Atlantic Records in 1999, The Austin Sessions pairs the acclaimed outlaw country songwriter with a band of studio aces and guest harmony vocalists for intimate versions of classics like "Me and Bobby McGee," "Why Me?" and "Sunday Morning Coming Down."

Rhino Records celebrates these powerful recordings with an expanded version of the album that features remastered sound and includes two unreleased session outtakes. Fred Mollin, who produced the original album, tells the story behind the sessions in the collection's liner notes, which also feature several unpublished photos from the time. THE AUSTIN SESSIONS: EXPANDED EDITION will be available February 10 on CD ($13.98) and digitally ($9.99). A remastered vinyl version of The Austin Sessions will also be available on the same day ($21.98).

Kristofferson recorded The Austin Sessions at Arlyn Studios in Texas with a group of session veterans from Los Angeles and Nashville who were hand-picked by Mollin, who also plays acoustic guitar on the album. Kristofferson's longtime touring guitarist Stephen Bruton appears on several songs as well.

Mollin recalls: "I knew in my heart that I could pull off a great under-produced production and give Kris the album he always wanted to make: one that felt like it had the uniqueness and rootsy feeling that Dylan accomplished on his early electric albums."

Several guests join Kristofferson on the album, including Jackson Browne ("Me And Bobby McGee"), Steve Earle ("Sunday Morning Coming Down"), Vince Gill ("Help Me Make It Through The Night"), Catie Curtis ("Nobody Wins"), and Mark Knopfler ("Please Don't Tell Me How The Story Ends").

Left off the original album, "Best Of All Possible Worlds" and "Jody And The Kid" make their debut on the expanded version. Mollin says the songs show different sides of Kristofferson' songwriting. "One is lighthearted, dry, sarcastic and one of the greatest examples of Kris' humor and storytelling, while the other is just deeply emotional and shows the true aching heart that can be felt like an arrow, from Kris to the listener."

Continuing down the path of his fabled career, the five-time Grammy® winner gained another nomination for Best Americana Album for his LP The Cedar Creek Sessions in December 2016. At 80 years old, the country music legend will kick off a 2017 tour this January. More information on the tour can be found via www.kriskristofferson.com.

THE AUSTIN SESSIONS: EXPANDED EDITION
Track Listing:

1. "Me And Bobby McGee"
2. "Sunday Morning Coming Down"
3. "For The Good Times"
4. "The Silver Tongued Devil And I"
5. "Help Me Make It Through The Night"
6. "Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)"
7. "To Beat The Devil"
8. "Who's To Bless And Who's To Blame"
9. "Why Me?"
10. "Nobody Wins"
11. "The Pilgrim: Chapter 33"
12. "Please Don't Tell Me How The Story Ends"
13. "Best Of All Possible Worlds" *
14. "Jody And The Kid" *

* previously unreleased

dow, Sunday, 15 January 2017 01:03 (eight months ago) Permalink

Been listening to Amanda Shires' 2016 This Is My Land some more, and guess she's trying for a transparent effect, letting and trusting us to make what we will of her crisp, flexible, sometimes prowly, always at least somewhat evocative tunes and words--but she sure keeps a lid on things. 10 songs, 33 minutes could have a classic effect, but some of the narrative and clues stop too soon for caring, the slow tempos get to be too similar in overall effect, despite some hooks and astute turns of phrase, also the accompaniment is constrained; husband Isbell's guitar gets to release exactly two, perfectly placed, unmistakably Isbellian notes, one acoustic, one slide electric; too bad Dave Cobb, though here as always the sympatico producer, couldn't have seen his way to negotiate just a bit more instances of cuttin' loose, here and there, if not, perish the thought, for a whole track.
And her thin, clear, quiet voice (Isbell in there occasionally, but muffled) really is the lid, however transparent; it doesn't shine that much, and may be all she's got to give as a performer, aside from her under-utilized fiddle, which does add a few highlights or glints.
But she can write, and here's hoping somebody (Bonnie Raitt, Miranda Lambert, Jason Isbell) covers her.

dow, Wednesday, 18 January 2017 20:18 (eight months ago) Permalink

So on among my Scene ballot's added, made-up categories, I gave this first place in About Half Good (40-60%), because some of it really does work, as individual tracks, def. good for mixes and radio shows.

dow, Wednesday, 18 January 2017 20:26 (eight months ago) Permalink

So the band Alabama are still together, I see. The Prez-elect tweeted about them and Lee Greenwood

curmudgeon, Thursday, 19 January 2017 17:57 (eight months ago) Permalink

finding the Natalie Hemby album a bit more understated than I'd imagined, haven't found a way in yet really

lex pretend, Thursday, 26 January 2017 16:33 (seven months ago) Permalink

x-post from the poll's singles chart

8. Jon Pardi, “Head Over Boots” (Valory/Capitol)

I came to really like this track near the end of the year and it made my Pazz & Jop poll singles list. I was the only voter for it there though.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 26 January 2017 17:42 (seven months ago) Permalink

I meant to check that out, will do so sometime. Now approaching xpost Hemby with some trepidation. Here's my Scene ballot (also posted, with comments: http://thefreelancementalists.blogspot.com/2017/01/from-lifes-other-side-2016-releases.html. though most comments are from RC 2016 and this thread)

TOP TEN COUNTRY ALBUMS OF 2016:
(just in the order they come to mind)
1.Loretta Lynn: Full Circle
2.Lori McKenna: The Bird and the Rifle
3.Chely Wright: I Am the Rain
4.Robbie Fulks: Upland Stories
5.Tomi Lunsford: Come On Blue
6.Austin Lucas: Between the Moon & the Midwest
7.Western Centuries: Weight of the World
8.Willie Nelson: For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price
9.Miranda Lambert: The Weight of These Wings
10.Maren Morris: Hero

TOP FIVE COUNTRY REISSUES OF 2016:

1.Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt: The Complete Trio Collection Deluxe Edition
2.Buck Owens: The Complete Capitol Singles: 1957-1966
3.Merle Haggard: Live In San Francisco 1965
4.Hart Valley Drifters: Folk Time

COUNTRY MUSIC'S THREE BEST NEW ACTS OF 2016:
1.Maren Morris
2.Aubrie Sellers

Made-Up Categories:
HON. MENTIONS:
Willie Nelson: Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin, Kelsey Waldon: I've Got A Way, Brandy Clark: Big Day In A Small Town, Charlie Daniels: Night Hawk, Aaron Lewis: Sinner, Dwight Yoakam: Swimmin' Pools, Movie Stars…, Randy Rogers Band: Nothing Shines Like Neon, Carrie Rodriguez: Lola, Various Artists: Southern Family

ABOUT HALF GOOD (60-45%)
Amanda Shires: My Piece of Land, Wynonna Judd & the Big Noise: Wynonna & the Big Noise, The Honeycutters: On The Ropes, Colvin & Earle: s/t. Aubrie Sellers: New City Blues, Dolly Parton: Pure and Simple, Hank Williams Jr.: It's About Time, Margo Price: Midwest Farmer's Daughter, John Prine: For Better Or Worse, Corb Lund: Things That Can't Be Undone

AMERICANA/COUNTRYOID/RELATED:
1.Lucinda Williams: Ghosts of Highway 20
2.Elizabeth Cook: Exodus of Venus
3.Freakwater: Scheherazade
4.Sturgill Simpson: A Sailor's Guide To Earth
5.Lydia Loveless: Real
6.Shovels & Rope: Little Seeds
7.Peter Stampfel and the Brooklyn & Lower Manhattan Fiddle/Mandolin Swarm: Holiday for Strings
8.Minute2Minute: Postcards From El Bossa

RELATED HON. MENTION:
Aaron Lee Tasjan, Silver Tears

RELATED REISSUE:
NRBQ: High Noon--A 50 Year Retrospective

dow, Thursday, 26 January 2017 18:08 (seven months ago) Permalink

From Himes data mining in the Nashville Scene poll: not a surprise, but interesting nonetheless

Some artists sold a lot of albums without impressing the critics. The discrepancy was especially noticeable for Joey + Rory’s Hymns (No. 2 Billboard Year-End Country Albums/No. 61 Best Albums Poll), Blake Shelton’s If I’m Honest (No. 3/No. 65 Scene) and Jason Aldean’s They Don’t Know (No. 12/No. 110). Remarkably, Florida Georgia Line’s Dig Your Roots, the No. 11 album for Billboard, failed to win a single vote from any of the 89 critics participating in the poll.

• On the other hand, some artists impressed the critics without selling many records. Seven of the Top 10 finishers in the poll’s Best Album category failed to show up in Billboard’s Top 50: Miranda Lambert’s The Weight of These Wings (No. 1), Margo Price’s Midwest Farmer’s Daughter (No. 2), Brandy Clark’s Big Day in a Small Town (No. 3), Lori McKenna’s The Bird and the Rifle (No. 6), Robbie Fulks’ Upland Stories (No. 7), Drive-By Truckers’ American Band (No. 8) and Lucinda Williams’ The Ghosts of Highway 20 (No. 115). To be fair, the Lambert album probably would have made the Billboard list if it hadn’t been released so late in the year.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 26 January 2017 19:55 (seven months ago) Permalink

finding the Natalie Hemby album a bit more understated than I'd imagined

great sell - listening now, sounds good! Production reminds me a bit of Musgraves' debut

niels, Friday, 27 January 2017 11:44 (seven months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Kinda liked the 2014 Sunny Sweeney album (old-school themes with a bit of pop punch) and see her new one "Trophy" is coming out March 10th. She's on a US tour now too. I was at a different gig, and missed her DC show in a small barbeque place's basement.

curmudgeon, Monday, 6 March 2017 17:40 (six months ago) Permalink

NPR and others like the new Sweeney album, I haven't heard it yet.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 19:18 (six months ago) Permalink

I've been surprised by how well the new Little Big town album has been received. I generally like them and have gone to bat for them over the years, but the album is just ungodly dull and plodding. Nearly every criticism of monotonous Americana albums applies to it tenfold.

jon_oh, Wednesday, 8 March 2017 22:20 (six months ago) Permalink

Sunny Sweeney's only made three albums, def. timeworthy quality over quantity, despite the unevenness of albs 1 and 3. Number 2, Concrete is the one to start with so far. Nash Scene ballot/blogged comments for 3, AKA aforementioned 2014 release Provoked (I was a little too hard on it overall, but basic complaints still apply):
Sunny Sweeney, Provoked:
Seems like 7, maybe 8 keepers, out of 13 (in 47 minutes, a reasonable running time for that many tracks): not too shabby a ratio, but dammit, Concrete set the bar high/spoiled me, and---in terms of country-pop elegance and emotional impact, nothing here grabs my attention and sails around the room with it like, say, "From A Table Away" did. Although "Uninvited" comes close: it's an almost understated little chiller, as the well-mannered witness arrives at a social occasion, " moved through the room and the crowd divided/Somebody should have told me I was/Uninvited"--but that's not the worst of it.
All the songs I like so far, incl "Bad Girl Phase" ( currently enjoying the Southern Rock tinge, and the jaded vocal: she's been here before, knows we have too), "Second Guessing," "Can't Let Go," (though it clones the original, which might make more sense if she were trying to turn Country Radio listeners onto Lucinda, but c'mon it's a Kickstarter; the NPR audience isn't exactly unfamiliar with LW),"My Bed" (one that drops the blurry double tracking which eventually undermines several other ballads, for a good duet ritual with Will Hoge), maybe "Sunday Dress" (which could be the morning after "Uninvited"'s nightmare: she's still awake--but oops the double-tracking slips in, adding a little too much entrophy), definitely "Used Cars" (yay, uptempo again, where even double-tracking--chorus only, I think---adds a nice abrasion): "Just when I thought/All of the good ones were gone/Found another woman's wreck and made him someone I could/Depend on"(not the best rhyme, but it sounds like a good make-do fixer-upper: patchy in a good way), and "Backhanded Compliment" (like "You must have such confidence, to wear that dress!"---but she also makes a Note To Self: do not say "It's my personality that makes me hot!"), all those seem like they could be fragments of scenes from the same marriage (also the good kinda patchy) Maybe the tedious ones are too, but they seem just plain tedious.
Oh yeah, and "the world goes to hell in a feel-good song" is not really much of a problem, as I feel sure the world would agree.

dow, Thursday, 9 March 2017 00:21 (six months ago) Permalink

Can't find a Nashville thread but I'm here for a day and looking for something country-centric to do if anyone has any recommendations.

Heez, Saturday, 11 March 2017 14:23 (six months ago) Permalink

You can drive up and see Johnny & June's grave site. It's in a fairly anonymous looking cemetary up in Madison, TN.

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Saturday, 11 March 2017 14:33 (six months ago) Permalink

Cool. Thinking about checking the "bob Dylan, johnny cash and the Nashville cats" exhibition at the cmhf. Looks like it's got stuff on Cinderella studios and that era

Heez, Saturday, 11 March 2017 15:09 (six months ago) Permalink

Yeah, several travelers have told me that was worth checking.

dow, Sunday, 12 March 2017 21:16 (six months ago) Permalink

Yeah it was. Cool little listening stations and bios for each of the side players

Heez, Sunday, 12 March 2017 21:29 (six months ago) Permalink

that Sunny Sweeney album's good, the title track (Lori McKenna cowrite) especially.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 14 March 2017 18:17 (six months ago) Permalink

holy shit, the Sunny Sweeney album

lex pretend, Thursday, 16 March 2017 14:42 (six months ago) Permalink

"Bottle By My Bed" floored me

lex pretend, Thursday, 16 March 2017 14:42 (six months ago) Permalink

aw hell yeah i'm excited for a good new sunny sweeney record

the raindrops and drop tops of lived, earned experience (BradNelson), Thursday, 16 March 2017 15:01 (six months ago) Permalink

Only made it half way through the new Sweeney til I had the thought that the whole taking pills/crazy ex-girlfriend cliches of recent female country are starting to wear thin.

Heez, Thursday, 16 March 2017 15:30 (six months ago) Permalink

but "pills" isn't a twist I've heard before (I haven't parsed all the lyrics but it sounds like it might actually be about Ecstasy rather than pain pills?) and there isn't a crazy ex-girlfriend song on the album

lex pretend, Thursday, 16 March 2017 15:47 (six months ago) Permalink

the sunny sweeney record is GREAT

the raindrops and drop tops of lived, earned experience (BradNelson), Friday, 24 March 2017 20:32 (six months ago) Permalink

Sounded pretty good on 1 and a half listens, wasn't wowed by all, but by a lot of it.

curmudgeon, Monday, 27 March 2017 13:57 (five months ago) Permalink

Sweeney's intonations on "Pills" are killer -- she doesn't sing like her contemporaries.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 27 March 2017 15:00 (five months ago) Permalink

"I play jazz when I am confused
Country whenever I'm lost
Bird’s saxophone yeah, just won’t sound right
I feel like Hank Williams tonight"

This one sounds a bit more forced, but the chorus works

curmudgeon, Thursday, 30 March 2017 14:22 (five months ago) Permalink

that's a cover. written by chris wall, recorded by jerry jeff walker. i love sweeney's version.

fact checking cuz, Thursday, 30 March 2017 19:38 (five months ago) Permalink

(also, it rhymes! second line of that chorus is "country whenever i lose.")

fact checking cuz, Thursday, 30 March 2017 19:40 (five months ago) Permalink

I sensed it was a cover, just not quite as wowed by her delivery as you. The Austin-based Sweeney co-wrote 8 of the tracks I see, and turned to Texas folks like Wall on that one, plus Texas songwriters/singers Brennen Leigh and her husband Noel McKay on "Pills"

curmudgeon, Thursday, 30 March 2017 21:05 (five months ago) Permalink

Still don't get Chris Stapleton. He was so barband rock in his performance on the Academy of Country Music Awards tonight.

curmudgeon, Monday, 3 April 2017 03:48 (five months ago) Permalink

Miranda Lambert got a number of awards (well at least 2-- best album, and best female vocalist)

curmudgeon, Monday, 3 April 2017 14:00 (five months ago) Permalink

Forgot to dvr this and missed the opening hour--Wonder if its on youtube or elsewhere (sounds painful)-- Co-hosts Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley teamed with Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh to pay tribute to the late Chuck Berry with "Johnny B. Goode."

25 performances in the show

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/academy-country-music-awards-performances/story?id=46535619

curmudgeon, Monday, 3 April 2017 14:58 (five months ago) Permalink

longtime LA Weekly writer Jonny Whiteside (a fan of honky-tonk country and punk-country) takes his shots at "Americana" acts he does not like including Lucinda Williams, Jason Isbell, Gillian Welch and others. Sometimes I agree with him, other times he invokes an "authenticity" type argument that doesn't work.

http://www.laweekly.com/music/10-lamest-americana-acts-8051478

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 4 April 2017 19:52 (five months ago) Permalink

Can't find my ancient Rolling Country 200? comments on Sweeney's debut, Heartbreaker's Hall of Fame, which came out on Big Machine, big at the time, but may have dropped the ball promotion-wise, since a certain big name, country-compatible crit had never heard of it---I got the promo and he didn't, which tends to bassackwardsness---or maybe, Big Machine being so cool, they deliberately dropped the ball soon after starting the usual rounds, maybe sharing Sweeney's opinion, that she didn't know what the hell she was doing in the studio back then. Au contraire---it's uneven, sure, like most of hers (maybe all; I still need to hear the new one), but all are worth checking out. The debut sounds like an alt-universe, low-budget CD Baby Nat Maines, one who never hit the big time, but hits the big notes to kill (bastard) time, still spinning her wheels in the backside of Texas, muddy rumbling echo and all. Consult your local thrift store:https://www.discogs.com/Sunny-Sweeney-Heartbreakers-Hall-Of-Fame/release/5456280

dow, Monday, 10 April 2017 18:29 (five months ago) Permalink

Re the Whitside link: haven't heard Outlaw and Grelle, true that Wayne Hancock can be tiresome with the retro, though much more in the studio than live, ditto Gillian Welch, occasionally ditto the others, but despite their unevenness, Lucinda Williams, Shovels & Rope, and Isbell are always worth a listen.
PS: Boland's 2015 album is not so bad, as mentioned on RC and my blogged Nashvile Scene ballot:Jason Boland & the Stragglers, Squelch: social commentary, which can seem self-righteous and lazy in its way, especially since he's always reliant on basic Waylon-to-Sturgill templates, but sometimes it really works, the more personal-is-political he gets (and not nec. "political" in the usual sense; like there's one about finally making it out of a small-minded smalltown, to New Orleans, which is "buzzin' like a sign," and it doesn't go at all like I thought it would).

dow, Monday, 10 April 2017 18:51 (five months ago) Permalink

I like the Sunny Sweeney record! It is very good.

I am about to get on a plane to Nashville and I am extremely excited. Except the line-up at the Opry the night I was going to go is... Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban. Both have songs I like but not very many.

oh, boy, .GIF! That's where I'm a Viking! (edwardo), Tuesday, 11 April 2017 09:21 (five months ago) Permalink

Have fun there anyway.

Lauren Alaina's #1 country hit "Road less Traveled" is not wowing me musically on first few listens (co-written with Meghan Trainor and Jesse Frasure) . Alaina was an American Idol runnerup in 2011.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 11 April 2017 15:43 (five months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

This Ann Powers blurb almost makes me not want to hear the Charlie Worsham album. But I guess I will listen and give it a shot. He's on tour now with Brandy Clark

Beginning Of Things is one of the most intelligent and skillfully crafted albums of the year so far. It's also pure fun; Worsham is as great with a joke as he is with a guitar or a banjo. Part of the new generation that's reviving the best elements of country music — its intense songcraft, great playing and generous heart — Worsham will be making major waves in 2017.

http://www.npr.org/sections/world-cafe/2017/04/20/524886771/world-cafe-nashville-charlie-worsham

curmudgeon, Thursday, 27 April 2017 15:20 (four months ago) Permalink

First listen to Worsham's take on Nashville country didn't wow me.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 2 May 2017 12:57 (four months ago) Permalink

Worsham's becoming quite the critic's fave. Here's a Jewly Hight feature on him for NPR. Maybe I will give him another listen...

http://www.npr.org/2017/05/02/526558502/charlie-worsham-wants-to-tell-you-the-truth

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 3 May 2017 18:55 (four months ago) Permalink

Going on a trip from NYC to Vegas, couple of canyons, to LA and San Francisco! Am looking for country tips! Bars! Concert agenda's, concerts, festivals, record stores etc!
Any guidance would be deeply appreciated!

rizzx, Wednesday, 10 May 2017 11:08 (four months ago) Permalink

Are you heading south first through Bristol, Virginia through to Tennessee?

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 10 May 2017 23:46 (four months ago) Permalink

Ah. No flying from NYC to Vegas first, then driving through Zion and Bryce via Grand Canyon to LA. Would love to catch some small time shows, or even a Highwayman coverband in some obscure country bar. Anything, really :)

rizzx, Thursday, 11 May 2017 07:20 (four months ago) Permalink

bakersfield country music museum And the Buck Owens Crystal Pallace in Bakersfield, Ca

curmudgeon, Friday, 12 May 2017 02:26 (four months ago) Permalink

Thanks a lot. Gotta dig into that.
Also; any book recommendations about country music are welcome! Is the Waylon bio any good?

rizzx, Saturday, 13 May 2017 12:54 (four months ago) Permalink

http://www.latimes.com/socal/glendale-news-press/entertainment/tn-gnp-et-0611-eli-locke-20160611-story.html

Here's a mostly traditional California country singer who does gigs in Burbank and elsewhere. Eli Locke has Gary Allan's bandleader in his group. The author of the article, Jonny Whiteside has written a book Ramblin' Rose: The Life and Career of Rose Maddox, that I have not read.

curmudgeon, Monday, 15 May 2017 14:00 (four months ago) Permalink

Thanks! Have you read the Waylon book per chance?

rizzx, Monday, 15 May 2017 19:36 (four months ago) Permalink

Thanks! Have you read the Waylon book per chance?

rizzx, Monday, 15 May 2017 19:36 (four months ago) Permalink

Sorry for the double post

rizzx, Monday, 15 May 2017 19:36 (four months ago) Permalink

Nope

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 16 May 2017 13:30 (four months ago) Permalink

Toby Keith will perform in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Saturday, on a bill with Saudi singer and oud player Rabeh Saqer. That's the weekend when the President is there

curmudgeon, Friday, 19 May 2017 17:02 (four months ago) Permalink

three months pass...

The new Shelby Lynne with Alison Moorer album is ok, but did not wow me on first listen.

I went to the Grand Ol Opry for the first time. Saw a bill that included Darius Rucker and Little Big Town and Wynonna. Not bad. Nice harmonies from Little Big Town. Wynonna wore an American flag bandanna, and said "isn't this the greatest country in the world." Not a word from anyone about Charlottesville.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 31 August 2017 15:12 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Plus saw a decent cover band called Nashville Skyine at Robert's Western Wear on Broadway there

curmudgeon, Thursday, 31 August 2017 16:37 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Skyline

curmudgeon, Thursday, 31 August 2017 16:38 (three weeks ago) Permalink

good line-up! was it at the Ryman or at Opryland?

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 31 August 2017 20:09 (three weeks ago) Permalink

there is no more opryland

Chocolate-covered gummy bears? Not ruling those lil' guys out. (ulysses), Friday, 1 September 2017 16:06 (three weeks ago) Permalink

you know what i mean

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Friday, 1 September 2017 16:16 (three weeks ago) Permalink

i don't actually! The Ryman is the Ryman, where else are you thinking of?

Chocolate-covered gummy bears? Not ruling those lil' guys out. (ulysses), Friday, 1 September 2017 16:22 (three weeks ago) Permalink

there's a big building in what used to be Opryland where they put on a lot of shows. Church pews set up behind the stage, etc. Scroll down on this page:

https://www.opry.com/planatrip

From looking at the website all the September shows are there instead of at the Ryman. it's fine though! The sound is great!

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Friday, 1 September 2017 16:49 (three weeks ago) Permalink

oh sorry, you meant the opry house! yeah, okay; that's not a bad place to see music i guess but the ryman is far superior ime

Chocolate-covered gummy bears? Not ruling those lil' guys out. (ulysses), Friday, 1 September 2017 17:27 (three weeks ago) Permalink

The show was at the Gran Ole Opry not the Ryman. The current Opry is out in the burbs near a multiplex movie theatre and a shopping mall and you park in a huge shopping mall parking lot.

The bill also included Jeannie Seely (old-school singer); The Sisterhood (newish female duo with Rod Stewart's daughter); Riders In The Sky; and Charles Esten (from the tv show Nashville).

This (plus seeing the eclipse there) was the start of the wife & I's southern trip-- after Nashville we went to Muscle Shoals, AL; then Clarksdale, MS, and Memphis , TN plus a night at Senatobia , MS for the Barbecued Goat picnic with Sharde Thomas and her blues fife and drum band (the granddaughter of Otha Turner)

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 6 September 2017 05:06 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Dude that is one of the best road trip itineraries I've ever read

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Wednesday, 6 September 2017 09:31 (two weeks ago) Permalink

It was a great week--wish we had even more time. Although we did get tired a bit of barbecue and fried tomatoes, fried pickles, fried okra, fried everything food-wise near the end. Of course, some of it was also somber and disturbing-- from the Lorraine Motel/Civil Rights Museum in Memphis to the number of boarded up and abandoned buildings near Stax in Memphis, and in Clarksdale; gun shops everywhere, etc.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 6 September 2017 15:46 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Oh yeah, was thinking about that kind of local-enough-to-me 'scape while listening to the new Langford we were talking about on the Mekons thread. Heard Sharde and her fife and drum band on Beale Street Caravan (not sure what's happening now with their re-launched site's archives, but think the set was during one of those shows recorded at annual North Mississippi Hill Country Picnics).

Good music and conversations, incl. with listeners calling in, from a studio in Austin to this show in Boston: Rick Trevino, with recent songs re his (third-generation, gradually re-emerging, inescapable)Chicano background and situations of immigrants, also personal chestnuts like "Bobbie Ann Mason"-- I must check his new album, old ones too:http://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2017/09/08/country-music-rick-trevino-lati

dow, Friday, 8 September 2017 22:38 (two weeks ago) Permalink

not exactly country, but rootsy, and fans of Jenny Lewis and Neko Case may enjoy Valley Queen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMp_dAG0PsQ

niels, Tuesday, 12 September 2017 08:40 (one week ago) Permalink

Thanks, will check out the album. Coming up next on FarmAid: Willie Nelson & Family (hope Neil will show up again, mebbe for a sing-along of "Homegrown", as sometimes happens)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sg6-hljSb9E

dow, Sunday, 17 September 2017 02:34 (one week ago) Permalink

Evocative slide show of farm scenes now, incl. all those cute critters raised for slaughter

dow, Sunday, 17 September 2017 02:36 (one week ago) Permalink

That American Music Fest finished up yesterday in Nashville. Lots of alt-country, with some token others

curmudgeon, Monday, 18 September 2017 13:59 (six days ago) Permalink

Americana I mean

curmudgeon, Monday, 18 September 2017 13:59 (six days ago) Permalink


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