What with pretty paper and other holiday goals, Some of yall may have missed Edd Hurt's last-minute contributions to RC 17; they're worth a reprise, so here:
― dow, Monday, 15 January 2018 19:06 (three months ago) Permalink
Talking about Caroline Spence: she's doing a residency in January here at the Basement. Wrote this about her recently:
Virginia-born singer-songwriter Caroline Spence released a remarkable track about the limits of Nashville songwriting on her 2013 EP You Know the Feeling. “Whiskey Watered Down” takes down a shallow tunesmith who, Spence declares, will never be “Parsons, Earle or Van Zandt.” What makes “Whiskey Watered Down” a definitive song about a particular strain of Music City songwriting is her choice of role models, but the tune also equates bad songwriting with bad relationships. A Nashville resident since 2011, Spence continued to work in classic singer-songwriter mode on her 2015 full-length Somehow, which includes a full-band rendition of “Whiskey Watered Down” that I find less effective than the acoustic reading she performed on the 2013 EP. I admire Spence’s writing on this year’s album Spades & Roses, which contains the excellent track “You Don’t Look So Good (Cocaine)” and the equally fine “Softball,” about sexism and what it takes to become a big-league songwriter. Spence, who recently released a five-song EP called Secret Garden, has potential — she bears watching. EDD HURT
I didn't vote for Nicole Atkins' new one in the Scene poll I just finished. Not even tangentially "country," which makes sense for a Jersey-bred singer who sounds like Cass Elliot. But a really good album. I like her; she's tough and funny. Did this piece on her in July: https://www.nashvillescene.com/music/features/article/20867860/nicole-atkins-explores-the-joys-of-organic-songwriting-and-production
― eddhurt, Tuesday, December 26, 2017 5:22 AM (two weeks ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
Thanks! Well, some of us heard Atkins' latest as having kind of a Dusty In Memphis vibe, not country but some urban country appeal and sensibility (broody and drinking and poised after midnight)--sooo, I put her in my gratuitous made-up motley Countryoid/Americana/Related category on the Scene ballot, which I'll post on RC 2018 when the issue comes out.Kind of off-putting that Spence or whomever harps on this "not as good as such-and-such" bit; once when I was stressing over comparing myself, a photog friend said, "Well I know I'm not the best, but I just want to drink and take pictures." It's worked out pretty well for him.(And as usual, Earle's latest made my gratutitous made-up About Half Good category; both Earles did, although I may have been too kind to JT, who's convened some motorvatiing musicians, but is so abashed and maybe wasted [on abashment, at least] that he usually sounds like a bug on the windshield of life).Back to Spence, thanx also for reminder of the new EP, which I think is acoustic? Will check.
― dow, Thursday, December 28, 2017 11:21 AM (two weeks ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
Oh, and I got tired enough of the "sounds like" aspect, even on so many of my favorite albums---self-expression via retro seemed especially prevalent this year--that I took Langford from Related to the real Top Ten, because he doesn't sound like anybody else, even or especially in Muscle Shoals, where he also sounds at home.
― dow, Thursday, December 28, 2017 11:31 AM (two weeks ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
I thought Robert Ellis' piano playing made the Atkins album. Yeah, Langford's Norbert Putnam record transcended local color but barely. "Natchez Trace" is good, "Snake Behind Glass" the best song on the record. I saw him play here this fall. I also found some things to say about Chris Gantry's 1974 album, which is a beatnk kinda thing. Far better guitar player than singer or even songwriter--Motormouth, from '70, is just something else entirely and not necessarily a good thing, but I admire his gusto. https://www.nashvillescene.com/music/features/article/20982813/chris-gantrys-longshelved-lp-at-the-house-of-cash-is-progressive-even-by-2017-standards
I also investigated the work of producer-songwriter-singer Norro Wilson, who died this year. Worked on a bunch of pivotal '70s country records by Wynette and Jones. Undoubtedly one of the savviest singers in "country," a pop-country genius whose '60s and '70s solo records are country, folk, Atlantic-style r&b, West Coast pop, shlock-pop-country in the style of Dickey Lee, Billy Swan or Bergen White. Amazing shit. Got to find his Smash LP Dedicated to: Only You. This is from the 70s:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80DECm61mIE
Tyler Coe, one of David Allan Coe's children, has been putting together excellent podcasts about country. Maybe the best so far is on Shelby Singleton, but the Bobbie Gentry episode is really good too. Coe gets the business side of the equation really well, is hardheaded. He also provides transcriptions if you just wanna read: https://cocaineandrhinestones.com/
The highlight of my Americana-fest experience was seeing Little Bandit, a kind of Charlie Rich-depressive-funny band featuring Alex Caress, the brother of former Nashville bassist-singer Jordan Caress. Comes at his "country-soul" from a queer perspective. Breakfast Alone made my Scene ballot. Another hit at the fest I didn't see was the War & Treaty, a gospel-soul duo. Their EP is promising:
CRITICS' PICKThe War and TreatyThis event is over. The High WattLord have mercy, here’s another soul-gospel-pop Americana amalgam. Husband-and-wife duo The War and Treaty, who recently moved to Nashville from Albion, Mich., performed a well-received set in town at this year’s AmericanaFest with backing from Nashville guitarist Buddy Miller’s band, and Rolling Stone gave their turn at the festival a glowing review. Ohio-born singer Michael Trotter Jr. honed his piano chops while serving as a soldier during the Iraq War (somewhat improbably, he practiced on Saddam Hussein’s piano while his unit was encamped in one of the former Iraqi president’s palaces) and met singer Tanya Blount, a Washington, D.C., native, when he returned home. They’ve released their debut EP, Down to the River, which combines their gospel-influenced vocals with tough blues and soul grooves. Not everything works — the duo tends to approach their performances head-on, which sometimes obscures the quality of their songs. Still, material such as “Down to the River,” which features slide guitar, and “Hit Dawg Will Holla,” a stop-time blues shuffle, suggests they could develop into songwriters who know how to work an amalgam. EDD HURT
― eddhurt, Friday, December 29, 2017 8:46 PM (two weeks ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
I think Carson McHone, who didn't make an album this year, deserves notice, up there with Whitney Rose, whose record I like a lot. Anyone else hear her?
The ongoing battle over the soul of country music seems like a necessary activity that tends to overstate the danger that commercialism poses. Time and time again, country music has demonstrated its ability to absorb folk, rock, country-rock, schlock, disco, patriotism and regionalism, and young singers continue to discover new ways to syncretize the music of Williams and Wells with pop without pandering to the let’s-save-country ideologues. Hailing from ostentatious Austin, Texas, singer Carson McHone is a young country singer who expresses herself through the form while avoiding the formalism that etiolates the work of many country purists. In other words, she controls an aching break into her head voice that marks her as a stone country vocalist, and her 2015 album Goodluck Man brims with tunes that evoke the spirit of early-’70s country without wandering off into retro. McHone has been working on a new album in Nashville with Spoon producer Mike McCarthy — let’s hope it’s commercial as hell. EDD HURT
― eddhurt, Friday, December 29, 2017 8:52 PM (two weeks ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
I nommed the Whitney Rose on the ILM poll (I think???) I came across her while browsing year end lists. Love her album.
― omar little, Friday, December 29, 2017 9:22 PM (two weeks ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
yeah, and her other 2017 release, South Texaz Suite, an EP. Kinda wish she'd saved the best tracks for the full-length, but it's worth checking out for sure, especially "Three Minute Love Affair."
― dow, Friday, December 29, 2017 9:58 PM (two weeks ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
Texas, that is.
― dow, Monday, 15 January 2018 19:11 (three months ago) Permalink
Sorry, I led the way to the end of the road (by going back to RC 17):
Now, starting to look ahead:https://www.rollingstone.com/country/lists/2018-country-music-preview-30-most-anticipated-albums-tours-w514999/loretta-lynn-wouldnt-it-be-great-w515083
here's one:Loretta Lynn
Album: Wouldn't It Be GreatRelease Date: TBAThe Country Music Hall of Fame vocalist delayed the release of her already-recorded new album Wouldn't It Be Great until 2018 after suffering a stroke last May. Like the Grammy-nominated Full Circle that preceded it, the LP was co-produced by John Carter Cash and Lynn's daughter Patsy Lynn Russell and cut at Johnny Cash's cabin studio in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Boasting new songs like "I'm Dying for Someone to Live For" and "Ruby's Stool," written with songwriter Shawn Camp, Wouldn't It Be Great also includes new versions of Lynn staples "Don't Come Home a-Drinkin'" and "Coal Miner's Daughter." "You can't get them anymore," Lynn told Rolling Stone in 2016 of her decision to update her classics. "You've got fans that want it. So we will give them to 'em." Full Circle was a satisfying blend of old & new, glad she's still in the circle game.
― dow, Monday, January 15, 2018 1:19 PM (forty-five minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
brother colter wall's new one was my album of the year by the way
― infinity (∞), Monday, January 15, 2018 1:28 PM (thirty-seven minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
He made it into one of my Best New Artist slots on the Scene ballot. I still need to check his Imaginary Appalachia EP, have you heard it?Another one from the Stone link. She's always sounded like she probably likes Elton John, David Bowie, Patsy Cline: "Americana"? OK!
Album: By the Way, I Forgive YouRelease Date: February 16thOn her sixth studio album, Americana heroine Brandi Carlile ramps everything up a notch, working with Waylon Jennings' rebel-yell son Shooter, who co-produced with Dave Cobb. She takes deep dives into her family history ("Most of All") and offers up an anthem for the downtrodden ("The Joke," a chin-up call to arms for anyone feeling oppressed, was blasted out in a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!). While largely adhering to her unplugged, modern-Appalachian approach, Carlile also pushes a few musical envelopes: "Harder to Forgive" is swoony, luxurious pop, "Hold Out Your Hand" has a wall-of-drums wallop and "Party of One" wraps up with shivery orchestration. D.B.
― dow, Monday, January 15, 2018 1:32 PM (thirty-three minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
I keep confusing him with music writer Seth Colter Walls in searches (still not quite sure they're two diff people).
― dow, Monday, January 15, 2018 1:34 PM (thirty-one minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
definitely different people
and i have heard IA a few times actually, yes
it's good but i like his self-titled release better, though sleeping on the blacktop is equally as good as say thirteen silver dollars (similar vibe)
― infinity (∞), Monday, January 15, 2018 1:38 PM (twenty-six minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
― dow, Monday, 15 January 2018 20:09 (three months ago) Permalink
Caitlyn Smith's Starfire looks interesting.
― eddhurt, Monday, 15 January 2018 21:37 (three months ago) Permalink
A record I missed last year is the Kernal's Light Country, on Single Lock out of Florence, Alabama. I recently listened to a couple of prime Jim Nesbitt country albums, '69's Truck Driving Cat with Nine Wives and '70's Runnin' Bare, Nixononian novelty country about how the U.S.A. has trucks and humor and country music. The Kernal is like the Great Nesbitt thrust into post-modernity in a manner I think may kind of help to summarize the shift in 2017 country from bro- to exploratory essays into something resembling...history, maybe, reality. Perhaps the generational shifts have temporarily made it cool for younger folks into country to access some of the more congenially banal aspects of its post-countrypolitan phases. Dave Dudley himself did many pretty damned good albums in the '60s and early '70s, and Moe Bandy was also really cool. I also think Midland is a great Dallas-era country throwback band, like they cut it that record on Dec. 12, 1979. I think it's now cool(er) to embrace the tacky, the banal, the failed, the small-scale, and perhaps this attitude has found its way into Mainstream Country in 2017? Dunno. To that end I think the Himes-ian yearly Country Essay may be along those lines: the year of the gun and the toppling of the white male ethos. I see it as a year in which the immersion in formerly declasse old-school kountry and also, various now-idiosyncratic roots forms (John Moreland's use of Excello r*b on Big Bad Luv that have merged with the strictures of country songwriting, has produced a hybrid Americana-country music. No doubt few in mainstream, poptimist country this year produced any song quite as fatalistic as Jason Isbell's "If We Were Vampires" or flat-out condemned the bad old white prerogatives of power as straightforwardly as Margo Price on All American. I also thought Daniel Romano's record, for better or worse considering its mannerist tendencies and out-front let's-fuck-with-stuff aesthetic, was the most interesting thing I heard in 2017 in country, but not the most enjoyable.
― eddhurt, Tuesday, 16 January 2018 20:16 (three months ago) Permalink
Come to think of it, in the 90s I started getting self-released promos with press sheets sometimes claiming Sonny & Cher as country inspirations--even before encounters with Dolly Parton and Hee-Haw---and especially The Sonny and Cher Show, though the self-promoters also claimed to be in their early-to-mid-20s, for the most part: too young to have seen it, and this was before YouTube---but maybe it was the idea, the vision of the show they had, while listening to "You Better Sit Down, Kids" and "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves." The connection was not always audible, but good to know. One act that stood out was basically a duo, Y'all, with some fairly seriocomic, fleetingly bittersweet original material among the campy laffs (closer to Shel Silverstein than Sonny Bono). Think that's right--can't find the promos now, and the name is hard to google, even putting in "band."Countrypolitan is real easy to mess with, it got weird pretty readily---there was research on what kind of music led to serious thinking and drinking of the more expensive booze, thus favored by patrons of establishments with classy cover bands and jukeboxes (ditto the solemn, readily weird Romance of Sinatra and Jimmy Webb---the latter evoked by certain Lukas Nelson-written tracks on Willie's Heroes and '17's Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, also thinking of the even moodier//more perverse/sometimes deadpan jokesters like Lee Hazlewood and Serge G.)I like Stugill's use of Waylonesque "Eat-Shit, Eat-Shit" beat for orchestral disco (he seems to like Love Unlimited etc) on A Sailor's Guide To Earth---playing it straight(er) on the ones that seem closer to early 70s Van Morrison's Caledonia Soul Orchestra.Oh and you're also reminded me of this---if doesn't play, it's "Goodbye Squirrel" by Cletus T. Judd (he of "Man of Constant Borrow", "My Cellmate Thinks I'm Sexy" and many more)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NyogxL54NE
― dow, Tuesday, 16 January 2018 22:02 (three months ago) Permalink
And I hope young artists are drinking in the camp fire of Jim Stafford: "Spiders and Snakes", "Swamp Witch", and o course "Wildwood Weed", theme song of some of usens' early 70s---can't find any promising vids of this, screw it.
― dow, Tuesday, 16 January 2018 22:13 (three months ago) Permalink
that Anderson East album has some...interesting singing choices.
― morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 16 January 2018 22:17 (three months ago) Permalink
Edd's not just woofin' about xpost The War and Treaty and Little Bandit. On first stream, LB alb is okay-to-hey!, ending with a couple of stunners: Womack please cover "Get Me Out of This", Lambert and/or Whitney Rose do "Sinking." (I don't get what's supposed to be so queer about all this, though his writing does sometimes remind me of Stephen Merritt; the voice wears on me better than M.'s) https://littlebanditmusic.bandcamp.com/album/breakfast-aloneThe War and Treaty blew my mind, may try to say more about both acts later. The War's EP is 7 tracks, but surely more of a full-album experience than many albums. Brace yourself:https://soundcloud.com/thewarandtreaty
― dow, Wednesday, 17 January 2018 03:51 (three months ago) Permalink
new Western Centuries album out April 6. my favorite country band goin'...
― alpine static, Thursday, 18 January 2018 18:26 (three months ago) Permalink
Looking fwd to that---their previous made my Scene ballot Top Ten, thanks to your tip.
Note To Self and others (from Sounds Of The Universe, Soul Jazz Records storefront):
Like Nashville In Naija: Nigeria's Romance with Country Music, Yesterday and TodayCOMB & RAZOR SOUNDCountry music is big in Africa. Yes, we realise how absurd that probably sounds to most ears, but it’s really true: American country & western records have been tremendously popular and deeply beloved across the continent for almost a century. The people of the West African nation of Nigeria have long been not only voracious consumers of country music, but fairly enthusiastic performers of it as well. Cowboy songs have remained a consistent part of most bands’ live repertoire, but relatively few artists have dedicated themselves to actually recording country music. They did exist, though; mostly in the1970s and 80s, but they were rarely heard outside the country, and in the intervening years, most of their output has fallen through the cracks of posterity, forgotten even by ardent music fans at home. Until now. Like Nashville in Naija: Nigeria’s Romance with Country Music, Yesterday and Today collects some of the best country recordings as a loving tribute to Nigeria’s cowboy troubadours of yore. To the best of our knowledge, only in Nigeria.More Info, Audio:https://soundsoftheuniverse.com/product/various-like-nashville-in-naija"> https://soundsoftheuniverse.com/product/various-like-nashville-in-naija
― dow, Thursday, 18 January 2018 20:49 (three months ago) Permalink
Forced by the voting thread to finally nail down my best of 2017 list:
Tyler Childers - PurgatoryNatalie Hemby - PuxicoJaime Wyatt - Felony Blues (sad to see this not get nom'd in the albums poll)Hiss Golden Messenger - Hallelujah AnyhowRaeLynn- WildHorseColter Wall - Colter WallJason Eady - Jason EadyTurnpike Troubadours - A Long Way From Your HeartChris Stapleton - From A Room: Volume 1Lee Ann Womack - The Lonely, the Lonesome & the Gone
― Indexed, Friday, 19 January 2018 18:34 (three months ago) Permalink
Thanks---several of these I still need to check---Stapleton was a finalist for my Scene Top Ten 'til Himes announced that we had to consider Volume 1 and Volume 2] as one album---which ended up in my hacked-in imaginary category of About Half Good (60-45%). Most of Volume 1, with just few from 2= my keeper folder. Womack rools, as usual.
― dow, Friday, 19 January 2018 19:10 (three months ago) Permalink
i get to see Womack in a tiny 100-yr-old (former) church bldg next month, i'm excited
― alpine static, Friday, 19 January 2018 22:18 (three months ago) Permalink
Maren Morris hits with her first No. 1, as Nashville Scene's Stephen Trageser reports.
― eddhurt, Saturday, 20 January 2018 04:08 (three months ago) Permalink
Start here: https://www.nashvillescene.com/music/cover-story/article/20990010/18th-annual-country-music-critics-poll and scroll on down to select: the results, the comments, factoids, down a little further for "Lee Ann Womack: Lonely At The Top..." and "How Jason Isbell Changed That Nashville Sound" (might not read that 'un).
― dow, Thursday, 25 January 2018 17:35 (two months ago) Permalink
xpost Loved Maren Morris's debut alb, as I said last year, except for the radio-bait track re country music as religion. Also grabbed by her duet w T. Rhett, opening his otherworse redonkulous follow-up to the appealing Tangled Up.
― dow, Thursday, 25 January 2018 17:40 (two months ago) Permalink
The Scene round-up never has incl. individual ballots, so post y'all's here, even if you didn't send one. I'll start o course---added a few from this thread's mentions; final edition, with all my comments, will be blogged (and linked here natch). I's still catching up with yr. mentions, and may downgrade some of the Imaginary picks, prob too kind to JT Earle and Keith and Isbell, for inst. Anyway this is what I sent, plus a *few* more I didn't know about then:
TOP TEN COUNTRY ALBUMS OF 2017:(just in the order they come to mind)1. Lee Ann Womack: The Lonely, The Lonesome & The Gone (ATO)2. Whitney Rose: Rule 62 (Six Shooter)3. Rodney Crowell: Close Ties (New West)4. Amanda Anne Platt/Honeycutters: S/T (Organic/Crossroads)5. Margo Price: All American Made (Third Man)6. Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer: Not Dark Yet (Thirty Tigers/Silver Cross)7. Caroline Spence: Spades and Roses (Tone Tree)8. John Moreland: Big Bad Luv (4AD)9. Willie Nelson: God’s Problem Child (Legacy)10. Jon Langford’s Four Lost Souls: S/T (Bloodshot)
TOP FIVE COUNTRY REISSUES OF 2017:1. Various Artists: American Epic: The Best of Country (Lo-Max/Third Man/Columbia/Legacy)
COUNTRY MUSIC’S THREE BEST MALE VOCALISTS OF 2017:1. Willie Nelson2. Rodney Crowell3. John Moreland
COUNTRY MUSIC’S THREE BEST FEMALE VOCALISTS OF 2017:1. Lee Ann Womack2. Whitney Rose3. Margo Price
COUNTRY MUSIC’S THREE BEST SONGWRITERS OF 2017:
1. Willie Nelson2. Margo Price3. Rodney Crowell(and their collaborators)
COUNTRY MUSIC’S THREE BEST DUOS, TRIOS OR GROUPS OF 2017:
1. Margo Price & the Price Tags2. Amanda Anne Platt & the Honeycutters3. Willie Nelson, Lukas Nelson, Micah Nelson
COUNTRY MUSIC’S THREE BEST NEW ACTS OF 2017:
1. Alex Williams2. Carly Spence3. Colter Wall
COUNTRY MUSIC’S THREE BEST OVERALL ACTS OF 2017:
1. Willie Nelson2. Jon Langford’s Four Lost Souls3. Lee Ann Womack***************************************************************************************************************Imaginary categories:Hon. Mention: Willie Nelson (w Lukas Nelson & Michah Nelson): Willie’s Stash Vol. 2: Willie and the Boys, Alex Williams: Better Than Myself, Carly Pearce:Every Little Thing, Marty Stuart:Way Out West, Lorrie Morgan & Pam Tillis: Come Lonely and Come Lost, Whitney Rose: South Texas Suite, Shovels & Rope: Busted Jukebox Vol. 2, RaeLynn: Wildhorse, Little Bandit:Breakfast Alone
Borderline: Sunny Sweeney: Trophy
About Half Good (60-45%): Nikki Lane: Highway Queen, Chris Stapleton: Songs From A Room, Vols. 1 & 2, Colter Wall: S/T, Angaleena Presley: Wrangled, Jason Isbell: The Nashville Sound, Justin Townes Earle: Kids In The Street, Steve Earle: So You Wanna Be An Outlaw, Midland: On The RocksBorderline: Toby Keith: Songs From The Bus, Various Artists:Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don WilliamsLess Than Half Good: Banditos: VisionLand, Thomas Rhett: Life Changes, Bruce Robison & The Back Porch Band: S/T
Countryoid/Americana/Related:Nicole Atkins: Goodnight Rhonda LeeLucinda Williams: This Sweet Old World Jessi Colter feat. Lenny Kaye: The Psalms Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real: S/T Gregg Allman: Southern Blood Otis Taylor: Fantasizing About Being BlackPeter Stampfel & The Atomic Mega Pagans: Cambrian Explosion David Rawlings: Poor David’s AlmanackBonsoir, Catin: L’AuroreThe War and Treaty: Down To The River
Related Reissues:1. Marisa Anderson: Traditional and Public Domain Songs 2. Various Artists: American Epic: The Collection3. Lydia Loveless: Boy Crazy and Single(s) 4. Various Artists: Rough Guide To Jugband Blues 5. Various Artists: American Epic: The Soundtrack6. James Luther Dickinson: I’m Just Dead, I’m Not Gone: Lazarus Edition
Related Hon. Mention: Pinegrove: Elsewhere, Valerie June: The Order of Time
Related Borderline:Deer Tick: Vol. 1, Rhiannon Giddens: Freedom Highway, John Mellencamp feat. Carlene Carter: Sad Clowns and Hillbillies, Arthur Alexander: S/T
― dow, Thursday, 25 January 2018 18:42 (two months ago) Permalink
Should be "I'm catching up," not "I's, " jeez (typo I swear).
― dow, Thursday, 25 January 2018 18:44 (two months ago) Permalink
i love John Moreland but Isbell's album runs circles around Big Bad Luv. In The Throes would be a fairer fight.
wouldn't have said anything about "About Half Good" ain't quite right. :)
― alpine static, Thursday, 25 January 2018 20:05 (two months ago) Permalink
d'oh! i mean:
wouldn't have said anything *BUT* "About Half Good" ain't quite right.
― alpine static, Thursday, 25 January 2018 20:06 (two months ago) Permalink
Himes says Isbell and Price are spurring the industry to become more adult, tell stories. I'd say the list reflects Americana as it has usually (always?) done. Valorizing Marty Stuart's pale Byrds imitation, tut tut. No doubt Isbell's "If We Were Vampires" is a good song and Prices made a good album. I think the real action is the music that searches for a new form for country--Walker Hayes, whose record has been condemned as escapist pop (thanks to Chuck for alerting me to Hayes), the Kernal (whom I saw the other nite, fabulous, stepped right out of Nashville Now in 1975, and Daniel Romana (whom I voted for No. 1 and who didn't make the list at all I could see). The Crowell record was like every other well-made country-folk-art song effort he's done; the Stuart record was a well-lit museum exhibit. I dunno how any country poll can really reconcile country with Americana these days, anyway. They have to be together because the relationship is symbiotic. I wonder how accurate it is to say as Himes does that the Industry is laying out Capital for these Isbell-esque and Price-ian mini-Sturgills? I did like the Moreland album OK as a modern Excello record. Which contains the rub re the labels: The critics go for the genteel-isms and retro leanings of Americana kountry, but even Moreland can be just a plain old country writer, which I don't think Isbell is so much? Will the smell of retro kill the Americanaixation of country? Dunno.
― eddhurt, Friday, 26 January 2018 14:23 (two months ago) Permalink
Here's the albums list I submitted for the Nashville Scene poll. I beat the deadline by about 10 minutes (the year before I didn't make it in time) so I did't end up getting a songs list done in time. I think I did quickly answer some of the artist, singer, etc. categories but I never feel great about those for some reason (I end up just repeating the choices I made for albums and songs).
TOP TEN COUNTRY ALBUMS OF 2017:
1. Carly Pearce, Every Little Thing 2. Charlie Worsham, Beginning of Things 3. Sunny Sweeney, Trophy4. Brett Eldredge, Brett Eldredge5. Lee Ann Womack, The Lonely, The Lonesome and the Gone 6. Lillie Mae, Forever And Then Some 7. Little Big Town, The Breaker8. Kip Moore, Slowheart9. Kelsea Ballerini, Unapologetic 10.Margo Price, All American Made
― erasingclouds, Friday, 26 January 2018 15:11 (two months ago) Permalink
very bummed that brandy clark and angaleena presley are playing boston sunday, when i have to cover the grammys
― maura, Friday, 26 January 2018 15:12 (two months ago) Permalink
About Half Good (60-45%): Nikki Lane: Highway Queen
Sounds low. I don't know if I listened to any other 2017 album more times in 2017 than this one, and it all seems absolutely perfect to me.
― Johnny Fever, Friday, 26 January 2018 15:17 (two months ago) Permalink
I think Nikki's all right. Not sure her concept goes that deep but Highway Queen has to be her best album to date.
― eddhurt, Friday, 26 January 2018 16:58 (two months ago) Permalink
Here's my Scene ballot:TOP TEN COUNTRY ALBUMS OF 2017:
1. Daniel Romano Modern Pressure New West2. Midland On the Rocks Big Machine3. Tyler Childers Purgatory Hickman Holler4. Lee Ann Womack The Lonely, the Lonesome & the Gone ATO5. Walker Hayes Boom Monument6. Angaleena Presley Wrangled Thirty Tigers7. Little Bandit Breakfast Alone yk 8. Juanita Stein America Nude Records9. Whitney Rose Rule 62 Six Shooter/Thirty Tigers10. Little Big Town The Breaker Capitol Nashville
TOP TEN COUNTRY SINGLES OF 2017:
1. Check Cashing Country--Midland2. Last Time for Everything--Brad Paisley3. Every Little Thing--Carly Pearce4. Tin Man--Miranda Lambert5. Round Here Buzz--Eric Church6. Softball--Caroline Spence7. I Saw Jesus Peekin' Thru a Hole in the Sky--Will Beeley8. Body Like a Back Road--Sam Hunt9. Better Man--Little Big Town10. You Broke up with Me--Walker Hayes
TOP FIVE COUNTRY REISSUES OF 2017:
1. Will Beeley Passing Dream Tompkins Square2. Lydia Loveless Boy Crazy and Single(s) Bloodshot3. Various Stax Country Craft4. Will Beeley Gallivantin' Tompkins Square5. Arthur Alexander Arthur Alexander Omnivore
― eddhurt, Friday, 26 January 2018 17:12 (two months ago) Permalink
might be seeing Whitney Rose at a BBQ joint in a few weeks. a free lunchtime show! though i think they violated a health code and are currently closed, so i'm not sure it's gonna happen. if it doesn't she playing another show at a cantina nearby the night previous.
― omar little, Friday, 26 January 2018 18:46 (two months ago) Permalink
TOP TEN COUNTRY ALBUMS OF 2017:1. Charlie Worsham – Beginning Of Things (Warner Bros.)2. Walker Hayes – Boom (Monument)3. Kelsea Ballerini – Unapologetically (Black River Entertainment)4. Jace Everett – Dust & Dirt (Weston Boys)5. Liz Rose – Swimming Alone (Liz Rose)6. Sunny Sweeney – Trophy (Aunt Daddy)7. Lauren Alaina – Road Less Traveled (Mercury Nashville/19/Interscope)8. Lee Ann Womack – The Lonely, The Lonesome & The Gone (Ato)9. Darius Rucker – When Was the Last Time (Capitol Nashville)10. Nikki Lane – Highway Queen (New West)
TOP TEN COUNTRY SINGLES OF 2017:1. Haley Georgia – “Shots” 2. Haley Georgia – “Becky”3. Ashley McBride – “A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega”4. Jessie James Decker feat. Randy Houser – “Almost Over You”5. Brandy Clark – “You’re Drunk”6. Midland –“Drinkin’ Problem”7. Bailey Bryan – “Own It”8. Nellie Tiger Travis – “Walking in the Rain in Memphis”9. Hurray for the Riff Raff – “Living in the City”10. Olivia Lane – “Wrong Girl”
― xheddy, Saturday, 27 January 2018 15:04 (two months ago) Permalink
Guess I need to revisit the Jace Everett album, I liked the Live at Alex the Great. Saw the Kernal and Nicole Atkins at the Single Lock Records showcase here--Kernal was the embodiment of down-at-the-heel '70s country, and Atkins did material from Goodnight Rhonda Lee to great effect. Tight band who bore down on that record's '60s-'70s soul usages, and Atkins is a very convincing white-soul Jersey girl who wears what looks like lounge pants and slippers on stage. That's definitely one of the best Nashville records of the year, but I couldn't shoehorn her Lorraine Ellison soul into country, too uptown, basically.
― eddhurt, Saturday, 27 January 2018 16:40 (two months ago) Permalink
What did you think of this one, or his others, Edd? Jeez, touring behind it even (Drag City prose ahead,, adjust shades accordingly)
CHRIS GANTRY BRINGS PSYCHOACTIVE OUTLAW COUNTRY TUNES TO CHICAGO
Step back in time and land smack dab in the middle of Music Row with Nashville's living legend and ORIGINAL outlaw country badass, Chris Gantry! At The Hideout next month, for his first performance in Chicago ever, the troubadour will sling tunes from the newly unearthed, early-70s lysergic classic, At The House of Cash and more! Gantry has been writing and recording songs for 40 years, cutting his teeth with solo albums in the late 1960s and 1970s featuring tunes that would be made famous by Glen Campbell ("Dreams of the Everyday Housewife") and Johnny Cash ("Allegheny")-and in true outlaw fashion, Chris continues to write and perform to this day, into his 70s. Gantry's ragged and rowdy maverick spirit, one he cultivated while paling around with Kris Kristofferson, Cash, and Shel Silverstein, is fully evident on his recordings and in his live performances - hell, he's such a wild card even in retirement years, he was cast by Harmony Korine for a role in his film, Trash Humpers.
With sheer wit and judicious charisma, Chris is neither country nor pop, not quite rock but not avant garde, either - like the best artists, his music can't quite be reduced to any one thing, which is exactly the kind of artist we love most! Since Chris' songs are unique and don't succumb to strict definition, it kinda makes sense that an album like At The House Of Cash was never released back when - recorded at Johnny Cash's home studio while Chris got back on his feet there following a marijuana bust and a peyote-enhanced trip to Mexico, it was so singular and strange for its time (particularly trying to imagine it being marketed to a Nashville audience) that it prompted Cash to exclaim, "Chris, June and I listened to your record last night, and I don't think even the drug people are gonna understand it." But we've discovered they do, and so too do the folks on the straight and narrow - Gantry's music is for all, and so we're inviting all Chicagoans to come out for what is quite possibly a once in a lifetime event!
Start hoarding your psychoatives now, Chris Gantry comes to The Hideout on February 22nd, with special guest Jon Langford!CHRIS GANTRY LIVE:
February 22nd at The Hideout in Chicago, IL
Chris Gantry Online: http://www.dragcity.com/artists/chris-gantryhttps://chrisgantrynashville.bandcamp.com/album/at-the-house-of-cash (2 tracks free) https://itunes.apple.com/album/id1276375362
― dow, Saturday, 27 January 2018 21:46 (two months ago) Permalink
I like Gantry's Fred Foster-produced 1968 Introspection in the Hartford-Campbell-Jack Clement-Fred Neil mode of the day. Motor Mouth from '70 on a Monument imprint is...insane, a kind of Beat poetry reading with one or two really impressive subversions of song form. I think the House of Cash record is typical 1974 art song, nowhere near as good as Big Star's Third but ahead of Vince Martin or Mickey Newbury. I don't think the subversion on the Cash recordings adds up to much; Gantry is surrealistic without a grounding principle, but it's listenable. He really did take the time to distance himself from Newbery when I talked to him last fall, he was the new generation in Nashville.
― eddhurt, Saturday, 27 January 2018 22:05 (two months ago) Permalink
Himes says Isbell and Price are spurring the industry to become more adult, tell stories. I'd say the list reflects Americana as it has usually (always?) done
Sounds right Edd.
Walker Hayes has that Sam Hunt rap-inspired vocal style plus Shane McAnally assistance, but I still can't make up my mind whether I like it.
― curmudgeon, Monday, 29 January 2018 20:19 (two months ago) Permalink
Might as well post this here -- a fine new project, inspired by Tom Ewing
― Ned Raggett, Monday, 29 January 2018 20:19 (two months ago) Permalink
(Should add this is by Robert Ham.)
― Ned Raggett, Monday, 29 January 2018 20:20 (two months ago) Permalink
Still listening to ones from yall's lists, tweaking the Imaginary Categories before officially blogging the ballot. Thinking about adding this IC, for that doesn't even seem Related, quite:They Came To And/or From Nashville: Walker Hayes, Kelsea Ballerini, and mebbe Nicole Atkins (although I do still think of her as Related via the Dusty In Memphis approach, but that would free up a slot in the Related Top Ten, which I might need...)I really like Walker Hayes, and might add him to Country Hon. Mentions anyway, especially like "Dollar Store," cos Strip Mall Country is way overdue, and I was hoping Midland's "Check-Cashing Country" would be the check-cashing place/wire money place. next to or also with the title pawn, next to tobacco shop, gun & pawn, phone repair & vape, Little Caesar's, and Rite-Aid, now with Pharmacy By Walgreen's.Instead, it's 'bout how they *aren't* check-cashing country, they're into journeyman Dallas-era country, as Edd says, for the love of it, a band full 'o' Ringos---well okay, but so far I suspect the Randy Rogers Band do it better, will keep listening tho.Reminds me: some have objected to their faves being (so far) consigned to About Half Good (60-45%), but this is no diss--a lot of albums in every genre work mich better when filed down to EPs--and the top end of that could put somebody into Hon. Mention or even possibly Top Ten, if the songs are truly outstanding. Also, it can be the overall effect, more than any particular picks. Like xpost Kip Moore's Slowheart, with that sly (incl. sensitive when need-be) voice and beat.
― dow, Thursday, 1 February 2018 19:04 (two months ago) Permalink
Talking about Caroline Spence: she's doing a residency in January here at the Basement.
Caught the finale of her residency last night. Solid performer, decent band, and the four new songs she played were quite good. Highlight was "You Don't Look So Good (Cocaine)".
― EZ Snappin, Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:26 (two months ago) Permalink
Was thinking of xpost freeing up a slot in Related Top Ten because so far xpost Jace Everett's Dust & Dirt seems deserving of some Top Ten and I can't revise the Country Top Ten since I already submitted it to the Scene polling (also sent the Related o course but it's Imaginary and doesn't count for Himes's purposes). The production here, especially the vocal, sometimes seemed drier than I was expecting, given the reverb etc. shadows of tumultuous Red Revelations, which made my 2009 Top Ten and incl. "Bad Things," the theme from True Blood. But this is more subtle, though straightforwardly re the spookiness of realer worlds (would still fit the satirical implications of TB, which is now RIP, I think).There's one about love setting him free from the black-and-white view, although he's still not sure if your eyes are Green or Blue." It's okay though, so far.He announces he's back in the b-&-w (more as an overall rigid dichotomy than racial per se, here, maybe) in "Free (Don't Ask Me)." Followed by the even more ominous "Love's Not What We Do"---though the dryness keeps the atmospherics from getting too heavy. Ditto on his lean-groove cover of Guy Clark's "The Last Gunfighter Ballad," where the G. ends up waving his weapon at "the ghosts in the street", which Everett's shrewd Clark-style delivery has me thinking might well be the cops, or Stand-Your-Ground civilians.There are also a few conventional love songs, or they seem so pro forma because of the understated delivery. But the total effect was pretty involving right off. Will check it some more, like these others.
― dow, Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:28 (two months ago) Permalink
Still gotta check that Spence acoustic EP.
― dow, Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:32 (two months ago) Permalink
It's good. I like the album versions more though.
She said there's going to be a release of duets she recorded with Robby Hecht in May. Not sure if it's an EP or an LP. He joined her to sing "Parallel Lines" which was one of the best songs in the set. I believe her next album is done, too, but she didn't mention it.
― EZ Snappin, Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:38 (two months ago) Permalink
Yeah, EZ, she told me last month that she was going to record one of the nights of the residency for release. Wish I could've caught one of them. Dow, I think the Jace album from last year is really good, and he cut an interesting live thing with his trio couple years ago too. Xhuxkk was the one who got me onto the Jace album, which would've made my top ten, probably, had I known about it, missed it.
― eddhurt, Thursday, 1 February 2018 21:14 (two months ago) Permalink
Same here, I wouldn't have known about the latest Jace if Xhuxcx hadn't just dropped in with his Top Tens, thanx xhuddy.Speaking of discreet delivery of sometimes weird product, consider also Stax Country, and thanks to Edd for listing this. Given the title, I was kind of hoping for, you know, country soul, country funk, just a little bit at least--the only one that's like I was imagining is Danny Bryan's version of "My Girl"--which is not the self-congratulatory, novelty approach sometimes found on Light In The Attic's Country Funk 2 (which is still real good and real stoned). It's just his thankful 'n' thoughtful, unpretentious voice, mostly solo, although there are occasional angels and strings way back there, otherwise, just him and the steel guitar, a little rhythm picking, piano, bass, drums. Of course, that's not the weirdo material---Paul Craft's "For Linda (Child In The Cradle," is a gentle waltz, which starts with a lyrical bang, "She's 27 going on 42, with a body that's just turned 16," and some think she's a crazy groupie, but "She's true to the friends and lovers she's made." Very nice tone to the verses, which doesn't break for the chorus, "She's a father, she's a bummer, she's a mother (or mutha), she's a hummer," whut which among other thangs sounds like a parody of Kristofferson's "He's a poet, he's a picker," or however it goes.(This album is apparently on the Craft label---he wrote a bunch of hits and some presumably lucrative album tracks, so maybe his estate is using some of those Eagles bucks for this?)Kind of an easier-breathing "Okie From Muskogee" feel to Roland Eaton's "Hippie From The Hills," which starts with "No my hair's not long because I'm cool, Pa broke the shears last winter, shearin' the family mule," and tells the bittersweet story of his young life so far. He's not complaining, and it's a nice vibe.Connie Eaton's "I Wanna Be Wrong Right Now" turns understatement to moist apology, but Paige O'Brian's "Satisfied Woman" is poised and "knows the score."O.B. McClinton claims that a lady raised among "The Finer Things In Life" has given them all up for his hobo ass, but Karen Casey's much more plausible "The River Is Too Wide" follows immediately, an answer song in this context.Not all tracks are all that good, but for instance Becki Bluefield gets points for repeatedly pronouncing "there" as "thar" unself-consciously, and elsewhere there is or are some calm plagiarism I can't mention.---
― dow, Friday, 2 February 2018 00:56 (two months ago) Permalink
Sorry--"his crinkly-voice hobo ass" is what I meant to say: mellow tones don't hide the uncut wistful thinking BS, not here anyway.
― dow, Friday, 2 February 2018 01:10 (two months ago) Permalink
Thanks to erasingclouds for posting the Top Ten incl. Lillie Mae's Forever and Then Some: startling degree of fairly intimate, vivid focus and shading right away, especially considering its her debut--but then, as she says in the following interview, "Ive been working since I was three," starting in the family bluegrass band, Jypsi, and later in a combo with some of her sibs, who (along with still more not in the post-Jypsi teen line-up) play on this set, very cohesively, and non-showboating, sometimes hooky mandolinist sister Scarlett also does some writing and aranging: the style is their own sort of folk-country, though bass & drums have some pop-rock (especially pop) appeal, with occasionally noticeable electric guitar---but def. don't hear it like this interviewer re "indie rock attack" behind the mando, fiddle and other strings (the closer goes into more of an exploratory electric folk modal thing, briefly, guess that could be considered indie-pop-rock).
Slender but effective voice, rec to fans of Victoria Williams, Whitney Rose, Natalie Maines and Sunny Sweeney (Louisiana-Texas-suggestive flexings and inflections at times, though don't think she's from that neck of the woods geographically), listened to subsets of tracks on Spotify during fairly hectic Monday, but no prob getting back into it; faves so far are "Loaner" and the title song.
Good intro and conversation:https://www.npr.org/sections/world-cafe/2017/06/30/529708788/world-cafe-nashville-lillie-mae
― dow, Monday, 5 February 2018 21:14 (two months ago) Permalink
Is and sounds young, but has been around the block as well as the mountain.
― dow, Monday, 5 February 2018 21:16 (two months ago) Permalink
Someone else sounding young but experienced and thoughtfully candid, and also from erasingclouds' xpost list: Brett Eldredge, on his s/t fourth album. Younger than Toby Keith was when he starting having hits BE's already had three country number ones), and minus the moods and shrewds just below the robust, sufficiently sensitive surface---also without the vocal range--but Eldredge knows how to use what he's got, and, although as with xpost Kip Moore's 2017 album, it's more about the overall effect here, but each track has its own themette, and "Superhero" rolls into its chorus like TK would approve, the singer kidding himself but into it too, on the look-out for Damsels In Distress, verse by sufficiently sensitive verse. He's into chasing the "Heartbreaker" too, no complaints, and he's pretty good (lots of practice) at the groveling, unnecessarily self-described drunk dial on another.His version of a bro song is "Brother", which starts like "We need to talk about why we've been playin' tough all these years"--instead it goes into okay bromantic nostalic anthemizing "You had my back when Dad got sick...you were my first call that night in jail, you raised my bail" later not quite rhyming it with "raised some hell." "Cycles" also philosophically overviewing, and another with a touch of the late-80s-early-90s headphones atmospherics (speaking or early Toby Keith). The Happy Hour cowpoke, always hopeful and cleaned up nice, in part because he may have just come from work.
― dow, Wednesday, 7 February 2018 20:45 (two months ago) Permalink
Oops, meant to link! It's all here:https://bretteldredge.bandcamp.com/album/brett-eldredge
― dow, Wednesday, 7 February 2018 20:46 (two months ago) Permalink
Y'all heard Zane Campbell? Check out the Washington Post piece on him. He's played with the great pedal-steel wiz Susan Alcorn, whom I saw last year in Nashville and who blew my mind. She does stuff undreamed of by Buddy Emmons and Weldon Myrick (and Sneaky Pete too). What I've heard of Campbell's music sounds pretty impressive.
― eddhurt, Wednesday, 7 February 2018 23:37 (two months ago) Permalink
new Brandi Carlile streaming at NPRhttps://www.npr.org/2018/02/08/582106372/first-listen-brandi-carlile-by-the-way-i-forgive-you
― Simon H., Thursday, 8 February 2018 13:32 (two months ago) Permalink
Yeah, gotta check that, I like her, gotta check Zane Campbell too. Just listened to Natalie Hemby's Puxico for the first time---will at least another spin or 2 or more to catch all the words in her murmuring condifence in both senses: so far her ruminations seem saved from too much singer-songwriter navelgazing by surefooted professionalism, most of the time. Her songs have been covered by Woamack and other worthies, and several of these could be singles. One of the initial stand-outs is especially lilting, as she walks through a town basking in the sunshine of your love, "you" being a local hero or heroine gone somewhere, but "They still tell your stories, swap your jokes," and as she walks the high school halls, sees "your pictures in the trophy cases." Next song is maybe sung by another character, who has found that the details of a past (?) relationship have become "trapped in the photographs,,,Just when I understand everything about our story, that's when I forget." Now it's all "feelings in the walls," but sounds like that's okay, more than okay,also part of the cycle, but nothing mystical. Her tunes and delivery are straightforward as always.
Which also helps with the likes of "Ferris Wheel," similar conceptually to "Circle Game," but her take is not a sing-along for sad Boomers: it seems like a good old sawdust county fair memory and theme song; she ain't sorry.
― dow, Friday, 9 February 2018 18:29 (two months ago) Permalink
Huckabee whining about being a victim of course
― omar little, Friday, 2 March 2018 05:16 (one month ago) Permalink
Word to Huckabee: title track of American Grandstan, a honky tonk sidetrip taken by bluegrass stalwart Rhonda Vincent and country-classicist Daryle Singletary, RIP a few weeks ago, but sounding robust and alert on this July 17 release. On "American Grandstand, a set-typical, melodious, harmonious song of discord, they've signed everything, and are now singing the detailed summary and agreement, with, to and at each other, rehearsing "the final show" of family values and marital drama.All these warm, catchy, sometimes bouncy chestnuts and compatible contemporaries are now playing my headbox on a regular basis, having commenced upon first listening. Adios, D. I"ll know you'll be back with me soon.
― dow, Saturday, 3 March 2018 22:08 (one month ago) Permalink
Word to me: American Grandstand, July '17 release, ffs,
― dow, Saturday, 3 March 2018 22:10 (one month ago) Permalink
On Minnesota Public Radio's Live From Here, just now heard immediately and lastingly compelling performances by local hero Kaitlyn Smith, who got more Nashbiz-acceptance as a writer---of several songs I knew, but not as by any one person, let alone her---new release seems to be getting more promotional etc. support than previous. Inneresting feature here:https://www.rollingstone.com/country/features/caitlyn-smith-on-the-closed-doors-and-raw-emotion-that-led-to-starfire-w431402
― dow, Sunday, 4 March 2018 20:30 (one month ago) Permalink
Um, "Caitlyn," like it says there, yep.
Listening again to some demos, alts, prev. unreleased titles on disc 1 of Gillian Welch's Boots No, 1: The Official Revival Bootleg. Substantial-enough storylines, from a shoebox of snapshots and postcards, plus a fluid-enough way with the tiny tuneful turns of detail, keep most of 'em from being too received folkieness, if you're not allergic to Americana, and this assortment is for making your own sequences: Like "I Don't Want To Go Dpwntown," "Go On Downtown," "Red Clay Halo," "Paper Wings" (this last could be taken as caution to writers, which is ever'body these days of course). A bit too much regret in some subsets, but for instance Bonnie Raitt please cover the Randy Newmanesque "Georgia Road," a report from where "The boys are walkin' funny, and the girls are all undone...workin' those tiny polka dot skirts...I was bawn a nasty man." Ain't sorry, but/and knows he'll die one too. "Prob'ly go to Hell."
― dow, Monday, 5 March 2018 19:04 (one month ago) Permalink
Some of these are full band, rockin' in a Model-A way.
― dow, Monday, 5 March 2018 19:15 (one month ago) Permalink
"Well the night came undone, like a party dress" (that's not "Georgia Road," it's a bluesy waltz).
― dow, Monday, 5 March 2018 19:20 (one month ago) Permalink
"Acony Bell" still the one to end with: seems like a dry little flower, but something inside and all around keeps it alive.
― dow, Monday, 5 March 2018 19:55 (one month ago) Permalink
So that “Saving Country Music “ website guy is defending Huckabee and criticizing the critics of him. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised
― curmudgeon, Tuesday, 6 March 2018 21:28 (one month ago) Permalink
he's the worrrrrst
― maura, Wednesday, 7 March 2018 13:30 (one month ago) Permalink
I spent an hour talking to Trigger of Saving Country Music the other day. He's gonna part of a piece I'm doing about the, er, state of country criticism.
― eddhurt, Thursday, 8 March 2018 01:09 (one month ago) Permalink
did you ask him why he's such a sexist prick
― maura, Thursday, 8 March 2018 16:49 (one month ago) Permalink
In following the twitter battles, I see someone recommending the following country and alt-country sites/writers on twitter instead: highwayqueens ; the musicdivide ; TheDailyCountry; ; CountryUniverse ; Honest_Country ; countrycritics
― curmudgeon, Friday, 9 March 2018 06:11 (one month ago) Permalink
Thanks---Edd aside, I mostly occasionally skim for info---but did fairly recently read Southwest Shuffle: Pioneers of Honky-Tonk, Western Swing, and Country Jazz (handsome trade pb w good pix, Routledge, 2003), by Rick Kienzle, who also contributed to the late, useful Country Music Magazine. He doesn't just enthuse, he describes what made and still makes the heyday of Western Swing so musically gratifying, and isn't shy about detailing how and when and sometimes why (increasingly desperate attempts to biz-adapt) the recorded offerings of his protagonists, incl. heroes, turned to shit. It's kind of Four Lives In The Be-Bop Business in reverse, with questing young musos from hither and yon peaking early in California, then scuffling, going back to the boonies and/or hitting a wall re The Nashville Sound and Countrypolitan.Although there are exceptions! To any predictable arc, anyway--for instance, Ray Price went to honky tonk with a strong beat, drawing the livelier geezers and some youngsters, without actually playing that rock&roll stuff---then he decided he *did* want to do the smooth Nashville thing, not only on record but replicated live, challenging his carefully established audiences and hardened swing-to-tonk road dawg band---never mind we don't have no orkystraw or choir, just do it. And you out there, you better like it.And the saga of former teen swing fan Willie Nelson, whose vocal timing (also some of his lyrics) broke the tried & true Hit Factory assembly line, as far as the suits and producer Chet Atkins was concerned--well, you've heard about that, but maybe not in such telling detail (come to think of it, maybe he was influenced by the tenacity of Price, an early employer).Very handy discography of reissues too.
― dow, Friday, 9 March 2018 18:29 (one month ago) Permalink
Also I've gotDreaming Out Loud: Garth Brooks, Wynonna Judd, Wade Hayes, and the Changing Face of Nashville(William Morrow,1998), by Bruce Feiler. Bought it after reading an excerpt in which the author runs into Garth Brooks soon after a National Holiday (Thanksgiving, I think). Brooks allows that he spent it curled in a fetal position, contemplating the marketing of his next release. Asked why he still tortures himself thusly after selling nine jillion albums, GB says he wants to be an American Archetype, like John Wayne. Well okay--but Wayne wasn't nearly always the biggest box office draw, far from it at times...
― dow, Friday, 9 March 2018 19:10 (one month ago) Permalink
Anyone who thinks John Wayne is some kind of great American archetype is right, of course, but they can't have seen many John Wayne movies, in which he's usually brutal, one-dimensional and therefore perfect for the world of John Ford. Wayne in Hawks' Rio Bravo and Red River, however, is a very nuanced character, one who shows humor and even doubt (which Wayne shows, the doubt part anyway, in the one Ford film with Wayne worth mentioning, The Searchers (honorable mention to Stagecoach, which is really Gregg Toland's movie, not Hawks' or Wane's). In today's cultural climate, Wayne might as well be a serial killer, and that's both to be expected and somewhat unfortunate. The idea of a man telling women what to do, even in the very nuanced Hawks films, like Hatari!, in which women are treated as equals and are also somewhat puzzling figures these men have trouble keeping their heads straight about--sex, and the humorous aspects thereof, are a big part of Hawks even when he's most serious--is not something you can get away with any more and I won't defend that old-school viewpoint. But Hawks, compared to Ford, Huston and even Ray, was virtually a feminist, tho the Hawks bio indicates he was a compartmentalized, sneaky womanizer. I definitely think Ida Lupino is a very fine, underrated director, so let her receive some praise, she deserves it. Enough on the auteurs for now. Garth is just too fucking sincere to grasp any of this, which isn't to say he's stupid.
― eddhurt, Friday, 9 March 2018 21:25 (one month ago) Permalink
I hever did listen to him much, despite endorsements from xheddy and zgau, for inst. But, while working in a 90s CD store, I got the demographic appeal: he was one of those who grew up with arena rock---popped up on a Kiss trib, and a Voice feature mentioned "Pink Floyd guitars" on an album drama---so it was time for arena country, High Hat. He was certainly in the vanguard of that, and credited the reinforcement of Chris LeDoux's stage shows LeD. became a real rodeo bravo, so why not ride a mechanical bull while the music played---seem to recall him tagging his approach as "Aerosmith in a cowboy hat." Take that far enough, and you get Aldean for instance, but--In any case, I never saw that show, only got into him as he was checkin' out fairly early (liver cancer), clued by the famous Garth line, "A worn-out tape by Chris LeDoux, lonely women and bad booze Seem to be the only friends I've got left at all. " From "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old." And a lot of Brooks' peers related to that too, no doubt, but LeDoux's own music, though it brought the wide open spaces, incl. the lonesome parts, I mainly recall for its confidential tone, as unpretentious as suave can get without boring. Toby Keith seems to embody both sides of LeDoux more than Brooks does, but Brooks is a brother in the trustworthy, well-meaning sense, unlike the moody, shifty TK, who still thereby seems like the more interesting artist, but I owe Garth some more listens, in part for turning me onto Chris.Being an archetype means getting in under people's hats and staying there, deeper than "Hey, he likes what I like" etc.---could see maybe say Madonna or Taylor Swift with that kind of staying, resurfacing power (gotta move from power to authority though, to be an archetype). We'll see.
― dow, Monday, 12 March 2018 22:05 (one month ago) Permalink
Oh yeah, speaking of Wayne, I liked Gary Wills' attentive, appreciative, shrewd, informative as hell, Big Picture with a zoom lens (book), John Wayne's America: The Politics of Celebrity, good crisp take here:http://www.nytimes.com/books/97/03/23/reviews/970323.23haskelt.html
― dow, Monday, 12 March 2018 22:16 (one month ago) Permalink
"zgau"? Still waiting for that one; I meant xgau ocourse.
― dow, Monday, 12 March 2018 22:18 (one month ago) Permalink
Jewly Hight on on the changing face of country. Well worth your time.
Meanwhile, yours truly on the related topic of country criticism and the man called Trigger and Saving Country Music. Kinda remedial crit for people who don't know from poptimism, I guess, with Chuck Eddy and Frank Kogan making an appearance, along with the equally fine country critic Marissa R. Moss.
― eddhurt, Thursday, 22 March 2018 21:18 (four weeks ago) Permalink
i only know her bc she toured with jimmy eat world a few years ago but the courtney marie andrews record that came out today is a deep country stunner
― flamenco drop (BradNelson), Friday, 23 March 2018 15:23 (four weeks ago) Permalink
oh sweet i'm glad she was mentioned by someone else on this thread
― flamenco drop (BradNelson), Friday, 23 March 2018 15:24 (four weeks ago) Permalink
Yeah it's real good! It was streaming on NPR for a while
― Simon H., Friday, 23 March 2018 15:26 (four weeks ago) Permalink
Courtney ain't bad. Sounds like Mary McCaslin, if the great McCaslin had played with Will Oldham. Andrews' retro sonics are a bit of a drag. It all kinda comes straight out of the handbook, to my ears, but she's a good singer. I like her subject matter, just get so bored with the received wisdom of the arrangements and sonics, which I could travel 2 miles down the road from here in Gnashville and hear 6 nites a week, and done not much better or worse. Before they cut May Your Kindness, someone shoulda stepped on the organist's hands.
― eddhurt, Friday, 23 March 2018 18:10 (four weeks ago) Permalink
the arrangements/sound is v retro but i find it deep and enfolding regardless
― flamenco drop (BradNelson), Friday, 23 March 2018 18:11 (four weeks ago) Permalink
Yeah, Andrews is all right. Hope she comes to play with the Americanas this year, she deserves to be as big as any of them. I just hear so much music that sounds exactly like hers, I guess. As the Americana scene changes to allow, let's hope, some new blood into the club, I think she's expertly positioned to join it. Everyone's gonna be depressed anyway after half the world gets blown up and we're all stuck with our guitars and pianos that no one knows how to tune.
― eddhurt, Friday, 23 March 2018 18:15 (four weeks ago) Permalink
Liked the conversations on country criticism, edd. Also like country pop (Carly Pearce, Kip Moore, Thomas Rhett's Tangled Up but not his current stinker, after the opening duet with Maren Morris, whose debut I luvvved, except for the one about country music as religion)and pop by people who, uh. make pop in Nashville and sound Southern, whether they're country or countryoid or not (like Walker Hayes and Kelsea Ballerini). Have talked about 'em all in print or pixels, but except for Pearce and Morris couldn't think of much to say----also always (or foe a while) fine w the concept of Taylor Swift, but her actual music tends to go in one ear and out the other.Obv. most or prob all the country icons we're supposed to rail about never being on country radio anymore, in part because most of them are long dead, had enough pop savvy in their art to get on country radio all the time when they got on it at all.Is Trigger that emblematic of a significant chunk of country commentary?? Guess so yuck (how fitting that he took his name from a dead horse)
― dow, Tuesday, 27 March 2018 01:53 (three weeks ago) Permalink
Courtney Marie Andrews toured w/ Jimmy Eat World? like as an opener?
― alpine static, Tuesday, 27 March 2018 07:54 (three weeks ago) Permalink
― maura, Tuesday, 27 March 2018 14:36 (three weeks ago) Permalink
― maura, Tuesday, 27 March 2018 14:37 (three weeks ago) Permalink
She just played with Dead Meadow here in DC the other night
― Heez, Tuesday, 27 March 2018 14:56 (three weeks ago) Permalink
andrews was the backup singer (and iirc keyboardist) for the tour for invented, many of the songs on which were inspired by cindy sherman's photography and written from the perspectives of women and featured traded off vocals between jim adkins and andrews
― flamenco drop (BradNelson), Tuesday, 27 March 2018 14:59 (three weeks ago) Permalink
The duet sets with hubbie that I've heard are good, but fuckin finally a new solo Kelly Willis album (also in here: the return of Sugarland etc.)https://www.rollingstone.com/country/features/hear-kelly-willis-soul-tinged-new-song-back-being-blue-w518485
― dow, Friday, 30 March 2018 17:02 (three weeks ago) Permalink
When I worked in a Deep South CD store in the mid-90s to early-00ties, Elvis sold almost as well as the Dead, and his gospel outsold all his other stuff. Now Some public radio stations are re-broadcasting/-streaming "He Touched Me: Elvis' Gospel Music, " w cogent comments from colleagues, intros by Laura Cantrell. Sounds great, wish there were more live (do hear some live w Jordanaires x Sweet Inspirations, for some audiences adjusting or not to integration)(most of the material is from the SI's side of the tracks).More info on the ever-handy (though Not Secure) Elvis Information Network:http://www.elvisinfonet.com/elvisnews_HeTouchedMeRadioversion.html The whole show may be posted somewhere.
― dow, Sunday, 1 April 2018 15:41 (two weeks ago) Permalink
Expanded reissue of Emmylou's The Ballad of Sally Rose---good?
Released in 1985, the song cycle is based loosely on her short time with influential singer-songwriter Gram Parsons...Highlights...include the singles "White Line" - which reached #14 on the country charts - and "Rhythm Guitar" with Waylon Jennings on lead guitar. In addition, Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt sing harmony throughout the album. Two years later, the friends and frequent collaborators would release their first album together, Trio...More info: http://view.e.wbr.com/?qs=61051c94690b58e096f0ee97da524b07450d8da7cb262cc9a54ebdc45039d666f3ec1e61f
― dow, Tuesday, 3 April 2018 02:25 (two weeks ago) Permalink
“We had just enough tequila that I asked them, ‘Do you want to do a show?,’ and they were like, ‘Yeah!,’” recounts Becca Mancari, explaining Bermuda Triangle’s origin story.
The Nashville group – Mancari, fellow singer-songwriter Jesse Lafser, and Alabama Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard – rolls into Antone’s on Thursday, with another Music City act in support, Liz Cooper & the Stampede.
Promising a drum machine paired with an upright bass, Bermuda Triangle hit the road for nine dates concluding Friday in Dallas with only two songs on Spotify. Speaking by phone from a solo show stop in Virginia, Mancari chatted with “Gay Place” about summertime crushes, being gay in Nashville, and guitar-shredding ladies. Seems like it might be good. Continued here:https://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/gay-place/2018-04-03/bermuda-triangles-becca-mancari-makes-waves/
― dow, Tuesday, 3 April 2018 19:20 (two weeks ago) Permalink
i have the Becca Mancari album from last year on my 2017 spotify country playlist and it's pretty damn good.
― omar little, Tuesday, 3 April 2018 19:21 (two weeks ago) Permalink
― eddhurt, Tuesday, 3 April 2018 20:47 (two weeks ago) Permalink
Anyone seen/heard this? Has it been mentioned yet?
― Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 5 April 2018 21:06 (two weeks ago) Permalink
Oh, I see it up there, never mind.
Thanks yall, will def check all that out---speaking of Gay Place, no doubt the name was chosen for more than one reason, like Nashville Scene's A Face In The Crowd column---in this case, it's also the title (maybe from "It's known as the gay place/That out of the way place") of a collection of three novellas by one Billy Lee Brammer, all of 'em about life and death and other stuff in orbit around a gas giant Governor of Texas, with LBJ-size drive and cunning and deep pockets full of other politicians, civil servants, media workers---and also the kind of un-LBJ-like charm that Huey Long, Big Jim Folsom, Slick Willie Clinton relied on---he's wallking a tightrope amidst 60s shitstorms. It's pretty musical.
― dow, Friday, 6 April 2018 01:44 (two weeks ago) Permalink
Ashley Monroe's new one now streaming.
― Simon H., Thursday, 12 April 2018 12:10 (one week ago) Permalink
so what does Rolling Country think of this Joshua Hedley fella?
― alpine static, Sunday, 15 April 2018 02:01 (six days ago) Permalink
That dude's too much of a kitschy tribute act even for me, and my tolerance for that is pretty wide open.
― Johnny Fever, Sunday, 15 April 2018 02:30 (six days ago) Permalink
She did a great episode of 'My Favorite Album' talking about Big Thief's 'Capacity' a couple months back: http://myfavoritealbum.libsyn.com/becca-mancari-on-big-thief-capacity-2017
― Johnny Fever, Sunday, 15 April 2018 02:34 (six days ago) Permalink
I saw him open for Old Crow Medicine Show last year. you know, he was all right. A good version of the usual Lower Broadway Country for Tourists shtick. I didn't mind him at all.
Saw Lee Ann Womack last week. Amazing singer, good stuff, even a good version of "Long Black Veil." She lives up to the hype.
― eddhurt, Sunday, 15 April 2018 03:42 (six days ago) Permalink
Was wondering what Amy LaVere's been up to lately---here's a good live set featuring Motel Mirrors, also incl. Will Sexton,John Paul Keith, and another guy whose name I didn't catch---Barbara Ching briefly discusses blues-country connections and plays a few excerpts, but mostly it's the Motel Mirrors show: http://www.bealestreetcaravan.com/weekly-show/bsc2228/
― dow, Monday, 16 April 2018 18:49 (five days ago) Permalink
Most of the songs are from their new album, which I haven't heard.
― dow, Monday, 16 April 2018 18:50 (five days ago) Permalink
― alpine static, Saturday, April 14, 2018 10:01 PM (two days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
― Johnny Fever, Saturday, April 14, 2018 10:30 PM (two days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink
Idk I think he might actually have the tunes and pipes to back up the act.
― Simon H., Monday, 16 April 2018 18:51 (five days ago) Permalink