Rolling Country 2018

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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 (seven 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' PICK
The War and Treaty
This event is over. The High Watt
Lord 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, Friday, December 29, 2017 9:58 PM (two weeks ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

dow, Monday, 15 January 2018 19:11 (seven 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 Great
Release Date: TBA
The 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 You
Release Date: February 16th
On 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

ha

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 (seven months ago) Permalink

Caitlyn Smith's Starfire looks interesting.

eddhurt, Monday, 15 January 2018 21:37 (seven 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 (seven 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 (seven 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 (seven months ago) Permalink

that Anderson East album has some...interesting singing choices.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 16 January 2018 22:17 (seven 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-alone
The 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 (seven months ago) Permalink

new Western Centuries album out April 6. my favorite country band goin'...

alpine static, Thursday, 18 January 2018 18:26 (seven 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):

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dow, Thursday, 18 January 2018 20:49 (seven months ago) Permalink

Forced by the voting thread to finally nail down my best of 2017 list:

Tyler Childers - Purgatory
Natalie Hemby - Puxico
Jaime Wyatt - Felony Blues (sad to see this not get nom'd in the albums poll)
Hiss Golden Messenger - Hallelujah Anyhow
RaeLynn- WildHorse
Colter Wall - Colter Wall
Jason Eady - Jason Eady
Turnpike Troubadours - A Long Way From Your Heart
Chris Stapleton - From A Room: Volume 1
Lee Ann Womack - The Lonely, the Lonesome & the Gone

Indexed, Friday, 19 January 2018 18:34 (seven 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 (seven 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 (seven 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 (seven 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 (six 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 (six 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 Nelson
2. Rodney Crowell
3. John Moreland

COUNTRY MUSIC’S THREE BEST FEMALE VOCALISTS OF 2017:
1. Lee Ann Womack
2. Whitney Rose
3. Margo Price

COUNTRY MUSIC’S THREE BEST SONGWRITERS OF 2017:

1. Willie Nelson
2. Margo Price
3. Rodney Crowell
(and their collaborators)

COUNTRY MUSIC’S THREE BEST DUOS, TRIOS OR GROUPS OF 2017:

1. Margo Price & the Price Tags
2. Amanda Anne Platt & the Honeycutters
3. Willie Nelson, Lukas Nelson, Micah Nelson

COUNTRY MUSIC’S THREE BEST NEW ACTS OF 2017:

1. Alex Williams
2. Carly Spence
3. Colter Wall

COUNTRY MUSIC’S THREE BEST OVERALL ACTS OF 2017:

1. Willie Nelson
2. Jon Langford’s Four Lost Souls
3. 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 Rocks
Borderline: Toby Keith: Songs From The Bus, Various Artists:Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don Williams
Less Than Half Good: Banditos: VisionLand, Thomas Rhett: Life Changes, Bruce Robison & The Back Porch Band: S/T

Countryoid/Americana/Related:
Nicole Atkins: Goodnight Rhonda Lee
Lucinda 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 Black
Peter Stampfel & The Atomic Mega Pagans: Cambrian Explosion
David Rawlings: Poor David’s Almanack
Bonsoir, Catin: L’Aurore
The War and Treaty: Down To The River

Related Reissues:
1. Marisa Anderson: Traditional and Public Domain Songs
2. Various Artists: American Epic: The Collection
3. Lydia Loveless: Boy Crazy and Single(s)
4. Various Artists: Rough Guide To Jugband Blues
5. Various Artists: American Epic: The Soundtrack
6. 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 (six months ago) Permalink

Should be "I'm catching up," not "I's, " jeez (typo I swear).

dow, Thursday, 25 January 2018 18:44 (six 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 (six 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 (six 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 (six 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, Trophy
4. Brett Eldredge, Brett Eldredge
5. Lee Ann Womack, The Lonely, The Lonesome and the Gone
6. Lillie Mae, Forever And Then Some
7. Little Big Town, The Breaker
8. Kip Moore, Slowheart
9. Kelsea Ballerini, Unapologetic
10.Margo Price, All American Made

erasingclouds, Friday, 26 January 2018 15:11 (six 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 (six 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 (six 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 (six months ago) Permalink

Here's my Scene ballot:
TOP TEN COUNTRY ALBUMS OF 2017:

1. Daniel Romano Modern Pressure New West
2. Midland On the Rocks Big Machine
3. Tyler Childers Purgatory Hickman Holler
4. Lee Ann Womack The Lonely, the Lonesome & the Gone ATO
5. Walker Hayes Boom Monument
6. Angaleena Presley Wrangled Thirty Tigers
7. Little Bandit Breakfast Alone yk
8. Juanita Stein America Nude Records
9. Whitney Rose Rule 62 Six Shooter/Thirty Tigers
10. Little Big Town The Breaker Capitol Nashville

TOP TEN COUNTRY SINGLES OF 2017:

1. Check Cashing Country--Midland
2. Last Time for Everything--Brad Paisley
3. Every Little Thing--Carly Pearce
4. Tin Man--Miranda Lambert
5. Round Here Buzz--Eric Church
6. Softball--Caroline Spence
7. I Saw Jesus Peekin' Thru a Hole in the Sky--Will Beeley
8. Body Like a Back Road--Sam Hunt
9. Better Man--Little Big Town
10. You Broke up with Me--Walker Hayes

TOP FIVE COUNTRY REISSUES OF 2017:

1. Will Beeley Passing Dream Tompkins Square
2. Lydia Loveless Boy Crazy and Single(s) Bloodshot
3. Various Stax Country Craft
4. Will Beeley Gallivantin' Tompkins Square
5. Arthur Alexander Arthur Alexander Omnivore

eddhurt, Friday, 26 January 2018 17:12 (six 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 (six months ago) Permalink

NashScene ballot:

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 (six 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 (six 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

https://image-ticketfly.imgix.net/00/02/79/11/07-og.jpg?w=300&h=463

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

TICKET LINK
http://www.hideoutchicago.com/event/1625495-chris-gantry-house-cash-chicago/

Chris Gantry Online:
http://www.dragcity.com/artists/chris-gantry
https://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 (six 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 (six 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 (six months ago) Permalink

Might as well post this here -- a fine new project, inspired by Tom Ewing

https://countrynumberones.tumblr.com/

Ned Raggett, Monday, 29 January 2018 20:19 (six months ago) Permalink

(Should add this is by Robert Ham.)

Ned Raggett, Monday, 29 January 2018 20:20 (six 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 (six 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 (six 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 (six months ago) Permalink

Still gotta check that Spence acoustic EP.

dow, Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:32 (six 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 (six 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 (six 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 (six 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 (six 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 (six 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 (six 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 (six 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 (six 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 (six months ago) Permalink

new Brandi Carlile streaming at NPR
https://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 (six 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 (six months ago) Permalink

colter will be releasing an album this year and this is one of the singles, just in time for the calgary stampede, which is surely not accidental

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYq6zKdqfkY

F# A# (∞), Monday, 9 July 2018 03:14 (one month ago) Permalink

should mention it's a wilf carter cover

F# A# (∞), Monday, 9 July 2018 03:15 (one month ago) Permalink

aha Brad I can kind of hear what you mean

I still can't get over that Colter Wall is the son of Brad, but I admit I'm a sucker for that voice of his

Simon H., Monday, 9 July 2018 03:43 (one month ago) Permalink

He has said him and his dad are very different people if that helps

F# A# (∞), Monday, 9 July 2018 03:52 (one month ago) Permalink

I didn't really mean it in the sense that it was a problem, but it *does* help!

Simon H., Monday, 9 July 2018 03:56 (one month ago) Permalink

i really like this keith urban & julia michaels song

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iC7wWFQUUqU

J0rdan S., Monday, 9 July 2018 05:32 (one month ago) Permalink

Fans of the new Dierks album might find similar appeal on his guest Brandi Carlile's own By The Way, I Frogive You: looking out over the blue Rockies at her life's landmarks, incl. relationships w deep and still-rumbling layers, provisional peace, possible wisdom---Dierks sounds happier, but she's still strong, thriving on the drama under her boots and out there---a few tracks I haven't wrapped my head around yet, but overall good stuff.

dow, Monday, 9 July 2018 19:18 (one month ago) Permalink

er Forgive You

dow, Monday, 9 July 2018 19:19 (one month ago) Permalink

really a missed opportunity for a kermit led county classic. i have a one year old so please don't roll your eyes at me

Heez, Tuesday, 10 July 2018 01:04 (one month ago) Permalink

Wish she'd thought of that!

dow, Tuesday, 10 July 2018 01:41 (one month ago) Permalink

by the way i forgive you is an incredibly powerful album, lots of great tracks with her vocals sounding very big

i have a personal quibble and it's really because i have old man ears at this point in my life

and it's that her vocals feel like they were recorded too hot and are overdriven, which affects my enjoyment of it

i think i understand why they did it though -- it's the whole raw/emotive feel of if, which is good

i just would've preferred warmer sounding vocals, but that would've removed the affect i guess

i'm sure this album is mind blowing live

party of one is one of my favourites

F# A# (∞), Tuesday, 10 July 2018 02:26 (one month ago) Permalink

indeed, the Brandi album is great

ya gotta be OK with riding the blurry line between earnestness and over-the-top-ness to lock in to her, but she's definitely got the goods, imo. has for a long time.

alpine static, Tuesday, 10 July 2018 02:27 (one month ago) Permalink

She really sells it on party of one. My bro sent me that song and it was enough for me to want to check out the album.

Hall of Fam (Spottie), Tuesday, 10 July 2018 04:19 (one month ago) Permalink

Yeah you gotta be ready for her theatricality, and I kept thinking she's performed with this guy? Even before I got this update:
Elton John calls Brandi Carlile’s By The Way, I Forgive You his “Album of the Year” on his Rocket Hour radio show on Beats 1 on Apple Music. Listen to the full interview, which aired this past weekend(if you've got Apple Music or want to go to the iTunes Store yadda-yadda, anyway I can imagine her singing some of his early country-ish [& other] songs better than he did, no prob)

dow, Monday, 16 July 2018 23:49 (one month ago) Permalink

From Variety:

“I learned a lot about phrasing listening to Frank,” Willie said recently in an interview for AARP magazine (June/July 2018). “He didn’t worry about behind the beat or in front of the beat, or whatever-he could sing it either way, and that’s the feel you have to have.”

Nelson, who cancelled some shows earlier this year due to illness, is back on the road through the end of this year; the “My Way” tracklist appears in full below:

Fly Me To The Moon
Summer Wind
One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)
A Foggy Day
It Was A Very Good Year
Blue Moon
I’ll Be Around
Night And Day
What Is This Thing Called Love (with Norah Jones)
Young At Heart
My Way

First single and video is "Summer Wind." Album's out Sept. 14.

dow, Saturday, 21 July 2018 01:40 (four weeks ago) Permalink

x-post

indeed, the Brandi album is great

ya gotta be OK with riding the blurry line between earnestness and over-the-top-ness to lock in to her, but she's definitely got the goods, imo. has for a long time.

― alpine static, Tuesday, 10 July 2018 02:27 (one week ago) Permalink

A tad melodramatic at times, but yes to Brandi Carlile

curmudgeon, Monday, 23 July 2018 14:36 (four weeks ago) Permalink

Willie doing "It Was a Very Good Year" might actually kill me

wayne trotsky (Simon H.), Monday, 23 July 2018 14:39 (four weeks ago) Permalink

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/how-lori-mckenna-writes-the-most-devastating-ballads-in-country-music/2018/07/19/544b51e2-89f4-11e8-8aea-86e88ae760d8_story.html?utm_term=.84e448afa0e0

Chr*s Richards in W. Post on folky gone Nashville country songwriter Lori McKenna who lives in Stoughton, Massachusetts

But this is how her songwriting often begins — eavesdropping and people-watching while she runs her daily errands. “We’re all people-watchers in some way,” McKenna says over the telephone from her living room in Massachusetts. “We see a person, and we make a story up in our head. . . . I don’t know if empathy is the right word, but we develop some curiosity in one another.”...McKenna has said that she feels a pressure to write airtight lyrics to compensate for her limited vocal range — and while it’s hard to hear a voice as expressive as hers as limited, it’s easy to hear how wisely she deploys her resources.

McKenna’s exquisite new album, “The Tree,” directs that curiosity toward families — her family, other people’s families, imagined families, families where the kids grow up too fast, and the parents grow old too soon, families that make her new songs feel as mundane and urgent as life and death. And while many have praised McKenna for her ability to elevate our most piddling pedestrian life-stuff to profound heights, for her, there’s no heavy lifting involved. When the ordinary is already extraordinary, the music is all around us.

curmudgeon, Monday, 23 July 2018 14:46 (four weeks ago) Permalink

this is kind of big I think https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/eric-church-desperate-man-nashville-country-700750/

Church says he’s not a member of the NRA and never has been. “I’m a Second Amendment guy,” he emphasizes again, “but I feel like they’ve been a bit of a roadblock. I don’t care who you are – you shouldn’t have that kind of power over elected officials. To me it’s cut-and-dried: The gun-show (loophole) would not exist if it weren’t for the NRA, so at this point in time, if I was an NRA member, I would think I had more of a problem than the solution. I would question myself real hard about what I wanted to be in the next three, four, five years.”

Church knows he’ll get blowback from some fans for this. “I don’t care,” he says. “Right’s right and wrong’s wrong. I don’t understand why we have to fear a group [like the NRA]. It’s asinine. Why can’t we come together and solve one part of this? Start with the bump stocks and the gun shows. Shut a couple of these down. I do think that will matter a little bit. I think it will save some lives.”

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Wednesday, 25 July 2018 16:02 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Was just about to post. One of the best interviews I've read in months.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 25 July 2018 16:40 (three weeks ago) Permalink

roger mcguinn, chris hillman and marty stuart & his fabulous superlatives, sweetheart of the rodeo full album show, los angeles, tuesday night. opening night of a short-ish tour. it was ragged, loose, occasionally awkward and more than occasionally great. they did one set of truncated versions of hits and deep cuts, and then the sweetheart of the rodeo set, played in full but out of order. i got the sense that stuart and the superlatives rehearsed thoroughly on their own and mcguinn and hillman maybe not so much. they missed cues left and right, were looking down frequently for chords and lyrics, and while hillman's voice was in good form, mcguinn was having a little trouble cutting through. but their instincts for harmony are still dead-on, and stuart fit right into that. i felt like i was watching a band still working out its sound, and as a result, when something gelled, when they hit a sweet spot, it was magical. like watching a band discover itself in real time. and that second set was way better than the first. it felt like having a piece of my own dna read back to me. maybe they felt the same.

encore: two byrds classics and three tom petty classics. i was wondering if maybe they would be able to coax david crosby (who i assume still lives here though i have no idea) onto the stage for a song or two. instead we got mike campbell, who joined for "american girl" -- after which they kicked him off and, strangely, played more petty songs without him. marty stuart did a bluegrassy take on "runnin' down a dream" (thumbs up) and hillman did a fairly faithful "wildflowers," which apparently petty produced for him for an album he put out last year.

they also told some stories. they're not particularly good storytellers. damn those harmonies though.

fact checking cuz, Thursday, 26 July 2018 02:08 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Was already hoping for an album from that tour, even more while reading your dispatch. Marty and His FS have the drive and expertise to keep those geezers functioning onstage for as long as possible.
Yeah, Hillman's always seemed better in bands, all the way back to the Hillmen, but the Petty=produced set has keepers; my comments from the most recent Nashville Scene ballot:
Have not yet made it through Chris Hillman's The Asylum Years---some hideous harmonies get wasted on the way---but will give it another shot. Some nice tracks on the new Bidin’ My Time, especially "Walk Right Back," one of the many under-covered Everlys Bros worthies, seeds of West Coast country rock at its best (he credits inclusion of this song to producer Tom Petty, who did what he could all over--Hillman's not the strongest solo artist among his peers, but has his moments, when the setting's just right, or just about) McGuinn and The Croz show up; some Heartbreakers, still radio-ready, also appear.

dow, Thursday, 26 July 2018 02:43 (three weeks ago) Permalink

"Everlys Bros"? Oh well it's just a ballot.

dow, Thursday, 26 July 2018 02:47 (three weeks ago) Permalink

yeah, marty and his fab superlatives really are great. versatile, too.

thanks for the hillman review, will have to check that out.

fact checking cuz, Thursday, 26 July 2018 02:51 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Not much of a review, but you're welcome, and thanks for the exciting concert review.

Speaking of ballots, I eventually revised my 2017 choices, aided by y'all's further listening tips.
whole thing posted here: https://thefreelancementalists.blogspot.com/2018/03/cant-stop-shakin-pt-1-nashville-scene.html, although a lot of the comments are the same as or based on Rolling Country 2017/early '18 posts.
As for the basic lists,
here we go:

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/Thirty Tigers)

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)
2. Becky Warren: War Surplus (Deluxe Edition)(self-released, I think)
3.Various: Stax Country (Craft/Concord)

COUNTRY MUSIC’S THREE BEST MALE VOCALISTS OF 2017:
1. Willie Nelson
2. Rodney Crowell
3. John Moreland

COUNTRY MUSIC’S THREE BEST FEMALE VOCALISTS OF 2017:
1. Lee Ann Womack
2. Whitney Rose
3. Margo Price

COUNTRY MUSIC’S THREE BEST SONGWRITERS OF 2017:

1. Willie Nelson
2. Margo Price
3. Rodney Crowell
(and their collaborators)

COUNTRY MUSIC’S THREE BEST DUOS, TRIOS OR GROUPS OF 2017:

1. Margo Price & the Price Tags
2. Amanda Anne Platt & the Honeycutters
3. Willie Nelson, Lukas Nelson, Micah Nelson

COUNTRY MUSIC’S THREE BEST NEW ACTS OF 2017:

1. Alex Williams
2. Carly Pearce
3. Colter Wall

COUNTRY MUSIC’S THREE BEST OVERALL ACTS OF 2017:

1. Willie Nelson
2. Jon Langford’s Four Lost Souls
3. Lee Ann Womack
Comments after the following: ******************************************************************
Imaginary categories:
(They Came To And/Or From Nashville (Pop, Country-Related??):
Nicole Atkins: Goodnight Rhonda Lee, Walker Hayes, Boom, Kelsea Ballerini

Hon. Mention: Willie Nelson: Willie’s Stash Vol. 2: Willie and the Boys, Alex Williams: Better Than Myself, Carly Pearce: Every Little Thing, Lorrie Morgan & Pam Tillis: Come Lonely and Come Lost, Whitney Rose: South Texas Suite, Lindi Ortega: Til The Goin’ Gets Gone,, RaeLynn: Wildhorse, Natalie Hemby: Puxico, Lillie Mae: Forever And Then Some, Kip Moore: Slowheart, Zane Campbell: Ola Wave, Alex Williams: Better Than Myself, Brett Eldredge: s/t, Rhonda Vincent & Daryle Singletary: American Grandstand, Whiskey Gentry: Dead Ringer

Borderline: Sunny Sweeney: Trophy

About Half Good (60-45%): Nikki Lane: Highway Queen, Chris Stapleton: Songs From A Room, Vols. 1 & 2, Case Garrett: Aurora, Little Bandit: Breakfast Alone. 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 Rocks, Scott Miller: Ladies Auxiliary, Charlie Worsham: Beginning of Things, Marty Stuart: Way Out West

Borderline: Toby Keith: Songs From The Bus, Various Artists: Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don Williams

Less Than Half Good: Lady Antebellum: Heart Break, Little Big Town: The Breaker, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill: For The Rest of Our Lives, Thomas Rhett: Life Changes, Bruce Robison & The Back Porch Band: S/T

Countryoid/Americana/Related:

Jace Everett: Dust & Dirt

Howe Gelb: Further Standards

Jessi Colter feat. Lenny Kaye: The Psalms

Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real: S/T

Gregg Allman: Southern Blood

Modern Mal: The Misanthrope Family Album

Rev. Sekou: In Times Like These

David Rawlings: Poor David’s Almanack

Bonsoir, Catin: L’Aurore

The War and Treaty: Down To The River

Related Reissues:
1. Marisa Anderson: Traditional and Public Domain Songs
2. Various Artists: American Epic: The Collection
3. Lydia Loveless: Boy Crazy and Single(s)
4. Various Artists: Rough Guide To Jugband Blues
5. Various Artists: American Epic: The Soundtrack
6. Gillian Welch: Boots No, 1: The Official Revival Bootleg

Borderline (Docked A Notch For Being A Re-Recording Of A Good Old Album And Even Of Bonus Tracks From The Same Sessions):
Lucinda Williams: This Sweet Old World

Related Hon. Mention:
Pinegrove: Elsewhere, Shovels & Rope: Busted Jukebox Vol. 2, Howe Gelb: Open Road, Peter Stampfel & The Atomic Mega Pagans: Cambrian Explosion,
Valerie June: The Order of Time

Related Genealogically As Well As Musically Hon. Mention:
North Mississippi Allstars: Prayer For Peace, James Luther Dickinson: I’m Just Dead, I’m Not Gone: Lazarus Edition (also a Related Reissue)

Related Borderline:
Deer Tick: Vol. 1, Rhiannon Giddens: Freedom Highway, John Mellencamp feat. Carlene Carter: Sad Clowns and Hillbillies, Arthur Alexander: S/T
Related Less Than Half Good:
Banditos: VisionLand

dow, Thursday, 26 July 2018 21:56 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Just got word about xp Colter Walls' Songs of the Plains coming out Oct. 12---link to first single, album & tour info here: http://www.sacksco.com/pr/colter_wall.html

dow, Thursday, 26 July 2018 22:56 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Did not see this coming:
With ‘Blaze,’ Ethan Hawke decided to break all the rules by telling the story of an obscure singer who died in 1989.
https://www.rollingstone.com/movies/movie-features/ethan-hawke-blaze-foley-movie-biopic-texas-songwriter-703024/

dow, Thursday, 2 August 2018 02:19 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I've never been able to watch Ethan Hawke since he was in Square Pegs, but have heard that he's improved. Only know Foley's actual music (vs. backstory and a few reviews of his few albums) via Merle's version of "If I Could Only Fly."

dow, Thursday, 2 August 2018 02:24 (two weeks ago) Permalink

That’s awesome and adds to the many reasons why i like ethan hawke

Wrt to colter wall, I follow his music releases closely so I’ve known about that single and the new album but don’t wanna fill this thread with colter fun facts

Anyway there’s another one from the album floating around on YouTube

Also two of my all time favourite colter tracks are on the new album (sask in 1881 and wild bill hickok if it actually is railroad bill)

Gonna go to one of his shows later this year

F# A# (∞), Thursday, 2 August 2018 07:06 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I'm seeing Colter this weekend. Pretty excited!

alpine static, Thursday, 2 August 2018 08:21 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Here's Brandi Carlisle's whole set, just over an hour:
https://www.npr.org/2018/08/08/636376855/brandi-carlile-live-in-concert-newport-folk-2018

dow, Thursday, 9 August 2018 01:40 (one week ago) Permalink

Xp

How was it

F# A# (∞), Thursday, 9 August 2018 02:28 (one week ago) Permalink

He sounded great, cracked a couple jokes, but I couldn't really dig in because of distractions. Saw about 15 minutes of two different sets, neither with a decent view, either.

I also think he's already much bigger than I realize.

alpine static, Thursday, 9 August 2018 02:40 (one week ago) Permalink

Last year i paid like $15 to his show

This year i paid $40

He definitely blew up

F# A# (∞), Thursday, 9 August 2018 02:56 (one week ago) Permalink

from now on when non-mainstream country/roots acts jump from 400- to 1200-cap rooms in 6 months, they're on The Sturgill Journey

alpine static, Thursday, 9 August 2018 21:02 (one week ago) Permalink

mm i would talk to some people in saskatchewan about him being "non-mainstream"

maura, Thursday, 9 August 2018 23:00 (one week ago) Permalink

just feel like it's worth noting that he's received pushback from people less than thrilled with his dad

maura, Thursday, 9 August 2018 23:00 (one week ago) Permalink

(also what even is "mainstream" these days that isn't like... florida georgia line)

maura, Thursday, 9 August 2018 23:00 (one week ago) Permalink

mm i would talk to some people in saskatchewan about him being "non-mainstream"


What does *this* even mean

How much do you know about sask and more importantly swift current

F# A# (∞), Friday, 10 August 2018 00:21 (one week ago) Permalink

well there are these things called “legs up” you see and they tend to perpetuate hegemony on certain levels

anyway i read stuff. i don’t know if i agree with their assessment. i’m just saying, “mainstream” or non is a slippery way to define quality, especially in this fragmented time.

maura, Friday, 10 August 2018 02:30 (one week ago) Permalink

Paisley was on Fallon or Myers show this week; guess he's still the mainstream, despite that there Welcome Obama song, and the one about racial tolerance in general, which caught some flak from various sides, but so far he hasn't gotten the Dixie Chicks (and Eric Church?) treatment. Miranda Lambert had all them hits, but now she's kinda weird, on her own albums and w Pistol Annies (who have a third album at least in the planning stages, according to Monroe). Chesney still keeps everything paved over, so he's real dependable mainstream. Jason Aldean has probably had some discussions with his people re future venues, at least I would hope so, but no cracks in the pavement that I've noticed.
Hot Buttered Rum have a somewhat misleading name, like they're some kind of lumberjack party band---true, they keep it moving---their mandolinist is also/maybe mainly their drummer---but one of the perkiest numbers on the well-titled Lonesome Panoramic is 'bout how when that lonesome feeling comes around, you better let it in, it might just tell you something; one of the catchiest (even some scat-singing at the end) is 'bout how "You don't know what lonesome is, 'til lonesome's gone." Some of it seems a bit murky so far, but also a spooky, almost country-noir ballad 'bout how there's shit you can't take back: a father's looking for his derelict son, his runaway daughter, while sort of acknowledging that he's not perfect.
Rec to fans of Western Centuries, the pensive-yet-limber side of Hunter-Garcia, post-Marmaduke New Riders.

dow, Friday, 10 August 2018 17:55 (one week ago) Permalink

Not that I'm anti-mainstream, but hard to find a mostly satisfying album of it these days (I'm mostly an album listener). Maybe I was spoiled by the late 90s-early 00s. Still, post-peak Tim McGraw units are always good for at least a few sparky, distinctive tracks, even the mostly ridiculous duet set w Faith Hill, which goes bad in a sparky, distinctive. listenable way---amwazingly bad! And how often does that happen, in any genre? Something went out of the music when the Four Seasons and Jefferson Starship stopped making new records (yes, they're probably still playing somewhere).

dow, Saturday, 11 August 2018 14:16 (one week ago) Permalink

*amazingly* bad too

dow, Saturday, 11 August 2018 14:22 (one week ago) Permalink

Although at least xgau is still/maybe more than ever capable of the occasional amazingly bad music pick---can't believe he recently gave Chicago Farmer's Quartet Past Midnight an A minus! A few decent tracks--though most of those don't urge me past a couple listens---but overall this is exactly the kind of
cute corny cliche, self-promoting folkie sensitivity training he used to scorn. Of course he's an expert talker, even has a routine 'bout how you too can learn the faux-Arlo delivery, but all too often the songs seem anti-climatic after the set-ups, in that common folkie club way.
But sometimes he does manage an effective anecdotal-musical merger, my fave being the one about his neighbors, offspring of the Chicago powerhouse-to-rustbelt working class, who start their own bakery, everything looking up 'til the '08 evaporation of credit etc., to which their response incl. working even harder, becoming closet methhheads. This comes to light after their children turn up at school "blind, and the other one couldn't see"---a uniquely tasteless joek/journalistic detail from the Farmer, maybe an actual anti-tearjerking move, even though this is one of his least tearjerking songs. Anyway, it's not too big a jolt, maybe because it's something a neighbor might gossip, at least to himself.
Rec. to fans of early Prine, Silverstein, Steve Goodman, his buddy Arlo, but only if you're fairly desperate for more of that good old Old Town plaid yarntunespinning Chicago stuff.

dow, Saturday, 11 August 2018 15:36 (one week ago) Permalink

Brothers Osborne, Port Saint Joe: Oho, I like Brother John's vintage-ish etc. as contemporary country instrumental settings very well and right away; famous geezers who know they need freshening up should borry him (and producer Jay Joyce's board team). Brother TJ's vocals tend to point up the limitations of the songs, but it all comes together sometimes, often enough that I'll keep listening for sure, whole or most of it may grow on me.

dow, Monday, 13 August 2018 16:21 (one week ago) Permalink

xp Pistol Annies album is now far past prev. announced "planning stages," reports A Taste of Country:

The country-singing trio have been in the studio this year working on their third album. Presley reveals to the Boot that she and her Annies partners have finished recording at least an album's worth of new material, saying: "We just finished our third record."

dow, Tuesday, 14 August 2018 00:33 (six days ago) Permalink

Ruby Boots' Don't Talk About runs the two-lane from Brenda Lee to Nikki Lane (was thinking that before I read that the actual NL co-writes and sings on some of this), also Nashville to British Invasionville and back, country enough (via twangy vocal linchpin, for inst) that nearly a cappella gospelly waltz "I Am A Woman" sounds at home between garage stompers "Somebody Else" and "Infatuation" (former also feat. good fuzztone---Texas Gentlemen can go wherever she leads). Finale "Don't Give A Damn" starts with acoustic strum and shaker, goes to full kit and randomized electric howls, keeping that Maro Price Mellencamp, born-in-a-barn catchiness (yes, it's on Bloodshot). Not original atall, but/and so far mostly good.
Although a few tracks do have me looking at my watch---one prob w hot chesnut associations is when you might start to recall that old tyme radio edits weren't much over 3'30", at most, while most of these go on up for to a minute longer

dow, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 20:29 (five days ago) Permalink

Don't Talk About *It*(emphasis added)!

dow, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 20:31 (five days ago) Permalink

Margo Margo *Margo*---sorry again!

dow, Wednesday, 15 August 2018 20:32 (five days ago) Permalink

Not sure if this is for this thread or the world music one, but I've been enjoying the reissue of Jess Sah Bi & Peter One's Our Garden Needs Its Flowers - mid-80s Cote D'Ivoire take on 70s US country & folk-rock.

https://jesssahbipeterone.bandcamp.com/

etc, Monday, 20 August 2018 04:42 (fourteen minutes ago) Permalink


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