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 (one year 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:

― 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.

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:

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:

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:

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 (one year ago) Permalink

Sorry, I led the way to the end of the road (by going back to RC 17):

Now, starting to look ahead:

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


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 (one year ago) Permalink

Caitlyn Smith's Starfire looks interesting.

eddhurt, Monday, 15 January 2018 21:37 (one year 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 (one year 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)

dow, Tuesday, 16 January 2018 22:02 (one year 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 (one year ago) Permalink

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

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 16 January 2018 22:17 (one year 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)
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:

dow, Wednesday, 17 January 2018 03:51 (one year ago) Permalink

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

alpine static, Thursday, 18 January 2018 18:26 (one year 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 Today
Country 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:">

dow, Thursday, 18 January 2018 20:49 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) Permalink

Maren Morris hits with her first No. 1, as Nashville Scene's Stephen Trageser reports.

eddhurt, Saturday, 20 January 2018 04:08 (one year ago) Permalink

Start here: 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 (one year 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 (one year 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:

(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)

1. Various Artists: American Epic: The Best of Country (Lo-Max/Third Man/Columbia/Legacy)

1. Willie Nelson
2. Rodney Crowell
3. John Moreland

1. Lee Ann Womack
2. Whitney Rose
3. Margo Price


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


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


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


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

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 (one year ago) Permalink

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

dow, Thursday, 25 January 2018 18:44 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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).


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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) Permalink

Here's my Scene ballot:

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


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


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 (one year 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 (one year ago) Permalink

NashScene ballot:

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)

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 (one year 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 (one year 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)


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!

February 22nd at The Hideout in Chicago, IL


Chris Gantry Online: (2 tracks free)

dow, Saturday, 27 January 2018 21:46 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) Permalink

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

Ned Raggett, Monday, 29 January 2018 20:19 (one year ago) Permalink

(Should add this is by Robert Ham.)

Ned Raggett, Monday, 29 January 2018 20:20 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) Permalink

Still gotta check that Spence acoustic EP.

dow, Thursday, 1 February 2018 20:32 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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:

dow, Monday, 5 February 2018 21:14 (one year ago) Permalink

Is and sounds young, but has been around the block as well as the mountain.

dow, Monday, 5 February 2018 21:16 (one year 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 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 (one year ago) Permalink

Oops, meant to link! It's all here:

dow, Wednesday, 7 February 2018 20:46 (one year 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 (one year ago) Permalink

new Brandi Carlile streaming at NPR

Simon H., Thursday, 8 February 2018 13:32 (one year 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 (one year ago) Permalink

However the movie story goes, and I hope it's not this relaxed, Blaze Original Soundtrack (type it that way if you look up on Spotify, although looks like I should check out that guy's Blaze Sountrack playlist) calmly presents the title character as a reflective fella, riding the bus and occasionally venturing into the bar, sitting by the road, frequently dubious of his choices and acutely aware of the gaps in himself and in crowds, distrusting the flow and churn and everything else except his baby. Sounds like she (played by Alia Shawkat, who brings more definition to the better Ben-as-Blaze ruminations) might be what keeps him so sweet (though the real-life Blaze was brave and honorable enough to die defending a friend, trying to defuse a confrontation).
The tumult, incl. the actual lifestyle miles, does come outside in the closer, "Drunken Angel," written about him by Lucinda Williams, sung here by Alynda Segarra, with none of the Snorah Jones tendencies of he Hurry For The Riff Raff breakthrough (guess I better check the follow-up, which is said to be more dynamic, and the previous set had its keepers for sure). She's also good w lead actor-singer Ben Dickey on Blind Willie McTell's "Pearly Gates, " another wake-up change of pace, which gets jokey at one point, without disturbing the overall sense of aspiration and conviction---"When this short life is over," he means to keep fingerpicking through yon portals. Which goes right with the brief glimpse of Robin and Little John bopping through Sherwood Forest, not knowing or caring about bad water or the bad Sheriff, in Roger Miller's brief "Od-De-Lally" (so I guess I better check out that 2018 Roger Miller tribute collection too).
The shadings in Foley's better originals aren't eclipsed by the covers, even of Townes Van Zandt's stark "Marie," a tale of what might have happened to Foley and his Sylvia, did happen to many others, on the street and under the bridge, with just a few wronger turns. Though it's performed here by Charlie Sexton, mainly a guitarist, and his sincere, sometimes soft vocal begs comparison's with TVZ's unrelenting clarity, though they're equally succinct.
Starts and stays snoozey for a while, but seems like 8 out of 12 good 'uns (though maybe I'm too just dried up for "Blaze & Sylvia's Lullaby," another duet with Alia Shawkat, and it's the lone Dickey original, no snoozier than the preceding Foley originals--what the hell, I admire it from afar. Cute couple.)
Grab a coffee and turn it up, or just listen near bedtime.

dow, Friday, 28 September 2018 03:16 (seven months ago) Permalink

Yep "Od-De-Lally" sounds good on the Roger Miller tribute too, even though I usually don't like Eric Church's little voice, but he sounds hearty and absurdist here, jumpin' through the hoops of careless and outrageous fortune, incl. good luck and the Sheriff's traps too (bass shadows keep coming up). 37 tracks and I gotta listen some more, but pretty sure Ringo's version of "Hey Would You It Down" is one for my Beatles and Ex-Beatles tape, and overall sense that the Bird of Paradise has long since flown up yore nose and is still flying and bouncing off the dusty walls of all that room up there, which (so far) gets me through some of the more woeful ballads, cos whut does he know other than happy and sad and life and death and bippity dang boppa=me. We'll see. Cool cracks and zesty-old-guesty remakes (not rowdy enough to alarm the caretakers) from the man himself.

dow, Monday, 8 October 2018 21:47 (seven months ago) Permalink

Also enjoying Roland White and Friends' A Tribute To The Kentucky Colonels, which comes out Oct. 26 and reworks several tracks from the KC's 1964(before Clarence joined the Byrds) Appalachian Swing. If that title appeals to you, you'll probably dig this set.

dow, Monday, 8 October 2018 22:11 (seven months ago) Permalink

Also getting into Mary Gauthier's Rifles and Rosary Beads, songs written with soldiers--had assumed that these last were all vets of Afghanistan and Iraq, but no reason they couldn't have been in Vietnam or elsewhere. Incisive details of experience, Over There and Homefront, keep it grounded, not too anthemy or sloggy, past maybe the opener. MG's got the wiry arrangements, spare and flexible, and enough voice for whatever occasion, without over- or underdoing it (I'm always startled by the various ways she repeats the title phrase of the always startled "It's Your Love." "Morphine 1, 2" gradually turns into something like a country Lou Reed song, but it fits. "I Got Your 6" is a sly little possum, "Iraq" is a furtive message with no time for all the details, but the singer, male or female, is "a mechanic...I try to fit in...what I don't give they take..." Others are def guys or gals, in particular circumstances, incl. marital and professional.
Lots more here, incl, co-writes w SWS co-founder Darden Smith and many others, ongoing:

dow, Monday, 8 October 2018 22:32 (seven months ago) Permalink

I'm liking the Eric Church record, which is sparer than a country superstar's needs to be.

You like queer? I like queer. Still like queer. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 8 October 2018 22:40 (seven months ago) Permalink

Just listened to that, and I'm more than pleasantly surprised! The spareness seems relaxed, confident, thoughtful--even "Monsters,", which he has learned are not under the bed, so he's grateful that he also learned to pray, sounds like a humble sop, but is not overundersold, and mention of letting his little son sleep next to him to keep the monsters at bay, does not incl. teaching said son to pray; he seems to be letting him learn at his own pace, as Daddy apparently did (no memories of Churches at church, choirs fading in and out etc. etc.).
The writing and arrangements are usually taut, resourceful, even daring at times, like he's really learned from hippie radio, and not the one in the disappointing track of that title. Most startling moment is when he suddenly starts wobbling that note in "Higher Wire," fixing to take off---also like the quavery verse voice on "Solid," setting up the chorus. and the way the back-to-basics "Jukebox and A Bar" sets up the attempt to chill of "Drowning Man, " in which thinking about politics has driven him to drink once more; weed's not gonna cut it tonight or today.

dow, Tuesday, 9 October 2018 21:05 (seven months ago) Permalink

Because--monsters really aren't under the bed! Well not all of 'em, nosiree.

dow, Tuesday, 9 October 2018 21:09 (seven months ago) Permalink

colter doing a traditional cowboy ballad

F# A# (∞), Sunday, 14 October 2018 05:45 (seven months ago) Permalink

I'm convinced: the Church is his best since Chief and when it's on ("Higher Wire," "Solid," "Some of It") his best ever.

You like queer? I like queer. Still like queer. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 14 October 2018 12:41 (seven months ago) Permalink

Not wowed by big hit “Life Changes,” by Thomas Rhett (from 2017 album still getting radio airplay this year)

His country songwriter Dad is proud of him:

“He doesn’t sit down and say, ‘I’m going to write the most different song today.’ His songs just come out pushing the envelope naturally,” Akins said. “You have to learn that Thomas Rhett has always known since he was a kid, since he was old enough to know what was cool and what wasn’t cool, he knows the trends before they’re going to happen.”

curmudgeon, Monday, 15 October 2018 04:09 (seven months ago) Permalink

Albini production on Austin Lucas....interesting. Will check it out

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 18:26 (seven months ago) Permalink

Eric Church channeling/ripping off "Sympathy for the Devil" on "Desperate Man" not bad

niels, Friday, 19 October 2018 09:22 (seven months ago) Permalink

Rhett's 2015 Tangled Up was really fun; didn't nec. think of it as bro country, but if so, as some tagged it, he was the only country bro good for a whole album. Past the duet with Maren Morris, Life Changes was disappointing.
"Lake of Fire," written by Christy Hays, was one of the few good tracks on last year's Bruce Robison & The Back Porch Band (although they spelled her name wrong). 2018's River Swimmer presents her as a true lady of the canyon, with a big chunk of aural atmosphere down and up there, incl. good drummer and/or programming digging in---touchstone might be Emmylou's Wrecking Ball, also the more recent Lucinda Williams albums, though without vocal slurs or drunken angels or ghosts on the highway. Plenty of shadows and light, re sense of time (of day and season and sometimes lifespan) and place (usually out west, but sometimes just east of the Mississippi, and then there's that "Town Under The Ground," where I wanna go).
Some substantial songwriting for sure, restless and grounded, but a couple mostly going for Americana airplay, and the sonics can be too rich for me to digest the whole set in a single listening. That's okay though. It's all here, along with some earlier releases, which I haven't checked yet:

dow, Friday, 19 October 2018 16:09 (seven months ago) Permalink

I really like those Lucinda albums, for the most part, but glad that this isn't too close!

dow, Friday, 19 October 2018 16:11 (seven months ago) Permalink

Good to know there's a new Austin Lucas!

dow, Friday, 19 October 2018 16:14 (seven months ago) Permalink

Listening to the Hays again: no prob this time w the sound design, which I'm absorbing and being absorbed by/accepting as such, with conversational appeal in the foreground, and lots of good lines in the verses, but somehow they don't pull me in as consistently as the choruses---would rather have it that way than the reverse, if I had to choose, so I just did---but some of that effect comes from the way lines in the verses get me thinking, so that I may miss the next thing she says, as can happen in good non-musical conversations---but some other times my mind just wanders away completely, for the next line or two, and I blame her more than me. Maybe unfairly, and good album overall, but for now I'm going onto something else (the latest Loretta Lynn, most likely, or Garcia's Before The Dead box).

dow, Saturday, 20 October 2018 04:59 (seven months ago) Permalink

One more bit about Hays and then I'll shut up: For once, the traveler sounds positively proud of herself for reaching a destination. Then gradually not so much, and then, "I hate it when you worry about me!" Settles back down, before sliding into the chorus and title, "Don't let me diiie/In California." A call, not a cry, and commanding, robust (might not know anything was wrong if she didn't imply it, or if you didn't know her too well, as apparently somebody dies). The call keeps rising and falling, staying in place, being answered by a nagging little guitar figure, suggesting a shriveled McGuinn.

dow, Sunday, 21 October 2018 00:19 (seven months ago) Permalink

Y'all, what is a good 2018 album of Mexican or Mexican-American or other Latin country etc. music? Any style or subgenre, long as it's got something in that makes me say "Country."
Only one I've heard this year is the poetically precise, lithe life study Alma P’urhépecha, by Los Centzontles and this guy:
Atilano López Patricio

Atilano López Patricio is a Native P’urhépecha musician, songwriter, artisan and painter from Jaracuaro, Michoacán, México. In his youth, Don Atilano worked in the fields along with his brothers and father Gervacio López Isidro, and played music in the afternoons. He first came to California in 1999 at which time he began sharing his traditions with members of Los Cenzontles.

Original and translated lyrics on LC site Music's on Spotify: 28 minutes, but not at all skimpy.

dow, Saturday, 3 November 2018 00:25 (six months ago) Permalink

Correction: should have been *8 songs in 20 minutes,* but not atall skimpy.

dow, Saturday, 3 November 2018 03:34 (six months ago) Permalink

Watching CMA Awards (from last night on tape)....Ricky Scaggs tribute was ok. My fave moment was soul singer Mavis Staples joining Chris Stapleton and Maren Morris on a medley.

curmudgeon, Friday, 16 November 2018 02:51 (six months ago) Permalink

Florida Georgia Line & Bebe Rexha’s poppy “Meant to Be” was good, but purists & others online didn’t like it

curmudgeon, Friday, 16 November 2018 03:17 (six months ago) Permalink

Luke Combs sounded good; as did Dierks Bentley with Brothers Osbourne. I like the Pistol Annies but wasn’t wowed by their Miranda Lambert penned “I Want my Name Change Back”

curmudgeon, Friday, 16 November 2018 03:48 (six months ago) Permalink

Kacey Musgraves was the best album winner. CMAs are radio-friendly country mostly, but sometimes they go for acts without a lot of current chart toppers

curmudgeon, Friday, 16 November 2018 03:57 (six months ago) Permalink

Just now discovered that Willie Nelson's taping an upcomimg full-hour Austin City Limits, this livestream started at 8 central:

dow, Tuesday, 20 November 2018 02:42 (six months ago) Permalink

I came in on "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die," then a Djangoesque instrumental, now A Tom T. song I'm unfamiliar with: everything quite perky and limber so far, more about the picking than the singing in that regard, but voice is still good enough, in the Willie way.

dow, Tuesday, 20 November 2018 02:45 (six months ago) Permalink

Well that was a trip. Hope the whole thing will be posted on ACL's YouTube channel, before editing for broadcast, which may not for inst. incl. Bobbie's coda for the finale,"Will The Cicle Be Unbroken">"I'll Fly Away."

dow, Tuesday, 20 November 2018 03:18 (six months ago) Permalink

Sweet... I saw Willie and his family show at Red Rocks, around 7 or 8 years ago; I was blown away by his bursts of atonal guitar playing... it was like some “harmelodic,” avant-grade shit. Saw the show again here in L.A., a year or so later. Would love to see him play on TV.

my guitar friend wants his money (morrisp), Tuesday, 20 November 2018 04:04 (six months ago) Permalink

Yeah, the sounds he got from Trigger--- long the oldest, ugliest acoustic guitar I've ever seen---were truly karma chameleon, and always fit---even writhing through "Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground," without breaking vibe or meter, like one of those Old Testament, Milton or Blake angels, not from a greeting card (that I'd be likely to get, anyway).
Can prob find more TV appearances on the Tube---he and his family and friends band were all of the very first Austin City Limits ep, in '74, been on there several times since (his collaboration with Asleep At The Wheel etc), and prob some on the Farm Aid channel. His CMT "Crossroads" episode with Sheryl Crow was ace, especially his electric guitar all over "Every Day Is A Winding Road."

dow, Tuesday, 20 November 2018 17:12 (six months ago) Permalink

Maybe this goes better somewhere else but here's some electro-country:

change display name (Jordan), Thursday, 29 November 2018 16:47 (five months ago) Permalink

George Jones and the Jones Boys, Live In Texas: True, some of the classick self-torture serenades, though always ready for the spotlight turns, can seem a bit hemmed in here, where ever'body's having so much brisk-to-frisky fun at Dancetown U.S.A., where the supposedly rock & roll-hating Jones delivers a well-fueled "Bonie Maronie" by request, ditto his own "White Lightning, from way back when he was still recording that greasy kid stuff under duress. The Jones Boys, with steel guitar great Buddy Emmons and ace fiddler Re Hayes guesting, open the first set with Billy Butler & Clifford Scott's "Hold It," close for "liquormisson er, intermission" with Ellington's "C Jam Blues," also we get western swing gems "B Bowman Bop" and "Panhandle Rag"--hell, they even bring out Rufus Thibodeaux ("Two-by-Four," George says it) for "Jole Blond," with Emmons and Hayes right in there, of course; that's one of my favorite songs ever. Jones Boys trusty Don Adams is a totally artificial and strangely satisfying Texas-Nashville crooner while the boss takes another break or three, and, like all the JBs and guests, perfectly supportive when he does show up again, which is often enough for me. Really good mono.

dow, Wednesday, 12 December 2018 04:35 (five months ago) Permalink

Live In Texas 1965, that is. ace fiddler *Red* Hayes.

dow, Wednesday, 12 December 2018 04:38 (five months ago) Permalink

Charlie Rich, Too Many Teardrops - The Complete Groove & RCA Recordings: Choirs and strings oops upside your head, but get bearable and even occasionally useful, after or during the first couple listens, although Disc 2 still kills some of the weakest material, and that's what he gets for turdpolishing with his surefire sound (a la Elvis, Sinatra, Willie, etc.) But I like a lot and love some, as expected of Big Ol' Charlie on li'l cat feet---that voice, them keys, which deliver the expected drama and rolling country-plus, also the sassiest "Old Man River" and bluesiest "Twelfth of Never" ever.

And as I said over on Charlie's own thread:
Also a couple of intriguing ballads written by Freddie Hart:"Too Many Teardrops" starts out feeling for a fella who lost his love to the narrator, yet, "I did what any man would do"---emphasis on "man," because the cry guy wasn't "strong enough to play the losing hand"--crying and drinking yourself to death doesn't count as a well-played losing hand, so what does? Revenge, mebbe? Doesn't say.
The other Hart-written track, "There Won't Be Any More, " has a terse, I cut-you-off lilt that somehow reminds me of some British Invasion tracks, like uhhh covers like "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying"? But with more attitude.
The Riches-written (lots of originals here) "The Grass Is Always Greener" advises that, "You may think you're rollin' in clover/But you better think it over." Shaddup with that, I must not think bad thoughts!
The Complete Smash Sessions is the one to start with, but this is def worth checking out.

Re redeeming the less promising material, the way Rich and his hairspray angels do "Nice and Easy Does It Every Time" isn't so nice, and it isn't so easy, except in a not-nice sense.

dow, Sunday, 16 December 2018 20:44 (five months ago) Permalink

There Won't Be Any More is the latest reissue of the complete Smash sides: an Ace Import, like Too Many Teardrops, and both are readily available on Amazon (as I know from a recent Rich binge, once I found about 2018's TMT---my wallet doesn't thank you, ilm, but I do).

dow, Sunday, 16 December 2018 20:52 (five months ago) Permalink

Onetime ilxor and current City Pages editor Keith Harris has The Pistol Annies as his number 1 album of the year. The Ashley Monroe solo album has appeared on a few too I think

curmudgeon, Monday, 17 December 2018 16:31 (five months ago) Permalink

But the awards-show inequity pales to what’s afflicting the country airwaves, and the degree to which Music Row refuses to rock the boat — even when it comes to meaningful progress toward gender parity — in favor of not angering the decision makers at radio. Put simply, the inequality issue is one of which everyone is aware, and yet no entity capable of enacting change — from the CMA to Country Radio Seminar — has publicly floated the idea of country’s own task force.

curmudgeon, Monday, 17 December 2018 18:46 (five months ago) Permalink

Eric Church #3, Ashley Monroe at #4 . Kacey M won

curmudgeon, Monday, 17 December 2018 19:03 (five months ago) Permalink

I have to say the new Colter Wall is a huge improvement on the last album

resident hack (Simon H.), Monday, 17 December 2018 19:04 (five months ago) Permalink

His voice makes my throat feel good. He should do a tea commercial, wrapped in snowy blankets or his bog coat. I like that he seems to travel or sit around in various centuries, maybe. Just gives me that impression sometimes, just passing through.
I don't know what the title of John Prine's The Tree of Forgiveness means, but "I live deep down inside my head" and yet still goes out on a limb and gets some air once in a while, checks the groundhogs and such, a sociable-enough hermit, not trying to avoid his own shadow, or the lonely friends of science. Prine country.

dow, Tuesday, 18 December 2018 06:22 (five months ago) Permalink

His *big* coat, not bog coat, jeez. Although could be both.

dow, Tuesday, 18 December 2018 06:24 (five months ago) Permalink

I included a song from it in my Himes Scene poll I turned in last week but didn't vote for the album itself, which is just underproduced. But Kevin Gordon's Tilt and Shine is a great example of the Nashville Prestige Effort that's also insufficiently populist, and good. Gordon has been a cause celebre for Himes himself and for others, and given a budget, some horn arrangements and a good coaching on vocal presence--making him cut the vocals until he gets it right, or better than what's on this album--he'd be a major guy. Because the songwriting and the musical conception is purt near close to "major"; Gordon's writing, while kinda writing-school stuff at times, can be brilliant. As in the song I picked for the poll, "Drunkest Man in Town."

The other local Nashville guy who, if produced more outgoingly (and made to ditch some of the affectations-mannerisms of his singing and guitar playing), might break thru into something more than cult popularity I've been catching some sets by is Jon Byrd, who sounds sort of like Gram Parsons.

The best sorta local thing I saw this year might be Joseph Hazelwood's recent set at a West Nashville club. Hazelwood, who is sort of a country-blues guy writing about modern things in an intermittently modern way, is eccentric and weird enough without trying, and at his best he's on the edge of an unselfconscious pop-blues-folk synthesis, with "pop" the operative word; one tune he did this month reminded me of Seals & Crofts, some schlock-pop remains from the '70s he used with no sign of strain.

Also filed a Scene piece this week on a real interesting mostly unknown Mississippi-born singer, Chelsea Lovitt, who's around 30 and a garage rocker who twists the form smartly and a quasi-country-Americana artist who comes from the Parsons-Chilton school of modified folk-rock-rock. Were she not so abstract, and literary (songs often use free-floating imagery that glances off their ostensible subject matter), she'd be in the league of Nikki Lane or Elizabeth Cook. The album, cut in Nashville in 2016 and just released in fall 2018 to virtually no notices (on a small Knoxville label, Fat Elvis), is You Had Your Cake, So Lie in It, which includes some post-Wanda Jackson vocals along with a few post-Kinks garage rockers and the weird Parsons-esque (reminds me somehow of "Luxury Liner") tune "De Donna," which someone should work to make Lovitt as famous as she probably deserves to be.

eddhurt, Monday, 24 December 2018 14:27 (four months ago) Permalink

Here's what I said about Kevin Gordon this year:

I also did this on a duo of Ivory Coast Simon & Garfunkel-influenced "country" singers whose excellent 1985 album has been reissued by Awesome Tapes from Africa, and they played a Nashville show as well:

eddhurt, Monday, 24 December 2018 14:30 (four months ago) Permalink

Those guys are playing out again, and in America! Thanks, hadn't thought to check. Think I posted the reissue on bandcamp way upthread---from backstory there:
Our Garden Needs Its Flowers was a lush fusion of traditional Ivorian village songs and American and English country and folk-rock music. Jess and Peter sang in French and English, delivering beautifully harmonized meditations on social injustice and inequality, calls for unity across the African continent, an end to apartheid in South Africa and the odd song for the ladies...As well as French and English, Jess and Peter spoke Gouro (a Mande language). They had the shared experiences of loving and drawing inspiration from the traditional and ceremonial songs they remembered their mothers singing in their respective hometowns of Barata and Ono. In addition, hearing imported country and folk-rock music over the radio in the early ‘70s was a lightbulb moment for both of them. Jess recalls DJs playing Kenny Rogers, Don Williams and Dolly Parton on the radio in the morning, while Peter notes the significant presence Simon & Garfunkel, Cat Stevens, Crosby, Stills & Nash and Creedence Clearwater Revival had in his listening life.

dow, Tuesday, 25 December 2018 00:56 (four months ago) Permalink

x-post- listened to Kevin Gordon after I saw his album in Geoff Himes roots music top 10 at Paste. On first listen I thought his bar band roots rock was just ok but my wife was more impressed. Maybe i will give him another listen. Haven't dug into his Iowa writers workshop lyrics yet either.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 26 December 2018 17:57 (four months ago) Permalink

Gordon has been a Himes subject for years, and Himes overrates him. Himes did a Scene cover story on him, called him the country's best songwriter or some such. Gordon is like a thousand other people in Nashville--they can't just make a good-sounding record, it has to be this commentary on the South or whatever it is. I've seen Gordon play guitar, and he's a very good Telecaster blues guy, solid down the line. Also a pretty good singer. My problem with him is the fucking production values.

eddhurt, Wednesday, 26 December 2018 22:48 (four months ago) Permalink

Jewly H year-ender piece on women in country and more:

curmudgeon, Thursday, 27 December 2018 16:47 (four months ago) Permalink

A number of newer country acts, the majority of them women, presented themselves as singer-songwriters in the classic sense of the term—not just performers who had a hand in co-writing their material, as has become common in Nashville over the last decade or so, but those connecting with audiences on the strength of their particularized perspectives. I’m thinking of major label signings like Rachel Wammack, Tenille Townes, and Kassi Ashton, and artists like Jillian Jacqueline, Bailey Bryan, and Kalie Shorr, who are either on the rosters of powerful indies or entirely independent. from Jewly H essay. Too much music to keep up with. I don’t know these acts at all

curmudgeon, Friday, 4 January 2019 04:50 (four months ago) Permalink

Dow, you gonna start the 2019 thread?

curmudgeon, Saturday, 5 January 2019 07:44 (four months ago) Permalink


dow, Sunday, 6 January 2019 20:44 (four months ago) Permalink

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