Rolling Country 2019

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Here's my Nashville Scene ballot, as sent---still working on the Imaginary Categories, like Country Hon. Mentions and Related Top Ten. Think I mentioned most of this Top Ten on RC '18:

Top Ten Country Albums of 2018 (just in the order they come to mind):

Willie Nelson: Last Man Standing

Brandi Carlile: By The Way, I Forgive You

Pistol Annies: Interstate Gospel

Various Artists:King of the Road: A Tribute To Roger Miller

Various Artists: Johnny Cash: Forever Words---The Music

Various Artists: Blaze (Original Cast Recording)

Eric Church:Desperate Man

John Prine: The Tree of Forgiveness

Becky Warren: Undesirable

Lori McKenna: The Tree

Top Five Country Reissues of 2018:

Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard: [i]Sing Me Back Home: The DC Tapes 1965-1969

Jerry Garcia: [i[Before The Dead[/i]

George Jones and the Jones Boys: Live In Texas 1965

Charlie Rich: Too Many Teardrops---The Complete Groove & RCA Recordings

Various Artists: Outlaws & Armadillos---Country’s Roaring ‘70s

dow, Sunday, 6 January 2019 20:55 (one year ago) link

Becky Warren's War Surplus Deluxe---2017 reissue of the 2016 original, worth getting for the bonus tracks---is a song cycle about life, lives, in a Southern-sounding military town. This is less fluid, less-back-and-forth, seemingly less concerned with verbal particulars, more about sonic particulates in the gritty atmosphere (although WSD has plenty of those). Here she just cranks up the rhythm guitar and drives on through the smog, keeping an eye on everything, of course---while the previous album was where I'd hoped Isbell might reach, considering the highlights of his DBT contributions and debut album (where he was backed by the Truckers, come to think of it), this is more like if they backed her---possibly with some DBT co-writes---but she doesn't need any of that. Although Truckers, Stones, maybe Petty and the Heartbreakers are influences. she's got her own voice and I think of this as rocking country (the kind with lots of living, dying and killing time in the rear-view, watching for lots more ahead)
Oh yeah, she does have some stand-out tracks, writing-wise, especially "Sunshine State," where she's calling to say she's out of prison, ain't mad at ya, just checking in, be good now, bye-bye.

dow, Sunday, 6 January 2019 21:18 (one year ago) link

Xgau's always been big on McKenna, so when he wrote that The Tree was a bit too close to the writer's workshop---with what used to be called kitchen sink realism getting out of hand,sliding from the quotidian to the no-shit-sherlock---I thought 'Uh-oh." But, not that far from Warren's Undesirable, McK's sound immediately took me way into the winter sky over the kitchen sink---which is still full of dishes, but she's going out for a while, back later, honey & kids (that's the verbal gist of one song, the feel of quite a few, if way down in there, sometimes). The singing doesn't seem nearly so constrained here (what the hell, it's her tenth album).

dow, Sunday, 6 January 2019 21:34 (one year ago) link

In a fairly recent interview, Willie Nelson's mentioned taking good medical advice, at least that one time, so he must or should it's not entirely by accident that he's 'bout the Last Man Standing of his generation's country music stature. But he also must know he's dang short and that the famously hygenic Jerry Lee is also still standing, whenever he gets up from the piano. So no need for posturing here, though the wry punchlines are just part of the candid camera shots, of current self and others---mebbe "previous" selves---"You'll know me, I'm the one with his head up his ass," yeah can't miss it, not many of those around. But also the quips are rhythm joeks, feeding the grooves, pick up the tempo and don't let it hit you on the way out.
Pistol Annies have a tough-minded, reasonably good-humored post-post breakup album, with yet more songs or lines I haven't heard elsewhere---somebody must've beat them to the one about love ain't enough, rat?? But theirs really is a "Leaver's Lullaby," a carefully placed kiss-off. The one about not leaving any money in the "Commissary" account for a seriously no-good jailbird family member--not this time---is another underutilized country etc bit, and its work song chant not only mocks the poor-me prisoner, but suggests the way relatives of such can get strung out, at best "runnin' on a long chain," to quote Larry Jon Wilson on a not entirely dissimilar way of life.

dow, Sunday, 6 January 2019 22:55 (one year ago) link

"must or should" know.

dow, Sunday, 6 January 2019 22:56 (one year ago) link

On Sing me Back Home, Across 19 tracks the duo sings the classic country of The Carter Family, The Louvin Brothers, and Jimmie Rodgers; contemporary hits of the 1960s penned by Dolly Parton and Merle Haggard; and barn-burning traditional standards that blur the line between old-time and early bluegrass... a raw, unfiltered listen to Hazel & Alice at the height of their collaborative..., Yes, thanks Bandcamp! Not always crazy about some of the grimmer verses, but I know those voices will blast me 'round the mountain on the choruses. Now I want to check the s/t of the Strange Creek Singers: D&G w Mike Seeger and Tracy Schwarz of the New Lost City Ramblers (also Lamar Grier. maybe better known for playing banjo with Bill Monroe). Also want finally to check the Ramblers; where should I start?

They're namechecked several times by Garcia on Before The Dead, incl. the set prev released sep as as Folk Time, after the Stanford radio show where it was taped. (Already have a couple other inclusions on boot, but 4 remastered CDs for $19.99, so no prob.) The whole thing starts on May 26, 1961, with a hootenanny at Bridget Meier's sixteenth birthday party (she's so excited!) Set is very nice, made distinctive by Garcia's instantly recognizable singing, which, as on most of the rest of the box, doesn't have that high lonesome Dead etc. pitch, but is clear and contemplative and unaffected. Usually with future New Rider David Nelson, pretty often with Robert Hunter, and several guys I really need to look up, he gets more and more into banjo--a bit more than I am, at times---but still got the guitar and those pipes.

dow, Monday, 7 January 2019 00:46 (one year ago) link

*Brigid* Meier, that is.

dow, Monday, 7 January 2019 00:48 (one year ago) link

Also, Alice Gerrard's Follow The Music, released in 2o14, when she was 80, is backed by "members of Hiss Golden Messenger and Megafaun," as her label Tompkins Square considered worth mentioning --yes yes TS, it is worth mentioning, and the album's pretty good.
A couple of tweets:
Charlie Rich, Too Many Teardrops - The Complete Groove & RCA Recordings: Choirs, strings oops upside your head, get bearable and even occasionally useful, incl. killing weakest songs. Always we get Big Ol Charlie on lil cat feet---that voice, them keys! 40 tracks---I like a lot, love several.

George Jones/Jones Boys: Live in TX '65: Brave ballads of self-torture x "C Jam Blues," "White Lightnin'," "Bony Maronie," "B Bowman Bop." Panhandle Rag," "Jole Blon," JB trusty/Bladerunner crooner also cool w girl part on "We Must Have Been Out of Our Minds," heavy guests too. Guests incl. steel guitarist Buddy Emmons and fiddlers Red Hayes and (on "Jole Blond") Rufus Thibodeaux ("Two-By-Four," George calls him). The JBs crooner is Don Adams---android-sounding, strangely(?) satisfying.

dow, Monday, 7 January 2019 01:03 (one year ago) link

Fuckin; finally, I agree w xgau that Outlaws and Armadillos has a lot of the right artists, but not always the right tracks. I get that Johnny Cash was a mavericky inspiration to Outlaws and Texastentialists, and the Stones' take on country also pertained, but why, pray tell, does this set select his version of "No Expectations"? Maybe Townes Van Zandt's cover of "Dead Flowers" would be better? Haven't heard it, but a lot of things would be better. Cash's ain't-sorry "Sam Hill" on the gallows, for instance---oh wait, that's not from the 70s, and this collection (listening companion to a museum exhibit) is very strict. Also very anglo (no Freddie Fender, no Johnny Rodriguez, no Clarence Gatemouth Brown), and omg male. Do have Emmylou and Marica Ball a little bit--no Lou Ann Barton, no Angela Strehli, certainly not Janis Joplin doing "Me and Bobby McGee," or anything else (oh well estates can be a problem with anthologizing, and hers is well-known).
But when I listened again, I realized just how much good stuff, some of it def. underexposed, did make the cut.

dow, Monday, 7 January 2019 01:18 (one year ago) link

The Top Ten's Johnny Cash trib is new music for his bare lyrics, poems, some letters, I think. Only rambles too far when the music does (Costello and his chamber followers, mainly). Otherwise, as hoped for w these things, even most of the artists I don't usually care about rise to the occasion.

dow, Monday, 7 January 2019 01:22 (one year ago) link

I did this on Chelsea Lovitt this week. You Had Your Cake, So Lie in It was cut in 2016 and came out in October 2018, but we'll call it a 2019 album. She's not well known at all, having barely played in Nashville or elsewhere. This album is unique, a political record that I thought was gonna be goofy but which turned out to be rather diverse; the closing track is the most atypical and the one Americana fans ought to know, seeing as how she's writing in a kind of Parsons-Chilton folk-country mode (that she quickly turns into her own rather strange thing), "De Donna," which also reminds me of Parsons' "Luzury Liner."">+'s the piece.

eddhurt, Monday, 7 January 2019 16:54 (one year ago) link

I ended up listening to the Dierks Bentley album far more than expected. He's incapable of recording a good album end to end, but this has a stronger batch of tunes than he's ever assembled.

Your sweetie-pie-coo-coo I love ya (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 7 January 2019 16:57 (one year ago) link

Here's what I put together for Geoff's Scene poll. The Malcolm Holcombe album had the most structural integrity of any "country" album I heard last year, and came to the harshest conclusions in a harsh year. I was surprised at how much I liked Alvin and Gilmore's album.

1. Malcolm Holcombe Come Hell or High Water Gypsy Eyes Music
2. Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore Downey to Lubbock Yep Roc
3. Ashley McBryde Girl Going Nowhere Warner Bros. Nashville
4. Ry Cooder The Prodigal Son Fantasy
5. Pistol Annies Interstate Gospel RCA Nashville
6. Donovan Woods Both Ways Meant Well
7.Mike and the Moonpies Steak Night at the Prairie Rose Mike and the Moonpies
8. Ashley Monroe Sparrow Warner Music Nashville
9. Chelsea Lovitt & Boys You Had Your Cake, Now Lie in It Fat Elvis
10. John Prine The Tree of Forgiveness Oh Boy Records


1. John Prine "Lonesome Friends of Science"
2. Pistol Annies "Got My Name Changed Back"
3. Austin Lucas "Monroe County Nights"
4. Brent Cobb ".30 06"
5.Ashley Monroe "Bombshell"
6.Kacey Musgraves "Butterflies"
7. Maren Morris "Rich"
8.Low Cut Connie "Beverly"
9.Aaron Lee Tashan "If Not Now When"
10.Kevin Gordon "Drunkest Man in Town"


1. George Jones and the Jones Boys Live in Texas 1965 Ace
2. Jess Sah Bi and Peter One Our Garden Needs Its Flowers Awesome Tapes from Africa
3.Lefty Frizzell Signed Sealed and Delivered Sony Legacy
4.Jeannie Seely The Seely Style Sony Legacy
5. Bobbie Gentry The Girl from Chickasaw County: The Complete Capitol Masters UMC

eddhurt, Monday, 7 January 2019 16:59 (one year ago) link

I really liked and admired Austin Lucas' album, Immortal Americans. There's something offputting about Lucas' delivery, which is so bluegrass-influenced and high-lonesome, but I mean that in a good way. He just doesn't seem interested in prettifying anything at any level, and I respect that. There's also a rigorous formalism at work, but he's saying something about the alienation (a word I don't like to use) and loneliness (better) he seems to have felt growing up in that Midwest he writes about. So it's not a record for pleasure-seekers, in many ways. I still regard his 2016 Between the Moon and the Midwest as a tantalizing glimpse at what he could do; it mostly succeeds, and the best tracks have a certain audacity I find bracing. A neglected record, but the followup deserves some attention, so I wanted to include "Monroe County Nights" in the Himes poll. i can't get into Dierks, whose vigor just seems blunted on The Mountain. OK, he's too high in Telluride to hear what he maybe oughta hear. I find it all generic, and well done, that's about all I get out it.

eddhurt, Monday, 7 January 2019 17:13 (one year ago) link

I really liked his '16 album, not into this one yet, but will try again. Thanks for the word on Lovitt and several others I still need to check. Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale will be on my eventually amended Scene ballot's imaginary Related Top Ten, and maybe should've been on the real one, but too much work to fit 'em in, sorry. Here's what I said on TS: Lone Justice or Cruzados or Drivin' & Cryin' or Green On Red or Del Fuegos or Jason & The Scorchers or Long Ryders or Bodeans?:
More blues than I expected, more than I've heard from Jimmie Dale for sure, but his voice and feel fit just fine---"I'm an old Flatlander from the high plains," he sez in title-track opener, which is redundant--who would listen to this album without knowing the bio basics? Pretty sure most of their fans are old fans--but still it's a good capsule description of his sound and sensibility. Dig the way they find musical payoffs in the steady march through "You don't believe I love you look at the fool I been you don't believe I love you look at the hole I'm in" and keep going "back to my same ol' used to be," and now sounding pretty proud of himself/sassy with the wry--it is a jug band blues after all: "Stealin' Stealin" by Memphis Jug Band's Wiil Shade.
Even more oops factor in the even ever-more-timely "Get Together" (candidly precarious hopefulness of the verses coming through more clearly to me than on the Youngbloods' version, so chorus more urgent and troubled too), and "Deportee--Plane Wreck At Los Gatos." Best Dave solos prob on "KC Moan," about which he quotes Jimmie Dale,"There is a time for more Blue Cheer and less Blue Cheer, and this is a time for more." Also good outward bound picking on "Walk On." Only a couple of geezer-snoozers, I think.
Whole thing's here:

dow, Tuesday, 8 January 2019 23:17 (one year ago) link


Also, if you like the Cactus Blossoms, you will enjoy the new Cactus Blossoms album. They excel at their thing.

resident hack (Simon H.), Friday, 11 January 2019 05:00 (one year ago) link

Oh yeah, thanks for the reminder. Nice name.
More about xpost Charlie Rich's Too Many Teardrops,from Charlie Rich - Behind Closed Doors:

...After a couple of listens, I've found it surprisingly easy to get used to the strings and choirs, although some Disc 2 incidents are still annoying, and maybe scale-tipping on the more dubious material---that's okay though; that's what he and/or the suits get for too much turdpolishing. like Elvis, Sinatra, Willie etc. he's found that he can effectively apply his signature sound to inferior imitations of his top-shelf line of goods, and so he does, and I admit there are at least partially redeeming moments in most(?) of the worse, though not worst, tracks. Not many of this last category though!
A good number of the rolling piano jazz-blues-rock tracks I always favor, starting right off with "Big Boss Man," soon followed by "River Stay Away From My Door," later a very sassy "Ol' Man River," such as Jerry Lee might approve, then a more respectful vocal on "The Twelth of Never," though that beloved tearjerker now goes thunkin' along. Mercy!
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 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.
40 tracks, and I like at least---28? Love at least an LP's-worth.

dow, Tuesday, 15 January 2019 02:19 (one year ago) link

That is, I like-to-love maybe 12 of the 28, but all 40 are worth hearing.

dow, Tuesday, 15 January 2019 02:25 (one year ago) link

Listening to ILX Listen: 2019

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Wednesday, 16 January 2019 16:41 (one year ago) link

Edd on the late great Reggie Young, a thinkin' picker---this piece might prove a tad controversial:

Reggie Young, 1936-2018
Remembering the guitarist who played on classic recordings by and in touring bands with artists from Elvis Presley to The Box Tops to James Carr and beyond

Morning Edition said his first album is coming out soon, but I recently glimpsed a Spotify title---playlist or album---Reggie Young, Sideman, something like that.

dow, Wednesday, 23 January 2019 05:13 (one year ago) link

Appalled by the triumph of Musgraves, or I would be if her album elicted any feeling at all (you read it here first and last). Otherwise, for the most part---more than usual, seems like---some mighty fine albums here.

dow, Tuesday, 29 January 2019 00:58 (one year ago) link

Although this writing is overly caffeinated at times (yes, pot to kettle), it also incl. good backstory and detailed perspective re key tracks on Willie Nelson's The IRS Tapes: Who'll Buy My Memories?, which the author proposes as good gateway to WN's ever-vaster stash:

And I just pre-ordered Reggie Young's Session Guitar Star, which comes out Feb. 8:

1. Slip, Slip, Slippin' in - Eddie Bond & His Stompers
2. Carol - Bill Black's Combo
3. A Touch of the Blues - Bobby Bland
4. Dream Baby - Jerry & Reggie
5. I'm Movin' on - the Box Tops
6. The Champion Pt. 1 - Willie Mitchell
7. Meet Me in Church - Solomon Burke
8. Chicken Crazy - Joe Tex
9. In the Pocket - King Curtis & the King Pins
10. More Love - James Carr
11. Don't Forget About Me - Dusty Springfield
12. Stranger in My Own Home Town - Elvis Presley
13. I Wanna Roo You - Jackie de Shannon
14. Drift Away - Dobie Gray
15. Rock 'N' Roll (I Gave You the Best Years of My Life) - Sonny Curtis
16. Victim of Life's Circumstances - Delbert McClinton
17. Lover Please - Billy Swan
18. Morning Glory - James & Bobby Purify
19. Cocaine - J.J. Cale
20. I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink - Merle Haggard
21. The Highwayman - the Highwaymen Aka Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson
22. Griselda - Natalie Merchant
23. Whenever You Come Around - Little Milton
24. Where Do We Go from Here - Waylon Jennings

dow, Friday, 1 February 2019 15:58 (one year ago) link

This was my list of favorites from 2018, in roughly the order I'd rank them... (sorry, dow!)

Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour
Ashley McBryde - Girl Goin Nowhere
Lori McKenna - The Tree
American Aquarium - Things Change
El Coyote - s/t
Eric Church - Desperate Man
Colter Wall - Songs of the Plains
Jason Eady - I Travel On

Ashley McBryde - Girl Goin Nowhere
Kacey Musgraves - High Horse
Whitey Morgan & the 78s - Around Here
Kacey Musgraves - Space Cowboy
Belle Plaine - For All Those Who I Love
Mike & the Moonpies - Road Crew
Brandi Carlile - The Joke
Pistol Annies - Best Years of My Life

Indexed, Friday, 1 February 2019 16:05 (one year ago) link

Not a prob, sign o' the times.
Oops I meant to mention one blemish on Garcia's aforementioned Before The Dead: a set of songs of the American People complaining about marriage/wives, carefully selected for polished performances with his own first wife (who sounds pretty good), about a week after their wedding (he calls the exact time). She and the audience chuckle when he mentions this, but it reminds me of a bootlegger who claimed that Jerry sold all their wedding gifts to buy a guitar, and I'm sure he played it well. This disenchanted evening's a bummer, man, but at least it's brief.

dow, Monday, 4 February 2019 01:48 (one year ago) link

Carefully selected, but tiresome as a set.

dow, Monday, 4 February 2019 01:50 (one year ago) link

Chuck Eddy sez can't find old ilx pw, been trying to set up new account, hasn't heard back from mods, yo mods, meanwhile he said I could go ahead and post his Nash Scene ballot here:

Chuck Eddy's 2018 Nashville Scene Ballot

3hattrio – Lord of the Desert (Okehdokee)

Heathen Apostles – Bloodgrass Vol. I & II (Ratchet Blade)

Patricia Vonne –Top of the Mountain (Bandolera)

Pistol Annies – Interstate Gospel (RCA Nashville)

The Nude Party – The Nude Party (New West)

Oliver the Crow – Oliver The Crow (OTC)

New Reveille – The Keep (Loud & Proud)

Ashley McBryde – Girl Going Nowhere (Atlantic/Warner Nashville)

Alela Diane – Cusp (AllPoints)

Haley Georgia - First Rodeo (Haley Georgia EP)

Faren Rachels - “Uber Driver” (River House Artists)

Jacob Powell - “Wagoneer” (Ole Red Dot)

Sarah Ross - “Nervous Breakdown” (Average Joes)

Runaway June - “Buy My Own Drinks” (Wheelhouse)

Dusty Leigh - “Adrianna” (Idahome)

Anna Vaus - “Day Job” (Espola Road)

Kira Isabella - “Little Girl” (Creator)

Gretchen Peters - “Wichita” (Scarlet Letter)

Midland feat. Jay De La Cueva - “Drinkin’ Problem (Brindemos)” (Big Machine)

Mandy McMillan - “Chasin’ the Ace” (Mandy McMillan)

dow, Tuesday, 12 February 2019 00:38 (one year ago) link

Appalled by the triumph of Musgraves, or I would be if her album elicted any feeling at all (you read it here first and last). Otherwise, for the most part---more than usual, seems like---some mighty fine albums here.
Not surprised by Musgraves' win, and I don't quite get the adulation. A pleasant little folk-pop-schlock album sung in a nice-person with a very banal worldview. She doesn't know what to do with herself on the weekends without her loved one. Everyone else is having lots of fun. "Butterflies" purt near makes me gag. As does "Velvet Elvis." I like pop fine, and this is a nice, melodic pop album of no special distinction, even the much-lauded "Space Cowboy." Wonder Woman is only human.

I like Boo Ray's new Tennessee Alabama Fireworks. Jerry Rabbitt meets Don Henley and George Lowell in a taco stand in L.A. I've gotten to know Boo around town. He deserves to be a star, and I usually don't say that about people. Here's the stream:

eddhurt, Wednesday, 13 February 2019 19:48 (one year ago) link

Boo Ray! Great name, will check.
In somewhut Related news (recycling of), here's something I posted on
Sweet Soul Music - Dan Penn, Donnie Fritts, Eddie Hinton, Muscle Shoals sound in general, etc - C or C?

Cover Me: The Eddie Hinton Songbook is an ace Ace import, easily findable for a nice price, on at least one ecommerce behemoth: Dusty Springfield, Bobby Womack, Aretha Franklin, Box Tops, Candi Staton, Sweet Inspirations, Tony Joe White, Cher, Lulu (both of whom do well (a duet might be even better), and a bunch of people I never heard of: one guy just walked in to sell a song, and the studio cats were like omg you gotta cut something, and he did and it's good but he sailed on somewhere---others are still in the biz, but not as singers,, and then there's an early protege of Bacharach and David (he doesn't sound like Dionne Warwick, maybe a little smooth but r&b for sure, and I want to hear him on some B&D songs.

Hinton's offerings, fairly frequently written w Fritts, can seem a bit generic at times, but they're usually good vehicles for better singers, and though his own voice (heard here on demo of "It's All Wrong But It's Alright"), is thin and he tends to strain it, otherwise canny phrasing provides a handy template for stronger vox, as compiler Tony Rounce points out in typically astute liner notes. Don't quite hear Left Banke in the one he does, but do hear it (as a joke on sensitive Southern Gothic x LB-type sentiment?) in some of "Poor Mary Has Drowned," as lead sung by Brick Wall's Eddie Marshall, future daddy of Chan.
(Speaking of Hinton demos, the well-produced series of same on UK's Zane label is also worth checking out.)
I don't like all of these---Willy Deville has always seemed tiresome, Don Varner's track is a Northern Soul fave, so what---but overall, oh mah soul.
track list:
1. Breakfast in Bed - Dusty Springfield
2. Down in Texas - Oscar Toney JR
3. Cover Me - Jackie Moore
4. A Little Bit Salty - Bobby Womack
5. Sure As Sin - Candi Staton
6. 300 Pounds of Hongry - Tony Joe White
7. Masquerade - Don Varner
8. Always David - the Sweet Inspirations
9. Poor Mary Has Drowned - Brick Wall
10. It's All Wrong But It's Alright - Eddie Hinton
11. Help Me Make It (Power of a Woman's Love) - Mink Deville
12. Save the Children - Cher
13. Every Natural Thing - Aretha Franklin
14. If I Had Let You in - the Box Tops
15. Satisfaction Guaranteed - Judy White
16. Standing on the Mountain - Percy Sledge
17. I Got the Feeling - the Amazing Rhythm Aces
18. Home for the Summer - the Hour Glass Featuring Greg and Duane Allman
19. Lay It on Me - Gwen McCrae
20. People in Love - Lou Johnson
21. Where You Come from - Bonnie Bramlett
22. Seventeen Year Old Girl - Mickey Buckins & the New Breed
23. Love Waits for No Man - Al Johnson
24. Where's Eddie - Lulu

dow, Tuesday, 19 February 2019 02:43 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

New Maren Morris seems OK on first couple listens, not as much fun as the first one. I'll see which songs stick with me after a few more times through. In general I think I like her in rock mode more than R&B mode.

Listening to Maren Morris now. Just 2 songs in. I had already read the Chris Richards Washington Post review where he says he loves her voice but doesn’t like her lyrics here, and he’s kinda lukewarm on the music.

But the words, the words, the words. On her second album, “Girl,” they really gunk things up, no matter how Morris tries to sing her way through, over or around them. It feels almost criminal when a singer this expressive describes her own heightened emotional state as “the feels” — which occurs tragically and repeatedly on a song of that very title. Epic voice, basic lyrics, rough scene.

On to the “country” part. Is it still worth debating whether this high-def music qualifies as country? As a vocalist, Morris takes her Nashville inheritance — vowels that curve parallel to a twang; legible, unambiguous lyrics — and sets them to tunes built with acoustic guitars, synthesizers and electronic percussion. If pop-influenced country bugs you, try thinking of her music as country-influenced pop. Then ask yourself if there’s any difference, or if that difference matters.

curmudgeon, Sunday, 10 March 2019 19:59 (one year ago) link

Oops, that’s a cut and paste from the Post from “But the words “ down

curmudgeon, Sunday, 10 March 2019 20:00 (one year ago) link

Maren Morris release didn’t dazzle me on 1 listen. Now checking out Edd’s fave Boo Ray

curmudgeon, Sunday, 10 March 2019 21:40 (one year ago) link

the new maren morris manages to be disappointing and still p good

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Wednesday, 13 March 2019 14:57 (one year ago) link

Is it still worth debating whether this high-def music qualifies as country?

i love to yell "no" and roll my eyes at a chris richards article

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Wednesday, 13 March 2019 14:58 (one year ago) link

the new maren morris manages to be disappointing and still p good

Yeah, that's how I break it down to an extent.

"rsvp" is basically a r&b song and i think it's v cool

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Wednesday, 13 March 2019 15:17 (one year ago) link

Whitey Morgan and the 78s are just a ridiculously good live band. You would figure they would be tight and good guitar players and all, being that they have been touring lots over the years but their harmony singing is fantastic. Very impressive.

earlnash, Sunday, 17 March 2019 07:25 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

seeing a lot of hype for this orville peck fellow. personally his look reminds me way too much of orion for me to take him seriously, but maybe that's just me.

Jaki Liebowitz (rushomancy), Sunday, 31 March 2019 16:16 (one year ago) link

Wrote thisabout Lucinda's Car Wheels.

whatstalker, Sunday, 31 March 2019 21:52 (one year ago) link

My old laptop is down, so I had to get a new pw and username until I can remember what I had, btw. Same old me.

whatstalker, Sunday, 31 March 2019 21:54 (one year ago) link

Glad you fared better than Chuck in trying for new pw and user name. Thanks for the Lucinda piece! She's very effective on that '18 album w Charles Lloyd and the Marvels too.

dow, Monday, 1 April 2019 00:52 (one year ago) link

George Strait & Miranda Lambert just did a nice duet on the ACM awards. Lots of duets- Kane Brown with Khalid, Eric Church w/ uh I forgot, Brooks & Dunn w/ Luke Combs , many more

curmudgeon, Monday, 8 April 2019 03:01 (one year ago) link

Eric Church w/ uh I forgot

ashley mcbryde

fact checking cuz, Monday, 8 April 2019 04:54 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

Looks promising---this decade's work with Buddy Cannon has gone well, for the most part:
Willie Nelson---Ride Me Back Home
Willie Nelson returns with another incredible addition to his legendary catalog. Once again working with longtime producer Buddy Cannon, Willie’s Ride Me Back Home sits beside 2017’s God’s Problem Child and 2018’s Last Man Standing as a trilogy of superior song craft exploring ideas of mortality with wisdom, empathy and a winking love of life. Nelson and Cannon co-wrote a handful of songs but go deep into their favorite songsmiths, great writers with great stories to tell: Sonny Throck-Morton, Guy Clark, Mac Davis, Buzz Rabin. The result is a magical collection of tunes with emphasis on the lyric. Backed by an amazing band of Nashville gunslingers, Ride Me Back Home finds Willie Nelson making some of the most inspired work of his career.
Release date: 6/21/19.

dow, Friday, 26 April 2019 21:04 (one year ago) link

I would like to go see this:

Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic at Austin360 Amphitheater
11:30 AM Austin, TX
Willie Nelson & Family • Luke Combs • Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats • Alison Krauss • Jamey Johnson • Steve Earle & The Dukes • Colter Wall • Hayes Carll • Ray Wylie Hubbard • Gene Watson • Billy Joe Shaver • Johnny Bush • Folk Uke • Raelyn Nelson Band • The Casey Kristofferson Band

dow, Wednesday, 1 May 2019 01:42 (one year ago) link

Some of those sets might be good for bathroom breaks. Prob not these:

Outlaw Music Festival: The Mann Center
4:00 PM Philadelphia, PA
Willie Nelson & Family, Bonnie Raitt, Alison Krauss, Gov't Mule

dow, Wednesday, 1 May 2019 01:46 (one year ago) link

or these? Not familiar with Luke Combs.
Outlaw Music Festival: Riverbend Music Center
6:30 PM Cincinnati, OH
Willie Nelson & Family, Luke Combs, Bonnie Raitt, Brothers Osborne

dow, Wednesday, 1 May 2019 01:48 (one year ago) link

Luke Combs is a popular arena country singer and writer but I think you might like him

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 1 May 2019 05:35 (one year ago) link

Have we consensus on the Tucker album? I prefer her "The Wheels of Laredo" to The Highwomen's (B. Carlisle produced and co-wrote both).

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 29 September 2019 21:00 (ten months ago) link

Haven't done any comparative listening, but that's a highlight of both albums. Most of hers seems disappointing so far: I prefer ain't sorry to weepy regrets, though straight-up regrets are okay too, because anybody who claims no regrets atall is bullshittin' or worse. Several strong ballads, though my fave rocks like Mellenncamp at his best: "Aw my story's so sad."

Also, re xpost Sturgill's approach: even more, or more surprisingly, personalized retro---"bespoke," right?--is to be found on most of Patty Griffin's current s/t--it's surprising to me because she's usually got a very distinctive style of composition, and these spare tracks---usually just her and a guitar and sometimes a bass, a couple voice-piano pieces, acoustic probably, although there is "The Wheel, " a grinding combo blues shuffle---at first seem a little too familiar, received, aside from the unfamiliar lack of sonic density and burnished imagery.
But after a couple of opening duds--despite the striking Spanish-style guitar, she keeps repeating the verse of "Mama's Worried" in a way that does not build momentum, and "River" is the woman-as-river bit that Howe Gelb did better---soon enough, her newly mumblecore-tending urgency has me leaning into my headphones, and for instance rushes the cool beat of "Hourglass," and rises through the Braziloid sunrise of "What I Remember," and hovers in the the canyon (piano pedals) twilight of "Luminous Places" and there's a couple near the end that are trademark PG-style after all, and really just about all of this is, mostly in a way I've near heard before (not that I've heard all of her albums).
Certainly preoccupied and restlessly-rooted Incl. sitting down) enough for some forms of country (also I'd like to hear the Dixie Chicks/Courtyard Hounds/solo Maines cover some of these).

dow, Sunday, 29 September 2019 21:46 (ten months ago) link

I enjoyed the Tucker album a lot but i burn out after twenty minutes or so

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Monday, 30 September 2019 15:54 (ten months ago) link

The Tucker version of "Wheels of Laredo" is nice but a little flaccid

#YABASIC (morrisp), Monday, 30 September 2019 17:13 (ten months ago) link

(it's my least fave song on the Highwomen alb, so I'm not very attached to it)

#YABASIC (morrisp), Monday, 30 September 2019 17:14 (ten months ago) link

I like this song a lot:

Miranda Lambert - Pretty Bitchin'

#YABASIC (morrisp), Monday, 30 September 2019 17:20 (ten months ago) link

Yeah I wish she'd put out the album already, instead of making us wait 'til Nov.1.

As I dimly recall, Susan Gibson's "Wide Open Spaces" seemed even better in the context of Wayside, her band The Groobees' late-90s song cycle CD, than it did when covered by the Dixie Chicks (who I guess heard it via Nat's Dad/Groobees' producer, Lloyd Maines). Gibson's new The Hard Stuff certainly gets reliable support from producer-arranger Andre Moran, of the Belle Sounds, but so far she often seems too talky and wordy, before and after a midway trilogy: "The Big Game" prowls around her simple-minded (thus probably male) prey, who can't get a clue or two or more---"Why do you make it so harrd/For me to be easy?" Immediately followed by the cooler "Clinical Heart," which turns out not to be so different after all (it's time to pull that plug).
Winner of this year's Pistol Annies Memorial Why Has Nobody Ever Written A Song About This That I've Heard Before Award: "2 Fake IDs," checking into that old Memory Motel---"you could babysit me again"---but when the coplights came on, wasn't for them after all: " All the men scattered like roaches, all the whores got busted." Meanwhile, "It wasn't the first time, and it wasn't the last" that she and Babysitter practiced the art of deception, incl. on themselves and each other---"Ooo-ooo, Growin' Up," as Springsteen sang of.
(Oh yeah, anybody heard all of Western Stars? He said he'd been listening to a lot of Jimmy Webb, and the bits I've heard seemed like might be credible retro country crossover musing.)
She does work her extended metaphors, so I'll try the other tracks again, maybe get used to the delivery and mundane lines (She sings better when she writes better, for sure).

dow, Tuesday, 1 October 2019 19:02 (ten months ago) link

Sturgill-like in terms of immediately engaging ***sound*** and song-structures that fill it out, is none other than Justin Townes Earle's The Saint of Lost Causes, despite the title, which had me expecting not so much, although I didn't anyway----really enjoyed The Good Life, Midnight At the Movies (a favorite], and the sometimes startling Harlem River Blues, all of which are on his bandcamp---but albums of this decade seemed to lose or drain his precarious stance in slo-mo: "weary" was a word I used earlier in that process, and then "shoebox in the middle of the road," and couple of years ago, re Kids in the Street, "JT is but a bug on the windshield of life," so self-reduced did he seem.

But he was working on this sound then, getting it sometimes, and now there's a whole set, co-produced with Adam Bednarik, who also engineers, and plays acoustic and electric bass. It's an acoustic and electric, fluid and shiny and shaded, blue and brown sound I associate with Memphis and Mobile (although bandcamp still lists his address as Nashville, and that's in here too, why not): pedal steel and slide, some fingerpicking and strumming, bits of celeste, Wurlitzer piano, organ, stalwart drums & bass, no big solos, but an alert team. This groove, and the tunes, sometimes remind me little of Jesse Winchester, but JT doesn't have that little trill, he's more down-to-earth, without going too far into the semi-coherent referential murmur of some other 2010s offerings: he's---post-wasted, you might call it, without much of a hangover or rehab speak.

Even got some outside-world topics, like he wants somebody to give him some money, "I don't need no honey, I can make it all myself," and one about dealing with bad water, and one about Flint by name, in which Deetroit shouldn't get all the publicity, good and bad--he's right: blue-collar crossover stadium heroes Grand Funk Railroad were from there, and Akron's David Allan Coe was right to tour with them early on.

Anyway, dang, check it out:

dow, Wednesday, 2 October 2019 15:36 (ten months ago) link

Another pulsating combo, but not sonically suggesting proximity to a river, more likely a two-lane blacktop through the mountains: Kelsey Waldon's moderate-budgeteers, especially the unusually prowly but not too nosey pedal steeler Brent Resnick, bass guitarist Alex Newnam (sic), and drummer-percussionist Nate Felty, who plays, as does everybody here, with the unobtrusive precision of get-on-with-it confidence, just like their fearless leader, on her latest album, White Noise, White Lines.
2016's I've Got A Way was enthusiastically discussed on Rolling Country, but wasn't quite as together as this, seemed like. (They're both on her bandcamp, with an earlier one I haven't heard yet.) She sounds young, but she's been around---not too much of either: born in "Kentucky 1988," and Daddy don't always do right, she's on record about that, but so is he, and they love each other. As for the rest, here she jumps right into it:
When the sun sinks down and dreams start to drown/And you still don’t know who you are/Workin’ the ground, pace like a dog in a pound And you still only get so far/And I’d do it again, even if I didn’t know how.! Kind of her theme song, because she thinks trying to know it all is a big mistake.
Which goes in several directions, like "Sunday Children" ("are bein' lied to"), which sounds like Gil Scott-Heron, although the guest Wurlitzer piano helps.

Fave so far is "Very Old Barton":
My life is a song; my mind’s a picture show/You are the real thing, when you are alone/Drinkin’ Very Old Barton with the country radio/Always lonesome, and won’t let it go.
And if I knew any better, I’d know it’s a sin/ But some things are just better, without you knowin’ them...How can I be happy, how can I Iove today? Take hold of my own life, and not wish it away? Keep your loved ones close, don’t stay far behind...
Drinkin’ Very Old Barton with the country radio/Always lonesome, and too prideful to show/Have another go-round, don’t mind if I do/It’s just one of those things we all go through...

he only cover is the closer, "My Epitaph," by the late great Ola Belle Reed (with eerie, hospitable guitar reverb making me of Pop Staples):
When I go from this life, let me go in peace/I Don't want your marble at my head and feet/Don't gather around me oh just to weep and moan/Where that I'm going I won't be alone/
The flowers you give, please give them today/Don't waste their beauty on cold lifeless clay/One rose with love could do so much good.

Oh and Ola Wave, Ola's songs performed by her nephew, Zane Campbell, yet another mavericky mountain citizen:

dow, Wednesday, 9 October 2019 00:51 (nine months ago) link

making me *think* of Pop Staples.

dow, Wednesday, 9 October 2019 00:54 (nine months ago) link

daddy's on the/this record, yes---not agreeing with her that he don't always do right, but telling somebody that he heard her on the radio, and sounding moved by that.

dow, Wednesday, 9 October 2019 00:58 (nine months ago) link

RIYL Margo Price and the Price Tags.

dow, Wednesday, 9 October 2019 00:59 (nine months ago) link

Somebody stole the Guit-Steel! (Well, one of them.)

a bevy of supermodels, musicians and Lena Dunham (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 9 October 2019 03:24 (nine months ago) link

Who wants to talk about Yola's Walk Through Fire with me?

Tim F, Wednesday, 9 October 2019 03:44 (nine months ago) link

many xposts - Kelsey Waldon opened for John Prine when we saw him last Friday & she did an ~incredible~ cover of Neil Young’s Powderfinger

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 9 October 2019 05:47 (nine months ago) link

Xp The title track is glorious. Is the rest as good?

Life is a meaningless nightmare of string (Chinaski), Wednesday, 9 October 2019 19:31 (nine months ago) link

Yeah, Tim, if you want to fill us in on the rest, please go 'head! I like her verse on the Highwomen intro too, wish she was on the rest of their album.

xpost "Powderfinger," wow! Will have to look for posts of that show. She always did have a way with the covers: 2016 album incl. "There Must Be A Someone (I Can Turn To," from a late 60s LP the Gosdin Bros. made after the one w Gene Clarke (the post-Gene Byrds did it too). Here's what Edd Hurt said on RC '16((we were disagreeing w Ann Powers' passing mention of Waldon as "deadpan," though in a pretty postive context:

agree with Dow, Waldon is not deadpan--she's operating on the edge of deception with fadeaway phrasing and what could sound like undersinging. But it's not, because nearly every song features a moment when you realize she's really trying, where she adds just a little bit extra to make the vocal just a little bit more outgoing. Reminds me of a more technically proficient Gram Parsons, in a way. Also, whoever is playing pedal steel is killing it and defines the whole record. You get a sense some kind of "modal" underpinning guides her vocal approach and her songwriting, too, on my favorite, "All by Myself." This is kinda what Margo Price really ought to be doing, seems to me, and a better record.(He's referring to Price's debut; she did of course step it up on All-American Made.) Yeah, that Gosdin Brothers record is from about '68, innit, and I think it's a transitional thing between the folk-rock-country of the mid-'60s and something more like outlaw, and I remember some amazing Clarence White solos throughout.,,
― Edd Hurt, Thursday, 11 August 2016 18:48 (three years ago) link

He catches her approach pretty well, though did sound to me like she needed to project more on that album, Ive Got A Way. No prob this time, though she's still subtle with it.

dow, Wednesday, 9 October 2019 20:11 (nine months ago) link

Edd's very much not on Team Margo: The Margo Price c/d

a bevy of supermodels, musicians and Lena Dunham (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 9 October 2019 20:24 (nine months ago) link

Here’s Kelsey doing Powderfinger a couple of weeks ago at a differebt show - I saw her without the band but her delivery was v similar

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 10 October 2019 01:04 (nine months ago) link

Deelightful, thanks! She glides through the audio limits, and Like Edd said, the steel guitarist is killin' it.
Reminds me, Lee Ann Womack did a good cover of "Out on the Weekend":
ilx keeps messing with my youtube posts, but maybe this'll work

dow, Friday, 11 October 2019 01:27 (nine months ago) link

But sometimes I kinda prefer this shorter, simpler live version--well kinda:

dow, Friday, 11 October 2019 01:30 (nine months ago) link

i like this song from the new blanco brown record

maura, Friday, 11 October 2019 16:13 (nine months ago) link

Cool, thanks! Hadn't heard of him, will check album. Reminds me a little of the more (but still low-budget) electronic Lost Bayou Ramblers, as heard at a festival on American Routes (Public Radio show) recently--they've got a big-ass live album on bandcamp, might be too much of a good thing, but will see about that one too.

dow, Thursday, 17 October 2019 01:02 (nine months ago) link

Speaking of Public Radio, early this week I heard a presentation of ghost etc. stories, apparently sincere first-person testimonials---but with a plethora of sound effects, sometimes drowning out the words.

I thought of that tonight when listening to Other Girls, by Lillie Mae: you could call it Southern Gothic-Goth-Americana, but the sound is shadowed just enough to be eerie---a little echo, a few instruments, like a string band with missing members, in what seems like a small, cool room), and the imagery is just enough to deliver what is always news to this simple male mind: title comes from the chilled opener, "You've Got Other Girls For That," where she lets someone know, as they're strolling along, how far she has strayed from delusion, while staying by his side---and the reason she does that is----she's telling hersefl these things too, and I think of this as Ivanka's tune, though it could be a lot of peoples, male and female, in different kinds of situations.
The loudest one here (won't ID it, no spoilers) has a "Paint It Black"-like beat, pounding on the door while she's pondering colors, but doesn't disturb the vibe. "Whole Blue Heart" is just an old country waltz about a flesh and blood lover who is a living dream, while the one in her head is the real thing--- angle-wise, same as the Texas Tornadoes' "Yew got more out of it, than Ah put into it, last night/Who were yew thinkin' of, when we were makin' love," although she didn't once let me think of that during her song: it sounds like a revelation to young Lillie Mae, not to the gnarly old TTs or their had-to-be-tough old ladies, who probably fired back answers. (She's addressing the flesh-and-blood dude---"it's like you said!"---and the whole blue heart, which they may all be inside of, but waltzing.)
Dave Cobb produced, so I guess it's not on low-budget Bloodshot (wonder if she and Lydia Loveless listen to each other), but anyway it's on bandcamp
along with her 2017 solo debut, Forever and Then Some---my notes from Scene ballot:

Lillie Mae's Forever and Then Some: startling degree of fairly intimate, vivid focus and shading right away, especially considering it's her debut--but then, as the frequent Jack White accompanist says in an interview linked below, "I’ve been working since I was three," starting in the family bluegrass band, and later, after Dad split, in Jypsi, a combo with some of her sibs, who (along with still more not in the Jypsi teen line-up) play on this set, very cohesively, and non-showboating, sometimes hooky mandolinist sister Scarlett also does some writing and arranging: 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 what's sometimes been described as "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:
Is and sounds young, but has been around the block as well as the mountain.

dow, Thursday, 17 October 2019 02:46 (nine months ago) link

Speaking of Sunny Sweeney, the amazing, ain't-sorry "Trophy," one of her best co-writes with Lori McKenna, could lead right into the even deeper "You've Got Other Girls For That."

dow, Thursday, 17 October 2019 02:56 (nine months ago) link

Maybe not *even* deeper, but pretty striking.

dow, Thursday, 17 October 2019 02:59 (nine months ago) link

re that Reggie Young piece by Edd, way upthread now: finally listened to Guitar Session Star and posted about it over on the Sweet Soul Music thread, but some of it is more relevant here (though most of it goes with the "country soul" tag). A couple of tracks are country-related in phrasing and overall autumnal feel & vibe, looking back and toward rock: remastered Dobie Gray sounds more involving on headphones now than he ever did on 70s AM radio (never heard through audiophile speakers by me), and the players are acutely responsive to the mixed emotions of the middle-aged seeker's chorus: "Gimme the beat boys and free my soul, I wanna get lost in your rock 'n' roll/And drift away..."
Reggie's guitar lick occasionally rears its head amidst the mists of Sonny Curtis's "Rock & Roll I Gave You The Best Years of My Life," like the elusive challenge from his youth, though many details incl. "the wildest we ever played," so he maybe did reach his ideal then, he just couldn't keep riding it over the finish line to Success (eventually does find the love of a woman, who helps him understand he'll noever be a star).
Also, we get the equally atmospheric "HIghwayman" (four verses, one for each well-planted tombstone testimonial, no chorus and none needed) and Reggie gets a long leash from Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings. I gotta get that Waylon audio-autobio album.
from discogs
1 –Eddie Bond & His Stompers* Slip, Slip, Slippin' In
2 –Bill Black's Combo Carol
3 –Bobby Bland A Touch Of The Blues
4 –Jerry & Reggie* Dream Baby
5 –The Box Tops* I'm Movin' On
6 –Willie Mitchell The Champion - Part 1
7 –Solomon Burke Meet Me In Church
8 –Joe Tex Chicken Crazy
9 –King Curtis & The King Pins* In The Pocket
10 –James Carr More Love
11 –Dusty Springfield Don't Forget About Me
12 –Elvis Presley Stranger In My Own Home Town
13 –Jackie DeShannon I Wanna Roo You
14 –Dobie Gray Drift Away
15 –Sonny Curtis Rock'N Roll (I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life)
16 –Delbert McClinton Victim Of Life's Circumstances
17 –Billy Swan Lover Please
18 –James & Bobby Purify Morning Glory
19 –J.J. Cale Cocaine
20 –Merle Haggard I Think I'll Just Stay Here And Drink
21 –Waylon Jennings / Willie Nelson / Johnny Cash / Kris Kristofferson Highwayman
22 –Natalie Merchant Griselda
23 –Little Milton Whenever You Come Around
24 –Waylon Jennings Where Do We Go From Here

dow, Thursday, 24 October 2019 18:47 (nine months ago) link

re eerie minimal echo of Lillie Mae, East Nashville witness Meghan Hayes's Seen Enough Leavers starts strong w that, as stubborn "Georgette" is trailed, tracked by bleak voice of caution: she can light one bulb in the darkness, but two or three are death debt (it's really the appliances,of course). More such BS is rebutted by Audrey Freed's guitar, but it don't stop, none of 'em do. "You'd like to say we're dying but we ain't dead yet."
Cold clear air for perspective of next song, the title track, in which seemingly fatalistic voice of experience in verses presses the willful chorus--"Crush me crush me/Blow me away/I would die more often if I could end this way"---into seeming like a call for freedom, for herself or a piece of her heart etc. to be blown free--rather than just another relapse into gothic valentine verse of habit---but it can be that too.
Later, "Potholes" could be from the POV of just another bag lady, or Mother Mary feeling used, one line makes the turn of possibilty, while she trundles along to that shopping cart beat--followed by "Cora,""I wore the pants once, tried them on for size/There were bats in my belfry/And the drums on the risers/Kept the beat for me/Set My Cora free," yay! However "Cora I don't want to leave you behind...It's sick to make a woman look away." Rec to fans of Scott Walker, at least when he was writing songs like "Big Louise," okay kind of between him and Alex Chilton==but really just a new vintage-mirage notch-niche carved by Meghan Hayes.

But otherwise--why put so much effort into the words if you're just gonna float-plod along the surface of tunes that sometimes get lost in the mist, despite the best efforts of the musos? Oh well, I'll listen some more, as should anybody looking for something worth covering, for instance. (Excellent lyrics, whatever the tune might be, for "Second to Last Stand," but I wouldn't know without the booklet, which also reveals a number of flaws that the vocals vague out on).

dow, Tuesday, 29 October 2019 18:42 (nine months ago) link

Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis solo albums can be uneven, especially his, since he only sings as well as he or his cover sources write, while she's more the powerful balladeer (although most people are, and her 2018 Back Being Blueseemed a little too cryptically cool, or at least reserved in a way that didn't make me want to lean it, but maybe I was just lazy, should listen again?)
But their collaborative sets, incl. true duets, and one singing back-up for the other, maybe in between going away altogether for a while; it's a marriage) are pretty solid, and exciting at times. They both step up to the title track of Beautiful Lie, for a moonlight drive through transcendent irony or just keepin' it real; whatever it is, they'll take it.
And that is the theme of these seamless covers and originals. She testifies that "Nobody's Perfect" ("Nobody won't let you down"), so she'll stick with Nobody 'til the right body comes along (and if it don't, okay maybe).
He invites himself to the table of a stranger, announcing he's just stuffed the jukebox, so they can take it "One Dime At A Time." Chortling away, the friendly type.
An old man goes to sit in the "Astrodome" and sees stuff along the way, pleased at the sight of it, pleased that he can still see and (and know or think he knows what he's seeing, sounds like, although he does tend to generalize.)
here are several that suck for the singer, are good for us: every time Huck friend thinks he's got it all figured out, here comes another head scratcher, music rouser. Oh well, he's always ready (or not, but here it comes) for another round in the Circle K Game. While she takes her stand.
Also a couple more ballads rec. to Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris.
Prob won't make many Top Tens, but a truly Hon. Mention.

dow, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 21:38 (nine months ago) link

reserved in a way that didn't make me want to lean *in*, should have been.

dow, Wednesday, 6 November 2019 21:39 (nine months ago) link

OMG Yall, if you, like me and some upthread, are so far hearing Maren Morris's Girl as pretty good but kind of disappointing as a follow-up to Hero, or not, better check Kalie Shorr's Open Book---comparison junkies of Rolling Stone are wrong to cite Shania, but yes ok Taylor and Alanis(at their best) do pertain at times. But it is country enough re neurosis and honed lines and twang pangs x (pop country) big boot beats at the right moments and li'l wave rows of programming at others and droney concise electric chords and I'm not gonna talk about more 'til I've listened more, hardly daring to believe it's really this good but pretty sure.

dow, Tuesday, 12 November 2019 00:19 (eight months ago) link

I enjoyed some of the Country Music Awards show last night. Big emphasis on Having women acts perform. Maren, Dolly, Reba, Kacey, Miranda, Gretchen Wilson and more. Sadly, Willie Nelson looked like he was struggling a bit in his duet with Kacey Musgraves. Read that he’s been sick.

Not crazy about Blake Shelton “God’s Country “

curmudgeon, Thursday, 14 November 2019 13:44 (eight months ago) link

yeah, Willie was hard to watch - not just old/feeble, but he looked confused, frustrated, etc. :(

Kelsea Ballerini was a standout performance, imo.

alpine static, Thursday, 14 November 2019 17:39 (eight months ago) link

yeah she was excellent

i also think i kinda like Luke Combs maybe?

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 14 November 2019 21:27 (eight months ago) link

oh and Reba was so good! god i llove her! and those 3 outfit reveals 👌🏻

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 14 November 2019 21:28 (eight months ago) link

willie was very ill just recently; canceled a tour which he never does. he's indestructible but yeah, looked shook live. hoping he'll bounce back shortly.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Friday, 15 November 2019 17:35 (eight months ago) link

So far, still got a bunch of gigs, from tonight to end of month, then jumps to Jan. He was great on that most recent Austin City Limits show, which we talked about way up this thread or maybe prev. RC. Catch him while you can:

dow, Friday, 15 November 2019 17:47 (eight months ago) link

yeah, i think i'm gonna have to actually pay for his next nyc gig

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Friday, 15 November 2019 17:49 (eight months ago) link

have seem him twice & he’s just so damn great

he looked like he was short of breath on the CMA’s, and had a wide-eyed, “lost” look a couple of times that just made me ache for him. KaceyMushrsvex seemed very caring, i liked seeing them together in spite of his ill health.

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 16 November 2019 04:53 (eight months ago) link

X-post- I kinda like Luke Combs too

curmudgeon, Saturday, 16 November 2019 05:22 (eight months ago) link

Alison Moorer's Blood seems not as stark as I expected, nor even as somber---overcast, yeah, but the cloud cover isn't oppressively low, doesn't fog things up. It's a clear-enough dark space, mostly voice, acoustic guitar, flexing tunes, with lines, phrases, single words finding their way as needed, other sonic incidents along the way.Producer Kenny Greenberg drops in just the right bits of his and other instruments (incl. Moorer's) it's not just the same set-ups, same crew waiting for us on each track, as is so often the case.

Then again, there are some ensemble turns, like "The Rock and the Hill" is kind of spare country funk, with Moorer's recurring "Immigrant Song" wail, and a fairly universal theme, "Tired of this rock, tired of that hill."

Luminous "NIghtlight" could be love ballad of varied applications, equally radio-deady""All I Wanted (THanks Anyway)" could be note, with some push of backbeat, to ex Steve Earle, and even "I'm The One To Blame," mainly written by her murder-suicide father, finished by sister Shelby, is disarmingly lissome---yet the context, the throughline of everything here is apparent enough: it's about living all around the central incident, described succinctly in "Cold Cold Earth," the only one that sounds just like an old, old country ballad, in a veil you can see right through, for what that's worth; lots of detailed print narrative in Blood the memoir, but meanwhile she's got more to sing about.

The title track seems addressed to her sister, or maybe her son, who is also musical: they got the same blood, and though "We ain't got plenty of money, we travel along, singin' this song, side by side."

Closer is co-written with Mary Gauthier, and could be one of MG's collabs with war veterans on Rifles and Rosary Beads: "Yeah, I'm tough, but I wasn't born this way...Help me lay my weapons down..."

dow, Tuesday, 19 November 2019 19:53 (eight months ago) link

Ooh shit: radio *readY* I meant to say.

dow, Tuesday, 19 November 2019 19:57 (eight months ago) link

two weeks pass...

via fact checking cuz

An average of 18.4% of songs across the yearend country airplay reports from 2000 to 2018 were by women;
• Women have been gradually filtered out of the top positions of the yearend reports, with 10% in the Top 20, 7 % in
the Top 10 and no #1 songs;
• Total annual spins for male artists in the Top 150 of the yearend reports increases from 5.8 million in 2000 to 10.3
million in 2018, while spins for women decrease from 2.8 to 1.1 million resulting in a 9.7 to 1 ratio by 2018;
• An average of 19.6% of songs across the weekly airplay report from 2002 to 2018 were by women, this number
includes 8.8% current songs and 10.7% recurrent songs;
• Like the yearend reports, women are filtered out of the top spots of the weekly reports, with an 8.8% average of
songs in the Top 10 between 2014 and 2018.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Monday, 9 December 2019 19:11 (seven months ago) link

there's a trumpian aspect to these radio stats in the way the last few years of complaints have basically just made mainstream programmers dig in and play men even more and women even less -- while being completely open about what they're doing. huge respect to writers like marissa moss and groups like woman nashville who refuse to give up the fight.

fact checking cuz, Monday, 9 December 2019 23:20 (seven months ago) link

Moorer's set on a recent Mountain Stage (prob archived on that public radio show's site by now) was pretty close to the album, incl. instrumental and other poise, with good comments between and on and sometimes a little past the songs (quotes collaborator Mary Gauthier to the effect that AM's just like Blanche Dubois--now that's what calls for another songwriting session)(also, "All I Wanted [Thanks Anyway] is about and to her father, not Steve Earle like I thought, oops).
She also contributed some vocal support to husband Hayes Carll, whose performance was otherwise mostly solo---which, with and without her, was more effective overall (though also shorter) his current album, What It Is, which I've listened to on bandcamp. In the studio, his voice tends to go tepid, and certainly can't compete with those stiffly rockin' beats, which seem a little rusty somehow--but in the second half, or maybe starting a little before (gets to be a little hard to pay attention), he slows it down, and then not, but either way grows some sensuous hooks, doing his his more vivid observations and speculations more justice than previously.
A country folkie who has no prob with (better) rockin' beats, kind of a modern day Mary McCaslin, is Caroline Spence, whose 2019 Mint Condition sparingly updates her 70s Neil-Emmylou buckskin diaries, with recurring bits of nocturnal Beach House keyboard harmonies, for inst. More on her later maybe. RIYL Lee Ann Womack.

dow, Saturday, 14 December 2019 03:55 (seven months ago) link

vote here if you like---gotta be from their list, but it's pretty long and varied, incl. stuff I hadn't heard of:

dow, Saturday, 14 December 2019 05:21 (seven months ago) link

Listening again to Willie Nelson's Ride Me Back Home, struck again by its nobody-but-him best tracks, no matter who wrote 'em, though there are several worthy new Willies, mostly collaborations with now long-time producer Buddy Cannon--but now also with some misgivings, Title opener seems a tad too sentimental by the middle, which is where I tend to find myself starting to Web surf, 'til he snaps back into another foreground, then starts to recede again---as so often in the past, he has this way, of repeating, seeking to effortlessly, seamlessly display shading: "Still Is Still Moving To Me," amen: great when it works, but not so much on this set, where he can seem like a singing statue of himself (not the worst thing to hear), as the faithful musos swirl around him, adeptly sustaining most of the actual listening interest, as on several albums by much lesser artists this year.
Several lovely keepers, many lovely moments, even in the background, but there are many fine Willie albums, incl. in recent years, so I'm judging this again those--kinda thinking it might be more Hon. Mention than Top Ten (gotta finish that Scene ballot)--but looking again at the track list, maybe I'm too picky? Will listen some more.

dow, Friday, 20 December 2019 00:48 (seven months ago) link

They're pretty much all keepers, one way or another, esp since I bought'em---but may never play his take on "Just the Way You Are" again: it's done well, but why?

dow, Friday, 20 December 2019 00:52 (seven months ago) link

"I don't want clever conversation, I never want to work that hard. I just want someone that I can talk to," or not, and it's okay, most likely. Maybe this selection is his song for family friend Woody Harrelson, who plays dominos with Willie all night long at the Nelson domicile in Hawaii, as reported by Rolling Stone.
I'll prob keep this in the Top Ten, not so much out of deference (I hope), but because if you want a fresh fix of Willie, you'll just have to wait for the man himself (not for long, certainly not in this decade, although having only one new album this year has been a tad worrisome). Promise of the Real know to avoid or minimize direct comparison, literalist similarity; Phosphorescent has managed some effective quasi-channeling, but doesn't have the WN range, in any sense.

dow, Sunday, 22 December 2019 02:01 (seven months ago) link

One of the evergreen Imaginary Categories on my ballot: About Half Good (60-45%), which can be about half Good! (so Good that it could turn into an Hon. Mention, although I don't know if that's ever happened.) Case in point this year: Maren Morris's Girl, which sometimes ski jumps the sonic canyons, especially via the exhilarating "Gold Love," and Brandi Carlile materializes, to ditto effect, though that reminds me that mebbe MM stretched this set's potential resources a bit thin by putting for instance and especially the aforementioned Emily Dickinson freak-in "Old Soul" on The Highwomen, though that would not have been such a high Half Good (if not otherwise as exciting as this set at its best). Put the best Morris tracks from that one and Girl and last year's duet with Thomas Rhettm and omg---as for the other half or so of this, she says she went soundchasing all over, "to Brazil and shit," but pop goes the country R&B nerf could have used---more ABBA studies maybe? ABBA and Atlanta.

Then there's also About Half Good that can be good in a way might as well be below 45%, speaking of nerf. I've been a Miranda stan since she was on Nashville Idol, coming in third (first place: Buddy Jewell, second: John Arthur Martinez), and her albums just got better and better, as did her Austin City Limits sets, and I've thought of her as the John Lennon of Pistol Annies, sexistly enough, but as I was led to observe while absorbing the assier home truths of Angaleena Presley's American Middle Class, "You can't help what you think." But Wildcard increasingly and alarmingly seems trivial, yet overworked, like maybe she's trying too hard to sell herself as having a Good Damn Life, and even as a pretty bitchin' brainful blonde bombshell of assertive skills and vivid turns---all ofwhich used to be a given, a starting point, not the whole point, turning around and in on itself, getting rather schematic in the process.
I may come back to Jesus after x more listens, and I know some people enjoy it, but right now, y'all can have it---Wildcard my foot.

dow, Sunday, 22 December 2019 05:47 (seven months ago) link

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