Rolling Country 2021

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Ice Ice baby: https://www.texasmonthly.com/the-culture/willie-nelson-karen-o-under-pressure/

dow, Saturday, 2 January 2021 03:29 (one year ago) link

Once again here's Chuck Eddy's Nashville Scene ballot---Chuck sez:

Maybe link to my wordpress blog, as well, since I suspect most ilxors are unaware of it?
https://accidentalevolution.wordpress.com/ Anyway, here's what my Scene ballot looked like; it's possible that, if I were to do it over again, I'd substitute Brett Eldredge and/or Joshua Ray Walker for the bottom album or two, but Monday-morning-quarterback hindsight is 20/20 even in 2020, right? Here goes, and thanks!

TOP TEN COUNTRY ALBUMS OF 2020:

1. RaeLynn Baytown (Round Here EP)
2. Mickey Guyton Bridges (Capitol Nashville EP)
3. Haley Georgia Lonestar Mixtape (Haley Georgia EP)
4. Kelsea Ballerini Kelsea (Black River Entertainment)
5. Caitlin Cannon TrashCannon (Caitlin Cannon)
6. Ashley McBryde Never Will (Warner Nashville)
7. Elizabeth Cook Aftermath (Agent Love)
8. Hailey Whitters The Dream (Pigasus/Big Loud/Songs & Daughters)
9. Corb Lund Agricultural Tragic (New West)
10. Phil VassarStripped Down (American Soul)

TOP TEN COUNTRY SINGLES OF 2020:

1. Borock N Roll “Semesta Menyambut Gegap Gempita”
2. Luke Combs “Six Feet Apart”
3. Taylor Swift “Betty”
4. Parker McCollum “Pretty Heart”
5. Mark Chesnutt “I Found Another You (and She Hates Me Too)”
6. Diplo “Do Si Do”
7. Priscilla Block “PMS”
8. John Anderson “Years”
9. Orville Peck “Smalltown Boy”
10. Hot Country Knights “Moose Knuckle Shuffle”


TOP ONE COUNTRY REISSUE OF 2020:

1. Gid Tanner and his Skillet Lickers Anthology - The Deluxe Collection (Master Tape)

dow, Saturday, 2 January 2021 22:40 (one year ago) link

@LorettaLynn
I am very excited that my new album, "Still Woman Enough" is available to pre-order now! Available 3/19, 4 amazing women joined me on these new songs,
@Reba
, @CarrieUnderwoood,
@MargoPrice
,
@TanyaTucker
. Pre-order it today! #stillwomanenough #womenofcountry #forthegirls

Trailer--check the 'Tube if this doesn't show:

I am very excited that my new album, "Still Woman Enough" is available to pre-order now! Available 3/19, 4 amazing women joined me on these new songs, @Reba, @CarrieUnderwoood, @MargoPrice, @TanyaTucker. Pre-order it today! #stillwomanenough #womenofcountry #forthegirls pic.twitter.com/otlmiIjmCX

— Loretta Lynn (@LorettaLynn) January 4, 2021

dow, Monday, 4 January 2021 18:06 (one year ago) link

cool news!

the serious avant-garde universalist right now (forksclovetofu), Monday, 4 January 2021 21:04 (one year ago) link

Really enjoying the new Steve Earle & the Dukes.

here 1st (roxymuzak), Wednesday, 6 January 2021 16:56 (one year ago) link

Didn't hear about the RaeLynn EP that's #1 on Chuck Eddy's list. Loved WildHorse in 2017 - perfect modern country pop in the vibe of Cam.

Indexed, Wednesday, 6 January 2021 17:22 (one year ago) link

xpost do you mean the Justin tribute album, or The Ghosts of West Virginia? Ghosts is real good, kinda wondering about Steve's voice vs. Justin's on the trib, but, to benefit his daughter, it's at least a good reminder to fill the gaps in our JTE collections. And I'm sure Steve's take is worth hearing: he knows how to make an album, duh, and may be even more urgently motivated here than with Townes and Guy/ Not sparing himself with the immediacy of this response to the death.

dow, Friday, 8 January 2021 15:37 (one year ago) link

I was talking about JT, but I like both tbh

here 1st (roxymuzak), Sunday, 10 January 2021 18:37 (one year ago) link

Oh yeah, me too, will check out J.T. for sure.

Meanwhile, here's my Scene ballot:

TOP TEN COUNTRY ALBUMS OF 2020:
(just in the order they come to mind)
1. Elizabeth Cook: Aftermath
2. Ashley MacBryde: Never Will
3. Brandy Clark: Your Life Is A Record
4. Katie Pruitt:Expectations
5. Willie Nelson: First Rose of Spring
6. Waylon Payne: Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher, & Me
7. Whitney Rose: We Still Go To Rodeos
8. Gretchen Peters: The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury
T9. Pam Tillis: Looking for a Feeling
10. Cam: The Otherside

TOP FIVE COUNTRY REISSUES OF 2020:
1, Gillian Welch: Boots No. 2: The Lost Songs Vols.1-3
2. Johnny Cash: Easy Rider: The Best of the Mercury Recordings
3. Doc Watson and Gaither Carlton: s/t
4.
5.

COUNTRY MUSIC’S THREE BEST DUOS, TRIOS OR GROUPS OF 2020:

1. The Chicks
2. The Tender Things
3. Steve Earle & The Dukes

COUNTRY MUSIC’S THREE BEST NEW ACTS OF 2020:
1. Katie Pruitt
2. Caylee Hammack
3.
*************************************************************************************
IMAGINARY CATEGORIES:

SPECIAL CITATION: AUDIO-VIDEO ALBUM:
Chicks:Gaslighter

TOP NINE MORE BEST COUNTRY ALBUMS OF 2020:
11. Caylee Hammack: If It Wasn’t For You
12. Marshall Chapman: Songs I Can’t Live Without
13. Lori McKenna: The Balladeer
14. Tender Things: How You Make A Fool
15. Margo Price: Perfectly Imperfect At The Ryman
16. Steve Earle/Dukes: Ghosts of West Virginia
17. Jake Blount: Spider Tales
18. Shelby Lynn: s/t
19. Swamp Dogg: Sorry You Couldn’t Make It

HON. MENTION/BUBBLING UNDER THE TOP 19:
Ashley Ray: Pauline
Clint Black: Out of Sane
Zephaniah Ohoro: Listening To The Music
Wynonna: Recollection EP
Mickey Guyton: Bridges EP

ABOUT HALF GOOD (60-45%):
Carly Pearce: s/t
John Anderson: Years
Chris Stapleton: Starting Over

LESS THAN HALF GOOD:
Margo Price: That’s How Rumors Get Started
Jamie Wyatt: Neon Cross
Hailey Whitters: The Dream

RELATED TOP ELEVEN:
1 Lucinda Williams: Good Souls, Better Angels
2. Jason Isbell/400 Unit:Reunions
3. Richard Thompson: Bloody Noses EP
4. Maria McKee: La Vita Nuova
5. Nancy McCallion: Go To Ground
6. Randall Bramblett: Pine Needle Fire
7. Chuck Prophet: The Land That Time Forgot
8. Dave Miller: s/t
9. Drive-By Truckers: The New OK
10. Drive-By Truckers: The Unraveling
11. Lydia Loveless: Daughter

RELATED HON MENTION/BUBBLING UNDER THE TOP ELEVEN
Becky Warren: The Sick Season
Kelsey Waldon: They’ll Never Keep Us Down EP
Orkesta Mendoza/Carrie Rodriguez: iAmericano!: The Musical

“Dylan Is His Own Category”(Frank Kogan):
.Bob Dylan:My Rough and Rowdy Ways

Good’uns Added After Ballot Deadline/Subjects For Further Study:
S. G. Goodman: Old Time Feeling
H. C. McEntire: Eno Axis
RaeLynn: Baywater EP

RELATED TOP FOUR REISSUES:
1 Grateful Dead: Workingman’s Dead (50th Anniversary Ed.)
2. Dave Alvin:From An Old Guitar: Rare and Unreleased Recordings
3. Leyla McCalla:Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute To Langston Hughes
4. Chris Smither: More from the Levee

“Little Richard’s Reissue Is Its Own Category” (me):
Little Richard: Southern Child

HON MENTON RELATED REISSUES
Dave Alvin: Live at Yep Roc 15
Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin: Live from Austin EP
Neil Young: Homegrown

ABOUT HALF GOOD RELATED REISSUES:
Randall Bramblett: The Meantime (10th Anniversary Ed.)
Take Me Back to the Range: Selections from Western Jubilee Recording Company

RELATED TO RELATED (kissin’ second cousins)
The Third Mind: s/t
Minute2Minute: Travelers, Transients, & Tourists
Bettye LaVette: Blackbirds

dow, Monday, 11 January 2021 20:32 (one year ago) link

Ballot and comments posted here (although most of the comments were on RC 2020 and/or individual artist threads): https://thefreelancementalists.blogspot.com/2021/01/nscene-in-submeme-country-etc-ballot.html
Here's a few more comments for ones added after sending the ballot:

Good’uns Added After Ballot Deadline/Subjects For Further Study:
S. G. Goodman: Old Time Feeling---Appalachoid high lonesome--associated pitch and power rising bullseye from the persistent and fully occupied folds of fog-smog topography: like The Croz before him, on Joni Mitcherll’s debut, Goodman’s co-producer Jim James refrains from loading this launch with heavy big-name guests---just close mics That Voice and jumps back. Oh, it gets a bit of echo sometimes, and the swirl of low-reflective resonance also brushes by reverb-y guitar (which can come apart sideways when appropriate), pedal steel, bass, drums (she told Rolling Stone she was inspired by Link Wray’s ‘71 s/t, one of his chicken coop sets)---but mainly That Voice, which is youthful but also one of experience, like debut Joni, with plenty to remember and offload, seeking some relief, but not miserabilist nor wrecking ball, just personalised fragments, scenes, phrases coming toward the brink of clarity---somewhat like early Neko on Bloodshot, when she was covering and writing between Loretta Lynn and Scott Walker. Could imagine Goodman working with Brandi Carlile, the Highwomen, whomever, though for now is still Murray KY collegetown-based apparently. (Before this solo, worked as The Savage Radley with a collaborator who was also a drummer; she’s gotta have a drummer, as do my ears.)

H. C. McEntire: Eno Axis---title refers to North Carolina’s Eno River, though the Brian is also apt: as w Goodman, there’s a psych-country quality, here more horizontally spacious, a luminescent river plain, with those little changes all along that river boat pilots factor in---it’s earthy and fluid, watchful and ruminating and confident, like a bit more propulsive Cowboy Junkies effect, gathering around a strong voice with a lot to say, which will also take a while to sink in, but appealing sound right way, and
she doesn’t keep her players on too short a leash/does know when to shut up, always preacheated.https://hcmcentire.bandcamp.com/album/eno-axis"> https://hcmcentire.bandcamp.com/album/eno-axis

RaeLynn: Baywater EP---Party already started, pop goes the country in the middle of sumpin-sumpin “drinkin’ with the guys, dancin’ with the girls”--- which we can call sis-step, with no bro autotune or wearing of trucks and beercans on tattooed sleeve, but not like she takes the givenness for granted: “Chasin’ down their dreams….there must be some real girls hangin’ around/This Fake Girl Town.” Sounds a bit haunted. Also, if you were to ask “Me About Me,” she’ll tell you what she had to reach through to Choose Life---the good life, that is, and “Judgin’ To Jesus” is what she’ll leave. I better shut up, too many hook song titles, like “Bra Off,” which is another story.
Let’s see, what did I say here in 2017: RaeLynn’s Wildheart: She was shutdown in The Voice prelims, but that was 2012, and she’s the across-the-diner-table, lower case but never drab voice of experience now, nothing ponderous, just the light-enough blues and beauty of the world as reflected in flexing rootstronic-tending aerial shades: it’s morning in America one more time, whether or not you’ve been to bed yet.

dow, Monday, 11 January 2021 20:44 (one year ago) link

"Judgin to Jesus" has a real Maren Morris vibe to it.

I nom'd "Space & Time" off the SG Goodman album in the ilm tracks poll - heard it on an EOY playlist and it stopped me cold. Didn't know Jim James worked on it, but that makes perfect sense given all the echo and reverb.

Indexed, Thursday, 14 January 2021 18:59 (one year ago) link

i wrote off Sam Hunt after "Body Like a Back Road" but, having found it among the best of 2020 tracks nominations, "Hard to Forget" is absolutely demanding painful repeat listening right now.

the serious avant-garde universalist right now (forksclovetofu), Saturday, 16 January 2021 20:39 (one year ago) link

Yay for Tender Things :)

black dice live ft. jerry garcia (rizzx), Sunday, 17 January 2021 09:56 (one year ago) link

From RC 2020

Not sure how I missed this but Ingrid Andress had a cover of Charli XCX's "Boys" on the deluxe edition of Lady Like that's surprisingly good! I guess Andress was a cowriter of the song? Curious to know more about how she got looped in on that project if anyone knows more.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCMMYXvWvpA

― Indexed, Tuesday, January 19, 2021 10:25 AM (two hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

cool, thank you!

― sean gramophone, Tuesday, January 19, 2021 10:29 AM (two hours ago) bookmarkflaglink

Mandolin a surprisingly good replacement for the Super Mario Bros coin sound

― Indexed, Tuesday, January 19, 2021

dow, Tuesday, 19 January 2021 18:53 (one year ago) link

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/716MCkDXU9L._SL1400_.jpg

Produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb, the record finds Gibb realizing his long-time dream of working with some of the country, bluegrass and americana artists he admires the most including collaborations with Alison Krauss, Brandi Carlile, Dolly Parton, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Jason Isbell, Jay Buchanan, Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert, Olivia Newton-John, Sheryl Crow and Tommy Emmanuel.
Gibb continues to be widely celebrated surrounding the release, including features this week on NPR Morning Edition and CBS “Sunday Morning,” as well as a recent in-depth profile at The New York Times, who proclaims, “Gibb’s voice on ‘Words of a Fool’ is strong but also spectral…Nearly six decades after he first sang on a record, it remains one of the most otherworldly instruments in popular music.” Moreover, The Wall Street Journal praises the album, calling it “an endearing new salute to the songs of the pop-giant Bee Gees,” while Entertainment Weekly declares, “gorgeous, gospel-inflected, country-kissed.”
In addition to the new album, Gibb is the subject of an acclaimed new documentary, The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, directed by Frank Marshall. Out now on HBO Max, the Washington Post heralds, “magnificent…thorough and beautifully appreciative,” while The Hollywood Reporter calls it, “a warm blast of musical nostalgia.”

Trailers for alb and doc on YouTube (ilx is undependable at allowing my YouTube links)
GREENFIELDS: THE GIBB BROTHERS SONGBOOK, VOL. 1 TRACK LIST
1. “I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You” with Keith Urban
2. “Words of a Fool” with Jason Isbell
3. “Run to Me” with Brandi Carlile
4. “Too Much Heaven” with Alison Krauss
5. “Lonely Days” with Little Big Town
6. “Words” with Dolly Parton
7. “Jive Talkin’” with Miranda Lambert, Jay Buchanan
8. “How Deep Is Your Love” with Tommy Emanuel, Little Big Town
9. “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” with Sheryl Crow
10. “To Love Somebody” with Jay Buchanan
11. “Rest Your Love On Me” with Olivia Newton-John
12. “Butterfly” with Gillian Welch, David Rawlings

dow, Tuesday, 19 January 2021 23:39 (one year ago) link

Maybe "Islands In The Stream" and "New York Mining Disaster 1941" and "Charade" and "Stayin' Alive" will be on Vol.2 (Gotta get Garth and The Chicks in there---who else?)

dow, Tuesday, 19 January 2021 23:45 (one year ago) link

Still making my way through the 2020 albums I missed. Elizabeth Cook's Aftermath is as much rock and roll as country, but the song that stopped me cold was acoustic closer "Mary, The Submissing Years," her response to John Prine's "Jesus, The Missing Years." Full of vivid imagery, wry storytelling, and sharp rhymes, it does John right. Love this line: "There's Barbie lovers and firecrackers, train trackers, Coca Cola makers, insurance takers, and a lotta hot preachers."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCvGO9rj1Zo

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

Indexed, Wednesday, 20 January 2021 15:09 (one year ago) link

Thanks for the rec, btw, dow. Checked this out on account of your Scene ballot.

Indexed, Wednesday, 20 January 2021 15:12 (one year ago) link

Glad you liked it! Here's the Scene poll results: https://www.nashvillescene.com/music/cover-story/article/21145508/21st-annual-country-music-critics-poll
Of the three they put on the front page, Guyton's EP is a bit too uneven for a Top Ten (of that length), no prob w MacBryde, though I personally would give Cook a slight edge, but then Stapledon may be in some respects Best Male Vocalist, but on Starting Over, he lets/makes his voice carry some very lazy-ass retred songwriting/arrangements too much of the time, although "Cold" and a few others are keepers. Some people have said this all along; I say it now. Oh well, I should read the whole thing.

dow, Friday, 22 January 2021 00:07 (one year ago) link

Also, Stapleton's Songs From A Room really should have been cut down to a single (average LP-length) release. First solo album is still the strongest (before that, he was good w the Steeldrivers, closer to Bob Seger than an expected string band singer).

dow, Friday, 22 January 2021 00:13 (one year ago) link

Stapleton sometimes seems too bar band formulaic to me, but will give him another shot

curmudgeon, Saturday, 23 January 2021 17:36 (one year ago) link

The new ACL episode that airs this week w/Ray Wylie Hubbard is quite good.

"what are you DOING to fleetwood mac??" (C. Grisso/McCain), Sunday, 24 January 2021 06:34 (one year ago) link

Somebody sent me a Kendalls track from YouTube, which reminded me of this Jeannie K. solo set (with two tracks featuring her Dad, who died backstage soon after---the album was supposed to be comeback or at least return of the Kendalls)---David Cantwell does a characteristically thoughtful profile of where things stood then with her, and backstory of the Kendalls, their lives in music--goes on for about four pages, credibly enough:
https://www.nodepression.com/jeannie-kendall-of-missing-persons/

dow, Wednesday, 27 January 2021 00:51 (one year ago) link

Another friend responded with memory of a little club they had for a while in Gulf Shores, incl. "a country music museum of sorts", none of which lasted long--she said Dad Royce was already pretty depleted, but his demise apparently came as a shock to Jeannie (and he did insist on going back out on stage that one last time).

dow, Wednesday, 27 January 2021 00:55 (one year ago) link

All I knew from The Kendalls was “The Pittsburgh Stealers,” but am curious to read that article.

Next Time Might Be Hammer Time (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 27 January 2021 01:37 (one year ago) link

Guess there is no “The” there,

Next Time Might Be Hammer Time (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 27 January 2021 01:58 (one year ago) link

Pony Bradshaw (yep) has made a good and fun album called Calico Jim. Coupla good ol' storytelling songs with fun rhythms and imaginative guitar work. Recommended

black dice live ft. jerry garcia (rizzx), Friday, 29 January 2021 16:04 (one year ago) link

Whoa---just got a hard-charging, massive press release about this guy---will spare yall that, but here's his basic bio and links to much very favorable coverage:
https://www.ivpr.co/pony-bradshaw

(IVPR a "narrative-based" firm, check their clientele of venerables and risings, incl. some you might have been wondering about:
https://www.ivpr.co/music)

dow, Friday, 29 January 2021 19:30 (one year ago) link

Very slick looking agency

black dice live ft. jerry garcia (rizzx), Saturday, 30 January 2021 16:45 (one year ago) link

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/03/us/ozarks-mcclurg-jam.html

In the Ozarks, the Pandemic Threatens a Fragile Musical Tradition

The older fiddlers and rhythm guitar players don’t rely on sheet music, so their weekly jam sessions — now on hiatus — are critical to passing their technique to the next generation

curmudgeon, Thursday, 4 February 2021 05:00 (one year ago) link

I like Luke Combs and Billy Strings, but the last thing I want to hear on the first day of Black History Month in the year 2021 is another "why can't we all just get over it and get along?" song from two white dudes. Just...stop.

— Charles L. Hughes (@CharlesLHughes2) February 1, 2021

curmudgeon, Thursday, 4 February 2021 05:01 (one year ago) link

The older fiddlers and rhythm guitar players don’t rely on sheet music, so

i'm not sure not that not relying on sheet music is unique to the old-timey musicians of the ozarks!

fact checking cuz, Thursday, 4 February 2021 09:06 (one year ago) link

Good point

curmudgeon, Thursday, 4 February 2021 15:18 (one year ago) link

The article references that someone filmed some of the Ozarks jam sessions and has uploaded them to YouTube. The sessions are on hold for now but may resume in the spring in an open-air barn

curmudgeon, Thursday, 4 February 2021 15:26 (one year ago) link

Rodney Crowell and Friends:
Songs From Quarantine

https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a2871083772_10.jpg

Today Rodney is thrilled to share “Rodney Crowell and Friends: Songs From Quarantine” – a 13-song collection of rarities available for two weeks only on Bandcamp. All proceeds will benefit Music Health Alliance, who offers support to the music community nationwide, including critical mental health and COVID-19 resources in addition to access to healthcare, medicines, diagnostic tests, health-related debt relief and more. Every $1 raised equals $30 in Healthcare Resources to #HealTheMusic!

A very special thanks goes out to Ry Cooder, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Jeff Tweedy, Keith Urban, Taj Mahal, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, Rosanne Cash, John Leventhal, The Milk Carton Kids, Joe Henry, John Hiatt, and Ronnie Dunn for offering their music for a great cause.

https://rodneycrowell.bandcamp.com/album/songs-from-quarantine"> https://rodneycrowell.bandcamp.com/album/songs-from-quarantine

dow, Saturday, 6 February 2021 01:41 (one year ago) link

Drag City's idea ov folk-pop-country, haven't heard it yet:

JURKEN ON IT

I Stand Corrected is the debut of a new talent AND a new label, Country Thyme. When a label's formed to release a record, you'll usually hear something crucial upon dropping the needle: in this instance, the sounds of an honest-to-god, old-school song cycle in best riches-to-rags style. Classically uneasy, this claustrophobic journey rises and falls on the songs of E.R. Jurken and his spectral tenor, haunted via multiple overdubs, making heart stopping orchestral pop with the orchestra mostly muted.

I Stand Corrected took some time to stand up. During the 20-teens, E.R. Jurken – known to friends 'n fams ('n us) as Ed – drifted through his thirty-somethings, doing not all that well. This directionless course came to a head in 2012 with a traumatic series of events that hung over subsequently like a mist. Ed sold his belongings and began a series of moves, leading back to his former home of Chicago, where, seeking to rally, he bought a guitar off a stranger and got a referral from an old friend to longtime Drag City factotum Rian Murphy, who was interested in the sound of what Ed had in mind. From wounds just beneath the surface of his skin for so long, songs poured forth, with Ed demoing one per week on his mobile phone, featuring guitar and extensive vocal arrangements. After a few months, it was clear the cycle was complete.


Sessions at The Loft with Murphy and Mark Greenberg (engineer/secret weapon of hundreds of sessions, including Wilco, Andrew Bird, Edith Frost, Mavis Staples, Eleventh Dream Day and Richard Thompson), slowly drew the album into full-fleshed form. The sound of I Stand Corrected is often just acoustic guitar, offset by Ed's tableau of vocal arrangements. Murphy and Greenberg added just a touch of rhythm in spots and Paul Mertens (Paul McCartney, Elton John, Stereolab, The Sea and Cake, Brian Wilson) provided several horn arrangements that exquisitely complement the play of Ed’s guitars, keyboards and vocals.

Throughout the process that made I Stand Corrected, Ed's sense of release from an "erroneous" state to a "corrected" one was a powerful energy pointed suddenly outwards as music, which can now be transferred to the listener through the magic of recording technology. In the field of freaky records made by sensitive folk, E.R. Jurken's I Stand Corrected stands to stand tall.
To Be Released 2021-04-23

dow, Monday, 8 February 2021 22:28 (one year ago) link

Thanks, will read that when get away from email. Considering how many country albums have applied the Mellentemplate of yore, before he started changing it up w various rootsier moves, guess this update is thread-relevant on both counts:

New York, NY (February 16, 2021) – Today, John Mellencamp announces he’s set to unveil his new live album and documentary titled: The Good Samaritan Tour this spring. The documentary, which will be narrated by Academy® Award winner Matthew McConaughey, chronicles Mellencamp’s historic free tour in 2000 when he performed on street corners and in public parks across the country.

In addition, Mellencamp will soon return to the studio to finish recording his 25th album. Prior to the onset of the Global Pandemic, he had already cut ten tracks and plans to record another 17 for the project. Teasing what’s to come, he shared a clip of one new tune, “I Always Lie To Strangers.” Listen to the new track here. Look out for more news on the release date and touring information soon.

The new music is just one of many new projects Mellencamp has been working on including original plays, paintings and more.

His documentary It’s About You is now available to be viewed in full at www.mellencamp.com. The documentary, which came out in 2012, highlights his 2009 No Better Than This tour with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson.

In addition to music and film, Mellencamp will resume production (Covid pending) for an untitled original play directed by Kathleen Marshall, produced by Scott Landis, and written by Naomi Wallace. Setting the stage, he dropped a video of Connor Antico and Morgan Pereira rehearsing virtually. Watch it HERE.

During the past year-and-a-half Mellencamp has continued to devote much of his time to painting.
Visit www.johnmellencampart.com to see his original artwork.

More release dates for all of the above coming soon!

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Taylor Vaughn
Taylor.Vaughn at umusic.com

dow, Wednesday, 17 February 2021 22:09 (one year ago) link

thanx to forks for this tasty item on Brandy Clark 12 Stories thread:

n celebration of the one-year anniversary of her critically acclaimed album, Your Life is a Record, eight-time GRAMMY nominee Brandy Clark will release a special new deluxe edition, Your Life is a Record (Deluxe), on March 5 on Warner Records. In addition to all eleven songs from Your Life is a Record, the deluxe album will feature six bonus tracks including “Remember Me Beautiful,” a new song Clark wrote earlier this year as part of NPR’s Morning Edition Song Project. The album will also feature special collaborations with Brandi Carlile (“Like Mine” and “Same Devil”) and Lindsey Buckingham (“The Past is the Past”) as well as live renditions of two album tracks: “Pawn Shop” and “Who You Thought I Was."

Moreover, in honor of the album’s anniversary, Clark will perform her first ticketed Livestream concert Saturday, March 6 at 8/7 CT via Mandolin. Tickets for the show are available now with a selection of purchase options, including a limited number of VIP packages with signed merchandise and a virtual meet & greet. Fans will also have the option to add a digital download of the deluxe album to their Livestream ticket, to be delivered on release day. Full details can be found at https://boxoffice.mandolin.com/collections/brandy-clark.

dow, Thursday, 18 February 2021 19:33 (one year ago) link

i'm mostly curious about the live tracks

That's not really my scene (I'm 41) (forksclovetofu), Thursday, 18 February 2021 20:04 (one year ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CH-ANhSFBA

New Ashley Monroe song “Drive “ from her upcoming album. I like the country- surf guitar and her breathy vocals are ok but the composition kinda feels unfinished

curmudgeon, Friday, 19 February 2021 14:25 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

From Miranda Lambert's enewsletter:

Announcing The Marfa Tapes

A project by Jack Ingram, Jon Randall and me. Recorded in Marfa, TX. They’re raw. You can hear the wind blowing, the cows mooing... We wanted you to feel like you were right there with us, sitting around the campfire, escaping the world, disappearing into the music. The first song “In His Arms” is out now. Full album arrives May 7th. Song is streaming in the usual places.

dow, Saturday, 6 March 2021 01:09 (one year ago) link

Oh yeah, speaking again of SG Goodman, she's on the first new Mountain Stage show since Before Times, with Chuck Prophet, Kim Richey,and Sierra Ferrell. It started airing/streaming March 5, and if you miss that, the downloadable podcast (full show, w songs cut from broadcast for time, ditto full all-hands-on-deck finale) will soon be in their archive.

dow, Sunday, 7 March 2021 01:12 (one year ago) link

https://mcusercontent.com/b5194773f4906d9b6b906584a/images/e190197d-e103-4868-87d4-c34fb1a78b4b.png

Without Getting Killed or Caught: Rodney Crowell sez: I'm happy to have been a part of this documentary about my friends Guy and Susanna Clark. This early virtual screening will be the first public showing of the film after its SXSW Film debut. Join me for the film and for a post-show conversation between myself and the filmmaker. Presented by my friends Kessler Presents, the screening will air on March 23 at 7 Eastern, 6 Central.
Kessler sez:
Screenings will happen in real-time on a device of your choosing. Each will feature an introduction from the filmmaker, the full 90 minute film, and a post-show Q&A with artists near and dear to us.

I'd like to see the ones w Crowell and Steve Earle, since they were part of the Clarks' scene and circle, as shown in the sleeper milestone doc Highways and Heartaches

Screenings continue through April:
https://www.withoutgettingkilledorcaught.com/tickets

dow, Sunday, 14 March 2021 20:16 (one year ago) link

I'd never heard Mickey Guyton before, but my wife put on her latest stuff today and ... it's not even a little bit country? Like, it was fine, but I was surprised. More pop than anything else. Apparently she had a good performance last night?

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 16 March 2021 00:04 (one year ago) link

Yeah, I appreciate what she's doing but it's not my cup of tea

Indexed, Tuesday, 16 March 2021 01:45 (one year ago) link

The Guy & Susanna Clark documentary is premiering at SXSW. Anyone know if it will get a wider release or picked up by a streaming service?

https://americansongwriter.com/the-story-of-guy-and-susanna-clark-unfolds-in-new-documentary-without-getting-killed-or-caught-the-life-and-music-of-guy-clark/

that's not my post, Wednesday, 17 March 2021 19:51 (one year ago) link

Not yet available 24/7, but scroll up a little bit and see links for streaming-screening dates, this month and next. I heard that SXSW is going to be largely (maybe all?) virtual this time, so may be more opps to see it then.

dow, Wednesday, 17 March 2021 20:32 (one year ago) link

lol, i should have read back a few days. i'll get tix to one of the screenings.

that american songwriter article is very good.

that's not my post, Wednesday, 17 March 2021 21:51 (one year ago) link

Can I just say that I’ve always liked that scene but really dislike Guy Clark. Am I alone here?

Heez, Wednesday, 17 March 2021 23:55 (one year ago) link

I bought Wallen's album before the news broke; still think it's the freshest beer-bro album in ages. The first six or seven songs bury the genre as far as I'm concerned.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 18 December 2021 20:04 (eleven months ago) link

Did anyone read the original Himes piece on "Afro-Americana" in Paste? The first one, before it got edited after it blew up?

Edd Hurt (whatstalker), Monday, 27 December 2021 00:17 (eleven months ago) link

A couple of thoughts on the Himes-Nashville Scene contretemps.
I can't speak for the Scene. But I would think they simply don't have the staff to do their own poll.
The paper has been angling to coverage of country that basically advocates in favor of more diversity in country. It hasn't covered mainstream country, except negatively, for a while. Basically, the paper writes about Americana.
I think Jake Blount's reply to the Himes piece says a lot about what's going on in country-Americana and provides a clue to why the Scene cut ties with Himes. Obviously, the paper had to think practically about the situation. Even if you think the reac

Edd Hurt (whatstalker), Monday, 27 December 2021 00:32 (eleven months ago) link

Ah, sorry. My post continues.

Even if you think the reaction to Himes' piece was out of proportion to its actual tone or import, it seems like the paper had to make the call as they did. This isn't the climate in which you can make a stand that would prove so unpopular.

As to Blount. How he takes Himes to task is by citing a book from the 1960s that says Black music uses disconnected verbal material, and that the artists Himes critiques do the same thing.

It's as if Blount somehow believes theory from 60 years ago is relevant to a discussion of a commercial art form. I attended an Allison Russell show in Nashville. The audience was 99 percent white. They were there to see a hyped, rising star. They may have known about the theories of a long-ago writer on Black music. However, I doubt it.

The essential fact about both country and Americana is commerciality--pop. The Scene doesn't cover country because it's considered disposable pop music. The Scene does cover Americana because they think, like Blount, that it's the necessary antidote to country itself. The real outrage the detractors of Himes feel arises from their dislike of pop. Yet Russell functions as a pop star. As usual, the earnest, outraged proponents of Americana get to have it both ways: popularity and meaningfulness. Russell deserves her popularity, but she's also a hype--her white audience (I'm sure she has a Black audience too, but I didn't see it in Nashville, a city where young well-heeled folk are marginalizing its Black citizens day by day via help from the people who run a real-estate bonanza) wasn't at Third Man's Blue Room.

Edd Hurt (whatstalker), Monday, 27 December 2021 00:50 (eleven months ago) link

Ah, correctly, I'm saying her white audience was who was at the Blue Room. My apologies for the typo.

Edd Hurt (whatstalker), Monday, 27 December 2021 00:53 (eleven months ago) link

Hi Edd, Indexed posted this link after Paste removed the original post from their site:
https://web.archive.org/web/20211011051918/https://www.pastemagazine.com/music/afro-americana/the-insidiousness-of-afro-americana/
Some responses upthread:
The Himes article was odd. He lumped a bunch of artists together as Afro-Americana (rather than just calling them Americana), took a shot at some attention he said they were getting, hailed a few and dissed many others strongly (Alison Russell) , and then added odd phrases about how some black artists need the opportunity to fail first before they can release good records (tone-deaf re what Black folks face in life)

― curmudgeon, Friday, December 3
He does a good (better than expected) vivid and carefully detailed description of the albums he likes, incl. the obvious observation about extended range of Giddens' latest---but to say that the albums he doesn't like are up for awards and how can such things be, must be inverse racism---is the most kneejerk-at-best default---it figures that Trigger/Saving Country Music jumped right in there, not that it isn't a good story, newswise. There are sites that would never say a bad word about any of these artists, but they wouldn't say a bad word about almost any other artist, not in reviews; more like, It is our sad duty to report that So and So has been charged with/arrested for this and that---at most.

― dow, Friday, December 3, 2021

Also, since you brought it up again:
What if Himes had said that, or something equally stupid and amateur, in his essay for the Scene Poll? Even if he hadn't, this Paste piece would have been a major distraction, and there would have been others like Charles Hughes, quoted upthread who wouldn't have participated, and said why, and the Scene, regardless of whether they cover non-Americana or not, would have looked almost as foolish as Paste (whose "editorial" uh-so seems to have been not looking at it before it was posted, or---not closely enough--a couple of snips would have fixed it---and he could have ended the "She sucks" part by saying she's up for awards, period: the perfect, wry punchline. But also please spare us the Bill Cosby Black People Must Be Allowed To Fail Tough Love, Himesy.

dow, Monday, 27 December 2021 02:30 (eleven months ago) link

uh-oh, not uh-so.

dow, Monday, 27 December 2021 02:32 (eleven months ago) link

Yeah, Himes wrote a tone-deaf piece and Paste didn't have the editing to smooth it out. The response to it was out of proportion to its actual badness as opposed to clumsiness. As usual, any hint of actual dissent from the party line of how-wonderful, and the dissent was a bit pompous, evokes s response like the one we see here.

Edd Hurt (whatstalker), Monday, 27 December 2021 15:09 (eleven months ago) link

Accusing other people of inverse racism because they like something you don't like is more than tone-deaf(it was also the last straw for JazzTimes, re Stanley Crouch)---now, accusing other people of/muttering dark insinuations about having ulterior motives for claiming to like/voting for something you don't like/may never have heard but just know it's shit--is something that happens on ilx every year about this time (at least)---but going as far as he did (don't recall ilxors actually coming right out w that), and as professional critic (rewarded at least w professional's platform space), with some responsibility to your colleagues and readers to at least seem like you might have turned the critical lens on yourself/have thought about what you're saying for more than 30 seconds---that's the big fail here.
I do wonder, though, if the published, edited piece had been like, "In sum, she sucks---and is up for awards," which would be a reasonable anti-party line dissent (though I wouldn't agree, since I agree with you that her record is good, got hooks even)---would that have gotten a big pushback, do you think---?? Maybe so, but seems like it wouldn't have killed the Poll--

dow, Monday, 27 December 2021 18:08 (eleven months ago) link

Accusing other people of inverse racism because they like something you don't like is more than tone-deaf, unless you provide verifiable supporting evidence, of course, like quotes that could be checked.

dow, Monday, 27 December 2021 18:13 (eleven months ago) link

Although even then, would be hard to make a convincing case w/o a significant number of quotes, and what would that be.

dow, Monday, 27 December 2021 18:14 (eleven months ago) link

Oops got that opening aside wrong: Crouch accused other people of straight-up racism, not "inverse"(for praising Dave Douglas so much etc).

dow, Monday, 27 December 2021 18:17 (eleven months ago) link

Russell was good at the show I saw. Her cello-violin thing was interesting and often inspired. I'd already written a brief preview of the show and had figured out she was going to be big. But the praise she's getting is as out of proportion as what Margo and Jason and the War and Treaty and Sierra Ferrell have gotten. I've written about Ferrell and said she's retro, but I guess my take on the gig I got covering Americana is that there's no point in belaboring that point, since it's all more or less retro. I'd still like to see what Himes wrote originally. It's a tough genre to write about intelligently. With Ferrell, you can say she has a style and the music has integrity, and it's the same with Russell, who might break thru aesthetically in time. I think the fault of the Blount reply is that he simply gives her a pass for her subject matter-- and I think it's an honest album. For Blount there isn't an aesthetic at work I see other than Folkie, and I think the big issue with Americana is overproduction and a whole lot of things that are just very similar. How can you make informed calls? I have trouble with this and may not be so consistently good at it. It's like trying to differentiate between Tom Rush and Ralph McTell, in the olden days, or Joni and Judee Sill? What are you *hearing* as opposed to *what do you wish the world was like*?

Edd Hurt (whatstalker), Monday, 27 December 2021 23:32 (eleven months ago) link

I think if Himes had canned, or the editors had, "Afro-Americana" itself, and as dow says tweaked the take on Russell--she is a developing artist who does has something to say, and her success speaks to the aspirations of the genre--maybe the response would have been different. But note Blount says he already doesn't like writers on music. I wrote the show review of Russell and noted the mostly white audience and talked about the class and race issues surrounding the genre. That got cut and I figured it might. Fair enough, but those are really the issues re country and Americana right now.

Edd Hurt (whatstalker), Monday, 27 December 2021 23:44 (eleven months ago) link

I'd still like to see what Himes wrote originally.
Sorry! I meant to paste the Web Archive capture of Himes' original, not Blount's response---here's Himes--
"Afro-Americana: The Good, the Bad and the Transcendent
A Curmudgeon Column"
By Geoffrey Himes | September 21, 2021 https://web.archive.org/web/20211004191432/https://web.archive.org/web/20210922050157/https://www.pastemagazine.com/music/americanafest/nashville-americanafest-rhiannon-giddens-charley-c/

dow, Tuesday, 28 December 2021 05:23 (eleven months ago) link

Now, if Himes had said it like you do,
she is a developing artist who does has something to say, and her success speaks to the aspirations of the genre-, that would have been fair, and if he then said something like, "But it doesn't speak to me; let me count the ways," and ended with "Yet she's up for awards," and maybe listed those too, would have been a cooler exit, if still, like he says in front, somewhat curmudgeonly, and could still have been objectionable to some, but not as objectionable to more, the way he did do it.
I wrote the show review of Russell and noted the mostly white audience and talked about the class and race issues surrounding the genre. That got cut and I figured it might. Fair enough, but those are really the issues re country and Americana right now.
I'd like to read the uncut version! If you'd like to post it here, or, if you'd rather, could send it to me personally.

dow, Tuesday, 28 December 2021 05:37 (eleven months ago) link

Actually, as I said before, he did start off fairly carefully, but---just kept going.
Anyway, um, https://www.nodepression.com/no-depression-reviewers-and-writers-favorite-roots-music-albums-of-2021

dow, Tuesday, 28 December 2021 05:46 (eleven months ago) link

I bought Wallen's album before the news broke; still think it's the freshest beer-bro album in ages. The first six or seven songs bury the genre as far as I'm concerned.

― So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, December 18, 2021 2:04 PM (one week ago) bookmarkflaglink

Morgan Wade > Morgan Wallen

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABxFciR980o

Indexed, Tuesday, 28 December 2021 15:24 (eleven months ago) link

Dow, I'll see if I can pull up my original Russell review. I think it was flawed because I tried to put too much into the thing. I'm having trouble retrieving it in the e-mail thread.

I wrote this on Loney Fred Hutchins' demos, recorded at House of Cash in the '70s. Despite the subtitle, Buried Loot isn't outlaw country so much. It is straight country in a mode that was already maybe a little dated in 1974, but Hutchins had a feel for the pathos of big-city life as experienced by all the country women and men who left home for the bright lights. Hutchins worked for Cash in the '70s, and he's still out there doing the occasional show, and writing songs.

Edd Hurt (whatstalker), Tuesday, 28 December 2021 18:09 (eleven months ago) link

Here's one from this summer, on alt? trad? country? singer-songwriter with country leanings? Jon Byrd, who's been around in Nashville for 20 years. His EP replicates his live show, and Byrd plays guitar in a sort of post-Willie, somewhat eccentric mode that works when it works.

Edd Hurt (whatstalker), Tuesday, 28 December 2021 18:14 (eleven months ago) link

And here's a piece on Shannon McNally's Waylon Jennings album.

Edd Hurt (whatstalker), Tuesday, 28 December 2021 18:16 (eleven months ago) link

My take on the (pretty darned good) Emily Scott Robinson record.
[NOTHING FANCY]
Emily Scott Robinson
There’s nothing fancy about the spare, folkish music on Emily Scott Robinson’s new album American Siren, and her songs make a virtue of the kind of simplicity that you don’t often find on mainstream country albums. In fact, Robinson—a North Carolina native who lives in Colorado—isn’t exactly a mainstream country artist, but American Siren embodies one aspect of country music in a very confused era. Signed to the prestigious label Oh Boy Records, Robinson sings like she grew up listening to mainstream folk music and country music, so you hear echoes of Joni Mitchell and Patty Griffin in her phrasing. Robinson floats up to her high notes, and she doesn’t take star turns or belt her lyrics to the rafters. American Siren often sounds homemade, as on the piano accompaniment for “Let ‘Em Burn,” which sounds like it was recorded in her living room. Still, it’s a crafty, surprising record, and the eccentric guitar obbligato that runs throughout “Old Gods” is just as effective as the simulation of a standard country band that Robinson uses on “Cheap Seat.” In the end, what’s most impressive about American Siren is Robinson’s sense of discovery: She makes standard themes of sin, redemption and piety seem fresh. It’ll be interesting to see how far Robinson ventures into the messy mainstream of country on her next record. 8 p.m. at The High Watt, 1 Cannery Row EDD HURT

Edd Hurt (whatstalker), Tuesday, 28 December 2021 18:24 (eleven months ago) link

That's good. We were talking about her upthread---I had probs w a few tracks, but overall, wotta debut (has she done EPs, singles of songs not on this?)
Just listened to xpost Loney Hutchins' Buried Loot: don't care about "Pinball King" or some of the other first segment tracks, but soon enough, he's got this self-deprecating realness/fatalism times limberness, vivid succintness---making me think of pre-bearded, 60s Only Daddy That'll Walk The Line-era Waylon---I wouldn't be surprised if Hutchins, or Waylon, wrote the Jennings vinyl track "Nashville Bum," about consuming ketchup soup in conference at coffee shop---"You can change a word or two and I'll give half of it to you"--then he goes to a mix of modesty and flair, passing through some very dark places, like Gary Stewart in his hellish heyday---would Stewart dare to record "Whiskey Lady," the forensic romance. an barstool cowboy's inner infant rock-a-bye serenade of his deadly muse? I think he would, and maybe he did.
(Hutchins' voice seems ideal for demos(these tracks are so well-played and recorded I would have assumed they were finished product): it's transparent,light but never lite. never imitating anybody I can think of, so never overselling, a little distanced, like these might be character studies, and/or just stuff he's lived through along the way, or in some cases still hopes to live through, not being above wistful love songs, maybe another pipe dream or two--
building to the matter-of-fact masterpiece here, "Committed To Parkview," (covered by Cash in the 80s. could have fit The Man Comes Around and other 2000s sets): quite a levelling playfield-rest-academy, another Nashville institution, along with Tootsie's and the Ryman, though you don't have to actually be in the biz to land here, and none of these songs are too biz-referential, incl familiar tropes that aren't belabored very often.
This is on Spotify; he's got a 2009 release on Bandcamp, along with the McNally and Byrd albums you covered (also, I see on there that Byrd has another 2021 album, Byrd's Auto Parts).

dow, Wednesday, 29 December 2021 00:02 (eleven months ago) link

Hutchins' "Four Good Reasons" would be good for all the other song stylists I mentioned above, and Doug Sahm too. Can't quite hear any of those four singing "Reedy Creek" as well as the writer does, though. (Stewart might have the upper range, but even his suppressed craziness might be subliminally distracting--or revelatory?! Not like any of Hutchins' better songs really have to be taken as all that normie, which is one of his sneaky strengths.)

dow, Wednesday, 29 December 2021 00:15 (eleven months ago) link

Hadn't heard this version of Adele's "Easy on Me" from the Target Deluxe version of 30 feat. Chris Stapleton. Not on Spotify that I can find, unfortunately.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhBP18CqAZ0

Indexed, Wednesday, 29 December 2021 15:17 (eleven months ago) link

Always look forward to this blog's top Songs and Albums of the year lists (fair warning: selections can lean toward saccharine and I've noticed a trend of picking 'insider' tracks about songwriting/Nashville/the biz).

https://thatnashvillesound.blogspot.com/2021/12/that-nashville-sounds-top-country.html

Indexed, Wednesday, 29 December 2021 15:21 (eleven months ago) link

Saving Country Music picks its album of the year:

"But one way you can spy an album that perhaps will be graced with the kind of longevity it takes to be considered the best of a given year is how it grows on you, keeps getting better the more you listen, reveals little details and unlocks bits of wisdom and knowledge with subsequent spins, until it beckons to be heard again and again, and refuses to be ignored or worn out.

How The Mighty Fall by Charles Wesley Godwin has been that kind of record in 2021, where the complexity of songcraft means you don’t tire of listening, where the diversity of sound and subject matter make for a fulfilling experience that satiates most all of your musical appetites, and where the honesty graces the work with authenticity. That is why in an incredible year for country music, and among a murderer’s row of fellow Album of the Year nominees, How The Mighty Fall bests them all."

It's actually not a bad record. "Lyin' Low" I'd suggest to Richard Thompson, maybe. Good tune. Godwin sounds like a more country Gordon Lightfoot...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoqAqcefQng

Edd Hurt (whatstalker), Wednesday, 29 December 2021 21:01 (eleven months ago) link

Not sure if anyone's talked about Elvie Shane's Backslider. I think it takes the lumber and hauls it up to the house, and its cliches go somewhere unexpected, musically and thematically. It's all really good, but this is the one I love: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMAo8sOekIg

Edd Hurt (whatstalker), Wednesday, 29 December 2021 21:12 (eleven months ago) link

I thought this piece one of the smarter ones reckoning with Wallen:

http://trismccall.net/poll-31-end-note-part-1-misrecognitions/

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 29 December 2021 21:23 (eleven months ago) link

The real reason why the Morgan Wallen album keeps selling is because of the state-of-the-art craftsmanship it contains, that, and the sincerity and strange purity of its sentiment. A shocking number of the 32 (!) songs on the set are keepers; they’re undeniable, even when they’re unpleasant. Dangerous, which is appropriately titled, reveals Wallen to be a messed-up person — one conscious of every sneer directed at the sticks, suspicious of the condescension of outsiders, and defensive of his way of life; i.e., “country-ass shit.” Not since Jamey Johnson’s Guitar Song has a mainstream artist expressed such tacit contempt for coastal city slickers. But while Johnson was convinced that California would soon burn, and only those who’d gotten back to Macon (love allll night) would survive the meltdown of the liberal order, Morgan Wallen grudgingly accepts that none of his vengeance fantasies are going to be realized. The girl at the beach bar isn’t going to follow him back to the Eastern Tennessee hills, beer isn’t really colder or tastier in the mountains, a “little ride around the farm” won’t pry anybody away from the metropolis, and all of these realizations magnify Wallen’s insecurity and bitterness. If there’s one thing we’ve all learned over the past decade, it’s that Wallen is speaking for an awful lot of Americans here — maybe not Americans who you want anything to do with, but your neighbors nevertheless, determined to impose an ill will on a country that they share with you. We ignore them, and shame them into silence, at some peril.

This isn’t to excuse Morgan Wallen’s (or Elvis Costello’s) stupidity. Hitmakers have big platforms, and when the sensitivity and openness that the job requires turns them into a channel for ugly stuff, they ought to be called out on it. Most good artists recognize that they’re vessels for volcanic forces, and when they’re pulled back from the edge, they tend to be grateful to those who do the yanking. Elvis Costello has spent decades apologizing to Ray Charles in various ways; Morgan Wallen was quick with contrition, agreed with his critics, and dropped off his summer ’21 tour to work on himself, which, given the context surrounding the incident, probably mean some kind of detox. And I can’t help but think of another legend who loved to make the normies uncomfortable — David Bowie, who claimed to have no recollection of his mid-‘70s praise of Hitler and fascism, and his bizarre fascination with Nazi memorabilia and iconography. Convenient, yes, but I doubt that was a case of selective amnesia. During the Thin White Duke period, Bowie was zonked out of his mind on every pill and powder in Eurasia. Costello, too, was drunk and high when he went on his tirade; ’79 was probably the apex of his speed ride. Morgan Wallen’s n-bombs were dropped near the bleary end of a three-day bender. Intoxicants don’t just make people stupid. They corrode morals, too. Give a nonstop supply of whiskey and coke to St. Peter, turn the digital recorder on and roll the camera, and it’s dead certain you’ll catch him saying, or doing, something regrettable, and maybe even cancellable.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 29 December 2021 21:26 (eleven months ago) link

Yeah, Tris McCall gets it, I think. I think Wallen's record might make a lotta people uncomfortable, even taking into account his missteps. It's a really good country album, and I think what makes it work is his voice, which is on the edge of what you'd call civilized. It's a voice I recognize very well, having grown up in Tennessee and seen the way certain country people, or disaffected semi-urban country people, look at you if they think you're spouting off about Biden or the Covid or whatever it is they believe you're acting superior about. His voice is that look. The vocal filtering I hear on on for example "865" is to the point, as well--great production. And unsettling.

Edd Hurt (whatstalker), Wednesday, 29 December 2021 21:52 (eleven months ago) link

And "Warning" uses trappy production, with also finger snaps, as savvily as any hip-hop-country I've heard lately...

Edd Hurt (whatstalker), Wednesday, 29 December 2021 21:55 (eleven months ago) link

"Warning" is a motherfucker of a song.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 29 December 2021 21:59 (eleven months ago) link

that tris mccall piece is fantastic. thanks for sharing, ALS.

fact checking cuz, Wednesday, 29 December 2021 23:58 (eleven months ago) link

Did Jamey Johnson really say all that on The Guitar Song?? Guess I was just listening to the music. *If* Wallen knows that his revenge fantasies are only that (musical evidence?), then he's in better shape than a lot of the people he's said here to speak for---speaking of whom, I'm surrounded by 'em, like Edd, so maybe musical representation, even IF self-aware, seems close to redundant---and McCall is making me think of The Case For Eminem, Art Appreciation lectures back in the day--but maybe I'll give some of the album another shot---nothing I've heard from it makes me want to attempt 32 tracks jeeeeez

dow, Thursday, 30 December 2021 01:15 (eleven months ago) link

(I liked hip-hop a lot more than bro country, also at least Eminem had a sense of humor, but---I'll try again.)

dow, Thursday, 30 December 2021 01:22 (eleven months ago) link

Although a lot of musical representation comes off as redundant anyway.

dow, Thursday, 30 December 2021 02:04 (eleven months ago) link

Yeah, McCall might not be aware that the folks we're surrounded by in thu South might not think their fantasies are fantasies. As Xgau said recently in a piece about country, the representations are hard to escape because the representations *create* the country environment. At least that's what I think he's saying.

Edd Hurt (whatstalker), Thursday, 30 December 2021 02:56 (eleven months ago) link

Intoxicants don’t just make people stupid. They corrode morals, too. Give a nonstop supply of whiskey and coke to St. Peter, turn the digital recorder on and roll the camera, and it’s dead certain you’ll catch him saying, or doing, something regrettable, and maybe even cancellable.

Citation needed, I think… I’ve never known/believed that drinks & drugs make ppl racist, antisemitic, or whatever else if they’re not like that already. It just loosens their inhibitions. (But maybe I’m wrong.)

Texas Medicine v. Railroad Gin (morrisp), Thursday, 30 December 2021 03:06 (eleven months ago) link

You're not

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 30 December 2021 03:09 (eleven months ago) link

I know there will be a separate lobbying thread, but I'd be interested if this niche group has any passionate must-vote-for country tracks (or albums) in the ilm poll this year. This is my country SOTY and will be high on my ballot. Only other thing I feel super strongly about is The Marfa Tapes, which I expect to place based on the responses in the Lambert thread.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5KKh5gFock

Indexed, Thursday, 30 December 2021 15:14 (eleven months ago) link

My favorite country / country-adjacent albums this year:

Margo Cilker: Pohorylle
Ingram/Lambert/Randall: The Marta Tapes
Gary Louris: Jump for Joy
Charley Crockett: Music City USA
Vincent Neil Emerson: Vincent Neil Emerson
Ashley Monroe: Rosegold
Alexa Rose: Headwaters

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Thursday, 30 December 2021 15:20 (eleven months ago) link

Oh yeah, some excellent picks there, though I still need to check several---keep hearing about Charley Crockett---
Meanwhile, I just listened to an artist Edd covered in the Scene, as linked upthread: Jon Byrd, whose Me and Paul features good originals (co-writes and solo), well-chosen covers, good singing, self-accompaniment on that little nylon-string guitar Edd praises, but what really makes it outstanding is all of the above times the pedal steel guitar of Paul Niehaus, def. a subject for further study----same name as a Swiss surgeon, appropriately enough---this gleaming, unstoppable sound keeps coming around Byrd, a big breath-like cycle--and that's it, just two instruments, one voice in between. The damndest thing. "Cash on the Barrelhead" doesn't quite fit, but doesn't disturb the overall vibe. https://jonbyrd1.bandcamp.com/album/me-paul
More conventional, as most country albums would be, is Byrd's Auto Parts. Full combos, maybe from different sessions, and I like it best when the steel player gets plenty of room---is he Niehaus? Who is the effective female duet partner on one track? Who wrote the two songs that sound perfect for Willie Nelson, the one that would be ditto for Gram Parsons? Who else did what? No notes on this one's bandcamp page, or on Byrd's Web site. "Reputation" sounds like one he might have done in his jangle days w Tim Lee and The Windbreakers, but is also a good, neurotic subject for country--and a good little jolt when the narrator suddenly turns and says. "She wants me to tell you---"
Sahm's "Be Real" is another excellent cover, with an arrangement close to the original, but how often do you hear that, and as Dave Van Ronk said, sometimes you can do it the way it was done first, or you can do it the wrong way.The cover of Lennon McCartney's "Don't Let Me Down" starts well, gets a little boring. But I do like most tracks quite a bit.
https://jonbyrd1.bandcamp.com/album/byrds-auto-parts

dow, Friday, 31 December 2021 03:30 (eleven months ago) link

Had been meaning to check out Pohorylle. Solid - thanks!

Indexed, Saturday, 1 January 2022 15:35 (eleven months ago) link

Discovered some true gems from the EOY list cycle. From No Depression's top 5, hadn't heard Adia Victoria's A Southern Gothic or Allison Russell's Outside Child - both exceptional works. Also loved the Sierra Ferrell album Long Time Coming (thanks SCM).

It was nice to see Jason Eady's "French Summer Sun" recognized on a few EOY lists. He has been a favorite for many years - a truly gifted songwriter who knows how to say a lot without much, often about subjects already covered ad nauseum.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1skXt4Q980

Indexed, Monday, 3 January 2022 14:57 (eleven months ago) link

Dow, the Jon Byrd "Byrd's Auto Parts" is from 2007. Live these days, he's good if a bit mannered. Another Nashville club regular who isn't very interested in record-making. Much like Davis Raines. Check out Raines' fairly recent song "Dallas" on YouTube. Pretty damn good and the approach is lowkey, much like Byrd's.

Edd Hurt (whatstalker), Monday, 3 January 2022 15:06 (eleven months ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aGY3dHL2rY

Edd Hurt (whatstalker), Monday, 3 January 2022 15:11 (eleven months ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aGY3dHL2rY

Edd Hurt (whatstalker), Monday, 3 January 2022 15:12 (eleven months ago) link

Cool, thx. We've got this now btw lxor.com/ILX/ThreadSelectedControllerServlet?boardid=41&threadid=112512 Starts w Chuck Eddy's 2021 ballot and link also incl. his ballots for all previous/actual Scene polls.

dow, Monday, 3 January 2022 18:00 (eleven months ago) link

oops, sorry---here tis, hopefully: Rolling Country 2022

dow, Monday, 3 January 2022 18:02 (eleven months ago) link


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