Rolling Country 2022

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With Chuck Eddy's permission, here's Best of 2021, from his blog, Eliminated For Reasons of Space:

Chuck Eddy
December 31, 2021 at 3:15 pm
No Nashville Scene Country Critics Poll in 2021. If there had been one, here’s what I expect I would have voted for (or at least considered):

TOP 10 ALBUMS: Carly Pearce: 29 – Written in Stone (Big Machine); RaeLynn: Baytown (Round Here); Walker Hayes: Country Stuff (Monument EP); Lainey Wilson: Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin’ (Broken Bow); Mickey Guyton: Remember Her Name (Capitol Nashville); Kalie Shorr: I Got Here By Accident (Tmwrk EP); Side Pony: Lucky Break (Mule Kick); Robyn Ottolini: The But I’m Not Always Sad Either EP (Warner Nashville EP); Ashley Monroe: Rosegold (Mountainrose Sparrow); Gary Allan: Ruthless (EMI Nashville.)

TOP 10 SINGLES (leaving out borderline-country cases): Carly Pearce “Next Girl”; Willie Jones “American Dream”; Parker McCollum “Rest Of My Life”; Walker Hayes feat. Ke$ha “Fancy”; Casi Joy “Namaste”; Brittney Spencer “Sober and Skinny”; Sasha McVeigh “God Bless This Mess”; Olivia Ellen Lloyd “Sorrow”; Shaela Miller “Big Hair Small City”; Breland “Cross Country.”

BORDERLINE-COUNTRY SINGLES (some of which I might have voted for instead): Funky Marys “Königin”; Nathan Evans “Wellerman (Sea Chantey)”; Caramba Express “Ding Ding Bier Pong (Ramba Zamba in Saloon)”; Swabian Beatz “Mississippi (English Version 2021)”; Stan Ridgway “Big Dumb Town.”

10 MORE HONORABLE MENTION SINGLES: Midland “This Town”; Side Pony “Heels”; Carly Pearce “Dear Miss Loretta”; Gary Allan “Sex”; Energía Norteña “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You”; Walker County “Bits & Pieces”; Andrew Sevener “2019 BC”; Charlie Worsham “Fist Through This Town”; Legendary Shack Shakers “They Won’t Let Me Forget (All the Things I Can’t Recall)”; Sammy Kershaw “Evangeline.”

All in all, a very good or bad year for TOWNS, depending who you ask.

dow, Sunday, 2 January 2022 00:55 (two weeks ago) link

It's at the bottom of this page, where you can comment---scroll way up past 2021 to see his Scene ballots for 2003-2020, via the same link:

dow, Sunday, 2 January 2022 00:59 (two weeks ago) link

Posts are still being added to RC 2021. This post is to make baby thread more visible for the moment.

dow, Monday, 3 January 2022 18:05 (two weeks ago) link

OK, Rolling Country 2022: Please tell me your favorite country-focused/leaning labels that are on Bandcamp.

All approaches to country (traditional, mainstream, alt-, -rock, ambient, cosmic, Western swing, etc.) are welcome. Americana, bluegrass, folk and other twangy/acoustic/roots music, too. I'm following a bunch, but would like to follow more. Thanks!

alpine static, Monday, 3 January 2022 22:59 (two weeks ago) link

My 2021 favs:

James McMurtry - The Horses and the Hounds
Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall - The Marfa Tapes
Carly Pearce - "Next Girl"
Jason Eady - "French Summer Sun"

Eric Church - Heart & Soul
Brandi Carlile - In These Silent Days
Sierra Ferrell - Long Time Coming*
Margo Cilker - Pohorylle*

Emily Scott Robinson - American Siren
Bobby Dove - Hopeless Romantic
Charlie Marie - Ramble On
Sturgill Simpson - The Ballad of Dood & Juanita
Morgan Wade - "Other Side"
Sarah Jarosz - "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"
Scott Hirsch - "Dreamer"
Hiss Golden Messenger - "Sanctuary"
Vincent Neil Emerson - "Learnin to Drown"*

Yasmin Williams - Urban Driftwood
Flock of Dimes - "Walking", "Awake for the Sunrise"
Allison Russell - Outside Child*
Adia Victoria - A Southern Gothic*
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raise the Roof
Marisa Anderson & William Tyler - "News About Heaven", "Lost Futures"

*EOY list cycle discoveries

Indexed, Tuesday, 4 January 2022 16:16 (two weeks ago) link

Sweet! Good way to organize them too. xpost Any time I hear about an inneresting artist or release, I've gotten to where I always check Bandcamp first---country-oriented label-wise, though, I can't tell you (for jazz etc there are several, like International Anthem and ESP-DISK, although Tompkins Square's Bandcamp does have some folk etc releases that relate to country vibes)

dow, Tuesday, 4 January 2022 18:00 (two weeks ago) link

Just checking out some stuff from late last year. Dillon Carmichael, from Burgin, Kentucky, who put out an EP in 2021, Hot Beer, none of whose tracks he wrote, and an album, Son of A. The uptempo jokey ones, like "Hot Beer," are all about how he's too much of a bro to let women bother him--their craziness comes with the territory, but there's never any moment when he makes you wonder if maybe he's partly to blame. Nothing too spectacular. I do like "Son of A," though, which is his reflective, I-cussed-my-daddy-but-that-also-comes-with-territory, side, and good lush chord changes and, you know, a pretty nice vocal. Funny how the Revisionist Schlock of things like "Son of A" can beat the Montgomery Gentry Lite of country tryin' to rock...

Edd Hurt (whatstalker), Wednesday, 5 January 2022 23:00 (two weeks ago) link

Also relistening to Gary Allan's Ruthless which is as quietly, ruthlessly, bleedingly ominous as any of his other record's. Concentrated super-formalist country, little swoops of background female vocals that add to the air of something he can't get to, as in "Slide," complete with a 5-second guitar solo. "Do you still want me," even if he wasn't quite what she had in mind. Pretty fucking great. And it ends, suddenly "Slide..." Where's that dress, in his closet behind a box of another woman's clothes? "What I Can't Talk About" rolls around in a sorta Police-like way, somehow, and again, the songwriting teams he got do their job--the release hooks in on a chord change, he repeats a high note, and Allan cuts off his vocals. A great song about songwriting.

Edd Hurt (whatstalker), Wednesday, 5 January 2022 23:10 (two weeks ago) link

Morgan Wallen, Dangerous: now most of the way through Disc 2(finished while writing this), which Spotify has actually not interrupted with ads, not out of deference to somebody Dangerous in tight jeans---no, that song is like all the rest in recalling wild times with a girl and a bottle, but also, for the first time on this album, being in the back of a cop car downtown oops b-b-better not go down thar again while messed up thinging of yew---but never on here has he (yet) blamed the girl for his being hung-up on her and the bottle, nor is he doing music as therapy like some others, just brief views, scenes from a life in passing---there's a reliable continuity of musicality too, although on Disc 1, especially, it can be just okay, as brief highlights sink back into the steady background flow--don't buy the drank as much as rent it, eh podner--happens even to the Isbell cover here, so can be more about habits of delivery than writing, although some of that's pretty pro forma too. Some keepers though, making it all the way through their brief runs, often with a few more distinctive turns than expected--those stand out here among the humdrum for sure, as the mind is trained to be grateful for small favors. Not too small! The feel for fingerpicking as part of his reflective-to-rueful compulsiveness, and antsy squeezing of booze-damp tropes, looking back to last night or year---yeah, that's good, and he can seem like Kenny Chesney with an added sense of moments, drops adding up, tilting that nostalgia, suck it dry one more time, 'til it grows back tomorrow (on both discs. Already, on this Disc, he knows this shit can't go on, that he ain't ever satisfied, not long enough to call it that--just the little bittersweet afterglow coming back as regular as his rituals with new girls x drinks.

Disc 2 is much more often actual fun! At least for a while, getting to capital Country as a shirttail flag, sometimes also with a rolling-to-wavery cadence, like his hat-head is about to hit its face on the barroom floor, but then pops back up for another quip---more wavey than wavery after all, or pert near, like one of those balloon dudes in front of used car lots. Getting to hickhop as a given, or almost subsumed, but you can feel the feels. The yeehaw reaffirmation is always on the way to yet another funtime, and becomes explicitly presented, in at least one song (lotta words always going by in these tracks, people) as alkie pretext or shall we say personal solutionism to class struggle--- while him and his baby may getting sideways and sideeyed, "other people at the bar may have their own opinions, but Beer Don't."
After that, there's one where he finally does blame the girl, though more in fear than anger, sounds like. as he sings, "You like wine, and---me on whiskey." But he doesn't run away from the pile-on.
Album just goes on and on and on, 'til repetitiousness obtrudes even through the attractions of it as background music---although that does add the sense of his finding no way out, just going round and round and round through his behavior---and I *think* I would get that even if I didn't know about his personal history (a lot more than I want to, beyond the headlines, and I'm sure Edd has heard still more in Nville). So---it's expressive, and meaningful enough, even when it's not. Country as hell then, incl. tiresome at times, and I'm inclined to give it (for reasons of being a tad more conceptual, also bro-subgeneric, than consistently-enough enjoyable, also for keeping the sorry backstory so close at hand) a Semi-honorable Mention/B+ on my imaginary Scene ballot.
So, judging by all this, he seems like he never was Dangerous in the sense that some would like him to be, as a redneck Free Speech Jesus or cautionary A Face In The Crowd view of populist fascist media tool---he's a minor artist, strengths and weaknesses closely related, in this bro-unprecedented (far as I've heard) pile-up of tracks, taking scenes and themes to an extreme that I hope his many fans will come to hear as more than servicing, as more than media insulation, but dang this longass winding road does tend to blend like that, pulling at the penny-drop insights.

dow, Thursday, 6 January 2022 23:46 (two weeks ago) link

Mind you. speaking of hickhop (to rapneck) feels, I can almost hear "Country A$$ Shit," gettin down "with my country-ass friends, and my country ass band...and if you don't like that, kiss my county ass" blaring from a truck with a rifle rack and rows of MAGA and Rebel flag stickers, front and back, parading past pedestrian me on Main Street---b-b-but listen in context, kids!

dow, Friday, 7 January 2022 00:09 (one week ago) link

Monday January 10 5 pm et zoom with country book authors ( Eric Weisbard twitter and email has zoom links)

Marissa Moss, Shana Goldin-Perschbacher, and Steacy Easton
Country Reinventions

Marissa Moss, Shana Goldin-Perschbacher, and Steacy Easton will be discussing their upcoming books Her Country: How the Women of Country Music Reinvented Themselves and the Industry to Become the Success Story They Were Never Supposed to Be (Moss, published by Henry Holt and Co in May 2022), Queer Country (Goldin-Perschbacher, University of Illinois Press in March 2022), and Why Tammy Wynette Matters (Easton, the University of Texas Press early in 2023). All three authors are concerned with country music’s problems of racism, homophobia, and misogyny--especially the continued erasure of women, queer folks, and people of colour from the canons of country music

curmudgeon, Friday, 7 January 2022 16:39 (one week ago) link

As mentioned on RC 2021, was not in a hurry to check Pistol Annies' Hell of a Holiday, having heard every kind Christmas album, good and bad, while working in a CD store for far too long. But now I think it would have improved my holidays, for the most part. They mean to bring the Pistol Annies real talk and fun along with mellower, often bittersweet moments, though the unaccustomed piety (think it's all from Presley, but maybe not). though dignified and not too preachy, drags a little on its reserved (three) tracks. But opening and closing subsets of three work fine, also several others (and those three solemn ones aren't bunched together). Even "Come on Christmas Time," about having a crush on Santa, which seemed like would be too cute, is a discreetly yet seriously prowly shuffle--she means the guy who is playing Santa, like husband is to their kids---maybe---filling up just enough to weigh in between "Harlan County Coal" (better be good for goodness sake mf) and "If We Make It Through December." "Joy" is a PA and this-album microcosm: many shades of blue, incl. luminescent, though going back around a few times cos that's life and Christmas).
Even if I don't want to keep listening to this as an album, can see adding faves to playlist of their other albums; they're not seasonal only.

dow, Tuesday, 11 January 2022 21:54 (one week ago) link

No Depression – Roots Music Journalism
In the wake of Morgan Wallen's
appearance, we asked
if we could share her essay online about building community in the face of country music’s systemic racism.

You can also read this essay in our Winter '21 journal.

dow, Wednesday, 12 January 2022 04:46 (one week ago) link

xp fell totally flat for me. Very disappointing actually. Favorite track was the only traditional one -- Monroe's take on "Sleigh Ride."

Indexed, Wednesday, 12 January 2022 16:21 (one week ago) link

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