Rolling Country 2023

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As usual, let's roll out the barrel with Chuck Eddy's country picks:

dow, Monday, 2 January 2023 19:22 (ten months ago) link

He said I could do whatever I wanted to with these posts from his blog, so here's the intro to and comments on his singles picks(with link to whole thing)---he didn't do a sep list x comments for top albums, but I've boldfaced the ones he mentions in passing here:


40+ Best Country Singles of 2022

From what I’ve read, 2022 is supposed to be the year that neo-traditionalism (i.e., singers trying to sound like Travis and Strait and McEntire trying to sound like Haggard and Jones and Wynette) returned to country radio while everybody showed how much they missed to the ’90s (i.e., Twain and Brooks and Brooks & Dunn.)

I apparently wasn’t paying close enough attention to notice much of. the former, though I definitely caught glimpses of the latter, which you’ll find below. But seems like mostly what caught my ear were (sometimes blatantly ’90s styled, sometimes not) dance songs, as often as not by women without major label recording contracts, or maybe recording contracts at all — not nearly purist enough for “alt-country”; maybe not purist enough for commercial country. In fact a couple feel flat-out disco. But then again sometimes I think I live for category errors — When I told my wife that Anna Vaus’s “Didn’t Even Date” is my favorite country single of the year, she quickly replied “it doesn’t sound country!,” and I’m fine with that. Vaus brands herself as “honest girl pop country,” and Big Machine signed her to to a publishing (why not recording?) deal in August. So who am I to argue?

If Nashville Scene still sent out country critics poll ballots, my top 10 albums this year would have probably looked something like: Miranda Lambert, Ingrid Andress, Anna Vaus’s EP, Kimberly Kelly, Ashley McBryde, Breland, Lainey Wilson, Pillbox Patti, Willie Nelson, Brennan Leigh, or maybe Alela Diane if I decided she qualified. Either way, 80% women. Singles might be even more lopsided, gender-wise.

I didn’t number the songs below because it seemed most efficient to pair multiple singles by a few of the artists with each other instead of splitting them up, and numerically that would’ve just confused things. So let’s just say these are listed in roughly approximate order of how much I enjoyed them, with other songs I liked slightly less or didn’t have as much to say about affixed alphabetically at the end. There are…more or less 40. I keep losing count. Feel free to build a playlist.

Anna Vaus “Didn’t Even Date” and “Kinda Don’t Ever.” I liked this unjustly slept-on Southern California via Nashville hopeful’s evidently self-released (Epola Road Records) 2018 EP The California Kid and put “Day Job” on my Nashville Scene ballot that year, and I like her even more now, even if the ambiguity of feeling “some kind of way” will always get on my nerves and I’m not sure “we were golden with an ocean view” means anything at all, except maybe that she’s still got Pacific Coast connections. “Didn’t Even Date” is more blue-eyed r&b c&w with all sorts of vocal tricks built in (breathiness, chuckling, mini-melisma); “Kinda Don’t Ever” more old-school Taylor Swift. Not saying it’s better than anything on Midnights, but not saying it’s not.

Megan McKenna “Single” and “DNA.” The “English TV personality” (as her wiki page puts it) put out 14 singles in 2022; I liked two a lot. Both affirm the resilience of unpartnered women; both use what I’d call Europop-Mediterranean semi-flamenco guitar strums in a pop-country context. I also just learned that the “LBD” she says she slips on is a “little black dress.” Wrote more about her songs (and Anna Vaus) here.

Chris Lane feat. Lauren Alaina “Dancing in the Moonlight.” Seventeen years ago, I initiated a King Harvest vs. Starbuck thread on the I Love Music board, wondering which band’s proto-disco-country soft-rock moonlight smash was better — the former’s #13 ’72 “Dancing in the Moonlight” or the latter’s #3 ’76 “Moonlight Feels Right”? Still not sure which I’d pick, but at least for now, Nashville seems to have made a choice — not as a cover version, per sé; more like a rewrite hitching recognizable remnants of the original chorus to stuff about “heaven with your hands on me” and “boys passing something from Kentucky.” @KingHarvestMusic, on you tube: “No words to describe what an absolute pleasure it is to hear a country rewrite of our hit from 1973. Great vocals! Great production! Here’s hoping you guys take it all the way to the top.” Not only did it not climb to the top; it didn’t chart at all. Maybe all the ’70s (Lane’s pornstache) and non-’70s (Alaina’s flapper outfit) referents in the video confused people chronologically.

Kassi Ashton “Dates in Pickup Trucks.” She of the fullest and huskiest woman’s voice in current country also has the best pants; an episode of something called The Look has her taking us into her closet and telling us she personally handcut her dungarees’ fringe. Youtube viewers who claim to have no use for country say they love the song — which stayed on Billboard‘s country airplay chart for eight weeks but never got higher than #57 — regardless, and people make interesting comparisons. @toddritter5612: “Got a nice Amy Winehouse vibe to it.” @kimvann8246: “I’m ALL east coast, S. Philly and S. Jersey (yeah, Jersey shore and all. But real old school 80’s). I was broken hearted when we lost Lady T., plus I’m now in Cali. Then I hear this vibe under CM. [sic?] Wait, Backup, What’s this I’m hearing? Hallelujah! I’ve been rescued. Your voice is lovely so keep bringing the joy. Be blessed.” Somebody on WikiCelebs: “This is the reason she posts a photo in a bikini on social media and tagged the boy, who said that she had a flat-shaped figure like a pencil for taking revenge.” I’d also vouch for 2021’s “Heavyweight,” which earns its title amid bragging that Ashton’s “a full grown woman,” and her 2020 version of “Hard Candy Christmas.” And I hope not all her pickup truck dates involve having to watch her boyfriend’s bros wrestle in dirt. A possible red flag, maybe?

Melanie Dyer “Dumb Decisions” (with Caitlyn Shadbolt) and “Cheap Moscato.” Two upbeat and catchy songs about how poor momentary life choices involving alcohol can be worth it anyway, for the stories and memories they spawn. Dyer and Shadbolt are both Australian (Sydney and Gympie respectively), which seems to free country singers of the uptight ideological baggage that weighs down so many of their American counterparts. In “Dumb Decisions” girls get crazy and flirty when sipping on tequila or a “Buffy” (dark rum, passoã, lime and orange juice, simple syrup, passionfruit); in “Cheap Moscato” clothes and hopeless hearts wind up all over the floor. Furniture and interior decoration in the latter video seem decidedly high-end and kind of trendy, suggesting a down-under market for country less rural, younger and freer of quasi-populist class delusions than what we got here. (By the way, an entirely different Melanie Dyer put out a terrific avant-jazz-meets-African-American-fiddle-band album with her improvising sextet WeFree Strings in 2022. Check out them, too!)

Priscilla Block “My Bar.” Wednesday night regular at local watering hole ’cause she digs the band sends ex-boyfriend back to his side of town. An actual hit — #50 Hot Country Singles, #26 Country Airplay, which again hints that, no matter how unadventurous country radio is, country fans might be worse. In the video she divides time between said tavern, the stage, and for some incongruous reason a huge red tractor with a snowplow. Inspiring how Block has no qualms showing off her zaftig figure, even more overtly in 2021’s ”Thick Thighs“: “I can’t be the only one who likes extra fries over exercise….You can’t spell ‘diet’ without ‘die.'” She even twerks! Breland needs to work her into his song “Thick,” which already shouts out to Lizzo, Megan Trainor, Kelly Clarkson, Ashley McBryde (or Graham?) and Serena Williams.

Abby Anderson “Juicy.” More curvaceous body positivity: “full figure, full figure, you’re gonna need both your hands.” Spelling lesson: “Jay! You! I see why! You wanna squeeze me.” Till the juice runs down… In the tradition of Robert Johnson, Led Zeppelin, Mtume, Oaktown’s 357 and Notorious B.I.G., except more disco than any of them. Abby Anderson from the outskirts of Dallas sang some patriotic corn on Glenn Beck’s show as a 17-year-old in 2014 and wound up in the top 10 of Billboard‘s Christian chart; four years later, “Make Him Wait” just barely squeeeezed into country’s Airplay top 60. She claims K.T. Oslin and Freddy Fedder among her influences — about time somebody did! Later in 2022 she released “M.I.A.,” apparently from a “podcast musical” called Make It Up As We Go, and she recited its three-letter title in the same notes Stacey Q used to do the title of “Two of Hearts.”

Dozzi “Messy.” More optimistic un-neurotic Aussie sheilas praising cut-rate booze (“cheap champagne” in this case), sister trio (mandolin Andrea and guitar Jesse and keyboard Nina) with a Bo Diddley beat, like SheDaisy crossed with Westworld or identical Twains if that’s easier to grasp, tell some lucky bloke to “put your hands in my hair give me face to face.” Of all their outfits, I definitely prefer the sailor suits.

Blake Shelton “No Body.” According to Wide Open Country, “No Body” (was) part of a nostalgia-driven trend in 2022 that also brought us such ’90s homages as Lainey Wilson’s ‘Watermelon Moonshine,’ Kane Brown’s ‘Like I Love Country Music‘ and Cole Swindell’s ‘She Had Me at Heads Carolina‘; he even grew his mullet back to revive his early “hat act” look. WOC also points out that “No Body” (#34 Country Songs, #21 Country Airplay) isn’t part of the deluxe version of Body Language — which makes perfect sense, if you look at their titles! Anyway, it’s a total boot-scoot-throwback dance floor stomper.

Kimberly Kelly “Summers Like That” and “Blue Jean Country Queen” (featuring Steve Wariner.) Talk about ’90s homages. In “Summers Like That,” this former schoolteacher with a Master’s in Speech Pathology from Texas Woman’s University directly references Trisha Yearwood’s “Walkaway Joe,” Pam Tillis’s “Maybe It Was Memphis,” Brooks & Dunn’s “Neon Moon,” Tracy Byrd’s “The Keeper of the Stars” and especially (most prominently) Deana Carter’s great “Strawberry Wine,” all from ’91 to ’96, the last of which makes this nostalgia for nostalgia. Plenty of cassette tapes in the video too, and that Kelly remembers sitting on the hood of an “’02 model Mustang” is a bit confusing but the sound’s perfect. Actually I doubt in a blindfold test I’d guess ‘90s, but I get that all those bygone decades blur together for non-senior-citizens out there. Wonder what 1961-born Toby Keith, who put out Kelly’s album on his Show Dog label, thinks. Dancing queen in dance tune “Blue Jean Country Queen” has a “Farah Fawcett smile,” so “girls are all glarin’,” boys are all starin’, the 1970s called.” Why quibble?

Kate Underwood “Mascara.” Song about the love of one’s life winding up happily married to a different woman and how that makes one’s Maybelline streak, as classic sounding as anything by Kimberly Kelly — Absolutely could’ve been a hit for, say, Lynne Anderson or somebody a half-century ago. But googling not only the title but chunks of the lyrics turns up nothing, and searches for the singer’s name come up blank as well. Australia has a singer named Katie Underwood, but this is clearly not her. Carrie Underwood seems to have two sisters, both much older, and two sons, both much younger. The video has a grand total of one youtube thumbs-up, which for all I know could be Kate herself….But wait!!! If you hunt long enough you finally find a very sparsely posted-on Kate Underwood Music facebook page. And Kate Underwood Bowman’s personal page tells us “I was a songwriter in Nashville for over a decade and lately I am really missing it!” Turns out “Mascara” is an original number, produced by Lari White, the mid-level ’90s country hitmaker and self-proclaimed Green Eyed Soulster who also produced Toby Keith’s best album, White Tra$h With Money. Him again, wtf?

Much more of those here, with links and pix:

dow, Monday, 2 January 2023 19:42 (ten months ago) link

Good to see some Pillbox Patti there but surprised he didn’t incl “Eat, Pray, Drugs”

j.o.h.n. in evanston (john. a resident of chicago.), Monday, 2 January 2023 23:02 (ten months ago) link

I hadn't heard of that one, will check.
Also hadn't heard of Nashville Country Music Magazine, but here tis, with Mackenzie Phipps on cover:
Free PDF Of January 2023 Magazine Click on Cover to Download

dow, Monday, 2 January 2023 23:38 (ten months ago) link

from reputable email sources, so I guess it's okay.

dow, Monday, 2 January 2023 23:39 (ten months ago) link

These are the country and country-adjacent (*) albums and tracks that I nominated in the ILM poll:

Kaitlin Butts - What Else Can She Do
Miranda Lambert - Palomino
Zach Bryan - American Heartbreak
Brennen Leigh - Obsessed with the West
Willie Nelson - A Beautiful Time
*Anais Mitchell - Anais Mitchell

Kaitlin Butts - Blood
Emily Scott Robinson - When It Don't Come Easy
Tyler Childers - Way of the Tribune God (Jubilee Version)
Anna Tivel - Heroes
Caitlin Rose - Only Lies
Maren Morris - Circles Around This Town
*Hurray for the Riff Raff - SAGA
*Joan Shelley - Amberlit Morning

Indexed, Tuesday, 3 January 2023 15:18 (ten months ago) link

Didn't have room but should have nominated this MUNA track, which is the best country song by a non-country artist I've heard in a long time

Indexed, Tuesday, 3 January 2023 15:20 (ten months ago) link

Have spent more time with Adeem -- can't shake this feeling that a few of his tunes are straight Lori McKenna knock offs.

― Indexed, Sunday, January 1, 2023

Which of his are knock-offs of which of hers? Do you have anything that specific in mind? I'd go check without asking, except she's got a lotta tunes!

dow, Wednesday, 4 January 2023 01:35 (ten months ago) link

what percentage of songwriters do you think would *love* to write a few songs good enough to be called Lori McKenna knock-offs?

alpine static, Wednesday, 4 January 2023 07:43 (ten months ago) link

Ha, so true! I don't know McKenna's work well enough to identify which songs but I hear it most clearly on the chorus of "Carolina" and on "Books & Records." My comment read as more pejorative than I meant it -- he traverses a lot of different territory, songwriting-wise, and it's actually rather impressive that it all works quite well.

Indexed, Wednesday, 4 January 2023 16:26 (ten months ago) link

Will do a bit of self-promotion and share the consensus picks from the panel at Country Universe for the Top 10 Albums and Top 20 Singles of 2022.

New Shania Twain single out this week immediately reminds me of how great Laura Bell Bundy was / presumably still is, and how her "Giddy On Up" was so ahead of it's time that, 12 years on, it's still a hell of a lot better than Shania's "Giddy Up."

At least a little bit intrigued by "Bets On Us" by Cheat Codes f Dolly Parton. It's in the same realm as those Avicii - Dan Tyminski collabs from several years back, but I'm not sure it does anything novel in that regard.

jon_oh, Saturday, 7 January 2023 16:45 (ten months ago) link

Thanks! I don't keep up with singles so well, but some intriguing picks there, also here:

dow, Saturday, 7 January 2023 18:34 (ten months ago) link

Not seeing Lainey Wilson or Amanda Shires here

Malevolent Arugula (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 7 January 2023 18:35 (ten months ago) link

Both got a couple of stray votes but didn't make the consensus lists...

jon_oh, Saturday, 7 January 2023 18:42 (ten months ago) link

Surprising! Lainey Wilson is damn good again, ditto what I've heard of the Shires, thanks for reminder to check out whole thing.

dow, Saturday, 7 January 2023 18:51 (ten months ago) link

(Also: Willie, Miranda, Ingrid Andress, Pillbox Patti, Billy Joe Shaver trib among the missing albs---good to see Kaitlin Butts and Akeem on there though)

dow, Saturday, 7 January 2023 18:58 (ten months ago) link

I'll say I liked both of them well enough but didn't have either in contention for the 20 albums I voted for personally for our poll. Among the country / Americana circles I run in, the Shires album was pretty divisive, but Wilson has popped up on a lot of other year-end lists I've seen.

jon_oh, Saturday, 7 January 2023 19:01 (ten months ago) link

Good news about Wilson. Also good to see Sunny Sweeney on the CU Top Ten, though I haven't quite made up my mind about hers, or sev others.

dow, Saturday, 7 January 2023 19:05 (ten months ago) link

ReallY?! Divisive? In my circles it's her best album; to my ears her other albums had strong intentions and weak songwriting.


Malevolent Arugula (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 7 January 2023 19:05 (ten months ago) link

Yeah, I'd say it's a pretty even split among the writers I run with; either they agree with your take on it or find it to be her least successful. It hasn't gotten much love on a lot of other year-end lists I've read, either. Sampling biases play into all of that, for sure.

jon_oh, Saturday, 7 January 2023 19:16 (ten months ago) link

I am behind on my listening but I caught up on Hailey Whitters ‘Raised’ and dow, I think I def align with your earlier assesment re her triteness

Like, her songs are well phrased & hooky as hell but i can’t find any “there” there other than fishing & drinkin, highschool & hometown, raising hell and raising babies

like a corny uncreative two-dollar Maren idk

But I fucking LOVE Ashley Monroe’s Lindeyville, I have listened to that a few times now & it’s so good. Vivid characters & the worldbuilding is so well thought out, and of course the songs are so damn good. Love her!

werewolves of laudanum (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 15 January 2023 05:01 (ten months ago) link

oh and I am fully Margo Price pilled - we’re seeing her in SF in Feb

werewolves of laudanum (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 15 January 2023 05:25 (ten months ago) link

Oh cool! Her Perfectly Imperfect At The Ryman is a really good live album---the "imperfect" part to me is mostly when she's using Ike & Tina's arrangement of "Proud Mary," but otherwise ace.
You mean Ashley McBryde, not Monrow--wish she was on there too! Lots of Ashleys these days, and I have trouble with all the Lukes and Zachs nd Zaks.
Lindeville is so far seeming kinda uneven to me, but this is awes:
Ashley McBryde w Pillbox Patti: "The Girl in the Picture"

Also! McB's contribution to the John Anderson trib, "Straight Tequila Night"

dow, Sunday, 15 January 2023 22:01 (ten months ago) link

The Sierra Ferrell track on that comp is fantastic

Indexed, Sunday, 15 January 2023 22:45 (ten months ago) link

ugh yes Ashley McBride lol thx sorry

def too many ashleys & whatnot

werewolves of laudanum (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 15 January 2023 23:09 (ten months ago) link

Why do parents do that? To protect their children from ridicule for abnormal names maybe, so rooms full o' Heathers, Ashleys, Lukes, Zaks, Justins, Dylans, though some of those may be decade-markers?
Yeah I like most of the Anderson trib though Brent Cobb and Jamey Johnson aren't quite up to snuff (their bands try to get them there), & could live w/o The Brothers Osborne's cover of Anderson's cover of "You Can't Judge A Book etc.". And where's "Swingin'"?
But several people I don't usually give about one way or the other surely rise to the occasion, and yeah Ferrell and McBryde are among those who do better than that, keeping to their high standards---also cool to have a good prev. unreleased Prine that is not just a demo.

dow, Monday, 16 January 2023 01:46 (ten months ago) link

Thanks for the heads up on that Ashley McBride album... lots of Brandy Clark on there!

POLIZISTEN VERSINKEN IM SCHLAMM (forksclovetofu), Tuesday, 17 January 2023 15:19 (ten months ago) link

Haven't heard the new Margo Price but I've heard it's great. Honestly, though, I still have so much trouble with all the great artists with first or last or both names that with M. Margo Price, Maren Morris, Mickey Guyton, Morgan Wade, Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, Ashley McBride, Ashley Monroe ...

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 21 January 2023 16:04 (ten months ago) link

Margo’s new album is great imo. This might sound kinda basic, like a lot of music is like this, but thing I love about her is that her songwriting is excellent & the musicianship is too, so with each song there’s so many layers of interest … and she expresses herself in creative uncliched ways & the sounds are not just the same old sounds idk idk

it’s good!

werewolves of laudanum (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 21 January 2023 17:28 (ten months ago) link

xps Mike and the Moonpies!

Indexed, Monday, 23 January 2023 16:00 (ten months ago) link

Folks, so excited for our first #StatesofCountry show of the year at @sidgoldsreqroom Weds Jan 25 celebrating the music of Minnesota with some experts @liannesmithee @salmaas @MarcellusHall see you there? You betcha!

— Laura Cantrell (@LauraRCantrell) January 20, 2023

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 24 January 2023 13:48 (ten months ago) link

Laura Cantrell in NYC for first of a monthly series celebrating country music from different states. For some reason she’s starting with Minnesota

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 24 January 2023 13:50 (ten months ago) link

Sids is a fun room to do that in.

POLIZISTEN VERSINKEN IM SCHLAMM (forksclovetofu), Tuesday, 24 January 2023 13:51 (ten months ago) link

Once in a lifetime lineup:

— Andy Langer (@Andylanger) January 24, 2023


Indexed, Tuesday, 24 January 2023 17:00 (ten months ago) link


werewolves of laudanum (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 24 January 2023 19:16 (ten months ago) link

Does xgau's EOY list usually have this much country on it?

Delighted to see Willie's album as high as it is. It is a gem.

Indexed, Wednesday, 25 January 2023 16:20 (ten months ago) link

lol, top 84.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 25 January 2023 16:26 (ten months ago) link

Yeah, he's pretty reliable for including country and country-adjacent stuff and has been for a good long while. Also delighted to see his high ranking for the Willie Nelson album. And, fwiw xp, he included Amanda Shires in his t20 but also didn't go for Lainey Wilson.

jon_oh, Wednesday, 25 January 2023 20:05 (ten months ago) link

Yeah, he's been useful re country since early 70s (pro tip for Consumer Guide look-ups: they Merle Haggard *and* Merle Haggard and the Strangers: maybe duh, but took me a while). He's being pretty obtuse about Lainey, though.
I can see why your friends are divided on Shires: good songs, and I think I got basically the right idea before finally checking lyrics, but then I saw lots of important detail that weren't coming through. There are exceptions, esp. that one time she adds a little echo and then goes to double-tracking: THANK YOU JESUS. If she only would (more than could) deal with her vocal limits as well as she does everything else here.

dow, Thursday, 26 January 2023 00:46 (ten months ago) link

He's okay on country; as usual he prefers sexually aggressive women. If they code as "genteel" for him, he's out the door.

Malevolent Arugula (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 26 January 2023 00:46 (ten months ago) link

Lee Ann Womack's recorded some of the best albums of the last 20 years by anybody but he doesn't care.

Malevolent Arugula (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 26 January 2023 00:47 (ten months ago) link

Oh yeah he's ridic on her.

dow, Thursday, 26 January 2023 00:49 (ten months ago) link

deal with her vocal limits as well as she does everything else here. Well sometimes the weak link voice does seem like evidence of brave vulnerability, "Here I am..." But the most striking moments tend to pass, and she's still singing. On the other hand, I've listened to it more than any other album in 2022 or early '23---and not hate-listened, but it's----maddening at times.

dow, Thursday, 26 January 2023 01:45 (ten months ago) link

most striking moments re vocals, that is; otherwise, the tracks can thrive. I'm learning, being taught, to listen around the voice, as with some ancient Tom Waits and Henry Rollins albums.

dow, Thursday, 26 January 2023 01:50 (ten months ago) link

I mean sometimes it works anyway, or the voice even does its bit all the way through: one for my Singles/Tracks list will be "Empty Cups," referring to her hands. I picture them as red solo cups, and think also of the Toby Keith song.

dow, Thursday, 26 January 2023 02:24 (ten months ago) link

Will prob put it in Honorable Mentions---the singing is the one thing that keeps me from full acceptance/enjoyment.

dow, Thursday, 26 January 2023 18:51 (ten months ago) link

So it's got me in semi-detached art appreciation, like this year's Charley Crockett.

dow, Thursday, 26 January 2023 18:52 (ten months ago) link

2022's Charley Crockett, that is.

dow, Thursday, 26 January 2023 18:53 (ten months ago) link

xp Xgau

as usual he prefers sexually aggressive women. If they code as "genteel" for him, he's out the door.

Alfred's spot on here.

It's why, in addition to Womack, he completely missed the boat on the genre's mainstream women in the 90s and aughts. Rarely gave the time of day to anyone on the Yearwood/Loveless/Tillis/Wynonna/Rimes axis and ends up with massive blind spots because of it. Was weirdly dismissive of a lot of the women of the 90s alt-country boom other than Lucinda and Iris, too.

But hey, he quoted me by name in a review once for being over-the-top in my praise for Miranda Lambert in the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, so what do I know.

Speaking of Iris: Two new singles out in advance of her new album. Both are fantastic.

jon_oh, Thursday, 26 January 2023 22:14 (ten months ago) link

Never listened to this dude before but this a good record

Indexed, Tuesday, 3 October 2023 15:01 (one month ago) link

late to the Morgan Wade party but goddamn i am all the way on board! she brings a real Joan Jett vibe w her raspy voice & attitude, such good songwriting too.

we just watched her set on ACL Fest & she killed it. great band too.

werewolves of laudanum (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 8 October 2023 22:17 (one month ago) link

circling back to our Zach Bryan Is Popular discussion:

"See all new tour dates below, which include second stadium shows added in Atlanta, Denver, & Foxborough."

alpine static, Monday, 9 October 2023 19:16 (one month ago) link

Morgan'sReckless Deluxe is a raspy rehab-to-romance-to-rolling country way of life, candles and tattoos and all: "Ah spoke mah truth, and yew got so upset," but so be it, it's a start.

dow, Tuesday, 10 October 2023 00:19 (one month ago) link

apparently she’s embroiled in some irl Real Housewives tabloid drama now so uh good luck girl

werewolves of laudanum (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 10 October 2023 01:52 (one month ago) link

I had no idea Wade had a new album out! Also, she's apparently getting a double mastectomy after learning she has that genetic mutation, so probably no live dates for a while.

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 10 October 2023 02:47 (one month ago) link

O shit!
Be sure to get the Deluxe: bonus tracks are totally justified, and she may need the extra bucks more than ever.

dow, Tuesday, 10 October 2023 03:04 (one month ago) link

oh man yeah, buying up the Deluxe for sure

werewolves of laudanum (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 10 October 2023 03:05 (one month ago) link

(I didn't know about the new one either, still talking about Reckless Deluxe, from Jan. '22.)

dow, Tuesday, 10 October 2023 03:06 (one month ago) link

Great to know there's a new one too.

dow, Tuesday, 10 October 2023 03:06 (one month ago) link

Meet Somebody
27 Club
Phantom Feelings
Outrun Me
Guns and Roses

dow, Tuesday, 10 October 2023 03:12 (one month ago) link

Hopefully there are more tracks but computer's going out and can't shake this coughing fit

dow, Tuesday, 10 October 2023 03:14 (one month ago) link

Maybe your computer has covid.

Psychopath tracklist:

1. “Domino”
2. “80’s Movie”
3. “Losers Look Like Me”
4. “Roman Candle”
5. “Guns and Roses”
6. “Alanis”
7. “Phantom Feelings”
8. “Psychopath”
9. “Outrun Me”
10. “Want”
11. “Fall In Love With Me”
12. “Meet Somebody”
13. “27 Club”

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 10 October 2023 13:14 (one month ago) link

Had not heard about the new Laura Cantrell album

After a 9-year hiatus, Laura Cantrell is back with a new studio album. Featuring her guests, Steve Earle, Buddy Miller, and Paul Burch. It was produced by Don Fleming (Sonic Youth, Teenage Fanclub), David Mansfield (Bob Dylan, T-Bone Burnett), Rosie Flores & Ed Stasium (Talking Heads, Ramones).

Indexed, Tuesday, 17 October 2023 20:42 (one month ago) link

From New West---his originals are purty traditional, in that smokey Canadian Cowboy way, & can be appealing, though haven't heard this one yet:

Corb Lund
Our favorite Canadian songwriter is back with a full album of new original tracks. El Viejo will be released February 23 of next year. Check out the first video single, "Old Familiar Drunken Feeling" via Holler.

The 11 tracks on the album were produced by Corb, and recorded entirely in his living room in Lethbridge, AB with his band The Hurtin’ Albertans. Lund & Co. tapped into his most cherished musical influences of acoustic tone and lyrical aptitude — Marty Robbins, Kris Kristofferson, Bobbie Gentry, Jerry Reed. There is a common theme — possibly even a character thread — of the gambler, the outlaw who roams from place-to-place with no direction home.

El Viejo is Lund’s first album of original material since 2020’s critically acclaimed Agricultural Tragic, which was named an album of the year by the readers of No Depression.

dow, Wednesday, 18 October 2023 23:55 (one month ago) link

xxpost had not heard about the new Cantrell either, thanks. I favored this one for Scene ballot re 2014 (when she ended a previous 9-year hiatus):

Laura Cantrell, No Way There From Here:
Pretty and spooky without being Southern Gothic, the current Cantrell vibe is "that's just how it is," cos love & music will only take you so far, no matter through what and for what (while incl. "Turn Down For What," cos this music's into pleasure too). Sounds like she knows she's on a roll, so why stop now, pick up some more sorrow and happiness on the way. Also sounds like she might be mildly surprised that I'm surprised at her unpretentious mastery and ambition (no dis on Brandy Clark, but those who think she's the best should hear the way Cantrell does less-is-more, vocally: "I'm gonna get these ol' clothes clean, do you know what I mean?")
Also, despite the shifting songwriting credits (which I haven't checked), it's seamless, without being too smooth. A touch of the old Hoboken denim lilt in there too, so one for us bravely ageing & still appealing Amy Rigby fans (first track even has a dBs feel).

dow, Thursday, 19 October 2023 00:34 (one month ago) link

i saw Corb live over the summer and he was amazing

alpine static, Thursday, 19 October 2023 01:40 (one month ago) link

Mount Mariah's H.C. McEntire released a new record in January that I completely missed:

Love this slow burn with S.G. Goodman

Indexed, Thursday, 26 October 2023 17:40 (one month ago) link


Indexed, Thursday, 26 October 2023 17:40 (one month ago) link

Thanks Indexed---do you know SG's 2022 Teeth Marks? OMSGG:

dow, Thursday, 26 October 2023 17:58 (one month ago) link

oh yeah I did hear H.C.'s 2020 release, as mentioned on ballot, soon after Goodman:

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 off, and she doesn't keep her players on too short a leash/does know when to shut up, always preacheated.

dow, Thursday, 26 October 2023 18:04 (one month ago) link

(that SG link is to the whole album, not just the video, she's got some hellacious mountain gothic video though)

dow, Thursday, 26 October 2023 18:06 (one month ago) link

Another one I am better late than never on, Jess Williamson’s resplendent Time Ain’t Accidental sounding utterly magnificent this evening. A typically excellent write up from Laura Snapes:

They became Williamson’s fantastic fifth album, a mid-career arrival. The confident, breezy Time Ain’t Accidental sounds as wide and fresh as a dewy dawn horizon, pairing classic country choruses with strikingly spare production. Many songs feature the iPhone drum machine that Williamson demoed on, kept at the encouragement of Bon Iver producer Brad Cook, who also did Plains’ album. The lightning-strike artwork nods to Smog’s spooked Knock Knock and the Judds’ glorious River of Time, references that encapsulate the sound well; you might also imagine Taylor Swift’s take on Lucinda Williams’ Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.

Indexed, Saturday, 28 October 2023 02:36 (one month ago) link

Have not heard any of Williamson’s prior solo albums but liked a lot of her record with Waxahatchee under the name Plains a year or two ago.

Indexed, Saturday, 28 October 2023 02:38 (one month ago) link

I listened to several JW solo posts on Bandcamp after getting into Plains: really a vivid sound, although Snapes had me until Taylor Swift redoing Car Wheels, esp. because I've never made it through a whole Swift track, though no prob w Williamson herself so far.

dow, Saturday, 28 October 2023 02:46 (one month ago) link

Catching up on the CMA news...What to make of Lainey Wilson's big night? I'll need to give her catalog another listen -- "solid" is what I recall. Also, Tracy Chapman winning for Song of the Year is a pleasant surprise.

Indexed, Thursday, 9 November 2023 18:21 (two weeks ago) link

Agreed. I was kinda shocked they gave SOTY to a 40-year-old hit. But also glad ... it's obviously the best song of the bunch.

alpine static, Thursday, 9 November 2023 18:48 (two weeks ago) link

I loved Lainey Wilson's 2021 album enough to top ten it, last year's almost as strong. "Watermelon Moonshine" is one of the few songs by a female country act getting a lot of airplay.

She doesn't need my hype, but this is what I said way upthread: an musical journey through the unexpected (resistance, learning, getting into it---then the whole thing over again later, which may well say a lot more about the current-recent me than her, but overall it's both---no regerts, though)

'm still, believe it or not, doing a round-up of re-re-etc.-listening objects for a blogpost about the music of 2022. There are just a few sticking points left, with Lainey Wilson's Bell Bottom Country somewhut unexpectedly among same. It had taken several listens to reach a peak of enthusiasm---seemed too contrived, and also I belatedly discovered that increased volume revealed more conviction in tone and details---but I assumed that I had gotten it, and could come back to said peak several months later: no. Same process, same learning curve, all over again, even though it seemed reasonably loud at first---it's not all about the volume, this elusively problematic aspect, but for sure, if you want your sensitive arena rock country, you gotta be ready with the volume (to ride it back a little for the double-tracked armor or scar tissue, a signifying part of the looking back in candor in the finely written "Watermelon Moonshine,"but still a little too loud), ready, often enough, to throw your headphones into the maelstrom ov fun like she does her head on "This One's Gonna Cost Me," title and chorus of which become this album's thee most explicit expression of her exciting dynamic: persistent self-image of a good girl, raised right, looking for love and self-empowerment, who rat now wants to have a good good good time.
Here we have a recurring sort of Zep-hop beat at its heartiest, swaying that big horned head one more time, but now it also occurs to me that producer Jay Joyce also appreciates Led Z.'s mix of the heavy and brash with the fingerpicking side of life, and Wilson responds, going barefoot down a b-melody line to the ripples of Molly Tuttle's banjo, or for that matter under an intro of what sounds like some kind of mellotron-banjo.

― dow, Tuesday, June 27, 2023 1:57 PM (four months ago) bookmarkflaglink

(Jay Joyce's only misfire: "Wildflowers and Wild Horses" starts with a mysterioso Lee Hazlewoodesque instrumental scrim, but then turns Lainey loose to gallop through big loud bravura rhetoric, losing Lee's control and tension.)
Beats vary, but clock gentle intensity in ballads, like when she credibly salutes "Daddy's Boots," with a bit of atypical toe-tapping added, then strips away the usual roots-view to "Momma's crazy and Daddy's mean," when it's down to "Me, You and Jesus" getting through: "Me" first, part of the candor again, "Jesus" the only mention, that's how young and desperate she is in this flashback, "You" can be anybody she trusts, trying to hold on to this isolated, shared undercurrent of faith and hope and getting by is the point, and not so loudly that Momma and Daddy will hear.
Followed immediately by "Hold My Halo," cause cuz she's paid her Dew Drop Inn dues, gonna ride that electric bull one more time tonight. See there always has to be a justification, which could get annoying in the uniquely narrowcast "Weak-End" (yes we know you're lookin' for love, but that's not all, not in them places), if not for distraction of the gently antsy beat), with need for alibi and recreational therapy at its funniest and near-rowdiest in "Smell Like Smoke" ("It's cause Ah been, through, Hellll.")
Wiki sez that one was "tacked on" to streams and downloads: too bad for CD and LP buyers, because it and the other tackee, "New Friends," are antipodal highlights. After the 4-Non-Blondes cover--where she conscientiously delivers teeming verbosity rushing to the accidental but still stupid comedy of anticlimatic "Whut's going on?"---Wilson returns to the vibrant twilight of "You, Me and Jesus," now resolving to find new friends, rather than just moping over that guy---atta girl, as she says in song of that title, also a gentle one, though given the louder ones, one might wonder just what kind of friends. TBA.

― dow, Tuesday, June 27, 2023

What a personalized mainstream country pop trip in a good way, always re rare than should be, especially in terms of what a female artist is allowed to do.

dow, Friday, 10 November 2023 08:22 (two weeks ago) link

always more rare or rarer

dow, Friday, 10 November 2023 08:26 (two weeks ago) link

For those of you who like raggedy, ramshackle country rock, Florry's "The Holey Bible" is the ticket. riyl: Wednesday, Pinegrove, MJ Lenderman's Boat Songs, maybe Big Thief's Dragon New Warm Mountain, etc.

Indexed, Friday, 10 November 2023 15:59 (two weeks ago) link

exact same description but for a different new album, Dusk's Glass Pastures:

alpine static, Friday, 10 November 2023 20:06 (two weeks ago) link

Indeedio, thanks! And speaking of MJ:

MJ Lenderman Announces New Live Album,
And The Wind (Live and Loose!), Out November 17th On ANTI-

...MJ Lenderman writes songs that are amorphous and elastic, rising to fill the venue they’re in, generous to accommodate the numbers of players on stage (an often unpredictable affair), less concerned with replicating the studio version than they are with meeting the crowd where they’re at. On his records, Lenderman handles most of the playing, but with And the Wind (Live and Loose!) it’s a multi-headed beast. With the help of guitarist Jon Samuels (Friendship, 2nd Grade), drummer Colin Miller, plus fellow Wednesday bandmates Xandy Chelmis (pedal steel) and Ethan Baechtold (bass), And the Wind (Live and Loose!) builds out a number of beloved MJ tracks into something else entirely.
MJ Lenderman And the Wind (Live and Loose!) is culled from sold-out summer 2023 shows on a brief headline run during what some might call a wild-ass couple of months. A nine-week international Wednesday tour, stints in studios with a number of other artists, and Lenderman’s own signing with storied indie label ANTI-. Taped live at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall and Los Angeles’ Lodge Room, And the Wind (Live and Loose!) captures a near-euphoric moment in time — dizzying and exhausting and, most of all, having some real true-blue fucking fun with your best friends.
nd the Wind (Live and Loose!) is also available for pre-order on a limited edition cassette from Dear Life Records. Pre-order here.

Pre-order And the Wind (Live and Loose!)

And the Wind (Live and Loose!) Tracklist
1. Hangover Game (Live)
2. Knockin (Live)
3. You Have Bought Yourself A Boat (Live)
4. TLC Cagematch (Live)
4. Rudolph (Live)
5. Toon Town (Live)
6. Dan Marino (Live)
7. Under Control (Live)
8. Dan Marino (Live)
9. SUV (Live)
10. Catholic Priest (Live)
11. Live Jack (Live)
12. Someone Get The Grill Out Of The Rain (Live)
13. You Are Every Girl To Me (Live)
14. Tastes Just Like It Costs (Live)
15. Long Black Veil (Live)

MJ Lenderman Tour Dates
Fri. Dec. 8 - Los Angeles, CA @ Zebulon +
Sat. Dec. 9 - Ojai, CA @ Deer Lodge +
Sun. Dec. 10 - San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop +
Tue. Dec. 12 - Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios +
Wed. Dec. 13 - Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern +
Tue. Feb. 27, 2024 - Perth, AU @ Perth Festival *
Thu. Feb. 29, 2024 - Sydney, AU @ The Factory *
Sun. Mar. 10, 2024 - Meredith, AU @ Golden Plains Festival

+ Karly Hartzman & MJ Lenderman Solo Show w/ Dan Wriggins
* supporting Wednesday

Website | Bandcamp | Instagram | Twitter

For more information, contact:

jessica at, jacob at, 773-942-6573

dow, Saturday, 11 November 2023 00:57 (two weeks ago) link

New Vincent Neil Emerson album out today.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Saturday, 11 November 2023 01:49 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah, he sez “There’s a few country-inspired songs on this one, a few stripped-down acoustic songs, and a few songs inspired by that 60s folk rock movement.”
Produced by Shooter Jennings, w input from Steve Earle and Rodney Crowell. For inst,

Emerson wrote “Man From Uvalde” after the horrific and tragic mass shooting in the city of Uvalde, Texas, and he was initially hesitant to include the track on The Golden Crystal Kingdom. “It's a daunting thing to try to dive into social issues in songwriting because I wasn’t sure how people would really take it,” Emerson says. “I recorded a rough demo version of the song, and I sent it to Steve [Earle]. I just wanted to get his thoughts on it and see if it was worth anything. He got back to me, and he said he really liked the song and thought it was great. He gave me a few ideas and ways to look at the subject differently, and it really helped me finish the song. That encouragement gave me the confidence to include it on the album.”
Also covers old friend & colleague Charley Crockett's "Time of the Cottonwood Trees."
atch Vincent Neil Emerson On Tour:

NOV 10, 2023 - Elkton Music Hall - Elkton, MD

NOV 11, 2023 - Mercury Lounge - New York, NY

NOV 15, 2023 - World Cafe Live - Philadelphia, PA

NOV 16, 2023 - The Southern Café and Music Hall - Charlottesville, VA

NOV 17, 2023 - Motorco Music Hall - Durham, NC

NOV 18, 2023 - New Brookland Tavern - Columbia, SC

NOV 19, 2023 - Charleston Music Hall - Charleston, SC

NOV 21, 2023 - Eddie's Attic - Decatur, GA

DEC 9, 2023 - Antone's Nightclub - Austin, TX

For more information, please visit

dow, Saturday, 11 November 2023 02:18 (two weeks ago) link

That second one was supposed to be title song, try again:

dow, Saturday, 11 November 2023 02:22 (two weeks ago) link

enjoying Florry! happy if this thread has room for non purist country adjacent stuff

corrs unplugged, Saturday, 11 November 2023 11:17 (two weeks ago) link

LA Times on Grammys nominations snubbing country music. NY Times also said similar

The Grammys had many paths to acknowledge country music’s outstanding year. Luke Combs had a massive crossover hit with a cover of Tracy Chapman’s beloved “Fast Car.” Zach Bryan topped the streaming and Billboard charts with a thoughtful, ferocious album that featured a hit duet with Grammy fave Kacey Musgraves. Lainey Wilson just cleaned up at the CMA Awards, a victory lap after a decade in the Nashville trenches. And Morgan Wallen sold out stadiums and easily outstreamed Swift and SZA, to name two powerhouses.

And yet country came up almost totally empty. Jelly Roll and the War and Treaty got nods for best new artist, but otherwise, the genre was shut out in the four general field categories. Overall, Combs has one nomination, Wilson has two, Bryan has three and Brandy Clark has six — almost all in country and adjacent genre categories. Voters might still be ignoring Wallen for his N-word indiscretion, but it’s now clear they don’t seem to care much for country as a whole, even in a banner year.

curmudgeon, Friday, 17 November 2023 16:23 (one week ago) link

Did Brandy Clark get 6 noms for the milquetoast s/t?

Indexed, Friday, 17 November 2023 19:17 (one week ago) link

given that wallen was snubbed at the CMAs & was generally treated like an ancillary figure throughout the proceedings, the lack of grammy nominations isn't very surprising. but i figured zach bryan would get looks in the major categories. and you'd think the grammys would love any opportunity to celebrate tracy chapman. it wouldn't surprise me at all if the grammy voter base was not really slanted towards engagement w/ country music esp if you tried to isolate the young, country focused voters among the academy. can't imagine that's a legion of any sort

slob wizard (J0rdan S.), Friday, 17 November 2023 21:23 (one week ago) link

Grammys rules also play a rule per Caramanica in NY Times link above:

If there were one song with the best chance of bridging contemporary country to the Grammys, it would be Combs’s cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car,” which went to No. 2 on the Hot 100 and earlier this week won song of the year at the CMA Awards, making Chapman the first Black winner in that category. But in part because of Grammy rules — it isn’t eligible for song of the year because Chapman was nominated for her original in 1989 — Combs’s version has been relegated to just a single nomination, in best country solo performance, a snub that feels unexpectedly pointed. JON CARAMANICA

curmudgeon, Friday, 17 November 2023 21:35 (one week ago) link

The Billboard Music Awards had no qualms about giving Morgan Wallen a bunch of trophys

Top Male Artist &
🏆 Top Hot 100 Artist
🏆 Top Streaming Songs Artist
🏆 Top Country Artist
🏆 Top Country Male Artist
🏆 Top Country Touring Artist
🏆 Top Billboard 200 Album “One Thing At A Time”
🏆 Top Country Album “One…

curmudgeon, Monday, 20 November 2023 14:24 (one week ago) link

Not saying it's good, just noting it

curmudgeon, Monday, 20 November 2023 14:31 (one week ago) link

Last night they let the liquor talk

heard "watermelon moonshine" on the radio. it's nice but i can't help but note that it a lesser version of "strawberry wine" which is one of my favorite country songs ever

Heez, Monday, 20 November 2023 19:03 (one week ago) link

Had to school myself and look up your fave, but yeah you're right

curmudgeon, Monday, 20 November 2023 19:32 (one week ago) link

Not saying it's good, just noting it

― curmudgeon, Monday, November 20, 2023 9:31 AM (five hours ago)bookmarkflaglink

you should do some research into how they choose the winners of that show

slob wizard (J0rdan S.), Monday, 20 November 2023 19:49 (one week ago) link

They use Billboard data, not surprising and yeah I know Wallen is popular

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 21 November 2023 01:18 (one week ago) link

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