Mar 202016
 

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2016 is panning out to be quite an impressive year for Country Music already, with so many landmark albums already released before the summer even begins. This spring has been chocked full of heavy hitting albums from big names already with Loretta Lynn, Gene Watson, Shooter Jennings and more. My Top 50 for 2016 is already filling up with possibilities from so many directions, Bluegrass, Roots, String bands and others.

NOW Country Legend Dolly Parton has announced that she is touring fully and releasing a brand new album in 2016 as well. This means most likely more Opry appearances for her as well, and I’m quite sure this will be indeed be a huge concert deal. This tour will include over 60 dates in the United States and Canada and as of yet I have no information regarding the dates yet, so I’ll be updating this article in the near future.

“Pure And Simple With Dolly’s Biggest Hits” will be a two disc set and I’m also told it is in talks with being marketed exclusively through Cracker Barrel however that’s NOT been totally confirmed as of yet. I HAVE been informed that there WILL be all new songs on the album and she will be performing these new songs on this tour, as well as some songs that Dolly has not performed in over 20 years live.

On May 3rd her movie about her life “Coat Of Many Colors” will be released on DVD finally. Her next TV film will be called “Jolene” and will be based on the song. I have a feeling that 2016 is not over yet with BIG NAMES popping up within the ranks of new releases and concert tours, I also have a slight prediction about a certain popular trio that might be reuniting after a several year hiatus.

Mar 202016
 

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The Barnyard Stompers: Casey Miller And The Barnyard Stompers.

This past year at Muddy Roots Music Festival in Cookeville Tennessee was the last time I got to see these two road warriors that preach about the saw. Miss Megan is one of the most nicest and talented multi-musicians you’ll find behind a drum set, and Mr. Casey is a wild man behind the front Mic and together their set is quite fun to watch. Even when they do covers I enjoy their versions of the song as much as the original, however when they put out a new album I love the fact that this band IS original. I’m not looking for an album full of half covers I’m looking for ALL original, and THAT IS what this band is offering today.

“If I Die On This Highway” is a really well written upbeat rabble rousing song with some great steel guitar that was a great opening song to this album. Since I’m a dock worker I LOVE trucker songs with telecaster twang and steel guitars, and this song offers just that. It gives it a Dave Dudley/Red Simpson vibe with a new twist on sound, and the line about ashes in a Lone Star can was cool.

“TNT” was a pretty cool Western Swing type throwback song that was obviously inspired by Jimmie Rodgers and Red Steagall and folks of their ilk. Mr. Casey PROVES that he can sing gritty and wild or Swing type tame Texas Swing. And of course I been saying for years that Miss Liz Sloan is one of the finest most talented musicians involved in underground music today. It quickly changes direction with “Road To Knoxville” with a thunderous booming mixture of Honky Tonk Country with a really good job of production.

” Big 12 Gauge Shotgun” was MY favorite song on the entire album because I like the two step songs with the curling steel guitar fills that bring out the vocals and push the song. I LOVE guns and MY guns have my friends most of my life too. I have always been an advocate of firearm safety and respect, so I related WELL with this song AND the pedal steel solo was REALLY GOOD! “When She’s Drinki’n” was a really well written slow ballad song that I think was one of the top two songs on this album, I really enjoyed that song and if they don’t play it when I see them next live I’ll be sad. This album has a lot of pedal steel solos added and in my opinion it’s my favorite of their three albums..there are quite a few good lines on it, their songwriting has evolved for the better on this album (not that it was bad before).

“Devils Horn” was a song I heard last year at the festival and if you’ll remember me saying it was not bad, not one of my favorites however. “We Came We Sawed” was one of their ever popular Texas based chainsaw songs that you come to expect from them Stompers, it wouldn’t be the same without one…or two….or three. God bless those two. “Truck Drivin Man” was one I THOUGHT was going to be the ever popular song written by Terry Fell that Buck Owens recorded but it was an original with upbeat twangy tempo with lyrics about doing rails on bathroom sinks…because “Jesus Don’t Live In America Nomore”. I’ll be honest folks if you go see the Barnyard Stompers live you will NOT be disappointed and tell them I sent you.

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Randy Rogers Band: Nothing Shines Like Neon

This album has honestly earned a spot on my Top 50 for 2016 before spring even hits us! It opened pretty slow and smooth with “San Antone” which was full of fiddle and steel, it is true Texas local music. This band plays so well together that I’m pretty upset they don’t come to my area. This album is their ninth offering (not counting a live album).

“Acti’n Crazy” was probably the best song on the album with a line in the song “The Rent’s As High As Willie” which was well inventive,the guest spot filled by Jamey Johnson also made this song one of the best on the album. VERY well produced and well put together song wise. “Tequila Eyes” could quite possibly be a good commercially successful song if they put it on radio…but they wouldn’t it’s “Too Country”. It reminded me of some of the good ol’ nineties Clint Black Country.

“Takin It As It Comes” was a song that brought out a name I haven’t heard of in some time Jerry Jeff Walker. It’s an up tempo slamming banging song with some Honky Tonk piano and beer drinking lyrics. “Neon Blues” was another song that sounds like it came out of the nineties radio era Country and that’s NOT a bad thing honestly, I truly enjoyed the throwback sound. “Things I Need To Quit” was a Honky Tonk anthem of uptempo bar stories full of fiddle that any Country Music lover will enjoy…I did.

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The Glade City Rounders: Don’t Get Weary

Folks this is one of the BEST string bands around Tennessee and one of the most entertaining bands I know of, they know me well and I so dearly love these three guys. They frequent the Muddy Roots festival as well almost every year you can hear them in the afternoon jamming away on kazoos and banjos to old timey tunes that take me WAY back to my Grandparents era where people needed to be dunked in the creek for their action on Saturday night, because if we ain’t sinning then Jesus died for nothing.

This album has a song called “Georgia Crawl” on it which is a hopping fast paced string band song that is sure to have the whole tent dancing this year! Along with another downright jam called “Blues In A Bottle”, I MUST tell you I just absolutely LOVE this type of music..so many melodies and notes coming at your brain. They truly outdid themselves with this album and I think it’s even better than the last album!

It’s a short album with only eight tracks but the important thing is the eight songs are all really good “Ruffle Drawers” is one hell of a cool instrumental song that showcases their individual talents really well, much like the Tillers or Woody Pines these boys are all DAMN FINE pickers in their own right. I could listen to them rip songs with no lyrics all night long.

Another really good song on the album was “Sand Mountain Drag” with good fiddle sawing and banjo picking on it, this song was originally recorded in the 1930’s by a left handed banjo picker from Gerogia named John Dilleshaw. From what I DO know about him (which isn’t much) he was about as tall as Stringbean Akeman..I read a few books with mention of his name in them. This band always does some extremely obscure songs from the Depression Era when REAL String Band music was around.

“Don’t Get Weary” was another fine title track song from this album that is another fun filled song that ANY audience will be able to sing along to and I cannot wait to hear this new material live somewhere along the road this year. KUDOS to you boys you done did a SUPER FINE job of this album, I’m enjoying it on X Box music I’ll have to order a hard copy!

Mar 202016
 

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I been working on the website all day and I have had a few beers and I have been checking out new music all night. I JUST GOT a call from a dear friend that left a voice message to me saying Jimmy Eaves lost his battle with kidney failure out there in Texas. He was a prominent radio figure in Traditonal Country Music in the local Texas music scene with his wife Miss Jenny. He also was guest on the Midnite Jamboree and the Opry, amoung many other Country Music outlets.

Jimmy was born in an Oklahoma town that no longer exists and also from a small town named Poolville Oklahoma. At a very early age he was given a guitar and taught by friends to play Hank Williams songs, and began performing at churches. In 1955 after his hero passed away he was under the impression Country Music was not going to move forward and he enlisted in the service, and in 1958 he was discharged.

Drought and depression were prominently what he returned to when he came home and he did farm work until the Legendary Panther Hall opened in 1961. He was very involved in the historic Country Music venue until his children were born, and he decided to quit the business to raise his children and be a father. For nearly twenty years Jimmy did not perform or record music to be there for his family.

After his children were grown, he began his musical career again. He formed a band in the late 1980s and called it the “Pure Country Band”. He recorded the first album in 1990. A tribute to Hank Williams, Sr., it was called “Jimmy Eaves Sings the Hits of Hank Williams”. He was also performing in the Fort Worth Stockyards at a club called “The Longhorn Saloon” for about six years. Other CDs followed; one in 1997 entitled “Jimmy Eaves Sings Pure Country” and another in 1999 entitled “Bringing Back Memories”.

In May of 2001, Jimmy and Frankie Miller released a country gospel CD called “Frankie Miller and Jimmy Eaves Singing Gospel Music the Country Way”. Jimmy says it was a pleasure to work with such a talented person as Frankie Miller, “The Black Land Farmer” and they also tour together on most shows. They have performed with many country acts such as Johnny Bush, Darrell McCall, Willie Nelson, Claude Gray, Floyd Tillman, Tilmon Frank and others over the past few years. Jimmy and Frankie were guests on “The Midnight Jamboree” at the Troubadour Theater in Nashville, Tennessee with Darrell and Mona McCall also at the original “Ernest Tubb Record Shop” on Broadway in Nashville, Tennessee with host George Hamilton IV.

Mar 202016
 

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The Westport Roots Festival
Moonrunners Music Festival
Picki’n In The Pasture
John Hartford Music Festival
The Blue Ox Music Festival
The Duck Creek Log Jam
The Blue Ox Music Festival is a Bluegrass festival that happens outdoors in June way up in Eau Claire Wisconsin. This takes place on the 40 acre Whispering Pines Campground in northwestern Wisconsin and for the price three days of Bluegrass music is about the going rate, I see nothing unreasonable about a three day pass for 150, and it happens on June 9-11th.

Man this festival has some powerhouse names up on their lineup roster, but to be honest I have never heard of this festival before the only one I knew of in Wisconsin was Farmaggedon Fest which (not to steer off from this one) will take a one year break and be back for 2017. Anyways Blue Ox Festival is in a VERY scenic area of Wisconsin and trust me I KNOW Wisconsin VERY WELL!

The stage facilities look REALLY REALLY NICE and I heard the attendance is quite large for this area, I’ll be including hotel information like always. So how bout I post an actual map of the area so you can see for yourself that this festival is truly amazing and family friendly. Just click on that link down there and it will direct you to a PDF file with the campground area maps on it. Much like Duck Creek and a few more it has quiet family camping where you can’t party in that section so families with toddlers and small children can sleep in comfort.

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This festival HAS shuttle buses to and from the following hotels I include in this article AND the buses are smoke free and you can pay the driver because it is an extra fee for this service however it beats a DWI. You can click HERE for more information on this service. So, before I include the ticket link and hotels let’s look at the lineup:

Pert Near Sandstone
Bela Fleck And The Flecktones
Railroad Earth
Greensky Bluegrass
Del McCoury Band
Sam Bush
The Wood Brothers
Shovels And Rope
Leftover Salmon
Blitzen Trapper
Nikki Lane
Jeff Austin Band
Horseshoes And Hand Grenades
The Cactus Blossoms
Head For The Hills
Charlie Parr
The Big WU
Sierra Hull
Whiskey Shivers
Dead Winter Carpenters
Useful Jenkins
The Last Revel
Gin Strings
Tin Can Gin
Evergreen Grass Band

Now this I WILL tell you, carry ins are okay HOWEVER you can NOT bring your own drinks to the music areas, that means you ARE LIMITED to buying the vendor drinks at the music areas. Kind of a different twist on my usual festival knowledge most places you can just do whatever. If you camp parking is free and camping is included in your ticket price.

Hotels in this area as best as I have researched are as follows:
Best Western Trail Lodge
Quality Inn
Clarion Hotel
Hampton Inn
Quality Inn