I’m taking a break from my TOP 50 of 2017 today to come down to Nashville to see this trio of great artists that I frequently write about. In fact just next week in Glasgow Ky I’ll be writing about Ward Davis as well. He’s been heavily on my radar for this year, as he is planning his new album…in fact right now as I publish this I am on the way to see him perform tonight again.
His new song called ‘Geronimo” is one I have videoed many times, and might again tonight who knows? I’m excited here tonight and there is a pretty good crowd building up here now, for this Christmas Eve Eve show. I have never had the chance to cover this first act Mr. Channing Wilson, and I look forward to covering his portion of the show tonight. I can say the last time I covered Tennessee Jet, was impressed with his versatile guitar playing and his songs so lets see what transpires here tonight everybody because its almost showtime here in Nashville at 3RD And Lindsley.
Mr. Channing has his own style and identity but at the same time he sticks to the format of the Outlaw scene. His songs are very enjoyable and easy to drink to, like the second song he played called ” Blues Coming On” that’s off his self titled album that’s available.
‘Sunday morning Blues’ was another well written song he is playing tonight here for us, and that’s also off his album he has. This is truly a fantastic set here tonight so far folks and damn he’s only into the fourth song…whoa. I’ll have to feature some more of his music in the future, like the song he wrote “Black Jesus” that was cut by Jason Eady, who is one of my TOP 50 OF 2017
Honestly I would have payed the door fee to listen to any one of these fine acts here tonight and next we have the guitar wizard known as Tennessee Jet. I covered him last time I was here for Cody Jinks this year, as I have been to many good shows here, this is truly one of my favorite venues. The food is really good, however the kitchen closes pretty early so you better eat when you first arrive..there aren’t even chips after a certain time.
Tennessee Jet opened his set tonight with a song called “Never Forget”, I am waiting for him to bust out some of those killer guitar leads later. His show is very eclectic with soundtracks and sound effects, while changing into acoustic songs. He plays guitar AND drums together while going into Waylon Jennings “Long Time Gone”.
“hwy 51 Blues’ displays some truly fine slide guitar wizardry indeed along with slides and harmonics of all varities. He is loud and proud, and has an energetic style for this type of show. You can easily tell he is influenced by many types and styles of music, as are the people that attend these type of shows. He is playing a jam packed version of “Zoom Zoom Blues” along with another of his set changes to acoustic.
He plays an acoustic version of “Devil In A Bottle” followed by another great song called “What Kind Of Man’ which is about extreme alcoholics, and the women that loves them no matter how bad they get. This truly is a well written song here, and then towards the end he turns it around to ask what kind of God loves a sinner that way?
“I’m In Love” was next followed by “In The Pines” which much like Rory Kelly he puts a heavy twist on the song, after doing a different version of Dwight Yoakam’s “Guitars Cadillac And Hillbilly Music”, which drew his set to a close as he played “Dead Belles And Bones”.
Next up is the main act tonight Mr. Ward Davis, whom is playing to pretty good sized crowd here tonight. They are currently setting up the stage for his portion of the show tonight. He opened with “More Goodbye”, and went on into songs like ” No Going Home” and “Papa And Mama” that Ray Scott wrote.
I’ll be shooting a video for the song “Geronimo”,and in fact as I write this portion I’ll be driving up to Glasgow Kentucky tonight to see him play at the Plaza Theater..article coming SOON!
We enjoyed him playing “Unfair Weather Friend” and his ever popular “Old Wore Out Cowboys” as well as some other terrific songs the likes of ‘Colorado” and “Big River”. You know folks in the next few weeks I have a “Little” idea I’ll be debuting on my website, but he had a surprise onstage guest…his little daughter. I will post some pictures on here for you of the little darlin.
Of course he played the Cody Jinks collaboration of “I’m Not The Devil” along with a random Waylon song that he changes every show. He then played “Seven Spanish Angels” and his title track to his album “15 years in a 10 year town, and the great Ronnie Milsap song from 1983. That was written by the great Mr. Mike Reid. And as he closed with the “Overpass” and “Don’t Forget To Get Stoned”, we all had a wonderful time out there..I have so much fun writing about him I’ll be leaving here shortly to see him AGAIN.
My dear readers I always use the disclaimer EVERY YEAR, and it’s one of the reasons I don’t have a comments section like other blogs. NO ONE ALBUM IS BETTER THAN THE NEXT JUST BECAUSE OF NUMBERED RANK ON THIS LIST. I strive VERY hard to avoid “I thought Hellbound Glory was better than Jason Eady” or other various comments like Willie Nelson should have made your list, Gary. Pretty much in the trailer article I included about 200 honorable mentions on this category and some of them missed my pick by a VERY slim margin, having some very well written songs. I’m ALSO NOT SAYING your opinions aren’t important to me so PLEASE stop the disbelief and just enjoy the great music, these artists poured their hearts into each recording and each album is a part of them.
You see folks, the mainstream “regular” people out there that either are brainwashed into accepting only what the media has them like OR they are just too damn lazy to research for themselves..do not want well written songs. They want easy and simple boring lyrics, not really saying people like Hank Williams wasn’t easy and simple he certainly wasn’t boring or fake. I WANT a song that paints a picture because my brain is a canvas and you paint a picture with your song which is a paint, like the Tillers did with “Willy Dear” or James Hand does with “Old Man Henry”.
So folks I been documenting pages of information and notes ALL YEAR anticipating on unleashing my fury upon you readers with my coveted TOP 50 albums of 2016 and WHY I chose what I did and when. Complete with links right to the artist so you can get to them without further searching for him/her/them. If you like what you see, PLEASE BUY THE ALBUM that’s my MAIN reason for doing all this work. Let’s bring the artists some sales!
Now after the ranking number of the album picture there will be the artist’s name linked, this link will take you DIRECTLY to the purchase page to buy the album. I have researched literally hundreds of websites and lists to bring you this compilation, and this article takes WEEKS to complete so PLEASE buy some albums off the list…it took a LOT of coffee and time. EVERY band, venue, festival and name will be linked so YOU can learn about them ALL.
In 2016, Charley began crafting many new recordings with artist-songwriter Billy Yates acting as his new creative partner and producer. Yates, a highly-acclaimed, traditional Country artist and songwriter, is renowned for penning “I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair” and “Choices” for the legendary George Jones, the latter of which helped Jones land a Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. Yates has enjoyed a few hits himself, but has also contributed songs to many other fellow Country artists including George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Chris Young, Rhonda Vincent and Sara Evans. Mr.Billy Yates wrote one of my favorite songs of ALL TIME in the 90’s, and in 2000 he did what mainstream radio said wasn’t possible…he gave George Jones an FM radio hit with “Choices”.
The magic of their collaboration is self-evident on MUSIC IN MY HEART, an unapologetic traditional Country album that marks a high-level return to form for Pride and features a wonderful array of songs from such highly regarded tune smiths such as the late Merle Haggard, Whisperi’n Bill Anderson, Tommy Collins, “Country”Johnny Mathis, Ben Peters (“Kiss An Angel Good Morning'”) and Yates.
The late Mr. Ben Peters wrote 68 songs for Charley Pride within his tenure and 6 of them became number 1 hits. You know folks, I have often said this again and again…Country Music has three pillar fundamentals to it, and if all three exist you have a platinum album: Producer, Songwriter, Steel Guitarist. THIS ALBUM had ALL THREE. My ONLY regret is that I cannot rate this album ANY higher.
This album came out in July and blew me away, on the way home from purchasing it I heard the song “The Way It Was In 51” and had to pull over and cry. It was tears of jealousy folks, I have researched the 50s and 60s heavily in my life, Linebaugh’s Cafe and the Opry at the Ryman. The relevance of jukeboxes at that time, and their impact on album sales. At that time it trumped radio influence sales BY FAR!
His voice has not been faltered by time in any way, and his vocal expressions are so pure and true to tradition it has become the TOP ALBUM in my collection of the last few years, NOT JUST 2017 folks. I’ll be honest THERE WILL be a follow up album in 2018 from him of all new material but this one will be hard to beat. These 13 new tracks was the first new album from Pride since 2011’s “Choices”. And YES FOLKS Mr. Charley has been VERY active on the road to support this album.
You know this album will most likely make EVERY website’s TOP list of 2017, and BY GOD it deserves to be. I mean when I spoke to Mr. Colter on the phone a few years back interviewing him about this project, and the fact that he was my 2016 Artist Of The Year I found out it was going to be produced by Legendary Dave Cobb.
I got the opportunity to cover his performance at Tumbleweed Music Festival in Kansas City this year, also my partner Mr. Joshua Wallace covered his show in Florida not long ago, and that can be found right HERE. This 11 track album has gathered SO MUCH attention from SO MANY places it’s uncanny to watch how much he has grown, by EPIC live shows and word of mouth.
I’ll tell you what right now this young man from Canada has beyond impressed me with his old time style and his vocal delivery is beyond amazing. Many people often criticize today’s music as being drab and boring, and the fact you cannot tell people’s voices apart. People like Mr. Colter and people the likes of one of my next picks Tyler Childers disavow that theory, with the powerful identity these young men have established within the music world. Their duet of the Bobby Helms classic “Fraulein” proves the theory that there IS a NEW ERA of identities emerging from the corner dive bars….and it’s not on any FM radio or arena show from any clowns in ball caps.
This young man brings your very soul back to a very somber ambiance in the back of your mind, all you need to do is sit back, close your eyes and imagine the stories and tales that spin from this man’s web of misery. His songs are so descriptive and often poignant like the song “Kate McCannon” in which the very tone of the guitar pulls the hairs on your neck stand up. One of the most dark and evil murder ballads I have ever since the Louvin Brothers sang “Knoxville Girl” in the 50’s.
I’m going to admit something, I didn’t really think Hellbound Glory would ever make an album of such grand magnitude. I DID prognosticate that there would eventually be a follow up to the ‘Damaged Goods” album but I never thought it would be THIS good, leave it to Black Country Rock to bring out such an epic project from the Hellbound Glory brand!
I think Mr. Leroy is truly one of the finest songwriters in underground music and I think highly of Kid Rock for bringing them out into the mainstream world in the past, exposing a whole new realm of fans to them. Even though Kid Rock’s music isn’t something I like at all nor do I care for him at all, I think the fact he did that was admirable. Just that the first two albums before Damaged Goods were not produced as well, until now!
THIS ALBUM was BY FAR the greatest project the band has ever released and I am quickly becoming a HUGE fan of Mr. Shooter’s production abilities. Combined with Mr. Leroy’s songwriting and gritty hellbilly vocals you have a DAMN GOOD album of 11 tracks of typical Hellbound Glory debauchery, as songs like “Vandalism Spree” assault you with suggestions of crime and mischief one expects from them.
The cover of Larry Collins classic song “Delta Dawn” was a really nice added bonus to this album, I’ll be honest when I was it initially I wasn’t impressed but his vocals pulled off the higher notes correctly. It had depth and controversy mentioning heavy narcotics, along with the NRA. ALL KINDS of political correctness snubbed and plenty of west coast references abound in this album. Also the remake of “Another Bender Might Break Me” was a masterpiece, this is one of the many Myspace bands that I remember finding around 2006 when I searched for great new bands. One of them I found in 2007 was THIS GAL my number 4 pick!
Back then in 2006 I was going through my divorce and Myspace was just launched, and I found a TON of good bands from dwelling in with the Hank 3 crowd. Bob Wayne came around, and OF COURSE Wayne “The Train” Hancock was around along with Dale Watson and Split Lip Rayfield. But it was TEXAS MUSIC I was loving as well, and back then it was taking form.
I found Miss Sunny’s music in a chat room about Twang Country, and the first song I heard from her “If I Could”. Also her cover of Tom Schuyler’s “Sixteenth Avenue”, which was originally recorded by Lacy J. Dalton in 1983. But her style and her distinct vocal range REALLY attracted me to her music, and her passionate LOVE for upholding Country Music is something I admire. She plays the Opry more than some members do, and deserves a membership.
This album was BY FAR my favorite of her four BUT I want to say that “From A Table Away” is my favorite song she does, she could have one hell of a greatest hits album. If you dwell on her four albums in succession you will witness growth in her vocally and she begins sharing more personal issues with her last two albums. I blame this on her own personal life and sharing with us as fans how she was feeling. This album wasn’t some manufactured crap in plastic sleeve, it was REAL FROM THE HEART songs by a true road warrior Honky Tonk queen.
She’s coming to my area in spring for a few dates so you’ll be hearing from me about this gal next year already. Mr. David Brainard did an extraordinary job on producing this album, and Mr. Tommy Detamore was amazing on steel guitar, and as I write this she’s on her Hard Candy Christmas tour with three other gals.
She wrote most of the songs on this album save for a few like “I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight” made popular by Country Legend Jerry Jeff Walker and another song that Miss Brennen Leigh wrote called “Pills”. I’m telling you folks Miss Sunny is rapidly growing with every album and there’s NO limit to what she can accomplish in music, SHE WILL be a Legend of Country Music one day..you mark my words as truth!
I have covered Mr. Tyler Childers MANY times on here since I was introduced to his music from Mr. W.B.Walker and his podcast the Old Soul Radio Show. Upon the first time I met him he had not evolved into the monster he is now in appearance. His raspy twang whiskey soaked vocals were there, but he had this short haircut can he was clean cut with a bow tie. Nobody would expect those wicked lyrics to emanate from such a man.
He brings forth songs of moonshine and pills and West Virginia coal mine life, he is such a juggernaut in the local club scene that they have to turn people away from his shows nightly. When W.B. Walker had his shows the crowd sang so loud you couldn’t hear Mr. Tyler. His band the Food Stamps are each seasoned veterans in their own right, and they make him sound even more sinister.
Fast forward to NOW where you have a 10 song masterpiece produced by Sturgill Simpson with a re recorded version of “Whitehouse Road”. It does launch off at a sleepy start with a few slower songs but TO ME that’s alright, he is like a folk type Country singer who can howl out some mighty fine ballads, while rabble rousing a crowd from stories within murder songs like “Banded Clovis”. The slower beginning might turn some other people away from this album especially if they are used to big arena shows with all the bells and whistles.
This album is filled with true mountain lore and twisted tales of misery the likes that would interest Dr. Ralph Stanley himself today, I bet he would folks like him would smile with glee after watching the likes of this young man, whom is soon headed to the Ryman with my Number 6 pick Miss Margo Price.
I’m not exactly why she considers this to be her first full length album, as last year’s Midwest Farmer’s Daughter was just as many songs but this album was equally impressive in many ways. This time around she goes after politics and equal pay for women, with many witty one liners and hooks hidden within the albums many songs.
I’m pretty sure this album will indeed be met with well critical acclaim in many ways, and I am certain it will be at the top of many lists from websites bigger than mine. However I can easily ascertain why, with songs like “Weakness” because we all have our struggles that overcome us. All of the songs on this album are well written and compliment each other really well, and of course you have political songs too. You aren’t going to have Americana albums without them, so expect that.
Country Legend Willie Nelson shines bright and true in the song “Learning To Loose” and so does his signature guitar Trigger and his own sound. He possesses one of Country Music’s most distinctive tones in all of modern day Country Music, as well as vocals even for his age. As I mentioned earlier, she addresses the unfair work treatment of women in the song “Pay Gap” where she warriors on in proving that women get paid half of what men do in most professions, so if social issues like that offend you…don’t spin this album.
The sudden change in tempo is what grabbed my total attention to this song over the lyrics the first time, but I did enjoy the lyrics and in some cases I can see their point. When it comes to music I can often times relate to the women, and I try to see the world from their shoes when they play their own songs.
The steel guitar work on “Wild Women” is absolutely amazing and her band The Pricetags are right on time as usual, as this songs criticizes the fact that men run around wild and you come to know her life as a mother while balances life on the road. I truly enjoy the farmer’s daughter songs it is truly America in it’s finest form people, and there’s NO doubt that Miss Margo Price is indeed the real deal.
I first learned about this band from my friend Miss Bridget in Oklahoma, it is a duo formed up of Mr. Cole And Miss Kendra Porter. The video below will give you more of a picture of the entire story of where they came from. And let me tell you folks these two have some of the finest vocal harmonies I have ever heard from a couple in years!
This duo displays a depth of affection for one another the likes of which modern day social media has killed for humanity, nobody knows HOW to interact with each other anymore. THIS couple truly pours out their hearts to one another within their songs and their demeanor on stage. All 11 songs on this album are cleverly written and posses many hidden meanings and hooks like the song “Thief” where Miss Kendra threatens after you think she has stolen everything she will take his last name.
I’m truly looking forward to watching them evolve in the future and see what directions they take their music, because following up on this album isn’t going to be an easy task for them..it’s that good. This band played a truly wonderful performance at Tumbleweed this past spring, where they created quite a huge buzz with the performance contest to play the festival. They will be playing at the 2018 Westport Roots Festival in Kansas City, Missouri.
You know that within Country Music the often touched upon reference of the love that Johnny And June had is so overly used it has become a yawner for me. In fact I USUALLY sigh and frown upon it, however “Walked Away” is a song with a reference to them from a whole different perspective that nobody has yet hit yet. Even I myself was appalled nobody has thought of this line!
You know what can I say about this band, despite their lineup changes they always stay true to their own form and sound. In my opinion they won’t be able to outdo Diamonds And Gasoline as a whole but this album was truly epic in many ways, in fact they are one of the finest Country Music bands on the road right now…period.
The opening song is so damn cool even though it’s about a tragic house fire it’s just so damn COUNTRY it’s pathetic. There aren’t any political lyrics here just twang and Honky Tonk beats with references to family and the struggles of the working man, which is pretty much what I perceived of “The Housefire”.
“something To Hold On To” has those missing steel guitar intros I regret not hearing on modern country radio for sure, and it has a good shuffle beat to it. This band is growing and evolving into a monstrosity of Red Dirt excellence, and from that Oklahoma scene they ARE the front runner band in my opinion.
“Pay No Rent” was a song me and gal have dedicated to one another, maybe we don’t understand it from the angle they are trying to portray but our angle is understandable to US. The campfire scenario is what we relate to, and how we love each other. I traveled around and nobody beats my gal, she pays nothing in my world. And she loves the fiddle solos and steel within this song, we enjoy this album.
Honestly when I found out that Mr. Chris was releasing TWO albums in 2017 I was skeptical as to WHY they weren’t a two album set, however as soon as I delved into the two different albums I finally found out why. They are different in some variations, and then they are the same…GOT IT? See Volume 1 (which is my number 10 pick) was the downward spiral into sadness and volume 2 is the upward lift back into recovery. At least THAT’S how I hear it, I suppose that’s the special thing about music WE ALL perceive it from different angles.
‘Millionaire” is an absolute masterpiece in every way, it is a well written uplifting song of beauty, that will make you smile upon listening to it, but then it goes into “Hard Livin” which despite it’s upbeat tempo really is a song of lament. Even the songs that have regret are masterpieces here on this album. You know folks I MISS his absence in the Steeldrivers current lineup, and every time I see them I try to imagine him there singing with them but it is what it is. I recently found this clip of him and his comments on the state of Country Music are why I admire him so much.
“Drunkard’s Prayer” is in my opinion the greatest song on this entire album, even though it is only an acoustic based song it displays total feeling and easily related lyrics for just about anybody really. I’m sure every music website that covers genres like mine has reviewed this album but guess what…HE DOESN’T CARE what you think, he is playing music HE WANTS to play.
10. Chris Stapleton A Room With A View Volume 1.
“Broken Halos” and the next song “Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning” were in my opinion the best two songs on this album. I honestly enjoyed Volume 2 more in every way, both production wise and lyrically I thought Volume 1 was perhaps his weaker link in his discography to date.
Not much farther behind the first two songs was the song “Up To No Good Livin” which was indeed a good song but what made it the best for me was those steel guitar licks on it. However I truly love the bluesy grit that he throws into his songs like “death Row”, and I deem this approach will lure a whole new audience to his music.’
Right now I am extremely adamant on the fact that he will not be able to beat the song “AM Country Heaven” however as a whole this album was in my opinion was his finest offering to date. I am a HUGE Jason Eady fan, and it was truly a blessing to see him play Tumbleweed this past summer.
Also, this past weekend I got the chance to see the man who wrote the song “Black Jesus” Mr. Channing Wilson. His stage presence blew me away this weekend, what a wonderful show. That was one of the better songs on the album…but like I said this entire album just flat out shines, like the song “Waiting To Shine”.
This album is full of soulful ballads like “Not Too Loud” which is about a father and his grown up little girl, I’ll be honest I related VERY WELL to this song. It was totally ME he was singing about, as I’m sure SO MANY daddies can think..and isn’t that what performers do? Yes, I think Mr. Jason totally hit the mark on this song when he delivered those vocals.
Another awesome well written ballad on this album was called “Genie In This Bottle” which was about a battle with alcoholism, and regret. His vocals are very strong on this album, and it was produced very well. It contains a lot of depth and easy to understand lyrics, without becoming hokey or fake. Mr. Jason always delivers quality albums in my opinion and I really enjoy his music.
I’ll tell you what, in today’s direction of the music business, and how things work the term “songwriter” doesn’t always hold validity anymore. For the most past ti does seem that gone are the days of the songwriter that actually makes a living off the income of their craft. Miss Natalie is one of the modern day exceptions having penned many Country Music songs with (what I call) the “Gals Club Of Country” AND pop country as well. In a nutshell allow me to elaborate on what the Gals Club Of Country means.
Miss Margo is at number 6 up there, and the song “Pay Gap” held strong identifiable relevance to me even though I’m a male. I can understand how they feel like pay isn’t always equal, and although I’m not sure if females are paid less than males for music shows, I CAN see their argument of festival lineups. Well this Gals club includes people like Sunny Sweeney (who sits at number 4) and Miranda Lambert, who Miss Natalie wrote songs for (or with) BOTH. She has songs off Miss Sunny’s Provoked album and Miss Miranda’s Weight Of These Wings album.
She also wrote one of my favorite Kasey Musgraves songs on last year’s Pageant Material, the song “good Old Boys Club”. That WAS one of my favorite songs of 2016 by far, and all the while she’s writing pop country smash hits the likes of “Pontoon” for Little Big Town. She’s kind of a Jamey Johnson type double edged sword here!
Puxico was her first attempt at a solo effort, and it immediately grabbed me with the song “Time Honored Tradition”. That was a terrific upbeat song full of great descriptive lyrics, and the song ‘Cairo Illinois” was another well written song. See, she has nothing to prove here because honestly she’s already accomplished so much.
Being from Puxico Mo, you become a little more familiar with who SHE IS as a person with this collection of 9 songs where she touches upon past loves and her old high school that still holds memories of her youth. This album is truly enjoyable and I look forward to many more albums from this seasoned veteran of Nashville songwriting.
This band is the pride of the Muddy Roots Music Festival as they always put on a terrific show, and always have great songs to offer. Honestly this band has such an intense stage presence that it wont be long until they get attention from larger amounts of people. Now to be honest I don’t really think this band even cares about any larger marketing companies, these guys are just happy being “The People’s Band”. Music BY the people FOR the people.
Now I was introduced to many of their new songs early this spring at the Muddy Roots Nashville Boogie wherethey filled their set list FULL of new original songs that had the usual trademark Hillbilly Casino sound like “She’s Got Tricks”. Now to be honest three of these songs first appeared on their LIVE album from the Exit In recorded a while back, so if you feel like you recognize some of these songs that’s where they came from.
One of the more upbeat and crazier songs they play live is “Jibber Jabber”, where Mr. Nic belts out the lyrics like he reached his leg through your speakers and kicks you right in the nuts. It’s loud and obnoxious and rowdy, so yeah It’s pretty much everything you need for a downright good party. This is one of the best live bands within my TOP 50 list to be honest. If I had to pick a band to see any night of the week it would be Hillbilly Casino.
After all of these albums though they finally recorded a down home Honky Tonk song called “Troubles” complete with steel guitar from Steel Legend Tommy Hannum. Mr. Tommy plays for Wynonna Judd on the road, and in his off time he can be found playing with Sarah Gayle Meech downtown. I STRONGLY SUGGEST this album be added to your collection.
I’ll be completely honest, accept for number 1 up there,this list has no meaning of order. In other words, just because an album is number 14 instead of number 2 it does not make it less relevant. Ergo this brings me to a very evocative album that is a front runner for my personal collection, Psalms by Miss Jessi Colter.
Apparently, this album was a lifetime in the making and it contains 12 original songs of praise to one of Miss Jessi’s heroes, God. You know, many of us all regard HER or Waylon as a hero for what they have contributed to Country Music. And you know Bill Anderson sang the song “I Wonder If God Likes Country Music”, well, with albums like this one I have NO doubt that he does.
I do not usually openly share my religious or political beliefs on a normal basis however in THIS instance I will, you see I try my BEST to do ALL THINGS to HIS glory, and not try to please other people. And THIS album shines true to that sentiment from Miss Jessi, as she chooses different passages from the mightiest book of the Bible, the Psalms. She’s correct that book emphasizes freedom and strength but also weakness.
It was brought to life by producer Mr. Lenny Kaye, whom was working on the Waylon Jennings autobiography and accidentally heard her playing some of these songs with such joy and admiration for God HE KNEW it was an album,and it’s evident on his production of this album…absolutely FLAWLESS and uplifting. I use this album for positive reinforcement annually in my weekly routine.
I recently wrote a nice article for his new album that contained so many guest appearances it made it an even more enjoyable album. The fine folks at Compass Records have once again done an outstanding job producing this true gem of an album, pulling from classic songs like the ever popular Hank Cochran classic “Make The World Go Away”.
This album contains 10 songs of Bluegrass beauty and grace from one of Bluegrass finest Legends, who assisted in taking a song that Felice and Bordeaux Bryant wrote called “Rocky Top” and turned it into the Tennessee state song in the 80’s. I point that out because it was released on Christmas day in 1967, and I’m writing this on Christmas day in 2017….50 years later!
Forward to now where his brother Mr. Sonny has retired and long since has hung up his banjo, while Mr. Bobby continues to carry the Rocky Top X Press brand. He continues to uphold the Opry membership for this band as well playing the (once required) performance dates..apparantly the Opry let’s some people slide.
The song “Just In Case” was an absolute toe tapping jam song,as was the rest of this album. Time has not influenced this man’s voice or playing ability in any way, and I strongly urge you to add this album to your collection. This is a MUST MUST MUST have, and I truly hope there will be more road shows in the future however, I can easily understand if there’s not.
This past year I wrote a TON of articles about Mr. Joseph from Moonrunners In Chicago all the way to Muddy Roots in Cookeville Tennessee on Labor Day Weekend. In my opinion he is one of the Roots Music acts that exemplifies more growth than many of the rest, and he is a hard working road warrior.
From the very beginning “Playground/Battlefield” grabbed me on a personal level, not only because it’s a well written song..I LIVED it. You see Mr. Joseph and I were raised in the same close vicinity of Milwaukee Wisconsin, and the area I lived in until my parents bought a farm is an overrun crime ridden bad area now. milwaukee has changed so much in 20 years I have no desire to return to see my old playground become battlefields.
I’m convinced that it will be difficult for him to out do The Hanging Road but this album does indeed show his plans for growth and his plans to continue offering well written songs that contain depth. Mr. Joseph is one of the finest true auteurs of his scene he is usually featured in. But at the same time he is prevalent within Bluegrass festivals as well as Roots Music ones. And songs like “16-10” show his mountain roots sound as well. Here is his appearance at the Blue Plate Special in Knoxville Tennessee.
“You Showed Me” was even better on the album than live with all the wonderful steel guitar licks and fiddle on it. He DOES travel with Mr. Jason Loveall who is a truly awesome fiddle player and Mr.Easton Bennett on the upright bass. So when he comes to YOUR area you’ll be treated to a set list from his 4 solo albums of well written feel good Americana tunes, and some damn fine musicianship.
From the start this album delves right into a past I share with Mr. Josh and that is drug addiction, we both are recovered addicts, and we met way back in 2013 at Altamont. And in that time period I have had the absolute privilege to witness him evolve to an entire new echelon of greatness. “Whole Lotta Crazy” is an epic Outlaw song complete with double stops and audio references from Jones and Cash. It contains some inventive lyrics and displays a whole new level of clever for him.
The song called “Crying Eyes Of Blue” was on one of his previous albums that is REALLY HARD to obtain because the label no longer exists and unless you ordered it directly you’ll probably not find it anywhere, kind of like Sturgill’s Sunday Valley work. “Miss Bobbie Jo” is a song about one of the bar employees at his home base bar in Leitersburg Tavern, Leitersburg, MD.
“Hangovers And Heartaches” was another wonderfully written masterpiece of poignant lament the likes of which one can relate to in a totally inebriated state of mind. I highly suggest you do not listen to this album unless you can resort to the bottle while doing so, it’s NOT for the weak of heart or the sober individual.
The album closes with the Billy Don Burns song called “Haggard And Hank” and I truly enjoyed his version of this song, the words ring evident within my mind even now. Even in death Merle Haggard and Hank Williams both currently influence and regulate what I enjoy and write about now. There was no music to back him on this song it was mostly ac-ca paella, it didn’t need any to be honest.
This album is another one that will most likely be on MANY TOP 50 lists from many outlets of my ilk,and deserving to be so. Much like my number 4 pick up there Miss Sunny Sweeney and my number 12 pick of Miss Natalie Hemby this gal is part of the Gals of Country Music group, that writes damn good songs.
This album was produced in terrific fashion and the song “Your Loving Saves Me” was an upbeat song filled with steel guitar and Honky Tonk twang that grabbed me right away and made me smile. Even though it’s one of the shorter album on my list at only 7 songs it is still noteworthy to rank on this list, and like I am constantly reiterating JUST BECAUSE it’s 18 makes it NO LESS wonderful as my number 3 on down!
It goes into much slower tempo songs like “From Outer Space” and a really good cover of “Misery And Gin” made popular from Country Legend Merle Haggard. She divulges her influences on this project as well as her personal past issues with addiction on songs like ‘Stone Hotel” which of course is incarceration. She is defiantly tougher than she looks on the outside to still be with us playing music now, and that’s good because WE NEED HER!
I look forward to featuring her more in the future and working on more projects involving her music, I think she is a fantastic artist and I LOVE what she does for us in this music realm. I assure you there WILL BE more of her coming in 2018 and onward!
Just like EVERY ALBUM on this TOP 50, this album was an absolute treasure, and one that is a proud part of my collection for damn sure. Mr. Bobby Bare does NOT suffer from stale after stardom syndrome or any of that stuff..no Sir instead he has actually flourished quite well, and after 50 plus years he remains relevant and active.
You know one of the things at 47 I struggle with now, is change. I loathe it and I strive to find solutions within my own comfort zone to combat the change. The title and main focus of this album is indeed ‘Things Change” and and the only thing that hasn’t is the fact his voice is still that signature Bobby Bare growl.
That growl still exists within the song “I Drink” which further exemplifies the struggle with change, and stubbornness of the common man to pick the drinking over his mate. I mean, isn’t that what Country Music is all about? Another high point on this album is the song “The Trouble With Angels” which was a powerful ballad about loss.
Much like my number 1 pick Charley Pride, Mr. Bobby also is planning more new music in 2018 and proudly has been announcing it when he played at The Opry For The Nashville Boogie. THIS WAS an iconic show indeed that was worth every penny paid indeed, and he has been guest starring on the Opry for quite some time now. He still holds true to that old guitar of Shel Silverstein’s and still delivers those old Outlaw songs just as witty as he did 50 years ago..he IS the original Outlaw.
This album was originally recorded in 2005, and was called “Strong Enough To Cry” which is a beautiful ballad about being a REAL man. There’s nothing wrong with crying for things when the time comes, in fact I got choked up hearing this purity in her voice. You see Mr. Rory her husband released this album one year after her death in 2016. If not for him and producer Bil McDermott, this album would never have re hit the shelves at all…and NOT under a different name.
“Strong Enough To Cry” was written by her and Mr. Max D. Barnes, who wrote “Chiseled In Stone”, and the God fearing song “That’s Important To Me” is a song people nowadays NEED to listen to. Many of the songs that she wrote say Joey Martin, that’s her maiden name, and this album has more heavy hitters like Paul Overstreet who wrote “Like A Rodeo”. The original release of this album was under Joey Martin, and sadly it garnered almost no attention from the media.
“Southern Girl” was a song that rings true to myself as well, I have lived in Tennessee and Kentucky for 25 years now, I’m no longer a Northerner, in fact I’m truly lost up there when I go back. Its a living a certain lifestyle and having a special frame of mind. Another very high point on this album was “When The Needle Hits The Vinyl” which is an upbeat song about mom and dad dancing to their records…every song on this album was relate able to me as a man, and it WILL remain a permanent fixture in my rotation for years to come.
I stumbled upon this artist through an incidental situation and I was absolutely blown away by this album, his distinct and different voice made me appreciate his music and want to help support him. I’ll be honest that many more TOP lists need to have this album within it’s ranks. Now, although this album was recorded in several places it does indeed have some strong Nashville power in it.
This album has 8 songs on it total with one of them a cover of “Call Me The Breeze” recorded in his own style. He blends Americana and Roots Music, and the way he delivers the vocals on this album makes this album extremely special in it’s own right. It begins with the self criticizing song of ‘What Can I Say”, the devil has me on speed dial and calls all the time. That’s a terrific line for sure.
This video is from the song “Long Way Down” which was well written and a downright good song in every fashion, in fact I think that about this entire album. It’s one of those that even though it hasn’t gotten much attention YET, I think when word of mouth begins on this album it will indeed become a permanent fixture on many Americana websites. You WILL be hearing MORE about him on THIS website for sure!
This album is more of a beginning for her than any album for one reason, because this album has more songs she wrote herself than any of her other albums combined. This album equally boasts many other terrific songwriters the likes of Waylon Payne and Brent Cobb, and a special note of appreciation to Steel Guitar Legend Paul Franklin for his fine work.
This album is a juggernaut at 14 songs total complete with a cover of “Long Black Veil” made popular by so many people I could begin with Cash and go on and on. And you know she does get a lot of negative flack for her pop country early work from many…but honestly who cares WHAT she’s done? If you don’t like it don’t listen to it, I’m not a big fan of her earlier work, but the direction she is now moving in is admirable.
The opening song ‘All The Trouble” written by her and Mr. Waylon Payne is an absolute masterpiece both production wise and vocally. The songs she wrote and chose all contain depth and they compliment one another beyond description. The song “End Of The End Of The World” is about being conciliated after a break up with the return of his presence, like all the grey skies instantly clear to blue!
The end of this album is absolutely wonderful the likes of the songs “Someone Else’s Heartache” which pretty much pawns off your ex onto someone else. It reminded me of an old Derailers song called “Someone Else’s Problem”, although her song is a ballad and the other is upbeat. This album is defiantly aptly named for the roller coaster ride the listener goes on when spinning this album.
This past spring I hosted a stage at Westport Roots Festival where one of my headliners was the Legend himself Dale Watson, who recently did a collaboration album with Longtime member of Asleep At The Wheel Ray Benson. This album FOR SURE will be on many TOP lists, because it’s absolutely amazing.
“Feelin’ Haggard” since Haggard is gone was pretty much from the hearts of these two Legends, whom I think one day will have songs of this nature wrote about them, and performed by some of these other TOP 50 picks. I KNOW in my heart one day that Mr. Colter Wall will sing about missing Mr. Dale Watson when (like Mr. Bobby Bare sings) “Things Change”….now you see how change fits all this TOP 50 together? Have I explained my reasons for choosing and writing what I have?
“Bus Breakdown” is pretty self explanatory and funny at the same time, THE TOUR BUS is both the devil and the sanity of many an artist of music in general (accept for the big wigs that have jets), and the stories about the mechanical failures are great. He must have apparently bought a bus from Mr. Ray Benson and they are teasing themselves.
This album is full of Texas twang and upbeat songs like “Let’s Forget About Tomorrow Today” which is pretty much self explanatory, so as Mr. Dale would say DRINK THAT LONE STAR, and do not worry about tomorrow. But honestly the song “A Hangover Ago” was one of my favorite songs of 2017, like I seriously want to call them and tell them I think that it is the masterpiece of the year.
As I referenced Texas music before I loved the song ‘Nobody’s Ever Down In Texas” meaning everybody’s always happy in Texas. I’m really looking forward to being a part of the Ameripolitan Awards GO VOTE NOW!!!!! The steel guitar tone of this song was a true tribute to the state of Texas, and this album is a MUST for your collection…I truly hope many more albums will follow.
I’m excited about this one, for one reason, and that reason is that NEXT WEEK I’ll be seeing this man for the first time ever with Whitey Morgan, and Ward Davis at the Plaza Theater is Glasgow Kentucky. This album is amazing as well, and I really enjoyed it. All 12 songs on this album were truly well written and I liked the sound of it all, it took me a few times to appreciate this album more. I had to listen to the title track ‘Better Than Myself” a few times to truly…”get it”…I think the reason we still KNOW Hank Williams Sr. is because his songs were better than himself..most people know these artists we adore were personal train wrecks and we overlook that, and love them anyways.
I LOVED the twang on the song “Hellbent Hallelujah”, and the steel guitar solo-intro that went on into the song “More Than Survival”. It took me back to some of my party days and that”s why I listen to the Outlaw Country stuff so much, I LOVE MANY kinds of music and feature it ALL on here…but I adore this type the most.
“Little Too Stoned” was a GREAT well written Country Music song, and the whole sound of it was beyond amazing. This album is one of those I have been looking for, for a long long time, he fits in nicely with the Whitey Morgan crowd. As this song laments the loss of authenticity in the mainstream world today, a common ting both artists often scorn.
Songs like “Old Tattoo” bring us closer to him and his family as this is an ode to his grandfather,and shares the strength his grandmother had in his passing. It’s a touching time when an artist can bring forth these feelings and memories so vividly with listeners, and you can easily ascertain the care and precision he places in his song lyrics.
My ONLY fear is will he be able to follow up on such a nice album with one AS GOOD or better..or has he saved THE BEST for last? Well, we shall see folks..I’m sure 2018 will be an epic year for this young man.
I stumbled upon these guys on an overseas website one day,and found out that my good friend W.B. Walker also had them on his radar, and we equally admired them. THEN to my suprise I got to actually SEE THEM at the Nashville Boogie this past spring. I’ll tell YOU what, if you like the Bakersfield sound like I DO, you WILL LOVE these fine men from Sweden.
This band is TIGHT folks with many obscure cover songs like “I will” that was also done in 1958 by Ferlin Husky (who also sang under the AKA of Simon Crum). This album is also choked full of Roy Drusky and Harlan Howard tunes, but the entire album is just an absolute JAM. “A Drink After Midnight” has such Honky Tonk bang to it, and Mr. Peter Anderson on that steel guitar will just blow your MIND!
“Cry Me A River” was wrote by Mr. Johan Bandling Melin, whom you’ll see up there playing lead guitars with such intense precision and attention to each note with barre chords it made my own fingers lock up. This band is VERY careful to detail and if you listen you’ll notice very little flaws in their LIVE stuff.
“Even At My Best’ I have heard Mr. Billy Don Burns play this song and when I ran across it I called him and asked him if it was Harlan Howard, he said yes but we cannot find the year. Despite that these men pull it off with their own twist and their own sound, and I wholeheartedly applaud them.
Another stand out cover song was the song “Country Girl” that Country Legend Roy Drusky wrote in 1959 and it was made famous by Faron Young, being the B Side of ‘Alone With You”. These two albums make you dig a little bit for the original releases and THAT is a hidden prize, kind of like cracker jack when we were kids!
The Texas music is one genre that we brought into our mix about 2 years ago, and you know honestly the Red Dirt and Texas music are a little different, SO IS the Oklahoma music. Mr. John has a more traitional flavor to his songs BUT still maintains Red Dirt staying power..does that make sense? Well I try NOT to label anything it’s JUST DAMN FINE MUSIC is all and it made me happy.
HOME…everybody has one,and everybody has comfort and a special place they feel safe and loved. “The Home You Made For Me” begins off slow and BAM goes into a toe tapper, it got my attention quickly. He does refrence the back porch swing, and cold beer and trucks, which usually make me yawn..but he pulls them off well inside of some well written songs.
Although this album is short at just 6 songs it’s so well produced that I couldn’t pass up on this chance to give him a high five and a nod over here from the Nashville area. It’s about damn time the Nashville cats start acknowledging that Texas music is GREAT, is tangible and can generate sales. I mean with songs like “More Than I’m Used To”, who wouldn’t want this album? Haven’t we ALL fallen head over heals for a gal? I recently have!
“Blame It On The Whiskey” was actually the first single he released to the media in 2016 which was where I was first turned on to him from Texas Music Pickers which is a darn good resource for me with Texas music in general. The album closes with the song “Cowboy Angel”, I’m quite adamant on the fact we WILL see growth from this young man in the near future.
I stumbled upon this band by accident and I’m not really sure if they consider themselves Jamgrass or Bluegrass or both..I just consider it good music. I thought the opening song ‘High Wire” was a good sounding song, and I loved the banjo work Mr. Andy Lowe did on it. The harmonies on this record is one of the foremost aspects I seek out on Bluegrass records, and I think they were trying to approach Bluegrass with a modern taste of old style.
The title track “Midnight And Dawn” is absolutely amazing complete with spectacular banjo runs and mandolin licks, I have even heard Ricky Skaggs himself mention this band several times. Brothers Mr. Justin and Mr. Jason Tomlin created a brand here that I’m quite convinced will stand the test of time.
“The Real World” is another uplifting song about how the real world gets in the way of us enjoying life. Kind of like work interrupting your fishing. Once again you have absolutely STUPENDOUS harmonies, and the timing is impeccable.”The Cowboy” was about a cheater coming home to a note, and it has a really good line in it, you can’t tame a man with a cowboy inside. He ended up drinking and killing himself. He left a similar note in his hat as they found him dead…MOST good Bluegrass albums have a murder ballad..THIS ONE has a SUICIDE BALLAD!
Towards the end lies the song “Love’s Raining Down” which was another uplifting song about finding new love and how you first feel upon finding it. These boys are certainly one of my favorite new bands that have emerged in the Bluegrass scene in the last few years, I’m excited to see where this band goes next!
Mr. Ray Wylie Hubbard doesn’t follow “What’s In” or genre rolls, he just plays some bad ass music. He doesn’t sugar coat anything and he writes some weird lyrics sometimes..like “God Looked Around” which talked about Genesis and creation of man with his signature Ray Wylie style…WHOA Lordy, you done answered my prayers! What is it with Mr. Ray and snakes, they are always messing around in his songs. If THIS album doesn’t slap you in the face sideways, you aren’t listening correctly.
“Lucifer And His Fallen Angels” was raw and gritty song about picking up Lucifer as hitchhiker, he has all the wild story songs full of that signature slide guitar songs on this latest installment to the Ray Wylie collection. His albums are just plain out jamming bluesy, Americana or whatever you want to call it. “Open G” is a really cool chord slide song, which was written with total wit and it’s beyond clever. There’s a guitar called a reverberater because it reverberates…clever!
This video here is the title song with guests Mr. Eric Church and Miss Lucinda Williams, it’s another great jam about life on the road with references to his sunburst Gibson and his hallowed area of Austin. You cannot really place in any genre it’s just downright rough music that makes me stop and think about what it all means. I mean, is he calling Austin the devil, or is there a hidden meaning? YOU DECIDE for yourselves.
Even though this album only has 11 songs the time length of the songs themselves make up for that, and all of the songs are bad ass rock and rolling Ray Wylie jams. his live shows are absolutely amazing he just stands there and bellows out fire and destruction all over. Owww “Old Wolf” is howling at the door folks and he wants to take you to the snake farm to see black betty.
Mr.Jim Campilongo and Mr. Zephaniah bring us this Honky Tonk gem, which is his debut album although he is defiantly not new to the Honky Tonk Country world playing critically acclaimed 3 and 4 hour sets in the New York club called Skinny Dennis, where he has been the director of music programming there since 2013.
This album for me came out of nowhere and it took me off guard, with the song “I Do Believe Iv’e Had Enough” because it reminded me of my favorite 70’s Honky Tonk stuff like Mikey Gilley. I LOVED the (what I call) the piano tonk, music from the late 70’s. It had high pitched guitar twang and those beautiful steel guitar solos, and little pops at the end of the lyrics.
“Songs My Momma Sang” was another terrific song here just easy to understand and relate to, just like those golden oldies that this fine man relishes. I can easily tell that he TRULY LOVES the same classic Country Music that I do, just from the arrangement of these songs. This whole entire album is nothing short of a masterpiece, and deserves to be on EVERY TOP list in existence.
“I Can’t Let Go” Even Though I Set You Free, is perhaps the finest song on this album in my opinion and I haven’t heard a song of greater lament since “Chiseled In Stone” until now. This song grieves like none other I have heard in 2017, and I was taken on a total roller coaster ride here.
‘He Can Have Tomorrow” was one of those classic two step waltzes that I remember Paycheck and Ray Price doing that I TRULY adore. The timing and arrangement on these songs are just beyond anything I can write in words on here, and every song is better than the last. But in the end I just kept “I Can’t Let Her Go” on repeat for a long long time.
This album was released this spring =as a part of Mr. Shooter Jennings ever popular Record Store Day tradition, that Mr. shooter enjoys doing for us. It’s more of a thing he does to remember the late Colonel Jon Hensley, who was taken from us too early. Thus they have been ending shows with “Good Time Charlie”, on this album it’s a short medley after ‘Fourth Of July”. As most of you know that was Shooter’s most commercially embraced song.
But honestly the reason I included this live album and not his recent “Live At Billy Bob’s” was because of the vision I receive when I spin this record. The ambiance is just….THERE, and I feel a great connection with the event. THAT IS what a LIVE album is supposed to encompass with you, they make you feel like YOU are rail riding alongside those that really WERE!
It begins in the usual fashion of Waymore’s Outlaws playing their beloved classics many of which drummer Mr. Richie Albright wrote and produced. Alas, this album was produced by Mr. Shooter’s current manager Mr. Adam Barnes and I thank him religiously for what he does for BCR. Songs like “Are You Ready For The Country” and “Good Ol’ Boys” set the mood and whet the appetite for Mr. shooter to bellow out the lyrics for “Outlaw You”, which scolds fake music. You see to be honest Mr. Shooter does NOT crusade against pop country, IN FACT he has given props to Eric Church and others for apologizing for things..and for honesty. I have TOTAL faith that I could say something negative about Shooter Jennings (with TACT) and he would respect me, because he appreciates HOW YOU FEEL as a FAN, he HONESTLY CARES about YOU. This video is from their song “Don’t Wait Up I’m Playing Possum”…
The album goes into songs the likes of which were on his latest studio album called ‘Countach” and the song was “I’m Left,Your’e Right, She’s Gone”. Also included was another commercially embraced ‘Gone To Carolina” which is my daughter Meghan’s favorite song off of the Put The O Back In Country album. This LIVE album has all the bells and whistles one could ask for.
Once again we encounter this “genre” argument and it’s JUST DAMN GOOD MUSIC and this is “Where I Stand”. A song that has some wonderful fiddle solos and it is followed by the song “Feel My Love” which possesses terrific harmonies and a tight melody. This 10 song masterpiece with stupendous harmonies on every song.
They released a video for the song “You Can Call me Al” and I will embed that in this article but you can read more about that HERE, I have featured this band on this website MANY times. I LOVE their music, and they are prevalent at MANY of the 175 festivals I cover every year!
“On My Way” was another of the middle songs on this album that I enjoyed, it has great tempo and was a well written song. I guess what I love the most about new Bluegrass music is the harmonies all of these bands have. Much like the steel guitar on the Country albums, I listen for the fiddle and banjo work here, and those harmonies warm my soul indeed. This song does just that for me, Good Heavens!
This album closes with a terrific instrumental and then the song “Here And Off My Mind”, which was a great upbeat song about the want of a loved one. I had one myself it took a long time for her to realize she was loved here. I think all in all what amazed me about this album was the versatility of the band as a WHOLE, as two of the members take over the lead vocal duties, and fill that position with so much feeling and poise.
This spur of the moment created band that was the brainchild of Mr. Jeffery Steele, who has created so much pop country like my number 12 pick Miss Natalie. These 13 songs are JUST LIKE Mr. John Anderson…”Authentic” Honky Tonk Country. In fact, when many of his collaborators heard the first song “Running Round” they exclaimed YOU CANT SELL KENNY CHESNEY OR LUKE BRYAN THIS…and that’s EXACTLY what he was shooting for!
He named this band after the famed Palomino Club in California (which was featured in Every Which Way But Loose) that is now closed. And all of these songs are fashioned in the likeness of those old classic songs that lived in this club. Mr. Paul Franklin brings classic steel guitar twang pieces to this album, and he enlists a HUGE array of talent.
The first recruit was steel guitar legend Paul Franklin, who helped line up bassist Glenn Worf, pianist Gordon Mote and other exceptional musicians. Their input helped Steele focus on the finer details of each arrangement, making sure that they were consistent with the way the masters who had headlined at the Palomino would have done it.
“We were working on a ballad,” Steele points out. “I had this idea to do a little figure atone point. After I played it, Gordon said, ‘We can’t do that. That’s not how they would have played it.’ He was right. My brain was trying to make it my thing, the way I’d do it. It was good to have these ropes on me, so I could get more creative within them.”
I NEVER thought I would EVER feature Mr. John Rich on this website, but DAMMIT this song is SO GOOD…I also never thought I would praise Kid Rock for anything but I did..ugh… this song is just an absolute JAM and makes me miss the fact I can’t drink no more. This is for SURE a superstar band, like the Eagles or Traveling Willburys of Country Music.
I’ll be honest the politics that Mr. Jason usually contains in his songs steer me away from much of his music, BUT Dave Cobb did a wonderful job producing this album. And the songs on this album were well written, in my opinion this is some damn fine work here. I wonder if he is indeed ‘Last Of My Kind”?
He hasn’t really struggled to maintain any presence in Americana music since his breaking off from the Drive By Truckers (which is my favorite period of them). I think he has gained more popularity by going on it alone, and I LOVED the song ‘Tupelo”.
Politics or not, I LOVED this album and it made me delve into his music even more. I watched endless amounts of specials and you tube videos on this man. He has surely had his demons and got himself out of a pretty deep hole as an individual and for THAT I commend him. Alcohol and drugs are seductive bastards for us human beings, and I also commend him for singing about his beliefs. “Anxiety” is a song I can TRULY relate to, we all have things that hount us, even with my lover sleeping close to me, I’m wide awake and I’m in pain….what a powerful line!
“Something To Love” was a good closing song to this album, a visionary song of his youth and what life was like back then. He hopes I find something to love…How about MUSIC? Yeah I think I found “Something To Love”, something to heal me when I feel like giving up.
I LOVED their 2015 album “Two” however when I heard this album I saw TOTAL GROWTH, from the first song “Two Miles High” which was a good jam along with the song “Liquor To Like Her”. Very inventive play on the lyrics there, every song on this album was well written.
If you look the up the meaning of the name of this band you will find it amusing I’m not going to divulge that information on here, but if you know what an Eskimo Brother is then “The 1 For Me” will be a funny song. You WILL enjoy it very much! The title track “Hands And Knees” is another jam song, in their signature rockabilly (sort of) sound..they just have a sound all their own. They don’t really march to anybody else’s beat.
“Every Curve And every Edge” was a really beautiful ballad with Miss Lillie Mae, it has really good line I remember the dress I first saw you last. This is BY FAR the finest offering by this band YET, and honestly if they can outdo it I’m excited to hear it. These guys are a REAL DEAL fixture of my local scene on Lower Broadway, and if you buy ANY ALBUM on this TOP 50 list…BUY THIS ONE DAMMIT!
This band absolutely blew me the HELL away in 2017, and to be honest I am not going to explain why….YET.. I will NOW let a secret out, Mr. J.D. Wilkes IS MY ARTIST of 2017, I don’t think he knows it yet, but if you are reading this you can expect an email or a phone call Sir. I want you to know I have a HUGE amount of admiration for your knowledge and your stage presence Mr. J.D. I’m not going further divulge my thought until the article!
This new album takes us in separate direction than the last album The Southern Surreal, and even though I like all the music they put out, I loved the jams on this new album. ‘Sing A Worried Song” pays homage to the old timey black and white cartoons with little “Posie” the main character girl whom is styled after Betty Boop type era.
JD Wilkes vocals and piano, Fuller Condon upright bass and vocals, Preston Corn drums, Rod Hamdallah guitar and vocals and Gary Siperko guitar. With Liz Brasher backup vocals, Shane Pringle saxophone and Chloe Feoranzo clarinet bring forth the ambiance in this video and song. They bring so much respect to tradition and history it is a downright sin NOT to love this man for his brain, and the Legendary Shack Shakers brand.
“After Your’e Gone” is a song I could relate to as well, because I was raised in Wisconsin and my childhood home is gone too. My old bedroom is a Subway restaurant, age and time are cruel cruel to your mind. I miss my youth and the memories I have are all that’s left..I don’t have to wish I AM A “Single Boy” now Sir. Please don’t make this your last album the world of music NEEDS the Legendary Shack Shakers.
“Any Night In Texas” is in a whole a 14 song masterpiece Red Dirt album that grabbed my attention by mistake, I was looking through Texas Music lists for another artist and this guy hit me right in my face. HEY I found Mr. Jon Pardi by accident years ago, so I don’t know what it is about guys named Jon, but they find their way on this website by accident. That title song was a great descriptive song about dating at a young age.
“Baby This And Baby That” is the one that found it’s way to my email box, and I’m glad I found this album. I enjoyed these songs so much you know women can mess with your head when they start that baby this crap. Although this album could be deemed a little closer to commercial pop country in SOME aspects I think it’s really well arranged, and REAL.
“Drink For Two” is a great duet with the Ol’ number 4 pick the Sweener Queen herself Miss Sunny Sweeney, it’s a darn good song they did together. I thought it was a good break up song with some twang steel guitar work. I thought they sounded good together, with well hit high notes by both of them, if you are a Sunny Sweeney fan check this song out!
“That’s What A song Will Do” is the absolute truth, you know that’s WHY I DO THIS WEBSITE, because music is EVERYTHING TO ME. It has consumed my life, and he is correct songs and music can make you happy and uplift you..and on the other hand they can make you cry. ‘Crush Me’ was a great three quarter time type song that tells you what those sad songs do to you until those three minutes are through, this album closes with great well written songs like the more lengthy song “Long Song” about falling in love. Not being sure about this gal he met as being someone he will meet up with again down the road or not.
You know folks this website has always been a voice for the smaller bands on the block, but to be honest many of them are small on the block for a VERY short time. This band is one of them, it won’t be long before they become a household name with our scenes.
This band has their own different style and sound, and to be honest I couldn’t describe it in a genre label, as anything but different. I ran across them live finally as they opened for the Steel Woods (who is also on this list). I was absolutely astounded by their stage presence and their horror based songs like ‘So Much Blood”. If Slayer went Americana they would be the Jospehines.
Man I run into these goofballs grilling hot dogs outside of the record store on Black Friday Record Store Day to get those Shooter releases, and these guys are like DAMMIT GARY EAT BUDDY. I’m like deud I’m diabetic watch it…LOL EAT THIS GARY! I guess they loved that big bag of deer sticks I gave them at the show? These guys are true friends and if you greet them at the show, you are instant family to them, trust me this band is the real deal shit.
That video is from the song “Fireball” but this album contains some powerhouse songs like “Maggie’s Bones” and BY GOD you aren’t going to find this masterpiece on Spotify OH NO this one you’ll have to order right from the band,because sadly, I’m not certain of this band’s continuation..I haven’t caught up with them as of late.
Spring of 2017 was an exceptional part of the year for new music, and this album was no exception in any way. From the opening Yippie Ki Yay “700,000 Rednecks” this album took me by storm. I thought this third album was her finest offering to date, and I thought New West Records knocked it out of the park here.
She is defiantly a “Highway Queen” playing an exhausting amount of live shows in 2017 to support this project. Miles and miles of blacktop has been traveled by this Highway Queen that don’t need no king. So place your bet’s if you ain’t folding folks because this young lady isn’t stopping in 2018.
‘Jackpot” was another popular video that was released from this album in the summer. This song was a good twangy riverboat song that kept up the tempo of this album, and brought out her best vocals of any song on the album in my opinion. As a whole I thought her vocals were the best on this album of the three she’s offered To date.
Another pinnacle here was ‘Foolish Heart” I just enjoyed the tempo and feel of the song, it had depth and a good beat. Many songs have hanging by a word, and they make me STOP and think to understand them. I’m telling you if you happen to catch ANY acts during Americanafest YOU MUST CATCH HERS! She’s gonna ‘send The Sun” your way and wake you up.
From the VERY FIRST SONG this album related with me I can tell you from following these people around for five years, that the MEN AND WOMEN both become a “Honky Tonk Tragedy” what an amazing song. I been feeling like a broke down washing machine run through a million cycles and the clothes ain’t clean…GENIUS.
“I Wish I Was In Austin” is about as Country as Country can be I mean HOLY CRAP..this entire album just has more twang than many others on this list of his ilk. But the ballad song ‘Even Ramblers Get The Blues” was a terrific song from a picker that continuously plays in different cities every night. The line about Hampton hotel halls all the same, and they don’t know I’m winning at a loosing game are MORE lyrical breakthroughs!
I’m going to give it to you straight if you don’t cry during the song ‘Redneck CEO” you aren’t COUNTRY…you aren’t anything if this song doesn’t give you goosebumps. Old school values and honest traditions ring true here and you suit and ties business people and political big wigs need to LISTEN UP HARD.
Change, I HATE change and the song “everything’s Changing But Me” was written about ME for sure, wow It’s precisely how I feel here. These kids have all this crazy language and normies watch all this crap on TV, they wear clothes that say LOVE PIN….and they aren’t pink? I cannot grasp change..PERIOD. I hope in 2018 and on THIS MAN changes NOTHING about his music.
This album is one of the many Bluegrass albums that crosses my desk this year, and I was amazed by his mastery of the very thing that is his name…the strings. The song “Meet Me At The Creek” is a banjo masterpiece of precise notes. Muddy Water ALWAYS takes the pain away folks, always…
This young man is the MASTER of Bluegrass festivals having performed (or is booked in 2018) at more of them than ANY Bluegrass act or Jamgrass act (or whatever YOU call him) than anyone I could name. HOW DO I KNOW…WHY this website writes about 175 festivals yearly! The instrumentals on this album just absolutely blow me away… and many are over 6 minutes long as the result. “All Of Tomorrow” is one of the older sounding songs that had lots of tradition tied to the sound.
This is him playing “Turmoil And Tin Foil” the title track ot the album at Music City Roots which is where I think I first heard of his music, this album defiantly has some great sound effects. It has odd way of “Spinning” and working together before going into “Dealing Despair” with a down home rolling sound, and older style harmonies. Also has some downright amazing guitar solos and to be honest this all makes it one fine album.
“Bad Luck Charm” was a terrific song from one of the forefather bands of Roots Music, much like Split Lip Rayfield the Old 97’s are one of the beginning bands for me. Even before the Myspace era where I found a HUGE list of the bands I feature on here, they were in my life. Their live sets are absolutely amazing in every way and I highly suggest you go check them out.
This is an album I feel should be on EVERY TOP 50 list but might get overlooked, because it’s “COOL” to include all the albums everyone else is including, it’s not WHAT THEY FEEL inside. I LOVED this album not just to go with any crowd, I thought the songs like “Good With God” with Miss Brandi Carlile were true. I hope I’m good with God, am I I guess I’ll have to wait and see.
All the songs on their latest effort were rocking usual Old 97’s tunes delivered in the fashion I come to expect from this band, “Nobody” was a good song as well with great guitar riffs and a deep flow. Overall the length of the album was beyond good and the vinyl in different colors was gorgeous! I LOVE COLORED VINYLS..it has 4 different color schemes!
“Those Were The Days” is a terrific gallop type song about the old partying days, it kind of took me back to my old party days..which are LONG gone. Those WERE the days indeed, I recently gave up drinking, never got into the acid where the trees were breathing but yes I miss the days!
This album began with a song called “100 Proof” which addressed WHAT ELSE than alcohol and courage from your hat to your boots, it possess the look and the sound that encompasses a true Honky Tonk album. ‘The Kid” was a truly great ode to the Legendary outlaw Billy The Kid. It even has fine mentions of the Lincoln County war in the lyrics.
Folks, I’m not going to lie this is damn fine tight band that plays like a well oiled machine from Texas, and much like many of the choices on this TOP 50 I’m sure you’ll find a few YOU LIKE. With albums like this coming from Texas I’m confident that that genre of music will live and evolve forward for years to come.
Another good song was ‘Drive Myself Sane” and also “Love Drunk Night” which had more of a modern Red Dirt sound to it, some of this album began with more of an Outlaw sound to it..does that make sense? It’s NOT a critical remark in ANY way, in fact I kind of enjoyed the sound of this album overall. The steel guitar on the song “Ghost Town” was very enjoyable.
“Horse Collar” was a slower song at the beginning and turned out to be a rocking song that was well written and very fun to listen to, let those bullets fly. This is one of more exciting albums in my TOP 50 list, that I wanted to share with you.
Can you feel that fire, burning through my prison walls? “Widow” opens this fine album that takes you on a roller coaster of Americana ups and downs with your ‘Demons” slapping you in the face at every turn. This album makes you stop and think about the songs at moments during the 11 song offering. Most of the songs are a nice bit time wise with one 6 minute song that was well written, and another which is the title track. That song I have included in the video.
This band is really tight folks, you aren’t going to find any loose ends or under produced crap here. In fact the vocals on “Wish They Would” are as smooth as fine expensive bourbon whiskey. Just because he was a late addition to my list he does not fall short of substance in his songs.
“The Fine Things” was a song I sent to my girlfriend, she LOVES it, said it was from the heart. I truly agree, this is a darn fine ballad song here that would flow very well with Americanafest or various folk festivals. This act needs to be paired up with countless acts I could mention. “Run Like The Devil” closed out this album here with a mellow ambiance that evolved into a steady beat. Getting pulled over with something in your pocket is not good, outlaw songs abound on my TOP 50 list this year for sure!
At only 6 songs I might catch some flack for including this album, but I don’t care this is my list from my heart..heart..let’s dwell on that for a moment? I mean I could easily include a bunch of albums that everybody else does or I could include some REAL albums that have more heart, like a man that shows up to play a gig straight out of a hospital.
If you are a father like me, you’ll come to appreciate “Make A Little Time” because they sure do grow up so damn fast, and if you don’t make time you’ll regret it harder than Cats In the Cradle. One of the finest songs on this album is “Miner’s Soul”, it is extremely poignant as it describes a burial from a ghosts perspective. Initially he is witnessing his own funeral from heaven, this song about made me throw up when I first heard it..it was powerful of a strong nature.
You know folks this man is one of those that likes to hide behind the producer curtain, and bring OTHER artists to light. He’s also a longtime well renowned guitarist for others within the Bluegrass realm. But this album here is SO BEAUTIFUL I HAD to bring it onto this list. “Crossing Over Black Mountain” is absolutely amazing and riddled with traditional mountain sound.
“Confederate Jasmine” was the song that turned me onto this treasure from an internet Bluegrass radio stream. I HAD to STOP what I was doing to write down notes to come back to his album, I knew about him from Germany. I had known his name but had no idea he had an album out. If you’ll remember I wrote about The new Mac Wiseman album that he is on.
“Old Railroads” is an blockbuster song that painted such a vivid picture in my head I didn’t need a video. It’s that gorgeous of a song, and it has such a fine melody. The guitar work on this album is beyond amazing on songs like “Sometimes What Glitters Is Gold”. The harmonies on the song “Coast Of Carolina” the song talks about preparing for a storm.
Country Legend Carl Jackson produced one of 2017’s finest album here in the (now late) Glen Campbell and his last album aptly titles Adios. This was actually recorded some years ago back when he was able to sing, as he suffered from Alzheimer’s much like what took Mr. Jack Greene from us. It contains a wonderful rendition of Arkansas Farmboy” which Carl Jackson wrote but perhaps one of the highlights of this album is the “Am I All Alone Or Is It Only Me” with an intro by Country Legend Roger Miller, and also has Vince Gill.
The ever popular Dickey Lee song “She Thinks I Still Care” is on this album delivered in that signature gentle Glen Campbell vocal tone while the musicianship that accompanies him makes him shine all that more. Many of those wonderful classic songs are on here like “Postcard From Paris” and finally the powerful “Adios”.
This album truly was the finest fashion this Country Music Legend could possibly leave behind to be remembered by and he truly embellished Country Music when he was finally called home to be with God.
This young lady’s howl on the first song (and the title track) “Call Of The Road” is one of the qualities that attracted me to this album. It was sent to me by press company as part of a combo EPK with some other albums, and I LOVED IT. It remains a permanent fixture in my constant rotation, no matter what.
“My Only Desire” is a funky and rootsy song full of twang, JUST like I LOVE. “Sunset on the Alamo” is another good song where she’s been dreaming of the outlaw life out there in their desert region where they hail from. They play about that scenic sunset over the Alamo.
This band is absolutely full blown badassery and if you purchase ANY ALBUM on this list make this one of your two..did you catch that? “Nobody’s Cryin Over You” has some more mighty fine guitar work on it folks, and is a terrific addition to this album combined with “she’s The One To Blame” because that song has some mighty fine steel guitar work on it.
Epic songs of jealousy and heartbreak along with steel guitars, sassy front women and desert Honky Tonk, can a person ask for more in a TOP 50 album? How about a haunting ballad called “Ghost Of His Love”, now this one is a truly different and cool way to close an album out. Though his body is gone, the ghost of his love rides on….
“Straw In The Wind” is a very powerful album from a band that has been around Nashville for a little while now, just awesome kick ass Southern Type rock- country, or whatever YOU want to label it. I just call it good music, I recently went to see them and you can read that HERE.
“Della Jane’s Heart is another good song off this album, which is a double album on vinyl and a single CD. Their live set contains many of the songs off their album like “Uncle Lloyd” a tale about their wayward friend of their father’s friend, who drank away his wife’s leaving him. 57 is one hell of an age to start over as a single man, and this song hits home.
Vocally one of the better songs on the album was called “The Secret” which was really well written song and one of the album’s high point offerings to me. Also the high volume rockin song called “Wild And Blue” which is one of the songs they closed with both times I went to see them, is one of the better songs that close out this album.
The album closes with the song called ‘Let The Rain Come Down” you can interpret this entire album any way you want, and I’m quite certain it will be included on a TON of TOP 50 lists for 2017. As for me I just enjoyed this band so much that I look forward to more music from them soon, I’m sure I included a TON of surprises so far!
Yeah the title of this album even got me, because I WAS Born too late for sure. NOW FOLKS THIS ALBUM has all the bells and whistles of a REAL Honky Tonk album for sure. I have so many “Beer Tear Saturday Nights” that I lost count after 30 years old. I JUST LOVE his vocals on “King Of All Losers” , I mean he wrote that song about me..at least that’s how I feel.
Now folks this is one of my local area bands that is vastly overlooked by most media outlets, and SHAME ON THEM, I mean HOW just how can anybody pass up this wonderful Honky Tonk music? Songs like “Blue, Lonely And Wasted” are beyond those beer drinking songs that haunt the back of your mind, and make the radio people cringe. This album has some of the best damn songwriting on it than I have heard all year.
YOU KNOW that just because an album is 49 on here it is NO LESS integral to my heart than number 2 and TRUST ME this man and his band are the real deal here. I listen to this album over and over again, “Bury The Bottle” is awesome and oh my goodness so is “Jailbird”. Honestly I could elaborate on this album for many paragraphs but I’ll post a video here.
The Honky Tonk shuffle sound continues with “Don’t Let It Die” and another great closing song called “100 Dollar Bar Tab” I’m glad that people like Mr. Casey and his band “Don’t Let It Die” because people like me just absolutely love this sound and BY GOD we need some younger folks pumping out the Honky Tonk shuffles like this!
I will always enjoy Mr. John’s gritty voice and his raw unkempt lyrics, he has his own style. Hell, I don’t even categorize his music when I listen to it. It’s NOT Country but it’s all over the grid for sure. I was ready to get bruised and battered with songs like “Sallisaw Blues” and my favorite on this album was “Old Wounds”. Can you take away the mess that’s been building in my chest is just an amazing way to describe love.
Mr. John is a true visionary when it comes to writing songs, and his albums all become evident that he is a lyrical genius. “Amen,So Be It’ was a great upbeat song that I enjoyed off this album as well. I honestly enjoyed High On Tulsa Heat a little more, but dog gone it this was another fine album from one of the best artists in the Americana scene.
“Slow Down Easy” was a graceful display of his more bluesy side, which his vocals accompany quite well. I think at times we are all hauling heavy souls, and this album will heal the weariest of souls with tales of heartache. Perhaps some will find that others are going through worse than they are?
FROM THE DESK OF MY PARTNER MR. JOSHUA WALLACE:
2017 was a great year for real country music. I could have likely made a Top 100 albums list if I wanted to. This Top 50 list has a bit of everything though. I was blown away by every album in my Top 5. Whether it was someone I already knew about or someone I was just discovering this year like Alex Williams. This year reminds me of 2010 when we had so many amazing releases it was hard for me to pick a favorite. Here are my top 50 albums in Country Music in 2017.
Top 50 albums of 2017
1.Colter Wall – Colter Wall : This album blew me away the moment I heard it. From Colter’s deep rich voice to his unique guihttp://garyhayescountry.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=7884&action=edittar style to his amazing songwriting. This is the record that kept me coming back all year. Shout out to W.B. Walker for a great radio interlude too.
2.Tyler Childers – Purgatory : Tyler Childers is an amazing talent. His voice is incredible and when he was paired with the production talents of Sturgill Simpson we got an album that had an amazing range in styles from folk to bluegrass to pure honky tonk. Tyler Childers is one to watch out for.
3.Sunny Sweeney – Trophy : Sunny Sweeney has always impressed me, however Trophy is her best record to date. This one has amazing songwriting and production and two of my favorite Sweeney songs in “Pass The Pain” and “I Feel LIke Hank Williams Tonight”.
4.Kendell Marvel – Lowdown & Lonesome : This album was a sleeper that delivered. Kendell Marvel is a songwriter just like Chris Stapleton and he delivered a mind blowing debut album this year. I can’t wait to see where he goes and look forward to seeing him live at some point in the future.
5. Alex Williams – Better Than Myself : I wasn’t sure what to think of Alex Williams’s debut album on Big Machine. It had all the makings of a great outlaw country record, but on a major label. Whoever is handling Alex Williams at Big Machine is doing a good job. He has made new fans every night on the road with Blackberry Smoke and seems like he will continue to make new fans playing with Whitey Morgan and The 78’s.
This will be updated as they provide me with MORE. Just like the rest of the 175 festivals this website sponsors and writes about I shall be in constant contact with the organizers and update this article as I deem fit, so with that being said HERE WE GO….
The 2018 Moonrunners Music Festival this year is being offiically announced here on Garyhayescountry.com. It takes place on May 4rth and 5th in Chicago Illinois at Reggies Rock Club ,and is an indoor two stage event. ALSO there is a HUGE record store upstairs and the food is really good on the third floor.
There is an all you can eat buffet all day for one set price in the side bar, this past spring I went and it was really good food. You can read more about my trip to this festival in 2017 HERE. My daughter and I had a wonderful time up there, both stages had some truly awesome bands.
The official sponsoring hotel is the South Loop Hotel which is only about 5 blocks from Reggies. That folks is about the only nearby hotel that I have found so far. This is an indoor event so the rules of the festival are pretty much the rules of the venue, however like EVERY festival there is ONE main rule: Don’t be a dick.
I recently found Matt Woods music after hearing some of my friends talking about him. I love his music and hope that you guys will also. Please share this interview to help spread Matt’s music and like this page so you never miss any future interviews. Thanks enjoy.
ROUND 1 – If you were asked to describe your music to a group of people that had never heard it, how would you describe it?
Matt ~ If I were a critic trying to write a review, I might say something like “It’s a big bowl of folk country rock’n’roll stew cooked with love and seasoned with truth and tales of the Appalachian south.” But what does that actually mean? I don’t know how to describe it and wouldn’t presume to attempt comparisons, not to mention the sound is always evolving. I hope folks will listen and make up their own minds.
ROUND 2 – Can you tell us your favorite lyrics of all time and tell us why those lyrics made such an impact on you personally?
Matt ~ That’s nearly impossible to answer. Start with just about anything Kristofferson ever wrote. The man is a poet.
ROUND 3 – Being a traveling musician I am sure you see and hear a lot while on tour, can you tell us about one of your favorite memories from the road?
Matt ~ There are lots of them and they tend to come out in those late night, corner-of-the-bar sort of conversations. One fond recent memory is watching the sun rise over the Baltic Sea on an overnight ferry trip from Sweden to Poland with the fellas in the band.
ROUND 4 – Most people love pets so to step away from the music a little, do you have any pets and if so can you tell us about them?
Matt ~ I love animals and my roommate has a rad English Bulldog named Oscar, but I don’t have any pets of my own at the moment. With all of the travel, it is a bit too hard.
ROUND 5 – What are your favorite hobbies outside of the music World?
Matt ~ When I have the opportunity, I love to get out on my motorcycle, but touring limits that quite a bit. I enjoy books, bar games, and cooking anytime I get the chance. The road and spending time in bars does allow me the opportunity to play a while bunch of pinball, though! I kinda want to open a pinball bar someday. That is maybe one of my favorite things to do.
Last Call – This is a place where you can tell your fans and the people who may be hearing about you for the first time anything that you would like them to know.
Matt ~ I think I would like to encourage folks to give the music a listen and connect with me on all of the social media outlets. Also, to realize that there is a whole world of music out here, across all genres, not represented in the mainstream radio format. I know it may take a little more work to find it, but I guarantee it’ll be worth the effort. Y’all be good to each other!
GENE WATSON GETS BACK TO HIS ‘GOSPEL ROOTS’ WITH ALBUM RELEASE DECEMBER 8
2017 R.O.P.E ‘Entertainer of the Year’ Winner
Tickets for North American Tour On Sale Now
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Gene Watson continues to stay true to his traditional country style with the release of his new record with New Day Christian Distribution, My Gospel Roots, available December 8. At the recent R.O.P.E. Awards, Watson celebrated his win for the 2017 Entertainer of the Year, an honor he shared with one of his best friends in the music business, Jeannie Seely.
“New Day Christian has a storied legacy of distributing quality Christian products,” said Dottie Leonard Miller, President New Day Christian. “We’re excited to add Gene Watson to that list. Gene’s voice is synonymous with Country music, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with him as he returns to his ‘roots.’”
Over the years, Watson has proved that he is one of the great traditional country artists of his generation, and is defiantly proud to release a Gospel album that stands out in the wave of today’s popular music. He is even prouder to dedicate his new album to his parents, Ted and Thelma Watson, who he credits for raising him in the church and sharing their love for Gospel music. The 13-track record brings the pure, organic country sound that Watson is famous for to gospel songs that he grew up with.
“This record really goes back to my roots of being in that little church and singin’ hymns. We had nothing but love, family and prayer back then, so I wanted to honor those traditions with this album,” Watson said.
Fans got a taste of what to expect from Watson’s new record with the release of his “Help Me” rendition on his 2016 album, Real.Country.Music. Originally penned by Larry Gatlin and recorded by Elvis Presley, “Help Me,” captivated audiences and rose to No. 1 in Christian Servant Magazine, Christian Voice Magazine and on Cashbox. My Gospel Roots includes “Help Me,” but also features Watson’s own renditions of many other classic Christian songs.
Watson includes songs from all different generations on his new record, and proves that he hasn’t lost a note in his incredible multi-octave range. One particular stand-out is “Old Roman Soldier, the first single releasing to Christian radio stations.
“I’d never heard a Gospel song written from the point of view of the Roman soldier who placed Jesus on the cross,” said Watson. “This song is true Country Gospel in the way it delivers a strong Christian message with such a visual story type setting.”
Despite a busy few months in the studio, Watson, who is often known as “The Singer’s Singer,” shows no sign of slowing down his touring schedule. Fans can expect to hear his powerhouse vocals on classics like “Love in the Hot Afternoon,” “Farewell Party”and “Fourteen Carat Mind,” alongside Watson’s gospel renditions.
Be sure to follow Gene Watson on Facebook or visit GeneWatsonMusic.com to order My Gospel Roots and purchase tickets to upcoming shows. To book Watson, contact Rob Battle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You know folks as a heavy vinyl record collector the Volunteer Jam series are still a hallowed addition to any collection on a must acquire basis. Especially the first four jams on a personal level they are special to me because of the fact they include Mr. Donnie and Mr. Dennis the Winters Brothers, who are the sons of Country Legend “Papa’ Don Winters. Don Winters joined Mr. Bobby Sykes in providing Mr. Marty Robbins with those mighty fine trio harmonies.
Since 1974, Volunteer Jam has brought together some of music’s greatest performers. Now, 43 years later, friends, fans, and an extraordinary lineup of musicians will come together for a very special night honoring music legend Charlie Daniels — Volunteer Jam XX. Wednesday, March 7th, 2018 // Bridgestone Arena, Nashville TN
Since 1974, Volunteer Jam has brought together some of music’s greatest performers. Now, 43 years later, friends, fans, and an extraordinary lineup of musicians will come together for a very special night honoring music legend Charlie Daniels — Volunteer Jam XX.
Charlie Daniels has collaborated with some of music’s most influential artists – from Elvis Presley to Bob Dylan – and with The Charlie Daniels Band has created such memorable hits as “Long Haired Country Boy,” “The South’s Gonna Do It Again,” “In America,” “The Legend of Wooley Swamp” and of course, the signature “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” which won a GRAMMY® for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. Daniels is also a tireless supporter of the men and women who serve the United States military.
“Charlie has had an enormous impact on American culture through his dedication to supporting our troops, founding the unique southern sound that we know and love, and creating the unforgettable Volunteer Jam legacy,” says Keith Wortman, CEO of Blackbird Presents. “I am honored to be producing this year’s Jam alongside Charlie’s longtime manager, David Corlew.”
“It’s hard to believe that it’s been 43 years since the CDB and some of our friends got together at War Memorial Auditorium for what was supposed to be a live recording session, a one-time happening that took on a life of its own and was to become known worldwide as The Volunteer Jam. I am extremely honored and excited to have this year’s Jam documented by Blackbird Presents. Gonna be a great night at the Volunteer Jam!”
Blackbird Presents’ Keith Wortman, creator and executive producer of Nashville’s recent highly acclaimed “All In For The Gambler: Kenny Rogers’ Farewell Concert Celebration” and “Sing Me Back Home: The Music of Merle Haggard,” is the executive producer of “Volunteer Jam XX: A Tribute To Charlie.” GRAMMY® Award Winner Don Was will serve as music director, and preside over a stellar house band including Chuck Leavell, Kenny Aronoff at this unforgettable concert event.
FOR COMPLETE SHOW DETAILS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL CONCERT WEBSITE: VolunteerJamXX.com
About Charlie Daniels
From his Dove Award winning gospel albums to his genre-defining Southern rock anthems and his CMA Award-winning country hits, few artists have left a more indelible mark on America’s musical landscape than Charlie Daniels. An outspoken patriot, beloved mentor to young artists and still a road warrior at age 81, Charlie has parlayed his passion for music into a multi-platinum career and a platform to support the military, underprivileged children and others in need.
Raised among the longleaf pines of North Carolina, Charlie began his career playing bluegrass music with the Misty Mountain Boys. After moving to Nashville in 1967, he began making a name for himself as a songwriter, session musician, and producer. Elvis Presley recorded a tune Charlie co-wrote titled “It Hurts Me,” which was released on the flip side of “Kissin’ Cousins.” He played on such landmark albums as Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline and tried his hand at producing on the Youngbloods’ Elephant Mountain and Ride the Wind.
His own unique voice as an artist emerged as Charlie recorded his self-titled solo album in 1970 for Capitol Records. Two years later he formed the Charlie Daniels Band and the group scored its first hit with the top ten “Uneasy Rider.” Since then the CDB has populated radio with such memorable hits as “Long Haired Country Boy,” “The South’s Gonna Do It Again,” “In America,” “The Legend of Wooley Swamp” and of course, his signature song, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” which won a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group in 1979 as well as single of the year at the Country Music Association Awards.
Visit Charlie Daniels at www.charliedaniels.com
STAR-STUDDED VOLUNTEER JAM XX
LINEUP CONTINUES TO GROW!
ALABAMA, Chris Young, Lee Brice, Sara Evans & Travis Tritt Just Added To Volunteer Jam XX
Travis Tritt is bringing his solo, acoustic show A Man and His Guitar to the CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on March 3rd at 8 p.m. You can purchase tickets by clicking the above link that says CMA Theater.
You know I often indulge into the many fine artists that were prevalent in the late 80’s and 90’s, when FM radio actually still played COUNTRY on it. I LOVED Garth’s first three albums, Doug Supernaw, Lorrie Morgan, Pam Tillis, Clint Black and many others. Some say that he is solely responsible for the reunion of the Eagles through his involvement of that Common Thread :Songs Of The Eagles album, which in my opinion would be a valid prognostication.
He hasn’t released an album of new material in four years however in 2016, he released “a Man And His Guitar” live from the Franklin Theater, and it was vastly overlooked by major media. Only small outfits like me even acknowledged it as a viable TOP 50 contender.
These types of shows are a special opportunity to witness his still top notch vocal abilities and his guitar picking ability has not faltered with time. It is something Miss Terri Clark is doing right now too, and honestly I’m truly enjoying this format.
So I will include all of the announced dates for this acoustic show on here, make sure to go catch him SOON!
A Marietta, Ga. native, Travis Tritt launched his music career 27 years ago. The Grammy award-winning artist continues to sell-out shows, top sales charts and stay true and relevant to Country music fans across the globe. Among his eleven studio albums and numerous charted singles are nineteen Top 10 hits, including “Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde,” “Love Of A Woman” and “T-R-O-U-B-L-E.” Travis Tritt’s twenty-five year career has produced millions in album sales, two Grammy award wins and multiple No. 1 singles on the Country radio charts.
The up-close and personal event will be punctuated with personal stories and anecdotes about Tritt’s life and musical influences as he performs some of his biggest hits, including “T-R-O-U-B-L-E,” “It’s A Great Day to Be Alive” and “Best of Intentions.
Once again the tickets for the special show went on sale Friday, Nov. 17 at 10 a.m. CST. For more information or to purchase, visit cmatheater.com.
This week I bring you all Mr. Jesse Kramer. Please share this interview to help spread Jesse’s music to others and remember to like this page if you like these interviews to ensure you don’t miss any upcoming musicians. Thanks I hope you enjoy.
Round 1 – If you were asked to describe your music to a group of people that had never heard it, how would you describe it?
Jesse – “It’s my own sound but I’d describe it as rock, roots, & alternative”
Round 2 – Can you tell us your favorite lyrics of all time and tell us why those lyrics made such an impact on you personally?
Jesse – “You want answers that time will only tell” from my original wasn’t meant to be- my favorite lyrics change all the time but for right now I’d say it’d be that. It fits and it reminds me that there’s so much left to learn and to keep working”
Round 3 – If you could chose anyone, who would you love to write a song with?
Jesse – “Foy Vance, because his songwriting is so in depth but understandable. He uses metaphors in a way that seems simple but hold more..if that makes sense lol…I feel like I relate to him and his writing”
Round 4 – Most people love pets so to step away from the music a little, do you have any pets and if so can you tell us about them?
Jesse – “I have a blue heeler mix with a dachshund. Her name is Opal and she is 6 months old”
Round 5 – What are your favorite hobbies outside of the music World?
Jesse – ” I like hanging with friends and I like pawn shops”
Last Call – This is an open question so you can say anything you want to the fans and people reading this.
Jesse – “I love my music and I love playing music. I think anyone who chases their dreams should be supported as much as possible- even being independent..it still calls for support, love, friendship, respect, and honesty..”
It’s time once again to feature one of the BEST FESTIVALS in Wisconsin The Blue Ox Festival which is also one that I have on my radar to attend soon. You know that I take great pride in my festival articles, and I enjoy finding new bands within these lineups. Festivals are a great way to have many bands in the same vicinity, where a guy like me can find of so much information about an abundance of bands all at once.
I can start my steel guitarist series live editions again next year, which I plan to pick back up soon. Many of these artists have albums on my TOP 50 of 2017 like Mr. Tyler Childers, and if you are a regular reader of what I DO you already know 16 of my TOP choices now!
EAU CLAIRE, WI (December 6, 2017) – Located in the pine and hardwood forests of Northwestern Wisconsin, the Blue Ox Music Festival welcomes thousands of roots music fans and musicians each June to the heart of Paul Bunyan country. Hosted by Pert Near Sandstone, Blue Ox showcases some of the best talent American roots music has to offer. Bringing the genre’s brightest artists to a beautiful and intimate setting.
Blue Ox Music Festival takes place June 14-16, 2018 in Eau Claire’s Whispering Pines Campground. Greensky Bluegrass, The Devil Makes Three, Sam Bush, Del McCoury Band, Margo Price, The Infamous Stringdusters, The SteelDrivers, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Mandolin Orange, Billy Strings, and Tyler Childers are just a few of the acts that will be performing at the 4th annual event. A full lineup is available below, additional artists and collaborations will be announced for the late-night stage in the future.
Blue Ox was founded in 2015 with the vision of an intimate music and camping experience focused on roots, Americana and bluegrass music. Set in the woodlands and fields that make up the Whispering Pines Campground, it is a perfect place to enjoy today’s best bluegrass and roots music. The line-up is as committed to honoring tradition with artists like the Del McCoury Band and Sam Bush, as artists like The Devil Makes Three and Greensky Bluegrass are committed towards building upon it.
This environment fosters a wonderful sense of community. Festival-goers jam into the night with friends old and new, some of whom are festival performers mingling around the campgrounds. Blue Ox Music Festival is kid-friendly with the option of camping in the quiet family camping section. Better yet, there is entertainment and activities geared towards children. Attendees aged 13 and under get into Blue Ox for free with a paid adult. Food and drink vendors are available onsite and tent camping is included with all general admission tickets.
Blue Ox strives to provide the quality and amenities of a large music festival on a smaller, more comfortable scale. Get in touch with us if you would like to learn more about this great music festival!
So on June 14th-16th Wisconsin will be full of Americana and Bluegrass acts up in the woods of Eau Claire on the scenic 75 acre campground called Whispering Pines Campground which is right off HWY 94 near the Minnesota border. I’m going to discuss camping and maps first, and then get into local area hotels next. Right below is adetailed map of the area, and the different packages for camping and staying on the premises.
No food or beverage carry-ins are allowed in festival bowl area.
Supplies, food, and beverages can be brought to your campsite. There is not an onsite store so bring your supplies. Wood and ice are available to purchase in the campgrounds.
You will be subject to search at the gates.
Unreserved Tent Camping is Included with all Tickets
The campground features tall pine trees, lots of shade, and beautiful views.
Blue Ox features several different camping options:
Electric Reserved (Power up your RV or Camper) You may park one unit with a steering wheel on your site. Your campsite does not include festival admission. A General Admission Ticket MUST be purchased separately.
RV/Camper Reserved If you plan to bring an RV, pull behind or pop up camper you will need to purchase an RV/Camper reserved site. This will ensure that you have enough space for your unit. All vehicles over 20′ require a reserved RV site. A General Admission Ticket MUST be purchased separately.
Car Camping If you prefer to park your car at your campsite or use your car as your sleeping unit, simply purchase a Car Camping pass and you will receive a tag for your vehicle to be parked at your site. If your vehicle is over 20′ you will need an RV site rather than a car camping pass. A General Admission Ticket MUST be purchased separately.
Unreserved Tent Camping Tent camping is included with your admission ticket, your car can be parked in the lot adjacent to Whispering Pines. (Sites are first come first serve basis)
Unreserved Family Tent Camping This area is considered quiet camping and the curfew will be enforced. Tent camping is included with your admission ticket, your car can be parked in the lot adjacent to Whispering Pines. (Sites are first come first served)
Whispering Pines Campground is has a beautiful 75-acre landscape. It offers many great features and amenities:
The campground is heavily wooded and most sites offer plenty of shade.
Amenities include a permanent shower building, a camping store, and you won’t have to walk far for all of the festival action.
Individuals that will be camping in an RV and have a Reserved Site in Electrical, Family Reserved, or Reserved Pines/Fields will have to opportunity to move in to their site a day early on Wednesday June 13th. To Signup –> Click Here
The campground opens on Thursday, June 14th at 7:00 a.m.
Whispering Pines Campground is located at 5024 Crescent Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54703
Best Western Plus Eau Claire Conference Center
Relaxed rooms with free WiFi & breakfast
Holiday Inn Eau Claire South I-94
Modern hotel with a steakhouse & pool
Metropolis Resort & Conference Center
Lively resort with a water park & dining
DEAL 28% less than usual
The Oxbow Hotel and The Lakely
Hip hotel with a lively bar/restaurant
DEAL 22% less than usual
GrandStay® Residential Suites Hotel – Eau Claire
Straightforward suites with free Wi-Fi
Super 8 Eau Claire I-94
Inn Towne Hotel
Hotel·678 Wisconsin St
Americas Best Value Inn – Campus View
Hotel with meeting spaces & 2 pools
Hampton Inn Eau Claire
Low-key rooms, free Wi-Fi & breakfast
Hampton Inn & Suites Chippewa Falls
Relaxed hotel with pool & free breakfast
Days Inn West-Eau Claire
Laid-back lodging with a fitness room
Super 8 Eau Claire WI
Budget hotel with free breakfast & Wi-Fi
Scottish Inns & Suites
Roadside pick with modest rooms
AmericInn Hotel & Suites Eau Claire
Simple pick with free Wi-Fi & breakfast
Best Western Plus Eau Claire Conference Center
Relaxed rooms with free WiFi & breakfast
The Lismore Hotel Eau Claire – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
Conference hotel with a rooftop lounge
Holiday Inn Eau Claire South I-94
Modern hotel with a steakhouse & pool
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Eau Claire North
Traditional rooms & an indoor pool
Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Eau Claire, WI
Casual option with an indoor pool
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Eau Claire Chippewa Falls
Relaxed hotel with an indoor pool
Staybridge Suites Eau Claire – Altoona
Upmarket all-suite hotel with a pool
Bus Route 1 Best Western Trail Lodge – 3340 Mondovi Road
Thursday: 3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm
Friday-Saturday: 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm
Quality Inn – 3117 Craig Road Super 8 – 1151 W. MacArthur Avenue
Pick up location is on Craig Road between the two hotels
Thursday: 3:40pm, 4:40pm, 5:40pm, 6:40pm, 7:40pm, 8:40pm
Friday-Saturday: 9:40am, 10:40am, 11:40am, 12:40pm, 1:40pm, 2:40pm, 3:40pm, 4:40pm, 5:40pm, 6:40pm
America’s Best Value Inn – 809 W. Clairemont Avenue
Thursday: 3:45pm, 4:45pm, 5:45pm, 6:45pm, 7:45pm, 8:45pm
Friday-Saturday: 9:45am, 10:45am, 11:45am, 12:45pm, 1:45pm, 2:45pm, 3:45pm, 4:45pm, 5:45pm, 6:45pm
Bus Route 2 The Oxbow Hotel – 516 S. Galloway Street
Thursday: 3:25pm, 4:25pm, 5:25pm, 6:25pm, 7:25pm, 8:25pm
Friday-Saturday: 9:25am, 10:25am, 11:25am, 12:25pm, 1:25pm, 2:25pm, 3:25pm, 4:25pm, 5:25pm, 6:25pm
The Lismore Hotel Parking Ramp Downtown – 333 Gibson Street
Thursday: 3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm
Friday-Saturday: 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm
The times listed are departure times. Please be ready to board the shuttles at the above times. Shuttle service will return to all locations after the close of the last show. No buses will leave the festival unless full from 9 p.m. to the end of the last show. Bus schedules may change during weather related emergencies.
Prices are $30 for a 3 day pass, $15 for a 1 day pass. Rides are unlimited for the day purchased. Please have EXACT CASH when purchasing your pass, you can purchase the pass from the driver.
So, now that you have all of thy information on how to lay your head and the days you’ll need the hotel let’s look at the FUN STUFF like the music and the activities that transpire at the Blue Ox, some of the food vendors and anything else I can find for you.
HERE is a complete map of the entire festival straight from the website, also you can purchase the tickets by clicking any of those links.
Additional information on Blue Ox Music Festival: Tickets are on sale from now until December 20 at a special early bird rate. General admission three-day tickets are $159 and children 13 and under are free. Unreserved tent camping and parking is included in the general admission pass. Reserved RV camping and car camping passes are available as well, to find out more please check the website:
Alan Jackson Celebrates a Landmark Year
With Show-Capping CMA Awards Performance!
With a year of sold-out shows and packed houses in the rearview mirror, newly-minted Country Music Hall of Famer Alan Jackson’s Honky Tonk Highway Tour adds more miles and rolls into 2018, leading to more great cities with a year-long lineup of shows!
The country music icon will hit the Honky Tonk Highway again beginning January 19, heading down the road to a city near you as he plays arena concerts, amphitheatre shows, and some of the biggest annual festivals and multi-day events on the country music calendar (detailed listing below). The tour extends the superstar’s 2017 trek that began in front of sold-out crowds in Florida, Oklahoma, California and RodeoHouston and wrapped in front of SRO audiences in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Louisiana and Texas.
Tickets and information for all Honky Tonk Highway Tour dates are available at alanjackson.com/tour, where you can find information about Alan, his tour schedule, music and more. Jackson is again teaming up with CID Entertainment to offer fans VIP experiences at many of his 2018 shows.
Alan Jackson’s Honky Tonk Highway Tour will find the country icon performing hits that have gained him legions of longtime fans, songs that continue to draw new crowds as a younger generation discovers his music. Jackson’s repertoire stands the test of time; it has impacted a field of artists who cite Jackson as an influence. It’s these same songs – many written by Alan – that earned him his newfound place alongside country music’s greatest names and cemented his place in its history with membership in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Fans will hear the songs they love from the man who wrote them and made them famous, including his debut hit “Here in The Real World”…signature songs such as “Chattahoochee,” “Drive” and “Gone Country”…party anthems “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” and “Good Time”…and many, many more.
Jackson’s tour announcement follows his show-ending CMA Awards performance celebrating his 2017 induction to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Alan and his band, The Strayhorns, reminded fans what they’ll enjoy on the Honky Tonk Highway Tour in 2018 as he closed out “Country Music’s Biggest Night” with back-to-back performances of “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow” and “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” (the latter with hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley), bringing the star-filled audience to its feet as the likes of Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Eric Church and others could be seen singing along to Alan’s memories of “livin’ that honky tonk dream.”
Alan Jackson’s touring history has taken him across America and to places far beyond, and his music has gained him fans around the globe. In 2018, he’ll continue his tradition of “keepin’ it country” for people far and wide as he travels the HONKY TONK HIGHWAY, bringing nearly 30 years of hits to a city near you!
ALAN JACKSON’S 2018 “HONKY TONK HIGHWAY TOUR” (partial listing – more dates to be announced/added)
Friday, January 19 – Lexington, KY (Rupp Arena) **++
Saturday, January 20 – Little Rock, AR (Verizon Arena) ^^++
Thursday, February 8 – Independence, MO (Silverstein Eye Centers Arena) ^^
Friday, February 9 – Indianapolis, IN (Bankers Life Fieldhouse) ^^
Thursday, February 15 – San Antonio, TX (San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo) **
Friday, February 16 – Grand Prairie, TX (Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie) ^^
Friday, March 23 – Toledo, OH (Huntington Center)
Saturday, May 24 – Pittsburgh, PA (Venue TBD)
Friday, April 27 – Baltimore, MD (Royal Farms Arena)
Saturday, April 28 – Albany, NY (Times Union Center) ^^
Friday, May 4 – Tuscaloosa, AL (Tuscaloosa Amphitheatre)
Saturday, June 23 – Orange Beach, FL (The Wharf) ^^
Friday, July 27 – Central Point, OR (Country Crossing Music Festival) **
Saturday, July 28 – Mountain Home, ID (Mountain Home Country Music Festival) **
Thursday, August 16 – Vienna, VA (Wolf Trap)
Friday, August 17 – Gilford, NH (Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion) ^^
Saturday, September 15 – Charlotte, NC (Spectrum Center) ^^
**Date is already onsale ^^Tickets onsale Friday, November 17 ++with special guest Lauren Alaina
The Kentucky Bluegrass Music Kickoff will be held at the Marion County High School Roby Dome January 26-27 2018. Overnight package deals and tickets are available HERE. You know folks I try my best to cover as much music as possible and its not easy, but I think I manage to pull it off quite nicely.
This is an eastern Kentucky event that I have been asked to cover from a PR company that I often work with, and what a blessed event they have set up for this community. Folks this event helps involve youth and encourage them to play music, which I think is essential for today’s youth.
This year’s featured performer is Grammy nominated Michael Cleveland And Flamekeeper who’s precise attention to detail has attracted much attention from Bluegrass purists and new fans alike. His album just barely missed my TOP 50 however I have featured him on this website many times. He will blow you away if you have never witnessed his professional attitude and love fo0r this genre.
I’ll be bringing you MANY great Bluegrass events this next year IN FACT out of covering 175 festivals 40 of them are Bluegrass, and another 45 of them book both Bluegrass and Americana based acts. All over America these festivals are spreading and thriving becuase of people like me and people like you!
2018 Singer/Songwriter entry forms are available HERE
AgCredit Nex-Gen Bluegrass Music Singing Contest entry forms are available HERE
AgCredit Nex-Gen Bluegrass Music Youth Contest entry forms are available HERE
Not too long ago I had the opportunity to see Country Legend John Conlee on the Opry. Now John is another Country Legend with a new album coming out in 2018, like a LONG list of them that mainstream media is ignoring. Soon I’ll be posting about another Country Legend in his prime, Gene Watson. Mr. John sang a new song for law enforcement called “Walking Behind The Star”.
This album will be the third and final installment of his cherished “Classics” series, and I feel this will be one of his best because of the song choices on it. I truly admire many of the songwriters he collaborated with on this album, like Rory Feek who wrote “Bible And A Belt”. Songwriting Legend Hugh Prestwood wrote “Learning To Live” and “Unborn Voice”, as well as a often overlooked Merle Haggard song called “Jesus Take A Hold” from the 1970 “Hag” album.
This album is available for pre sale off his website and off ITunes, but not anywhere else yet. He has slowed down on the touring some, but at 71 he still plays many shows across America and overseas. We will be reporting more about this album for sure in the following few months, keeping an eye on him.
Classics 3 Track Listing:
1. “Got My Heart Set On You”
2. “Learning How To Love”
3. “Working Man”
4. “The Carpenter”
5. “A Bible And A Belt”
6. “The Shade”
7. “Unborn Voice”
8. “Living Like There’s No Tomorrow”
9. “The Rock”
10. “Lonely Don’t Know When To Leave”
11. “Could You Love Me One More Time”
12. “Jesus Take A Hold”
ABOUT JOHN CONLEE:Kentucky native and Grand Ole Opry member, John Conlee, has one of country music’s most recognizable voices. Self-penned and signature hit “Rose Colored Glasses,” was the first of over 30 hit singles, most of which charted in the Top 10 or better. Some of the songs from the John Conlee hit list include “Back Side of Thirty,” “Lady Lay Down,” “Friday Night Blues,” “Common Man,” “I’m Only In It For The Love” and “Domestic Life.” All of Conlee’s hits have that unmistakable common thread – that unique voice. In 2015, Conlee released Classics 2 that includes a tribute to law enforcement titled “Walkin’ Behind the Star,” and in 2018 Classics 3 will be released.
I don’t need to tell you any more about Mr. Whitey Morgan And The 78’s unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years. His last album Sonic Ranch made my TOP 50 OF 2016, and I have featured his shows many time on this website. I have watched him perform at so many venues in so many states it’s not funny, however this New Years Eve I will see him in Kentucky..I have not been to him in Kentucky before at least that I can recall?
I have a nice lead on a bed and breakfast across the street, so I don’t have to drive..not that I’m worried because well I don’t post personal stuff on here..but I’m having a bout with my liver. I cannot drink anymore, it’s taken so much damage in my past. I’ll be honest I don’t really miss the blackout drunks, however I DO STILL enjoy listening to Ol Mr. Whitey sing about whiskey and being inebriated. So if you see me BUY ME A WATER, because i’m supposed to stop the cokes too. Dammit now the coke colas are MY vice..
Anyways getting back on track here, lets talk about the fact he has Mr. Ward Davis as an opener whom played the Ryman with Mr. Cody Jinks Read about Ward Davis at the Ryman HERE and I have went to see him play all over this year. I follow that scene and that crowd quite prevalent, and have many good friends within it. We’re waiting for a new album from this songwriting genius, with much anticipation, and all we know right now is the song “Geronimo”. I went to see him at the Warehouse In Bowling Green and you can go there and watch the video of the song.
Now THEN let’s chat for a moment about a DEFINITE addition to my TOP 50 of 2017 (SEE if you read me on a regular basis I HAVE REVEALED 15 TOP 50 already). Mr. Alex Williams is one of the few that I saw on Big Machine Records that doesn’t scare me. In fact I was beyond impressed with what he has brought to the table here, and I cannot wait to feature his set on here, and bring you videos and commentary on what I see!
Mr.Josh Card And The Restless Souls is another opener I am truly looking forward to seeing that night.You know folks one thing this website is known for is discovering opening acts many other websites overlook. I don’t spend time with comment forums and discussions with my readers INSTEAD I’m busy studying people and books. I’m NOT making fun of anybody I’m just stating how I RUN my business, and it garners me more results.
Here is HIS BIO from his website:
Josh Card was raised in a small “one stoplight” town in Northeast Florida, where everybody knows your name, the County Fair is the best time of year, and simpler ways of living still exist. His small town beginnings and humble Southern upbringing landed him at age 13 holding a guitar that his Grandmother bought him, sitting on the porch of the house his Grandfather built, at the end of a dirt road, trying to play along with her Conway Twitty albums. The rebellion stage soon followed, and driven by teen angst and a thirst for loud music, Josh spent the next 15 years playing in several successful punk and hardcore acts, touring internationally and releasing several albums.
Now, residing in Louisville, KY, Josh has reunited with his roots to play the music that he has carried with him throughout the years. The songs he’s been writing and storing are finally being heard. Josh went into the studio in November of 2016 and recorded his first Country album. Pulling elements and influence from his Honky-Tonk and Outlaw heroes, Josh has made an album that provides to his listeners what modern day Country music lacks: authenticity, honesty, substance, and soul. On February 17th, 2017, Josh will release his debut full length album, “Josh Card and The Restless Souls” digitally, on CD, and vinyl record. Building steam with his passionate and captivating live performances, there is no doubt this album will pave the way for his future in music. There’s a new name in Country music, and like Josh’s idols that came before him, he’s doing things his way.
NOW WHERE IS THIS YOU ASK well This New Years Eve night I’ll be at the Plaza Theater in the heart of Glasgow Kentucky and you better get tickets NOW because the 35, and 25 are the ONLY ONES LEFT for this event. This is a VERY NICE venue and I fully intend to bring you much information on this show. From their website:
As far as outlaw country goes, Whitey Morgan is the real f’ing deal. Whisky-soaked, weed-smoked, firepit-stoked. The redo of Johnny Cash’s ‘Bad News’ seals the deal. — Detroit Metro Times
Outlaw’s always been the rough-around-the-edges, tough guy uncle at the country music family picnic. Denim and leather, not Stetson and Nudie. Hair by Pennzoil, not Pomade. But, in the right hands—Haggard, Paycheck, Junior, Willie and Waylon and now Whitey Morgan—Outlaw is more than beards and bandanas, ink and attitude, it’s damn folk music. It’s about doing the best you can, about getting by and about cold beer and colder women—everything that keeps the honky tonks full on a Saturday night. It’s about standing up when it’d just be easier to fall down.
Elephant Revival – Elephant Revival is a unique collection of multi-instrumentalists blending elements of gypsy, Celtic, Americana, and folk. Brought together by a unified sense of purpose, Elephant Revival communicates the importance of harmony among all living things and uses music to unite us in ways that no other medium can. Elephant Revival is scheduled to play the Hillside Stage on Friday.
Rhiannon Giddens – Singer-songwriter Rhiannon Giddens is the co-founder of the GRAMMY award-winning string band Carolina Chocolate Drops, playing banjo and fiddle. Giddens’ 2014 Grammy nominated solo debut, Tomorrow Is My Turn, blends gospel, jazz, blues, and country, and showcases her dazzling vocal prowess. Giddens follow-up album Freedom Highway, largely comprised of original songs, was released to widespread critical acclaim in February. She performed at the Obama White House and duets with country star Eric Church on his powerful anti-racism hit “Kill a Word.” Last year she received the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Singer of the Year and the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Bluegrass and Banjo and in 2017 won the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” award. In 2018, Giddens will be the guest curator for the Cambridge Folk Festival. Giddens also has a recurring role on the recently revived television drama Nashville . Rhiannon Giddens is scheduled to play Saturday on the Watson Stage.
Rodney Crowell – Rodney Crowell is a multiple Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter who has written or recorded 15 #1 songs on the Country music charts. He has also won six Americana Music Awards, including the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting, and he is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. His songs have been recorded by country legends (Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, George Strait), to current country chart toppers (Tim McGraw, Keith Urban) to blues icons (Etta James), and rock and roll legends (Van Morrison, Bob Seger). Crowell’s latest album, Close Ties , was released in March 2017 on New West Records to critical acclaim. Rodney Crowell is scheduled to play the Cabin Stage on Friday.
Shinyribs – SHINYRIBS is the continuation of Kevin Russell’s musical journey that began in Beaumont, TX when, at 14, he found his father’s guitar under his bed, along with a sewing machine, a billy club and a box of comic books. Luckily he chose the guitar. Following his family’s oil boom and bust migratory path he landed in Shreveport, LA where he formed his first band. Picket Line Coyotes were a Husker Du meets Elvis Costello hybrid that lived and died between the “Arklatexabamassippi” borders much like their unfortunate animal namesake. That’s what took him to Austin where The Gourds were born from those Coyote ashes. That storied band of pumpkins came to an end after 18 years of good times and hard travelin’. From that point on Russell, has been riding high on the Shinyribs river of country-soul, swamp-funk and tickle. A Shinyribs show is an exaltation of spirit. It’s a hip shaking, belly laughing, soul-singing, song-slinging, down-home house party. Shinyribs is scheduled to play the Watson Stage on Thursday.
“For over 30 years, one of the major factors that has built and sustained MerleFest has been the quality of the artists and performances that our guests see over the 4 day festival,” says Ted Hagaman, Festival Director. “People truly feel that the festival is a great value and that is why music fans and families return year after year. We feel that the 2018 lineup again reflects the diversity and quality of performers and we look forward to another successful festival in April.” The 2018 current lineup may be viewed at MerleFest.org/lineup .
Tickets for next year’s festival may be purchased HERE or by calling 1-800-343-7857. MerleFest offers a three-tiered pricing structure and encourages fans to take advantage of the extended early bird discount. Early Bird Tier 1 tickets may be purchased from November 14 to February 18, 2018; Early Bird Tier 2 tickets from February 19 to April 25. Tickets will be sold using Tier 3 pricing at the gate during the festival.
MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the son of the late American music legend Doc Watson, renowned guitarist Eddy Merle Watson. MerleFest is a celebration of “traditional plus” music, a unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including old-time, classic country, bluegrass, folk and gospel and blues, and expanded to include Americana, classic rock and many other styles. The festival hosts a diverse mix of artists on its 13 stages during the course of the four-day event. MerleFest has become the primary fundraiser for the WCC Foundation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.
About Window World
Window World, headquartered in North Wilkesboro, N.C., is America’s largest replacement window and exterior remodeling company, with more than 200 locally owned offices nationwide. Founded in 1995, the company sells and installs windows, siding, doors and other exterior products, with a total of over 14 million windows sold to date. Window World is an ENERGY STAR partner, and its window products have earned the Good Housekeeping Seal for 10 consecutive years. Additionally, through its charitable foundation Window World Cares , the Window World family provides funding for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which honored the foundation with its Organizational Support Award in 2017. Since its inception in 2008, Window World Cares has raised over $7 million for St. Jude. Window World Inc. also supports the Veterans Airlift Command, a non-profit organization that facilitates free air transportation to wounded veterans and their families. For more information, visit www.WindowWorld.com or call 1-800 NEXT WINDOW. For home improvement and energy efficiency tips, décor ideas and more, follow Window World on Facebook and Twitter .
WILKESBORO, N.C. (January 16, 2018) – MerleFest, presented by Window World and slated for April 26 – 29, is proud to announce five additions to the 2018 lineup: The Mavericks, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Mandolin Orange, Alison Brown, and Brandy Clark.
The annual homecoming of musicians and music fans returns to the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. MerleFest has already announced over 75 artists for 2018, including Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Rodney Crowell, Rhiannon Giddens, Elephant Revival, The Devil Makes Three, a Midnight Jam hosted by Town Mountain and Jim Lauderdale, and many more. The rest of the distinguished lineup for MerleFest 2018 will roll out over the next few months.
The Mavericks – The genre-defying Mavericks are declaring their independence and stepping out on their own with Brand New Day, the first studio album released on Mono Mundo Recordings, the label they founded in 2016. Brand New Day is the follow-up to the widely praised albums Mono (2015) and In Time (2013). Flashing the same exhilarating, beyond-category style that has defined the Mavericks, the new album introduces a collection of taut, energetic, economical songs sure to be embraced by both original fans of their top-10 albums and hit singles of the ‘90s and a new generation of listeners who have joined the party since their triumphant 2012 reunion. It is the mature and timely work of an exciting and underestimated American band that has embraced its own destiny.
“This is the first studio record on our own label, and it is an important component in the band’s history,” Malo says, “but the real goal was just to make a great record.”
The new collection – co-produced like its immediate predecessors by the band’s golden-voiced singer Raul Malo and Niko Bolas (Neil Young, Warren Zevon, Melissa Etheridge), who is partnered with the band in the new Mono Mundo imprint – features the core members of the group since their reformation: Malo, drummer Paul Deakin, guitarist Eddie Perez, and keyboardist Jerry Dale McFadden, along with auxiliary members “the Fantastic Four” filling out the set’s brawny sound with their signature accordion and horns. The Mavericks will play the Watson Stage on Thursday night.
Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn – With one eye on using the banjo to showcase America’s rich heritage and the other pulling the noble instrument from its most familiar arena into new and unique realms, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn’s second album Echo in the Valley is simultaneously familiar and wildly innovative. Echo in the Valley is the follow up to Béla and Abigail’s acclaimed, self-titled debut that earned the 2016 Grammy for Best Folk Album. This time around, the mission was to take their double banjo combination of three finger and clawhammer styles “to the next level and find things to do together that we had not done before,” says Béla. “We’re expressing different emotions through past techniques and going to deeper places.” The results are fascinating, especially considering their strict rules for recording: all sounds must be created by the two of them, the only instruments used are banjos (they have seven between them, ranging from a ukulele to an upright bass banjo), and they must be able to perform every recorded song live. Fleck and Washburn will play the Watson Stage on Friday night.
Mandolin Orange – Mandolin Orange’s music is “laced with bluegrass, country and folk…often wistful and contemplative without being somber, and always firmly grounded in the South” (WNYC). The Chapel Hill, N.C. duo has built a noteworthy catalog of recordings and performances since their founding in 2009. Their live shows are filled with vibrant chemistry, effortless instrumentation, and breezy, fluid harmonies that continue to win over local and far away fans. Recent performances include Red Rocks Amphitheater, Telluride Bluegrass, Newport Folk Festival, Bonnaroo and Pickathon, with 2018 performances in support of the Avett Brothers at PNC Arena and Josh Ritter at the Ryman Auditorium. Hailed by No Depression as “one of the most talented acts making music today,” Mandolin Orange’s most recent album “Blindfaller” debuted #3 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Album Chart, was featured on NPR’s Heavy Rotation and made Rolling Stone’s “40 Best Country Albums of 2016.”
“The musical tapestry of ‘Blindfaller’ is delicately woven with lush threads of acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin, violin and pedal steel, all ever-present without ever overplaying. However, it’s the vocal interplay of Frantz and Marlin that is the band’s most distinctive calling card” (Rolling Stone). Lean in to the album and you’ll understand why. You’ll hear the way it magnifies the intimacy at the heart of the North Carolina duo’s music, as if they created their own musical language as they recorded it. Mandolin Orange will play the Watson Stage on Friday night.
Alison Brown – Alison Brown has taken an unlikely path in establishing herself as one of the most critically acclaimed banjoists in the world. A former investment banker (she has a bachelor’s degree in History and Literature from Harvard and an MBA from UCLA), she toured with Alison Krauss and Union Station and Michelle Shocked before forming her own group, The Alison Brown Quartet. She has recorded 10 critically-acclaimed solo albums, received 4 Grammy nominations, a Grammy award and the Banjo Player of the Year award from the International Bluegrass Music Association. Alison has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s All Things Considered and in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. She was personally requested to play at the inauguration of Harvard’s first female president, Drew Faust, and was a recipient of Irish America Magazine’s “Stars of the South Award” for her efforts towards the “cultivation and preservation of Irish music.” In 2014 she was awarded the prestigious United States Artists fellowship for excellence in music. Alison and her band have performed at a long list of music festivals in the US and abroad including The Newport Folk Festival, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, MerleFest, Rochester Jazz Festival, Celtic Connections (UK), Verbier Festival (Switzerland), Country Gold (Japan). Alison is also co-founder of the internationally recognized Compass Records Group, which has been called by Billboard Magazine “one of the greatest independent labels of the last decade.” She currently serves on the board of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce and on adjunct faculty of Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music. Alison Brown will play the Hillside Stage on Saturday and the Watson Stage on Sunday.
Brandy Clark – The Nashville, Tennessee-based Clark received her first of an impressive six career GRAMMY nominations in 2013 in the Best Country Song category for co-writing the Miranda Lambert No. 1 hit “Mama’s Broken Heart.” Her talent as a storyteller has quickly propelled her into critical acclaim as one of Nashville’s best tunesmiths. Subsequently writing songs for Sheryl Crow, The Band Perry, Reba McEntire, LeAnn Rimes, Billy Currington, Darius Rucker, and Kacey Musgraves to name a few. In 2015, Brandy independently released her own debut album 12 Stories, which embraced by music lovers and critics alike and was subsequently nominated for two GRAMMYs including Best New Artist and Best Country Album. 12 Stories went on to be named “Best Album of 2013” by The Boston Globe, New York Magazine, NPR, The New York Post, and more. Brandy also won the 2014 CMA Song of the Year Award for “Follow Your Arrow,” which she co-wrote with Shane McAnally and Kacey Musgraves, and was also nominated for a CMA New Artist Of The Year that same year. 2016 brought the release of her sophomore album Big Day In A Small Town, which also garnered two GRAMMY nominations for Best Country Album and Best Country Solo Performance (“Love Can Go To Hell”) and once again topped critics’ “Best of” lists including NPR, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Billboard, among others thus cementing Clark as one of country music’s most talented artists, beloved by fans, critics, and fellow entertainers alike. Famed music critic and author, Ann Powers, calls Clark, “a storyteller of the highest caliber.” Brandy Clark will play at the Watson Stage on Friday.
WILKESBORO, N.C. (March 20, 2018) – MerleFest, presented by Window World, is pleased to announce the return of the beloved Midnight Jam and the start of the Barn Dance. Following tradition, the well-known, fan favorite Midnight Jam will take place on Saturday night, prefaced by the Barn Dance. The legendary music festival is an annual homecoming of musicians and music fans; this year’s festival is scheduled for April 26-29 in Wilkesboro, North Carolina at Wilkes Community College.
The Midnight Jam is one of MerleFest’s most cherished traditions. This very popular after-hours hootenanny gathers many performers from the festival for impromptu artistic collaborations and one-of-a-kind superstar jams that have become legendary in the festival’s history.
For MerleFest 2018, noted songwriter Jim Lauderdale and North Carolina’s own Town Mountain will host the Midnight Jam, presented by renowned music website BGS at the Walker Center, is set to start at 10:30 p.m. and will run well past midnight. The 2018 Midnight Jam will feature a very special Doc Watson Tribute; in addition to Lauderdale and Town Mountain, the Midnight Jam will host a wide array of talent, including performances by Buddy Miller, Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, John Cowan, Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz of Mandolin Orange, Bryan Sutton, and many more. A separate ticket is required and available for purchase by four-day, three-day and Saturday ticket holders. Town Mountain will also host the Saturday Night Barn Dance, another Merlefest moment not to be missed; the lively and loud event starts at 7:45 p.m. on the Dance Stage.
“Many years ago, Tony Rice and a few others came up with the concept and started the Midnight Jam,” remembers Steve Johnson, MerleFest artist relations manager. “From there the Midnight Jam has become a highlight of the MerleFest weekend, bringing together unique configurations and surprising ensembles of musicians gathered at the festival. You never know who may walk out from behind the curtain to take the stage on Saturday night in the Walker Center.”
Jim Lauderdale is a multi-Grammy award winner and “songwriter’s songwriter,” who has written/co-written many modern classics for iconic artists. As a solo artist, since 1986 up until now, he’s created a body of work spanning 29 albums of imaginative roots music, encompassing country, bluegrass, soul, R&B and rock, as well as helping pave the way for the current Americana movement. Jim has written songs and worked with some of the finest artists in traditional and modern music, including Robert Hunter, Ralph Stanley, Elvis Costello, George Strait, Buddy Miller, Lucinda Williams, John Oates, Solomon Burke, Lee Ann Womack, Old Crow Medicine Show, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Blake Shelton, the Dixie Chicks, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, and Gary Allan among others. He also co-hosts a weekly radio show on SiriusXM with Buddy Miller, “The Buddy & Jim Show,” and is the co-host of Music City Roots, the weekly live and radio, podcast and PBS series. In 2016 the Americana Music Association honored Jim during the 15th Annual Americana Awards and Honors with the WagonMaster Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by George Strait.
Raw, soulful, and with plenty of swagger,Town Mountain has earned raves for their hard-driving sound, their in-house songwriting and the honky-tonk edge that permeates their exhilarating live performances, whether in a packed club or at a sold-out festival. The hearty base of Town Mountain’s music is the first and second generation of bluegrass spiced with country, old school rock ‘n’ roll, and boogie-woogie. It’s what else goes into the mix that brings it all to life both on stage and on record and reflects the group’s wide-ranging influences – from the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia and the ethereal lyrics of Robert Hunter, to the honest, vintage country of Willie, Waylon, and Merle.
The Bend Bulletin’s Brian McElhiney says Town Mountain, “has serious country and rock’n’ roll DNA.” Town Mountain features guitarist and vocalist Robert Greer, banjoist Jesse Langlais, mandolinist Phil Barker, fiddler Bobby Britt, and Zach Smith on bass. Town Mountain is working on their sixth studio album and was recently recording in Echo Mountain Studios with Producer Caleb Klauder. The forthcoming album will be full of new original material and released later in the year.
MerleFest’s lineup reflects the diversity and quality of performers who are the hallmark of the festival. MerleFest is known for its unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented music from the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music, Americana, blues, country, Celtic, Cajun, cowboy, zydeco, rock and many other styles that the late Doc Watson referred to as “traditional plus.”
MerleFest Announces 2018 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest Finalists
WILKESBORO, N.C. (April 3, 2018) – Today, the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Contestannounces the 2018 finalists that will perform at MerleFest. The final round of the competition will take place Friday, April 27; first place winners will receive $600 cash and a Friday night performance slot on the Cabin Stage. Now in its 26th year, CASC is an extraordinary opportunity for songwriters to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of Nashville music industry professionals, under the direction of volunteer contest chairperson, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale. MerleFest, presented by Window World, spans from April 26-29 in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, at Wilkes Community College.
The following twelve talented writers were selected from over 1021 entries and will compete Friday, April 27 on the Austin Stage:
Frank D. Ray (Hillsboro, Missouri) – “False Hearted Love”
James Woolsey (Petersburg, Indiana) – “Lights of Home”
Vickie Austin (Fall Branch, Tennessee) – “Can’t Hold On To Much”
Andy Owens (Boone, North Carolina) – “The Truth of Love”
Beth lee (Black Mountain, North Carolina) – “Sacred Song”
Bob Hight (Greensboro, North Carolina) – “Heaven Will Be Mine”
Amanda Fields, Tom Buller (Nashville, Tennessee) – “Whiskey Ain’t Got Nothing on You”
Cliff Westfall (Highland Park, New Jersey) – “More and More”
Marie Bradshaw (Centerville, Utah), Daniel Young, Kiki Jane Sieger (North Salt Lake, Utah) – “These Walls (May Never Come Down)”
This year’s competition will be judged by 2018 festival headliner and Grammy-award winning artistRodney Crowell; acclaimed vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Marlin of Mandolin Orange; and previous CASC winner Johnny Williams of the Jeanette Williams Band. All finalists will also get to take part in a songwriting mentoring session with Lauderdale, Marlin, and Williams.
The first round of the CASC takes place in Nashville, Tennessee, where applicants were narrowed down to 12 finalists representing four categories: bluegrass, country, general, and gospel/inspirational. The first-round judges included Grammy-nominated bassist and Watson family collaborator T Michael Coleman; noted artist Ken Tizzard, bassist of The Watchmen; former CASC winner and critically-acclaimed songwriter Aaron Burdett; and 2018 MerleFest performer CJ Lewandowski of The Po’ Ramblin Boys.
Net proceeds from the contest support the Wilkes Community College Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship. Since its inception, the scholarship has awarded over $41,000 to deserving students. To learn more details about the contest, visit www.MerleFest.org/CASC.
Tickets for the festival may be purchased at www.MerleFest.org or by calling 1-800-343-7857. MerleFest offers a tiered pricing structure and encourages fans to take advantage of the early bird discount. Early Bird Tier 2 tickets from February 19 to April 25. Tickets will be sold using Tier 3 pricing at the gate during the festival.
About Chris Austin
Chris Austin, from Boone, North Carolina, worked as a sideman for Ricky Skaggs for three years, singing and playing guitar, banjo, mandolin and fiddle. During that time, he was discovered by executives at Warner Bros. who offered him a recording contract. While releasing singles including “Blues Stay Away from Me,” “I Know There’s a Heart in There Somewhere” and “Out of Step,” Austin also developed his songwriting skills, as evidenced in “Same Ol’ Love,” recorded by Skaggs in 1991. On March 16, 1991, Austin’s life was cut tragically short when the private plane carrying him and six other members of Reba McEntire’s band, as well as her tour manager, crashed near San Diego. Pete Fisher, then of Warner Songs and former general manager of The Grand Ole Opry, and Kari Estrin, previous “Pickin’ for Merle” video associate producer, initiated the songwriting contest to honor Austin’s memory.
MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the son of the late American music legend Doc Watson, renowned guitarist Eddy Merle Watson. MerleFest is a celebration of “traditional plus” music, a unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including old-time, classic country, bluegrass, folk and gospel and blues, and expanded to include Americana, classic rock and many other styles. The festival hosts a diverse mix of artists on its 13 stages during the course of the four-day event. MerleFest has become the primary fundraiser for the WCC Foundation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.
About Window World
Window World, headquartered in North Wilkesboro, N.C., is America’s largest replacement window and exterior remodeling company, with more than 200 locally owned offices nationwide. Founded in 1995, the company sells and installs windows, siding, doors and other exterior products, with a total of over 14 million windows sold to date. Window World is an ENERGY STAR partner, and its window products have earned the Good Housekeeping Seal for 10 consecutive years. Additionally, through its charitable foundation Window World Cares, the Window World family provides funding for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which honored the foundation with its Organizational Support Award in 2017. Since its inception in 2008, Window World Cares has raised over $7 million for St. Jude. Window World Inc. also supports the Veterans Airlift Command, a non-profit organization that facilitates free air transportation to wounded veterans and their families. For more information, visitwww.WindowWorld.com or call 1-800 NEXT WINDOW. For home improvement and energy efficiency tips, décor ideas and more, follow Window World on Facebook and Twitter.
Bluegrass Underground is a television show that I do usually binge watch in one fail swoop because I just don’t watch TV much. However now, I won’t be able to do that because they will no longer be taping one whole season back to back..and by the time you read this whole article you’ll know why.
This might excite some of you and might anger some of my Bluegrass purist readers, either way they have opened up a whole new echelon of structure to the show by moving it to the caverns. Now, they have a permanent place to host the show, which also seats an additional 500 people. This move also enables them to provide better parking, more bathrooms, and more handicapped facilities. This new cavern is located in Pelham Tennessee,at the base of Monteagle Mountain and it is such a surreal setting that has yet to be utilized discovered by anyone else.
Now comes the part that may or may not anger some, the WIDER RANGE of artists that will be appearing on the iconic show. NO LONGER will it be Bluegrass ONLY, bands like Here Come The Mummies, The Turnpike Troubadours, and even Country Music Legends like Bobby Bare are all scheduled to appear on the show in 2018.
Now folks these tickets aren’t on sale until December 9th, and upon their sale I will embed the direct link to EACH SHOW by clicking the date on the left, for the following show. It will also direct you to the link for the map of the venue, so you can choose your seats.
This week I bring you all Mr. Jackson Taylor. Please share this interview to help spread Jackson’s music to others and remember to like this page if you like these interviews to ensure you don’t miss any upcoming musicians. Thanks I hope you enjoy.
Round 1 – If you were talking to someone who had never heard your music before how would you describe your music?
Jackson – “We are “modern evolution of what country music should be”. We aren’t a dress up band who is pretending like it’s another decade. We are simply the greatest honky tonk band in the fucking universe. We are now, today, this moment. We respect tradition, but are not slaves to it, same as our hero’s who came before us.”
Round 2 – I know that you enjoy drawing and have even sold some artwork. Can you tell us a little about that and let people know where they can find some of your art?
Jackson – “I have always enjoyed drawing, but I gave it up when I was a kid. Last year I started again just to relax and decompress and it’s turned into a viable second career. All my prints are available at www.officialjacksontaylor.com”
Round 3 – I know that you are a huge comic book fan, have you ever thought about making your own comic series since you enjoy drawing? If you did what would it be about?
Jackson – “I have already started. My first issue is done, once I have three issues finished I will start self publishing them. It takes about a month to write, pencil, ink, color & letter a 22 page comic book. I can’t talk about it until my copy right comes though.”
Round 4 – Is there any new music in the works or any idea when we may see a new album?
Jackson – “We just released a new song called ‘A Long Line Of Lovers’. After 17 CDs I don’t know if I will do anymore full CDs. I may just release a new song and video digitally every 6 months.”
Round 5 – Besides drawing which we have already talked about, what are some of your hobbies outside of the music World?
Jackson – “I have been obsessed with grappling and BJJ for years. Touring keeps me so busy there really isn’t much time for hobbies. I have always been an avid non fiction reader and am starting to film some, shooting shows as well as documentaries. Grappling, shooting and film making are pretty close to my heart.”
Last Call – This is an open question so you can say anything you want to the fans and people reading this.
Jackson – “Music is expression, don’t get caught up on labels. Someone pretending like it’s 1974 or 1950 are far less original and honest than someone breaking new ground. I don’t personally like country rap, but if it’s organic I will give it a listen. The drama geek hipsters in their attempt to gentrify country music have scarified authenticity in search of being “authentic”. Music should be natural and express who you are, not who you wish you were. Basically be Dwight Yoakum.”
Old Salt Union man what can I say besides you will more than likely see them atop my TOP 50 of 2017. They are defiantly one of the many bands bringing this new approach to Bluegrass, many of the purists don’t appreciate. Some call it “Newgrass” some call it “Freshgrass”, in fact a few years ago they WON the Freshgrass competition and garnered the attention of Miss Alison Brown banjo professional and co-founder of Rounder Records.
Once signed they released their self titled debut album for them this year, even though they have four previous albums this one brought more attention being on a more mainstream Bluegrass label. I think the production of this album is just exceptional and the songs were well written, however the instrumentals were equally impressive.
They recently released a video for their cover of “You Can Call Me Al” dressed in their ’80s-inspired finest, Old Salt Union’s Rob Kindle, Ryan Murphey, Jesse Farrar, Justin Wallace and John Brighton opted to recreate Simon’s now-classic “You Can Call Me Al” music video to go along with their cover. The song is included on their self-titled Compass Records debut, which is out now.
You know this year has been a terrific year for new releases, and as I work on my TOP 50 which Mr. Joshua will also provide a TOP 50 as well, I began to reflect upon all of the passed on Country Legends with unreleased material like the recent album of Waylon Jennings that Shooter put out on the BCR label.
Country Rewind Records has put out a super fine project recently, and I wanted to touch on it for a moment. First off this isn’t a TOTALLY NEW album, but yet it has some unreleased material the public has never heard before. The songs on TIMELESS haven’t been heard since their recording in 1972, included in a series of musical recordings from top artists at the time as part of a United States recruitment program.
Performers such as Dolly Parton, George Jones, and Waylon Jennings would record fifteen-minute performances that would be distributed to over 2,000 radio stations throughout the world intended for commercial release. Tom Gramuglia of Country Rewind Records, says that he can’t wait for fans to hear these recordings – which put the recorded genius of Conway Twitty on full display for all to hear.
Now then folks, these songs were remastered and enhanced by his daughter Miss Joni and other session people to embellish this project even further. Conway’s daughter Joni Twitty Ryles and John Wesley Ryles along with Grammy Award winning engineer Mark Capps, pianist Ron Oates, guitarist Kevin Williams, and guitarist Tony Durante all took over the duties of doing that.
While the sessions that comprise TIMELESS weren’t the typical Decca recording session with Owen Bradley producing, these tracks – cut at the studio of former Elvis Presley band member Scotty Moore – drip with as much perfection as anything he cut at Bradley’s Barn. It wasn’t like a typical session where everything was perfected,” explained Ryles. “But, these songs are an incredible gift, and Daddy was sounding as incredible as he ever did. These recordings make my heart smile, and I think his fans will feel the same way.”
1. (Lost Her Love) On Our Last Date
2. Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music)
3. Hello Darlin’
4. How Much More Can She Stand
5. Working Girl
6. I Can’t See Me Without You
7. I Love You More Today
8. Crazy Arms
9. 15 Years Ago
10. Honky Tonk Man
11. The Image Of Me
12. If You Were Mine To Lose
13. Proud Mary
14. Next In Line
ABOUT COUNTRY REWIND RECORDS: COUNTRY REWIND RECORDS…Bringing Unreleased Traditional Country Music Into The Contemporary Country Era
Founded by Thomas Gramuglia of Hindsight Records in 2014, Gramuglia obtained a treasure chest of unreleased recordings from recruitment radio shows from the ‘60s and ‘70s. The superb CCR collection of original master recordings contains music from more than 100 country music legends and trendsetters (including intimate performances by country music greats such as Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Connie Smith, Faron Young, Dolly Parton and many more). These recordings were never released for commercial use. After a diligent quest to collect appropriate and legal permissions from artists and/or their estates, Country Rewind Records (CRR) has now recorded and produced multiple, quintessential, “must-hear” projects. With the mission to transfer these never-heard-before tracks to a high quality, state-of-the-art recording; complemented by contemporary instrumentation and background vocals, Country Rewind Records will release this historical American music to America’s music generations of the future.
Current Country Rewind Projects:
THE LOST NASHVILLE SESSIONS [Waylon Jennings] (2016)
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN [Ferlin Husky] (2016)
HERE I AM AGAIN [Mickey Gilley] (2016) – Available at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store™
THE LOST TAPES [Connie Smith] (Produced by Marty Stuart/2015)
YOU DON’T KNOW ME [Faron Young] (2014)
Limited editions are available at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store™.
Future Country Rewind Projects:
Jeannie C. Riley • Johnny Russell • Bob Luman • Carl Smith • Barbara Fairchild • Skeeter Davis • Cal Smith
As many of you know I write up a large “to do” list all the time. Sometimes I get really backed up and need to figure out way to condense things to get it all done. Also, sometimes it turns out becoming more appealing to YOU my readers. Speaking of reading (since you are reading this) you aren’t one of the many that reading has become a thing of the past.
Many people ask me WHERE I get the most of my information from, well READING of course. Whether it be from books or emails, or LEGIT websites..folks Wikipedia is NOT LEGIT for ANYTHING. Phone calls and going out and being seen at shows, and talking to people earned my knowledge of just about everything I know about.
So now I was thinking HEY I got this list of books I wanted to touch on with articles and tell you about,for your own research, and your own library. I probably read about 14 hours a week, usually an hour in the morning and an hour at night. Nonetheless whatever you do reading is a great way to enrich your brain, and keep your spelling correct, so HERE IS a nice list of Country Music related books released lately.
She still is quite a pleasant show person, making jokes about everything from life to politics. To the briskly honest statement that she recently lost her husband…then she pointed to the sky and siad “Well I haven’t LOST HIM,I KNOW where he is”..her performance warmed my heart and brought me much joy inside.
BMG has announced it will release legendary rockabilly and country music pioneer Wanda Jackson’s autobiography Every Night Is Saturday Night: A Country Girl’s Journey to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on November 14, 2017. The iconic performer known as the “Queen of Rockabilly” and the “First Lady of Rock & Roll” landed more than thirty singles on the country and pop charts between 1954 and 1974. Featuring over eighty photographs from her personal collection and a foreword by Elvis Costello,Every Night is Saturday Night is the rockin’ great-grandmother’s chance to finally share the story of her fascinating life and career in her own words.
Jackson’s most recent album was 2012’s Unfinished Business, which was produced by Justin Townes Earle and included covers of songs written by Townes Van Zandt and Woody Guthrie, she still tours intermittently. So when she comes around it’s best to get out and see her!
From her website:
Wanda Lavonne Jackson is an American singer, songwriter, pianist and guitarist who had success in the mid-1950s and 1960s as one of the first popular female rockabilly singers and a pioneering rock-and-roll artist. She is known to many as the “Queen of Rockabilly” or the “First Lady of Rockabilly”,she has played for many Muddy roots functions and many other festivals I am involved with.
Jackson mixed country music with fast-moving rockabilly, often recording them on opposite sides of a record. As rockabilly declined in popularity in the mid-1960s, she moved to a successful career in mainstream country music with a string of hits between 1966 and 1973, including “Tears Will Be the Chaser for Your Wine”, “A Woman Lives for Love” and “Fancy Satin Pillows”.
She had a resurgence in popularity in the 1980s among rockabilly revivalists in Europe and younger Americana fans. In 2009 she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an Early Influence. The book will chronicle the Queen of Rockabilly and the first Lady of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s rise to prominence following her discovery by Country Music Hall of Famer Hank Thompson. Elvis Costello contributed the foreword, and the book will feature more than 80 photos from her personal collection.
Every Night is Saturday Night will also include passages on why she refused to return to the Grand Ole Opry after more than 50 years, the challenges of touring America with an integrated band during a racially intolerant era, her personal memories of her relationship with Elvis Presley and how she ultimately found the love of her life, her husband Wendell Goodman.
Wanda Jackson was instrumental in the launch of the career of Roy Clark, and even Elvis himself hallowed Wanda Jackson as special in many ways. She will reveal in this book the reasons why she hasn’t returned to the Opry in fifty years, and details about her first boyfriend in the music world. I’m telling you right now THIS ONE is a book I have been waiting to read for a long time.
This book is one I have been eagerly waiting for, because he will reveal much about his turbulent life both on and off the road. His defiant and off the podium politics have turned many people on and off his side for the past twenty years…and he doesn’t care. In 2016 he was elected into the Country Music Hall Of Fame, in 2008 he became an Opry member, and plays almost every other weekend the TRUE Opry fashion of what it means to be a member.
In one of his songs called “Carolina” he remembers his youth with descriptive things like Goose feather snowfalkes and others. In this book he chronicles his entire life in depth, and offers his own advice on how to handle the business and other scenarios. His main focus of help is don’t concern yourself with the people that are NOT there, you are there to entertain the ones that ARE.
A huge portion is dedicated to producer Bob Johnston, who is responsible for his move to Nashville, his start of the Volunteer Jams and pretty much all of what he’s famous for from 1967-1980. He writes about his wars with unreliable vehicles, wild parties and being broke. Pretty much some times that many musicians can relate too, but to be honest with all the technology and modern things we have now I think they had it harder in the 70’s.
The Volunteer Jams have been hallowed as iconic and precious throughout the years and they are highly collectable on vinyl for people like me. For a man that has spanned over six decades of Country Music and noted for his musical craftsmanship of precise notation, who was a well sought after session player, he is a humble Christian and vocal political figure. This book details how he was personally named by Bob Dylan to play on his albums over anybody else they suggested to him.
Ricky Skaggs is a name that is synonymous with both Bluegrass and Country Music, he was brought up a child prodigy having mastered the mandolin by age 6. He joined the Clinch Mountain Boys at the age of fifteen, and at twenty one he was considered a Bluegrass star.
This book talks candidly about his losses and strained relationship with his children. How he reinvented his failed relationship with God and went back to his roots to begin recording and performing Bluegrass after having a semi successful mainstream Country recording career.
This book includes the hallowed ten commandments of Bluegrass handed down to him by Bill Monroe, and his personal accounts of nearly forty years of the music business. It also includes a candid look at his most loved Gospel songs and brings us closer to what motivates him as a performer.
You know, when people talk to me about outlaws they always fail to mention this man Jimmy Martin. I’m going to include this from the website about this book: Jimmy Martin was just twenty-two years old when Bill Monroe asked him to join the Blue Grass Boys. That invitation was the start of a career that spanned half a century and culminated with Martin’s induction into the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Honor. Always an enigmatic figure, Martin was as famous for his temper as he was for his talent.
On assignment from the Oxford American magazine, fiction writer and music critic Tom Piazza drove from his home in New Orleans to Nashville to interview Martin and found himself pitched headlong into a world he couldn’t have anticipated. Martin’s mercurial personality drew the writer into a series of escalating encounters (with mean dogs, broken-down cars, and near electrocution), culminating in a harrowing and unforgettable expedition, with Martin, to the Grand Ole Opry.
Though, or perhaps because, visits to the Opry like the one Piazza recounts were common for Martin, and though he frequently played on its stage and always hoped to become a member, he died before seeing his dream fulfilled. True Adventures with the King of Bluegrass is the funny, scary, and powerfully poignant portrait of one of the legends of American music.
This book heralds his outlaw antics and wild personality as both iconic and magnetic, however his personality often prohibited him from being included in the Nashville establishment. His often Opry appearances still kept him from being a member, a goal he died before achieving.
Miss Lynn Woodruff Gray has been heavily involved in Country Music for many many years, and has embellished it with her love and memories of the Legends that would dwell there. In my eyes she is just as much of a Legend of the genre as they were. Her previous book called “I Guess You Had To Be There” was an absolute masterpiece and a pleasure to read multiple times.
She told Gary Hayes Country “My latest book is available on Amazon. SITTIN’ AT A BUS STOP, WAITIN’ ON A TRAIN. It talks about how a song made a difference in my life after the loss of my son. It has been a lot of help to several who have also lost someone.”
Grief is a long road without end, and time is not the healer, but what you do with that time that heals. The choices you make in your journey meet with many challenges, but there is always an open door for better days. You may take two steps forward and six steps back, but it is those two steps that will make the difference. Holding to the rope railings of a swinging bridge as you move forward, is a shaky endeavor, but not one that can’t be accomplished if you keep moving. This is what Lynn realized when coming to terms with her emotions. It was like sittin’ at a bus stop, waitin’ on a train.
Whisperin’ Bill Anderson: An Unprecedented Life In Country Musica 360-page representation of Anderson’s journey published by University of Georgia Press featuring respected music journalist and Grammy-nominated music producer Peter Cooper as a contributing writer. It includes rare, never-before-seen photos and eye-opening personal stories from Anderson’s nearly eighty years of living – from early days of radio broadcasting in Georgia, to standing alongside the greatest country music stars in the world onstage at the Grand Ole Opry, to being named BMI’s first ICON Award winner in the country music genre.
Whisperin’ Bill Anderson is easily one of the most distinguishable voices in Country music today and probably one of the foremost prominent figures left on the weekly Opry roster to host it. He has had so many major Country Music cuts you couldn’t count them all. This book chronicles all of his accomplishments within one of the longest and most iconic careers in history.