Monthly Archives: January 2020

The‌ ‌Bell‌ ‌Theater:‌ ‌Kentucky’s‌ ‌Best‌ ‌small‌ ‌Venue‌ ‌You‌ ‌Are‌ ‌Sleeping‌ ‌On.‌

Live Review – Mike and The Moonpies In Macon, GA

By Joshua Wallace

Photography By Joshua Wallace

I was able to see Mike and The Moonpies live in Macon, GA on January 25th, 2020 which was a Saturday night.  This concert was at The Creek Stage at The Rookery which is a restaurant in Macon. They convert a dining room into a concert hall when they have concerts scheduled.  It’s a very intimate venue and a very unique setting. I hope to go back to The Rookery sometime soon to eat as it looked like a very good restaurant. I arrived at 09:30pm on a Saturday night and it was packed.  You can’t say that about many places these days. This show was actually billed as the after party for a show that was happening at the Hargray Capitol Theater which is down the street from The Rookery. That show was Robert Earl Keen with Aubrie Sellers as the opening act.  I was only here for Mike and The Moonpies though and they got things kicked off at 10:45 pm with no opener. The small room filled out pretty quickly. The Moonpies put on a great show as they always do. This band gets better every time I see them.

The band kicked things off with “Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em” and “Damn Strait”, the latter of which is my favorite track off The Hard Way album and is always fun to hear live.  When the band got into “Getting High At Home” and “Steak Night At The Prairie Rose”, you could tell this would be a fun crowd as they were singing along with both songs. In fact, this crowd favored pretty much everything from Steak Night At The Prairie Rose and the new album Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold.  The band still played through the older stuff and I especially loved hearing “El Camino” from their The Real Country album. We got a great Merle Haggard cover with “Working Man Blues” before the band got into material from the new record.  

I was happy to hear “Young In Love” and “Miss Fortune” live this time.  I feel like those are two underrated tracks from the stellar new album. “You Look Good In Neon” was another hit with the crowd as it turned into a sing-a-long.  This was amazing as the last time I had heard this song live, the record was barely out and no one knew the track. You could say the same for “Danger” too which is another mega popular track from the new album.  “Beaches Of Biloxi” is also always a popular live track with bass player Omar’s seemingly random crowd participation bits. The band then got to the title tracks of both 2012’s The Hard Way and the new album Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold.  The latter of which was another sing-along with the crowd. From there, they did “London Homesick Blues” and their cover of Fastball’s “The Way”. I used to love that song back in the 90’s and until Mike and The Moonpies did it, I had not heard it in a long time.

The band did a great version of “Bottled Beer” off their first album which concluded with Omar’s tease of the famous bass line from Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls”.  The fans that know that song always pop for it. They wrapped up the regular set with “We’re Gone” and “The Real Country”. The band played a great closing jam before coming back to the stage for covers of Townes Van Zandt’s “Pancho and Lefty” and Rusty Weir’s “Don’t It Make You Wanna Dance”.

I highly recommend seeing this band live in smaller venues while you have the chance.  I don’t think we will have that opportunity for very long. This band is a very tight live band and they have such a charismatic stage presence that not many have right now.  Omar Oyoque is one of the best bass players you can find in a country band and is a highlight of every show. Mike and The Moonpies are currently playing in Key West, FL as part of Mile 0 Fest.  If you’re in the southeast, your next chance to see them will be at the Standard Deluxe in Waverly, AL for the 20th Anniversary of the “Old 280” Boogie on April 18th. You can find details of that event here and check out the band’s website for more tour information and where you can find out when they are coming near you.

The Dead South Invades The Caverns And Info On Bluegrass Underground PBS Taping.

Coming to The Caverns
The Dead South
with The Rev Peyton’s Big Damn Band
Saturday, October 3
Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10a CT
A rock band without a drummer, a bluegrass band without a fiddler. To the gentlemen of The Dead South, a self-styled 4-piece string band from Regina, Saskatchewan, it’s about how, not what, you play. The Dead South’s combination of cello, mandolin, guitar and banjo has all the hallmarks of a group tuned to bygone times, but with their signature sleight of hand, The Dead South find distinctly ­modern bathos in this old time rigging.
The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band has built its reputation the long, slow, hard way. After 12 years of playing as many as 300 shows each year, Rev. Peyton, the world’s foremost country blues finger-style picker, along with the biggest little band in the country has pieced together one of the most dedicated followings out there.
Don’t miss The Dead South with the Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band on Saturday, October 3 in The Caverns. Get your tickets this Friday at 10a CT.
Check out The Dead South’s video for “In Hell I’ll Be In Good Company”
Watch the video for “Raise A Little Hell” by The Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band
Go VIP with a Stay and Cave Package
Our Stay and Cave packages include two lodging options. Stay on Monteagle Mountain, or in the Manchester valley. Additionally, you’ll receive ground transportation to and from the venue, food vouchers, merchandise from The Caverns, the best views of the stage from inside the cave, and a dedicated representative to ensure your experience is all that it can be.
Bluegrass Underground PBS TV Taping
March 27-29, 2020
Epic 3-Day Bluegrass Underground event is a music festival underground with the very best in American roots music.
Jam-packed into one epic weekend of underground concerts, the Bluegrass Underground PBS TV taping will treat audiences to performances by bonafide legends like Asleep At The Wheel and Blind Boys of Alabama, rising stars like groove-driven jam band Goose, psychedelic soul Black Pumas, cutting-edge singer-songwriters Cam, Yola and Sam Lewis, harmonious duos Mandolin Orange and three-time GRAMMY nominated Milk Carton Kids as well as instrumental fireworks from bluegrass phenom, Molly Tuttle, and a surprise act to be announced in the coming weeks.
  • Molly Tuttle
  • Goose
  • Cam
  • Asleep At The Wheel
  • The Milk Carton Kids
  • Sam Lewis
  • TBA
  • Mandolin Orange
  • Black Pumas
  • Blind Boys of Alabama
  • Yola
Bluegrass Underground is underwritten on PBS by Tennessee Tourism and by Grundy County, TN. The 12 episode series is presented to PBS nationally in partnership with WCTE in Cookeville, TN, which serves the Upper Cumberland and Middle Tennessee.
Three million years in the making, The Caverns welcomes all to the historic Season X taping of the iconic PBS television series, Bluegrass Underground.
Sat, Feb 13 – Umphrey’s McGee – Show Info – SOLD OUT
Sat, Feb 29 – Railroad Earth – Get Tickets
Sat, Mar 7 – Arlo Guthrie with Folk Uke- Get Tickets
Sat, Mar 21 – Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder – Show Info – SOLD OUT
Fri, Mar 27 – Bluegrass Underground PBS TV Taping: Molly Tuttle, Goose, Cam, Asleep at the Wheel – Get Tickets | Get a 3-Day Package
Sat, Mar 28 – Bluegrass Underground PBS TV Taping: The Milk Carton Kids, Courtney Marie Andrews, Sam Lewis, TBA – Get Tickets | Get a 3-Day Package
Sun, Mar 29 – Bluegrass Underground PBS TV Taping: Mandolin Orange, Yola, Black Pumas, Blind Boys of Alabama – Get Tickets | Get a 3-Day Package
Sat, Apr 4 – Drivin’ N Cryin’ with The Silks- Get Tickets
Sat, Apr 10 – Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers – Get Tickets
Sat, Apr 11 – Dark Star Orchestra – Get TicketsSOLD OUT
Fri, Apr 24 – Alison Krauss – Show InfoSOLD OUT
Sat, Apr 25 – The Floozies – Get Tickets
Sun, Apr 26 – Andrew Bird with Erika Wennerstrom – Get Tickets
Fri, May 22 & Sat, May 23 – Lotus – Get Tickets
Sun, May 24 – An Evening with Amy Grant – Get Tickets
Fri, May 29 & May 30 – The Disco Biscuits – Ticket PagePublic On Sale begins Fri (1/17) at 10a CT
Fri, Jun 5 – The Mavericks – Get Tickets
Sat, Jun 6 – Rhonda Vincent & The Rage – Get Tickets
Sat, Jun 20 – Todd Snider – Get Tickets
Sat, Oct 3 – The Dead South with the Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band – Ticket PagePublic On Sale begins Fri (1/17) at 10a CT

‘Charley Pride: I’m Just Me’ Debuts On CBC’s documentary Channel Wednesday, January 1


Plus, Pride announces trio of Canadian concert dates in April, with additional U.S. dates to be added
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Charley Pride: I’m Just Me, a documentary about the life and career of legendary Country music superstar Charley Pride, will debut on CBC’s documentary Channel on Wednesday, January 1 at 7:30 pm ET/4:30 pm PT as part of their All Day Music Marathon. It will repeat on Sunday, February 2 at 9:00 pm ET/PT [click here for trailer & airing info].

Charley Pride: I’m Just Me traces the improbable journey of Charley Pride, from his humble beginnings as a sharecropper’s son on a cotton farm in segregated Sledge, Mississippi to his career as a Negro League baseball player and his meteoric rise as a trailblazing country music superstar. Narrated by country music icon Tanya Tucker, the new documentary reveals how Pride’s love for music led him from the Delta to a larger, grander world. In the 1940s, radio transcended racial barriers, making it possible for Pride to grow up listening to and emulating Grand Ole Opry stars like Ernest Tubb and Roy Acuff. The singer arrived in Nashville in 1963 while the city roiled with sit-ins and racial violence. But with boldness, perseverance and undeniable musical talent, he managed to parlay a series of fortuitous encounters with music industry insiders into a legacy of hit singles, a Recording Academy “Lifetime Achievement Award” and a place in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The film includes original revealing interviews with country music royalty, including Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker and Marty Stuart. It also includes several on-camera conversations between Pride and special guests, including Rozene Pride (his wife of 61 years), Willie Nelson, and other fellow musicians. The film also features many songs from his repertoire of classic country hits, along with more modern cuts like “Standing In My Way,” from his latest album Music In My Heart, released in 2017.

On January 30, 2019 the film made its world premiere at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. The premiere featured an appearance by Charley Pride himself, along with special guest artists featured in the film, including the film’s narrator Tanya Tucker, Jimmie Allen, Janie Fricke, and Sylvia Hutton. Members of the media, and other family and friends of Pride also attended. After the film a Q&A was hosted by the film’s director Barbara Hall, and journalist Robert K. Oermann, Country Music Hall of Fame’s Peter Cooper, and of course, Charley Pride.

Notable Talent In The Film:
• Charley Pride
• Garth Brooks
• Dolly Parton
• Willie Nelson
• Tanya Tucker (narrator)
• Brad Paisley
• Darius Rucker
• Marty Stuart
• Sylvia Hutton
• Charlie Worsham
• Jimmie Allen
• Whoopi Goldberg

“There’s always been a handful of people with global appeal that goes beyond the face value of the culture of Country music. Mr. Pride is absolutely one of those folks.”

“Charley deserves every accolade he can get. And, we’ll make up some new ones if we need to. He’ll deserve them too!”

“He’s one of America’s great country stars. He is Americana personified.”

Buzzworthy Moments:
• Charley Pride and fellow country music superstar Willie Nelson reminisce on camera about the early days of their careers.
• Charley Pride explains how he maneuvered his way through the white ranks of country music in order to gain acceptance in the industry.
• Charley Pride and his wife Rozene speak candidly about Pride’s struggles with mental illness over the years. While on tour in Germany in 1968, the singer suffered a manic attack and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Running Time: 78 minutes

Production Credits:
Charley Pride: I’m Just Me is a production of Corridor Group Productions Inc. The film is directed and executive produced by Barbara Hall.

FEB 21 – Desert Diamond Casino / Sahuarita, Ariz.
MAR 28 – Edgewater Resort / Laughlin, Nev.
APR 22 – Casino New Brunswick / Moncton, N.B. (Canada)
APR 25 – Casino Rama / Rama, Ont. (Canada)
APR 27 – Club Regent Event Center / Winnipeg, Man. (Canada)
MAY 03 – Northern Quest Resort & Casino / Airway Heights, Wash.
JUL 26 – WinStar World Casino & Resort / Thackerville, Okla.
**For Charley’s most updated tour schedule, visit Charley Pride on Facebook and at

About Charley Pride:
Charley Pride is celebrating more than 50 years as a recording artist. He has enjoyed one of the most successful careers in the history of country music and is credited with helping to break color barriers by becoming the first black superstar within the genre. A true living legend, he has sold tens of millions of records worldwide with his large repertoire of hits. A three-time GRAMMY® award and Recording Academy “Lifetime Achievement Award” winner, Pride has garnered no less than 36 chart-topping country hits, including “Kiss An Angel Good Morning,” a massive #1 crossover hit that sold over a million singles and helped Pride land the Country Music Association’s “Entertainer of the Year” award in 1971 and the “Top Male Vocalist” awards of 1971 and 1972. A proud member of the Grand Ole Opry, Pride continues to perform concerts worldwide and has toured the United States, Canada, Ireland, The United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand over the last several years. His latest album, Music In My Heart, was released in 2017 on Music City Records.

About documentary Channel:
documentary Channel is Canada’s signature destination for provocative, thoughtful, and entertaining factually-based programming. Canada’s only documentary channel, it brings viewers documentary programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

# # #
Suggested Tweet:
.@CBCdocs premieres #CharleyPride documentary on Wed, Jan. 1 at 7:30pm ET
'Charley Pride: I'm Just Me' [Official Trailer]
‘Charley Pride: I’m Just Me’ [Official Trailer]
Charley Pride

Helping Others Help Animals At Critter’s Hollow.

I’m STILL catching up on my year end lists and all of the emails that entails. I have SO MUCH TO DO in the winter months before festival season, that I’m always several months behind on jobs. I pulled this one day weekend job in October 2019 where I was invited to Heart In Hands Critter’s Hollow Ranch And Rescue in McMinville Tennessee for some music and food and fun for a GREAT CAUSE.

Originally, I had anticipated to celebrate my daughter’s birthday party that day as well, but things didn’t work out on her end. I still took the opportunity to run over there, and see some friends I haven’t seen in many years. It was really a blessed day to catch up with them and see everyone, and listen to some killer music.

I’m going to post a bunch of GREAT pictures, and talk about the bands involved..many of the songs I might not have wrote down or remembered but I have a bunch of great information from this event that I did. This was a VERY FUN family type event on Miss Latricia’s family property, where animals run amuck and bonds are created between friends.

They have a yearly fund raiser to raise money that enables them to take care of all of these animals that they adopt out for people. There was food that we all were eating all day, and they had camping for those that wanted to drink or just camp and have fun. This was a single day event, but it did go on into the early evening. The ranch itself was beautiful and not too far from my home on the Tn-Ky state line, in fact it was so close I was scolding myself for not going up there sooner.

Heart in Hand, Critters Hollow Ranch & Rescue is a 501c non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing unwanted pets (dogs, cats, horses and other farm animals) and finding suitable forever homes for them. Our mission is that our organization ensures each animal under our care is spayed or neutered to help with the over population of unwanted animals, is up to date on vaccinations, is tested and treated for heartworms, and begins training in basic commands. We screen eligible applicants for each adoptee and match them up with families best suited for their energy, temperament, and abilities. We operate solely on donations, sponsors and volunteers! 100% of all donations are used directly for the care of our rescues. Our donations determine our capacity and we ALWAYS want to rescue more! Please consider donating today!

Possessed By Paul James Releases As We Go Wandering On January 31st.




• JANUARY 31, 2020 •

The tension of justice and peace, rest and movement, unity and self-expression are at the heart of Possessed By Paul James’ followup to his 2013 breakout release

Konrad Wert is a man of many voices. As a Special Education teacher, he is articulate and intentional. As an advocate for justice in education he is passionate. But as an artist and musician, better known by his stage name, Possessed By Paul James, his voice is expressive, holding rest and action in tandem. After gaining recognition from NPR, The New York Times, CMT, and MTV for his celebrated live performances and 2013 Billboard-charting breakout release, There Will Be Nights When I’m Lonely, the Golden Apple-winning educator took some time to reflect and reorient and underwent two vocal surgeries. “The nature of being a school teacher, a public speaker, and a musician, you know, any ear nose & throat specialist will tell you that’s like a hat trick for getting a vocal surgery. So there was some time where I needed to really learn how to sing fluidly and in a healthy way while preserving the opportunity to continue as a teacher and articulate, speak, without duress.” After a few years away from music, Wert is returning with a new album, As We Go Wandering, (due January 31, 2020), bringing a rejuvenated voice to Possessed By Paul James. Where There Will Be Nights was crying out on behalf of the dilemmas faced by families, students, and teachers nationwide, As We Go Wandering brings a sense of peace. But as the title suggests, in Possessed By Paul James’ estimation, perhaps counter-intuitively, peace, rest, and movement dance hand in hand.


I have featured Mr. Konrad Wert many times before from several festivals from all over , and every performance has been an intense experience filled with riveting songs of passion. He is one of those intense one man bands that utilizes a plethora of instruments to bring forth his final product…Roots Music that stands the test of time. In the next few weeks we will be releasing an album review for this one.

This tension of justice and peace, rest and movement, unity and self-expression are at the heart of Possessed By Paul James’ music and performances. Raised Mennonite among pacifists and service workers in a small community in southwest Florida, Wert’s upbringing brought strict guidelines of what could come into the house. “The aesthetic was very  church oriented,” he says. “We had this typified image of Jesus in the living room, Mary in the hallway, and a painting of the Last Supper in the bedroom. Musically, we didn’t get anything heavier than The Monkees.” Upon leaving home however, , Wert discovered punk rock. Coming from a rural town, Wert had been exposed to a lot of roots music, and where others would  have merely seen a jarring conflict with their upbringing, Wert saw an interface. “I actually found that in many ways, punk was like urban blues, you know, just with more energy and amplification. I dove in and started getting to know the Stooges, Patti Smith. I realized ‘Wow, punk is beautiful. Punk is to the street, punk is to the listener.’” To paraphrase David Byrne, the punk movement was defined by attitude rather than style, something that sought to remove the boundaries between spectator and artist and making everyone a participant in what Patti Smith called, “just another word for freedom.” For Wert, Possessed By Paul James became a way to create an environment for expression and reflection in a way that can foster wholeness from a sense of community. “We could look at the complexities of expression, the conflict of ego and humility, and servitude within the Mennonite-Amish community and in our rumspringa – that was incredibly impactful for me. Because, how do you express yourself, and in a way that’s not completely arrogant?  How do you do that in a way that reflects what really matters? That’s a huge element of what Possessed By Paul James is.”



Possessed By Paul James


As We Go Wandering is about the question of where we go from here. How do we move forward,” says Konrad Wert. This tension is expressed at the very center of the tracklist, with “Be At Rest.” “All across the nation teachers see the same needs, fill the same roles, and ask the same hard and troubling questions: Students who are hurting, families fighting for the rights of their children, passionate teachers who constantly bear burdens that can become crushing,” says Wert. “Most troubling and devastating are the increasing numbers of human beings that are falling to violence within our schools. ‘Be At Rest’ provides an open image and feeling to all those hurting: ‘Raise up your voices, lay down down your sword and shield, be at rest. Come together on the foundations of peace and justice so we may heal, so we may help, so we may learn in order to do better for our children.’” So what about the name, Possessed By Paul James? “It’s partly just because of the way we play, maybe it’s due to anxiousness or anxiety, I don’t know, but just close the eyeballs and get it out,” says Wert. “But also, Paul was my grandfather, James is my dad’s middle name – so it’s a reference to something bigger than me, that there is something greater than ourselves, something that we’re in together. It’s important for us to acknowledge and be honest about that – the good, the bad, and the ugly. We are more than just ourselves.”


  1. Come Back In My Mind
  2. In The Dark Of Morning
  3. Your White Stained Dress
  4. I’m So Good At Absolutely Nothing
  5. I Come From Southwest Florida
  6. Be At Rest
  7. When It Breaks
  8. Dance With Me Tonight
  9. Don’t Tell Me
  10.  Didn’t Know You When
  11. Asleep With Both Eyes Open
  12. As We Go Wandering

Here is the new single that was released early.

Single out now
“When It Breaks”

Possessed By Paul James

The Bluegrass Situation premieres new track from the celebrated teacher, activist and songwriter

Today, Possessed By Paul James released a new song, “When It Breaks.” Premiering the track Tuesday, The Bluegrass Situation spoke with Konrad Wert about life on the road, family, and his work as an artist and education activist, and teacher, who reflected on the themes of the song: “When the world comes crashing down around us what will we do? I ask this question when thinking of my children. How will I react when tragedy strikes?” Read the rest at The Bluegrass Situation >

“When It Breaks”

New single from Possessed By Paul James

Miss Ashley McBryde Releases Two Videos For Never Will Out April 3rd.

Ashley McBryde

The album, produced by Eric Church and Miranda Lambert collaborator Mr. Jay Joyce features a couple of recently unveiled tracks: McBryde and Jeremy Spillman co-write “Martha Divine” and McBryde, Shane McAnally and Nicolette Hayford’s “One Night Standards”.

She has this album locked and loaded in the barrel on the horizon of the Grammy Awards, where she is nominated for two awards for her second album “Girl Going Nowhere”. We shall find out tonight if she wins anything or not, I’m kind of excited about this awards show here folks because a TON of people I like are in it to win it.
Last year in Atlanta, Mr. Joshua and I covered her set in Atlanta at Mercedes Benz Stadium as she was part of the opening program for George Strait. You can read all about that right HERE We had a wonderful time out there in Atlanta with her and the others.
Even though she really isn’t embraced completely by mainstream people or the mainstream media, her management still continues to cling on to the belief that she may indeed one day be. Now, people like me secretly have the belief that more people will hopefully become more in tune with better forms of Country Music. THAT IS one of the great struggles of the rampant influx of crappy pop country music that perverts FM radio. Her and Mr. Jon Pardi are two of the front runners of this close Country borderline problem.

AMB - One Night Standards OMV Gif

“The significance behind the album title comes from the lyrics in the title track: ‘I Didn’t, I Don’t and I Never Will’,” McBryde says in a press release. “Before we recorded it with Jay [Joyce] in the studio, I said to my band mates, ‘If we’re going to cut this and put it on the record, you’re promising anyone who ever listens to our music, we don’t listen to the noise in the background. We didn’t, we don’t and we never will. Don’t cut it unless you’re willing to promise it.’ And we cut it right then.”

Ashley Mcbyrde - Martha Divine Video Still

Ashley McBryde - Never Will Album Art

Never Will Track Listing:

1. “Hang In There Girl” (McBryde, Jeremy Bussey)
2. “One Night Standards” (McBryde, McAnally, Hayford)
3. “Shut Up Sheila” (Hayford, Charles Chisholm)
4. “First Thing I Reach For” (McBryde, Randall Clay, Mick Holland)
5. “Voodoo Doll” (McBryde, Hayford, Brandy Clark, Connie Harrington, Jake Mitchell, Aaron Raitiere)
6. “Sparrow” (McBryde, Hayford, Clark, Harrington, Mitchell, Raitiere)
7. “Martha Divine” (McBryde, Spillman)
8. “Velvet Red” (McBryde, Patrick Savage, Daniel Smalley)
9. “Stone” (McBryde Hayford)
10. “Never Will” (McBryde, Chris Harris, Blue Foley, Matt Helmkamp, Christian Sancho, Victor Quinn Hill)
11. “Styrofoam” (Clay)

Legendary Music Impresario Jim Halsey Honored With Memorial Hall Renaming In Independence, Kansas Commemorating His 70 Years In The Entertainment Industry

Legendary Music Impresario Jim Halsey Honored With Memorial Hall Renaming In Independence, Kansas Commemorating His 70 Years In The Entertainment Industry
(L-R) Duane Allen, William Lee Golden, Jim Halsey, Joe Bonsall
Photo by: Steve McBride

The auditorium inside Memorial Hall is now recognized as the ‘Jim Halsey Auditorium’

Halsey has represented 29 inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame, as well as 12 members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and has played a pivotal role in bringing country music to television

Halsey shares 70 stories from 70 years in the music and entertainment business with Tulsa World writer Jimmie Tramel [read here]

INDEPENDENCE, Kansas – Legendary music impresario and manager Jim Halsey is celebrating more than 70 years in the entertainment industry. A pioneer of country music innovation and expansion, the 89 year old Independence, Kansas native was honored in his hometown with the 2,000 seat auditorium inside Memorial Hall being renamed to the Jim Halsey Auditorium. Now 89, Halsey has booked hundreds of acts and performances at the venue since 1949.

“This honor means more to me than anything else in my life. To be recognized in my home town that I love dearly is the best thing to ever happen to me,” said Halsey.

Over the course of his career Jim Halsey has played a key role in the direction and management of many country music giants. He has managed, booked or guided the careers of some of the most iconic figures in country music, including, Roy Clark, Waylon Jennings, The Judds, Hank Thompson, Merle Haggard, Reba McEntire, Wanda Jackson, Freddy Fender, Roy Orbison, Tammy Wynette, Rick Nelson, Clint Black, Dwight Yoakam, Minnie Pearl, James Brown and The Oak Ridge Boys, who he’s managed for over 45 years.

Halsey’s vision, marketing, and passion was fundamental to the rapid growth of a genre that may otherwise have taken many more years to develop. His leadership resulted in The Jim Halsey Company becoming the biggest Country music agency in the world. Halsey’s artists collectively have hundreds of gold and platinum records, received countless awards, including Grammy awards and nominations, and sold out shows at The Grand Ole Opry, Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall and helped to expand Country music on a global basis, headlining festivals and performances all over the world. In 1976, Halsey took Country music artists Roy Clark and The Oak Ridge Boys on the first-ever tour of the U.S.S.R. To date, he is the only producer or manager who has ever presented every artist on a single episode of the Hollywood Squares, as well as book his acts in every Las Vegas showroom for an entire week.

In 2010 Halsey released an entertainment business book titled ‘Starmaker: How To Make It In The Music Business’ [ Amazon | Goodreads ] digging deep into the fundamentals of how to develop an act, get an agent, use press to build an audience, play the biggest and best forums and more. Halsey recently added to some of these stories with Tulsa World’s Jimmie Tramel, chronicling 70 stories from 70 years in the entertainment and music business. He has future plans to pen another book, detailing his many global adventures advancing music and entertainment around the world.

“My life and interest is really in people and what makes them work and the energy they have,” he said. “If you can observe and notice the energy of a person, then you have the ability to get, and use, parts of that energy yourself. So my whole life has been about trying to harness energy — for the good. So I’m still doing it today. The Oak Ridge Boys still exude that energy. I am inspired by them. They are my closest friends in the world, but they are inspirational to me and to a lot of other people, too.”

# # #

Suggested Tweet:
Country music industry impresario @JimHalsey celebrates 70 years in the entertainment industry with renaming of @IndependenceKS Memorial Hall’s auditorium to the Jim Halsey Auditorium

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt with Jim Halsey and The Oak Ridge Boys
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt with Jim Halsey and The Oak Ridge Boys
Photo by Steve McBride
Impresario Jim Halsey poses at his office and museum in Tulsa, Okla.
Impresario Jim Halsey poses at his office and museum in Tulsa, Okla.
Photo by Mark Furnas
Jim Halsey and The Oak Ridge Boys
Photo by Jon Mir
Minisa and Jim Halsey at Jim’s office and museum in Tulsa, Okla.
Photo by Mark Furnas


Town Mountain Debuts New Video From Red Rocks Featuring Mr. Tyler Childers.

I’ll admit I’m pretty late to the party on this one, and four other articles I am working on today. Well, I guess I just have too many irons in too many fires….but WHO DOESN’T? I mean with so much good music out there, the possibilities are endless on who and what to report on.

Last year Mr. Tyler Childers was at Red Rocks Ampitheater and my staff member Mr. Luther was there you can read about that right here. I wrote another good one about the phenomenon that he is in the music business today here is that article.

Town Mountainis an absolute BANGIN Bluegrass band with an energetic stage show that has been lighting up the road all over America. Their set at Kickin It On the Creek was one of the best of the entire weekend, and recently they released a new video for the song “Down Low”.

Town Mountain Releases New Live Video of Sold-Out Red Rocks Performance “Down Low” featuring Tyler Childers
Watch video today via JamBase; New 2020 Tour Dates Announced
December 11, 2019 – Nashville, TN – Known for their rowdy, energetic performances,Town Mountain has spent most of 2019 on the road, playing major festivals and venues across the country, including the legendary Grand Ole Opry. On September 30, the band made their debut at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado, to a sold-out crowd alongside prolific singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen and Grammy-nominee Tyler Childers. Today, JamBasepremiered the band’s live performance of “Down Low” featuring Childers, who co-wrote the duet with banjo player and vocalist Jesse Langlais for Town Mountain’s most recent album, New Freedom Blues. “It’s always a pleasure to do shows with Tyler and The Food Stamps,” Langlais explains. “We love the guys and we love the music, brothers in arms! And it’s always a highlight when Tyler comes up with us and performs ‘Down Low’. Especially at a venue like Red Rocks where you can just feel the energy and magic in the air.”
The band played a number of songs from their extensive discography including their well-known rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 single “I’m On Fire”, a fan-favorite that has racked up almost 6.5 million streams on the group’s Spotify alone. Childers ended the night with what The Bootcalled an “epic, show-stopping jam session”, calling on Town Mountain guitarist/vocalist Robert Greer and Robert Earl Keen to join him in performing Keen’s classic, “The Road Goes On Forever”.
Town Mountain recently wrapped up 2019 with one final run that included a two-night stint at Nashville’s beloved Station Inn; the band invited a handful of surprise guests to join them on stage, including Grammy award-winning songwriter Jim Lauderdale, dobro legend Jerry Douglas, and hailed bluegrass flatpicker
Billy Strings. Read more about the night via Nashville Lifestyles.
Returning to the road in 2020, the band will tour the East Coast and are set to perform at Squaw Valley’s WinterWonderGrass in late March.
Town Mountain 2020 Tour Dates:
Jan 31 – Raleigh, NC – The Pour House
Feb 1 – Washington, DC – The Hamilton
Feb 7 – Charlotte, NC – The Visulite Theater
Feb 8 – Boone, NC – Boone Saloon
Feb 27 – Newport, KY – The Southgate House Revival
Feb 28 – Nelsonville, OH – Stuart’s Opera House
Feb 29 – Pineville, KY – Bell Theater
Mar 28 – Squaw Valley, CA – WinterWonderGrass Music & Brew Festival
Apr 16 – Greer, SC – SpringSkunk Music Festival
May 2 – Asheboro, NC – Jimmy-June Music and Arts Festival
Jun 6 – Pagosa Springs, CO – Pagosa Folk ‘N Bluegrass
Jul 16 – Clayton, NY – Clayton Opera House
About Town Mountain:
Town Mountain is comprised of Jesse Langlais (banjo/vocals), Phil Barker (mandolin/vocals), Robert Greer (guitar/vocals), Bobby Britt (fiddle), and Zach Smith (bass). Since releasing their debut album Original Bluegrass and Roots Country in 2007, Town Mountain have made a name for themselves in bluegrass, country, and Americana circuits, and have amassed a sizable discography. They’ve toured with the who’s who of roots musicians, including Ralph Stanley and His Clinch Mountain Boys, the Del McCoury Band, Greensky Bluegrass, Yonder Mountain String Band, and many others. In 2016, Town Mountain made their Grand Ole Opry debut, performing both at the Opry House and at the famed Ryman Auditorium. Their most recent album, New Freedom Blues, was self-released in October 2018 and has garnered attention from fans and critics alike; including praise from No Depression, The Bluegrass Situation,American Songwriter, The Boot, and Saving Country Music, amongst others.Rolling Stone Country recently published a profile on the band and how they are actively “reshaping a strict genre,” noting, “call it an evolution or a revolution, but it’s clear that Town Mountain is at the forefront.”


Winterwondergrass Announces Lineups For All Three Festivals.


It’s that time of year when the seasons are changing and we’re getting pumped for winter! Buy your tickets for the 2020 WinterWonderGrass of your choice.

See you in the Mountains!

Barn At Steambat
Feb 21-23, 2020

View Lineup
Get Tickets
Tram at Squaw
March 27-29, 2020

View Lineup
Get Tickets
Clock Tower Stratton
April 10-11, 2020

View Lineup
Get Tickets
Colorado Lineup
California Lineup
Vermont Lineup

Caravan to WonderGrass
We celebrate the journey as much as the destination! Every season the WWG team hosts free local “Pop-Up” shows correlating with the announcement of each festival line-up.

More Info

Coast to Coast
Join us in multiple WWG locations across the country. Coast to Coast friends receive pop up perks at all locations! Save up to 10% on these passes.

Buy Now

One of the festivals I have always supported is Winterwondergrass, and beginning in February it’s one of the earlier festivals that begin first.  As time moves on here, I’ll be adding more information on these three festivals, and as many videos we can find.

We aim to cultivate and nurture the relationship between nature, authentic music, and communal family, creating a vehicle for inspiration. When we come together with open hearts and open minds, bringing all of our differences and unique opinions, we begin to dissolve the illusion of separation from one another. Our intention is to create a platform for artists, vendors, attendees, and our planet to unite as one – connecting the tribe.


WinterWonderGrass began in 2013 as a tiny, homegrown music festival in a parking lot in Edwards and is now returning for its seventh year in 2019 at its new home in Steamboat Springs, with sister festivals in Lake Tahoe, California, and Stratton, Vermont. The trifecta that founder Scotty Stoughton and his team have created over the past seven years is not only tremendously impressive but is also a blessing for bluegrass and string music fans across the nation. Stoughton and crew are also the faces behind Campout for the Cause, and though they’re not strangers on how to carefully curate a near-perfect festival, the WinterWonderGrasses are officially in a league of their own.” – 303 MAGAZINE


Performing live music, for us, is a conversation with the audience. it’s a relationship between the musicians and the listeners built on energy and trust. WinterWonderGrass makes that exchange so much more profound by changing the playing field. Something about enduring the cold, being in the elements together, and raging thru [sic] snowfall makes the reward so much greater for both parties.” – Paul Hoffman (Greensky Bluegrass)

“This festival really hits home for me coming from the North. There’s something about fully embracing the great outdoors in all it’s magnificence that gives the music a vivid glow like you’ve never experienced it before.– Lindsay Lou


At the heart of all his endeavors, Scotty Stoughton is an artist. He lives and breathes music and the world that holds its sound waves. Onstage performing with Bonfire Dub or behind the scenes producing his many festivals and events, including WinterWonderGrass and Campout for the Cause, Stoughton values music as more than a platform where rhythm meets beat.

For him, it’s an expression that sets the stage for a life worth living, a vision worth having and a dream worth creating. Bonfire Entertainment puts a spotlight on community and interpersonal connection, as well as the overall impact we have on the environment. Stoughton finds solace and inspiration in the natural world, especially on the water, and is the co-founder of Stand Up Paddle Colorado. His support of international non-profit organizations, along with local involvement through community events, always keeps his hands moving quickly without ever losing the beat.


New Pat Reedy And The Longtime Goners Single.

I have a long list of albums I am eagerly anticipating for 2020 release, and Mr. Pat Reedy and the Longtime Goners is one of them. My website here and his band has had a longstanding partnership, and I have featured all of his music on here.

On February 22nd he will be playing his showcase for the Ameripolitan Awards in Memphis Tenneessee. He is also on the ballot for Honky Tonk Male ( voting is now closed). I’m sure he will be included in quite a few festival lineups as 275 of the festivals I cover unfold in 2020.

I wanted to release his first title track single from his new album, that he released last year. I’m REALLY looking forward to this album, and to crossing paths with his band in 2020.

NEW single from Pat Reedy & The Longtime Goners

“Make It Back Home” on Country Roots Records
Download links below

Country Roots Records releases “Make It Back Home” single by Pat Reedy & The Longtime Goners on Friday, October 4th.  This title track is coming from an album due in early 2020!  Catch Pat Reedy & The Longtime Goners on their single release tour dates below.

Pat Reedy makes honest honky-tonk music for the modern world, mixing twang, blue-collar songwriting, working-class pride, and an unconventional backstory.
“Drawling, a little rough around the edges, and delivered with a booming baritone that could be heard over a bulldozer, Reedy’s tunes are simple and sincere throwbacks to the straight-talking country of the 1970s and before.”
-Rolling Stone Country

“Pat Reedy has inspired music from folks like The Deslondes from New Orleans, and Luke Bell who once told Saving Country Music, “He pulled through in an ’85 Datsun diesel pickup truck with a homeless painter and a half wolf dog. It was just a picture of a different part of the earth.”
-Saving Country Music

“Pat Reedy has sound that puts him right within the traditional, honky tonk and outlaw crowds.  It has everything you would expect from a classic 70’s country album right down to the working class musician attitude that Reedy carries.”
-Gary Hayes Country

“Everyone has a different songwriting process. Mine seems to be a hangover and a dump truck,” Reedy says, laughing. “I definitely had to write some of the songs really quickly because I was supposed to be doing something else.”
-Wide Open Country


“Make It Back Home”

written by Pat Reedy
©2019 Pat Reedy (BM)
ISRC: QM5M71900003
Going For ADDS now!! 

Make It Back Home MP3
Make It Back Home WAV
Private Soundcloud Stream


Pat Reedy & The Longtime Goners, "Make It Back Home" // GemsOnVHS™


Album Feature – Eleven Hundred Springs – Here ‘Tis

By Joshua Wallace

This new record Here ‘Tis is actually my first experience listening to Eleven Hundred Springs.  This band has been around the Texas scene since 1998 and has released more than 10 records at this point.  Eleven Hundred Springs come across as a true country band. Everything you’d ask for is here from fiddle to pedal steel and some really good song writing from Matt Hillyer and company.

I dig the acoustic guitar lick that opens up “Miles Apart”.  From there, the track settles into a groove that is funky and smooth at the same time.  I dig the solo work on this track as well. Moving on, “Let’s Move Out To The Country” picks up the pace a bit on a track that has the classic theme of a country boy looking to get out of the city.  I love the dueling fiddle and pedal steel solo on this one. Some good stuff here.

Probably my favorite track on this record is “The Song You’ll Never Hear”.  It’s about those alone and quiet moments and the song we only have for us. This isn’t a topic you see often in music and I’m liking it here.  Finally, “Let Me Be Your Man” is a great up tempo track that starts off with some good fiddling and never lets up. As with the rest of the record, the solo work here is phenomenal and you get solos from electric guitar, pedal steel guitar and fiddle on this one.

Eleven Hundred Springs is a long running country band out of Texas that is known for quality country music and this album does not disappoint.  The musicianship is stellar throughout this record as is the songwriting. I don’t know if this band ever tours the southeast, but I would love to see them live at some point.  In the meantime, you should give Here ‘Tis and the rest of their discography a chance if you’re like me and are just getting into this band. Here ‘Tis is out everywhere you can find good music as of Friday January 17th, 2020.

Favorite Tracks :Miles Apart,  Let’s Move Out To The Country, The Song You’ll Never Hear, Let Me Be Your Man

Eleven Hundred Springs – Here ‘Tis (2020)

  1. This Morning It Was Too Late
  2. All Jokes Aside
  3. Miles Apart
  4. Fair Weather Friend
  5. Let’s Move Out To The Country
  6. The Song You’ll Never Hear
  7. Looking Back
  8. Let Me Be Your Man
  9. Let Tomorrow Wait and See
  10. Nobody Cares

Country Legend Mr. Gene Watson Invited To Join The Opry.

This article has me up at the wee hours of the morning with a box of tissues drying up my tears. There is nobody that I adore more ardently then Mr. Gene Watson in Country Music PERIOD..nobody. Aside from Mr. Vern Gosdin or Mr. Don Williams, the voice of Mr. Gene Watson resonates so deeply within my heart that you cannot EVER remove his music from my soul. His voice and his demeanor brings honor and integrity to both Country Music as a genre, and to the Opry as the heart and soul of that genre.

I understand many of you are very articulate in your negative sentiments about the direction of the Opry, and I only partially agree with you. If you remember last year I made a good point that the Opry IS FINALLY LISTENING TO US, and has been featuring more traditional artists we know and love.

It’s my hope and my onus to see to it that the Grand Ol Opry continues to maintain to not just be an outlet for Pop Country , but and outlet for Traditional Country as well, and it’s doing that by recently inviting Mr. James Carothers to perform his Opry debut very soon. ( MORE on that later).

As I listened to the Opry last night online I was simply in absolute AWE from what was transpiring at my desk here. It involved Mr. Vince Gill, another Country Music artist I consider to be a Legend in his own right. This is how last night went:

“They’ve got me down for two more songs, but I’d love to give you one of those songs. I’ll make you a deal. I’m a wheeler-dealer guy. If you do ‘Farewell Party,’ we’ll invite you to become the next member of the Grand Ole Opry.”

Of course,  Mr. Gene Watson accepted and then Mr. Gene said, “In 2019, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the release of this song. And after 40 years it’s still the most requested song. And then you pull this on me, I’m not sure I’ve got anything left.”

Mr. Gene Watson is a prominent part of the history of Texas music as well, not only Traditional Country Music overall. You know, he has been around for many years, and he has been gracing the Opry stage for so many of those years even NOT being a member of it. He has never ONCE put the Opry down because of that, or complained about being overlooked as much as the fans have…now we FINALLY have that prize.

I’m going to also include this press release here, and also this review of his show at the Nashville Palace.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. –  Country music legend Gene Watson was surprised on stage at the Ryman Auditorium during the Grand Ole Opry tonight by Opry member Vince Gill with an invitation to become an official Opry member. Watson, whose hits including “Fourteen Carat Mind” and “Farewell Party” have become country standards, made his Opry debut 55 years ago at age 21 on the Ryman stage.

“He’s one of the greatest country singers that’s walked the earth,” Gill said, introducing Watson on stage to perform. After Watson performed “Sometimes I Get Lucky and Forget” and “Nothing Sure Looked Good On You” Gill asked, “Would you mind singing ‘Farewell Party’? The Opry told me if you would, you could be the next member of the Grand Ole Opry.” A nearly speechless Gene replied, “I’m not sure I have anything left after that kind of surprise” and then gave an outstanding performance that kept the sold-out crowd on its feet.

“The Opry strives to showcase an array of musical styles in every show,” said Dan Rogers, Vice President and Executive Producer, Grand Ole Opry. “When Gene Watson steps onto the Opry stage, fans know they are going to hear one of the most respected traditional country singers of all time. For years, we’ve watched him wow audiences in the crowd and fellow artists backstage. He’s been committed to the Opry for decades, and we look forward to him becoming an official member of the family. Plus, when all is said and done, you just can’t beat that last note of ‘Farewell Party.’”

About Gene Watson:
This masterful country stylist from Houston, Texas has been thrilling audiences for more than 50 years. Gene Watson’s tally of 75 charted titles, 23 Top 10 hits, six No. 1 country records and three No. 1 gospel hits has led to membership in the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame and the Houston, TX Music Hall of Fame. Radio listeners are still transfixed whenever classics like “Farewell Party,” “Fourteen Carat Mind” or “Love in the Hot Afternoon” are played. Considered one of the finest pure-country singers of his generation and known as “The Singer’s Singer,” Watson offers up one of the best traditional country shows in the business.

FULL List Of Local Tennessee And Kentucky Shows.


YOU have a show YOU would like added to my list PLEASE email me at I literally watch more than 40 venues in Nashville plus belong to many concert websites in order to bring you this coverage. NEW IN 2018, folks I am always looking for ways to enhance what I do for you. So this year I’ll be reporting on further Kentucky shows, and further Tennessee shows as well.

Mr. Joshua, Mr. Luther and I cover hundreds of shows a year, and many festivals in person. Online, we cover 200 festivals yearly and bring a LOT of news to the masses. Folks WHATEVER YOU DO PLEASE support live venue and local music

Corb Lund
3rd And lindsley April 19th

Larry Cordle
Station Inn April 20th 26th, 27th,

Georgette Jones
Nashville Palace April 22nd

Old Crow Medicine Show
Southern Ky Performing Arts Center April 22nd.

Robbie Fulks
The Station Inn April 22nd

Allison Krauss
Caverns April 24th

Craig Gerdes
Gregery RV Park Muhlenberg Ky April 24th

Drive By Truckers
Ryman Auditorium April 25th

Chris Stapleton
Kroger Field April 25th

Rachel Brooke
The Southgate House Revival April 26th

Mike And The Moonpies
Acme Feed And Seed April 27th

Lukas Nelson And The Promise Of The Real
Knoxville Tn April 28th

Jesse Dayton
The Southgate House Revival May 29th

Caroline Rose
Basement East April 30th

Willie Nelson
Country Music Hall Of Fame May 1 and 2nd

Faren Rachels
exit In May 5th

Charley Crockett
Minglewood Hall May 7th

Travis Tritt
Lynyrd Skynrd
Appalachian Wireless Arena Pikeville Ky May 8th

Read Southall Band
Basement East May 14th

Read Southall Band
Basement East May 17th

Pokey LaFarge
3rd And Lindsley May 17th

The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys
Riverfront Parl in Brandenburg Ky May 20th

Tyler Childers
Sturgil Simpson
Bridgestone Arena May 21st and 22nd`

Harmed Brothers Album Release Show
Southgate House May 23rd

Shooter Jennings
Exit Inn May 29th

Jesse Dayton
The Southgate House Revival May 29th

Tanya Tucker
Shooter Jennings
Beaver Dam Ampitherater May 30th

Joseph Huber
Chelsea Ford And the Trouble
Gallows Bound
Southgate House Revival May 30th

Gary Allan
Marathon Music Works June 3rd

The Mavericks
Caverns June 5th

Rhonda Vincent And The Rage
Cavrens June 6th

Ricky Skaggs
Ryman Auditorium July 9th

Mike And The Moonpies
Minglewood Hall June 10th

The Lil Smokies
The Del McCoury Band.
Ryman Auditorium June 18th

Todd Snider
Rhonda Vincent
The Caverns Pelham Tn June 20th

Charlie Daniels
Bridgestone Arena July 17th

Bridgestone Arena July 18th

Vince Gill
Ryman Auditorium July 23rd

Marty Stuart
Acsend Ampitheater July 23rd

Read Southall Band
Minglewood Hall July 23rd

American Aquarium
Minglewood Music Hall August 27th

Bonnie Bishop
City Winery July 24th

The Steel Woods
The Shed Maryville Tn July 25th

Wade Bowen
Randy Rogers Band
Ryman Auditorium August 6th

Alan Jackson
Bridgestone Arena August 7th 2020

American Aquarium
Brooklyn Bowl Nashville August 16th

John Moreland
Brooklyn Bowl Nashville August 28th

The Steel Woods
Manchester Music Hall Lexington Ky August 29th

Lillie Mae
Aubrie sellers
Exit In Nashville August 29th

B.J. Thomas
SkyPAC Bowling Green Ky September 19th 2020

Chris Stapleton
Thompson Arean Knoxville Tn October 1st

Chris Stapleton
Bridgestone Arena October 2nd and 3rd

The Dead South
The Reverend Peytons Big Damn Band
The Caverns October 3rd

Whiskey Myers
Ryman Auditorium October 20th

Lilly Hiatt
Exit Inn November 19th

Album Feature – Marcus King – El Dorado

By Joshua Wallace

El Dorado is the debut solo record from Marcus King.  He has previously issued albums under The Marcus King Band.  I was a big fan of his 2018 record Carolina Confessions. This new album is looking to be his break out hit as he has enlisted mega producer Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys.  His influence is clear throughout this record and El Dorado looks to be the first great release of 2020.

The first listen we got of this new record was a song called “The Well”  This is one of the tracks where you hear The Black Keys influence the most.  The song features a swinging foot stomping beat and fuzzy heavy guitar riffs.  It’s a great track to introduce new fans to Marcus King as it showcases his guitar playing and singing voice.  The opening riff permeates through the entire track and it closes out with a killer solo that fades at the end, leaving you wanting to hear this song live.  Another favorite is “Beautiful Stranger”. This song is a slow soulful jam that really highlights Marcus King’s beautiful vocals. It has a bit of a country blues flare with the guitar solo.  It shows a side of Marcus King that you don’t get with “The Well”.

I really dig the rocking track “Turn It Up”.  Marcus turns it up on this funky rocking blues track for sure.  It’s a favorite on the album and is guaranteed to be a hit live.  “Too Much Whiskey” is a killer country blues number. This track would fit in with any honky tonk dive.  He mentions both “Whiskey River” and Shotgun Willie on a track that wouldn’t be out of place on a classic Willie record.  I really dig the harmonica solo towards the end as well. “No Pain” closes out this album with a super smooth bass heavy ballad.  This track has a great groove and closes out the album with a smooth dueling electric and acoustic guitar solo.

This album is a great starting point for new fans of Marcus King.  It’s a fresh take on his amazing blues sound that takes it from smooth slow jams to heavier rocking blues numbers.  Dan Auerbach’s influence is all over this album and it has a super smooth sound. I hope I’m able to catch Marcus King live at some point during this year and if I do, I will have a full report of that experience.  In the meantime, you can find all upcoming tour dates on Marcus King’s website. El Dorado is out everywhere January 17th, 2020.          

Favorite Tracks : The Well, Beautiful Stranger, Break, Say You Will, Turn It Up, Too Much Whiskey, No Pain

Marcus King – El Dorado (2020)

  1. Young Man’s Dream
  2. The Well
  3. Wildflowers & Wine
  4. One Day She’s Here
  5. Sweet Mariona
  6. Beautiful Stranger
  7. Break
  8. Say You Will
  9. Turn It Up
  10. Too Much Whiskey
  11. Love Song
  12. No Pain

Mr. Luther’s TOP 50 OF 2019.

2019 Top 50 Albums

By Luther Center

2019 was a phenomenal year for new release studio albums. My tastes tend to include music from traditional country, soul, rock, Ameripolitan, punk, classic rock, blues rock, metal, power pop, southern rock, and just about any mashup of the listed categories. As such, this isn’t strictly a “country” countdown, but you’ll certainly see plenty of “country” in this list.

I listen to hundreds of new albums from all over the world every year. In recent years, I admit that the “Kentucky thing” that has blossomed over the last 3-4 years has consumed much of my time, and rightly so. It’s a vibrant movement that is creating boatloads of quality music in almost all of the genres I’ve listed. You’ll see a lot of that in this list as well.

That said, I include 50 albums in my countdown this year. There are at least 150 more that are worthy of mention, and I’ll try to follow up at a later date with my honorable mention list.

My rules are to include only studio albums released during the calendar year, or during the 4th quarter of the prior year, if they were missed on the previous year’s countdown. This allows for the very real possibility that I may not be aware of or had a chance to listen yet to a late year release. I do not include anthologies, live albums, EP’s, or re-issues. So for those of you looking for Arlo McKinley and the Lonesome Sound’s self titled re-issued first album or Eric Bolander’s “The Wind” reissue, you won’t see them listed here. However…please note that if those records were originally released in 2019, they would be easy top 15 picks and you should definitely go check them out.

So, without further delay, here is my list.
1 .The Wildhearts- Renaissance Men

A welcome return, after 10 years,  from one of the best bands in the world!  Newcastle’s own are back with what most fans consider their “classic” lineup.  This album is a near perfect slab of rock and roll, incorporating all of the best elements of punk, classic rock, and metal.  Jason and Warner from Jason and the Scorchers told me once that they thought the Wildhearts were their favorite band in the world, even enlisting Ginger Wildheart to write and contribute to their last studio album.  I do not disagree.  Many times since their 1993 debut album (“Earth vs. The Wildhearts”, a classic not-to-be-missed masterpiece) they’ve managed to trip over their own feet on the way to success.  This is one of those instances where they planted a big old foot directly on the right path and in the right direction.  The album led to a very successful 2019 Euro tour, and it looks like it’s extending well into 2020.  They’ve never reached the popularity in the US that they enjoy in the U.K., but I’m hoping they’ll give thought to a few US dares in 2020.

An excellent 6 song EP followed in the fall and is a fantastic complement to the LP.  Rumor has it that another LP is on the way in 2020.

2. Joseph Huber- Moondog

I’m a longtime fan of Joseph Huber, and he has, with “Moondog”, produced an album that satisfies from the first notes until the final fade.  A member of the now defunct .357 String Band (check out their music if you never have), this is Huber’s 5th and most fully realized album.  It contains 15 meaty tracks incorporating elements of bluegrass, Appalachian and Celtic folk, and old timey country music.  You’ll hear lots of guitar, banjo, mandolin, and fiddle on this record, to go along with Huber’s fantastic voice and songwriting.  It’s hard for me to pick favorite tracks on this album, as I like them ALL, but “Moondog”, “Found Penny”, and the hauntingly beautiful “A Northwood Waltz” certainly hit the spot.  The album certainly makes me look forward to his future music output.  And, by all means, if you get a chance to see him live, do it.  You won’t regret it.

3. Mike and the Moonpies- Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold

What an album.  It’s definitely a throwback and homage to the fully-produced 70’s style country music album.  Mike and the Moonpies have gone all in on this style, writing and performing it perfectly.  Led by Mile Harmier, this is the Austin, Texas band’s 6th full length album.  With soaring strings, twangy guitars, and sweet harmonies, tracks like “You Look Good In Neon” and “If You Want A Fool Around” would fit in right between those Conway Twitty and Charlie Rich songs of the 70’s.  An ambitious and successfully executed concept, I can’t recommend this album enough.

4. Tyler Childers- Country Squire

Tyler’s first major label release, “Country Squire”, is produced by the same team that gave us his breakthrough 2017 album “Pugatory”, Sturgill Simpson and David Ferguson.  The album takes us further down the Eastern Kentucky path that Tyler has followed since his first album back in 2011.  There’s a “high lonesome” quality to his music that evokes the same kind of feelings I’ve always gotten from listening to The Stanley Brothers.  It’s not bluegrass, but it’s definitely bluegrass-influenced.

Some of these songs have been road tested in his live show for several years, and some are brand new.  Among this collection of 9 songs,  “Country Squire”, “Bus Route”, House Fire”, “Peace of Mind”, and “All Your’n”, are instant classic country songs that I think will be singalong standards for a long time.  The addition of keyboards as one of the primary instruments and the approach of treating the songs as suites, with connector music between songs adds a welcome element to Tyler’s music, and has translated well into his live show.

Already one of the top talents in music today, this album helps cement his legacy, and I am really looking forward to what Childers brings us next.

5 .Jason Ringenberg- Stand Tall

Jason Ringenberg, formidable vocalist for legendary band Jason and the Scorchers and alter ego of extremely successful children’s music artist Farmer Jason, in 2019 released his first solo album since 2004, and it is a doozy!

First off, a little history.  In the early 1980’s, Jason and the Scorchers invented a hybrid style of country and punk music that still endures today, and has influenced every band since who plays any sort of hybrid cowpunk, psychobilly, country-punk, or punk-grass music.  Without JATS breaking the barriers and enduring the vehement criticism for introducing their style in Nashville of all places, bands like Goddamn Gallows, Hank 3, Legendary Shack Shakers, Southern Culture on the Skids, and the Supersuckers would have had a much more difficult path to success.

On this return album, Jason covers a lot of bases, including JATS style country punk, 70s outlaw country, Celtic, western, Spaghetti western, and folk music.  There’s even a New York Style punk rock ode to the Ramones called “God Bless The Ramones” which is a kind of “thank you” to them for letting JATS open for them on an early tour.  Jason Ringenberg is a musician with a unique vision, and after hearing this one, I hope He doesn’t make us wait another 15 years to hear the next album.

6 The Rhyolite Sound- Mojave Gold

Rhyolite Sound is a Las Vegas band specializing in a style they call “Desert Honky Tonk” (also the name of their first album).  Their second album “Mojave Gold” is a honky tonk outlaw country classic.  Larry Rhea, who handles the bulk of the lead vocal duties has a Waylon-esque voice that perfectly fits their harder edged boot stomping slide and steel guitar fueled country rockers like “Margaritas and Cocaine” and “On Stolen Time”.  The rest of the lead vocal duties fall on Erik Alesi, whose smoother vocals remind you at times of Raul Malo on the Mavericks’ style “There I Go” and other times are  reminiscent of Brooks and Dunn on tracks like “He Can Have Her”.  The musicianship is top notch and the songwriting is wonderful.

This album is a true country throwback and a tremendously enjoyable listen.

7 . The Franklin County Trucking Company- The Further Adventures Of….

Eddie Spaghetti of the Supersuckers. Jim Rotramel and Taylor Sphere of  the Number 9 Blacktops.  Sean Hopkins of Dallas Alice.  Numerous appearances by Colonel JD Wilkes of the Legendary Shack Shakers and The Dirt Daubers.  Cowpunk music.  Trucker songs.  What’s not to like???

“The Further Adventures of The Franklin County Trucking Company” starts where their first album left off.  Traditional old style country trucker songs done punk-rock style.  Along with 8 all excellent new trucking songs that will leave you looking up your old Dave Dudley records, there are two excellent covers, Eddie Rabbit’s “Driving My Life Away” and Little Feat’s “Willin’”.  See my review for this album earlier this year on

8 The Steel Woods- Old News

The Steel Woods playground is that of 70s southern rock in the mold of Lynyrd Skynyrd.  This Nashville band was founded by Wes Bayliss (guitar/vocals) and Jason Cope (lead guitar).  Bayliss’s vocal delivery sounds eerily like Ronnie VanZant at times (“Rock That Says My Name”, “Compared To A Soul”) and Bayliss is a master of coming up with Gary Rossington and Allen Collins-like guitar riffs (“Blind Lover”, “All Of These Years”). The band is rounded out with Jay Tooke (drums) and a Johnny Stanton (bass).

The best description I can give for this album is that it is one straight up kickass southern rock and roll album.  Essential for fans of Skynyrd, Blackberry Smoke, and Whiskey Myers.

9. Buffalo Wabs and the Price Hill Hustle- Stranger In The Alps

Buffalo Wabs and the Price Hill Hustle hail from Cincinnati, but their music evokes a feel for parts south of the Ohio River.  They’re part bluegrass, part country, part folk and all excellent musicians.  The band includes Buffalo Wabs on guitar and vocals, Casey Campbell on drums and vocals, Scott Risner on guitar, mandolin, banjo, and harmony vocals, and “Bullseye” Bill Baldock on upright bass and vocals.  There are guest appearances by Joe Macheret on fiddle and John Victor on harmonica.

The album is a mixture of covers and originals that highlight the band’s strengths of musicianship and vocals.  Favorite songs include the Leadbelly cover “Stewball”, and the original “Oh Ramona”, both of which I dare you not to sing, chant, or toetap along with.  Also, check out that harrowing cover of Skynyrd’s “Four Walls of Raiford”, complete with percussion chains straight out of the Jacob Marley handbook of ghostly percussion!  Great band, great album.

10. Cotton Mather- Young Life and Other Mysteries

One of my all time favorite bands is Austin, TX power pop band Cotton Mather.  Led by pop genius Robert Harrison, Cotton Mather has roots in the 90s resurgence of power pop led at the time by artists like The Posies, Matthew Sweet, Oasis, and Material Issue.  Their 1997 album “Kon-Tiki” is a power pop masterpiece and one of my 20 all time favorite albums.  Check it out if you already haven’t.  After a 2002 album, the band broke up until a 2013 reunion, which has led to a large number of releases since that time.

“Young Life and Other Mysteries” is the first full album offered to followers of Cotton Mathers’ Patreon offering, and it is, as always, top quality power pop.  The bad news is that I don’t believe the full album is available on any platform other than the Patreon site. The good news is that it is STILL available on the Patreon site, and six songs are available on streaming sites under the title “Young Life”.

Starting off with the soaring and ridiculously catchy “Mighty Girl”, the first six tracks just never let up with hooks.  Sublime power pop of the first order.  The final 7 tracks have slightly less continuity, but that is likely due to being recorded at different times, and in some cases to being acoustic and alternate mixes.  However, there is absolutely no reduction in quality of music on those tracks.  Give this band a chance on your favorite streaming platform, then go support their work if you like them!

11. Whiskey Myers- Whiskey Myers

Skynyrd and Black Crowes inspired southern guitar rock from Texas, with an emphasis on ROCK!  And lead singer, Cody Cannon,  who reminds me a lot of Paul Rodgers from Free and Bad Company.

12. Urban Pioneers- Come Out Swingin’

Self proclaimed purveyors of Hillbilly Swing Music featuring plenty of banjo and fiddle music and a healthy dose of good humor.  Bluegrass, Western swing, and just a touch of Tex-Mex.  The Urban Pioneers will never let you down.

13. Henry’s Funeral Shoe- Smartphone Rabbit Hole

Two brothers Aled (guitar) and Brennig Clifford (drums) from South Wales, playing excellent overdriven guitar based blues rock.  Rocks awful hard for just two guys!  Look up and listen to “Damn Right I Mean It” to see why I like this album so much.

14. White Reaper- You Deserve Love

Louisville, KY’s White Reaper shows that Kentucky has more to offer than just roots music.  This band has progressed from garage rock to one of the finest power pop bands in the world today.


15. Jake Dunn and the Blackbirds- Cosmic Americans

These guys hail from the Pomeroy, Ohio area and I REALLY like them.  With a style reminiscent of a refined southern rock band crossed with outlaw country sensibility and songwriting (think Drive By Truckers or Lucero), this, their 2nd album, shows a young talented band maturing into a very poised yet still-rowdy country southern rock band.  And they decided to show off that 3 guitar attack this time!!


16. Dead Bronco- The Annunciation

Dead Bronco, from Bilbao, Spain call their music black folk.  I call it punk country.  You call it what you want, but just give it a listen.  Led by front man Matt Hiram, originally from Florida, this is music influenced by Hank 3, Those Poor Bastards, and Goddamn Gallows.  A little darker than their 5 previous albums, this is a great album.

17. Ian Noe- Between The Country

From Beattyville KY, this 29 year old has written and performed a folk-country masterpiece.  Universally critically lauded, and deservedly so, this guy paints pictures of a desperate Appalachian landscape with words and voice.  Listen to “Meth Head” and “Irene” and hear why I think this guy just may become a major player in the genre.

18. Reverend Beat-man and Izobel Garcia- Baile Bruja Muerto

Swiss musician Reverend Beat-man is front man for psychobilly band The Monsters and is head of Voodoo Rhythm Records.  Izobel Garcia is from LA and of a Mexican descent.  The Rev plays guitar and Izobel plays drums and keys.  Together, they are a blues trash folk punk force!  An outright aural attack… I love it!

19. Redd Kross- Beyond The Door

80s LA punk pioneers return once again with their brand of revved up power pop.  The McDonald brothers (Steve and Jeff), sound as fresh today as they did on when they were playing shows with Circle Jerks and Black Flag.  The sound is more  refined now, but is still high energy.  The current lineup features 2 members of a The Melvins (Steve McDonald and Dale Crover) and Steve also plays bass for OFF!

20. Nic Allen and the Troubled Minds- On The Hilltop

See my full review from last month in  Nic’s first album is a masterful first effort with mature songwriting and fantastic vocals and musicianship.  This guy has a high ceiling.  I look forward to watch his growth progress.

And the remainder albums 21-50

21 Tilford Sellers- Another Day With You
22 Ryan Hamilton and the Harlequinn Ghosts- This Is The Sound
23 Charley Crockett- The Valley
24 Janus Stark- Angel In The Flames
25 Don Rogers and the Apostlebillies- This Ain’t My Generation
26 Dallas Moore- Tryin’ To Be A Blessing
27 The Spangles- Sweet FA
28 Down ‘n’ Outz- This Is How We Roll
29 Lolas- A Dozen or Seven Tapestries
30 Billy Strings- Home
31 Airbourne- Boneshaker
32 The Rembrandts- Via Satellite
33 Cody Jinks- After The Fire
34 Cody Jinks- The Wanting
35 Tanya Tucker- While I’m Livin’
36 Jeff Lynne’s ELO- From Out of Nowhere
37 Whiskey Daredevils- Bonafide
38 Kelsey Waldon- White Noise/White Lines
39 Guided by Voices- Zeppelin Over China
40 Guided by Voices- Warp and Woof
41 Status Quo- Backbone
42 Angel- Risen
43 Ginger Wildheart- The Pessimist’s Companion
44 The Local Honeys- Song The Gospel
45 Moonshine Wagon- Straight From The Mud
46 Sierra Ferrell- Pretty Magic Spell
47 Adrian Belew- Pop Sided
48 Rival Sons- Feral Roots
49 Colonel JD Wilkes- Will I See You One Day In God’s Glory Land
50 Danko Jones- A Rock Supreme

Please check out Mr. Joshua’s TOP 50 HERE.
Also, you can check out Mr, Gary’s TOP 50 HERE.

Gary Hayes Country Top 50 Of 2019.

Is it my personal Christmas and New Years break now? Yes. Each year I get almost two weeks off my factory job, and I get to catch up on paperwork and other things. Like all of my year end closure articles on my website. My contributors also put in their top choices besides what I publish. I believe you can click right HERE to see Mr. Joshua Wallace’s choices.

WE ALL have so many albums we did and didn’t care for, and that’s what makes this music game so fun. We don’t necessarily conform to the mainstream type of music, but I’m going to be completely honest…some of my choices will be a little mainstream to a small extent. I don’t totally HATE ALL mainstream music, hell I think Stapleton sings some truly pretty music right now..and I’m glad the normies are digging what he does.

I labor very hard and dig VERY deep into the realms of unknown local music for you. I am not a very indolent person in ANY way. In fact, there are only a few websites that dig as extensively as I do, and even though one of them is a  despicable person full of hubris, he writes some darn fine articles.

One thing you are about to find with me is that my selections for my top albums are all over the genre grid. It’s not just a closed minded box selection from a few musical outlets, and I realize that’s why many people really don’t like what I do….but it’s not meant to please them, it’s meant to please YOU, MY DEAR READERS.

Miss Tanya Tucker was already awarded my 2019 Album Of The Year. Without a shadow of a doubt her and the crew that was assembled to record that album was remarkable. The songs were all amazing and by all means I am quite adamant on my decision. I’m not going to elaborate as much on that album here, you can click on the link up there and read about my number one album.

Noe 2

2.Ian Noe was my number 2 pick HANDS DOWN, and in the last few months leading up to now, he has vastly surpassed his smaller venue echelon and moved up into bigger local venues like the DYNAMITE show he performed at The Exit In with Mr. Jeremy Ivey.

He has developed a gritty snarl on his face while he delivers his dark and poignant lyrics from this album unto audiences all over the country. The lyrics are what sets this album apart from everyone else with songs like “Irene (Ravin’ Bomb) about a totally dysfunctional family  member whom shows up for the holidays wasted.

“Meth Head” is perhaps one of the most well written and descriptive songs I have EVER heard since Hard Times Are Relevant by Mr. Jason Boland last year. But even if you omit those two songs you STILL HAVE songs like “Letter To Madeline” about a surrounded desperate man that robbed a bank, in order to provide a better life for his wife.

3. The late Mr. Tilford Sellers was my number 3 pick, and after you listen to this album a few times and give it a GOOD CLOSE spin, I bet you will agree with me. When I first met him at Muddy Roots many years ago, he and I formed an ardent support system for each other’s work.

This album was totally finished on the fly by his band, because he was killed in a car crash directly after he finished recording the vocals for this project. He was struck and killed by an under the influence driver, and while his beloved family is pursuing justice for him…it is my onus to rally YOU his MUSIC FAMILY to make sure he lives on with my website. I will never be silenced over his behalf….he would have helped do it for me.

“Tanker Full Of Tears” is just an old fashioned truck driving song as well as the next song “Home Away from Broken Home” which is just a flat out two stepping piece of Honky Tonk Heaven. This whole entire album is just plain out simple hardcore country bliss. Just crack open a couple beers and put on “She’s Coming Home” and absorb that bass thump and dobro twang that today’s country music lacks, and sadly it took such a tragedy to bring this album out…but it makes it even MORE special. HERE is where you can read about the release party they had for him. I miss you my friend, and I’ll always love you and carry on my vision that you so vehemently agreed with.

4. I’m completely sure that EVERY website that features music like this one is going to have Tyler Childers high up on their lists. This was my number 4 pick, but it doesn’t make it any less special by any means. I wouldn’t blame anybody for making this album a number one choice, but mine was more special to my heart.

This album along with the 2 Cody Jinks albums is under CONSTANT scrutiny by “fans” in all of those Facebook groups that are whining about them being overproduced. Now if you feel that way and keep it private THAT’S FINE, I wouldn’t hold it against you ONE BIT. But don’t get on social media and act a fool please. DEBATE your opinion like an adult, and that’s COOL. THIS ALBUM DOES sound more produced than his old old stuff, but I feel that only OG’s like Mr. JJ Waters can judge and compare his OLD stuff..none of us were there when he was singing at laundromats.

At 2018 Kickin It On The Creek Mr. Tyler played “Bus Route” and “Gemini” and introduced them both as new, and included their back stories from them. So I kind of knew some of what to expect on some of the angles, but his vocals on the song “Creeker” rings with a lonesome twang across my living room when I spin this on vinyl. I actually don’t believe there is one song on this entire album I didn’t care for.

5. I’ll be honest the only solo work I like from The Highwomen is Miss Natalie Hemby, and Miss Brandi Carlile. Natalie Hemby is a VASTLY OVERLOOKED songwriter in her own right, and it’s SAD that so many have NO IDEA what she all wrote. I cannot stand Miss Maren Morris music solo BUT when you juxtapose them ALL FOUR together you get powerhouse songs like “Loose Change”, which was one of the most well written songs I have EVER heard.

I’ll admit I thought that the initial concept of making a female version of the highwaymen was stupid at first. But after I sat back and REALLY LISTENED to their passion in the words, I heard love and reverence for the original. BUT the harmonies on the next song “Redesigning Women” was smooth and gave me goosebumps. I had NO IDEA they would sound that good together, and if it sounds that good live then TAKE MY MONEY!

“If She Ever Leaves Me” was an interesting subject for me, I don’t think I ever heard a country song like that from a lesbian’s point of view toward a man. It was different and you can agree or disagree with it, in today’s times it was quite relevant. Even a guy that doesn’t agree with it can understand it and relate to it. As for ME it’s not that I don’t agree with it, I pretty much support everybody’s way THEY want to live, so I could see it happening to me.

But I’m going to say these last two things the vocals on the song “Crowded Table” are amazing and beautiful, and that is another well written song along with “Heaven Is A Honky Tonk”. There were so many terrific songs put out this year, so many GOOD COUNTRY songs and this one was one of the TOP 5 songs. “Jesus Loves His Sinners And Heaven Is A Honky Tonk”.

6. and 7. Cody Jinks put out TWO albums this year, and without ANY mainstream help from anybody BOTH ALBUMS went to number one on the Billboard charts. He pulled what I call “The Metallica Move” in the 80s where they assaulted the charts with NO help from anybody. Mr. Cody Jinks is 100 percent DIY, and flaunts it in an ardent manner.

He collaborated with MANY co writers on this album like another man I enjoy Mr. Casper McWade, and Mr. Joshua Morningstar. BOTH ALBUMS contained some really good songs on them, and once again we are going to hear the “Overproduced” line from many people. But growth is what he is experiencing, and putting out music that is just as good as he did 10 years ago is what I’m seeing.

“Where Even Angels Fear To Fly” has some great twang that I enjoyed, along with the song “The Raven And The Dove”. The Wanting album really showed me the passion Mr. Cody Jinks has inside him for the success he and the Tone Deaf Hippies have achieved in the last 5 years. I personally watched him and his band grow so vastly since he first began, and he is a PRIME example that hard work and determination CAN get you onto bigger stages.

8. Jason James I don’t think he could put out a BAD album EVER! This young man we need around for many MANY more years, and he needs to become an Opry member as well as tour more nationally, and I hope my website helps him get there. I just absolutely LOVE his simple Honky Tonk music, and his own vocal whine, his opening song “Seems Like Tears Ago” has a George Jones whine that only Mr. Jason has developed into HIS OWN sound.

His band is ON POINT on this entire album, in fact it’s so remarkable that the only negative thing I can say about this album is the length. I mean an album THIS GOOD should have 30 songs on it,  just shut up and TAKE MY MONEY MR. JASON!  He represents pride and dignity for REAL Country Music with his suit and tie demeanor, and his precise note for note vocal deliveries.

As this album moves onto “I Miss You After All” and on to others you’ll find that all of these songs compliment one another with elegant but dark Country Music style. I don’t think he will ever be able to beat the song “Hot Mouth Momma” but the song “Move A Little Closer” moves a little closer to him beating it.

This man is one of my personal favorite Honky Tonkers, and the only thing that makes people like Childers shine brighter is the depth of the lyrics. Mr. Jason’s songs are more simple and easier to dissect and understand, it’s just plain out simple beer drinking COUNTRY. “We’re Gonna Honky Tonk Tonight” is just directly easy to “Get it”. If you like music that should have been recorded in 1975 then HE IS your man.

9. Sarah Lee Langford was one I found late in the game, and to be honest I stumbled onto her in one of my famous rabbit hole leaps, and this album is one of the ones that I cannot really clarify into any genre box. I can see how this will get lumped into that “Americana” thing, and this being her debut album I’m hoping she will become more noticed by underground media.

The title track here “Two Hearted Rounder” was well written and brought me to understand that she has gone through a breakup, and goes into her own self empowerment anthem in a song called “Big Woman”.  A lot of us use music as a coping mechanism, and it’s evident she has used this album to bring out her own story.

“Keep Your Diamonds” as well as “Bar Stool” were both great songs with a unique sound all her own, and that’s what attracted me to this album. Another thing that attracted me to this album was all of the shuffle songs embodied with the steel guitar wizardry, all from the local area of Birmingham Alabama.

10. Billy Strings is one of the younger Bluegrass prodigies that is often made fun of by Bluegrass purists. He is subjected to a LOT of scrutiny and rejection form hardcore Bluegrassers in the world. And while I appreciate the Legends of Bluegrass, and their sound I also love the young people bring new direction into the genre.

He is an AMAZING guitar picker and his band is TOP NOTCH, and when he takes the stage for any show, his music lights the place up with a exciting energy that I cannot write on here. The self titled song ‘Home” vastly takes young William AWAY from his Michigan home to a whopping 275 dates a year. Clearly he IS a staple for the title spot on many festivals and events.

He often says : “I mean, there’s people out there that think what I do is absolutely insane or the opposite of bluegrass. And they’re not necessarily wrong, we do a lot of psychedelic, crazy stuff,” Strings admits. “But if you come and talk to me or sit down and pick with me, you won’t find somebody who’s more into the history of bluegrass or the fathers of bluegrass.” Which was printed on Rolling Stone.

His strong ability to deviate from strict Bluegrass and morph into the psychedelically sounding stuff he unleashes upon the crowd. “Long Forgotten Dream” is one of the finest songs on the album, but songs like “Away From The Mire” at a whopping 8 minutes takes the album and the music to a whole new echelon.

11. Mr. Cody Johnson is one of those acts associated with the Red Dirt movement in Texas and Oklahoma, both regions having a little different sound to the same rooted genre.  This was his seventh offering here from a major label, and even though it was on a major label, it received NO attention from mainstream radio. IT DID however reach number one on the Billboard charts in early 2019.

This was one of the first albums I paid attention to in 2019, and this one was his first album that was on a major label. It showed with the overall production of the album, but the songs were just as good as they always were. With the song called “Y’all People” dedicated to his former label of Cojo Records.

This is a whopping 15 song piece of Honky Tonk greatness with songs like “Honky Tonk Mood”, and others like “Where Cowboys Are King” , but this album comes with two bonus tracks one being a song called “His Name Is Jesus”. That song right there is one of the finest pieces of work, that I have heard all year, and if I had to pick my TOP 3 it and the Highwomen song called “Loose Change” would be two of them.

“Monday Morning Merle” is another song that brings this album up the ranks of Country music greatness, and perhaps one of the finest Texas country albums that has become available in the last year.

12. Jason Hawk Harris is one of the albums I found out about this spring at Americanafest and also from my right arm man Mr. Joshua Wallace. He was brought out by Bloodshot Records, whom discovered him in Kansas City and even though he had more classical music training, the Country in him came out.

It starts out with a damn fine song called “The Smoke And The Stars” which prepares the listeners for a rambunctious roller coaster ride. His live show was FABULOUS and his guitar abilities far exceeded my expectations as a fan. “Cussing At The Light” is a wanting song…wanting the drinking to medicate a broken heart, like most of the Country on here.

Many of the songs on this album were very likeable and created a really good album to add to this list of goodies here. I look forward to building an even better relationship with his band, and his second album. One of the best tracks on this album was “Red Room Blues”. And while he battles his own demons I’ll be busy enjoying this album and awaiting another great offering.

13. The Dead South is one of the bands that is on the rise BIG TIME, along with Ian Noe. Those two bands are essentially on the rise to bigger and better venues, and will soon be even more well sought after in the months to come. This album is a whopping 40 minutes long, and you will learn about the story of the “Snake Man” and the “Fat Little Killer Boy”.

This Canadian outfit truly knows how to blow your brains away with folk thumping songs like “Black Lung” with their own brand of haunting vocals and raw spiritual energy. ‘Blue Trash” is a banjo filled tune that spirals into fast paced rolls and then breaks down into a slow easy tempo.

Another top song of the year was a surprise to me called “Heaven In A Wheelbarrow”, overall that song was just an absolute JAM, and no matter if they are playing a smaller venue or a bigger one, you’re in for a really good show with The Dead South. However the best song on this album by far was “Alabama People” , even though it was one of the shortest songs on the album.

14. Ben Jarrell Well , I finally get to my good buddy Mr. Ben Jarrell, who released this album on an almost total DIY budget on Muddy Roots Records. HE MADE the entire front cover of the album with small models and self built props. I loved the beginning of this album that gave props to truck drivers, with the song called “Gearjammer Blues” . As a loading dock employee, I truly loved this album immediately.

I know Mr. Ben on a very personal level, and the song “Daddy’s Prison Radio” really hits home if you know him. He had really hit the nail on the head writing a song about his father finally hearing his music on a prison radio. He has had quite a few of the album’s name “Troubled Times”.

Another great song on this album was the song called “Big Iron Train” , and I got to see him perform this year many times at festivals and shows at the Palace, and he has also done some things for me on a personal level that I wanted to THANK him for doing for me. You’ll never meet a finer man than Mr. Ben.

15. The Country Side Of Harmonica Sam in my opinion is a mega powerhouse band from Europe. Primarily I encountered them mostly through Muddy Roots Nashville Boogie. They obviously don’t get to come to America to play very often, so when I get the opportunity to see them I jump on it.

This band plays those classic Honky Tonk 4/4 shuffle, complete with those wonderful steel guitar  solos and intros that resemble the old Bakersfield Sound. I absolutely adore this band, and I’m infatuated with the way they dress and the way they deliver their vocals. This is 14 songs of true Honky Tonk greatness.

“Losing A Girl You Never Had” was one of the pinnacles of this album, about a man whom is lamenting over loosing a woman he had that mentally never loved him at all. Much like Mr. Jason James, this pick is another plain out simple Honky Tonk band with easy to understand songs like “Cry Baby” and ” I Drink Because I Care”.

16. Chuck Hawthorne was one of the ones I had heard of, but I received this album in the mail under a publicity company submission. I hundreds of albums weekly, and I listen to ALL of them. Sometimes when I don’t get around to a full out review, I pick a few GREAT ones for this list…which brings me to this man.

At first glance it was a significant album cover, you can look at him and just tell right away he has some road scars and some poignant tales to tell, and he finally grabs your attention on “Amarillo Wind”. The melody alone is one to behold, but this is truly one of the most well written songs of the last decade.

I suppose it’s mainly because I long so deeply for those missing folk type songs, like his mentor Mr. Michael Martin Murphy sings. You just don’t hear songs like “Broken Wire” anymore, hell not even in the local clubs of Nashville do you hear this stuff anymore. I LOOK FOR the stuff can WOW ME from just an acoustic guitar on a bar stool played in minor chords sometimes, and this man delivers….big time!

17. Mr. Eric Bolander Know what? This one is a re issue but who gives a damn, if you try to digress and tell me it’s NOT a damn fine album you are sadly mistaken. He works his butt off to promote his music, and this past year at Master Musician’s Festival I got an intimate angle on his music with songs like “The Wind”.

This whole entire album just brought me closer to Mr. Eric as a person more so than an artist, you know? Kind of like he was saying HERE GARY HOLD MY BEER, and threw up his emotions all over my living room, so I could digest them in my own personal way. His cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain” is in my opinion better than Mr. Dwight Yoakam’s or anyone else for that matter, just MY opinion, but he square assed nails it.

He sings songs about his daughter,  and his trials and high points of being a father, he sings of peril and drug abuse from his Appalachian upbringing, and he sings of the beauty of his kinfolk..all in the span of a 40 minute record. I applaud you Mr. Eric for this fine piece of work, and I hope you record many many more.

18. Mr. George Strait now, let me tell you THIS disclaimer. On this list number 2 means NO more or less better than number 18, and I am pretty positive nobody on this list will argue with spot placement. I am just presenting 50 of what I THOUGHT were the better albums of the year.

Now, TRUE for a few albums this man remained a little stagnant, and relied heavily upon his past hits to tour and fill arenas. His NEW music was just “THERE” and not really of the same amazing GEORGE STRAIT  caliber we are all so passionately in love with. HE IS a living Legend, and nobody will ever take that from him, but for many years his songs were not that echelon that you expect from him….this album was.

Aptly named Honky Tonk Time Machine, that’s exactly what this one was a  total time machine spiral into the days of old when he was the absolute KING of Country Music. “Every Little Honky Tonk Bar” was just simply pure Country Music beauty in it’s stripped down raw form, and it took me back to the 80’s.  As did the song “God And Country Music”, I hate to go all Ricky Skaggs on you, but I’m a proud Christian man and I do ALL THINGS to HIS glory. I was enamored to hear a song like this on his album, and I applaud it 100 percent.

“Blue Water” is just an all out party song, that rocked the Georgiadome this past spring, I had a BLAST at his show, while he also gives a nod to police officers and fire fighters on the song “The Weight Of The Badge”. All in all this whole entire album was top notch in it’s own right, and if you buy any on this entire list I would suggest this one as one of the first ones.

19. The Old Crow Medicine Show is one of those modern day versions of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and I say that for two reasons. ONE is the more pertinent reason, and that is the fact these boys play more instruments in one show than many bands do in a week! It’s like Prince times 7 or 8 or how many show up that night. The second reason I say that is because of all the past members and their own success, and even though they lost members the current ones STILL jam just as good.

I’ll be honest, I JUST CAME from their 2020 show at the Ryman, so we’ll count this one as NOT cheating. This album only catches a little of what transpires there, because tonight they played about 19 songs total. This album here begins with “Tell It To Me” and spans all the way to “Wagon Wheel”. NOW ANYBODY that wants to BITCH can just keep it to yourselves because Mr. Ketch plays Mr. ROY ACUFF’S FIDDLE at the Ryman to play that song.

This band holds true the heart and soul of Country Music, and represents a modern, young version of respect for Country Music and takes the stage with more dignity than 10 of your FM radio popper people. Cover songs….yes you will get covers on ANY of their sets, with added flair and intensity. On this album you’ll get “Sixteen Tons” written by Mr. Merle Travis, and others.  One of the most beautiful bands on the planet…no matter WHO is currently a member.

20. The Steel Woods delivered one of the most powerful lines of 2019, “Here’s to miss liberty and the crack in her bell, there’s a tear in her eye but her arm hasn’t fell”. Also the overall length of this album made it a worthy addition to any list. This is one of those albums that makes number 20 and number 2 no different on who was better, THEY ALL made 2019 worth living.

“Rock That Says My Name” was an awesome song about a graveyard caretaker, and even though their albums often contain cover songs, their unique way of delivering the message of the song makes that cover all the more special to me as a listener.

Most of these songs I have had the opportunity to hear live in concert at one point or another in the past year, this band being one of the ones I go to see play often. I’ll bet in 2019 alone I went to see them 10 or 15 times. Even though they recently had a lineup change in their drummer, they still remain a relevant fixture in the budding local music community. I have a feeling this band WILL BE one of the forefront bands for years to come.

21. Mr. Dallas Moore is one of the hardest working bands out there, and there are some months that he spends the entire time on the road. I’ve known Mr. Dallas for many many years now, having met for the first time in 2013. Upon meeting him and finding out about his music, he had already been playing for many years.

In that time I have known him, he has released quite a few albums that have mostly all hit my TOP lists. One of the reasons why is because Mr. Dallas is one of those no frills Country music Honky Tonkers, that writes and plays simple Country Music songs like “Mama And Daddy” however on the same note his albums usually contain a few covers.

You have songs on there like “Della And The Dealer” originally performed by the late Mr. Hoyt Axton, and there are also covers like “Lovin’ On back Streets” by Mr. Mel Street. When you finally do get the chance to go to a Dallas Moore show, you will get to witness REAL Country Music, and true love for the genre. His precise musicianship blatantly rings true the minute he grabs his signature guitar and plays that instrumental break filled with Classical, Country and other types of music, this album is defiantly one for the ages.

22. Tony Logue is a name you will be hearing about VERY SOON, and I’ll be honest I didn’t usually include LIVE albums on my TOP 50 until recently. I’m glad that I did begin doing this, because in the last few years I have included some iconic albums.

Out here in Western Kentucky a young man reached out to me, and sent me his album. I delved into his music DEEPLY and found some ardent songs with passionate lyrics. You have a whole list of well written story type songs the likes of “The Girl From Dead Horse Hollow” and another heartfelt tribute song to NASCAR legend “Earnhardt”.

I have never got to see him live yet, but he is branching out into the wild now with many big local shows, and he is gaining steam around here with songs like “Dues”. When you spin this man’s record, you’re going to come to terms with the reality that Mr. Tony is on the horizon to be a few steps behind Mr. Ian Noe…who is a few steps behind Mr. Tyler Childers..the local music goes full circle.

23. Mr. Evan Bartels released a damn fine EP earlier this year, that impressed me early on. Music for me is like the song “Drugs”, in that we all get high on SOMETHING. We all have a certain vice that grabs our attention or brings us joy that sometimes we miss out on other things in life.

This album fully built me up and tore me down as an individual, and this album focused on the concept of doing just that. Even though there were only 5 songs on this album, each song complimented one another quite well. This album was a total masterpiece, and I play this album almost every other day.

He wrote and produced all of the songs on this entire album, and even though I haven’t had the opportunity to hear them live yet. But, with songs like “In My Time” and “A Thousand Times” being part of the conclusion of the album, it leaves me wanting more insight into his outlook on the world in general.

24. Tylor And The Train Robbers released a DAMN FINE album early this year, the Idaho based local band launched an album dedicated to his distant kinfolk member Black Jack Ketchum, a Texas cowboy turned outlaw. It’s all about the infamous Hole In the Wall gang which operated out of New Mexico.

This 12 song album comes directly after their 2017 debut album, and even though this band has been playing local shows all over the area, they haven’t got a lot of album material to spread their music. However I have FULL faith that their music will indeed be further enjoyed by many .

“Lost And Lonely Miles” was a decent start to this album, and it opened my floodgates to delve into this project deeper on a more critical scale. I picked out each line in the lyrics and dissected them, and envisioned their meaning in my mind. This album is so full of stories and you’ll find that evident in songs like “Storyteller”.

25. Jon Pardi is one of those mainstream acts that they meld in with the pop country people, but honestly they lean more toward more traditional sounding music. This man’s debut album REALLY grabbed my attention, and wound up on my BEST OF list the first time.

THIS TIME he unveils a whopping 50 minute long album of 14 songs that are all originals. The song “Old Hat” really spoke to me as a man, because I love to TRY to date old school and act with an old school lifestyle. It just seems that men don’t act like that anymore, and women don’t seek men that DO act properly anymore. This song addressed that very issue with Honky Tonk greatness.

“Call Me Country” was another pinnacle on this album that made it stand out in a positive manner here. They used to call me Country comes at a much needed time in this nation, especially when the real Country is making a total comeback here. People like him are leading the forefront for us to expose our real music to ( what I call ) the normies. If WE can get the REAL Country across to the soccer moms, We CAN WIN. And with songs like “Just Like Old Times” I think pretty much anybody can enjoy and relate to this album.

26. Whiskey Myers is another album that will probably be included in everybody’s list, and for good reason. This is another whopping one hour long album with 14 songs on it, and it revealed another side of this band direction wise. This band gets lumped in with the Red Dirt crowd a lot, and with the Rock Country genre..I just call it good music.

The opening song “Die Rockin” is the one I heard first, they released several videos and singles from this album to build the anticipation for the album. It’s a foot stomping hard ass rock and roll anthem for a band that is a little bit of everything here. They praise their local Texas roots and tell you all about their dues they paid to get here.

“Rolling Stone” was another shuffle song I enjoyed full of their steel laced and harmonica driven signature sound they have. This album had more slower Country songs like “Houston County Sky”, and others. The album comes to climax right around the song “California To Caroline” with it’s darker meaning while slipping into songs “Bad Weather” as it closes. Go see this band LIVE in concert, you’ll be extremely glad you did.

27. Mr. Zac Clifton is just a young man…he is in fact a kid with a heart and soul more mature than most people twice his age. Many of my fellow website directors cannot get past his youthful vocals, or his unique vocal delivery akin to Ernest Tubb. But that was one 0f the factors that lead me to this choice here, I mean you JUST DON’T encounter music this “old school” anymore.

His youth makes songs like “Rough Rocky Roads” hard to believe, but it can even rough for some one his age. He still has a lot of years ahead of him to pay his dues, but for a debut album to be this amazing he has me convinced that he will be on the forefront for many years.

This album is stuffed full of drunken Country anthems all written by him, and even though he only has a little time under his belt, those beloved double stop intros like “Always Gonna Want You” ring out as seasoned Honky Tonk gems. It’s quite evident he was raised and groomed to do this for a living, and no matter the cost I think he is here to stay.

28. Miss Kelsey Waldon just keeps amazing me as a fan as the years pass by, and I’ll say this one is her best album to date but her best song was n her last album ( False King). But this album began with songs like the title track called “White Noise, White Lines”, that made me think about how fast life slips past our fingers. Enjoy every moment you can folks because it can side by at record speed if you don’t savor it.

She’s always been proud of her heritage of Kentucky, and songs like “Kentucky 1988” bring you to get to know her a little better as a person, as she continues to sharpen her unique vocal sound . To me, she is one of the BEST female Country singers around, and a  damn fine contribution to the female artists taking over the forefront of this type of Country. “Lived And Let Go” is a prime example of her super fine songwriting skills, funny thing is I was listening to this song as I was making out my will.

“Very Old Barton” was a good near closing song, with an even better message. I had the wonderful opportunity to catch her portion of many festivals all over America, and I got to catch her at many of her house shows at places like the Basement and such. EVERY TIME I see her it just keeps getting better!

29. Mr. Chris Knight is a hero to me.My ONLY regret is that I cannot have 50 number 1 albums, because THIS would be one of them. His first album of new music in many years, this came a t a well needed time in the local music community. That downtrodden and poignant voice of his can bring tears from a rock. His voice is so puissant and he sings with total authority over his listeners.

He brings forth “I’m William Callahan” with an in your face attitude, and winds into songs like “Crooked Mile” with some Honky Tonk twang and revved up guitars for this 40 minute album that makes his entire catalog even more classic. Mr. Chris Knight is one of the masters of this craft, and he has that heartbroken aura about him that just makes your soul shake.

“Send It On Down” was one of the high points of this album in many ways, I LOVED this version of the song originally sung by Lee Ann Womack, who joins him on this song. Both of these albums were one of the pinnacles of their careers as of yet.  The title track “Almost Daylight” talks about the long night trials of a traveling musician, you know I never realized how rough that life was until I began following some of these people around for weeks at a time.

30. Jericho Woods blew our faces off at Kickin it On The Creek last year, with one of the top sets of the entire festival. This year, I felt the need to finally place them on my yearly TOP list, and it is my onus to bring their music to a much large reader base. “Wrong Things, Right Reasons” is a party song to celebrate the weekend ( which it is for me right now), and highlights the twang and Honky Tonk sound of a budding band. This band is another up and coming band that is quickly becoming a household name.

This band is a local fixture around my area, and well loved here in Western Kentucky and middle Kentucky as well. “Love The Way You Love Me” has one of those catchy melodies that allows this band to be placed on festival lineups with just about any type of environment.

“Wrong So Gone” is one of those easy going Country songs with a vivid story to it, it ends up being a story about heartache and loss of one of the greatest loves of your life. The album closes with “Tennessee”, and another which is the title track called “One Perfect Sound”. It ends on a slower note of a two step song about family life, and how fast life can pass us by, and you should live your life to the fullest while you can..just keep looking for one perfect sound.

31. Miss Michaela Anne is probably also going to be included in so many TOP lists of 201, and once you spin this album one time you’ll easily see why. Her performance at Americanafest last year blew my mind all over the venue, and hearing songs like “Child Of The Wind” live was a real treat. I caught up on her music on the late here, having just recently discovering her through a PR kit, I’m REALLY kicking myself in the butt for missing her for years.

She possesses a VERY ardent onstage demeanor and makes it easy to delve into her world. the title track here called “Desert Dove” brings a more somber tone to the album, and talks about a lady of the night. But honestly one of the BEST parts of this album is the song called “If I Wanted Your Opinion”.

It could be construed as a smart ass song, but honestly it’s a powerful song about confidence and setting her man straight about how she deserves to be treated. In today’s day and age we are facing more of this subject, and it’s becoming very hard to be a true gentleman. This song addresses all of the gender equality issues there are in the world, and I think that she is another strong addition to the women coming to the forefront of real Country music.

32. Mr. Hayes Carll put out a fantastic album this year, perhaps one of the best of his time so far. It opens with a song called “None’ya” which from his perspective I can understand. These past few years his personal life has been under lots of scrutiny, and honestly he doesn’t care.

The result is one of his finest albums here, with songs like “Things You Don’t Wanna Know” and “If I May Be So Bold”. Maybe people should stop asking if they don’t want answers from artists, but overall this album had all different styles of songs. Every song on this album I enjoyed and found to be outstanding in their own right.

“What It Is” was one of my personal favorites with a more fun sounding banjo roll, and fun lyrics the album brings me a lot of personal joy like the song “Beautiful Thing” . “What It is” is right here in front of me and I’m not letting go is a good line to take to heart in today’s world, and I look forward to hearing these songs live. Mr. Hayes Carll puts on one hell of a fantastic live show, and I would always suggest you go.

33. Mr. Vincent Neil Emerson had an album title that kicked me right in the nuts, before I even heard the music on it. I could JUST FEEL the Honky Tonk vibes by holding the actual CD in my hand. But man once you put the album on it goes right into “25 And Wastin’ Time” and then songs about being as high as a fly on “Willie Nelson’s Wall”. Those songs have a very special steel guitar tone that resembles the warmth of the Legends of old, and this young man reminds me of other young ones like Mr. Zac Clifton up there.

“Fried Chicken And Evil Women” is the title track here, and I think we ALL can relate to this one here, and the waltz song called “The Bad Side Of Luck” is a Honky Tonk masterpiece. It talks about the gambler always coming up short for the wrong he has done, and it is a poignant song full of lament over wasted time.

‘Devil In My Bed” is another amazing song with some terrific guitar run solos on it, and I LOVE harmonics combined with great well written lyrics, with this album you have all of that rolled into one big deal. However the album finally flows and rolls into the last song called “Highway Shine”. It’s one of those easy to understand getting by on getting by songs, in a roundabout sort of way, I think Country Music is best defined by that statement as well as “The Highway Shine Is Calling Me”…this young man just gets it.

34. Mr. Gethen Jenkins used to have a band called the Freight shakers and they released a damn fine album a few years back, I have LOVED his music ever since. I simply do not get to see him live, but as soon as he released this one, I snatched it up quicker than my cat will lick it’s ass. “Heartache Time” is an absolutely well written Country classic about hurting and boozing, and then it goes into “Whiskey Bound” to complete the run of sorrow and despair.

This man is amazing, and his darkness defines a man’s very existence on this Earth. his precise placement of the steel guitar on this album exemplifies his love for traditional and honest Country Music. It has some catchy well written hooks like “Maintenance Man” about a high maintenance woman needing him.

“Western Gold” the title track is a rambling good road song that is one of the prime examples I give to these lost people that exclaim “Country isn’t Country Anymore”….oh I meant on the radio…oh, well I didn’t know this stuff existed…oh well I’m not smart enough to look for it…COME ON PEOPLE WAKE UP. Stop being a “Basket Case”, and get on the Gethen Jenkins ship with me.

35.The Lost Dog Street Band is another amazing band live,and it took me a few times of seeing them live to fully enjoy their music. Once I REALLY sat back and listened to their songs like the opener “To Heaven From Here” I started slipping into a somber place where my soul could rest easily. This album is by FAR their finest work with dark and stormy songs like “Given Up Faith”.

I love a good string band waltz like “Terrible And True” complete with sorrowful harmonies and a sad fiddle whining out to all of the lamenting hearts that await healing through music. This is one of the longer songs on the album, with a powerful message for us.

Their performances at some of this summer’s festivals could not be outdone. They sound just as good live as they do on record, and many times I don’t say that about string bands like this one. “The War Inside Of Me” grabbed me by the heart and twisted it upside down, it made me look in the mirror and judge my own self as a man. You are your own worst enemy, and this song intensifies that truth.

36. The Quebe Sisters are often called progressive Western Swing…whatever that means.i mean they have some of the finest harmonies I have ever heard, and of course how can you argue with triple fiddles like they have? One of the finest songs they have on any of their albums lies on this record called ” The Waltz You Saved For Me”.

I move from different musical moods and I like things in doses here and there, I love their Western Music and their instrumentals make it a good travel album when I don’t want to focus on lyrics and want to focus more on the road. Not for note their precise musicianship make this album totally worth getting. “Bluegrass In The Backwoods” is exactly just that…no lyrics and just amazing music.

“Twilight On The Trail” is beautiful and the harmonies are angelic, this album was well produced and well recorded. This is good old fashioned dance music here, and with songs “Load At 7 Leave At 8” you can just play this album and swing away into the night.

37. Colonel J.D.Wilkes in my opinion is a local music Legend. Don’t try and argue with me or try to downplay his relevance to music in general with me. I LOVE the Shack Shakers but his “solo” music is even more enjoyable to me. I could listen to him play old timey songs all day. His spirit and his knowledge just captivate my attention.

“Jenny Get Around” finally brings in that recognizable harmonica into the fray, and when you combine that with Mr. J.D’s energy, you have a BEST OF album. I try my best to pick some albums from many different directions musically, and when I get to the string band stuff, he always come up front..but also OVERALL he is always at the top of my love list. “Tennessee Dog Attack” is one of those reasons why.

Many of the songs on here are short, nor does this album have a lot of solos like many of the Shack Shakers albums…but I’ll tell you up front…this isn’t a Shack Shakers album! “Liza Jane” is always a good song, no matter how you slice it up. It closes with a good song called “Little Birdie” which I hope to hear live on day, because it has some MIGHTY fine pickin on it. I’m NOT a very schooled musician by ANY means, but to say he isn’t a very passionate person is absolute hogwash. I love to visit his world from time to time and hear all the tales he has to tell me!

38. Mr. Ags Connolly If I had to pick one of my favorite songs of the year, it would have to be “The Meaning Of The Word”. EVERY SONG on this record is BEYOND amazing, and I know this list is full of Honky Tonkers more than other genres but dog gone it there were SO MANY GOOD Honky Tonkers released in 2019. People, if you think this album isn’t worthy “Wrong Again”.

“Indian Sign” is another good song on here, with a good steady beat, and a hurtful tone all his own. He has developed a vocal delivery all his own, nobody and I mean NOBODY sounds like Mr. Ags Connolly. The story about all that he has done in a 20 year old car, man if that isn’t true Country Music I don’t know what is!

This album closes on a song called “Sad Songs Forever” which is one of the most inventive toe tappers I have heard in years.  I mean the line the songs that belong on .45’s, sad songs forever, is simple and easy to understand. This album is 40 years before it’s time, and BY GOD that is nowhere near a bad thing. God bless Mr. Ags Connolly.

39. Mr. Garrett T. Capps put out another damn fine Honky Tonker as well, with songs like “Alone With You” that features Miss Jamie Lin Wilson. I wanna be alone but I wanna be alone with that line is great. I’m not exactly sure what to lump this album up with, and to be honest I could care less WHAT it is…it’s just damn fine music.

“Sunday Sun” has so many good steel guitar solos, and then there are other guests like Miss Carson Mchone on songs like “Lonely Heart” . It’s a slow and tragic song of darkness and breakup woe, and in my opinion he couldn’t have picked a finer duet partner for this one than her. She can sing a painful Country song, that could strike tears out of a rock.

“Baby, I’ve Got To Go” is another amazing song, it makes the album pick up the pace, and brings you right into a great song called “Oblivion” . BUT the last song called “Brand New Dance” is a spectacle for your ears at almost 8 minutes long. I expect big things for him in the future, and I know he will deliver… get this album NOW.

40. Mr. Gabe Lee is just a downright talented young man.He just sings some really well written songs about dreams and love, and life in general. “Alright OK” is a truly fun opening song here, and it’s a hopeful song if you have a broken’ll wash out in the rain people. This young man has it going on here, and it’s not necessarily all Country..or any ONE genre.

“Eveline” was a great song about long lost love. One of the songs that got me thinking the most was simply called “People”, because yeah people really make me wonder about things. Many of these songs were difficult to dissect for me, and I’ll probably be tearing it apart and studying it for weeks to come now.

“United States Of Nowhere” was another good song that I’m still checking out, but “Ol’ Smokey” was one of the songs I enjoyed about this album. You gotta listen to these 10 songs REALLY close to get the whole meaning, hurt, heartbreak, redemption, memories, and stories of the past…this album has it all.

41. Vince Gill I mean how can you not like this man’s music?Well to be honest I’ll say THIS, this is BY FAR some of his finest work since the “Pocket Full Of Gold” album in the late 80’s. I’m VERY GRATEFUL to see so many Country stars from the 80s and 90s making albums now, with ALL NEW music and not just an album full of covers.

But perhaps the finest song he has recorded in the last 20 years is called “A World Without Haggard” which of course is a tribute to lost Legend Merle Haggard. “I Don’t Wanna Ride The Rails No More” is another beautiful song about being a rambling individual, and a story of the road and wanting to settle down.

Age has not faltered his signature top notch voice, and the feeling that is usually in his voice is captured perfectly in this album. You get to hear some of the finest songwriting from this Okie that we have heard in 20 years. “Forever Changed” is another great song about verbal abuse and being changed, it talks about being judged by God as well. I’m just telling you to be prepared to be enamored by these songs.

42. Mr. Charley Crockett played one hell of a set this yea rat Master Musician’s festival, and shortly after he released this fantastic album of both covers and original material. I just like his style, and his sound, and above all I like his stage presence. “The Valley” is a title track song with low and slow twang about where he is from, and it kind of brings you more to whom he was growing up.

“10,000 Acres” near the middle of the album had some really cool steel guitar rolls and lonesome lyrics along with a delicate two step beat, that makes this song a damn fine rolling tune. “If Not The Fool” is one of his songs that deviates a little off the Country vibe and moves into the Bluesy sound that he is equally known for as well.

This man delivers total versatility, and all too often shows that he can indeed play many kinds of music. “Excuse Me” is one of the covers on the album that was originally a Buck Owens song, and the album ended with a song called “Change Yo Mind”. A regretful song that talks about hoping to say or do something to make her change her  mind to stay for good.

43. Buffalo Wabs And The Price Hill Hustle recently put out a good album this year, and even though this album was short and had a few covers it was still a solid release. The covers were done in a very unique fashion indeed, like “Rovin Gambler”filled with this band’s well known mandolin leads, and flowing harmonies.

“Long Gone From Bowling Green” is a damn fine way to start this album though, and this band is equally amazing live where they just blast a song after song barrage of fast paced Roots Music songs. One of the songs that got the entire creek wild was called ‘Stewball”, which is also a cover.

They reportedly have more music ready to be recorded as well, after this one, where I hope they display some more original music and maybe a little longer album next. However until then, this album is a damn fine addition to your present album collection. “The Wind” is a strong indication that this band is developing a strong current lineup, and a loyal following…and they are coming full speed ahead.

44. The Randy Rogers Band brings forth a good 11 song album, after a 3 year span from the Neon album. The very cover of this album celebrates this band’s first tour van nicknamed “Peaches”, and the entire album celebrates the band’s 20 years together.

They are in fact hellbent on doing shows all over the United States, and putting out good albums like this one. “Crazy People” is about some hell raising youngsters with very strict parents, like Mr. Randy was a young man. You can easily tell that song was a reflection of his own youth.

This album makes several nods to one of their heroes Mr. Guy Clark. “Hell Bent On A Heartache” was one of those songs that contains that said nod.  They are going to be playing some shows at the Ryman this year and I’m hoping to catch that one this year. We’ll see exactly what the road brings us in 2020…besides good music.

45. The Rhyolite Sound also released a damn fine west coast Honky Tonk Country album here. You have songs like “Margaritas And Cocaine” followed by a song called ‘He Can Have Her”.  Like many of the albums on my list here, this one is another good straight up Country album with tons of boot stomping tales of debauchery.

“Ain’t No Outlaw” is an anthem to people like me, I’m all partied out, don’t drink anymore  and I’m not much fun anymore. But in my day I WAS a “Trainwreck” and very self destructive. You don’t have to be a drug addicted person that shoots in public to be an outlaw I reckon, just hold true to that traditional Country Music sound.

The album closes with some damn fine songs like “Downtown” which is a classic cheating song, and another drinking song called “I Think Too Much When I Drink Too Much”.  This is another one of those no frills, non complicated Country albums that adorn this TOP 50 list year after year.

46. Boo Ray Now this one may amaze some of you, but once you hear me out you’ll see why I chose this one. To be honest I could have chosen dozens of other titles from my yearly lists I have documented, but I LOVE his music a lot. NOT ONLY is he a local legend around here, and a permanent fixture around Nashville , but he is a talented musician in his own right.

“A Tune You Can Whistle” is a song that talks about the lack of communication in today’s world full of things that take our attention away from communicating with one another properly. The album is named after a sign in front of a store off highway 24, that he saw thousands of times.

This album talks about the aftermath of addiction, in songs like “She Wrote The Song”. Also there are songs like “Gone Back Down To Georgia” that take a slow change in direction, and flaunt his love for the Blues, and Jazz and so many other genres. You don’t just get ONE direction here, you get MANY and you also get a good, close look into who he is as a person.

47. The Cactus Blossoms I got to see these guys at the Nashville Boogie last year.I’m sure they are so tired of being compared to the Everley Brothers, but their harmonies are truly second to none. This album here encompasses all types of trials in life, and troubles as well.

The song “I’m Calling You” reminds me a few times of some of my own past relationships where I have been ghosted by someone, and lyrics  like too late for drinking too soon for coffee make it even more relatable to my own past.  “Please Don’t Call Me Crazy” is a terrific play on that popular comparison I was talking about there.

“Boomerang” was another good song about love gone wrong and coming back to biting you in ass. Describing that love as a boomerang in that she comes back again, but if it’s not reality it’s not really going to hurt. There are many plays on lyrics here of love and life in general.

48. William Clark Green Live At Cheatam Street Warehouse is indeed a grand spectacle of music from a Red Dirt Legend, captured in his natural habitat..on stage. This live album spans his career of 5 albums and over 12 years, and millions of miles traveled.  He’s currently touring and supporting his current album “Herbert Island”, which is a little over two years old now.

It’s a double album, but the only reason is because he introduces many of the songs and tells stories to the audience to how many of them came about to be. So many terrific songs exist in this man’s catalogue of material, with many messages and situations.

I myself have been to many of Mr. William’s shows, and every one of them have been worth all of the time and money I invested into seeing the shows. This album makes you feel like you are there, and brings you closer to his music overall. This truly is a live album for the ages folks, go pick it up NOW.

49. Mr. Casey Donahew opens his new album with a great song about a friend with benefits basically, always wanting this gal forever, but if she just wants to be “Queen For A Night” she can come to him. “Wishful Drinking” was another well written song and it has a Red Dirt feel to it, it just describes a fun night of drinking and dancing.

“He Ain’t A Cowboy” was kind of a Conway Twitty copy song of the same concept, boots that haven’t seen mud and city boys dressing up like the Marlboro man. This is from the view of a REAL cowboy. I like Mr. Casey more than many of his Texas music peers, and every time he comes to the Nashville area, I always catch his show.

“Drinks Well With Others” is basically a good song about a guy that behaves himself while being drunk in public, and not fighting or being obscene. This 15 song behemoth of an album is an amazing addition to his already impressive list of albums, and it’s on my constant rotation now.

50. Mr. Dalton Domino I don’t care what ANYBODY SAYS I stand behind this choice here, the opening song “Happy Alone” was a poignant song about how your own demons teach you how to be happy alone. It spoke to me as a loner myself, and sounded like he wrote the song ABOUT ME.

This album was a long time coming and he was playing songs from it, but his songwriting has truly evolved into songs like “Better Now”. When push comes to shove I go straight for the throat. This is a well written breakup song, and if you are going through one, you need to hear this one to heal. This is BY FAR his best album in my opinion, although my favorite song he has isn’t on this album. Overall it’s my personal favorite one he has put out.

“Half Blood” is about domestic violence with family members being split up across the river. One sibling lived with one parent and another with the other. It’s a tragic story of divorce and alcoholism, and the mother moved on and re married.  That song is truly the heart of the album, the big message.  It closes with two lengthy songs called “Cheap Spanish Wine” and “Welcome Home’.

Please check out Mr. Luther’s TOP 50 HERE

Please check out Mr. Joshua’s TOP 50 HERE

2019 Honorable Mentions:

Brandon Elder – Pot Holes And Pine Trees
Allison Moorer – Blood
Kinky Friedman – Resurrection
Jericho Woods – One Perfect Sound
Buffalo Wabs And The Price Hill Hustle – Stranger In the Alps
Joseph Huber – Moondog
Six Sanchez – Devil On Both Shoulders
Reba McEntire – Stronger Than The Truth
Shane Smith And The Saints – Hail Mary
Gethen Jenkins – Western Gold
Tate McLane – Jackpine Savage
Dalton Domino – Songs From The Exile
Jordan Robert Kirk – Listening For That Sound
Aaron Watson – Red Bandana
Bart Crow – I’m Not Finished
Casey Donahew – One Light Town
Michael Clevland – Tall Fiddler
Blue Moon Rising – After All This Time
Vince Gill – Okie
Po Ramblin Boys – Toil Tears And Trouble
Billy Strings – Home
Lillie Mae – Other Girls
North Mississippi Allstars – Up And Rolling
Linda McRae – Going To The Well
Tami Neilson – Ten Ton Truck
Donice Morace – Long Live The Cowboy
Elaina Kay – Issues
Holly Tucker – You’re Gonna Know My Name
Hunter Hathcoat – Wrong Side
Jake Ward – Back On Solid Ground
Josh Abbott Band – Catching Fire
Josh Ward – Live At Billy Bob’s Texas
Kevin Fowler – Barstool Stories
Luke Prater – Luke Prater
Lukas Nelson – Turn Off The News
Triston Marez – Until I Found You
Randy Rogers – Hellbent
Wade Bowen – Watch This Live From Dallas
Reckless Kelly –Bulletproof Live
Tyler Childers – Country Squire
Whiskey Myers – Whiskey Myers
William Clark Green – Live At Cheatam Street Warehouse
The Dead South – Sugar And Joy
Stoney LaRue – Onward
Mikey And The Motorcars – Long Time Comin’
James Carothers – Songs And Stories
Charley Crockett – The Valley
Drew Holcomb And The Neighbors – Dragons
Old Salt Union – Where The Dogs Don’t Bite
Mark Chesnutt – Live From The Honky Tonk
Kelsey Waldon – White Noise / White Lines
Jade Jackson – Wilderness
Matt Anderson – Halfway Home By Morning
William Harries Graham – Jakes
Charlie Parr – Charlie Parr
Ian Noe – Between The Country
Cody Wayne – Bad Influence
Michaella Anne – Desert Dove
The Steel Woods – Old News
The Steel Wheels – Over The Trees
Kendell Marvel – Solid Gold Grounds
Joshua Ray Walker – Wish You Were Here
Charles Wesley Godwin – Seneca
Mike And the Moonpies – Cheap Silver And Solid Country Gold
Sturgill Simpson – Sound And Fury
George Strait – Honky Tonk Time Machine
flatland Cavalry – Homeland insecurity
The Highwomen – The Highwomen
Erin Enderlin – Faulkner County
Cody Johnson – Ain’t Nothin To It
Jon Pardi – Heartache Medication
Cody Jinks – The Wanting
Cody Jinks – After The Fire
Tanya Tucker – While I’m Livin’
Miranda Lambert – Wildcard
Kelleigh Bannen – Favorite Colors
Red Idle Rejects – Genus Americanas
Dori Freeman – Every Single Star
Clint Black – Still Killin’ Time
Dale Watson – Call Me Lucky
Barnyard Stompers – Goin’ Down To Meet The Devil
Dallas Moore – Tryin’ To Be A Blessing
Justin Townes Earle – The Saint Of Lost Causes
Lost Dog Street Band – Weight Of A Trigger
Mama Said String Band – Carry The Water
Screaming Rebel Angels – Heel Grinder
Dillon Carmichael – I Do For You
Jeremy Ivey – The Dream And The Dreamer
Corb Lund – Cover Your Tracks
Terri Hendrix – Who Is Ann?
Saddle Of Southern Darkness – the Feral Few
Hot Club Of Cowtown – Wild Kingdom
Tilford Sellers – Another Day With You
Tony Booth – I Love To Tell The Story
Darryl Worley – Second Wind
Emily Mure – Sad Songs And Waltzes
Nick Nace – Wrestling With The Mystery
Tracy Byrd – Live At Billy Bob’s
Hayes Carll – What It Is
Ben Jarrell – Troubled Times
Jack Ingram – Ridin’ High…Again
Jim Lauderdale – From Another World
Crystal Gayle – You don’t Know Me
David Ball – Thinkin Problem Demos EP
Logan Ledger – I Don’t Dream Anymore
Darrin Bradbury – Talking Dogs And Atom Bombs
Don Gallardo – In The Name Of Good Intentions
The Quebe Sisters – The Quebe Sisters
Ward Hayden And the Outliers – Can’t Judge A Book
Left Lane Cruiser – Shake N Bake
Jason Hawk Harris – Love And The Dark
Zach Bryan – DeAnn
Paul Cauthen – Room 41
Molly Tuttle – When You’re Ready
Vincent Neil Emerson – Fried Chicken And Evil Women
Jacob Bryant – Practice What I Preach
The Drunken Hearts – Wheels Of The City
Tyler Stokes Stoked And Lawless – Stuck In An Outlaw Song
Jackson Tillman – Lost In The Neon
Spur 327 Band – Dodging Armadillos
Chris Knight – Almost Daylight
The Gibson Brothers – Mockingbird
Emily Scott Robinson – Traveling Mercies
Steel Blossoms – Steel Blossoms
Mike Oberst – Six Feet Of Earth
Orville Peck – Pony
Dee White – Southern Gentleman
Ags Connolly – Wrong Again
Anna Rose – The Light Between
Rodney Crowell – Texas
The Revelers – At The End Of The River
Jenny Tolman – There Goes The Neighborhood
Ottoman Turks – Ottoman Turks
Runaway June – Blue Roses
Jason James – Seems Like Tears Ago
Josh Ritter – Fever Breaks
Arthur Hancock – Alive At Hillbilly Central
Emi Sunshine – Family Wars
The Carter Family – Across Generations
Alice Wallace – Into The Blue
Lauren Jenkins – No Saint
Trampled By Turtles – Sigourney Fever
Balsam Range – The Gospel Collection
Libby Koch – Redemption 10:Live At Blue Rock
Zachary Lucky – Midwestern
The Milk Carton Kids – the Only Ones
John Surge And The Haymakers – Your Wonderful Life
Fruition – As Wild As The Night
Emily Miller – Dear Lonely
Blackberry Smoke – Live In Atlanta
Thunder And Rain – Passing In The Night
Jack Marion And The Pearl Snap Prophets – When The Well Runs Dry
Willie Nelson – Ride Me Back Home
Zac Clifton – Honky Tonk Heaven
Steve Earle And The Dukes – Guy
Son Volt – Union
The Avett Brothers – Closer Than Together
Rhiannon Giddens – There Is No Other
Todd Snider – Cash Cabin Sessions Volume 3
Shovels And Rope – By blood
Cactus Blossoms – Easy Way
Jamestown Revival – San Isabel
Infamous Stringdusters – Live From Covington Kentucky
Greensky Bluegrass – All Access Volume One
Christina LaRocca – These Are My Whiskey Dreams
Shane Owens – Thankful For Country Music
Bob Bradshaw – Queen Of The West
Charlie Hager – Truth And Love
Lockeland – These hands
Bradford Loomis – Where The Light Ends
Karen And The Sorrows – Guaranteed Broken Heart
The Carolyn Sills Combo – Return To El Paso
The Delta Bombers – Give Em All
The Kabooms – Right Track Wrong Way
Dan Whitaker And The Shinebenders – Far Far Away
The Royal Hounds – Low Class Songs For High Class People
Janie Fricke – The Best of Janie Fricke Volume 1 and 2
Lucero – Before The Ghosts: Acoustic Demos
James Steinle – What I Came Here For
Nick Dittmeier – Companion
Jesper Lindell – Everyday Dreams
Joe Stamm Band – Joe Stamm Band
Tiffany Williams – When You Go
Dave Ernst – Hickory Switch
Tony Logue – Live On Red Barn Radio
Seldom Scene – Changes
Clint Alphin –
Straight To Marrow
Tim O’ Brien – Tim O’ Brien Band
Jane Kramer – Valley Of The Bones
Radney Foster – For You To See The Stars
Tim Bluhm – Sorta Surviving
Reed Foehl – Lucky Enough
Mile Twelve – City On A Hill
Tylor And The Train Robbers – Best Of The Worst Kind
Bobby Mackey – Merle Haggard Blues
Bobby Mackey – America’s Honky Tonk
Tucker Riggleman And The Cheap Dates – Heaven
Andrew Adkins – Who i Am
Bambi Lee Savage – Berlin – Nashville Express
JP Harris – Why Don’t We Duet In The Road (Again)
Chad Richard – Worthy Cause
Robbie Walden Band –
Blank Range –
In Unison
Rising Appalachia – Leylines
Kelly Augustine – Light In The Lowlands
Taylor Alexander – Good Old Fashioned Pain
3 Pairs Of Boots – Gone South
The Lowdown Drifters – Last Call For Dreamers
The Local Honeys – The Gospel
The South Austin Moonlighters – Travel Light
Karen Jonas – Lucky, Revisited
Bill Bloomer – Bounty
Rod Picott –
Tell The Truth And Shame The Devil
Taylon Hope – Taylon Hope
Chuck Hawthorne – Fire Out Of Stone
Randy Lewis Brown – Red Crow
Triggers And Slips – The Stranger
Yonder Mountain String Band – Elevation ( Re issue)
500 Miles To Memphis – Blessed Be The Damned
Jesse Dayton – Mixtape Volume 1
Hackensaw Boys – A Fireproof House of Sunshine
The Hardin Draw – The Hardin Draw
The Glade City Rounders – Up The River
Evan Bartels – Promised Land
Chuck Mead – Close To Home
Jamestown Revival – San Isabel
Doug Seegers – A Story I Got To Tell
The Bellamy Brothers – Over The Moon
Josh Ward – Live At Billy Bob’s Texas
Jesse Stratton Band – Live In Wimberley
John Arthur Martinez – For The Love Of Western Swing
Season Ammons – Neon Side Of Town
Darrell Goldman – Darrell Goldman
Wes Hayden – Wes Hayden
Tanner Usrey –
Medicine Man
Jon Stork – Radio Cowboy
Stetson Walker –
Let Me Introduce You
Country Side Of Harmonica Sam – Broken Bottle Broken Heart
Walter DeBarr – We Fall, We Break
Eric Bolander – The Wind
Nicholas Jamerson – Ffloyd County All Star
Grayson Jenkins – Cowboy Dream
Sean Whiting – High Expectations
Josh Nolan – Kind Heart To Follow
Nic Allen And The Troubled Minds – On The Hilltop
Colter Wall And The Scary Prairie Boys – EP
Josh Abbott Band – Catching Fire
Cowboy Diplomacy – Burn Down The Road
Chad Kostner – Highway 63
Amanda Anne Platt And The Honeycutters – Christmas On A Greyhound Bus ALSO Live At The Grey Eagle
Scott H Biram – Sold Out To The Devil A Collection Of Gospel Hits By The Rev. Scott H Biram
New Riders Of The Purple Sage – Thanksgiving In New York City Live
Wayne Hancock – Man Of The Road The Early Years
Old Crow Medicine Show – Live At The Ryman
Matt Woods – Natural Disasters
The Hollering Pines – Moments In Between
The Shootouts – Quick Draw
Rhiannon Giddens – There Is No Other
The Howlin’ Brothers – Still Howlin’
The Quaker City Night Hawks – QCNH
Boo Ray – Tennessee Alabama Fireworks
Sydney Adams –Always Home To Me
Charlie Marie – Charlie Marie
Gabe Lee – Farmland
Billy Don Burns – A Train Called Lonesome
Emily Scott Robinson – Traveling Mercies
Caroline Spence – Mint Condition
Hailey Whitters – The Days
Roger Alan Wade – Simmering Rage
The Rhyolite Sound – Mojave Gold

Old Crow Medicine Show Loses A Founding Member But Gains More Steam Than Ever.

Usually when I write reviews about shows I begin with the opening act, and simply elaborate on the whens and the hows, and tell you all about the songs they played. But this is an entirely different echelon here, and it holds so much historical significance and reverence for Country Music that I feel the need to delve further into this than others would normally do.

First I wanted to touch on the opening act a little bit. A few times around town I had heard the name YOLA, but I was not in any way familiar with her or her music. I’ll be totally honest i wasn’t really sure what kind of music she played.

To be equally honest as of now, I’m still unsure what to classify her as. She was all over the grid last night with songs like “Ride Out In The Country”, and then a song called “Walk Through Fire” that she said she wrote while actually being in a house fire once. I really enjoy stories behind the songs whether it’s a small bar setting or a BIG theater show like this one. She really took a lot of time to interact with us, and laugh and joke about things.

“Love All Night (Work All Day)”  and “Faraway Look” were nice songs but then she got me by covering an old Beach Boys song, as well as an Elton John song. Obviously she has many many influences and heroes, and the Ryman was a proper place for her.

She also played a song from her first album which was an EP called “Orphan Offering” and that song was called ‘What U Do”. She has been playing the local music clubs of England for a few years, and just recently released her first full length album here in America. I really enjoyed her music and hopefully I’ll get to feature her music more often at festivals in the future.

When it comes to this band and it’s members, and it’s meaning it has a special place in my own heart. I mean WHO ELSE plays on the stage of the Mother Church like that with Mr. Roy Acuff’s own fiddle? As Opry members they represent true love for the institution and I KNOW that EVERY ONE of them really and truly adores the foundation of this genre. In fact, there was ONLY ONE negative thing about last night I could complain about..they didn’t huddle around the mic and sing “The Warden”…but what THEY DID DO out shined ANY SHOW I have ever witnessed at the Ryman…EVER.

Sadly the announcement was made by founding member Mr. Christopher “Critter” Fuqua, that he has decided to part ways with the band once again to pursue solo projects. He originally founded the band with Mr. Ketch Secor in 1998, and has played with the band for many years. He briefly left the band for 5 years in 2007, and returned in 2012 to help make what I consider some of the band’s finest albums yet.

I regard this band in many ways to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band….now just hear me out on this people. Think about it, their relevance and their musical versatility, and their frequent lineup changes but maintaining that relevance. You have Mr. Charlie Worsham, who much like Mr. Joey Miskulin in Riders In The Sky…sometimes he is a member sometimes he is missing. He is a collaborator, and they recently recorded a REALLY GOOD gospel backsliding song called ” I Hope I’m Stoned When Jesus Comes Down”. It talks about how it comes from the Earth and they don’t think it would be that bad if they were stoned when the rapture happens.

The lineup last night was one of the ages, with guest appearances by Mr. Joshua Hedley, The War And Treaty, Margo Price ( night 1 only) and many more. Also joining them now is a local fixture here Mr. Jerry Pentecost, and of course Mr. Ketch Secor, Mr. Joe Andrews, Mr. Robert Price, Mr. Cory Younts, and Mr. Morgan Jahnig.

Now to continue to reiterate my comparison to an institution like the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. These young men all play SO MANY instruments, and when you combine them together they just tear up the audience in every way possible. All of them sit in their respected areas surrounded by a plethora of things to play their songs for us. To be honest I have no idea how these guys know what to pick up and when, and the stagehand is constantly moving around handing them items.

To witness their live show is indeed an uplifting spectacle as they opened with a short medley of songs such as “Ol Molly Hare”, “Raise A Ruckus” and “Tear It Down” both from the “Eutaw” album. From the 2004 album called O.C.M.S. they played “Tell It To Me”, and  “Child Of The Mississippi” was from the “Volunteer” album . But one of the many songs they played tonight that I have never heard LIVE yet was “Alabama HighTest” from the 2008 “Tennessee Pusher” album 9 and the only selection from it for the evening).

“Take Em Away” was followed by others like “Shout Mountain Music” and “Down Home Girl”, before they had the ENTIRE Ryman swaying their arms to one of my favorite songs they do “Sweet Amarillo” from my favorite album they have…”Remedy”.  That album was picked from in full force tonight with OF COURSE “Brushy Mountain Conjugal Trailer”, “8 Dogs 8 Banjos” ( another song I have never heard LIVE) and “Firewater”. The song Firewater has those wonderful OCMS harmonies that we all so dearly enjoy, and one day that fact alone will be remembered in the Hall OF Fame as relevantly as the trio that backed Mr. Marty Robbins, or the Everley Brothers.

Sadly, without Critter Fuqua we may never hear “James River Blues” played LIVE again, but I’ll tell you what, songs like”Tennessee Bound” was another one that had some great harmonies tonight. As most of you know New Years Eve is also the holiday associated with the death of Country Music’s most famous Legend of all Mr. Hank Williams. Of course the boys acknowledged his death by playing “Lovesick Blues”.

“Guitar Pickin President” was AWESOME, and I enjoyed it as well their version of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”…NO, NO it won’t people. not with this band still around, they will always carry that torch with pride. Another thing that I ALWAYS argue with people about is the fact that when these boys sing “Wagon Wheel” in their set it’s a BEAUTIFUL SONG. I enjoy it very very much and it brings me so much joy to hear it, they then played a few songs for an encore before leaving us for the night.

Many times the stage was absolute pandemonium with members running about and dancing for us, while playing so many instruments and having so much fun. That’s another unique thing about this band…they truly enjoy entertaining people. They aren’t interested in being an arena act, they are interested in honoring those that were here before them like Mr. Roy Acuff or Mr. Doc Watson, whom initially discovered them…to be honest I don’t think this is ANY sort of roadblock for them…IN FACT I think they have just begun to become Legends in their own right.