Album Feature – The Cadillac Three – Tabasco & Sweet Tea

 News  Comments Off on Album Feature – The Cadillac Three – Tabasco & Sweet Tea
Oct 282020
 

By Joshua Wallace

The Cadillac Three have returned with their second album of 2020 and this album is a game changer for them.  The band has leaned more into the funk side of their sound and dropped any notion of getting played on country radio.  There has also been an instrument change as Kelby Ray has dropped the lap steel in favor of bass to give The Cadillac Three’s new sound a proper low end.  It’s a sonic shift that in my opinion has created their best album yet.  Let’s check out some of these tracks on The Cadillac Three’s fifth album.

The album kicks off with a great guitar riff on “Tabasco & Sweet Tea” before settling into a funky danceable groove that immediately lets you know what you’re in for on this record.  Jaren Johnston’s crooning on this track is just the right kind of funky for the vibes here also.  “Sweet Southern Spirit” starts off with an old school hip hop drum beat before the guitar kicks in and brings in the funk.  This is a great track about the kind of woman that is “on a country boy bucket list”.  TC3 name checks Lynyrd Skynyrd here on this track that has a great funky guitar solo that you can get down to.  

“Devil’s Lettuce” brings a funky rap spin to a track about getting high on devil’s lettuce.  It’s a funky kind of hip hop feel here but you still get the killer guitar riffs that TC3 are bringing all over this record.  It reminds me of what ZZ Top did with “I Gotsta Get Paid”, but leaning more into the funky aspect of that kind of track rather than the dirty blues that ZZ Top employed on their song.  “Money Ain’t Shit” is another track that brings a killer guitar riff right up front and center with a cool back beat and smooth crooning from Johnston.  This track and the next are big indications that The Cadillac Three are not pushing hard for radio friendly songs anymore.  The next song is “Turn The Radio On” which is a straight up country radio protest song.  It speaks to how hard it is for artists to make it if they don’t get played on country radio.  It’s always great to hear an artist in the position of someone like The Cadillac Three acknowledge this.  They have had their own struggles with getting played on the radio and air it out here.

The Cadillac Three have created what I consider to be their best album yet with Tabasco & Sweet Tea.  If you haven’t been a fan or have been on the fence about them, I highly suggest giving this record a listen as it is a different style for them.  They have dropped any pretense of making music to get played on country radio and just went to make the funky country record they wanted to.  It’s a sound that just works for them and I hope this is what we get from TC3 going forward.  Tabasco & Sweet Tea is out everywhere as of October 23rd, 2020.  As a special note, digital copies are $3.99 for a limited time on the band’s website.

Favorite Tracks : Tabasco & Sweet Tea, Sweet Southern Spirit, Devil’s Lettuce, Money Ain’t Shit, Turn The Radio On, Sabbath On Cornbread

The Cadillac Three – Tabasco & Sweet Tea (2020)

  1. Tabasco & Sweet Tea
  2. Stop That Girl
  3. Head Over Wheels
  4. Sweet Southern Spirit
  5. Road Soda
  6. Bridges
  7. Devil’s Lettuce
  8. Crispy
  9. Money Ain’t Shit
  10. Turn The Radio On
  11. Sabbath On Cornbread

Album Feature – Rachel Brooke – The Loneliness In Me

 News  Comments Off on Album Feature – Rachel Brooke – The Loneliness In Me
Oct 232020
 

By Joshua Wallace

Rachel Brooke might be newer to some fans of more current traditional country music, but she has been around making good traditional country music for well over a decade now.  Her last full length solo album was 2012’s A Killer’s Dream which was a personal highlight of 2012 for me.  I highly recommend you seek that one out if you have not heard it.  Rachel Brooke’s voice has a haunting quality to it and serves to add to the running theme of loneliness and the things that go with it.  Let’s take a look at some of the tracks on this record.

The album kicks off with “It Ain’t Over Till You’re Crying”.  From the haunting opening line through the slow waltz style track, this song sets a vibe for the record with a song about getting a measure of revenge on a former lover. The pedal steel is thick on this track and I dig that.  Another favorite is “The Hard Way”.  This is another slower ballad that features Rachel’s lower range that still has a bit of a haunting quality to it.

“The Loneliness In Me” picks up the pace a bit with some rocking guitar.  I love songs that are upbeat but the lyrics are not.  It creates a great juxtaposition where you’re rocking out to someone singing about everything going wrong but their loneliness is what gets them through.  I love the conversational quality of the lyrics on this one.  “Ghost Of You” is another great track with a haunting melody.  It’s a song about how love sticks around because a lover’s ghost can linger after they’re gone.  Finally, “The Awful Parts Of Me” has a really great retro string section that makes this track sound like something off 60’s country radio.  It’s a twisted love song that fits in with the overall theme of this record perfectly.

Rachel Brooke has created a modern country throwback classic with a twisted lyrical twist that will catch listeners off guard but in a good way.  The album has a haunting quality about it that Rachel Brooke has always brought to her music.  If you’re a newer listener, I highly recommend checking out Rachel’s previous albums, especially her records with Lonesome Wyatt of Those Poor Bastards.  The Loneliness In Me is out everywhere as of October 23rd, 2020.   

Favorite Tracks : It Ain’t Over Till You’re Crying, The Hard Way, The Loneliness In Me, Ghost Of You, The Awful Parts Of Me

Rachel Brooke

Rachel Brooke – The Loneliness In Me (2020)

  1. It Ain’t Over Till You’re Crying
  2. Great Mistake
  3. The Hard Way
  4. The Loneliness In Me
  5. Picture On The Wall
  6. It Won’t Be Long
  7. Ghost Of You
  8. The Lovells Stockade Blues
  9. Lucky And Alone
  10. The Awful Parts Of Me
  11. Undecided Love
  12. I Miss It Like It’s Gone

Album Feature – Sturgill Simpson – Cuttin’ Grass – Vol. 1 (Butcher Shoppe Sessions)

 News  Comments Off on Album Feature – Sturgill Simpson – Cuttin’ Grass – Vol. 1 (Butcher Shoppe Sessions)
Oct 162020
 

By Joshua Wallace

Sturgill Simpson has released Cuttin’ Grass Vol. 1 (Butcher Shoppe Sessions) as the follow up to last year’s rock record Sound And Fury.  This album turns to bluegrass and re-works 20 of Sturgill’s original tunes into bluegrass tracks.  What really makes this album is that these are totally re-arranged to be bluegrass and not just his old songs played in this style.  It really helps that Sturgill has put together an amazing bluegrass band of some of the best players today with Stuart Duncan, Mike Bub, Sierra Hull, Scott Vestal, Tim O’Brien, Mark Howard and Miles Miller on the record.

There really isn’t a bad track on this album, and it’s the first record I have reviewed here where I recommend the whole album.  Some standouts include a few Sunday Valley tracks with “All The Pretty Colors”, “I Wonder” and “Sometimes Wine”.  I hope we get a few more of these on the potential Vol. 2.  Other high marks include a total re-working of “The Storm” from the mid-tempo track on High Top Mountain to a thunderous and fast bluegrass track that will have concert halls dancing for sure.  “Turtles” is also slightly sped up for the bluegrass style and it has a totally different feel to it vs the cosmic styling of the Metamodern track.  “Life Of Sin” goes from being a guitar forward twangy country jam to a fiddle forward country flavored bluegrass track.  Indeed, it is the new arrangements for these familiar tracks with some of the best bluegrass players you can put together that makes this much more than a greatest hits album.

Sturgill has done it again with this one and has made what could be another genre defining masterpiece.  This time he has done for bluegrass what Metamodern Sounds In Country Music did for traditional country back in 2014.  Bluegrass is in a resurgence with artists like Billy Strings, Molly Tuttle and others leading the way.  Now Sturgill joins the pack with this collection.  Time will tell if we get a Volume 2 with the rest of his songs and hopefully a bit more Sunday Valley and a bit of Sound and Fury too.  I don’t often review records like this, but this is more than a Greatest Hits album.  These are familiar songs done in a new way with some of the best pickers you can find.  I highly recommend giving this record a spin and I hope we get a bluegrass tour with Sturgill and this band.  Cuttin’ Grass Vol. 1 is out everywhere digitally as of October 16th, 2020 with physical releases later in December.  

Favorite Tracks : The Whole Thing

Sturgill Simpson – Cuttin’ Grass – Vol. 1 (Butcher Shoppe Sessions) (2020)

  1. All Around You
  2. All The Pretty Colors
  3. Breakers Roar
  4. I Don’t Mind
  5. I Wonder
  6. Just Let Go
  7. Life Ain’t Fair And The World Is Mean
  8. A Little Light
  9. Life Of Sin
  10. Long White Line
  11. Living The Dream
  12. Old King Coal
  13. Railroad Of Sin
  14. Sitting Here Without You
  15. Sometimes Wine
  16. The Storm
  17. Time After All
  18. Turtles All The Way Down
  19. Voices
  20. Water Down The Well

Album Feature – David Adam Byrnes – Neon Town

 News  Comments Off on Album Feature – David Adam Byrnes – Neon Town
Oct 142020
 

By Joshua Wallace

Every now and then you see a random new artist and decide to check them out and it blows you away with how good they are.  This was my experience with David Adam Byrnes new record Neon Town.  I was not familiar with him at all until it dropped this past Friday, but now I am a fan.  A little bit of research revealed that this is the follow up to his 2011 album Premium Country, but you really should treat this as a re-introduction.  A move from Nashville to Texas provided some new inspiration and artists like Cody Johnson showed him what Texas country could be.  That’s where the album Neon Town comes in and it is pure country music gold.  You might not find a better Texas country album this year.

The album kicks off with “Neon Town” and it’s a straight banger.  It’s a classic honky tonk song that gets you in the mood to dance.  This is a track that wouldn’t be out of place on a George Strait album.  Another favorite is “Old School”.  I love the groove this track cuts.  It’s a funky track about how chivalry is still alive even if it is old school.”Tequila, Salt and Time” is a typical feel good country music island jam, but similar to “Old School”, this song has a groove that makes you just want to dance and that danceable aspect is something that makes this record stand out among 2020’s country music releases.

“Beer Bucket List” kicks things off with a great fiddle riff.  This is another great banger of a track about the escapism that beer can provide from the typical 9 to 5 lifestyle.  “In My Arms” is a great ballad that I feel like would have gone to number one on country radio in the mid to late 90’s.  It has that smooth kind of melody and simple guitar and fiddle harmony that made those kinds of songs popular.  Regardless of the decade, it’s still a great tune.  The album closes out with a killer cover of classic country tune “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke and Loud Music”.  It’s a very stripped back cover and closes the album out on a familiar note.

David Adam Byrnes has released one hell of a record full of great danceable country songs which is something we haven’t had much of in 2020.  There are tracks for honky tonks that are bangers and there are tracks that make you want to slow dance the night away.  It’s a good album.  I highly recommend checking this one out and I hope to be able to see David Adam Byrnes live sometime in the future.  Neon Town is available everywhere as of October 9th, 2020. 

Favorite Tracks : Neon Town, Old School, Tequila, Salt and Time, Beer Bucket List, In My Arms 

David Adam Byrnes

David Adam Byrnes – Neon Town (2020)

  1. Neon Town
  2. I Can Give You One
  3. She Only Wanted Flowers
  4. Old School
  5. Signs
  6. Tequila Salt and Time
  7. Beer Bucket List
  8. In My Arms
  9. I Ain’t Seen It Yet
  10. Dim Lights, Thick Smoke and Loud Music

Album Feature – Brent Cobb – Keep ‘Em On They Toes

 News  Comments Off on Album Feature – Brent Cobb – Keep ‘Em On They Toes
Oct 022020
 

By Joshua Wallace

Brent Cobb has released the follow up to his 2018 record Providence Canyon.  While that album revealed a more rocking side of Cobb’s music, Keep ‘Em On They Toes goes back to the more mellow rootsy vibe of 2016’s Shine On Rainy Day.  With four albums under his belt, Cobb is proving himself to be one of the premier songwriters in country and Americana music.  Let’s check out some of the tracks in this new record.

The album kicks off with the inspirational and quotable track “Keep ‘Em On They Toes”.  It’s a feel good anthem about walking to the beat of your own drummer and not letting other people get to you.  It’s a great message that a lot of people need to hear right now.  “Good Times and Good Lovin’” is another great track.  I love the interplay between the fiddle and the slow piano on this track.  It’s a smooth ballad that I’m sure will be a lot of folks’ favorite song.  

“This Side Of The River” is a great song about loving what you have and celebrating the simple life.  It’s got a smooth vibe that flows well with the rest of the album.  “Don’t Sweep Your Dust Under My Rug” is a song about those people that are quick to judge other people they don’t understand.  It’s basically saying “I live the way I do, I don’t mess with you, don’t mess with me.”  It’s a simple message that a lot of people can relate to these days.  “Soapbox” feels like the kind of song the world needs to hear about stepping off your soapbox and trying to get a long.  It’s another great track for this record and I love Nikki Lane’s feature here.

Brent Cobb has released a great record that speaks to a lot of the current conditions of the world without being tied to any particular point in time.  While a song like “The World Is Ending” feels like a 2020 song, it doesn’t feel stuck in 2020.  Good songs should be timeless and this record has that.  Brent Cobb has been playing some of these songs live over the past year or so, but I can’t wait till I’m able to hear some of the newer stuff in a live setting with a full band.  You can find out more of what Brent Cobb is up to on his website.  Keep ‘Em On They Toes is out everywhere as of October 2nd, 2020.

Favorite Tracks : Keep ‘Em on They Toes, Good Times and Good Lovin’, This Side Of The River, Dust Under My Rug, Soap Box

Brent Cobb – Keep ‘Em On They Toes (2020)

  1. Keep ‘Em On They Toes
  2. Shut Up And Sing
  3. Good Times and Good Lovin’
  4. Sometimes I’m A Clown
  5. This Side Of The River
  6. Dust Under My Rug
  7. Soapbox (feat. Nikki Lane)
  8. When You Go
  9. The World Is Ending
  10. Little Stuff