Hello there folks listen up I had some medical issues I needed to take care of and I had a personal cookout for my friends so I had little time lately to run my website with the precise accuracy I enjoy putting into it. So with that being said I shall tell you about several albums that are new releases all summed into one article. This year I might…MIGHT..issues a “top 50 albums” of 2015. I do not like to do that because I don’t like to “follow suit” and be like “other websites”, I like to do my own thing…I’m an outlaw. Well, not really with all the crazy stuff going on right now I thought it was funny.
Pete Berwick: The Legend Of Tyler Doohan.
The folks out there in Kansas City at Little Class Records have once again released a well recorded album along with Punk and Country Music performer Pete Berwick. The man burns up the Illinois roads doing an incredible amount of shows and brings his songs of real life issues with him. In this new album you can really see the punk influences he has with his new batch of songs. Right now I’m listening to his funny story about raunchy motels for 29 bucks “Keep Your Socks On And Don’t Look Down”.
One of the best songs on the entire album is “The Proof Is In The Whiskey” it is a well written song and I am quite convinced Pete Berwick has released one of his best albums yet. “See You In Hell” is another great toe tapping song about drinking beer in hell, I mean how much better can it get? There are so many good lines in these songs and I keep finding more every time I listen to this album.
“Ain’t Going Back To Memphis” was a song I remembered from the Wayne Mills benefit a few years ago back when the Outlaw Music Association was around. I admired that song back then and I still admire it today, there were only two songs I didn’t really care for..the album is really good and well recorded. Mr. Drew Burrasco did a great job producing this album as he did for Joshua Morningstar.
I spoke with Mr. Pete via Facebook and he told me this about the album:
very proud of this one–a couple of these songs go all the way back to 1980 in a dark and depressing apartment in Dallas after my first nasty divorce–re-written through the decades, could never quite get them right–until SEE YOU IN HELL and LOVE IS BLOOD finally were born—lots of blood and Jack Daniels all over this one…..to clarify–it WAS Love is Blood until it became AIN’T GOIN’ BACK TO MEMPHIS–every one of these songs is a true story I either wrote in the middle of the hell of it, or sometime later.
This album is a thirteen track wild ride through the creative world of Pete Berwick and trust me you’ll need a seat belt and a jet lag pill when you are done….TRUST ME…The proof is in the whiskey.
Whitey Morgan And The 78’s: Sonic Ranch
Allow me to start out by saying this is probably one of my top 3 albums of 2015 so far, and it’s going to have to be a REALLY damn good Country album to knock it from it’s spot! This album is BY FAR Whitey’s BEST offering yet in both the music and choice of songs on the album. The ironic thing is there’s only ten songs on the album so for being so short it amazes me that it was such a groundbreaking album…but it is..in EVERY way!
I think his steel guitarist Brett Robinson is without a doubt one of the finest steel guitarists on the road right now when it comes to local and independent music, PERIOD. The steel guitar work on Sonic Ranch is absolutely flawless and it more than compliments the album in every way. On many occasions the steel guitar overpowers the song and that’s not a bad thing in any way, in fact ninety percent of today’s mainstream Country Music lacks that.
One of the cover songs on the album is the Scott H Biram song “Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue” and honestly I like his version just as much as I like Biram’s. I was amazed that he recorded a song from a Bloodshot Records artist as Whitey himself was formerly on Bloodshot Records roster and this album was recorded in Texas.
The first single that was released off this album was called “Waitin Round To Die” and he made a video for it. It knocked my socks off, and I was not wanting to take this album out my vehicle. I am beyond impressed with this new album. Another great cover song on this album was a song Bobby Bare made famous called ‘That’s How I Got To Memphis” which was written by Tom T. Hall. Very good job on that song.
My personal favorite song on the entire album was a song called “Ain’t Gonna Take It Anymore” it is a very well written fast paced song about rebellion and running wild on your wife. Every man’s dream party song. One thing about this album that I enjoyed is every song on the album is over three and half minutes, and you don’t see that on Country Music records anymore.
Kacey Musgraves: Pageant Material
Ummmm..Where do I start? Oh yes, Paul Franklin on steel guitar. Enough said? Yes. No, ok honestly this album was in my opinion NOT her best album because it just didn’t have enough twang in it HOWEVER IT DOES have her best song of her tenure so far called ‘Good Ol’ Boys Club”. Basically it’s a big middle finger to corporate Nashville mainstream acts like everyone wants to be classified with nowadays. She’s NOT afraid to be ignored by major ‘Country” radio and without assistance from radio her album (like a few more I’ll cover) has been on the top Billboard charts and THAT is truly a thorn in the side of the suits and ties. This is NOT to say I didn’t like this album..I enjoy it.
“Dime Store Cowgirl” is a really good song and thanks to a whole lot of Country Music Legends this album really is not bad in it’s own right, I just thought it would have more guitar twang. Another great positive song on the album was the first single from it called “Biscuits”. I think it’s one of her most inventive and well written songs she’s ever done and she used a bunch of her personal friends to help on this song. It’s just a fun song and it’s catchy melody is well worth buying this album for those three songs alone.
She has a truly fine collection of albums under her belt and I think despite the fact mainstream “Country” everything pretty much ignores her is a sure fire sign of her talent and ability to deliver COUNTRY music! The title track of the album “Pageant Material” is a song mainstream radio needs to embrace rather than shun because it’s pretty much what sums up true Country Music..it never was meant to pageant material. It wasn’t meant to have all these cutesy tight jeans and ball caps with tribal tattoos and wallet chains.
Another thirteen track album of awesome Country Music and it’s defiantly a must have for your collection even though like I said it’s not the best..it certainly does not fail.
Lonesome Wyatt And Rachel Brooke: Bad Omen
This is the second offering from this pair of artists of Lonesome Wyatt (from the Holy Spooks and Those Poor Bastards) and underground Country Music queen Rachel Brooke. I think Rachel Brooke has one of the most unique and pretty voices in music…period. I loved her with Justin Wells and Fifth On The Floor in their song, “Wine”.
My personal favorite song on this album was “Ice Cold Betrayal” it is a slow and haunting song about love gone wrong. Honestly they both have such different voices and the accommodate each other really well and I enjoyed all twelve songs on this album.
“Don’t Leave Me’ was one of the longest songs on the album and along with ‘If The Beasts Should Hunt Us” both songs were surely different in their own right. I wouldn’t even know how to totally describe this album under any genre accept it’s their own style and if you liked this duo’s first album this album won’t disappoint. It was well recorded under the Tribulation label and the sound is really good.
Merle Haggard And Willie Nelson: Django And Jimmie
This album is the sixth collaboration album between these two Country Music icons and at 78 and 82 they still posses an elaborate amount of songwriting talent and vocal feeling. This whole album was recorded in three days by Legendary producer and songwriter Buddy Cannon who also had a huge role in the new Kacey Musgraves album.
Many of the songs were co written by them while on the phone from their buses and the the first single was also wrote with Jamey Johnson and features Bobby Bare and it’s called “It’s all Going To Pot”. And it was released on 4-20 day during the SXSW convention. VERY clever marketing technique by these two guys.
The title track is a tribute to Jimmie Rodgers Django Reinhardt and it was written by Bubbdy Cannon and given to Merle and Willie on separate occasions as they had speculated for some time of doing another collaboration album. They sat on the song for over eighteen months until doing this project.
You’ll get one heck of an interesting history lesson on the song “Missing O’l Johnny Cash”, where they exchange stories about the partying wild escapades of Cash and many others roasting hot dogs in limousines with ice cream sticks. Roy Nichols and Rose Maddox were involved in that story as well.
“Live This Long” was a good choice of songs for this album and was written by Shawn Camp and Marvin Green. It’s truly believable and you can easily see them both writing this song for themselves. Basically regretting not taking better care of themselves if they knew they’d have lived this long. All in All I am pretty positive this earns my number one spot for 2015 new album simply because the feeling in their voices is STILL THERE after all these years, and their signature guitars are both evident and present on this album. Merle’s legendary telecaster and Willie’s acoustic guitar “Trigger” are just over the top iconic. ALL fourteen tracks are quality Country Music.
Rex Hobart And The Misery Boys: Long Shot Of Hard Stuff
I been a really deep lover of underground music since 2006, and it was started by Myspace and other media outlets. I began with Wayne Hancock and Dale Watson and these guys from Bloodshot Records called Rex Hobart And The Misery Boys, whom I haven’t heard from since forever! I became familiar with his contributions to the Pine Valley Cosmonauts and many other underground bands and I’m quite certain their latest offering was 2005.
Leave it to my friend Jody Hendrix out in Kansas City at Little Class Records (who I mentioned above) in the Pete Berwick article to resurrect these iconic underground Legends in early April. Solomon Hofer is a steel guitar WIZARD on the title track “Long Shot Of Hard Stuff”. Folks, this album isn’t screwing around and it’s NOT for pantywaist “country” music lovers…this is hardcore Honky Tonk music.
I’ll be honest there are eleven songs on this album and NOT ONE is bad at all, this album outdid every one in this article accept Django And Jimmie and I think with songs like “Jones’n For Merle Haggard To Sing Me Back Home” they will not mind me saying that. The steel intros and sound on this album are beyond incredible and Little Class is slowly becoming my favorite underground label.
“Here In Hell” and “Aint No Bras In Austin” are two damn fine songs in their own right and they only negative thing I can say is they don’t tour right now. You can read more about this band is the April edition of American Roots Magazine which is a very valuable resource to a guy like me!
Chris Stapleton: Traveller
You know I had high hopes for this album amidst all the talk about it, and to be honest it along with Strugill Simpson are single-handedly proving that Traditional Country Music IS wanted and making a comeback. WHY? Because with NO radio airplay or media attention they both are selling MILLIONS of albums.
They have another common thread to their albums and music and that is Steel Guitar Legend Robby Turner. A former guitarist for Waylon Jennings Robby Turner does some damn fine work on this album in songs like “Was It 26” which I related to REALLY well, and “Outlaw State Of Mind”.
I honestly didn’t care for his cover of the Classic Coe song “Tennessee Whiskey” (wrote by Dean Dillon) but that’s JUST MY opinion..I wouldn’t scoff at you for liking it. Chris wrote twelve out of the fourteen songs on the album and it is released on Mercury like the above mentioned Kacey Musgraves album.
Honestly this album contains some of the best songwriting and lines in songs since Jamey Johnson and Whitey Morgan of albums to date. And it completely exceeds it’s hype on social media, and his live shows are quickly becoming MUST SEE!
SERIOUSLY WHO DOESN’T like Alan Jackson? I been waiting for this album for a LONG time..I can sum it up in one sentence. Honest raw COUNTRY with fiddle and steel guitar. Ten songs of solid country greatness from a man who celebrates his 25th year in Country Music.
The man doesn’t need to have fancy stage lights and blow stuff up, he comes out in a cowboy hat and just stands in one place and sings. Strikingly crazy concept?
From the very first song (which starts out slow) “You Can Always Come Home” is a sure fire JAM and the whole album makes you want to fire up the truck and JUST DRIVE! It is a staple album in my rotation now and will be for quite some time now. “Angels And Alcohol” is a truly good well written song in it’s own right and even though I am quite sure this album will be ignored by the radio and that is a red flag meaning it’s GREAT!
The song “jim And Jack And Hank” was the least of my favorites because the song concept has been done by so many artists before but honestly the melody bears a striking resemblance to a Billy Ray Cyrus song I don’t care for. So even though it’s a good song, it didn’t do much for me like the song “When God Paints” did. Now THAT SONG was truly a sure to be Alan Jackson Classic.
All in All this is one of his finest album offering to date and it’s not his BEST but it’s pretty darn close! Another wonderful slow classic song is “I Leave A Light On” now THAT will become a show stopper for Alan Jackson and I have the utmost respect for him with his constant Opry contributions and his precise attention to preservation of Traditional Country Music for all these years.
Dwight Yoakam: Second Hand Heart
Another ten song offering in 2015 I been waiting for, and this album isn’t as good as “If There Was A Way” BUT it is a worthy piece to your Dwight collection! I highly suggest you get this album. Now this one isn’t as twangy as his older albums and with his signature west coast “Bakersfield” sound, it doesn’t surface full throttle until the song “off Your Mind”.
However the title track song “Second Hand Heart” is indeed a good song and songs like “In Another World” and “Liar” are worthy additions to this album, I hope he includes many of these songs in his live set because I plan to see him in concert VERY SOON!
Much like Alan Jackson, Dwight Yoakam is for sure earning his “Legend” status in Country Music. he’s one of the ones that USED to be embraced by ‘Country” radio and is no longer fully wanted by them. That’s not always a bad thing because people like me can always come though with a darn good article telling you about the album. This album was self produced and is well recorded sound wise.
So there you have it folks I been working on this article all week and I enjoyed listening to all these NEW albums in 2015. My list is already overflowing with GREAT albums, and now it’s time to prepare for festivals! I’m constantly working to bring you GREAT REAL MUSIC in today’s pig pen of rubbish on mainstream websites and radio stations.