GaryHayes

FULL List Of Local Tennessee And Kentucky Shows.

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Jan 172020
 

 

YOU have a show YOU would like added to my list PLEASE email me at garyhayes2@yahoo.com. 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.

Joe Diffie
Plaza Theater Glasgow Ky January 17th

Hogslop String Band
Station Inn January 17th

Joey Allcorn
The Southgate House Revival January 17th

Ward Davis
The Shed Maryville Tn January 18th

The Harmed Brothers
the 5 Spot January 21st

Charley Crockett
Jaime Wyatt
Southgate House Revival January 22nd

Charley Crockett
Jaime Wyatt
Basement East January 23rd

Sunny Sweeney
Erin Enderline
1884 Lounge Minglewood Hall Memphis January 23rd

Mike And The Moonpies
Vagabonds
The High Watt January 23rd

Sam Morrow
southgate House revival January 23rd

Miranda Lambert
Cody Johnson Band
Bridgestone Arena January 24th

Justin Townes Earle
Cannery Ballroom January 25th

The Steel Wheels
City Winery January 26th

Parker McCollum
Exit In January 30th

Doyle And Debbie
Station Inn Feb 4th, Feb 11th, Feb 25th, March 3rd, 10th, March 24th, March 31st,

Nicholas Jamerson
Southgate House Revival January 30th

Wayne Hancock
The Tammy Whynots
Southgate House Revival January 31st

The Devil Makes Three
Cannery Ballroom Feb 1st

Billy Strings
Lexington Ky Feb 6th

Tyler Childers
Opry performance Feb 6th

Billy Strings
Louisville Ky 7 and 8th

William Clark Green
Flatland Cavalry
Basement East Feb 7th

Steel Woods
3rd And Lindsley Feb 7th and 8th

The Tillers 2nd Annual Old Time Stringbreaker’s Ball
Southgate House Revival Feb 8th

The Eskimo Brothers
Southgate House Revival Feb 7th

Darrin Bradbury
3rd And Lindsley Feb 9th

Chris Stapleton
Tanya Tucker
Bridgestone Arena February 10th 2020

Dale Watson
Opry performance Feb 11th

Jamey Johnson
Schlemerhorn Symphony Center Feb 13th

Clay Walker
State Theater Elizabethtown Ky Feb 13th

Ashley McBryde
Luke Combs
Rupp Arena February 14th

Paul Cauthen
Basement East Feb 15th

Jesse Dayton
The Basement Feb 15th

Jason Boland And The Stragglers
Caleb Caudle
3rd And Lindsley Feb 21st

Lost Dog Street Band
Minglewood Hall Feb 21st

Rye Davis
Southgate House Revival Feb 22nd

Lost Dog Street Band
Basement East Feb 23rd

Town Mountain
Southgate House Revival February 27th

Mikey And The Motorcars
3rd And Lindsley Feb 27th

Chicago Farmer
Southgate House Revival February 28th

Elizabeth Cook
The Cowan Feb 28th

Cory Branan
The Cowan Feb 28th

Railroad Earth
Caverns February 29th

Ward Davis
3rd And Lindsley February 29th

Sierra Hull
3rd And Lindsley March 1st

Josh Morningstar
Spillway Bar And Grill March 6th

Bart Crow
Southgate House Revival March 7th

Kristina Murray
Tennessee Brew Works March 10th

Grayson Jenkins
Basement East March 12th

Whiskey Myers
Plaza Theater Glasgow Ky March 13th

Lost Dog Street Band
Southgate House Revival March 13th

John Moreland
Basement East March 20th

Ricky Skaggs And Kentucky Thunder
Caverns Pelham Tn March 21st

Rye Davis
Southgate House Feb 22nd

Lost Dog Street Band
Southgate House Revival March 13th

Lost Dog Street Band
Southgate House Revival March 18th

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center In Bowling Green March 20th

John Moreland
Basement East March 20th

The Gutter Demons
Southgate House Revival March 26th

David Frizzell
texas Troubador Theater March 28th

Reverend Horton Heat
The Bottle Rockets
jimmy Dale Gilmore
Southgate House Revival April 1st

Randy Rogers
Wade Bowen
Ryman Auditorium April 3rd

Drivin And Cryin
Caverns April 4th

Ian Noe
Ryman Auditorium April 4th

The Lil Smokies
Basement East April 16th

Lilly Hyatt
Basement East April 18th

Lilly Hyatt
Tidballs April 17th

Ray Wylie Hubbard
3rd and lindsley April 17th and 18th

Georgette Jones
Nashville Palace April 22nd

Allison Krauss
Caverns April 24th

Craig Gerdes
Gregery RV Park Muhlenberg Ky April 24th

Drive By Truckers
Ryman Auditorium April 25th

Caroline Rose
Basement East April 30th

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

Read Southall Band
Basement East May 17th

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

Tanya Tucker
Shooter Jennings
Beaver Dam Ampitherater May 30th

The Mavericks
Caverns June 5th

Rhonda Vincent And The Rage
Cavrens June 6th

Todd Snider
Rhonda Vincent
The Caverns Pelham Tn June 20th

Charlie Daniels
Bridgestone Arena July 17th

Alabama
Bridgestone Arena July 18th

Alan Jackson
Bridgestone Arena August 7th 2020

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

Album Feature – Marcus King – El Dorado

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Jan 172020
 

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.

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Jan 052020
 

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 Garyhayescountry.com.

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.

Screen-Shot-2019-05-23-at-3.25.46-PM

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!!

index

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 Garyhayesmusic.com.  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.

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Jan 052020
 

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 you..man 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 heart..it’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.

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Jan 022020
 

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.

 

Live Review – Tyler Childers with Liz Cooper and The Stampede in Atlanta, GA (Night 1)

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Dec 302019
 

By Joshua Wallace
Photography By Joshua Wallace

Earlier this month, I got the chance to check out Tyler Childers on his Country Squire Run.  This show was the first of two nights in Atlanta, GA on December 21st, 2019. He initially sold out this date during pre-sale and they added a second date on Sunday December 22nd.  I was only able to get a ticket for Saturday night, but I know both nights were amazing sold out and packed shows. This is kind of crazy to me because the last time I saw Tyler Childers was on March 28, 2018 at a small venue in Florida that only held 300 people.  This show was a huge upgrade from that at the Tabernacle in Atlanta, GA which holds around 2600 and was packed. The opener for this two night run in Atlanta was Liz Cooper and The Stampede and I will start with their set.

I honestly did not know what to expect with Liz Cooper and The Stampede.  I had listened to some of their music on Spotify and they appeared to be a psychedelic folk rock trio.  On this evening, they leaned more to psychedelic rock. From what I have been told, they played new material so we didn’t get any songs you would be familiar with such as “Mountain Man”.  Most of the songs were heavier rock tunes that went into psychedelic jam territory. I did enjoy their groovy bass player and you don’t always find bass players with the skill this guy has.  I somewhat enjoyed their set, though I don’t know if their choice of material matched the expectations of a crowd awaiting a country singer like Tyler Childers. I look forward to the chance to see them live again in the future.

Tyler Childers came out and got right into it with “Honky Tonk Flame” from his amazing 2017 album Purgatory.  This lead to other tracks off that album like “Universal Sound” and “Born Again”. The first cover song of the night came in the form of a great tune called “Tulsa Turnaround”.  This was a Kenny Rogers cover and I loved hearing Tyler Childers and The Food Stamps do it. Up next we got the title track off his newest album called “Country Squire”. This is one of my favorite tracks off the new record and I was glad to hear it live. In fact, this song started a run through the entire Country Squire record which was awesome to get live.  A real highlight was the live version of “House Fire”.  Tyler picked up an electric guitar for this song and kicked it off with a long instrumental called “Reuben’s Train”.  From there he did an awesome version of “House Fire” that is actually much better than the recorded version and is a song you must hear live.  I also know he doesn’t do “Matthew” as part of his sets every time and this felt special to get the entire album here.

“Matthew” also began the acoustic run for this show which included “Nose To The Grindstone”, a rare “Banded Clovis” and “Follow You To Virgie”.  It was amazing hearing the sold out crowd singing along to older tracks like “Follow You To Virgie”. I would say the crowd was just as much a part of this show as the band was.  Following this acoustic run, we got a second cover of the night with the awesome Bobby Charles song “Tennessee Blues”. This is a wonderful cover that not many in the crowd will be familiar with.  I’m happy to see Tyler covering these obscure classic tunes.

After that cover, we got a run of 3 big songs from the Purgatory album.  This included “Feathered Indians”, my favorite from the record “Whitehouse Road” and “I Swear (To God)”.  Following that song there was a brief break before the encore. I say this is brief because while the lights went down, the band never left the stage.  The crowd knew what was happening though and gave Tyler one of the loudest reactions of the night. He finished the evening with a Charlie Daniels cover that he often does called “Trudy”.

If you get a chance to see Tyler Childers, I highly recommend it.  His stock is only rising and I fully believe his next headlining US tour will be in amphitheaters and arenas instead of large theaters.  In fact, he’s already doing a run of opening dates next year with Sturgill Simpson and this tour is going through and has already sold out some of the nation’s biggest arenas.  Tyler still has one show left in 2019 on New Years Eve in Pikeville, KY with Todd Snider and Darrell Scott opening. If you can’t get a ticket to that one, get a ticket to one of his shows opening for Sturgill Simpson.  You can find all of his upcoming dates at his website. While you’re there, check out his new record titled Country Squire which features in many best of 2019 lists including my own. This was my final show for 2019 and my final show of this decade.  Look for more live show and festival reviews in 2020.

Gary Hayes Country’s 2019 Album Of The Year.

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Dec 292019
 

Produced by Brandi Carlile & Shooter Jennings

Miss Tanya Tucker HANDS DOWN WINS MY 2019 Album Of The Year award.  To be honest one of the most riveting feeling in my last 10 years of life, was to go to Target and purchase a vinyl copy of an ALL NEW Tanya Tucker record. But I’ll be even more honest it goes deeper than just the initial purchase of the album here…

The album almost never came to be PERIOD, and it took a lot of persuasion from Mr. Shooter Jennings, who co produced this album with Miss Brandi Carlile to record the project. Apparently just days before the recording was scheduled to commence, she called Shooter and told him she didn’t want to do it. However after his rebuttal ( and whatever else he told her) that album came to fruition and ended up being an absolute masterpiece.

The absolute apotheosis of this album is the song called “Bring My Flowers Now”, and it strengthens the reason for me to do this while she is alive. I mean isn’t this amazing to get to love on her NOW instead of finding “unreleased new music” years after she is passed on? THE DAY we loose Miss Tanya Tucker will be a dark and lugubrious time in Nashville, and I think it’s time for us all to lift her up, and continue to let her know SHE IS WANTED..and NEEDED.

I cannot express enough love and respect for Miss Brandi Carlile and Mr. Shooter for their belief in her ( and many other people in music ). Shooter has brought me SO MUCH JOY in the years past with different releases BCR has made, but it was TANYA that also showed up with a newfound passion to bring these songs out with a puissant   authority that only mainstream country radio could deny. I know that mainstream avenues of music ignore Legends like her, but hey it’s their loss!

Going back to how amazing “Bring My Flowers Now” truly is she co wrote that song with Miss Brandi on a piano in the studio, and they recorded it right away. Is that NOT how a TRUE masterpiece should unfold? This whole album is so believable and honest, that I cannot fathom these songs were NOT written with HER in mind. “Mustang Ridge” is about living on the run, and living on the edge, and reminds me of some of the other things that Tucker is often associated with. Despite having more commercial success than only four other females in Country Music, Miss Tanya is still to this day vastly overlooked….and this album I’m sure will begin a new era for her.

We haven’t heard any NEW music from her in seventeen years, and only two producers like Miss Brandi and Mr. Shooter could assemble a team like this to bring forth an album of this magnitude. With as many years and albums as she has under her belt she has every right to decree that “I Don’t Owe You Anything”.  You get a more closer look at how she can convincingly present a cover song like ” The House That Built Me” , which was a hit for Miranda Lambert. Instead of a young woman, she presents the song from a little bit different perspective.

Overall the ONLY negative thing I have on this album was the short length of the album. At a short thirty minutes and only ten songs, the quality of this recording, the meaning of the songs, the way she delivers the vocals and the relevance of this release make that negative point moot. If you think this album doesn’t deserve my accolades here, you are the most mistaken individual on the planet right now.

We love you Miss Tanya Tucker. Please stay with us for many more decades, and record more albums like this.

 

Joshua Wallace’s Top 50 Albums of 2019

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Dec 282019
 

 

By Joshua Wallace

2019 has been a crazy year for good albums.  It was tough keeping this list narrowed down to just 50.  I probably could have doubled it this year.  2019 saw many good releases across the genre from bluegrass to southern rock to folk and even in the mainstream.  This list touches on all of those areas and is purely based on what I enjoyed the most throughout the year.  Gary Hayes will have his own list coming up soon.  I reviewed many of these albums throughout the year and will link to those reviews where I have them.  I highly recommend checking out every record on this list.  Let’s kick things off with the album of the year and Top 20, and then immediately following that, will be 21 – 50.  You can follow along with my process of forming this list throughout the year on Twitter at @JWOUTLAW13.  One final note : my list is totally independent from what Gary Hayes does on the Gary Hayes Country lists.

**ALBUM OF THE YEAR** 01.  Ian Noe – Between The Country  **ALBUM OF THE YEAR**

I first became aware of Ian Noe back in late 2017 when he was opening for Colter Wall and had just released an EP called Off This Mountaintop.  I was very impressed by him live, and if the EP was any indication, the album would be amazing.  Fast forward to May 2019 and here we have the debut record Beyond The Country.  This album lived up to the hype and then some.  Make sure you catch Ian Noe in small rooms while you can because big things are in store for him very shortly.  Check out my full review of this album right here.

02.  Mike and The Moonpies – Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold

I knew Mike and The Moonpies were working on new material because they played some of this album live when I saw them in March, but I was not expecting a record like this.  The album was almost a surprise release and I did not expect involvement of the London Symphony Orchestra which took this album to another level.  This is by far the best Mike and The Moonpies album yet.  The band is also killer live, be sure to see them when you can.  Here is my full review of the album.

03.  Cody Jinks – After The Fire

Cody Jinks surprised everyone with not one, but two album releases in 2019.  After The Fire came first, shortly followed by The Wanting.  After The Fire wound up being my favorite of the two overall with tracks like “Ain’t A Train”, “Think Like You Think” and “William and Wanda” rounding out an amazing set.  Check out my full review of both of the albums here.

04.  Joshua Ray Walker – Wish You Were Here

Joshua Ray Walker was one of many great debut albums in 2019.  His voice and songwriting are the highlights of this record.  “Canyon”, “Last Call” and “Burn It” are the tracks that have stuck with me through the year.  I look forward to the chance to be able to see him live soon.  Check out my review of the record here.

05.  Cody Jinks – The Wanting

This is the second of the two albums that Cody Jinks released this year.  The Wanting is on the level with After The Fire, I just felt the earlier set had better songs.  Some of my favorites from this album that I still have on my playlists are “Same Kind Of Crazy As Me”, “Where Even Fear To Fly”, “Which One I Feed” and “The Raven and The Dove”.  Check out my full review of both this album and After The Fire here.

06.  Billy Strings – Home

Billy Strings is on a mega run right now.  His 2017 album Turmoil & Tinfoil was a great bluegrass record with some good jams thrown in.  His new 2019 release Home finds him expanding on the jam sessions and experimental aspects of his music.  It’s an amazing record that finds him fusing the jam band elements of his live shows with the traditional bluegrass sound that he has perfected.  There is also the amazing electric guitar work on the title track that could be a tease of more electric stuff from Billy to come in the future.  Fingers crossed.  I recommend checking out the entire record with this one.  Here is my full review of this album.

07.  Jason Hawk Harris – Love & The Dark

This album surprised me with how good it was and it has grown on me even more since reviewing it.  Songs like “Phantom Limb” are immediate favorites, but then you get to tracks like the punk rock inspired “I’m Afraid” or “Cussing At The Light” with it’s amazing pedal steel work.  It seems like I come across something new I like every time I listen to this record.  Check out my review and give it a spin for yourself.

08.  Erin Enderlin – Faulkner County

Erin Enderlin released an amazing traditional country record with her 2017 album Whiskeytown Crier.  Her new record Faulkner County picks up right where that one left off and is one of the best traditional country albums of 2019.  Jim “Moose” Brown & Jamey Johnson are once again producing this album and it’s a great collection of songs.  Be on the lookout for some familiar back up singers throughout this record.  Read my full review of the record here.

09.  Whiskey Myers – Whiskey Myers

It can be hard to pin a genre on Whiskey Myers.  Sometimes they’re southern rock, sometimes they’re straight up rock n’ roll and sometimes they’re country through and through.  All that matters is this is one amazing album.  Check out songs like “Die Rockin'” and “Gasoline” for rock tracks to get the blood pumping and other songs like “Little More Money” and “Bad Weather” that make the case for this being a great country album too.

10.  Tyler Childers – Country Squire

Tyler Childers has had an amazing rise since his 2017 album Purgatory.  He went from playing smaller rooms to selling out Red Rocks Amphitheater and other large spaces.  His second album Country Squire finds him recording some of the songs that he has been playing on the road for a long time so fans were familiar with many of them.  On this record “Creeker”, “Country Squire” and “Bus Route” remain favorites.  Check out my review of the album here.

11.  Ben Jarrell – Troubled Times

I have been familiar with Ben Jarrell’s music for a while now.  I was a fan of his Florida based bluegrass band Gators In The Sawgrass so I knew he was an amazing songwriter.  Then comes this album and it’s probably one of the best outlaw country leaning records you will hear in 2019.  It’s the kind of album you wish Sturgill Simpson was still making.  Check out my review and give this record a listen.

12.  Zach Bryan – DeAnn

I first heard of Zach Bryan from a tweet by Texas country singer/songwriter Parker McCollum.  I thought it was a solid recommendation so I checked out the album.  I was not disappointed.  What you will find here is as raw and as real as it gets.  I think big things are in store for Zach Bryan in the future and we will be hearing this name a lot more very soon.  Check out my full review here.

13.  Jon Pardi – Heartache Medication

Mainstream country music is doing alright in 2019 with releases like this.  Jon Pardi put out one great album in Heartache Medication.  Some of my favorites are “Me and Jack”, “Tequila Little Time”, “Call Me Country” and “Tied One On”.

14.  Luke Combs – What You See Is What You Get

This is another great mainstream album in 2019.  Luke Combs is leading the way in the resurgence of a throwback 90’s country sound that is coming back to country radio.  I really dig this album and with 17 tracks there is bound to be something you’ll like.  Check out favorites like “Even Though I’m Leaving”, “Lovin’ On You”, “1, 2, Many”, “Dear Today” and “Angels Workin’ Overtime”.  Check out my full review here.

15.  Molly Tuttle – When You’re Ready

Molly Tuttle is an amazing guitar player and singer/songwriter.  When You’re Ready is her first full debut album, but you can tell she is a seasoned performer.  Songs like “Light Came In (Power Went Out)”, “Take The Journey” and “The High Road” have remained favorites throughout the year with this album.

16.  Cody Johnson – Ain’t Nothin’ To It

Cody Johnson burst into mainstream country with this release Ain’t Nothin’ To It.  This is his sixth LP but his first with a major label behind it.  Songs like “Doubt Me Now” and “Yall People” are great starters.  I love the “Long Haired Country Boy” cover and “His Name Is Jesus” is a great live acoustic track as well.

17.  Paul Cauthen – Room 41

Paul Cauthen continues to bring the funk with Room 41 which is his second full length release.  The Texas Gentlemen are once again his backing band here and the album goes even further into funky country territory with songs like “Freak”, “Big Velvet” and “Cocaine Country Dancing”.  There are some softer moments here where Paul’s amazing voice gets to shine on songs like “Give Em Peace” and “Slow Down”.  Check out my full review here.

18.  Vincent Neil Emerson – Fried Chicken & Evil Women

Fried Chicken & Evil Women is Vincent Neil Emerson’s debut release.  It showcases his knack for classic country music and good songwriting.  Check out favorites like “Willie Nelson’s Wall”, “Letters On The Marquee” and “Highway Shine”.  Read my full review right here.

19.  Kelsey Waldon – White Noise / White Lines

Kelsey Waldon released an amazing record with White Noise / White Lines.  Some of my favorites on this album are “White Noise / White Lines” and “Sunday’s Children”.

20.  Jacob Bryant – Practice What I Preach

I was a fan of Jacob Bryant when his “Pour Whiskey On My Grave” single hit in 2018.  That single stuck with me all the way through to the album release and this record lives up to the hype.  He has a similar 90’s throwback sound as Luke Combs, but with more traditional country elements which shine in songs like “When I Get On A Roll”.  There’s also the Merle Haggard tribute “25 In Jail” and other awesome tracks like “Pain Pain” and “Hot Mess” that make this Number 20 on my Top 50 Albums of the year.  Check out my full review here.

The Best Of The Rest:

21.  Emily Scott Robinson – Traveling Mercies

22.  Lillie Mae – Other Girls

23.  Randy Houser – Magnolia

24.  The Highwomen – The Highwomen

25.  Miranda Lambert – Wildcard

26.  Steel Blossoms – Steel Blossoms

27.  Orville Peck – Pony

28.  Aaron Watson – Red Bandanna 

29.  Tanya Tucker – While I’m Livin’

30.  Chris Knight – Almost Daylight

31.  Kendell Marvel – Solid Gold Sounds

32.  George Strait – Honky Tonk Time Machine

33.  Ryan Bingham – American Love Song

34.  Jericho Woods – One Perfect Sound

35.  Vandoliers – Forever

36.  Chelsea Wolfe – Birth Of Violence

37.  The Steel Woods – Old News

38.  Midland – Let It Roll

39.  Dallas Moore – Tryin’ To Be A Blessing

40.  Randy Rodgers Band – Hellbent

41.  Dee White – Southern Gentleman

42.  James Carothers – Songs & Stories

43.  Jenny Tolman – There Goes The Neighborhood

44.  Hayes Carll – What It Is

45.  Michaela Anne – Desert Dove

46.  Ottoman Turks – Ottoman Turks

47.   Alice Wallace – Into The Blue

48.  Lauren Jenkins – No Saint

49.  Jason James – Seems Like Tears Ago

50.  Runaway June – Blue Roses

Please check out Mr. Luther’s TOP 50 HERE

Please check out Mr. Gary’s TOP 50 HERE

Ameripolitan Awards Has Opened The Voting Now!

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Dec 282019
 

 

2020 Voting Starts Today!!

We are so excited for ya’ll to start voting for your favorite Artists, DJ’s, Venues, and Festivals!! Here is the link. Please share with your friends, family and everyone!!
http://vote.ballotblaster.com/#/webBallots/130

Last year, I completely covered this event and had a truly FUN time all over Memphis. I ate at some truly delicious restaurants that entire weekend, while my hotel was just around the corner from the main festivities. I’m talking about none other than the Ameripolitan Awards. HERE and HERE is my coverage of both showcase days and nights.

This website has always been a huge supporter of this prestigious awards show, and always will be no matter if I get the time to cover it LIVE or not. I’m still gathering up all of my last year’s information, and fixin things for the 2020 festival season. I went all over America this year, and had a blessed season of travel….I’m not usually an indolent person. however the latter portion of 2019 here brought me a few medical misfortunes that may prohibit my future travels.

Ergo, I wanted to make a nice post for the awards show and share a little part of each of the nominees, so you my dear reader can become familiar with these performers and what music they bring to the table. many of these bands and artists are national, but still locally based all over America AND overseas as well.

I’m going to list ALL of the nominees and categories on this article complete with band links on the names, and I’m going to put some of MY favorite hotels and places to eat here as well. See THIS WEBSITE shares good food and BEST places to stay in EVERY CITY of whichever music function I’m reporting on.

Rockabilly Female
Amber Foxx
Laura Palmer
Linda Gail Lewis
Ruby Ann

Rockabilly Male
Bloodshot Bill
Eddie Clendening
Jittery Jack
Shaun Young

Rockabilly Group
Trix O Treat
Modern Don Juans
Mark Gamsjager And The Lustre Kings
Bebo And The Good time Boys

Western Swing Female
Cheryl Deseree
Wendy Newcomer
Georgia Parker
Katie Shore

Western Swing Male
Dave Stuckey
Farmer Keenan Wade
Kyle Eldridge
Ranger Doug

Western Swing Group
50 Shades Of Hay
Bill And The Belles
Urban Pioneers
The Farmer And Adele

Honky Tonk Female
Jaime Wyatt
Kathryn Legendre
Sarah Vista
Sarah Gayle Meech

Honky Tonk Male
Zephaniah Ohora
Pat Reedy
Johnny Falstaff
Charley Crockett

Honky Tonk Group
Casey James Prestwood And The Burning Angels
The Country Side Of Harmonica Sam
The Shootouts
Western Centuries

Ameripolitan Musician
Mike Bernal
Miss Amy Griffin
Sean Mencher
joel Paterson
Rose Sinclair
Bobby trimble
Becky Hinson

Ameripolitan DJ
Eddie White
Jimi Palacios
Texas Hell Kitten
Marvivi
Don Sticksel
Paco Chaos

Ameripolitan Festival
Bristol Rhythm And Roots
Vintage Torque
Western Swing Out
High Rockabilly
Symco

Ameripolitan Venue
Duke’s
American Legion
Knuckleheads
Luckenbach Dancehall
skinny Dennis
Southgate House Revival
Dee’s Country Cocktail Lounge

From last year, here is the hotel I stayed at as well as some information on places I ate at:

Mr. Jimi Palacios from NOLA County and I had a wonderful lunch today over at Exline’s Pizza near Graceland. Now if you want the BEST pizza in Memphis in my opinion that is it! If I ever come to Memphis, and when I don’t go there I feel cheated. The Travelodge Wyndham hotel where the first showcases were was just around the corner from my hotel, and so was Graceland.

I stayed over at the Quality Inn at 3105 Millbranch Road close to the airport. I found the room to be VERY nice and clean, with a few great features and spacious room to relax. It was easy to enjoy the music this weekend with such an easy trek to my hotel room, as you already know I have my list of go to places all over the United States to eat and stay.

Up above this are three of the nominees from last year, that performed on the showcases. Well, this year all three of these folks are nominated in their respected categories. Miss Rose Sinclair plays steel guitar for Rockabilly Legend and Bloodshot Records artist Mr. Wayne “The Train” Hancock.

Mr. Pat Reedy is working on a new album in 2020 out on Muddy Roots Records, and will be a part of many festivals upcoming here. You’ll be hearing that name mentioned a lot next year from me. Mr. Casey James Prestwood And The Burning Angels I haven’t crossed paths with for some time, but their live show is amazing.

MEMPHIS,TN

FEBRUARY 24, 2020

THE GUEST HOUSE

GRACELAND

News From Russell Moore And IIIrd Tyme Out.

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Dec 272019
 
 MG 9459 1

Cumming, GA (December 13, 2019)—With nearly three decades of touring to their credit, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out are now embarking on a new adventure; their first ever performances outside the North American continent. The band will travel to Prague, Czech Republic and perform two shows on February 8, 2020.

“Since 1991, we have been recording, touring, and performing across the U.S. and Canada and are very excited that we’ll be taking our live show overseas for the very first time,” says Russell Moore. “We all thought this would be a great adventure to help celebrate nearly 30 years in the bluegrass world we love so much, and to perform for some of our many fans who are not able to travel here to see us.”

The concerts will take place at Dlabacov Hall and are produced by Rosta Capek of Capek Instruments (www.capek.us). “We are thrilled to be promoting the only appearance of this legendary band in Europe,” says Capek. “Both shows were sold out in the first two weeks. This will be the best bluegrass event of 2020, not only in the Czech Republic, but in all of Europe!”

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out are one of bluegrass music’s most-awarded touring bands with over 50 industry accolades to their credit. Earlier this year, Moore received his 6th Male Vocalist of the Year award from the International Bluegrass Music Association, maintaining the record as their most awarded in that category. With 18 albums, an extensive tour schedule, and plenty of miles under his belt, Moore still finds excitement in his chosen career. “We’re looking forward to this experience in Prague, the chance to visit with all who attend the performances, and the opportunity to observe this historic city!”

For more information on Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, including this historic performance in Prague, Czeck Republic, please visit www.iiirdtymeout.com.

TONS Of Information On Merlefest 2020.

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Dec 262019
 
Initial Lineup Announced For MerleFest 2020
Willie Nelson & Family and Alison Krauss atop billing;
Chris Austin Songwriting Contest entry still open
November 12, 2019 – Wilkesboro, NC – MerleFest, presented by Window World, is proud to announce the initial lineup for MerleFest 2020, which will be held April 23-26. The annual homecoming of musicians and music fans returns to the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. “For over 30 years, one of the major factors that has built and sustained MerleFest has been the quality of the artists and performances that our guests see over the 4-day festival,” says Ted Hagaman, Festival Director. “People truly feel that the festival is a great value and that is why music fans and families return year after year. We feel that the 2020 lineup again reflects the diversity and quality of performers, and we look forward to another successful festival in April.” The complete lineup for MerleFest 2020 will be announced over the next few months.
Today’s lineup announcement includes Willie Nelson & Family, Alison Krauss, The Jerry Douglas Band, Sam Bush, Jim Lauderdale, Kruger Brothers, The Waybacks, Scythian, Donna The Buffalo, Peter Rowan and the Free Mexican Airforce, Tommy Emmanuel, Shinyribs, Charley Crockett, Darrell Scott, The Steel Wheels, Robbie Fulks, Amythyst Kiah, Cordovas, Alison Brown, Andy May, “B” Townes, Banknotes, Bill & The Belles, Bryan Sutton, Carol Rifkin, Charles Welch, Chatham Rabbits, Che Apalache, The Cleverlys, Creole Stomp with Dennis Stroughmatt, David Holt, Fireside Collective, Flattop, Happy Traum, Hogslop String Band, InterACTive Theatre of Jef, Irish Mythen, Iron Horse Bluegrass, Jack Lawrence, Jeff Little Trio, Jody Carroll, Joe Smothers, Ken Crouse, Laura Boosinger, The Local Boys, Los Texmaniacs, Mark Bumgarner, Mary Flower, Mitch Greenhill, Pete & Joan Wernick, Piedmont Bluz, Presley Barker, Rev. Robert Jones, Roy Book Binder, Sierra Ferrell, String Madness, T. Michael Coleman, Tony Williamson, Wayne Henderson, The Moore Brothers, The Williams Brothers, and Wyld Fern.
Tickets for next year’s festival go on sale November 12, 2019, and may be purchased at www.MerleFest.org or by calling 1-800-343-7857. MerleFest offers a three-tiered pricing structure and encourages fans to take advantage of the extended early bird discount. Early Bird Tier 1 tickets may be purchased from November 12 to February 16, 2020; Early Bird Tier 2 tickets from February 17 to April 22. Remaining tickets will be sold at the gate during the festival.
New for MerleFest 2020 is “The Patio at MerleFest.” This ticket-upgrade includes comfortable seating in a covered area with great views of the Watson and Cabin stages, access to the friends and family seating area (formerly named VIP), a deluxe air-conditioned mobile bathroom unit, snacks and beverages, and live video displays from the Watson and Cabin stages. Fans wanting to gain access to this exciting new addition to MerleFest should act quickly, as seating is limited.
MerleFest would also like to remind potential participants that the entry period for 2020’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest is still open. Now in its 28th year, CASC is an extraordinary opportunity for songwriters to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of Nashville music industry professionals, under the direction of volunteer contest chairperson, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale. Aspiring songwriters may submit entries to the contest using the online entry form at MerleFest.org or by mailing entries to MerleFest/CASC, P.O. Box 120, Wilkesboro, NC, 28697. All entries received during October and November will receive an early-entry discount price of $25 per entry, while submissions received in December and January will require a $30 fee per entry. All lyrics must be written in English and no instrumental entries will be accepted. The deadline to enter is February 1, 2020.
About Willie Nelson & Family
With a six-decade career and 200 plus albums, this iconic Texan is the creative genius behind the historic recordings of “Crazy,” “Red Headed Stranger,” and “Stardust.” Willie Nelson has earned every conceivable award as a musician and amassed reputable credentials as an author, actor, and activist. He continues to thrive as a relevant and progressive musical and cultural force. In recent years, he has delivered more than a dozen new album releases, released a Top 10 New York Times’ bestsellers book, again headlined Farm Aid, an event he co-founded in 1985, received his 5th degree black belt in Gong Kwon Yu Sul, headlined the annual Luck Reunion food and music festival at his ranch in Luck, Texas, during SXSW, launched his cannabis companies Willie’s Reserve and Willie’s Remedy, and graced the covers of Rolling Stone and AARP The Magazine.
In 2015, Nelson published “It’s A Long Story: My Life,” the unvarnished and complete story of his life that landed him on the New York Times’ bestsellers list. He also released a new studio album with Merle Haggard titled Django And Jimmie, which debuted at #1 on Billboard‘s Country album chart and #7 on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart. In November 2015, the Library of Congress honored him with their Gershwin Prize for Popular Song for his contributions to popular music. He is the first country artist to receive the distinguished award. The following year began with the release of “Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin,” a collection of 11 newly recorded Gershwin classics. The album debuted at #1 on both the Top Current Jazz chart and the Top Traditional Jazz chart, as well as earned him a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. In September 2016, came “For the Good Times: A Tribute to Ray Price,” an album of newly recorded interpretations of 12 Ray Price songs. In 2017, he released two albums of newly recorded performances: “God’s Problem Child,” with 13 new songs that debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Country album chart and #10 on the Billboard 200, and “Willie Nelson and The Boys (Willie’s Stash, Vol. 2),” that includes 11 country classics and one brand-new song performed by Nelson and his sons Lukas and Micah. For 2018, he released “Last Man Standing” in April to celebrate his 85th birthday. It is comprised entirely of songs newly-penned by Nelson (and longtime collaborator and producer Buddy Cannon).
In September, he released the album “My Way,” a collection of newly-recorded standards and classics originally made famous by Nelson’s close friend and musical colleague Frank Sinatra. It went on to win the GRAMMY Award for Best Traditional Pop Album. For 2019, he released “Ride Me Back Home,” a new studio album with 11 recordings that are a reflective upbeat journey through life, love, and time’s inescapable rhythms viewed from Willie’s inimitable perspective. These new songs and performances add to his classic catalog and find Willie Nelson rolling at a creative peak, writing and singing and playing with the seasoned wit and wisdom that comes from the road, which he still travels along performing for fans. Willie Nelson & Family performs Thursday, April 23, 2020.
About Alison Krauss
Born in Champaign, Illinois, Alison Krauss grew up listening to everything from folk to opera to pop and rock music, but quickly fell in love with bluegrass when she began playing fiddle at the age of five. Shortly after, Krauss began entering fiddle contests. At the age of 14, Rounder Records signed her to her first record deal, and she went on to release her debut solo album two years later. The accomplished bluegrass musician became a member of the Grand Ole Opry at age 21.
Since 1985, Krauss has released 14 albums including five solo, seven with her longtime band and musical collaborators Union Station, and the Robert Plant collaboration “Raising Sand,” which was certified platinum and won five Grammys, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year. She’s sold more than 12 million records to date, and her honors include 27 Grammys, nine Country Music Association Awards, 14 International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, two Academy of Country Music Awards and two Gospel Music Association Awards.
“Windy City,” her latest solo album, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums and Top Bluegrass Albums charts and received two Grammy nominations. The album was produced by Buddy Cannon, whose vocal harmonies Krauss grew up listening to and were the soundtrack to her childhood. “Buddy sang harmonies on everything back then,” Krauss says. She also reveals of Cannon, “I don’t do something unless I feel like I’m called to do it. That’s what I felt like, so I honored it. It’s like the same feeling of when you know something is right musically, with a song or a batch of songs –the same feeling, but this was attached to a person instead of a batch of songs.”
Krauss frequently collaborates with artists from numerous genres, including Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift, Kenny Rogers, Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, Vince Gill, The Chieftains, James Taylor, The Cox Family, Yo-Yo Ma, Johnny Mathis, Cyndi Lauper, Heart, Bad Company, and Phish. She has recorded and toured with Willie Nelson, whom she honored with a performance during the 2015 Gershwin Prize Tribute Concert. She will reunite with Nelson this summer on a co-headlining tour throughout North America.
“Whiskey Lullaby,” a duet which she performed with Brad Paisley won two CMA Awards in 2004. She has also produced albums for Alan Jackson, Nickel Creek, and The Cox Family. Some of these collaborators were also formative to Krauss, and she lists influences including Tony Rice, Ricky Skaggs, Dolly Parton, Larry Sparks, The Cox Family, and Ralph Stanley. Alison Krauss performs Thursday, April 23, 2020.
About MerleFest
MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the son of the late American music legend Doc Watson, renowned guitarist Eddy Merle Watson. MerleFest is a celebration of “traditional plus” music, a unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including old-time, classic country, bluegrass, folk and gospel, and blues, and expanded to include Americana, classic rock, and many other styles. The festival hosts a diverse mix of artists on its 13 stages during the course of the four-day event. MerleFest is the primary fundraiser for the WCC Foundation, funding scholarships, capital projects, and other educational needs.
About Window World
Window World, headquartered in North Wilkesboro, N.C., is America’s largest replacement window and exterior remodeling company, with more than 200 locally-owned offices nationwide. Founded in 1995, the company sells and installs windows, siding, doors, and other exterior products, with a total of over 14 million windows sold to date. Window World is an ENERGY STAR partner, and its window products have earned the Good Housekeeping Seal for 10 consecutive years. Additionally, through its charitable foundation Window World Cares, the Window World family provides funding for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which honored the foundation with its Organizational Support Award in 2017. Since its inception in 2008, Window World Cares has raised over $7 million for St. Jude. Window World Inc. also supports the Veterans Airlift Command, a non-profit organization that facilitates free air transportation to wounded veterans and their families. For more information, visit www.WindowWorld.com or call 1-800 NEXT WINDOW. For home improvement and energy efficiency tips, décor ideas and more, follow Window World on Facebook and Twitter.
MerleFest Announces Lineup Additions For 2020 Festival
John Prine, Billy Strings, and more to play annual NC festival
December 9, 2019 – Wilkesboro, NC – MerleFest, presented by Window World, is proud to announce the next round of artist additions for MerleFest 2020, which will be held April 23-26. John Prine, Billy Strings, Colin Hay, Kelsey Waldon, and Gangstagrass will be joining the annual homecoming of musicians and music fans on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Today’s lineup announcement adds five great artists to MerleFest’s already stacked lineup: Willie Nelson & Family, Alison Krauss, The Jerry Douglas Band, Sam Bush, Jim Lauderdale, Kruger Brothers, The Waybacks, Scythian, Donna The Buffalo, Peter Rowan and the Free Mexican Airforce, Tommy Emmanuel, Shinyribs, Charley Crockett, Darrell Scott, The Steel Wheels, Robbie Fulks, Amythyst Kiah, Cordovas, Alison Brown, Andy May, “B” Townes, Banknotes, Bill & The Belles, Bryan Sutton, Carol Rifkin, Charles Welch, Chatham Rabbits, Che Apalache, The Cleverlys, Creole Stomp with Dennis Stroughmatt, David Holt, Fireside Collective, Flattop, Happy Traum, Hogslop String Band, InterACTive Theatre of Jef, Irish Mythen, Iron Horse Bluegrass, Jack Lawrence, Jeff Little Trio, Jody Carroll, Joe Smothers, Ken Crouse, Laura Boosinger, The Local Boys, Los Texmaniacs, Mark Bumgarner, Mary Flower, Mitch Greenhill, Pete & Joan Wernick, Piedmont Bluz, Presley Barker, Rev. Robert Jones, Roy Book Binder, Sierra Ferrell, String Madness, T. Michael Coleman, Tony Williamson, Wayne Henderson, The Moore Brothers, The Williams Brothers, and Wyld Fern.
John Prine: A two-time Grammy-winner, John Prine is among the English language’s premier phrase-turners. Almost 50 years into a remarkable career that has drawn effusive praise from Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, Roger Waters, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and others who would know, Prine is a smiling, shuffling force for good. He is a 2019 Songwriter’s Hall of Fame inductee, a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member and a PEN New England Lyrics Award recipient whose classic debut album, simply titled John Prine, is recognized as part of the Recording Academy’s Grammy Hall of Fame and whose songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Carly Simon, Bette Midler, Bonnie Raitt, Norah Jones, George Strait, Miranda Lambert, Zac Brown Band and many others. His critically acclaimed new album, The Tree of Forgiveness, was produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb and recently debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200—a career-high chart position and sales week for the legendary singer, songwriter, and performer. John Prine will perform on Sunday afternoon.
Billy Strings: Billy Strings has been hailed as the future of bluegrass, transcending tradition and genre with his high velocity, flat-picking guitar technique and intense, confessional songwriting. HOME, Strings’ remarkable second studio album, is undoubtedly the Michigan-born, Nashville-based artist’s bravest excursion thus far, completely rewiring bluegrass with elements of punk, country, folk-rock, and genuine psychedelic exploration to fashion something altogether his own. Strings has infused the aesthetic with his own experiences and inspirations, adopting traditional sonic and lyrical idioms to confront contemporary social truths. With guest appearances from the likes of Jerry Douglas and Molly Tuttle and produced by Glenn Brown (Greensky Bluegrass, Marcus Miller), HOME is a landmark on Billy Strings’ ongoing creative journey, its fearless songs and freewheeling approach recasting string-based American music in his own inimitable image. Billy Strings will perform a Doc Watson tribute with Bryan Sutton on Friday evening and a set of his original music on Saturday afternoon.
Colin Hay: Scotland-born, Australian-raised Colin Hay won the world over as charismatic front-man and gifted songwriter of 1980s pop sensation Men at Work (“Down Under”, “Overkill”, “Who Can it Be Now?”). Since the original lineup’s separation in 1985, Colin Hay has crafted a successful solo career, releasing 13 beloved albums and touring the world with his own band and as a member of Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band. The frequent use of his music in TV and film—including hit shows such as Scrubs (on which he has made several cameo appearances) and the critically-acclaimed soundtrack of Garden State—has proven the timeless appeal of his songs: quizzical, curious, cynical yet open-hearted. Colin Hay will perform on Saturday evening.
Kelsey Waldon: On her new album, White Noise/White Lines, Kelsey Waldon captures the rugged country sound of her touring band without sacrificing the intimacy of her songwriting. Waldon, a native of Monkey’s Eyebrow, Kentucky, took an interest in singing, songwriting and playing guitar as a child. After moving to Nashville, she cultivated a loyal following through frequent touring. Her persistence paid off when, on stage at the Grand Ole Opry, John Prine invited Kelsey to join his Oh Boy Records family. Paste claimed that White Noise/White Lines is “easily the best songwriting of her career.” Rolling Stone said, “Waldon’s music is a mix of storytelling, that high-lonesome sound, and the dangerous chug of Waymore’s Outlaws, filtered through her fresh perspective and emotive voice…it’s no wonder Oh Boy snatched her up,” and NPR wrote about her “Kentucky sensibility and an old-school country voice and vibe. Kelsey Waldon will perform on Sunday afternoon.
Gangstagrass: Best known as the Emmy-nominated makers of “Long Hard Times to Come,” the theme song to the hit FX drama Justified, Gangstagrass is back with a new live album—Pocket Full of Fire—featuring its original Emmy-nominated blend of bluegrass/hip-hop. Performed by real hip-hop MCs and real bluegrass instrumentalists and produced by lead singer/guitarist Rench, the live album is the follow-up to the group’s Billboard-charting 2015 release American Music. Pocket Full of Fire peaked at #2 on the Billboard Bluegrass Charts, having charted for 19 weeks in 2019. Containing 12 cuts of both original and traditional music with a twist, Pocket Full of Fire solidifies Gangstagrass’s reputation as one of the must-see live acts in the country. As the late Elmore Leonard put it, “Rench and his friends have done nothing short of creating a new form of music.” Gangstagrass will perform Friday afternoon and evening.
Tickets for next year’s festival are on sale now and may be purchased at www.MerleFest.org or by calling 1-800-343-7857. MerleFest offers a three-tiered pricing structure and encourages fans to take advantage of the extended early bird discount. Early Bird Tier 1 tickets may be purchased from November 12 to February 16, 2020; Early Bird Tier 2 tickets from February 17 to April 22. Remaining tickets will be sold at the gate during the festival.
MerleFest would also like to remind potential participants that the entry period for 2020’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest is still open. Now in its 28th year, CASC is an extraordinary opportunity for songwriters to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of Nashville music industry professionals, under the direction of volunteer contest chairperson, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale. Aspiring songwriters may submit entries to the contest using theonline entry form at MerleFest.org or by mailing entries to MerleFest/CASC, P.O. Box 120, Wilkesboro, NC, 28697. Entries received during December and January will require a $30 fee per entry. All lyrics must be written in English and no instrumental entries will be accepted. The deadline to enter is February 1, 2020.

Mr. Jimmy Bowen Inducted Into Old Time Country Music Hall Of Fame.

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Dec 262019
 

 

JIMMY BOWEN INDUCTED INTO OLD TIME COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME

NASHVILLE, TENN. – (October 14, 2019) – Seasoned music artist Jimmy Bowen was recently recognized by the National Traditional Country Music Association and inducted into the Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame for his significant contributions of preservation, promotion and performance of traditional Country music locally, nationally and internationally at a ceremony during the 44th Annual Old Time Country Music Festival held in Fremont, Nebraska on October 5.“The 44th Annual Old Time Country Music Festival in Fremont, Nebraska was such an amazing event! Thanks to the NYCMA, Bob and Sheila Everhart, and especially the National Traditional Country Music Association for keeping the traditional sounds of country music going strong,” stated Jimmy Bowen. “It is such an honor to be included alongside so many of our industry’s greatest artists from the Carter Family, Loretta Lynn, Jeannie Seely, Gail Davies, Jeannie C. Riley, Roy Rogers & Dale Evans, Grandpa and Ramona Jones to Roy Acuff.”

Jimmy Bowen has been creating music for more than three decades and, thankfully, has even bigger plans for the future. His new single, “Blood Red Moon,” was co-written written by Sonny LeMaire, Liz Hengber and Tommy Lee James. The new music is available for streaming and download on all online digital platforms here.

Stay current with Jimmy Bowen on his website jimmybowen.com  and follow and like Jimmy Bowen on social media outlets FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Music is available on digital music platforms for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music and download on iTunesAmazon Music and Google Play.

About America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame:
What began in 1976 as a means to honor significant contributors to America’s rural musical art forms on a local basis has over the years progressed into a National forum to honor all those in the United States (and sometimes internationally) those that have made significant contributions to what we now call old-time country music to distinguish it from modern country.  Our musical genre is a huge umbrella, and of course includes all the early old-time styles ‘mountain music; ragtime; hillbilly; rustic country music; bluegrass; folk; Cajun; honky-tonk; Americana; rural music; gospel; shaped note singing; western; country blues; cowboy music; and all of the elements that make up what we call ‘old-time’ music and ‘old-time’ dance.
It was decided early on that the only way into the Hall of Fame is to be nominated by someone already inducted.  In this way the large number of deserving individuals and groups could be controlled. At the same time this would be a source of eligible participants, provided by those that have the most knowledge and ability to select the most deserving.  The awards and inductions are done at the annual national festival hosed by the National Traditional Country Music Association. Individuals or groups that come for the honors are not required to perform, that is not the purpose of the awards.  Talented nominees certainly are welcome to perform if they so desire to do so. Once the award is announced, and given, it is ‘official’ when the audience gives the recipient a standing ovation of appreciation for their contributions to the music we all love, cherish and save.  Each recipient is requested to provide photographs, bios, and something important from their musical career to place on display in the Pioneer Music Museum where the Hall of Fame is located. The collection over the last 45 years is huge. All items placed with the Hall of Fame become the sole property of the Hall of Fame.  It fills an entire building in Anita, Iowa, and we are seeking ways and means to expand. That requires money. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, all donations are totally tax deductible. Help us save the precious cultural legacy left to us by our settlers, homesteaders, and rural folks of the upper Midwest. Make all donations out to NTCMA, P. O. Box 492, Anita, Iowa, 50020  Do it today, we need your help. All of the Hall of Fame inductees are on display in the Pioneer Music Museum in Anita, Iowa. (please see information about the museum at the end of Hall of Fame info.

About Jimmy Bowen:
In an age when it seems that technology has taken the place of talent, it is both reassuring and refreshing to see a seasoned artist who continues to have a stronghold in the music industry. Jimmy Bowen has been creating music for more than three decades and, thankfully, has even bigger plans for the future. Bowen’s impressive tenure in Bluegrass music includes eight years with Charlie Waller and the Country Gentlemen and more than four years with David Parmley and Continental Divide.  While traveling with these renowned groups, Bowen also earned multiple awards. These include IBMA Song of the Year “Waltz of the Angels,” with Charlie Waller and the Country Gentlemen, IBMA Album of the Year for Souvenirs with Charlie Waller and the Country Gentlemen and IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year with David Parmley and Continental Divide. Another creative outlet for Bowen is his pursuit of acting and he has been cast for various series, dramas, and commercials all while working with some of the biggest names in television. On the horizon for this hard-working artist is a music television show. “Creating my own ‘show’ has always been a dream of mine,” said Bowen, “and I’m doing it online so that everyone in the world can access it.” More details on this project coming soon. Stay current with Jimmy Bowen on his website jimmybowen.com/.

Jimmy Bowen

Rex Allen Jr. “Now And Then” Released Today On By Country Rewind Records.

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Dec 262019
 

 REX ALLEN JR – NOW AND THEN, RELEASED TODAY BY COUNTRY REWIND RECORDS

Rex Allen Jr

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (October 25, 2019) — Rex Allen Jr. – Now and Then, has been released today by Country Rewind Records and is being distributed by Select-O-Hits. The music is available to order online by visiting Country Rewind Records website countryrewindrecords.com and available for streaming and download on all digital music platforms including Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play, Pandora and more here.

“The first half of this album represents what I think is the end of an era of Country Music,” said Rex Allen Jr. “The tracks were cut around about ’84, ’85 and honestly I think the first half of this album was the last album that was ever done that represented the ‘70s and mid ‘80s kind of Country Music. After that, it changed. The second half of the album represents where I’ve gone since then. It’s where I live now in my musical life.”

Rex Allen Jr. gave the world more than 50 chart hits in the 70’s and 80’s. His voice has a rich and distinctive sound that is evident in every track on this recording. The first part of this album represents the art form of Country Music where it was then. The second half of the album represents where Rex Allen Jr. is in his musical life now.

Track List – Rex Allen Jr. – Now and Then:
1.  Dream On Texas Ladies
2.  Running Down Memory Lane (with Eddie Raven)
3.  A Good Woman’s Love
4.  When You Held Me In Your Arms
5.  My Angel
6.  Memory Train
7.  The Air That I Breathe
8.  I Never Made Love
9.  Sweet Rosanna
10.   Deep In The West
11.   Lonesome Town
12.   Peaceful Easy Feeling
13.   Crying In The Chapel
14.   Bullets In The Gun
15.  Where Are The Heroes
(Bonus Track)
16.   Forever Young (with Juni Fisher)

Rex Allen Jr. – Now and Then was Produced by Artist/Producer Rex Allen Jr. for Boxer Productions at Mountain Side Audio Labs Recording Studio, The Sound Connection, Nashville, TN, Jim Farrell Studios, Benton, KS and The Treehouse Studio, Nashville. The Co-Produced by Jim Farrell (Tracks 10-14) and Executive Producer, Thomas Gramuglia. The project was engineered by Bil VornDick, Jim Farrell and Mastering by Chico at
Treehouse Mastering.  Graphic Design by Jeff Taylor at Nashville CD Design. Everyone involved with the music has been honored and thrilled to be part of these historical projects. These long-forgotten recordings are now saved for prosperity.

These recordings are a follow up to Country Rewind Records previous releases of such greats as Rex Allen Sr., Conway Twitty, Waylon Jennings, Connie Smith, Jeannie C. Riley and more which have all received great reviews by music critics worldwide.

Country Rewind Records has dedicated itself to bring classic country with this contemporary feel to not only the past country fans but also to the new country listeners.

Stay current with Country Rewind Records on their website countryrewindrecords.com and social media platform Facebook.

About Country Rewind Records:
Country Rewind Records (CRR) was founded by Thomas Gramuglia of Hindsight Records in 2014, Gramuglia obtained a treasure chest of unreleased recordings from recruitment radio shows from the ‘60s and ‘70s. The superb CRR collection of original master recordings contains music from more than 100 country music legends and trendsetters (including intimate performances by country music greats such as Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Connie Smith, Faron Young, Dolly Parton, Conway Twitty and many more). These recordings were never released for commercial use. After a diligent quest to collect appropriate and legal permissions from artists and/or their estates, CRR has now recorded and produced multiple, quintessential, “must-hear” projects. With the mission to transfer these never-heard-before tracks to a high quality, state-of-the-art recording; complemented by contemporary instrumentation and background vocals, Country Rewind Records will release this historical American music to America’s music generations of the future. For more information visit countryrewindrecords.com

About Select-O-Hits:
Select-O-Hits  is owned by Sam W. Phillips and John Phillips, was co-founded in 1960 by their father, Tom Phillips, and uncle, Sam Phillips, the legendary founder of Sun Records. Tom Phillips began his career in music as Jerry Lee Lewis road manager for a number of years. He had invested all of his savings into an upcoming 1958 European tour when news of Lewis marriage to his 13 year-old cousin hit the front pages. Lewis career came to a sudden, although temporary, halt. The tour was cancelled, and Tom was broke. Sam helped him by giving him a job in the Sun Records warehouse and allowing Tom to live with him while his family stayed behind in Mobile, Alabama. Eventually, Tom saved enough money to send for his family in 1960. Tom was not satisfied with running the warehouse, so with the help of his wife, Lucille, he opened a small record store and one-stop that provided small, predominantly black-owned record stores with everything from phonograph needles to display racks. In the mid-1970s, Select-O-Hits began to concentrate more on distributing and less on retail and one-stops. The retail store closed in the mid-1980s, and the one-stop followed a few years later. Select-O-Hits has formed a number of successful record labels, such as Avenue, Icehouse, SOH, Brutal Records, Basix Music, Blues Works and Prophet Entertainment. In 1997 half of the company was sold to Malaco Records of Jackson, Mississippi. While all genres of music are represented in the family of labels Select-O-Hits distributes, Rap, Blues, Soul and Gospel are still the largest portion of the business. Today with sales offices and staff in Memphis, Atlanta, Nashville, Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Miami, Chicago, Houston and Seattle, Select-O-Hits is one of the largest independent record distributors in the country, providing services for over 300 independent vendors to all key US music traditional “brick and mortar” retailers and digital media sites. For more information visit selectohits.com

 

Rex Allen: America’s Last Singing Cowboy: Western Heritage Series.

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Dec 262019
 

REX ALLEN – AMERICA’S LAST SINGING COWBOY, THE FIRST IN THE HIGHLY ANTICIPATED WESTERN HERITAGE SERIES RELEASED TODAY BY COUNTRY REWIND RECORDS

Rex Allen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (October 25, 2019) — Rex Allen – America’s Last Singing Cowboy is the latest release by Country Rewind Records and the first in a new series, referred to as the Western Heritage Series which will also feature The Son’s of the Pioneers and Tex Ritter. Rex Allen was a multimedia star before the term ‘multimedia’ was coined. He found fame as a singer, a song- writer, a Western movie star, a television actor and (in later life) as a narrator of Disney movies and TV shows. Rex Allen – America’s Last Singing Cowboy is being distributed by Select-O-Hits and available to order on Country Rewind Records website countryrewindrecords.com.

The new music is also available for streaming and download on all digital music platforms including Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play, Pandora and more here.

Some of the tracks on this album were even a revelation to Rex Allen, Jr. “I had never heard “Blue Dream” before,” he said. “Not only had I never heard that track before, but I had never heard him sing it. I worked with dad on around 200 performances in my early life. The same goes for “The Blue Light Waltz.” I’d never heard that song before, either! They are just gorgeous pieces of Western material with the Sons of the Pioneers singing background vocals. It is absolutely magical. The world needs to hear these songs.”

“After looking over the Masters that Thomas had in his files, I realized the Country and Western Music History he has in his library. Thomas and I agreed that we needed to create a new category for Country Rewind Records. I suggested The Western Heritage Series to Thomas and he jumped all over it,” says Rex Allen jr. “There are now six CD’s in production. Rex Allen Sr., Rex Allen Jr., The Sons Of The Pioneers, Tex Ritter, Roy Rogers, Tex Williams and Merle Travis. All this music represents the influence of the West Coast on Country Music from the 40’s through even today. Thank you Thomas Gramuglia and Country Rewind Records for letting this history come to light.”

Country Rewind Records, Thomas Gramuglia, rescued the master tapes which have been in storage for nearly 50 years. Rex Allen – America’s Last Singing Cowboy was Produced by Artist/Producer Rex Allen Jr. for Boxer Productions at Mountain Side Audio Labs Recording Studio engineered by Bil VornDick with assistant Sam Ventura. Mastered by Ron Tyler-Whitting at Oasis-GHD Productions, LLC and engineered by Bil Vorndick with assistance by Sam Ventura. Background vocals were added by Jim Farrell, Rex Allen Jr., “The Riders In The Sky” (Ranger Doug, Too Slim, Woody Paul.) Musicians included Rex Allen Jr. on acoustic guitar, Bil Vorndick on percussion:, Jim Farrell keyboards and synthesizer. Graphic Design by Jeff Taylor at Nashville CD Design. Everyone involved with the music has been honored and thrilled to be part of these historical projects. These long-forgotten recordings are now saved for prosperity.

Track List – Rex Allen – America’s Last Singing Cowboy:
1. Texas Plains – Stuart Hamblen
2. Lazy River – Hoagy Carmichael, Sidney Arodin
3. My Swiss Moonlight Lullaby (Strollin’ Along) – Wilf Carter
4. I Can’t Stop Loving You – Don Gibson
5. There’s A Blue Sky Way Up Yonder  – Fred Hall, Bert Van Cleve, Arthur Fields
6. The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine – Ballard Mac Donald, Harry Carroll
7. Highways Are Happy Ways – Harry Harris, Tommie Malie, Larry Shay
8. Blue Dream  – Boudleaux Bryant, Felice Bryant
9. Money Marbles and Chalk – Pop Eckler
10. Blue Light Waltz – Al Hoffman, Dick Manning
11. All Cried Out – Rex Allen
12. This Land Is Your Land – Woody Guthrie
13. Streets of Laredo  – Marty Robbins
14. Son Don’t Go Near The Indians  – Novalee and Lorene Mann
15. This Old House – Stuart Hamblen

Rex Allen – America’s Last Singing Cowboy consists of tracks that have not been heard for decades and never commercially released. They were originally made at Radio Recorders’ California studios with the Cliffie Stone Band and the legendary Sons of the Pioneers. The masters date from 1950 to 1965. The recordings on this album were long thought to have been forgotten and lost forever.

Tom Gramuglia, President of Country Rewind Records, brought the masters to Allen’s son, Rex Allen, Jr., who produced the ‘cleaned up’ recordings that you hear on this album. Working at Mountainside Audio in Nashville, Rex Jr added some instrumentation and background vocals by Riders In The Sky. “They sound so much like The Sons of the Pioneers,” he said.

These recordings are a follow up to Country Rewind Records previous releases of such greats as Conway Twitty, Waylon Jennings, Connie Smith, Jeannie C. Riley and more which have all received great reviews by music critics worldwide.

Country Rewind Records has dedicated itself to bring classic country with this contemporary feel to not only the past country fans but also to the new country listeners.

Stay current with Country Rewind Records on their website countryrewindrecords.com and social media platform Facebook.

About Country Rewind Records:
Country Rewind Records (CRR) was founded by Thomas Gramuglia of Hindsight Records in 2014, Gramuglia obtained a treasure chest of unreleased recordings from recruitment radio shows from the ‘60s and ‘70s. The superb CRR collection of original master recordings contains music from more than 100 country music legends and trendsetters (including intimate performances by country music greats such as Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Connie Smith, Faron Young, Dolly Parton, Conway Twitty and many more). These recordings were never released for commercial use. After a diligent quest to collect appropriate and legal permissions from artists and/or their estates, CRR has now recorded and produced multiple, quintessential, “must-hear” projects. With the mission to transfer these never-heard-before tracks to a high quality, state-of-the-art recording; complemented by contemporary instrumentation and background vocals, Country Rewind Records will release this historical American music to America’s music generations of the future. For more information visit countryrewindrecords.com

About Select-O-Hits:
Select-O-Hits  is owned by Sam W. Phillips and John Phillips, was co-founded in 1960 by their father, Tom Phillips, and uncle, Sam Phillips, the legendary founder of Sun Records. Tom Phillips began his career in music as Jerry Lee Lewis road manager for a number of years. He had invested all of his savings into an upcoming 1958 European tour when news of Lewis marriage to his 13 year-old cousin hit the front pages. Lewis career came to a sudden, although temporary, halt. The tour was cancelled, and Tom was broke. Sam helped him by giving him a job in the Sun Records warehouse and allowing Tom to live with him while his family stayed behind in Mobile, Alabama. Eventually, Tom saved enough money to send for his family in 1960. Tom was not satisfied with running the warehouse, so with the help of his wife, Lucille, he opened a small record store and one-stop that provided small, predominantly black-owned record stores with everything from phonograph needles to display racks. In the mid-1970s, Select-O-Hits began to concentrate more on distributing and less on retail and one-stops. The retail store closed in the mid-1980s, and the one-stop followed a few years later. Select-O-Hits has formed a number of successful record labels, such as Avenue, Icehouse, SOH, Brutal Records, Basix Music, Blues Works and Prophet Entertainment. In 1997 half of the company was sold to Malaco Records of Jackson, Mississippi. While all genres of music are represented in the family of labels Select-O-Hits distributes, Rap, Blues, Soul and Gospel are still the largest portion of the business. Today with sales offices and staff in Memphis, Atlanta, Nashville, Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Miami, Chicago, Houston and Seattle, Select-O-Hits is one of the largest independent record distributors in the country, providing services for over 300 independent vendors to all key US music traditional “brick and mortar” retailers and digital media sites. For more information visit selectohits.com

Album Review: Nic Allen And The Troubled Minds.

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Dec 242019
 
Nic Allen and The Troubled Minds- “On The Hilltop”
By Luther Center
Cover art by Jacob Dunn
Nic Allen- Vocals, acoustic guitar
Noah Miller- Lead guitar
Zane Fleming- Bass
Drew Riley- Drums
Jeffrey McClelland- Keys, vocals
Alan Brown- Guitar, vocals
 
Nic Allen at Tootle’s Pumpkin Inn July 13, 2019
One of my favorite unexpected pleasures in 2019 was becoming aware of Nic Allen and The Troubled Minds.   I first heard Nic when he appeared as the opener for Eric Bolander at Tootle’s Pumpkin Inn in Circleville, Ohio back in July.   I really enjoyed his show and and thought songs were great, and speaking with him after the show, it turns out he’s a really nice and appreciative fellow.  He mentioned an album coming out and I kept on the lookout for it.  In September, it was released and I snapped up a copy as soon as I could find it.
The “On The Hilltop” album is an ode to Nic’s home, upbringing, family in Chesapeake, Ohio, and perhaps also to the trappings that go with being a honky tonk troubadour. He also gives more than a passing nod to his musical influences.  If you look up Chesapeake on the map, you’ll see that it’s just across the river from Huntington, WV (home of the notorious V Club, where Nic cut his teeth playing live shows), and not far at all from Eastern Kentucky.  Nic grew up listening to his father’s metal and his mother’s country CDs and cassettes while he was growing up on the road at Buffalo Creek where he still lives today, with his wife Melissa, about 500 feet from where he was raised. However, when you listen to this album, you can see that he’s also been listening to what’s been happening in the current blossoming Eastern Ky/Huntington music scene, and in fact, is now a part of it.
The album covers all the bases from hoedown stompers to southern rock/blues to tear jerker drinking songs.  Nic’s songs are top shelf, he has a strong country baritone voice, and you can tell as soon as the record starts that the band is all-in with his vision.  The production value is impressively high, especially for a debut album.
The album opens with a steel guitar fueled country burner called “For Heaven’s Sake”.  This one is a “gettin ‘ drunk” country song, and has a chance to become one of those songs that everybody in the crowd will sing along to with glasses raised.  What a great song to start the album with!
“Cheap Pills and Wine” and “Living This Way” are more in the vein of Lucero or Drive By Truckers mid-tempo rockers with themes of fighting depression and desperation any way you can, and they’re both powerful tunes both in the performance and content.
“Nothing to Hold” and “On The Hilltop” are both about lost love and the struggle to regain one’s self.  Yes, there’s drinking, but there’s also self reflection and regret.  Both of these songs are standouts and “Hilltop” especially, is simply one of those any serious songwriter wishes they had written!  Nic claims it’s the most personal song he’s written, and that it’s his wife’s favorite.   Probably mine, too.
“Home” is a flat out rocker, about the struggle of finding one’s way back home, both literally and figuratively.
“Worthless Man” and “Killing You Slow” are both slow burns that continue to explore the themes of self worth, self-loathing, and the request for some sort of divine intervention to intercede.  Even with the dark themes, they both, but “Killing You Slow” especially, maintain an air of hope and forgiveness along with incredible chorus hooks.
“Buffalo Creek” is about the place Nic has lived his entire life, and where he’ll be laid to rest when his time comes.  Extremely strong song.
“Just a Drink” is a slow country country tear-jerker with that killer steel guitar again.   It starts “Just a drink, a drink will do, so I can forget you tonight” and ends with a light at the end of the tunnel.   This, friends, is  a true country song.
“Waste of Time” is an acoustic guitar/vocal song that chronicles the hardships of love won and lost.  It showcases Nic’s strong baritone, and at times has some Dr. John-like deliveries, that I find I like very much.
Like the best country records, there’s lots of songs about lost love, drinking over lost love, advice from your father, praying for redemption, and finding one’s way home… and still leaves you with hope for the future….and all of those things are good things.

 

2019 Honorable Mentions Album Releases.

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Dec 222019
 

2019 was a busy and tough year for me physically and musically. This website has evolved into  an even bigger project than I imagined, and I had to hire MORE help to combat the amount submissions I get in my email and the regular mail. HOLY COW I get a TON of great music and SOME not so great music, now I CANNOT SAY that some of these will NOT BE on my TOP 50 list YET, because I’m STILL picking my spots up.

Some of those albums land between the trash bin and the TOP 50 LIST OF 2019. So with that in mind Decided to make this list of good stuff I found in 2019 while rabbit hole binging OR found in my mailbox. Now people, THIS LIST is going to go FURTHER than YOUR typical music “scene” loves or what’s “popular” in the Underground or Red Dirt communities.

This list will cover Texas Music, Newgrass, Jamgrass, Roots Music, Outlaw Country, blah…blah…blah….HEY QUIT putting stuff into a box and check out this awesome music I found all over the place in 2019. There are so many Oeuvres from these artists, but that doesn’t mean I LOVE that particular artist as a whole. It’s difficult to articulate to someone whom doesn’t “get it”, but to those whom DO…this article is for YOU!

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

Miss Lu Lu Roman Releases New Book And Announces More Kornfield Dates In 2020.

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Dec 212019
 

 

“LU TIMES TWO” NEXT WEEK AS LULU ROMAN REACHES NATIONAL TV AUDIENCES WITH NEW BOOK AND ANNOUNCEMENT OF MORE ‘KORNFIELD’ CONCERTS IN 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – “Hee Haw’s” beloved redhead, Lulu Roman, will have viewers of the Christian Television Network (CTN) seeing double next week as airing is set for her guest appearances on two of the network’s top flagship programs.

On Monday, October 21, Lulu will be the featured guest on “Herman & Sharron” as the popular hosts spotlight her recently released book, This Is My Story, This Is My Song.   The 30 minute program will air in the 10:00 AM slot ET and will re-broadcast in the afternoon on Monday at 4:00 PM ET. Broadcast times will vary acoss CTN’s platfrom of over the air and satellite carriers that beam the program both nationally and globally.
CTN will broadcast Lulu’s guest appearance on “Bridges”  to talk about her book with host, Monica Schmelter, next Thursday, October 24.  The program will be telecast nationally at 10:30 AM ET with repeat airing that evening at 9:30 PM. Viewers nationally are encouraged to check local listings for air-times.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of “Hee Haw” as Lulu celebrates the release of her new autobiography.  In addition to giving readers an “all access” pass behind the scenes of the legardary TV show, This Is My Story, This Is My Song  recounts the heartfelt story on a little orphan girl who grew up to find God in the midst of heartache, bring laughter and become loved as “family” to millions of fans.
High, too, on the recent career list of “all things Lulu” is the announcement of her return next year to the ‘Kornfield Friends’ as a 2020-2021 tour schedule of ‘Remembering Hee Haw’ concert dates are already being set.  Fueled by top “Hee Haw” ratings with national audiences on RFD-TV,  this year’s road date series with cast mates Jana Jae, Buck Trent and Misty Rowe proved to be real audience pleasers as the music and comedy fun of  the legendary “kornfield” antics reached yet another enthusiastic generation of new fans.
Next year’s concerts will include some new familiar faces amid the cornstalks. T. Graham Brown and Irlene Mandrell are set for select dates to round out the 2020 cast.
Dates already set include:
Sat. March 14 Granbury, Texas / New Granbury Live
Featured artists: Jana Jae, Lulu, T. Graham Brown
Fri. May 8 Sault St. Marie, Mich. / Kewadin Casino
Featured artists: Jana Jae, Lulu, Misty Rowe, Irlene Mandrell
Sun. May 10 Grand Rapids, Mich. / Reif Center
Featured artists Jae, Lulu, T. Graham Brown
Sat. May 16 Manteo, N.C. / Roanoke Island Festival Park
Featured artists: Jana Jae, Lulu, Irlene Mandrell, T. Graham Brown
Sun. May 17 Hagerstown, Md. / Maryland Theater
Featured artists: Jana Jae, Lulu, Irlene Mandrell, T. Graham Brown
Sat. Nov. 14 Washington, Ind. / Washington HS Auditorium
Featured artists:  Jana Jae, Lulu, Irlene Mandrell, T. Graham Brown
More 2020 dates are being set and can be resourced at www.kornfieldfriends.com.
Lulu Roman
Lulu Roman
Lulu on set at CTN's "Bridges" with host Monica Schmelter and her book co-writer, Scot England.

Mr. Chris Stapleton Introduces An Outlaw State Of Kind Benefit Concert.

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Dec 212019
 

JUST ANNOUNCED

A Concert for Kentucky – An Outlaw State of Kind Benefit

April 25 – Lexington, KY – Kroger Field

with special guests Willie Nelson & Family, Sheryl Crow, and Yola

Tickets are on sale to the public Friday, October 11 at 10AM local.
Stapleton Fan Club pre-sales will begin Tuesday, October 8 at 10AM local.  Pre-sale link & code will be distributed via this email list prior to that date.

VIP packages will be offered for this date, for more information click here.

Outlaw State of Kind Hometown Fund

Proceeds from A Concert for Kentucky will go toward the Outlaw State of Kind Hometown Fund. Newly established in partnership with the Blue Grass Community Foundation, the fund will support local and national organizations directly impacting Kentucky, with initial grant distributions focusing on music & arts education.

For more information on Outlaw State of Kind visit ChrisStapleton.com/OSOK

Bluegrass Underground Season IX In September.

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Dec 202019
 

Bluegrass Underground Returns for
Ninth PBS Season in September
Truly Timeless Music in a Truly Awe-Inspiring Setting
Bluegrass Underground, PBS’s premier half-hour music showcase, returns for its 9th subterranean season jam-packed to the stalactites with musical icons and future household names. Recorded live at The Caverns in Pelham, TN, Bluegrass Underground Season IX features certified living legends like Keb’ Mo’ and Steve Earle and rising stars like Amanda Shires and Gregory Alan Isakov.
On Sept 4, our presenting PBS station, WCTE, will exclusively premiere the first episode of Season IX. Check your local listings here to see when Bluegrass Underground will air on your PBS station. Be sure to set your DVR too!
Episode 1 – One of the most accomplished bands in American roots music, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, kick off Season IX of Bluegrass Underground. This legendary band has won three GRAMMY Awards, and their breakthrough song “Mr. Bojangles” and landmark album Will the Circle Be Unbroken have been inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame. Tune in for timeless American music in an awe-inspiring setting.
Episode 2 – The Americana Emerging Artist of 2017 Amanda Shires brings her emotional vocals and elegantly dynamic fiddle playing to The Caverns stage. An in-demand session player who can often be found backing her husband Jason Isbell, Shires’s well-crafted roots rock has earned her a starring role in today’s Americana scene.
Episode 3 – Four-time GRAMMY-winning blues master Keb’ Mo’ transforms The Caverns into a Delta juke joint with his smooth and fiery downhome blues. Incorporating influences from folk to rock to jazz, his highly personal approach has earned him Americana Album of the Year honors as well as 11 Blues Foundation Awards.
Episode 4 – Renaissance man Josh Ritter, a bestselling author and painter as well as one of Paste Magazine’s “100 Greatest Living Songwriters,” captivates with a spell-binding performance.
Episode 5 – Pioneering Americana band Lucero showcases the driving Southern rock that helped define the genre when the band burst out of the bluesy Memphis scene of the ‘90s.
Episode 6 – The country-rocking, hit-making, Platinum-selling Brothers Osborne, three-time Country Music Association Duo of the Year, five-time GRAMMY nominees and The Academy of Country Music’s back-to-back winning Duo of the Year, bring their contemporary outlaw sound to The Caverns’ subterranean stage, proving real country music is alive and well.
Episode 7 – It’s country music from another country, as South Africa-born and America-raised multi-instrumentalist Gregory Alan Isakov presents his unique singer-songwriter vision and finds magic between the notes.
Episode 8 – Americana game-changer Steve Earle and his roots-rocking band The Dukes will captivate viewers with a riveting half-hour of great songs and a take-no-prisoners performance.
Episode 9 – Every one of these artists was once a regional star. Singer-songwriter Lauren Morrow, who turned her roots-rock band The Whiskey Gentry into one of the hottest concert and club draws in the Southeast, steps out on her own, with original music showcasing her Joplinesque vocal range and masterful storytelling.
Episode 10 – It’s Bluegrass Underground’s first Oscar and Tony-winning headliner, Irish singer-songwriter Glen Hansard. He caught fire as one of the musical actors in the classic film The Commitments, but it was Hansard’s award-winning music for the film and play Once that earned him worldwide acclaim.
Episode 11 – One of the hottest bands on the bluegrass, jam and roots festival and concert circuit, the folk-rocking power trio The Devil Makes Three (Pete Bernhard, Lucia Turino, and Cooper McBean) deliver a not-to-be-missed performance.
Episode 12 – Bluegrass Underground presents one of Nashville’s best-kept secrets, one of the greatest vocalists you will ever hear anywhere, a masterful interpreter of the Great American Songbook from George Jones to George Gershwin, backed by an all-star Nashville band. Season IX closes with the simply stunning Mandy Barnett.
Each episode will be available for streaming on PBS.org for 30 days after its original air date.
And while those are the folks onscreen, some of the biggest stars you won’t see are the members of the Bluegrass Underground production crew, dozens of the finest artists and technicians in the hotly competitive Nashville media industry, including Emmy winners like director James Yockey, sound engineer Andy Kerns, lighting director Allen Branton and “The Todds,” Todd-Squared producers Todd Mayo and Todd Jarrell.
Bluegrass Underground is a team effort by a dedicated band of brothers and sisters who have earned 16 Emmy Awards for their work. Captured in The Caverns, a world-class concert hall deep underground, Bluegrass Underground really is “The Greatest Show Under Earth.” Tune-in to Season IX on PBS this Fall.
Bluegrass Underground receives underwriting support from the Tennessee Department of Tourism Development and Grundy County, Tennessee.
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Photo by Michael Weintrob
Bluegrass Underground Season IX
Season IX Bluegrass Underground Preview Video

Merlefest Update: The Chris Austin Songwriting Contest.

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Dec 202019
 
MerleFest’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest
Accepting Entries for 2020 Festival on October 1
September 16, 2019 – Wilkesboro, NC – MerleFest, presented by Window World, will begin accepting entries for the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest (CASC) on October 1. CASC is one of the most acclaimed songwriting contests in roots and Americana music and has a reputation for launching careers as well as drawing attention to important new talent. The contest is split into four genre-based categories including bluegrass, general, gospel, and country. First through third place winners will be chosen in each category at MerleFest 2020, set to take place on April 23 – 26, 2020. MerleFest is an annual homecoming of musicians and music fans on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, N.C. First-tier tickets for MerleFest 2020 will go on sale on November 12th, with Tier 2 pricing beginning February 17th, 2020, and Tier 3 pricing beginning April 23rd, 2020.
Now in its 28th year, CASC is an extraordinary opportunity for songwriters to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of Nashville music industry professionals, under the direction of volunteer contest chairperson, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale. Aspiring songwriters may submit entries to the contest using the online entry form at MerleFest.org or by mailing entries to MerleFest/CASC, P.O. Box 120, Wilkesboro, NC, 28697. All entries received during October and November will receive an early entry discount price of $25 per entry, while submissions received in December and January will require a $30 fee per entry. All lyrics must be written in English and no instrumental entries will be accepted. The deadline to enter is February 1, 2020.
Finalists will be invited to the final round of the competition, which takes place Friday, April 24, during MerleFest. First-place winners will receive $600 cash from MerleFest, a performance slot on MerleFest’s Cabin Stage on Friday night, and a 12-13 minute set on Saturday.
“We are extremely proud of the career successes achieved by many CASC alumni. Among these are Gillian Welch (1993), David Via (1997, 2001), Johnny Williams (1998, 1999), Tift Merritt (2000), Becky Buller (2001), Michael Reno Harrell (2003), Adrienne Young (2003), Martha Scanlan (2003), Sam Quinn (2006) and Jeanette Williams (2007),” said Stacee Whitley, coordinator of MerleFest’s CASC. “More recent alumni include Lara Lynn (2011) and Gary Alan Ferguson (2014). Other recent discoveries from the contest are Melody Walker of Front Country and Joseph Terrell of Mipso. I encourage all songwriters to put the final touches on your masterpiece and submit it to the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest!”
CASC 2019 Winners
Bluegrass:
1st Place: Anya Hinkle (Asheville, NC) – “Ballad of Zona Abston”
2nd Place: James E. Woolsey (Petersburg, IN), David Foster (Petersburg, IN) – “Sugar Ridge Road”
3rd Place: Wyatt Espalin (Hiawassee, GA) – “Light Coming Through”
Country:
1st Place: Andrew Millsaps (Ararat, NC) – “Ain’t No Genie (In a Bottle of Jack)”
2nd Place: Hannah Kaminer (Asheville, NC) – “Don’t Open Your Heart”
3rd Place: Shannon Wurst (Fayetteville, AR) – “Better Than Bourbon”
General:
1st Place: Alexa Rose (Asheville, NC) – “Medicine for Living”
2nd Place: Bryan Elijah Smith (Dayton, VA) – “In Through the Dark”
3rd Place: Wright Gatewood (Chicago, IL) – “First”
Gospel/Inspirational:
1st Place: Russ Parrish (Burnsville, Minn.), Topher King (Savage, Minn.) – “Washed By The Water”
2nd Place: Ashleigh Caudill (Nashville, Tenn.), Jon Weisberger (Cottontown, Tenn.) – “Walkin’ Into Gloryland”
3rd Place: Kevin T.Hale- (Brentwood, Tenn.) – “We All Die to Live Again”
Net proceeds from the contest support the Wilkes Community College Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship. Since its inception, the scholarship has awarded over $45,500 to deserving students. For contest rules, ways to enter, and more details about the contest, visit http://merlefest.org/chris-austin-songwriting-contest/.
New for Merlefest 2020 is the “Patio At MerleFest.” This ticket-upgrade includes comfortable seating in a covered area with great views of the Watson and Cabin stages, access to friends and family seating area and a deluxe air-conditioned mobile bathroom unit, snacks and beverages, and live video displays from the Watson and Cabin stages.
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CASC winner Andrew Millsaps performs at MerleFest 2019

Kickin It On The Creek 2019.

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Dec 152019
 

Ladies and Gentlemen, this year has been an absolute roller coaster ride for me. I attended many different music functions and  so many festivals I cannot recap if I tried, hell I bought that 2003 Blazer in January and it’s been to 21 states with me this year alone! I already wore out one set of brakes on it and tires, and this weekend I am going to Indianapolis for the Titans and Colts game.

However I have indeed had my share of misfortune as well on my health, I did indeed indulge in deer hunting and apparently as I was dragging a doe out of the woods I suffered a small stroke. I haven’t recovered the feeling in my big finger or thumb of my left hand yet, and my new cardiologist is running more tests on me. Also, apparently my gall bladder may need to be removed soon, so I’m NOT SURE what 2020 will hold for me. I may need to rely on my three disciples to do the field work for me next year as I tend to myself.

Needless to say this article is obviously two months late when compared to other sites like our friends over at Capture Kentucky who always does a bang up job covering this event alongside me and many others I’ll touch on further on into this article. As always with every job I attend I have compiled an amazing cache of memories and moments I have. It sure was nice to once again catch up with my precious friends over at Pickup Country 104.9FM which plays the recorded version of this event on Saturday nights from 9pm to midnight.

I kept in touch with Mr. Byron and Miss Kelli Roberts and let them know what was transpiring with me, so they will were in the know of my late work. I know MANY of the bands and artists were eagerly awaiting my coverage,  and you can REST ASSURED when you read MY account of this event you WILL SALIVATE for a ticket in 2020.

Actually I don’t need to add any fever or excitement to the already existing NEED for tickets to this event. People are driving long lengths to JUST TRY to acquire tickets to this festival here. Now, the difference here is that you are NOT spending money on a corporate event with greedy suits and ties full of cupidity,  that do not care about the MUSIC. NO SIR, in fact WE donated SO MUCH MONEY to the local fire department, they were able to buy A WHOLE NEW TRUCK. Now I ask you to name me one other festival that carries that much love with it’s name?

I worked my third shift job middle week and I got off at 6AM and set out for Irvine Kentucky, with all of my camping gear in my Blazer. See, this is one of the few festivals I do not get a hotel for because getting out of the Robert’s ranch late at night is not easy, unless you KNOW the roads…and I do not. But my man Mr. Luther Center had a room, and was with me this weekend, and he will be popping on here with me covering sets throughout the duration of this article.

ALL of the media, the vendors, the bands and the staff is ENTIRELY handpicked by the Roberts family.Hargett Volunteer Fire Department and MANY others donate their time to assist in running this festival, and provide parking spot help, first aid and any other things we may need to enjoy our time here. Throughout this article I’m going to talk about the sound company and the security people, and many more. You will soon see JUST WHAT differentiates my articles from all of the others out there, when you read our coverage.

With a mid-day clear blue sky and bright sunshine, the 2019 festival started with the following words from Roberts’ farm owner and festival organizer Byron Roberts (along with rest of the Roberts family), “How y’all doin’ out there today? Welcome to the fifth annual Kickin’ It On The Creek!”

And on that note, the festival was off and running. To open the festival, Byron introduced lifelong friends BBC Troy Estes and Buck Cooper, two local Irvine, KY area musicians who shared the stage.

This duo of guitarist/vocalists started the festival off with well-chosen and performed covers of rural roots materials. They finished with a fine original tune opining the difficulties involved with coming back home after having been away for many years. The song is titled “One Side of the Tracks.” This set, being a very likable local duo, was the perfect way to start KIOTC 19.

1 Soulshine (Warren Haynes)
2 The Gospel According To Lane (Chris Hennessee)
3 Long Monday (John Prine)
4 Angel From Montgomery (John Prine)
5 Blue Side Of The Mountain (The SteelDrivers)
6 One Side Of The Tracks (Estes-Cooper)


The story goes that a commune of hippies from California settled in early 70s in the valley that is now the home of Roberts’ Farm and KIOTC. They ran a co-op and lived and farmed together as one large extended family. Tom Cool, the second artist to perform in 2019, was part of that group and his songs reflect the ethos of that time and place.

His original songs in a roots style guitar/harmonica/vocal featured good natured humor and fit in beautifully for this festival. He gave a real feel that we might all be sitting around a fire after a good day’s work passing around a guitar and perhaps some sort of mind expanding substance, while singing about peace, love, and the wonders of Mother Nature.

1 That River
2 Salt and Pepper
3 Six Pack Of Trouble
4 Five Legged Horse Interlude
5 Solo Harmonica Interlude-Oh Susannah/My Old Kentucky Home/Camptown Races
6 Going Down To The Country
7 A Damn Good Night To Get Drunk
8 Make Sure You Bring Yourself

In the mid-afternoon of day one, Chloe Edmonstone, a member of the band Locust Honey as well as a player in John R Miller’s band, hit the stage with John R on guitar and Chloe on fiddle.

Opening with a rousing fiddle instrumental “Georgia Railroad”, got the growing crowd on their feet and clapping their hands. The next two tunes feature the duo with Chloe on vocals and includes an outstanding version of “My Love Never Sleeps”.

Next, John R straps on a bass, and they are joined onstage for the remainder of the show by William Matheny (guitar), and John Clay (drums). Talk about a great band!!! Chloe switches back and forth between guitar and fiddle as the band performs Locust Honey songs, leaning heavily on their newest album “The Low and Low” (available at www.locusthoney.com), as well as some new songs of Chloe’s.

It’s outstanding performance after outstanding performance until they finish up with the single from the new album “Remember When”. A wonderful set featuring top musicians at the top of their game. All four will reappear several more times throughout the weekend, but this was a MORE than welcome introduction to all of them!

Set includes:
Georgia Railroad, My Love Never Sleeps, He Caught Me, Gold And Bones, Louisiana, Remember When +3 unidentified titles

Mr. John Clay is a Kentucky songwriter that I also featured on Master Musician’s Festival this year. And it was there he introduced his intention to release a Blaze Foley tribute album, and he has shelved that idea for a bit to release some new music soon like the first song I heard him play which was “$34” ( and that is exactly how it’s entitled) on Spotify now. Upon writing this I learned that HE IS INDEED dropping singles soon:

For 18 months or so, I’ve been sitting on this record. Thinking about how to roll it out. Touching and retouching the production. I think it’s finally ready to meet the people. This has been a labor of love for me and my engineer @barrera3206 and I hope that that comes through in the reimagining of these tunes. A lot of amazing musicians were a part of bringing this thing to life and I will be forever grateful for the time they spent doing so.

.One of my favorite artists on earth, John Haywood(@haywoodarts) was kind enough to throw me something together that felt representative of Blaze’s influence all the way out here in Kentucky and the collaborative effort involved on this thing. I’m pretty geeked about it.

.Shooting for the first 2 singles to drop on December 18th. If I can manage to get all the ducts in a row. Get it…ducts…

“Running Away” was song from his 2016 EP called “Now It’s Time”, but another reason I really enjoy him and admire his music is because he plays one called “The Ballad Of Spider John” by a Texas Legend named Willis Alan Ramsey. True, he was born in Alabama but raised in Texas and to this date he is one of the most overlooked Texas Legends I could name you. I heavily study Texas music in every avenue and I LOVE to study this man and his impact on Red Dirt Country.

“Melwood Nights” was also included in his set today from the aforementioned EP. Today, he brought fiddle player Miss Blakely Burger and Mr. Jeremy Short to play with him in his set.  One of the songs he played today was on The Dawg Years 1975-1978, and was released in 2010. It was called “Cosmic Doo Doo”. A lot of early work that Blaze Foley recorded was either confiscated by the authorities during drug raids, or just lost in the annals of time itself. Even historians like Mr. Marty Stuart have tried to locate his TRUE early recordings and nobody can find them.

The last song I caught of his was the Townes Van Zandt song called “Black Jack Mama” you can find off the 2009 compilation of “In The Beginning”. Mr. John is always fun to watch perform because of the songwriters that he idolizes, and the classic overlooked songs he plays…they are not overlooked by people like ME!

I am a Geno Seale fan. He’s one of the most engaging and likable musicians you’ll ever run into. His enthusiasm for music (and especially Kentucky area music) is unbridled, and he greets everybody with a big old hug.

For KIOTC 2019, he brought a stellar band to work with. This year’s Porch Front Gospel feature a Kentucky all-star supergroup lineup:

Guitar and vocals – Geno Seale
Bass – Owen Reynolds
Banjo – Will Parsons
Mandolin – Chris Shouse
Fiddle – Don Rogers

Geno and the band kicked out a great set of Geno originals from his 2018 album “Times Dark as These”, new originals, and non-original Appalachian style tunes to feature the stellar band on display.

It truly was a wonderful set filled with Geno’s fantastic songs and voice, as well as full background and featured solos from some of Appalachia’s finest musicians. Go see Geno with or without the Front Porch gospel! And be sure to look for the individual members of the band when they play out as well.

1 The Gospel
2 Lives of Lesser Men
3 Red Britches
4 Go On in Peace
5 Pale Horse
6 20/20 Vision
7 Found Pennies -> (into)
Steam Powered Aeroplane (John Hartford) -> (back into)
Found Pennies
8 Blood In My Hands
9 1952 Vincent Black Lightning
10 A New Song

My next act I caught myself was a young lady from Monkey’s Eyebrow Kentucky that will most likely be up on my TOP 50 of 2019 list with her SPECTACULAR new release called “White Noise/ White Lines”. It’s always a pleasure to see her, and its cool that she always remembers people when she re meets them..in this business that is hard to do.

Miss Kelsey Waldon is a powerful addition to any lineup for certain, and her songs are top notch talent that boast some special messages in them if you really sit back and listen. Today, she brought Mr. Mike Khalil on the Steel Guitar and lead guitars, and Mr. Alec Newnam on upright bass.

This year the weather was much more moderate than last year’s heat. It was really awful last year and brutal to endure all day, this year it was only hot for a few afternoon hours, and the evening was actually chilly. I remember wearing duck waders in my sleep both nights and using a tarp for a blanket.

The opening song she played was the title track to her new album called “White Noise/White Lines” and this was her FIRST album on Mr. John Prine’s Oh Boy Records. The opening song on her new album called “Anyhow” is a positive song that inspires you to get off your butt and dust your knees off, and keep working on your goals.

“Run Away” is a great song about asking a man why he would want to run away from her love. I think many people can easily relate to many of the songs on this third album of hers.”Lived And Let Go” was another song from the new album that was about everyone getting along when you die.

She also played the song called ‘The Heartbreak” which closed out her second album before going on to close with “All By Myself”, you know the gals really shined at Americanafest this year and Miss Kelsey lead the way along with others like Miss Carson McHone and Della Mae. I had a REALLY GOOD TIME enjoying the showcases this year.

Miss Kelsey has truly grown as a songwriter and a performer as one time years back I saw her and Mr. Tyler Childers open for her at a smaller venue that both of them have exponentially outgrown in sales. From her 2016 album she played “Dirty Old Town” and “All By Myself” was her closing song. Now I’ll be honest, her first album was my favorite one she put out so far, because I LOVED “Town Clown” and I wished she played live more often.

Morgan Wade And The Stepbrothers barreled right into their powerful music today as I partook of the newest addition to this year’s improvements..the big side tent for shade.  The first song they did was a heavier song called “High In Your Apartment”, and I enjoyed how closely she interacted with the audience and joked with her band.  Her band included Mr. Logan Fritz, Mr. Noah Betton, Mr. Joseph Brink, and Mr. James Noah Deaton.

“Reality” was on the set today, as well as a solo acoustic song called “Crossing State Lines”. Her past reminds me a lot of Miss Jaime Wyatt in many ways.  Another song she did I really enjoyed was called “The Night”. I thought she would be a little more Honky Tonk Country than the edgy Country that she truly is, however I was NOT disappointed one bit!

The album “Puppets With My Heart” boasted a few songs she played about battling her demons like “Songs I Won’t Remember”. I know she told us she was over 800 days sober and how happy she was in life now, and she has a vibrant glowing ambiance around her. I tell you what, this gal is absolutely beautiful, and I have high expectations for her future in local music.

As with any other year I have been there, the friendships were being renewed and new ones forming. Some of these artists and bands only see one another during times like these, and it’s always fun to walk around to take pictures of the social interactions going on.

Another one of my good friends that released a good album this year was Mr. Joseph Huber, who’s fifth solo album was simply amazing. I first found out about him while attending all of the Muddy Roots music festivals throughout the years, with that one being one of my first I ever attended.

Joseph Huber in my opinion is a Roots Music Legend, and I cannot say enough good about him on here. There are a LOT of blogs that cover this event, but none of them know him on the same echelon that I do as a musician. See this young man comes from MY stomping grounds of Milwaukee Wisconsin where I was raised by my adopted parents. If you had to ask me of MY favorite song he does it’ll be “Playground/ Battlefield”, because our old neighborhoods we once frolicked in safely aren’t safe anymore.

16-10 was from 2017’s “The Suffering Stage” , but the real fun of this set was where he played “When The Waters Were One” from his new album “Moondog”. He continued his old time mountain sound on this album, and maintained his fabulous true to heart songwriting along with Mr. Pat Otto on mandolin and Mr. Easton Bennett on upright bass.

As I previously stated he is a Roots Music Legend having been a founding member of the .357 String Band (If YOU have never heard of them check them out) but his solo music NOW took a different direction that enabled his inner self to pour out and captivate my heart with his heart. “After You” was a masterpiece of an old bar scenario of thirsty men pursuing bar women. But the song has a few other meanings as well, if you truly listen to the lyrics and allow the melody to warm your soul.

2014’s “Hanging Road” was by far his finest work boasting the song “Coming Down From You” and his album “Tongues Of Fire” gave us a CLASSIC called “Old Mountain Tune”. Many of the songs in his arsenal have a true old time sound and old time meaning, he is just a plain and simple boot stomping good time musician.

The gigantic 15 track new release “Moondog” gives his set list so many good options like “Hardwired”and “Rivers Of Smoke”.  Also being from Wisconsin I GREATLY ENJOY the song called “A Northwood Waltz”, which triggered vibrant memories of my childhood of going “up north” on muskie fishing trips with my adopted dad….oh my I miss Rhinelander.

He played “Walkin Fire” and also “Same River Twice”, “Shovel On Your Shoulder”, a GREAT sobriety song called “Fell Of The Wagon” at my age I feel RAGGED if I drink too much. He closed with his title track of his third album called “The Hanging Road”.

As the evening settled in over the high tree sides, and it grew colder I returned to my camp to cook some supper, while my buddy Mr. Luther was valiantly posted in the middle of the crowd to catch stuff I missed. I tell you what, cannot do this website without my three helpers.

Another album on my possible TOP 50 OF 2019 is none other than the mighty band from the Cincinnati area called Buffalo Wabs And The Price Hill Hustle.

Mr. Bullseye Bill Baldock on upright bass, Mr. Casey Campbell AKA The Deacon on drums, Mr. Matt Wabnitz AKA Buffalo Wabs and Mr. Scott Risner on all kinds of things make up this four piece band of Bluegrass fury. These boys are super tight on stage and sound GREAT LIVE.

They opened with a cover of “Four Walls Of Raiford” ( Or at least what I heard) then they played “Long Gone ( From Bowling Green)”. This current lineup of the Price Hill Hustle is now on it’s third year together, and even though they have just released their third album, they have their sights now set on another album.

“O Ramona” was their own original song included in this set tonight, as well “The Very Best At Missing You” which this band defiantly IS ONE OF THE VERY BEST local bands around, their harmonies and stage presence is exceptional and tight.That is a song written by Mr. Willy T Tyler. “I’m Going Home” was also on their set list tonight, and as the night air set in we stomped into the night.

“Buffalo’s Cannon” featured a guest appearance by Mr. Jeremy Short. Many of the artists and bands get up on stage and play with each other on songs, whether it’s planned or just impromptu it happens!  Much like this picture of Miss Montana Hobbs from the Local Honeys, who got up and played with them. Also they were joined by Mr. Arlo McKinnely.

“You Gotta Move” was a cover song of a Gospel band called The Gospel Keys who recorded that one in 1946, and it was later done by Mr. Fred McDowell, but they play it well and injected FIRE into it. They also played “Hello Mary Lou” and more I missed.

They played “Stewball” which got the whole place going NUTS, but I was beginning to run out of gas having worked all night and up working on this all day. As good of a time as I have here, sleep catches up on my old body and I need to stop. And stop they did after playing “Stewball”.

The Bedford Band from Eastern Kentucky is relatively new and comprised of Mr. Tristan Frazier- Drums, Mr.Trevor St John- Guitas, Mr. Samuel May- Lead Bass and Mr. Kolby Swiney-Guitars/Keys/Vox. They began their set with “Midnight Rider” and went into a Sublime song, now mind you I never cared for Sublime but I truly enjoyed it.

“Got To Go” was played and they played their own version of “Ramble On”. After those last two bands of the night I had to go back to camp and get some rest for the next few days of work, and to do something I didn’t get to do last year..explore some of Mr. Byron’s property.

Folks, I GOT TONS of merchant news for you and I have A TON of special friends to introduce you to that I MET. I STILL have A TON of gushing to do on Mr. Byron Roberts, and his family. I STILL have TONS of bands to tell you about and tell you how to enjoy.

One of the things that sets me apart from others is that Mr. Byron lets me loose on the property to catch little moments in the audience that might be special to people other than the bands. And find them I DO, I am well trained in moving my eyes ALL OVER to see things going on around me. I caught a couple rekindling some flames and taking in the spirit of the creek here. The copious amount of love and welcome here is absolutely indescribable and words often fail to come to me when I tell others about the Roberts Family.

ONE THING about Ross’s Creek is that all kinds of stuff is simultaneously transpiring while the music is going on. You have miles and miles of trails and camps cooking and resting for their favorite set later on. Some of the people enjoy resting and drinking all day and coming to the stage for limited sets. Actually you can hear the music throughout the holler JUST FINE.

I woke up and cooked a big breakfast and gave out coffee to whomever wanted it. I took great pride in sharing my food and drinks with strangers or old friends. Because Sunday when I ran out of cash a LOT of friends stepped up and supplied me with coke colas. Mr. Byron said WE WILL DRINK EM UNTIL THEY RE GONE BUDDY!

I did some exploring and HAD to move over to my friends at Roll ‘N’ Smoke food truck. Friends, I have my special vendors and cuisines I salivate over at times and certain festivals I know they reign over. Their pulled pork nachos are SOO GOOD, the chips are hand made and fresh. I don’t care for their HOT barbecue sauce, but the mild is good.

On Sunday I ran out of cash and I had a debit card, and many people helped me get through the day without an ATM machine and a flat tire on my truck, which happened the first day. But the crew in the Roll N Smoke van helped me out with my dilemma as did many others, because this is NOT A SCENE it is a HUGE community of love. Man I needed a tire change and a jump start in the field Sunday, and I was given both no problems.

If you will, I would like to take some time out to tell you about some of the wonderful crew that helped make our festival experience even more astounding. There were more port a potties this year, however that means they emptied them more often, which left a mephitic  smell across the creek, but not for long. They did a great job of maintaining them.

This is my friend here Mr. Robert Brown who does security at Muddy Roots and the Exit In, and many other places. he works tirelessly for our cause and keeps us all safe from bullshit. He manned the cabin for a few of the bands all weekend and was WASTED on Sunday ( not from drinking he was tired) I’m telling you he was EXHAUSTED.

But this man enjoys OUR MUSIC just as much as he works to keep everyone from getting hurt. I’m WELL TRAINED to see pickpockets and theft, sexual assault and any other things that could happen at events like this. Fortunately WE DON’T HAVE THAT HERE, but it’s always nice to implement preventative measures. The whole company that provided security did a GREAT JOB.

We also had one of the best stagehands ever, with Mr. JRay Gooseman, whom in my opinion is one of the greatest roadies that has been around the game. We lost Mr. Ben Dorsey not long ago, but we have one the roadies from Goose Creek Symphony to help the bands get on and off the stage in a timely manner. Another addition to this year’s festival was the lights and lasers, and smoke machines from the sound company ( whom I’ll touch on soon).

Safety was also heavily taken under consideration, as I suggested at other festivals to use swimmy noodles on the anchor ropes of the tents for people at night. People are paying attention to the music or chatting among each other  and you need safety, food you can carry and easy access to chairs. Also, when people party hard at night the tent ropes and steaks get tripped on, or can cut ankles.

The side tent was HUGE and provided some excellent shade for us in the hot afternoons, because it wasn’t DEAD HOT like it was last year but it WAS hot for a few hours in the afternoon. Lots of people were enjoying that new addition to the festival.

Believe me, Miss Kelli and Mr. Byron want EVERYONE to enjoy this festival, and they want us to be safe and party responsibly. You are welcome to do what you want here but you have to be within reason here. You respect them and they respect you BEYOND ANY OTHER FESTIVAL EVER. Americanafest can give me free food and free booze, and it doesn’t replace the Roberts family. I’m very adamant on the fact that nobody could ever replace Mr. Byron on that stage between EVERY ACT, giving them introductions from his heart. He oftentimes holds back tears as he explains how they met the bands or what the bands mean to him, and about mid Saturday he looses his voice, but warriors on like the rest of us in that heat.

Who Bieny Bath And Body Soaps was one of the vendors there ran by my friend Miss Bec E Bien, who hand makes all of her wares. You can click on the link there and it’ll navigate you to her Etsy page to buy her soaps. As I previously said ALL OF THE VENDORS are personally hand picked by the family, and all of them represent the integrity and honesty of the Appalachian Music that is played here.

Speaking of vendor booths there was also a VERY INTEGRAL group here called the ACLC or Appalachian Citizen’s Law Center. Here is directly from the website what their mission is :

The Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center is a nonprofit law firm that fights for justice in the coalfields by representing coal miners and their families on issues of black lung and mine safety and by working with grassroots groups and individuals to protect the land and people from misuse and degradation caused by extractive industries. The Center handles individual cases and engages in strategic litigation and policy work in the areas of mine safety and health, environmental protection, legacy costs of extractive industries on the people, land and economy of the Central Appalachian region, and sustainable energy.

Black Lung is a disease caused by breathing coal mine dust. It is incurable and it often gets worse over time. Treatment is limited to relieving symptoms and preventing complications. Black Lung includes clinical coal workers’ pneumoconiosis and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) caused by coal mine dust exposure.Pneumoconiosis is diagnosed by X-ray, CT Scan or biopsy. COPD is diagnosed by symptoms, including shortness of breath, cough and sputum production, and by evidence of reduced respiratory function. The 1969 Coal Mine Safety Act created a federal compensation program for miners disabled by Black Lung and their survivors. The program is administered by the U.S.

Department of Labor Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP).  To win benefits, a miner must prove that he has Black Lung and that he is totally disabled due to a breathing impairment caused at least in part by Black Lung.  A widow of a miner whose death was due to Black Lung is entitled to benefits.

The Affordable Care Act of 2010 contained important changes to the Black Lung Benefits Act. Under these changes, a miner with at least fifteen years of underground coal mine employment or surface mine work with similar dust exposure who has a disabling breathing impairment is entitled to the presumption that the disability is due to Black Lung. For a widow, there is a presumption that the miner’s death was due to Black Lung. The operator can rebut the presumption by proving the miner did not have Black Lung or by proving the miner’s disabling impairment or death was not due to his coal mine employment. The widow of a miner who was disabled by Black Lung at the time of his death is automatically entitled to benefits. These changes apply only to claims filed after January 1, 2005.

The Affordable Care Act could not have come at a more crucial time. Just this year, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health found that the rate of the most severe form of black lung among Appalachian coal miners has resurged to the same rate it was before the federal government started regulating coal mine dust levels 45 years ago. In other words, the risk of catching severe black lung is actually worse for miners today than it was in 1969. However, seeking benefits in light of this evidence is not so easy. In 2013, an investigation by The Center for Public Integrity revealed the specifics of how the coal industry spends millions of dollars to employ doctors and lawyers to defeat black lung claims. Coal miners often lack the resources, money, and access to legal representation to counter these efforts.

ACLC works with other attorneys and advocates to trade knowledge of the black lung benefits system. This past spring, ACLC sponsored and hosted its first Black Lung CLE (Continuing Legal Education), designed to update fellow attorneys on what we and others have been seeing in black lung law. These efforts have been supplemented by our black lung blog, Devil in the Dust, which discusses the policies, laws and medical literature surrounding the disease.

ACLC, along with the National Black Lung Association and others, advocates for changes in legislation and regulations to improve the Black Lung benefits program. In addition, we have worked for years to advocate for regulations that reduce the allowable level of dust in mines in an effort to eliminate Black Lung. These efforts paid off in May of this year, when MSHA reduced the nationwide coal mine dust standard for the first time since 1972.

Apollo Pizza from Richmond Kentucky and also Steam Engine Pizza Pub were here all weekend satisfying our palate with GREAT pizzas, I even caught Laid back Country picker taking one to go. You know there folks support independent and local music VERY heavily, with live music on weekends and also weeknights as well.

MANY of the acts featured on this article this week have been kind enough to play shows there in the past. I have heard many many good stories about the acoustics and the overall ambiance of this eatery. House Of Cue was on hand as well with some MIGHTY FINE Cole slaw, no people I AM PICKY about my mac and cheese and my Cole Slaw if its weird or watery I HATE IT. What I like to do is stop at different food trucks and combine what I like…I know that sounds weird but I am strange on food.

Before I get to the music of Day 2 I want to go over loving on my friends that come here. Some of these functions are the only times I get to see some of these people because we are so regional, and travel can be hard during the festival off year ( like now).  I’m not sure how my health will allow me to travel in 2020, or my medical bill situations, so I cherish EVERY TRIP like it could be my last.

I’m going to “flip” around to my friends that are here as I run across them on my camera roll in my folders if you don’t mind, ok?. I took thousands of pictures from this event so I will go over each one thoroughly and evaluate all of them worthy of this article, and post the rest. Mr. Byron IS COMING I assure you, he is the heart and soul of this festival and this family, being a Christian like I am the father is discipline and the role model, and the mother is the LOVE and the nurturing…that’s what this festival has.

Mr. Arlo McKinley will be talked about later on as well as this young man Mr. Abe Partridge whom I have been DESPERATELY WAITING to talk about on an article of a festival format.  Both of them played this weekend, and both of them were astonishing in their own rights.

Mr. Jim And Miss Victoria Guthrie from the Honky Tonk Hotel out there in Missouri. Now, I’m not exactly sure WHAT to call them other than awesome supporters of the local music community. They aren’t really a website but they give out ticket prizes and cover events with videos and photos. BUT HERE is where they are actually more integral than people like me…they book shows at powerhouse venues in many states.

Without people like them I cannot do what you read here day after day, without events my job becomes scarce in public. I cannot do booking I’m not good enough to do that legal stuff, and I don’t know prices or politics of booking, I’m good at other ways of helping local music.

They open up their home to so many artists and bands on a regional basis, and allow them to network and travel into regions they normally wouldn’t be able to get to on their own. Mr. Jim has a similar vision as I do to cross integrate many kinds of local music into other “scenes” if you will.

Just like any year, the merch crew did a bang up job taking care of our shopping needs this weekend by selling us the official Kickin It On The creek merchandise and other band merchandise that we wanted. I’m glad my camp was pretty close to the main stage area so I could return and dump off all my stuff I bought, at various times of the day while wandering around and taking pictures, and gathering information.

See this website is different from any other that covered this event. TRUE I’m WAY LATE, but I’m more thorough and I’m going to take you on a personal tour of the property later on in this article. After YOU SEE this…you’re going to be BEGGING to come down and buy a ticket to this event. And if you are a first timer in 2020 MAKE SURE you come see Mr. Byron and Miss Kelli, THEY WANT to meet you!

This next band came with a pretty unique story, WATCH THIS VIDEO because THIS IS how this event works. This portion of the festival was so special I HAD to embed the actual video instead of just writing a bit about these guys. I just couldn’t get the video to position sideways instead of upright.

Mr. Michael Shave, Mr. Will Sinkula and Mr. Tom Bensleburg all formed a Bluegrass band are from all over like Paris Kentucky and Georgia and other places. I remember their couch last year in the crowd and people loving their campfire performances before and after hours.

Alex Wright came to us from Louisville to play some music for us early on in the day before the heat settled into the yard and the morning dew left us. His 2017 album called “What Is Real” left us with his song called “Church”, which to my knowledge was indeed his first song.

“Weight Of The Day” was a song I found on his 2014 album called “Starlight Navigator” , as well as a song called “Live To The Bottom”. This festival always brings me a few new artists I never knew about before coming out there, and I usually buy most of their albums that I can find. Sometimes I find myself searching Amazon or EBay.

I found three albums total and got two of them so far. Next up was a great band I have covered MANY times on here called Luna And The Mountain Jets whom have a rich history in this area. I have encountered then at Hagfest, Master musicians Festival, W.B.Walker’s Anniversary Show, and MORE.

Also, Laid Back Country Picker was here as well, whom we will talk about in just a moment here. Many of their songs they played were from the “Telling Stories” album accept the last song they played  I recalled called “Number Two”.

It’s fitting I’m on my Thanksgiving Day weekend break writing this as I come across the song called “Thanksgiving Day” on my notes from the event. Anybody’s Thanksgiving can turn into a huge fiasco with family around to ruin things. Fights, politics and all sorts of crap ensues. But there are also some situations where spouses keep one another from Thanksgiving functions as this song describes.

“Lies And Envy” was included in their set here, as well as “Walking Away” which is one of my personal favorite songs they play, I like many of them that feature the guitar solos Mr. David pounds out onto the audience on a daily basis.  The rest of the songs they played were “Pepsi Girl”, “That Thing You Said” and the last one I remembered was “Number Two” and “Silent Sunday Morning”.

Mr. Kyle Crownover has a famous role in being the tour manager for Mr. Tyler Childers but his music is fabulous in it’s own right, and his performance today proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt. His album is simply called Crownover so if you look for it do not put the Kyle in the search bar.

“One More You” was one of the first songs I heard him play today, and I admired the passion in his vocals. Some of his songs are pretty well done like “Wasting Time” because I felt myself in his shoes upon that position before. “Sweet Jeanette” is a TERRIFIC song that paints a vivid display of my own youth with my young girlfriend as I discovered the outside world on my own terms.

“Every Day This Week” was another song on his set today along with “Almost Right” and one other one I didn’t catch the name of.  We ALL enjoyed the mighty comical antics of our favorite Laid Back Country Picker who taught me all about that trash talking truck driver.

“Kingsport” and of course he pulled out that “Party Line” for us today. Tyler Childers has been paying him back for influencing him early on as his teacher. THIS IS WHY this music is becoming ever popular and taking over the market as big as it is, because these artists are NOT FORGETTING where they came from.

“Kathy With An 8 Ball” was of course part of his show today folks, and then he poured on his guitar licks upon us with his rendition of GO GO Godzilla by Blue Oyster Cult. I’m telling you if you have never experienced the guitar ferocity of this man’s show you need to!

“Truck Stop Sam” was about a filthy mouthed comic Legend that he turned me onto a long time ago, “Magoffin County Cadillac” was next and he played others like “Live In The Now” and a cover of “Okie From Muskogee”.

Friends again here, here are some more friends enjoying the music and the drinking we did there that weekend. There was so many fun things going on all over, people playing cornhole and cooking things. Hell even I fried fish and made some steaks one night, ask Mr. JJ Waters about my rib eye steaks I make.

As long as it isn’t illegal you can have a fun time here on the creek. We don’t have any really bad trouble here like you do at those corporate BIG festivals. Mr. Byron will PERSONALLY handle ANY potential problems here and I have NEVER SEEN ONE person kicked out of Kickin it. Mr. Byron doesn’t want you to have to leave, he will personally help you to your camp if you need help. He and his family personally check on every person they can, and you can come to ANYONE for HELP. EVERYBODY IS SAFE HERE.

I missed the Green Genes performance but my buddy over at Capture Kentucky got it pretty good.  Mr. Don Rogers, Mr. Todd Copeland, Mr. Brandon Bowldes and Mr. Roddy Puckett apparently reformed this band from a hiatus.

My next band I got to see was my GOOD friends called Jericho Woods from out here in Breckenridge County Kentucky. If you remember I covered them out at Master Musicians Festival this year. Their new album called “One Perfect Sound” was a fabulous album indeed.

“Wrong Things, Right Reasons” was first today, and featured Miss Amanda’s beautiful fiddle work as always in true form. “Love The Way You Love Me” is another of my favorite songs they do. There is just so much joy and happiness on the stage when they come play, and you can easily ascertain they are here because they LOVE what they do.

“Sinking Creek” is another good song from their 2017 “Bonfire Songs” EP and this was a perfect introduction to how the evening sun was beginning to sink down from the high trees on both sides of the creek property here. The moonshine was rampant out here this weekend and the stars were out in full force.

They played ONE HELL of a good instrumental before playing “Orange Blossom Special” and another called “Weep No More”. And as they amazed us with their showmanship, they blazed a path for the other bands of the evening to move forward with like the song “Clear Cut”.

The two cousins my buddy Mr. Paul Priest and Mr. Josh Mitcham formed this band some time ago, and along the road they added members Mr. Kyle Daniels and Miss Anna Blanton and Mr. Aaron Martin.

The Hi-Jivers ARE YOU A FAN of Muddy Roots, or the Nashville Boogie? You a fan of Rockabilly? Can you believe that this place has Rockabilly bands? Well…THEY DO! I been a HUGE HUGE FAN of these guys ( and gal) for some time now, as myself met them through Muddy Roots.

They bring a HUGE high energy rocking vibe to the mix with their songs like “Hotwire Woman” which is actually the opening song for my buddy James Riley and his radio show called The Rockabilly N Blues Radio Hour. The album called “Always Talking Down” brought us the song called “blood In My Mouth” from 2017.

Miss Dawna Zahn – Vocals, Mr. Austin John – Guitar & Vocals, Mr. Hank Miles – Upright Bass & Vocals and Mr. Jason Smay/Tony DeCurtis- Drums makes up this four piece band from Nashville. Their 2019 album they put out had the song called “Just One More Time” on it, as well as the songs “It Takes Time” and “I Smell A Rat”.

“Any Woman You Please” was included in the set as well as my personal favorite called “Something’s Gotta Shake” and they played a few more before turning the stage over to Vintage Pistol.

Magnolia Boulevard is simply energetic and amazing, especially the vocals on the song “Sister” when Miss Maggie hits those high notes toward the end…simply amazing.  Mr. Ryan Allen on keyboards, Mr. Todd Copeland on drums, Mr. Gregg Erwin on that guitar Miss Maggie Noelle on vocals and finally Mr. John Roberts on bass make up this band.

They actually opened with a song called “Planting Seeds” and they played a song called “Smooth Sailin'” while Miss Maggie twirled and danced on into the night. She truly cuts a hole into the carpeting up there and is quite a fashionable entertainer in her own right, as the guitarists in this band display some other talents.

Another song they played they said was called ” 3 For 5″ and another called “Without You”, all before playing a rousing cover of the Fleetwood Mac classic “The Chain”. And they played “Gold Dust Woman”. They closed their set with songs like “Strong Willed Woman” and another song called “Ride”.

Vintage Pistol is a ROWDY five piece band from Fayetteville Arkansas, and they have a new album out called “Trial And Error”. That’s NOT the best way to describe their stage presence, NO SIR there is NO error in that at all!

Mr. Taylor Smith- guitar, vocals, Mr. Walt Blythe- lead guitar, vocals, Mr. Jonny “Marinara” Morden- Bass, Mr. Garrett August – Keyboards, harmonica, vocals and Mr. Jake Schaffer – Drums, vocals make up this band here. Their first song was called “Get Down”.

They went on into album songs like “So Long” and another called “Don’t Wait Up”. All the while going into roller coaster rides of instrumentals and incredible laser displays, that kept me mesmerized. They went on a version of “Another Brick In The Wall” that almost rivaled the original in some ways.

They played some that they said were new along with one called “Smoke About It”, before going into other jams. Some of the instrumentals were so lengthy they went right into new ones with no song breaks! They are all over the stage, and they are wild in every way.

Town Mountain is just a powerhouse band. They began with “New Freedom Blues” and went into their 2016 album called “Southern Crescent” and played a song called “Arkansas Gambler”. Mr. Phil Barker – Mandolin, Vocals, Mr. Robert Greer – Vocals, Guitar, Mr. Jesse Langlais – Banjo, Vocals, Mr. Bobby Britt – Fiddle and finally Mr. Zach Smith – Bass make up this North Carolina band.

“Whiskey With Tears” was a good song from the same album “Arkansas Gambler” came from in fact on the album they are together as well.  They played the “Road Goes On Forever” and they played their soul rousing cover of “I’m On Fire”.

The hard working song called “Up The Ladder”, is a song I CAN relate to because I’m wore plum the hell out from years of working. This place makes me forget my hectic job and issues in life, we all try to use music to forget the outside world, especially since none of us have a signal!

The top part of their entire set is when they yell out “LAW DAWWWWG” and the whole place goes absolutely insane and starts dancing and chugging beers. They then brought out former Wooks banjoist Arthur Hancock to plays some of his own special songs, including the NOW OFFICIAL Kickin It On The Creek anthem called “Wolfpen Branch”.

More Friends again folks while I skip around and combine days and times here. More people in the audience dancing and having fun, and my buddy JJ Waters who operates The Honkytonk Heroes Facebook Group.Through the years we have turned each other on to some great bands.

After I talk with y’all about my good friend Mr. John R. Miller down below, I’ll take you into the property a little more and BEYOND the initial camping area. I knew I was free to explore, but I don’t know his property lines yet and out there I didn’t want to trespass or end up in a place I didn’t belong!

I really wanted to encounter some wildlife out there, but also I followed some of the dry creek and I KNEW that snakes are plentiful out there. I’m NOT afraid of snakes but I’m not partial to getting bit either.

Mr.John R Miller is an awesome act by himself and his band the Engine Lights. Now tonight, he had Mr. John Clay on drums, and Miss Chloe Edmonstone, Mr. John Looney, Mr. William Matheny and Mr. Adam Meisterhans.

As most of you know, he plays bass guitar for Mr. Pat Reedy And The Longtime Goners, who is releasing new music this year on the Muddy Roots label. You’ll be hearing more about that album on later dates here. He opened with “How It Feels In The Light”. “Old Dance Floor” and “Borrowed Time” were next.

“Been Here Too Long” was up next and I can relate with him…I don’t wanna go to work today! It’s a true road dog song about being a traveling musician like he is, I never realized how hard this life was until I began following them around and watching what they do.

“Red Eyes” was released as a single first from the “Trouble You Follow” album in 2018. With a haunting and poignant melody about it, that song sets the scene for a classic masterpiece of an album. That song and “Holy Dirt” both display some over the top songwriting, and he grew to whole new echelon from his previous album “Service Engine”.

“Ghosts” and also “Back And Forth” came before “Holy Dirt” here today. He did a few more before closing with “Whale Party”.  Actually I just realized I swapped this up with Town Mountain time wise but it’s OK with me. I was getting incredibly tired, and had to head back to camp for some rest!

I’ll be honest here, I have been here for two years of music now, and I STILL haven’t met everybody, and been to every part of the property. Some of the trails on both sides of Ross’s creek ramble on for miles and go to places I am not familiar with, and to be honest I was writing down songs the bands did as I hiked.

If I do go in 2020 I won’t be able to do any exploring I know that. Especially if I’m not supervised by an able bodied person with my heart in the condition it’s now in. So this is probably my last chance to go do any sightseeing on the property.

So now on to the final day on the creek with Mr. Brett Ratliff and his band called The Giant Rooster Sideshow. On guitar they had Mr. David Prince ( this band is one of their side projects), and Mr. Kenny and Mr. Hayden Miles from Wayne Graham.

They played MANY old school classics like “Cow Cow Boogie” which was a 1940’s classic originally recorded by Miss Ella Mae Morse. He played a solo set, and others like the “Old L + N” and “Gospel Plow”.

Well now, I have been waiting for what seems to be a lifetime to bring you coverage of a live set from this man from Alabama Mr. Abe Partridge, whom has been on my radar for some time now. He sent me an album a while back, and it had some DYNAMITE songs on it…but I’ll be honest folks, I cannot always feature everything I get. Time wise I simply cannot do it alone.

Now, I may get some of these songs here out of order on the set lists because I have so many papers and notes of so much information. So I can say he played “Ride Willie Ride” , which is a tribute song to Willie Nelson. You know, I have always said that “Red Headed Stranger” is the greatest Country Music album ever recorded. He references himself to many of his musical heroes in this song, as well as friends from his youth.

He pushes out sharp and edgy lyrics that isn’t really Country and really isn’t ANY kind of genre, it’s just good music. period. He isn’t trying to be like anybody but Abe Partridge, and he isn’t trying to look like anybody else..but he does print “This Machine Kills” like Mr. Woody Guthrie did.

“Colors” I’ll tell you WHAT, I cannot even rave highly enough about his well written lyrics on this one! You can take this song and interpret it in many ways, I saw my old drug addicted youth in this song where my love went wrong, and I lost a very special lady in my life…it didn’t happen like we planned it. Colors are all that matter when you’re already  outside the lines..is amazing.

“No Teacher Blues” was one he played and another called “403rd Freakout”, and one of his last songs was “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down”. I must honestly say I haven’t seen passion and attitude as raw and real as his on ANY stage, and I’m upset I haven’t discovered him sooner.

My buddy Mr. Joe Macheret who originally plays for the Tillers, also has a side project called Joe’s Truck Stop, and they came out today to play some great tunes for us. I truly enjoy sharing my nerd facts with Mr. Joe when we get together, which isn’t often enough!

“Banjo Pickin’ Tobacco Spittin’ Gal” was one of the songs they played, and the brought a real traditional flare to the already Country lineup. They incorporate comedy into their mix, while juxtaposing real and honest Country with nostalgia.

Mr. Joe and I share a very close common love for the Country Music underdogs that have been omitted from the annals of Country Music journalism like Mr. Eddy Rabbit and older artists like Mr. Spade Cooley ( even though in his personal life he was a piece of shit, I always add that disclaimer). To be honest, Mr. Joe is one of my friends I am most fond of even though we don’t see each other very often.

While Joe’s Truck Stop was playing I went around again for ANOTHER ROUND of greeting friends and catching moments of the crowd. The afternoon of the last day was a very special moment for me, because I ran into a small dilemma, and if YOU know ME like many of you do…it was a BIG problem. I ran out of cash, no mind you folks this is NOT a corporate festival with a plethora of ATMS lineup up by the merch booth.

I had no money to buy cokes to drink and I wanted to thank my friends at Pickup Country and Mr. Byron for helping me out with that. That truly meant a lot to me that I got that kind of special attention, and YOU WILL TOO if you go.

The next act was called Padre Paul Handleman and I’ll be honest folks, I never met him or heard of him until today. But if YOU encounter him in the wild PLEASE say THANK YOU to him for serving our Country in the 82nd Airborne Division. He spoke highly of his service through his wonderful set here today.

He had Mr. J.T. Thomas and Mr. Dan the Banjoman with him today up there, to play songs like “Gypsy Home”, and the song “Broken Chariot” from his 2018 album called “Unbridled”. Now, Broken Chariot was one of those military songs I just spoke of, where he acknowledged his fellow military personnel.

“Southside Of Heaven” was next followed by “Six Dollars”, which showed me some really raw and untamed folk type Country. It was plain stripped down straight up COUNTRY in my opinion. His combination of guitar and hard blowing harmonica soul blended together made some bone chilling music.

His last songs were called “Long Gone” and “Hard Water”. Many of these acts you would have not heard of if not for this festival here, unless you are somebody like me that scours the bars for pickers like this signing for tips. And most times the people you find doing that have more soul and heart than the acts that are filling football stadiums.

Speaking of veterans here are some friends that made a cardboard cutout of their beloved family member whom could not attend this event due to his being deployed. They wanted me to include him into my article, and I promised to do so. Here is the picture of him and his wife.

Up above that is my good buddy Mr. Luther Center who helped write a bunch of this article here. If you love what I do PLEASE stop and say hello and THANKS to Mr. Luther for writing so many great articles for me. Right now I another thought I had in my head…I pretty much mentioned EVERYONE BUT one of the MAIN ingredients to this equation of fun..the SOUND MAN!

EVERYONE PLEASE say a big ol THANK YOU to Mr. Marvin Gilbert from Angry Baby Productions Mr. Matt Polashe, and there were others that helped make the lights, smoke and visual effects all that much more astonishing. It brought LIFE to bands like Magnolia Boulevard and the Wooks, whom played in the PM hours. The smoke and lasers were a top notch effect, and beast last year’s.

Mr. William Matheny was next up today, and he had Mr. John R. Miller with him as well as Mr. Adam Almister today to help him play songs from his albums “Moon Over Kenova” and “Strange Constellations” from 2017. In fact, “Moon Over Kenova” was one of his opening songs as well as “God’s Left Hand”.

The last song I recall him playing was “Living Half To Death”, as he closed with instrumentals and other songs as I went and did a little merch shopping. I went back to camp to drop off notes and papers, and got to chat with a few more people before going back to the stage area.

Miss Senora May is busy as all get out and is out in the world making a name for herself, on her own rights as a top notch artist among the Appalachian community and on a national scale as well. She had a full band this time, which was a first for me as she played “Semper Fi” for her brother.

Veterans are very appreciated here on Ross’s Creek, and there were giveaways for veterans whom were called up on stage to announce the winner. MANY TIMES Mr. Byron THANKS them for their service and there are many places for them to be appreciated here.

I recall her playing one called “Dogs Of Mexico” and that one was followed by “Lainhart” the title of her album, and a brief introduction into her family, and upbringing in East Kentucky. She played a few songs that I have never heard her play before tonight, like one called “Intertwine”.

“Milk And Honey” was one from her album that I recall her playing, as well as “California King”. She always stands so special and proud up there at the Creek, because she is a product of that very environment having been a family friend for all of her life. See, this goes deeper than just the music. The Roberts family has known many of these performers their whole lives, before they even picked up their guitars.

‘By My Lonesome” was another song played tonight, as well as ‘Silver Lining”  and another called “Elusive”. The action was beginning to get more heated here tonight, as we all were getting geared up for the main acts of the night ( not that the first bands were less important) in ANY fashion. The later acts were enjoyable because of the sun finally setting for us!

This weekend was NOWHERE NEAR as hot as 2018, but BY GOD it was hot before that sun sank into those high tree sides of the holler. Ona was next, whom also have a new album out now called “Full Moon Heavy Light”. I had to go back to my truck for some things, and take a dinner break and I didn’t get to see them much. I do recall them playing “So Much Better Now”.

As I was previously saying, right before we all got to do the Wookie Foot Shuffle, Mr. Byron came out and explained that through all of our donations the local VFD was able to buy a BRAND NEW fire truck! they bought it out front and blared the siren for us all. MORE PROOF that this event not only promotes and proliferates the local music scene here, it stimulates the economic growth of East Kentucky as well.  When love is involved in ANY event it makes it just as tangible as one that generates money.

what can I say about The Wooks that I haven’t already said? Mr. CJ Cain | Lead Guitar, Mr. Harry Clark |Mandolin, Mr.Roddy Puckett | Bass and finally new member Mr.George Guthrie | Banjo began their epic set with “Sang” a great song about buying a little lady a wedding ring from a miner’s view. It’s off their 2018 album “Glory Bound”, and this was the first set I have seen with their new banjo player.

“Out Of Mine” was next followed by “White Lines And Neon Signs” both off their 2016 album “Little Circles”. The latter of the two being a decent travel song when you are cruising down the interstate driving to a music job, or anywhere really! They posses that appeal to the most finicky of Bluegrass traditional fans, with their smooth harmonies and their old timey sound on songs like “The Few Or Far Less Fortune”.

“Let it ride” and another called “Learning To Fly” (Tom Petty Cover) were both included in their set tonight before they dished out upon us songs like ‘Dear Prudence” which starts out with a really unique bass line intro and brings the banjo into the mix. BUT THEN they broke out the “Wookie Foot Shuffle” man…I just cannot explain in words what the hell that REALLY is, you just got to go witness it for yourself live. You know the Beatles song “Dear Prudence” has some terrific instrumentals added within the lyrics, and displays their ability to jam as well as play good originals AND covers.

“Atlantic City” is probably their most well known song as well as one I don’t believe I ever heard live, and that was the song called “Night Bird” from the “Little Circles” album. They played a few more and busted out a bunch of more instrumentals before turning things over to our good friend Mr. Arlo McKinely And The Lonesome Sound another BIG NAME ACT around these parts.

Mr. Aaron Cordell on drums, Mr. Tyler Locard on bass, Mr. Zac Roe on guitars, accompanied Mr. Arlo tonight to make up the band the Lonesome Sound. They started with the wonderful song called “Time In Bars”.

‘I Don’t Need To Know” sets a great scene of a typical hometown in anyplace U.S.A. that anybody from small towns can relate to. You know the deal, people talk about one another and gossip profusely about who’s doing what, and who’s doing what….same old shit.

One of the last songs I remember him playing tonight was “Iv’e Got Her” which is the opening song on his album, as well as the song “Waiting For Wild Horses”. Also included in the set was “Bag Of Pills”, and “We Were Alright”.

One of the main acts that many of these people come to see is this man Mr. Tyler Childers, one of the two local music phenomenons of the last few years. He immediately commands the stage, and whips people up into a signing frenzy  with songs like “White House Road”. One of the first songs I remember hearing him play on the first encounter I had with him.

“Cinder And Smoke” and “I Swear To God” was part of the show tonight, hell, I remember last year he played a few of these songs off “Country Squire” as new songs. I recall he played “Bus Route” last year as a new song before the album was out. “Charleston Girl” was next foolwed by the song “Country Squire” which is about a camper he is renovating for him and his wife.

“Shake The Frost” was on the set list as well as the song “Bus Route” I was telling about earlier. All the bus driver needed was that nasty glare and his paddle he had! “Creeker” was played tonight.

“Banded Clovis” is a damn fine song about hunting for arrowheads and murder, while getting drunk off their ass, his sifting buddy found a very rare banded clovis and he killed him over it. The song about his wife was next called “Lady May”, that he played on the Opry.

The middle portion of his set was choked full of his older more stripped down songs on record. Meaning they were more of the under produced songs he has like “Nose On The Grindstone ( Mind Off The Pills)”. “Bottles And Bibles” which is the name of one of his earlier albums, as well as “Follow You To Virgie”. Other songs that he did were “All Your’n” and “Matthew”

“Feathered Indians” was another one of the songs that got us all whipped into a party tonight, and as he banged on late into the night with all of his Honky Tonk hits, and kept us all up late with songs like “Honky Tonk Flame” and his Charlie Daniels classic cover of “Trudy”.

BUT IT WASN’T OVER YET!  We STILL had a Bluegrass LEGEND up next in the name of Mr. Larry Keel and the Larry Keel Experience. They played from an extensive amount of back albums tonight like the song “Psycho Hell River”

He played covers like “After Midnight” and “Runnin Down A Dream” along with others. I began to head back to my camp to turn in for the night, after saying goodbye to a few people I knew were leaving tonight. I had a lot to pack up and take care of like the flat tire tire I had, and the next morning I learned my battery was dead. ugh.

From the 2005 album called “Natural Bridge” they played a rare one called “Groundhog Grease” that I have only heard him play a few times live. Along with the Allman Brothers classic “Whipping Post”, that song always has terrific instrumentals in the middle and the end.

The next morning I wandered around and picked up a few bags of trash for the Roberts family and helped clean up some chairs and other things. Everybody pretty much always does a GREAT JOB of cleaning up their mess, and putting out their fires.

28th Annual Tin Pan South Information. Lineups To Come Soon!

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Dec 142019
 
 
28th Annual Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival Set for 
March 24th – 28th, 2020 
The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) is proud to partner with Regions Bank to present the 28th annual Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival on March 24th – 28th, 2020. This year marks the 13th year Regions Bank has served as presenting sponsor for the festival, which will feature performances from a diverse array of talent spanning across different genres.
For years, the Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival has served as a way for audiences to discover the industry’s next hit songwriters and watch legends at work. Past festivals have seen performances by Lori McKenna, Thomas Rhett, RaeLynn, Josh Osborne, and many more. This year’s full lineup and schedule will be revealed online on February 25th, with a sneak peek reveal of this year’s performers exclusively on the festival’s mobile app on February 21st.

Tin Pan South’s hotly-awaited week-long Fast Access Passes will also go on sale on February 25th at 10 AM CST at tinpansouth.com. Prices for 2020 Fast Access Passes are as follows:
$160 – General Public
$135 – NSAI Members
$120 – Attendees of the Tin Pan South Songwriting Seminar *
* Tin Pan South Songwriting Seminar attendees will receive early access to purchase Fast Access Passes beginning on February 18th.
Since its first year in 1993, the Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival has served as a platform for NSAI to celebrate songwriters in Nashville and beyond and has become an integral part of both the music and Nashville community.
For the 13th consecutive year, NSAI has partnered with the Watkins College of Art for the official poster design. The selected artwork for the 2020 Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival was created by J.D. Minadeo. It will appear on all posters, passes, banners, and marketing for this year’s festival.
For additional information and upcoming announcements about performers and venues, check out tinpansouth.com.
About NSAI:
Established in 1967, the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) is the world’s largest not-for-profit songwriters trade organization and has a membership of more than 5,000 spanning the United States and eight (8) foreign countries. Consisting of a body of creative minds, including songwriters from all genres of music, professional and amateur, for over 52 years, NSAI has been committed to protecting the rights and future of the profession of songwriting, as well as carrying a commitment to educate, elevate and celebrate the songwriter, acting as a unifying force within the music community and the community at large. For more information, visit nashvillesongwriters.com.
About Regions Financial Corporation:
Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF), with $128 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index and is one of the nation’s largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, wealth management, and mortgage products and services. Regions serves customers across the South, Midwest and Texas, and through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates approximately 1,500 banking offices and 2,000 ATMs. Regions Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC. Additional information about Regions and its full line of products and services can be found at www.regions.com.

 

FULL LIST Of Local Kentucky And Tennessee Shows.

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Dec 142019
 

 

YOU have a show YOU would like added to my list PLEASE email me at garyhayes2@yahoo.com. 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.

Brandi Carlile
January 14,15th and 16th 2020
Ryman Auditorium

Emmylou Harris
War memorial Auditorium January 11th

Sunny Sweeney
Erin Enderlin
Matt Woods
Southgate House Revival January 11th

Drew Holcomb
Tivoli Theater Chattanooga Tn February 12th

Tyler Childers
Ryman Auditorium February 5th 6th 15th and 16th

Joe Diffie
Plaza Theater Glasgow Ky January 17th

Hogslop String Band
Station Inn January 17th

Joey Allcorn
The Southgate House Revival january 17th

Ward Davis
The Shed Maryville Tn January 18th

The Harmed Brothers
the 5 Spot January 21st

Charley Crockett
Jaime Wyatt
Southgate House Revival January 22nd

Charley Crockett
Jaime Wyatt
Basement East January 23rd

Sunny Sweeney
Erin Enderline
1884 Lounge Minglewood Hall Memphis January 23rd

Mike And The Moonpies
Vagabonds
The High Watt January 23rd

Sam Morrow
southgate House revival January 23rd

Miranda Lambert
Cody Johnson Band
Bridgestone Arena January 24th

Justin Townes Earle
Cannery Ballroom January 25th

The Steel Wheels
City Winery January 26th

Parker McCollum
Exit In January 30th

Doyle And Debbie
Station Inn Feb 4th, Feb 11th, Feb 25th, March 3rd, 10th, March 24th, March 31st,

Nicholas Jamerson
Southgate House Revival January 30th

Wayne Hancock
The Tammy Whynots
Southgate House Revival January 31st

The Devil Makes Three
Cannery Ballroom Feb 1st

Billy Strings
Lexington Ky Feb 6th

Tyler Childers
Opry performance Feb 6th

Billy Strings
Louisville Ky 7 and 8th

William Clark Green
Flatland Cavalry
Basement East Feb 7th

Steel Woods
3rd And Lindsley Feb 7th and 8th

The Tillers 2nd Annual Old Time Stringbreaker’s Ball
Southgate House Revival Feb 8th

The Eskimo Brothers
Southgate House Revival Feb 7th

Chris Stapleton
Tanya Tucker
Bridgestone Arena February 10th 2020

Dale Watson
Opry performance Feb 11th

Jamey Johnson
Schlemerhorn Symphony Center Feb 13th

Clay Walker
State Theater Elizabethtown Ky Feb 13th

Ashley McBryde
Luke Combs
Rupp Arena February 14th

Paul Cauthen
Basement East Feb 15th

Jesse Dayton
The Basement Feb 15th

Jason Boland And The Stragglers
3rd And Lindsley Feb 21st

Rye Davis
Southgate House Revival Feb 22nd

Lost Dog Street Band
Basement East Feb 23rd

Town Mountain
Southgate House Revival February 27th

Chicago Farmer
Southgate House Revival February 28th

Elizabeth Cook
The Cowan Feb 28th

Cory Branan
The Cowan Feb 28th

Railroad Earth
Caverns February 29th

Ward Davis
3rd And Lindsley February 29th

Henhouse Prowlers
Mercy lounge January 31st

Josh Morningstar
Spillway Bar And Grill March 6th

Bart Crow
Southgate House Revival March 7th

Whiskey Myers
Plaza Theater Glasgow Ky March 13th

Lost Dog Street Band
Southgate House Revival March 13th

John Moreland
Basement East March 20th

Ricky Skaggs And Kentucky Thunder
Caverns Pelham Tn March 21st

Rye Davis
Southgate House Feb 22nd

Lost Dog Street Band
Southgate House Revival March 13th

Lost Dog Street Band
Southgate House Revival March 18th

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center In Bowling Green March 20th

John Moreland
Basement East March 20th

The Gutter Demons
Southgate House Revival March 26th

David Frizzell
texas Troubador Theater March 28th

Reverend Horton Heat
The Bottle Rockets
jimmy Dale Gilmore
Southgate House Revival April 1st

Randy Rogers
Wade Bowen
Ryman Auditorium April 3rd

Drivin And Cryin
Caverns April 4th

Ian Noe
Ryman Auditorium April 4th

The Lil Smokies
Basement East April 16th

Ray Wylie Hubbard
3rd and lindsley April 17th and 18th

Allison Krauss
Caverns April 24th

Drive By Truckers
Ryman Auditorium April 25th

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

Read Southall Band
Basement East May 17th

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

Tanya Tucker
Shooter Jennings
Beaver Dam Ampitherater May 30th

The Mavericks
Caverns June 5th

Rhonda Vincent And The Rage
Cavrens June 6th

Todd Snider
Rhonda Vincent
The Caverns Pelham Tn June 20th

Charlie Daniels
Bridgestone Arena July 17th

Alabama
Bridgestone Arena July 18th

Alan Jackson
Bridgestone Arena August 7th 2020

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

Live Review – Colter Wall with Wade Sapp in Macon, GA

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Dec 112019
 

By Joshua Wallace
Photography By Joshua Wallace


Colter Wall and The Scary Prairie Boys

This past Thursday night (12/05/19), I was lucky enough to see Colter Wall at the Hargray Capitol Theater in Macon, GA.  Over the years, this has become one of my favorite venues and I’ve seen acts like Sturgill Simpson, Whitey Morgan and now Colter Wall there.  This was my first time seeing Colter Wall since seeing him at Jack Rabbits in Jacksonville, FL back in 2017. That place holds about 300 people.  I would say he came close to doubling that number tonight. The floor was packed out fairly well by the time the opening act started and the balcony looked about half full.  The opening act this evening was Wade Sapp who is a country singer out of Atlanta, GA.

Wade Sapp

Wade Sapp hit the stage with a full band which was a surprise as I was expecting an acoustic opening act.  His full band featured a lead guitar player, bass player and drummer. It was a simple set-up, but it worked.  His guitar player Ryan Tolson was awesome and a big compliment to the overall sound.  The rest of the band featured Paul Wagner on drums and Adam Higgins on bass.  Going into this set, the only song that is truly out there is “Keep On Truckin’” which was released as an “OurVinyl Sessions” live version.  Wade played a full eleven song opening set. I’m not sure if this set was the entirety of his debut record coming out next year or not, but it felt like it. Of those eleven songs, only one was a cover. He closed the night with a killer version of Townes Van Zandt’s “Lungs”.  Other highlights include originals such as “SOB”, “Beer Drinking Daddy”, “Smoke” and “Bleeding Blue”. If you go to one of the shows remaining on this run, be sure to go early and see Wade Sapp.


Colter Wall solo acoustic

After Wade Sapp, there was a short wait before Colter Wall took the stage.  He started the show off with a few acoustic songs before the full band joined him. The first song of the night was an old Bob Dylan cover called “Diamond Joe”. He followed that up with one of my favorites from the EP Imaginary Appalacia called “Caroline”.  The great thing about this is the crowd got into it and did some foot stomps in time with the song. You could tell this was going to be a fun night.

I was happy that he kept the acoustic intro to “Thirteen Silver Dollars” as that was one of my favorite parts of his set with the Speedy Creek Band.  From there he did my favorite of the two songs he released on a 7” record earlier this year called “Happy Reunion” by singer/songwriter and cowboy poet Mike Beck.  He also did an extended version of “Motorcycle” with an extra verse written by Blake Berglund. From there he got to the first of several newer songs called “Western Swing and Waltzes”.  This was a great track and I can’t wait to hear a recorded version on the next album. I loved the cover he did of Bob Wills’s “Big Balls In Cowtown”. Later on in the set he also did a cover of my Marty Robbins song off the album Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs called “Big Iron”.  I loved hearing this one live and his band did it justice.

Another new track in this set was a song called “Have You Met My Friend” about Sam Colt.  From there he got to one of my personal favorites from his self titled LP called “You Look To Yours”.  At this point he introduced the band which consists of pedal steel, dobro and mandolin player Patrick Lyons, harmonica player Jake Groves, drummer Aaron Goodrich, and bass player Jason Simpson.  I must say this band fully compliments the sound Colter Wall is creating with a sound that can go from upbeat country to western swing to western folk. Following the band introductions they did my favorite track on the “Songs Of The Plains” record called “Thinkin’ On A Woman” which was the second trucking song of the night.  From there he did a cover of the Stan Jones western classic called “Cowpoke”. I love his version of this song and Colter just has a way with these old western tunes that just comes natural.  He also has an amazing yodel that really gets to shine with this performance.


“Kate McCannon”

There was also a great version of one of my favorite Townes Van Zandt songs in “White Freightliner Blues”.  This was followed up by “Plain To See Plainsman” and another obscure cover with Ian Tyson’s “The Coyote and The Cowboy”.  Colter closed out the regular set with possibly his biggest mainstream hit in “Sleepin’ On The Blacktop”. The crowd wasn’t ready to be done though and we got an encore with another new song called “High and Mighty”.  These new songs sound great with the Scary Prairie Boys and I can’t wait to hear them on a record.

This was my first experience with Colter Wall’s new band The Scary Prairie Boys.  It feels like a more versatile set-up than the roots based sound of his original Speedy Creek Band.  This band also fits the current direction of Colter Wall’s sound which is including more elements of western music including western swing and folk.  Colter Wall and Wade Sapp still have a few nights left in this December run through the southeast. You can find all remaining dates at the band’s website.  You can also keep up with Wade Sapp at his website.  I highly recommend checking them out and if you do go to a show, come early for an amazing opening set from Wade Sapp.

Live Review – Atlanta, GA’s ATLive welcomes Eric Church, Luke Combs and more

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Nov 212019
 

By Joshua Wallace
Photography By Joshua Wallace

This past Sunday November 17th, 2019, I had the opportunity to see Eric Church, Luke Combs, Brothers Osborne and Caylee Hammack live at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA.  This was the second night of the ATLive concert series promoted in Atlanta by Falcons owner Arthur Blank’s AMB Sports and Entertainment. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, this night was a sell out with 52,414 fans.  This was one of the biggest crowds I have ever been a part of for a music concert and it was an amazing night of good country music.

Caylee Hammack opened the night.  She was probably the most pop oriented singer of the evening.  She didn’t get a very long set and maybe did 5 songs. She did originals like “Preciatecha” and “Family Tree”.  She also did covers of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” and Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”. I came out of her set feeling sort of indifferent to her music as she did some good covers, but her originals didn’t really grab me.  I was however, pumped for the rest of the night.

The Brothers Osborne mentioned that this was their last show of the year and they couldn’t have picked a bigger crowd to do it in front of.  The band kicked off their set with “Drank Like Hank” which is one of my favorites off their last studio album. They rely heavily on long jams during their set and John Osborne is one hell of a lead guitar player in that respect.  The longer jams help space out their more pop leaning songs through their set. During the nearly hour long set, they got to songs like “Shoot Me Straight”, “I Don’t Remember Me (Before You)”, “Burning Man” and wrapped it up with “It Ain’t My Fault”.  This last song was a killer jam that I feel like lasted at least past the 15 minute mark. There was an epic keyboard solo followed by John’s longest solo of the night. This song is one of those epic closing songs that will make anyone a fan that sees this live, even if you were on the fence throughout the rest of the set.

Luke Combs was the first double headliner for the night.  He played an hour and fifteen minute set full of hits and songs from his new record that are sure to be hits in the future.  This wasn’t a full set you would get at one of his own concerts, but I feel like we only missed a small portion of his usual set.  He came across very humble on stage and very real. The band kicked the night off with one of my favorite tracks from his first album titled “Honky Tonk Highway”.  He then immediately went into the hits with one of his biggest in “When It Rains It Pours” and you could hear the entire stadium singing along. In fact, it was like this the whole set for Luke Combs.  

Some highlights included the hit song “1, 2, Many” where after the line “So whatcha say we shotgun one?” he actually paused for a bit to shotgun a beer before going back to the song.  He performed “This One’s For You” largely acoustic before the band came back out to finish the song with him. He did one of my favorite tracks off the new record titled “Angels Workin’ Overtime” and I’m sure that one will be a hit at radio.  

Speaking of radio hits, Luke Combs announced that “Even Though I’m Leaving” is his 7th straight number 1 at country music radio.  That is an amazing run for any singer, let alone someone who is only on his second full album. He closed the set out with a Brooks and Dunn cover of “Brand New Man” and “Beer Never Broke My Heart”.  Before playing his final song, he announced that due to a bet with his keyboard player who was from Atlanta, he had to wear an Atlanta Falcons jersey for the final song of the night. Atlanta played his time the Carolina Panthers and beat them soundly earlier that day.  This was the first time I had ever seen Luke Combs live and this set only made me a bigger fan. I can’t wait to see him again but hopefully more up close next time.

The final act of the night was Eric Church.  I had seen him perform previously on the “Holdin’ My Own” tour in 2017 where he performed two sets in one night so I knew we were in for a long evening still.  He kicked the night off at the front of the stage on acoustic guitar doing a rendition of “Drowning Man” from his latest record Desperate Man. Eric Church’s live band brings a heavier rock and roll sound to the proceedings so it’s no surprise that he does things like add a tease of Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf” to the end of “Smoke a Little Smoke”.  He also did an exceptional version of “Creepin’” from his The Chief album with his lead guitar player Jeff Hyde handling the dobro for the song. Before he got to one of his older hits “How Bout’ You”, he discussed playing a smaller venue in Atlanta called Wild Bills and how crazy it was to be at a sold out Mercedes Benz Stadium on this evening. Also, during “How Bout You” he did a full cover of Waylon’s “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way” and a tease of Ram Jam’s “Black Betty” before closing out “How Bout You”. 

He performed one of my favorite songs called “Mr. Misunderstood” largely acoustic before the band joined him again halfway through the song.  It is my strong opinion that Eric Church is at his best in a more intimate acoustic setting. Following that, he kicked off a series of a few of my favorite songs of his.  He did a great tease of an “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” cover. Then he went into a string of songs that included “Cold One”, “Record Year” and “Round Here Buzz”. He did a spot during “Record Year” where he signed vinyl records that fans had around the stage.  He held up each one to the camera, including a vinyl record of Bruce Springsteen’s famous Born In The U.S.A. album which he signed. Before “Homeboy”, one of his guitar players came up front and did an awesome metal interlude with the band that was the heaviest bit of music of the night.  The set also heavily featured the vocal talents of his back-up singer Joanna Cotten. She was featured on the track “Mixed Drinks About Feelings” which features Susan Tedeschi doing a verse on the album cut. We got an amazing dueling guitar solo during the closing moments of a rousing rendition of “Pledge Allegiance To The Hag” that was awesome.  He closed out the night with “These Boots” where he signed a bunch of boots around the stage and one of his most popular songs in “Springsteen” which he says is his ode to a moment and the influence music can have on that moment and the power of a song to take you back to a specific moment in time. I know many people who were at this show will go back to this particular moment in time when they hear any of these songs that were played this night.  He came back out for a one song encore of the Jackson Brown song “The Load-Out” which is a perfect encore song for any band.

This was an amazing night of performances and while no one got to do a full set, it was a full night of great music.  Eric Church and Luke Combs were of course the highlights, but Brothers Osborne was awesome as well. I didn’t really get a chance to hear much of Caylee Hammack with her short set.  Overall, this was a great night and I can’t wait to hear many of these artists again. You can find out a full tour itinerary for all of the artists involved in this show on their respective websites.

Leftover Salmon Releases “Songs You’ve Left Unsung” on Backline

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Nov 132019
 
Leftover Salmon Releases “Songs You’ve Left Unsung” on Backline
In Memory of Jeff Austin
Written by Greg Garrison
Pay What You Wish – 100% of Proceeds Donated to Backline
DENVER, CO — Leftover Salmon releases “Songs You’ve Left Unsung” as a tribute to dear friend Jeff Austin in his memory. The song was penned by LoS’s bassist, Greg Garrison, and is out today, November 4, 2019 at Backline.care/songs-left-unsung/. All proceeds from the sale of it are donated to Backline.
Backline.Care is a hub for music industry professionals and their families to quickly and easily access mental health and wellness resources. Backline has partnered with leading support organizations and care providers to streamline access to a wealth of services and educational resources specifically geared towards this work and lifestyle. It is a hub to discover existing organizations, unique content, peer networks, and case managers who can help create a plan that addresses your unique mental health and wellness challenges–on and off the road. Their website was created by music industry professionals for music industry professionals.

Here is a note from Greg Garrison about “Songs You’ve Left Unsung”:

I first met Jeff Austin when we were in 7th grade. Through the 80’s and 90’s, we somehow always wound up in the same places at the same times…Rolling Meadows, IL as kids, Decatur and Urbana, IL during our college years, and eventually Colorado as adults. And then, maybe predictably, as members of touring bands in the same scene.

“Songs You’ve Left Unsung” is a reflection on some of these times…the verses move chronologically, starting in Illinois and winding up in Colorado. The chorus is meant to be bittersweet but also hopeful for those of us that are still here writing songs, experiencing music, raising families and living life with all of its turbulent ups and downs.

I wanted to release the song with Backline because I think their mission is exceptionally important; providing mental health and wellness support to people in the music industry while also providing an opportunity for those of us who deal with issues like depression, anxiety, and substance abuse to share our stories. Hopefully, these stories will provide comfort, clarity, support, inspiration and a helping hand to anyone who is in need.

On a personal note, I have always struggled with a certain amount of social anxiety (not the easiest thing when you’re in a band like Leftover Salmon); the kind of anxiety that makes you feel like you’re always in the way, that folks don’t really want to hear what you have to say, play or sing, always looking for a way out of conversations because “this person doesn’t really want to be talking to me anyway…”. It makes being a musician, which involves a healthy amount of“putting yourself out there” a difficult task at times. Thankfully, when the music is happening and I’m playing the bass, I can close my eyes, quiet my mind and feel at home.

I discovered that I suffer from low-level depression (called dysthymia) during one of my most difficult periods as a human and as a musician. When I parted ways with Punch Brothers in 2008, a lot of things came crashing down. While my amazing third child (Ella) had just been born, I was also in the midst of a crumbling marriage, had no steady gig or income (Leftover Salmon was still just waking up from its hiatus), and the band that I had put so much time, effort, and soul into was moving in a different direction. Lots of stress…lots of anger…lots of confusion…lots of self-doubt…lots of hopelessness. I know many musicians can relate to this scenario, it’s certainly not a unique one in our industry.

Fortunately, through counseling, I was able to get my proverbial “shit together” to some extent, and I started taking medication (which I still take to this day). It’s hard to admit you need help. I’m glad that I did. I was lucky enough to have some honest people around me who recognized what I was going through and pushed me to make changes.

Like many, I certainly wish I would have understood the extent to which Jeff was hurting, and that I could have given him a helping hand when it was needed. I’m glad that an organization like Backline exists now, as having the support of others who have gone through or are going through a similar situation will allow the healing to start and leave far fewer songs left unsung.

-Greg Garrison

To donate and download the song, please visit www.backline.care/songs-left-unsung.
For more about Leftover Salmon, please visit www.LeftoverSalmon.com