Album Feature – Joshua Ray Walker – Wish You Were Here

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Jan 242019
 

By Joshua Wallace

It’s not often when I hear a new album in January that makes me think it’s an album of the year contender, and even less often when that album is from a new artist.  You might be familiar with Joshua Ray Walker as he has already opened for names such as Colter Wall, American Aquarium and James Hand. He’s out of Dallas, TX and frequently plays shows in that region.  If you’re not familiar with Joshua Ray Walker, prepare to hear his name often as this is a record that will be on many favorite album lists. At the age of 28, Joshua Ray has vocal control and a songwriting ability to match those twice his age.

The album kicks off with a monster of a track called “Canyon”.  Joshua Ray blows you away with his lyrics right from the start. “I’m a big big man, not just in size or in stature, in terms of space that can’t be filled, I’m a bottomless Cayon without a drop to spill”.  Such emotion is in these lyrics and I love the tune behind this one as well. It has some amazing pedal steel work. Another great tune on this album is “Lot Lizard”. The highlight of this one is the yodeling, it gets me every time.

Another favorite track is “Burn It”.  This one changes things up a bit and goes for a bluesy electric feel.  Joshua nails it even though it’s not his typical style proving he has some strong vocal chops.  “Keep” is a great sad bastard country song about the sorrow of a man who is trying to kill himself because his woman left him.  Van Darien provides vocals for the other side of this relationship on this can’t miss track. “Love Songs” is a Tejano inspired track about why Joshua doesn’t write love songs.  It’s another great highlight that shows the diversity of the album. Finally, “Last Call” ends the album with a track about the woman you hook up with at the end of the night. The kind of one time hookup that neither party parts ways happy about.

Joshua Ray Walker has a way with lyrics, whether it’s a sad bastard country song or an ode to truck stop prostitutes.  I’m really liking what I’m hearing on this album and I can’t wait to hear more from this Dallas, TX singer. I can assure you, this album has earned a spot on my 2019 Top 50 Albums of the Year.  The album is out tomorrow (01/25/2019) on State Fair Records and is available everywhere good music is sold.

Favorite Tracks : Canyon, Trouble, Lot Lizard, Burn It, Keep, Love Songs, Last Call

Joshua Ray Walker – Wish You Were Here (2019)

  1. Canyon
  2. Trouble
  3. Working Girl
  4. Pale Hands
  5. Lot Lizard
  6. Burn It
  7. Keep
  8. Love Songs
  9. Fondly
  10. Last Call

Album Feature – The Steel Woods – Old News

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Jan 222019
 

By Joshua Wallace

The Steel Woods have released their second album and it’s a banger.  Clocking in at 68 minutes, this 15 track epic features 9 originals and 6 covers.  It feels like two projects in one but the entire package works. In my opinion, this record is a southern rock tour de force.  It pays respects to those that came before and moves the genre solidly into 2019. Let’s take a deeper dive into some of this huge record.

Right off the bat, The Steel Woods come out swinging with “All Of These Years”.  It’s a blazing southern rock track that will get you on your feet in your living room, the back of your truck or wherever you happen to be listening to the album.  That blazing solo lets you know what you’re in for real quick. The track “Blind Lover” goes into more bluesey southern rock territory, but still southern rock at its core.  Just like “All Of These Years”, this track features some killer guitar work. “Compared To A Soul” continues the bluesey southern rock trend. I dig the riffs on this one and it’s another solid track worth checking out.

The song “Anna Lee” switches and takes the band into almost bluegrass and country territory.  The acoustic guitars are just as blazing fast as the electric and this track really showcases this band’s depth and range.  If you want to see some more of the band’s range, look no further than their second Black Sabbath cover in “Changes”. It’s a slower track, but they nail it just like every other cover on this record.

Digging more into the covers, I really like the Wayne Mills cover “One Of These Days”.  The world can never get enough Wayne Mills and while I’m waiting for someone to record a worthy cover of “Last Honky Tonk”, this will suffice.  The band also does a good turn of Tom Petty’s “Southern Accents” and Townes Van Zandt’s “The Catfish Song”. However, if you want the grade A prime cut of the album, look no further than “Whipping Post”.  Friends, this song blew me away the first time I heard it live. Those guitars had to be smoking. Does the recorded version live up to the live cut? While I will admit, it doesn’t pack the same punch as hearing the band do it live, it does inspire some serious headbanging.

Ladies and gentlemen, The Steel Woods have arrived and are here to stay.  This is one mammoth and epic album that is sure to satisfy any southern rock or traditional country fan.  If you want some more coverage of The Steel Woods, I know for a fact that my buddy Gary Hayes attended both nights of their shows in Nashville, TN with Josh Card as the opening act.  He will have a post up on that very soon. We will also be covering The Steel Woods as a part of this year’s Tumbleweed Country Music Festival. It’s gonna be a good time. Old News is available everywhere good music is sold or streamed.  Get yourself a copy and prepare to have your face melted.

Favorite Tracks : All These Years, Blind Lover, Compared To A Soul, Anna Lee, One Of These Days, Whipping Post, Southern Accents

The Steel Woods – Old News (2019)

  1. All These Years
  2. Without You
  3. Changes (Black Sabbath Cover)
  4. Wherever You Are
  5. Blind Lover
  6. Compared To A Soul
  7. Old News
  8. Anna Lee
  9. Red River (The Fall Of Jimmy Sutherland)
  10. The Catfish Song (Townes Van Zandt Cover)
  11. Rock That Says My Name
  12. One Of These Days (Wayne Mills Cover)
  13. Are The Good Times Really Over (I Wish A Buck Was Still Silver) (Merle Haggard Cover)
  14. Whipping Post (Allman Brothers Cover)
  15. Southern Accents (Tom Petty Cover)

Album Feature – Alice Wallace – Into The Blue

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Jan 222019
 

By Joshua Wallace

Alice Wallace has released her fourth album Into The Blue and her first for Rebelle Road Records.  This record finds Alice embracing the sound of California country throughout. It helps her paint a landscape with songs like “Echo Canyon” and “Santa Ana Winds” that puts you right into California as you listen to this amazing record.

One of my favorite tracks is the western twangy tune of “Desert Rose”.  The song sounds like it’s straight out of a spaghetti western and the storytelling on this track is top notch.  Highly recommended if you check out this album. Another favorite is the atmospheric “Echo Canyon”. The music on this track evokes the vastness and loneliness of the canyon.  I love the whine of the pedal steel guitar on this one and it compliments Alice’s vocals very well. If you’re a fan of good yodeling, check this one out. Finally, I really dig the track “Top Of The World”.  Here, Alice takes the listener to the top of the world lyrically and sonically. She is able to really stretch out her vocal ability on this track and I dig it.

Whether you’re new to Alice Wallace or a long time fan, this is a good record to pick up.  I look forward to the ability to catch her live at some point, but until then, this will suffice.  If you’re lucky enough to be out west, be sure to check her out on one of her current tour dates. Into The Blue is available now wherever you can find good music.

Favorite Tracks : Santa Ana Winds, Desert Rose, Echo Canyon, Motorcycle Ride, Top Of The World

Alice Wallace – Into The Blue (2019)

  1. The Lonely Talking
  2. Santa Ana Winds
  3. Elephants
  4. The Blue
  5. Desert Rose
  6. When She Cries
  7. Echo Canyon
  8. The Same Old Song
  9. Motorcycle Ride
  10. Top Of The World
  11. For Califa