Album Feature – Ottoman Turks – Ottoman Turks

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Sep 132019
 

By Joshua Wallace

I first heard about this band through Joshua Ray Walker whose Wish You Were Here record is still in my heavy rotation after reviewing it back in January.  He is actually the lead guitarist of this country and rock n roll outfit called Ottoman Turks. The rest of this Dallas, TX band is rounded out by Nathan Wells on rhythm guitar and vocals, Paul Hinojo on drums and Billy Law on bass and vocals.  This is one record you’re going to want to go out of your way to check out, here is why.

The album kicks off with a mid tempo number called “Apathy”.  It features Joshua Ray Walker’s slide guitar through the track and it’s a funky mid tempo that is a mix of the fuzzy rock and country music you can expect from the rest of the album.  The next two tracks dig into the yin and yang of this album. “Snake Song” is a fuzzy punk influenced rocker. I really dig Joshua Ray Walker’s solo work on this one and the smooth bass groove that the track strips down to for the last verse.  On the other hand, “Glass Bottles” is a classic country drinking anthem. From it’s sing-along chorus to the twangy guitar work on this track. I dig it.

The track “Red” is a slow almost heavy blues number with growly vocals from Nathan Wells.  As the track kicks into full gear, it morphs into a stoner rock sound that just gets faster and heavier as it goes.  This is one of the heavier tracks on the album. “Beer & Women” brings back some country vibes to the proceedings while still keeping the twangy guitars distorted.  It mixes the two sides of this band quite well in a track that maybe somewhat still leans to country.

This band does a great job of blending their heavy rock influences and their country influences into one cohesive sound.  I can only imagine how crazy the energy at a live show gets and hope to see them live at some point in the future. If you want to check this album out, it is available everywhere you can stream music as of August 23rd, 2019 and I’m sure the band still has some physical copies at live shows.

Favorite Tracks : Apathy, Snake Song, Glass Bottles, Red, Beer & Women, Hands Tied, Mas Amigos

Ottoman Turks – Ottoman Turks (2019)

  1. Apathy
  2. Snake Song
  3. Glass Bottles
  4. My Dog
  5. Red
  6. I Find Myself More Lonesome Every Day
  7. O C P
  8. Can’t Promise Nothin’
  9. Beer & Women
  10. Hands Tied
  11. You’re Only Pretty When You’re Sad
  12. Mas Amigos

Album Feature – Zach Bryan – DeAnn

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Sep 062019
 

By Joshua Wallace

I discover new artists in a lot of different ways these days.  I first discovered Zach Bryan from a tweet from Parker McCollum. It read  : “Sitting at a bar in Nashville with my agent telling him about this Zach Bryan kid…. “fucking sign him… just trust me””.  That was a ringing endorsement if I ever saw one. So I looked him up. I didn’t find much. No website, no promotional Facebook page.  Just a personal Facebook, a Twitter account and some YouTube performance videos. Then I found this album DeAnn. It just came out on August 24th, 2019 but the numbers on Spotify are what got me.  His songs are climbing to over 100k listeners fast and as of this writing he’s got 41,759 monthly listeners. That is impressive for a Spotify account that didn’t even have music 2 weeks ago. So what is it about this album that is drawing people in? Let’s take a deeper dive and find out.

The first highlight of this album is “God Speed”.  It’s a song looking inward at Zach’s wants and needs from love, life and everything between.  It’s a great song that sends the message that no matter what you want in life, you’re moving at God’s speed and “Only God and my mama know what I need”.  Another favorite is “Doing Fine” which is a well written track where Zach laments about people he used to know and places he used to go. Songs like this live on the imagery and descriptions and Zach does a good job of painting a picture and taking you back. Whether it’s people he let down or good times he had, this song takes you there.

“Shivers Down Spines” is a great love song on this record.  This is one of the songs where Zach gets to showcase some of his range in both vocal ability and songwriting.  He can be intimate when the song calls for it. I also love the sudden stop at the end of this one as it’s done to a great affect with the song.  Another great love song on this record is “Moon In Oklahoma”. This is another track where the imagery shines. Zach’s lyrics paint a picture that takes you back to scenes from his past.

I could say something about every song on this record, but it’s worth it to seek this one out and listen.  It is raw, rough around the edges and straight up acoustic. Just a man and his guitar. Zach even kept the outtakes like the fit of laughter that ends Condemned.  Zach Bryan shows some skills here and while there is room for improvement, this is a very impressive record for a debut. I cannot wait to hear more from this young man.  He currently does not have much social media presence, or even a website, but you can find his music on Spotify, Amazon, iTunes and other digital services. I highly recommend seeking this record out.  It is available as of August 24th, 2019.        

Favorite Tracks : God Speed, Doing Fine, Shivers Down Spines, Moon In Oklahoma

Zach Bryan – DeAnn (2019)

  1. Flying Or Crying
  2. Hope Again
  3. God Speed
  4. Don’t Give Up On Me
  5. Doing Fine
  6. Letting Someone Go
  7. Shivers Down Spines
  8. Snow
  9. Man That’s Never Known You
  10. Moon In Oklahoma
  11. Condemned
  12. Sweet DeAnn

Album Feature – Paul Cauthen – Room 41

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Sep 052019
 

By Joshua Wallace

Paul Cauthen burst onto the scene with his 2016 debut My Gospel.  That album showcased an amazing baritone singer with incredible vibrato and a knack for laying down funky country tracks that would make Jerry Reed dance in his grave.  In 2018 he released the Have Mercy EP which reinforced the country funk sound with tracks like “Resignation”. Now in 2019, he is back with Room 41, a record that expands on the country funk sound that Cauthen is known for.

The album kicks off with “Holy Ghost Fire”, which is a funky track that really sets the stage for the rest of the record.  It’s a hot track with foot stompin’ beat that will get the body moving. I dig how the track builds till the fire electric guitar solo at the end.  Another hot one is “Cocaine Country Dancing”. That one just starts off funky and doesn’t let go. The riff that starts with the bass line and builds throughout the track is straight fire.  It’s a simple song that brings back memories of “Saddle” from My Gospel, and that’s a good thing.

“Slow Down” does just that and slows down the proceedings a bit.  This track focuses more on Cauthen’s vocals and his amazing vibrato.  I dig the use of the trippy sound effects throughout this track. It keeps the proceedings funky, even on this slower track.  Another favorite is the track “Big Velvet”. This track is Cauthen looking at all of the indulgent stuff he has done in the past and putting it on a character called Big Velvet that he morphs into when things get crazy.  The bass line on this track is one of the funkiest things I’ve heard this side of the 70’s and the groove is heavy and deep, just like Cauthen’s baritone vocals that almost stretch to bass notes on this track.

Another super funky track is “Freak”.  It’s a synth heavy track that pulls from R&B influences.  I know in the past, this hasn’t necessarily worked for other artists, but Cauthen and his production team make it work on this record.  It’s another track that revels in self indulgence and acknowledges that we’re all freaks in some way. Finally, “Give ‘Em Peace” takes things back to the subject of faith that Cauthen has explored in the past.  I really love the opening lines and how it’s a different feel from the rest of the track. It’s a funky gospel inspired number that slowly builds to a crescendo with an amazing solo.

This album is a great second LP from Cauthen that builds on the foundations he laid down on My Gospel.  Cauthen has found the right kind of groove to keep everyone moving. Whether you’re here for the funky bass lines, grooves that are fun to dance to or his amazing vibrato, Paul Cauthen brings the full package.  I highly recommend checking this one out tomorrow when it drops everywhere you can find good music. Paul Cauthen is about to hit the road supporting Randy Houser on his Magnolia Tour. I highly recommend checking out one of those shows if you can.

Favorite Tracks : Holy Ghost Fire, Cocaine Country Dancing, Slow Down, Big Velvet,  Freak, Give ‘Em Peace

Paul Cauthen – Room 41 (2019)

  1. Holy Ghost Fire
  2. Prayed For Rain
  3. Cocaine Country Dancing
  4. Slow Down
  5. Big Velvet
  6. Can’t Be Alone
  7. Freak
  8. Angel
  9. Give ‘Em Peace
  10. Lay Me Down

Album Feature – Jason Hawk Harris – Love & the Dark

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Aug 232019
 

By Joshua Wallace

Love & the Dark is the debut album from Los Angeles based country singer Jason Hawk Harris.  This is his first full length solo record and also his first release on Bloodshot Records. This album has some amazing depth for a debut and there is some good sad country music to be had here.  Harris clearly takes some of his songwriting inspiration from the likes of Jason Isbell as he pulls at the heart strings in a similar manner.

Jason tackles themes ranging from death, alcoholism, success and failure, religion and more.  “Cussing at the Light” was one of the first tracks released from this album. It’s a toe tapper that tackles alcoholism.  In this song, Jason laments medicating a recent heartbreak. I really dig the piano throughout the track, it adds another layer to this great track. “Giving In” is another song about substance abuse and dealing with all the remorse that comes with it.  The line “I wish that where I am is where I’ve been” will stick with you. “Phantom Limb” strips things back to just Jason and a guitar to start. This is an amazingly written song about how the death of a loved one can affect you. I love how the sparse instrumentation ebbs and flows to a really awesome finale that must be heard.

“I’m Afraid” is one of the more rocking tracks on the album and draws from a more punk rock sound.  It tackles Jason’s experiences with religion throughout his life. I love the interplay between the piano and the guitar for the solo on this track.  “Grandfather” is a song about coping with the loss of loved ones and the feelings that come with that. The instrumental to this track is unique and somewhat spacey.  It certainly adds another layer to this album which keeps peeling back more and more as you go through it.

Jason Hawk Harris has impressed me with this debut released.  I was already a fan with the single “Cussing at the Light”, but this entire album is great.  I hope I’m able to see him live at some point in the near future. Love & the Dark is out Friday August 23rd, 2019 everywhere you can find good music on Bloodshot Records.

https://jasonhawkharris.com/

Favorite Tracks : Cussing at the Light, Giving In, Phantom Limb, Grandfather

Jason Hawk Harris – Love & the Dark (2019)

  1. The Smoke and the Stars
  2. Cussing at the Light
  3. Confused
  4. Giving In
  5. Phantom Limb
  6. I’m Afraid
  7. Blessed Interruption
  8. Red Room Blues
  9. Grandfather

Album Feature – Mike and The Moonpies – Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold

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Aug 052019
 

By Joshua Wallace

This album came out of nowhere.  I was expecting a Mike and The Moonpies album this year, but not any time soon, especially not the same weekend as a big release from Tyler Childers.  This album is simply amazing. From start to finish, there is not a bad track here.  Mike and The Moonpies have been around for over a decade now and while last year’s Steak Night At The Prairie Rose was a good album, this is a country masterpiece.  This eight song album was recorded in London’s Abbey Road Studios with help from the London Symphony Orchestra. Yes you read that right, and yes it’s awesome. The result is a classic album in the style of the 60’s and 70’s countrypolitan hits.

The album kicks off with a heavy dose of the orchestra right in the first track.  “Cheap Silver” is perhaps the best use of the orchestra in the whole album. The band blends in well and the production creates an amazingly layered track with cool vibes that anyone will enjoy.  Listen to this one with headphones.  “You Look Good In Neon” takes us back to the honky tonks and I love the lyrical turns here. It’s a track about that girl that is still there at closing time and you’re trying to decide if she’s as hot as she looks underneath the neon lights.  That is followed by a great outlaw country track in “Danger” which features a guest vocalist spot by Shooter Jennings. This track probably makes the least use of the strings on this album and it sounds like one that could be a favorite in live sets.

I really dig the Sinatra vibes on the “Young In Love” cover and Mike Harmeier gets to test his crooning chops on this one.  “If You Want A Fool Around” is a killer Texas style honky tonk tune with a great double entendre for a title. They make a nice use of that in the phrasings in the song too.  Finally, my personal favorite track is “Fast As Lightning”. I can’t be the only one that hears elements of Willie Nelson’s “Bloody Mary Morning” here. The back-beat especially brings back good memories of that track.  I’m sure it’s going to be a dance hall classic for Mike and The Moonpies for many years.

This is one of those albums that surprises you with how good it is.  You wouldn’t think Texas honky tonk band and the London Symphony Orchestra would work well together, but it does. And boy does it.  8 tracks with 2 covers and all the good stuff. There’s variety here from Sinatra inspired crooning to outlaw country to Texas honky tonk.  You’ll find something to like here. If you have never been a fan of Mike and The Moonpies before, this is a good album to jump in on. Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold was surprise released Friday August 2nd and you can hear it anywhere you listen to good music.

Favorite Tracks : Cheap Silver, You Look Good In Neon, Danger, Young In Love, If You Want A Fool Around, Fast As Lightning

Mike and The Moonpies – Cheap Silver and Solid Country Gold (2019)

  1. Cheap Silver
  2. You Look Good In Neon
  3. Danger
  4. Young In Love
  5. Miss Fortune
  6. If You Want A Fool Around
  7. Fast As Lightning
  8. London Homesick Blues

Album Feature – Tyler Childers – Country Squire

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Aug 022019
 

By Joshua Wallace

Tyler Childers is back with the much anticipated follow-up to his Hickman Hollar Records debut release titled Purgatory.  This time around, Country Squire features 9 tracks that have all been road tested. Fans of Tyler Childers live should be very familiar with these songs.  Some of these tracks can even be traced back to live shows from before Purgatory was released. That is one thing I love about seeing Tyler Childers live, he doesn’t stick to songs on a record.  Whether you prefer the live version or the album version is a debate for the ages, I’m here to tell you what to expect with this record.

Country Squire picks up right where Purgatory left off.  If you liked that record, you’re almost guaranteed to like Country Squire.  The opening track “Country Squire” quickly puts any worries you had about this record to rest.  It’s pure grade A solid gold country. I love the honky tonk piano that eventually settles into the mix here.  One track that was highly anticipated on this record is “Bus Route”. It’s a fan favorite live and it does not disappoint here.  I love the story about young love told on this song and the obstacles it often finds.

Another highlight is “Creeker”.  You can feel the Sturgill influence in this one as it takes a psychedelic bend in the instrumental.  This track is about a country boy trapped in a city and how he longs to get back to the country. A fun track on the record is “Ever Lovin’ Hand”.  It’s about the ways a man might relieve himself spending long nights on the road. It’s a song about masturbation, but it’s more tasteful than anything Wheeler Walker Jr. did.  Finally, on the completely opposite end of the spectrum, “All Your’n” was released as one of the albums singles. This song was a fan favorite live leading up to the release. The full album version does not disappoint.  It’s a sweet love song and Tyler’s songwriting is strong on this one.

There isn’t really a bad track on this album.  Sure, the early release track “House Fire” can get a bit repetitive, but it’s still a fun listen and in the context of the entire record, it’s a good one.  If you are a fan of real, raw country music and liked either Sturgill Simpson’s more country records or were already a fan of 2017’s Purgatory, this record is for you.  Keep an eye on Gary Hayes Country, we will likely have some live coverage of Tyler during this run supporting Country Squire. The album is available everywhere as of August 2nd, 2018.

Favorite Tracks : Country Squire, Bus Route, Creeker, Ever Lovin’ Hand, All Your’n

Tyler Childers – Country Squire (2019)

  1. Country Squire
  2. Bus Route
  3. Creeker
  4. Gemini
  5. House Fire
  6. Ever Lovin’ Hand
  7. Piece Of Mind
  8. All Your’n
  9. Matthew

Album Feature – Jim Lauderdale – From Another World

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Jun 282019
 

By Joshua Wallace

Jim Lauderdale has released From Another World which is the follow up to 2018’s excellent Time Flies album.  Jim has been on a run of great albums as of late and From Another World is no different. Inside you’ll find some good country, good songwriting and a great album.

The track “The Secrets Of The Pyramids” is a somewhat psychedelic country love song that compares the mysteries of the pyramids to the mysteries of the heart.  It’s a great example of the good songwriting you find throughout Lauderdale’s career. “Like People From Another World” keeps that theme and talks about two lovers as if they’re from different worlds, and that’s good.

“For Keeps” is a great ballad on this album.  I love the instrumental with the piano and pedal steel.  There is also a nice classical guitar solo on this one. “I’ll Forgive You If You Don’t” kicks off with some great pedal steel work for this heartbreak love song.  This entire record has some great pedal steel work to dig into. Finally, “Are You Trying To Make A Song Out Of Us?” picks up the tempo for the album closer. The song compares a couple in love with all of the interconnected parts of a song that work together.  I love the lines “You can play my heart like it’s your guitar / Tune me up and let it rock and don’t you ever stop”. Like the rest of the album, it all just works to create a great track and a great overall experience.

From Another World is another gem in the late career of Jim Lauderdale.  I highly recommend this record if you’re a fan of good country. Lots of great pedal steel work throughout the album and great songwriting too.  From Another World is out everywhere you can find good music as of June 21st, 2019.  

Favorite Tracks : The Secrets Of The Pyramids, Like People From Another World, For Keeps, I’ll Forgive You If You Don’t, Are You Trying To Make A Song Out Of Us?

Jim Lauderdale – From Another World (2019)

  1. Some Horses Run Free
  2. When You Can’t Have What Your Heart Wants
  3. The Secrets Of The Pyramids
  4. Like People From Another World
  5. One Away
  6. Listen
  7. For Keeps
  8. Slow Turn In The Road
  9. I’ll Forgive You If You Don’t
  10. Graceland Horses
  11. Ever Living Loving Day
  12. Are You Trying To Make A Song Out Of Us?

Album Feature – Aaron Watson – Red Bandana

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Jun 272019
 

By Joshua Wallace

Red Bandana is Aaron Watson’s first studio LP since 2017’s Vaquero.  This album picks up where Vaquero left off and is 20 tracks deep with good country music.  Aaron Watson continues to produce good stuff and Red Bandana is looking like it will be high on my year end album list.  When an album has 20 songs, it often means there can be a few duds in the bunch, but that is not the case here.

“Ghost Of Guy Clark” kicks things off with an nontraditional song that is more of a recitation.  Don’t let that fool you, this song will still get your blood pumping and get you excited about the rest of the album to come.  If that track gets your blood pumping, “Dark Horse” takes hold of that adrenaline and doesn’t let go. I love the banjo riff that opens this upbeat track that almost sees Aaron rapping through the verses, but it’s done in a way that just fits this track.  It reminds me a bit of “Freight Train” from The Underdog, and it should be a similar hit for Watson.

Switching things up a bit, “Legends” is a great song about country music heroes and legends gone by.  It’s a tasteful callback to those old songs that just never die. “Am I Amarillo” is a very George Strait inspired love song about possibly moving on and trying to make that decision.  “Live Or Die Trying” is another favorite that is somewhat in the same vein as “Dark Horse”. It’s a song about never giving up until you’ve achieved your dreams which is something Aaron Watson has done his entire career.

“Riding With Red” is a tearjerker about an old cowboy that has passed but Aaron looks up to highly in this song.  It’s an amazing example of the great songwriting you find throughout this album. “Home Sweet Home” is another great ballad on this album.  I love the line “My illusion’s delusion has come to conclusion / This world’s not what it seems”. Finally, “You On My Hands” is a smooth country love song like only Aaron Watson can do these days.  He’s written a few good ones over the years and this is another.

This album is a long one, clocking in at 69 minutes, but it’s full of good tunes and none of it disappoints.  I saw Aaron Watson back on his tour for Vaquero back in 2017 and it may be time to catch a show again with all of these new songs.  Red Bandana is available everywhere you can find good music as of June 21st, 2019.

Favorite Tracks : Ghost Of Guy Clark, Dark Horse, Legends, Am I Amarillo, Live Or Die Trying, Riding With Red, Home Sweet Home, Shake A Heartache

Aaron Watson – Red Bandana (2019)

  1. Ghost Of Guy Clark
  2. El Comienzo del Viaje
  3. Dark Horse
  4. Heartstrings
  5. Old Friend
  6. Kiss That Girl Goodbye
  7. Country Radio
  8. Legends
  9. Am I Amarillo
  10. Blood Brothers
  11. Live Or Die Trying
  12. Riding With Red
  13. Red Bandana
  14. Trying Like The Devil
  15. Home Sweet Home
  16. Burn Em Down
  17. Shake A Heartache
  18. You On My Hands
  19. To Be The Moon
  20. 58

Album Feature – Willie Nelson – Ride Me Back Home

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Jun 262019
 

By Joshua Wallace

Ride Me Back Home is the 69th studio album for Willie Nelson.  This album completes the “mortality trilogy” which started with God’s Problem Child in 2017 and also included Last Man Standing in 2018.  This is overall a more mellow record though there are still a few faster tracks here. Most of the tracks on this album were written by Buddy Cannon and Willie Nelson, but there are covers here from Guy Clark, Billy Joel and Mac Davis.  It’s another great album in a series of albums in the past couple of decades that proves again and again that Willie still has it.

The album kicks off with the cowboy tune “Ride Me Back Home”.  It’s a western leaning tune that is a cowboy’s bittersweet ode to his horse and one of the many great examples of good songwriting on this album.  “Come On Time” picks up the pace a bit on a track that heavily features Mickey Raphael’s harmonica. It’s almost lamenting and celebrating the passage of time at the same time.  It’s one of my favorites on this record.

“Stay Away From Lonely Places” is a more mellow tune that kicks off with some nice piano work.  It features more of the smooth jazzy sound that Willie has developed over the years. It urges the listener to “stay away from lonely places, for a while”.  “Nobody’s Listening” is another tearjerker about it can feel like no one is listening when life is at its worst. The track asks “But what good is the song that he has to sing / When nobody’s listening?” and then adds  “But I know why he has to try to sing / ‘Cause he believes that somebody’s listening” so there is always hope that someone is listening in the end.  Finally, “It’s Hard To Be Humble” is a great cover of the Mac Davis original and features Willie’s sons Lukas and Micah on the track also. It’s a great addition and almost a throwback to the great Willie and The Boys : Willie’s Stash Vol. 2 LP.

Willie Nelson continues to release great albums later in his life and it doesn’t look like he’s going to slow down any time soon.  Ride Me Back Home is a great conclusion to the “mortality trilogy” of albums. It will be interesting to see what is next for Willie as he usually follow up these releases with a covers album in the same year.  Ride Me Back Home is available everywhere you can find good music as of June 21st, 2019.

Favorite Tracks : Ride Me Back Home, Come On Time, Stay Away From Lonely Places, Nobody’s Listening, It’s Hard To Be Humble

Willie Nelson – Ride Me Back Home (2019)

  1. Ride Me Back Home
  2. Come On Time
  3. My Favorite Picture Of You
  4. Seven Year Itch
  5. Immigrant Eyes
  6. Stay Away From Lonely Places
  7. Just The Way You Are
  8. One More Song To Write
  9. Nobody’s Listening
  10. It’s Hard To Be Humble with Lukas Nelson and Micah Nelson
  11. Maybe I Should’ve Been Listening

Album Feature – Matt Woods – Natural Disasters

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Jun 252019
 

By Joshua Wallace


Matt Woods is back with his new album titled Natural Disasters.  It is his first release since 2016’s How To Survive. This album is full of good driving rock n roll, smooth country ballads and just good Americana.  Woods has developed his signature style over the years and Natural Disasters is one of his best releases to date.

The album kicks off with “Blue-Eyed Wanderer” which is a fun country rock track that also serves as the album’s lead single.  It really sets the vibe for the rest of the record.  If you’re looking for hard driving rock n roll, look no further than “The Dream”. It’s a song about a favorite car from days gone by and it’s something everyone can relate to.  Songs like “My Southern Heart” take the album into more ballad territory where Matt Woods gets to do the kind of tearjerker ballads he’s known for. The range of Wood’s songwriting is really strong on this album as he writes both great rock tracks and great ballads.

The track “Drive-Thru Town” is another slower number about those small American towns you drive through in America.  The kind of town where if you blink as you go through it you might miss it. It’s another great example of great songwriting on this album. “Jailbird Song” picks up the tempo in a good track about life in a jail.  It’s another great example of some of the killer riffs and nice solo work that is present throughout this album on the more rocking tracks. Finally, the album closes with the ballad “Corner Of The World”. It’s a track about finding your own corner of the world

Matt Woods continues to release amazing records and Natural Disasters is no different.  He’s constantly touring and you can find out where he will be next and when he will be near you at his website.  Natural Disasters is available everywhere on June 28th, 2019.

Favorite Tracks : Blue-Eyed Wanderer, The Dream, Drive-Thru Town, My Southern Heart, Hey, Heartbreaker, Jailbird Song, Corner Of The World

Matt Woods – Natural Disasters (2019)

  1. Blue-Eyed Wanderer
  2. The Dream
  3. Drive-Thru Town
  4. My Southern Heart
  5. Hey, Heartbreaker
  6. Cold Civil War
  7. Jailbird Song
  8. The Devil Drinks Scotch
  9. Sitcoms
  10. Corner Of The World

Album Feature – Chris Robinson Brotherhood – Servants Of the Sun

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Jun 202019
 

By Joshua Wallace

If you like your southern rock a little on the psychedelic side, then Chris Robinson Brotherhood is a band for you. Servants Of The Sun is the band’s first full length studio album following 2017’s Barefoot In The Head. As a side note, this is the band’s last album with long time keyboardist Adam MacDougall.  He left the band after it’s recording. This album in general is upbeat, funky and it feels like a good road trip record.

The record kicks off with “Some Earthly Delights” which features a nice keyboard riff in the opening moments.  It really sets the tone and lets you know what you’re in for here. I also dig “Venus In Chrome” which is another upbeat track that features some nice playing.  The solo that starts about 4 minutes in is a great example of the jamming this band can do. One of the early singles was the catchy “Comin’ Round The Mountain” and it’s the perfect road trip tune.  Finally, I really dig the slower number “Dice Game”. This track has great guitar work and songwriting. It’s a nice change of pace from the rest of the album.

I highly recommend checking out Servants Of The Sun if you’re into trippy southern rock.  This album has everything you look for in a good jam band record. I hope to be able to see some of these tracks live in the future.  Servants Of The Sun is out everywhere as of June 14th, 2019.

Favorite Tracks : Some Earthly Delights, Venus In Chrome, Comin’ Round The Mountain, Dice Game, A Smiling Epitaph

Chris Robinson Brotherhood – Servants Of the Sun (2019)

  1. Some Earthly Delights
  2. Let It Fall
  3. Rare Birds
  4. Venus In Chrome
  5. Stars Fell On California
  6. Comin’ Round The Mountain
  7. The Chauffeur’s Daughter
  8. Dice Game
  9. Madder Rose Interlude
  10. A Smiling Epitaph

Album Feature – Lukas Nelson & The Promise Of The Real – Turn Off The News (Build A Garden)

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Jun 172019
 

By Joshua Wallace

Lukas Nelson & The Promise Of The Real are back with their 5th studio LP Turn Off The News (Build A Garden).  It is the follow up to their 2017 self titled album. This new record finds the band continuing to zero in on their sound.  It focuses more on their rock influences with sounds that range from 70’s California rock to folk to blues and everything in between.  It’s a great record with some good deep cuts which we will dig into.

The album kicks off with “Bad Case” which is immediately reminiscent of early Tom Petty.  It sets the vibe for the rest of the album nicely. Another favorite which also echoes Tom Petty is “Where Does Love Go”.  This track falls on the more mellow side of 70’s acoustic folk rock with the driving rhythm often associated with Petty. The track “Save A Little Heartache” is a little more on the funkier side with The Promise Of The Real hitting on some grooves that will have you moving wherever you find yourself listening to this one.

The more mellow track “Mystery” features a guest appearance by Willie Nelson picking on the ever recognizable Trigger throughout the track.  This isn’t the only guest appearance on the album either. The record features guest vocals by the likes of Shooter Jennings, Sheryl Crow, Margo Price and Kesha on the album.  Another favorite is the slower rocker “Out In LA”. It’s a groovy number with roots in the blues and a killer bass line. “Something Real” brings us back to full on rock territory and this is one of the louder tracks on the album.  It’s sure to be a fixture at live shows. Finally, I really dig the acoustic version of the title track. I feel like it’s an improvement over the full band version that was presented as a single. The song works better as a mellow folk track.

Turn Off The News (Build A Garden) is a high mark for Lukas Nelson and The Promise Of The Real.  The album focuses on their 70’s rock influences while still keeping the funky, bluesey and folk vibes of their earlier work.  This band is building a very eclectic sound and I can’t wait to see what is next for them. Turn Off The News (Build A Garden) is available everywhere as of June 14th, 2019.

Favorite Tracks : Bad Case, Where Does Love Go, Save A Little Heartache, Mystery, Out In LA, Something Real

Lukas Nelson & The Promise Of The Real – Turn Off The News (Build A Garden) (2019)

  1. Bad Case
  2. Turn Off The News (Build A Garden)
  3. Where Does Love Go
  4. Save A Little Heartache
  5. Lotta Fun
  6. Civilized Hell
  7. Mystery
  8. Simple Life
  9. Out in LA
  10. Something Real
  11. Stars Made Of You
  12. Turn Off The News (Build A Garden) – Acoustic
  13. Consider It Heaven

Album Feature – Ian Noe – Between The Country

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May 242019
 

By Joshua Wallace

I first became aware of Ian Noe when I saw him open for Colter Wall in Jacksonville, FL back in 2017.  I compared him to a young Bob Dylan then and was amazed at how his songwriting can draw you in. He crafts stories and writes about subjects with a hint of gritty realism that no one else is doing right now.  That still holds true on his debut LP Between The Country. Seriously people, this record gives me the same feels that records like Sturgill Simpson’s Hightop Mountain, Colter Wall’s self titled LP and Tyler Childer’s Purgatory have in the past. Let’s take a deeper look at some of my favorite tracks on this album.

“Irene (Ravin’ Bomb)” grabs you from the opening chords.  It’s a folksy number about the life a junkie and while it’s kind of sad in a way, the title character tries to keep a happy outlook on things.  It’s an example of the kind of songwriting you can expect throughout the record. “Junk Town” is a bittersweet tune about a man and his wife making it with what they have in a “junk town”.  They just seem to be passing time till they pass on to something better. It’s a story that is too common about people living in the same place and waiting for death to bring something different or something better.  “Letter To Madeline” is a great outlaw folk tune about a bank robber who is recounting his tale while longing for his Madeline. It’s an amazing tune that let’s Ian’s storytelling shine. This is probably my favorite track on the album.

“That Kind Of Life” celebrates the odd balls.  Whether it’s people ready to help at the drop of a dime or quiet people who get high and don’t have a care in the world, it celebrates people who live the kind of life that nobody lives anymore.  Another favorite, “If Today Doesn’t Do Me In” has been a favorite of mine ever since I heard it live. It’s a good slice of life story song about several characters such as a hitchhiker or a gas station clerk who are facing pivotal moments in their lives.  Finally, everyone who has heard Ian Noe has likely heard of “Meth Head”. It’s one of his more popular numbers that goes into darker folk territory about a meth addict. The song represents the realism that Ian brings to each of his songs and that hits very hard with anyone who listens to this track for the first or hundredth time.

Ian Noe is a once in a lifetime talent as a singer / songwriter.  While many are out there claiming to be outlaws or such, Ian’s music is real and gritty and deeper than most any outlaw country you can find.  His lyrics alone are enough to capture a room full of rowdy concert goers, but his sound is perfect for the 60’s psychedelic folk throwback that Dave Cobb has brought to Between The Country.  Think of this record as a modern take on a mix of 60’s Dylan, Townes Van Zandt and Neil Young. You will hear elements of all three at different points throughout this album. I can’t wait to hear what is next for Ian Noe.  Between The Country is out everywhere on May 31st, 2019. You can catch him in Nashville at The Basement on June 1st and check out his website to see everywhere you can catch him live. I highly recommend it.

Favorite Tracks : Irene (Ravin’ Bomb), Junk Town, Letter To Madeline, That Kind Of Life, If Today Doesn’t Do Me In, Meth Head

Ian Noe – Between The Country (2019)

  1. Irene (Ravin’ Bomb)
  2. Barbara’s Song
  3. Junk Town
  4. Letter To Madeline
  5. Loving You
  6. That Kind Of Life
  7. Dead On The River (Rolling Down)
  8. If Today Doesn’t Do Me In
  9. Meth Head
  10. Between The Country

Album Feature – Justin Townes Earle – The Saint Of Lost Causes

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May 242019
 

By Joshua Wallace

Justin Townes Earle is back with his new LP The Saint Of Lost Causes.  It’s his first release since 2017’s Kid’s In The Street and eighth full length LP overall.  With his eighth record, Justin Townes Earle has honed in on his sound which is a mix of country, blues and folk.  There’s always a bit of that classic rock n roll sound present on his records as well.

The album kicks off with the title track and the first thing you notice is that bass line.  It’s smooth and serves as a backdrop to this track which sounds like it belongs in the smallest blues dive bar you can picture.  I love the guitar solo and how it plays with the atmospheric riffing done across the rest of the track. Another favorite is the more rockin’ blues number “Flint City Shake It”.  Flint, MI is used in songs a lot, but not quite like this. This rockabilly track references the cities troubles with GMC, but paints the people of the town as too tough to give up.

Another great track is the honky tonk number “Pacific Northwestern Blues”.  This is a traveling tune which features the great pedal steel work you can hear throughout this album.  The murder ballad “Appalachian Nightmare” is one of my favorite songs on this album. Justin writes good story songs and this one is one of his best.  Finally, another great testament to the song writing skills of Justin Townes Earle is the track “Ahi Esta Mi Nina”. This is a beautiful one sided conversation between a father and his daughter.  Both this and “Appalachian Nightmare” are new Justin Townes Earle favorites for me.

I highly recommend giving this record a listen.  It’s his strongest effort since 2012’s Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now.  It doesn’t quite hit the highs of Harlem River Blues, but there are plenty of highs here and no real lows.  Justin’s incredible knack for storytelling through song comes through here with a couple of his best. The Saint Of Lost Causes is out everywhere you can find good music on New West Records.  Check out Justin’s website for a full list of touring dates and go to a show.

Favorite Tracks : The Saint Of Lost Causes, Flint City Shake It, Pacific Northwestern Blues, Appalachian Nightmare, Ahi Esta Mi Nina

Justin Townes Earle – The Saint Of Lost Causes (2019)

  1. The Saint Of Lost Causes
  2. Ain’t Got No Money
  3. Mornings In Memphis
  4. Don’t Drink The Water
  5. Frightened By The Sound
  6. Flint City Shake It
  7. Over Alameda
  8. Pacific Northwestern Blues
  9. Appalachian Nightmare
  10. Say Baby
  11. Ahi Esta Mi Nina
  12. Talking To Myself

Album Feature – Charlie Marie – Charlie Marie

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May 212019
 

By Joshua Wallace

A good EP’s purpose is to make the wait for a full length album a little bit easier.  Whether it’s an introductory EP or something to tide fans over between albums number 2 and 3, a good EP can carry some good stuff and should never be overlooked.  Charlie Marie’s second self titled EP feels more like a reboot as this features a fuller, more traditional honky tonk sound than her first 2015 self titled EP. I really dig this sound and can’t wait for more.

The EP kicks off with “Rhinestones”.  It’s thick with pedal steel from Andy Gibson who plays on this record.  This track feels like something that would get dance floors moving.  It is meant to introduce you Charlie Marie and tell you what to expect from this young singer going forward. Another favorite is the stand out “Countryside”.  I love the riff that opens this track and the road trip vibe that carries throughout. This is good stuff. Finally, the track “Shot In The Dark” slows things down a bit. This waltz is the best vocal showcase on the album.

This is a good EP.  It really sells you on Charlie Marie as a traditional honky tonk country singer.  This EP may only be 5 tracks, but these 5 tracks let Charlie Marie showcase every aspect of a sound that is well defined by the end of this.  I for one am looking forward to hearing more of Charlie Marie. You can check out her website here and the self titled EP is out everywhere as of May 3rd 2019.

Favorite Tracks : Rhinestones, Countryside, Shot In The Dark,

Charlie Marie – Charlie Marie (2019)

  1. Rhinestones
  2. Rodeo
  3. Countryside
  4. Shot In The Dark
  5. Playboy

Album Feature – Lucette – Deluxe Hotel Room

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May 172019
 

By Joshua Wallace

You might remember Lucette’s 2014 Dave Cobb produced album titled Black Is The Colour.  It had a big rootsy vibe and it seemed like she was ready to set the Americana world on fire.  Fast forward five years later and we have the follow up release called Deluxe Hotel Room. This album is produced by Sturgill Simpson and it sounds nothing like the previous record.  Instead of a rootsy vibe, Lucette goes for a moody, synth pop vibe. It has the psychedelic flare Simpson is known for with the help of some well placed synthesizers and saxophones. I dig the sound she’s going after on this album, as it is something new for both herself and Sturgill as a producer.

The title track “Deluxe Hotel Room” starts us off with a somber piano backing Lucette before evolving into a psychedelic crescendo.  It’s a mellow intro into the album and I dig it. “Out Of The Rain” is a ballad with the backing track being a simple drum beat and synth.  Then you have that sax solo come in and it takes this slow moody track into another space. “Full Moon Town” picks up the pace a bit, but the track is still drums and synth with some psychedelic flare here and there.

“Angel” helps pick the proceedings up a bit with an upbeat rhythm.  It’s a welcome change though it’s still the same drum and synth sound that is throughout the album.  The sax ads a bit of texture to “Fly Me To Heaven” as it helps carry the tune throughout the song. “Talk To Myself” is a standout from the second half of the album.  It uses the drum and bass with synth approach to the best effect on the album in my opinion. You can really hear Sturgill’s influences on this track as it sounds like something that would have fit on one of his more psychedelic records.

Lucette has transformed her sound for Deluxe Hotel Room from a rootsy Americana powerhouse to a moody drum and bass synth pop affair.  You can hear Sturgill’s influence with the use of the sax and psychedelic sound textures throughout the album, but it doesn’t really sound like something you would expect to hear from Sturgill Simpson.  I still recommend giving it a listen as it’s some new and unexpected sounds from both Lucette and Sturgill. Deluxe Hotel Room is out everywhere on May 17th, 2019.

Favorite Tracks : Out Of The Rain, Full Moon Town, Angel, Fly To Heaven, Talk To Myself

Lucette – Deluxe Hotel Room (2019)

  1. Deluxe Hotel Room
  2. Out Of The Rain
  3. Full Moon Town
  4. Angel
  5. Fly To Heaven
  6. California
  7. Crazy Bird
  8. Talk To Myself
  9. Lover Don’t Give Up On Me

Album Feature – Orville Peck – Pony

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May 132019
 

By Joshua Wallace

Every once in a while a new artist comes by that has a unique style that catches your eye and makes you pay attention.  Orville Peck is just such an artist. His music is like a cross between indie rock and traditional country put through a spaghetti western filter.  If that isn’t enough to get your attention, wait until you hear his voice. He comes across deep and rich, but then there are moments he can hit higher octaves flawlessly.  I really dig the sound he has created with this record.

The album kicks off with “Dead Of Night”.  The mix of twangy guitar and Peck’s deep brooding vocals help set the tone for the record.  Then, you get to the chorus and the higher notes provide a stark contrast to the deeper tones set throughout the track.  I really dig the vibe that is set here. Another favorite is “Turn To Hate”. You start to get the indie rock vibe with this track.  It still has the twangy western tinged guitar that is present throughout the album, but these sounds help provide a different tone than the classic country leaning tracks.

I also dig “Roses Are Falling” which takes the album’s sound back to the classic 50’s country ballads.  It matches perfectly with the next tune “Take You Back (The Iron Hoof Cattle Call)” which starts with a lonesome whistle before going into a western sounding, Johnny Cash inspired back beat.  Then, near the end, you have the ballad of the record, “Nothing Fades Like The Night”.  Here, Orville Peck gets to stretch out his vocal chops even more.  I like that this record has a variety of sounds yet keeps everything sounding like it belongs.  Many artists fail to do when they explore different sounds on one album.  There needs to be something that ties it all together and Peck does that with skill.

This is an amazing achievement for a debut record.  It takes a wide range of influences and sounds and manages to tie it all together in one nice package.  I look forward to hopefully seeing Orville Peck live one day and hearing how his sound translates onto the stage.  You can check out his website for tour dates and his album is out everywhere on Sub Pop Records as of March 22nd, 2019.

Favorite Tracks : Dead Of Night, Turn To Hate, Buffalo Run, Roses Are Falling, Take You Back (The Iron Hoof Cattle Call), Nothing Fades Like The Night

Orville Peck – Pony (2019)

  1. Dead Of Night
  2. Winds Change
  3. Turn To Hate
  4. Buffalo Run
  5. Queen Of The Rodeo
  6. Kansas (Remembers Me Now)
  7. Old River
  8. Big Sky
  9. Roses Are Falling
  10. Take You Back (The Iron Hoof Cattle Call)
  11. Hope To Die
  12. Nothing Fades Like The Light

Album Feature – Jericho Woods – One Perfect Sound

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May 032019
 

By Joshua Wallace

Jericho Woods is back with their first album since 2015’s Same Ol’ Dirt LP.  The band has released a self titled EP since then, but this new 2019 album finds the band with some new faces.  They added Anna Blanton on fiddle from Colter Wall’s Speedy Creek Band, guitar player Aaryn Martin and drummer Will Johnston.  The band still focuses around founding cousins Josh Mitcham and Paul Priest, but this album presents a fuller and more varied sound than I have heard out of this band in the past.

I love the first track “Wrong Thing Right Reason” as it’s a typical weekender anthem for the blue collar crowd, but it’s amped up.  I dig the guitar solo on this one. On the other end of the spectrum, we have the ballad “Love The Way You Love Me” which reminds me of something you’d hear from an earlier Zac Brown record.  I love the fiddle work that is driving this track. It’s a good one.

Changing up the pace again, we have “Wrong So Gone” which leans heavily on pedal steel.  It’s a smooth acoustic ballad about missing the ones you love. Finally, the album’s title track “One Perfect Sound” is another ballad, but it brings the album to a close perfectly.  It’s a song for all of the artists who are searching for that one hit, that one perfect sound and what a life on the road does to those who seek it. I really dig this closing track and feel like they have found the sound they were after.

Jericho Woods have released their best record yet with One Perfect Sound.  The band is firing on all cylinders and I can’t wait to hear what is next. Jericho Woods is constantly on the road and you can find out where they will be next here.  One Perfect Sound is out everywhere you can find good music on May 3rd, 2019 on Skiddco Records..

Favorite Tracks : Wrong Thing Right Reason, Love The Way You Love Me, Wrong So Gone, One Perfect Sound

Jericho Woods – One Perfect Sound (2019)

  1. Wrong Thing Right Reason
  2. Firefly
  3. Hangover Town
  4. Love The Way You Love Me
  5. Song Like This
  6. Monday Morning Cigarette
  7. Wrong So Gone
  8. Miss Divine
  9. Tennessee
  10. One Perfect Sound

Album Feature – Nicholas Mudd – Nicholas Mudd

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Apr 182019
 

By Joshua Wallace

Nicholas Mudd has released his self titled debut record.  The Los Angeles, CA based country singer has released one hell of a debut record here.  This record is country through and through. It hits all you’d expect from a good country record too.  It is very much in the same vein as artists like Colter Wall and Paul Cauthen with just the right mix of folksy, country and western influences.

The album sets things off right with “Come With Me Tonight”.  A faster track that gets you up and moving with it’s shuffle beat and pedal steel guitar.  It’s a good start that gives you hope for the rest of the record. By the time you get to the third track, “Spinning Around”, you know you’ve found a gem.  This is a slow waltz number in a time when sad songs and waltzes still ain’t selling. It’s a song about being tired of spinning around this world without your loved one who might be long gone.

Another favorite is “Sit Right Here”.  This could be considered the drinking song of the record.  It’s another fun track like the opener and would make for a great dance tune at live shows.  Finally, “Sailing Song” closes out the album with a story song about a sailor and his travels around the world.  It gives you a chance to see the depth in this artist’s song writing to close out the record. Matt Pynn does an amazing job on pedal steel throughout this album and his effort is a standout performance in the band presented here.

Nicholas Mudd is impressive in his debut.  He displays excellent songwriting skills and he comes off as a more seasoned artist instead of a debut.  I hope Mudd can make it to the east coast at some point as I would love to see him live. His name will most certainly get out there more attached to a record like this. Nicholas Mudd’s ST debut LP is available everywhere as of April 12th, 2019.

Favorite Tracks : Come With Me Tonight, Spinning Around, Sit Right Here, Sailing Song

Nicholas Mudd – Nicholas Mudd (2019)

  1. Come With Me Tonight
  2. Waiting On Me
  3. Spinning Around
  4. High Lonesome
  5. Fly Away
  6. Lady Of The Night
  7. Sit Right Here
  8. Sailing Song

Album Feature – Urban Pioneers – Come Out Swingin’

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Mar 042019
 

By Joshua Wallace

The Urban Pioneers are back with their sixth album.  It’s a follow up to last year’s double releases of Hillbilly Swing Music and The Urban Pioneers String Band Play 10 Old Timey Favorites.  This album goes back to more of a country and bluegrass feel for the band and I feel like it is one of their strongest releases yet.  Jared McGovern continues to grow as a singer and songwriter while Liz Sloan continues to be an amazing fiddle player and singer in her own right.  Let’s take a deeper look at some of these tracks.

The album kicks off with a mostly instrumental jam in the title track “Come Out Swingin”.  The track lets you know what you’re in for as the band comes out swingin’ for the opener.  It’s mostly an instrumental till the very end with a quick chorus of the title.  I love the Tejano stylings of “Hungover Texans”.  It’s something different for the Urban Pioneers as the band continues to show different sides of their music.  The folk punk band out of San Marcos, TX called 36″ Wheels who originally did the song.  I love the addition of the accordion by Abel Casillas on this track.

Another favorite is “Holdin’ On” and this track is a slower track that showcases Jared’s songwriting.  This track is also some of vocals from this band across their six albums.  Liz Sloan’s fiddle solo is great here as well.  “People Vs. Me” is another example of Jared’s great songwriting.  It’s about his his own personal run in with the law.  The story of that is out there and I won’t recount it here, however Jared turns it into one hell of a protest ballad about the entire experience.  However, the best protest song on the album, and possibly my new favorite Urban Pioneers song is “TPAA”.  I can actually see this being a crowd favorite for live shows as it’s a fun protest song against corrupt cops everywhere.

I have been following the Urban Pioneers since before day one of this band and I have seen them grow as a band.  I’ve seen their style evolve and the core unit of Jared McGovern and Liz Sloan grow as musicians and as a unit.  This sixth album from the Urban Pioneers represents some of their best work, and that is hot on the heals of Hillbilly Swing Music which also represented some of their best work.  You can find this album everywhere as of Friday February 22nd, 2019 and the band is always on tour in support of their music.  They’re currently on tour with Scott H. Biram and The Goddamn Gallows and you can find those dates below with ticket details on the band’s website.

Favorite Tracks : Come Out Swingin’, Hungover Texans, Holdin’ On, People vs Me, Flint, MT, TPAA

Urban Pioneers – Come Out Swingin’ (2019)

  1. Come Out Swingin’
  2. Ragamuffin
  3. Hard Work and Dedication
  4. Old Fashioned Love
  5. Piggy Man
  6. Hungover Texans
  7. Holdin’ On
  8. Singin’ Tractor Driver
  9. People vs Me
  10. Election Day
  11. Flint, MI
  12. TPAA

From March 7- April 7 On tour with The Goddamn Gallows and Scott H Biram

Thu, MAR 07 – Beachland Ballroom & Tavern – Cleveland, OH
Fri, MAR 08 – The Shrunken Head – Columbus, OH
Sat, MAR 09 – Mr. Smalls Theatre – Millvale, PA
Sun, MAR 10 – King’s Rook Club – Erie, PA
Tue, MAR 12 – The Bug Jar – Rochester, NY
Wed, MAR 13 – The Stone Church – Brattleboro, VT
Thu, MAR 14 – The Shaskeen Pub and Restaurant – Manchester, NH
Fri, MAR 15 – Cafe 9 – New Haven, CT
Sat, MAR 16 – Stanhop House – Stanhope, NJ
Sun, MAR 17 – Kingsland Bar & Grill – Brooklyn, NY
Mon, MAR 18 – City Winery DC – Washington, DC
Wed, MAR 20 – The Camel – Richmond, VA
Thu, MAR 21 – The Ramkat – Winston-salem, NC
Fri, MAR 22 – The Jinx – Savannah, GA
Sat, MAR 23 – The Grey Eagle – Asheville, NC
Sun, MAR 24 – The Earl – Atlanta, GA
Tue, MAR 26 – Saturn – Birmingham, AL
Thu, MAR 28 – The Concourse – Knoxville, TN
Fri, MAR 29 – The Basement East – Nashville, TN
Sat, MAR 30 – Buzz Bomb Brewing Co – Springfield, IL
Sun, MAR 31 – Outland Ballroom – Springfield, MO
Tue, APR 02 – The Burl – Lexington, KY
Wed, APR 03 – The Southgate House Revival – The Sanctuary – Newport, KY
Thu, APR 04 – The Brass Rail – Fort Wayne, IN
Fri, APR 05 – Pabst Milwaukee Brewery & Taproom – Milwaukee, WI
Sat, APR 06 – Reggies Rock Club – Chicago, IL
Sun, APR 07 – The Sanctuary – Detroit, MI

Album Feature – Vandoliers – Forever

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Mar 042019
 

By Joshua Wallace

The Vandoliers bring a unique sound to the alt country scene.  They have a mix that bends alt country, punk Tejano and even some southern rock influence.  Forever is the band’s first album since signing to Bloodshot Records and what I believe is their third overall album.  Let’s take a dive into some of these tracks.

The album kicks off with “Miles and Miles” which gives you a hint at the vibe you’ll get throughout the album.  This track is a mix of alt country with punk rock grit that sets the tone for the album. I also dig the next track “Troublemaker” which has a bit of a Rancid influence.  This track brings in the band’s Tejano sound as well. It’s a unique mix that makes for a fun track.

Another fun track is  “All In Black”. I love the horn riff that highlights this one.  Stick around for the awesome guitar solo too. Speaking of guitars, “Shoshone Rose” is a highlight if you’re into modern southern rock.  The track opens with a killer groove that permeates through the track. It’s the best guitar work of the album and I dig it. Finally, the ballad “Cigarettes In The Rain” is a highlight.  It’s another change of pace for the album that really highlights the songwriting for this awesome group.

If you like your country with a bit of a different flavor, this album is for you.  There is a mix of alt country, punk rock, Tejano and even southern rock here. It all melds together well to create an amazing melting pot of influences on one album.  If you’re new to the Vandoliers like I am, dive right in and give this record a shot. It’s available everywhere you can find good music from Bloodshot Records as of February 15th, 2019.

Favorite Tracks : Miles and Miles, Troublemaker, All On Black, Sixteen Years, Shoshone Rose, Tumbleweed

Vandoliers – Forever (2019)

  1. Miles and Miles
  2. Troublemaker
  3. All On Black
  4. Fallen Again
  5. Sixteen Years
  6. Shoshone Rose
  7. Bottom Dollar Boy
  8. Cigarettes In The Rain
  9. Nowhere Fast
  10. Tumbleweed

Album Feature – The Drugstore Gypsies – Easy Access

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Feb 252019
 

By Joshua Wallace

2019 is a banner year for southern rock.  The Drugstore Gypsies take southern rock influences and mix it with classic rock like The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin or AC/DC.  If you like your southern rock heavy, this band is for you. They have riffs for days and this album proves it. Easy Access is their sophomore effort following up their self titled 2017 debut.  I was very high on that record as well and if these two albums are any indication, this Texas band is one to keep an eye on.

“Never Settle” kicks the album off hot and heavy with a blazing solo that kicks off the track before settling into one of many thick riffs on the album.  This track is pure pedal to the metal rock n’ roll and I like it. Switching things up a bit, “End Of The Show” is more of a ballad track that proves the band is about more than just riffs.  This track is about a certain kind of connection fans can get with a band they see live, but probably not the connection you’re thinking of. It’s a fun track to switch things up a bit from the heavy rock throughout the rest of the album.

“Let The Night” opens up with another killer riff before the song goes into a Rolling Stones kind of groove.  This track is also a great showcase for Duke Ryan’s great vocals. Another favorite is “Take It From Me” which starts off with some awesome piano work before settling into a bluesey slow jam.  It’s a nice showcase for John Wilson on the keys.  Finally, “Lady Of The Night” kicks things off with some cowbell before settling into a thick rock riff. This band has riffs for days and this album shows it. I dig the solo on this one.

The Drugstore Gypsies have released one hell of a rock n’ roll album.  They pull from a lot of different influences including southern rock, classic rock and the blues.  I hope to check them out live some time soon, I missed them the last time they came through my area but I won’t make that mistake again.  Easy Access is available everywhere you can find good music as of Friday February 22, 2019.

Favorite Tracks : Never Settle, End Of The Show, Take It From Me, Let The Night,  Bat City, Lady Of The Night,

The Drugstore Gypsies – Easy Access (2019)

  1. Never Settle
  2. The Rapture
  3. End Of The Show
  4. Take It From Me
  5. Let The Night
  6. Bat City
  7. Lady Of The Night
  8. Comin’ Around
  9. Run And Hide
  10. Right On The Money

Album Feature – Dale Watson – Call Me Lucky

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Feb 142019
 

By Joshua Wallace

Call Me Lucky is Dale Watson’s first solo original album since 2015’s Call Me Insane.  He has done a live album, a cover album, a best of album and even a duet album with Asleep At The Wheel’s Ray Benson since then.  In this three and a half year absence, we have not been left wanting for more Dale Watson. That being said, this is a Dale Watson solo record and the three and a half years have been well worth the wait for this one.

The first single out with the album was titled “The Dumb Song”.  It’s about all of the dumb stuff we shouldn’t do in life but struggle with on a daily basis, even good southern fried chicken.  I love the harmonica accenting this track. The track almost reminds me of a Johnny Cash tune that was never released. Speaking of Cash, the next song on the album name drops him and June Carter.  “Johnny and June” is an amazing duet with Celine Lee who is also featured on the cover with Dale. I got to hear this song for the first time live at Tumbleweed last year, and was as blown away then as I am now hearing it on this record. This is a true highlight folks.

Another track that I heard live at Tumbleweed Country Music Festival is “Tupelo Mississippi & A 57 Fairlane”.  The horns and grove on this track take you straight back the rockabilly style of the 50’s. It’s a great throwback track.    Dale is great with ballads also and “Mamas Smile” is no exception. This one brings us back to another Johnny Cash type tune and I could just hear the Man In Black doing this one on one of his later albums.  Finally, “Who Needs This Man is another deep album favorite. This one goes to more of the honky tonk style that Dale is so good at. It starts off as a slow burn but builds into a foot stompin’ barn burner.

There really is not a bad track on this album and I could go on and on about every single one of them.  Just do yourself a favor and buy a copy. You won’t regret it. Dale Watson is one of my favorite artists going these days in any genre and this album is just another great chapter in what he does.  Call Me Lucky is available everywhere you get good music on February 15th. 2019. Gary Hayes Country will also have full coverage of the 2019 Ameripolitan Awards hosted by Dale Watson in Memphis, TN.    

Favorite Tracks : The Dumb Song, Johnny And June, Tupelo Mississippi & A 57 Fairlane, David Buxkemper, Inside View, Mamas Smile, Who Needs This Man

Dale Watson – Call Me Lucky – 2019

  1. Call Me Lucky
  2. The Dumb Song
  3. Johnny And June
  4. Tupelo Mississippi & A 57 Fairlane
  5. Haul Off and Do It
  6. Restless
  7. David Buxkemper
  8. Inside View
  9. You Weren’t Supposed To Feel This Good
  10. Mamas Smile
  11. Who Needs This Man
  12. Run Away

Album Feature – Jacob Bryant – Practice What I Preach

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Feb 072019
 

By Joshua Wallace

I first came across Jacob Bryant’s music with his 2016 Up In Smoke EP.  He impressed me then and has continued to impress me with every EP and single release since.  Fast forward to 2019 and Bryant is finally releasing his first full length album. While the Jasper, GA native might draw comparisons to more traditional mainstream vocalists like Eric Church, Brantley Gilbert and Luke Combs, Bryant takes things a step further with this album.  Let’s take a dive into some of these cuts.

The song “25 In Jail” first appeared on one of Jacob’s Unplugged EPs, however the version that appears here is full band.  I love how this tune pays tribute to Haggard and manages to keep things original. Bryant’s love and respect for Haggard really shines through in this tune.  Another favorite is the track “Pain Pain” which another hard driving country rock tune. This one is a break up tune with Bryant longing to ditch the pain caused by a hard break-up.  I really dig the vocals on this tune as Bryant gives the traditional country break up tune a bit of a harder edge with his southern tone.

An early favorite on this record is the long rocking track “Pour Whiskey On My Grave”.  This track makes a push to be a modern southern rock / country anthem with it’s killer riffs and even better solos.  Don’t sleep on this one if you like your country rockin’. On Another note, we have the slower ballad of “Hot Mess”. This tune is about the hard work and strife that a single mother is put through.  It’s a highlight of the excellent songwriting on the album with it’s great storytelling. Finally, a big favorite here for me is “When I Get On A Roll”. I really enjoyed this tune by Tony Stampley when Mickey Lamantia recorded it last year, however Jacob Bryant takes it to another level.  The tune is filled with pedal steel and heavy guitars that take you to your favorite honky tonk. This is also one of Jacob’s stronger vocal performances on a slower track for this record. If the right folks who make these decisions are reading this, this track should be a single.

2019 has come out of the gate hard with some strong music releases and this is just another one.  Jacob Bryant has a sound that can both get play on mainstream radio and find a home with traditional country music fans like myself.  Give this one a shot and you might just agree. Practice What I Preach is available everywhere you can find good music on Friday February 8th, 2019.

Favorite Tracks : 25 In Jail, Pain Pain, Pour Whiskey On My Grave, Hot Mess,  Practice What I Preach, When I Get On A Roll

Jacob Bryant – Practice What I Preach

  1. More Than One Year
  2. 25 In Jail
  3. Best Part Of Me Is You
  4. Bring You Back
  5. Pain Pain
  6. Pour Whiskey On My Grave
  7. Sometimes I Pray
  8. Wrong Way Home
  9. Hot Mess
  10. Practice What I Preach
  11. When I Get On A Roll
  12. One More Night With You

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)