Top 10 2020 Country Music Releases To Look Forward To

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Feb 062020

By Joshua Wallace

Feb. 7: Aubrie Sellers, Far From Home

We are big fans of Aubrie Sellers here at Gary Hayes Country.  Her first album New City Blues introduced us to her low fi grungy brand of garage country and we’re looking forward to hearing more.  I particularly dig “Drag You Down” from the pre-release singles.

Feb. 15: Billy Don Burns, The Country Blues

There is a new Billy Don Burns album out this month.  While there is no pre-release single out yet, you can expect this album to be as real as it gets.  A new Billy Don Burns album is always on our most anticipated albums list.  This album includes some updated versions of some classic Billy Don Burns tunes such as “Runnin’ Drugs Out Of Mexico”, “Wild Dogs” and “Stranger”.  “Wild Dogs” was recently covered by Colter Wall and “Stranger” was recently covered by Cody Jinks.  Since there is no pre-release track from this ablum, I will include a link to hear the original version of “Runnin’ Drugs Out Of Mexico” from the Heroes, Friends and Other Troubled Souls album.

March 6: Brandy Clark, Your Life Is a Record

Brandy Clark is quickly becoming one of the top female country artists you should know.  Her new album Your Life Is A Record promises more somber moments as indicated in pre-release tracks “Who You Thought I Was” and “I’ll Be The Sad Song”.

March 6: The Panhandlers, The Panhandlers

I think most of our Texas Red Dirt fans probably already have March 6th circled on their calendars.  That is the release date for the new super-group The Panhandler’s debut self titled album. If you don’t know, this group features the likes of  William Clark Green, Cleto Cordero, Josh Abbott and John Baumann. Check out the track “No Handle” for a preview.

March 27: Lilly Hiatt, Walking Proof

Lilly Hiatt’s 2017 album Trinity Lane was one of our favorites that year and her new record Walking Proof is probably going to continue that streak.  Pre-release tracks “P-Town” and “Brightest Star” showcase a rock forward country sound.

April 3: Ashley McBryde, Never Will

This is a big one.  If “A Little Dive Bar In Dahlonega” did big things for Ashley McBryde, “One Night Standards” and the trilogy of songs that it begins has been even bigger.  I’m particularly a fan of the rocking murder ballad “Martha Divine” which is the middle part of that trilogy. This is one of our most anticipated albums of 2020.


April 3: Caleb Caudle, Better Hurry Up

Caleb Caudle is back with a follow up to his 2018 album Crushed Coins.  This record was recorded with a bit of the soul of Johnny Cash at the Cash Cabin.  The title track is out now and I’m really digging the sound he’s taking on with this one.

April 10: John Anderson, Years

One of the biggest surprises early this year was a new single from John Anderson.  Years is an entirely new release produced by mega producer Dan Auerbach. Auerbach was already responsible for one of our favorite 2020 albums with Marcus King’s El Dorado.  Some are comparing this record to Johnny Cash’s American Recordings albums and it could be a similar career revival for John Anderson. Check out the title track everywhere now.

April 18: Whey Jennings, Gypsy Soul

Whey Jennings has a new record coming out this year called Gypsy Soul.  You might have heard of Waylon’s grandson as a touring act performing mostly cover songs and a few originals.  As far as I can tell, this is his first recorded LP and I’m looking forward to hearing the entire record. The title track “Gypsy Soul” is out now and you can get a copy of the album at it’s album release show on April 18th at The Nashville Palace which is one of Whey’s favorite venues to play.

April 24: Whitney Rose, We Still Go To Rodeos

Finally, Whitney Rose has announced the follow up to her amazing 2017 album Rule 62.  This one is titled We Still Go To Rodeos and you can hear the single “Believe Me, Angela” now.  It’s not a typical cheating song in that it’s more about compassion than revenge. This has me looking forward to hearing the entire album in April.

Feb 132018

Once again I’m enjoying those wonderful Spillway Wings on a rainy Sunday evening, in order to watch David Vaughn Lindsay, Billy Don Burns, and Mr. Austin Lee. You know I have always raved bout Spillways food and shows, so if you haven’t been there please make it a point to hit a show there.

Basically what happens are the artists swap out turns playing original songs they wrote on an acoustic form, much like the time I covered John King And Others in the past. Much like the fashion I have covered the others in, I will be writing about each of the artists on their own sections.

Mr. Austin Lee is based out of Nashville and is originally from Mississippi, just starting out on the touring scene, having booking some shows with my Texas with my friend Miss Emily Erwin and her company,  and is about ready to do a three week stretch. He opened his set with a song he wrote at seventeen called “Reckless”. He continued his set with songs like “Let Go”, which was a solemn song about heartbreak.

The third song he played I took a video of and it called when you came around which sadly JUST GOT erased. I publicly apologize for this. He followed that up with a song called “Jessi” which was about Jessi Colter and Waylon’s love story. It was a very nice waltz song, most of his original songs are easy to understand and quite catchy.

So after the break they began another round and he began with a song called “Too Damn Long”, and talked more about his upcoming tour. He is now talking about his title song of his tour called “Betting Away My Life” which was his next song. He moved here on November 26th 2016 and has been here fourteen months.

His last song of the night was called “Drive” where he talks about a young boy waiting to drive.  I honestly think that was the best and most well written song that he played tonight. I wish him much luck out there in the next few weeks.

Mr. Billy Don Burnsis a Legend that sadly I haven’t had the chance to run across as of late, its been a few months since we crossed paths. But when we do its always just like magic, the stories and the history that his songs embellish are timeless.

He spoke with so much authority and history I think the entire bar was entirely captivated. The stories he told after some of the songs were amazing, including the first one about getting out of the halfway house to play that Kentucky show.

He played the song called “Is it The Singer Or Is It The Song” which he stated that he played on the Opry with Shooter and Jessi Colter, and Shooter had asked him to play that song. The next song he played he said he heard on the radio in a cab that Whitey Morgan cut called “Memories Cost A Lot”.

He is right now telling us about the project that fell through about trying to record Paycheck in prison, where the recordings got lost. After the break he played a song called Stranger, which is one of the songs I seldom hear him play live.

He played the title track of his newest album called “Graveyard In Montgomery” which is one of his more poignant songs he sings. It’s pretty much full of darkness and ghostly presences. He is closing out the evening with the song called Talk About Crazy, which is the name of his current tour. We don’t get to see each other often enough that’s for sure.

Mr. David Vaughn Lindsay is another man that I touched on many times and I don’t get to run into as often either. His first song he played was called Heathen. His second song that he and his guitarist played was called Na Na Na, basically he said he couldn’t find the right chorus.

The video I will be including in this article was a song called Fool Like Me and followed that by asong called Fightings What I Do. The big dog himself is up there playing some darn fine old Shot Time And Cigarettes songs, right now he is playing Sometimes.

The song Love To Hate was another older song that got played tonight, as he talked about the song Mr Colter wrote about him called Me And Big Dave. His last song was I cant Quit Drinking by Paycheck, he re wrote it and changed the lyrics a little with a soul tempo.

They WILL be bringing this series back to the monthly rotation soon, even though it was reported that Spillway will be soon closing on Sundays.

Jul 072017

So lately I have been doing a LOT of work for other ventures and festivals, and I keep returning to Tumbleweed Festival for interviews with different artists involved. You know I keep saying as time unfolds here in the music world, this festival continuously becomes all the more relevant to Country Music history before the gates even open.

I think just about every one of the artists involved in this event, and the people involved have all been influenced in some way shape or form by the Jennings family. You know It’s become sort of A yawning situation how EVERYONE these days runs around name dropping Waylon, and they really have NO idea anything about him. Right now his daughter in law Miss Kathy is having TONS of legal issues with bootlegger shirts and people using Waylon’s images for MILLIONS of dollars in profit. The whole idea of the Waylon moniker (The Flying W) and the use of it on tattoos and clothing has exploded into a mega bomb of use by fake people that have NO idea of what he TRULY brought to Country Music as a whole.

HOWEVER, there are a majority of us that actually DO look up to Waylon Jennings and HAVE been influenced by him. Many of the people my age (46) have been raised by Waylon Jennings and people like Billy Don Burns ,whom I recently spent time with yesterday at a private party, and he learned this morning about the fact that Country Music Legend Earl Clark suffered a heart attack. As a result of that he passed away last night, and it was posted on the wall of this young man Dustin James Clark. Now folks, this man won one of the contests that Tumbleweed conducted that allowed the fans to vote on the outcome, which resulted in his performance at this festival. I stopped on Monday and spoke with him on the phone about some things that I’ll share with you in just a bit. First let’s touch on what Earl Clark contributed to Country Music and just who this man was and how he embellished the genre that Tumbleweed is praising in a few weeks.

In 1998 Mr. Earl Clark wrote the title song off George Strait’s album “One Step At A Time”, and in this above video Mr. Dustin sings an original called “Take The Comfort Out Of Southern Comfort”. Honestly the song “Neon Row” is one of my favorite B Side songs that mainstream radio didn’t really embrace that George Strait sang. George Strait is probably one of Country Music’s most notable mega stars that choose to not record songs he wrote himself, in order to proliferate the job of songwriter for a living. George Strait was solely responsible for the success of people like Mr. Dean Dillon and Mr. Rich Fagan, and the list went on and on. Additionally Mr. Earl went on to write “I Found Jesus On The Jailhouse Floor” which can be found on the “Honkeytonkville” album from 2003.

Mr. Earl Clark and Mr. Billy Don Burns co wrote the song “When Waylon Came To Nashville” and upon talking more with Mr. Dustin he gave me this interview they did together to share with all of you reading this. You can click HERE and it will take you over to the interview they did together a few years ago in 2011. GO TO SCHOOL AND LEARN THIS! I just listened to this interview TWICE and this is GOOD STUFF.

Both of these two men have been invited to Nashville by the late Ernest Tubb, and it lead to Mr. Earl driving the tour bus for Waylon Jennings in 1975, and he went on to drive buses for Willie Nelson And The Family, and also Mr. Jerry Reed. That lead him to having his songs heard, and it resulted in a LONG string of cuts for him. Tumbleweed is also going to be featuring Waylon’s former steel player Mr. Robbie Turner, but THAT is another story that I’ll be tying into an interview with another Tumbleweed performer.

The story was that Billy Don Burns, Mr. Mack Vickery and Mr. Earl all wrote that song and I found a piece from an autobiography: A few years ago, I was driving back from Johnny Paycheck’s funeral. Mack Vickery and Earl Clark were with me. They were both good friends with Waylon. Mack had written “Cedar Town Georgia” and “The Eagle” for Waylon. Earl used to be his bus driver. I was trying to get my mind off of Johnny dying. Somebody said something about “we’ve lost Waylon and Paycheck, both.” I said, “Let’s write a song about Waylon.” We drove back to an office we had rented at the Spence Manor on 16th Avenue. The three of us wrote “When Waylon Came To Nashville” but it wasn’t quite right. When Mack died, I got the song back out and rewrote the chorus. I played it for Earl and he liked it. Five years ago, I was working some shows with Brigitte London and Waylon’s band. We went into a studio somewhere in Mississippi and recorded it.

In 1993 A Young Man named Tim McGraw used a song Mr. Earl wrote called ‘what She Left Behind” that Tim still performs acoustic at the end of some of his shows, and although he decided to go into the direction of pop country he really did have kind of a Traditional Country start. Another artist that equally had early commercial success with a more Traditional tinge to him was Tracy Lawrence, who recorded Mr. Earl’s song called “Renegades Rebels And Rogues”.

So this brings me to the second portion of this article and the interview I had with Mr. Dustin James Clark.  Here’s what we had to talk on the phone about recently:
Why don’t you tell us how you got started playing music and recording your songs yourself?
I grew up into really, pretty much as far back as I can remember. My uncle had left the area that I’m form, and I guess right around late 70’s early 80’s right before I was born he started driving for Waylon Jennings first.  When I was a little kid he’d come in from being out on the road with Waylon Jennings. He would come to my grandparents house for Christmas and all that, and we sang all those old Country songs around the tree. It was engraved into me so, as the years progressed I think I was thirteen I started writing songs.
I joined a few rock bands like most of us did, and got away from Country roots for a while. As 2007 and 2008 rolled around I started really writing country songs. I came back home from working out of town for quite a few years and I joined a band, and playing in Honky Tonks and it was on from there. Next year it’ll be ten years for me.
Who influenced you the most besides Waylon?
Mr. Dustin:
Well Jason Aldean was hitting big back then and honestly I’m a huge Jamey Johnson fan, and when his second album the Black and White album came out, it blew me away. I got it on vinyl and I remember just sitting in the basement and wearing it out. It had such a nostalgic feel compared to everything else coming out at the time. I didn’t see real getting back to the old school Honky Tonk until Jamey Johnson.
What do you call your music, is it Outlaw Country? Classify it for me?
Mr. Dustin:
I would consider it more Honky Tonk, a lot of my stuff has a shuffle and Honky Tonk feel to it. If I had to put a label on it I am 90’s Country with a Honky Tonk sound.
Tell me more about being on The Voice.
Mr. Dustin:
Yeah, see it was 2013 I tried out for the show here in St. Louis I got a front of the line pass from one of the producers and went up there and kind of went straight in. I went through two processes here and then they sent me out to L.A.  to meet with some of the producers of the show, with some of us people. We did one more round there,  and they picked us to go out and do more auditions.
Everybody told me I should go try out and just to get people off my back I went out there, and turned out the joke was on me and I was out in L.A. and on a stage in front of Blake Shelton. It was really a cool experience you know the show really lives up to it’s name. We never met any of the  but we did a lot of behind the scenes things in L.A. for about two months sequestered in a hotel.
The coolest part about it was the behind the scenes and being in a hotel with a hundred of the most amazing musicians from across the country and really having all kinds of genres just mellowing together. We did all kinds of cool stuff. I made a lot of lifelong friends and good connections through the voice.
Let’s talk about Tumbleweed for a while, what are you going to bring us?
Mr. Dustin:
Man, I’m going to bring myself that’s all. I hope that everyone enjoys it as much as I do over the years that I have been doing this.  That’s all I can do, bring myself and my songs and lay them out on the table.
I think It’s going to be fun, he’s got Red Dirt going and I don’t consider it Outlaw Country anymore in my opinion I don’t like to label anything that anymore. Most of it’s just more underground, and most of it’s all awesome music . He’s got a little bit of everything.
Mr. Dustin:
That’s right and you know they all try to put labels on it, and I do a lot of stuff  differently. I got Outlaw tattooed on my arm and they think Hey you’re trying to say you are this or that. And I do that to pay homage to my roots, you know Waylon Jennings and all those guys. Really just the fact that anybody doing something other than mainstream music these days whether it’s a little bit of rock or Country…Bluegrass or anything, I kind of do label that Outlaw just because they are going against the grain. Country Music has gotten so far away from it’s past that really anybody that doing anything on their own, that’s really what they’re doing is going against the grain.
I cover a wide variety of music I do Bluegrass and Red Dirt and I do Roots Music I’m tied in with Muddy Roots really deeply. I dip into so many different scenes and I have heard your music, but I don’t think I ever met you yet. I’m looking forward to meeting you really.
Mr. Dustin:
It’s a blessing to go through the contest which was a whirlwind in itself and those guys didn’t have to ask us to come out and they did. It’s just been an amazing experience and we cannot wait to get out there and let the whole experience come full circle.
I went to another festival in Kansas City, I saw the venue and by God it’s a nice facility. I didn’t see the stage but the area is huge and  he’s on to something. They invited me out and I agreed to work for him because festivals is what I specialize in. This is a science and a market and I enjoy doing it and watching them flourish, and my crew knows what to do and when. I’m looking forward to it.
Mr. Dustin:
I am too, we started a little thing out here and my whole goal is to do what they are doing. I think getting these guys out here in one place a these big festivals is fun. There’s really something special going on  in with what call “Our Movement” right now. That’s from the Red Dirt too  you know anything that has more Traditional root in Country Music. It’s taking off like wildfire and I couldn’t be happier, and what I do is going to pan out there has never been a better time I don’t think.
I went from a thousand viewers a day to eight and nine thousand viewers a day just when this stuff boomed. There’s a huge market for this music and people are spending money going to these shows. You know Wade Bowen and them, they don’t get out here as much so when they do I’m there. I started tying more Red Dirt into what I do to bring them over here because there was actually a shortage of it.
Now he’s in such a centralized area geographically that people from Texas and people from my area can get to Kansas City and take part in this. It’s right dead smack in the middle.  All of us we’re all coming towards Kansas City  and trust me it’s an easy city to drive in and I love it, the music scene out there is beyond great.
Mr. Dustin:
The mainstream has alienated good music, hell you can’t call a radio station and ask them to play Waylon…hell half the time you cannot ask for Alan Jackson anymore. It’s all top stuff and that has alienated so many people, and people are starting to look on their own. The older generation is going too Youtube and Spotify and looking for real music, and finding what Tumbleweed is offering.
So you just have your one album out right, or is there more?
Mr. Dustin:
Yeah, I did an EP in 2008 it’s decent quality and It’s old but I thought about releasing it as a prequel album. But the Land Of The Free is my first album that I put the most time and money into. We are hoping to get back into the studio real soon. I have got about another forty or fifty songs, and I’d like to get a full album out.
Who produced the Land Of The Free?
Mr. Dustin:
The Walker Brothers, in Missouri. I was on the voice with them and I actually gone to look at their studio before the voice even happened. We just ended up in the same place and created a great friendship.
Alright Sir well thank you for your time and we will see you at Tumbleweed.
Mr. Dustin:
Thanks as well, and I look forward to playing and forming new friendships.
Apr 122017

Hello everyone, we are all here in Huntington West Virginia at The V club for the fourth annual anniversary party of W.B.Walker’s Old Soul Radio show where I came down to help him celebrate his accomplishments once again. This man’s podcast that he broadcasts from his little backyard bar in Dingess ,West Virginia has grown into a household name here, as well as nation wide. I attended his third one last year and you can read that HERE , I hope we pack the house again tonight.

Four years ago he was starting out poor and not knowing how to do things like he does today, this man put forth TONS of effort to better his style and his presentation. He now knows how to market his brand and his use of language and catchy phrases are what earned him MY personal nickname “The Paul Harvey Of Podcasts”. If you ever have the distinct honor to be a guest in his bar you’ll quickly see like I did once he trusts you you ARE family, and there is more love in his heart than my words can type on here. He and his wife Miss Fallon are BOTH damn fine people that distance doesn’t hold back true friendship..I’d be the first sumbitch in my truck on my way if they needed our help and it was an honor to witness this madness he has created with the help of so many others and a belief in a dream. There is nothing wrong with being proud of your religion and your personal love, this man has a deep love for God like me. I believe if YOU do ALL THINGS to HIS glory you WILL achieve your dreams and you WILL die a blessed man, W.B.Walker does that. I pray often and while I have friends that are Jews and Atheists I practice my faith and you’ll see me have a beer with an Atheist any day, the world needs more brotherhood and MUSIC is where it CAN happen.

He began his one year podcast birthday in his living room with four guests and even back then I was covering his action, until I finally got enough gumption to come up and see for my own self what the deal was..and I have been a member of his family ever since. Year 3 Year 2 Year 1. There’s a little recap of his past four shows for you to enjoy the GREAT MUSIC he has been featuring.

MANY people help him do what he does and some of them aren’t the musicians he features. Tonight the wonderful Melissa Stilwell Photography doing some awesome social media work and pictures, and my buddy Mr. Josh Green for helping everything run smoothly and managing the stage area. Miss Melissa is rapidly becoming a prominent force on the local music scene with her coverage of Appalachian area artists, doing work for Colter Wall, Tyler Childers and many more from this “scene” (if you want to call it that)…I just call it damn fine music, I call ALL of them regions the same thing DAMN fine music.

I already got a private show in the green room upstairs as Country Music Legend Billy Don Burns played some songs for us all. That video of him down below is from his playing upstairs along with Mr. Josh Morningstar who was also up there with me, I just wandered up to see who was there and was greeting everyone.You know this music business isn’t what you think, we don’t all hang out at each others houses every weekend. Sometimes it can be months or even a year before I see someone again, because like the Highwaymen said “The Road Goes On Forever And The Party Never Ends”.

I stayed at the Days Inn at Ashland Kentucky, it was off Hwy 64 and State Route 180 on exit 190. And I’ll let you in on a little tidbit of info, if you are planning on attending the Jewel City Jamboree this hotel is ideal. It’s about 20 minutes from downtown Huntington and one exit from the airport ALL for under 100 bucks a night! THIS WILL NOW be MY go to hotel for this area from now on.

Right now the first act up is Tim Lancaster who is outstanding in his own right as an Americana folk style singer. His unique style and grace up there onstage was impeccable and a terrific way to begin tonight’s festivities.

He opened his set with a Jimmie Rodgers song called “Mule Skinner Blues AKA Blue Yodel Number 8”, and then off of his album “My Times With You” he played some songs called “Something Like Trout” and “Let Me,Let You”.  He represents this area’s musicians extremely well, by spinning tales of lore from days long ago and songs like “Sugar Pie”. This young man was an absolute honor to shake hands with and get to know as a friend, he IS one of the real deals of his genre.

This video that I took here was from his song “Medicine Man” which was also an original off his album and he followed that by playing one called “Dear Lord” and closed his set with “Can You Hear The Sound?” Which he performed with two sets of  mule jawbones. This Florida native is indeed inventing his own style and even his own appearance and will soon carve a niche in the local music scene. I’m sure that by the end of this article you too will appreciate this man’s music, I look forward to being more involved into his music in any way I can.

He has an honest and real demeanor and his presentation of his music was extraordinary on every level, and he is an absolute pleasure to watch perform. Truly already O’l W.B. has outdone himself in choosing talent for this show. He never fails to amaze me with what he chooses, and this honestly is becoming one of my favorite trips to make. Usually the weather is gorgeous the Daniel Boone National Forest is in spring mode and the Lord blesses me with a good trip up.

Now everyone this is my FIRST TIME to use my new laptop on a job AND my I pad together linked so I’m trying to bring you better quality videos and I’m learning how to use it better so please bear with me I didn’t get every band on here on video. The battery is not lasting long and I had other complications as the night went on…give me time to mater my craft with every job I do.

Some of the videos crashed and the laptop I thought was DONE updating busted out with one at the venue, to my dismay. I literally bought this laptop the day before the show, and I’m still learning Windows 10.

The Local Honeys hail from various parts of Kentucky and their harmonies are absolutely wonderful. I would have not have found them if not for W.B.Walker and his radio show, we exchange music quite often. They began with “Cigarette Trees” a truly fine song of pretest and coal miner’s despair. As I have said many times about this region the main source of income is truly and sadly a dying form of energy…coal. It gets very touchy and political in many ways and once you visit you can identify with them how imperative it is we save this natural resource’s use for energy.

They barreled into “Hares On The Mountain”, this time they had a trio as a third gal named Megan Gergory joining them, and she was from Alabama. Miss Montana Hobbs and Miss Linda Jean Stokley complete this lineup of lovely ladies with harmonies as smooth as the honey in their name.

This venue began filling up so fast, I couldn’t get up close to the stage again like last time. As they played a song called “Train” they vividly displayed their mountain music talents as they wove a tapestry of East Kentucky music to us here in West Virginia with a song called “Bonesky Folk” and a popular Bluegrass tune “How Mountain Girls Can Love”. My favorite version of that song is off Ricky Skaggs And Kentucky Thunder’s album “Ancient Tones”.

Their set also included “Tight Wad” and one called “I Can Tell” as they once again came forward with their wonderful harmonies. In my opinion ALL of these acts tonight absolutely killed it and it was difficult to decide who was the best, but they were one of the top ones tonight.  Their last song was called “Huntington” as  left the stage in tears upon  commanding  it tonight up there, they get a LOT of attention from O’l W.B. and I can see why.

You might remember The Horse Traders as their steel guitarist Mr. Travis Egnor Recently kicked off my Steel Guitarists Series with a wonderful interview on the phone this past winter. And there’s also news on their new album release in that article as well. Their first song was called “She Calls Me” and they followed that by another great song called “Ain’t No Ash will Burn”.

You know one thing I always notice about this band is how well they play together, like clockwork. Each one of them knows exactly what the other is doing and where they are within the song. One of the finest and most well groomed bands that is always featured every year here, and always a downright pleasure to write about.  They brought up Sam Williams to sing his sister Holly’s song ‘Woman Like This”.

Patrick Stanley,Taylor Jones and Mr. Brandon Mooney complete this foursome of rocking Country boys and whatever else you wish to call them, Daggum I just call them some REAL music. They are seasoned veterans of this particular show having been on the three shows that were LIVE ,from this particular venue. Like I said the very first one was from his own home before any of this bloomed into the juggernaut it is today.

“Cheap Wine” was next followed by “Drinki’n” which displayed some powerful vocal from. As they traded leads with Mr. Travis on the steel guitar they closed their set with “Watch Your Speed” and “Foot Of Rain”. One hell of a damn fine display of talent here tonight by a truly fine band I am blessed to call friends!

The youngest son of Country Music Legend Hank Williams Jr. stopped in to see us all tonight and we enjoyed a nice set of his original material and some of his father’s hits as well. Samuel Williams began with his own song called “Darkwater” and as he is still developing his own style and trying out different ventures, we got a little taste of his influences.

As one would easily distinguish about any member of the Williams family he was heavily influenced by his father and sister Holly, and performed two of her songs tonight “Death Train”. Along with his Grandfather Hank Williams Sr, who he brought alive tonight with his rendition of “Kaw Liga” and the ever popular “Long Gone Lonesome Blues”.

“Let You Go” was next followed by “Rambli’n Man” and two more of his father’s songs that had the crowd singing along which was 1979’s OD’D In Denver off the Whiskey Bent And Hell Bound album and “Dinosaur” from the 1980 album Habits Old And New.

Josh Morningstar is one of the finest people I ever met in my music tenure here on Earth, and perhaps one of the few from my Altamont history that have evolved into the amazing man that he is today. Under the direction of great management and maintaining his own creative input he has accomplished more in a short period than anyone I know.

This man lives in Maryland but he IS one of the toughest road warriors I have ever met and is on the go so hard that he tires me out just watching him. This guy is in Detroit one night and the next he could be in Atlanta for all we know, he spreads out faster than shingles. He is constantly grooming his sound and experimenting with different appearances, while always succeeding to amaze his crowd…know WHY?

Because his is OUT THERE and burning up the roads and constantly on social media promoting his brand. He is always studying the market and much like me he notices detail and   utilizes EVERYTHING toward his music and his business.

He played many new songs tonight from his upcoming album and one of them was “Whole Lot Of Crazy To Live Up To” followed by “Went Back To Selling Drugs To Pay The Bills” both of which are original songs. He now travels with a seasoned band of talented road warriors called the Pickups, which just days ago played the Hagfest show at the Southgate House. They are Bobby Miller on lead guitar, Michelle Lucas on bass, Greg Johnson on steel, and Taylor Hernley on drums.

He covered Billy Joe Shaver’s “ride me Down Easy that David Allan Coe wrote and also Waylon J ennings recorded it on his Honky Tonk Heroes album of all Billy Joe Shaver tunes. “All That I Been Living For Is Gone” was next another original followed by “The Legend Of Miss Bobbie Jo” and “Cocaine”.

This man ALWAYS ends his set with “I Saw The Light” where he carries a LONG note and usually has the crowd whipped up into an absolute frenzy, but not before playing “Brand New Angel” and one of my favorites “Crying Eyes Of Blue”. I said it before and I’ll say it again, this man has nowhere to go BUT UP and he WILL go DOWN in history as a Legend, you mark my damn words on that…it’s a promise.

Video Credit: Miss Alexis Faye

Tyler Childers is the only one of the bunch that has been around for all four shows from W.B.Walker. He is from the Appalachian region that W.B.Walker and all of the Honky Tonk Heroes identify themselves with with pride. His unique style of vocal delivery sets him leagues above many others on his level of this profession. He sometimes travels with his band called the Foodstamps but tnoight he is solo.

He is releasing a new album in September for sure and I’m quite adamant on it’s outcome…awesome. This man represents the hard working blue collar coal miners of the region, and despite his youth  he sings with experience of hard living and hard times. He had this club packed today and hundreds of people crying out his own lyrics because he has amassed an impressive following in this region.

He began with “Rock Salt And Nails” an old Utah Phillips song, and quickly went into “Nose To The Grindstone,mind Off The Pills”. One of the many songs the entire place goes ape shit nuts over singing along to, with lyrics that every hard working American can relate to.
“Clovis” was next along with another one they all sing to “Follow You To Virgie” and “Bottle And Bibles”. I say this all to often this man has a special gift for distinguishing his voice out from other people, you can pick it out easily. You can SEE the hurt in his eyes and the blood flow from cuts in his beat up hands. He is sixty years old trapped in a thirty year old’s body.

“Honky Tonk Flame” was one of his new ones along with “Feathered Indian” and “Adam” but the other one that absolutely SLAYS this venue was “White Bridge Road”. The ambiance of that song alone is as poignant and dark as the lyrics themselves, I mean what better to spend a weekend night drunk and singing along with songs about self destruction and despair?  THAT MY FRIENDS IS Country Music, from one of the most honest regions of the great nation. All too often they get swept under the rug and this man pulls it up off the floor and snaps the rug dust in your face.

There really isn’t much I can say about Country Music Legend Billy Don Burns that I haven’t already said as I named him my 2106 Number one album of the year that was produced by Shooter Jennings. I mean for Gods’s sakes this man wrote songs for Connie Smith,Harlan Howard and Willie Nelson, the list goes on and on. And even at 68 I don’t see him stopping as he released a stellar new album from Rusty Knuckles label called “Graveyard In Montgomery”.

“Talk About Crazy” was the first song on his VERY LONG set list tonight as he took us on a trip through a slight taste of his entire catalog of albums tonight. “Outlaws At The Cross” was recorded on two of his albums previously and he followed that with a song about Billy The Kid called “Dead Or Alive”.

I truly wish I could have been older and around in his heyday when my favorite period of Country Music history was unfolding, that transition of the 50s and 60s into the Outlaw movement. It seems Mr. Billy was a product of both, and I study those changes with uncanny vigor. How it would have been to ACTUALLY SEE a short haired Willie Nelson sing Hello Walls and an elder Ernest Tubb on stage singing Rainbow At Midnight and my favorite Filipino Baby in the 1960s. He was 21 when I was born, and writing songs for Connie Smith while my mom was changing my diapers, but nonetheless much like Ol W.B. Walker, Billy Don Burns is probably one of the last living pieces of my infatuation during my youth with records. We CANNOT and MUST NOT loose him because NOBODY could fill that void, him and Whispering Bill Anderson and Jerry Foster and the many of his likeness brought Country Music to it’s splendor.

My personal favorite song was one about addiction called “Dark Side Of The Spoon” which laments the shameful side of addiction. He flips over to a more upbeat song about “Running Drugs Out Of Mexico” while Dark Side Of The Spoon is more slower and  poignant. It truly hits home for many of us that have previously faced the struggle of personal addiction in some form.

“Rock On” and “Hank Williams Lonesome And Keith Whitley Blue” were next tonight as he and Josh Morningstar tore the place apart.  Mr. Billy did an absolutely astounding job of bringing us toward the close of the show. I appreciate him for the history of this genre that he represents and to me…for me personally he represents the tradition of the older days because he was there. When the magic filled the air man, he was there. We just don’t have many storybook people left anymore that actually remember Bob Luman, and as he sat with me I showed him my profile. Pictures of me with Lynn Owsley who brought him on the Opry in the days of old to play with Ernest tubb, things like that are what makes him so special to us.

He played “Freight Train” and the title song from his new album “Graveyard In Montgomery” before closing with the ever popular “Desperate Men”. You know I’ll tell you what folks this man has more stories and tales than anyone I know because he was there, and he lived every moment of it all. He is one of the last of his ilk and he knows it but at the same time he’s not afraid to be just that, and he wears it well. He appreciates all of our love and our respect of him and what he represents…timeless classic Country Music that will never die. I know it’s inevitable that God will call us ALL home one day but the music he leaves behind will no doubt always be a prominent piece of Outlaw Country Music.

Video credit: Miss Alexis Faye

Arlo McKinely And The Lonesome Sound was an Ohio based band I have also never covered before today. Tyler Lockard, Brian Pumphry, Zac Roe, Sylvia Mitchell, and  Sarah Davis make up the band The Lonesome Sound. They label themselves folk rock/soul but Like I always say I don’t care about genres or label I just promote GOOD music so promote them I shall!

They played an eleven song set tonight beginning with “Don’t Need To Know” and “All Night Long” both of which I was told they have performed on the Red Barn Sessions up there in Ohio. I am very familiar with that organization and was sent some CDs from there by my Ohio friends. There exists a VERY powerful scene up there with people like the Tillers and Dallas Moore and I could go on and on.

“Time In Bars” was next as they displayed a very soulful sound that I thought their band name aptly described quite well here. “All That I Could Do” was next followed by “Just Like The Rest”, I thought their vocal deliveries and solos set them apart from any of the styles of music tonight. We were treated to various styles of music however most of it was from the same region in one way or another.

“Where You Want Me” and “Wishing” were two of the songs I was familiar with from my research of this band in my preparation work for this event. As with ANY of these bands you can ALWAYS catch O’l W.B. Walker playing this music for you on his podcast.

They played “Dancing Days” before going into some Hank Williams Sr songs tonight as well as taking us into “Wishing On Wild Horses” and finally closing with “Dark Side Of The Street”. Absolutely a knock out stellar set tonight as we got ready for the main event tonight.

Sarah Shook And The Disarmers from North Carolina have an album coming out on April 28th from Bloodshot Records called SIDELONG, now I owe her an apology because of my misspelling of that on my TOP 50 OF 2015. She released the album independently and I was turned onto them by a mutual friend. Honestly back then I was just beginning to form my style and I wasn’t as educated on the computer as I am now, and my articles were not as informative or beneficial back then as they are now. Time makes you better and knowledge makes you stronger.

Eric Peterson – Electric guitar,John Howie Jr. – Drums, Aaron Oliva – Upright bass and Phil Sullivan – Pedal Steel make up the rocking Country Honky Tonk sound of the Disarmers. Bloodshot is releasing singles off of this album at a slow pace right now as they just released “The Nail” they played that one later in the set.

Sadly I missed a few of the songs due to packing up equipment and such but I managed to enjoy “The Road Leads To You” followed by “Nothing Feels Right But Doing Wrong”.  “Heal Me” and “Fuck Up” were next followed by my favorite drinking song she does called “The Bottle Never Let Me Down”.

One of the first times I got to see her videos were from the Blue Plate Special series if you have never saw that series I strongly urge you to go check that out, and I thought of that series as she played the title track called “Sidelong”. They truly did a super fine job tonight up there and I had to do some digging but found out that “Home Fires Burning” and “Dwight Yoakam” were next followed by the closing songs.

As I previously stated “The Nail” is her newest single to be released off the Bloodshot release of this album and the last song was “Misery Without Company”. I don’t compare her to any of the female artists in ANY genre although she is typically classified as Americana I believe she stands out on her own. Her vocals are easily distinguished as her own and she’s not trying to sound like anybody but herself, and she’s not trying to impress anybody…she doesn’t need to.

She’s very proactive in her personal beliefs and her family life while balancing a road band and for THAT I completely commend her on, it’s NOT easy for a single man like me let alone having children. Balancing a mainstay in her son’s life and how proud she is of him makes her a person you can look up to in this industry…you don’t find these qualities in the music bushiness as often as you should.