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 – 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

Sunny Sweeney at Ashley Street Station In Valdosta, GA

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Mar 062019
 

By Joshua Wallace

Photo Credit : Joshua Wallace

On February 23rd, 2019 we were lucky enough to have Sunny Sweeney down here in Valdosta, GA at the local dive bar called Ashley Street Station.  I had just seen her open for Cody Jinks at a sold out Florida Theater in Jacksonville, FL for nearly 2,000 people and this was a much different show.  This was a much more intimate, more rowdy and more rockin’ set.  Ashley Street Station holds around 200 or so on a good day and this was a good crowd.  The night opened with W.D. Miller playing some original tunes followed by local singer Jen Anders.  Following that, Sunny came on and rocked the house for about 2 hours straight and it was a good time.

W.D. Miller 

W.D. Miller started the evening off and played a few tunes off his 2018 album “Burnt Bridges and Broken Hearts”.  He played originals such as “Samael (My Name Is Sam)”, “Barroom For A Shelter” and “How In The World”.  One of the highlights was during “Samael (My Name Is Sam)” when W.D. went off mic and his voice filled the room with song.  Jen Anders followed with another short set.  Her set contained mostly cover tunes mixed in with an original or two.  The covers Jen did were all in her acoustic style and she got the crowd ready to go with her acoustic renderings of familiar songs.

Jen Anders

Sunny Sweeney took the stage shortly after Jen Anders and got straight into it with the first new song of the night called “Tie Me Up”.  She played about 5 new songs in this set list and each of them sound amazing.   I for one cannot wait for her next album.  She also got to some highlights from her last album Trophy with tracks such as a couple of favorites of mine, “Pills” and “Pass The Pain”.  I love the stripped down guitar version of “Pass The Pain”.  It’s a different sound from the original and I like when bands can bring something different live.  She also did a great cover of Don Williams’s “Tulsa Time” which I enjoyed.

Sunny Sweeney and Harley Husbands lead guitar, Adrian Myers drums, Dillon Sampson bass guitar

At some point in the set, the band requested tequila shots.  This is a common occurrence at a dive bar, so nothing new here.  At some point later, shots turned into bottles, again nothing unusual around these parts.  Things got interesting when the band discovered a scorpion in one of the bottles of Jose Cuervo.  Sunny challenged a member of the audience to drink it for a free t-shirt.  You know what? Someone actually did and it was crazy.  These are the kinds of things that can happen when you see someone at a small dive bar such as Ashley Street Station.

Sunny Sweeney and a bottle of tequila on the floor

The band got to some other newer songs on the set list as well including “Body In A Box Car” and “I Drink Well With Others” which will appear on her next album.  She also got to some deeper tracks like “Uninvited” from her Provoked album and “Staying’s Worse Than Leaving” from her 2011 release Concrete.  This deeper set was heavy on tracks from her Trophy album as the band also got to “Bottle By My Bed”, “Better Bad Idea” and “Nothing’s Wrong With Texas” to name a few.  It wouldn’t be a Sunny Sweeney show without the radio hit “From A Table Away” which is also one of my favorite tracks.

Sunny Sweeney brings new tracks to Ashley Street Station

One of my favorite newer tracks that Sunny is playing live now is called “Poet’s Prayer” and she dedicates it to artists playing out on the road.  On this night, she dedicated it to W.D. Miller who opened up the show.  She ended the set with a great rendition of “Bad Girl Phase” from Provoked.

I highly recommend seeing Sunny Sweeney live in a setting like this while you still can.  Her stock is rising and it won’t be long before she is headlining big theater shows like Cody Jinks is.  She is actually just starting a run of opening dates for Bob Seger’s final tour.  After that, she is always on tour and you can find her current dates at https://sunnysweeney.com/.  I hope you get out to a show.

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)

Album Feature – Alice Wallace – Into The Blue

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Jan 222019
 

By Joshua Wallace

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

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

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

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

Alice Wallace – Into The Blue (2019)

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