This has been a strange year to release a new record in, but that hasn’t stopped folks from releasing some great albums. Here is a list of my Top 20 Albums of 2020 So Far. I know I could have included more artists here, but I am working on a Top 50 list that will be published at the end of the year. I have included links to previous coverage of albums when we have it. Check these records out and support these bands while they cannot tour for their new records by buying merch or tipping during a livestream.
1. Kyle Nix – Lightning On The Mountain And Other Short Stories
NewsComments Off on Album Feature – Kyle Nix – Lightning From The Mountain and Other Short Stories
By Joshua Wallace
I know a lot of folks are big fans of Turnpike Troubadours and you will be familiar with Kyle Nix from his fiddle work with the band. While there is plenty of good fiddle work showcased on this album, we have never heard Kyle Nix as a singer-songwriter or as a frontman of his own band. I was excited about this album from the moment it was announced. The premise of an album treated as a collection of short stories had me intrigued. Then you throw in the fact that his backing band are fellow members of the Turnpike Troubadours. I had a strong feeling that this record would turn out to be a highlight of the year and I’m here to say that I was not disappointed. Lightning From The Mountain and Other Short Stories delivers some good fiddle driven, knee slappin’ and story centered country music.
The first single released from the album was the title track “Lightning From The Mountain”. This is a story of revenge after a bad deal over some bootleg liquor. It’s a fast track with some great fiddling that you would expect from a fiddle player as good as Kyle Nix has shown he is on the Turnpike Troubadour records. This song also features some great storytelling and it’s a good introduction to Kyle Nix as a singer and songwriter. Another favorite from this record is the track “Graves”. I love the opening riff and the track almost has a gothic sound to it. There is more nice fiddling on this track. I love the line “ Pretty girls make graves / But a fool will dig his own”.
The track “Shelby ‘65” brings forth rightful comparisons to the Jerry Reed classic “Eastbound and Down”. It’s another banger of a track on this record and it’s got a killer banjo riff mixed in with some hot guitar licks. It’s a song about a couple on the run in the titular hot rod. This one is bound to be lots of fun live. Another great track is “If Ruby Ain’t Happy”. There are plenty of songs about Ruby in country music. This song is about a man trying to make Ruby happy. I particularly love the line “She don’t like them country songs that run down her name / She catch you singin’, Oh Lord, it’s Judgement Day!”. This song has an old time country feel to it with more of the great fiddle playing you have come to expect from this album by now. Finally, I will touch on “Lonesome For You (Widower Pt. 1)”. This song opens up with an amazing 40 second pedal steel intro that leads into one of the slower songs of the record. It’s a song about how a widower remains lonesome for their lost love and it truly captures those emotions in this great track.
Kyle Nix has released an amazing debut record that puts him as a front runner for album of the year in my opinion. I could go on about every song on this album as there is not a bad one here. Every song tells a short story and the album is successful in delivering on that promise. I can’t wait to see Kyle Nix live once bands are able to tour again. In the meantime, you can find everything Kyle Nix is up to on his website. Lightning From the Mountain and Other Short Stories is available everywhere as of June 26, 2020.
Favorite Tracks : Lightning From The Mountain, Graves, Shelby ‘65, Little Miss Jones, If Ruby Ain’t Happy, Lonesome For You (Widower Pt. 1)
Kyle Nix – Lightning From The Mountain and Other Short Stories (2020)
NewsComments Off on 10 Most Anticipated Country Albums Out This Summer
By Joshua Wallace
As uncertainty becomes more and more a part of the new normal, it’s good to know that we can still count on some great country music albums coming up in the near future. We’ve got some quality records coming out in 2020 and it’s shaping up to be a big release year. COVID-19 has changed up the release schedule a bit, however, I have included albums with as solid of a release date as I can on this list. Check out our 10 most anticipated country albums out this summer.
Mike & The Moonpies – Touch of You – The Lost Songs of Gary Stewart – May 28th
Mike and The Moonpies just announced this release last week. It’s a collection of unreleased songs written by Gary Stewart and as soon as I heard about this record, it jumped to the top of my list. The Moonpies are one of the best honky tonk bands around and I’m looking forward to what they can do with some lost Gary Stewart songs. It’s a good thing we only have to wait a couple of days for this one. It comes out Thursday May 28th. This album is only available digitally at first, with physical items to come in the future.
Jaime Wyatt – Neon Cross – May 29th
Shooter Jennings has been on a tear lately as a producer and this new Jaime Wyatt album is looking to be no different. This album features guest appearances by Shooter Jennings himself and his mother Jessi Colter. I was a big fan of her 2017 album Felony Blues and cannot wait to see what she has as a follow up. This one is out in a couple of days on May 29th.
John Baumann – Country Shade – June 5th
I first discovered John Baumann with his 2017 album Proving Grounds. I was a huge fan of tracks like “Lonely In Bars” and “The Trouble With Drinking”. Baumann was also a part of the Texas country super group The Panhandlers who released one of my favorite albums of 2020 so far. I’m really looking forward to this solo record and if songs like “Next Ride Around The Sun” and “The Country Doesn’t Sound The Same” are any indication, Baumann has another big record here. I’m looking forward to this one out in early June.
Hellbound Glory – Pure Scum – June 5th
I have been a fan of Hellbound Glory for a long time. Their last album Pinball was a big favorite here at Gary Hayes Country and it sounds like Pure Scum will be the same. Shooter Jennings is producing this record (his second on this list). If singles like “Dial 9-1-1” and “Ragged But Alright” are any indication, this record will be high on our year end Top 50 lists. This one is out in June.
Bryan James – Politics or Religion – June 11th
I first became a fan of Bryan James with his 2017 record “Between The Devil and The Angel”. This album featured a pure country sound and had many great songs across it’s 19 tracks. Fast forward to 2020 and we have his highly anticipated follow-up album Politics Or Religion coming up in June. Check out a preview of the album here.
Kyle Nix – Lightning on the Mountain & Other Short Stories – June 26th
When I heard Kyle Nix of the Turnpike Troubadours was going solo, I knew this would be a good one even before I heard the first single. If that’s not enough, when you hear that members of Turnpike Troubadours serve as his backing band, then you know this will be a good one. That was all confirmed when “Lightning On The Mountain” was released as the first single. Now I can’t wait for the end of June for this record to come out.
Kyle Keller – All It Does Is Rain – June 27th
I have been a fan of Kyle Keller for a while. His 2017 EP was a collection of raw and real acoustic tracks. You can expect more sparse instrumentation here on All It Does Is Rain as the sad songs and stories are at the forefront of Kyle Keller’s music. If you’re a fan of good songwriting and slow acoustic sad country and folk songs, this album is for you. Look for it everywhere you can stream music on June 27th. I have also heard we might be getting a single released from this one soon.
Joshua Ray Walker – Glad You Made It – July 10th
Joshua Ray Walker blew me away with his 2019 debut album Wish You Were Here. He’s got an amazing voice and great songwriting skills to match. Earlier this year he released a new song called “Voices” that allows him to stretch his vocal chords out even further. I can’t wait to hear this entire album and we will be able to in early July.
S.G. Goodman – Old Time Feeling – July 17th
I first came across the music of S.G. Goodman through Spotify’s Indigo playlist. I was immediately drawn in by her voice which is very raw and unique. Her music comes across like a mix of Kentucky influences and a blend of rocking Mississippi delta blues. I’m looking forward to hearing the rest of the album as her early release singles have been very solid. This one is out in July.
The Texas Gentlemen – Floor It!!! – July 17th
Finally, we have a new record from the Texas country funk outfit The Texas Gentlemen. You have most likely heard The Texas Gentlemen serving as Paul Cauthen’s backing band on his albums like his 2019 release Room 41. They also have a previous album out called TX Jelly from 2017 that you should check out. This band is recommended if you like heavy doses of funk in your country. Check out the single “Bare Maximum” and the album is out in July.
Be sure to check back here at Gary Hayes Country for coverage on all of these and more great albums coming out soon.