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

Album Feature – Snake Blood Remedy – The Duval Blues

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Jan 032019
 

By Joshua Wallace

Snake Blood Remedy have released the follow-up to their 2016 self titled album.  This album is more in the realm of honky tonk and The Duval Blues finds a band that has honed their sound and is tighter than ever.  Lets dig into some of the tracks on this album.

The title track, “The Duval Blues” quickly sets the pace for this record with a fiddle and dobro heavy honky tonk tune about big city blues.  The album features Brett Bass as a guest on the dobro. You might remember him as the front man for Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, but now he’s in a new band called Brett Bass and Melted Plectrum.  This album is a good feature for his musical abilities post Grandpa’s Cough Medicine. Further on the album, I really dig the dark and slower tune “Bitter Seed”. I love J.D. Cook’s vocals on this track as they fit the mood perfectly.  

Another favorite is the equally dark tune “3 To 5 Years” about the struggle of the outlaw life and how getting away from it for 3 to 5 years might not be so bad.  Finally, we come to the surprise of this track. There might not be many people familiar with the name Jake Cox, but he is a talented currently residing in St. Augustine, FL.  Snake Blood Remedy have done a fine job with one of his best tunes “Cruisin’ In The Left Lane” and it’s a high mark of the album for me. It also features Jake Cox in a guest spot on the track.

Snake Blood Remedy’s sophomore effort shows a band that is coming together nicely.  I highly recommend this album if you’re looking for a good honky tonk record to start off the new year.  You can even preview the entire album on the band’s website which is where you can also pre-order a copy.  I hear it will eventually find its way to places like Spotify as well. Be sure to check out this North Florida based band on the road somewhere if they come near you.        

Favorite Tracks : The Duval Blues, Bitter Seed, 3 To 5 Years, Cruisin’ In The Left Lane

Snake Blood Remedy – The Duval Blues (2019)

  1. The Duval Blues
  2. Money Can’t Buy Happiness
  3. Bitter Seed
  4. Lonely Road
  5. Life Like Mine
  6. 3 To 5 Years
  7. Cruisin’ In The Left Lane
  8. Dog Gone Dog
  9. Say You’ll Stay