Hello my dear friends. I’m now in some of the final stages of completing my catching up on all of the 2021 work I missed, and that includes sifting through literally thousands of new album PR submissions! Once I finish my TOP 50 OF 2021,and 3 legal pads of past article ideas,  I can focus totally on my 2022 stuff.

True, I am up against a big hurdle here of the arduous task of covering all of this music, festivals and months old information that accumulated on me while I had to step back a little bit, but I enjoy the challenge of it really.

What I’ll do here is put a few albums together that I thought were really good, and I wanted to share with y’all.  This article will be chocked full of videos and all sorts of goodies, so sit back, turn on Spotify, or however you listen to new music, and enjoy these. BUT PLEASE BUY any of these albums you like!

Turner Cody and the Soldiers Of Love released an album in June called “Friends In High Places”, and as I sifted through a bunch of mediocre albums, I found one that was a slow and poignant one, but it hit me nonetheless! This album spoke to me for a number of reasons, however it’s not specifically COUNTRY per se.

You can easily ascertain ALL of his influences here on this album, his folk songwriter heroes like Gram Parsons and those of his ilk shine through the lyrics of this album here.  The first song called “Boozing And Losing” is a slow and sad song of failure and self worthlessness, I mean WHO ISN’T their own worst enemy?

The lyrics are so descriptive and make you actually smell these smoke soaked clothes on a shitty motel room floor, and it’s followed by a song called “The Four Thousand Days”, which is another good luck turns sour song.

This man is a seasoned entertainer in every sense of the word folks. He has a TON of albums under his belt, and twenty years experience in the anti-folk scene of New York lead him to re base out of St. Louis as of now. “Telling Stories” was one of the pinnacles of the album here, hands down. It contains all sorts of clever, twisted visions of reality and lying to yourself, while believing the bullshit you tell yourself.

Overall, I enjoyed this album simply because it was not an overproduced Eleven song album full of crappy jam songs, and he isn’t trying to be anything he isn’t.

Mr.Hayden Haddock is somewhat of a newcomer in the Texas Red Dirt community, only being twenty one, however he is definitely solidifying himself as a songwriter and performer. “Friends Like These” is an awesome song in today’s times that every person needs, one who will tell you what people say about you behind your back. I’m lucky enough to have one of these, and if you do, this song will also speak to you as well.

“Better Than It’s Ever Been” is a superb song in every sense of that statement. Irony at it’s finest is the bottom line here, and recalling the good and the bad of the past relationships we all go through is one of the catalysts of life for us all. Also, another good breakup song was “One By One” which went from her taking boxes one by one to refereeing to drinking beers to cope with her moving out.

This album was produced by Mr. Trent Willmon whom also does Mr. Cody Johnson and Mr. Randy Houser, who also manages him, and it was produced quite nicely! Songs like “Honky Tonk On” is your typical Friday night party song you hear on every Red Dirt album, but this one also had a style that easily differentiated it from the others.

Miss Shannon McNally released a banger this past year. Now, many times I am not very impressed with an album full of cover songs, where an artist focuses on their own heroes. But when someone puts this much effort and emphasis on making a perfect album while keeping the original songs a level above the album they made, I can respect that one hundred percent!

She included so many classic and beloved musicians, that I would be remiss if I did not touch on that subject for sure. Mr. Chris Scruggs, Mr. Lukas Nelson and so many others adorn the songs of this album here. They assist in setting up an opportunity for her to present these songs from a female point of view, like the fact Miss Jessi Colter appears on the song ‘Out Among The Stars”.

She changes a few lyrics around, but at the same time delivers the vocals with such intense emotion that it’s insane to pass this album up as a gimmick or anything other than a must have for your collection.  The song that the late Mr. Billy Joe Shaver wrote called “Black Rose” that also appears on the 1973 Honky Tonk Heroes album, was an amazing job on this project hands down.

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