- Robert Earl Keen’s been added to the MerleFest lineup. (via press release)
- The building that housed Quad Studios, a Nashville studio where Neil Young, Joan Baez, Keith Urban, Old Crow Medicine Show, and lots more have recorded since 1970, will become the new headquarters for Round Hill Music in 2015. The studio will be available for rental.
- Stream Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie’s December Day.
- Check out the track listing for the Gibson Brothers’ next album, Brotherhood, due out February 24 on Rounder Records. It includes their versions of songs recorded by the Louvin Brothers, Everly Brothers, Church Brothers, Tompall and the Glaser Brothers, and several other brother acts.
- Jamey Johnson talks about his Christmas EP and his new label (Big Gassed Records) in this Rolling Stone Country interview.
- Billy Joe Shaver’s going to play Letterman on December 17. (via press release)
- C.M. Wilcox posted a new installment of Quotable Country.
- Tim O’Brien talks about Hot Rize and the future of bluegrass music in a new Paste Q&A.
- Last Sunday afternoon in Philly, Bob Dylan played a brief concert for an audience of one as part of a Swedish experimental film series.
- JD McPherson listed his ten favorite post-1950s rockabilly records, including releases by Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys and Ronnie Dawson.
- Samantha Harlow’s got a new holiday song called “Once a Year.”
- The Wall Street Journal premiered The Lone Bellow’s “Fake Roses” video on its Speakeasy blog.
- The Jayhawks are kicking off a West Coast tour on January 6.
- Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors’ Good Light is available for download on NoiseTrade.
- Also on NoiseTrade: a selection of songs from Engelbert Calling, Engelbert Humperdinck’s latest duets album featuring Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers, Wynonna Judd, and Shelby Lynne.
- Yesterday the IBMA Board of Directors released a statement to the organization’s members. You can read it here.
- Miranda Lambert’s MuttNation Foundation renovated a no-kill dog shelter in Lambert’s hometown of Tishomingo, Okla. The facility, which opened last weekend, is now called Redemption Ranch.
- Singer-songwriter Cass McCombs played a couple songs, including “Omie Wise,” for WAMU.
- Richard and Teddy Thompson discussed the Thompson Family’s new record on All Things Considered.
- Amy Adams (Sunshine Cleaning, Her) is going to play Janis Joplin in a forthcoming biopic directed by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club). (h/t Jeremy Dylan…let’s hope this film is better than the Jackie Jormp-Jomp movie.)
- Chris Young announced a couple 2015 UK tour dates. Young recently took home the International Act of the Year Award at the British Country Music Awards; you can find the full list of winners here.
- Trisha Yearwood, Big Kenny, Eric Paslay, and several other artists weigh in (and a handful of singers give vague non-answers) on whether country music is ready for an openly gay superstar.
- Adam Hood, Drew Kennedy, and several others discuss what they’re thankful for in the newest edition of Galleywinter’s annual Thanksgiving post.
- Here’s “Black Ribbon Highway,” the new single from Truth & Salvage Co.
- Sara Evans released a video for “Put My Heart Down.”
- Kenny Chesney is going to receive the Groundbreaker Award at next month’s American Country Countdown Awards.
- This week’s album releases:
Dallas Smith – Lifted
Kelsea Ballerini – Kelsea Ballerini
- A book:
Eric Weisbard – Top 40 Democracy: The Rival Mainstreams of American Music
- And a DVD:
Jason Isbell – Live at Austin City Limits
There’s this young couple out on a date who get arrested for trespassing near the airport, and they’re carted off in cuffs, but there’s just a certain way the squad car’s blue lights highlight her face and the guy confides “By the time they let us go—I was already gone.” That’s one of the country song lines of the year, at the very least, about falling in love in the back of a “Cop Car,” which is the title of the song where all of that happens. While you might have heard Keith Urban’s stab at it earlier this year (or not), now it’s one in a set of ten strong, often riveting songs co-written and economically, convincingly, sung by sudden chart-topper Sam Hunt on his first album, Montevallo, released this Fall.
There are, I know, those who will hear that one, and other original relationship songs in the set, equally driven by inventive, glitteringly specifics in the lyrics (“Ex to See,” and “Single for the Summer,” for two, and those aren’t even the singles), and notice only that the subject territory seems similar to that of a lot of “Chart Country” guyz lately, and the record’s tone on the more pop end of the spectrum—so, end of story. I’m saying, unequivocally: not so fast. Hunt’s written the ten songs with the likes of Zach Crowell, Josh Osborne and Shane McAnally—the latter pair wrote “Merry Go Round” with Kacey Musgraves, and Crowell and McAnally produced the set, keeping these particular pop country sounds tightly and appropriately tied to the songs’ meanings and levels of emotionality. Sam Hunt brings to all that the assured vocal finesse that can give “polished” a good name.
So, no; this one’s not all rootsy fiddle and steel guitars, but this is potent music that reflects the lives, responses and rhythms of those who maybe didn’t go to the best universities and received all the allegedly best received ideas about handed-down sounds. It’s fascinating (for me, anyway) to watch talented performers, writers and producers work out ways to elevate and make singular again the stuff of the mainstream, and that’s what you’ll find on Montevallo. It’s fine country music.
And, lets face it, allegedly hipper roots rock attempting revival of ‘90s alt.country sounds and energy often exhibits as much recapitulating sameness in its themes and sounds as radio country tends to, familiar rawness worn on sleeves included, which is why it’s also good to be able to report on two recent band releases in that arena well worth some time and attention—self-titled releases by two Austin area bands, The Dirty River Boys and Whiskey Shivers. The names may sound more than a little familiar, but the bands don’t. The “Dirties” manage to meld Pogues-like thrashing/smashing abandon, bits of elegiac picking, hooky fresh songs and working choral vocal harmonies. The loose, good-natured, and punk-aware “Whiskeys” also turn to those shouting choral harmonies at times, and likewise bring original tunes with actual melodies, but they take off from a more folky old time country, bluegrass or even chain gang work song place, heavier on the fiddle–sometimes hot fiddle. Both recommended.
If you could use more dobro in your life this fall (and you probably could) check out the new releases by two of the instrument’s masters. Phil Leadbetter is back, recovered from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and two year total hiatus, with The Next Move, featuring guests vocalists and instrumentalists that include John Cowan, Sam Bush, Shawn Camp, Jerry Douglas, Buck White, Dale Ann Bradley and Steve Warner (nice guests, eh?) and Phil’s own fluid-to-furious and always expressive dobro, on everything from a Josh Graves salute to “Georgia on My Mind” and “Sweet Georgia Brown.” Fellow dobro master Rob Ickes is on there, too, but (early winter alert) you’ll soon hear a lot more of him, in fresh, change-of-pace circumstances, on his oncoming duo outing with young guitar-slinging, songwriting honky tonker Trey Hensley, Before the Sun Goes Down (due in early 2015). Trey can sound like a young Merle Haggard starting over; Rob gets into the territory players like Norman Hamlet and James Burton provided Merle himself, and sounds exhilarated going there—on songs ranging from “Georgia on a Fast Train” to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Pride and Joy.” For an early preview, see: robandtrey.com.
There are some arenas where the pleasure of hearing a singer gifted with a nice, elegant set of pipes to go with singing smarts comes almost as a surprise bonus—indie alt.country and stand-taking protest singing being two of those. I’m already on the record as being taken with the versatile, graceful honky tonk singing of East Nashville singer-songwriter Jon Byrd; now he brings that to smart interpretation of songs written by his close associates here and back in Atlanta, his musical home back over a decade ago‑-Adam and Shannon Wright, Greta Lee, Peter Cooper, James “Slim Chance” Kelly, Mando Saenz and Will Kimbrough among them—on his new, engagingly understated album, Route 41.
If you’re not familiar with the veteran political organizer-protest singer and musical theater composer Si Kahn, who’s been at all of that for over 45 years, you should be. (I’ll have more to say about his impressive, gutsy, knowing, and generally charming mixture of folk, country and theatrical music and how he puts them all together when there’s more space.) For the moment, I’d recommend checking in on his latest release, Bristol Bay, comprised of songs he’s written and elegantly sings on behalf of preservation of the Alaskan fishery that’s home to half the wild fish caught in the U.S., and threatened by efforts to begin open-pit gold and copper mining nearby. The pointed yet tuneful 16-song cycle tells the tale, makes the case—and also sounds swell.
And since we’re speaking of fine singers here, I’ve long considered Shelby Lynne one of the very best we’re lucky enough to have at work for us all in any roots genre. It’s hard to believe, but her second stage breakthrough that took off from her declaration of independence I Am Shelby Lynne is 15 years on now, (after a mainstream country career that’s sometimes underestimated) and to mark that anniversary, that CD’s been reissued with bonus tracks and, more to my point, also an hour and a half DVD performance from that time, taped at the House of Blues in L.A. in April 2000. There’s not been all that much Shelby on video at all; this is prime, and her incendiary, maybe even over-the-top take on “Wichita Lineman” is a full-tilt surprise in itself. Just about anybody reading his, meanwhile, will be glad to see the new DVD release, out this week, of Jason Isbell’s 2013 appearance on Austin City Limits, also 90 minutes as extended, some performances unseen, with everything from “Outfit” to “Cover Me Up” included, and for the “well, there it is” cover—“Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’.”)
Lastly, two Fall books I want to direct you towards: You may think you know what life at Sun Records was like, back in the day, but there’s a different and new take in The Next Elvis: Searching for Stardom at Sun Records by Barbara Barnes Sims, who worked for Sam Phillips there from 1957-1960 in promo, packaging and writing liner notes. That she seems to have preferred more sophisticated nightclub music to much of the rawer rockabilly—and rawer personalities—she dealt with every day there only adds to the freshness of the perspective. Anecdotes about Jerry Lee Lewis, Charlie Rich, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and Phillips himself are fresh—and ought to hold everybody over nicely until Peter Gurlanick’s long-simmering Sam bio appears. (I’ve heard that it’s well along now.) And while I’d generally be happy if a five-year ban on new books about Johnny Cash were imposed, for some breath-catching, new perspective and actual new takes on the person and the persona developed, I’d nevertheless readily recommend Eric Banister’s Johnny Cash FAQ right now, which, the book series-derived title notwithstanding, takes up many good, not-so-frequently asked questions about the man’s music-making. It’s impressively researched and Banister sheds plenty of light on that music and the man.
- Aubrey Preston, the new owner of Studio A, discusses his plans for the building in an interview with The Tennessean’s Nate Rau: The first step, which will be consummated on Dec. 31 when Preston’s nonprofit group AMT Trust closes on the sale, was to put the property in a “safe harbor.” AMT Trust contracted to buy the building from Bravo Development, which planned to demolish the property and build luxury condominiums and a restaurant on the Music Row land. Preston said the second step is to thoroughly research Studio A’s deep history as the foundation for a preservation plan, potentially including protective zoning, that will keep the studio and office building intact permanently. And the final step is for AMT Trust to find the right preservation-minded owner, which Preston said could be a nonprofit organization or a for-profit company.
- Homes previously owned by Maybelle Carter, Hank Snow, and Colonel Tom Parker are up for sale.
- The winners of last night’s American Music Awards include Luke Bryan (Best Country Male Artist), Brantley Gilbert’s Just as I Am (Best Country Album), Carrie Underwood (Best Country Female Artist), and Florida Georgia Line (Best Country Band).
- This is nice: before his recent show in Baltimore, Randy Houser, who supports the nonprofit organization Operation Homefront, presented SSG Christopher Solso and his wife with a number of gifts, including a year of free groceries. (warning: autoplay)
- Elvis Presley took the No. 3 spot on CMT’s Artists’ Choice countdown.
- BlogTO.com listed Toronto’s ten best country and alt-country bands.
- Angel Snow’s new single is available on NoiseTrade.
- Here’s an interview with Kevin “Sipreano” Howes, producer of Native North America: Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966-1985, a collection that “focuses on music made by the indigenous people of Canada and the northern U.S.”
- American Aquarium will release their next record, Wolves, on February 3.
- Duncan Cooper of TheFader.com wrote a feature called “Why Sam Hunt is Good for Country Music.”
- Jeff Bridges talked about his music career on All Things Considered.
- Get the story behind “T-R-O-U-B-L-E” in this video interview with songwriter Jerry Chesnut.
- Last week Emmylou Harris, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, Jeff Tweedy, and many more helped celebrate Mavis Staples’ 75th birthday with a tribute show in Chicago. Here’s a video of the evening’s closing number, “The Weight.”
- Over the Rhine discuss their new holiday album, Blood Oranges in the Snow, in this CMT Edge Q&A.
- The Country Music Association presented their Music Discovery Research findings. They include:
Among those that had discovered new music, AM/FM radio ranked No. 1 as a source with 43 percent citing it as where they heard the new music for the first time, followed by YouTube and streaming apps each cited as sources by 13 percent of respondents. Discovery via YouTube and streaming apps was significantly higher (20 percent) among music fans 18-34 years of age.
Overall, nearly one in five (19 percent) fans that discovered a new song or artist ended up purchasing that new music within seven days of discovery. Purchase levels were highest among consumers that discovered new music via streaming apps (25 percent purchased the new song).
- Check out this infographic about the recording careers of artists who’ve had more than five chart-topping albums in the U.S., including Elvis Presley, Garth Brooks, and Kenny Chesney.
- Sturgill Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music took the No. 1 spot in American Songwriter‘s countdown of 2014’s top 50 albums.
- Ty Herndon, Jamie O’Neal, and Andy Griggs are going to tour together in 2015. (via press release)
- New music videos:
Willie and Bobbie Nelson – “Who’ll Buy My Memories”
Wade Bowen – “When I Woke Up Today”
Punch Brothers – “I Blew It Off”
First Aid Kit – “America”
James McMurtry – “How’m I Gonna Find You Now”
Sons of Bill – “Bad Dancer”
Doug Seegers – “Don’t Laugh at Me”
Whiskey Shivers – “Free”
Lately, singer-songwriter Doug Seegers has been performing a stripped-down version of Mark Wills’ 1998 hit, “Don’t Laugh at Me,” during his concerts. Written by Steve Seskin and Allen Shamblin, the song is especially poignant coming from the 62-year-old Seeger, who spent several years as a homeless busker who struggled with addiction before an encounter at a Nashville soup food pantry led to a record deal. Now a country star in Sweden, Seegers released his debut album, Going Down to the River, earlier this year on Rounder Records.
Watch his take on “Don’t Laugh at Me” below.
Lee Ann Womack to Sing Anthem at Eagles-Cowboys Game; Ty Herndon Comes Out; Nora Jane Struthers Announces New Album
Herndon’s announcement inspired Billy Gilman to do the same.
Ronnie Milsap shot a video interview for CMT.com shortly before his Hall of Fame induction.
IBMA drama continues: three more board members have resigned.
Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn played a few for Folk Alley.
Scotsman.com published a brief article about mad fiddle scientist Casey Driessen.
Next Thursday you’ll have to postpone your traditional postprandial Thanksgiving nap: Lee Ann Womack is singing the National Anthem in Dallas at 4:30 p.m. EST when the Cowboys play the Eagles. She’ll be accompanied by Paul Franklin on pedal steel. (via press release)
The 2015 AmericanaFest will be held September 15-20 in Nashville.
Nora Jane Struthers will release her next album, Wake, on February 24. Here’s one of her new songs, “The Same Road.”
A deluxe, two-disc version of the Punch Brothers documentary How to Grow a Band is now available.
Alison Krauss has been added to the already star-studded lineup for the Emmylou Harris tribute concert in DC next January.
Check out the tracklisting and a song (inspired by Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smoke Stack Lightning”) from Steve Earle’s next record, which comes out in February.
Chicagoist.com posted an entertaining interview with Bloodshot Records founders Nan Warshaw and Rob Miller and Bloodshot artist Robbie Fulks.
The Mavericks, Steve Earle Announce New Albums; Billboard to Count Song Streams; The Voice Wants Jason Isbell
- I can’t decide if this is funny-funny or sad-funny: a producer from The Voice emailed Jason Isbell to see if he wants to audition for the show. Isbell’s response is definitely funny, though.
- Steve Earle & The Dukes will release a new album called Terraplane on New West Records February 17. (via press release)
- Also out on February 17: Mono, by The Mavericks. Robert Reynolds is taking time away from the band to be with his wife, who is battling cancer.
- On February 10, Rhiannon Giddens will release Tomorrow is My Turn, a solo album produced by T Bone Burnett. Check out a couple songs from the forthcoming record.
- The New York Times reports that, “Billboard and Nielsen SoundScan, the agency that supplies its data, will start adding streams and downloads of tracks to the formula behind the Billboard 200.” They’ll count 1,500 streams as equal to one albums sale; furthermore, “they will also count ‘track equivalent albums’ — a common industry yardstick of 10 downloads of individual tracks — as part of the formula for album rankings on the Billboard 200.”
- James McMurtry shot a video for “How’m I Gonna Find You Now.”
- Lucero and Ryan Bingham are co-headlining a tour that’ll kick off in Asheville on February 17. (via press release)
- Go get yourself some free rock and roll from JD McPherson.
- Hunter Hayes canceled tonight’s St. Louis show due to concerns about “possible unrest” in Ferguson.
- If you’ve got Amazon Prime, you can stream a free holiday compilation that features recordings by Ashley Monroe, Kelly Hogan, Lucinda Williams, and more.
- Jewly Hight interviewed Tanya Tucker for CMT Edge.
- The Wall Street Journal published a feature on Hot Rize.
- Here’s an interesting Q&A with Rob Miller, co-founder of Bloodshot Records.
They’ve been “mildly impressing hipsters,” or so they say on their website (warning: autoplay), since their 2011 release Pay the Fiddler, which was produced by Andy Gibson, known for his work on Hank Williams III’s Straight to Hell. They prefer more traditional instrumentation (bass, banjo, fiddle, guitar — although on this last album they’ve replaced the fiddle with a mandolin), but are highly influenced by rockabilly, psychobilly, early rock and roll, and punk.
Their latest album, Safety Third, is definitely a level up from their freshman attempt. Brett Walker’s nasal, but strong vocals are the still group’s strong suit, and the songwriting is more thematically unified on this album. He always sings from a wayward male perspective, one that is not always necessarily loveable (think Delta Blues singers), but definitely self-assured, opinionated, and up to no good. On “Roadkill,” one of the group’s stronger tracks, he sings about being on the road and leaving his latest conquest behind. Love that’s been killed on the road, or perhaps, the woman he has abandoned is herself the roadkill, at least that’s what the narrator implies. Another integral part of this narrator’s identity is being “Amurikan;” references are made to pecan pie, a country founded on nicotine, corn subsidies, and Jesus. Their better songs bounce along, with a strong rhythmic drive – and often include sudden changes in tempo, in the spirit of punk music.
Musically, one could divide the songs on this album into three different categories: Basic progressive bluegrass instrumentation with punky vocals, a repeating riff that unifies all the instruments over the chord changes with punky vocals, or a mix of both of these things, with one instrument playing a defining riff that makes the song catchy, and the other instruments holding down the rest (and punky vocals). “Typical Pig,” the album’s last track, does the third option, and it may be the best song. It’s only enhanced by a great slap bass solo, of which there are too few on the album. Category 2 songs include “Roadkill” and “Let ‘Em Smoke,” both strong tracks. Category 1 songs are only redeemed by their lyrics, such as “Creepin’ On You,” which is the closest we get to a love song on this album: “I’m creepin’ on you/Just as you please/It’s what I do/It’s what you need.”
The album’s title is inspired by the first track, “Should Be Fine,” during which the narrator sings about half-assing his work (thus the title Safety Third.) It is a boring introduction to the album — “Typical Pig,” “Roadkill,” or “Priceless Advice” (during which the singer warns not to shoot your best friend, don’t have unprotected sex, etc.) would have been just as thematically unifying, minus the boredom. This group does not do slow songs well. “Colorado,” a song about escaping life and going to a distant utopia, was not only slow, but the lyrics were indecipherable. In some genres, like shoegaze or speed metal, this wouldn’t be an issue. In country and roots music, the understability of the lyrics is vital. Not to mention, the Texas Dangers’ forte is often their lyrics, which are funny and rakish, and if you can’t understand them during a slow song with a weak arrangement, you don’t have much left.
There are only two or three disappointments on this album, and the rest is very strong. With nods to Buddy Holly and even speedgrass, Walker & the Texas Dangers has put out another defiant album, giving us more of what they’re good at, which is boundless energy, tomfoolery, and sharp wit. When you listen, you can’t help but wish you were seeing them play it live. And if they can find a way of making their slow songs sizzle as much as their fast ones, well, they’ll be unstoppable.
Vince Gill, Lyle Lovett Announce Tour; The Gibson Brothers Salute Brother Acts; Guy Clark Documentary in the Works
- Listen to The Gibson Brothers’ version of “Bye Bye Love” from their excellent forthcoming album Brotherhood, a salute to roots music’s finest brother acts.
- Vince Gill and Lyle Lovett are going to play a handful of East Coast shows together in late January.
- The Huffington Post premiered “Bossy,” a cut from JD McPherson’s next album, Let the Good Times Roll.
- Lonesome River Band released a video for “Her Love Won’t Turn on a Dime.”
- There’s a Guy Clark documentary in the works. Without Getting Killed or Caught is slated for release in 2016, along with a Clark biography. Both projects are helmed by Tamara Saviano. (via press release)
- Check out Robert Earl Keen’s take on “Hot Corn, Cold Corn” from his upcoming bluegrass album, Happy Prisoner.
- NPR posted a couple of cool live performances: Jason Isbell’s “Cover Me Up” from the Americana Awards and St. Paul & The Broken Bones playing “I’m Torn Up” during a Boston show.
- Oh, super. T-Pain says he’s working on a “lot of stuff” with Luke Bryan, Dallas Davidson, and Rhett Akins. (Although, when he’s not using Auto Tune, T-Pain sounds okay. So…maybe these new collaborations won’t be a pile of hot garbage?)
- While working on her latest album, Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, Lucinda Williams recorded enough material – including a cover of the Velvet Underground’s “Pale Blue Eyes” for another album.
- Garth Brooks: not a fan of YouTube. (warning: autoplay)
- Nate Rau of The Tennessean profiled Broken Bow Records, a “refuge for wayward music careers” and acts like Jason Aldean, Thompson Square, and Randy Houser.
- Keb’ Mo, Bonnie Raitt, and more discuss the legacy of Mavis Staples in this PasteMagazine.com piece.
- Willie Nelson taped a pilot episode for Inside Arlyn Studios, a proposed television series that he’ll host. His first guest was Gary Clark, Jr.
- Here’s First Aid Kit’s video for their take on Simon & Garfunkel’s “America.”
- Adam Hood discusses songwriting and his new album in this CMT Edge Q&A.
- Bloodshot Records get some love from hometown paper The Chicago Tribune.
- If you’ve got an hour, check out this BBC documentary, Bob Harris: My Nashville.
- Here’s a new Punch Brothers song called “Blow It Off.” It’ll be on their next album, which will be released in early 2015.
- Rosanne Cash released a limited edition 45 to benefit the restoration of the Historic Dyess Colony and Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash. It’s already sold out at her online store
- On February 10, Aaron Watson will release his next album, The Underdog (produced by Keith Stegall). (via press release)
- MuddyRootsRecords.com posted an article about DeFord Bailey.
- Wait, Jamey Johnson recorded a Christmas EP? Yep. (It’s out December 9.)
- The Oxford American’s Texas Music issue, which hits newsstands December 1, looks pretty neat.
- Guy Clark’s “L.A. Freeway” is the American Songwriter Lyric of the Week.
- The Wall Street Journal premiered a couple of videos on their Speakeasy blog: Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn’s “And Am I Born to Die” and Wade Bowen’s “When I Woke Up Today.”
- The Drive-By Truckers reflect on their last album, English Oceans, in this Rolling Stone Country article.
- For his final Tennessean column, Peter Cooper wrote about accordion player Joey Miskulin.
- The most important thing I learned in this Tanya Tucker interview is that there used to be Tanya Tucker Salsa.
- David Garza played an NPR Tiny Desk Concert.
- Lady Antebellum will be presented with the CRS 2015 Artist Humanitarian Award in late February.
- Here’s “Give Yourself to Love,” a previously unreleased Peter, Paul and Mary recording.
- Cale Tyson, Margo Price, and Raelyn Nelson discuss the state of country music in a Rolling Stone Country roundtable.
- This week’s album releases:
Charles Hill, Jr. – Shootin’ Man
Derek Thomas & Skyline Drive – Beyond the Trestles
James Carothers – Honky Tonk Land
Jonathan Byrd – You Can’t Outrun the Radio
Old 97’s – Hitchhike to Rhome: 20th Anniversary Edition
The Roys – Bluegrass Kinda Christmas
Sara Evans – At Christmas
Stephen Chadwick – Let’s Do This Thing
Thompson – Family
Trisha Yearwood – PrizeFighter
Various Artists – The Art of McCartney
Various Artists – While No One Was Looking: Toasting 20 Years of Bloodshot Records
For Jim Ed Brown, the last several weeks have been something of an emotional and physical roller coaster. Shortly after the 80-year-old singer announced his forthcoming solo studio album, In Style Again, he also revealed that he was diagnosed with lung cancer and needed to take four months off from touring and performing in order to undergo treatment.
In Style Again, which comes out January 20, 2015 on Plowboy Records, is 12 songs of smooth, solid country, with appearances from Vince Gill, Helen Cornelius, The Whites, and an on-point backing band that includes Chris Scruggs and Dennis Crouch.
Today we’re pleased to premiere the first single from the album, “When the Sun Says Hello to the Mountain,” featuring harmonies from his sisters, The Browns.
- Leeann Ward: Thanks, NM. I like a good pop hook, to be honest. So, maybe I need to try it again.
- Barry Mazor: OK, Jim Z. That changes everything. I surrender.
- Jim Z: to call the Dirty River Boys an "Austin area band" is still incorrect. They are based in El Paso.
- nm: Leeann, you and I often have similar tastes in more-traditional country. And, to my ears, Sam Hunt's voice and lyrics …
- Barry Mazor: Matter of fact, as always--I did. The notes say the album was recorded & mixed by and at "The …
- Roger: Looking forward to picking up the Jamey Johnson Christmas EP - love all of those songs and can't wait for …
- Jim Z: that record was recorded in El Paso. (you could look it up) and other than appearing in Austin once in …
- Leeann Ward: Yes, I can always use more dobro in my life! Thanks for the Phil Leadbetter tip! I haven't been able to …
- Barry Mazor: OK, Jim. The record's more or less out of Austin. But I'm sure they're also good in El Paso...
- Jim Z: Dirty River Boys are from El Paso, Texas.