11/30/18 New Albums

After a couple of thin weeks, it looks like we’re cooking on full heat this week.

Jade Marie Patek, Andy Branton, Dolly Parton (movie soundtrack), Jenna & Martin (3 songs, Christmas), Kellie Pickler (Christmas), Shinyribs (Christmas), Owen Lake and The Tragic Loves (electro-country fusion), Toby Keith (25th Anniversary of debut album), Adam Wakefield, Ashton Lane, Dan Ashplant, 500 Miles to Memphis, John Berry, Tucker Beathard, Wheeler Walker,Jr (adult language), Aaron LaCombe, Extra Gold, Dave Stroda, The Bean Pickers Union, Nathan Carter, Monteagle, Joe Pisapia (Christmas), Reverend Horton Heat, Daniel Romano, Jeff Tweedy, Neil Young, Stoney Gabel, Vivita and the Sufferings, Lexi Lauren (Christmas), Meg Louise, Dennis McCurdy, Brady James, Michelle Petrie, J R Moore, Bryan Wayne, Dylan Wheeler, Holly Nicole Combs, The Kitchen Dwellers, and Mac Powell and the Family Reunion (Christmas).

Also, Kasey Chambers won Best Country Album at the ARIA Awards, and is the youngest woman ever inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. Keith Urban hosted the awards show.

Kasey Chambers’ acceptance speech includes the following great quotes:

“‘You don’t need to be a dickhead to get ahead in this business’

‘You don’t have to drag other people down in order to get to the top. You don’t have to treat people like shit.”

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11/29/18 Outlaw Satellites

I listened to Sirius XM’s Outlaw Country for awhile on Monday. I expect very loose boundaries on something with “outlaw” in the name, but it’s funny that these were the first three songs I heard in sequence after lunch:

Terence Trent D’Arby        Tracy Chapman   The Beach Boys

I usually think more along the lines of “Waylon and friends” when I think “outlaw country,” but I guess “outlaw” can mean “anything goes,” too ? Still, I think if you gathered 50 random people in a room and played these three songs for them in sequence, then asked them to write down the “genre” of the music they just heard, I bet not one would answer “country.”

Folio Weekly interview with Josh Card: “Country music was never about a party, it was never party songs.”

I’m scratching my head a bit at that  statement. “Hillbilly hoedowns” are country music as much as anything else, n’est-ce pas ?

11/28/18 Sask Music Awards

Saskatchewan has a population of just 1.17 million (2017 estimate), but this rural western province is fertile ground for country and western music.

Here’s the full list of winners announced this weekend at the Saskatchewan Music Awards.

Jess Moskaluke won Country Artist of the Year. Her style is usually on the pop country end of things, but I’m okay with that. I usually find at least something I like well enough from the majority of artists.

Here’s a video she released earlier this year: Past the Past

Since we’re within a month of Christmas, here’s O Holy Night.

Kacy & Clayton won Saskatchewan Folk/Roots Artist of the Year. Here’s Just Like A Summer Cloud

Megan Nash won the Breaking Borders Award. Here’s Salted Salamanders

We’ve also mentioned such Saskatchewan artists as Colter Wall, Tenille Arts, Blake Berglund, and Belle Plaine here. The main thing I want to emphasize is not who wins what, but the efforts to build and promote a music scene. Good music can come from anywhere, but it’s not just chance that places like Texas and Kentucky are consistently strong. There’s a whole lot of mostly unsung efforts in those areas to create infrastructure that supports and encourages the development and promotion of their area talent.

 

 

 

 

 

11/26/18 Squeezebox Bandits

The first time I ever heard of this group was in January, when I was looking up information about Eleven Hundred Springs’ album release, and noticed these guys listed on the same bill at the album release party.

Last week, we spent an afternoon in New Braunfels listening to the Squeezebox Bandits at the site of the old Crystal Chandelier. It’s a BBQ restaurant now, but there’s a 12-foot mural of George Strait, who used to play at that location early in his career.

Classic country influences are prominent in their mix, though there’s Tex-Mex accordion for flavor. In addition to their originals, they covered such artists as Dwight Yoakam, Bob Wills, Hank Williams, and the Texas Tornadoes. They have another album on the way in January.

Here’s Squeezebox Bandits covering Ernest Tubb on the Eleven Hundred Springs YouTube page: Just A Drink Away

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11/25/18 Tunie Awards

Congratulations to all winners: Most played artists at Waffle House

Whisperin’ Bill Anderson was honored with a Legend award, and Chris Stapleton earned the country artist award. Sam Hunt and Keith Urban were also recognized.

Here’s a 2013 Kentucky Country Music interview with Chris Stapleton, where he discussed such topics as performing  at a camel farm: Kentucky Country Music 2013 article.

 

11/21/18 Blake Shelton Was Right

A few years ago, Blake Shelton ruffled the feathers of some country traditionalists with his “old farts and jackasses” comments, but the comments section of many “traditional country” and/or “indie outlaw” sites prove him right daily.

Yet, Blake Shelton has proven to be an excellent ambassador for country music in his role as judge on The Voice. Blake also recently posted some classic country covers. Here’s his most recent: The King Is Gone (And So Are You)

Earlier this year, I went to the Ameripolitan deal in Memphis to support some “non-mainstream” acts, but non-mainstream shouldn’t have to mean anti-mainstream. I’m not “anti-mainstream.

Dale Watson in a Pop Matters interview from 2015: ” When current critical darling Kacey Musgraves (a CMA nominee for Female Vocalist and Album of the Year) is mentioned, Watson is blunt in his assessment: “She’s 100 percent mainstream country. I don’t hear a difference between her and Miranda Lambert or Taylor Swift.””

I’m not into supporting genres, movements, and artists who cut down others. I give them credit for shining a light on some underrepresented styles and acts, and wish them well in that part of their mission, but my philosophy is clearly incompatible with theirs.