New Year’s Eve – A Look Ahead

I have now had this blog for two years, and I made posts every day of 2018. I will scale back to less frequent posts in 2019, due to the absence of interest. I will maintain a robust 2019 Country Plus YouTube list, which I will begin in the very near future. #moretoignore

In the current environment, recorded music is generally more of a necessary calling card for artists to tour behind than itself the primary generator of income. They either put out new music, or someone else who did will grab the better bookings. As we saw in 2018, this model might suck for those creating content, but it is a free musical buffet for us consumers.

I expect albums this year from George Strait, Reba, Brad Paisley, Chris Stapleton,Sturgill Simpson, Candi Carpenter, Jason James, Sunny Sweeney, Randy Rogers, The Steeldrivers, Dallas Moore, Trisha Yearwood, Midland,Aaron Watson, Jake Penrod, Country Side of Harmonica Sam, Mo Pitney, William Michael Morgan,  Maren Morris, Rebecca Loebe, and most everyone else.

Lionel Richie apparently has something in mind, too: Tennesseean article

Here are some albums expected in January:

The Squeezebox Bandits (said first of the year when I saw them), Blackbird Presents’ all-star John Lennon tribute CD/DVD, Madisons (January 4th EP – I saw this group in San Marcos one time at the old Superfly’s Records), Eight 30 Records’ “Sideman’s Dream” (1/4), Jason Michael Carroll, Danny Burns, Dee White, Farewell Angelina (I saw them at CMA Fest), The Steel Woods (I’ve seen these guys twice so far), Clay Walker, Balsam Range (bluegrass), Randy Houser (I saw him open for Dierks Bentley in Tuscaloosa a couple of years ago), Kentucky Headhunters, Carolina Blue (bluegrass), Cody Johnson, Flatland Cavalry, Ronnie Milsap (duets), Terry Klein, Alice Wallace, Rob Baird, Charlie Shafter, Greensky Bluegrass, Pony Bradshaw, Clint Bradley, and Joshua Ray Walker.

I wouldn’t be surprised if some Australians release new music at Tamworth, so keep an ear out down under.

As for shows in 2019, I hope to catch a ton of central Texas shows, of course. I am also looking into the possibility of CMA week in June and the Tuscaloosa, Alabama bicentennial celebration in March (Isbell, Commodores,et al).

12/29/18 Live Music In 2018

As 2018 nears its end, I raise a toast to the great variety of music I was very fortunate to see live this year.

I got to see many of the biggest of the big names at CMA this summer. There was Garth Brooks playing a couple of acoustic songs during an interview session at Fan Fair. Chris Stapleton did free meet and greets at the George Jones museum for probably five hours. I saw CMHOF inductee Ricky Skaggs and so many more at Fan Fair. I was in the audience for some of the outdoor performances that aired on the CMT Music Awards. I also saw some really good independent acts at CMA, like traditional country singer-songwriters Erin Enderlin and Kendell Marvel, international bluegrass ambassador Kyle Dillingham,etc. I saw Marty Stuart’s Late Night Jam at the Ryman, which included everything from members of The Byrds to John Prine to the Opry Square Dancers, and closed with Dale Jett of the Carter Family playing autoharp,backed by the guitars of Marty Stuart and Chris Stapleton. I saw Carrie Underwood and Crystal Gayle and other greats at the Grand Ole Opry. If you think all there is to Nashville is whatever you hear on radio, you’re missing a whole lot of good music that also happens in that town. We are hoping to go back to CMA in 2019.

For my brother’s 50th birthday, we enjoyed a road trip to South Dakota, and we took in a couple of concerts at Denver’s incomparable Red Rocks along the way. My brother is in a chair, and the venue staff went above and beyond to make sure we had a great time. We saw Dwight Yoakam with Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, and King Leg, and we saw Old Crow Medicine Show with I’m With Her, with surprise guests Doug Kershaw and Colorado governor Hickenlooper.

I went to the Ameripolitan Awards in Memphis. In addition to attending all of the western swing, honky tonk, outlaw, and rockabilly showcases and the cool awards show itself, I got to immerse myself in Memphis’ rich music history. I got to Graceland, the Stax Museum, Rock and Soul Museum, and Beale Street. I don’t get to travel this much most years, but combining trips back to Alabama to visit relatives with some music in Tennessee works well.

We saw a couple of amphitheater shows in Alabama during our visits back home. We saw Willie Nelson with Alison Krauss in Birmingham this spring, and I saw Chris Stapleton,Marty Stuart,and Brent Cobb in Tuscaloosa. Brent’s song “King of Alabama” has the Tuscaloosa connection. Chris had Paul Franklin on steel for that show.

We saw live music quite often in Texas, of course. This post has rambled on too long already, so I won’t try listing them all. Our most frequent place to see shows was Kent Black’s BBQ in San Marcos, and Dallas Moore’s “Texahio” mentions BBQ in San Marcos, so it was cool seeing him sing that song there. Hal Bruni is one of the Last Honky Tonk Series artists we saw at Kent Black’s, and we enjoyed talking Tuscaloosa stuff with him.

Pretty much everyone comes through central Texas at some point. We saw Cody Jinks/Colter Wall/Josh Ward and Turnpike Troubadours/Shooter Jennings/Corb Lund at Whitewater Amp, and Tyler Childers/Town Mountain at Gruene Hall, and Sunny Sweeney in New Braunfels. We spent all day at the jam-packed grand opening concerts at Wade Bowen’s bar, Papa Jack’s, and have been back for shows there like Kevin Galloway. We saw Courtney Patton on Easter Sunday at Riley’s Tavern. Robyn Ludwick and friends renovated the old Devil’s Backbone Tavern. We saw a whole bunch of “unofficial” SXSW showcases in March, mostly at Threadgill’s, which recently closed. We attended Texas Music Scene tapings for Kevin Fowler and Mike and the Moonpies, which will air in 2019, and the TV episodes aired in early 2018 for the Austin City Limits tapings we attended in late 2017 for Chris Stapleton and Shinyribs. For Christmas shows, I saw Shinyribs at Waterloo Records in Austin, and Riders in the Sky in Houston.

I doubt I can get to anywhere near this  many shows in 2019, but I surely plan to enjoy whatever I do get to do. Even if I don’t get to travel as much, there is always a lot in central Texas that is right there in front of me.

Thank all of you for taking the time out of your day to enjoy the music,too. If I can contribute anything at all positive, I hope it is to reflect that all of this music, whether it is something you do like or don’t, is the result of the work and dreams of many. For most every artist you see, whether you like them or not, there is a whole team of connected people, and all of those people have friends and families. Nobody tries to make “bad” music. Some might achieve that result, but there’s an impossible wealth of music available to everyone now right there on your phone or computer. No matter what you like, there’s a ton of it, and seeing the acts live is the very best.

12/28/18 New Music

There are new albums this week from:

Read Southall Band, “Live At Tower Theatre”

Teague Brothers, “A Magic Night At Courville’s (live)”

Cowboy Joe Babcock, “Swingtown”

Diamondbuck, “South Detroit Honky Tonks and Other UFOS”

Joe Baxter, “The Weather”

Duke Oursler, “Duke – EP”

Death Ballad, Love Tellers, s/t

12/26/18 Presidents of Country

Country music is near and dear to many, so it’s no surprise that presidents interact with the format in various ways. President Nixon’s appearance at the grand opening of the Opry House in 1974 is one of the best examples.

At the end of last year, President Obama posted a list of favorite songs of 2017 that included Chris Stapleton’s “Millionaire.” Here’s some country music President Obama had at the White House: Obama Country

Here’s President Trump singing the theme to Green Acres in 2005: Green Acres is the place to be

Several presidents are depicted in  Brothers Osborne’s funny video for It Ain’t My Fault

No matter your political leanings, enjoy the music !

Christmas Eve, 2018 Songs 380-end

I won’t try to go into as much detail on the rest of these as I did on some of the previous index posts, but I will point out a few of the blocks of songs:

Old-time and Nostalgia There are several songs in a row that deal with these themes.

The Hillbilly Goats kick off the Gypsy block of songs. I kept finding songs called “Gypsy Soul” released in 2018  – 18 songs with the same title in one year ! Some of these aren’t “country,” but I included such a large block to illustrate the vast number of like-titled songs.

The last forty or so songs is the Death and Goodbye block of songs, from Caitlyn Smith to Sara Morgan, and chock full of other good artists in between. There’s Charlie Daniels and Jamey Johnson and Jason Isbell and Lindi Ortega and Colter Wall and Wade Bowen and Bill Anderson and Rosanne Cash and The Steel Woods and on and on and on. This is one of my favorite blocks of songs. Enjoy the music !

12/23/18 Songs 297-379

Continuing the indexing of the massive Country Plus showcase, here’s some details about some more songs:

Songs 297-324 Here’s a gigantic block of songs by all women. It starts off with a Dolly Parton block of songs.

Songs 325-330 Angels and Ain’ts. Be sure to check out some of Dwayne Haggins’ other music, too. Kolby Cooper from Texas and Kylie Frey from Louisiana are among the other good, young acts in this block.

Songs 331-347 This is the block of songs where you will find a concentration of  “mainstream and/or pop country.” The latter part of this block includes military tributes by Shania Twain, Kane Brown,etc.

Songs 347-362 Alcohol, guns, prison, walls, etc. Be sure to check out acts like James Scott Bullard.

Songs 363-366 Mirrors. Mirrors, mirrors.

Songs 367-373 Alone and/or foolish.

Songs 374-379 Reptiles.





12/22/18 The Third Hundred

Continuing the indexing of the 2018 Country Plus Showcase, here’s a bit about some of these songs:

Songs 200-210 Most of these are religious songs, or at least the song titles fit in with those that are. The Oak Ridge Boys, Joe Nichols, and Josh Turner are in this block. Bri Bagwell’s “Empty Chairs” is a good one.

Songs 211-215 No foolin’. The song here that might be a bit polarizing is Owen Lake’s electro-country fusion, “The Best Of Your Lies.”

Songs 216-219 Tony Jackson kicks off a short chain of songs about cell phones and/or technology.

Songs 220-221 by Frank Foster and Kinky Friedman, provide a transition between the block of songs before and the block of songs after.

Songs 222-232 include famous families and/or songs dedicated to those families – Williams, Nelson, Jennings, Cash, etc. Krystal Keith’s song “Then It Started Raining” fits in both this block and the next.

Songs 232-246 Rains and Wind – Willie Hightower’s “Raining All The Time” is one of the non-country songs on my list, but it is good music and it fits. I made a whole post about his album.

Songs 246-248 The Australian outback is fertile ground for proper bush ballads.

Songs 249-265 Home and away. There are some “names” like Aaron Watson, or Dierks Bentley with Brandi Carlile, but also check out some of the others.

Songs 265-268 Just read the song titles. WWE Elias is the centerpiece of this block.

Songs 269-272 Good and sad. Reverend Peyton kicks this one off with his signature front porch blues style.

Songs 273-276 Getting even. The first song is supposed to be, “I Guess I’ll Call It A Day Tonight,” but there’s a typo, and it is listed as, “I Guess I’ll Call It A Night Tonight.”  So, I had a little fun with that by following it with a song entitled, “One and the Same.”

Songs 277-281 Stories about themselves.

Songs 282-288 Fly or ride with strangers or cougars.

Songs 289-292 Wild horses.

Songs 292-297 Established superstars Alan Jackson, George Strait, Blake Shelton, Ricky Skaggs, Travis Tritt, and Dolly Parton ! This is Ricky’s CMA medley, which caused me to change the wording of my playlist from “one song” to “one entry.” It’s roughly the same length as Alan Jackson’s one song, so I figured it’s not too long to include.

Songs 297-300 The Dolly Parton block.