2/28/19 TV Tapings

Before we get to today’s post, here’s a new bluegrass video this morning from Theo & Brenna. Their fiddle player won the championship at the fiddle festival where I was the webmaster a few years back. This song was first recorded by Patty Loveless in 2003, then the Steeldrivers in 2010: Higher Than The Wall.

Yesterday was unseasonably warm (81F and sunny, as opposed to 41F and wet as I type this morning), so I decided to check out Wade Bowen’s ice cream & cookie shop that opened last month. Anyway, I checked my email while I was there, and found that I won a pair of free tickets to Kane Brown’s Austin City Limits taping Sunday. Well, I wasn’t expecting that one ! I enter pretty much every drawing I see, because I like free stuff. I’m not very familiar with the guy’s music, other than seeing lots of memes and vitriol on country sites. I’ll go in with an open mind, planning to have a good time. If he’s truly as bad as some of you think he is, then I’ll have something to look back on and laugh about. On the other hand, if he does some good things, I’ll give him fair credit. Here’s his recent feature with Brooks and Dunn: Believe

I also plan to attend Monday’s taping of the Texas Music Scene in San Marcos, with Flatland Cavalry and Quaker City Night Hawks. Flatland Cavalry has a fiddle-driven Texas country sound that fits very well in my block of western songs on my 2018 Country Plus list: Living By Moonlight. Quaker City Night Hawks will release a new album tomorrow. I have some songs from one of their previous albums on my Southern Rock Plus list.  Here’s a recent interview with QCNH with a lot of funny and odd stories: Fort Worth Weekly.

We have had a good time at every Texas Music Scene taping we’ve attended (Zane Williams, Jack Ingram, Bruce Robison, Sunny Sweeney, Kevin Fowler, Mike and The Moonpies), and both Austin City Limits tapings (Chris Stapleton, Shinyribs), and I especially thank the staff at both venues for consistently being so nice and accommodating to my brother, who is in a wheelchair. We have found, through trial and error, that some venues are much better for us than others. The One World Theatre in Austin is by far the worst we ever encountered. Their staff moved us back and forth four times during a concert, angrily yelling at us each time for being in the way. That’s the only time we ever tried to see a show there.

I will start my March-April Country Plus list tomorrow, so I look forward to fitting a new batch of songs together, like puzzle pieces.

2/27/19 New Music

The title track of The Patrick Brothers’ new album that was released today is the 159th song on my Jan-Feb 2019 Country Plus Showcase: The Phantom Train

Since the Ameripolitan Awards were held over the weekend, this seems like a good time to revisit the viewpoint of Dale Watson Pop Matters interview 2015

“When current critical darling Kacey Musgraves … 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 haven’t ever heard any act signed to a major label that put out something that was worth a shit.”

Since we’re revisiting 2015 articles, here’s the Fader interview with Kacey Musgraves. “The more country that my music gets, the less it fits into the country world today. It’s almost like there needs to be two genres, modern country and… country?”

Dale Watson and Kacey Musgraves were on the same episode of Austin City Limits several years ago.


2/23/19 More New Music

Try as I may to corral as many new albums as I can for my Friday updates, I always miss some. Cris Mantello from Italy released a new album called “Keep On Rollin.'” The title song is on my 2018 Country Plus Showcase, and “I Wanna Play The Steel Guitar” is the 120th addition to my 2019 Country Plus Showcase.

Also, Jacob Powell, Pryor Baird, Tanner Luke, and Dan Davidson released new albums.

I will point out just a few of the many recent additions to my YouTube list. Both of Reba McEntire’s songs are strong. I switched out to the new one, because it’s uncommon to hear  western swing from an artist of that stature in 2019.

I saw Yola Carter at the CMHOF “Southern Streams” panel at Americanafest a couple of years ago, and I remember her talking about her influences, especially Dolly Parton.

The Sum Brothers released an album at the start of the year, but I got sidetracked, and didn’t get around to it until last week. They join my list with the song “Deadly Game.”

I have a three-song sequence of instrumentals, from Cascade Crescendo (fiddle), Michael Futreal (electric gourd), and Boo Ray (steel guitar).

I have a four-song sequence from albums that were released yesterday: Big Country Bluegrass, Vegas Strip Kings, Ryan Bingham, and Joey McGee. We have seen Joey at Gruene Hall.

2/22/19 New Albums

I haven’t found nearly as many as last week, but there ought to be more than enough to find something to like out of all of this:

Big Country Bluegrass, Joey McGee, BB Palmer, Vandoliers, Yola Carter, Kimmi Bitter, Casey Kearney, Motel Mirrors, Lauren Duski, Chris Kroeze, The Golden Roses, The Way Down Wanderers, Tom Swearingen, Dom Wier, Our Native Daughters, Kim Lenz, Bad Rivers, Molsky’s Mountain Drifters, Vegas Strip Kings, Colby Kent & The Stomping Ground, and Susto. There is also a re-release of the old Ray Charles “Modern Sounds In Country Music” albums.

2/21/19 Playlist Updates

Lauren Duski released an EP yesterday. We saw her at CMA Fest a couple of years ago. Her new song Journey of a Midwestern Girl is the most recent addition to my Interesting Instrumentals and Stuff list. Her song “The Weather (Grandpa’s Song)” is one of the nearly 100 songs already on my 2019 Country Plus Showcase. Since there are so many songs already, and they’re fitting together nicely, I’m trying to decide whether to change my 2019 list to just a January-February list, or maybe January-February-March ?

I’ll mention a few of the recent 2019 list additions:

I chose “Topo Chico” from Robert Ellis’ album to go next to Ashley Monroe’s “Keys To The Kingdom” because her song includes a line about drinking water, and both songs feature the piano. The song also mentions Elvis singing about Jesus, so Hayes Carll’s song “Jesus and Elvis” is a natural fit.

Molly Tuttle’s song “Million Miles” joined my list a few days ago, and it includes contributions from such musicians as Jason Isbell and Sierra Hull. Kimmi Bitter’s new EP is also represented in the block of western themed songs toward the end of the list. She sometimes does shows with Alice Wallace. Troy Stone’s new song, “Hays County Hilton” is funny. I live in Hays County, and we’ve seen him here in San Marcos. The Urban Pioneers song is based on a real-life legal situation: People vs Me

I listened to a bit of KNBT Americana radio yesterday, and they played the Stryker Brothers’ Charlie Duke Took Country Music To The Moon. That was one of the anchors of my block of “space songs” on my 2018 Country Plus list.  This seems like a good time to revisit that block of songs, since I saw Randy Rogers of the Stryker Brothers Sunday, William Shatner played the Grand Ole Opry last week, and Kacey Musgraves’ “Space Cowboy,” which already won a Grammy, is among the ACM nominees announced yesterday.

2/20/19 Chris, Crystal, etc

One of the new albums I missed Friday is from Jive Mother Mary. Here’s one of their songs on my Southern Rock Plus Showcase.

From an interview with the Mohave Daily News, Crystal Gayle apparently plans to release an album this spring called “Crystal Gayle Sings Classic Country.” I have seen Crystal mention a new album on the way in interviews for the last two or three years, so I won’t put too much stock in this until I see a firm release date, but it’s a great interview, regardless.

Since my blog basically grew out of my interest in collecting Chris Stapleton songs in one place, I made a Soundcloud list a few years ago with some of his songs, then threw in just a few other people’s songs later, for variety: My Stapleton and More Soundcloud list. Take special notice, also, of some songs by the late Banjo Man Neal James. Song #29 was written by Neal, but the singer is Dillon Carmichael, several years before most ever heard of the young singer. Ever wanted to hear what Kelsey Waldon sounded like as a teenager ? That’s on the list, too.

Here’s a whole bunch of quotes from established artists about Kree Harrison: Country Line Magazine .

Here’s the full list of ACM Nominees.

2/19/19 Red Dirt

Although the term “Red Dirt” has become synonymous with Texas/Oklahoma country to the public, it was originally more about a group of folks around Stillwater. Since I saw some Okies a couple of days ago, here’s some music:

One of the many songwriters we saw Sunday is Mike McClure, so I’ll start with his YouTube channel. Here’s one he did with the late Steve Ripley, which was on the 2009 Mike McClure Band album, “Onion”: Safe and Warm

Another good one on Mike McClure’s YouTube page is this one from Tom Skinner: Way Back When

Jimmy LaFave’s final album was released posthumously last year. Here’s a song from that album: I May Be Used (But I Ain’t Used Up)

Here’s a song from the Red Dirt Rangers’ 2013 album, “Lone Chimney”: Where the Arkansas River Leaves Oklahoma

I’ll close out this post with Jason Boland’s cover of a Bob Childers song: Woody’s Road

2/18/19 Sissy Strong -A Benefit For Sissy Lasley

Yesterday morning, I looked up area concerts, and found a real gem. Many of the best Texas and Oklahoma artists played at Krause’s Biergarten in New Braunfels to raise money for Sissy Lasley, who is battling cancer. We were able to grab a front row corner and settle in for many hours of music. Here’s Wade Bowen and Sissy:


First up was a trio of songwriters who have known each other for many years: Jonny Burke, Jamie Lin Wilson, and Evan Felker. Since they were on first, we were able to say hello to each of them briefly. Here’s Evan Felker and my brother:


Next up was another songwriter trio who go way back with each other: Jason Boland, Cody Canada, and Mike McClure. Cody also brought up a few students from the New Braunfels School of Rock.


After a silent auction, we saw the songwriter trio of Randy Rogers, Wade Bowen, and Dalton Domino. Randy & Wade have collaborated for years, and it seems they’ve really taken Domino under their wings.


Closing out the night was the only full band, Copper Chief. I first heard of them when they were on the USA Network show “Real Country” last year, but their show today was some righteous southern rock. These guys are dang good, so see them if you get a chance. They also brought out Austin Gilliam on a song, and Eric Middleton of Midnight River Choir for a song. IMG_20190217_203011825.jpg

Overall, it was a wonderful day of music, and Sissy herself was so positive and inspiring.


2/16/19 New Music Thoughts

Since there were dozens of new albums in the last week alone, there’s no way to listen to but a tiny fraction of all the new music that is available. My starting place yesterday was Reba McEntire’s new song Stronger Than The Truth. This is the best song I’ve heard from her in many years. It also happens to fit very well after Leigh Madison’s “Red,” especially since Reba is also from Oklahoma. Target will have a deluxe version of Reba’s album. One of the deluxe songs is a Stapleton write.

Yesterday’s new songs also prompted me to create a three-song “Elvis block.” Ashley Monroe’s Keys to the Kingdom and Dale Watson’s “Tupelo Mississippi & a 57 Fairlane” join the list. TG Sheppard’s Elvis tribute song, which I had trouble fitting on my list before, fits right in with this block of songs.

The Kinky Fingers join my block of western songs toward the end of my 2019 list with Crooked Nose , and I added a bunch of other artists to my list this week. At this rate, I might need to cap it at a hundred and just have a January-February list, and start in with a new one in March ? We’ll see.

One song that doesn’t necessarily fit with “country” or any other genre is Brushy One String’s One String Play. It fits on my list after James Carothers’ “Crazy Man.”

2/15/19 New Albums

After a couple of lighter weeks, we’re back to full power and then some. Here’s more than anyone will have time to listen to:

Charles Wesley Godwin, The Bellamy Brothers, Robbie Walden, Hill Country Revival, Carin Mari, Kalyn Fay, Trisha Yearwood, The Powell Brothers, Buck Fuffalo, Cascade Crescendo, Seth Walker, George Ensle, Addison Johnson, Hayes Carll, Rosie Flores, Dale Watson, Florida-Georgia Line, Ashley Monroe, Angie Lynn Carter, Ottar Big Hand, Jordan Nix & The Day Drinkers, Shook Twins, The Long Ryders, The Earps, Robert Ellis, Ryan Bingham, Markus Sommer, The Natu Band, Boo Ray, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Dan Johnson, Gangstagrass, Haint Blue, J.S. Ondara, Nell & Jim Band, Hot Tamale, Sky Smeed, Steve Conn, Buffalo Blood, Dave Sheriff, Janean Christine Mariani, Ken Kunin & Crooked Sky, John Paul Hodge, Eden Brooks, Kristen Noel, Inscape Band, Markos Morin, Boof & Amy Morgan, John Fusco and the X-Road Riders, Emily Wolfe, Daniel Owen, Quin Galavis, Jonno Read, Uncle Wormwood’s Medicine Show, and L’Ira dell’Agnello.

Carolina Blue has a new bluegrass video that’s over seven minutes. If you like that really old-school sound, be sure to check them out. As previously mentioned, this group is headlining the Southeast Fiddle Fest in Fayette, Alabama in May that my first cousin’s family is involved with: Longing For Home