7/31/19 Painful Rock

Although I mostly cover country and related music, I branch out from time to time. From 1994-2000, Pain was arguably the most interesting band in Alabama, frequently heard on the college radio station in my home town of Tuscaloosa.

Members of the group Pain recently got back together under the name Salvo, and they’ll release the new album “Off The Charts” in September. Salvo describes their genre on their FB as “punk, ska, alternative, rock, jazz, funk.”

Here’s an old video of Pain’s 1996 “Square Pegs”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5gcWSpR9hs

Pain even made an unusual cowboy song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mlRzF6o9N4

The lead singer Dan Lord did release a little-known album a few years ago, and here’s a song from that, “Never Been Good At That”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kl0xMLQGJU

Some indie acts got together very recently and recorded a “Songs of Pain” album of Pain covers. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGRN3_-SQNM

Salvo released its first official song in May, “The Only One”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAYQCifH9js

Switching gears a little to folk-rock/Americana, The Lumineers are presenting their album as a series of ten videos. “Gloria” currently tops the Billboard rock airplay chart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rh9RIqtNlIM

The Ed Sheeran-Chris Stapleton-Bruno Mars collaboration is up to #42 on rock airplay. Some rock fans see the names and don’t give it a chance, but this sounds more like rock music to me than most of the current rock airplay chart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s93NCuXt7x4

The Jompson Brothers (who have writing credits on that one) released one album in 2010, and that was it. The group didn’t break up until 2013, though. There are amateur videos of their shows that included some very different material. “Radio Wine” is almost disco-rock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWeoM4sdJLs&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0-zKPI5u39k8hklw0eEy-P0&index=42&t=0s

Here’s a Jompson video from 2013: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wkujd73yzt0

The Vandoliers mix bits of everything from country to punk in their sound. Here’s “Nowhere Fast” from the Texas group: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZTm6BTyEwA&list=OLAK5uy_lMiQR8r5SUgOVNcybQySjyzmq12fAadZs&index=9

I’ll close today’s post with a song from 2015 from a short-lived Tuscaloosa indie rock band, The Doctors and The Lawyers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GmzPYPmyA8&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0_bYlp0JhEwQrLHaURsl7ER&index=50&t=0s

I’ll get back to country soon enough, but hopefully, y’all enjoyed this little detour.

7/30/19 Chart News

Before we get to the data, my July new music list is now at 170 artists: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0_p3uv1wJwiGcf7DPaCfMRg

That’ll give us something to listen to, while sorting through the rest of this.

“Old Town Road” tops the Billboard Hot 100 (all genre) for the 17th week, setting the all-time record, and Billy Ray Cyrus is officially included in the honor: https://www.adkinspublicity.com/2019/07/29/old-town-road-17-record-breaking-weeks-at-no-1-on-billboard-hot-100/

I now wonder if we’ll look back at this crazy deal years from now as what put Billy Ray Cyrus over the top to get into the Country Music Hall of Fame ? “Achy Breaky” was a defining song of its era, and here we are in a completely different time with a song of a completely different style, yet here’s ol’ Billy Ray turning the industry upside down once again.

Maren Morris hit #1 on country airplay after 43 weeks with “Girl.” http://www.nashcountrydaily.com/2019/07/29/maren-morris-girl-reaches-no-1-on-the-country-charts/

“Maren is the first solo female to top the Billboard Country Airplay chart since Kelsea Ballerini in February 2018 with “Legends.””

Seventeen months ?! No matter what you think of either of those songs or artists, that is a very telling statistic about country radio’s treatment of women in recent years.

Luke Combs is positioned to take his sixth number one in a row on country airplay next week.”Beer Never Broke My Heart” has been on the chart just 12 weeks. Combs has only one full album out, and from this week’s Billboard Country Update, it “ties Randy Travis’ Always & Forever, which ruled for 43 weeks beginning in June 1987 as the second-longest-leading album since the list launched in 1964. Among male artists, Travis and Combs are tied for first.
Just one title has spent more time at No. 1: Shania Twain’s Come on Over, which dominated for 50 weeks beginning in November 1997.”

It’s worth emphasizing once again the huge shift to streaming in the last couple of years. In terms of actual sales, Chris Stapleton’s 2015 “Traveller” has sold over 2.5 million to date (despite little support from country radio), while Luke Combs’ 2017 “This One’s For You” (which is bolstered by record-breaking radio support) finally made it past 0.5 million, per Roughstock: http://roughstock.com/news/2019/07/43881-top-10-country-albums-chart-july-21-2019

Billboard recently posted a list of the highest-paid musicians of 2018: https://www.billboard.com/photos/8520668/2018-highest-paid-musicians-money-makers

Notice how touring dominates other forms of revenue.

Bruce Springsteen’s last album was closer to country and western than most of what Keith Urban released that won Urban CMA and ACM Entertainer. According to the article, Bruce earned $53 million in 2018, and $50.9 million of that was from touring. That estimated $50.9 million netted on tour is from a gross of nearly $85 million.

At number 4 all-genre, Kenny Chesney is the highest ranked full-time country artist. $38.6 million of Chesney’s $42.5 million is from touring revenue. I recall reading last year that Chesney’s reported gross touring number for 2018 was $114.3 million.

I’ll skip down to #24, Chris Stapleton. Only $12 million of his $16.9 million came from touring. His sales figures of $1.83 million and publishing of $977k are greater than the figures in those categories by the other country acts on the list: Chesney, Bryan, Aldean, Urban, and Twain. Just imagine what CS could do if he had the radio support that the others have enjoyed over the course of their careers ? Radio promotes the huge radio acts like crazy when they tour through town.

Three country artists made the top ten all-genre for “sales” on this 2018 list: Stapleton at #6, Aldean at #9, and Underwood at #10.

Blanco Brown tops country digital song sales and streaming for the fifth week with “The Git Up.” The song is currently at #50 on Billboard Country Airplay. Time Magazine recently interviewed him: https://time.com/5634271/blanco-brown-the-git-up-interview/

“I’m not trying to be country, I am country.”

“It’s a way of life. It’s also an emotion. It’s what you wake up every day and do. It ain’t what you preserved, it’s what you are—it’s the essence of your spirit. My sound is not traditional country. But if I delete those drums, you can’t take back the fact that it’s traditional country that lies at the surface.”

“The album had been mixed and mastered over a year. I did “The Git Up” in September of last year—and “Old Town Road” blew up in March. I definitely called the president of the label and said, “We gotta put this out now.””

“I’ve been making country music since 2008. It ain’t nothing new for me. I got 80, 90 tracks ready to go. The first album mixed and mastered. The second album [is going to] be mastered.”

7/29/19 Varied Sounds Of Texas 2019

One of my readers asked for some recommendations the other day, and I was short on time. I went back through my 2019 lists to pick out a few Texans to highlight for today’s entry, mostly focusing on the rising acts, as I figure most reading this are already familiar with Cody, Wade, and Cody, Jack and Cody and all the rest.

Joshua Ray Walker is on my January-February list with this honky-tonkin’ entry from his debut album, “Burn It” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Qk-3WOGbRI&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0-kwTHYUZwwwF1RGBkE2CP1&index=33&t=0s

“Texas Piano Man” Robert Ellis sounds quite different from most of the Texas scene. Here’s “Topo Chico”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyzOy2Z07U4&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0-kwTHYUZwwwF1RGBkE2CP1&index=41&t=0s

The third one I’ll highlight today from my January-February list is from young Triston Marez. This cool song is as”Texas Country” as Texas country gets. “Where Rivers Are Red And Cowboys Are Blue”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHi-B0h8GWY&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0-kwTHYUZwwwF1RGBkE2CP1&index=148&t=0s

Moving on to my March-April list, Felix Truvere’s video for “Always Somethin'” is a lot of fun. This is a great example of Texas dancehall country. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZxuTAe03Lk&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0-bwAXPAD9vVn5DA_X-Xhka&index=3&t=0s

On my May list, Jake Blocker is just 15, and is very much in the “traditional Texas country” lane. Here’s “It’s Your Turn To Cry”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LD2SbUZwznI&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ09cdworoiMzVB8_CdCxVZJ-&index=25&t=0s

There aren’t many women in the “Texas scene” who have played as many shows in the last decade than Bri Bagwell. She’s a much better country artist than most of the women nationally who are receiving the gigantic media push right now in the “feminist backlash against mainstream country radio” discussions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xOCLeO80gg&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ09cdworoiMzVB8_CdCxVZJ-&index=25

From my June list, here’s some laid-back western swing from Big Cedar Fever. Western swing is the official state music of Texas. “You Always Hurt The Ones You Love”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJLVHkTnm1g&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0-wdHepjkgDCr8-Sp2DsYTJ&index=11&t=0s

Sunny Leigh Shipley released an album last month that has received far too little coverage. This song even features Wood & Wire, a Texas bluegrass act that was nominated for a Grammy. Sunny’s husband was a star football player, who was on the Texas team that lost the national championship game to Alabama some years ago. Roll Tide ! Seriously, check out this album ! Here’s “Out Of The Sky”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=firgcUml3GQ&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0-wdHepjkgDCr8-Sp2DsYTJ&index=81&t=0s

The new album from Six Sanchez has been out for about a month. Here’s the title track, “Devil On Both Shoulders”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsqJOUURP1I&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0-wdHepjkgDCr8-Sp2DsYTJ&index=190&t=0s

On my July list, Cliff Cody is a name that doesn’t get mentioned often in the context of the “Texas Scene,” but he grew up in west Texas. Here’s “Guardian Angel” from his upcoming album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNRZMXoYJc0&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0_p3uv1wJwiGcf7DPaCfMRg&index=11&t=0s

Ben Danaher is originally from Texas, and based in Nashville. He would fit on a list with Americana artists like Sean McConnell. Here’s Danaher’s new one, “The Match”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vurwbRNDwg&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0_p3uv1wJwiGcf7DPaCfMRg&index=80

There are several Texas acts on my southern rock plus list. I figure y’all have heard of such acts as Whiskey Myers, Copper Chief, and Quaker City Night Hawks. Here’s Whiskey Prophets, “Worth The Pain”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyJ2XY2sRRg&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0_bYlp0JhEwQrLHaURsl7ER&index=37&t=0s

Hopefully, I have demonstrated a wide range of quality acts from the Lonestar State. Dig in and enjoy the music !

Also, check out my 2018 Texoma Spotify listhttps://open.spotify.com/user/okralemon/playlist/1M7mBi6SlcRaKy8YeHbMze?si=cRRGY1nFRFarUAqEw8vbHQ

7/28/19 A ’19 Look Back At Willie’s ’15 4th

A whole lot has happened in country music in the last four years. Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic has been around in some form since 1973, but 2015 was the first time at the current location in Austin. You’ll be hard pressed to find a greater assembly of “Americana/country” stars in the last few years than this.

Let’s look back at this phenomenal lineup, and see what, if anything, these artists are up to now.

Here were the set times: https://www.c3concerts.com/2015/willie-nelsons-4th-of-july-picnic-schedule-july-4-2015-austin360-amphitheater-at-circuit-of-the-americas/

Acts played on two stages,similar to the way it was set up when I attended this month. There were more acts in 2015, so there was a lot more overlap in the schedules of the two stages.

Here are the set lists for some of the acts https://www.setlist.fm/festival/2015/willie-nelsons-4th-of-july-picnic-2015-53d63775.html

Here’s the Austin 360 review of the event: http://music.blog.austin360.com/2015/07/05/willies-picnic-at-cota-rising-stars-old-favorites-a-late-end-and-faithful-fans/

On the first stage, the acts were Pauline Reese, Amber Digby, Hudson Moore, Folk Uke, Raelyn Nelson Band, Paula Nelson, Dallas Wayne, David Allan Coe, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Greezy Wheels, Johnny Bush, Billy Joe Shaver, Leon Russell, Asleep At The Wheel, and Jamey Johnson.

On the main stage, the acts were Kris Kristofferson, Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, Kacey Musgraves, Merle Haggard, Eric Church, Willie Nelson.

That lineup ! It’s a combination of most of the most outstanding acts of the last five years, along with some of the all-time greats, some of whom have since passed.

I’ll start with the first stage, in order, and do the same with the main stage.

Paulina Reese apparently won the Texas chapter of the CMA Female Vocalist of the Year in 2017. She sells real estate, but her FB site advertises a CD release show August 8th. I haven’t seen any country sites talking about it, so I’ve already learned something in this exercise.

Amber Digby gained some following among traditional country fans years ago, but apparently, she has been working as an EMT the last few years. She posted just this week that she is finally going back to the studio to record a new album, working with Tommy Detamore. Fans of such acts as Sunny Sweeney will recognize that name. So far in today’s post, I looked up two acts who have been quiet for a while, and found out about two upcoming albums from traditional-leaning Texas country women.

Hudson Moore released a new video for “Universe” earlier this month that I didn’t know about prior to this post.

Folk Uke released the song “Don’t Bite Beyonce'” in March.

Raelyn Nelson Band posted pictures on FB of their new CD just a couple of days ago. I haven’t seen the official street date, but you can see the track list there.

Paula Nelson is a popular host on SiriusXM. She posted on FB within an hour of my typing this that she will be on Ray Wylie Hubbard’s new album. I’m learning a lot more researching today’s post than I expected.

Dallas Wayne is another regular host on the SiriusXM country channels. He posted on FB 39 minutes before I typed this that he will be on Mary Lou Turner’s upcoming album with Heart of Texas Records. Buck Trent will also be on that album. Hee Haw fans certainly should remember him. I will see Buck Trent in September at Marty Stuart’s shindig at the CMHOF.

There’s not much I can think of to add about David Allan Coe, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Johnny Bush, and Billy Joe Shaver. I saw all four of these well known acts at Willie’s this month. Shaver will be honored with the ACM poet’s award, and Bush was recently honored by BMI for “Whiskey River” passing two million broadcasts. Eight 30 Records plans to release a Ray Wylie Hubbard tribute album, featuring such artists as Bobby Bare, Rodney Crowell, Tom Russell, James McMurtry, and Charlie Musselwhite.

The Greezy Wheels were an Austin staple in the 1970s, and reformed after a 23-year break. On July 1st, they posted on FB that the band’s final album will be released in October. It’s called “Ain’t Quite Like That.” Penny Jo Pullus is in the modern reincarnation of the group, and I’ve seen her before.

Legends Leon Russell and Merle Haggard both passed away in 2016 . The Grand Ole Opry posted a video this week of Merle’s youngest son Ben.

Asleep at the Wheel, in addition to being one of the most celebrated of all modern western swing acts, is very involved with trying to preserve and restore the historic dance halls of Texas.

Jamey Johnson tours very regularly, and his current band includes the Tuscaloosa Horns. I’m from Tuscaloosa, but I don’t have any insight into any new music from Jamey. His band members are involved with various projects. Melonie Cannon is on a new duet with Mickey Lamantia. Dick Aven, one of the Tuscaloosa Horns, released a new album this month.

I have yet to see Kris Kristofferson, but I saw his daughter Casey Kristofferson and her band at Willie’s this month. Give her a listen.

Chris Stapleton’s inclusion in the lineup reflects how much respect he had already earned before “Traveller” was even released. Willie’s lineup was announced in March of 2015, and “Traveller” was released May of 2015. I’ve seen hundreds of acts, and he is the single most impressive I have ever seen. The Austin 360 review: “It was with Stapleton’s 4:40 p.m. set that the Picnic fully hit its stride.” Keep in mind the high quality of artists who had already played at this point, and keep in mind that most people had not heard of him before.

Sturgill Simpson’s upcoming project is an anime film, but he also did a bluegrass set at the Grand Ole Opry a few weeks ago. You never know what he’s going to do next.

Jason Isbell is practically Mr. Americana. There was a few-week stretch in late 2015 when Chris and Sturgill each opened shows for him. Jason was one of the headliners at the Tuscaloosa bicentennial celebration I attended this spring.

Kacey Musgraves won a huge pile of awards for her 2018 album, and the CMHOF opened a major display in her honor.

The Austin 360 review was surprisingly negative towards Eric Church, but Eric is having a huge year in 2019. I think his output from 2015-present reflects artistic growth from some of the mainstream material earlier in his career. Eric included Chris Stapleton on a song during his set.

Willie himself closed, of course. Here’s his set list https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/willie-nelson/2015/austin360-amphitheater-austin-tx-3f6b173.html

Willie also appeared during Merle Haggard’s set to sing “It’s All Going To Pot.”

7/27/19 Business News Bits

Billboard business article, dated 7/19: “Secretly Recorded Phone Call Offers Window Into How Live Nation Helped Metallica and Other Artists Place Tickets Directly On Resale Market” https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/8521538/live-nation-resale-market-secretly-recorded-phone-calls-concert-tickets

“Front-of-house pricing is up 30% over the past two years at Live Nation arenas and amphitheaters, the company reported in the first quarter, noting that even with the higher prices it wasn’t experiencing any decline in demand.”

On 7/27, Billboard business: “Live Nation Reports Record $3.2B in 2Q Revenue” https://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/news/touring/8523975/live-nation-reports-record-32b-in-q2-revenue

The Boot published the following article on 7/26: “Kip Moore To Scalpers: ‘First Off, F–k You'” https://theboot.com/kip-moore-message-to-scalpers/

“To the scalpers, he says: “First off, f–k you. Second of all, we’re gonna go in and we’re gonna cancel your shit … and we’re gonna resell them back to the fans that want to be there.”

As long as fans are willing to pay jacked up prices, the scalper market will continue to find ways to do its worst. Supply and demand strike again.

Bobby Bones recently published an hour-long podcast interview with Mike Dungan, who is one of the most powerful people in the country music industry as the head of UMG Nashville https://www.iheart.com/podcast/139-bobby-cast-27722337/episode/188-mike-dungan-chairmanceo-47009855

Dungan discussed how he came from pop, and the role he played in the careers of Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, and Darius Rucker. He apparently doesn’t think too highly of mainstream radio at the moment, and one might recall from his Hits Daily Double interview that he dislikes snap tracks. He also mentioned Brothers Osborne, Jon Pardi, Chris Stapleton, Eric Church, Kacey Musgraves, Sam Hunt, and more.

He talked about how copycats and wannabes show up after artists like Keith Urban and Chris Stapleton hit big. He said 50-75 Stapleton wannabes showed up after Stapleton hit big. Dungan tried to sign Chris Stapleton in 2007, and when Chris did finally sign to a label a few years ago, it with someone else. Then there was a corporate merger, and Dungan ended up being his boss, anyway. It’s pretty clear that they aren’t quite on the same page.

One topic that surprisingly didn’t come up is Carrie Underwood. Billboard article, 7/25: “Carrie Underwood Eyes $50 Million Haul For Cry Pretty Tour” https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/8523762/carrie-underwood-no-5-hot-tours-recap

Carrie recently scheduled more appearances at the Grand Ole Opry, bringing her total for the year to 11 so far.

Sally Williams has been the manager for the Opry the last couple of years, but announced a few days ago that she has moved on to a job heading Live Nation’s Nashville division.

7/26/19 Observations and Mini-Reviews

I spend so much time looking up music that I usually don’t have much time to write about the music. The July list is closing in on 150 artists: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0_p3uv1wJwiGcf7DPaCfMRg

Casey Donahew’s album “One Light Town”was released today, but his lucky shot from this album is the song “He Ain’t A Cowboy,” released back in March. The song has over 851,000 views on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLjU13Mxfl8&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0-bwAXPAD9vVn5DA_X-Xhka&index=27

This song sounds like a perfectly matched rebuttal to “Old Town Road,” but that’s just a bit of good luck, because Donahew has been singing this one at live shows since last year. Here’s a live video from November, 2018: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-bIUl7UAMo

Speaking of “Old Town Road,” Billy Ray Cyrus posted on Twitter that he will play the Grand Ole Opry tomorrow, opening his set with “Achy Breaky” and closing with “Old Town Road.” Love it or hate it, but it keeps on keeping on. The Boot published the set list for the upcoming CMA Fest special on ABC, August 4th. Although I attended CMA Fest, I didn’t go to the stadium shows, so these performances will be new to me. Apparently, Billy Ray Cyrus, Lil Nas X, and reigning ACM & CMA Entertainer Keith Urban perform “Old Town Road”: https://theboot.com/cma-fest-the-music-event-of-summer-performers-performances/

Apparently, the newest remix of this song? is “Seoul Town Road” with BTS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzlkfIWu70w

In Billy Ray’s honor, here’s a Weird Al Yankovic performance from 1994: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fchLiuo-QnU&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ09OfzcFwcXG8kIdG-WVMaCQ&index=6&t=0s

One of my highlights of today’s releases is the “A Song Like Me” from the Bryce Canyon Wranglers. I love finding super-obscure gems like this. This is usually the house band at a restaurant near the park, and the album is nearly all classic covers, but this original is the title song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5r-WOHnU654&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0_p3uv1wJwiGcf7DPaCfMRg&index=3

I saw Gethen Jenkins a year or two ago at Kent Black’s BBQ in San Marcos, TX. His album is out today, and it’s a well-produced honky tonk effort with plenty of steel guitar. Vance Powell produced this one, and Vance was the engineer on Chris Stapleton’s albums. Here’s a little-viewed behind-the-scenes “shop talk” video with Vance Powell talking about his work with Stapleton: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqUK5eeXP6Y&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0-zKPI5u39k8hklw0eEy-P0&index=289&t=0s

Gethen Jenkins’ album sounds really good, too. Vance Powell really knows his stuff. I see that Aaron Raitiere has a writing credit on this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zyl9dyt6Js0&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0_p3uv1wJwiGcf7DPaCfMRg&index=20&t=0s

Aaron Raitiere has writing credits on six of the ten songs on the upcoming Oak Ridge Boys Christmas album. Raitiere shows up in the writing credits for all sorts of things, from Anderson East’s album to Miranda Lambert’s “Weight Of These Wings” album to Whiskey Myers’ upcoming album to the wildly successful “A Star Is Born” soundtrack.

Lucas Jagneaux is one of a number of traditional country acts from Louisiana, and I included his new song “New School” on my July list. I recommend giving this a listen if you like Dustin Sonnier.

If you want to hear a good, serious, solo acoustic song that is way under the radar, check out “His Left Side” by Claudia Nygaard. This was released July 8th, and has just 11 views ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-JqTxIZvDQ&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0_p3uv1wJwiGcf7DPaCfMRg&index=65

If you want a video that’s sort of weird and Americana-y, check out “There’s A Weight” from Lake and Lyndale. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxHK7JfeMTc&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0_p3uv1wJwiGcf7DPaCfMRg&index=132

Taylon Hope is just 14, and today’s album is her third. She is opening a show for Mo Pitney for her CD release, and here’s a song on her album that she wrote with him: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOVAqK_4kgA&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0_p3uv1wJwiGcf7DPaCfMRg&index=137

I’ve heard a gazillion such “small town” songs before, but the real story here isn’t about the song, but the fact that an artist that young has already released three albums, and is writing with and opening for Mo Pitney.

For bluegrass, I’ll mention the new album from Claybank, and I’ll also mention the new song “Ebb and Flow” from Old Salt Union, whose album comes out August 16th. Other bluegrass on my July list includes a selection from Pretty Saro’s album, a Rhiannon Giddens instrumental from a Red Dead Redemption soundtrack, a selection from Hammertowne’s album, a selection from Gena Britt’s album, a Rhonda Vincent video, a song from Billy Strings, and a song from Hogslop String Band’s album. It’s all mixed in there with the rest.

One of the acts I saw at the CMA Fest Spotlight Stage is Chris Gantry, who released an album today. He has written songs for many decades, including for and with some huge names in the 1960s-70s. It really stood out to me that, before his set, he stopped by every table and shook hands and talked with everyone who was there to see him. The Spotlight Stage features 15-minute sets from mostly lesser-known artists, so there’s usually much less of a crowd than at the bigger stages with the “current radio artists.” This small stage is where I enjoyed settling in for most of CMA Fest. I included “Broken” on my July list: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0odXtC6L60&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0_p3uv1wJwiGcf7DPaCfMRg&index=37

7/25/19 New Albums This Week

Bryce Canyon Wranglers, Justin Moore, Jake Ward,Gethen Jenkins, Casey Donahew, Mac Powell and the Family Reunion, Caamp, Nate Kenyon, The Low Cards, Philippe Bronchtein, Claudia Nygaard, James Steinle, Chris Gantry, Chuck Hawthorne, Albi & The Wolves, Will Bennett & The Tells, Tawnya Reynolds, Delbert McClinton, Black Tar Roses, Louisa Branscomb, Lasers Lasers Birmingham, Whiskey Foxtrot, John Arthur Martinez, Backseat Revival, Andy Hilland, Short Round Stringband, Graham Howle, Caleb Ryan Martin, Jook Bourke, Mason Ramsey, Claybank, Ches Anthony, Heartland Band, Of Monsters And Men, Jordan Moser, Taylon Hope, Generation.PITEF, Guy Forsyth and Jeska Bailey, Luray, Angie McMahon, Harrison Storm, Ian Ferguson, Particle Kid, Erisy Watt,Rayland Baxter, Erik Dylan, Taylor Tucky, Gypsy Store Troubadours, Gracie Curran, Aaron Boyd, and The Luck.

My July new music list is over 130 artists. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0_p3uv1wJwiGcf7DPaCfMRg

Darrin Bradbury’s new video for “Talking Dogs and Atom Bombs” fits nicely between Joe Pug and Joseph Huber’s “Moondog,” and the next two also have dogs, so the chain of dog songs on the July list is up to five.

Hardy released a video for “Signed, Sober You”

Cliff Cody will release the song “Guardian Angel” from his upcoming album. Here’ a live version from a couple of years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKqsbhwl-yA

Sam Outlaw and Sarah Darling have a duet out Friday. The Highwomen are also releasing a song.

I had never heard of the Bryce Canyon Wranglers until today’s post. I added a video from them to my March-April list that includes Bryce Canyon scenery. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piIl76wwckc&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0-bwAXPAD9vVn5DA_X-Xhka&index=202&t=0s

“Every Little Bit Helps” is the latest in Luke Combs’ series of Thursday songs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gj6MLtgyE40

7/24/19 My 2019 Spotify List

My 2019 list on Spotify is now at 40 songs. This country list is much more compact than my enormous “country plus” lists of new music on YouTube. Those who like the “country” part of my “country plus” lists better than the “plus” part might like this one.

My Spotify 2019 New Country link: https://open.spotify.com/user/okralemon/playlist/7N3a4z8f5YRtbRv6usgJnb?si=bqzndOxRQVixTbkyex9JnA

I’ll also mention that it was cool to hear a song by the late Steve Ripley on KNBT Americana radio yesterday, “Gone Away.” https://youtu.be/HVdl9p0necA

That was from Ripley’s self-titled album. “Badly Bent,” from his “Tractors” group is currently on my “Few Good Tunes” YouTube list, though I change songs on that list frequently. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ql3Vz2642pk&list=PLkY8-UOMZQ09OfzcFwcXG8kIdG-WVMaCQ

The “Few Good Tunes” list is all genre.

I’m currently looking at this week’s Billboard Country Airplay chart. The “weeks on chart” number varies greatly from artist to artist. Luke Bryan is at #10 with “Knockin’ Boots” after 17 weeks and Carrie Underwood is at #12 after 13 weeks with “Southbound.” Florida Georgia Line is at #11, but notice that it’s at 38 weeks. None of the three songs qualify as high art, but this one didn’t race up like the other two.

Runaway June is up to #13 after 40 weeks with “Buy My Own Drinks.” I’m not crazy about it, but I liked other songs on their album. Their title song “Blue Roses” is on the new Spotify list I made.

I don’t listen to mainstream country radio often, so I didn’t even realize Rascal Flatts has a song on the chart. The Rascal Flatts song is number 20 after 42 weeks. By comparison, Dan+Shay are at 6 after 23 weeks.

Midland and Jon Pardi are in the 30s, and each dropped one spot since last week. Considering these are two of the most noteworthy “neotraditional” mainstream acts, these are worth watching. It’s still very early for these songs, so there’s plenty of time to go back up. Midland is 34 at 15 weeks, and Pardi is 37 at 8 weeks.

Brad Paisley dropped from a 42 to 47 at 17 weeks. Radio hasn’t been kind to his recent efforts.

Ingrid Andress is just 4 weeks in, and dropped from 49 to 51. We saw her twice during CMA week. The version of “More Hearts Than Mine” on my July YouTube list is the Cracker Barrel version with Little Big Town.

Riley Green dropped to 55 after 10 weeks. “In Love By Now” peaked at 52. I’m surprised at this, because from the outside looking in, it appeared he had momentum and good coverage.

Looking at Rock Airplay, the Ed Sheeran collaboration with Chris Stapleton and Bruno Mars debuts at 46. This is the song’s second week at number one rock digital song sales.

Country radio doesn’t appreciate Chris Stapleton much, so I’m glad he’s able to get a little something cooking in another lane.

His last song to run at country radio, “Millionaire,” was released to the public as a promo song October 20,2017, but it didn’t peak on radio until March 30, 2019. That’s an awfully long time to be tied up. https://www.racpro.com/grid.php?pid=4&sid=63953&type=c

“Midnight Train To Memphis” actually hit number 26 on rock airplay March, 2018. I don’t know that it was even officially “sent” to rock radio ? It’s a kick ass song regardless, and I found a January, 2008 article discussing the bluegrass version of the song with the Steeldrivers. https://www.obscuresound.com/2008/01/the-steeldrivers-take-the-midnight-train-to-memphis/

“I suppose it would be easiest to classify The Steeldrivers under the Americana category. After all, it is difficult for me to think of an American genre that is more flexibly defined. Country, blues, bluegrass, folk, and rootsy rock are all at play here; The Steeldrivers’ style of play is simply a hearty blend that takes its strengths from the best of each genre.”

Considering that Americana has really come into prominence in recent years, it’s worth emphasizing that this was written in early 2008.

This description is consistent with the definition on the Americana Music Association web site https://americanamusic.org/what-americana-music

I’ve heard “new breed” Americana people describe Americana as a movement, rather than a sound or style. Well, there is a definition of the sound, however loose.

Here’s a link to the current Americana radio chart: https://americanamusic.org/radio-chart-singles

The biggest debut by far is “All Yourn” by Tyler Childers at #9. One might recall Childers’ well-publicized acceptance speech at the Americana awards last year when he said “Americana ain’t no part of nothing.”  

Clearly, Americana radio has no problem with his statement. I don’t know why they wouldn’t ?

Texas Music Pickers posted a chart of the top streaming Texas scene songs on Spotify http://www.texasmusicpickers.com/texas-music-spotify-chart-week-29-4/

Bluegrass Today maintains charts for bluegrass airplay, as well as charts for bluegrass gospel and “grassicana.” https://bluegrasstoday.com/chart/

7/23/19 A Few Random Bits

Eric Church is having a huge year, topping country artists for touring revenue for the first half of 2019. “Some Of It” tops the weekly airplay chart this week, and the video for the song is one of 561 current entries on my May Country Plus Showcase.

The new weekly edition of Billboard Country Update mentions Paul Franklin steel guitar and Stuart Duncan fiddle in an article about Kane Brown, and also mentions Cody Johnson and Mike Ryan. This is quite the contrast from Kane’s recent collaboration with Marshmello.

Paul Franklin is currently touring with Chris Stapleton. I noticed that Mickey Raphael from Willie Nelson’s band and Mike Harris from Brent Cobb’s band have also played at recent Stapleton shows.

Mike Harris is one of many talented musicians listed on Charlie Worsham’s upcoming Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute. Hannah Dasher is also scheduled. We met her at CMA Fest last month, and she is working on a new album.

The Steel Woods announced that they will be opening some shows for Cody Johnson, so that should be a good match.

The Merles play frequent dates in central Texas, and next month, they’ll open for Dale Watson at Luckenbach and for Jason Eady at Riley’s Tavern. The Merles have a song on my 2017 list https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkY8-UOMZQ08t6N9eIxaDWm-2YP-niDXa

My July list is up to 113 artists. Some of the recent additions include a video from Rhonda Vincent and a video from Tyler Childers. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0_p3uv1wJwiGcf7DPaCfMRg

The Rhonda Vincent video replaces the audio version that was on my June list. The June list is now at 193: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0-wdHepjkgDCr8-Sp2DsYTJ

Miranda Lambert’s new single debuted at #19 on Billboard Country Airplay. This is much stronger radio support than most of her efforts in recent years.

Cracker Barrel has a new series of country music videos from women called “Five Decades, One Voice.” https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLidfw1Qe_P_Jj4tqHv-qW9s-7YtSJzryo

According to an email, upcoming episodes are Brandi Carlile with Tenille Townes, and Hillary Scott with Bailey Bryan.

So, the answer to radio playing mostly men is a whole flurry of all-women efforts, often involving the same few ? A lot of men don’t get played much on radio, either.

7/22/19 Australians Sing Stapleton

My YouTube channel grew out of my interest in collecting Chris Stapleton songs a few years ago, and I later added this blog to branch out more.

My “Written By Chris Stapleton” YouTube list is for other artists singing songs that he had some hand in writing (I realize there are probably more out there, but I add them as I find them): https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0_STDPd0CJaA3dFiEWiiT4R

He said in interviews that he has written over a thousand songs, so this is just the tip of the iceberg.

I also maintain a YouTube list of Chris Stapleton singing (whether as primary artist or backup vocalist) https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLkY8-UOMZQ0-zKPI5u39k8hklw0eEy-P0

Value Your Music is a fun site to dig through to find out about limited release and “unreleased” items from all sorts of artists. There are plenty of listings for Chris Stapleton on the site. http://www.valueyourmusic.com/

For the main part of today’s post, I’ll highlight a few songs that Chris had a hand in writing that are performed by Australian artists.

I was going to start with a Catherine Britt song that she wrote with Chris called “Lonely,” but it has apparently been taken down.

Kirsty Lee Akers covered the Steeldrivers tune, “If You Can’t Be Good Be Gone” https://youtu.be/2-9Phm3zy-s

Luke Dickens recorded “It Takes A Woman” https://youtu.be/ZrG52F_9TJo

Kristy Cox recorded a version of “Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore” https://youtu.be/5RuJ2n43QKc

Judah Kelly has recorded a few Chris Stapleton songs, including a version of “Ain’t No Thing” https://youtu.be/5jxmqG1qwEM

Blake O’Connor (whom I saw at CMA Fest) has a number of Stapleton covers on his YouTube channel. Here’s his take on “Nobody To Blame” https://youtu.be/d6eJQ8iy6wY

Blake O’Connor released an album this month, so there’s something else to check out.

On to other Stapleton news…Chris Stapleton reportedly played a new song in Omaha called “Minimum Wage” in concert that he wrote with Mike Campbell, who is best known for his work with Tom Petty. Campbell produced the “Way Out West” album for Marty Stuart. A Rolling Stone article from 2017 mentions that Stuart and Campbell worked together on the Johnny Cash 1996 album “Unchained” https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-country/inside-marty-stuart-mike-campbells-musical-salute-to-california-113027/

I found an interesting album from 2007, featuring 15 live performances from various artists from 1997-2007 for Knoxville radio station WDVX https://wdvx-radio.myshopify.com/products/wdvx-10-year-anniversary-cd