12/13/18 TouchTunes Jukebox Chart

Chris Stapleton tops the all-genre 2018 Year End Charts. He also topped the chart for 2017. From a year ago: 2017 Year End Chart : “Chris Stapleton “Tennessee Whiskey” Awarded Longest Running Top Played Jukebox Song in TouchTunes History.” Well, he just added another year to that. Keep in mind that this peaked at just #57 on Billboard US country radio airplay.

The provided link shows which songs were popular in which states, which genres fared the best,etc.

Here’s an unofficial “chipmunk” version of Broken Halos

In unrelated news, I saw Shinyribs perform a full band show Tuesday at Waterloo Records in Austin to promote the new album, “The Kringle Tingle.” This is fun Christmas music. Here’s his cover of the Clarence Carter classic Back Door Santa. The “countriest” song is the cover of the Terry Allen and Guy Clark song Xmas on the Isthmus.


12/12/18 Twins

The Jenkins Twins of Kentucky released the new album, “This Time Next Year,” on Bandcamp Monday under the new band name Jinx Machine. Other twin acts I’ve mentioned this year are the Brother Brothers, Church Sisters, and Price Sisters. There are twins in Brandi Carlile’s band, too. Bucky Covington has a twin.  I have an old CD by Loretta Lynn’s twin daughters, and one of them helped produce Loretta’s recent albums.

In completely unrelated news, Kanye West posted some really cool photos on Twitter of Miami’s Fairchild Tropical Garden, including a shot of the Eucalyptus deglupta that I took a picture of on my visit a few years ago.


12/11/18 The Cowboy’s Christmas Ball

One does not usually think of “The Killers” as related in any remote way to country music, but this is where the western part of “country and western” factors in. We used to go to Las Vegas every year, so I enjoy the southwestern scenery in Killers videos, such as Red Rocks National Recreation Area. As an aside, I’ve also been to Goblin Valley, Utah, where “Human” was filmed.

The Cowboy’s Christmas Ball is roughly based on the 1890 poem of the same name by Larry Chittenden.  

In other words, this is surprisingly enough a proper western song.

Oh, and here’s Chris Stapleton and The Killers’ Brandon Flowers singing together with Sheryl Crow: Chris, Brandon, and Sheryl Crow  . Although this was recorded in 2015, Blackbird Presents will release it officially next month.

12/10/18 Three Knots In The Devil’s Tail

This great old poem from 1917 has been covered frequently by western singers.

Here’s the grandson of the author reciting the poem: Gail Steiger

Here are three covers of the song released in 2018:

Ranger Doug and Riders in the Sky

Colter Wall (with Blake Berglund and Corb Lund)

Dom Flemons

This song is a lot of fun, and it’s great that a variety of current artists are still having fun with it over a hundred years after it was written. I planned to see Colter Wall on Friday, but he had to cancel due to weather. Dom Flemons picked up a Grammy nomination a few days ago for his album.


12/9/18 Tuscaloosa and San Marcos Updates

This has been a busy year for my home town of Tuscaloosa, known as Alabama’s “Druid City.” I’ve already mentioned albums from Adam Hood and Megan McMillan and one-time Tuscaloosan Hal Bruni, so here’s a look at some more of the more recent happenings:

Andy Branton released the 4-song EP 47 Minutes Away last week, and had an album release show with Megan McMillan.

Jud and Lisa Cameron released the album Making Our Way.I did not realize when listing “Making Our Way” on one of my Friday updates a couple of months ago that my first cousin’s wife played fiddle on the album. I list so doggone many new releases that I don’t have the time to listen to but a fraction of them. I went back and listened to this one, and added the song That’s Me Without You to my 2018 list

Glen Templeton posted last week that he has a collaboration on the way with Ashton Shepherd, so keep an ear open for that.

Now, for my current home of San Marcos, Texas, I’ll mention that we saw a trio of songwriters a few days ago: Jordan Matthew Young, Cory Johnson, and Tate Mayeux (of Mayeux and Broussard). All of these guys have albums, so be sure to check them all out.

Randy Rogers is doing a fundraiser today for Texas State University’s Kent Finlay scholarship endowment.

Kevin Welch in nearby Wimberley has been atop the MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart for the last five weeks. Dust Devil is the title track to his own album, and it’s in a block of songs on my 2018 Country Plus list about wind and storms, along with such acts as Turnpike Troubadours and Cody Jinks. South Korean bluegrass outfit Country Gongbang is also in that block of songs with an original instrumental.


12/8/18 Grammy Nominations

Here’s the https://www.grammy.com/grammys/news/2019-grammy-awards-complete-nominations-list

Congratulations to all nominees, and all of the unsung heroes who helped those nominees along the way – band members, songwriters, producers, engineers, label people, family, friends, teachers/mentors, fans, etc.

Obviously, Chris Stapleton is the one I pull for. I don’t care about most of the currently popular music, though I don’t necessarily dislike it. I’m not particularly urban or tied into what’s popular, so I just don’t fit in all that much with most of it.

Here is a song that wasn’t nominated that I like a lot : EmiSunshine’s 90 Miles. This song is about autism awareness. I’ve always been very socially awkward to the degree that, although I was never tested or diagnosed with any sort of autism or related conditions, I feel a certain degree of kinship to anyone dealing with those issues.

Margo Price and Luke Combs were 2 of the 8 all-genre “New Artist” nominees. I’ve seen both of these perform, though in Combs’ case, it was only very briefly at the little Radio Disney stage inside Fan Fair X at 2017 CMA Fest. It’s amazing how quickly his career has blown up since then. We watched the Americanafest show on CMT the other day, and Margo had one of the better performances.

For Country Solo Performance, it’s a great show of respect that Loretta Lynn is one of the five nominees. This is a song she recorded on previous albums, though, so I don’t think she has a chance of winning. I wouldn’t have thought the Maren Morris cover of an Elton John song would’ve been anywhere near any sort of nomination , and the Keith Urban song is not good. Chris & Kacey both have very solid songs. My early thought is that this is the one of Chris’ nominations that he has the best chance of  winning.

For Country Duo/Group Performance and Best Country Song, I have no idea how it’ll go.

For Best Country Album, I’ve seen all nominees in person, other than Kacey. All five have songs on my 2018 New Country Plus list. “Scarecrow in the Garden” on Chris Stapleton’s album is probably my favorite song on any of these albums. Both times I saw Ashley McBryde, she joked about one of her band members resembling Chris. Ashley and Bros O both spent years paying their dues, so it’s good to see them getting some attention. Kelsea is one of the very few women who has gotten any radio play in the last year. The groupthink/momentum heavily favors Kacey. To my ears, Chris made the best music, followed by Ashley.

The American Roots, Regional Roots, Americana, and Folk categories are confusing. Some of this stuff is obviously country. It looks like one of those strategic things where if you’re country, but don’t think you have the momentum to land a country nomination, you find which of these seemingly overlapping categories provides an easier path ? Anyway, it’s some recognition for such highly accomplished artists as Willie Nelson, John Prine, and Lee Ann Womack.

For Bluegrass album, this looks like a very solid lot. We listened to the Travelin’ McCourys album on our road trip this summer. Their version of Passenger’s “Let Her Go” is a particular standout. All of these are good.

One that wasn’t nominated that I have mentioned before is Rhonda Vincent’s “Live From the Ryman,” which included the old legends Mac Wiseman, Jesse McReynolds, and the Osborne Brothers. I honestly expected that album to be on the list. Brent Burke’s rendition of Oswald’s Dobro Chimes on that album is on my Interesting Instrumentals And Stuff list.

No matter who wins, or whom you choose to pull for or against, it’s always good to see many songwriters, musicians, and artists receive attention.

In unrelated news…

George Strait released a song, but it’s just for a tequila ad. I included it, anyway, since it’s the only thing he released this year: Codigo

Toby Keith joins my list with a new one, which I placed right next to a song by his daughter: Don’t Let The Old Man In







12/7/18 New Albums

After a surprisingly robust flow last week, we’re back down to a slight trickle this week. Here’s what I’ve found:

Brett Young – I laugh every time I hear that song where he says “iif yar gawna break my hort.” I’ll give him a chance and see what I can find.

Van Morrison

Josh Morningstar

John Mellencamp

The Johnsons Bluegrass Band

Amber Nadine

Brenn Hill released an album last week, but I’m just now finding it. He already had an entry on my 2018 from his last album.

I listed the albums one per line to make my post longer. Well, that doesn’t sound right…

Here’s a new video by Wade Hayes that those of us who like dogs will appreciate: Who Saved Who

Anyway, here’s a Billboard article, Country Airplay Chart Lacks Any Female Artists in Top 20 For First Time. “For the first time since the radio-based survey launched in January 1990, the top 20 does not feature any female acts.”

I try to include a variety of music on my site, and although I didn’t set out to meet any particular quota, women are roughly a third of my nearly-500-song 2018 New Country Playlist . I do not know if there is any hard data available to the public about the percentage of country musicians who are female nationally, but the City of Austin paid for a study a few years ago that found that roughly 80% of Austin-area musicians (all-genre) are men.

As a completely random bit, I’ll throw in Aaron Prociuk’s (“AR Cash” of Winnipeg) cover of “Folsom Prison Blues” with the Time Jumpers from September of 2017. I see myself in  the audience very briefly  🙂

We saw country soul singer Kevin Galloway perform a solo acoustic set two days ago at Papa Jack’s Bar in Kyle. He was featured recently on Texas Music Scene. In addition to his own songs, he covered such artists as Waylon and Merle. Be sure to check him out. Y’all know I dig this sort of country soul sound.

Spotify sent me a link to my year-long listening patterns. I don’t listen to Spotify a whole lot, other than to quickly sample a wide variety of new music to list. Wade Bowen’s album was apparently the first I listened to in 2018. The artist I listened to the most was Chris Stapleton (no surprise), but my next two were Gil Trythall (I did listen to his old electro-country album a couple of times, but I’m surprised that was enough to put him in second), and Kasey Chambers (I listened to a couple of her albums when I read about her going in the ARIA Hall of Fame). Chris Stapleton’s “Parachute” was my most frequent song, and my “top genres” were listed in order as country, roots, rock, and pop. Apparently, the oldest song I listened to on Spotify this year is “Skin Diver’s Lament” by Oscar Brand in 1960. I barely remember listening to that obscure novelty album early in the year.



12/6/18 New Songs, Playlist Additions

My 2018 New Country Plus list now includes over 480 artists ! No matter what you like or dislike, it’s probably in there somewhere. It might be a few hundred songs in.

Here are some recent noteworthy additions:

Ali Dee: He’s Gonna Love Me (‘Til He Don’t)

This one sounds good and country to me.

Casey Peveto Band: Broken Hearts Advice

Casey Peveto released two songs this year, and I like them both. Louisiana is churning out some good talent lately.

Dolly Parton, with Rhonda Vincent and Alison Krauss: If We Don’t

Wow, talk about some credentials ! Imagine a room filled with all of the awards that these three have achieved in their careers.

For my International Country playlist, I added Ailish McBride’s cover of the Goats Don’t Shave 1991 hit Hills of Donegal , which mentions Donald Trump and building a wall. Seriously. 1991.

I’m still building out the Christmas list, too, so here’s a couple of new tunes:

JD McPherson: Hey Skinny Santa

Bill Anderson: Waffle House Christmas

12/5/18 Billboard Year-End Charts

Billboard Year-End Charts

Say what we will about the “numbers,” but whatever sold well this year will likely be imitated next year.

Chris Stapleton landed at number one country artist for the year (#10 on Billboard 200 Artists and #29 all genre ), thanks to 3 of the top 65 albums on the all-genre Billboard 200, while CMA Entertainer of the Year Keith Urban checked in at #12 on the country artist list.

Thomas Rhett topped the all-male “country airplay artist” list, while Kane Brown topped the  “country airplay song” list.

Luke Combs topped the Top Country Albums chart, but  Chris Stapleton had 3 of the top 9,  and topped Top Country Albums Artists. Elvis Presley came in at #23, so congratulations to the King for some serious staying power.

The Americana/Folk Artists year-end list doesn’t have much overlap with the acts at Americanafest.

Bluegrass Artists 

Top Bluegrass Albums

The all-genre Hot 100 Songs includes very few songs with any connection to country music, and some of those were country artist guest appearances on pop songs.




12/4/18 Quinton Claunch and Willie Hightower

I’m late to the party, but 78-year-old soul singer Willie Hightower released the new album Out Of The Blue on August 31st, and 96-year-old Quinton Claunch was the producer. Whoa ! Here’s a tremendous amount of living history, and it’s really good music, so someone somewhere ought to write about it. Oh, yeah. Let’s do that. In a just world, the peckerheads at “Americana” would be tripping over themselves to celebrate this music.

Quinton Claunch played in a country band on the Grand Ole Opry in the 1940s, and was a part of the Memphis music explosion in the 1950s and onward. He was a producer at Sun Records, and one of the founders of Hi Records, and later Goldwax Records.

Two of the songs on “Out Of The Blue” were written by the team of Big Al Anderson and Chris Stapleton.

Here’s a great CMHOF interview a couple of years ago with Al Anderson