5/11/18 New Music Friday

So far, it looks like a pretty thin week, compared to the ridiculously large number of album releases we’ve seen in some recent weeks.

Brent Cobb is a logical starting place, since his album was available for a free listen on NPR earlier this week. His style is distinctive and laid-back, and I’m curious to see how this album fares in the marketplace, since it doesn’t “fit” the various “scenes.” He released some songs early, and radio ignored him, so he doesn’t fit with them. His style doesn’t sound like the Texas scene or the Opry/RFD-TV people,either. The two songs that stand out to me are the first two, Providence Canyon and King of Alabama, because Providence Canyon is my favorite place in Georgia, and King of Alabama is about Wayne Mills, who was based in my hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama for much of his career. I don’t connect to the rest of the album as much.

Ashley Campbell is the other artist I’ve seen perform who has a new album. As with Cobb, she released some songs early, which radio ignored. She also has a distinctive style that doesn’t exactly “fit” anywhere. Banjo is her primary weapon of choice, and there’s a straight-up bluegrass instrumental with her godfather Carl Jackson (whose New Monday shows at Nashville’s Station Inn are a huge favorite of traditional country and bluegrass fans). On the rest of the album, it becomes quickly apparent that Ashley’s style is different from Carl’s, even though they’re working together. I don’t connect with much of this album, but the title track The Lonely One has a spot on my 2018 New Country Showcase. She will be performing at the Grand Ole Opry tonight, and next month, she’ll perform at CMA Fest and at the CMHOF for the CMT Next Women of Country event.

Jamie Lee Thurston is an independent country artist, and this new album is 13 songs.

Highland Travelers have a new bluegrass album- a straight-up bluegrass album for  bluegrass fans who like bluegrass.

Grassfed also has a new bluegrass album, but I haven’t had the chance to listen to the album yet.

The National Reserve has a new Americana album.

Kix Garcia has a five-song EP. Here’s one for the Texas Country fans.

Addison Lea Thompson has a six-song EP in the outlaw country style.

Tim Griffin has a seven-song release entitled “outlaw sessions.”

Big-B is traditional country from Norway, and released a “best of” album.




5/10/18 Mickey Gilley

Troy Payne & Mickey Gilley released a thirteen-song album of classic country duets on May 8th: Two Old Cats. Here’s the YouTube promo . I haven’t seen other blogs cover this at all, so this seems like a good time to look back at his career: Texas Country Music Hall of Fame profile. He has a huge number of hits (including 17 number one country hits from 1974-1983), and still tours at age 82 (and my post here was inspired by hearing a radio ad for his show tomorrow in Boerne, Texas).

Although he is most often associated with the 1980 movie “Urban Cowboy,” he was already well-established, winning ACM Entertainer of the Year in 1977. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and added another honor last month: Calgary White Hat.

Mickey is based in Branson, Missouri, and here’s a very recent funny bit that his FB page shared: Gilley Ain’t Dead !


5/9/18 CMT Music Awards

It’s weird to think about people voting for Ludacris or Common for “country” music video awards, but here are the eight categories: CMT Music Awards.

I don’t much care who wins, but I will be keeping an eye on this, to see who performs and if there’s any of it free to the public, since I will be in Nashville then. I did attend a couple of free outdoor performances at last year’s CMT Awards (and had a particularly nice spot for the Brothers Osborne and Peter Frampton collaboration). I’m going to the Marty Stuart Late Night Jam this year, which is the same evening, so hopefully more details will emerge.

5/8/18 Ireland’s Opry Le Daniel

Here’s a look at classic country shows in Ireland the next couple of weeks: Opry Le Daniel Events . They get Charley Pride on May 13th, a George Jones tribute with Georgette Jones on May 14th, a Johnny Cash tribute May 17th, a Jim Reeves tribute May 18th. Daniel O’Donnell’s “Opry Le Daniel” shows are taped for Irish television TG4: Opry Dhoire.

I’ll be damned if their Irish Opry isn’t kicking the real Opry’s ass, as the Grand Ole Opry’s television presence ended several years ago: Opry Live timeline.

Here’s a song released yesterday, Havin’ A Ball , by Niamh Lynn of Dublin. She’ll be part of a special edition of the “Opry Le Daniel” Irish country music series on May 19th: Rita Coolidge/Loretta Lynn Celebration .

Some current Irish country stars frequently cover American country songs from a decade or two or three back. Here’s Lisa McHugh’s 2018 cover of Jessica Andrews’ 2000 hit: Who I Am , and Cliona Hagan’s 2018 cover of Emmylou Harris’ 1981 release Born to Run , which was written by Paul Kennerly of England.

5/7/18 Movie Time

My most recent Spotify list In The Movies is movie soundtrack songs. I included only songs where the associated movies are clearly stated.

In completely unrelated news, I watched a weird, old movie a couple of days ago called 3 Dev Adam “Superhero Force” (1973). It’s from Turkey with English subtitles. There’s an evil Spiderman killing a victim with a guinea pig. Good guys include Captain America and El Santo, or reasonable facsimiles thereof. As a fun fact, the Captain America actor later stars in the movie Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam, known as “Turkish Star Wars.”

5/6/18 IHeartCountry Festival

I don’t follow mainstream country radio closely, but I’m a glutton for punishment, so we watched the live stream of this Austin festival yesterday evening. The festival raises money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, so that’s a positive. As we watched the show, I wrote down some thoughts:

Dustin Lynch – Bro in a cowboy hat, who sweats surprisingly much for such a thin man performing indoors.

Brett Young – He mentioned that his hit song went triple platinum. Good for him, but his nasal voice is weird af. “IIff yer gawna break my hort…” Gavin DeGraw made a guest appearance. “Na na, na na na na na… la da da da da.” Next.

Jon Pardi – There’s fiddle and steel, so there’s hope ? First song: “Where she at, where she at, where she at tonight ?” Pass. The second song “She Ain’t In It” is the best of his four-song set – solid, 90s-type country.

DJ Sinister, Bobby Bones, and “little Bobby Bones”…

Dan & Shay – Poor man’s Rascal Flatts ? Holy hair gel. Danielle Bradbery sang on one.

“It’s your boy, DJ Sinister.”

Sugarland – Jennifer Nettles’ voice is as powerful and twangy as ever, for good or ill. Bobby Bones attempted to rap during “Stuck Like Glue,” and it sounded like he said something about wetting the bed. Moving along…

Scotty McCreery – “Five More Minutes” – well done ! We saw him perform this song last summer at CMA Fest at the Riverfront Stage. They only let him sing this one song, after letting everyone else have multiple-song sets !

DJ Sinister sampled Quad Cities DJs and Ke$ha.

Cole Swindell – First song: “Let me see you do it in the bed of my truck…” Ugh.

Interview with Danielle Bradbery. Her dream collaboration is Justin Bieber.

Maren Morris- She led off with pop song “Rich.” She also sang “I Could Use A Love Song” and “My Church,” and closed her set with “The Middle,” which is the #1 current pop song.

Mason Ramsey – Two songs. Good for him to get the royal treatment at yet another festival, but Scotty McCreery had just one song, and most women had none.

Luke Combs – Yes, country music ! “Honky Tonk Highway” to kick it off ! Dobro. Thank you, Luke Combs ! Steel guitar. Wearing a Brooks & Dunn cap, Luke Combs is “out-countrying” the  hell out of most of these other people. Very strong showing !

Billy Currington – Solid, middle-aged pop country. He has a lot of number 1 hits, but “People Are Crazy” was the highlight of this set, complete with steel guitar.

Luke Bryan – Predictably “bro-country.” He asked the audience for a tequila shot for Cinco de Mayo, looked down at a cup offered by a fan, and said “that’s not tequila, it’s urine.”

Keith Urban – He has talent/musicianship, but it’s wasted on some of the recent material. For example, here are the lyrics to one of the songs he performed, “Texas Time.” “Give me a tight t-shirt on a real hot body. You know what’s on my mind.”  Come on, man. You’re half a century old.































































5/5/18 Texas/Red Dirt Country

Yesterday, I was pointed to an interesting article from Texas Music Pickers entitled A Look At The Growth Of Texas/Red Dirt Music . These artists and managers are finding creative ways to expand their markets. The high tide lifts all boats.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that a grand total of zero female artists are among the top 40 streamed Texas/Red Dirt artists,and the Texas Regional Radio Report appears to reinforce that this “scene” is peculiar in that regard. I’ve seen some really good Texas country women singers like Courtney Patton, Jamie Lin Wilson, and Sunny Sweeney. I’m not coming at this from a political standpoint, but this aspect of Texas/Red Dirt music makes no sense to me.

Some 2018 country albums by Texas women include What It’s Like To Fly Alone by Courtney Patton, Yesterday & Me by Kayla Ray, Reboot by Jenni Dale Lord, and Coffee Days and Whiskey Nights by Robynn Shayne. Leslie Tom grew up in Texas, but her 2018 album “Ain’t It Something, Hank Williams ?” isn’t on Spotify or YouTube. Those are just a few off the top of my head.

Lee Ann Womack, Linda Davis, Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, and Maren Morris are all from Texas originally, and Carrie Underwood and Reba McEntire are from Oklahoma, and they all found enormous success in Nashville. One must wonder what their careers would’ve been like had they stayed in Texas/OK, where apparently there’s no significant market for women country singers ?





5/4/18 New Music Friday

For Texas country, there are new albums from Josh Ward and Genevieve Allen (EP, May 5th).

For bluegrass and old-time, there’s a new album from the Roe Family Singers.

For “Grassicana,” there are new albums from Leftover Salmon and Trampled by Turtles.

Erik Dylan’s album includes contributions from Luke Combs and Steve Earle.

Also with new albums are Kayla Ray, Drake White (EP), Buffalo Gospel, Erin O’Dowd, Jeff Plankenhorn, and Rita Coolidge (who won Grammy Awards in 1974 and 1976 for country duo performances with her then-husband, Kris Kristofferson).

If I get the time, I might add to this post over the course of the day.