Fourth of July, 2019

I’m at Willie Nelson’s picnic near Austin. There will be sixteen acts total, and a dozen of those will be featured on SiriusXM Willie’s Roadhouse: Link

Willie has done these 4th celebrations since 1973. I encourage my readers to look up the lineups from past years. The list of names is pretty incredible. I’m glad to finally get to one of these.


7/3/19 Ameripolitan Pre-Nominations

It’s free and easy to send in your nominations for Honky Tonk, Western Swing, Outlaw, and Rockabilly: Ameripolitan voting

I usually opt for the “under the radar” types with my votes, since there are plenty of opportunities elsewhere for more popular acts.

For instance, I nominated young western swing band Big Cedar Fever last year, and they went on to win, and released an EP last week.

No matter what acts you like, here’s a chance to get their names out there. For some of the smaller or more specialized acts, there aren’t many other places to find recognition.


7/2/19 Billboard and Pollstar Midyear Report

Here’s the Billboard Country Midyear Report, article: “Luke Combs is the ‘One’ on Neilsen Music’s Mid-Year Country Charts”

Notice how low all of the actual album sales are for everyone. I have seen most of the acts on these country charts live.

To put the meager album sales numbers in proper perspective, look at how much money George Strait made at a couple of shows earlier this year, and think about how many albums someone would have to sell or how many streams to generate this mountain of cash.

For “overall equivalent album units,” the country genre as a whole checks in at just 7.8% of all genres.

Ariana Grande & Lil Nas X Lead Neilsen Music’s Mid-Year Charts

Across all genres, album sales are down 18.8% from the first half of last year, while streaming is up 31.6%.

Here is the Pollstar Mid Year Touring Data

Look at all those millions of dollars on tours, compared to the peanuts from the album sales. George Strait grossed more in five shows than Luke Combs did in thirty three shows, and Luke did very well himself. Some of the older acts like Alabama are still grossing millions on tour, too.

The radio charts and the sales and streaming charts and the various awards will receive vastly more coverage, but touring is where the real money is.

7/1/19 Trent Willmon

Some names pop up frequently on album credits. Six Sanchez released an album Friday that was produced by Trent Willmon, and I just found an album by Chris Petersen that was also released Friday that was also produced by Trent Willmon. Trent Willmon also produced albums for Cody Johnson, Donice Morace, and others that I’ve mentioned here this year. 

Trent also has a very long list of songwriting credits.

Here’s a video from 2005 from Trent’s solo career for one of the songs he wrote with Chris Stapleton: Home Sweet Holiday Inn



6/30/19 Looking Ahead

Luke Combs is on a red-hot streak, and it looks like he’ll have a busy July. He posted on FB June 26th that he will post a clip of an unreleased song every Thursday “for the next 5 weeks or so.” Luke will be at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic in Austin, and will be officially inducted into the Grand Ole Opry June 16th.

Speaking of the Opry, there are some robust lineups that week. Carrie Underwood will be there on the 19th and 20th. Many of the Opry’s recent inductees show up on the July schedule. Whatever anyone’s thoughts about which people should be “members” or the music of said members, it is welcome news that the recent inductees are actually showing up. The Opry went through a few years when a lot of members very rarely made appearances.

I’ll also mention the July 12th show. Opry member Jesse McReynolds turns 90 on July 9th, and is scheduled to be on this show ! I also see that Candi Carpenter is one of the guests on the 12th, and she has a huge voice. I keep expecting her to put out an album.

Ed Sheeran hinted on Instagram that a video with Bruno Mars should be out Friday, July 5th. Since I’m a huge Chris Stapleton fan, I look forward to hearing this. Chris also has a writing credit with Shawn Camp on Tracy Lawrence’s August 16th album. Chris also has a couple of writing credits on Sheryl Crow’s August 30th album, one of which is a duet.

Speaking of Shawn Camp, I saw a recent episode of Larry’s Country Diner on RFD-TV, and Shawn Camp was the featured guest, alongside his girlfriend Lauren Mascitti. Lauren has new music on the way, so keep an ear out for that.

Heart of Texas Records is primarily known for very traditional country music. Look for Myra Rolen’s album in July.

Sol Records is primarily “outlaw country,” and the Barnyard Stompers’ new album arrives July 12th.

The Steeldrivers posted that the album they’re working on will probably be ready in early 2020.

Patrick McAvinue is perhaps best known for playing the fiddle with Dailey and Vincent, but Patrick’s own album comes out July 12th. One of the songs is on my June YouTube list.

6/28/19 Playlist Updates

The June Country Plus Showcase is now at 170 artists

I ended the “encyclopedic” May new music list with 500 artists, but over the course of June, I kept finding even more to add. This list would be at 550 right now, but a couple of songs were removed by the authors. May Country Plus Showcase

(Edit: I found a couple of songs to fill in, so May is back up to 550 artists)

There are 200 artists on the March-April Country Plus Showcase

There are 160 artists on the January-February Country Plus Showcase

There are 551 artists on the 2018 Country Plus Showcase

At one point, it was at 560, but I lost a few to broken links.

My recent snake-themed list has just 5 song views: Snakesss

Allman Betts Band, Tyler Bryant, and Caleb Johnson are among the very recent additions to the 2015-2019 Southern Rock Plus Showcase

I plan to cap this one at 50 songs.

6/27/19 New Albums

This looks like another busy week for new music, as if any week isn’t. Last week proved to be especially Texas-heavy, and there’s some more Texas  this week.

Josh Abbott Band has a new EP, and they’re one of the big Texas names.

Jason Eady’s deluxe version of his strong 2018 album includes a few extra songs and extended jams.

Shane Smith and the Saints released their album in stages. This is another good Texas act that deserves attention.

Troy Stone and the Spent Shells is based in my part of Texas, and they play shows in this area frequently.

Big Cedar Fever is the reigning Ameripolitan western swing group winner, and I’ve seen them a few times in Texas.

I saw Jordi Baizan at Threadgill’s during SXSW last year. He’s more folk singer-songwriter than typically “country,” but he’s yet another Texas act.

Six Sanchez is yet another Texas act with a new album.

On to the rest of the country…

Runaway June is an act I’ve seen at CMA week each of the last three years, and they appear to be getting a pretty good push right now.

Southern rock fans will want to check out the Allman Betts Band’s new album.

For the neotraditional country fans, Chapter 2 of Erin Enderlin’s series of EPs has three songs.

Here are some more new albums this week:

Molly Alphabet, Jade Jackson, Matt Woods, Erik Koskinen, Mark Cline Bates, Santa Poco, Alex Culbreth, Small Glories, Tui, Emma Beau, Prophets and Outlaws, and Caleb Lee Hutchinson.

I’ll also be on the lookout for individual songs to add to my June Country Plus Showcase

I expect to end up with 140-150 artists on this June new music list.


6/26/19 Five Songs

Stuart McNair is an example of an artist who doesn’t fit neatly into just one genre. His new live album, “Alive Again, Vol. 2,” was released Monday. Here’s a song from that album: Amanda Lynn

Back in the 1990s, when I was living in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, he was the trumpet player in a locally very popular (indie rock doesn’t exactly describe their sound, but I don’t know where else to group it) band called Pain. Recently, he reunited with other members of Pain under the name Salvo, and they’re performing Pain songs like Milk

Martha Spencer is one of the rising talents in Appalachian music, and she recently teamed with viral star Abby the Spoon Lady: Crazy Heart

Troy Stone and the Spent Shells are based here in San Marcos, Texas, and have a new album coming out Friday. Here’s a fun song from that album they released in February: Hays County Hilton

El Toro Records, based in Spain, is especially known for rockabilly. Marcel Bontempi and Carlos Slap released a pair of songs. Here’s one of those: Yellow Eyes

Also, I mentioned a week or two ago that the CMHOF had sent me an offer by mistake. I got an email from them today offering me a couple of guest passes to the museum. I appreciate the museum stepping up and trying to make things right. Anyone can make a mistake, myself included. I plan to happily share these with my cousins in Tennessee and Alabama.

6/25/19 Chart Notes

I am very fortunate to live somewhere that I can pick up good radio stations that play something other than just what is on the charts. I do take a look at the charts from time to time, though. I try to cover somewhat of a cross section of everything here.

Thomas Rhett scored his 13th number one on the weekly Billboard Country Airplay chart this week. This one took just 17 weeks. Go figure.

Garth Brooks’ new song with Blake Shelton debuted at #16, and Blake also has the #3 song after 13 weeks.

Luke Combs recently made headlines for being the first in 60 years to chart 5 songs on Billboard Hot Country Songs at once

Luke’s current single is at #7 on the airplay chart after just 7 weeks. The Brooks and Dunn episode of CMT Crossroads will air this Friday evening, and CMT posted the song with Luke Combs on Facebook. I’ll tune in Friday to see if I can find myself in the audience.

My June Country Plus Showcase is up to 110 acts

I know that people have different tastes, so I include bits of everything, so that no matter your taste, you can probably find some bit of it in there somewhere. My philosophy is that segregating the “good music” from what is popular can do more harm than good. If you want to introduce new music to people, then insulting the music they already listen to will just push them away. I don’t care about anyone’s “scene.” When people start forming little cliques and yelling “F U” to anyone who isn’t in their group, they lose my respect.