2/5/19 Random Bits

The 45th Annual SPBGMA Awards were in Nashville this past weekend. SPBGMA is smaller than IBMA, and is generally more traditional and conservative . My cousin’s family goes to this every year for the bluegrass jam sessions at the hotel.

The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering at the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nevada included this 90-minute Ian Tyson tribute

We were in the audience for the Texas Music Scene – Mike and The Moonpies’ “Steak Night at the Prairie Rose”. Although Jack Ingram hosts the show, he tapes his segments separately, as did former host Ray Benson. Notice that Jack Ingram was at the Devil’s Backbone Tavern for this.

Gold Derby Grammy Predictions

The bit that stands out about this week’s album sales Music Row Magazine article is how  low all of the sales numbers are. Nobody is making much of anything selling music. Concert tickets are the big money. The streaming or radio play or awards just help land the best concert bookings. A whole flurry of tour/concert announcements have been announced in the last couple of days. It’s always interesting to see who tours with whom. For instance, I included Brent Cobb on my Southern Rock Plus YouTube list the other day, and I see that he will be opening some shows for Whiskey Myers.

Y’all are probably tired of me posting so much Chris Stapleton stuff, but here’s yet another great, positive story from a great, positive artist: WOWK TV article.

It looks like my brother and I will get to attend CMA Fest this June. I’ve been keeping an eye open for months, and landed an impossibly great hotel deal through a loyalty program.



2/4/19 Super Bowl

Well, the Super Bowl halftime music was predictably awful, but SpongeBob made a brief appearance. Here’s Tom Kenny (voice of SpongeBob) at Gruene Hall last year: Texas Tornado

Sandy the Squirrel teamed with Junior Brown one time: Texas Song

Junior Brown played at Gruene Hall Saturday. His opener was Candler Wilkinson IV. Here’s one of his songs with some adult language: Truckin’

I saw Candler at Threadgill’s during SXSW 2017 with the Railhouse Band. I saw Sunny Sweeney the same afternoon, and I got a kick out of her Twitter feed during the Super Bowl, so here’s one of her songs from that SXSW 2017 session: Whiskey Richard

It would be too obvious to post a patriotic song for the Patriots’ win, so I’ll hand it over to The Gourds for a song to commemorate the Rams’ loss: Blood of the Ram

We also saw Shinyribs (of the Gourds) at Threadgill’s for SXSW 2017.

Since I’m a Bama grad, I’ve followed the career of Patriots star Dont’a Hightower, who had a big game. Dont’a mentioned in an interview that he’s a Chris Stapleton fan, so here’s a tune from a Kix Brooks western soundtrack: Go’n Down

Randy Houser also had a cool song on that soundtrack: High In the Saddle

2/3/19 Articles

Luke Combs Talks Social Media

Cowboys and Indians Magazine interview with Riley Green

This Riley Green interview is from last October, but his career has gained significant traction since then.

C&I: What do you think helps a song or a story resonate with people?
Green: Just relatability. I’m not the best singer in the world and I’m certainly not the best songwriter in the world. Even before signing a record deal, I wrote songs about stuff I knew and how I grew up and I mean it just so happened a lot of people grew up like that.”

Nash Country Daily interview with Cody Johnson

Forbes interview with Cody Johnson

“I want to prove that if you have faith and you work hard enough, you might just be the guy that doesn’t have to change a dad-gum thing. The guy who gets to play his own brand of country music.”

Comic Art Comes To Life At Cowboy Poetry Gathering

On a very sad note, “Banjo Man” Neal James recently passed away. Here’s the article from People Magazine I met him a couple of years ago at Kentucky’s Hillbilly Days, and he was such a great friend to everyone. He shared music and positivity everywhere he went.

2/2/19 Rock 2015-2019

There’s country-rock, folk-rock, roots-rock, rock-and-roll, southern rock, Americana, and whatever the hell else you want to call it. Here’s a new list I made with a bunch of it: 2015-2019 Southern/Country/Folk/Other Rock

Some of this is on the country end and some not, but “modern rock” is Imagine Dragons or Panic at the Disco or whatever, and this ain’t that. I need to find some female singers to add some variety to the list. I just started making this list, so I will hopefully find a wider variety of artists to include.

2/1/19 New Albums

It’s either a slightly lighter week than usual, or I wasn’t as thorough finding things as usual. Either way, there’s plenty to check out.

Blank Range, Remedy Tree (bluegrass), Original Five (Swedish bluegrass), Lonely Heartstring Band, Mandolin Orange, Cassadee Pope, Adrian Buckaroogirl, Augie Meyers (Texas Americana), Jared Deck, Reed Foehl, Cale Tyson, Linda Ronstadt (live recordings from 1980), Jesse Dayton (live version of songs from his last album).

The fiddle player Maddie Denton in this new bluegrass video When You Go  from Theo & Brenna was the grand champion of the West Alabama Fiddle Fest (now “Southeast Fiddle Championship” of Fayette, Alabama) back when I was the webmaster a few years ago. It’s cool to see young musicians who won prizes at those events show up years later on YouTube with bands and stuff – see also the videos of Maddie at SPBGMA with Mo Pitney and others, viral sensation “Fiddle Feet” Hillary Klug , or Tyler Andal’s jam session with Jack Pearson and Chris Stapleton at Carter Vintage Guitars a couple years back. The 2019 Fiddle Fest will be May 10-11th, and will feature a special guest performance from Carolina Blue, a well-known bluegrass act that has an album on the way February 8th.

We’re just one month into the new year, and I already have over 40 songs on my 2019 Country Plus Showcase. That’s even after changing out a bunch of others, which I have to do to keep the numbers marginally manageable. I could easily find another 40 artists from January alone, and keep in mind that I generally avoid whatever has top 40 country airplay. There’s plenty of any kind of music anyone would possibly wish to listen to.

1/30/19 Punkgrass, Psychobilly, etc

500 Miles To Memphis has a new album. Here’s a couple of the songs:  Piggie Boy and  In My Chest

The Thirsty Crows put out a new album a couple of weeks ago. Here’s the title song: Hangman’s Noose

The Madisons released a more country EP entitled “Country Music Sunday” the start of the year, but here’s a selection from their last full-length album: Headache

San Marcos’ own Rock Bottom String Band: Nothin’ Below

Here’s a selection from the Whiskey Shivers: Reckless



1/29/19 David Lee, Dallas Moore, and Tom McElvain

I couldn’t get free to go to Gruene Hall a couple of weeks ago for this songwriter circle, but fortunately, someone taped all the songs and uploaded to YouTube. I have mentioned David Lee and Dallas Moore here before, but  it’s cool that someone took the time and effort to record all of this for everyone to enjoy. I’ll kick it off with one of David Lee’s big songwriting hits: I Need You

Cody Johnson fans will recognize David Lee as the songwriter behind the title tracks on CoJo’s albums, including the new one.

1/27/19 The Toy Hearts & Flat Top Jones at Gruene Hall

img_20190126_160046_269Flat Top Jones plays every month at Gruene Hall, and has for years. The band members are very skilled musicians with vast experience in other groups. Erik Hokkanen’s energetic fiddle playing was especially well received. Here’s a video from a few years back: Flat Top Jones Band at Gruene Hall

Yesterday’s show featured three members of Flat Top Jones together with family trio Toy Hearts from Birmingham, UK. The patriarch of the family plays pedal steel, and still lives in the UK, as does younger daughter Hannah (Hannah and the Broken Hearts). The older daughter Sophia has lived in Austin close to a decade, and I saw her win the Ameripolitan Award last year in Memphis for Western Swing. The family’s all together in Austin for just a couple of weeks to record their next album at Dale Watson’s studio. The sister harmonies are a real treat.

The combined Flat Top-Toy Hearts band entertained a strong crowd at Gruene Hall for close to four hours. Most of the music was really old school country and western swing. Think Bob Wills and Hank Sr. There were bits of bluegrass and rockabilly, too. Each band played just a small number of originals, and one of the new Toy Hearts songs was written by Sophia Johnson and Brennen Leigh.