2017 was a great year for music and one of my absolute favorite albums to come out of it was ‘This Highway’ by Zephaniah OHora. This one seemed to pop out of nowhere for me; all of a sudden there it was, feeling fresh-yet-familiar, and sounding like a lost recording session from years past.
I'm excited about several releases in June, due to many artists I've followed for years putting out new albums this month. There are almost too many to list, but I picked a few I am really anticipating, half of which come out this Friday.
One of my parameters for characterizing an artist as a favorite is how well I can relate to the vast majority of what they write. Any artist that can put to music something I’ve thought and felt is going to be my guy. Erik Dylan continues to do just that with his most recent album ‘Baseball on the Moon’, giving us more of his poignant every-man lyrics and shattered-mirror reflection of the Norman Rockwell life.
While a song from her previous album continues to climb the Texas charts (“Already Gone” is currently #25 on TRRR), Jenni Dale Lord Band dropped a new album on us last week; that album is called ‘Reboot’ and it’s a stunner. There is a comforting familiarity to this entire recording, even on first listen; this is the kind of artist that will make a new fan out of you when you weren’t looking.
May is going to bring more than just flowers: We have several highly anticipated and long-awaited albums hitting the street. Here is just a sample of the albums I'm excited about next month.
There is no one quite like Charley Crockett. While several of my pre-orders were filled yesterday, the one I was most looking forward to was ‘Lonesome as a Shadow’ by Mr. Crockett. There is a raw honesty to his music, rooted deeply in many different styles; he blends them so effortlessly that he almost requires his own genre.
The wider I open my eyes (And ears), the more I find in my own back yard. Case in point: Singer-songwriter Jenny Van West is a New Englander with an impressive array of sounds, all culminating in her new album ‘Happiness to Burn’, releasing today. On this album you will find folk, country, and jazz all mixed into a melting pot of pleasant vocal-driven Americana.
I’ve been waiting so long for this album from Joshua Hedley, that I was afraid I may have psyched myself up too much to enjoy it. When you go into an album with high hopes it is so easy to be disappointed; I knew Josh had the voice, and I knew he had the right folks backing him to allow creativity to flow, but you always wonder how it’s all going to jive when done… I’m happy to say that ‘Mr. Jukebox’ absolutely blew me away, even with such high expectations. This is blue ribbon country in 2018, as perfect now as it would have been 50 years ago.
Yesterday, for the first time ever, I heard an Ashley McBryde song on local country radio. I had waited patiently for this new album, since her 2016 independent EP, and hearing her on the radio was a moment of excitement; the world is now taking notice of this talent. While I don’t consider radio play to be the end-all for artistic accomplishment, it sure is nice to know someone you appreciate is finally getting recognized for their years of grinding.
About a month ago I was introduced to Jesse Terry and had the privilege of seeing him at one of my favorite venues. I had gone to see the opening act and avoided listening to more than a couple of Jesse’s songs before-hand, so I could experience the rest live first. What an experience it was; Jesse Terry showed himself to be a master of the storyteller song, with a soft-spoken stage presence that told the story with nothing more than his guitar and a microphone. I connected with the music, my wife cried when he played “Noise”, and Jesse earned himself a couple new fans.