20 years ago a not-so-young gun stepped into the music game with a freshman album, it was self-titled like many first releases, but there was something different about this one. The way the plight of the every-man was depicted felt fresh and poetic, rather than old and trashy, and it was near impossible to avoid being roped into the descriptive narratives throughout. Chris Knight had introduced himself and people took notice.
I have always thought of empathy as the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes; Joe Vickers seems to have an incredible ability to do just that, while simultaneously telling a tale that seems a little too familiar to be a fabrication. I stumbled on Joe Vickers a little over a week ago, and really enjoyed the stripped down feel of his ‘Notes for the Wood Burning Stove’ album, so much so that I have listened to very few other things in the last week, and I keep coming back.
With her silver tongue a little less in-cheek, Sunny Sweeney sauntered her way into 2017 with a new album under her foam-dome. She called it Trophy, which is fitting because it landed on many a top-ten list in December, including my own. Sunny then proceeded to spend the year relentlessly touring with a group of bearded boys throughout the country, showing everyone that girls like to have fun too, and you don’t have to have facial hair to be an outlaw. One Year Later we look at the aptly named album, and why it was one of the best albums of 2017, and perhaps the top dog.
The old formula for female singers just isn’t working anymore. Blame whoever you like, but very few are getting too far singing sappy love songs and the “Girl power” ballads of yesteryear. So why play by those rules? Enter Sarah Shook and The Disarmers, singing about things that many would consider masculine topics; booze, sex, drugs, and cheating. In reality we all think about these things and this is just a heart-on-sleeve human letting it all out without filter or give-a-shit about what you think.
The first time I heard a vehicle described as “Slightly Stolen” by the driver, it was reported VERY stolen the next day by the owner, and it didn’t end well. The term lends itself to the outlaw country vibe of Dusty Rust, leaving the listener with the classic “Will he or won’t he be caught” feeling. A couple songs into Stolen Horse I had a pretty good idea the whole record was going to be a something I’d enjoy, but when I got to the harmonica and keys of “Arizona” I knew I was sold. As I continued, the suspense never ended and Dusty Rust locked himself into the top spot on my Best of 2018 list so-far.
Mikaya Taylor is a few steps ahead of most 12 year olds, singing in Bluegrass festivals and learning the ins and outs of the music business. Earlier this month i received the Youtube link you will find below, needless to say I was blown away. I grew up with two happily married parents and it still hit me in the gut when I heard this song of loss. She has a way with the words and you can feel her pain when she sings it. I feel for her, I feel like it happened to me when I’m listening, the emotion just pours out.
3 years ago I was in Boston to see Aaron Watson at a small rock club. My wife and I got there early, so we were playing pool in the back sipping on something chilly, when I see this bearded Bostonian and his boy playing ski-ball. At some point the vending machine guy asked him who was playing tonight, and he kind of sheepishly said, “Aaron Watson…And me”. All of a sudden, the boy in the rock club seemed a lot less odd, he was there to watch his dad rock out, and that’s exactly what he did.
Last night, at the urging of my 3 year old, I fired up Spotify to play a “Dadda Song” to help him fall asleep. Choosing the right song for you kid to fall asleep to is a tough one: You want it quiet enough to be soothing, but for a music lover like myself, I also want to be sure he remembers the classics. I fired up some George Jones, and imagine my surprise when I saw that we were ONLY listen number 15,000,714 of “He Stopped Loving Her Today”!
Mark my words: 2018 will be the year of the Independent Outlaw and Craig Gerdes just stepped up and hit it out of the park batting lead-off.
New Album - New Heart Valve: Brandon Jenkins to chart first week album sales of ‘Tail Lights In A Boomtown’ from bed rest
Edit: It's with great sadness that I report that Brandon Jenkins has passed-away from complications from his heart surgery.
***I will update with more information on how to help the family as soon as things settle a bit***
Brandon Jenkins is back with a new album this Friday, unfortunately he spent the last several days in a hospital bed. Last week Brandon was taken to the ER, and after some testing, it looks like the Red Dirt Legend is going to be getting a new heart valve in the very near future. Good news is this: He is now back at home as he awaits the expensive surgery.