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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.