Monday, July 24, 2017

That Nashville Sound Monday Newsbytes

Lots of independent music news in this morning's edition of That Nashville Sound's Newsbyte:

- Roots rocker Kenny Wayne Shepherd has a new album forthcoming. Lay It On Down is due August 4 on Concord Records. Recorded at Echophone Studios in Shepherd’s hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana and produced by Shepherd with Marshall Altman (Matt Nathanson, Natasha Bedingfield, Kate Voegele), the album was largely recorded live in the studio to analog tape.

- Olivia Lane premiered her new music video for "Wrong Girl."

- Newly-signed-to-Atlantic-Records Kelly Clarkson calls her album coming out later this year her most soulful yet.

- Buena Vista Records (Disney) has a new country band named signed Temecula Road and they have a new music video for "Hoping" that just came out.

- On August 25, Nashville's Blank Range will release their debut album Marooned With The Treasure distributed by Thirty Tigers. This release makes the band's first full length album after three years of touring the country heavily behind their first two EPs Phase II and Vista BentListen to "Opening Band" via YouTube:

- Suzi Oravec had CMT premiere her new music video for "Long Drive Home."

- On August 25, a new live concert performance will be available from Waylon Jennings. Check out Turn Back the Years: Live in Dallas 1975 Vinyl LP Record

- Jimmy Lumpkin and the Revival have a new music video for their track "Every Time I Leave."

- Elliot Root has a cool artistic music video for "10,000" that has just been released.

- Connecticut native April Kry has a new music video for "While We're Young" that was just unveiled.

- A new 1986 concert performance done by Johnny Cash will also be seeing a release on August 4, 2017. Take a peek at Any Old Wind That Blows: Live In Concert 1986.

- Former Pepsi Southern Original competition winner Rachel Lipsky has a new music video for "Dancin' In The Neon" that was just released.

- Kenny Rogers will be hosting“All In For The Gambler: Kenny Rogers’ Farewell Concert Celebration,” an all-star concert event taping at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at 7PM CT. This once-in-a-lifetime concert event will honor Kenny Rogers' historic 60-year career and will feature the final performance together by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.
“As I'm bringing this chapter of my career to a close, this will be an unforgettable way to celebrate with my talented friends, who I'm so grateful to have crossed paths with,” says Kenny Rogers. “It means so much that they would feel compelled to do this for me. Of course, the night would not be the same without Dolly Parton being part of it. We've enjoyed a special friendship for decades, and I'll forever look back fondly on the many collaborations, performances, and laughs we've shared as some of the most extraordinary moments of my career. I know it will be a moving experience for us standing on that stage together for one last time."
This one-night-only concert event taping will bring together fans, friends and music icons to celebrate Kenny Rogers. “All In For The Gambler” will feature performances by Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Little Big Town, Alison Krauss, The Flaming Lips, Idina Menzel, Jamey Johnson, Elle King and many other special guests to be announced in the coming weeks.

- Respected industry veteran and excellent public relations guru Cary Baker sent me a big list of indie and/or lesser-know releases for this summer and beyond. I'll be adding them to my master list of album releases soon, but in the meantime, peruse this list and let me know if anything piques your interest:

June 2, 2017 – Amy Black – Memphis (Reuben) – produced by Scott Bomar (Bo-Keys), mixed by Adam Hill (Ardent) and featuring Charles Hodges, Leroy Hodges, Howard Grimes and other Memphis veterans; video premiere on PopMatters.

June 2, 2017 – Cowbell – Haunted Heart (Damaged Goods) – U.K. duo proffers psychobilly, greasy rock ’n’ roll and maximum R&B; Blurt premiered the title track.

June 2, 2017 – Robert Lamm – Time Chill (Omnivore) first-ever comp of his solo recordings

June 9, 2017 – Game Theory – 2 Steps From The Middle Ages (Omnivore) - their final album, expanded and remastered, with liners by Mitch Easter and others

June 16, 2017 – The Dustbowl Revival – The Dustbowl Revival (Signature Sounds) – No Depression premiered the first video

June 16, 2017 – Various Artists: Red Hot: A Memphis Celebration of Sun Records (label TBA) featuring Valerie June, Bobby Rush, Luther Dickinson, Jimbo Mathus, Million Dollar Quartet, Chuck Mead. PopMatters premiered the Dickinson track; NPR premiered the Valerie June track.

June 16, 2017 – Big Star – The Best of Big Star (Stax/Craft/Concord) – includes some rare singles mixes; Brooklyn Vegan premiered a rare single mix.

June 16, 2017 – Rosebud – Rosebud (Omnivore) – the further adventures of Judy Henske, Jerry Yester and three cohorts in expanded edition of Straight/Reprise LP

June 23, 2017 – Allen Ginsberg/William Blake – The Complete Songs Of Innocence And Experience by William Blake, Tuned by Allen Ginsberg (Omnivore)

June 23, 2017 – Willie Nile – Positively Bob: Willie Nile Sings Bob Dylan (River House) – The Observer broke the story and premiered a song.

June 23, 2017 – Glenn Morrow’s Cry for Help – Glenn Morrow’s Cry for Help (Rhyme & Reason) – new band from Bar/None Records founder and Individuals frontman. Brooklyn Vegan broke the news and premiered a track.

June 30, 2017–  Art Pepper – Art Pepper Presents West Coast Sessions Vol. 3: Lee Konitz and Art Pepper Presents West Coast Sessions Vol. 4: Bill Watrous (Omnivore)

July 7, 2017 – Chris Bell – Looking Forward: The Roots of Big Star (Omnivore) including un-heard tracks, of which Billboard premiered one, and excerpted a biography chapter

July 14, 2017 – Korby Lenker – Thousand Springs (Soundly Music/RED) – More than 30 contributors include Nora Jane Struthers, Anthony Da Costa, Carrie Elkin, Amy Speace, Molly Tuttle, Kai Welch, Angel Snow, Becky Warren and the Punch Brothers’ Chris “Critter” Eldridge; No Depression premiered the first track.

July 28, 2017 – Arthur Alexander – Arthur Alexander (Omnivore) – his out-of-print Muscle Shoals-recorded Warner Bros. album, expanded.

August 11, 2017 – Paul Kelly – Life is Fine (GawdAggie/Cooking Vinyl/RED) –

August 11, 2017 – Peter Himmelman – There is No Calamity (Himmasongs/Six Degrees) rockin’ new album produced by Steve Berlin; HuffPost broke the story and premiered a video.

August 11, 2017 – A.J. Croce – Just Like Medicine (Compass) – produced by Dan Penn; featuring Steve Cropper, Vince Gill, David Hood, McCrory Sisters, plus his first-ever Jim Croce cover on record (never-before-recorded song)

August 11, 2017 – Chris Fullerton – Epilepsy Blues (Eight 30 Records) – Central Texas singer/songwriter’s debut

August 11, 2017 – Dwight Yoakam – Live from Austin, TX; Buck Owens – Live from Austin, TX (New West) – live albums from PBS’ Austin City Limits series now available as 180g vinyl and DVD/CD packages.

August 18, 2017 – Ray Wylie Hubbard – Tell The Devil I’m Gettin’ There As Fast As I Can (Bordello/Thirty Tigers) – Rolling Stone premiered the title track which features Lucinda Williams and Eric Church

August 18, 2017 – Raspberries – Pop Art Live (Omnivore) – 2-CD live 2004 Cleveland reunion concert with all the hits and interesting covers; Ultimate Classic Rock premiered an un-head track.

August 25, 2017 – Alex Chilton – A Man Called Destruction (Omnivore) reissue with bonus tracks. The Big Takeover premiered a never-before-heard track.

September TBA, 2017 – Lloyd Price (Universal) –  new studio album from R&B pioneer

September 1, 2017 – Jan & Dean – Filet Of Soul Redux: Live Remote From Hullabaloo Club ‘65 (Omnivore) – live album with comedy elements that was rejected by Jan & Dean’s label, and shelved until now. Notes by Dean Torrence and David Beard. Best Classic Bands premiered a track.

September 8, 2017 – Bash & Pop – Friday Night Is Killing Me (Omnivore) – Tommy Stinson’s post-Replacement band’s debut album, expanded. Brooklyn Vegan and The Big Takeover premiered  track.

September 15, 2017 – Chris Bell – I Am The Cosmos (deluxe edition) (Omnivore 2CD/Digital) expanded edition with any never-before-heard tracks

September 22, 2017 – Flamin’ Groovies – Fantastic Plastic (Megaforce) – new album

September 22, 2017 – Eileen Jewell – Downhearted Blues (Signature Sounds)

September 22 2017 – Woody Guthrie (Bear Family) – two books in a slipcase plus three CDs, a tribute concert featuring Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan

September 22, 2017 – Linda Perhacs – I’m a Harmony (Omnivore) – psychedelic folk artist’s newly recorded album, produced by Fernando Perdomo

September 29, 2017 – 9/29 – Art Pepper – Art Pepper Presents West Coast Sessions Vol. 5: Jack Sheldon; Art Pepper Presents West Coast Sessions Vol. 6: Shelly Manne (Omnivore)

October 6, 2017 – Whitney Rose – Rule 62 (Six Shooter/Thirty Tigers) – with a rather exciting producer and band TBA)

October 6, 2017– Jerry Yester – Pass Your Light Around (Omnivore) ‘70s recordings

October 13, 2017 – Gene Clark – Gene Clark Sings For You (Omnivore)

October 13, 2017 – Chris Barron – Angels And One Armed Jugglers (Chrysanthemum) – solo album from Spin Doctors’ singer

November 24, 2017 – Chris Bell – The Complete Chris Bell (Omnivore) 6 LPs vinyl only

November 24, 2017 –  11/24 – Various Artists – The Soul Of Baltimore: The Ru-Jac Records Story (Omnivore) 4-CD compendium of Baltimore/DC soul

TBA Q3 2017 – Action Skulls – new band featuring Vicki Peterson (Bangles), John Cowsill and Bill Mumy.

TBA Q3 2017 – Fernando Perdomo – The Golden Hour (self release) – producer of Linda Perhacs, Cait Brennan and more, recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis

TBA Q1 2018 – Janiva Magness (fathead/Blue Elan) – follow-up to her Grammy-nominated album

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Radney Foster Unveils Plans For For You To See The Stars Album and Book

Artist: Radney Foster
Album: For You To See The Stars
Label: Devil River Records
Release date: September 15, 2017

Updated today:
Radney Foster‘s latest project, a dual book and CD combination, For You To See The Stars, has now been set for a release date of September 15. The collection of short stories, released via Working Title Farm, marks Foster’s first print publication. The Devil’s River Records album is Foster’s 11th foray into the studio and features nine new songs and a special re-recording of his single, “Raining on Sunday.”
Among the tales Foster conjures up in his collection are the story of a retired spy in New Orleans, the tale of a Dallas lawyer wandering the Rocky Mountains in search of redemption, and a post-apocalyptic parable of a world in endless war.

“For me, the goal of writing is always to touch that one person so much that they wonder how I got a peek into their living room–how I understood exactly what they felt,” says Foster about his process. “More than just rhyming or having a pretty melody, I try to express a part of the human condition that can make someone want to laugh, cry, make love, or all of the above.”

Published originally 2/3/17:
Here at That Nashville Sound, we rarely post details on Kickstarter or PledgeMusic campaigns unless we feel strongly about the artist or the project involved. This is one of those times. Radney Foster's good friend Jack Ingram let us know yesterday of this new project that's on the horizon for one of country music's most celebrated songwriters and this combination album with book of short stories sounds fascinating to say the least.

Singer songwriter Radney Foster has been telling stories professionally for over 35 years. His songs have reached over 50 million people, whether through his own hits ("Crazy Over You," "Just Call Me Lonesome," "Nobody Wins," "Texas in 1880" and "Angel Flight") or those he wrote that became hits for others (Keith Urban's "Raining On Sunday," Sara Evans, "A Real Fine Place To Start," The Dixie Chicks "GodSpeed" and a host of others).

2016 saw him expanding his definition of storytelling. Along with songwriting and performing, he began acting (in the upcoming feature film "Beauty Mark," and onstage at the Alliance Theatre in "Troubadour.") He also began writing short fiction, taking his focus from 3 minute songs and diving deeper into each story. His new project is a collection of songs, each with a short story to go with it. The stories are not a retelling of the songs, but rather a companion piece. According to the campaign, "Sometimes they are based on the storyline, sometimes just on something the lyrics touch on. Often the song talks about what the characters were feeling at the time."

Tentative track listing:


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers Partner On New Album In September

Artist: Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers
Album: The Long-Awaited Album
Label: Rounder
Release date: September 22, 2017

From the press release: "The Long-Awaited Album, Steve Martin's brand new project with the North Carolina Grammy-winning group the Steep Canyon Rangers, is full of stories that mix humor and melancholy, whimsy and realism, rich characters and evocative details. And lots of banjos. That instrument-so dexterously, even acrobatically picked and strummed-proves just as crucial to relating these tales as the lyrics themselves, each chord and riff revealing depths to Martin's narrators and to his musical talent."

  1. Santa Fe
  2. Caroline
  3. All Night Long
  4. Canadian Girl
  5. Office Supplies
  6. Bad Night
  7. Strangest Christmas Yet
  8. Always Will
  9. So Familiar
  10. Nights in the Lab
  11. Angeline the Barista
  12. On the Water
  13. Girl From River Run
  14. Promontory Point


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Interview Flashback - Talking Highs, Lows & Highs with Sarah Buxton- The 9513 Interview

I have been blessed to write contributions/reviews/interviews/opinion pieces for several country music and roots-oriented websites and publications over the years including Saving Country Music, Nashville Scene, Country California, Country Weekly, American Noise, The 9513 and Engine 145. As a regular contributor to the last two in that list, I did close to a 100 interviews with different artists- and since both of those great sites have come down, I will reprint some of those interviews here to give them a home in perpetuity. This interview was originally published in February 2010 on The 9513.

For Sarah Buxton, the last six years have been a roller-coaster ride of highs and lows. The singer/songwriter has realized huge successes and at the same time has questioned at times where the road towards her first full album release would take her. Today, that journey aims to all points north with the release of her self-titled album scheduled for release by Lyric Street Records on February 23rd.

Born in Lawrence, Kansas, Buxton’s childhood was filled with music with piano and flute lessons and being active in her town choir. She moved to Nashville following high school graduation both to attend Belmont University and follow her musical dreams and ambitions. The early 2000’s found her the lead singer of a southern rock band called Stoik Oak. But after that group called it quits- and after an ill-fated marriage- she found herself at a crossroads of where to go next.

It was John Rich and others that encouraged her to find her country music voice and after singing back-up vocals from everyone from Kenny Rogers to Cowboy Troy, she landed her own record deal with Lyric Street Records back in 2006. Keith Urban recorded the Buxton co-write "Stupid Boy" on his album Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing- which he took to #3 on the country charts in 2007. But despite that big success as a songwriter, three different singles released over three years- “Innocence,” “That Kind Of Day,” and “Space”- didn’t result in enough radio play in Lyric Street’s eyes to result in an album release.

A fourth single was the charm, however. Her current chart hit, “Outside My Window,” is close to busting into the top 20 and its homegrown video has been a staple hit on the country music television stations. The 9513 had a chance to talk to the fun and free-spirited Buxton about her journey and the new album.

Ken Morton, Jr.- Thank you for sharing a bit of your time with The 9513.

Sarah Buxton- I’m so good right now. I have a new burst of energy because I just opened up my first CD ever!

KMJ- What an exciting moment for you.

SB- I’m freaked out. I was in the middle of another interview just a few minutes ago and had a very awkward moment. My publicist and my manager came in with the CD with their phones and were recording me. I was talking with the interview guy and I was waving at them and jumping up and down. It was crazy. I’m just so happy about it. It’s just so great.

KMJ- Congratulations. You can still hear the excitement in your voice. 

SB- Thank you. I am excited.

KMJ- Well, let me dive into a few questions we have for you. How is it that Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks led you into country music?

SB- Through her, her singing, her melodies and the way she sang about her life, she taught me something about music. You either connect with it or you don’t. When you do, and you’re a musical person, it’s a powerful thing. There was something about her that just didn’t just pull me in, it lassoed me in. Wow. I was just completely blown away by them and I saw that she wrote all her own songs. I just connected with her. I don’t know what it was. She’s always been my favorite.

KMJ- I understand you met her and it was by her suggestion that you follow your musical dreams and ultimately ended up here.

SB- She didn’t suggest it, but she told me that if I knew that I was here on this planet to sing and that if I really believed it, I would make it happen. That’s how I felt. And that’s what I did. I believed in myself. She said, “If you believe in yourself, then I believe in you.” So that’s what I took from it and that’s why I moved to Nashville.

KMJ- While you’ve been signed to Lyric Street since 2006, it’s been your songwriting on Keith Urban’s “Stupid Boy” that probably has cast a light as bright as anything thus far- was has that song meant to you? 

SB- It’s meant a lot. It’s meant a lot of things. First of all, it’s cool to be able to write a song about something you feel strongly about, you feel like you did it. If you feel like you like it and that you couldn’t have done any better then it’s a gift. But then to have it recorded on my record and to have Keith hear it and record it on his album and then nominated for Song Of The Year, it’s just the gift that keeps on giving. And most importantly, I’m still getting checks from it. Yea! (Laughing).

KMJ- It seems as if things are really rolling now for your career- your long awaited album hits at the end of February. What can listeners expect to hear?

SB- You can expect to hear my long struggle through my 20’s in my songs. It was written over the course of six years. You can hear all of my previous singles on it- “Innocence,” “That Kind Of Day,” “Space,” and “Outside My Window.” They’re all on there plus six new ones that will give you a direction on where my music is headed. It’s an emotional CD with a lot of highs and lows. The highs are really high and the lows are really low. I tried to take you with me on that journey when you go through it. And hope that when people listen to it, they’ve gone through some of the same things and there’s a song on there for every thing.

KMJ- Sonically and musically, how would you describe it?

SB- It’s very guitar-driven. It’s very rocking. It’s got the Nashville country sound on it but it’s got a little different spin on it. I tried to be a little more organic than it could have been. With tracks like “Big Blue Sky” at the very end, I wanted something on there that was very light. There’s some stuff on there that’s very heavy- some things that have a deep message to them. I think you can hear some Stevie in there. I think you can hear Tom Petty. I think you can hear Shania in there. A little Faith in there. I think you can all the influences I’ve had on there.

KMJ- On some of the songs we’ve heard on the radio, there’s a certain spunkiness to them. Does that carry through the rest of the album? 

SB- Not every song has that on it. That’s something I let go of a little bit.- and not that I’m not letting go of my spunkiness. I just recently finished writing one of the most ridiculous songs I’ve ever written called “Train Wreck.” I tried to write more songs that were a little more grown up. I tried to tap into some of these new things while still trying to make it make sense. I’m kind of in a big place in my life right now. Lots of things are moving and working and getting resolved.

KMJ- I’m sure there’s been a roller-coaster of a ride for you over the last four years, perhaps even the last six. Were you always sure that this day was going to arrive?

SB- Yes, I always thought it was going to happen. But then there would be moments in which I thought maybe this wasn’t going to happen. Or thought, maybe I don’t want this to happen. Why isn’t this going smoothly? Why is it that I see these other artists out on the road and other people are talking about their careers and everybody else seems to be having fun? And why am I having such a struggle and such a big fight for everything? I felt like everything was such a big deal. Every decision was so much drama. And now, finally, I feel like one of those other happy artists. (Laughing)

KMJ- Your current single “Outside My Window” seems poised to become your first top 20 solo hit any week now. There’s a great story regarding a “personal investment” in the video.

SB- Totally. The standard of my label is that they like to release music videos when they know they have a top 20 record. So until they got to the point that “Outside My Window” is now, they wouldn’t have a video out for it. They explained in-depth this reason. I just went and made this video with my co-writers for fun. I said, “Whatever, we’ll just go put it on YouTube.” But we showed it to the guys at Lyric Street and they loved it. They loved it. They thought it was hilarious. And we’ve got some friends at GAC and they said they’d definitely play it. And when I told the label they were going to play it, they said that they wouldn’t normally play anything this low of quality. We literally shot it on an iFlip on Mark Hudson’s laptop. It was his brain-child. He totally thought the whole thing up.

KMJ- And the whole thing was shot for a crazy amount like $50 or something like that?

SB- It was more than that. It was eighty bucks. (Laughing) The most expensive thing we got was the window. The big expense was the window itself.

KMJ- Does that hang proudly somewhere in your house now?

SB- You know what? No, it should. I think it’s over at (co-writer) Gary Burr’s house. I should go over and get that thing. Gary’s very proud of this record though.

KMJ- You’re out on tour with Martina McBride and Trace Adkins on the Shine All Night Tour beginning this month as well.

SB- Yes! I’ve actually done a few dates with them already. It’s so great. I love being on tour. You get to work on your craft of performing when it’s been start-stop-start-stop. It’s not until you do it night after night after night when you start getting really good. You learn how to get really good at how to be better at bringing Trace Adkins out on stage because he comes on literally right after me.

KMJ- So who are more like out on tour? Is it the Trace Adkins bar-room drinking girl or the Martina McBride family-oriented girl?

SB- Somewhere right in the middle. I don’t drink all night every night. I do every once in awhile. (Laughter) But I like staying home and having a nice glass of wine with my dinner. But when I do party, I find that the more I party, the more I want to party. So it can get a little out of control. So I try to be a good girl out on the road.

KMJ- And you’re also going to be the featured GAC Artist of the Month in March, I understand?

SB- The hits just keep coming. They’re going to have all these hit songs and interviews. I’m really just overwhelmed. I really am. Even with everything that’s happening, I just can’t believe it. Everything’s good!

KMJ- I have one last question for you. What is country music to Sarah Buxton?

SB- Country music is a genre for everybody- kids and adults. It’s a genre based on storytelling. I think that’s the best way I can describe what I do to others. It’s storytelling. It’s about people’s lives. It’s about real tangible things that we all go through. It’s real stories about real life. When I first started listening to it, Patty Loveless became one of my all-time idols. I love her so much. She sang and spoke so well to women and women’s emotions and real things. It was love and divorce and death in a plain-speaking way. That’s what country music is to me.

Live at the Grand Ole Opry - Maggie Rose - "Body On Fire"

Monday, July 17, 2017

Marc Broussard Announces New Album Easy To Love For September Release

Artist: Marc Broussard
Album: Easy To Love
Label: G-Man Records
Release date: September 15, 2017

Renowned, “Bayou Soul” singer-songwriter, Marc Broussard announces his new studio album, Easy To Love, to be released on September 15th. It goes along with his new single, “Don’t Be Afraid To Call Me” that you can listen to below.

On the new single, Broussard says, “We’ve all got friends we don’t talk to anymore, for one reason or another. Sometimes, the reason may be completely justifiable. Sometimes we just grow apart naturally. Whatever the case may be, I think most people can relate to that feeling of wishing you could hear from someone you once cherished as a close confidant, hoping they wouldn’t hesitate to call if they really needed you.”

Marc says, “With Easy To Love, I feel as if I’m back at the beginning of this journey, at least partially. We’ve got all the excitement that I can remember having around my first big record, but we know so much more now than we did back then. This record was a joy to create. The process was unlike any other I’ve ever been a part of. It was almost guerrilla-style; recording whenever we could get some time, working across thousands of miles, saving up money to get in the studio one more time. It all feels like art again! Anyways, it was a profound pleasure to breathe life into these songs. The support team I had in place to make this album, from musicians to engineers and cowriters, continue to prove themselves to be some of the most gifted in all of music. I consider myself extremely lucky to work with them all. Enjoy!”

Sunday, July 16, 2017

That Nashville Sound Sunday Newsbytes

This weekend has plenty of country music news to share including tidbits on Sammy Kershaw, Brandy Clark, The Dixie Chicks, Valerie June, Terri Clark, Randy Rogers, Wade Bowen, Dan Tyminski, Johnny Lang and more.

- Valerie June does a beautiful job of combining R&B, bluegrass, country, blues and folk in her new music video for "Got Soul." 

- If you missed The Dixie Chicks in concert this past year, you can head to the movie theaters to watch it. DCX MMXVI — In Concert will play in select movie theaters for one night only on August 7.

- The always-intriguing Brandy Clark released a new previously-unreleased song called "You're Drunk" that you can listen to here.

- Kevin John Coyne shares his love of Terri Clark's new podcast over at Country Universe- complete with a link to listen to a couple of them including ones Clark does with Suzy Bogguss, Pam Tillis, Reba McEntire and Wade Hayes.

- Sammy Kershaw has three different album projects in the way. First up is a Louisiana "swamp pop"album out later this year with a country and gospel album planned in early 2018. On the first album: “I’ve been listening to them since I was a boy,” Kershaw says, citing artists such as Eddy Raven, Willie Tee, TK Hulin and more, “so I just thought I would like to do a tribute album to those guys and get those guys on the album with me.”

- Union Station's Dan Tyminski has signed with Universal Records and has an album coming out in the fall. “I ended up getting to write with the young man Jesse Frasure — he’s on fire right now. When we first started to sit down to write, he had a take on where the music should go that was so fun and so daring. He wasn’t afraid to go anywhere — way outside of the box that I had found myself trying to write in. And we hit it off and started writing more music. Before we knew it, we had acquired a few songs that we really liked, “Southern Gothic” being one of them.”

- Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen recorded and made a music video for Guy Clark's "Rita Ballou" at Bruce Robison's The Next Waltz's Country Bunker studio in Lockhart, Texas.

- Toby Keith's new The Bus Songs album, out September 8th, features 12 of Keith's more unorthodox songs, all of which were written – as the title suggests – with that special mentality that only the back of a tour bus can provide.

- Searing instrumentalist Johnny Lang will release his first new album in four years. Signs comes out on September 8 on Concord Records. “A lot of my earlier influences have been coming to the surface, like Robert Johnson, and Howlin’ Wolf,” he reports. “I have been appreciating how raw and unrefined that stuff is. I had an itch to emulate some of that and I think it shows in the songs. Still, I let the writing be what it was and that was sometimes not necessarily the blues.”

Thursday, July 13, 2017

New Music Video From The Band of Heathens - "Sugar Queen"

This is a 360 video. You can move the camera around by yourself and be the director.
Here are the rules to enjoy properly:

On Smartphone - must watch in YOUTUBE app (not web browser)
On Computer - Must watch in Chrome Browser

New Music Video From The Abrams - "Spend Your Life With Me"

A List Of Albums On The Horizon For The Rest Of 2017

There's lots of new music on the horizon. Here's a snapshot of what's to come over the coming months and a list of the projects that are rumored to be in the works.

July 14
Lewis Brice - Lewis Brice [EP] (Pump House Music-Straight 8 Entertainment-Kobalt)
Mitchell Tenpenny- Linden Ave. (Riser House)

July 17
Radney Foster - Sycamore Creek (Kickstarter)

July 21
Sara Evans - Words - (Born To Fly Records)
Parmalee - 27861 (Stoney Creek Records)

July 28
Johnny Cash - Greatest Hits Volume II (180 Gram Audiophile Translucent Blue Vinyl/Limited Edition/Gatefold Cover)
Jo Dee Messina - All Time Greatest Hits (Curb)

Lindsay Ell - The Project (Stoney Creek)

August 4
Brett Eldredge - Brett Eldredge (Warner Music Nashville (Atlantic))
Joe Nichols - Never Gets Old (Red Bow Records)
Logan Mize- Come Back Road (Big Yellow Dog Music)
Dylan Scott - Dylan Scott (Curb Records)

August 11
Will Hoge - Anchors (Thirty Tigers)
Alex Williams - Better Than Myself (Big Machine Records)
Lee Roy Parnell - Midnight Believer (Vector Recordings)
David Rawlings - Poor David’s Almanack (Acony Records)
Dwight Yoakam - Austin City Limits Live
Steve Azar & The Kings Men - Down at the Liquor Store (Ride Records)

August 18
Emily West - Symphonies [EP]
Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer - Not Dark Yet (Silver Cross Records-Thirty Tigers)
Ray Wylie Hubbard - Tell The Devil I'm Getting There As Fast As I Can
Jerry Douglas - What If (Rounder)
Josh Abbott Band - Until My Voice Goes Out (Pretty Damn Tough Records)

August 25
The Cadillac Three - Legacy (BMLG)
Mac McAnally - Southbound (Mailboat Records)
Old Dominion - Happy Endings (RCA Nashville)
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver - Life Is a Story (Mountain Home)

The Grascals - Before Breakfast
Tucker Beathard - TBD

September 8
Kip Moore - SLOWHEART (MCA Nashville)
Sean McConnell - Undone (Rounder Records)

September 15
Big & Rich - Did It For The Party
Various - A Tribute to John D. Loudermilk (Vector Recordings)
Michael McDonald - Wide Open (BMG)

September 22
Christian Lopez (Red Arrow/Blaster Records)
Midland - TBD

September 29
Shania Twain - Now (Mercury Nashville)

November 3
Lee Brice - Lee Brice (Curb)

Christmas/Holiday Projects:
Martina McBride
Love & Theft

Early 2018
Loretta Lynn - Wouldn't It Be Great (Sony Legacy)

Albums with "to be announced" release dates but presumed to be 2017:
David Lee Murphy - "No Zip Code" (independent)
Chase Rice - Lambs and Lions (BBR)
Crystal Bowersox - "Promises" EP [Pledge Music]
Damn Davidsons- TBD (GoFundMe)
Drew Kennedy - At Home In The Big Lonesome (Atlas Aurora)
Sam Hunt - TBA (MCA Nashville)
Luke Bryan - TBA (Capitol Nashville)
Lila McCann - Paint This Town (PledgeMusic)
Faith Hill & Tim McGraw Collaboration (Sony Music)
Chris Stapleton - Live From A Room: Volume 2Thomas Rhett -  TBD
Tracy Lawrence - Good Ol' Days
Hannah Blaylock - Bandit Queen

Other Projects Rumored To Be In The Works:

Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck - TBD
Ashley Campbell - TBD
Ashley Gearing - TBD
Ashley Monroe - TBD (Dave Cobb-produced project)
Blue Sky Riders - TBD
Breaking Grass - TBD (Mountain Fever)
Brooke Eden - TBD (Red Bow Records)
Carolina Chocolate Drops - TBD
Catherine Britt - TBD (Universal/Lost Highway)
Chase Bryant - TBD (Red Bow Records)
Clare Dunn - TBA (MCA Nashville)
Clay Walker - TBA
Craig Campbell - TBA (Red Bow Records)
Danielle Bradbery - TBA (Big Machine Records)
Darius Rucker - TBA
David Fanning - TBA
Del McCoury - Woody Guthrie tribute album
Drew Baldridge - TBA (Cold River Records)
Ego Brothers (Corb Lund, Hayes Carll, and John Evans) - TBA
Eric Paslay - TBA (EMI Nashville)
Gary Allan - TBA (MCA Nashville)
Gretchen Wilson - TBA (Redneck Records)
Haley Georgia - TBA (EMI Nashville)
Hannah Blaylock - TBA
Hayes Carll - TBA
Holly Williams - TBA
Jackie Lee - TBA (Broken Bow Records)
James Otto - TBA
Jason Eady - Self-described singer-songwriter album
Jason Isbell- TBA
Jerrod Niemann - TBA (Curb)
Joe Nichols - TBA (Red Bow Records)
John King - TBA (Black River Entertainment)
Jordan Rager - TBA (Broken Bow Records)
Josh Turner - TBA (MCA Nashville)
Julie Roberts - TBA
Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice - TBA
Justin Townes Earle - TBA
Kellie Pickler - TBA
LANco - TBA (Arista Nashville)
Lee Ann Womack - TBD
 Lindsay Ell - TBA (Stoney Creek Records)
Logan Mize - TBA
Lone Bellow - TBA
Love and Theft - TBA (Curb)
Lucas Hoge - TBA
Mark Collie - TBA (101 Ranch Records)
Marty Stuart - TBA
Mickey Guyton - TBA (Capitol Nashville)
Morgane Stapleton - TBA
Noel McKay - TBA
Oak Ridge Boys - Dave Cobb Produced Album
Pam Tillis- TBA
Parmalee - TBA (Stoney Creek Records)
Randy Houser - TBA (Stoney Creek Records)
Ray Wylie Hubbard - TBA
Rick Trevino - TBA
Rita Wilson - TBA
Robbie Fulks - TBA
Rodney Atkins - TBA (Curb Records)
Roland White - TBA
Ryan Kinder - TBA (Warner Bros. Records/Warner Music Nashville)
Scotty McCreery - TBA (Label TBA)
Shania Twain - TBA (Mercury Nashville)
Shenandoah - TBA
Shooter Jennings - TBA
Steve Wariner - TBA (project with Duane Eddy)
Tanya Tucker - TBA
The Railers - TBA (Warner Bros. Records/Warner Music Nashville)
Thompson Square - TBA (Stoney Creek Records)
Trace Adkins - TBA (Wheelhouse Records)
Travis Tritt and Marty Stuart - TBA
Trick Pony - TBA
Whitey Morgan - TBA
Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Merle Haggard - TBA

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

That Nashville Sound Song of the Year Candidate: Ashley McBryde's "Girl Goin' Nowhere"

When you're running through your own Facebook feed and artists and songwriters you follow and are friends with (thank you to Faren Rachels and Mickey Guyton) begin posting about a Grand Ole Opry performance of a song you aren't familiar with, you take notice. Turns out, Ashley McBryde had an invitation to come play the Opry on Friday night and played a teary song about the trials and tribulations about following your heart and chasing the music dream in Nashville. Anyone even slightly familiar with Music City business recognizes exactly how daunting carving a career out of music is- and it's even made more difficult when you're the fairer sex. (Google Saladgate if you need an education there.)  In this case, however, McBryde has taken the naysayers as motivation and built a song about chasing your muse no matter what the obstacles. It's a personal autobiography in three minutes. And it's absolutely fantastic- a certain candidate to join a handful of finalists for our favorite songs of 2017.

Interview Flashback - Celtic Influences From the Great White North- A Conversation with The Rankins

I have been blessed to write contributions/reviews/interviews/opinion pieces for several country music and roots-oriented websites and publications over the years including Saving Country Music, Nashville Scene, Country California, Country Weekly, American Noise, The 9513 and Engine 145. As a regular contributor to the last two in that list, I did close to a 100 interviews with different artists- and since both of those great sites have come down, I will reprint some of those interviews here to give them a home in perpetuity. This interview was originally published in February 2010 on The 9513.

Far north, in the Canadian Maritimes, not quite to where the roads run out, lies the small community of Mabou on Cape Breton Island. One home in that village bordered next to the Community Hall which was the heart of all things musical. Music is the tie that binds people in Mabou. It is heavily influenced by the Celtic sounds brought over from sea-faring imports of generations past. Each of the twelve children of Kathleen and Buddy Rankin were encouraged and expected to be involved in the musical community including church and local fairs. Various siblings formed singing groups, but it was five of them that would make it a career. In 1989, John Morris, Raylene, Heather, Cookie and Jimmy Rankin would release their first self-titled indie album.

Five more major label albums would be released over the next decade including Fare Thee Well Love (1992), North Country (1993), Grey Dusk of Eve (1995), Endless Seasons (1995), and Uprooted (1998). Critically acclaimed and wildly embraced by several genres of Canadian music, the Rankin Family would be honored with 15 East Coast Music Awards, six Juno Awards, four SOCAN Awards and three Canadian Country Music Awards.

But in 1999, the Rankins went on an indefinite hiatus- made all the more tragic with John Morris Rankin’s death from an icy coastal road car crash in 2000. While Jimmy and Raylene recorded individual projects, no Rankin Family recording or touring would occur until 2007’s aptly named Reunion. In Winnipeg, the sold-out audience gave the remaining four members, who toured with John Morris’ daughter Molly Rankin, a standing ovation before the concert started. Reunion would bring the group their 16th East Coast Music Award for Best Roots/Traditional Group Recording of the Year.

In 2009, The Rankins returned to the studio and recorded another new album called These Are The Moments. Reflective of the group’s unwavering faith and optimism during these uncertain modern times, it is filled with that unique Celtic-influenced harmony-drenched sound that filled that Community Hall so many years ago.

The 9513 had an opportunity to talk with Jimmy and Heather Rankin about their Celtic influences, the ladies’ Red Shoe Pub, Jimmy’s upcoming Olympic performance and their latest album.

Ken Morton, Jr.- The Rankins have won several Canadian Country Music Awards, and even more Roots music awards, but have many more influences on your music. For someone who perhaps hasn’t heard a Rankins album, how would you describe it?

Jimmy Rankin- That’s a hard one. Over the years, I’ve been asked to describe it and categorize it. Maybe contemporary folk? There are just so many different styles in there. There’s Celtic, and traditional and singer/songwriter. There’s original country and a little bit of pop and folk. I really don’t know how to classify it. And that, of course, is one of the challenging things we ran into over the years.

KMJ- Heather, how would you answer that question?

Heather Rankin- It’s just Rankin music. It is hard to describe. There is no category that it falls into. It has influences from country music, folk, traditional and it’s one of the problems that we had when we first started playing in the community in which we were raised. I remember when we were selling CD’s when we were playing community shows out of the back of our cars. And after awhile, we were selling so many records, it finally got the attention of the record people in Toronto. When we signed with EMI Canada, it was difficult for them to put us in a category, so people just started calling it Canadian country. It’s something that’s most appealing to our music, it doesn’t just fall into one category. So to answer your question, or not answer it, I don’t know to answer that question.

KMJ- I think you did, actually. I know you guys started more Celtic with your music when you first got started and have evolved to a more mainstream sound over the years- or at least that’s my impression. Has that been a conscious decision or something that happened just based on your travel and expansion as artists?

JR- We played as a band from the time we were kids, you know? We would play around the county in Cape Breton where we’re from. We were a dance band and we played in the old dance halls there. That’s really where we cut our teeth in the music business. This was back in the 70’s and early 80’s. My brother played professionally with some fiddle music there. And that’s very much part of the culture there in Cape Breton. We sang other songs which were very traditional as well. And it was a dance, so we played old rock and roll and country music. We played anything to make people dance. We always had a big cross section of music. When we started making recordings in the late 1980’s, we wanted to bring to a recording what we did in our band in those early days- which was a cross-styling of different styles of music. Over the years, the Rankins records varied more from the traditional sound, but we’ve always tried to do different styles of music in our recording. Maybe we have evolved like that but we’ve always had a strong traditional element to our group. I think it’s always rung through all of our writing.

HR- I don’t think it was a conscious thing. It’s interesting that you hear it that way. Perhaps it comes from working with different producers and different players. When we originally started, 80% of our selections were traditional- probably because we were steeped in that from a very young age. We were throwing in material that we were doing for the first 20 years of our lives. As the years went on, we would do our songwriting- particularly Jimmy- and it’s kind of turned around to 80% original. Maybe that’s where that change has come from. I don’t think it was a conscious thing. It just happens after people started writing.

KMJ- You guys trade lead vocals pretty seamlessly. That’s pretty rare these days. How do you go about choosing who sings what?

JR- There’s really four lead vocalists in the Rankin Family band. There are my three sisters of course and myself. When we go out on tour- and the last three or four years, we’ve been doing these cross-country tours- we try to feature everybody in the set list. But there are favorites that fans want to hear that are staples of the set list. When we were making a recording, we try to feature everybody at least twice on the record and have a group song that gets everybody involved. That’s always been just a trademark of the Rankins. That’s really just it.

HR- Anytime we’ve gotten together to do a record, we’ve each brought in a handful of tunes. It was somewhat democratic that we’ve tried to select each person’s best tune out of everything else that went on the record. As time has gone on, it’s been more about picking the strongest song- perhaps the group tune- rather than being more even. It’s always been pretty democratic, though.

KMJ- You had a new album in 2009 called These Are The Moments. Besides the obvious fact that it’s a song on the album, why did you pick that as an album title?

JR- It was really just a lyric from a song that I had written. I think we were trying to make a CD that was, at the time, were songs full of inspiration, songs that were in the moment and full of hope. That’s one of the lyrics that our producer Frank Davies thought would be an excellent title. Each of us thought, “Sure, that sounds like a really good title.”

HR- I think at the time, the world has been going through a financial downturn. There are Canadian men and women soldiers overseas dying every day. There are a lot of sad things happening in the world and we felt that we should try to look at things in a positive light and see how truly fortunate we are. We need to recognize that we need to take advantage of the good life that we lead and recognize how fortunate we are. We need to live each moment.

KMJ- American fans will recognize two of the songwriters in Jim Brickman and Sarah Buxton. What made you choose the two songs written by those two artists?

JR- The label we were working with in Canada wanted to do a record with a contemporary sound. Frank Davies enlisted a guy that knows a lot of these songwriters. They brought these songs to the table and it really just happened to be that they’re really good songs. That recording session was a combination of Rankin songs and some of those really good writers. Victoria Shaw is one of the writers as well.

KMJ- I know you guys reworked a couple of your old classics for the album as well.

JR- They wanted to rerelease a couple of songs like “Rise Again” and “Fare Thee Well” and “Feel The Same Way.” They wanted to remix these great old songs and bring them up to date sonically. You have to remember they were recorded back in 1989 or 1990. We revisited them and remixed them and I think brought the vocals to the front more. They shine just a bit more.

HR- We felt that those songs were very fitting with the message of the newer tunes. We were hoping to expose our music a little more to the American market. People in the production market hoped to showcase us to America a little more than we have in the past. It seemed very fitting to include a couple of our old inspirational songs and fit them in with these new songs of inspiration.

KMJ- Jimmy, how do you see your solo work different from your work with the Rankin Family?

JR- Essentially, my solo career was just to keep me occupied the last ten years. I took what we did with the Rankin Family, which was singing and playing guitar and songwriting, and applied it to my solo records. That’s pretty much it. I’m a songwriter. Most all of the songs on the records have been an extension of my songwriting, or sometimes songwriting with other people.

KMJ- Heather, while Jimmy and Raylene have done some solo work, you and Cookie have chosen not to. Any reasoning behind that?

HR- I never saw myself as a solo singer. I always felt that I was a cog in the Rankin wheel. It was never anything I was interested in. My interests have really been in acting. It’s something I studied in University. I got a degree in theater. I’ve pursued that on my own. And then I went into a show with my sisters Cookie and Raylene and we did a Christmas record. And each Christmas season, we do a show in and around that. We also bought a pub up in Mabou, Cape Breton where we were born and raised.

KMJ- That’s called the Red Shoe Pub, I understand.

HR- That’s right. We feature local traditional music there seven days a week at some point in the day. It’s not all day long- usually it’s at supper time. Those things have drawn my energies. As far as a solo career, it’s not anything I ever aspired to.

KMJ- Does Jimmy have some elaborate concert contract and rider each time he performs in your pub?

HR- (Laughing) No, he’s been very good to come and play a tune or two. Cookie, Raylene, and I have done the same. We’ve actually never all played there together at the same time. None of us actually live up there now. We do all tend to go back there and spend time there. It’s a seasonal operation.

KMJ- Was that always a dream to own a pub?

HR- It was something crazy that we did. If you ever drive up the west coast of Cape Breton from the highway, it’s very beautiful. And you’ll meet some of the finest people in the world there and hear some of the best music in the world. But it is very rural and there isn’t a lot to do there except for the summer when there’s square dances and community events. You hear traditional music. A person had taken an old general store in our community and converted it into a pub. He had it for about five years and it gained a reputation for a place to go to hear traditional music. Unfortunately, he wasn’t successful in keeping it open for business and it closed. It was closed for two years. Every time we would go back there, we’d see tourists looking through the windows or front door. The three of us along with another sister couldn’t stand to see this vibrant little place of music not survive. So we did a crazy thing and got together and bought it. And for the first seasons, I managed it. And that was an even crazier thing to do. Fortunately, we succeeded. And now we have very capable people to run it and it goes very smoothly. Tons of people come from all over.

KMJ- Jimmy, you’re going out to sing in the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, I understand. 

JR- Yeah, I’m going out there to do a couple shows there. That’s correct. You’ve done your homework.

KMJ- That’s got to be pretty exciting to be there on a world stage in your homeland of Canada. 

JR- I’m looking forward to it. It should be a lot of fun. I’m known as a singer/songwriter so those shows will just be me and a guitar player going through some Rankins stuff and some of my stuff- just my normal set list. It will be good.

KMJ- Looking back a bit, you guys decided to hang things up in 1999 together as a band. Why the break and why the reunion again nearly a decade later?

JR- When we set out to make recordings back in 1989, we started out grass roots without a manager or a record label or any knowledge of the music business. Growing up playing music locally, our goal wasn’t necessarily to get a record deal and tour and see the world. And I think we were thinking five years. As it turned out, it took off and kept us very busy for ten years recording and television specials and everything that goes with it. In those ten years, we went through everything you go through in the music business. Managers. Record labels. We learned all that. I think everyone thought it was just time. We saw major changes in the business at that time. We just decided it was time to hang up the gloves indefinitely. Tragically, later that year, my brother, John Morris, was killed in a car accident. I think at that time, everybody thought that was the finale for the Rankins. But in 1997, a promoter we worked with out west during our earlier career asked if we’d do a reunion tour. He thought there was a demand for us out there. People wanted to hear us and hear those old songs. It was just too good not to be heard. I got everybody back together and we gradually got it back together. It was without my brother, of course. But we found some people to do his job. We started on the west coast of Canada and headed east and amazingly played to sold-out houses everywhere we went. And that went so well, we did it again. People wanted to hear it. And we shot some television specials while we were out there. And it’s something we revisit every other year and do some dates. It’s really fun. And it just so happens that we’ve been placing some CD’s as well. Does that answer your question?

KMJ- It does. And actually leads me to my next question. What’s next for the Rankins in 2010 and beyond?

JR- There’s talk of going out and doing an acoustic tour where it’s just myself and another musician and my sisters- just doing that acoustic folk with a focus on the vocals. We’d like to do that in smaller halls. That’s what we’re talking about in 2010. We’re just getting that started.

KMJ- And how about for Heather Rankin?

HR- After 1999 when we quit, we really felt like we were on a treadmill. We had started to lose sight of what we were doing this for. People really want to hear this music. It seems like now we’re taking this bi-annually. Hopefully the acoustic show with evolve and happen this summer and every holiday, I do the Christmas show with my sisters. Once in awhile, I’ll do some auditions for film or the odd musical. And there’s the pub that keeps us busy with hiring staff and doing that stuff year to year. I’m happy with the pace I’m living right now. Who knows what the future holds? For now, I’m content with touring with the family every other year or so.

KMJ- I’ve got one last question for you. What is country music to the Rankin Family?

JR- Well obviously, I’m talking to a website focusing mainly on country music. Country music now is really changing as far as I can see. Country music has always been about common people. Traditional country music has been about bluegrass and people like Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and those guys. Our music has been called country music if that’s what you’re referring to. What is country music to me? It is four chords and a good song. I don’t know. If you’re asking what country music I like, it’s people like Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams. I think country music now is more about being a pop song with a country story. Country radio, for the most part, is pop music with a country story. Whether that’s a bad thing or a good thing, I don’t know. There’s definitely some incredible talent out there. There are people that are holding the old guard like Alan Jackson. I’m not totally up on country music, though. I know a good song, that’s it.

HR- I think some people think country music is what you hear on the radio. Like Carrie Underwood. She’s a beautiful singer, sings fantastic songs, and a beautiful looking person. To some people, that is country music. But isn’t country music singing personal things about the place you come from and the people you know, the life you lead, the history of your place? That, to me, is country music. Hank Williams didn’t always sing about love. He sang about a lot of things in life- good and bad. That is country music to me.

New Music Video From Dierks Bentley - "What The Hell Did I Say"