Thursday, October 19, 2017

Album Review: Drew Kennedy- At Home In The Big Lonesome

Artist: Drew Kennedy
Album: At Home In The Big Lonesome
Release date: November 3, 2017
Rating: Four and A Half Stars Out Of Five

It makes only sense in a year in which Texas native Drew Kennedy had much of his home state seriously damaged by a ravaging hurricane that his 8th album would be his most serious and intimate to date. For those that believe Texas is filled with just honky-tonk and swing music, this project borrows more from James Taylor and Don Williams than it ever does Asleep at the Wheel. It's excellence beyond expectation and compare. Drew has always been an intellectual writer, but he has hit his stride on this unbelievable album. From the opening piano-laden track "When I'll Miss You Most," he reaches right in your chest and grabs hold of your heart. For anyone who has experienced loss, it's beautifully tragic and meaningful all at once. Not a word is wasted and the production allows the lyrics space to live like Walt Whitman's finest prose.

Song after song, you come to the realization that each and every song is just so damn smart. On "Cream and Sugar," he has me crushing so hard on the waitress and stranger he's describing, my wife ought to be jealous.

Kennedy's gift is that he can find the beauty and specialness of what typically goes unseen. Whether that's an old motel sign or the feeling of the breeze upon your skin, he has a poets knack for creating visual and tactile image from a spoken word.

“This is the story of what life is like for those of us somewhere in the middle of it all,” Kennedy says. “It’s about the journey to get to this point, and the giant question mark-shaped path we’re following onward from here. Of how even the best-laid plans for your next big step have to so often be altered because life calls.”

It's not that what Kennedy says is overly profound- although there are parts of the project that are emotionally heavy. (A home imploding on "House" comes to mind.) It's that what he says is overly interesting. You find yourself hanging on each sentence and lyric because they deliver an observation in a way that you haven't heard before.

This is a storyteller songwriting at the very peak of expertise. It makes up one of our very favorite albums of 2017.

New Music Video From Brett Eldredge - "The Long Way"

New Music Video From Marty Stuart - "Time Don't Wait"

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Record Store Day Releases On Black Friday To Include Previously Unheard Waylon Jennings Project

The next Record Store Day being held on Black Friday (11/4/17) will include a major new project from one of country music's biggest legends as well as some other projects worth noting.

Bonafide country outlaw Waylon Jennings has left us with more music than we probably deserve, even after his untimely death. According to Record Store Day, Jennings was working on a collection of new material to be recorded for a prospective new album in the late 90’s.  Before that album could be recognized, Jennings passed away, and while going through his fathers things, Shooter Jennings recovered a cassette tape labeled “New Stuff.”

A collection of new songs performed by Waylon and his guitar was what played from that tape. Shooter restored the tape and the outcome was a zealous collection of songs. New Stuff is a part of the special 2017 Black Friday edition of Record Store Day.  The album will be on a limited colored 12” vinyl from label Black Country Rock. Waylon Jennings’ last recorded album was Goin’ Down Rockin’.  

Other projects worth noting coming out on that day include:

- Eric Church - Mistress Named Music - 7" vinyl with two live tracks

- Willie Nelson - Spirit - LP - Originally released in 1996, Spirit is issued here for the first time on colored vinyl as a special Record Store Day Black Friday release. It comes newly remastered with a deluxe, gatefold, 'tip-on' uncoated jacket, this is a chance to own this unique album in its most beautifully presented form.

- Willie Nelson - Yesterday's Wine - LP- 1973's Yesterday's Wine has been long out of print on vinyl and is coming to record stores as part of the Friday Music 180g Audiophile Vinyl Series on burgundy vinyl, in a gatefold sleeve and with a poster depicting the cover art included.

- Gram Parsons - Live 1973 Featuring Emmylou Harris -  LP - Live album by Gram Parsons and the Fallen Angels was recorded at Sonic Studios in Hempstead, New York during a live radio broadcast from WLIR-FM.

- Chet Atkins - Guitar Blues - LP - Originally released on 78 in 1946 on Nashville's Bullet Records, this is the first ever vinyl reissue of Chet's very first release! Packaged in an envelope style picture sleeve with liner notes by Chet historian Pat Kirtley. Limited edition blue vinyl.

- Lou Reed and Kris Kristofferson - The Bottom Line Archive Series: In Their Own Words - LP - An exclusive, limited 1000 quantity picture disc LP of select' tracks from Lou Reed and Kris Kristofferson's 'In Their Own words with Vin Scelsa' set from 1994 at the famed Bottom Line in NYC.

- Gentle Giant: The Songs of Don Williams - Tribute LP - Williams' longtime producer and friend Garth Fundis have produced a tribute album, Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don Williams, featuring an all-star lineup of artists. Some of the artists on Gentle Giant include Jason Isbell, Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Alison Krauss, John Prime and Garth Brooks. The 11-track album is being released on Slate Creek Records exclusively for RSD Black Friday 2017. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Chris Stapleton To Release From A Room: Volume 2 On December 1

Chris Stapleton announced last night in Nashville that the second half of the album he released earlier this year will be released on December 1: From A Room: Volume 2.
Tracklist:
1. Millionaire
2. Hard Livin'
3. Scarecrow In The Garden
4. Nobody's Lonely Tonight
5. Tryin' To Untangle My Mind
6. A Simple Song
7. Midnight Train To Memphis
8. Drunkard's Prayer
9. Friendship

New Music City Roots Performance Video From Jason Eady - "Barabbas"

Jason Eady travelled up from his home in Texas to perform "Barabbas" at Music City Roots Live From the Factory earlier this week. It's a song you'll see more of here at That Nashville Sound when we do our Best Of lists at the end of the year.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Truly Historic Box Set At The Louisiana Hayride Tonight Features Previously Unheard Recordings From Hank Sr, Elvis, Cash & More

Album: At The Louisiana Hayride Tonight
Label: Bear Family Records
Release date: October 20, 2017

In the annals of country music history, only one show rivals the importance of The Grand Ole Opry. For more than two decades, the Louisiana Hayride radio show was a Saturday night staple for music lovers, broadcast by Shreveport, Louisiana’s KWKH-AM from 1948-
1960. While the Opry favored established Nashville stars, Hayride offered headliners and newcomers alike an opportunity to perform. It was this policy that led Hayride to say “yes” to a young singer from Tupelo, Mississippi after the Opry said “no.” That singer, Elvis Presley, debuted on the show in October 1954 and later made his first TV appearance on the television version in March 1955.

Now an amazing and truly historic collection of 20 CD's and a 200+ page book featuring more than 25 hours of music will be forthcoming on October 20. This unprecedented collection includes rare performances from stars like Presley, Johnny Cash, June Carter, Kitty Wells, George Jones, and Webb Pierce, as well as a previously unknown Hank Williams recording that you can listen to HERE.

The compilation has been constructed in chronological sequence. Throughout the 20 discs songs are interspersed with the Louisiana Hayride theme tune (“…we’re gonna have a wonderful time…”), and with show announcements, intros, ads, comedy routines, and even mistakes, giving listeners a real sense of what it was like to hear the show on the radio, or to have plunked down your 60¢ (or 30¢ for children) for a ticket to watch it live in Shreveport’s Municipal Auditorium. One of these stage announcements, in fact, is the old-time emcee Horace Logan making the now-famous proclamation that “Elvis has left the building.”

Eighteen of the set’s CDs cover the classic weekly Louisiana Hayride broadcasts that took place from April 3, 1948 until August 27, 1960. The other two CDs collect material from some post-1960 shows, along with commercial recordings made in the KWKH radio studios, promotional discs, and transcribed shows from KWKH’s early days. Among the studio-recorded commercial tracks are hits by Slim Whitman, the Browns, Mitchell Torok, Jim Reeves, Mac Wiseman, and Carolyn Bradshaw. Additionally, there are 11 “as live” studio-recorded transcriptions that feature selections from Kitty Wells, Johnnie and Jack, Hank Williams, and Curley Williams. 

New Music Video From Willie Nelson - "Send Me The Pillow You Dream On"


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Jennifer Hanson To Release Holiday Project Under the Tree

Artist: Jennifer Hanson
Album: Under the Tree
Label: Independent
Release date: November 3, 2017

Jennifer Hanson came on the scene to critical acclaim with her self-titled debut album. Her single “Beautiful Goodbye” went on to be a top 15 hit, the highest charting debut single by a new female artist for that year. Solidifying herself as a viable artist in the country music format, recording for both Capitol Records and Universal South, it has been Hanson’s songwriting that has led to her continued success in an ever-changing industry. Hanson’s artistry and songs have garnered ACM, CMT and GRAMMY nominations, as well as numerous BMI, SESAC and NSAI awards. Collectively, her songs have sold millions of albums worldwide. She wrote the #1 song “Leave the Pieces”; the debut single for Michelle Branch & Jessica Harp of The Wreckers, as well as the debut single for American Idol finalist Bucky Covington titled “A Different World”, which went on to become a top 5 hit on the Billboard charts. Hanson celebrated her second #1 single with her self-penned song “Let Me Down Easy” recorded by Billy Currington. Hanson also wrote the title track to the movie “Country Strong” performed by Gwyneth Paltrow and has had songs recorded by artists such as pop sensation Kelly Clarkson, country music superstars Rascal Flatts, The CW’s One Tree Hill actress and singer Jana Kramer, rising country music star Mickey Guyton and country legends Pam Tillis, Vince Gill and Don Williams to name a few.

Says Hanson about the project, "Several months ago, I ran across a cassette tape of my dad and I singing “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” when I was 3 ½ years old. As I listened to this spirited little kid blaring out the lyrics to “Rudolph” with such gusto and enthusiasm, I was reminded of the joy and wonder of Christmas and the love and good times it always used to bring around our home that time of year. It was a normal occurrence for my dad to put in a cassette tape and record everything back then, and there was never a minute there wasn’t music playing. Looking back now, I’m so thankful he did. That moment in time he captured is what inspired me to make “Under the Tree”. I’ve always had a love for all things Christmas. It is, by far, one of my most favorite times of the year and nothing makes the holidays more festive than Christmas music. I hope you’ll enjoy listening to this little sampler of new tunes and old as much as I enjoyed making it. Happy Holidays…"

Friday, October 6, 2017

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Unveil New Collaborative Album, The Rest of Our Life

Artist: Faith Hill & Tim McGraw
Album: The Rest of Our Life
Label: Sony/Arista
Release date: November 17, 2017

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw will release their first-ever album together, The Rest of Our Life, on Nov. 17. The two Grammy-winning artists announced the news on Oct. 6, their 21st wedding anniversary.

The new album contains 11 songs, and the country royalty couple has already given fans a small sampling of their new music. In addition to announcing the new album, McGraw and Hill dropped their new single "The Rest of Our Life" penned by Ed Sheeran, Amy Wadge, Johnny McDaid, and Steve Mac along with a corresponding music video that you can watch HERE. The 11-song collection will be released by Sony Music Entertainment under the Arista Nashville/McGraw Music label.

Hill and McGraw produced nine of the new album’s 11 songs with Byron Gallimore, and two tracks with Dann Huff. The track listing and writer credits for The Rest of Our Life are as follows:

1. The Rest of Our Life (Ed Sheeran/Amy Wadge/Johnny McDaid/Steve Mac)
2. Telluride (Jon Randall/Jessi Alexander)
3. The Bed We Made (Lori McKenna/Liz Rose/Hillary Lindsey)
4. Cowboy Lullaby (Brett James/Brett Beavers)
5. Break First (Emily Weisband/Ashley Gorley/Jerry Flowers)
6. Love Me to Lie (Hayley Warner/Maureen McDonald/Nathan Chapman)
7. Sleeping in the Stars (Jaida Dreyer/Mark Irwin/Gareth Dunlop)
8. Damn Good at Holding On (Lori McKenna/Barry Dean)
9. Devil Callin’ Me Back (Jesse Frasure/Ben Caver/Nolan Sipe)
10. Speak to a Girl (Shy Carter/Dave Gibson/Joe Spargur)
11. Roll the Dice (Shy Carter/Bobby Hammrick/James LeBlanc/Meghan Trainor)

Showtime Networks will air the concert special Tim & Faith: Soul2Soul on Nov. 17 at 9pm ET/PT on SHOWTIME, on-air, on demand and over the internet. This marks the first ever county music concert film for the network.