Aug 31, 2010

Ryan Bingham for cheap!

The new Ryan Bingham album, Junky Star is only $3.99 this week at Amazon (mp3 download). I've listened to it twice so far and I'm fairly certain it will find a high ranking on my next top albums chart. Seems to be much better than Roadhouse Sun. Give it a shot. Can't go wrong at that price!

Sugarland Face Swap

Hope I didn't ruin anyone's dinner.

Best of 2010 So Far: 2/3 Report

Here are FTM's Top 25 favorite albums of 2010 so far with links to listen to/buy some of them:

1. Jamey Johnson - The Guitar Song

2. Trampled by Turtles - Palomino

3. Austin Collins - Wrong Control

4. Big Boi - Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty

5. Joe Pug - Messenger

6. Kasey Anderson - Nowhere Nights

7. Truth & Salvage Co. - s/t

8. Rodney Hayden - Tavern of Poets

9. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - I Learned the Hard Way

10. Dirty Sweet - American Spiritual

11. Paul Thorn - Pimps and Preachers

12. The Black Crowes - Croweology

13. Band of Horses - Infinite Arms

14. Drive-by Truckers - The Big To-Do

15. The Dillinger Escape Plan - Option Paralysis

16. Sean McConnell - Saints, Thieves & Liars

17. Hellbound Glory - Old Highs and New Lows

18. The Roots - How I Got Over

19. Reckless Kelly - Somewhere in Time

20. Lissie - Catching a Tiger

21. The Dirty Guv'nahs - Youth is in Our Blood

22. Randy Rogers Band - Burning the Day

23. High on Fire - Snakes for the Divine

24. Great American Taxi - Reckless Habits

25. Against Me! - White Crosses

Aug 30, 2010

Snap Judgments: Promo Only Country Radio September

A summary of this month's comp: the big stars generally disappointed with lackluster releases. There are a few gems from big names and a couple from the never-heard-of-ems. The rest is mostly middling. Click the links for a full listen or sample of the song.

Snap Judgments - Promo Only Country Radio September

Josh Gracin - Cover Girl
2010's version of Sammy Kershaw's "She Don't Know She's Beautiful," except minus the charm. Cliché by every measure. Soft rock with guitars. Josh: "shake what your mama gave you" "sundress" etc. Me: "puke"

James Wesley - Real
Timely, if only because reality shows are still inexplicably popular, "Real" contrasts television's version of reality to the average American's reality. Besides leaning a little too hard on the gimmick (mentioning shows by name), this is a catchy (if sounding like it came from the 90's), memorable song with some definite hit potential.

Kenny Chesney - Boys of Fall
Scru u h8ers. Ur jus jelious. Seriously though, I like this song a lot, at risk of my snarky blogger and alt-country lover credibility.

Craig Campbell - Family Man
Another tune reminiscent of 90's country, "Family Man" is either cloying or heartfelt, probably depending upon your experience with the subject matter of the song... and your level of cynicism I suppose. Surprisingly, this jackass jerk of a blogger likes it. Feels honest.

Mark Chesnutt - Lovin' Her Was Easier
Mark's Waylon (Bare) cover is warm, but fairly unremarkable. That said, an adequate Waylon cover by Mark Chesnutt is better than the best Taylor Swift tune.

Miranda Lambert - Only Prettier
Hard to give a snap judgment of a song I've been listening to for months. Miranda's latest single is snappy, witty and full of attitude. This should solidify her spot on Nashville's A-List without sacrificing any "real country" cred.

This may mark the end of the Burns & Poe experiment. This is the musical equivalent of a sigh. Or a yawn.

Jessie James - Boys in the Summer
Kinda late, eh? This reminds me of Laura Bell Bundy's "Giddy On Up" from a few months back. Very catchy, danceable, not that country, and entirely girl-centric. As a pop song, I'd probably give this a B-. As a country release, it's a:

Blake Wise - Cornfields
Wise has a good voice, but this is a pretty unremarkable song, especially for an introductory (?) single. It's basically "Small Town USA" relocated to Iowa... with a much droopier tune.

Hell no. Make it go away! I hated the pop version, so adding little steel or banjo is like putting a cowboy hat on a cow turd. You know, Train's debut CD was actually really good. Since then, it hasn't been all downhill, it's been all valley.

Joe Nichols - The Shape I'm In
Another song I've heard before now and I was hoping he'd put out as a single. I <3>

Williams Riley - Sweet September
It's rare, but sometimes a song can mix overdone lyrics and an "I've heard that somewhere before" melody with a little "it" factor and come out with something much better than the sum of its parts. This song is proof. I should hate this but...

Johnny Bulford - Don't Make Me Love You
A fairly catchy country tune, but JB's voice just isn't built for radio stardom if this is his best effort.

George Strait - The Breath You Take
I don't dislike this quite as much as most reviewers have, but it's far from up to par for King George. For me it boils down to: the melody of the verses sounds like a funeral dirge while the chorus is bumper-sticker inspiration nuggets with swelling lovey-doveyness. Somehow, the chorus I don't mind so much - the verses are awful. As a whole, it's a very difficult listen.

Brantley Gilbert - My Kind of Crazy
Brantley doesn't have the most powerful set of pipes, but it's a likable rasp. My Kind of Crazy is not the most memorable of songs on the first couple listens but I could see it growing on me.

Chris Young - Voices
I liked it well enough the first time it was released as a single and still do. I think Chris needs to vary the subject matter of his future singles to show the less serious side of his persona, but this is good enough to get him another top 10.

Darius Rucker - Come Back Song
Darius is going the opposite direction I'd hoped he would take. Resting on your laurels, Hootie? This tune is an earworm, but it's not something Darius should be proud to have his powerful instrument of a voice ever grace.

Child please. Reba Reba Reba... c'mon girl... you're better than this. This song will definitely cause me to do the opposite of your bidding. Wow, the superstars on this comp have really turned in some crap-nuggets.

Paging Big Kenneth. The other half of your duo needs your help ASAP. John's dishwater thin voice does nothing to elevate this cliché-ridden tune, which could stand a good shot of attitude to make it anywhere near hit-worthy.

In stark contrast to John Rich's trite number, Todd kicks this fairly "been there, heard that" song in the ass with his crackin' vocals. While I don't love the song, I'm looking forward to hearing more from this guy. Cool voice.

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #44

You need to consider your demographic for the song you're writing. If you're writing one for the fellas, throw in a truck or a punch in the face or a Copenhagen ring, and you're in business. But since there are so many young female fans new to the genre, I try to get in the panties, errr, heads of these lasses to find out where they're coming from. Are they into partying, love, sex, drinking, philosophy, sex, cars, social networking or maybe even sex? Get close to them and find out. KNOW your audience. Words to live by pardner.

*Not actually written by John Rich

Aug 29, 2010

.99 Reviews - Rascal Flatts "Why Wait"

The People's Take:
Retro flatts? (3 Stars)
by GodBlessThe80s
This reminds me of something that would have been on the first or second album. Which is good, considering how lame "Unstoppable" was.

amazing (5 Stars)
by Shannabaker
I love this song...Rascal Flatts is an amazing group and I cannot wait for the new cd to come out in Nov!! I don't think he whines when he sings at all!!

wierd...(1 Star)
by Miley stinks!
This song is strange, and Rascal flats just doesn't have a good voice. Don't buy it, it is a waist of money.

My Take:
This is going to be a split personality review...half of me likes this song, but the other half of me hates it and hates the part of me that likes it.

Take 1
Sooo, I guess I can't rip this song to shreds since Rascal Flatts essentially did what I said they should in this edition of "Sackpunch." Country music's reigning boy band has gone back to their roots (lol), bringing us this sugary sweet nugget of pop music with a token fiddle dropping in now and then. The harmonies are as tight as ever, and Gary the Voice doesn't overreach as he too often does. The lyrics aren't gonna change your life, but they work well enough to propel this 3 minute positive, not too country, up tempo love song right along. My only real complaint is how on the nose the lyrics are. There's no wordplay and nothing whatsoever left to the imagination. Bottom line though, it's the best RF song in ages.
Total Value: .84

Take 2
It sucks and is representative of everything that is wrong with modern commercial country music. Gary LeVox's "vocals" are mostly studio magic. The lyrics are trite and sugary, the melody is pop. The production is slick and overwrought. The only thing country about this song is the token fiddle dropping in now and then. Bottom line: (insert country legend) is rolling over in his grave.
Total Value: .23

Average Total Value: .53 1/2

Aug 26, 2010

Top 10 Songs That Didn't Quite Make the Cut for John Rich's Next Album

10. Jesus Loves Me (I'm Republican, You See)

09. She Said She Was Eighteen, Officer

08. I Done Been Country All My Life

07. Trucking Preacher Man

06. I'm Country and Your Not

05. Johnny Cash Would Buy This Song on iTunes

04. F*ck You, I'm Born Again

03. Beer is for P*ssies

02. Short Skirt High School Girl (I Think I Love You)

01. Country Preacher Trucker Man

Songs Illustrated #28

Aug 25, 2010

Country Doppelgängers 7

Rachel Reinert of Gloriana looks a little like Eva Mendes.

Jeff Bates w/soul patch looks a lot like Garth Bro... err, Chris Gaines.

Jeff w/o soul patch also looks like Matt Kennon or vice versa.

Uncle Kracker and Snow.


Aug 24, 2010

Austin Collins: The FTM Interview

Austin Collins is a funny, friendly guy from Texas who writes earnest songs about life and the relationships and regrets we all experience. His writing is sometimes cryptic, sometimes poetic, sometimes straight as a shot of whiskey, but always heartfelt. His 2010 album Wrong Control, produced by Will Johnson of Centromatic, is one of my very favorites of the year. Recently, FTM and Mr. Collins went back and forth with this deep look into the mind of a serious artist.

FTM: And your name is? And you hail from?

A: Austin Collins. I’m from Austin, TX. Which is in Texas.

FTM: Huh, that's ironic, wouldn't you say?

A. Not really, but it's moronic that you asked. Are you on the pot?

FTM: Who does interviews from the toilet?

Next question: Are you trying to take Ryan Adams' place?

A: Not so much take his place as become Ryan Adams. I like the idea of being Ryan Adams. No one would say “nice to meet you, Ryan from Ryan” or give me any guff. Because if they did cock off to me at a show or something I could throw them out. If that didn’t work at least I could watch Grey’s Anatomy with Mandy Moore – I mean my wife, sweet Mandy, my wife.

FTM: When I first heard "Roses are Black," I thought you were a Ryan Adams wannabe. Now that I've met you in person, I know it's true. Comments?

A: Yes and yes. I’m saving up to take care of this once and for all:

Pretty good deal – you get a lot for your $139

FTM: When is your album of stupidly constructed hard rock songs with terrible lyrics coming out?

A: It’s out. You've talked about it on FTM. Thank you for noticing the extra effort I put in on this one. I really tried to squeeze as many terrible lyrics into the songs as possible. I find writing weak, trite songs extremely rewarding.

FTM: "I am a house without windows, you inhale my lead-based dreams" is one of your more memorable lyrics. Do you like emo?

A: I have a special drawer in my closet that houses my collection of rare razor blades and eye-liner. Also, once I had a dream where Conor Oberst and Rivers Cuomo were fighting over who was gonna take me out to dinner and a movie. This was only once and it was in fact JUST A DREAM – Not a hope or a goal.

FTM: Whatever. What are Rainbirds?

A: a damn fine sprinkler

FTM: Does Drew Kennedy make you carry his guitar case?

A: I think a better question is “aren’t you glad Drew Kennedy makes you carry his guitar case?” The answer is heck ya I am.

FTM: You're an enjoyer of nicotine. It's beyond me to imagine inhaling something that might cut a few months or years off my life. Why do you hate yourself?

A: You were smoking when we hung out. You asked me to roll you a cigarette. I rolled you a cigarette and you smoked it. I remember you saying “Man, Austin, I love inhaling something that cuts months and years off of my life.” In fact, I remember you sprinkling Copenhagen on your dinner in lieu of salt.

FTM: Umm, that was my guest contributor Lenny you met, not me. Next questions.

You have a voice that could easily fit into "mainstream alt-rock." Why not start a Nickelback-style band and try that route? Everybody wants a '79 custom Corvette in the driveway of their Miami summer home, eh?

A: Honestly, I can’t bring myself to grow a goatee – which seems to be a prerequisite for being awesome in those type of bands. Your goatee looks great though, Lenny.

FTM: You're a family man. How many kids do you have?

A: 15 kids and a bunch of dogs, a house full of chickens and a yard full of hogs.

FTM: You're a pretty handsome dude (no homo). What does your wife think of all your groupies?

A: So far so good. She still believes that all my groupies are guys (no homo). But ya I get my share of lady callers on the road. You know all the time. Well, sometimes. Ok, well this hot chick came to my show last weekend. Ok . . . I saw a female in the parking lot outside the bar – it ended up she was cutting through to go to the dollar store next door.

FTM: You said some awful shit about Texas when I met you, err, when Lenny met you. Wanna apologize?

A: Texas is a state, and a fine one at that. I think people should write songs about it – even base their whole artistic concept on it. Me and the sprinklers are looking into this right now.

FTM: What does "Wrong Control" (the name of your newest album) mean?

A: You know when you’ve gone out and been over-served? You come home and try to turn the TV on so you can watch the Girls Gone Wild infomercial and eat taquitos? Of course you can’t turn on your TV or find out who the hottest girl in the USA is if you’re punching the button on your garage door remote.

FTM: Who are some of your influences, other than Fall Out Boy?

A: Tony Danza, Color Me Badd, Genghis Khan (that guy didn’t take shit from anybody)

FTM: Where do you see yourself in 2 years and 8 months?

A: smoking a cigarette somewhere in Mississippi.

FTM: What's your favorite Soulja Boy song?

A: No contest – “I Got Me Some Bapes”

FTM: What do you think of the current state of commercial country music?

A: It’s pop. There’s no sorrow and lots of highlighted hair. Honestly, I can never get enough Rascal Flatz

FTM: Have you met/will your please do a duet with Bettysoo? This would make me very happy (the second part). The first part I don't care so much, just make the second part happen anyway.

A: I’ve known Bettysoo for a while actually. And we have done some duets live. I’ll see if I can dig up a recording for you.

FTM: I'll hold you to it. Okay, now for the lightning round. Jay or Jeff and why?

A: Jay. He never berates fans and he’s the underdog.

FTM: Stones or Beatles and your favorite cheese:

A: Stones. Muenster.

FTM: Garth or Tim (McGraw) and yes you have to answer it...?

A: definitely Garth.

FTM: Quizno's or cherry?

A: not cherry

FTM: But it's pie dammit. Quizno's or cherry pie... come on, America is waiting...

A: ok then, Arby’s

FTM: Uhh okay. What's your handicap?

A: slurring

FTM: Oh that's too bad, I meant golf.

A: oh, then beverage carts

FTM: What is your favorite Slayer song?

A: Dead Skin Mask maybe???

FTM: You're no Ryan Adams.

A: I’m only $139 away though.

FTM: Would you like to take this opportunity to renounce Scientology?

A: No way. Tom Cruise is coming over to spend the night on Friday. We’re gonna rent a movie and stay up late doing our hair and telling secrets. I gotta stay strong for at least another week!

Austin's music is highly recommended to fans of Drew Kennedy, The Lost Immigrants, Son Volt, Ryan Adams, Whiskeytown, The Replacements and Blue Mountain. You can check him out here at his website. There are a couple of free tracks to download on the right side of the home page.

Aug 22, 2010

Aug 20, 2010

YouTube Gems: The Brothers Comatose

Here are The Brothers Comatose with "Trippin' on Down" from their album, Songs from the Stoop. RIYL: Old Crow Medicine Show, The Steeldrivers, Trampled by Turtles, The Avett Brothers.

Aug 19, 2010

Rodney Atkins' Cracker Barrel Album Cover

Rodney Atkins... Cracker Barrel... blah blah blah. Here's the cover!

Top Ten Comebacks We’d Prefer Over Limp Bitzkit's

The godfathers of douche rock, Limp Bizkit, have returned with a new tour this year and a new album coming out soon, to no one's excitement. Here are a few comebacks FTM would prefer to Durst and company's.

8. Cookies & Cream Hershey Bars

7. The metric system

5. Yuppies

3. GeoCities/Angelfire websites

1. Pluto (the planetoid)

Aug 15, 2010

Top 10 Country Singer Alcoholic Beverages

With Martina McBride having her own signature wine, FTM thought it would be fun to imagine what alcoholic beverages other country stars might get behind.

10. Billy Gillman White Wine
Sweet and light sauvignon blanc that disappears off the shelf when it has aged 13 years.

09. Miranda Lambert's G&L Tequila
Every bottle of Miranda's handcrafted blue agave tequila is infused with gunpowder and has genuine bullet fragments in the bottom.

08. John Rich's RedRum
Warning; Consumption of this beverage may lead to intercourse with persons possibly under the legal age of consent or over-agressive tendencies towards persons of the same sex. Has been shown in laboratory testing to increase the girth of head by 5.7%.

07. Blake Shelton's BS "Ale"
Actually 100 proof bourbon, but is sold in beer cans so no one will know you're getting drunk 7 times faster than everybody else.

06. Taylor Swift Fearless Champagne
She can't have any for a few more years, but you can celebrate all your shiny awards and platinum certifications with Taylor's top shelf bubbly. Flavor is sugary but honest with no twangy aftertaste.

05. Sideman Porter
Kristian Bush's premium label porter. It's overly bitter and not very good but it comes free when you buy Jennifer Nettles' tasty Sugarland Lager.

04. Jo Dee Messina Malt Liquor
Hearty bottom of the barrel drink you used to enjoy but you're not sure why; went out of production in 2005, but the store will keep trying to sell it to you anyway.

03. George Strait "Stand There and Drink" Gin
...but don't drink too much or you might want to dance or something.

02. Johnny Cash Pina Colada Mix
So what if it doesn't fit the man in black's persona? John Carter likes 'em. Also: getting caught in the rain.

01. David Allan Coe White Label Whiskey
What'd you expect? Black label?

Aug 13, 2010

YouTube Gems: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Here's (cliche qualifier: former Drive-by Trucker) Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit with "Cigarettes and Wine" from their self-titled album. Hoping for new tunes from them soon!

Aug 12, 2010

John Rich's Songwriting Tips #43

I shouldn't even have to say this, but stay true to the roots of country music when you're writing a damn country song. By that, I mean to keep it real. Women really love Lifetime television, so if you write a p*ssy-*ss love song, you're keeping it real for them. Women also (at least in their mind) really love country boys who dip and fish and wear Wranglers, so if you take somebody's previous "country pride" hit and change the words up a little, you're keeping it real. Men really love getting some, so keep their women happy with mamby pamby cheerful songs... and you're keeping it real for the fellas. Real is in the eye of the moneyholder, mofos. I'm real as your granny's beard, baby. That's country.

*Not actually written by John Rich

Aug 11, 2010

Review Fails II

I like to review songs and album as much as the next blogger, but sometimes it's just more fun to sit back and let the (ir)regular music fans do it...
These are actual unedited iTunes customer reviews.

best song out
(5 Stars)
by mwilliams141414
This is the best song he's ever wrote, no questions asked!

Taylor Swift used to be good...
(1 Star)
...But now she has become terrible. No longer the next Lucinda Williams.


Carrie blows Tay out of the water!!
(1 Star)
by Carriegurll
Carried Underwood for life :)

Yall failures
(5 Stars)
by Ain't KnowBody Cares
Soulja boy tell em to me is i look at what he is doing i like to see people hate on artist it makes yall failures to yourself showin what yall lack on doin the way yall hate soulja boy keeps hittin da streets wit his swagg so keep your b******t to yourself and just enjoy keepin your mouth shut on artist who is makin money and just doin them

One of the Best!
(5 stars)
by Goodtunesfan
I have seen these guys live with Motley Crue and they are fantastic. If you where rating a band for being a BAND, then these guys are better than GNR ever where. The musician ship is un-herad of in this form of music. Great album and one of their best.

(1 Star)
by EminemRules27
Don't buy!!!


(1 Star)
by Lebron James#1
he is gay


I'd rather do meth then listen to this
(1 Star)
by me3955644354165
This is the worst cd ever created. I would rather put a small animal in my butt and let it crawl around then listen to this. Dont waste your money on this when u can buy cocaine on the corner and ruin ur body the same way this will. I would rather be thrown off a building and land on a wombat which tears out my eyes then listen to this.

Williams Riley - A Different Kind of Country
This is where Country music is going
(5 Stars)
by Dune Demon
Like it or not people this is where country music is going and its for the better if you ask me, there's finally some artists out there that are not afraid to step it up and take the genre to a new level that some of the old school country singers can't keep up with.. I grew up listening to Rock, Punk, Metal and Country and to be honest I didn't like country music for a very long time cause it was boring and all the songs were the same. ... I agree with the person that said there should be 2 Genres for Country music... one for "The same old country that remains to be boring" and one for "New and Exciting Country Music thats a pleasure to listen too"

(1 Star)
by Dustin shively
Why because the song makes no freakin sense they needed to make a better song

He deserves a second chance!!
(5 Stars)
by limaloser
...*Chris Brown is one of the greatest and sexiest artist alive who deserves a second chance! Forget about this woman beaterness- that's over! Appreciate good music!

(4 Stars)
by aworth18
C'mon fells good! Whatever you do at least make sure your download Adaliene. First naked girl I ever saw.....

(5 Stars)
by 95 South
It's so funny how many people H8. They say H8as make da world go round. LOL. I luv Jeezy keep doin you. H8as going H8 hell somebody gotta do it. They talked about Jesus you know da going talk about you. Let dat man do him & you jus do u.

Country Day August: Bonus Tracks


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