Here's another installment of 5 albums that deserve a listen.
1) Red Dirt Rangers - Ranger Motel
The Red Dirt Rangers are probably at least equally as influential, at least in their individual parts, on the "Red Dirt Scene" as the oft lauded Great Divide. With versatile players like Oklahoma music Kingpin Randy Crouch and Brad Piccolo they should be at the very least the sum of their parts and on this outstanding offering they are. Essential tracks are Stillwater, Under The Radar and Pennies From Heaven.
2) Bob Childers - Circles Toward The Sun
Perhaps no single artist has had a more profound influence on the current crop of Oklahoma singer/songwriters than the late Bon Childers (RIP). I'm usually more a fan of his songs as covered by other artists (most notably Jason Boland & the Stragglers) but if you have an interest in the roots of "rootsy" music should own at least one Childers album and this one is a great starting point for the music of the Woody Guthrie disciple.
3) Cory Morrow - Brand New Me
Cory's first album since his personal & religious rebirth brings a renewed sense of purpose and energy to his music. This is Cory's strongest offering in years and yes, he still plays barefoot.
4) Micky & The Motorcars - Raise My Glass
The younger Braun brothers step out of the shadow of Reckless Kelly with their strongest offering yet. The songs all tell a story, one that is at times both heart wrenching and hopeful. The song sequence is perfect and the production is top notch. There isn't a weak spot in the album, which may well be one of the top 3 offerings in country music for all of 2011.
5) Everlast - Songs For The Ungrateful Living
First of all, Everlast is not and has never claimed to be country rap (a term that simply makes me ill). He is hip hop with strong blues and country type themes. He has one of the strongest blues type voices in the business. This is his best offering since his seminal Whitey Ford Sings The Blues release. Standout tracks are Long At All, The Crown and I Get By but as with all great albums it should be listened to as a whole. Everlast does an incredible job of blending "everyman" themes and lyrics with true hip hop beats and the very best of blues and country instrumentals.