Showing posts with label Colter Wall. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Colter Wall. Show all posts

Apr 18, 2019

Video Premiere / Nicholas Mudd / "Sit Right Here"

Photo by Shalon Goss


Today, we’re debuting the “Sit Right Here” video from Nicholas Mudd. The song is a driving barroom anthem with fiddle, steel, drinking, heartache, and hope. The video follows suit, making the best of a bad time. RIYL: Charley Crockett, Dwight Yoakam, Colter Wall, Margo Price, Paul Cauthen, Zephaniah Ohora

From Nick:
“We shot the video in my living room. I live in a house that was renovated in the 70s for the purpose of throwing swingers parties - The living room is actually a full bar like you’d find in a decent sized restaurant, with a rotisserie in the wall, a big stone hearth, and drop panel ceiling lights. And of course it’s got floor to ceiling dark wood paneling. So all I really had to do was get the cameras and lights and invite a bunch of friends over to party. Had a real good time.

The video was shot and edited by my friends Adri DeGirolami and Nick Ducassi. The musicians were Kenny Feinstein (pedal steel), Claire Oleson (fiddle), Jush Allen (drums), Michael Gomes (bass), and Steve Dannemiller (guitar).

The bartender was played by the uncommonly interesting Vejay Kesh, and “my buddy Eric” mentioned at the top of the song is played by my actual buddy Eric, who flew in from London to do the shoot. That good lookin’ redhead is my girlfriend Claire.”

More information about Nicholas and his self-titled album (out this past Friday!) below the video!


Nicholas Mudd // Nicholas Mudd (April 12)

When the road calls, you’ve gotta go. Neo-traditionalist Nicholas Mudd hopped on his Harley and hit the open highway, plotting a 10-day trip from Lexington, Kentucky to sunny Los Angeles; a 2011 pilgrimage west that would prove to be a pivotal turn in his musical journey. His upcoming self-titled album spins like a top between themes of heartache, romance, the thrill of the sea, and booze-soaked youthful sensations.

Criss-crossing state lines and camping out to save money, Mudd hatched a journey down to Memphis, then through to Texarkana and Denton just outside of Dallas, and then inched his way across New Mexico and Arizona before finally arriving in California. “Waiting on Me” is a free-spirited, twinkling dance-hall cut, in which the singer-songwriter yearns for his former life back East, all the while knowing he’ll never return to it. “Well, it’s been five years now / And I can’t help but wonder / If she would even know me, if I came back home,” he sings.

Opener “Come with Me Tonight” jingles and jangles in true neon-strewn, boot-scootin’ fashion, while “High Lonesome” breathes in the expansive scenery and woodlands rolling like thunder down and away from him. Over the span of these eight songs, produced and mastered by Eric Rennaker, Mudd runs the gamut as a country songsmith, contrasting heart-torn whimpers with canyon-sized caterwauling.

Growing up in Lexington, Kentucky, surrounded by horse country and lush farmland, Mudd found himself immersed in country, southern rock, and traditional folk music. It was evident from a young age that he had inherited his grandfather’s musical interests. Leonard Mudd, now 92, always had a collection of guitars, mandolins, fiddles, dulcimers, and banjos sprinkled around his home, and still manages to make music from time to time. 

Mudd’s exploration of music continued into high school when he formed The Blue Barrel Band, a cheeky nod to the fact they lacked an actual drum kit. “There was this giant blue plastic barrel in dad’s garage,” he recalls, “And we used it as a bass drum for our really bad folksy rock ‘n roll.”

Later, he took to Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University where he earned a degree in theatre, alongside another folksy music endeavor with some classmates. After graduating, he spent a few months back home before his cross-country trip to Los Angeles, where he took up an unpaid internship with a prominent casting director. The role soon led to a full assistant’s position, allowing him just enough of a financial foothold to get by in the City of Angels. 

Music took an unexpected back seat for several years as he began his film career. Ultimately, two key events in 2015 spurred him to return to the musical fray: His first weekend trip to Bandit Town USA and his discovery of the Grand Ole Echo (a celebrated weekly summer country show in Echo Park). Surrounded and inspired by these communities of like-minded musicians, artists, and urban outlaws, he picked up the old ax and got back to it.

In late 2017, Mudd stepped into Bedrock LA for his first proper studio recording session. A daunting task ahead of him, the Americana troubadour suited himself up for a record that faithfully adheres to the neo-traditionalist style of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. But he’s got a fire in his belly for gale-force songwriting and catchy melodies. His voice is ripe with emotion, from the teary waterfall of “Lady of the Night” to the ethereal bliss with closer “Sailing Song,” an almost post-apocalyptic fever dream. “I’ve seen mountains on the sea / I’ve seen fire in the sky / I’ve outrun southern gales / I’ve cheated death,” he sings, in whimsical swoons, as if gliding away on tides ripping out to sea.

Mudd lands somewhere amidst contemporaries like Joshua Hedley, Margo Price and Colter Wall. He’s never tied to convention, even when he leans so unapologetically into sturdy classic country structures. His voice, as much as his penmanship, stimulates the senses with the most universal human emotions spanning pain, loneliness and abject fear. Furthermore, his album rekindles the kind of raw storytelling for which the genre has long been desperate, and 2019 might be the year the industry finally pays attention.


Feb 15, 2019

Charles Wesley Godwin: The Farce the Music Interview


By Kevin Broughton

There’s a quiet, humble confidence to Charles Wesley Godwin. It’s like he almost knows he’s made a special record but can’t quite believe it. Maybe it’s because the 26-year-old West Virginian is relatively new to the guitar, let alone using it and his voice to make a living. There’s a determination in him, not just to succeed, but to prove to himself and his state and region that anything is possible. 

Godwin paints a rich and honest portrayal of his homeland and its people with his debut album. Seneca is a moving snapshot of life and well-soiled roots in the Appalachian hills, a backdrop that has given birth to some of the most intelligent and hard-working people in the country.

Godwin’s voice is weighed down by the current condition of the world, but he doesn’t allow the tragedy, pain, or regret sour his view of life. That’s what makes him an exceptional storyteller; he employs his experiences into melodically profound and timeless compositions. “Seneca Creek,” a stunning ballad laced with both melancholy and hope, tells the tale of his grandparents and their courtship in the spring of 1949.

Another essential piece of his story, “Shrinks and Pills” exhibits a dry, sly humor and sees Godwin lament the roar of the open road in his ears and an unquenchable homesickness wedged deep in his bones. He misses the comfort of his homestead, but he wouldn’t have it any other way--heartache be damned. “Hardwood Floors” dazzles in the dim light of a local pub as he shares a tender embrace with his wife amidst the ho-hum of the crowd.

Godwin is quick to credit producer Al Torrence for the album’s balance, flow and continuity. And we’ll step way out on a limb here and suggest there’s collaborative potential that could reach the lofty heights of Jason Isbell and Dave Cobb. This record is that good. 

The artist counts every day as a both a blessing and an opportunity, taking nothing for granted. This is a guy who would succeed in just about anything he attempted, and sees no reason why anybody else wouldn’t. 

Grounded. Humble. Nice. Hopeful. Who wouldn’t want to spend time with Charles Godwin and talk about Big-12 football, Estonia, and Waylon’s drummer? 

How did you and producer/engineer Al Torrence connect? 

When I was playing with my old band, Union Sound Treaty, we made one album and that was comprised of my first batch of songs. Al worked those sessions as an engineer, and we were just really comfortable together. He’s a Berkley School of Music grad, and his knowledge of music is really impressive. We just worked well together. He’s put it all on the line the way I have, and I really like him. 

A lot of these songs are easy to picture in an intimate setting, just you and a guitar, and I imagine that’s how you worked out a lot of them before recording. Some of them, though, like “The Last Bite” and “Sorry For The Wait,” have a really sweeping, big sound. Had you done those with a full band on the road, or were those arrangements put together in the studio?

It was done in the studio. It’s a setup I would love to take on the road, but I wouldn’t be able to do that unless I could pay everybody a living, know what I mean? But if the opportunity ever arises, everything on the album I’ll bring out on the road with me, without a doubt.

“Pour it On” is another one with a big, full feel to it, and “Windmill” of course. You have a pretty good balance of songs here of different arrangements. Was that a purposeful thing when you were picking which 13 songs would go on the album?

Neither he nor I were too concerned about the tempo; we just wanted to pick the songs that were related, sorta, to the theme of the album, which is my home. We wanted to stick to that, but I do think it is pretty well balanced. 

There are a couple things in your bio one doesn’t see every day from a singer-songwriter. You hail from Morgantown, and actually tried to walk on the football team at WVU. What was that like? 

Yeah, I love football and really love playing it, and I had always dreamed about playing football for West Virginia; I wanted just to go out and make a few plays for ‘em, if I could. And it’s something I tried really, really hard to do my first couple years of college. But, you know, I just wasn’t good enough. I didn’t have any delusions going into it and knew I probably wasn’t physically gifted enough to do it…

Were you a defensive back in high school? You look kinda like a safety. 

I was an outside linebacker. I used to work out really hard. It was something that I didn’t have the natural ability for. I hadn’t started playing music yet, but up to that point nothing had come easily for me and I really wanted to try it. 

From Charles Wesley Godwin's Instagram
Well, that’s just kind of a rarity, you know? “Aspiring Big-12 athlete” and “singer songwriter” aren’t terms usually heard in the same sentence; I’m trying to think…I think Ryan Bingham was a rodeo cowboy for a while…

(Laughs) Well, having the phrase “Big 12 athlete” anywhere near my name is probably not correct. I didn’t make the team, but I wanted to try it, and it was the first big dream in my life that didn’t come true. 

And you picked up the guitar in earnest while studying abroad in Estonia of all places. What was your course of study that would send you to the Baltic region? 

Yeah. That was interesting there, because WVU has a really good “study abroad” program, and I got the “Promise” scholarship because I was an in-state kid who had good grades in high school, and it covers your study overseas as well if you’re able to get a plane ticket. I was in the finance program, and there were only a few options where you could get your credits for study abroad. They partner with hundreds of universities, but only four of them had classes that I hadn’t taken yet that would go towards my degree: Hartfordshire, England; Hamburg, Germany; Hong Kong; and Tartu, Estonia. The last one sounded cool to me. 

How long were you there, and it that where you really decided to dive into the music thing? 

I was there six months, and by happenstance I started playing in front of people for the first time there. I played my first gigs there, and yeah, I kinda got spoiled there thinking, “Aw, this will be easy.” But that’s where I really got started, for sure, thinking I could be a musician. And when I graduated college I had it set in my mind that I was gonna keep going with it. 

Charles Wesley (Wikipedia)
There was a pretty famous Methodist composer of hymns named Charles Wesley. Were you named for him? 

Sort of.  My grandfather was a Methodist preacher, Charles Godwin. So, I would say it’s 1A I was named after my granddad and 1B Charles Wesley. But yeah, I come from…well, on the Godwin side of the family we’re all Methodists. My granddad was a preacher, and then I also have an uncle and an aunt who are Methodist ministers. 

I suppose the comparisons you’ve received to Tyler Childers and to a lesser extent Colter Wall are inevitable. Those guys came on the scene over the last couple years with a certain level of instant credibility. What do you think about the comparisons? Do you feel any kind of pressure there, or do you put any on yourself as a result of them? 

I’ve heard some of those same things from people. I don’t put any pressure on myself; it’s certainly a hell of a compliment, to hear anybody say that I would remind them of either of those two. They’re both really good at what they do,  really good songwriters. But yeah, I’ll take that compliment any day of the week. I believe in my work and I’m really proud of this album. If certain people want to categorize it along with those guys, I’m more than okay with that. 

Your portrayal of coal country is certainly authentic and real, but not necessarily as dark as one might expect it to be. Appalachia has gotten its share of rough cultural PR over the years, but there’s an optimistic feel to this record. Were you pushing back a little bit? 

Yeah. Yeah. I always have a tough time articulating this in conversation and I think it always comes out better in song. Home is what we make it, and there are a lot of smart, talented people in West Virginia. With the Internet, anybody can do anything, anywhere. There are a lot of opportunities. 

I remember I was playing a show in Pineville, West Virginia in February of last year. I was sitting at the bar after the show, and this guy came up to me and said, “Man thanks for coming here and playing for us. Not many people come here, and people overlook us.” And I’m thinking Man, I’m not too good to play anywhere. And he was telling me that he works at the pizza shop up the road and that he just drinks after work and there’s nothing to do. All there is to do is drink and get into drugs. And I’m nodding my head, like, yeah, I know it’s rough. And I was staying in Bedford that night, and driving back to the hotel I kinda got mad. 

It was one of those things where after the fact you think about what you should have said. And I got mad, and thought, you know what? That’s bullsh*t. I live out in the middle of nowhere, and I’m just trying to do the best I can. There are all kinds of people around the state, carpenters, whatever, who are just making it happen. And that guy could’ve done it, too. There’s plenty to do around there, if he’d just try. That’s where “Here In Eden” comes from. 


It’s about making the best of where you are. And that’s the way I feel about West Virginia. There’s no reason nowadays that people can’t succeed if they’re willing to work at it. So yeah, I take the optimistic view. It’s not all doom and gloom. It’s not just drugs and opiates. 

The record has already received wide critical acclaim. Do you get the sense that things will change in an appreciable way for you once it’s released? Or that maybe you’re about to become a much more widely known individual? 

I really hope so. I can already tell there’s been a noticeable uptick in the attendance at shows. People can review it all they want, but unless it translates to people buying the music and coming to see me play, it doesn’t mean a whole lot. But it would give me a lot of relief if it were to work out and allow me to do this in a greater capacity, because what I’ve been doing the last couple years has been the definition of “the bottom,” and it’s been a hell of a grind. 

You got a day job?

No. I’m all in on this. 

You’ve already shared bills with some pretty impressive names: Childers, Shooter, Colter Wall, David Allen Coe. Was there a moment as you started doing that more and more that it sort of dawned on you that, “Yeah, this is something I’m really gonna do for a career?”

Um, I don’t think there’s been any show where I’ve opened for anybody that made me more confident that “this is gonna work out.” Every day it’s like a seesaw for me, where I question what it is I’m trying to do for a living. Some parts of the day it’s I got this, and other times it’s WHAT am I doing? I ask myself, “What are the chances you’ll be able to make a middle-class living playing music?” So I wouldn’t say that opening for any of those folks made me think this is gonna work out. I still don’t know if it’s gonna work out. 

I will say that the coolest thing – of all the times I’ve opened for anybody – was after the Shooter Jennings show. He had Waymore’s Outlaws with him that night – some of the tour he takes his dad’s old band out with him. I got to talk to Richie Albright, who was Waylon’s drummer from WAY back in the beginning, when he was in Phoenix. Before he ever went to Nashville. I got to talk to Richie for about 30 minutes. And I was so happy about that. I’ll always have that. If this all goes away and music is something I only do for fun -- and like I said, I think about that every day – if it all goes to hell, I’ll always have the fact that I got to hang out and talk with Richie Albright. I wouldn’t want to offend him by saying “I touched a piece of history,” (laughs) but to get to interact with such an important figure in music history was really special. 

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Seneca is available now on Amazon, iTunes, etc.


Dec 5, 2018

What Your Favorite 2018 Album Says About You


Colter Wall - Songs of the Plains
You roll your own cigarettes. You only wear raw denim. You think condiments are for the weak.

Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour
You never knew you liked country music and you're completely amazed a debut album could be this good.

Morgan Wallen - If I Know Me
You are in Morgan's family.

Tyler Childers - Purgatory
You aren't really into calendars.

Kelsea Ballerini - Unapologetically (Deluxe)
This is the only album you've heard this year.

Ruston Kelly - Mockingbird
You are blocked by Ryan Adams on Twitter. People who know you would best describe you as "pretends to be clinically depressed." 

Pistol Annies - Interstate Gospel
If female, you have probably punched a man in the face before. If male, you vote Democrat but own a shitload of guns.

Cody Jinks - Lifers
You have been muted by half your Facebook friends for sharing too many Farce the Music memes. 

Sarah Shook & The Disarmers - Years
You have definitely punched a man in the face before. You once landed a frontside 180 kickflip without spilling your whiskey.

Kane Brown - Evolution
You have a misspelled tattoo about drama somewhere on your body. All your Facebook posts are passive aggressive but end with a Bible verse.  You graduated 5th in your class …of 5 people in your GED class.

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This is satire. Don't take it seriously.
Also, if your favorite wasn't here, there may be more editions soon.
Idea stolen from Medium.


Jan 4, 2018

Kevin's Top 13 Albums of 2017




Kevin's Top 13 Albums of 2017


1. Colter Wall – Colter Wall
Granted, producer Dave Cobb has an inexhaustible Midas touch. But you’d assume in situations like this one – producing the debut album from a star in the making from Canada – he’d largely just stand back. Listen to Wall’s deep, dark baritone and tell me he’s 22 years old; great golly, he is. Here’s the gold standard for folk albums in the twenty-teens, featuring the year’s best murder ballad, “Kate McCannon.” Tyler Childers’ singing harmony vocals on the traditional ballad “Fraulein” is the cherry on top. 

2. Chris Stapleton – From a Room, Vol. II
This is the best pure country album for the last two or three years, from the man with hands-down the best voice in the genre. I had this playing in the background at work and a colleague asked, “Is this Waylon?” Well, yeah, pretty much. Take note, Nashville: Stapleton’s topping the charts, no thanks to you.  

3. Turnpike Troubadours – A Long Way From Your Heart
As I wrote on its debut, this album is wonderfully more of the same we’ve come to expect from these champions of the Red Dirt universe. Nobody writes a bittersweet broken-heart song better than Evan Felker, as evidenced in “The House Fire.”

4. Tyler Childers – Purgatory
Appalachia has passed the torch to its newest great storyteller; welcome to the big time, Tyler Childers. If anyone has doubts, ask yourself if Sturgill Simpson would produce this guy if he were anything but the genuine article. Childers has set himself an incredibly high bar here; but with a couple listens no one will doubt he’ll raise it higher on the next one. Here is the real deal, and he’ll be around for a long, long time. 

5. Jeremy Pinnell - Ties of Blood & Affection
Fine storytelling, great vocals. More from this guy, please. 

6. Texas Gentlemen – TX Jelly
A terrific breakout record from some of the finest musicians in the Lone Star State. Recorded over a handful of days in Muscle Shoals, this first group of 11 tracks fits together in a perfect yet random way. These guys are heavy hitters and make it sound easy. Much more to come.

7. JD McPherson – Undivided Heart and Soul
What this country needs is more rockabilly, and this Okie delivers in spades. This is just lots of fun. It’s got a dash of British pub rock, just enough to remind us of Elvis Costello & Nick Lowe. Shake your hips, Daddy-o.

8. Jason Eady – Jason Eady
The album gently grabs your attention with the song “Barabbas” and holds it throughout with some of the best songwriting of the year from a genuine craftsman. This Texan – by way of Mississippi – hits full stride with a fine album produced by the legendary Lloyd Maines and featuring the backing vocals of Vince Gill.  

9. Gregg Allman – Southern Blood
I don’t think he ever made a better solo album, and it’s so just bittersweet that we get this one from beyond the grave. His covers of the Grateful Dead’s “Black Muddy River” and Little Feat’s “Willin’” add a sweet touch. Given all Gregg’s givens, let’s be thankful he was here for 69 years. Rest easy, man. 

10. Zephaniah OHora – This Highway
This album is an authentic, organic tribute to the golden years of country music, recalling Hank Snow, Marty Robbins and Ray Price. Another hit for the so-called “neo-traditionalists.”

11. The Steel Woods – Straw In The Wind
A perfect balance of country and rock, and with some fine storytelling. Check your mirror, Blackberry Smoke; these guys are on your heels. 

12. Son Volt – Notes of Blue
Jay Farrar decided to make a blues record and to the surprise of absolutely no one, it shines. He’s superman. He can do anything. Could we have a bluegrass album next, please? 

13. Shinyribs – I Got Your Medicine
Just a fun album, start to finish. Adult-size portions of soul, real (as to what is today called) rhythm & blues, and gospel should keep this record in heavy rotation.


-------
Kevin Broughton


Dec 22, 2017

Ten Best Songs of 2017: Another Perspective



The Best Songs of 2017 

By Kevin Broughton

Trailer’s list was okay, but just. It demands a response, so here are the ten best songs of 2017.

Good talk.

Come for the 1½-minute intro of standup bass, brushes & organ. 
Stay for the good-time rock, sassy-ass blues & rockabilly.


Sure, “White House Road” gets all the hype. For straight-up poignance, though, give me this as the best cut on the smash debut album Purgatory. Well, this one or “Lady May.”


The opening track on what I voted the No. 1 album of the year. The richness of this full-grown folk singer’s baritone speaks for itself and nearly defies substantive description. It simply is. PS, he’s 22 years old. I think we’re done here.


The best voice in all of country music.


On an album full of gems from some of the best musicians in Texas, here’s a real treat: an acoustic version of “Superstition,” featuring virtuoso pianist Daniel Creamer on vocals. It’s sublime.


Two years ago these guys had our album of the year, and Trailer in his autocratic grace declared, rightly, “The Bird Hunters” our top song. Which makes it so shocking he would put “Pay No Rent” (respectfully, maybe the third-best cut on FTM’s #2 Album of the Year) so high, to the exclusion of the clearly superior “The House Fire.” A disturbing lapse in judgment at best; one hopes there’s not a deeper character flaw in play.

“I heard the judge ask the jury, ‘which one’s the one to go?’ Then I heard them say my name, and why I’ll never know.” A song of guilt, forgiveness and redemption, from the point of view of the criminal pardoned while the Savior bought ours.  

Carve out some of that kindling. There’s plenty of wood around.

Pure, country authenticity. It tastes like honey.

“We could steal some Keystone Beer from an A-rab liquor store.”






Dec 21, 2017

Farce the Music's Top 20 Albums of 2017


Our Top 20 Albums of 2017 were voted on by all contributors again this year: 
Kelcy Salisbury, Robert Dean, Kevin Broughton, Jeremy Harris, Trailer (me), and Matthew Martin 
(with friend Chad as a tiebreaker).

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


1. Tyler Childers - Purgatory
Appalachia has passed the torch to its newest great storyteller; welcome to the big time, Tyler Childers. If anyone has doubts, ask yourself if Sturgill Simpson would produce this guy if he were anything but the genuine article. Childers has set himself an incredibly high bar here; but with a couple listens no one will doubt he’ll raise it higher on the next one. Here is the real deal, and he’ll be around for a long, long time.  - Kevin Broughton

Childers' voice along with the great production on this album were home-runs.  Add in the killer lyrics that have just enough humor to break the darkness in the issues plaguing rural America and you have this incredible album.  I had not listened to Tyler Childers prior to this year and now I can't get enough of him. - Matthew Martin


2. Turnpike Troubadours - A Long Way From Your Heart
The best country band in the world delivers yet another classic. The sparkling instrumentation, the master-class songwriting, the mythos, everything is here and it's a joy to behold. - Trailer

As I wrote on its debut, this album is wonderfully more of the same we’ve come to expect from these champions of the Red Dirt universe. Nobody writes a bittersweet broken-heart song better than Evan Felker, as evidenced in “The House Fire.” - Kevin


3. Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit - The Nashville Sound
Jason Isbell is the best there is in music right now.  I don't think it's even close.  The voice, the music, and the songs are all perfect.  After Isbell's last couple of quieter, more introspective albums, I was really looking forward to hearing Isbell cut loose a little more.  This album was not a disappointment on that front and even threw in a couple of tear-jerkers for good measure.  This year I got engaged, and hearing 'When We Were Vampires' is a song that crushes me every time.  For the rockers, 'Cumberland Gap' and 'White Man's World' are going to go at the top of the Isbell cannon.  After listening to these songs and this album all year, I can't even imagine Isbell's shows without these songs.  They are some of Isbell's best.  I know Southeastern may be Isbell's high water mark, but this album shows that he's not resting on his laurels.  He's going to continue to make incredible, hard-hitting music for years to come. - Matthew

If ‘Vampires’ doesn’t make you cry you may be a zombie. - Jeremy Harris


4. Colter Wall - s/t
Granted, producer Dave Cobb has an inexhaustible Midas touch. But you’d assume in situations 
like this one – producing the debut album from a star in the making from Canada – he’d largely
 just stand back. Listen to Wall’s deep, dark baritone and tell me he’s 22 years old; great golly, 
he is. Here’s the gold standard for folk albums in the twenty-teens, featuring the year’s best 
murder ballad, “Kate McCannon.” Tyler Childers’ singing harmony vocals on the traditional 
ballad “Fraulein” is the cherry on top.  - Kevin


5. Chris Stapleton - From A Room, Volume 2
This album was everything I want from Stapleton- it's bluesy, it's rowdy, and it's beautiful.  
The man can sing a damn song.  He makes you feel what he's singing, the way the best of the 
soul-singers of yesteryear could do.  This is one of the big-hitters of country music and it's completely, unequivocally deserved. - Matthew

This is the best pure country album for the last two or three years, from the man with hands-down 
the best voice in the genre. I had this playing in the background at work and a colleague asked, 
“Is this Waylon?” Well, yeah, pretty much. Take note, Nashville: Stapleton’s topping the charts, 
no thanks to you. - Kevin


6. Gregg Allman - Southern Blood
I don’t think he ever made a better solo album, and it’s so just bittersweet that we get this 
one from beyond the grave. His covers of the Grateful Dead’s “Black Muddy River” and 
Little Feat’s “Willin’” add a sweet touch. Given all Gregg’s givens, let’s be thankful he was 
here for 69 years. Rest easy, man.  - Kevin


7. Jason Eady - s/t
Eady does it again. Another great album. - Jeremy

The album gently grabs your attention with the song “Barabbas” and holds it throughout with 
some of the best songwriting of the year from a genuine craftsman. This Texan – by way of 
Mississippi – hits full stride with a fine album produced by the legendary Lloyd Maines and 
featuring the backing vocals of Vince Gill.  - Kevin


8. John Moreland - Big Bad Luv
From the album cover and title you’d think rap. 
From the sound of his voice you’d think awesome. - Jeremy

He writes compelling songs about feelings and situations we are all familiar with.  
He's heartbreakingly good and this album is proof that Moreland deserves even more 
accolades than he's receiving now.  With an incredible voice and lyrics; it's hard to not 
feel gut-punched at least 2-3 times per song.  - Matthew


9. Shinyribs - I Got Your Medicine
Just a fun album, start to finish. Adult-size portions of soul, real (as to what is today called) 
rhythm & blues, and gospel should keep this record in heavy rotation. - Kevin

Even a non-dancing, non-fun-having dude like me feels the desire to tap a foot every time I hear this album. It's soulful, funny, real, and my favorite thing Kevin Russell has done since the Gourds.
- Trailer


10. Travis Meadows - First Cigarette
There’s some real sad stuff on this one. If Isbell makes you feel weird and emotional,
 Travis Meadows will bring you down even more. - Jeremy


11. The Steel Woods - Straw in the Wind
A perfect balance of country and rock, and with some fine storytelling. Check your mirror,
Blackberry Smoke; these guys are on your heels. - Kevin

I was already impressed by Straw in the Wind. Seeing them live took my appreciation for
this band to a new level. They deserve any and all accolades headed their way. - Trailer


12. JD McPherson - Undivided Heart and Soul
What this country needs is more rockabilly, and this Okie delivers in spades. This is just lots of fun. It’s got a dash of British pub rock, just enough to remind us of Elvis Costello & Nick Lowe. Shake your hips, Daddy-o. - Kevin


13. Chris Stapleton - From A Room, Volume 1

Chris Stapleton continues his career with another solid album of covers and originals.  Not quite as good as Volume 2 in my opinion, but worth every bit of accolades it's received. - Matthew

There’s a magic formula that combines the best of 1 and 2 that makes it a much better album. 
With this formula 1 tops 2 by a lot. - Jeremy


14. Zephaniah OHora - This Highway
This album is an authentic, organic tribute to the golden years of country music, recalling Hank Snow, Marty Robbins and Ray Price. Another hit for the so-called “neo-traditionalists.” - Kevin


15. Steve Earle - So You Wanna Be An Outlaw
On a scale of 1 to Steve Earle, how do you feel about Trump? 
Just kidding, Steve steers clear. - Jeremy






18. Hellbound Glory - Pinball
This may be the best Leroy Virgil or whatever his name is now’s best album yet. - Jeremy







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