Showing posts with label Holly Williams. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holly Williams. Show all posts

Feb 20, 2018

Top 10 Biggest Jerks in Americana Music

Some would imagine that the fan-friendly, honest Americana music scene would not be as likely to contain divas and d-bags as the more mainstream genres of music. However, thanks to critic and hipster love for the buzzworthy genre, things have changed of late. This groundswell has slowly created a context wherein all manner of unlikely aspirants are more apt to let their jerk flag fly. Here are some of the genre's most egregious offenders.

10. Brent Cobb
"Forgets" to invite cousin Dave to family functions
Band members only allowed to speak to him by text message

9. Rhiannon Giddens
Borrows band members' phones and logs out of everything
Once put a fan who accidentally called her 'Rihanna' in a triangle choke submission hold

8. Amanda Shires
Wouldn't speak to husband, Jason, for a month when he opposed the name "Taco Lucinda" for their daughter
Performed an entire show of Rob Thomas covers when one crowd was smaller than anticipated

7. Rob Baird
Always eats the middle cinnamon roll out of the pan first
Spends hours a day leaving 1 star iTunes reviews on other Americana artists
Will only autograph thongs

6. Shooter Jennings
Puffs, doesn't pass
Got a secret tip and sold all his Bitcoin to Marilyn Manson just before Bitcoin crashed
Plans to do an all-EDM tour later this year

5. Ward Davis
Secretly bullies Cody Jinks
Still says "Dilly Dilly!"
Keeps telling everybody new music is coming "soon" but it never does

4. Holly Williams
First person to ingest a Tide Pod on video
Can only name 3 Hank Sr. songs
Drives 10 mph below speed limit in left lane

3. Drew Kennedy
Never cleans stations in the gym after using them
Doesn't wash out the sink after beard grooming
Tour rider includes "organic kale candy" and "fitted hemp Phillies cap"

2. Courtney Patton
Spreads rumors about Jamie Lin Wilson on Snapchat
Tells dirty jokes at funerals
Vapes dill pickle flavor at songwriting sessions

1. Paul Thorn
Does the old "replace the vodka with water" trick on his tour bus
Constantly reminds fans he used to be a boxer
Never plays his top 5 songs on Spotify in concert
Always has a few credit card skimmers on hand

Jul 8, 2015

Live Review: Jason Isbell w/Holly Williams, July 3, Livingston, MS

Jason Isbell w/Holly Williams
July 3, 2015, Livingston Live, Livingston, MS

Amid the spreading oaks and rolling farms of rural Madison County, Mississippi, sits the brick and steel adorned township (trendy farmers' market, sweet shop, restaurant, gift shop, venue, neighborhood? all of the above) of Livingston. It's a beautiful area with a hip, inclusive vibe - I recently saw Travis Meadows perform at the restaurant to an eclectic crowd of regular folks, politicians, some movie director, and local artsy elites.

Friday night, Jason Isbell and Holly Williams performed there in an open field just off the highway. It was an all ages show, so the crowd was mostly families, with plenty of college kids mixed in - probably half the audience there for the music, half for the fellowship. Happily, it was a respectful and attentive crowd - neither talking loudly during songs nor holding up cell phones the whole time - an oddity these days.

(L-R) Chris Coleman, Holly Williams, Becky White
Holly Williams opened the show and gave a strong performance in the humid Madison County afternoon. Her vocals were excellent and her between-song banter fun and inviting. The band was tight as well, sounding crisp and easy-going at once. Williams' set was a family affair, her husband Chris playing guitar for her band, her 9-month-old daughter getting an introduction and crowd-aided selfie, and even her mother, Becky, making an appearance to sing backing vocals on the song "Mama."

Among other songs Williams performed were "Happy," "Drinkin'," "The Highway," and an emotional take of "Waiting on June." She finished her set with a crowd singalong of her famous grandfather's "I Saw the Light." It was a fun show, certainly enough to please longtime fans and entertain the unaffiliated alike. I got to meet Holly at her merch booth afterwards, and she was engaging and very friendly.

With lightning bouncing through the northwestern clouds, Isbell and the 400 Unit took the stage a bit later. They led with "Palmetto Rose," a hooky throwback rocker from the forthcoming Something More Than Free album. Isbell said it was the first time they'd played it live, but they could've fooled me.

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit w/Amanda Shires
Before I go on, let me say that the sound at Livingston Live (as the concert series is known) was by far the best outdoor concert audio I've ever heard and among the best I've experienced period. It was clear and loud, but not blaring, giving equal room for each player and instrument (including the very pregnant Amanda Shires, playing the hell out of the fiddle!). Isbell's vocals were so pure I could hear every word he sang, yet he was still right in the pocket with the band. It was truly impressive.

The stage and lighting were also quite complimentary. There was a set of 5 lights arcing across the back that looked like giant desk lamps pointed toward the crowd. They were a cool change of pace from the usual set. Those lights pulsed and faded depending on the song and mood. Overall, I couldn't be more pleased with the atmosphere and sound of the concert.

The next few songs included an emotional tour de force trio of Drive-by Truckers' favorite "Decoration Day" and the timely (it was July 4th weekend) "Tour of Duty" and "Dress Blues." Current single "24 Frames" ended with thunder creeping into the audio and spiderwebs of light filling the darkening sky. We'd have to take a short lightning break, according to Jason. That short break turned into an hour, and I was concerned that'd be the end of it.

Thankfully, Isbell and his Unit were up to the challenge and stuck around through the indeterminate delay. The crowd, thinned out and wet but still relatively large, returned from cars, underneath trees, and inside shops to fill the field again, the stage crew mopped and pulled tarps, and we were back up and running. The band settled into tunes from Southeastern and Here We Rest for the next few minutes.

Jason and the giant desk lamps
"Cover Me Up," a song I've always liked but maybe not loved, proved the most religious experience of the evening. It started off spare and acoustic, with Isbell's keening voice raising goosebumps and hands across the crowd. A constant murmur of applause and cheers started after the first chorus and never let up, getting only louder as the percussion and electric kicked in. The "desk lamps" were in perfect time with the powerful, slow beat and Jason never pulled back the reins on his full-throated delivery, and by the end of the tune, I was honestly a little teary-eyed. It was that damn strong of a performance. This wasn't a standing crowd (lawn chairs and blankets), but this was a standing ovation.

Next was the band's first live performance of the catchy and surprisingly commercial-sounding new tune "The Life You Chose." Again, they sounded as comfortable with this song as they did with their two-hundredth rendition of "Outfit." "Children of Children," another new tune, was a showcase for the guitars in the extended coda. It brought to mind Wilco's more experimental rock songs (…at least the better ones - that have a clear purpose and direction to all the guitar shredding and not just a noodle-fest).

There were a few more tunes after that, then almost as soon as Isbell had reintroduced the band and thanked the crowd after "Super 8," fireworks hit the sky and we were done. It felt a little abrupt, but still… I can't complain much about getting 15 songs despite an hour-long weather delay, especially as good as the show was.

I've seen Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit once before, a few months after Here We Rest came out. They were very good then, a ragged but passionate bunch… probably one of the best bar bands in the nation at the time. Friday night, I experienced a different crew altogether. This was a band coming into their full potential - a true rock n' roll powerhouse, with a sound big enough to fill arenas but intimate enough to not clear a listening room. In a less divided and distracted era, they'd be one of the biggest bands in the world.

I've now lost count of how many concerts I've seen, but… if I had to pare it down to a handful, this show would easily make the cut. If these guys swing through your area, get your ass out there! No excuses.

Isbell & the 400 Unit setlist:
Palmetto Rose
Decoration Day
Tour of Duty
Dress Blues
24 Frames
Different Days
Alabama Pines
Cover Me Up
The Life You Chose
Children of Children
Something More Than Free
Super 8

Jan 2, 2014

Jeremy's Top Albums and Top Song of 2013

16. Kacey Musgraves "Same Trailer Different Park"
       Wonderful writing with a beautiful voice and a great mix of traditional soul along with some modern sound. Hopefully this album serves as a template for female country singers for years to come. Hell, most the guys could learn something from this as well.

15. The Wild Feathers "The Wild Feathers"
       This songs are so catchy you'll find yourself humming them so much you'll drive yourself nuts. Not quite rock and well beyond pop in my opinion, but I could care less. I listen to good music and don't pay attention to genres and this is definitely good music.

14. John Moreland "In The Throes"
       Probably higher on every other list you'll read (unless they never got to listen to it) but this is my opinion only, so this is where it is. Very few albums this year will be able to top the songwriting you'll find on these ten tracks and John's voice is one that can't be forgotten.

13. Alan Jackson "The Bluegrass Album"
       The same process that went into naming the album seems to have made its way into the musical content as well. Keep it simple and honest, and that's what you'll find here for sure. I'm just glad Alan was able to finally do this the way he wanted.

12. Eastbound Jesus "Northern Rock"
       I can't believe I have to rank this album this low. I guess that's just the ultimate proof of what a year for music it has been. It's very easy to get lost in the great story contained within every song and the wonderful music that accompanies them.

11. Holly Williams "The Highway"
       Some of the strongest and most emotion filled songs I've heard are on this album, unfortunately it also contains a few average songs and a couple that are rather weak. "Drinkin'" and "Waiting On June" are enough to stop anyone with a heart dead in their tracks and show how great of a songwriter Holly is.

10. Clutch "Earth Rocker"
       Rock isn't dead, you're just looking in the wrong place. From the in your face rhythm of "Cyborg Bette" to the slow bluesy ballad "Gone Cold" there is something for everyone on this one. Certainly shows that Clutch has not lost it over the years.

 9. Dallas Moore Band "Blessed Be The Bad Ones"
      100% honky-tonk goodness that takes you for a ride of both the good and the bad times and everywhere in between. I was lucky enough to review this album earlier in the year and still listen to it often and may even enjoy it more now than then.

 8. Sturgill Simpson "High Top Mountain"
      This could be the album that many country traditionalist have been waiting for over the past few years and anything you've heard about it is true. (unless it was bad, then that person is an idiot) Not a weak song to be heard on this one.

 7. Last False Hope "Dig Nails Deep"
      One of the most original and unique albums you'll ever hear. So unique, it's actually hard to put into words a description that does any justice to what you'll find on the debut, full-length album by Last False Hope, or to say anything I didn't already cover before.

 6. Shooter Jennings "The Other Life"
      Talk about a guy with a full schedule, on top of coming up with a fine album himself, Shooter also produced two other albums on this list, went on a nationwide tour and made a short film with Judd Films featuring songs from this very album. One of the strongest albums Shooter has ever released and featuring a sound and attitude that many fans have been asking for.

 5. Band of Heathens "Sunday Morning Records"
      I'm still amazed by the amount of people that haven't listened to anything by this group. This album is spot on with beautiful harmonies and wonderful instrumentation that just makes you feel good and holds you until the end while featuring some of the most original arrangements to come out this year.

 4. Statesboro Review "Ramble on Privilege Creek"
      One word to describe this album: pleasant. Yeah, that'll work because that's exactly what it is. So easy to just listen to you won't even notice how long you've been just laying there in a trance. Hell, it took me three days to type that line while listening on my computer.

 3. Fifth On The Floor "Ashes & Angels"
      While Fifth On The Floor has never put out a bad album, this is a large step forward as a whole in both writing and subject matter. This one has a bit of everything, southern rock, straight up rock and roll and some classic country to keep everyone happy.

 2. Jason Isbell "Southeastern"
      Are you tired of everyone kissing this guy's butt and calling him the greatest thing going? Me neither, especially since it's all true. A masterful songwriter is an understatement as Jason continues to grow and travel to new heights with every release. "Southeastern" is no different and continues this upward trend and give hope that a clear-headed Jason Isbell may be the one to knock down the barriers that are keeping so many quality artist hidden from the mainstream.

 1. Buffalo Gospel "We Can Be Horses"
      Who? Don't feel bad, that's exactly what I said before I had my first listen to this album. Just a few songs in I knew I had come across something special and after a full listen I had a feeling early on that this masterpiece of oddly named tracks would not head south and would be able to be claim this top spot by the end of the year. The only hard thing about this collection of high quality tunes is picking a favorite song as all are at a high level and deserve multiple listens.

     Song of the year
     Holly Williams (feat. Gwyneth Paltrow) "Waiting On June"
     I'm not sure what's gonna kill the slight bit of credibility I have more, picking a song of the year that features Gwyneth Paltrow or explaining why I did. Every time I hear this song I start thinking about my own life and my beautiful wife Amy. As I listen I usually start associating our lives with the characters in the song and by the time I've reached the final moments, I'm crying like a twelve year old girl in the front row of a Justin Bieber show. Mainly, this connection along with superb songwriting is why I feel this song is my top pick this year even though Pepper Potts is tagging along. Justin Bieber still is a thing isn't he?

-Jeremy Harris


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