Showing posts with label JD McPherson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label JD McPherson. Show all posts

Nov 26, 2018

Break Out The Christmas Tree, JD McPherson's Socks is The Best Christmas Record in Forever

by Robert Dean

Nine times out of ten, I hate Christmas music. Outside of “Blue Christmas” and “The Fairytale of New York,” by the Pogues, which makes me homesick for the dive bars in Chicago filled with Irish folks chatting over shots of Jameson and cold bottles of Miller, I am most definitely not a fan of the genre. 

I want to stab my ears out when I hear “All I want for Christmas is You” and every year, they pull Mariah Carey out of her crypt and she gets up there and smiles knowing how much cash she’s about to make for the month. 

On JD Mcpherson’s new Christmas record, Socks, I don’t feel that mind-numbing hatred, but in fact, I absolutely love it. 

Instead of hokey tunes that feel like you’re trapped in mall-flavored hell, Socks is a refreshing take on a stale genre. I get it, tons of bands, artists, and labels love to cash in at Christmas because fans eat the genre up, but Socks doesn’t come off that way. Instead, it feels like one of McPherson’s records, just done up in red and green lights and tinsel. 

What’s cool about Socks is that it’s very much in the spirit of McPherson’s first record, Signs and Signifiers, where the songs feel like they’re straight out of the Little Richard songbook. Nothing on Socks feels like it was written as a throwaway, but instead, he could play them in the middle of June with the same sense of excitement. These are straight up old school-minded rockabilly tunes that well-written and boy do they swing. The vibe is playful and there’s a swing of the hammer that just doesn’t quit. 


“All The Gifts I Need,”, “Hey Skinny Santa,”, “Socks,” and “Santa’s Got a Mean Machine,”, all of these songs are total sock hop dancers that you can’t do anything but bounce around to. Socks is the perfect Christmas party record, its loud, fun, and never gets lame. 

Basically, let me put it this way: if you can’t put Socks on the turntable or wireless speaker while cooking dinner and not want to do the twist in your socks, you’re a monster.  Get out and buy a copy before everyone else finds out about the record, you jolly Santa-themed maverick, you.

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Socks is available on the New West Records store, Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, etc. 

Jun 7, 2018

Exclusive Video Premiere / The Underhill Family Orchestra / "When the Trumpet Sounds"


Today, we've got a video premiere from self-described "southern prog pop" group, The Underhill Family Orchestra. I'm glad I kept an open mind when I read the words "folk-rocking collective" in the introductory email. Normally, I'd have moved on, having been bored to tears by most "collectives" in the past, but I clicked play, and was immediately drawn in. "When the Trumpet Sounds" is rollicking folk rock with gospel undertones and a danceable tempo. This is an Americana band that actually sounds like they're having a great time, and it's infectious. Fun is not a bad word. Vocalist Steven Laney has some David Lee Roth swagger and even sounds like him a little, and that's awesome.  Give this video a look - it's hilarious - then give the album a listen - you won't regret it. Recommended if you like: Shovels & Rope, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, The Band, JD McPherson, etc.

Below the video, you can also stream the full album Tell Me That You Love Me.

Steven Laney about the video:
"This video is in part inspired by old straight to VHS movies and a lot of British television ('AbFab,' 'Red Dwarf') with the pacing of old casting reels. We have a good deal of sentimentality for that 90s cassette look from watching 'McGee and Me,' 'Captain Power,' 'Monty Python,' and the like. As we were creating the 'characters' we were playing, they became caricatures of ourselves and we just rolled with it. Ben is kind of a health nut and workout junkie, Roy is super organized, and I'm kind of a mixed bag that loves dogs of all kinds (hot and otherwise). The energy during the shoot was so fun because we knew what we were doing was silly and with that came a stream of creativity from every member voicing great content ideas."


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Apr 20, 2018

Just My .02 on Coachella


On Coachella Culture and the "Death of Rock n' Roll"

by Robert Dean

I keep seeing these op/ed’s that all reek of the same lingo: “Rock and Roll is Dead! Bury it next to the family dog and tell all of your friends to burn their acoustic guitars, because beats are the future.” 

Repeat this tired headline, and you’ve got what’s been commented on, shared countless times across social media. Well, almost as much as people endlessly blabbering over BeyoncĂ©’s dance-off with her sister. 

Here’s the deal about Coachella: no one who likes rock and roll in any of its various forms gives a shit about Coachella. Coachella is a festival dedicated to false idealism, ultra-PC bullshit that’s so extreme no one believes it. Look, I’m Liberal as Fuck, but what pops off at the fashion fest for people who don’t actually like music is not what the rest of the world would consider as normal – avocado toast and all.

Back in the day, the desert festival was a unique mixture of all styles of music. Now that that pop culture isn’t aligned with anything holding a guitar, all things exciting are some nerds singing over music that sounds like it was created in a Gap bathroom. Hey, that’s fine and well, but know what scene you’re trying to sell to. Someone in a flower crown typically doesn’t have their finger on the pulse of what Turnstile is up to. 

Rock and Roll needs to move back into the recesses of popular culture and rethink what it’s been doing for the last twenty years. Since Grunge, we’ve had some pretty terrible trends that spawned stuff like Creed, System of A Down, Incubus, and 21 Pilots. Nothing has guts, and all of it is wack. Given the political and social climate of the country, you’d think there has to be a few bands brewing that are capable of capturing the masses once again. It’s possible, but we have to let certain sub-sects of the genre weed themselves out. 

Besides, who wants rock music to be super popular anyhow? Do you remember when wearing a leather jacket meant you didn’t give a shit and would fight a nun over the last beer? Or when having a face tattoo meant 'stay far away?' Now your barista has a face tattoo. Rock and Roll needs to get dangerous, get mean again. Don’t worry if David Byrne or the Flaming Lips aren’t drawing what they used to. All that means is the herd is thinning, and the die-hards will get better spots at the bar. 

Riot Fest is thriving because it celebrates the diversity of the music, not relying on cheap trends. There are festivals all over the country that are as good, too. Don’t worry that Rock and Roll is ringing the death bell; it’s just going back underground where it belongs. As long as guys like JD McPherson, Dale Watson, The Shack Shakers, and Jack White are still kicking, I think we’re ok.

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 1, 2017

JD McPherson: Rockabilly Gold & Maximum Fun

JD McPherson: Rockabilly Gold & Maximum Fun

By Kevin Broughton

Jonathan David McPherson grew up a rural cat, even for an Okie. The son of a farmer and retired Army veteran (mom was a preacher), JD grew up near the town of Talihina, a random spot the railroad decided to drop a turn-of-the century depot in Indian Territory. “Where I grew up,” he told the New Zealand music blog Libel, “was just completely removed from anything resembling a town or a city. It was an hour away from the nearest supermarket.”

Drawn to the guitar in his early teens, the isolation proved a boon. Music became his sole focus, and he’s been in bands of one sort or another from then till now.  We can be thankful that in his formative years he was drawn to the work of Buddy Holly and other 1950s icons; his Undivided Heart and Soul positively oozes authentic rockabilly. 

If The Flat Duo Jets (or iconic front man Dex Romweber), The V-Roys, Marshall Crenshaw, Robert Gordon and Brian Setzer got together for a twenty-teens hootenanny, they’d hope the could collaborate on something that could rival McPherson’s October release on the New West label. 

There’s a brilliant range and diversity: McPherson’s goes from to throbbing, pleading rocker on the opening cut, “Desperate Love,” to sweet, soothing crooner on “Hunting for Sugar.” The bass-driven backbeat and reverb-laden baritone guitar of “Crying’s Just a Thing You Do” are reminiscent of Elvis Costello. And it’s impossible not to hear the Rockpile/Nick Lowe influence of a couple of songs, notably “On The Lips.” (A hint of Squeeze, too.) 

The money cut, though, is “Bloodhound Rock.” Fully a third of the 4 ½-minute song is a nifty buildup of standup bass, feint brushes on snare, understated guitar and just enough organ. It burns. You can’t not shimmy and shake. 


There’s not a more fun song, or album for that matter, of the year.

Dig it, Daddy-o. It’s okay to shake your hips.


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Undivided Heart & Soul is available on AmazoniTunes, and all the usual spots.

Oct 9, 2017

Dream Covers Volume I: Songs We Wanna Hear Get Covered ASAP

by Robert Dean

I think about cover tunes a lot. When a band decides to do a cover on a compilation record or add it to their live show, there’s a lot at stake. Is the band going to do the song straight up? Are they going to take some artistic liberties? Is the song the right choice for the band? There’s a lot to consider when playing someone else’s tune.

What got me thinking about this list was imagining if some of my favorite artists covered songs that in my head worked in concert with their existing sound and style. Cuz, let’s face it; there’s many times when a band picks a cover tune, and it’s complete trash. I’m constantly wondering what a band would sound like if they just tried this song, this one jam. 

Maybe I’m nuts, but here are my top songs I think artists should be covering right now:

Don’t Mess Around With Jim – Jim Croce, as covered by JD McPherson
There’s a familiar cadence of the groove between this tune and what JD continually pumps out. The breezy verses seem almost too perfect for McPherson’s solid rock and roll swagger. With the head bobbing tempo and slick feel, there’s so much soul and pure filth underneath this song, that JD McPherson could pull it out in spades. Plus, there’s a third verse riff where it’s just vocals and a super in the pocket drum beat that JD would be all over with that big, bright voice.

Remedy – The Black Crowes, as covered by Every Time I Die
Remedy is one of The Black Crowes sleaziest, blues-soaked tunes. There’s a sense of inherent vice and slick danger to this song. It’s full, breathy and is so slinky and over the top. Every Time I Die have recently been more of a metal band with a few mutated classic rock riffs thrown in, but should they ever wanna flex those muscles they were in the Hot Damn! Era, Remedy would be a great vocal fit, but also be a solid sing-along tune in respect to the chaos of their live shows. Because Every Time I Die have the musical chops to pull off a song like this, I feel like their ownership would be astounding.

Breathe – Pink Floyd, as covered by Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit
Now, this one might sound weird, but hear me out. Jason Isbell’s guitar playing is silky smooth. The backbone to Pink Floyd’s signature era was David Gilmour’s Stratocaster taking humans to new planets. Isbell is a songwriter, but he’s got some chops, too. Plus, The 400 Unit are quite the band, musically speaking. Coupled with Isbell’s ability to pour himself out and bring out those inner demons, he could harness something akin to the sounds of Dark Side Pink Floyd. When you think about it, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched. If you need further proof, listen to Isbell’s biggest bummer ever, When We Were Vampires – if you don’t hear lament and slow, steady blues, something is off with your ears.

Refugee – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, as covered by Lucero
Lucero has a back catalog of a million songs. Most of which, Ben Nichols can draw up from the well in an instant mentally. But, one in a while, Lucero will break out their cover of Jawbreaker’s Kiss The Bottle. But, as the band gets older and establishes a much more weighted in purist rock and roll sound, Refugee is a tune that fits Nichols swagger, but also works with how the band works as a cohesive unit. That wide open riff matched with the song’s signature call and response works well considering Lucero’s On My Way Downtown isn’t too far off style-wise.

They did cover "American Girl" already: ~Trailer

Magic Man – Heart, as covered by Nikki Lane
There’s something low-key magical about Nikki Lane. She is sultry without putting it on front street. She could deliver on Ann Wilson’s vocal runs. Songs like Highway Queen aren’t too thematically different than the Heart catalog. This one feels like a natural fit.

Mannish Boy – Muddy Waters, as covered by Chris Stapleton
Another odd choice, but it works when you think about it. Chris Stapleton has a gigantic, powerful voice. What’s the most memorable thing about Mannish Boy? It’s the riff and Muddy’s ownership of the room, challenging all comers to step to his vocal prowess. Stapleton could master that song as long as he kept it true to it’s roots and go country.

Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) – The Rolling Stones, as covered by Jack White
If there’s anyone who can handle the instrumentation concerning the original sound and spirit, it’s Jack White. He’s already jammed Loving Cup with The Stones, so seeing him tackle one of their lesser known, but die-hard fan hit songs would be a perfect match. He’s got the gear, the ability to play all of Keith Richards riffs and he’s a complete purist who’d relish trying to offer that same fierce spirit that the original Goats Head Soup warrants.

I Never Loved a Man That Way That I Loved You – Aretha Franklin, as covered by Lady Gaga
Look, Lady Gaga is one of the three best singers in pop music. That’s not even up for debate.  It’s her, Beyonce and Adele. Yes, I’m aware there are other badass singers with a serious set of pipes. But, I’d like to see anyone else take the Pepsi Challenge on nailing such a soulful icon track. (If there’s someone you think could wreck shop on this one, shout it out: @Robert_Dean, I wanna know.)
Anyhow, one of the best songs of all time. I’d love to see a killer vocalist take the track on and show off their skills.

I’m Your Captain/Closer to Home – Grand Funk Railroad, as covered by Margo Price
Here’s the wild card. Margo Price is a beast. She’s so talented it’s unreal. If there was anyone who could destroy the all-time jam, it’s Margo Price. Her band is insane and just so tight. When she did those Prairie Home Companion with Jack White we saw a layered, classic Margo Price that could straight murder harmonies and let’s face it. She would wreck shop on this tune. Someone send her people an email. This one would be dope.


Agree or disagree, tweet us or leave a comment. What are your dream covers? We want to know. 

Sep 12, 2017

Rock n' Roll Ain't Dead, It Just Needs to Evolve

By Robert Dean

On the eve of the release of the new Queens of The Stone Age record, someone in the band mentioned that “guitars were going extinct”. Wait, what? 

Is the symbol of a mindset, culture, a musical movement going to be relegated to the history books? Are we doomed to endless supplies of shitty music made with computers? Existential questions abounded.

When Elvis Presley started drying humping a mic stand with his long, greasy hair, no one had seen something like that in mainstream culture. While yes, Presley’s theatrics were a milquetoast reflection of his black counterparts out on the Chitlin Circuit; Presley was the guy who put ass wiggling at the top of the news hour.

After Elvis, the floodgates opened up. You had The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, etc. And those bands begat other generations of rock and rollers, along with subsets of music like punk, heavy metal, hard rock, and whatever Steely Dan played. However, the underpinning idea here was simple: because of that initial wave of bands, guitars and rock and roll was the predominant art form. 

Back in the day, you had few social choices: dig on music or play sports. Everything else was all sub-genre and had nowhere the social pull like strapping on a Les Paul or tossing a tight spiral. But no matter the scene, the music was the great equalizer. Despite different worlds, those jocks were listening to the same stuff as the long hairs. 

Because of the limited choices for popular music the same bands got gigantic. Radio was controlled with an iron fist. Record labels and station managers had mafia-like relationships, and only certain groups got the nod to move to stardom. Bands were so big they were playing venues meant to land aircraft carriers. Dudes in Led Zeppelin were renting whole hotels and banging chicks with fishes. 

Then technology started to evolve. Hip Hop came onto the scene, which challenged rock and roll as an art, not only in style but also in purity. Country music was moving away from a Willie Nelson driven tenor but more poppy and accessible. 

Throughout the 1980’s, bands were adopting machines, keyboards, and synthesizers. MTV appeared and soon, symbolism and identity were as much of the package than just the riffs. 

The medium of the video was a step toward today’s market. The 1990’s was the last pure decade for rock and roll. Maybe the early 2000’s, but this new thing, this new addition to the musical landscape, tainted that: computers. 

So while in the past, rock and roll or whatever one of its descendants had the larger stage, now it’s just a slice of the contemporary pie. We only had the radio. Then MTV opened that up. And then we got access to broadband. And then the computers themselves could make music. Everything had changed.

Every interest of every type has a meetup or a scene. You can be an adult man and into a children’s cartoon about ponies and you have a community you can cling to.  Whereas in the past, you had one of those two choices music or sports as a blanket community – today, you can find a crew into a Finnish flute music. 

But, those articles, they keep saying rock and roll is dead. That kids only listen to hip hop or electronic music. People speak to the rise of the rapper or the huge dj. For every Kendrick Lamar, there’s a bazillion wack rappers who’ll have one hit and fade RE: Chingy or Migos. The rap game might have a few legit superstars, but even their world some thirty years later almost mirrors that of rock and roll with the 2000’s acting as their 1980’s excess. 

The electronic music world stands on the merit of the experience: it’s people on drugs dancing around to predictable beats staring at flashing lights. How is anyone surprised this makes money? People love drugs. We’ve been getting high since the jump. There’s no substance to electronic music. 

In twenty years no one will listen to the Chainsmokers. You can bet kids will definitely want to learn about Kurt Cobain, though. 

Rock and Roll isn’t dead. The music just no longer has the iron grip in a world that’s textured and with so many options. It’s not that there’s a lesser place in society for this music, it’s simply that those arena's are not filled with really anyone except ultra pop mavens. Why? Because those pop acts aren’t dangerous, they’re brands that you can slap a cool outfit on and sell products to. There’s no rock radio anymore. Everything that’s moving across traditional airwaves is so out of touch, and we all know it. 


Because as its own ecosystem it doesn’t need to evolve musically – there’s no point.  But, what the music does need to do is embrace all of the technology and trends of today and realize this how it is. Before a record was released and it was gospel thanks to a handful of channels; today you can stream an album on Facebook with no warning. 

We, as listeners need to accept the fate of all kinds of music: there’s a ton out there and it’s our job to support acts we’re passionate about. The new bands need their shot, but it needs to happen on the backs of the people who are passionate about the art. 


Violent Soho, JD McPherson, Rival Sons, Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes - these acts and more are all out there writing killer tunes. Just do the homework. We need to look past those days of lore. They’ll never exist again. Socially, no one is gonna get banged with a fish without Instagramming it first. 

Jul 12, 2016

Album Review: C.W. Stoneking - Gon' Boogaloo

C.W. Stoneking - Gon' Boogaloo
A Review by Robert Dean

This record is amazing.

You know what’s awesome about the Internet? When you randomly stumble upon music, and it gives you pause, and you’re like, FUCK. HOW DID I MISS THIS?

This was me today, discovering C.W. Stoneking – randomly, I saw the cover of his 2014 record, Gon’ Boogaloo and was instantly intrigued given my natural adoration of all things Depression-era southern blues and or country.

What I was just privy to learning is the aforementioned Gon’ Boogaloo is just gathering steam on this side of the Pacific. C.W. Stoneking is an Australian and while his music is loved down under, he’s yet to find his audience here in America.

So, the record is just starting to get noticed in the States, almost two years from its release. I ain’t complaining... because what I stumbled on by way of an Instagram photo (totes follow me: @RobertDeanNola) I fell in love with Stoneking’s music instantly.

Gon’ Boogaloo is a hodgepodge of classic Americana that’s got the intensity of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins but mixed with notes of Son House, Elmore James, and Leadbelly. It’s jangly, poetic; it’s got some Tom Waits moments, and then, it can turn classic country on a dime.

The production is low and straight-ahead. It feels genuine in its adherence to being honest about what it is: it’s straight ahead creepy blues that sounds like it should be played at a Halloween party. Sure, the songs are rough and tumble, but they feel… haunted. If you’re a fan of JD McPherson, The Bellfuries, or Leon Bridges, C.W. Stoneking is in your wheelhouse.

There are some hand clappers, foot stompers and moments where you need to holler out to God, but all of the emotions we’ve so sorely needed are here and it feels good to hear someone ignore what’s cool and go for the heart, to play what’s honest.

The guitars are filthy, and the vocal harmonies sound pre-war. The music sounds used, worn – and that gives it soul – gives it light.



We’re just up to our ears in shit that is just so awful, that tries too hard to have a soul. So much bad fakery is abound with people who want to achieve C.W. Stoneking’s sound, but fall very, very flat. His persona and image reminds me of Pokey LaFarge, and I hope the two become pals and drink many weird beers together.

Word on the street is C.W. Stoneking is embarking on his first US tour – if it’s not, who cares, either way. This is one artist worth your ticket money, worth your body in the room, worth the bucks on a shirt. Having discovered him just today, I managed to order Gon’ Boogaloo on vinyl, purchase tickets for the show in Austin in a few weeks, and write a review to spread the word. That’s how much I believe in this music, this record, this artist.

Maybe it’s the cover art imagery that offers a sepia tonality to the whole record that you can’t escape, but whatever demons C.W. Stoneking summoned for Gon’ Boogaloo they came out with their best rock and roll dancing shoes on, cause brothers and sisters, this record is here to party.

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Gon’ Boogaloo is available on Bandcamp, Amazon, iTunes, etc.

Jul 1, 2015

Top 20 Albums of 2015: First Half Report

 1. Whitey Morgan - Sonic Ranch
Sonic Ranch is as strong a "real country album" as you'll hear in 2015. It's refreshing to hear such unfiltered honky-tonk music in this day and age of contrived edge and softened edges. Morgan and the 78s' version of modern outlaw country is a comparable sound to what Sturgill Simpson is doing, but with a blue collar approach and a more pronounced low-end. This album may not drive Morgan to acceptance/hype in the same circles as Jason Isbell and Sturgill, but it's a big statement album that will bring in new fans and make old ones very happy.


2. Father John Misty - I Love You Honeybear
Indie-pop is a sub-genre I usually avoid due to the overly precious nature of its typical fare. Father John Misty doesn't do twee. He infuses his catchy pop tunes and lounge rollers with a strong dose of balls. His lyrics are clever, biting, and frequently downright asshole-ish. These songs comfort, provoke, enlighten, and annoy, often at the same time. Our narrator is a jerk, but a jerk that you have to stick around to see what he'll do or say next. This is a record that will gnaw at you and stick with you, each song taking its turn being an earworm or soundtrack to some odd moment.


3. Chris Stapleton - Traveller



5. Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen - Hold My Beer, Vol. 1
Hold My Beer, Vol. 1 sounds as much like a celebration of friendship as it does a duets album from the pair of popular Texas troubadours. There's a palpable sense of fun and camaraderie throughout the ten song collection.  It’s the soundtrack to a good Saturday afternoon barbecue, a party record for people who'd rather not fist-pump, a greatest hits collection of songs you haven’t heard yet (unless you've been to their summer tours of the same name as the album).



7. American Aquarium - Wolves
To say the musical arrangements are daring & a departure from past albums is true. Yes, the same basic structure is there, the skeleton is intact enough to keep the loyal fans sated. But BJ Barham & the boys take risks here. The lush "Man I'm Supposed To Be" could be something Chet Atkins produced, but the darkness that lurks in this most honest of love songs somehow makes the song even more powerful. -Kelcy Salisbury


8. James McMurtry - Complicated Game
This is McMurtry’s best record, and it ain’t close. And that was a high bar. He could put his pen and guitar down now, and his name will forever belong beside those of Lovett, Clark, Earle, and yes, Van Zandt. If you know those names, you know what the comparison implies.  If you don’t, listen to Complicated Game, and get a frame of reference. This one’s a crowning moment for one of the true and elite Texas craftsmen. -Kevin Broughton


 



11. Kacey Musgraves - Pageant Material

14. Wrinkle Neck Mules - I Never Thought It Would Go This Far
Maybe this fine album isn't to be analyzed. Find your own meaning in these literate, attitude-driven, poetic, anti-bucolic, abstruse (and surprisingly fun) lyrics and run with it. It's not like you're going to stop tapping your foot, either way. It's all too damn catchy; and so steeped in shine and cooked over some ridge dweller's firepit, I Never Thought It Would Go This Far can't help but captivate.


18. Benton Leachman - Bury the Hatchet
Benton Leachman has a reedy croon that gives off the impression of innocence or sweetness. While that may indeed be the case for Leachman personally, his debut album, Bury the Hatchet, presents several bits of evidence that are at odds with that starry-eyed delivery. He's clearly a complicated and real person, and this record shows you all his sides with a passionate honesty that's rare in first releases.


 

Apr 1, 2015

Best Albums of 2015 So Far: 1st Quarter Report

My actual "Best of 2015" list includes four albums not yet released, but since this is labeled as the "1st Quarter Report," I decided to stay true to the title and not include those four. However, you should know that my favorite album I've heard this year is actually Whitey Morgan's Sonic Ranch ...and by a long shot. It comes out in May. But here's the list of my favorite albums released thus far in 2015.



10. Butch Walker - Afraid of Ghosts

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12. Earl Sweatshirt - I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside

13. Houndmouth - Little Neon Limelight

14. The Delta Routine - You and Your Lion

15. The Lone Bellow - Then Came the Morning

16. The Mavericks - Mono

17. Aaron Watson - The Underdog

18. Ryan Bingham - Fear and Saturday Night

19. Striking Matches - Nothing But the Silence

20. Gurf Morlix - Eatin' at Me

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Yet to hear or need to hear more of: Gretchen Peters - Blackbirds, Jackson Taylor - Cantina del Diablo, Haley Cole - Illusions, Great Lake Swimmers - A Forest of Arms, Joe Pug - Windfall, Willie & the Giant - s/t, JJ Grey & Mofro - Ol' Glory, Brandi Carlile - The Firewatcher's Daughter, No Dry County - The Night Before, Cody Jinks - Adobe Sessions.

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