Dec 18, 2018
Dec 14, 2018
Like numbers 11-25, these were voted on by all Farce the Music contributors.
10. Dallas Moore - Mr. Honky Tonk
This is the album where Dallas Moore took a huge step forward. He's always been good, but on Mr. Honky Tonk, the songwriting, vocals, and especially the production all came together. Normally I'd not even consider voting for an album with only 8 tunes, but when the material is this strong, there's nothing wrong with delivering a short, powerful punch. Moore knows for damn sure who he is and on Mr. Honky Tonk, that comes through loud and clear. Check out "You Know the Rest" and "Somewhere Between Bridges." ~Trailer
9. Whitey Morgan & The 78s - Hard Times & White Lines
When it comes to straight-up, hard-edged country, there's not a single person doing it better than Whitey Morgan. He and his band have again written a damn incredible country album. You can always bet the bank on Morgan to only release the best of the best. You will not get filler or cheap songs. You're going to get songs about living out on the road, the things that does to relationships, and ways to pass the time when out on the road. It ain't a pretty life, but when Morgan sings about it, it sure makes you wanna try it out for a while. ~Matthew Martin
8. Ruston Kelly - Dying Star
One for the misfits, but who among us isn’t one? At times depressing, funny and hopeful, and with a dash of redemptive potential. And it’s oh, so very pleasing to the ear. Comparisons to Ryan Adams are inevitable. So far, though, Mr. Kelly doesn’t seem to be a full-of-himself douche. ~Kevin Broughton
7. American Aquarium - Things Change
When BJ lost his band a couple of years ago due to whatever reasons, I thought the American Aquarium name would be retired. Instead, BJ found a new backing band and came back stronger than ever. These are some BJ's strongest songs he's written since Burn. Flicker. Die. And, the band! I'll be damned if this band doesn't seem even tighter. When BJ has been at his lowest point, band-wise, he's given us masterpieces and this album is no exception. ~MM
6. Joshua Hedley - Mr. Jukebox
The soul of Mr. Jukebox is decidedly unhip by mainstream Nashville standards, but the songs are glorious throwbacks to guys like Ernest Tubb, George Jones or Buck Owens. The reason Mr. Jukebox succeeds is his backbone of traditionalism, not only in character, but also because of Ole’ Hed’s dedication to the heart of real country music. Hedley’s fiddle furiously battles his smooth vocal runs with a multi-disciplined attack that's just damned good music. Joshua Hedley can strum a guitar, sing with a clean, clear harmonious range, and write lyrics that are not only witty, but also painstakingly crafted so that the words on some of the record’s tracks land like guy punches. ~Robert Dean
5. Cody Jinks - Lifers
Cody is just taunting the Satanists running Nashville now, showing these soulless, undead beings what a country record could be on their radio stations. ~KB
I remember when I first heard Cody Jinks a few years ago, I wasn't immediately a fan. I don't remember what made me think that- maybe just wasn't in the right headspace or something. But, that has completely changed. Jinks released the album that will likely (and seems to already have) boost him to the ranks of Simpson or, potentially even Stapleton. Jinks's voice is velvety smooth and his band is right on the mark. The songs are a perfect mix of hard-life livers, hard-night havers, and hard-love lovers. It's incredibly relatable to those listening and it's the kind of tunes we've come to expect out of Jinks over the last few years. Yet another very good album in Jinks's short, but incredibly respectable output. ~MM
4. Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour
An album chock full of beautifully arranged, damn-near perfectly delivered, radio-ready singles that for some reason didn't find their way to Country Radio. It's a shame that format has bent over backwards to completely ignore and ostracize women because Musgraves made the best Country record of the year by a wide margin. I guess the Country Radio folks need to make sure there's always enough room on the charts for any dude named Luke who might decide to release a single at some point. ~Kasey Anderson
3. Brandi Carlile - By the Way, I Forgive You
Brandi’s finest album since The Story (which will always be in my Top 10 of all-time). “The Joke” is simply gorgeous and a song of the year contender. This Dave Cobb produced platter got some serious Grammy nom love and for good reason. ~Scott Colvin
2. Jamie Lin Wilson - Jumping Over Rocks
I’ll be honest, this album is so beautifully understated in its delivery that I almost had it around number 12. Then I sat down & listened again. What Jamie Lin Wilson has done is monumental. She covers perhaps the greatest song Guy Clark ever wrote, and it fits the album. If you’re looking for who’s going to fill those shoes, the answer is still “nobody”, but this album is a tour de force. Jamie Lin Wilson is a generational talent who deserves every bit of acclaim she receives, and then some. ~Kelcy Salisbury
I love this freaking album. So classy and classic sounding. "The Being Gone" and "Death and Life" are amazing songs. ~Trailer
1. Lucero - Among the Ghosts
To follow Lucero's career has been an amazing transition from country/punk 4 piece to a straight-up Memphis rock and roll band complete with a horns section. For their 9th (or 10th if you count The Attic Tapes) studio album, the guys took it back to their roots and left the horns out for the most part. What they gave us was their best album since 1372 Overton Park. It's a musically concise album cutting away any fat and letting the songs and band speak for themselves. Ben Nichols has written some of his most interesting songs to date about Civil War battles, touring, and shoot-outs. In a catalog full of incredible albums, this one is certainly at the top. ~MM
Good to see Farce the Music's unofficial house band finally make our top spot! ~Trailer
Oct 24, 2018
Oct 4, 2018
I won't be adding this Twitter block to the Wall of Honor. I'm actually pretty disappointed that the Texas Rattlesnake blocked me for a little smart-assing around. Maybe I should start a Wall of Shame.
I was just messing with you, Steve. Your taste is pretty good. The Rock's is a little better though.
By the way, check out Steve Austin's interview of Joshua Hedley on his podcast. They talk wrestling and country music, both sounding genuinely excited to be talking to each other. It's cool.
Jul 10, 2018
Trailer's top 25 so far.
Usual disclaimers: The year-end list will be compiled from all FTM contributors' votes. Also, the second half looks really strong, so expect a lot of shake up to this list.
1. Dallas Moore - Mr. Honky Tonk
2. Ashley McBryde - Girl Going Nowhere
3. Blackberry Smoke - Find a Light
4. Caitlyn Smith - Starfire
5. John Prine - Tree of Forgiveness
6. Brent Cobb - Providence Canyon
7. Neko Case - Hell On
8. Fantastic Negrito - Please Don't Be Dead
9. Kacey Musgraves - Golden Hour
10. Joshua Hedley - Mr. Jukebox
11. Brandi Carlile - By the Way, I Forgive You
12. Buffalo Gospel - At the Last Bell
13. Caleb Caudle - Crushed Coins
14. Pusha T - Daytona
15. Old Crow Medicine Show - Volunteer
16. Sarah Shook & The Disarmers - Years
17. Leon III - s/t
18. First Aid Kid - Ruins
19. Courtney Patton - What It's Like to Fly Alone
20. Buffalo Tom - Quiet and Peace
21. American Aquarium - Things Change
22. Charley Crockett - Lonesome as a Shadow
23. Brothers Osborne - Port Saint Joe
24. Courtney Marie Andrews - May Your Kindness Remain
25. Ghost - Prequelle
And here are Robert Dean's five favorites:
Since we’re ½ through 2018 (weird) – here are the records I’m jamming the hardest and think are this year’s best so far:
Joshua Hedley – Mr. Jukebox
My #1 with a bullet. It would take a miracle to unseat this record.
Sleep – The Sciences
Vein – Errorzone
Charley Crockett – Lonesome As A Shadow
At The Gates – To Drink From The Night Itself
At The Gates – To Drink From The Night Itself
Honorable mention cuz it’s new to me:
Queensway – Swift Minds of The Darkside
Jun 12, 2018
Apr 30, 2018
by Robert Dean
When people ask about Farce The Music, I like to think of what we do around here is spread “The Gospel of Good Shit.” We’ve helped give a little credence to folks who are either up and coming or out there killing it, who deserve more ink than other outlets are providing them.
We talked about Sturgill before he was cool, and we blabbed on about Chris Stapleton when he was still “that big, bearded dude from The Steeldrivers.” We shouted from the rooftops about Tyler Childers and Colter Wall back when no one had so much of heard of these dudes outside of Ole’ W.B. Walker. We’ve not shut up about Margo Price since she was talking about losing the farm and wanting a bottle of wine for momma.
Lindi Ortega, Jason Isbell, Lillie Mae, Ian Noe, Kacey Musgraves, and Justin Wells - all of that amazing music, we’ve been waiving those flags a long time now. This isn’t a pat on the back; it’s a mission statement: we’re dedicated to helping champion amazing artists, and hopefully getting some of these folks who are still slugging it out in bars, playing for tips, sell a few t-shirts or at least another bottle of PBR after their set.
There’s a name that keeps popping up on my radar over and over again, someone who thanks to my mate Harsha down in Sydney, I got the chance to see in a tiny little room above a Spanish restaurant on the other side of the planet. That name is Joshua Hedley.
While I enjoyed my experience seeing him in a packed room full of Aussies in their best country gear, it wasn’t until I heard his new record, Mr. Jukebox, when I was flabbergasted at Joshua Hedley’s beauty and brilliance.
Joshua Hedley is a name that will be mentioned in places “too cool” for country, that vaunted Sturgill Simpson territory, an area that blurs the lines of just who Sturgill’s “core” fanbase is, nobody knows – but there sure are a ton of them. Rolling Stone has already jumped on board, and then there’s NPR, The Chicago Reader, The Tennessean, to name just a few who are falling hard for Hedley’s debut Third Man Records release.
Having spent years as a featured Monday night performer at Robert’s Western World down on Nashville’s main drag, since his teens, Hedley knows a thing or two about playing the hits, and it shows on Mr. Jukebox. It’s become lore amongst the musicians on Broadway to cite how well Hedley knows his country music, but also that he can play it at the drop of a Stetson.
What Mr. Jukebox isn’t, is another record featuring a desire to be a bar room badass, a fighter in a leather hat ala Waylon with a Kool dangling off his lip, ready to clean a clock and peel out on a Harley, middle fingers up. Outlaw isn’t a world uttered when describing what Hedley does, in fact, it’s the exact opposite of what he does.
When Waylon and Willie were coming up and energizing the idea of what the Outlaw scene meant, it was on the merit of beer swigging hooligans who write songs for guys with hard knuckles and a constitution for cheap blow and fast women. The songs weren’t complex arrangements, nor did they lean on the traditions of Nudie suits or songs about horses and other fairy tales of the scene back then.
Outlaw was decidedly not what was popular in the day’s country music, which featured lush string arrangements and stories about heartbreak, and deceit by a lovelorn partner. There was a sense of beauty to those songs, a purpose driven by big choruses and a beat that anyone could two-step to, drunk or sober, happy or sad.
That’s precisely the nerve Joshua Hedley taps into on Mr. Jukebox with booming traditionalism and on the nose respect to the late 50’s early 60’s era of country, before disco or rock n' roll changed the flavor.
The soul of Mr. Jukebox is decidedly unhip to mainstream Nashville standards, but the songs are glorious throwbacks to guys like Ernest Tubb, George Jones or Buck Owens. The reason Mr. Jukebox succeeds is his backbone of traditionalism, not only in character, but also because of Ole’ Hed’s dedication to the heart of real country music.
Hedley’s fiddle furiously battles his smooth vocal runs with a multi-disciplined attack that's just damned good music. Joshua Hedley can strum a guitar, sing with a clean, clear harmonious range, and write lyrics that are not only witty, but also painstakingly crafted so that the words on some of the record’s tracks land like guy punches.
Mr. Jukebox is the record you can slip on for MeeMaw while she’s in the kitchen and you’re likely to get a head turn out of her because the sound, the style, the playing is so believable, so in the moment; it’s hard to reckon that Mr. Jukebox is brand new. Say what you will, but there’s always something pleasing about getting a flicker of recognition from the old school, even if she’s just making a gumbo in her slippers.
The record’s opener, “Counting All My Tears” lets the listener know that without a doubt, Conway Twitty’s stamp is there. All throughout the album, the steel guitar slides and wanes while the harmonies are large productions that harken back to the thick, wall of sound delivery, but with a slight tinge of gospel power hidden in the rafters for a sprinkle of good luck.
“Weird Thought Thinker” feels like that era of Willie Nelson before he moved back to Texas, while “I Never (Shed a Tear)” feels straight off Patsy Cline’s vine and broadcast to the world via The Grand Ole Opry. This is pure classic, country music that’s without any of the bullshit sparkles. We’re getting closer and closer to two factions of country music coming to the forefront: Southern Pop and Country Music.
If there was any doubt of what Joshua Hedley does, brother you ain’t been paying attention. Mr. Jukebox is here to stay, and the waves we’ll see in his wake will only push those boats higher and higher – green Nudie suit and all.
Mr. Jukebox is available everywhere you consume fine music.