Showing posts with label Kelly Willis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kelly Willis. Show all posts

Jul 12, 2018

Coming to America: Country Reaction Gifs





*NSFW language*







When the poster said country concert, but Walker Hayes is on stage

What do you think of Kelly Willis, Sunny Sweeney, and Elizabeth Cook?

When three dudes are trying to get you to listen to Kane Brown

Tyler Childers...

When your girl says her friend backed out of going to the Florida-Georgia Line concert and you know what question is coming next

Is it okay to punch someone who insults George Strait?

"Is it cool if I play a little Luke Bryan?
Just for a few minutes?"

When somebody says their favorite traditional country singer is Tim McGraw


Jun 18, 2018

Live Review / Kelly Willis / Annapolis, MD



by Scott Colvin

Over the years, I’ve been to a handful of Sunday matinee shows at Annapolis’ Ram’s Head on Stage and one thing I’ve learned is that many touring artists are not used to being “on” for a 1 pm performance. Don’t get me wrong, Cracker, Rhett Miller, Robyn Hitchcock, and Lydia Loveless nailed their respective performances, but all joked in their own ways about not being used to playing so early in the day (kudos to Loveless at her show opening for Cracker as she was battling the flu).

That said, country vet Kelly Willis and her terrific band didn’t seem phased at all during their stellar early afternoon performance on Sunday June 10 where fans were more likely imbibing on bloodies and screwdrivers instead of the venue’s fine selection of their own microbrews (I was definitely in the screwdriver mood on this particular day). Yeah…

Willis, touring for her wildly regarded Back Being Blue (her first solo album in 11 years) made the most of her 90 minutes on stage focusing primarily on songs from the new platter and 1999’s What I Deserve, all the while peppering in songs from her nearly 30 years in music.

The title track from her new album, “Back Being Blue” kicked off the show. It was a perfect start to highlight her aching vocals that has clearly charmed FTM Grand Poohbah Trailer, who has already publicly stated it’s one of his favorite songs of 2018. 

Willis immediately threw out a “bone” to older fans with an Easy track, the honky-tonkin’ rumbler “If I Left You” which featured killer guitar licks from guitarist/pedal steel guru Geoff Queen who spent the night seamlessly switching between electric guitar and pedal steel while adding subtle harmonies. Queen’s harmonies would come into play a few songs later during “What The Heart Doesn’t Know,” a song Willis admitted was her attempt at writing a 50s “country girl duo” song which she not only accomplished but added about her harmonist “Geoff does a good job being my back-up girl” which got a good laugh from the crowd.

Throughout her career Willis has had the good fortune to write with or perform songs from some of the finest writers in country music. She featured many in her set this afternoon including the title track to What I Deserve (Gary Louris of the Jayhawks), “Wrapped,” and “Not Forgotten You” by her husband Bruce Robison, “Sweet Sundown” by Damon Bramblett, “Find Another Fool” by Marcia Ball, and “Get Real” by John Leventhal. 

One of the funnier moments of the performance was during the introduction of the country rocker/revenge song “Take It All Out On You” which was written by her first husband Mas Palermo and current husband Bruce Robison (who at the time of the song’s inception was on “a break” with Kelly at the time). She’s told the story many times over the years while touring with Robison and it still gets a good laugh as she explains that it’s the “song that qualifies me to be a country singer.”

Willis closed out her set with the last song off her new album, “Don’t Step Away,” which had boots a-tappin’…well her boots for sure…as most in the crowd were sporting flip-flops or sandals on a balmy spring day in our pleasant drinking town with a sailing problem. 

Willis and her band triumphantly returned to the stage moments later to play What I Deserve’s “Cradle of Love” and the old-school rocker “Whatever The Wind Blows” by the legendary Marshall Crenshaw. 

Kelly Willis is one of country music’s finest artists who sadly gets overlooked. She’s not glossy, stylish, or pandering to the masses. She’s the epitome of class with a sweet temperament that wows audiences with every achingly beautiful, twangy, bittersweet vocal. Her songs can elate as much as they can rip your heart out. And you should openly and freely let them do both when experiencing her music, whether it be in a live setting or listening to her records at home, because they are simply good for one’s soul.




Editor's note: You'll never get an unbiased review outta this guy. :)

Jun 13, 2018

Top 25 Songs of 2018 First Half Report


It was hard to narrow this down to 25. There have been some truly great and memorable songs released in 2018, and we're just halfway through. These are in no particular order. 
*not a combined contributors' list - just Trailer's*

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

Ashley McBryde - Tired of Being Happy


YOB - Our Raw Heart

Willie Nelson - Something You Get Through

Caitlyn Smith - This Town is Killing Me

Kacey Musgraves - Happy & Sad

Brent Cobb - Mornin's Gonna Come

Kelly Willis - Back Being Blue

Buffalo Gospel - When Lonesome Comes Callin'

Joshua Hedley - Weird Thought Thinker

Lori McKenna - People Get Old


Trixie Mattel - Soldier

Blackberry Smoke w/Robert Randolph - I'll Keep Ramblin'

Manchester Orchestra - No Hard Feelings


Caleb Caudle - NYC in the Rain

Old Crow Medicine Show - Look Away


Brandi Carlile - Sugartooth

Leon III - Alberta 

Tami Neilson - Good Man

Whiskey Wolves of the West - Alexandria

Ruby Boots - Break My Heart Twice

Anderson East - House is a Building

Feb 27, 2018

Courtney Patton: The Farce the Music Interview



By Kevin Broughton

Courtney Patton was in a good place, a really good one. And she had been for a little while, having settled into a marriage with her songwriting soul mate, the kind and humble Jason Eady. Having received critical acclaim for her 2015 album So This Is Life, followed up by the husband-and-wife collection of duets Something Together, Patton was finally happy and content as she set about to write, record and produce her own record for the first time.

But happy ain’t country. Fortunately, though, like the scorpion catching a ride from the frog, Patton’s nature prevails on an album full of truth, three chords at a time on What It’s Like To Fly Alone. Collaborating with heavy-hitting songwriters like Micky Braun and Larry Hooper (who along with Eady helped pen “Barabbas” on Eady’s self-titled album), she captures heartbreak, hope and a dash of redemption throughout. Her vocals combine the boldness of Kim Richey and the sweet, quavering vulnerability of Kelly Willis, while telling stories of characters both real and familiar.

Patton, with her self-effacing, hearty laugh and genuine humility, is a woman comfortable in her own skin. Her gregarious wit stands in contrast to the darkness of her songs’ characters, but the common thread is a genuineness that pervades. This is a compelling album by a woman serious about her craft.

She’s between Dallas and Houston when we connect to talk about hawks, snakes, rats, cigarette smoke and Botox.

A few years back on Jack Ingram’s Songwriters Series, you said, “I think sad songs, the way they’re produced and written, are the fabric of real country music.” It seems like you’ve really put your money where your mouth is on this album. We’ll get into some specific tracks in a minute, but how did this album come about thematically?

If I’m being 100 percent truthful, I was in a rut. I was in a writer’s rut, because I was happy for the first time in a really long time. And it’s hard to be the kind of songwriter I am when you’re happy. Happy songs are so hard for me, because you’ve really got to know how to do it without being cheesy.

And I had never co-written before, so I had made a goal after So This Is Life came out in 2015 that I was going to co-write with some of my friends and really get better at it. So I’m really proud that seven out of the 12 songs on this record are co-writes.

That being said, I couldn’t go about it this time with a theme. Every other time I’ve said, “Okay, the theme for this record is this.” This album, I just wanted to write songs and have a big pot of them to choose from. But when it came down to it and I started singing these songs, I realized they all kind of centered on the idea that we have to make ourselves happy. At the end of the day, we have to choose the person we’re with; we have to choose to get over addiction. Or whatever it is. We have to decide to make the best of what we have.

What about the title track?

I was driving home from Austin, where I’d had a really bad gig. A couple of fans had gotten up and left during the first song – and asked for their money back -- because they had driven in from out of town to see someone else -- who happened to be my husband. Jason was supposed to be there but wasn't, so Josh Grider was filling in for him. It had nothing to do with me, but it threw me off. I started forgetting lyrics and doubting myself.

I was crying the whole way home. I called Jason and told him I was going to quit: “I’m gonna go back to college and get my master’s, and teach public speaking in college. That’s what I’m want to do!” He said, “Get home, go to bed and wake up tomorrow. It’ll all be okay.”

And right as I’m wiping my tears away, this hawk shoots out and flies almost into my car. It shocked me out of my stupor and forced me to say, “Okay, focus, you’re almost home.” And it was 2:00 in the morning and I got home and wrote the whole song. And the whole point of it is at the end of the day, that hawk’s out to find a snake or a rat or whatever he can to survive, and he’s gotta do it by himself. I’m out here playing songs, singing songs that come from deep inside of me, and I’ve gotta do it by myself. I have to choose; when those two couples walk out, I have to be able to say, “I’m good enough. My songs are good enough. I can do this.” I made the choice to do this; I’ve gotta play that show and not let it affect me. I’m doing what I love, and I don’t want to go back to college right now. 

You’re a big fan of waltzes. Why? (And I have a follow-up question.)

So…I don’t know why, but all my life I’ve liked slow, sadder songs. I’ve listened to Counting Crows and Carole King and they’ve been huge influences on me. Willie Nelson…I love Merle Haggard. I just love slow songs. People have told me, “You’re in a waltz rut,” and I just can’t help it. The way that I write poetry it phrases itself in a waltz meter without my trying.

That was another challenge because I thought I was gonna end up with another slew of waltzes – and again, I’m not apologizing – but some people think it’s too much.

I asked Jason this last year, and I’m curious about your take. How does one go about writing a waltz? I mean, do you have lyrics ahead of time and bend them into a One-two-three cadence? Do you write the words with a ¾ time in your head? Or is it something else entirely?

Man, for me it just really comes out that way, in a waltz meter. I’ll have a phrase in mind and I’ll write the phrase out and as the words start coming, I realize that’s just the way it’s going to be. I really don’t try, “This is a melody, let’s write a song to it,” I never do that. I guess my heart beats in the rhythm of a waltz.

On the surface one would think, you know, you & Jason have been married for going on 4 years now, and y’all are perfect for each other – you should be in a really good place in life. But so many of these songs are dark and sad. How much of this album is autobiographical? I mean, obviously “Fourteen Years” is about the sister you lost…

Yes…

…but, for instance, “Round Mountain,”



Completely fictional.

Oh it is? Good!

Yeah! This was one of the first challenges I gave myself. I drove between two towns -- I wanna say Johnson City and Fredericksburg – maybe just past Johnson City, and it was literally just a sign: “Round Mountain.” And I looked into the history and around 1900 there was a church there, and so people started settling there. And when the church closed they all went back to Johnson City.

So I just made up a fictional story of a character named Emily, and she had an affair. And I don’t know if that kind of stuff happened back then, but I kind of wanted to go for a Chris Knight-type of song. I saw a head stone that said something like “Fare the well, Emily Bell,” and just made up a story about her, and her not wanting anybody to know she’d had a bastard baby.” I’m sure she doesn’t appreciate that, if she can hear me. (Laughs)

And she had died young, I should mention that, probably of dysentery or smallpox or something that actually happened back then. I just made it way darker. (Laughs)

Yes. Dark. And fictional.

You know, I got a Face Book message from a fan who said, “I’m kind of concerned, are you and Jason okay? The title of your album concerns me, and I don’t see any pictures of y’all together.” And I said, “You know it’s actually nice to have a private life where we don’t have to share everything we’re doing! But we’re sitting here having dinner, laughing at the absurdity of your concern. It’s a song about the music business. Calm down.” (Laughs)

You mentioned dealing with addiction; speaking from any kind of experience there?

Uh, not necessarily, but I have a grandfather who struggled with alcoholism and a brother who just celebrated two years of sobriety. But it’s hard for all of us, watching him struggle with that and not knowing what to do to help. But it’s not me; there’s nothing in me that says “I’ve gotta have that,” and then I’ve gotta have it more. I can have a drink, and I can not have a drink for three months and not think about it. Luckily it wasn’t something that was passed on to me. I just think everybody struggles with their own thing.

You’re on your way to a house show to help finance this record, and as best I can tell, your albums have all been self-released. Was this a business decision on your part to forsake getting a label and do it all on your own?

I’ve never looked for one, and I’ve never had anybody approach me. So I guess it’s mutual. I enjoy having creative control over my material and I think I’d be very disheartened if anyone told me I couldn’t do it the way I wanted to. I just think we’re very fortunate to live in Texas where you can make a living touring and driving around playing guitar. I don’t even play with a band. And I make more money doing this than I did at my day job…which wasn’t much, you know, but it’s a pride thing. At the end of the day I look at my guitar and say, “Me and you: we did that.”
And nobody told me, you know, that I had to shoot Botox in my lips…

Ha!

…or lose 40 pounds. I mean, I think of all the things – I hear horror stories from my friends in Nashville…these girls in their twenties who are gorgeous, but with these ridiculously plump lips and no wrinkles on their foreheads. And that’s just not country music! Country music is supposed to have wrinkles. And cigarette smoke and beer.

And that’s just not – I would not want anything put on me that way, because it’s frightening to me. I think they’d take one look at me – I’m a curvy girl – and say, “You don’t belong here.” So it’s never anything that’s come into the realm of the possible with me. And I’m okay with that.

Drew Kennedy produced the last album, and you did this one yourself. What was the recording process like? Did y’all lay everything down live?

I was nervous about it. But I’ve been missing a lot over the last few years. I’m a mom – going to basketball games and soccer games. But I had the opportunity to make and album in my hometown and I’ve never done that before, so I jumped on it.  So two of the guys who tour with Jason – Jerry Abrams on bass and Giovanni Carnuccio on drums – we went in the studio and tracked it live. I was in the control room and they were in the main room, and what you hear is what we did. There are no overdubs on that part.

Now when you hear Lloyd Maines, he did that from home. But the basic tracks – guitar, bass drums and vocals – we did that live, in about two and a half days. But I’m just so fortunate to have Lloyd and a bunch of other friends and people I trust who helped out. I just sent them my songs. And the thing is, they – and especially Lloyd – they listen to words, and they play things that match. A lot of musicians don’t do that. But Lloyd can hear me take a deep breath, and you can hear it correspond on the steel – inhaling.

It’s just cool things like that; I don’t think I could have asked for better people to play on it. But I was very excited to try and do it myself, and it’s been a very proud moment for me. I don’t know if I’ll ever do it again, but I loved it.  

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What It's Like to Fly Alone is available through Courtney's site, on Amazon, etc.


Dec 7, 2016

Blue Christmas: A Farce the Music Sad Christmas Playlist

 
There's nothing like a sad Christmas song to mirror the dull, cold weather outside this time of year. Sure, Christmas is a joyous time of year, but not for everybody… and if you're like me, a little gray feels just right mixed in with the green and gold and red. The Spotify playlist is below.

Elvis Presley – Blue Christmas
Joni Mitchell – River
Hayes Carll – Grateful For Christmas
James Brown – Please Come Home For Christmas
Dolly Parton – Hard Candy Christmas
Marty Stuart – Even Santa Claus Gets The Blues
Tift Merritt – I'll Be Home For Christmas
Johnny Cash – Ringing the Bells for Jim
The O'Jays – Christmas Ain't Christmas, New Years Ain't New Years Without The One You Love
Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison – In The Bleak Midwinter
Sufjan Stevens – Did I Make You Cry On Christmas Day? (Well, You Deserved It!)
Darlene Love – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Bob Schneider – Fairytale of New York
John Denver – Please, Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas)
Cat Power – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Willie Nelson – Christmas Blues
John Prine – Christmas In Prison
The Civil Wars – Tracks In the Snow
George Strait – What A Merry Christmas This Could Be
Kacey Musgraves – Present Without A Bow
Marvin Gaye – I Want To Come Home For Christmas
Corb Lund – Just Me and These Ponies (For Christmas This Year)
Jimmy Witherspoon - How I Hate to See Christmas Come Around
Asleep at the Wheel - Christmas in Jail

Jun 25, 2014

Top Albums of 2014: 1/2 Report


This will change a great deal in the next 6 months, but it gives you a good snapshot of just how strong the music world is right now - despite my usual rantings and ravings otherwise.


1. Sturgill Simpson - Metamodern Sounds in Country Music




3. Lydia Loveless - Somewhere Else


4. John Fullbright - Songs


5. Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis - Our Year


6. The War on Drugs - Lost In the Dream


7. Drive-by Truckers - English Oceans


8. Jimbo Mathus - Dark Night of the Soul


9. Fire Mountain - All Dies Down


10. Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires - Dereconstructed


11. Old 97s - Most Messed Up


12. St. Paul and the Broken Bones - Half the City


13. Kelsey Waldon - The Goldmine




15. Nikki Lane - All or Nothin'




17. Jason Eady - Daylight and Dark


18. Josh Nolan - Fair City Lights


19. First Aid Kit - Stay Gold


20. Beck - Morning Phase


21. Whiskey Myers - Early Morning Shakes


22. Willie Nelson - Band of Brothers


23. Jeff Whitehead - Bloodhound Heart


24. Cloud Nothings - Here and Nowhere Else


25. Mastodon - Once More 'Round the Sun

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