Showing posts with label Kelsey Waldon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kelsey Waldon. Show all posts

Jan 3, 2020

Kevin's Top 10 Albums of 2019




Kevin Broughton’s Top 10 Albums of 2019

I think 2019 was a really good year for songwriting and debut albums. I’d also note some consensus I had with other FTM contributors; seven of my Top 10 made the critics’ Top 10 as well.  And my list falls on a definitive Lone Star-to-Appalachia axis, with four Texans, three Kentuckians and one West Virginian winning accolades. 

1. Dalton Domino – Songs From The Exile

A change of pace, style and life converge in this brilliant follow up to 2017’s Corners. On this album it’s all about the lyrics, and the artist is brutally honest in his self-reflection. The lyrical imagery is reminiscent of Isbell’s Southeastern, and one hopes that sobriety will have a similarly positive impact on Domino’s career going forward. Even if Songs From The Exile is his upper limit, it’s a worthy career-defining effort.

I didn’t cross paths with this album till late in the year, several months after its release. It’s still in heavy rotation.

2. Vandoliers – Forever

Josh Fleming and his rowdy band of Texas rockers had their wish come true when they inked a deal with Bloodshot records, then rewarded the label’s faith in them with this tour de force. It’s an album that combines Fleming’s focused, fiery storytelling with the raw, rough-edged roots you might hear from Lucero or the Old 97s. And oh, the fiddles and horns!

3. Whiskey Myers – self-titled

It’s counterintuitive that this band self-produced a masterpiece after having two great records helmed by all-everything Dave Cobb, but that’s exactly what happened here. There’s depth and balance to this album, but ultimately it’s a Southern rock record in the very best tradition of a nearly forgotten genre. “Houston County Sky” channels The Marshall Tucker Band, and “Little More Money” and “Bad Weather” are right out of Dirty South-era Drive By Truckers. “Hammer” is a sultry, swampy reminiscence of early Black Crowes. This album is a triumph, and long-awaited.

4. Jason Hawk Harris – Love And The Dark

Bloodshot continues its hot streak of great debut records. Harris endured an unimaginable series of tragedies in the few years leading up to this album, yet managed to emerge with clarity and hopefulness. He’s a brilliant songwriter who also deserves legitimate Isbell comparisons.

5. Ian Noe – Between The Country

This guy. He writes this generation’s “Sam Stone,” about every other cut. Born for this time, in this day’s Kentucky. The sad, hard truth, from the guy who’s been milling it for a good, long while.

6. Charles Wesley Godwin – Seneca
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.

7. Kelsey Waldon – White Noise/White Lines

A tough, touring gal posts up with an album and band that shows John Prine was right to sign her to O Boy Records. It’s dreamy and trippy and wonderful, and she’s so full of confidence. Kelsey Waldon will amaze.

8. Drivin N Cryin – Live The Love Beautiful

The band’s first full-length album in a decade, it’s a top-4 or-5 in the all-time catalog. Kevn and the band are comfortable in their skin, three decades in. And Trailer was right to put “Ian MacLagan” in his top songs of the year.

9. Chris Knight – Almost Daylight

A couple of things about the fact that all the great Chris Knight songs sound alike: They all rock, they’re all true. And he only puts albums out about every five years. Wait. That’s three things. I don’t care. He’s William Freaking Callahan.

10. Flatland Cavalry – Homeland Insecurity

Building on 2016’s Humble Folks – a fantastic album – this one is well-enough produced to ask if Flatland might crack the mainstream. Maybe this could be a “crossover” act that could win converts?


Dec 30, 2019

Scott Colvin's Top Ten (12) Albums of 2019


By Scott Colvin

I really expected to write a lot in 2019.

In fact, as the calendar moved from 2018 to 2019 I had a bunch of concerts already scheduled to review. Was going to do some record reviews (and I even mentioned to Trailer that I might do a couple interviews which I really don’t enjoy doing). Yup. I had every intention of being a super productive member of Farce The Music’s dysfunctional writing family. Then it happened in late February. Stroke. Really.

To say I’ve been adjusting physically and psychologically since that day is an understatement. After reluctantly cancelling a few concert reviews in March and April I decided I was ready in mid-May to give it a shot.

Cracker. A slam dunk. Right? Wrong. I could barely take notes and thus had a notebook full of song titles and chicken scratches which I never could decipher. And that’s before I sat in front of my laptop to type which was almost impossible. You see the left hand was good, the right hand, not so much (don’t even get me started about the time I picked up my acoustic guitar). 

Have I also mentioned the doctors at this difficult time said “no more booze?” 2019 officially sucked.
Needless to say I had a lot of time to hear a lot of new music. Sober. And I did. But, whereas most years I find myself in December going through dozens of albums to bring “The List” down to a manageable top 50 before whittling it down, I really only found 11 records that I really enjoyed this year (even if my real No. 1 is only in spirit). Here goes!

Honorable Mentions: Tyler Childers, Shovels & Rope, Frank Turner, Whiskey Myers, Karly Driftwood, Erin Enderlin, Grace Potter, Alice Merton, Maggie Rogers and Meiko.

10. Jenny Lewis – On The Line  It really is too bad that the “controversy” involving Ryan Adams (producer of much of the record) was going down as this album dropped because it’s one of Jenny Lewis’s finer moments (and that includes a mostly spectacular run with Rilo Kiley). Regardless of where you stand on the Adams thing, it cannot be denied that Lewis wrote a fantastic record that was also produced by Beck, who no one has a reason to dislike.

9. Hayes Carll – What It Is It certainly was nice to see a more easy going and light-hearted Hayes Carll emerge on this album after his previous effort. 

8. Molly Tuttle – When You’re Ready There’s something very familiar about Molly Tuttle that I can’t put my finger on, but I know I like this. A lot. 

7. Dori Freeman – Every Single Star Pretty much what I said about Molly Tuttle. I like this one a little bit more so it gets the higher spot.

6. Sturgill Simpson – Sound & Fury Sturgill Simpson is like a druggier Eric Church who I also seem to dig even more as he deviates from “his norm.”

5. Randy Rogers Band – Hellbent The Randy Rogers Band has been the stalwarts of the Texas country music scene for almost 20 years. Nothing flashy here, just consistently good. Like Shiner Bock.

4. Jade Bird – Jade Bird I’m pretty sure “Lottery” is the song that every alternative band in the 90s wished they wrote. And I say that as a compliment. The whole album is just wonderful ear candy that is ridiculously infectious. 

3. Chris Shiflett – Hard Lessons Hard to believe that this would be the Dave Cobb produced album I latched onto in 2019 but so be it. The guy is a rock legend. Guitarist for punk greats No Use For A Name and Me First And The Gimme Gimmes (and this other band Fighters of Foo…or something like that) Shiflett released his fourth country album full of catchy So Cal country goodness.

2. Kelsey Waldon – White Noise/White Lines Kelsey Waldon is like Elizabeth Cook without the quirkiness. 

1. Cody Jinks – After The Fire and The Wanting – Kudos to Cody Jinks. The man delivered two stellar albums which he released in consecutive weeks AND didn’t hide behind some lame premise like one album is my rockin’ side and the other is my sensitive side…Or in lame-ass Zac Brown Band terms my crappy pop country side and my really crappy pop side.  

THE REAL No. 1 ALTHOUGH THIS ONE IS NOT OFFICIALLY ON MY LIST Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go In all reality I probably listened to this album the most. Inventive, shocking and unabashedly cool. While people in my generation were crucifying her for not knowing who Van Halen was, I was laughing because I might be able to name more of her songs than “original Van Halen” songs (despite being a huge rock/metal fan I always thought VH was kinda lame).

Dec 23, 2019

Farce the Music's Top 20 Albums of 2019

This year we welcome Megan Bledsoe and Travis Erwin in as voters. As previously, our other voters are Kevin Broughton, Jeremy Harris, Matthew Martin, Trailer, Scott Colvin, and Robert Dean. Here are our staff-voted favorite albums of 2019.

Top 20 Albums of 2019
-----------------------------
A blast of punk meets roots rock energy with big hooks, sing-along choruses, and plenty of heart and song-craft as well. Forever is proof you can make a party record without having to dumb it down. It went bell to bell as my favorite album of 2019 - a tough task with such a strong field of contenders.
~Trailer

Josh Fleming and his rowdy band of Texas rockers had their wish come true when they inked a deal with Bloodshot records, then rewarded the label’s faith in them with this tour de force. It’s an album that combines Fleming’s focused, fiery storytelling with the raw, rough-edged roots you might hear from Lucero or the Old 97s. And oh, the fiddles and horns!
~Kevin Broughton

I remember a few years ago, it seemed like there was something in the water in Alabama. There was a great new album coming out of Alabama every couple of months. But, now it seems to be that has switched to Kentucky. Ian Noe is the next in line. He has a unique voice that sounds right out of the 60s. The album rises to the crescendo of what I think of his best song, the bluesy “Meth Head.” The song is gross, memorable, and incredible. The album will only grow as the years go by.
~Matthew Martin

Just Google everyone else’s review. There’s nothing left to say.
~Jeremy Harris

I was at the show in Circleville at Tootle’s Pumpkin Inn the day after Tyler smelled the factory smells in Chillicothe prior to his Steiner’s Speakeasy performance. I spend so much time in Chillicothe I forget it smells but it does. 
~JH (was Jeremy drunk when he ranked his albums?)

The song that I couldn't turn off was "House Fire." By the time the song completely breaks down halfway through, you can practically smell the smoke. There's a reason Tyler Childers is selling out arenas right now. He's untouchable. His ability to write songs about everyday things and make them seem like they are the most important subjects is incredible.  
~MM

A popular pick on most lists, Childers turns back time by transposing me to my childhood when I would listen to country radio as I fell asleep. The title track kicks off his classic sound quite well.

From the lyrics to the vocals to the production, where it sounds as if Godwin recorded the whole album in forgotten mines and on lonely mountainsides, this is a beautiful tribute to his home state of West Virginia.
~Megan Bledsoe

The voice, the stories, the music. Everything I love about country music is on this record. This is all I ever want out of an album. Songs about forgotten places and love. Songs about dead ends and never giving up. These are songs everyone needs to hear. After first hearing this album, I could not put it down. I tried to tell everyone I know about it. I tried to see him every time he came to D.C. I became obsessed with these songs
~MM

You Look Good In Neon” is the kind of country song the world is missing more of. These guys are so damn traditional that if you say their name three times Hee Haw will appear on your television screen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkHhaIR6Gcc ~Travis Erwin

A tough, touring gal posts up with an album and band that shows John Prine was right to sign her to O Boy Records. It’s dreamy and trippy and wonderful, and she’s so full of confidence. Kelsey Waldon will amaze. ~KB

Waldon's songs are as bluesy as they are country. This is soulful country and her voice is perfectly paired with the music. This album feels like it could have been recorded in 1979 or 2019. And, that's what makes this album great- it's timeless. It will be around a long, long time. ~MM

I’m pretty sure “Lottery” is the song that every alternative band in the 90s wished they wrote. And I say that as a compliment. The whole album is just wonderful ear candy that is ridiculously infectious.  ~Scott Colvin

Everything comes together on Jade Bird’s debut record, from her incredible vocals to the angst in the writing to the variety in production and mood. An excellent, very re-playable record. ~MB

Bloodshot continues its hot streak of great debut records. Harris endured an unimaginable series of tragedies in the few years leading up to this album, yet managed to emerge with clarity and hopefulness. He’s a brilliant songwriter who also deserves legitimate Isbell comparisons. ~KB

  One of the most fascinating records of the year, focusing on the morbid and macabre and managing to do so in a thoroughly accessible and compelling way. ~MB

A change of pace, style and life converge in this brilliant follow up to 2017’s Corners. On this album it’s all about the lyrics, and the artist is brutally honest in his self-reflection. The lyrical imagery is reminiscent of Isbell’s Southeastern, and one hopes that sobriety will have a similarly positive impact on Domino’s career going forward. Even if Songs From The Exile is his upper limit, it’s a worthy career-defining effort. ~KB

Another powerful album from an artist who has ascended in skill, openness and songwriting strength with every release. ~Trailer

I hate when people put S/T instead of typing the self titled album name. Stop being lazy. Obviously any artist or band that names their album after themselves is proud of it. We don’t call Hank Jr self titled. 
~JH (dammit Jeremy)

It’s counterintuitive that this band self-produced a masterpiece after having two great records helmed by all-everything Dave Cobb, but that’s exactly what happened here. There’s depth and balance to this album, but ultimately it’s a Southern rock record in the very best tradition of a nearly forgotten genre. “Houston County Sky” channels The Marshall Tucker Band, and “Little More Money” and “Bad Weather” are right out of Dirty South-era Drive By Truckers. “Hammer” is a sultry, swampy reminiscence of early Black Crowes. This album is a triumph, and long-awaited.
~KB

An album as songful and charming as it is technically dazzling. Tuttle's voice is spellbinding, but she doesn't rely on ambiance... these are expertly written tunes. 
~Trailer

There’s something very familiar about Molly Tuttle that I can’t put my finger on, but I know I like this. A lot. ~SC

Introspective Cody Jinks is my favorite Cody Jinks. Those songs where he slows things down a bit and tries to do a little brain surgery on himself. Those are the ones I gravitate towards. So, The Wanting is my cup of tea. Every song is a dissection of Jinks's psyche. These songs are like pages out of his diary. When an artist can be honest with themselves and in turn with their audience, we will always be receptive to that because we feel that way too...we have those same doubts and worries. Hearing them from someone like Jinks makes us feel validated.  ~MM

Sturgill Simpson is like a druggier Eric Church who I also seem to dig even more as he deviates from “his norm.” ~SC

You'll swear you've heard them before, so timeless sounding are the Black Pumas. Soulful seventies inspired R&B with a modern flair. Well worth a listen for fans of Otis Redding or St. Paul and the Broken Bones.
~Trailer

Another album on almost everyone’s radar, this collection of talent did a great job of rekindling the magic of Country’s all-time best supergroup. “Wheels of Laredo” spoke the loudest to me and close the album with a hauntingly classic sound. ~TE

Caroline Spence has a beautiful voice and writes crushing, beautiful songs. In a perfect world, Spence would be a household name. She's special and we're lucky to have her songs. "Sit Here and Love Me" is one my favorite songs of the year.   ~MM

Not much to say here, just simply a gorgeous collection of songs. Some candidates for the best songwriting of 2019. ~MB

The title track is an ode to writer Jack Kerouac but beyond the literary influence it carries a deeper meaning and sets off the album on a wonderful journey of its own. “Small Engine Repair” is another wonderful song that uses the simple to create a broad metaphor. My personal favorite is “T-bone Steak and Spanish Wine,” but there simply is not a bad track among the bunch. “Highway 46” is on the surface, a where were you when Merle Haggard died song, but really it is a tip of that hat to both discovery and loss. One could argue the ghost of Johnny Cash sat in while the 72-year-old Russell laid down his tracks as the influence is undeniable so it is fitting the final and eleventh track is a cover paying homage to The Man in Black. ~TE

So much sound from just two guys. Left Lane Cruiser really hit it out of the park with this one. Just a gritty and in yer face rock album. At first glance of the cover art you expect the entire album to be an ode to left hand cigarettes but after a short listen you find yourself immersed in Left Lane Cruiser’s best album. ~JH

I reviewed this entire album right here on Farce the Music, and if anything my appreciation has grown as the year went on. One of my best friends in the world argues that Carll’s wife, Alison Moorer put out an better album, but while her release is a very good album and emotional album, it did not take me on quite the same ride. For me, few to none can match the easy way Carll disarms a listener. Writing that feels natural and familiar yet impactful. Like a stoner prophet, Hayes Carll makes me think why hasn’t anyone else said that on almost every song. For me his work is always sneaky good and emotionally satisfying. This album has such a great track progression to it. I love the opening line to “Be There.” ~TE

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Just beyond the top 20: Erin Enderlin - Faulkner County, The Raconteurs - Help Us Stranger, Joshua Ray Walker - Wish You Were Here, Michaela Anne - Desert Dove, Shane Smith & The Saints - Hail Mary, Gary Clark Jr. - This Land, Chris Shiflett - Hard Lessons, Houston Marchman - Highway Enchilada, Baroness - Gold & Grey, Randy Rogers Band - Hellbent.


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