Video – Watch Cody Jinks Perform “I’m Not The Devil” on Conan

Rising independent country artist Cody Jinks made his national television debut last night on Conan. He performed the title track off of his latest album I’m Not The Devil. I have to say he did a pretty good job and I think it was an excellent song choice for his debut and to introduce himself to new fans. The general consensus seems to be pretty positive to the performance. It’s been a busy time for Jinks lately, who also released a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” earlier in the week. Check out his performance on Conan below:

Video: Wade Bowen Performs “When I Woke Up Today” on Conan

 

Last night I was caught up in the hoopla of watching the 2015 National Championship game in college football and watching my Ohio State Buckeyes bring home the title. Meanwhile on Conan, Red Dirt Texas country artist Wade Bowen had the great opportunity to perform on Conan. Bowen performed “When I Woke Up Today,” from his great self-titled album in 2014. It’s great to see Bowen perform on a big platform, as he deserves the largest audience possible. In a just world he would be on the radio regularly, as he is without a doubt worthy. Then again it’s probably for the best he got away from the mainstream and went back to his roots. Here’s Bowen’s comments on performing on the show:

 

What did you think of his performance?

Country Perspective’s 2014 Group of the Year Winner

Talk about tight competition! Over the course of 2014 everywhere you turned you found another talented country group. Whether they were dynamic duos or established groups, there was no shortage of candidates for this award. While it was difficult to choose the winner of this award, it ultimately came down to which group’s body of work impressed Derek and myself more. There was one group that we felt was ultimately better than the rest. The winner of Country Perspective’s Best Group of 2014 award is…

First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit

We felt First Aid Kit should win first and foremost because their album months after being released still sounds as great as the first time we heard it. We went back and re-listened to all of these nominees’ albums and this was one that just simply blew us away the most still. If it wasn’t for Sturgill Simpson’s album, First Aid Kit’s Stay Gold might have won our album of the year award. There’s not a single bad song nor “filler” song on First Aid Kit’s album. Their harmonies shine. They displayed such a wide array of emotions, from smart and witty humor to downtrodden and dark sadness. You can’t ask for anything more out of this album. As I said at the beginning of my review of Stay Gold:

Every once in a while when listening to music, you’ll get blindsided from something out of left field. This is music that is so good or bad that it just takes your breath away when it hits your ears. Today’s album is so damn good I couldn’t help but smile the entire time I listened to it. There is no use in beating around the bush. First Aid Kit’s new album Stay Gold is absolutely phenomenal. The Swedish sister duo of Johanna and Klara Söderberg are like a fresh breath of air when hearing them harmonize together. It’s so pure and raw. Throw in spot-on instrumentation and you got one hell of an album.

First Aid Kit took a step forward in terms of being noticed in America this year too. They performed on Letterman, Conan and The Ellen Degeneres Show this year, while also being recognized by prominent music outlets. Their United States tour largely sold out. They also wonderfully covered Paul Simon’s “America.” This duo will hopefully continue to be noticed more here in the states in 2015, as they deserve to be heard by the largest audience possible. This is the kind of music I want to hear when I turn on the radio. This is one of the best duos in not just country music, but all music. If you haven’t done so yet, please go listen to this group’s music. 

Congratulations to First Aid Kit on a phenomenal 2014.

(Image Source: Telegraph)

Country Perspective’s 2014 Album of the Year Winner

From the very first listen, I knew this album was something special. I remember listening to it over and over the day I got it. Critics everywhere have heaped praise upon it. You the readers overwhelmingly picked this album as the best of the year. Derek and myself agreed that this album was the best. The very first winner of Country Perspective’s Album of the Year award is Sturgill Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music.

There were a lot of great country albums throughout 2014 and yet none of them could top Sturgill’s album. I knew this was the album to beat after listening to it. There were a couple I thought were close to Sturgill’s, but they just weren’t quite as great as Metamodern Sounds in Country Music. This album established itself as unique and different from the rest with its first song, “Turtles All The Way Down.” I don’t know of another country artist who sings about reptile aliens made of light and Buddah in the same song. This song challenges religions and pushes the boundaries in terms of subject matter in country songs, yet the whole theme of it is love. Really the whole album centers around the concept of love.

The album explores these variety of subjects and goes into a psychedelic journey at times, yet most of the songs on this album sound like something from outlaw days of country music. “Long White Line” and “Life of Sin” in particular cause some listeners to liken Sturgill to Waylon Jennings, a comparison Sturgill is getting tired of hearing about. I don’t hear it and I think Sturgill is simply Sturgill. One of the biggest surprises of the album is Simpson covering When In Rome’s new wave pop song, “The Promise.” Only a talented artist like Simpson could take a cheesy love song like this and make it sound like a moving love ballad.

 

Of course the most ear-catching moment in this album is at the end, when the song “Just Let Go” begins. It’s a song about letting go of your ego and other bad traits, living life to the fullest. It’s also the prelude to the psychedelic journey of “It Ain’t All Flowers.” This song absolutely pushed the envelope on the traditional sound of country music and really all of the music Simpson has released up to this point. This unique sound is just brilliant. Mainstream country music says they’re pushing the boundaries and evolving country music by including rap and auto-tune in their songs, but that’s bullshit of course. “It Ain’t All Flowers” is a real example of pushing the boundaries of country music and evolving it into a new, unique sound. This is the kind of stuff country music needs.

Over the course of 2014 people slowly, but steadily took notice of Sturgill Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music. The album peaked at #11 on Billboard Hot Country chart, despite no label or radio pushes. As I type this out the album is in the top ten of iTunes country albums chart, right next to Luke Bryan and Eric Church. That’s absolutely insane for an artist that was hardly known at this time last year. Yes he grabbed critics’ attentions and dedicated country music fans’ attentions with his debut album High Top Mountain (also a great album), but he wasn’t getting mainstream media attention. Now he’s done interviews with the likes of New York Times and Grantland. He’s played on Conan, Letterman and The Tonight Show. He went on Joe Rogan’s podcast and gained a lot of new fans. He won the Americana Award for New Artist of the Year. He’s been nominated for a Grammy for Best Americana Album of the Year. All the while just making the music he loves.

2014 was truly the year of Sturgill Simpson. The sky is the limit for him now. But I know all of this recognition doesn’t matter to him. He just wants to do what he loves and provide for his family. That’s pretty damn cool. I think the best thing I heard about Simpson and this album was this quote from Simpson in an interview with American Songwriter:

“The last year, every show all I heard from the fans is ‘Man, I don’t even really like country music, but I love what you guys are doing.’ To me, nothing tells me that we’re achieving our goal more than hearing somebody say that. There’s a lot of people out there who hate country, especially younger people, because they’ve never actually heard what I and many people call country.”

This quote has stuck with me. This quote sums up why Sturgill Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music is not only the best country album of 2014, but one of the best albums across all of music.

Sturgill Simpson Addresses His Performance on Conan

Last week Sturgill Simpson performed “Living The Dream” on Conan last week. To view the performance, click here. After his performance, many people praised him for the great job he did on the show. I was impressed by the performance myself. But some people took offense to the song choice. You see in “Living The Dream” the word “goddamn” is used several times and Simpson sang this song completely uncensored. This apparently offended many people who thought he shouldn’t have used the word on national television and they took to his Facebook page to complain to him. Well now Simpson has a response on his Facebook page that I thought everyone should read. Take a look:

Simpson isn’t going to take anyone’s crap. As a fellow supporter of free speech, I agree. Personally I had no problem with him using “goddamn” in his performance. What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with Simpson’s decision to sing his song uncensored?