Country Perspective’s Best Music Reviewed in January

This is the monthly recap post of all the great music we reviewed on the blog in case you missed it or just came across our humble, little blog. So check this music out if you haven’t already.

Albums

natalie-hemby-puxico

Natalie Hemby – Puxico

Natalie Hemby delivers a really solid debut record in Puxico. I think she does well exploring the album’s main theme of small town living, which can be easy to fall into traps when writing about. She keeps a real attitude towards it, acknowledging both the real problems of them and the sentimental feelings we can hold about them too. The instrumentation is pretty good and in some cases really adding something to the song. I’m hopeful we get to hear more from her in the future, as I think Hemby is capable of delivering even better music than what she gives us on Puxico.

Digipak 4P 1CD

Dale Watson & Ray Benson – Dale & Ray

Dale & Ray is an album I instantly grew to love. Both Dale Watson and Ray Benson sound as great as ever, showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. It’s no surprise these two deliver such a thoroughly great country album, as it’s what they’ve been doing their whole careers. This is also further proof of why we need more collaboration albums like this one because when you put together two highly talented artists like Watson and Benson you get something you’ll certainly remember. Dale & Ray is a really fun album and something any country fan should love and appreciate. 

the-band-of-heathens-duende

The Band of Heathens – Duende 

Overall I find Duende to be a great album. It features rock solid instrumentation, which is a real strong suit of The Band of Heathens. The second half of this album in particular is really enjoyable and is the band shining at their best. The whole album has a great variety of both fun and thoughtful songs. There’s a real smoothness about everything this band does and this really resonates with the listener. Once again The Band of Heathens deliver great music and make Duende an album definitely worth your time.

screen-shot-2017-01-08-at-3-03-48-pm

Blackie and The Rodeo Kings – Kings and Kings

Overall, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings make the most of their talented guests, playing to each of their respective strengths and sounds, to create an authentic sounding roots album. Kings and Kings is the perfect example of why Americana is such a tough genre to define because a variety of sounds and styles all work under that umbrella. Blackie and the Rodeo Kings provide music fans with an album that epitomizes the genre, with great collaborations from the most respected singers of country and Americana music.

 

Songs

Album Review – Dale Watson and Ray Benson’s ‘Dale & Ray’

Digipak 4P 1CD

Long-time readers know one of the things I’ve constantly harped for more in country music is duo collaboration albums. So it warmed my heart to see two old legends get together and release a new album to kick off the New Year. I’m of course referring to Ameripolitan artist Dale Watson and Asleep At The Wheel frontman Ray Benson. The longtime friends and icons have been apparently plotting an album together for over 10 years, but it just kept getting put off. Well it hasn’t put off anymore, as they’ve released their new record Dale & Ray. And thank goodness they didn’t put it off anymore because this album is pure country goodness from start to finish.

The old friends open with the introductory “The Ballad of Dale and Ray.” They sing of what they love, like pot, drinking and especially great country music. I specifically love the part where they sing of loving Hank Williams accompanied by an empathic “senior.” The iconic duo pays respect to the late great Merle Haggard on “Feelin’ Haggard.” They sum up how most of us felt the moment we heard we lost Haggard last year. In addition they pay respect to his impact and mention several of his best songs. It’s quite fitting and a great song to boot. They pay tribute to another great in Buck Owens on “Cryin’ to Cryin’ Time Again.” It’s a reference of course to Owens’ classic “Crying Time.” They hit it out of the park on their cover of The Louvin Brothers’ “I Wish You Knew.” The catchy instrumentation is what made me love it on the very first listen, as the twangy fiddles and steel guitar make it instantly infectious. It isn’t the only cover, as they also tackle Willie Nelson’s “Write Your Own Songs.” The song famously takes a no-prisoners aim at the record labels and the executives behind them, as it basically says they’re all lazy assholes. This is definitely a message I can appreciate.

“Bus’ Breakdown” is the duo at their most fun, as this bluegrass ditty recalls a business deal they made where Benson sold Watson a broke down old bus. Watson and Benson offer a message of hope on “Forget About Tomorrow Today.” At one point they reference the divisive nature of the recent election, arguing politicians don’t care about us and it’s best just to focus on what’s in front of us today. “A Hangover Ago” is your classic country drinking song, complete with the thick steel guitar throughout. “Nobody’s Ever Down in Texas” has a decidedly Western Swing sound and of course pays obligatory homage to the duo’s home state. The album closes with the waltzing love song “Sittin’ and Thinkin’ About You.” The light and breezy production really gives the song a carefree feeling, at the same time harkening back to the golden days of country music.

Dale & Ray is an album I instantly grew to love. Both Dale Watson and Ray Benson sound as great as ever, showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. It’s no surprise these two deliver such a thoroughly great country album, as it’s what they’ve been doing their whole careers. This is also further proof of why we need more collaboration albums like this one because when you put together two highly talented artists like Watson and Benson you get something you’ll certainly remember. Dale & Ray is a really fun album and something any country fan should love and appreciate.

Grade: 8/10

 

Recommend ? – Yes

Album Highlights: Write Your Own Songs, Forget About Tomorrow Today, The Ballad of Dale and Ray, Feelin’ Haggard, Bus’ Breakdown

Bad Songs: None

Wallpaper: None


The Americana Airplay Chart Rundown [October 19]

Jason Isbell Something More Than Free

This is The Americana Airplay Chart Rundown. Every week I’ll post the top 40 from the Americana Airplay chart, which is obtained from AmericanaRadio.org. From the site: “The Americana Airplay chart represents the reported play of terrestrial radio stations, nationally syndicated radio shows, satellite radio and internet stations who have agreed to submit weekly spin counts. For more information please visit www.americanamusic.org.”

The goal of this feature is to track and monitor the current most popular music in the Americana realm, as I believe it’s starting to take on a bigger importance in the world of music, especially concerning the current state of country music. In addition it will bring some new names to the site that haven’t been covered here before and could lead to more Americana coverage. It’s also a place to discuss anything going on in the Americana genre at this moment. Be sure to weigh in on the chart in the comments below.

  1. Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free (Grade: 10/10)
  2. Patty Griffin – Servant of Love
  3. Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin – Lost Time
  4. Joe Ely – Panhandle Rambler
  5. Josh Ritter – Sermon On The Rocks [Up 2]
  6. The Bottle Rockets – South Broadway Athletic Club (Grade: 8.5/10) [Down 1]
  7. Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material (Grade: 9/10) [Down 1]
  8. Los Lobos – Gates Of Gold
  9. Don Henley – Cass County (Grade: 10/10) [Up 3]
  10. The Black Lillies – Hard To Please [Up 4]
  11. Turnpike Troubadours – Turnpike Troubadours (Grade: 10/10) [Down 2]
  12. The Wood Brothers – Paradise [Down 2]
  13. Nathaniel Rateliff and The Nightsweats – Nathaniel Rateliff and The Nightsweats 
  14. Ashley Monroe – The Blade (Grade: 7/10) [Down 3]
  15. The Statesboro Revue – Jukehouse Revival (Grade: 8/10) 
  16. Amy Helm – Didn’t It Rain [Up 2]
  17. Shawn Colvin – Uncovered
  18. Webb Wilder – Mississippi Moderne [Up 2]
  19. Watkins Family Hour – Watkins Family Hour [Down 3]
  20. Corb Lund – Things That Can’t Be Undone (Grade: 9/10) [New]
  21. The Dave Rawlings Machine – Nashville Obsolete [Up 4]
  22. Glen Hansard – Didn’t He Ramble [Up 4]
  23. Shemekia Copeland – Outskirts of Love [Up 1]
  24. Lucero – All A Man Should Do [Up 3]
  25. Warren Haynes (feat. Railroad Earth) – Ashes & Dust [Down 2]
  26. Langhorne Slim – The Spirit Moves [Down 7]
  27. Rayland Baxter – Imaginary Man [Up 1]
  28. Lindi Ortega – Faded Gloryville (Grade: 9/10) [Down 6]
  29. Kasey Chambers – Bittersweet (Grade: 9/10) [Down 8]
  30. Kevin Gordon – Long Gone Time [Up 2]
  31. Whitney Rose – Heartbreaker of the Year (Grade: 10/10)
  32. Jason James – Jason James [Up 3]
  33. Steep Canyon Rangers – Radio 
  34. Folk Family Festival – Water Walker [Up 4]
  35. Dale Watson – Call Me Insane (Grade: 8.5/10) [Down 5]
  36. Jonathan Tyler – Holy Smokes (Grade: 10/10) [Down 7]
  37. Daniel Romano – If I’ve Only One Time Askin’ [Down 1]
  38. The Damn Quails – Out of The Birdcage (Grade: 8.5/10) [Down 4]
  39. Chris Stapleton – Traveller (Grade: 10/10) [Down 2]
  40. Bart Crow – The Parade [New]

The Americana Airplay Chart Rundown [October 12]

Jason Isbell Something More Than Free

This is The Americana Airplay Chart Rundown. Every week I’ll post the top 40 from the Americana Airplay chart, which is obtained from AmericanaRadio.org. From the site: “The Americana Airplay chart represents the reported play of terrestrial radio stations, nationally syndicated radio shows, satellite radio and internet stations who have agreed to submit weekly spin counts. For more information please visit www.americanamusic.org.”

The goal of this feature is to track and monitor the current most popular music in the Americana realm, as I believe it’s starting to take on a bigger importance in the world of music, especially concerning the current state of country music. In addition it will bring some new names to the site that haven’t been covered here before and could lead to more Americana coverage. It’s also a place to discuss anything going on in the Americana genre at this moment. Be sure to weigh in on the chart in the comments below.

  1. Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free (Grade: 10/10)
  2. Patty Griffin – Servant of Love
  3. Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin – Lost Time
  4. Joe Ely – Panhandle Rambler [Up 1]
  5. The Bottle Rockets – South Broadway Athletic Club (Grade: 8.5/10) [Up 5]
  6. Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material (Grade: 9/10) [Down 2]
  7. Josh Ritter – Sermon On The Rocks [Up 17]
  8. Los Lobos – Gates Of Gold [Down 1]
  9. Turnpike Troubadours – Turnpike Troubadours (Grade: 10/10) [Down 3]
  10. The Wood Brothers – Paradise [Up 3]
  11. Ashley Monroe – The Blade (Grade: 7/10) [Down 3]
  12. Don Henley – Cass County (Grade: 10/10) [Up 2]
  13. Nathaniel Rateliff and The Nightsweats – Nathaniel Rateliff and The Nightsweats [Up 5] 
  14. The Black Lillies – Hard To Please [Up 6]
  15. The Statesboro Revue – Jukehouse Revival (Grade: 8/10) [Down 3]
  16. Watkins Family Hour – Watkins Family Hour [Down 7]
  17. Shawn Colvin – Uncovered
  18. Amy Helm – Didn’t It Rain [Down 7]
  19. Langhorne Slim – The Spirit Moves 
  20. Webb Wilder – Mississippi Moderne [Up 20]
  21. Kasey Chambers – Bittersweet (Grade: 9/10) [Down 6]
  22. Lindi Ortega – Faded Gloryville (Grade: 9/10) [New]
  23. Warren Haynes (feat. Railroad Earth) – Ashes & Dust [Down 7]
  24. Shemekia Copeland – Outskirts of Love [Up 1]
  25. The Dave Rawlings Machine – Nashville Obsolete [Up 13]
  26. Glen Hansard – Didn’t He Ramble [Up 10]
  27. Lucero – All A Man Should Do [Up 8]
  28. Rayland Baxter – Imaginary Man [Down 5]
  29. Jonathan Tyler – Holy Smokes (Grade: 10/10) [Down 8]
  30. Dale Watson – Call Me Insane (Grade: 8.5/10) [Down 8]
  31. Whitney Rose – Heartbreaker of the Year (Grade: 10/10) [Down 4]
  32. Kevin Gordon – Long Gone Time [Down 6]
  33. Steep Canyon Rangers – Radio [Down 4]
  34. The Damn Quails – Out of The Birdcage (Grade: 8.5/10) [Down 3]
  35. Jason James – Jason James [Down 1]
  36. Daniel Romano – If I’ve Only One Time Askin’ [Down 6]
  37. Chris Stapleton – Traveller (Grade: 10/10) [Down 9]
  38. Folk Family Festival – Water Walker [New]
  39. Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color [Down 6]
  40. Jackie Greene – Back To Birth [Down 3]

The Americana Airplay Chart Rundown [October 5]

Jason Isbell Something More Than Free

This is The Americana Airplay Chart Rundown. Every week I’ll post the top 40 from the Americana Airplay chart, which is obtained from AmericanaRadio.org. From the site: “The Americana Airplay chart represents the reported play of terrestrial radio stations, nationally syndicated radio shows, satellite radio and internet stations who have agreed to submit weekly spin counts. For more information please visit www.americanamusic.org.”

The goal of this feature is to track and monitor the current most popular music in the Americana realm, as I believe it’s starting to take on a bigger importance in the world of music, especially concerning the current state of country music. In addition it will bring some new names to the site that haven’t been covered here before and could lead to more Americana coverage. It’s also a place to discuss anything going on in the Americana genre at this moment. Be sure to weigh in on the chart in the comments below.

  1. Jason Isbell – Something More Than Free (Grade: 10/10)
  2. Patty Griffin – Servant of Love
  3. Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin – Lost Time
  4. Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material (Grade: 9/10)
  5. Joe Ely – Panhandle Rambler [Up 8]
  6. Turnpike Troubadours – Turnpike Troubadours (Grade: 10/10) [Up 2]
  7. Los Lobos – Gates Of Gold [Up 3]
  8. Ashley Monroe – The Blade (Grade: 7/10) [Down 2]
  9. Watkins Family Hour – Watkins Family Hour [Down 4]
  10. The Bottle Rockets – South Broadway Athletic Club [Up 6]
  11. Amy Helm – Didn’t It Rain [Down 4]
  12. The Statesboro Revue – Jukehouse Revival (Grade: 8/10)
  13. The Wood Brothers – Paradise [Up 6]
  14. Don Henley – Cass County (Grade: 10/10) [Up 7]
  15. Kasey Chambers – Bittersweet (Grade: 9/10) [Down 6]
  16. Warren Haynes (feat. Railroad Earth) – Ashes & Dust [Down 2]
  17. Shawn Colvin – Uncovered [Up 16]
  18. Nathaniel Rateliff and The Nightsweats – Nathaniel Rateliff and The Nightsweats [Down 7] 
  19. Langhorne Slim – The Spirit Moves [Down 4]
  20. The Black Lillies – Hard To Please [New]
  21. Jonathan Tyler – Holy Smokes (Grade: 10/10) [Down 1]
  22. Dale Watson – Call Me Insane (Grade: 8.5/10) [Down 5]
  23. Rayland Baxter – Imaginary Man [Up 1]
  24. Josh Ritter – Sermon On The Rocks [New]
  25. Shemekia Copeland – Outskirts of Love [Down 3]
  26. Kevin Gordon – Long Gone Time [Up 5]
  27. Whitney Rose – Heartbreaker of the Year (Grade: 10/10) [Up 1]
  28. Chris Stapleton – Traveller (Grade: 10/10) [Down 3]
  29. Steep Canyon Rangers – Radio
  30. Daniel Romano – If I’ve Only One Time Askin’ [Down 4]
  31. The Damn Quails – Out of The Birdcage (Grade: 8.5/10) [New]
  32. Uncle Lucius – The Light [Down 14]
  33. Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color [Down 6]
  34. Jason James – Jason James [Up 1]
  35. Lucero – All A Man Should Do [New]
  36. Glen Hansard – Didn’t He Ramble [New]
  37. Jackie Greene – Back To Birth [Down 5]
  38. The Dave Rawlings Machine – Nashville Obsolete [New]
  39. Waifs – Beautiful You [Down 9]
  40. Webb Wilder – Mississippi Moderne [New]