Spinning All The Records — February 2020

Spinning All The Records is a brand new feature on Country Perspective that is a monthly overview of all the albums reviewed in the previous month on Country Perspective to give any readers, new and old, a quick look at what I covered and to catch anything you missed. In addition I take a look ahead at what I want to cover, upcoming album releases that catch my eye and a throwback album recommendation. So without further ado…

Looking back on February 2020, it was a surprisingly great month of high-quality releases. While the Tame Impala and John Moreland albums did not surprise me in the least with being great, the releases from Khruangbin & Leon Bridges, Tennis, and Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats really caught me off-guard with how great they were and proved themselves to be some of the best music you’ll hear in 2020. I did not expect to give this many high grades so soon and I mention this because something I didn’t like about myself in the past with this blog was so many 9s and 10s being given. But when I give them now I assure you that I put a lot more thought behind it. And I definitely welcome this influx of high grades, as the music is pretty damn good. If 2020 can continue to have months like this, we’re in for one hell of a year of music.

(Click on the album titles to read the full review)


Tenille Arts — Love, Heartbreak, Everything in Between

Love, Heartbreak, & Everything in Between is a good showing from Tenille Arts. The songwriting is really smart and shines at times and the production of Kline, Grand Vogelfanger and Adam Wheeler shows they know how to pull off a great pop country sound. A couple of unnecessary cuts, some average songwriting moments and a few small cases of getting carried away with the production bring this album down enough to prevent it from being a great album. But if you’re a fan of pop country I still recommend checking out Tenille Arts, as she shows a lot of promise and talent on Love, Heartbreak, & Everything in Between.

Pet Shop Boys — Hotspot

The highs the Pet Shop Boys deliver on Hotspot are really fun and are definitely memorable, while the lows are completely forgettable. It’s a bit of a roller coaster listen, but if you’re a fan of synth pop it’s worth listening to it a few times and picking out your favorite songs to go back to. But the album taken as a whole is just decent and leaves more consistency and cohesiveness to be desired.

Khruangbin & Leon Bridges — Texas Sun

Texas Sun is a truly brilliant little collection of music. As I said in the beginning, man I wish this was a full album instead of an EP. Khruangbin and Leon Bridges go together so well and come together to create a vibrant and colorful set of songs. It’s a true homage to the many sounds of Texas music that is fresh and invigorating. Do yourself a favor and listen to this exciting EP.

The Cadillac Three — COUNTRY FUZZ

Fun is a word I repeat over and over in this review. And it’s for good reason: that’s the ultimate appeal of The Cadillac Three and their album COUNTRY FUZZ. It’s entertaining country rock that aims to help you have a good time and forget your worries. The lyrics aren’t deep, and they aren’t meant to be; they’re meant to singalong with and have fun. So while this album may not be one for the record books or album of the year lists, it is an album that entertains and it’s exactly what you’re looking for when you just want to listen to something with loud guitars and big hooks.

Denzel Curry & Kenny Beats — UNLOCKED

Curry brings so much aggressive passion and rawness in his voice, along with his choice of diction in his delivery makes what would be an average banger into something that’s truly memorable. And this big reason is why UNLOCKED is the first great hip-hop album I’ve heard in 2020. While it doesn’t quite reach the heights of ZUU (an album I’m ashamed I omitted from my best of 2019 list), this is yet another high-quality project from Denzel Curry (and another great one from Kenny Beats too).

Tennis — Swimmer

With Swimmer, Tennis delivers an excellent album about love. It’s quickly became one of my favorite love albums. And this isn’t rash hyperbole on my end. I’m being serious when I say that this album truly delivers a heartfelt, genuine and truly touching take on true love. Love albums and love song are an absolute dime-a-dozen. They’re churned out every day. Most only focus on the surface level of love and the flip-side with heartbreak. What they don’t ever seem to focus on are the little things, the nitty gritty of relationships that aren’t easy to convey in an informative and interesting way. But that takes brilliant songwriting with equally high-quality production that aids it. Tennis delivers this.

Tame Impala — The Slow Rush

The Slow Rush is another great album from Tame Impala without a doubt. But it’s also hard not to see this album is a few missteps away from equaling the brilliance of Currents. It lacks focus in a few spots and there’s one song that just isn’t needed. But this is also a bit nitpicking admittedly. The production from Parker is once again deeply rich and textured, engulfing you with it’s fantastic details. And the songwriting mostly hits. So ultimately I can say this is one of the best albums you’ll hear in 2020.

John Moreland — LP5

LP5 is another fantastic album from John Moreland. He’s always been a great songwriter since his first album, but it’s the recognition to grow and experiment with his sound starting with his last album that’s taken him to a whole new level in my mind. Too many singer-songwriter artists think they have to stick to a stripped-down, folk-y sound for their lyrics to be taken seriously. At the same time, drum machines are dismissed as “not real instruments” used by pop stars. Well with LP5, Moreland proves both these claims to be moot.


Looking Ahead to March 2020…

As of this moment, there’s a few albums I’m heavily considering reviewing that were released in February. Those would be the new albums from Nathaniel Rateliff, The Steeldrivers and Hailey Whitters. As far as other releases I may have not covered, they simply didn’t catch my eye enough to review them or I feel I didn’t have enough thoughts for a review. But I most likely did listen to it (I listen to a lot more albums than I review), so feel free to hit me up in the comments and ask me about those, as I’m happy to answer with my thoughts on them. I want this monthly post to serve as not only a monthly review, but a place to cover anything “in the cracks” so to speak.

As far as upcoming new releases in March 2020, there’s definitely a few I want to highlight that catch my eye more than others. I’m curious to hear the new live album from Cream, Goodbye Tour – Live 1968, coming out on March 6. Usually I don’t like to review live albums, but I wanted to throw this out there for those into classic rock. Caitlyn Smith will be dropping her new album Supernova on March 13. I loved the previous album Starfire and this new one appears to be pushing the sonic envelope even more, so I’m excited about that one. The enigmatic Jay Electronica is rumored to be finally dropping a new album on March 18. We’ll see, as you can never be sure with him.

The Weeknd just recently announced a release date for his new album After Hours. So far I’ve enjoyed the singles I’ve heard from it and for the most part I liked the previous album Starboy, but I found that album to be a bit too long for my liking. I’m glad to see this one is four songs shorter. This will be dropping on March 20. Finally, Ingrid Andress will be releasing her debut album Lady Like on March 27. I find her voice and style of pop country to be promising. Her songwriting comes off as both catchy and sharp (the song “Both” in particular impresses me). So I’m curious to hear what she brings to the table with her album.


A Throwback Album I’ve Been Listening To That I Recommend

Travis Tritt’s Country Club

If you want some fun and “drive” in your country, Travis Tritt and this album in particular are a great place to start. It’s amazing to me how underrated Tritt is when looking back at 90s country, as he undoubtedly released some of the best. This album in particular showed you could make a stone-cold country album that still incorporates elements from other genres. Most importantly, Tritt just has the “it” voice for country music.

EP Review — Khruangbin & Leon Bridges’ ‘Texas Sun’

Khruangbin and Leon Bridges are not exactly two acts on paper you would picture teaming up together to make music. The former is a modern instrumental trio who really don’t fit into a particular genre or sound, while the latter is a soulful artist who sits comfortably within throwback R&B. But they both hail from Texas and through touring came to know each other, leading to the EP Texas Sun. And I’m just going to throw out my biggest complaint right up front: why is there only four songs? I want to hear more!

The opening title track instantly puts you in mind of driving idly down a hot Texas highway in the middle of summer with it’s warm guitars, rhythmic drums and the subtle chimes floating in the background. Of course I also love the introduction of the pedal steel guitar mid-way through, as you can’t forget country influences when it comes to Texas. Bridges proves too that his voice can easily shine beyond soulful sounds, as he can pretty much fit his dynamic voice into any sound.

“Midnight” is about Bridges recalling a passionate romance of days past and I love all the little details of the relationship that Bridges packs into the song. The chorus in particular is just fantastic, not just for all the details (the midnight black of the car, the leather seats, the passion), but the way Bridges delivers the lines so smoothly that matches both the mood and lyrics. Throw in the swanky guitar tones of Khruangbin and I feel like I’m right there watching the scenes of this song play out. This is the first song of 2020 that has “wowed” me.

“C-Side” is another love song oozing with passion and charisma in both the lyrics and instrumentation. In particular I enjoy how the instrumentation in this song has this sweaty, swaggering, jungle-like vibe. Being an instrumental band, it’s not surprising how great Khruangbin is at creating a particular atmosphere for the listener. Bridges always nails the vibe on these type of love songs in his delivery with an almost flawless sense (listen to his latest album Good Thing to hear it for yourself).

The EP closes with “Conversion,” an indie rock meets gospel song about a man having a come to Jesus moment with a woman in their relationship. It’s about seeking forgiveness and learning the errors of your ways to appreciate the love you have. After the Saturday night feel of the previous two songs, this is the Sunday morning response and these two nail the other side of the coin too. The reflective nature, appropriately driven by the organ, tugs at the heartstrings and creates this genuine sense of remorse and redemption within as you listen. It’s what truly great gospel songs do.

Texas Sun is a truly brilliant little collection of music. As I said in the beginning, man I wish this was a full album instead of an EP. Khruangbin and Leon Bridges go together so well and come together to create a vibrant and colorful set of songs. It’s a true homage to the many sounds of Texas music that is fresh and invigorating. Do yourself a favor and listen to this exciting EP.

Grade: 10/10

The Americana Airplay Chart Rundown [September 28]

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 [Up 1]
  3. Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin – Lost Time [Up 1]
  4. Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material (Grade: 9/10) [Down 2]
  5. Watkins Family Hour – Watkins Family Hour
  6. Ashley Monroe – The Blade (Grade: 7/10)
  7. Amy Helm – Didn’t It Rain 
  8. Turnpike Troubadours – Turnpike Troubadours (Grade: 10/10) [Up 3]
  9. Kasey Chambers – Bittersweet (Grade: 9/10) [Down 1]
  10. Los Lobos – Gates Of Gold [Up 5]
  11. Nathaniel Rateliff and The Nightsweats – Nathaniel Rateliff and The Nightsweats [Up 3]
  12. The Statesboro Revue – Jukehouse Revival (Grade: 8/10) 
  13. Joe Ely – Panhandle Rambler [New]
  14. Warren Haynes (feat. Railroad Earth) – Ashes & Dust [Down 5]
  15. Langhorne Slim – The Spirit Moves [Down 2]
  16. The Bottle Rockets – South Broadway Athletic Club [New]
  17. Dale Watson – Call Me Insane (Grade: 8.5/10) [Down 7]
  18. Uncle Lucius – The Light [Down 2]
  19. Wood Brothers – Paradise [New]
  20. Jonathan Tyler – Holy Smokes (Grade: 10/10) [Down 2]
  21. Don Henley – Cass County [Up 9]
  22. Shemekia Copeland – Outskirts of Love [Up 10]
  23. Richard Thompson – Still [Down 6]
  24. Rayland Baxter – Imaginary Man [Up 1]
  25. Chris Stapleton – Traveller (Grade: 10/10) [Down 6]
  26. Daniel Romano – If I’ve Only One Time Askin’ [Down 6]
  27. Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color [Down 4]
  28. Whitney Rose – Heartbreaker of the Year (Grade: 10/10) [Down 4]
  29. Steep Canyon Rangers – Radio
  30. Waifs – Beautiful You [Up 1]
  31. Kevin Gordon – Long Gone Time [Up 3]
  32. Jackie Greene – Back To Birth [Down 6]
  33. Shawn Colvin – Uncovered [New]
  34. The Deslondes – The Deslondes (Grade: 8.5/10) [Down 6]
  35. Jason James – Jason James [Up 5]
  36. Leon Bridges – Coming Home [Down 3]
  37. Sam Outlaw – Angeleno (Grade: 10/10) [Down 1]
  38. Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell – The Traveling Kind (Grade: 9/10) [Down 11]
  39. Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard – Django and Jimmie (Grade: 9/10) [Down 4]
  40. Sonny Landreth – Bound By The Blues [Down 18]

The Americana Airplay Chart Rundown [September 21]

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. Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material (Grade: 9/10)
  3. Patty Griffin – Servant of Love [Up 10]
  4. Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin – Lost Time [Up 2]
  5. Watkins Family Hour – Watkins Family Hour [Down 2] 
  6. Ashley Monroe – The Blade (Grade: 7/10) [Down 1]
  7. Amy Helm – Didn’t It Rain [Down 3]
  8. Kasey Chambers – Bittersweet (Grade: 9/10) [Down 1]
  9. Warren Haynes (feat. Railroad Earth) – Ashes & Dust [Down 1]
  10. Dale Watson – Call Me Insane (Grade: 8.5/10) [Down 1]
  11. Turnpike Troubadours – Turnpike Troubadours (Grade: 10/10) [Up 1]
  12. The Statesboro Revue – Jukehouse Revival (Grade: 8/10) [Down 2]
  13. Langhorne Slim – The Spirit Moves [Down 2]
  14. Nathaniel Rateliff and The Nightsweats – Nathaniel Rateliff and The Nightsweats [Up 6]
  15. Los Lobos – Gates Of Gold [Up 19]
  16. Uncle Lucius – The Light [Down 2]
  17. Richard Thompson – Still [Down 2]
  18. Jonathan Tyler – Holy Smokes (Grade: 10/10) [Down 1]
  19. Chris Stapleton – Traveller (Grade: 10/10)
  20. Daniel Romano – If I’ve Only One Time Askin’ [Down 4]
  21. Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams – Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams [Down 3]
  22. Sonny Landreth – Bound By The Blues [Down 1]
  23. Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color 
  24. Whitney Rose – Heartbreaker of the Year (Grade: 10/10) [Up 5]
  25. Rayland Baxter – Imaginary Man [Up 7]
  26. Jackie Greene – Back To Birth [Up 1]
  27. Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell – The Traveling Kind (Grade: 9/10) [Down 5]
  28. The Deslondes – The Deslondes (Grade: 8.5/10) [Down 3]
  29. Steep Canyon Rangers – Radio [Down 1]
  30. Don Henley – Cass County [Up 1]
  31. Waifs – Beautiful You [Down 1]
  32. Shemekia Copeland – Outskirts of Love [Down 6]
  33. Leon Bridges – Coming Home [Up 3]
  34. Kevin Gordon – Long Gone Time [New]
  35. Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard – Django and Jimmie (Grade: 9/10) [Down 11]
  36. Sam Outlaw – Angeleno (Grade: 10/10) [Up 1]
  37. Underhill Rose – The Great Tomorrow [Down 2]
  38. Eilen Jewell – Sundown Over Ghost Town [Down 5]
  39. Whitey Morgan & The 78s – Sonic Ranch (Grade: 10/10) [Re-Entered This Week]
  40. Jason James – Jason James [Down 2]

The Americana Airplay Chart Rundown [September 14]

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. Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material (Grade: 9/10)
  3. Watkins Family Hour – Watkins Family Hour 
  4. Amy Helm – Didn’t It Rain 
  5. Ashley Monroe – The Blade (Grade: 7/10)
  6. Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin – Lost Time [Up 3]
  7. Kasey Chambers – Bittersweet (Grade: 9/10) [Down 1]
  8. Warren Haynes (feat. Railroad Earth) – Ashes & Dust [Down 1]
  9. Dale Watson – Call Me Insane (Grade: 8.5/10) [Down 1]
  10. The Statesboro Revue – Jukehouse Revival (Grade: 8/10) [Up 5]
  11. Langhorne Slim – The Spirit Moves 
  12. Turnpike Troubadours – Turnpike Troubadours [Up 24]
  13. Patty Griffin – Servant of Love [New]
  14. Uncle Lucius – The Light [Down 1]
  15. Richard Thompson – Still [Down 5]
  16. Daniel Romano – If I’ve Only One Time Askin’ [Up 3]
  17. Jonathan Tyler – Holy Smokes (Grade: 10/10) [Up 1]
  18. Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams – Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams [Down 6]
  19. Chris Stapleton – Traveller (Grade: 10/10) [Down 2]
  20. Nathaniel Rateliff and The Nightsweats – Nathaniel Rateliff and The Nightsweats [Up 1]
  21. Sonny Landreth – Bound By The Blues [Down 1]
  22. Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell – The Traveling Kind (Grade: 9/10) [Down 6]
  23. Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color [Down 1]
  24. Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard – Django and Jimmie (Grade: 9/10) [Down 10]
  25. The Deslondes – The Deslondes (Grade: 8.5/10) [Down 2]
  26. Shemekia Copeland – Outskirts of Love [Up 9]
  27. Jackie Greene – Back To Birth [Down 1]
  28. Steep Canyon Rangers – Radio [Down 1]
  29. Whitney Rose – Heartbreaker of the Year (Grade: 10/10) [Up 11]
  30. Waifs – Beautiful You [Down 6]
  31. Don Henley – Cass County [Up 3]
  32. Rayland Baxter – Imaginary Man [Up 6]
  33. Eilen Jewell – Sundown Over Ghost Town [Down 8]
  34. Los Lobos – Gates Of Gold [New]
  35. Underhill Rose – The Great Tomorrow [Down 7]
  36. Leon Bridges – Coming Home [Down 6]
  37. Sam Outlaw – Angeleno (Grade: 10/10) [Down 8]
  38. Jason James – Jason James [New]
  39. Ray Wylie Hubbard – The Ruffian’s Misfortune [Down 8]
  40. Samantha Crain – Under Branch & Thorn & Tree [Down 3]