I am not a music critic. I don’t listen to nearly enough music, and I don’t know enough about music. I mostly approach it as another form of storytelling, and the songs I pick for Mondays here are mostly to complement what I am talking about on Wednesdays. So you won’t get a “Best Albums from the First Half of 2019” post from me.
But there are three albums released so far this year have really caught my attention, and I want to highlight them. Surprisingly, none of the three are Texas country. Unsurprisingly, one of the artists is from Kentucky and another from East Kentucky (otherwise known as West Virginia). It augurs well for the future of indie country that all three are debut full-length albums. The three are Too Mean To Die by Karly Driftwood, Between The Country by Ian Noe, and Seneca by Charles Wesley Godwin.
Karly Driftwood is like the bastard baby of Avril Lavigne and Chris Knight. Her songwriting cuts like broken glass all around. It embraces two grand traditions of country music—it is tongue-in-cheek and very bloody—but it rises above the fray with a maturity and self-awareness you don’t often see in artists who have been recording for a decade, let alone putting out their debut album.
Ain’t Even Close is off Driftwood’s debut album Too Mean To Die.
This is the third time I’ve highlighted Ian Noe on these pages (see here and here). He is that good—my biggest discovery since Tyler Childers, at the very least. Between The Country is one hell of a country noir anthology, with enough killings to make Chris Knight blush.
Letter To Madeline is off Noe’s debut LP album Between The Country.
Like Noe, Charles Wesley Godwin’s album is storytelling music. It is a more subdued, less bloody tale, though. More than the other two, Seneca demands and rewards paying close attention. It isn’t a toe-tapper (don’t let my selection below give you the wrong idea), but it is worth listening to again and again when you’re in the right frame of mind.
(Windmill) Keep On Turning is off Godwin’s debut album Seneca.
You can find every video featured in 2019 for Music Monday here.
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