It isn’t the college football season, it isn’t the autumnal equinox that marks the beginning of fall. It is October. Fall is the best time of the year: football, farm visits with the family, crisp air, leaf season.Continue reading “Music Monday: Better in the Fall by The Steel Woods”
The federal government made Juneteenth an official federal holiday on June 17. My new home already had made it a city holiday last month. Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19 every year, the date in 1865 when a Union general announced the Emancipation Proclamation in Galveston, Texas. Texas was the last state in the Confederacy reached by Union troops. Juneteenth has been around a long time, but celebrations have traditionally centered in African-American communities and in Texas. That’s right: Juneteenth is another great cultural export of the great state of Texas.
And celebration is the right word. Juneteenth highlights our (initial) triumph over America’s original sin and the (incomplete) culmination of the founding ideals embodied in the Declaration of Independence. In that respect, the “independence” in the official name of the federal holiday (the “Juneteenth National Independence Day”) is appropriate. The American Revolution was fought for independence from both the British and tyranny. For almost one hundred years, a large chunk of Americans only got one of those. But it is a day for everyone; we all get to live in a more perfect union, we all get freedom from collective sin.Continue reading “Music Monday: Juneteenth Edition”
What the morning called for.Continue reading “Music Monday, Flag Day Edition: Ragged Old Flag by Johnny Cash”
Last week I talked about the independent country songs that have been certified gold over the last few years. And things aren’t slowing down: since I published that post a week ago, I learned that Keep the Wolves Away by Uncle Lucius has been certified gold. (If hits on a blog post are any guide, I shouldn’t have been surprised.) Even more impressive than the songs certified gold, independent country artists are getting songs certified platinum. Leading the way are Tyler Childers and Cody Jinks. (S.O.B. by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats was also certified platinum, but I already featured it here and it is really country-adjacent.)Continue reading “Music Monday: Solid Platinum Edition”
Back when I first really started getting into independent country in the late aughts, most times I looked up an act’s touring schedule I found they didn’t make it out of Texas, Oklahoma, and maybe Arkansas. Didn’t do me much good in North Carolina, but at least the good people of Texas were keeping the lights on for these folks. And they still are, but the rise of independent country over the last decade has been extraordinary. Country radio is still putridly awful on a historic level, but radio matters less than it ever did.
He made us wait so long, and we really are not talking enough about Chris Stapleton’s new album. It is easy to take for granted the sheer quality of his admittedly limited output. But the list of artists with four albums in a row that strong is pretty much limited to the Turnpike Troubadours.
As the pandemic ever so slowly begins to recede, we could all stand to move into 2021 with a renewed commitment to the things we hold most dear. Less a New Normal than an Old Normal.
Let’s start with a little traditional music.
2020 has been year, ain’t it? No less in the music world than outside of it. The pandemic had a deep impact, robbing us musicians, shutting down live music for the better part of a year, and both delaying releases and resulting in a number of low production projects being released. Political and social unrest also seeped in, as it does. American Aquarium’s Lamentations, maybe the best album of the year, is deeply political, and Tyler Childers directly responds to the George Floyd killing and subsequent protests with Long Violent History.
Through all the turmoil of a most eventful year, music proved both respite and reaction, as it has since the first caveman slapped his thighs in rhythm.Continue reading “Music Monday: 2020 Playlist”
2020 has been a year, ain’t it?
Hal Ketchum died on the 23rd. I never dug into Ketchum’s backlist, so don’t expect any deep album cuts, but as a small town boy, his 1991 hit Small Town Saturday Night meant a lot to me. Still does, especially since I just returned home.Continue reading “Music Monday: RIP Hal Ketchum”
Billy Joe Shaver died on October 28. He was a true outlaw. I won’t go back over his outlaw resume—I covered most of it in a post last year. The outlaw country music movement Mount Rushmore only has two faces on it—Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. But Billy Joe Shaver is in the second-tier of the movement, one short step back from Willie and Waylon. He wrote most of the songs on Waylon’s landmark outlaw country album Honky Tonk Heroes. His album Old Five and Dimers Like Me, which shares four songs with Honky Tonk Heroes, is a part of outlaw country canon in its own right.Continue reading “Music Monday: RIP Billy Joe Shaver”