With the end of 2017 rapidly approaching, it will soon be time to turn the discussion to the rear-view mirror and take a look back at all this year had to offer. However, some artists have still grabbed my attention and being the top dog here at Pitstop for Country, I can certainly make room as I so choose. Mr. Nate Coon (the drummer for Aaron Watson and performer on many studio recordings) shared a song a few weeks back that is a real ear catcher. It’s light, nothing particularly heavy, but it’s a fun, high energy track that had me singing along right away. The Cody Wayne Band’s Addicted is sure to be a song that brings some new fans on board to this high octane group.
Cody Johnson, Mo Pitney and William Michael Morgan work to Bridge the Nashville and Texas Country Gap
- Something that is intended to reconcile or form a connection between two things.
It’s something that is much needed in the Texas and Nashville worlds of country music if both are intend to civilly co-exist. Many of us are guilty of the occasional bashing towards Nashville and their sub-par offerings to the mainstream arena, but Nashville is home to some serious talent - not just Texas. While the latter has seen a massive boom in recent years and increased exposure, much of the artists garnered their inspiration from the same idols. It’s the recognition of those similarities that I believe brought Cody Johnson, Mo Pitney and William Michael Morgan together for their acoustic verse swap of Merle Haggard’s, Okie from Muskogee.
Phoenix, Arizona born Tommy Ash is one of the women that continues to impress the hell out of me with her stark country vocals. It’s her defiant non-conformity attitude that has allowed her to continue her rise in recognition and respect among some of the top names in true country music. Instead of following the pack in Nashville, she took a hard left and is determined to keep the old fashioned twang alive. Earlier this summer she released a series of live session videos that show off her stage presence and some highly anticipated new material.
Much like Nashville, there seems to be a disconnect with female talent in the Texas scene. Before people starting starting raising hell, no, I am not saying there is no good female talent. There is an immense level of talent in Texas that have made their presence known. Hell I cover many of them. However, the men tend to dominate in the following size and the larger venues. Artists like Sunny Sweeney and Bri Bagwell have positioned themselves as some of the larger ones in my mind. But there needs to be more that are given a chance on a larger stage. The talent is there, but where is the support? I’m not exactly sure what causes it, but there is an artist that I have been so hooked on recently after seeing a post by JR of The Red Dirt Rebel. Kenna Danielle. This girls got it and I think she’s going to make some serious noise in Texas these next few years.
Ah yes. There’s nothing like those artists that work so hard to keep the throwback sounds of country music alive and well. The crying of the fiddle and pedal steel going back and forth in perfect harmony. And what’s that you say? No mention of tailgates and tan lines? Nope. Just some bona fide country gold and honky tonk. Jeremy Steding put Aaron McDonnell on my radar earlier this year and I have really enjoyed McDonnell’s music ever since. He possess a keen ear for pulling all of the classic elements together into a neatly wrapped package without the slightest feeling of being dated. Luckily for us, he released a new album titled, Lucky Me a few weeks back.
In my opinion, collaboration albums tend to be a thrown together jumble, but sometimes they come together so perfectly, such as Deryl Dodd’s outstanding, Long Hard Ride. I have been holding albums to the standard that Dodd set earlier this year when he blew my socks off. A throw back favorite artist of mine is Tracy Lawrence and I was cautiously interested when I saw he had a new collaboration album, Good Ole Days. When I saw all of the mainstream names I flinched, afraid to even give it a whirl. Afterall, many of them who once released solid country music have resorted to egging the very genre that gave their start and initial fame.
Most kids dream of getting behind the wheel of an iconic piece of American Muscle. Ok, maybe not most. Some are still swept up in the Fast and Furious lifestyle with fart cans, big wings and cambered tires, but you get the picture. There’s just something about a high performance V8 snarling under the hood that attracts many, including myself. The dreams of the open road and living the bachelor life runs strong for quite a few years. A few women come in the picture and then one comes along that changes it all.
I have really been digging the music of country traditionalist, Shane Owens since James Dupré told me about him earlier this year. The baritone vocals of Owens are a reminder that true country is alive and well - you just have to know where to look for it. Having fought for a chance to release music for over a decade, Owens has shown a remarkable amount of drive and a commitment to his craft. When most people get pushed down once or twice, they tend to fold. Try three times. Try having your dreams crushed time after time. An offer to only record singles, despite glowing praise from numerous mainstream acts. The record label folded. Not once. How about twice? Is this guy a trooper or what? What I know is this man can tell a story, make you feel something, and really reflect on his music. Let’s talk about his latest single… 19.
My love for country music can be traced back to a few artists, and standing tall at the gateway is Alan Jackson. If there is an artist that I can say had the largest impact on my listening, it’s this man. All of those wonderful years I had, enjoying his songs on mainstream radio seem like a sad, distant memory. If only that could happen again so people today could understand the caliber of his music and the impact he made on the industry. It’s his latest single, The Older I Get that really hit me and the video that accompanies it will have any true AJ fan feeling all sorts of emotions.
Mike Ryan has continued to find his stride in the music world since I first came across his 2010 album The First One. To think just how far Ryan has come from those acoustic leaning album days is remarkable. Hearing that first album caused me to turn my sister on to his music and we have both been avid fans ever since. From his 2014 album Bad Reputation, where things became a little more amped up and polished, to co-writing the mainstream hit,Last Time For Everything, Mike Ryan has experienced it all. You know, that song that Brad Paisley himself recorded. With Ryan’s latest album, Blink You’ll Miss It now available, I found myself hooked on one song that everyone can relate to at one time or another.
Just a Massachusetts guy supporting Texas and other independent country/Americana artists.
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