While so many people focus on the latest hot tune or never look past the albums, how the heck could I not spend some time with some of my favorite EP’s of 2017? EP’s for those that don’t know, typically are a 3-5 or so song “mini album.” In the Texas and independent realm, they are a common release due to the budget involved with recording, mastering, and marketing music. By no means does an EP need to be a poorly sounding release and quite honestly – it never should be. I took notice of five that stood out to me in a big way.
Tommy Ash - Live Session @ The American Legion Post 82
Ms. Tommy Ash is working incredibly hard to keep the sounds of honky tonk heaven alive and well in Nashville. One of my favorite female artists and someone I came across in 2017 for the first time, Tommy satisfies my high energy country music cravings. Her stage presence comes across in her live four song release, Live Session @ The American Legion Post 82. Hinting at an upcoming album due out in 2018, her sassy Ain’t Cha Mama and Keeping the House show off her ability to keep the audience on their toes. She’s witty, she’s country and she a much needed breath of fresh air for Nashville.
The Bottom Line: Tommy’s highly anticipated 2018 album release could potentially put her on the map in a big way.
Doc West - Hard Luck Cowboy
Plain and simple, Doc West blew me away this year. I kid you not, this guy is one of the best at cowboy country I have heard and deserves every bit of your ear. He hooked me first with his 2014 release, Saddlin’ Up and I couldn’t stop listening to songs like Dancehall Dream and Gone Before She Was Mine. I recall listening thinking, “How am I just hearing of this guy now?!” When you fire up Doc West’s 2017 EP, Hard Luck Cowboy, I imagine many will have the same reaction. The way that Doc shares the cowboy ideals in each song is remarkable and takes the time to display how even the strongest shed their share of tears. The emotional Even Cowboys Cry is a must listen for those that appreciate heart and soul in their music. And I can’t forget to mention Hooked on an 8 Second Ride, which is a fabulous cover of the legend himself, Chris LeDoux.
The Bottom Line: Doc West is one of the most talent country artists out there in the Texas Scene just waiting to be heard by a larger audience.
Kenna Danielle - Like A Tumbleweed
If you are looking for another talented Texas gal to follow up the ranks, Kenna Danielle is definitely one of your best choices. I love her sound and songwriting on her latest EP which shows her continued growth from her 2014 album, Good Reputation. Comparing both works had me appreciating just how much more mature her songs have become. She still knows how to keep those dance floors packed a song like I - 35 Reasons, but has stepped up her depth quite noticeably. Take A Cross for example. Driving along the highways and you can’t help but notice all the crosses marking those who have passed away. A Cross digs into that from a personal point of view as she expresses the appreciation of a loved one’s safety that had a close call behind the wheel. I also really enjoyed Mr. Bojangles and all of the lessons shared from an older mentor.
The Bottom Line: Kenna Danielle is well on her way to becoming a force to be reckoned with in Texas country in the coming years.
John Hord -The Home You Made for Me
Sitting in my car in the driveway one night after work last Winter, I was thumbing from through Spotify and came across John Hord. His voice just drew me in and I kept playing his song, The Home You Made for Me over and over. As I kept listening through his EP, I noticed the personal Cowboy Angel – a tribute to his father who passed away from cancer. It’s a real gut punch when you sit and listen and realize what he has lost. In a recent video Kevin Fowler gives his stamp of approval. Hord’s got mine as well and is yet another young gun to keep tabs on as he works to make a name for himself in Texas and beyond.
The Bottom Line: Hord’s six song EP is a strong offering that has me believing his name will continue to emerge in the coming years as his fan base steadily grows.
Aaron McDonnell - Lucky Me
Well sure, I just talked about Aaron McDonnell a couple weeks back, but I can’t let Lucky Me go by unnoticed. McDonnell has such a talent and that incredible voice which works in harmony to keep that old-time country sound alive. He pulled me in with Life Sounds Easy on the Radio on his latest release with its catchy melody and solid message of the misconceptions of life that is given off on mainstream radio. The struggle is real for most people especially artists that tend to stay true to themselves. Success doesn’t come overnight, and it certainly isn’t as easy as sitting on the tailgate with the babes and beer. Other notable tunes are Green Side of The Grass and Honky Tonker.
The Bottom Line: For fans who appreciate the true sounds and heart of country music, Aaron McDonnell is a no-brainer to add to your library.
Just a Massachusetts guy supporting Texas and other independent country/Americana artists.
Check out my spotify for good tunes!