Breelan Angel’s latest single, from her EP Diamond in A Rhinestone World, is the incredibly moving and relatable ballad "Nothing Cuts Like a Diamond." Written by Julia Carlson, Courtney Dashe, and Sarah Allison Turner, the song explores the deep hurt one experiences when they learn that the one they loved has moved on. Angel's solemn vocals, alongside that always emotive pedal steel, deliver the pain of emotional wounds that often reopen before healing completely.
"I didn’t know you could slam a door that’s already closed
And I didn't know you could break a heart that’s already broken
I didn’t know there was something worse than your last goodbye
Til I saw the two of you pictured there in black and white”
The single, which follows the success of "Rhinestone World" which peaked at #16, is impacting radio now.
Paul Kelly caps off a busy musical year with Death’s Dateless Night, his first-ever collaboration with another of Australia’s musical legends, Charlie Owen. Released on October 7th, Kelly has said that the album came about as the two were driving to a funeral, “Charlie and I had talked over the years about making a record together but had never got around to it. Driving to a friend’s funeral last year and discussing the songs we’d played at other such occasions, separately and together, finally gave us our frame.”
While the twelve songs in the varied collection may not be ones that initially come to mind when thinking of funeral arrangements, Kelly and Owen present them in a way that is appropriate and reverent so that they genuinely fit the mood.
Beginning with Stephen Foster’s delicate piano ballad, “Hard Times,” and continuing with Townes Van Zandt’s “To Live Is To Fly”, the project features renditions of well-known songs including a heavenly version of the Beatles “Let It Be”, and Leonard Cohen’s “Bird On A Wire” as well as songs from their homeland, such as the haunting and serene “Pretty Bird Tree” and the poignant “Good Things.” Night is rounded out with two of Kelly’s originals “Nukkanya” and the album’s affecting standout, “Meet Me In The Middle of The Air,” before closing with Hank Williams’ “Angel of Death.”
While listening to Death’s Dateless Night you might find yourself shedding a tear or two; and while they may be filled with sorrow, they will also contain some joy, as the songs remind us that while death is a sadly inevitable part of life, that life - and the people in it- should be celebrated and cherished both while living and when the time comes to move on.
The Mavericks’ new album, All Night Live Volume 1, (the first on their own imprint, Mono Mundo Recordings) out October 14th, captures the vibrant energy and passion of their live show in sixteen tracks that are distinctly “maverick.” Led by Malo’s rich tenor, these spacious, bold recordings reveal the band’s - Maul (vocals, guitar), Eddie Perez (guitarist and vocalist), Jerry Dale McFadden (keyboardist/singer) and Paul Deakin (drums) - distinctive sound, dynamic musicianship and their seemingly effortless ability to play, well, anything and everything.
From the first four hits of the cowbell on “All Night Long” there’s an undeniable joyful energy that emanates from your speakers; continuing through songs blending rock and roll swagger with Latin grooves (“All Over Again”), swing (“Stories We Could Tell”), blues (“Do You Want Me To”) and Tejano rhythms (“What You Do To Me”).
While the intensity remains high throughout the recording, things take a breather (long enough to give your legs a break from all the dancing you’re undoubtedly doing) with “Pardon Me,” but quickly pick right back up again with the big band sound of “Summertime” before rolling seamlessly into “Every Little Thing About You” and the fiery ska of “I Said I Love You.” The show is rounded out with a reserved, romantic cover of Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon,” and the epic “Come unto Me” before closing with “Waiting For The World To End” on which Malo adds in humorously “We’re waiting for the show to end.”
All Night Live is a full throttle good time that you’ll want to turn up and dance to all night long.
In addition to the regular members, the touring band on these recordings is rounded out by the “Fantastic Four”: Max Abrams (sax and percussion), Ed Friedland (upright bass), Matt Cappy (trumpet) and Michael Guerra, a multi-instrumentalist who provides the Mavericks’ irresistible Tex-Mex accordion – who more than live up to their name, adding a certain something to each track, amplifying and expanding the energy ten-fold.
The album will be released in standard cd format as well as digitally and as a gatefold double LP with a high-impact, highly touchable design and original typography by Dresser Johnson. The Mavericks will follow up this October release with a new studio album in April 2017.
New Orleans-based artist Luke Winslow-King combines blues, folk, traditional jazz, and roots rock on his latest, I’m Glad Trouble Don’t Last Always, which was released September 30th via Bloodshot Records. On the nine-song project Winslow-King mines the complex emotions of his divorce for an album that realizes the real and raw emotions of heartbreak, frustration, loss…and eventual healing.
Beginning with slide guitar (courtesy of Roberto Luti who can be heard throughout the project) in the bluesy-gospel opener "On My Way," Winslow King’s smooth, emotive vocals put forth a sort of mission statement that involves moving forward, unhindered; leaving the broken behind. He then returns to the past on the simmering "I'm Glad Trouble Don't Last Always” and “Change Your Mind” whose hook-laden dose of folk-pop happiness juxtaposes the solemn questioning of the lyrics. The blues merge with Appalachia on the doleful "Heartsick Blues" and yet, even with him clearly broken, he (hopeful or in denial) issues a plea in the sensual "Esther Please” a theme that continues, and ultimately ends, in "Watch Me Go” when he realizes he must go on without her. Grieving a divorce also includes anger and depression, which emerge in the lively "Act Like You Love Me" and the swampy, gritty "Louisiana Blues" respectively, before circling back to where we began with "No More Crying Today" which looks forward with strength and acceptance; realizing that indeed, trouble may exist for a time, but it doesn’t always (thankfully) last.
Growing up in California, Tim Bennett listened to everything from pop and country to the blues and rock. Those influences can be heard loud and clear on his latest offering, Inevitable Discovery. The eleven-song collection, all penned by Bennett, kicks off with the timely “It Must Be True” a bluesy take on believing (or not) everything you read; that's followed by the rocker “Heaven Or Hell” reminding us that we’re all in control of our own destiny. Bennett returns to the blues on the touching piano ballad “I Don’t Want To Do This Anymore”, the melancholy, harmonica accented “Garbo Blues” and the electric “Damaged Goods.” The album also includes “Wrap Your Head Around It” a lively southern gospel tune that will “fortify your soul”; the seductive “Trouble” and the gentle “Security” before closing out with “They Gave Me Whiskey.” For more information visit HERE.
“Is there anyone among us who’s never lost it?” ponders Rue Snider on the title track of his latest album Broken Window. It’s a question that Snider answers frankly on his deeply personal second solo album which chronicles the singer-songwriter’s alcoholism and journey into sobriety with songs that are both brutally honest and completely human. Via a Folk/Punk/Americana hybrid of melodies featuring fiddle, electric guitar, and organ, the twelve-song collection takes you on Snider’s journey as he is transformed from a man in darkness – destructive and depressed - to one in light, who is self-aware and hopeful.
Recalling the disenchantment of Morrissey, Snider sings in the melodious opening track “Broken Window”: “All you need is love til your heart ends up deadened” while on “Blue Skies and Telephone Polls” he employs some delightful jangly pop to convey his complex struggles. A feisty fiddle with a punk attitude appears on “Blackout” where he acknowledges “Sober only knows what the whiskey couldn’t kill/I don’t know why I always have to drink my fill?”; Snider continues to visit those dark places and indulge in women and drink on the shuffling “Denial” and “Loneliness Is Better Than Heartbreak” where the bluesy guitar and Snider’s vocals make the desolation palpable.
The haunting “You’ll Be Fine” speaks to being broken, codependent...and thirsty, while the sweeping piano accented melody on “Crowd Into Trains” is celestial - almost as if his pain is finally being lifted away. And perhaps it is, as there’s a turn to gratefulness on “Valentines Wish From A Friend”, and an acceptance of love on both the gorgeous ballad “Dive In” and fan favorite “Stories.”
Broken Window closes with the anthemic “Dead Man's Shoes” which portrays a changed man, one who wants to try harder to do better, live every moment, seek joy and die happy. It’s an uplifting ending to the lived experiences of someone who was once broken and is now putting the pieces together and seeing a bright future through the clarity of the shattered glass.
As a staff writer for Curb Records in the early 2000's, Jamie Richards penned songs cut by artists such as Hal Ketchum (“That’s What You Get For Loving Me”), Ken Melons (“Believe”), and Kevin Fowler (“Loose, Loud and Crazy"). Eventually, Richards left Nashville and found a second home in Texas where he released five albums which produced numerous hits on the Texas chart. On October 10th, Richards will release his newest project which spotlights that traditional sound for which he is known.
Latest & Greatest is a compilation of thirteen songs that features fan favorites from years past, as well as five new songs. The five new tracks, all written or co-written by Richards, include “Secondhand Smoke” which cleverly compares the girl whose memory he can't shake to the smoke that lingers in the air; the fun, funny, and fast-paced, "Real," which gives an honest take on the industry and "When You Love Somebody" which captures the feeling of being in love, and wanting to do anything for a person, perfectly. The "latest" are rounded out by the utterly emotional tale of lost love on "Saying Goodbye" and "I'm Not Drinkin'" which features Charla Corn on backing vocals. Brimming with pedal steel and fiddle coupled with traditional country themes and melodies that are all bound together by Richards' warm and amiable vocals, there's nothing not to love about the Latest & Greatest. Give it a listen. Or two. Or three.
Founded in 2012, The Warhorses made their way onto the Texas charts with their singles “Leave Me Alone” and “Heart Like Mine” from their 2014 album Regardless. Now the quintet return on October 7th with a brand new self-titled release. From the opening track, and current single, “Leaving In Your Eyes” to “Ami's Song”, a dedication to the one whose story is intertwined with his own, the ten song project deals with love in its many shapes and forms driven by heartfelt and honest lyrics, irresistible melodies, and frontman Casey Shaw's authentic delivery.
Roots rocker “Last Goodbye” relates a mutual parting, while harmonica punctuates the propulsive “Driving Blind” with its companion song “Steppin’ Away” gives the proverbial “kiss-off.” Romance blossoms on the ballad “Hear You Sing Along” and shuts down with sadness and regret on “I Drink Whisky” and “Still Be Loving Me.” The Warhorses round things out with promises (“Not Tonight”) and palpable heartbreak (“Walk Away”) taking you down that well-traveled road of loves' ups and downs that will connect with many.
Bluegrass meets rock and roll, country and jam band stylings on Greensky Bluegrass’ latest, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted which was released on September 23rd. The album showcases the quintet’s sonic diversity, musical proficiency and an impassioned, often dark, lyrical depth on eleven tracks largely dealing with the complicated emotions surrounding the dissolution of a relationship.
The album begins with looking back, looking forward, and leaving on “Miss September” where the lyrics are biting and honest, “even in your dreams you knew your limits were real” - a theme that continues in “Past My Prime” which reminisces about past dreams while still looking for the things you’ve always sought. Vulnerability and uncertainty accompany acoustic guitar and mandolin on “While Waiting” while “Run or Die” flows with a dynamic undercurrent of urgency and the somber tone of “Room Without A Roof” underscores a loneliness.
Album highlights “Hold On” (from which the album title takes its name) puts forth incredible honesty “when my eyes have awoken to the things I have broken/I’ll be gone distracted by something else” while the buoyant melody of “Merely Avoiding” juxtaposes the serious tone of the lyrics, “We had a dream of forever but now that’s just something that we heard of…These answers don’t elude me I’m merely avoiding what I feared all along what they could be” and the extended instrumental in “Living Over” gives the feeling that perhaps time has run out on a relationship, “It’s gonna take chances to keep us alive and the chance is looking slim maybe were dying or maybe were living.”
Shouted, Written Down & Quoted is rounded out by the complex internal struggles put forth in the gothic feel of “More of Me” (which concludes with fifty seconds of what sounds like a car driving away), the jaunty “Fixin’ To Ruin” and the rollicking “Take Cover” which finds the heart still reeling with feelings and questions.
Greensky Bluegrass - Anders Beck (dobro), Michael Arlen Bont (banjo), Dave Bruzza (guitar), Mike Devol (upright bass) and Paul Hoffman (mandolin) – cast aside any rulebook on Shouted, Written Down & Quoted, marrying complicated emotions, dynamic melodies and a driving energy that ebbs and flows gracefully with a few surprises along the way.
2003’s IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year, Kenny and Amanda Smith released their seventh album, unbound on September 23rd. The album contains thirteen tracks culled from some of todays’ most prolific writers including Roger Helton, Elli Rowe and Craig Market, among others.
Unraveling at a gentle pace, the collection begins with the uplifting “You Know That I Would” and continues on with the tender “Nightbird” and the spritely duo of "Unbound" and "Reaching Out." Throughout the album, 2014 IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year Amanda’s vocals remain incredibly warm and intimate while the accompanying melodies highlight skilled instrumentation that includes bass, mandolin and banjo.
The album also includes the jaunty ride of “Wherefore And Why,” and the romantic “Hills of Logan County” as well as “Preaching My Own Funeral” and “Tea Party” on which Kenny takes lead vocals. unbound is an authentic, sincere and lovingly produced collection that is a delightful listen from the first track to the last.