Brantley Gilbert’s deluxe edition of Halfway to Heaven was released back in September of 2011. Since then, members of his BG Nation have been anxiously awaiting new music. Well, the time has finally come. On December 17th, Gilbert released a new single “Bottoms Up.”
Just like much of what is considered part of “bro-country,” this is another one of those songs that will keep the masses divided. Lyrically, there is nothing here that we haven’t heard before. The track has the themes that are prevalent in many country songs today: tailgates, trucks and drinking. However, “Bottoms Up” feels different. Although the song is still a country rocker complete with electric guitar solo, it is less hard edged than a typical Brantley Gilbert tune. It feels more relaxed due in part to both the melody, especially in the verses, and his vocals. When it comes on your radio, you might have a hard time resisting. Bottoms up.
“Let’s get a toast to the good times
All y’all get your drinks up high
Everybody feeling alright
Cause tonight its bottoms up”
Brantley’s new record will be available sometime in 2014. "Bottoms Up" will impact radio on January 16th.
“I’m not sure I chose country music, in a way it kind of chose me,” explains Alabama native Glen Templeton. “I probably had ten or eleven jobs from the time I got out of high school until the time I finally moved to Nashville and I think I was probably fired ten or eleven times too! The thing is, the more jobs you lose, the less and less professional that next job becomes. That’s why I say I think country music kind of chose me. It just kept pulling on me, no matter what the cost was at the time.”
Since he felt that pull, Glen has performed on tour with George Jones, appeared on CMT, The Grand Ole Opry, The Ryman, and amassed a long list of regional performances. In September, he released a new single “Ball Cap.”
If you have satellite radio, you might be familiar with Glen’s latest single. “Ball Cap” is garnering a lot of airplay on The Highway as a Highway Find. Plain and simple, I love this song. From the initial drumbeat to the final note, “Ball Cap” will put you in a happy mood. It is a catchy as all get out, fun, get your body moving, sing along (and yes, all of those adjectives apply). It’s about a guy who loves it when his lady is “in a dress, always lookin’ her best” but can’t resist when she wears a certain “worn out hat I always wore turned back.”
“Baby got a ballcap on/Sure knows how to pull it off/Sun outta’ them hazel eyes/Lookin’ so good but she don’t try/Actin’ like its no big deal/Smilin’ underneath that bill/Lookin’ so right it’s wrong/Baby got a ball cap on”
Seriously try to resist this one.
On December 10, Zac Brown Band will release The Grohl Sessions Vol. 1 on Zac's own Southern Ground Artists label via iTunes (with physical copies to come sometime next year). The four song EP is the result of the collaboration between ZBB and musical mastermind Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters).
"Dave is a musical genius," Zac Brown has said. "It's been amazing to play with him on stage and get to spend time working with him in the studio. We are excited for fans to hear the music we've been able to create together."
The music they created is something uniquely ZBB. Sonically, there is no doubt that is a Zac Brown Band record, but one with an edge. There are glorious harmonies, killer musicianship and meaningful lyrics. However, each song definitely has a “left turn moment,” or two, when something unexpected appears.
The first song “All Right” is a bluesy country slow jam about a love now gone. “There’s no good reason why I can’t move on/I lay my heart on these tracks your train comes along/It was all alright now its all all wrong/That’s just life/It goes when your gone.” The song takes you into a distorted biting electric guitar solo that fitting follows the lyrics “The storm is gonna come/Gonna wash you away like Sodom and Gomorrah.”
“Let It Rain” opens with a trifecta of guitars, drums and harmonies. Then, at about 2:46 you take that turn with harder edged rocking drums and a Celtic sounding fiddle. The grand “ah ah ah” harmonies seem to echo the lyrics “Breathe in deep let it out/Wash the bitterness out of your mouth/There’s no room left for darkness/When you’re filled with the light.” Let the music set you free indeed.
“The Muse” was written by The Wood Brothers, who are now signed Southern Ground Artists. The song offers three settings: a bedroom, a bar and a hospital room all related by being times, either good or bad, when “thinkins’ the last thing that you wanna do.” Sweeping harmonies and a terrific tune, but probably the least adventurous of the set.
The final song, and most adventurous, is the first studio recording of "Day for the Dead," the song which ZBB performed with Grohl on this year's CMAs. At 4:47, the song has everything you would expect in a ZBB offering and then some. There are definitely a few left turns in this one, but somehow it works. You have fiddle, percussion, electric guitar and beat box harmonizing. Then it seriously (we are talking head banging here) rocks out…hard, til it swings back round again and ends with hymn-like vocals.
This new release marks Zac Brown Band's first collection of songs recorded at the Southern Ground Studios in Nashville. In addition to the traditional Zac Brown Band lineup of Zac Brown, John Driskell Hopkins, Jimmy De Martini, Coy Bowles, Chris Fryar, Clay Cook and Daniel de los Reyes, the recordings also feature guest performances by Oteill Burbridge on bass and Grohl on drums.
If you are a fan of good music, you will definitely appreciate this EP and anxiously await Vol 2.
It is always nice to go into listening to an album not knowing
what to expect and then be pleasantly surprised at how much you like it. That is the case with Parmalee’s Feels Like Carolina.
Brothers Matt and Scott Thomas, along with their
cousin Barry Knox and longtime friend Josh McSwain have been playing together for over a decade. In 2001, when they played at Corrigans, a watering hole near East Carolina University where the guys went to school, Parmalee was born. They credit Aldean and Eric Church as artists who have paved the way for their sound. They have said “If you think of
Jason Aldean as the rockin’ side of country, think of Parmalee as the country side of rock.” Throughout the album (the guys had a hand in writing every one of the 12 tracks), one can definitely hear their rock influences as well as that of bluegrass and the blues. On December 10th, the quartet will release their debut album Feels Like Carolina on Stoney Creek Records.
The album opens with “Musta Had A Good Time” which was voted #1 on Sirius XM The Highway’s “Hot 30Live” for a month and was a top 40 hit on mainstream country radio. Their second and current single “Carolina” can also be found on the album. That track is a top 10 and climbing hit.
“Day Drinkin’” the second track, will surely brighten up the cold weather doldrums with a laid back, chill vibe
reminiscent of a Kenny Chesney song. The song will turn your “happy hour right into two three or four if you
“Move” and “Dance” will have you doing both of those things as the songs successfully mix country and rock with catchy melodies.
“Close Your Eyes” is one of my favorite songs on the record. It has that easy to slip into groove similar to a FGL song or Cole Swindell’s “Chillin’ It.” “Hey baby ‘fore the night gets any older/Lean your pretty self over here a little closer/I need to hold ya/I wanna show ya/what you don’t wanna miss.” Definitely sounds like a
“Think You Oughta Know That” is a song that asks a completely relatable question: what more can a man do to convince a woman to stay and get back what they have been missing. He professes that even though times are difficult he “Ain’t going nowhere” because “Through good and bad I been here/And I ain’t going
nowhere/Baby you should know that/By now you oughta know that.”
“Back in the Day” is great up tempo song about what it was like growing up back in the day. The themes
(beer, farms, and lakes) have been done before, but this song delivers them in a nostalgic way. I can see this one going over really well live.
“My Montgomery” is a country rockin’ (with a hint of 80’s guitar) love song about being on the road far from
the one you love and yearning to be back with that person “I can’t wait to touch down/‘Cause I need her touch now/She’s where I belong/Yeah I’m going home.”
“Already Callin’ You Mine” is about an instant connection. Even though two people barely know one another,
you know that you just want to be with that person “Cause I’m already thinking about you and me getting’ out of here and taking a drive/Just slide a little closer put your head on my shoulder like this ain’t our first time/Girl don’t worry about holding on tight because I’m already callin’ you mine.” Another radio ready single.
“I’ll Bring The Music” is a high octane Jason Aldean style party song that will definitely bring the good
times up a notch and “kick this thing in gear.”
“Another Day Gone” is the perfect song to close the album. It reminds us that it takes two to make a
relationship work and even though one mistake can change a relationship, it can be fixed, even if you have to swallow your pride. “I’m gonna see if I can’t right a couple wrongs/Before I wake up with another day
There have been few releases lately that have been true records, ones that you can listen to from start to
finish. Add Parmalee’s to that list.