The Sunday Morning Paper is a weekly feature where I share news that’s occurred within the country music industry over the past week and quote from any further pieces that interest me, and may interest you.
One thing I think I’m going to learn quickly about this feature – never call it a slow news week until the very last minute. With that said …
On the Horizon:
New album releases:
- Misty River – Promises
- Lee Rocker – Gather Round
- Justin Moses – Fall Like Rain
- Willie Jones – Right Now
- Jamie Richards – The Real Deal
- Jake Hoot – Love Out of Time (EP)
- Lucero – When You Found Me
- Langhorne Slim – Strawberry Mansion
- Pony Bradshaw – Calico Jim
- David Miner – Silver Valley
- Lilly Winwood – Time Well Spent
- Alabama Slim – The Parlor
- Drayton Farley – A Hard Up Life
- Three Pairs of Boots – Long Rider
- Heath Sanders – Common Ground (EP
Impacting country radio:
- Andrew Jannakos, “Gone Too Soon”
- HARDY, “Give Heaven Some Hell”
- Parker McCollum, “To Be Loved By You”
- Shy Carter, “Good Love”
- For this week, I’ll hopefully have an album review roundup ready for the Divorcees (Drop of Blood), Pearl Charles (Magic Mirror), and Justin Moses (Fall Like Rain).
Just the Facts, Jack
Ray Wylie Hubbard made his long-awaited Austin City Limits debut with “Rock Gods,” inspired by Tom Petty’s death and featured on Hubbard’s 2020 album, Co-Starring.
Lyle Lovett & Jason Isbell have announced a livestream special, which will premiere via Lovett’s website on Friday, Jan. 29 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will be up until Feb. 4. Tickets are on sale and start at $10. (Jambase)
Ashley McBryde performed the title track off her 2020 album, Never Will, on Jimmy Kimmel.
Several festivals have already been canceled this year due to the ongoing pandemic, including C2C, an international country music festival that has postponed its events through March 11th through 13th, 2022. We’re not out of the woods yet, folks. (Rolling Stone)
In the “what the f&$!? on so many levels” category, Lady A (the band) has been invited to join the Grand Ole Opry by Darius Rucker. (Music Row)
New music is on its way from Charlie Marie, Kalie Shorr, and Whiskey Myers, though there’s nothing official as of yet.
Officially, though, new music is on its way from the Brother Brothers (Calla Lily, April 16 – Flood Magazine), Lainey Wilson (Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin, Feb. 19 – Sounds Like Nashville), Valerie June (The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers, March 12 – Exclaim), Tami Neilson (Chickaboom! Deluxe, Feb. 19 – Killbeat Music) a gospel album from Carrie Underwood (My Savior, March 26 – Wide Open Country) and Eric Church, who announced not one, not two, but three new albums (Heart, &, and Soul) slated for release in various spurts in April, though one album, &, is a fan-club-only release. The new release calendar is picking up steam, folks. (Music Row)
Speaking of Eric Church, he’s set to perform the National Anthem at this year’s Super Bowl with rising R&B star Jazmine Sullivan. (Rolling Stone)
Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton will co-host the Grand Ole Opry’s 95th Birthday Bash this Valentine’s Day on NBC. The two hour broadcast will showcase “a mix of country legends and the contemporary chart-toppers who have followed in their footsteps.” (Wide Open Country)
CMT’s Next Women of Country Class for 2021 includes Ashland Craft, Brittney Spencer, Chapel Hart, Hannah Dasher, Harper Grae, MacKenzie Porter, Priscilla Block, Reyna Roberts, Sacha and Tenille Arts. (Billboard)
Country entertainer Hugh X. Lewis has died at age 90. (Music Row)
Randy Parton, musician and brother of Dolly Parton, has died at age 67. (WKRN)
UPDATE: And a sad one, at that. James White, owner of Austin’s iconic Broken Spoke dance hall, has died. (KXAN)
Don’t Quote Me, But Maybe You’ll Enjoy These Bits and Pieces
“It’s funny how songs can be new to people, but they can seem so old to the writers … Nashville is so weird. I can write a song today that might not be a hit until 2030. Jeffrey Steele once said that most of the songs he wrote took 5 or 6 years before they hit the radio, which is crazy to think about.” – A bit from a Jameson Rodgers interview, which is easily more interesting than Rodgers’ actual music, revealing the slow-moving process that is pitching songs in Nashville. (American Songwriter)
“I had had all the fun I could stand … It got to a point where it wasn’t fun anymore, it was dangerous. So I got in recovery with Stevie Ray [Vaughan], and he was the first cat I saw that had gotten clean and sober and didn’t turn into a square. You know he didn’t end up on the 700 Club. He still had a bite and fire about him. Because of that, I got a little hope from Stevie Ray that, you know, maybe if I quit drinking and drugging up, that I wouldn’t turn into a square.” – Ray Wylie Hubbard, in an illuminating interview with the Bitter Southerner exploring his life’s journey, which, as you might expect, provides a very interesting read. (Bitter Southerner)
The Nashville Scene posted its 21st Annual Country Music Critics’ Poll, and while I’d normally include that in the other section, I figured it’d be best to post here, given that I am a voter and have a comment posted there. I’m thrilled to be a part of it alongside my Country Universe colleagues and other fantastic writers, and did my best to advocate for American Aquarium, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, Sierra Hull, Ward Davis, John Moreland, Courtney Marie Andrews, John Anderson, Ruston Kelly, Nora Jane Struthers, Lydia Loveless, and more. (Nashville Scene)
And in further shameless self-promotion, I wrote an essay for Country Universe that acts as a continuation of a previous essay I wrote, “Identity through Imaging,” and explores contrasts between femininity and masculinity through Johnny Cash, the outlaw movement, Tanya Tucker and Dolly Parton. It’s a long read, but I hope you check it out. (Country Universe)
Anything else? Let me know in the comments below!