The Sunday Morning Paper: If You’re Gonna Play in Texas – Marfa, Texas, That is (March 7, 2021)

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. Click on the hyperlinks provided at the end of each blurb to find out more, and feel free to let me know if there’s anything I’ve missed.

This week is more news-heavy than anything else, and if you even remotely like country music, you know the big story for this week. This has Impractical Jokers “we’re making a sandwich” levels of energy to it, I tell you. Anyway, onward!

On the Horizon:

New album releases:

March 5

  • Charles Ellsworth – Honeysuckle Summer
  • Jesse Brewster – The Lonely Pines
  • Kristian Montgomery – Prince of Poverty
  • Johnny Ironsights – Murder Mountain
  • Brandy Clark – Your Life is a Record (Deluxe)
  • Jimbo Mathus and Andrew Bird – These 13
  • Garrison Starr – Girl I Used to Be
  • Jason Ringenberg – Rhinestoned
  • Judith Hill – Baby, I’m Hollywood!

March 12

  • Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno – Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno
  • Israel Nash – Topaz
  • Matt and Madeline Shugert – The Aim Was Song
  • Lake Street Dive – Obviously
  • Melody Duncan – Wolf Song
  • Valerie June – The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers
  • Serena Ryder – The Art of Falling Apart
  • Brent Funkhouser – The Next Karaoke Star

Impacting country radio:

March 8

  • Heath Sanders, “Old School’s In”
  • Lily Rose, “Villian”
  • Luke Combs, “Forever After All”

Review log:

I admit to being a little behind on this week’s releases, but I’m thinking of taking it easy this week to focus on a fun collaboration as well as my biggest project to date. Next week, though, I’m definitely interested in the new Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno album as well as Valerie June’s latest.

Just the Facts, Jack

Nothing confirmed yet, but worth noting that both Dierks Bentley and Jake Owen are back in the studio, as is Luke Combs, from what it seems. On the note of what is confirmed, though …

After all three artists teased it on social media this past week, it’s official: Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram, and Jon Randall will release a new collaborative effort, The Marfa Tapes, on May 7, featuring redone versions of Lambert and Ingram’s own “Tin Man” and the former artist’s “Tequila Does.” Lambert says, in relation to how the record was made, “We took two microphones into the desert and sat on a ranch and drank tequila and wrote country songs and sang ‘em into the microphone. That’s exactly how it is.” Also worth noting, the Steel Woods will release its third record, All of Your Stones, on May 14. This news comes after the passing of band co-founder Jason “Rowdy” Cope in January of this year. Another surprisingly interesting project announced is Thomas Rhett’s Country Again Side A – a self-described “back to roots” project out April 30.

CMA Fest is canceled for 2021, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (Music Row)

Nat Kingsley, wife of late country radio icon Bob Kingsley, who passed in October 2019, has donated their personal archival collection spanning over six decades to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s First Library and Archive. It includes over 700 shows and 3,200 interviews conducted, and is a great way to honor Bob’s legacy. (Music Row)

Waylon Payne has a new music video for “Sins of the Father,” featured on his 2020 album, Blue Eyes, the Harlot, the Queer, the Pusher & Me. (People)

Sadly, alt-country band the Bottle Rockets has called it quits. In a statement from the band on Facebook, “It’s with a sad heart that we announce this uneasy news: Brian has decided to retire from the Bottle Rockets. Although he’s in good health, he’s been feeling the passage of time and has lost interest in anything that distracts from or takes him away from home. Unfortunately this means the Bottle Rockets can’t continue as we know it.”

Facebook music video streams will count towards the Hot 100 and other charts beginning on the charts dated March 27. Welcome to the future, I guess. (Billboard)

“Dolly gets a dose of her medicine,” because that description of Dolly Parton receiving the COVID vaccine she helped fund just says it perfectly, really. (NPR)

Now, Don’t Quote Me, But Maybe You’ll Enjoy These Bits and Pieces

“[Patsy] Cline was a victim of childhood sexual abuse who also survived a pre-teen bout with a throat infection and rheumatic fever. In Ellis Nassour’s 1989-published biography Honky Tonk Angel: The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline, Cline’s time spent in an oxygen tent in recover at the age of 13 is credited with honing her voice into one that ‘boomed like Kate Smith’s.’ Simply put, in an archival interview, she says, ‘my return to the living after several days launched me as a singer.’ ” – Marcus K. Dowling, in a fascinating read on Patsy Cline’s life that leaves no stone unturned. (CMT)

“I’ve never had a record that I was as excited to play live; because there’s a real challenge in it, with the strings and horns, of how do we capture as much of that live as possible? With my bandleader, we had figured that out and we were getting ready to rehearse, then, boom, this happened. Everything moved almost a year for me. I was supposed to start a tour March 28th. That moved to the fall the moved again to next March. It’ll just be a year. When I get kind of sad about it, I remind myself that everybody who put out a record is in the same spot, and there are people dealing with losing their lives or losing their loved ones, so [they’re] really kind of champagne problems.” – Brandy Clark, on the deluxe release of her 2020 Your Life is a Record album, released around this time last year, and the frustrations that come with releasing new music in a pandemic. (Country Queer, by Olivia Ladd)

“‘I’m a grown woman and I’m so freakin’ happy that some days I have to literally go back to those darker days just to have something to pull from in the writing room,’ she [Whitney Duncan] says loudly. ‘It’s easier now. I am way more confident. I have no filter. I just say what I feel.’ ” – 2000s country singer-songwriter Whitney Duncan, on how her new music has rejuvenated her spirits. (American Songwriter, by Tricia Despres)

No, seriously. That’s it, folks. What else did I miss? Let me know!

2 thoughts on “The Sunday Morning Paper: If You’re Gonna Play in Texas – Marfa, Texas, That is (March 7, 2021)

  1. I’m saddened to hear the news about The Bottle Rockets calling it a day. What a great and underrated band! By the way, please correct your spelling typo of one of my favorite artists of all time – I’m hugely excited to check out his new album – none other than Jason Ringenberg! I always look forward to reading the Sunday Morning Paper! Thanks so much, Zachary!


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