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.
On the Horizon
New album releases:
- 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
- Rylan Brooks – If Wishes Were Horses
- Daniel Young – The World Ain’t Gonna Wait
- White Rose Motor Oil – Country Pop
- Ledfoot – Black Valley
- Them Dirty Dimes – In Gold We Trust
- VOLK – Cashville
- Steve Earle & the Dukes – J.T. (physical release)
- Loretta Lynn – Still Woman Enough
- Janet Simpson – Safe Distance
- Morgan Wade – Reckless
- Wild & Blue – Restless
- Melissa Carper – Daddy’s Country Gold
- Austin Meade – Black Sheep
- Corb Lund – Agricultural Tragic: Deluxe
Impacting country radio:
- Kenny Chesney, “Knowing You”
- Lady A, “Like a Lady”
I definitely want to review the newest Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno album, and I’ll let my excitement for that foreshadow my thoughts on it. Otherwise, I may reserve Valerie June’s latest album for a future review roundup. Overall, I’m still aiming to take it easy as I work on other projects. Stay tuned, folks!
Just the Facts, Jack
In just wonderful news, Mickey Guyton will be a co-host at this year’s ACM Awards alongside Keith Urban. (CMT)
The downside of only posting this once a week and something being announced the very next day: Emily Scott Robinson has announced she’s working on a new album, slated for release this year. She reportedly already funded the album in less than 24 hours, but if you’d like to still join the Kickstarter, click here.
Rissi Palmer will mark her first Grand Ole Opry appearance in 13 years on Friday, March 19. (CMT)
The Guy Clark documentary Without Getting Killed or Caught, which chronicles Clark’s life and his relationship to wife Susanna and fellow musician Townes Van Zandt, is set to make its virtual world premiere at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival on March 18 at 10 a.m. CT. Thankfully, a number of additional screenings have been announced and will be priced at $25. For more information on a list of screenings and how to purchase tickets, click here.
Reba McEntire released an exclusive concert on YouTube centered around her 2010 The Woman I Am album on March 12. The concert was originally filmed in 2011 at the Cajundome in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Sturgill Simpson has reinstated his “Dick Daddy Survival School” as part of a fundraising campaign to aid flood relief in Kentucky, with 100% of the proceeds being donated to Aspire Appalachia in Jackson, Kentucky. In a statement, he said, “The Appalachian region of Southeastern Kentucky was ravaged by severe flooding this past Monday. My hometown of Jackson seemingly suffered the worst of it, especially the immediate areas around Panbowl Lake and Lakeside where I lived as a child … I am now asking all of you that are able to respectfully blow that number out of the water [in reference to another fundraising campaign last June] and help a town I care deeply about put itself back together.” To donate, click either here to be taken to Sturgill Simpson’s shop, or click here to donate directly to the cause.
Country music will receive some nice representation at tonight’s Grammy Awards, with Miranda Lambert, Mickey Guyton, Brandi Carlile, and Maren Morris set to perform at 8 p.m., ET on CBS (also available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+). (Music Row)
I don’t typically like dabbling in lifestyle news, but it’s worth noting that Evan Felker (of the Turnpike Troubadours, of course) and his wife Staci are not only back together, but have welcomed a baby girl. Good to see him sober and everyone involved in happier spirits now. (The Boot)
Josh Turner will release a deluxe edition of his 2006 album Your Man for its 15th anniversary on June 25, featuring three bonus live recordings: “Your Man,” “Would You Go With Me,” and “Me and God.” (Music Row)
In the what-the-f&%$ category, Matthew McConaughey has announced “We’re Texas,” a virtual benefit concert airing March 21 at 7 p.m. CST on YouTube, with donations and proceeds benefiting multiple organizations. George Strait, Willie Nelson, and Miranda Lambert are just a few of the names that have been announced. (KXXV)
Singer-songwriter Travis Meadows posted an update to his Patreon through a video regarding a health scare, including a week-long ordeal of trauma with his neck, tongue, and throat, leaving him in notable agony. It’s a heavy update and video with many alarming notes on what he went through, but the good news is that he’s slowly recovering.
Don’t Quote Me, But Maybe You’ll Enjoy These Bits and Pieces
“If American pop culture defines the world’s zeitgeist, then country music is as much our most-defining sound as it is the globe’s most-defining sound. Country’s songs are the tunes of the United States’ global immigrants given an Afro-Caribbean back-beat. Thus, when a tiny woman from rural Appalachia burrows deep into that region’s core sensibilities and attaches them to distinct, universal emotions like love, jealousy, and melancholy, amazing things occur.” – Marcus K. Dowling, in an introduction to an excellent piece on Dolly Parton, chronicling her life and her career. (CMT)
“It’s not like country radio is jumping at the chance to support women. A white friend of mine signed to a major label was told by a radio promo person that country radio will not play Black people. So I realized that I’m not going to get on any kind of country station. And I’m certainly not going to do that by falling in line and shutting up and singing. I’ve made peace with that. I may not ever have some massive career, but I’m going to use the influence I have to open those doors for the future generation. And for young Black and Brown girls who have dreams that people will never consider, I’ll consider them.” – Mickey Guyton, on the influence her 2020 hit “Black Like Me” has had on on both her and the industry in general. (Billboard, by Heran Mamo)
“At the time, [Darius Rucker] had a day job as a record store clerk, but late nights playing with Hootie & the Blowfish on the club circuit often made him late for work … ‘I’ll never forget this,’ Rucker continues. One day, he was scheduled to work at 1 p.m., but late that morning, he says, ‘I was flipping through the [TV] channels, and I stopped on CMT. Foster & Lloyd came on with ‘Crazy Over You.’ I was going, ‘Who the fuck is this?’ I got up and ran to work. It’s 12, and when I walk in, you could see shocked faces because I was an hour early for work.’ ” – Darius Rucker, in a great interview with American Songwriter about his early days with Hootie & the Blowfish and the path that led him to a solo country music career. Worth noting: He’s planning a sixth studio album for release later this year, likely to be titled Carolyn’s Boy. (American Songwriter, by Katherine Yeske Taylor)
In sad news, Country Perspective is once again shuttering, as Josh has decided to pursue an opportunity in his professional career. So, ultimately, it’s for the best for Josh, and I wish him all the best as he moves forward. As someone who had been reading the outlet since its earliest days in 2014, I was super happy to see it reopen in September 2019, and you’re sure to find plenty of excellent articles and reviews if you dig through the archives – including the ones from its earliest days, too. Even though it’s bittersweet, I offer a hearty congratulations to Josh, and like I told him over there, there’s always time for a third chapter. I’ll end with a few of my favorite articles from Country Perspective’s second chapter:
- The Brilliance of the Hot Country Knights & Why Fun Music is Important Too
- Album Review — Sturgill Simpson’s ‘Cuttin’ Grass, Vol. 2 (Cowboy Arms Sessions)’
- A Salute to Eddie Van Halen
- Album Review — Tyler Childers’ ‘Long Violent History’
- A Toast to John Prine
That’s all, folks! Anything else? Let me know!