The Sunday Morning Paper: Paradise Awaitin’ At the End of That Long White Line (May 2, 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.

This is one of those “quality over quantity” kinda news weeks, folks. Anyway, onward!


On the Horizon

New album releases:

April 30

  • Carrie Underwood – My Savior (vinyl)
  • Amy Speace – There Used to Be Horses Here
  • The Shootouts – Bullseye
  • Ashley Monroe – Rosegold
  • Ronnie Milsap – A Better Word for Love
  • Thomas Rhett – Country Again (Side A)
  • Bob Bradshaw – The Ghost Light

May 7

  • Ted Russell Kamp – Solitaire
  • Charlie Marie – Ramble On
  • Travis Tritt – Set in Stone
  • Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram, and Jon Randall – The Marfa Tapes
  • Cody Jinks – Adobe Sessions: Unplugged
  • Kenny Chesney – Here and Now (Deluxe)
  • Sarah Jarosz – Blue Heron Suite

Impacting country radio:

May 3

  • Dustin Lynch featuring MacKenzie Porter, “Thinking ‘Bout You”

Single-minded:

Review log:

All I have in my backlog at the moments are projects I might cover, but can easily set aside for the time being to focus on other projects – I’m in no rush to cover those new Thomas Rhett or Ashley Monroe albums, and in the latter artist’s case, that’s just sad. May is going to be a busy month for me, folks, and while I do have big things planned, I ask that you be patient – especially if the content gets a little light for the next few weeks. Stay tuned!


Just the Facts, Jack

Tenille Arts
Tenille Arts. From ‘Sounds Like Nashville.’

New music announcements: Jesse Keith Whitley will release Breakin’ Ground on May 9 (Music Row), Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real will release A Few Stars Apart on June 11 (Rolling Stone), Vincent Neil Emerson will release a new self-titled album on June 25, produced by Rodney Crowell (Holler Country), and Flatland Cavalry will release the single “Some Things Never Change” on May 14, with cover art that echoes this Jake Owen album.

A country music video roundup: Marty Stuart (“One in a Row”), Caitlyn Smith featuring Old Dominion (“I Can’t”), Trixie Mattel and Orville Peck (“Jackson”), and Reba McEntire (“Somehow You Do”)

Zac Brown Band has signed with Warner Music Nashville. Will that lead to a desperately needed course correction for them? Probably not, but new music is on the way, so either get excited or be warned. (Music Row)

Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert, and Jon Randall will offer a behind-the-scenes look at the recording of their Marfa Tapes album through a new film, also called The Marfa Tapes, set to premiere Saturday, May 8 at 6 p.m. CT, through Lambert’s Facebook page. (Music Row)

As noted in the “Single-Minded” section, Sturgill Simpson has released a version of the late John Prine’s own “Paradise,” his contribution to the upcoming Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine, Vol. 2 tribute album, due October 8. “For myself along with many others, he was a mentor,” Simpson says. “He was very giving with his time and wisdom, and we were all grateful to get to know him.” (American Songwriter)


Potent Quotables

“For roughly a century, country music has existed, and seven decades have elapsed since Kitty Wells became the first woman to reach the top of the country charts with her groundbreaking 1952 hit ‘It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels,’ which stayed atop the chart for six weeks. However, this week’s Mediabase/Country Aircheck chart – with Tenille Arts’ ‘Somebody Like That’ on top – marks the first time in the genre’s history that a female sang a No. 1 hit was also written and produced by women, too.” – Marcus K. Dowling, on the historic achievement made by Tenille Arts with her new number one hit, “Somebody Like That.” Arts released her latest album in January 2020, but it looks like she’s moving on from the album to release a new single soon. (CMT)

“‘Independence Day’ is, in fact, about the betrayal of several supposed American ideals: that we protect vulnerable people, that communities oust predators, that everyone has a fair shake at succeeding without being beaten for existing. The genius sting of the song and its video stems from McBride’s willingness to show us what’s lurking behind the flag. Seeing that in black-and-white as an 11-year-old country kid told me that whatever I felt at home was awful, real and not rare.” – Grayson Haver Currin, in an extensive piece for the Guardian that explores his personal connection to the Gretchen Peters-penned/Martina McBride-recorded “Independence Day,” and how its true meaning always gets misunderstood. (The Guardian)

I’m sharing this not for the piece itself on Ashley Monroe’s Rosegold, but because of a little nugget of gold pointed out that could signal big things on the horizon: “She’s also been writing quite a bit with the Pistol Annies, her group with Miranda Lambert and Angaleena Presley, and says that in addition to Rosegold, she’s ‘glad that there will be songs out that are just as country as I’ve ever been this year.’ ” – So, new Lambert music through The Marfa Tapes, and now Pistol Annies music … potentially. Hopefully. I wouldn’t mind a new Presley album, either. (Rolling Stone, by Jonathan Bernstein)

I’m sharing this more for the people involved than anything else, but my buddy Martus Kurtz and YouTuber Grady Smith sat down with Taste of Country’s Billy Dukes to discuss Eric Church’s recent Heart & Soul project (with Angella Sharpe). It’s a fun interview where each participant takes turns discussing their wide-ranging thoughts on the album itself. Check it out here.


That’s all, folks! Anything else? Let me know!

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