Album Review: Austin Meade – ‘Waves’

The short version: ‘Waves’ often finds itself on the edges of burnout in ways that feel depressing, angry, and most of all, cathartic. It also finds Austin Meade truly coming into his own as an artist to craft his own individual, artistic statement.  Favorite tracks: “Waves,” “Pay Phone,” “Mountain Past,” “Colorblind,” “Brooklyn,” “Bad Habits,” “Savannah”… Read More Album Review: Austin Meade – ‘Waves’

Song Review: Thomas Rhett – “Look What God Gave Her”

The short version: While not a disaster like his pre-‘Life Changes’ material, “Look What God Gave Her” nonetheless finds Thomas Rhett beating a long-dead horse.  Writers: Thomas Rhett, Julian Bunetta, J Kash, John Henry Ryan Rating: 4/10 The long version: Thomas Rhett’s well isn’t running dry anytime soon as far as commercial relevance is concerned,… Read More Song Review: Thomas Rhett – “Look What God Gave Her”

Album Review: The Cactus Blossoms – ‘Easy Way’

The short version: Despite featuring a more refined sonic palette, ‘Easy Way’ by the Cactus Blossoms doesn’t offer much of anything interesting. Favorite tracks: “Easy Way,” “Got A Lotta Love,” “Please Don’t Call Me Crazy” Least favorite track: “See It Through” Rating: 5/10 The long version: In a way, artists being compared to their influences… Read More Album Review: The Cactus Blossoms – ‘Easy Way’

Album Review: Dee White – ‘Southern Gentleman’

The short version: Dee White may still have to grow into himself as a vocalist, but ‘Southern Gentleman’ is a fine debut album. Favorite tracks: “Rose Of Alabam,” “Way Down,” “Under Your Skin,” “Road That Goes Both Ways (w/ Ashley McBryde),” “Bucket Of Bolts” Least favorite track: “Tell The World I Do” Rating: 7/10 The… Read More Album Review: Dee White – ‘Southern Gentleman’

Pop Goes The Country Vol. 6: Pee Wee King – “Slow Poke” (1951)

Pop Goes The Country is an ongoing feature where I explore country music’s biggest crossover hits. When I said in volume four of this feature that I wouldn’t have a lot to say about every single crossover hit, little did I know what awaited me in volume six. After weeks of researching this particular volume… Read More Pop Goes The Country Vol. 6: Pee Wee King – “Slow Poke” (1951)

Album Review: Vandoliers – ‘Forever’

The short version: Vandoliers’ ‘Forever’ is the kind of tight, fun album that’s easy to enjoy, has more depth to it than one would expect, and features a unique sonic palette.  Favorite tracks: “Tumbleweed,” “Cigarettes In The Rain,” “Shoshone Rose,” “Sixteen Years,” “Troublemaker” Least favorite track: “Nowhere Fast” Rating: 8/10 Author’s preface: I hate having… Read More Album Review: Vandoliers – ‘Forever’

Album Review: Emily Scott Robinson – ‘Traveling Mercies’

The short version: The production can leave a little to be desired, and there’s some slight inconsistencies with this album, but ‘Traveling Mercies’ showcases a bright young talent in Emily Scott Robinson.  Favorite tracks: “Shoshone Rose,” “Delta Line,” “Borrowed Rooms and Old Wood Floors,” “Run,” “Westward Bound” Least favorite track: “White Hot Country Mess” Rating:… Read More Album Review: Emily Scott Robinson – ‘Traveling Mercies’

Album Review: Dale Watson – ‘Call Me Lucky’

The short version: ‘Call Me Lucky’ isn’t the most essential listen in Dale Watson’s catalog, but it’s still a nice enough listen all the same. Favorite tracks: “David Buxkemper,” “Run Away,” “The Dumb Song,” “Tupelo Mississippi & A 57 Fairlane,” “Restless” Least favorite track: “Johnny & June” Rating: 6/10 The long version: It’s fun to… Read More Album Review: Dale Watson – ‘Call Me Lucky’

Song Review: Reba McEntire – “Stronger Than The Truth”

The short version: “Stronger Than The Truth” just may be Reba McEntire’s strongest single in years. Writers: Autumn McEntire, Hannah Blaylock Rating: 8/10 The long version: With the return of legends like George Strait, Brooks & Dunn and Reba McEntire to the country music format this year, these artists are blatantly telling us fans they… Read More Song Review: Reba McEntire – “Stronger Than The Truth”

Album Review: Yola – ‘Walk Through Fire’

The short version: Through compelling performances and stellar songs, Yola’s ‘Walk Through Fire’ is incredibly easy to like. Favorite tracks: “Lonely The Night,” “Ride Out In The Country,” “Faraway Look,” “Rock Me Gently,” “Still Gone” Least favorite track: “Walk Through Fire” Rating: 8/10 The long version: While it’s not uncommon to hear artists adopt retro… Read More Album Review: Yola – ‘Walk Through Fire’

Collaborative Album Review: Ryan Bingham – ‘American Love Song’ w/ Nathan Kanuch

The short version: For something different, I collaborated with Nathan Kanuch of Shore2Shore Country for a review of Ryan Bingham’s latest album! Zack: So I think to start this, we should give our personal history with Ryan Bingham’s music up to this point. Nathan: Sounds good. So I first noticed Bingham’s music, like most people,… Read More Collaborative Album Review: Ryan Bingham – ‘American Love Song’ w/ Nathan Kanuch

Album Review: Robert Ellis – ‘Texas Piano Man’

The short version: Robert Ellis pivots into piano-pop for one of his lightest, most accessible albums to date. Favorite tracks: “Father,” “Lullaby,” “Let Me In,” “Passive Aggressive” Least favorite track: “Fucking Crazy” Rating: 7/10 The long version: Being predictable isn’t always necessarily a bad thing. For as bold of a move Robert Ellis’ Texas Piano… Read More Album Review: Robert Ellis – ‘Texas Piano Man’

Album Review: Florida Georgia Line – ‘Can’t Say I Ain’t Country’

The short version: If Florida Georgia Line had left the marketing, pandering, and machismo out of their music, ‘Can’t Say I Ain’t Country’ might have actually been decent. Favorite tracks: “Speed Of Love,” “Simple,” “Colorado” Least favorite track: “Swerve” and all of the skits Rating: 4/10 The long version: Florida Georgia Line aren’t going away… Read More Album Review: Florida Georgia Line – ‘Can’t Say I Ain’t Country’

Album Review: Charles Wesley Godwin – ‘Seneca’

The short version: There’s a refined boldness to Charles Wesley Godwin’s debut album, ‘Seneca,’ that suggests he’ll be around for a lot longer, if not the next big thing. In other words, ‘Seneca’ is an early contender for one of 2019’s best albums. Favorite tracks: “(Windmill) Keep On Turning,” “Seneca Creek,” “Hardwood Floors,” “Here In… Read More Album Review: Charles Wesley Godwin – ‘Seneca’

Album Review: Hayes Carll – ‘What It Is’

The short version: Hayes Carll’s ‘What It Is’ doesn’t have a poor foundation, but it suffers from a lack of expansion and poor execution. Favorite tracks: “Be There,” “Beautiful Thing,” “Times Like These,” “Fragile Men” Least favorite track: “Jesus and Elvis” Rating: 5/10 The long version: Life’s messy, and sometimes the art we hear reflects… Read More Album Review: Hayes Carll – ‘What It Is’

Song Review: George Strait – “Every Little Honky Tonk Bar”

The short version: George Strait’s “Every Little Honky Tonk Bar” feels like a familiar friend to his catalog, for better or worse.  Writers: George Strait, Bubba Strait and Dean Dillon Rating: 6/10 The long version: It may be hard to know exactly what George Strait is up to these days, but at the very least,… Read More Song Review: George Strait – “Every Little Honky Tonk Bar”

Pop Goes The Country Vol. 5: Red Foley – “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” (1950)

Pop Goes The Country is an ongoing feature where I explore country music’s biggest crossover hits. If you were to read any country music history book, you’d find a lot of parallels between the end of World War II and country music’s growth as a genre. Freed from wartime restraints, Americans were now looking for… Read More Pop Goes The Country Vol. 5: Red Foley – “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” (1950)