Album Review: Flatland Cavalry – ‘Homeland Insecurity’

The short version: ‘Homeland Insecurity’ struck me more as “solid” than “great” on the first few listens, but with every listen after, there’s more layers to this project than what initially meets the eye. Favorite tracks: “Come Back Down,” “Living By Moonlight,” “Years From Now,” “Pretty Women,” “Ashes,” “Sleeping Alone” Least favorite track: “Old School”… Read More Album Review: Flatland Cavalry – ‘Homeland Insecurity’

Album Review: Cody Johnson – ‘Ain’t Nothin’ To It’

The short version: Cody Johnson’s Ain’t Nothin’ To It is an album made solely for his fans, and whether that’s a good or bad thing will depend on your past opinions of his work. Favorite tracks: “Monday Morning Merle,” “Dear Rodeo,” “Fenceposts,” “Noise,” “Long Haired Country Boy (w/ The Rockin’ CJB)” Least favorite track: “Doubt… Read More Album Review: Cody Johnson – ‘Ain’t Nothin’ To It’

Album Review: The Steel Woods – ‘Old News’

The short version: The Steel Woods’ sophomore effort is somehow even better than their debut album. It’s a striking concept record filled with great stories, fantastic riffs and some of their stickiest hooks yet. In short, it’s an early contender for one of 2019’s best albums. Favorite tracks: “Rock That Says My Name,” “Without You,”… Read More Album Review: The Steel Woods – ‘Old News’

Pop Goes The Country Vol. 3: Gene Autry – “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” (1949)

Pop Goes The Country is an ongoing feature where I explore country music’s biggest crossover hits. Last time on “Pop Goes The Country,” we explored the effects of cigarettes and harmful addictions. This time, we’re taking a hard right turn toward … a Christmas carol?!? At any rate, I guess I better get this out… Read More Pop Goes The Country Vol. 3: Gene Autry – “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” (1949)

Pop Goes The Country Vol. 2: Tex Williams – “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)” (1947)

Pop Goes The Country is an ongoing feature where I explore country music’s biggest crossover hits.  The spirit of the early American pioneers lived on well into the 20th century. Nowhere was this more evident than in the 1930s when Southwesterners churned out some of the most lively and enduring music in our history, even… Read More Pop Goes The Country Vol. 2: Tex Williams – “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)” (1947)

Song Review: Eric Church – “Some Of It”

The short version: “Some Of It” is intentionally simple, and that just may be its greatest asset. Writers: Eric Church, Jeff Hyde, Clint Daniels, Bobby Pinson Rating: 7/10 The long version: The thing with Eric Church is that, while he will occasionally stretch his wings into new territory (like his last single, “Desperate Man”), he’ll… Read More Song Review: Eric Church – “Some Of It”

Album Review: Randy Houser – ‘Magnolia’

The short version: ‘Magnolia’ is a fine return to form for Randy Houser. Favorite tracks: “What Leaving Looks Like,” “Evangeline,” “Running Man,” “No Stone Unturned,” “What Whiskey Does (feat. Hillary Lindsey)” Least favorite track: “Mamma Don’t Know” Rating: 7/10 The long version: It’s very rare you’ll see artists reflect on the music they made just… Read More Album Review: Randy Houser – ‘Magnolia’

Album Review: The August Empire – Self-Titled

The short version: The August Empire’s journey into the unknown of the afterlife is melodically pleasing, and the harmonies are on point. Lyrically though, the project is just shy of greatness. Favorite tracks: “Garden Of Eden,” “The Afterlife,” “Los Angeles,” “Lonely After All” Least favorite track: “Lights Out” Rating: 6/10 The long version: For all… Read More Album Review: The August Empire – Self-Titled

Song Review: Chris Young – “Raised On Country”

The short version: “Raised On Country” is the latest addition to a long line of singles addressing authenticity concerns. Chris Young may make the track go down smoother than similar artists due to his stellar voice, but “Raised On Country” is more of a name-drop contest than a fitting tribute to musical heroes. Writers: Chris… Read More Song Review: Chris Young – “Raised On Country”

Song Review: Aaron Watson – “Kiss That Girl Goodbye”

The short version: Aaron Watson continues to be one of few artists in current mainstream music who can blend modern and traditional elements in a good way. Writer: Aaron Watson Rating: 7/10 The long version: I’m starting to think Aaron Watson doesn’t get enough credit. Ever since he attained legitimate success as a mainstream country… Read More Song Review: Aaron Watson – “Kiss That Girl Goodbye”

Pop Goes The Country Vol. 1: Al Dexter – “Pistol Packin’ Mama” (1943)

Country music and pop music are the sibling duo who, even though they can’t get along, are still family at the end of the day. The term, “crossover” has typically been used to describe a country recording that hits big in the wider pop market. It’s a fairly common practice that (arguably) traces its existence… Read More Pop Goes The Country Vol. 1: Al Dexter – “Pistol Packin’ Mama” (1943)

Song Review: Brantley Gilbert feat. Lindsay Ell – “What Happens In A Small Town”

The short version: “What Happens In A Small Town” is no masterpiece lyrically, but the other elements are solid enough to call this a decent track. Writers: Brantley Gilbert, Brock Berryhill, Josh Dunne, Rhett Akins Rating: 6/10 The long version: A combination of Brantley Gilbert and Lindsay Ell actually doesn’t sound so far-fetched when you… Read More Song Review: Brantley Gilbert feat. Lindsay Ell – “What Happens In A Small Town”