With so much to get caught up on, there’s no time for a snarky one-liner.
If you’ve been eagerly anticipating new music from some of alt-country and Americana’s leading women, there’s plenty of good news this week. Lydia Loveless dropped the new single from her forthcoming album, Sara Watkins is riding high on the release of her latest solo record, and Kelly Willis returned with a solo single for the first time in a full decade! On the album front, there are also new releases from Mark Chesnutt, Sean McConnell, and American Idol standout Kree Harrison, along with some choice reissues from genre legends like George Jones and Charley Pride.
Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton, and Chris Stapleton all put a whole lot of good back into the world with their recent efforts, and there’s some good news on the health front for Kris Kristofferson. Jason Isbell, Brandy Clark, and Seth Avett talked about their songwriting processes, while Garth Brooks announced that he’s getting into the radio business. Hopefully, that goes better for Brooks than GhostTunes did.
Remember GhostTunes? No?
New Releases & Reissues, 7/01/2016
Eddy Arnold, Each Road I Take: The 1970 Lee Hazlewood & Chet Atkins Sessions. (Real Gone Music)
Barefoot Jerry, You Can’t Get Off With Your Shoes On (1978), Keys to the Country (1979). (Monument / Legacy)
Brook Benton, Rainy Night in Georgia: The Complete Reprise & Cotillion Singles. (Real Gone Music)
Don Gibson, Great Country Songs. (RCA / Legacy)
Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Pronto Monto (1978). (Omnivore)
Charley Pride, Country Charley Pride (1966), Charlie Pride’s 10th Album (1970), From Me to You (1970). (RCA / Legacy)
Van Zant, Red, White, & Blue Live (2006). (Loud & Proud)
Porter Wagoner, Live on the Road (1966). (RCA / Legacy)
Sara Watkins, Young in All the Wrong Ways. (New West)
New Releases & Reissues, 7/08/2016
The Allman Brothers Band, Austin City Limits 1995: The Classic Texas Broadcast. (Go Faster)
Mark Chesnutt, Tradition Lives. (Row Entertainment)
Eagles, Beacon Theater, New York 1974. (Zip City)
Bill Eberle, Matter & Time. (Twin Lawn)
Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle, Aim High. (Rural Rhythm)
Kree Harrison, This Old Thing. (Plaid Flag)
Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley, The Country Blues. (Compass)
Buck Johnson, Enjoying the Ride. (Spectra Music Group)
George Jones, The Complete Collection 1960 – 1962. (Enlightenment)
Sean McConnell, Sean McConnell. (Rounder)
Miss Tess, Baby, We All Know. (Rights)
LeAnn Rimes, Blue: 20th Anniversary Vinyl (1996). (Curb)
Emily Jane White, They Moved in Shadow All Together. (Tailtres)
Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys, The Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys Collection 1935 – 1950. (Acrobat)
Billboard Country National Airplay:
#1: Keith Urban, “Wasted Time”
Most Increased Audience: Chris Lane, “Fix”
Debuts: Darius Rucker, “If I Told You” (#43); Eli Young Band, “Saltwater Gospel” (#54); Last Bandoleros, “Where Do You Go?” (#60)
Most Added: Darius Rucker, “If I Told You” (31); Blake Shelton, “She’s Got A Way With Words” (25); Maren Morris, “80s Mercedes” (22); Old Dominion, “Song for Another Time” (18); Jerrod Niemann & Lee Brice, “A Little More Love” (15)
Notes: Eric Church’s “Record Year” cracks the top 5, moving from #6 to #5 in its 22nd chart week; Jon Pardi’s “Head Over Boots” continues to hold on after 40 weeks, inching up from #9 to #8; Jennifer Nettles’ “Unlove You” and Drake White’s “Livin’ the Dream” keep getting passed by inferior singles, with Nettles getting bumped down to #29 and White down to #30; Maren Morris looks to score her second top 40 single, as “80s Mercedes” moves from #53 to #41 in just its second week on the chart; Dustin Lynch’s god-awful “Seeing Red” takes a surprising tumble, dropping from a #41 debut all the way down to #59.
Elsewhere on Billboard‘s radio charts:
The Avett Brothers’ “Ain’t No Man” spends its third week at #1 on the AAA chart, where Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats’ “I Need Never Grow Old” (#5), the Lumineers’ “Ophelia” (from #6 to #8), and Sturgill Simpson’s “Brace for Impact (Live a Little)” (#24 – #29) all seem to be running out of steam; Shovels & Rope scored 5 total station adds at AAA with their fantastic new single, “I Know;” Trisha Yearwood’s “Broken” dropped off the Adult Contemporary chart, but Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind” continues its ascent, reaching a new peak at #15 in its 9th week; Lori McKenna’s “Wreck You” landed 1 station add at AC radio; Florida Georgia Line’s “H.O.L.Y.” has begun making inroads at Hot AC, picking up spins at 20 total stations that evidently hate their listeners; “Thy Will” by Hillary Scott & The Scott Family move up to #15 on the Christian music chart after 10 weeks.
News & Notes
CBS Sunday Morning aired a terrific profile of Maren Morris, documenting her ascent to the top of Billboard‘s Country Albums chart. (JK)
“I’m very fortunate that the fame, or popularity of the material, lends itself to some genuine experiences, so I don’t feel like I’m an animal in a zoo. I always feel like I’m a person, they’re a person, and we get to have a good, human connection. Generally, it’s good for the soul — for me.”
— Seth Avett of The Avett Brothers recounted some of the more favorable aspects of his direct interactions with the band’s fans as part of an interview with Lynne Margolis of American Songwriter. The younger Avett spoke at length about the creation of the band’s latest album, True Sadness. (JK)
Dollywood has added a room for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder to regroup if they’re feeling overwhelmed. After Dollywood Team Leader, Julie Toth, noticed children with ASD being challenged by sensory overload, she had an idea to add a “calming room” to the theme park. As someone who gets to work with children on the Autism spectrum, this is especially heartwarming for me! (LMW)
Brad Paisley has set up a GoFundMe page as a fundraiser for flood relief in his home state of West Virginia. In just 9 days, the project has raised over $600K of Paisley’s $1M goal. (JK)
Scottish duo The Jellyman’s Daughter released a lilting cover of Bill Monroe’s “Cry, Cry Darlin'” (JK)
“If you learn to focus on those things and pay attention to the world around you in a different way, the inspiration is always there. Then it just takes a lot of work really. Some songs come quicker than others, but most of them I’ll spend a lot of time on just to make sure I’m saying exactly what I want to say and there’s no dead weight; any floral language that doesn’t really serve a purpose. And clichés; that’s the first thing I do when I’m editing, try to find clichés. If I’m not using them in an original way then I won’t use them at all.”
— Jason Isbell talked about his editing process in a tremendous interview with Music Radar. Isbell peppers the interview with his trademark wit and candor, and his tips for aspiring songwriters couldn’t come from a more authoritative source. (JK)
Last month, it was revealed that Kris Kristofferson has been diagnosed with Lyme Disease after 12 years of being misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s. While Lyme Disease is a serious and complicated illness, this diagnosis was a relief, because it can be treated somewhat successfully, unlike Alzheimer’s, the progression of which can only be delayed. Since the Lyme Disease treatment has begun, his wife has reported that a good portion of Kristofferson’s personality and memory have returned. In this Q&A with Huffington Post, she gives more details about the journey over the last 12 years. (LMW)
Most of The Band Perry’s recent woes have been based upon their choice to change the direction of their music, but, in a truly unsettling turn, they had to cancel a show in Delaware on July 3rd after 3 men made threats. One of the 3 men has been arrested and charged with terroristic threatening. (JK)
We don’t typically link to content from The Boot, but if we were ever going to make an exception, it would be for the premiere of a new music video from the one and only Kelly Willis. “Flower on the Vine” is the first new solo single from Willis in over a decade, and she is in as fine voice as ever. (JK)
“I think my biggest gift is storytelling. Somebody might say we’re all strong for storytelling, but I think my gift is to tell a really good story. I had a publisher early on that told me that my strength was neither melody or lyric. They felt my true gift was empathy. That I could tell a story in an empathetic way, where someone else might try to tell that story where it might come across as judgmental.”
— Brandy Clark reflected on her strengths as a songwriter in a fascinating interview with Erik Nelson of Salon. Clark goes in deep about writing with collaborators, name-checks both Raymond Carver and Stephen King, and draws inspiration from Dolly Parton over the course of this must-read profile. (JK)
During his recent July 4th concert, attended by 40K service members and their families at Fort Bragg, Chris Stapleton teamed up with Budweiser to make a $1M donation to Folds of Honor, which provides scholarships to military families. (JK)
Hillary Scott & The Scott Family premiered the music video for their single “Thy Will.”
“I wanted to write and be a big part of the record… But I think it would be ignorant for me to say I’m gonna write my whole record, ‘cause I live in Music City where we have some of the best songwriters. So I fell in love with songs I didn’t write and I’m so happy that they’re on my record.”
— Kree Harrison talked about finding a balance between writing her own songs and choosing outside material for her debut album, This Old Thing. Harrison chose exceptionally well; the album is a winning debut that, in a just world, would build upon the profile she earned as an American Idol finalist. And, just because, here’s another link to the album’s second single, “Dead Man’s House.” (JK)
Garth Brooks will have his own station on Sirius/XM starting in September. The channel will include his catalogue of music, music from artists who have influenced him, behind the scenes commentary from Brooks, and interviews and shows hosted by his friends. (LMW)
“I had no idea that I was going to grow to love the old curmudgeon, but I did. I felt I needed to make it very clear that I was not only a reporter. We had become good friends and Guy confided in me about many things. I’m not sure it was a typical relationship for a biographer and subject.”
— Friend-of-the-blog Tamara Saviano spoke candidly about her access to the legendary Guy Clark as she worked on Without Getting Killed or Caught, the definitive biography of the singer-songwriter. The biography will be released on October 18th.
Lydia Loveless debuted the music video for “Longer,” the lead single from her forthcoming album, Real. (JK)
That will do it for this week! Be sure to check out the latest installment of our Dixie Chicks: Revisted series, as we look back fondly on Home.