BlueSky Bullet Points: October 13, 2023

Here are rapid fire takes on new releases from Reba McEntire, Darius Rucker, Mike and the Moonpies, Victoria Bailey, and Taylor Austin Dye.

Victoria Bailey

A Cowgirl Rides On

Had Tanya Tucker not claimed it, “Sweet Western Sound” would’ve been a perfect title for this lovely, unassuming record. Bailey sings of moving forward while bearing a mile-wide streak of melancholy, and the traditional country, western flourishes buoy her spirit.


Reba McEntire

Not That Fancy

Not That Fancy is mostly a repackaging of the Revisited album from three years ago, but these acoustic renditions of some of her biggest and best hits are worth seeking out again, and the added tracks are mostly on par. “The Fear of Being Alone” and “One Promise Too Late” are the standouts.


Mike and the Moonpies

Live From the Devil’s Backbone

There’s an argument to be made that they’ve been country’s best live act for a while now, and they’ve translated that fully into a record that plays like a perfectly-curated career retrospective and captures them at peak power. A rare live album that’s essential.

Taylor Austin Dye

Out of These Hills

An early-run Carrie Underwood album, if generally more believable on the naughtier tracks and with a better vocal tone. This isn’t great itself, but she has a solid voice and some interesting ideas about family ties that make her one to watch down the line.


Darius Rucker

Carolyn’s Boy

As ever, he’s put out an album that’s never less or more than competent. Intended as a tribute to his mother and at least a bit more personal and introspective than his norm, this may be the ceiling for what he can do, but I’ll happily be proven wrong someday.


  1. they’ve translated that fully into a record that plays like a perfectly-curated career retrospective

    I had that thought when I saw the track listing as well. I was glad to see so many songs. If that wasn’t the full show I’d guess it was pretty close to it. The live versions of some of those songs are even better than the studio versions. ”Dance with Barbara” and ”London Homesick Blues” are the ones that come to mind. (This is the fourth version of the latter song I have in my library. I also have two different versions from Gary P. Nunn and a live cut from the Derailers that’s REALLY good.)

    Also, I’ve never been to the Devil’s Backbone Tavern (which is a shame as it’s only about an hour north of where I’m sitting right now), but from the pictures the band posted on Facebook right before the album was released, it looks to be not a lot bigger than my living room. In other words, damn near the perfect venue for a show like that! Heh.

    I only discovered MatM recently, but they’re one of the best newer Texas bands.

    • Also, I’d like to say that the above description of this album applies pretty well to another Texas live album of recent — William Clark Green’s Live At Gruene Hall from 2016, another live album that I cannot recommend highly enough.

  2. Will say i got to Mike and the Moonpies at a small venue in Richmond with Rob Leines and Cody Christian as the openers for 15 dollars. All 3 were great and man I couldn’t stop jumping up and down and singing during the Moonpies set. Big fan before and went away thinking it was a great show. Not crazy about live albums but this one did a great job and I was having a great time during my cardio set in the gym listening. Recommend Charley Crockett’s live album too.

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