Bluesky Bullet Points: June 9, 2024

Genre newcomers school country veterans in this week’s roundup, led by a star-making turn from Shaboozey.


Tracy Lawrence

Out Here in it

The songs aren’t terribly far removed from the quality of his hit-making era, and the production follows suit. But my God, his voice is shot to hell. His lower register takes on a bizarre, froggy tone, and his upper register is more AutoTune than human. A bummer.


Carly Pearce


Not many obvious singles on this set, but she continues to emerge as an “albums artist” anyway: Cleverly-written songs, polished production that emphasizes the latter half of pop-country, and enough studio wizardry to mask her shaky relationship with pitch.


Chris Housman


Blueneck mines the tension between a bald-faced bid for mainstream acceptance– this is an album of radio-ready bangers– and narratives that center queer experiences, with lines that are smart, pointed, and provocative. Thoughtfully written, confidently performed. Tremendous.


Sara Evans


A rebound from her horrific covers album, this set plays like an audition reel for a Bravo reality series. There’s a killer bit of rasp to her voice as she sings what would be a divorce album but for the fact that she took her ex back. She loves mess more than Marie Kondo.


Terri Clark

Take Two

Not all of the big hits assembled here work as proper duets, so this ends up a mixed bag. She’s chosen a solid roster of collaborators who clearly relish the opportunity to celebrate her catalog; Kelly Clarkson, Ashley McBryde, and Paul Brandt (!) fare best here and really elevate their tracks.


Swamp Dogg

Blackgrass: From West Virginia to 125th St

There’s something of a misogynist undercurrent to some lyrics, and that’s a distraction on album that is otherwise just an absolute riot. Ace collaborators– Jenny Lewis and Margo Price shine, as ever– match his laissez-faire approach to genre.


Carín León

Boca Chueca Vol. 1

Fearless and purposeful with his cross-genre interpolations, León impresses for how he takes his ideas seriously while retaining a playful approach. Dude’s a sneaky versatile singer, too, which is always a plus. This does suffer from a bit of streaming-era bloat.



Where I’ve Been, Isn’t Where I’m Going

The best album in this vein since Bubba Sparxxx’s Deliverance a lifetime ago, and with a similar clarity of purpose and vision. And with outright bangers front to back, too. No mere novelty, this should be a true star-making turn, and country’s the better for it.


  1. …seriously? sara evans took back that ex that tried to show her his truck from underneath some years ago? “gossip girl” or “totally unintended roadkill” ain’t tracks on “unbroke”, are they? have there been reports of mysterious noise coming from robert altman’s grave?

    …and carly pearce is now reportedly with her drummer at 34? guess, there’s just not enough future football hall of famers left for everyone. that might explain the humming instead of singing from the top of her lungs on that overall most agreeable album. alternatively, you may agree with jonathans pitch observations.

    • Evans had her eldest daughter star in the music video for “Pride”– playing an exotic dancer, for who knows what reason– for a song about how said daughter’s father was abusive, including the lyrics, “The kids don’t know that truth / Maybe that’s just as well.”

      She leveled-up her mess.

  2. Carly Pearce is one of the few contemporary country singers I actively root for. It’s been depressing seeing her languishing for a year on radio with her current bleak single, but I’ve liked most of what I’ve heard from the album cuts quite a bit….and none better than the title song. Even though “Truck on Fire” is a bit of a cliche, I hope it’s her next single as she desperately needs a catchy uptempo song to get some momentum back.

    I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the songs I’ve sampled from Shaboozey too. More auto-tune than I’d prefer but a welcome reprieve from the growling Nickelback clones currently dominating radio.

    • Pearce has exceptional taste in influences: She talks of Patty and Trisha more than she talks of anyone else, and that’s just fine by me. I don’t think she has anywhere close to the same talent as the women she’s modeling her career after, but I’ll still champion her efforts as more worthwhile than those of so many of her peers. “Truck on fire” and “fault line” were the obvious 1-2 picks for singles on this album, and I’m baffled by the choices her team has made in managing this era already. I hope they’re able to salvage it and keep Pearce centered as a mainstream star.

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