Thursday, February 2, 2017

Talking About: Lauren Alaina's New Album, 'Road Less Traveled'

Upon hearing Lauren Alaina's lead off single to her newest album, Road Less Traveled, I didn't have a ton of high hopes. Sure, the message was good, but the lyrics were a little reliant on cliches to drive the point across, and the production was absolutely way too cluttered (thanks busbee).

But then I heard her new album actually was pretty good, and after hearing it multiple times, I'll be damned - it is. I won't sugarcoat it, this is pop-country, and depending on your stance on pop's place in country music, this may or may not be for you. For me though, I always like seeing this sub-genre churn out quality music, and I believe this album does that.

Sure, there are some unfortunate low points that creep up at points on this record. "Next Boyfriend"'s lyrical flow is too jarring for me, and once again, busbee's production techniques shine through in the wrong way like they did in the lead single. Also, "My Kinda People" plays things a little safe overall to really work for me. It's not bad necessarily, after all, Lauren has the pipes to really at least give it some flavor, but it still rings as too safe and non-eventful to really capture any sort of mood for me.

Well I'll Be Damned, Chris Shiflett Is Pretty Good At This Country Thing

You can imagine how excited I get when I hear of a rock, pop, or other genre artist decide they want to dabble in country music. Sure, every now and then you get some cool surprises like Don Henley, but more than once we've been disappointed by others such as Steven Tyler and especially Bret Michaels.

So when I heard that Chris Shiflett (guitarist for the Foo Fighters) had a new country song out, I was skeptical. But I'll be damned, not only is Chris' new song pretty damn great, he's also dabbled in country before to exceptional degrees. You learn something new every day!

Chris released his first solo country album in 2010 titled, Chris Shiflett & The Dead Peasants as well as a collection of honky-tonk covers in 2013 with All Hat and No Cattle. Quite frankly I'm surprised I'm just hearing about this now.

Joey Feek's Spirit Lives On With 'If Not For You'

Although she is gone from this world, Joey Feek's spirit lives on. On April 7th of this year, we will be treated to a brand new solo album from Joey titled, If Not For You (released via the Gaither Music Group).

The album itself is said to capture Joey's life story, including her small town roots as well as her family heritage. There will be a special edition of this that is said to include a forty-eight page of photos, memories, and stories penned by Joey as well as her husband, Rory.

This is an absolutely touching gift to receive as a music listener, and to say I'm excited would be an understatement. For those who don't know, Joey was one half of the country music duo Joey + Rory until March of last year when Joey died of abdominal cancer.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Travis Meadows Signs With BMG

From Music Row Magazine - "BMG has signed singer-songwriter Travis Meadows. The Jackson, Mississippi native has penned radio singles including Jake Owen’s “What We Ain’t Got,” and Dierks Bentley’s “Riser.” He also contributed “Knives of New Orleans” to Eric Church’s Mr. Misunderstood project, and “Dark Side” on Church’s The Outsiders.

Meadows also earned industry acclaim for own albums Killin’ Uncle Buzzy, which took an honest look at coping with addiction, and its follow-up Old Ghosts and Unfinished Business."

This is absolutely awesome news. Travis is one of my favorite songwriters in the industry right now, so to see him gain this deal is absolutely amazing. With the way country music has been improving lately, this is another sign of quality (well, what I think to be quality) triumphing.

Talking About: Sam Hunt's Newest Song, "Body Like A Backroad"

Alright, as someone who has often felt he's been unfair to Sam Hunt, everything he's done so far this year has made me re-think that.

Sure, his past album Montevallo had some creepy writing, and the production on pretty much every song off of that record was WAY too stiff for its own good, but I wanted to see if Sam could do better. Hell, he's proven he can be an alright writer when he wants to be (like Old Dominion), and it's not like I WANT to rip this guy apart anymore.

But Dear Lord, if his new songs are any indication of how the rest of his new material will sound, country music is seriously fucked.

Talking About: Easton Corbin's New Single, "A Girl Like You"

So the early stages of this blog are an interesting time for me. After all, this is the time where I talk about artists for the first time and really share my feelings on them as a whole. For Easton Corbin, I'm in the same boat as many people are.

Easton started off strong with his debut album in 2010, and his follow-up wasn't necessarily bad either. Both were laced some very enjoyable, albeit non-groundbreaking neo-traditional country music. His last album, 2015's About To Get Real failed to win me over due to its very vanilla production overall as well as the embrace of bro-country lyricism. It's not even that I don't like certain brands of bro-country, it just didn't suit Easton at all.

Sam Outlaw Announces The Release Of 'Tenderheart'

Sam Outlaw has recently announced the release of his sophomore album, 'Tenderheart'. The project is due for release on April 14th through Six Shooter Records.

The project will be the followup to Sam's critically acclaimed debut album, 'Angeleno' from 2015. From my understanding, the tracks for this album were recorded in the San Fernando Valley and co-produced by Sam as well as Martin Pradler.

Sam also promises to deliver another album in the vein of 'Angeleno', one that blends Bakersfield, Countrypolitan, and Western Swing.

With the announcement of this album as well as albums from artists such as Jason Eady, Marty Stuart, Charlie Worsham, Rhiannon Giddens and more, this is shaping up to be a hell of a year,

'Tenderheart' tracklisting:

1. Everyone’s Looking For Home
2. Bottomless Mimosas
3. Bougainvillea, I Think
4. Tenderheart
5. Trouble
6. She’s Playing Hard To Get (Rid Of)
7. Two Broken Hearts
8. Diamond Ring
9. Say It To Me
10. All My Life
11. Dry In The Sun
12. Now She Tells Me
13. Look At You Now

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Zac Brown Band Readies New Album, 'Welcome Home' Due In May

The Zac Brown Band have recently announced the release of their fifth studio album (twelfth overall), Welcome Home to be released May 12th, 2017. The album will be the group's followup to their 2015 album, Jekyll + Hyde. 

Not too much is known about the project thus far other than the lead single being "My Old Man" (impacting immediately at radio, as well as being available to hear this Friday). In addition, the project is also the band's promise to return to their older sound after their experimental trip with Jekyll + Hyde. If you go on the group's official Twitter account, you can hear a sample of what is presumably either their new single or a cut from the new project.

Talking About: The Infamous Stringdusters' 'Laws Of Gravity'

Who? - The Infamous Stringdusters, based in Charlottesville, Virginia. The band is comprised of Chris Pandolfi (Banjo), Andy Hall (Dobro), Andy Falco (Guitar), Jeremy Garrett (Fiddle), and Travis Book (Double Bass).

Album Release Date/Producer? - January 13th, 2017 / Billy Hume along with the band themselves

Genre? - Contemporary Bluegrass, Country, Folk

Opinion On The Act's Discography Overall? - After sampling their earlier albums prior to listening this along with fully listening to their last release, 2016's Ladies and Gentlemen, I wish I had found them sooner. They are a great band, and I like their sound a lot. If there are Country acts out there who are truly “evolving” the genre with their work, The Infamous Stringdusters are doing the exact same thing for Bluegrass. As such, this was probably my most anticipated album of 2017 at the time that I wrote this.

Where Might Other People Know This Act From? - Their last album, 2016's Ladies and Gentlemen featured a ton of artists such as Lee Ann Womack, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Aoife O' Donovan, Sarah Jarosz, and many more, so if you were fans of any of those artists you might have checked them out before. Otherwise, they've been at it for almost a decade now so anyone who is a fan of Bluegrass most likely has heard of them.

The Dawn Of A New Era

Hello everyone and welcome to the launch of a brand new music blog. My name is Ian Little, and what I plan to do with Talking About Music is precisely that, talk about music. My main love is Country music, so expect a lot of that to be discussed. In addition, I also am a fan of Americana, Bluegrass, Rock, and some other genres as well, so those will most likely creep in at times.

First things first though, this isn't a "review" blog. I'm really not cut out to be a "critic", so if I do ever discuss a song or an album, I'll just be talking about it, giving some short thoughts and being completely honest about what I do and don't like. I'm not a professional when it comes to music and I won't pretend to be.

In addition to this, I also want to be a source for news coverage that's occurring in the country music industry. Whether it be the announcement of a new album release, big event, or something else, I want to cover it. I may not be the first to cover it, but hey, I'll try.

With that in mind, I hope that you and I find something of value with this thing in the coming months. Thanks for reading!

- Ian Little