January 11: Lyle Lovett released Pontiac in 1988

“The preacher asked her and she said, ‘I do’
The preacher asked me and she said, ‘Yes, he does too’
The preacher said, ‘I pronounce you 99 to life
Son, she’s no lady, she’s your wife.’ “

– Lyle Lovett (She’s No Lady)

“Writes like Guy Clark, only plainer, sings like Jesse Winchester only countrier.”
– Robert Christgau

“While Lyle Lovett’s self-titled debut album made it clear he was one the most gifted and idiosyncratic talents to emerge in country music in the 1980s, his follow-up, 1987’s Pontiac, took the strengths of his first disc and refined them, and the result was a set whose sound and feel more accurately reflected Lovett’s musical personality.”
– Mark Deming (allmusic)

This classic country album was Lyle Lovett’s second album, and to me it’s his best still. The Texas singer-songwriter uses the same elements that made his 1986 debut such a delight, dry humour, observational storytelling told in a personal and devastating way. Relationship stories as dark and as funny as they sometimes are…and with great singing and music.

Vince Gill and Emmylou Harris visits on this first of many masterpieces from Lyle Lovett.

Pontiac (official video):

The release date is uncertain, some sites said it was released in 1987, but most reviews started coming out  mid January 1988. Anyway that’s not the important part, what’s important is to celebrate a very fine album no matter if it was released December 1987 or January 1988.

– Hallgeir

November 16: Satan is Real by The Louvin Brothers was released in 1959

satan-is-real

The Louvin Brothers – Satan is Real

What is it about this album?
Why is it so important in the americana /country/gospel music canon?

Satan Is Real is a gospel album by American country music duo The Louvin Brothers.

Released November 16, 1959
Recorded August 8–10, 1958
Genre Country, Gospel
Length 31:54
Label Capitol
Producer Ken Nelson, John Johnson (Reissue)

The gospel/country duo Charlie and Ira Louvin was born and grew up in the Sand Mountain region of Alabama, they lived on a cotton farm south of the Appalachian Mountains, that’s where they developed their distinct harmony style in the deep Sacred Harp tradition of the Baptist church.

Ira Louvin died in a car wreck in 1965. Charlie Louvin died two years ago at 83 just a few months after publishing his story about The Louvin brothers.

In The recently published book, Satan is Real, the ballad of the Louvin Brothers, Charlie talks about their singing style.This is not a straight quote, but it goes something  like this:

…people who saw the Louvin Brothers perform were mystified by the experience. Ira was a full head taller than me, he played the mandolin like Bill Monroe and sang in an impossibly high, tense, quivering tenor. I(Charlie) strummed a guitar, grinned like a vaudevillian and handled the bottom register. But every so often, in the middle of a song, some hidden signal flashed and we switched places — with Ira swooping down from the heights, and me angling upward — and even the most careful listeners would lose track of which man was carrying the lead. This was more than close-harmony singing; each instance was an act of transubstantiation.

I could not find any live footage from Satan is real, but this clip of them singing, I don’t belive you’ve met my baby is a fine showcase for their intricate singing style:

“It baffled a lot of people,” Charlie Louvin explains in his fantastic memoir. “We could change in the middle of a word. Part of the reason we could do that was that we’d learned to have a good ear for other people’s voices when we sang Sacred Harp. But the other part is that we were brothers.”

Continue reading “November 16: Satan is Real by The Louvin Brothers was released in 1959”

Great Album: Ashley Monroe – The Blade

ashley monroe the blade

… I’m proud of it, you know people always ask me, when you were working [on it], did you think about radio, and all of that and I really wasn’t. I don’t think when it comes to music, I just do, and those were the songs that came out. But what I have is something that I am proud of and I think it represents me and if people can relate to it, then that’s all the better
~Ashley Monroe (to nashvilleoverhere.com)

… she rises to the challenge. She belts out “I’m Good At Leavin’” like she was aiming for the cheap seats at the Grand Ole Opry, gently purrs through “Weight of the Load” and “Mayflowers” (the latter co-written by White’s Raconteurs bandmate Brendan Benson), and throws a little Loretta Lynn sass down on the rave-up “Winning Streak.” She knows she’s the star of this show, and she burns brightly throughout.
~Robert Ham (pastemagazine.com)

Bombshell (Official Music Video):

Continue reading “Great Album: Ashley Monroe – The Blade”

Great Album: Eric Church – Mr. Misunderstood

Eric Church mr misunderstood

..Either way, Church’s songs are anchored with an authoritative sense of sentiment and place, and they’re brought to life by the precise roar of the Eric Church Band. No longer overwhelming with sheer volume, they dig into the funk of “Chattanooga Lucy” and race their leader to the conclusion of “Mr. Misunderstood,” but they shine by maintaining the mournful soul of “Round Here Buzz” or by building the tension of “Knives of New Orleans” or by keeping the Susan Tedeschi duet “Mixed Drinks About Feelings” at a sweet, sad simmer. Where The Outsiders was designed to dazzle, Mr. Misunderstood is built for the long haul: it settles into the soul, its pleasures immediate but also sustained.
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine (allmusic.com)

Continue reading “Great Album: Eric Church – Mr. Misunderstood”

Great Album: Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material

Kacey Musgraves - Pageant Material 2

“It’s funny that doing things your way and not conforming makes you an outlaw or a rebel,” she adds. “But if that’s the stamp that you get, then maybe that’s a good one. …
I had so much fun creating this record and wanted to convey a classic, even tone throughout the whole thing, I hope the live spirit we wanted to capture came across.”
~Kacey Musgraves (radio.com interview)

At its core, Pageant Material is about how you never quite escape small-town struggles with family, neighbors and old flames, even after your big break. Last time out she sang “If I can’t bring you to my house / I’ll bring my house to you.” On her excellent second album, she brings us the whole block.
~Brennan Carley (spin.com)

Biscuits:

Continue reading “Great Album: Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material”

Great Album: Fear and Saturday Night (Ryan Bingham)

BW224967-1-0001-002.psd

“It’s definitely easier to write than perform. But when you hear the stories from listeners of how they relate to a song or how it may have helped them through their own experience in some way – that’s what makes it worth it to me.”
~Ray Bingham (No Depression interview)

Seemingly at peace and no longer concerned with “rising star” status or meeting corporate expectations, the candor of Bingham on Bingham reveals an intimate portrait of love and hope on Fear and Saturday Night. More morning after than its title implies, Bingham’s rawness has been refined ever so slightly, his newfound reserve a therapeutic epiphany.
~Eric Risch (popmatters.com)

“Nobody Knows My Trouble” (Live in West Hollywood, CA):

Continue reading “Great Album: Fear and Saturday Night (Ryan Bingham)”