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Articles and Interviews – 2019


When recording its album "Play the Hits," The Mavericks approached this covers album in much the same way the band creates any of its other studio albums. "Above all, we're always trying to reach a certain musical bar that we are trying to get to, no matter what it is we do," notes guitarist Eddie Perez.

"We've been called a ‘genre defying' band in the past," he continues, "but the truth is, we're just a bunch of guys that are following our creative heart. So, in the process of approaching this record, it was really one of those things that blossomed really quickly. It wasn't something we thought too much about, other than the fact that for a while we've been thinking, ‘Yeah, it would be nice to do a record of cover tunes that mean something to us.'"

It's readily apparent that the "mean something to us" concept was (and is) more important than recording actual big chart hit songs. Sure, all these tracks were also chart hits, but they weren't just the biggest... »»»

The release of "Onward," his eighth studio album, finds veteran Texas Music/Red Dirt artist Stoney Larue at a crossroads. After almost two decades on the road, playing 200 shows a year across America and abroad, he has had success on the U.S. country album chart (landing in the Top 25 on three separate occasions), has developed a loyal following at his concerts and has gained respect of mainstream country artists like Miranda Lambert. Yet, mainstream country stardom has been hard fought.

"Onward" seems a conscious effort to show fans a broader slice of who he is and what he is about than some of earlier efforts. As he puts it, "I will never turn my back on the Texas scene, and I was there for the beginnings of Red Dirt, but the fact is, I don't want to be completely defined by that. I realize that it has been my bread and butter for a long time, and I am extremely appreciative, I wrote ‘Hill Country Boogaloo' for this album to express that, but that's not all I am. I'm a country music artist. It's what I do."... »»»

Eleven years ago, Kelly stepped away from music. She had just finished touring on 2007's exquisite "Translated From Love" and felt the angst of being a travelling musician with family at home. At that point, Willis and her husband, musician/producer Bruce Robison, had welcomed four children into their family in the space of five years, and she felt it was time to prioritize her husband and kids and step away from her career.

Just after the release of Willis' fifth full length studio set, 2002's "Easy," she and Robison collaborated on their first album together, 2003's obviously themed "Happy Holidays." Five years after announcing her hiatus from music, Robison convinced Willis to make another album together, resulting in 2013's well-received "Cheater's Game," followed by some limited touring and then their third set as a duo, 2014's "Our Year Together."

Five years after the brief respite from her hiatus, Willis returned with her seventh full length release, last... »»»

For a brief moment last summer, the news of Tony Kinman's death was, if not greatly exaggerated, then at least fortuitously premature. The roots rock icon, known for his work in The Dils, Rank and File, Blackbird and Cowboy Nation with his younger brother Chip, had been diagnosed with cancer in March 2018, and his health waned in the weeks prior to his eventual passing in August. Information about Tony's decline was interpreted as a death notice and announced online, sparking a flurry of tributes to a beloved fallen music hero before he had actually fallen.

What could have been an awkward who's-walking-on-my-grave experience ultimately turned into a sweet, positive moment of reflection. Tony had the rare opportunity to read his own impressive and appreciative obituaries, and enjoy some clarity and self-satisfaction.

"All this stuff started coming in, and Tony looked at me and said, 'We really did something, didn't we?'," says Chip Kinman. "And I said, 'Yeah, we did! You know we did.' He was gratified by that. He really was."... »»»

Until recently, Chris Shiflett took a somewhat obsessive/compulsive approach to his music career. For the past two decades, Shiflett has been the primary guitar foil for Dave Grohl in Foo Fighters; early in his tenure, Shiflett was so self-deprecatingly unsure of his value that he was convinced Grohl would fire him after original guitarist Pat Smear expressed his interest in returning to the band. Obviously, that never came to pass.

Just after becoming a member of Foo Fighters, Shiflett began pursuing other band opportunities to fill his admittedly small amount of free time outside of the recording/touring boundaries of his day job. In fact, he was taking so many busman's holidays, his time away could hardly be considered time away; during his 20-year stint with the Foos, Shiflett has done stints with Me First and the Gimmee Gimmees, the Real McCoys (well, for three gigs) and Viva Death, while also fronting solo outfits like Jackson United and Chris Shiflett and the Dead Peasants.... »»»

John Paul White, to paraphrase a Steve Earle song, may just be one of the last of the hardcore troubadours. By ‘troubadour,' we mean one of those guys that lives to write great songs – more specifically, great country songs – and then get these songs into the ears of folks that will truly appreciate them. It's why he collaborated with a few of his country songwriting heroes to create the album "The Hurting Kind."

It's also why he's started a record label to assist fellow troubadours. Best of all though, "The Hurting Kind," which is filled with plenty of classic country musical elements, is a healing kind of album for anyone who have grown tired of all the annoying pop-country music clogging up the mainstream radio airwaves.

White's latest attracted a few A-list collaborators, which decidedly affected its sound. "Part of it was me being very selfish," White explains, "and me wanting to get in a room with people I've wanted to get in a room with for most of my... »»»

A lot of the early reviews for "American Love Song," Ryan Bingham's latest set of raucous and reflective Americana brilliance, have characterized it as the singer/songwriter's most personal album to date. That hardly seems possible for someone who has written about everything - from his mother's death from alcoholism to his father's suicide - through an intensely personal lens.

Every album has been his most personal, and "American Love Song" may stand as the best within the context of Bingham's stunningly consistent and satisfying catalog. The idea that Bingham's new album is the most representative of his inwardly directed songwriting style is baffling to him as well. `

"Yeah, it always has been personal, from the beginning," says Bingham with a laugh. "For the past couple of years, I've been doing a lot of acoustic shows where I sit down and play the songs solo, and I've started opening up and telling a lot of the stories about the songs and why I wrote them. Maybe... »»»

After having huge success at the get go with "Redneck Woman," Wilson eventually went her own way and took a break. During her "hiatus," Wilson started her own label and was a "120 percent mom" to her teenage daughter.

A lot of people have been wondering where you've been and what you've been up to. Can you tell them?

The last couple years, I've been back at it touring and making music. I signed a new artist, Jessie G, to my label. I've been working a lot with her on her EP and helping write songs. Before that I took a few years off. I had been touring nonstop all year every year for11-12 years, and I just felt like it was time to take a little break. I took three years to stay home and be a full-time 120 percent mom to my daughter. Those are critical years. 14,15, 16 years old. Mama needs to be there all the time. Then she hit 17 and basically said, where's that life you used to have? Do you want me to go get it back for you because you're driving me crazy. So, she put my ass in gear and got me back to work.

Do you think that time away was detrimental to your career given the momentum you had.... »»»

A visit with Hayes Carll finds him taking a rare day off at home, he and girlfriend, Allison Moorer split time between homes in New York City and Nashville, to discuss new album "What It Is."

"This album works around three themes; our relationship (he and Moorer), the world and myself. I try to make the best read I can and tell the story. I am fortunate to at a stage in life to have what I have and be with who I am with and I am doing my best to be present in the relationship. I want to pay attention and be in the moment."

Moorer co-produced the disc with Brad Jones. Asked if the final cut, "I Will Stay" alludes to this, Carll admits, "Yes it does. I wanted to show commitment."

The first single, "None'Ya", a beautiful tune of earnest commitment to a relationship, co-written with Moorer (providing harmony), and Adam Joseph Landry reached number one on Billboard Americana and the Texas Music singles charts. The opening lines, "I asked you where you been and you said... »»»

Dale (The Real Deal) Watson has been releasing hard country albums since 1995 and shows no signs of slowing down on his most recent release, "Call Me Lucky."

This record marks his third effort recorded in Memphis, at Sam Phillips Recording Studio, with Watson's regular touring band, The Lone Stars. Tastefully augmented by Mickey Raphael's unmistakable harmonica on several tunes, it even has a guest appearance by Johnny Cash's long-time drummer, W. C. (Fluke) Holland on the title cut.

As for the title, Watson says, "The same place where most of my songs come from, my fans. There are two girls who never miss a show when we travel through Wisconsin, and they get a picture made at every show, with one on each side of me kissing my cheek. One time they apologized for being such a hassle for me, and I said; "Hey, I'm just lucky," and a song came out of that."

Similar stories are attached to most of the self-penned songs on the album. For instance, Watson says "The Dumb... »»»

The Long Ryders have come a long way since they were initially associated with other Los Angeles relatively retro acts collected under the Paisley Underground umbrella. Even back during the mid to late ‘80s, though, this multifaceted group stood out from the pack.

Yes, there were psychedelic elements running through the group's first recordings, but there was also a whole lot of country mixed in, too. One also didn't pick up the same Velvet Underground vibe that ran through The Dream Syndicate's aura, nor the fem-Prince-isms inspiring some of The Bangles' bigger songs. Since those hazy – but wonderful - days band leader Sid Griffin has delved even deeper into his Kentucky country and bluegrass roots.

It's been a long 30 years since the last Long Ryders album proper. Friend of the band, Larry Chatman, has been pushing the act around that long to get back in the studio. Fortunately, Chatman is now Dr. Dre's personal assistant and arranged a week for the quartet to record in Dr. Dre's Los Angeles studio. The recording sounds terrific, and there's not even a hint of gangsta rap on it.... »»»