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Wyatt feels good

Jaime Wyatt is a fantastic country singer that has just released her third album, "Feel Good," and is currently on her first headlining tour. This trek has taken her to places and venues where she's never played before and has been a heartening success.

Wyatt is chatting on a special day for one of Wyatt's musical heroes. "It was Lucinda Williams' birthday," she recalls fondly. "So, I did "Something About What Happens When We Talk" at one of the shows."

One reason why Wyatt's most recent album, "Feel Good," actually feels so good is because it's just as soulful as it is country. Let's not forget there's always been a soul music component in country music, ranging from Ray Charles' style to Dusty Springfield's unique approach. ...

Crowell's life of chances comes through again

Rodney Crowell's career is littered with butterfly-effect decisions that, in retrospect, represent life-altering milestones along the singer/songwriter's star-crossed path. If the Houston native hadn't moved to Nashville at age 22, he wouldn't have been discovered by Jerry Reed or met his greatest influence and hero Guy Clark or enchanted Emmylou Harris, who consistently recorded Crowell's songs and even hired him as her Hot Band guitarist.

Nor would Crowell have formed the Notorious Cherry Bombs with his future producer Tony Brown and eventual Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill, and he certainly wouldn't have become Rosanne Cash's husband, collaborator and producer (and Johnny Cash's son-in-law). He might never have become the ...

Earle pays tribute to a Texas great again

Steve Earle pays tribute to one of his mentors and heroes, Jerry Jeff Walker, on "Jerry Jeff," which follows his "GUY" tribute to Guy Clark and "TOWNES" tribute to Townes Van Zandt. Earle has called these projects a necessary form of therapy, as each of these great artists have passed on.

With Earle also demoing songs for his upcoming musical "Tender Mercies," inspired by the 1983 movie of the same time, he's a man that just can't seem to sit still for long.

"I don't really understand that" says Earle, responding to the whole concept of a leisurely life during a Zoom call from Portland. "I fish with a fly rod a little bit, which is about as quiet as I get, and I don't fish that much. You kind of have to shut up internally to cast with a fly rod. I'm able to make a living making art. It is something I feel like I was put here to do, and I've never had any doubt about that." ...

McMurtry rides "The Horses and the Hounds"

The title track to James McMurtry's "The Horses and the Hounds" plays out like one of those great running songs, namely Merle Haggard's "The Fugitive." "Lord I've been running for so long I just can't find a way back home," McMurtry sings, in that enjoyable deadpan vocal tone of his. When the Haggard song is mentioned, though, McMurtry responds, "I don't really remember. I just put words together and see if they mean something. To me, that song is about facing personal demons. The listener can make up his own mind. That's one thing about songs. It's for the listener, as much as for the writer."

It's been seven years since McMurtry last released an album, but it's been even longer since this latest album was tracked. Its elongated creation reflects some of the new and ever-unfolding realities of the music modern business. ...

McNally lives long on "The Waylon Sessions"

Back before the world retreated into makeshift fallout shelters for a year of Netflix binging, board games and what Warren Zevon referred to as splendid isolation, Nashville-based singer/songwriter Shannon McNally was invited to play a Music City benefit concert. The parameters were simple; bring in two classic country songs to perform with the venue's assembled house band. McNally had a blast, and, at her performance's conclusion, she experienced an epiphany.

"I was real excited about it," recalls McNally from her Santa Fe, N.M. tour stop. "I've always been too country for pop and too Americana for country, so there was something liberating about playing country with a real good country band. And they were young players." ...

Track45 has "Big Dreams"

By their own admission Track 45 hails from a town that is – big enough for a WalMart and a Waffle House, but not a Target or a Starbucks.

Ironically, Meridian, Miss. (population 41,148) is the birthplace of the father of country music, Jimmy Rodgers. The harmony-driven sibling trio of Track45 includes Ben Johnson and his infectiously bubbly sisters Jenna and KK.

The siblings released their debut EP, "Small Town," on Stoney Creek in the fall of 2020.

KK said "Small Town" was a showcase of the first chapter of their lives. The three songs showcased their harmony and instrumental skill. They played nearly every instrument on the track. A second EP, "Big Dreams," which came out in February, contained the three tracks on the debut release plus another original and a gorgeous deep cut Dolly Parton cover of "Light of a Clear Blue Morning." ...

Ell crashes the boys club

It was only fitting that Lindsay Ell had Lauren Alaina as a guest on her recent livestream concert. Alaina penned the song "Crashing The Boy's Club."

That is exactly what Ell is doing using her Stratocaster as a battering ram. Men have disproportionately occupied lead guitar, vocals and musical director roles. Not in this Calgary, Canada native's outfit. The scorching solos, huge belt range and musical direction all come from her.

As a songwriter, Ell's talent is evident on her sophomore album "heart theory." She was able to make a concept album about the seven stages of grief danceable and impactful at the same time.

At 18, she toured with blues great Buddy Guy, who famously leaves venues immediately after playing his last note. ...

Twisted Pine takes root

Even "traditional" music evolves. It's trite, but true, to say that today's artists stand on the shoulders of their forebearers. The deep roots of American traditional music tend to be lost, particularly those that came before the advent of recorded sound late in the 19th century.

But the evolution continues apace, and one of the blessings of current music production is that artists try new things, bending genres and voicings to develop their own.

Here, now, is Twisted Pine, a four-piece band of young musicians that released "Right Now" on Signature Sounds Records. It's a bold and compelling reason to believe that traditional music will continue to grow and flourish.

Twisted Pine is Kathleen Parks on fiddle and lead vocals; Dan Bui  ...

Newfield breaks out of the genre box

With the soulfulness of Etta James, the flat-out honky-tonk of Tanya Tucker, the bluesy harp runs of Charlie McCoy and the soaring, gritty vocals of Janis Joplin, Heidi Newfield delivers electrifying songs.

We may not have heard too much from her since her solo debut album in 2008, "What Am I Waiting For," that produced her hit single "Johnny & June," but that doesn't mean she's been quiet or that she's stopped driving down various musical roads.

Newfield's been writing; she's been honing her already-smoking harmonica skills — and trading harp runs with the likes of Delbert McClinton — and preparing a new batch of music that showcases what she does best: tear your heart out with a country weeper, burn down the roadhouse with a raucous rocker, close up the honky-tonks with a rockabilly roller and turn the world upside down with a blues moaner. ...

Tillis unlocks "Looking for a Feeling"

"It had been a while since I'd given my fans any new solo music," Pam Tillis explains, when asked about the motivation behind recording her album "Looking for a Feeling." Until recently, Tillis mostly busied herself by recording and touring with fellow country star Lorrie Morgan. "I had a batch of songs that I felt good about," she continues, "and, you know, you just get that itch."

"Looking for a Feeling" is an album that most satisfyingly scratches that itch, so to speak, with its fine batch of songs. Tillis gets writing credit for helping to pen half of these songs, all of which are built upon sturdy, traditional country instrumentation.

One of the standout songs is "Dolly 1969." Written by Bob Regan, it's a rewardingly nostalgic ...

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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