Jan’s TOP TEN Music CDs 2017

Jan's Top Ten NewMusic CDs for 2017

Most of you know that I am a staff writer for Buddy Magazine (The Original Texas Music Magazine). Part of my job is to review new music as it is released throughout the year. This list is the best of what I heard and is based on my opinion. I hope you’ll find something new that you haven’t heard before and that you’ll check it out.

#1

Willie_Boys_Album   Purchase Link

Just when you think Willie Nelson cannot do anything new under the sun, he does. I loved everything about this CD, from the cover to the liner notes, to the songs and production. But, what struck me the most about the project was the blending of voices and guitars that can only come from a family connection. Willie’s two sons, Lukas and Micah join him on this CD.

#2

Stars_Foster  PURCHASE LINK

This CD accompanies a compilation of short stories from Radney Foster, which made #1 on my Top Ten books for 2017. This entire project from start to finish a perfect example of what storytelling should be. I loved every song on this CD but one that stands out is “Belmont and Sixth,” about a homeless veteran.

#3

Close Ties  PURCHASE LINK

If aging has done anything for this timeless Americana troubadour, it has only enhanced his powerful songwriting prowess.  Close Ties, is beyond a doubt the most intimate as he weaves deep personal stories that expose vulnerabilities and regrets. It is quite possibly Rodney Crowell’s best work to date with wry, straight-as-an-arrow stories about his life.

#4

Lili Cover  PURCHASE LINK

There is no singular word that describes Lili Blessing’s voice…Pure, rich, subtle, smooth as silk, yet powerful and edgy are words that come close but fall short. She is like a young Norah Jones or Adele. Seamless transitions into falsetto and powerful dynamic delivery set this Indie Alternative artist apart from anything I’ve heard.

#5

Carter Bill  PURCHASE LINK

I get excited when I discover a new artist that has been around for decades making original creative music. Such is the case with Bill Carter. He writes the kind of songs other artists turn to for inspiration and their own material. For over three decades, Carter has been turning out songs that legends of rock, blues, and country have recorded. On this self-titled album, Carter’s unique style and skillful musicianship is the mark of a man who has spent a lifetime honing his craft.  Carter plays all the instruments, sings the songs and he also produced the album. Wow!! 

#6

kerrielepai1 (1)  PURCHASE LINK

Whoever said white girls couldn’t sing the blues have never heard Kerrie Lepai. With her powerhouse voice and undeniable range, she is a force to reckoned with. While Kerrie Lepai may be a new name to you, it’s one you won’t soon forget. If you love the blues and all that it embodies, along with the smoking hot guitar of Andrew Jr. Boy Jones, this album is for you.

#7

Steve_Krase  PURCHASE LINK

Houston-based blues harmonica ace, Steve Krase released his fourth album, Should’ve Seen It Coming, for Connor Ray Music. Most of this album was recorded live over two nights, at the Red Shack in Houston. The spotlight tune of the album is unequivocally “Repo Man,” written by brother David. It allows everyone to show off musically and vocally. “I won’t knock on your door/I won’t bang your wife/But I’ll take your car in the middle of the night/Cuz I’m a repo man…” The lyrics are catchy and humorous, but the arrangement is seriously incredible.

#8

Medullacover  PURCHASE LINK

This album is different in many ways, but mostly in the unique interpretation of lyrics and melodies done only the way Jerrod Medulla can. It is is fresh, sexy, sultry and diverse. It is hard to classify Jerrod’s music. It is a mix between Americana, Rock and Blues with a little Jazz thrown in.

#9

Keepsake  PURCHASE LINK

Nothing describes Mike Blakely’s vocal and songwriting style better than straightforward and genuine. Listening to his new CD, Keepsake, is like going on an easy rambling trail ride. Mike’s “no frills” music touches something deep inside. If you enjoy listening to lyrics that have meaning, tell a story or carry a message while the melody flows like a cool mountain stream, you will enjoy Keepsake.

#10

Baker_Land  PURCHASE LINK

What you’ll hear on Land of Doubt is stunning beautifully arranged strains of chords and melodies with lyrics deeper than the roots of an old oak tree. Baker is well-known for surviving a violent terrorist attack in Peru in 1986. He suffered some hearing loss in the explosion but has defeated all obstacles to emerge as a respected songwriter and performer. Land of Doubt opens with simplistic yet complex guitar chords from Will Kimbrough on “Summer Wind.” I am immediately reminded of Willie Nelson’s style of intermingling guitar licks with meaningful lyrics.

I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting new artists, perhaps finding new music that touches you or simply been entertained. Thank you for taking a look at a big part of what I do in life. 

 

Texas Music Festivals

Texas_Music_Festivals

Texas is a big state and the music festivals are just as big. I spent last weekend at the Outlaws and Legends music festival set on the Back Porch of Texas ranch just north of Abilene, Texas. I love this festival, which is in its 7th year of existence.

I work as a volunteer here and I work hard the entire weekend. Why? Because I love music and I love Texas music with a passion. The gate I am in charge of is the VIP and Artist gate. So, my smiling face is who greets the artists when they arrive.

Jamie_Me_Ali
Here’s me and a very pregnant event coordinator greeting the great, Jamie Richards!

And then when the work is done, I get the best seat in the house to listen to the performers.

Jerrod Medulla always wears the ever classy pinstripe suite and his lead guitar player looks like a Wall Street business man.

And you are never too young to watch your daddy perform on stage. This is Jerrod’s wife and baby daughter.

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You never know what you’ll see at a music festival.  Yep, those are masks and Jamie Richards being the professional he is, kept on singing. The girl with the phone made me think maybe she was from the Woodstock era.

This little boy got up on stage with his pint-sized guitar and, of course, the artists loved it and signed his guitar for him.

Mike Tuck plays lead guitar for the legendary songwriter, Zane Williams.

People come from all over and much of the acreage is covered with campers from the most elaborate and fancy to a simple tent.

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And here is the man himself, Mr. Mark Powell, who owns the ranch and has built this event from the ground up.

A Drone flew over the festival site filming and there was a live video stream of each performance.

The last performer of the event was the awesome Lee Ann Womack and this was my view for her show.

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Here is a shot of the crowd on the last night. You can tell by the jackets that it had turned chilly.

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So, if you ever find yourself anywhere close to Abilene, Texas on the first weekend of April, mark your calendar to attend the best little festival in the Lone Star State, Outlaws and Legends! 

Just in case you wondered, here are the rules. 🙂 20170401_144936

Crackerjack lines!

colorful-music-notes

Everyone who knows me on any level knows how much I love music. But, even more than the melody, the WORDS draw me in. So, I thought it would be fun to list some of my favorite lines from songs that give me chills or make me turn up the radio.

There are hundreds of thousands of song lyrics and honestly to narrow it down to a few has to be from music I hear on the radio every day or music I’ve been introduced to through doing artist interviews recently. That being said, all of the lyric lines I’m listing are from current “today” artists (except for one obvious one) and most in the Texas Music Scene.

songwriting

Here we go in NO particular order.

“Took half the cops in Dallas County to put one coon-ass boy in jail…” Trudy by Charlie Daniels

“She only drinks Bloody Marys, Silver Bullet ain’t her style…” Wolfhowl by Jerrod Medulla

“I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when. I may not know where I’m going, but I SURE know where I’ve been…” Highway 87 by Hayes Carll

“I awoke in the early hours of morning, heard a song riding on the wind, felt the chill of a cold day dawning, saw the world coming to an end…” Early Hours of Mourning by Rick Sikes

“Shooting stars and whiskey bottles lay scattered across the yard and I’da stayed back home in Houston if I’d known it’d be this hard…”  Wish I hadn’t Stayed So Long by Hayes Carll

“So this is life, when you get lost in a fairy tale, when you dream big and you love well, you barely get by…” So This Is Life by Courtney Patton  **This song gets to me in a big way!** YouTube 

“Strap in those kids, give ’em a little bit of Vodka in a Cherry Coke, we’re going to Oklahoma…” Choctaw Bingo by Ray Wylie Hubbard 🙂

“Nobody cares about truth anymore. Ain’t that what songs are for…” Bad Liver and a Broken Heart by Hayes Carll

“”It’s not what you know, it’s who you know and I’ve done put my trust in two. I’ve got Sam Colt and Jesus. I’ve got nothing to fear…” Sam Colt and Jesus by Robby White

“If you want to know about limits, talk to a man of the law. If you want to know about salvation, talk to a man of the cloth. But, if you want to know about sorrow that runs deeper than time my friend, just sit right down beside him, you’ll be talking to the right man…”  Man In The Neon Moon by Jamie Richards **In addidition to the lyrics the chord progression and haunting melody grabs me**

“Walking through the front door, lonely silhouettes on old bar stools…” Man In The Neon Moon by Jamie Richards

“But beware the mouth of the dragon and the lungs of coal he keeps…” The Mountain by Shane Smith and the Saints. **This is another one that gives me chills. The harmonies are SO tight!

“Ain’t got no meat in my Frigidaire, my children’s feet they all need shoes to wear, Laid off my job I walk the streets all day, looking for work so I can make my way…” It’s Hard on a Good Man by Gus Samuelson

Truly, I could go ON and ON, but I will stop here. Hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into song lyrics that move me personally!