Album Review -Mark Chesnutt, “Tradition Lives” 

Album Review -Mark Chesnutt, “Tradition Lives” 

Released in July 2016 to the suprise of many who thought Chesnutt was well past his music prime, this is one of the definitive albums this year.Steeped in tradition, this album makes it seem like it’s still the 90s and Mark is still in his MCA/Decca heyday of hits. While he has fell aside as a independent artist, I look for this years release to become as legendary as Sturgill Simpson’s independent records are becoming . It’s that good, and as needed in our current music climate.

Best track on the cd is “Is It Still Cheating” where both partners are cheating on the other and the question is asked “Is it still cheating, If we’re both lighting. It’s a honest look at the pain and implications of cheating on a spouse and I’ve never heard it put this way. Who says Nashville has no original ideas? 

Most remincent of Mark’s 90s hits is opener “Quarter in My Pocket” and “Oughta Miss Me By Now”. Both would sound at home in his greatest hits collection, and “Oughta” was a great choice for a single. It’s just too bad great music like this gets overlooked.

“Neither Did I” is a example of the list song did right, listing things the protagonist didn’t know his woman could do when she ran him off. Anybody else but Chesnutt probably couldn’t pull this off in such a witty and charming way.

“So You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore” is another highlight on the album. At first glance it seems like a breakup song, which it is, just not with a woman. This is a honest look at the relationship between a alcoholic and the drink, and the realization that it’s time to walk away because it’s ruining him. A drinking song withat consequences ( unheard of in the bro Era right?).

“Look At Me Now” is a heartbreak song remincent of Mark’s hero Waylon Jennings, with a simple but effective lyric and the twang of a telecaster front and center.

“Never Been To Texas” would be Chesnutt’s kiss off to Nashville, as much as the album title is in my opinion.

Everyone’s convinced up and down Music Row

Ain’t nobody left that wants to hear drinking songs

They say you can’t sell the truth no more
The kind that Jones and Hank are famous for

[Chorus]
I guess they’ve never been to Texas
When the sun went down
Once the parking lots fill up
At every beer joint around
I heard the whole bar sing along
With she started liking cheating songs
I’ve been a witness to a hardwood floor
When I simply couldn’t hold no more
If they had they wouldn’t feel that way
They’d admit the past was here to stay
But they won’t because the fact is
They ain’t never been to Texas

[Verse 2]
Some predict in fifteen years or less
We’ll all agree to change things for the best
Now we’ll be glad, ain’t no more steel guitars
But if they think we’re gonna let it go that far


Chorus]
I guess they’ve never been to Texas
When the sun went down
Once the parking lots fill up
At every beer joint around
I heard the whole bar sing along
To she
 started liking cheating songs

I’ve been a witness to a hardwood floor

When I simply couldn’t hold no more
If they had they wouldn’t feel that way
They’d admit the past was here to stay
But they won’t because the fact is
They ain’t never been to Texas

The biggest suprise on the album has to be next to last track “Hot”. This song sounds like a hillbilly Sinatra song with some dobro threw in, and is the only break from traditional in the whole album. It’s a song about well, a hot summer day, just being hot. Not a lot of substance here but it’s a fun break from the heartache of the rest of the cd.

The end song is just Chesnutt and a guitar, and is another standout track. “There Won’t Be Another Now” is a beautiful love song about treasuring the time with that special person. This song spotlights Mark’s voice, one of the best at conveying emotions in country in my opinion, better than any track on the album.This song was added last minute as a tribute to the late great Merle Haggard, one of Chesnutt’s friends and heroes. A fitting way to end a perfect album, one The Hag would’ve been proud of.

I didn’t hit every song, just the ones that stood out the most so this review wasn’t long and overbearing. But I highly recommend buying this cd and listening cover to cover, hell buy copies for your friends and remind them what real country music sounds like. The more people hear and connect and know music like this is there, the less we hear Luke Bryan and Chris Lane’s bs.

I don’t hesitate in saying wonderful job Mark! We need to hear more from you, don’t let it be 6 years between originals this time! 5 STARS

Advertisements

In My Humble Opinion…A Look Back at 2016 

Like most country listeners, I had very little optimism for 2016, despite the hopeful sign of Chris Stapleton’s wins at the CMAs. Let’s be honest 2015 was a improvement overy the two years before, but not by much.

Then we come to 2016, the mixed up crazy year that has seen deaths that impacted all genres of music in crazy numbers. We had Merle Haggard, Joey Feek, Glen Frey, Leon Russell, Prince, David Bowie, Holly Dunn, Lenard Cohen, George Michaels and others I’m sure I’m forgetting all in one year. All named had a trememdous impact on all genres, down to Haggard. 

Haggard’s death in April made us wonder if real country music wasn’t to follow, and the other deaths made us wonder how long our remaining legends have left.

But as sad of a year as it’s been, there have been many positives this year. Turns out Stapleton’s win at the CMAS has jerked the genre closer to its roots, with more traditional sounds and more substance. Does that mean metro bro and other trends have died? No. Did country music have a complete turn around? No. And there’s still more than enough garbage on the radio. Look at bs like Chris Lane’s “Fix”.

But compared to recent years, while being a sad one, the moves toward substance give me hope for the genre I’d lost over the past few years. Trust me folks Rome wasn’t built in a day. 

We had Stapleton repeat his win this year with Male Vocalist, Brothers Osborne unseat FGL as duo, and many older traditional performers on the CMAs. We saw Aldean and the other bros get snubbed. We saw a number one by a solo writer (Humble and Kind), two young traditionalists who are new to the fold have number ones ( Jon PardI with Head Over Boots, and William Michael Morgan with I Met A Girl). We saw more substance from radio in general in 2016 with Tim McGraw leading the way with more traditional sounds, Eric Church with incredible singles like Record Year, and a suprising double album from Miranda Lambert. And that’s just some of the good this year. 

This is why I actually look forward to 2017 with the hope that out genre will finally make its turnaround. It’s already getting there but there’s a ways to go.

Sorry for all the crap on my blog but I got hacked by the BEYHIVE 

Well I apologize for all the crap that’s on my blog right now I got hacked by aparent Beyonce fans who want to call me a racist and a cracker and whatever else they want to call me because Daddy Lessons wasn’t number one on my list of songs for 2016. Because she wasnt on my best albums of 2016 she wasn’t the best female artist of 2016.

 I mean this is Outsiders looking in and saying that we’re racist in country music because we won’t award a outside song on our list as the best and they want it called country.They didn’t even know who Eric Church was they called him Lurch or something and I guess they don’t know Rhiannon Giddens was on my list with Eric Church in the number 2 spot and she’s African-American. Apparently not. I don’t know what to do with my blog made them chose it I guess it was easy to get into or something but this morning when I got here I couldn’t get on here, I had to reset my password and everything. Then I took screenshots of all of it. Hopefully here in a little while my blog will be back to normal. Thank you all for reading, thank you for bearing with me while I take care of this situation.

Single Review – Little Big Town “Better Man”

Single Review – Little Big Town “Better Man”

Little Big Town has the fortune to have their last single of the year sitting at number 16, over the hump before the winter freeze. Hopefully this one will make it to number 1, if so it will be the second song in around a year to have a solo writer and make number 1, first being Humble and Kind. 

The song was written solely by Taylor Swift, proving what was so amazing about her best songwriting..The ability to write beyond her years. Honestly Swift never came to mind when i heard this, I just thought this was a well written song by the band because it fits like a glove. This is the pre-Girl Crush Little Big Town. Not that I didn’t love Girl Crush, I missed this sound.

The song is about a woman who has left someone ,( husband, boyfriend )most likely verbally or physically abusive, who found the courage to run from her toxic relationship. Throughout the song we feel the regret and the longing for the way things used to be, the good times, and at the same time acceptance that it was for the best. 

Karen Fairchild delivers this like shes lived and breathed every last word, perfect from begining to the end. The groups harmony flows through the choruses perfectly. The production, while bordering pop-country, is beautifully done. This is a song that does what a country song is supposed to do, makes you feel every word.

This is one of the best songs of the year for 2016, thumbs up!  5 stars