Bakersfield’s Honky-Tonk History Boxed

The California honky-tonk hotbed of Bakersfield represents more than just a launching pad for Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, as celebrated by Bear Family’s 10-CD box set, The Bakersfield Sound, 1940-1974. The 307 song compilation spans from early field recordings of migrant workers and radio appearances by Western Swing pioneers Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys to… Continue reading Bakersfield’s Honky-Tonk History Boxed

George Strait – Honky Tonk Time Machine

It’s been a good month or so for fans of ’80s and ’90s country music. Reba’s back in rare form, Billy Ray Cyrus joined the “yee haw” movement and Brooks & Dunn taught radio-friendly young’uns how it’s done. Even tragedy has its silver lining, with old souls and curious listeners digging deeper into Earl Thomas… Continue reading George Strait – Honky Tonk Time Machine

Sarah Shook & the Disarmers – Years

Early on in her sophomore album, Sarah Shook offers a wry, yet revealing, personal assessment: “I need this shit like I need another hole in my head.” Framed against a straight-up honky-tonk arrangement – guitar, bass, drums, lap steel – Shook’s vocal is equal parts defiance and self-loathing as she details a scenario rapidly going… Continue reading Sarah Shook & the Disarmers – Years

Whitney Rose – Rule 62

On new album Rule 62, Canadian singer and guitarist Whitney Rose furthers rock-influenced country music by applying her undeniable vocal talents to songs that celebrate the 1960s. The result is ten good songs and one great one that’ll disrupt some way-too-early year-end lists. The album starts with “I Don’t Want Half (I Just Want Out),”… Continue reading Whitney Rose – Rule 62

Lydia Loveless – Indestructible Machine

I’m not sure if Lydia Loveless is talking about a tough-ass pickup truck, her guitar or her heart when she calls her new album Indestructible Machine. Any could apply. Given the tone of these nine songs balled up into a punchy 38 minutes, though, the logical guess would be the body’s largest muscle, which the… Continue reading Lydia Loveless – Indestructible Machine