Winter’s march to March and Spring has had a soundtrack of the Van Zandt family’s teasers for Sky Blue mixed with each of Steve Earle’s tracks dropped to tease his tribute album to Guy Clark. “Dublin Blues” also did double-duty for St. Patrick’s Day tunes. True to form, the collection of classic Townes tracks is a Lamb chop of an album and Earle delivered a Lion of an album in GUY which I’m just getting to know and love.
First, though, I have to acknowledge a trio of Western albums that kept the home fires warm from 2018 to 209. Colter Wall’s Songs of the Plains, Dom Flemons’ Black Cowboys, and the Ballad of Buster Scruggs soundtrack got my pony through mid-winter’s snow. Add in James Steinle’s South Texas Homecoming and I’ve Scrobbled more music the first quarter of the year than I have in an entire year previous with Flemons at the top of my albums so far this year. I still think Dom got a raw deal at the Grammys, but at least we got Gillian Welch & David Rawlings’ version of “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings”.
Now let’s talk about the new other stuff.
Bill Chambers’ 1952 came out early so I’ve played the title track “1952 Cadillac” often. Bill was a musical protege of Audrey Auld (and daddy for Kacey Chambers) and I can seldom play one without the others, but this album is a nice bit of Aussie Bill.
Hayes Carll and Ryan Bingham released on the same day, which really jammed up my Spotify feeds (plus the darn program just gets slower and slower on my old Mac with limited bandwidth anyway). Both albums–Carll’s What It Is and Bingham’s American Love Song–are good efforts that should satisfy their fans. Bingham’s single “Jingle and Go” and Carll’s single “None’ya” are both pretty catchy tho I did spin What It Is the most among the new 2019 releases. Call it a tie with the win going to the audience.
I’ve had a soft spot for Hot Club of Cowtown since they played little Murray County Central High School back in Minnesota about 10 years ago now. They brought out just 7 tracks on their January release Crossing the Great Divide–I’m not sure it’s up to their usual standards for Texas Swing but as always they have fun with a good beat. Dale Watson also always has fun, he of the Ameripolitan genre-bending soirées. Watson doesn’t disappoint with Call Me Lucky and some good old-fashioned Country music, roadhouse edition.
Before we go, I also have continued love and respect for my two favorite Favorites of 2018–Brandon Jenkins’ “Be the Revival” and Nancy K. Dillon with “Dutchman’s Gold”. It’s a year now since we lost the Red Dirt Legend. Ms. Dillon fits well into my Country AND Western soundtrack, too. And dog-gone it, let’s enjoy the making-a-living legends while they walk and play among us.