In 1917, American artist Charles Russell famously told a friend in a poem “The West is dead.” It’s a bold claim that doesn’t quite hold up, says award-winning Western singer-songwriter RW Hampton. “The West lives on,” Hampton argues and he makes a strong case on his new This Cowboy. This Cowboy is an album sure to please anyone who likes an honest Western song polished just enough to make it shine.
In a way, Ingrid Gerdes’ new album, High Priestess, is a throwback to days when a recording artists approached a new project as a complete package — a song cycle — built around a particular theme. Every track was written and produced and sequenced in a way that would convey a certain emotion or experience for the listener. Ingrid took an old-school approach to her new release, High Priestess, choosing instead to attempt to create an experience for her fans through a complete collection. Brought together by her unique blues-rock sensibilities, the result feels like summer in the South. It is at times both cool and hot, breezy and still, and imbued with a shot of sass to Gerdes’ hot buttered soul, Dusty-in-Memphis delivery.
Eileen has drawn comparisons to the likes of Lucinda Williams (Time Magazine). She recently wrapped up a successful tour of Europe. “…Be Many Gone exudes the confidence of a singer and band that have honed their craft with hour upon hour of hard work… Rose’s finest to date.” (R2 Rock ‘n’ Reel) “With a long and illustrious musical pedigree, the Americana-influenced Be Many Gone ranks among Eileen Rose Giadone’s best work!” (Press Association (UK))
Bill has worn many hats in the music business — a sideman for such artists as Bobby Bare and Wanda Jackson, a popular radio promoter for such artists as Johnny Rivers, and a recording artist. His latest, Songs That Make Me Think About You, is a collection of songs (“Decades after beginning his career, Wence is still out there playing piano behind Bobby Bare and Wanda Jackson. Also, in addition to being a prolific record promoter, he is still making records, himself. This title tune to his latest is a jaunty, beach-y bopper.” (Robert K. Oermann / Music Row)
The Cowboy Way of Life has always been a strong magnet for Mike and Doris Merritt. Sure, there’s the romantic view of the West as seen in Hollywood movies, but for the Merritts it’s more than just riding horses across the wide open country under a great, big sky. “There’s a certain code of ethics and values that remain out here,” says Mike, who grew up in Texas. “Not that everyone here is perfect, but the underlying, unspoken rule of thumb is that the Western way of life is more about how you live, not where you live.” Now based in Oklahoma, the Merritts bring a fresh, positive message to their first ever duo album, Detours.
One part country, one part rock, and all parts Southern probably best describes the band from North Louisiana known as Louisiana Swamp Donky. They spend their days in the oilfields, on the farm and driving trucks to provide a living for their families. They each have a work hard, play hard attitude and when it comes to their music, there is no denying their Southern roots. Earlier this year, their authentic Southern Rock sound caught the ears of famed Southern Rock icon Richard Young of The Kentucky Headhunters. The result.. foot-stompin’, Southern-fried Rockin’ country!
The Truckin’ Sessions Triology
Praise is being heaped on Dale for his newest collection of Truckin’ Sessions songs. Red River Entertainment put the 14 new tunes together with Dale’s previous two truckin’ albums for The Truckin’ Sessions Trilogy. “The third installment of hardcore troubadour Watson’s truck-driving albums — think 18 wheels, not tailgates — is so full of romanticized life-is-a-highway anthems that, by record’s end, you’ll want to dial the number for your local big-rig school.” (Rolling Stone / Country)
A Nashville-base session guitarist, Dan’s new collection is filled with wonderful, eclectic songs. “Cohen represents himself as a fine pop provocateur, a singer/songwriter with a keen sense of melody and an easy accessibility. A fine support crew — among them, Brad Jones, Matt King, Jace Everett and Doug Powell, each a superior artist in his own right — help out, allowing Bluebird to soar to unexpected heights.” (Lee Zimmerman / NoDepression)
“Poor Man’s Diamonds transcends any single genre – although bluegrass, blues, folk and burnished narratives make up the mix – and yet, his determined stance and authoritative presence ensures an instant connection.” (Bluegrass Situation)
One of the first – ever recordings using an Apple Computer, B4 84 became Hi Res, which to date is the only Joe Ely CD not still in production. Basically, Joe recorded that album and submitted it to MCA execs, who insisted he re-record it using traditional recording studios. These particular recordings are available for the first time — the “Director’s Cut” if you will — and it’s amazing how great they sound. Liner notes by Steve Wozniak.
Reverb: An Odyssey (a novel)
Review copies of Joe’s first-ever novel are available in pdf or Word format by request only. Same for physical copies, which should be available next week.
Michael Martin Murphey Continues Tradition of Cowboy Christmas Ball
Christmas is a season of tradition, and no one knows that better than Michael Martin Murphey. The iconic musician has worked diligently to keep alive the spirit of the first Cowboy Christmas Ball for more than two decades.
This year, he launches into the next 20 years with his popular Cowboy Christmas Tour. Sponsored by Spalding Fly Predators, Murphey and his acclaimed Rio Grande Band will spread Holiday Cheer through nearly 20 cities including a stop in Anson, Texas, where the Cowboy Christmas Ball originated in 1885.
“The first time I came to the annual Cowboy Christmas Ball in Anson, Texas, where the community has celebrated the holidays with this event every year since 1934, I was floored that the community had worked so hard to keep it going,” Murphey said. “I fell in love
watching the older couples dance and the dances being passed on to the younger people. It reconnected me to the tradition.”
Arriving in Anson, Texas on Christmas night, 1885, native New Yorker Larry Chittenden chronicled a dancing spectacle unparalleled in those days by composing the rhythmic, rollicking lines of The Cowboys’ Christmas Ball, a six stanza verse that still remembered and anthologized many times in print and song.
Modeling a show after the annual Anson event, Murphey took the celebration on the road, and has over the past two decades, performed the ball in such prestigious venues as Bass Hall (Ft. Worth, TX), The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum (Oklahoma City, OK), the National Hispanic Cultural Center Journal Theater (Albuquerque, NM) and The Performing Arts Center at Texas A&M University (Austin, TX).
This year’s tour begins on Nov. 21 in Colorado Springs and will continue through December. Visit www.michaelmartinmurphey.com for a complete listing of stops on the tour.
“The Cowboy Christmas Ball is steeped in everything I hold dear of growing up in Texas at Christmas time,” Murphey said. “All the old dances are here… the waltzes, the mazurkas, the Paul Jones, the Virginia Reel… all these dances are still done here. The women make their own costumes and clothes and the men still wear string ties and frock coats. It’s a family reunion of friends.
“This is my favorite season of the year,” Murphey continued. “We remember our fathers and mothers. We celebrate our children and we treasure our friends and the many blessing given by our Lord. It really brings out the very best in all of us.”
KEEP YOUR EYES AND EARS PEELED!!!
Still Just A Man — 10 Years Later
Bryan Hayes crafts personal narratives with a novelist’s eye (“Soundtrack”) and an alchemist’s precision (“Mississippi”). Proof: The Memphis area resident’s seamless Still Just a Man….10 Years Later. Hayes’ recently re-recorded debut album spotlights a youthful songwriter in early peak form (“You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”). “Ten years is a big milestone for me, an independent songwriter and traveling musician,” Hayes explains. “We felt like going back in and revisiting some of those songs was a way to say thanks to the folks who have been with us this entire time.”