Apparently, Chris Denney has only been writing songs for
the past four years, but he’s clearly channeling a lifetime of pent up
creative energy in the tunes he’s unleashing with his Nashville quintet,
Denney & the Jets.
With two full-length albums and a couple
of EPs under their belt, Blackberry Smoke began to attract some
attention from Rock music fans who wanted a little grit in their musical
gravy in this new century. Then, they began to get bigger and better
gigs, opening for ZZ Top and the Zac Brown Band.
James McMurtry has gone from strength to strength in the past 23 years, compiling an estimable catalog of eight studio
albums and a pair of stellar live recordings as proof of his compelling
Perhaps it’s too prosaic to continue to believe that Stuart Baker
created the persona of Unknown Hinson for a North Carolina
public access show 20 years ago and thus began his Whackabilly
onslaught of stages and studios. It may be convenient to
imagine that Hinson blacks out his front teeth, glues on some cheesy
sideburns and assaults his audiences with
a raucous musical hybrid of Country and Rock.
Born in Lake Charles, La., Lucinda Williams has the keen
ability to craft Southern tinged Country songs that attract both AltRock
and Country fans. In her
30-year career she’s become known as a deft lyricist, which is
appropriate because her father, Miller Williams, was a well-known poet.
Most recently, in 2011, she released the album Blessed, which reflected upon her growth as a musician.
Although Natural Child
coalesced back in 2009, they sound like they’ve been around forever.
Almost stereotypically young, the Nashville trio’s influences date to
their parents’ record collections and that sense of musical classicism
is infused with an appropriate dose of hormonal rage and rebellion.
The phrase “living legend” gets thrown around a bit too
liberally but there’s no better description for Merle Haggard. Far
removed from the big-hat twang Pop dominating Country music today,
Haggard was among the ’60s artists who helped popularize and transform
the genre beyond its regional hillbilly appeal and teeing up its
mainstream success. Haggard didn’t play the role of Country bad boy, he
Troupe Larry and His Flask (there is no actual Larry but
it’s a safe bet that there are several real flasks) was assembled nearly a
decade ago by the brothers Marshall. LAHF expanded to a sextet in 2008,
picked up acoustic instruments and jumped the tracks toward a Twangcore
sound, playing every dicey gig that was offered to them in order to
spread their new wild gospel.