Daniel Meade and Lloyd Reid IF YOU DON’T MIND

Daniel Meade and Lloyd Reid

100 x More Country or Americana Than 99% of Albums That Claim To Be.

Daniel Meade and Lloyd Reid hail from the River Clyde Delta in the foothills of Olde Scotia and make some of the finest darn Country Music that your ears are ever likely to hear.
What more do you need to know?
I have spoken.
Oh! That’s not enough for you is it?
Well, this is the pairs umpteenth album together in what has been a very fluid career, combining big ole City Centre gigs with their band The Flying Mules and village halls across the UK in whatever other format was necessary.
No two gigs or albums are ever the same; but you always know that Daniel Meade’s exquisite singing voice and heartfelt songs will make you despair that you aren’t actually watching a world famous Star of the Opry; because that’s what he sounds like to me.
On to their latest release; and one that has been a long time in the making and one of the best things to come out of music’s Annus Horriblus; ‘Lockdown 2020’, which forced the duo to use modern technology in the most old fashioned manner to create a fairly simple production that makes these songs all come alive in a way that you can’t find in many studios.

There’s a melancholic late night Honky Tonk feeling to opening track If You Don’t Mind that makes you think back to the glorious days of Hank and George on the wireless. The harmonies are absolutely spot on and the story in Meade’s song hangs in the air long after it’s finished.
To the untutored ear this album would probably be classed as Old Time Country; but that is doing Meade’s songwriting a huge disservice; as his subject matter is invariably more contemporary than just about anything coming out of Nashville this century.
This certainly applies to It’s Hard To Be a Man These Days and the mad minute that is Give This World a Shake; although their arrangements and Lloyd Reid’s astonishing guitar runs are certainly Old School or more pertinently Classic Country in my book.
For only two people, Meade and Reid create a ‘big sound’; but we already know what a multi-talented musician Dan Meade is; and that comes to the fore with his Dooley Wilson style piano playing on the winsome heartbreaker Good Heart Gone Astray and a few songs earlier the rather jaunty and black humour of Mother of Mercy.
Everyone who buys this album is going to have a different Favourite Song, that’s for sure; as each will touch different people in different ways; again this is my way of saying that Daniel Meade is a very clever songwriter.
At present I’m torn between the Western Swing of Why You Been Gone So Long?
The dark and almost Gothic Sleeping on the Streets of Nashville, which will resonate with far too many musicians who travel to Music City with so much hope in their hearts, and almost always ends in tears.
The other; and what I’m actually selecting as my actual Favourite Song on a rather special album is ………. cue drum roll……… Choking on the Ashes (That I’ve Burned); a bonafide Country tearjerker with Everly Brothers style harmonies and while that’s the Twang we associate with Chet Atkins; I’m also hearing (not for the first time or last here) more than a smidgen of Jazz Master Barney Kessell in Lloyd’s mellifluous guitar runs.
If you are a fan of Country Music, or even Americana you are going to absolutely love this album; but the sad part is that because Daniel Meade and Lloyd Reid don’t play the ‘corporate game’ IF YOU DON’T MIND isn’t likely to feature in any Awards ceremonies at the end of the year; yet it is 100 x more Country or Americana than 99% of the albums that will.

Go on; treat yourself.

Released September 18th 2020



Angel From Montgomery

There are but a handful of songs that transcend categorisation and can genuinely be deemed Classics.
John Prine wrote many great songs in his short time on earth; but the beautiful and powerful Angel From Montgomery is by far; a shining light that will be still be sung in concert Halls and Folk Clubs around the world long after his name is forgotten.

On the night of his passing, earlier this year Wynonna rushed to the studio to record this staggeringly heartfelt version to honour the Great Man; and proves to be the cornerstone for a fresh new EP called Recollections, coming in late October.

I was sitting in the kitchen when I got the news that John had flown,” Wynonna explains.
“I told Cactus I needed to sing ‘Angel From Montgomery’ that night because I needed to honor how much John had meant to me. I learned that song when I was a teenager, and now, forty years later, I’m still singing it, and hopefully passing it on to the next generation who will keep on singing it, too.

“I’ve learned a lot being at home these last few months,” Wynonna reflects. “When there’s no touring, no concerts, no band, no lights, no action, all that’s left is you and the song. All that’s left is your gift.” It was precisely that freedom that led Wynonna to ‘Recollections’, a project so spontaneous and organic she didn’t even realize she was making it at the time. “This EP was a labor of love without the labor,” she laughs. “As a songwriter, you can get bogged down in your own craft sometimes, but there’s something so liberating about letting go of all that and just inhabiting someone else’s writing.”

“I feel like I’m right back where I started,” she continued. “Like I’m 18 all over again. When I sing these songs, it feels like I’m coming home.” ‘Recollections‘ also features performances of
‘I Hear You Knocking’ by Fats Domino,
“King Bee’ by Slim Harpo,
‘Feeling Good’ by Nina Simone
‘Ramble On Rose’ by the Grateful Dead.
It will be released digitally and on CD on 30th October.

Pre-order here:


Brendan Quinn

As you know we receive a lot of singles at RMHQ; and the vast majority have to fall by the wayside simply for logistical reasons; but this single is as fascinating as it is poignant and prescient.

The Covid19 lockdown has been a difficult time for many people, none more so than the over 70’s.
But for legendary Irish Country singer Brendan Quinn it’s been a very productive time and he’s now releasing his lockdown themed single “Will We Ever Be Free” and is announcing a full album too.
“Not being able to do what I’ve been doing for 50 odd years came as a bit of shock! says Brendan, “Everything just stopped last February …… no more music.
I had a 14 day tour lined up for May, gigs and festivals over the summer, all cancelled.
But I tried to stay positive, I walked most every day and started to stream gigs live on FB from my front room.
I did it every day for 100 days and I reckon I sang about 700 songs. I really enjoyed interacting with all the folk online but it’s just not the same as playing in front of an audience but it kept me connected to my music.” 

Released September 18th 2020


Josh Turner
Spinefarm Records

Sprinkling Stardust Across Some Dusty Ole Country Classics.

In general, the bigger the act RMHQ reviews the smaller the stats are regarding people reading the review; and Josh Turner, alongside Joe Bonamassa are the biggest culprits.
It appears Turner’s fans don’t read the likes of ‘our site’ and our regular readers, don’t read Josh Turner reviews!
Strange but true …….. yet I still like his music!
Hey ho; let’s get onto the music.
Like many of this type of ‘covers’ album, what is deemed a Country Classic is often a brand new song to me, which brings us neatly to the first song on Turner’s homage to the music the singer grew up with and fell in love to; opening track, the crisp and cool No Stranger to The Rain; which really comes to life due to his rich and ‘lived in’ voice; plus of course the singer’s trademark warble during the chorus.
The first of the Guest Stars; John Anderson appears on Track #2; the bouncy I’ve Got It Made. Although brand new to me; it’s certainly the type of Country song I yearn for when I watch the CMA Awards every year!
What’s not to like?
A great story; a melody to die for, enough Twang to re-string a tennis racket and; of course …… two great voices.
Of the songs I do know, the duet with Chris Janson, Country State of Mind (which even has a bonafide yodel at the end!!!) simply zips along like an old Bronco on a dusty red road; and Forever and Ever (Amen) featuring Randy Travis is as Country as Country is gonna get in 2020 ……. with some totally bodacious fiddle and mandolin playing; the likes of which I’ve not heard in years.
There are delicious delights around every corner too. I don’t know Runaway June or the song You Don’t Seem To Miss Me; but the end result of this warm and tender duet is tragically beautiful (reminding me of Gram and Emmylou btw.)
Apparently a ‘fan favourite’ during Turner’s concerts; I’m staggered that I’ve never heard Vern Gosdin’s I Can Tell By the Way You Dance (You’re Gonna Love Me Tonight); but perhaps Fate was just waiting for the right time for me to appreciate it; and that time is now.
It’s quickly obvious that Josh Turner genuinely loves these songs; as he finds something extra by singing from deep down in his heart; none more so in the album closer The Caretaker where he somehow sounds a bit like both Johnny Cash and Ray Price at the same time on a real tearjerker of a pure Country ballad.
Another gorgeous duet, Alone in Forsaken; finds Turner’s vocals dropping an octave or two until he gets into Cash country again; and when Allison Moorer’s golden chords enter the fray the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end the first time I played it …… and even today I had to stop typing to listen ever more intently.
When you read what an effect a song that good had on me you may rightly ask why it’s not my Favourite Track?
Well; there are others that I like even more …… if you can believe that!
It matters not a jot if you like Josh Turner or not; this album is an absolute doozy chock full of good ole fashioned Country Music; the type the naysayers think isn’t released anymore; and that brings me to the two songs I’m torn between for the accolade of RMHQ Favourite Song; and in keeping with the rest of the album they are as disparate as music gets; but indelibly stamped with Josh Turner’s distinctive watermark.
The beautiful and brittle ballad Why Me; sung with Kris Kristofferson is a genuine highlight and stands out like a poppy in a field of wheat; but Hell’s Teeth anyone who has the colones to take on Waylon’s Dukes of Hazzard Theme has to be either reckless or a genius; and I feel Josh Turner falls into the latter camp here; giving the theme song to a whole generation the reverence it deserves but adding his own little bits and bobs; so I think ….. no; I know Theme From Dukes of Hazzard is my official Favourite Song on an album full of absolute belters!

Released August 21st 2020

Caylee Hammack IF IT WASN’T FOR YOU

Caylee Hammack
If It Wasn’t For You
Snakefarm Records

Modern Country With Plenty of Sharp and Emotional Twists.

I despair when friends and friends of friends tell me; “I love Country Music.” Then I find they only own Cash and Dolly’s Greatest Hits and now listen to Classic Country radio or; God Forbid (shiver) ……. The Spottyfi.
All of that has a place in the musical spectrum of course; but they’s gonna miss out on so much great and interesting music being released by the likes of Caylee Hammack.
Even before you ever hear a note on this album; knowing Reba McEntire, Ashley McBryde and Tenille Townes are involved should be enough to spike your interest; it certainly did mine.
I love the gentle way that opening track Just Friends starts in a Dolly kinda way, then bang, boom ……. wallop Caylee throws down a series of firecracker chords that blows a wheel off the wagon; leaving her to take us on a frightening downhill trip on three wheels and hope!
Yessiree Bob; this gal is another ‘one off’ who has her very own style and doesn’t really give a damn if you like her music or not ………. this song and what follows is for and Caylee Hammack; pure and simple.
The single that features a duet with my favourite Redhead, Reba follows and; while the singer herself has hair of a copper hue; the song is loosely based on Caylee’s cousin with fiery red hair and temper to match; simply sizzles and burns through your speakers like a wild fire.
I may have decried Classic Country radio earlier; but there may be a smidgen of a chance that they will play this single this Summer; and if they do and you hear it by chance ………. you will be buying this album 5 minutes later.
When she’s on fire Caylee Hammack really can out Rock the Boys; try King Sized Bed; which is a sad love story played out through an intense power ballad riff that feels like a punch to the heart.
Speaking of ‘sad love songs’, Gold finds the singer alone with a plaintiff acoustic guitar and will bring a tear to a glass eye; and make everyone who hears it hate whoever she is singing about.
Ms. Hammack has had a hand in writing ever song here; and once you get past the heartache in her voice and listen carefully to Sister and Forged in the Fire you will know you are hearing someone who has ‘lived that life’ and can write those stories down in a way most of her contempories can’t come close to.
I love the way that Caylee juxtaposes her love and appreciation of the Classic sound with a 21st Century approach to not just her songwriting but the way she wants to sound.
Which brings me to the songs I’ve filtered down to selecting a single Favourite from; and coincidentally (possibly) all three sit side by side in the middle.
Family Tree sounds like something Jeannie C Riley would have sung; but laced with steroids; Mean Something actually sounds quite dark and dangerous; and this slightly menacing song of a woman staring at the light at the end of the tunnel, which features Ashley McBryde and Tenille Townes on molasses thick harmonies that will cling to your memory for a long, long time.
Then, there is Small Town Hypocrite.
Okay; Caylee isn’t the first and won’t be the last songwriter to scratch at the scab that covers what really goes on in small towns and suburbs all around the world; but on Small Town Hypocrite she captures the fear and minutiae that inhabits the shadows like few others before here …….. and it is therefore the RMHQ Favourite Track on a rather exceptional debut album; from a very talented singer and songwriter.

Released August 14th 2020
Buy don’t Spotify: USA https://store.cayleehammack.com/?utm_campaign=nav&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=cayleehammack.com

UK https://www.roughtrade.com/gb/caylee-hammack/if-it-wasn-t-for-you/cd?channable=a40338.Mjg0MzI2&gclid=CjwKCAjwydP5BRBREiwA-qrCGhjMjACa78XOsBH_nm-aR_cOpBgZQrcFm4thi_pos1ItwenO6Xa0zBoCnUEQAvD_BwE


Bobbie Gentry
The Delta Suite

A Great Lost Album Re-Visited and Brought Right Up To Date.

While I consider myself a Bobbie Gentry fan, in line with 99% of other like minded people; that means I own a couple of copies of her Greatest Hits.
Which makes listening to a whole album of ‘none singles’ a bit of a challenge …….. but one I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.
The Delta Suite is a bit of an oddity in many ways; first of all it was recorded and released less than a year after Bobbie’s debut album ‘broke the charts’; it’s a ‘concept album’ and ain’t nothing like what came before it; and bare little resemblance to much anything I own from her peers around that same period.
The songs are all still; definitively Bobbie Gentry; but here played in the correct order tell a ‘story’ about the people that surround young Ms. Gentry; but instead of ‘Good Ole Boy’ Country melodies; the arrangements here are more orchestral and often full of ‘sweeping strings’ instead of a pedal-steel or fiddle.
I hope so.
The first of the two albums are the new Stereo re-mixes; and starts with Okolona River Bottom Band; and once you get past the ‘new sound’ and the demonic cackle from Shorty Rogers that comes and goes like Summer lightning; Bobbie’s sultry voice carries you into strange new paths; albeit in well charted territory; and it sets the cinematic mood for what is to follow.
Because you are expected to sit back and listen to Bobbie’s ‘story’ it’s not that easy to select individual songs; as very few, if any actually sound like prospective singles ………. but they invariably sound wonderful in this context; moving said story along.
Now I’ve got my head around this album; this version of THE DELTA SWEETE and DUSTY IN MEMPHIS; to my befuddled mind sound like peas from the same pod.
None more so than Morning Glory, Refractio and the Seventh Son; which have all remarkably stood the test of time, while at the time must have left the Label ‘suits’ tearing their hair out!
On the re-mixed Album #1 a couple of songs do stand out; none more so than Louisiana Man which is the most ‘traditional’ song here; and the harmonica laced Big Boss Man, too, which I may actually have heard before ……. but that may be my mind playing tricks on me.
While the Classic Tobacco Road makes an appearance of course (the original mono version is exceptional) my Favourite Track though; and this comes back to the strength of the songwriting as much as it does Bobbie Gentry’s silky smooth and emotion drenched voice; is Mississippi Delta (Alternate version) which rocks like shrimp boat in a storm and leaves you thinking about all of the current crop of Alt. Country poppettes who try their darnedest to sound like this; but miss the target that Bobbie Gentry keeps hitting with consummate ease.

I’m not sure why the original MONO (DEMO) versions are included as a second album; as it’s the new versions that you are intended to buy; but the originals are so very different, yet ever more beautiful and intricate in their simple ragged and slightly tarnished glory it’s more than likely that this will be what you are listening to in 10 years time.

Released July 31st 2020


Welcome to Hard Times
Thirty Tigers

A Bit of Country, a Lot of Western And Plenty of Heartfelt Honesty.

Just 36 years of age, Texas born Charley Crockett has had a very tough life, learning from family heartache and poor, albeit a series of unlucky personal decisions that most people would struggle to cope with.
He has also recovered from serious health issues in recent years, leaving a prominent scar on his chest as a vivid reminder, acting as inspiration to not let hard luck get him down.
Nevertheless, his music has enabled him to stay ahead of the game and Welcome to Hard Times is his 8th. album in only 6 years.
Generally, I tend to levitate toward artists who are difficult to place into accepted taxonomies, those that glide from one genre to the next with consummate ease. Well, Mr Crockett certainly does that, and some. However, if you want further clarity, then producer Mark Neil proclaimed that “it was a pleasure to be involved in what I believe to be the best Gulf and Western record ever made.”
The albums title track kicks things off with a mid-tempo tinkling piano backing with lyrics that include the profound warning that
the dice are loaded, and everything is fixed
even a hobo will tell you this”.
“Run Horse Run” follows, painting fleeing pictures with equine references, and bringing back some personal childhood memories of “Ghost Riders in the Sky”.
“Tennessee Special” ups the tempo into an almost Western Swing vibe, with a gentle, wailing steel guitar reinforcing the songs’ railroad journey. We then have a banjo intro into “Lily My Dear” that has a chorus asking his nearest and dearest
Lily my Darling, Lily my Dear,
for what awful reason have you come down here,
Is it for money, is it for pride, just for the joy of watching me die”.
Further songs about being down on your luck follow with the likes of “Heads you Win”, “Raining in my Heart” and “Black Jack County Chain” but the dark, self pitied subjects are delivered with plenty of varied instrumentation and different tempos that undoubtedly keep you interested.
It was a toss up choosing my favourite track with “The Poplar Tree,” just missing out to “The Man That Time Forgot”.
Both fell into the predominant noir and Gothic Western theme that runs throughout all the 13 tracks, but when Charley asks
Would you like to know the secret of my misery,
sitting in the pages of my history.
It’s a living hell, this painted veil, of illusions that I can’t stop,
I’m the man that time forgot.
then it’s so easy to visualise and then feel the sadness and misery behind all of these very well crafted songs.
Weirdly, each time I listened to the album it took me back to my childhood, watching black & white TV series like Rawhide, Gunsmoke & Bonanza, that were my Dad’s absolute favourites too. I could see the cattle, smell the leather, and could even taste the prairie dust, plus, there was always Frankie Lane singing too.
In those days the music would have been categorised as Country & Western, well this splendid album from Charley Crockett has very little Country in it, as it is virtually all Western, with and without the Swing; albeit sensitive and moody but paradoxically somehow always enjoyable.

Released July 31st 2020

Jack Kidd
“Messin’ with the Kidd” on lionheartradio.com


The Chicks
Sony Music Cmg

A Cathartic, Fiery and Triumphant Return

The “Dixie Chicks” are no more!
Long Live The Chicks!
What ever name they choose to go by, this band of women have never been afraid to speak their minds; and their powerful voices are still to the fore on “Gaslighter”, their first group release since 2006’s “Taking the Long Way”. Indeed, the title, like the title of the documentary on the band “Shut Up and Sing” is confidently provocative.
In 2019 the group featured on the track “Soon You’ll Get Better,” on Taylor Swift’s “Lover” album and were visually referenced in the “Me!” video – the link between both parties has been strengthened with Swift’s co-writer and producer Jack Antonoff taking over production duties on “Gaslighter”- and the musical similarities in this new release are quite strong, albeit The Chicks preserving more country elements than in the current Swift repertoire.
Opening title track takes the theme of ‘gaslighting’ on a personal level – a theme which runs strongly throughout the album. Musically it starts with razor sharp harmonies and evolves into a Scandinavian pop monster which addresses a former partner who is “repeating the mistakes of your father”. Both “Sleep at Night” and “Tights on my Boat” are accusatory stabs at the predatory and underhand person who broke up a relationship – with the former being more banjo-laced Scandi-pop whereas the latter uses conversational acoustic R&B which is beautifully savage in its target – “Will your dad pay your taxes now I’m done?”
The girl who left her tights on my boat – she can have you now”. Ouch.
“My Best Friend’s Wedding” and “Hope It’s Something Good” both tackle the issue of the twenty years spent in a relationship which is now over and are articulate attempts to gain perspective.
“My Best Friend’s Wedding” not only bites by stating that in 20 years “I’ll still be younger than you” but with its repeated refrain of “Going alone” there is a firm note of independence struck.
The gaslighting theme is prominent again on “Everybody Loves You” where there is a juggling of memory and the perception of the other in a relationship – “Why does everybody love you?” which builds into a violin under-scored anthem.
Coming out the other side of a broken relationship though is something which the album also tackles. “Texas Man” simply states that “It’s been way too long since someone’s body’s been tangled with mine” and takes the view of an experienced and strong woman who’s ready to try again, to an arrangement that’s like a harder-edged version of Taylor Swift’s “Mean”. Having felt the need to strike out into the world of relationships, though, “For Her”, starting with just voice and organ builds into an anthemic soulful plea for someone new to “Show up for her”.
With all this experience, there is room on the album for a couple of advice songs too – “Julianna Calm Down” is a sisterly talk where “You know he’s about to leave but don’t panic” so “Put on your best shoes and strut the fuck around like you’ve got nothing to lose” – all set to a pure pop arrangement that lists several girls’ names that creates reassurance for someone who’s been through the pain of break-up.
The advice on “Young Man” is different again – this time it’s to a child left to deal with the fallout of a relationship.
You’re of me not mine/Walk your own crooked line/I promise you’ll be fine” – a finger-picked plaintive vocal and subtle strings announce that “…my blues aren’t your blues” and “it’s up to you”.
The voice of independence is shown on the most overtly political track on the album “March March” which is an almost country-pop equivalent to Morrissey’s “Life is a Pigsty”.
Starting with very non-country beeps and electronic kick drum, there’s a defiant acknowledgement that I march “to my own drum” followed by a caustic litany of problems – “Underpaid teacher, police in the hallways” – to name but two.
There’s also an immediate acknowledgement that “Half of you love me, half of you already hate me” but this division has been caused by political gaslighting where “lies are truth and truth is fiction”.
The fact that this track was chosen as the lead single to introduce the album makes a bold statement and reaffirms that although there might be some musical changes in what’s on the album, the passion and fight is stronger than ever.
But ending things, is a personal plea for release – Natalie Maines has laid out her desire to gain her legal independence in a song inspired by her divorce on “Set Me Free”.
A heartfelt ballad that states “I’ve been sick from my heart/I’ve cried alone” “Why not just set me free?”.
There’s a emotional plea that “Decency would be for you to sign and release me” -and “If you ever loved me will you do this one last thing”.
It’s a song which embodies the desire and urge to strike out alone, to be free of lies and disappointment that form the core of the album. Musically, this at times, due to the Jack Antonoff influence and to lyrical threads of disappointment could be heard as an older and wiser, country-pop rooted darker companion piece to Taylor Swift’s “Lover”.
There should be little doubt that its sales figures will likely mirror that album too.

Released July 17th 2020

Review by Nick Barber


First Rose of Spring

Pin Point Americana Pictures, Painted with Laconic Lyrics and Beautiful Imagery.

What do you do when you are a world-wide, iconic elder statesman of Texas, nay American, popular music and you reach the ripe old age of 87? Well, if you’re Willie Nelson and you’ve just won your 13th. Grammy for last year’s critically acclaimed “Ride Me Back Home,” you go straight back in the studio and lay down 11 new tracks for your 70th. studio album.
Yes, there have been 69 previous releases.
The word “legend” just doesn’t do this man justice.
Originally scheduled for an April 2020 release “First Rose of Spring” has been held back, due to the world-wide Coronavirus pandemic, until Friday 3rd. July.
Again, paired with his long-term friend Buddy Cannon as producer, they co-wrote 2 of the songs while the other 9 have been carefully selected from contemporary and traditional song-writers.
Opening with the title track First Rose of Spring, which was composed by the young song-writing team of Randy Houser, Allen Shamblin & Mark Beeson, we are welcomed with a slow, love at first sight ballad that could have been written by Willie himself and really sets the tone for the other 10 tracks.
Blue Star and Love Just Laughed are the 2 tracks that Willie and Buddy co-wrote and again they undoubtedly hit the high standard that the great man just keeps maintaining, even as the years roll on and on and on.
I’ll Break Out Again Tonight provides a heart-wrenching prisoners dream, with a laid back pedal steel guitar adding to the lights out delusion whilst Toby Keith’s Don’t Let The Old Man In fits like a glove; with the hard hitting chorus of
Ask yourself how old you’d be
If you didn’t know the day you were born”.
Stealing Home is another Classic Country ballad that would bring a tear to a glass eye, reminiscing and looking back on an idyllic childhood with the chorus ending with:
damn old Father Time for stealing home”.
Just Bummin’ Around composed by Peter Graves is a slightly humorous, uptempo western-swing tune, whilst the surprise of the album is a completely new song written by Grammy winning, contemporary hit-maker Chris Stapleton, entitled Our Song.
I almost selected Yesterday, When I Was Young (Hier Encore) as my favourite. A superb cover of a 1964 Charles Aznavour chanson which was Roy Clark’s biggest ever country hit in 1969, but my vote goes to We Are The Cowboys.
This is a cover of another long-time hell-raising, outlaw Texan, the one and only Billy Joe Shaver, that has a haunting, home on the range type harmonica backing, to drive home the chorus of :-
We are the cowboys the true sons of freedom
We are the men who will get the job done
We’re picking our words so we won’t have to eat them
We’re rounding them up and then driving them home.
It’s a scene stealing tune about life in the Lone Star State and even more poignantly, it’s written by another walking, talking, fabled Texan.
The pictures painted with such laconic, pin point lyrics simply put the icing on the cake of yet another wonderful set of songs.
How does he keep on doing it? Willie Nelson is truly unique and, as ever, conveys real feelings through his music and makes every song his own.

Released in 3rd. July 2020
Jack Kidd “Messin’ with the Kidd” on Tuesdays http://www.lionheartradio.com


Tenille Townes
The Lemonade Stand
Sony Music

One Foot Firmly in the Ghost of Country Past; The Other In The Future!

Yes, country music and pop music are still getting blurred together nowadays, most often with mixed results. Now, I’m not going to argue the pros or cons of either, that starts to get a little bit into that “Hey you kids, get off my lawn!” mentality, and reminds me of the arguments I’d have with co-workers about new bands: “That ain’t rock ‘n’ roll!” they’d say and go back to listening to Journey or Styx while I’d slip a New York Dolls cassette into my Walkman and go hide in the back of the file room.
Everything—especially music—is relative to one’s own likes, prejudices and experiences.
So, now that’s outta the way, and we can get to the matter at hand: the debut album by Tenille Townes, originally from Canada, now based in Nashville, USA, home of much of America’s (and the world’s) popular music. Townes has assembled twelve songs on this album, called The Lemonade Stand, with production from Jay Joyce, who’s worked with Emmylou Harris, Little Big Town, Patti Griffin, and many others.
The album as a whole has a punchy, modern pop sound, but still manages to keep its country roots firmly in place. The lead off track “Jersey on the Wall (I’m Just Asking),” is ‘oven ready’ for radio, as is “Holding Out for the One,” and “White Horse,” but it’s the song “Somebody’s Daughter” that is the standout single here for me; as there’s plenty of songs out there about relationships, but not enough about our relationship with people from a less privileged stratum of society. Not that this alone gives it a reason to be listened to—this is pop music after all, we need something to sing along with, a good beat to latch onto, a catchy melody amidst all those words—and Townes makes this one work well despite the heaviness of what could be such a sensitive subject matter.
Lines like:
With the shaky hands
On the cardboard sign
And she’s lookin’ at me

tells me that Townes is no one trick show pony, and to follow that later with:
Now this light’ll turn green and I’ll hand her a couple dollars
And I’ll wonder if she got lost or they forgot her
She’s somebody’s daughter
tells me she’s in it for the long haul, not just writing and singing dance pop fluff.
As for what passes today as Modern Country, this song rocks honestly and makes you think.
This one is timely, for sure, but also timeless, and that’s where it really hits home.
My other favorite on this album is the charming “I Kept the Roses,” which reminds me a little bit of Tywanna Jo Baskette (who’s been missing in action for way too long.)
This is the tune here with the most character. One foot firmly in the ghost of Country music past, the other unafraid to stand out and be different. Townes’ voice is perfect for this sort of song—I’m hoping for more of this on her next album.

Review courtesy The Legendary Roy Peak esq.
Released 26th June 2020