Country Music

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Phoenix
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Re: Country Music

Post by Phoenix »

I'm bumping this old thread up because I feel the need to recommend a new country group. Recent recordings by Lady Antebellum have underwhelmed me, but they have been replaced in my affections by Pistol Annies, a trio of girls, two of whom have a lot of experience as solo artists behind them. Those two are Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe, the third girl being Angeleena Presley, who I was previously unaware of. They are not exactly new, I have been listening to them for the last two or three months, but they are very interesting and well worth looking into. The basic melodies are, for the most part, recognisably country, and there are some top class musicians backing them, one of whom is playing an expensive Gibson acoustic, which I would like to hear more of. Or own! So far, so country. The lyrics are a different matter, very unusual, a whole new ball game. They are as far left field as country has ever been. Imagine if you can Mary Gautier's cynicism, without the stories, delivered in a kind of bitingly-sweet three-part harmony with attitude. Quite a number of the songs in their repertoire are on YouTube. For those who are tempted, I can suggest you check out some of the following, Dear Sobriety : I Feel A Sin Comin' On : Trailer For Rent : Lemon Drop : Hush Hush : Girls Like Us : Hell On Heels : Bad Example : Blues You're A Buzzkill : and Being Pretty Ain't Pretty. Of the two albums they have produced so far, the better is the second one Annie Up. I don't know whether this is any sort of recommendation, but when I was last in Putney my 19-month-old granddaughter Aurora Marisol, who had only just learned to walk, was bopping away like a good 'un to Hush Hush. Fair wore me out she did. She is now 21 months old so I shall be expecting more style from her when I go down again this Thursday for the weekend. I'll have to take her some new books though. She can't get enough of them.

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paw broon
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Re: Country Music

Post by paw broon »

I was not a fan of country music until I stumbled across the much missed Townes van Zandt. Not a great voice but full of emotion and such beautifully sad songs. A lovely version of Pancho and Lefty. Have a listen here:-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtzgwNDZAs4
Then, hot on his heels I found Guy Clark. Have a listen:-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTwUpkEK6yk

Sorry if you all know all about these fine exponents.

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Re: Country Music

Post by Phoenix »

Thanks for posting those, Paw. And Townes was even introduced by Nanci Griffith, who I saw a few years ago at the Shepherd's Bush Empire. I must admit he has passed under my radar somewhat, largely because he didn't feature all that often on Country Club. I do know some of his work, such as Tecumseh Valley, and the moving If I Needed You, which I have on cassette. I also have it on an LP by Don Williams, and if you haven't heard the version in the film Crazy Heart, give it a listen on YouTube. I can't make up my mind whether Jeff Bridges is actually singing it or not, but regardless, the backing is beautiful. The Guy Clark is new to me, and a bit of a surprise because I've always been aware of him as a songwriter rather than a performer. I enjoyed it though, and I notice there are others posted as well so I'll listen to more in due course.

In return, try the song You'll Think Of Me by Keith Urban. He's a special talent, more modern but very good. He was born in New Zealand but has lived mainly in Australia. He doesn't sound out of place in Nashville though. He's married to Nicole Kidman. I think it was my son, Russell, who alerted me to a live performance of the song on YouTube. I was impressed enough to buy the 2002 album Golden Road the following day from HMV in Bold Street in Liverpool for £13, reduced from £14.99, and I thought I'd got a bargain.

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paw broon
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Re: Country Music

Post by paw broon »

I not only listened to your suggestion, I also clicked on a few other songs from Mr. Urban. Thank you.
Nanci Griffith has always impressed me and I was one of a very few country artists who held my attention before the TVZ revelation.
After finding Guy Clark I tried out some more country music and quickly found Robert Earl Keen. Here's Gringo Honeymoon:-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWANCXep4SY
Following on right behind him came Dave Alvin, and Border Radio has been a favourite since.:-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWANCXep4SY
All further suggestions greatly received, although I do prefer "new" country. I think that's the term.

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colcool007
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Re: Country Music

Post by colcool007 »

Another band to recommend are the "Toy Hearts". There are a Birmingham family trio that,while good in recording, are absolutely amazing live.

The sisters are both titchy. I'm 5'4" and I am taller than both! And Dad is amazing on the steel guitar.

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Re: Country Music

Post by Classic Comics »

My parents had a fondness for country music. Unfortunately, the kind of country they listened to - the Nashville Sound - really turned me off from that kind of music. Jim Reeves? Tammy Wynette? Billie Joe Spears? No, thanks. Overproduced and maudlin. I heard some stuff that interested me like Emmylou Harris, Lynyrd Skynyrd and especially Johnny Cash but not enough to really reel me in to country as a genre. Then about 20 years ago I stumbled across CMT Europe and fell in love with it. Mary Chapin Carpenter, Alison Krauss, Robert Earl Keen, Suzy Bogguss, Little Texas, Iris DeMent.... they got me interested and since then I've picked up a lot of country albums and seen quite a few gigs. I still can't stand the Nashville Sound but the really early stuff like the Stanley Brothers and particularly Hank Williams Snr is wonderful and I do like a lot of the current folk and rock influenced country.

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stevezodiac
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Re: Country Music

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This was in today's Metro but the review makes it sound like chick-lit (tv alternative).
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Phoenix
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Re: Country Music

Post by Phoenix »

I did watch that, Steve. It was very good, and ran to around twenty weekly episodes, if I remember correctly. There was some excellent music, and if Hayden Panettiere and Connie Britton weren't singing, then the dubbing was unbelievably good. I'll have to buy it because the recording facility on my Sky digibox gave out around episode sixteen.

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Re: Country Music

Post by stevezodiac »

There was also a review of the box set in Friday's Sun which gave it five stars.

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Re: Country Music

Post by Phoenix »

Responding at last to three earlier posts. I quite liked Feelin' Good Again by Robert Earl Keen, and Mariano was interesting. I'm not sure you can describe what he achieves with such a gravelly voice as singing though. Your second link was the same as your first one, Paw, so it didn't send me to Dave Alvin. Not to worry, I listened to five of his YouTube tracks, but he's not for me. Unfortunately, I wasn't that impressed by Toy Hearts either, Colin. They are very good instrumentalists, but pretty limited as vocalists. The dark-haired girl is not comfortable singing that high, she'd be better off in a lower key. Having said that, I thought The Captain was good, and the harmonies worked well, but their adapted Carter Family number Worried Girl Blues was vocally a bit thin, and the video was out of sync with the sound. A couple of their other tracks were leaning rather too much towards Western Swing for my taste. Your tastes are nearer to mine, Classic Comics. I've already made my opinion of Alison Krauss known on this thread. I've seen her three times, twice at the Liverpool Philarmonic, and once at the Hammersmith Apollo. I also went some years ago with my son Andrew to see Mary Chapin Carpenter at the Manchester Apollo. Of the other artists you mention, I'm naturally with you on Hank Williams and the Stanley Brothers, but I also love the work of Iris DeMent. In fact, I remember hearing her sing a Carter Family number which was playing as background on one of those stalls before you've gone very far into Camden Market. I can't remember which song it was, and I've been through her entire discography in the vain hope of it triggering a memory. She also featured on a couple of those late-night Transatlantic Sessions, harmonising with Alison Krauss, if I'm remembering them correctly. By the way, I notice that nobody has expressed an opinion yet about Pistol Annies!!!

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colcool007
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Re: Country Music

Post by colcool007 »

I'll be honest and say that I had heard of them before as someone had pointed me in the direction of Takin' Pills before you mentioned it and I had not realised that it was them. I do enjoy their brand of Country, but I always prefer the upbeat tunes to the maudlin.
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Re: Country Music

Post by Phoenix »

colcool007 wrote:I do enjoy their brand of Country, but I always prefer the upbeat tunes to the maudlin.
Well there's nothing wrong with that, Col, I can understand that view perfectly. However, Pistol Annies don't do maudlin. For quite a number of their tracks on YouTube, the various uploaders have posted the lyrics. One evening when you're relaxing, and you've persuaded she who must be obeyed to relinquish the computer to you, or Karen if it's her, listen to some of them at your leisure, and I'm sure you will see what I mean.

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stevezodiac
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Re: Country Music

Post by stevezodiac »

Documentary on BBC4 tonight at 9pm called The Joy of Country. Not sure if its a repeat. Followed by a Glen Campbell programme.

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Re: Country Music

Post by Phoenix »

I did watch it, Steve, in fact it was all I did watch today. It was a repeat, but enjoyable even so. Perhaps when I've stopped buying Thomsons' story papers I'll get myself a decent second-hand Gibson acoustic.

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stevezodiac
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Re: Country Music

Post by stevezodiac »

I have an electric guitar and an acoustic guitar but I can't play them. Picked them up at boot fairs.

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