Posts Tagged ‘George Jones’

The_Sweet_Potatoes_1If you are a fan of the American version of the improv show called Whose Line Is It Anyway, you most definitely know the program’s musical director, Laura Hall. What you may not know is that there is a lot more to her than just the ability to improvise behind those who constantly come up with the humor on the show. Coming as something that should be no surprise to anyone, Laura Hall makes use of her musical training in more than just the role of a musical director on an Improv show. On days when she is not found backing up people who make a living making things up off the top of their heads, Hall puts her musical background to use with the band called The Sweet Potatoes.

The Sweet Potatoes is a trio of musicians who blend together some classic musical styles in order to create their sound. Laura Hall makes up only one part of The Sweet Potatoes as she performs on piano, accordion, ukulele as well as mandolin and vocals. Hall’s husband Rick Hall, who has made a name for himself as music composer for the likes of shows such as NCIS and KC Undercover, joins the two ladies in the group as he performs on vocals, bass and harmonica. Kelly Macleod (the woman who formed The Sweet Potatoes with Laura Hall as a duo before Hall’s husband joined them) completes the outfit as she performs on vocals and guitar as well as being a writer with Laura Hall on the band’s songs. Together, the trio combines their various musical talents to create a musical ensemble that creates music that focuses on the style of Folk music.

As a duo, Laura Hall and Kelly Macleod had already released one self-titled album of music in 2010 before Rick Hall joined the ladies. As a trio, The Sweet Potatoes created one album of music, 2014’s Faith, Good Neighbors and a Telephone. Now, the trio formation of The Sweet Potatoes has released a second album, (third all-around for the band) 2017’s Headin’ Home.

Headin’ Home from The Sweet Potatoes begins with the track “Those Pines”. The track begins with two-part harmony coming from Laura Hall and Kelly Macleod to create a Bluegrass-style vocal before Macleod takes the lead on vocals as the group begins a track that is truly a Bluegrass fan’s dream. The track features a story-like feel to the lyrics. Macleod sings of remembering the pine trees where she grew up. As she sings of the place she called home, she describes the time when she came home to attend her mother’s funeral and then taking a walk within the trees so that she could find peace of mind. “Those Pines” is easily one track that will fulfill any Bluegrass fan’s dream of finding real bluegrass music.

With the next track of “By the Light of Day,” the song finds the trio creating a track that falls musically closer to Country music than it does Bluegrass. In fact, the track’s musical blend is about half and half Country and Folk. As Kelly Macleod took the lead on vocals with the previous track, it is Laura Hall’s turn to sing lead. While many of us already knew Hall was a talented musician, “By the Light of Day” proves that she can also sing rather well. Just like with the song before it, this track once again features strong harmonizing from the three band members.

On the third track entitled “Second Hand News,” The Sweet Potatoes create a track that revolves around two people spending quality time together. With this track, Kelly Macleod once again takes the lead on the vocal. Macleod sings about slowing things down while relaxing out in the grass and allowing things to happen as they will as she proves she is better than the woman who has taken her place in the now-defunct relationship. The lyrics to the song contain enough of a hint at what is being sought after without going overboard. “Second Hand News” contains a gentle feel with a moderate pace to the music.

The next song on the release is “Home”. And with this song, the trio brings a little more wholesomeness back to their music. The track “Home” finds Macleod once again singing lead on a track about looking back at the way life used to be. To go along with a gentle pace to the music, “Home” features a lyrical content that is sure to evoke memories of times gone by as Macleod sings about the good times that made her childhood so memorable. “Home” is one of the shining moments on the newest release of Headin’ Home from The Sweet Potatoes.

Many Folk albums venture from time-to-time into a more Gospel-oriented musical direction. Headin’ Home from The Sweet Potatoes is no exception. On the track “Down to the River,” Kelly Macleod sings lyrics about heading down to the water that will cleanse her soul. The music on the track picks up a little more Bluegrass feel than the previous tracks contained. The track contains enough of a religious overtone without getting too preachy. For those who enjoy Bluegrass music, especially old-time Bluegrass with that Gospel connection, “Down to the River” is a great modern-day addition to the genre.

On the next track on the album, The Sweet Potatoes create one of the most commercial songs on the entire album. The song “Without You” once again features Kelly Macleod on lead vocals as she sings about her romantic desires. Macleod’s vocals about not wanting to spend her life with that someone special join music that is closer to Old-fashioned Country music than Bluegrass. In fact, the feel of the music as well as the contents of the lyrics make the track perfect for inclusion on Country radio formats that deal with more of the Classic sound and style. While this track may being rather unusual when comparing it to today’s contemporary Country music, the formats that focus on the style that would include Dolly Parton, George Jones, Patsy Cline and Marty Robbins would welcome “Without You” from The Sweet Potatoes with open arms.

Just as “Without You” comes to an end, the trio of The Sweet Potatoes creates yet another track that features an Old-fashioned Country feel to the music. “Only Thing We Got” features Laura Hall once again on lead vocals as she sings about the one thing that binds us all together- love. While there is still a strong retro feel to the music on the track, “Only Thing We Got” seems like it would fit more with today’s style of Country than most of the tracks on the album. The track exists somewhere between “timeless” and modern.

As you make your way through the dozen tracks that make up the Headin’ Home album from The Sweet Potatoes, you encounter different musical elements that blend together easily to create an album that feels as if it should have been released several decades ago. And while there is the retro or throwback element to the band’s music, The Sweet Potatoes will appeal to fans of the older style of Country/Bluegrass music. For those who are already fans of that style, be sure to add this album to your collection. And to those who are just beginning to explore the older styles of music, Headin’ Home album from The Sweet Potatoes,  is a good place to start.

For more information, check out the Tiny Desk Contest of “Home” from The Sweet Potatoes.

Click on the album cover below to purchase a copy of Headin’ Home from The Sweet Potatoes. 

Sweet Potatoes Headin Home

DocFell & Co. CoverMuch of today’s Country music radio sounds as if it was nothing more than Rock and Roll with a Southern accent. And while there are some really good artists out there today creating that style, what is sadly missing from today’s Country radio are artists that want to keep at least some of the old traditional Country sound alive. Thankfully, there are still a few people who are still out there looking to incorporate some of the old style back into the modern version of Country music. One artist keeping some of that traditional Country flavor alive is Dr. John Fell, also known as DocFell.

While spending his days as a general practitioner, Dr, John Fell spends his free time creating Country music that incorporates just a little Pop-rock flavor that helps to bring the traditional Country music style into the 21st Century. To help bring that Country/Pop-rock mixture to life, singer-songwriter/guitarist John Fell is joined by multi-instrumentalist Kyle Brown and several others including John Barker (electric bass guitar), Kevin Rose and Joe Sloan (percussion) who help to make up the ensemble known as DocFell and Co. Just recently, the ensemble released the 2017 album entitled Dust Bowl Heart.

Dust Bowl Heart begins with “Lonesomeville”. The first few seconds of the track features a very Old-Timey and tinny sound to the track as if it had been created near the advent of recording. The track segues into a much more upbeat feel that features a Country sound reminiscent of Jerry Reed’s songs, especially something like “Tupelo Mississippi Flash”. The track about a very lonely man has a strangely upbeat feel to the music, considering the lonesome nature of the person in the song that is telling the story.

With the song “Love Sick,” DocFell and Co. takes their sound back a few decades. The track features a Classic Country sound that would have been around in the early fifties. The song’s style definitely brings to mind something from somebody George Jones or any of the other male Country stars from the same era of the music. The inclusion of the callbacks from the band really adds a lot of energy to the Old time feel of the track.

On the track “Oklahoma Lady,” DocFell and Co. create a track that seems to be more than a little bit influenced by the musical supergroup the Eagles. This seems to contain feel of some of that band’s tunes that they would be famous for. “Oklahoma Lady” has the same type of magic that was found on songs like “Desperado” or “The Best of My Love”. One of the main elements on the song that gives the track that Eagles flavor is the playing from guitarist Kyle Brown that brings to mind the style of that band. “Oklahoma Lady” also contains a certain amount of retro flavor that would have made the track perfect for radio airplay back in the seventies at the same time that the Eagles were climbing the charts.

Dust Bowl Heart continues with “Home on the Hill”. On this song, DocFell and Co. bring to mind yet another band that contained a similar Country Rock vibe like The Eagles were known for. “Home on the Hill” contains a lyrical and musical style that is reminiscent of Michael Nesmith and the First National Band, especially off of that band’s Magnetic South release. The track also contains a little bit of flavor that would remind some of the song “Garden Party” from Rick Nelson. The combination of the styles on “Home on the Hill” creates a track that feels very familiar to the listener and would easily have fit on radio a few decades ago. But that doesn’t mean that the track feels outdated. It would easily feel right at home on radio today.

While most of the Dust Bowl Heart release from DocFell and Co. incorporates a lot of earlier styles of Country music, the track “Broken Heart” brings the music of the band up to today’s style of Country music. The Country/Rock hybrid that is so prevalent on today’s Country stations is just the style that makes up the sound for “Broken Heart”. In a duet-style setting, the vocals of the song ask “Whatcha gonna do with a broken heart?” Of any of the songs on the new album from DocFell and Co, “Broken Heart” is easily the track that would fit well on today’s Country music formats.

Throughout the ten songs that make up the Dust Bowl Heart release from DocFell and Co, there is plenty of variety for those fans of Country music. No matter what era of the style you gravitate towards, there is something for you on this solid album from Dr, John Fell, Kyle Brown and the rest of the gang.

To check out the sound of DocFell and Co, click HERE for the song “Oklahoma Lady”.

 

If you know anything about Country music from the last 50 years, you absolutely know the name of George Jones. The late, great George Jones made a huge impact on music and, more specifically, Country music. Throughout his musical career, Jones had amassed a huge amount of singles. By the time he had passed away on April 26th, 2013, George Jones had recorded and released over 700 songs, many of which went on to become hits for him.

For the one-year anniversary of the death of George Jones, several tributes had been planned. One of which was a 2-CD tribute album released by the record label Deer Lodge. The new release is entitled Deer Lodge: A Tribute to George Jones.

Like any tribute album worth checking out, Deer Lodge: A Tribute to George Jones contains a lot of variety in the music within the two CDs worth of material. Because of the fact that Jones was such a big part of the Country music scene when he was alive, you will definitely find plenty of Country-flavored tributes throughout the 30 tracks of the album. But this new collection ventures into other musical genres, as well. And while the release does not contain major label talent or any of other Country music stars that were contemporary to Jones while he was in his prime, the artists that have been gathered for this release still give their all and produce some fine interpretations of Jones’ work.

Deer Lodge: A Tribute to George Jones begins with one of George Jones’ best-loved tracks, “White Lightning”. The honor of covering this track goes to the Portland-based Sassparilla who took the song and gave it a slight punk edge to it. That edge seems to work for the track as the lyrics of the track also contain a bit of attitude. The music on this track ends up being rather sparse but still played with plenty of energy that will remind some of a Country-flavored Black Keys sound. The guitar and harmonica that make up the majority of the music on the track play off each other well and create a great take on this song.

Dov Rosenblatt and Talia Osteen are collectively known as The Wellspring, a duo that creates a sound that borrows from The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkle, Indie Rock and just a little Country. For this release, the band creates their take on the song “She Thinks I Still Care”. The resulting Folk/Rock feel of the track feels right at home with the slightly heartbreaking lyrics of the song.

Lewi Longmire & Portland Country Underground ends up being the first artist on the Deer Lodge: A Tribute to George Jones release that truly feels right at home with Jones’ music. The band creates a perfect modern-day Country version of the George Jones classic “Still Doing Time”. The resulting track feels as authentic sounding as anything that would have been created by Country music artists from back when Jones recorded his own music. This version by Lewi Longmire & Portland Country Underground may sound a little out of place for today’s Country radio formats but is just right for those music buyers who continue to look for that genuine Country feel.

Of all of the tracks on the Deer Lodge: A Tribute to George Jones album, one of the best interpretations on the release is the version of “He Stopped Loving Her Today” by Stephanie Lynn. For this version, the female vocals from Lynn give the song a slightly different approach than most people are used to with this song. This is another interpretation on the release that helps to keep the vision and spirit of real Country music alive. The track could easily find its way onto today’s Country music radio formats and still fit right in.

Just as the album crosses over the one-hour mark, the band Hearts of Oak appears to remind the listener that the album is not made up of all Country music artists. The band adds some Rock and Roll elements into their music to create their Alt-Country sound. The harder musical approach by the band gives their version of George Jones’ song “Must’ve Been Drunk” a bit of an edge and helps to bring out the true emotional feeling of the lyrics of the song.

Throughout the thirty songs that make up the release, you’ll find plenty of tracks that you’ll enjoy. And after many really enjoyable songs that all pay tribute to George “The Possum” Jones himself, the Deer Lodge: A Tribute to George Jonesalbum comes to an end. With a simple man-and-his-guitar approach, the tune “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes” by W.C. Beck ends up being one of the simplest interpretations and one of the brightest spots on the release. Because of the sound quality on the song, the track from Beck had to have been recorded in a very small room. The tinny feel of the recording gives the song a certain amount of personality that works with the emotional words of the track. The song that was once a staple of George Jones’ career now seems to have been written to include him in the list of artists mentioned in the lyrics. What a way to bring the tribute album to a close.

Whether you are a George Jones fan or have yet to discover the music of this 1992 Inductee to the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Deer Lodge: A Tribute to George Jones album is a great way to discover some of the songs that helped shape his career.

 

To hear the music on the album before you buy, check out the Deer Lodge’s Soundcloud profile for the album.  

As a bit of a preview, check out the video to Sassparilla’s “White Lightning”.

Check out In Music We Trust for all things music related.

 

When you turn on the country music radio today, you inevitably run into music that sounds more like southern rock than it does the music that was made popular by people like George Jones, Merle Haggard or even Patsy Cline. But just when you’ve all but given up on finding that good old-fashioned country sound ever again, along comes someone like The SaddleTones.

The SaddleTones is a country band that is fronted by Miss Laurie Ann, who creates songs that feature a sound that is almost timeless. Part of the reason for that “timeless” feel is her voice, a voice that will instantly remind you of other singers like Loretta Lynn, Wanda Jackson and the aforementioned Patsy Cline. And the words that Miss Laurie Ann writes will also transport you to another time with their simplicity, something that is truly missing from today’s music.

Of course, The SaddleTones are more than just Miss Laurie Ann on vocals and guitar; the band contains three other musicians who help bring each song from Miss Laurie Ann to life. The rest of the band consists of guitarist Mike McMillan, bassist Arturo Baguer and drummer Ira “Tex” Kaye. Together, these four musicians make the perfect ensemble to create that old-time country sound. But the band also takes a touch of rock and roll to give their music some body. This “rock-boppin’ country” as it’s been named can be found on the debut release from The SaddleTones called Hitch Yer Wagon.

Hitch Yer Wagon from The SaddleTones begins with the title track. “Hitch Yer Wagon” is a tune that transports the listener back in time to another time when country music had its own unique sound. The addition of Isaac Stanford’s steel guitar helps bring back that unmistakable feel that only country music had. This track alone will make you wish this type of music was still being played on today’s contemporary country music stations.

It is on “The Last to Know” that you get a real sense of what the expression of “rock-boppin’ country” means. The SaddleTones create a song that would sound like a blues tune if only a blues singer was the one adding their voice to the music being played by the band. As it is, the country-flavored vocals from Miss Laurie Ann adds a lot of twang to the blues to make the song so much more. The country/blues combination from the band as well as the addition of Earl Poole Ball’s piano all combine to create a track that has mass appeal to it, as country fans will like it as much as the blues fans.

“Detour to Nowhere” is one of the hardest rockin’ tracks on the release. The roots-rock music created on this song is very reminiscent of early Johnny Cash as the driving nature of the song may remind you of those early days of rock and roll when country music, the blues and R&B were all coming together to create a new musical genre that would soon take the world by storm.

On the track “Long and Lonely Night,” the SaddleTones create a slow-paced song that truly brings back the feel of old Loretta Lynn songs. You can almost feel the pain in the lyrics written and sung by Miss Laurie Ann as you listen to the song. The entire band does a wonderful job capturing the feel of old country songs that seem too long gone. It’s a pleasure to hear that you can still find this type of country music if you try hard enough.

The pace changes from song to song on Hitch Yer Wagon from The SaddleTones. One minute, you’re listening to a slow, painfully emotional track like “Long and Lonely Night,” the next, you’re listening to a song like “Lackawanna County Line Blues,” which has a much faster and upbeat feel to the music, even though the lyrics of that song are still a little on the sad side; and then, the musical landscape changes once again for a song like “Usual Way” which slows the pace down to a painful crawl as you listen to Miss Laurie Ann sing about the pain of living from day to day.

Miss Laurie Ann and the rest of The SaddleTones bring to life music that seems to have been long gone. The writing and playing on the band’s 2012 album Hitch Yer Wagon takes you back to the days when country music still sounded like country music. This new release seems almost lost in time when compared to today’s country music scene; but for those looking for that classic country sound, look no further than Hitch Yer Wagon from The SaddleTones.

Click HERE for a live performance of the band’s song “The Usual Way”.