Back in his Drive-By Truckers days, Jason Isbell's songwriting and plaintive vocals provided the melodic, contemplative counterpoint to Patterson Hood's gritty rambling Southern Gothic story telling.
There was a time when country music was the music of the common folks, telling their stories of broken hearts, hard times and redemption.
Wussy is the eternal musical bridesmaid, always with the promise of the caught bouquet, in the form of almost universal critical acclaim, but without the genuine diamelle solitaire of commercial acceptance.
Ray Wylie Hubbard's latest record, "The Grifter's Hymnal," has been in constant rotation in my truck for the past week. Living with it as I did, many questions arose, and I was lucky enough to be able to run them by the esteemed Mr. Hubbard recently via phone from his front porch in Texas.
Don't let the oversize Texas flag hanging behind the stage or the unfortunate Toby Keith collaboration fool you. Willie Nelson is not simply a country artist.
Chuck Prophet's 10th full-length solo record, "Temple Beautiful," is a spare, rocking homage to his adopted home of San Francisco, both the town and its denizens.
The appellation "legend" tends to be more of a marketing term than a description of an artist's importance. Often, it serves only to mark someone who's been lucky enough to get old without succumbing to too many vices and pitfalls along the way, and doesn't necessarily reflect the scope of their contribution to their art form.
Imagine being in a traveling band and staring down the prospect of trying to play a rock show in a town on the night said burg's baseball team is playing in Game 7 of the World's Series, at home, no less.