Ha Ha Tonka's new badge of honor, "Lessons," expresses maturity, along with all the pain and regret that can come with this new found wisdom.
If you're looking for a better country songwriter working today than Robbie Fulks, you'd have to turn to names like Lauderdale, Haggard or Crowell. But Fulks comes from the alternative side of the tracks; yet his songs, like "When You Get to the Bottom," have the timeless feel of pure country, at its hardest and most honest best.
The Southwestern Missouri band Ha Ha Tonka returns with the new song "Colorful Kids," a fetching and catching tune that builds upon all of their strengths, and sneaks in a Huck Finn reference for very good and meaningful measure.
Alt-country heroes don't get much more larger than life than Eddie Spaghetti, leader of the Supersuckers, and hard-twangin' solo artist in his own right. "The Value of Nothing" captures Spaghetti at his snarling, slacking, swaggering best.
JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound wail their strikingly personal lyrics and take an edgy approach on their new album "Howl."
Deadstring Brothers' newest release invites listeners into the rustic slice of life of "Cannery Row."
"The Coming Tide" by Luke Winslow-King offers a warning of a threatening storm, both spiritual and natural, but also a promise of shelter, in the swinging sound of pre-war jazz, blues and gospel music.
Led by the singing and songwriting of Kurt Marschke, and highlighting pedal steel, organ, piano and the sweetest harmonies this side of Gram and Emmylou, Deadstring Brothers return with another contemporary classic of country soul, "Like a California Wild Fire."
And so it goes in American music: It takes a Brit to remind us how great American-made genres can be.