Merle Haggard

There’s More to Life Than Jokes

Blake Shelton - Startin Fires

Album Review: Blake Shelton – Startin’ Fires

This review was originally published at the late, great The 9513 in December 2008, before Shelton had joined the Opry, married Miranda Lambert, become a perennial CMA Male Vocalist winner, or found wider pop culture stardom as a personality on NBC's The Voice. Savvy observers of mainstream country recognize Blake Shelton as one of the format's finest interpreters of a song. On his fifth studio album, the Oklahoma native and beau of firecracker Miranda Lambert (a connection alluded to by the … [Read More...]

McDonald, incarcerated for this song.

Backtrack: Richie McDonald, “How Do I Just Stop”

Originally published at The 9513 in November 2008, back when I was still young and spunky. McDonald has since rejoined Lonestar. Songwriters: Tommy Lee James and Richie McDonald. In an election year full of tough questions and partisan bickering, former Lonestar-frontman-gone-Christian-crooner Richie McDonald offers some much-needed common ground. "How Do I Just Stop" is so gloriously simple and unequivocally lackluster that people of every political persuasion should rejoice in the … [Read More...]

Cheaters Wine cover

Album Review: Cale Tyson – Cheater’s Wine

Sounding like a young graduate of the Gary Stewart School of Honky Tonk Heartache, Cale Tyson offers up a potent 21 minutes of the good stuff on his six-song Cheater's Wine EP. Texas-born and Nashville-based, the singer-songwriter - who also produces - easily masters the '70s country aesthetic suggested by his album cover, with a studio band highlighted by rising star Robert Ellis on guitar and liberal application of Brett Resnick's pedal steel. As a songwriter, Tyson favors emotional directness … [Read More...]