Talking Golf & Guitars with Ken Morton Jr.

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One neat thing I've been able to do as a result of running this site is attend the annual Golf & Guitars Charity Concert at Haggin Oaks in Sacramento. Here's my write-up on the 2014 event. This year's Golf & Guitars is just ahead on May 18-19 (the golfing and general admission show happen on the 19th), with performers set to include Josh Turner, Love & Theft, Jon Pardi, Jason Michael Carroll, A Thousand Horses, Old Dominion, Swon Brothers, Michael Ray, One Flew South, Joel Crouse, … [Read more...]

Backtrack: Steel Magnolia, “Keep On Lovin’ You”

steelmagnolia

Review originally published at the late, great The 9513 in September 2009. The couple has since split up and parted ways creatively, but its female half - Meghan Linsey - is included in the batch of new, undiscovered (cough) talent competing on the current season of NBC's The Voice. Never mind that Linsey was previously Taylor Swift's labelmate and Blake Shelton's opening act. As past Nashville Star and American Idol contestants can attest, winning a television singing competition isn't the … [Read more...]

Album Review: Blake Shelton – Startin’ Fires

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...]

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

McDonald, incarcerated for this song.

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...]

Album Review: Cale Tyson – Cheater’s Wine

Cheaters Wine cover

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...]

Album Review: Ashley Ray – Ashley Ray EP

Ashley Ray

Originally published at The 9513 in May 2010. As best I can tell, Ray is now without a record deal but still playing around town. She has yet to release a full album. Someday, someone will let Ashley Ray release a full album. The Kansas-bred singer-songwriter first appeared with a four-song digital EP on Capitol Nashville in 2007. At some point, she moved over to Universal South, then survived the merger with Show Dog to release this new five-song EP on Show Dog Universal. Soundwise, it's … [Read more...]

Album Review: Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash – New Old Story

Bastard Sons New Old Story

Mark Stuart and his Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash cannot be accused of false advertising. New Old Story abounds with likable new approaches to well-trod subject matter. The main 'story' here seems to be the allure and excitement of the rambling musical life on one hand and its costs back at home on the other. If you're not familiar with the band (formed in 1995) yet, their name might deceive you. They don't sound much like Cash, nor do they have the punk or Americana leanings suggested by the … [Read more...]