Prime Cuts: March 2012

  

As we approach the end of May here in real time, Prime Cuts is just rounding the corner of March. Hopefully, you’ve already found time to explore some of our January and February song picks, because March was an even busier release month with an even greater number of recommendable tracks.

No sense in dilly-dallying, then. Go ahead and check out our favorite country album tracks of March below, then comment on any of the recommendations (or make some of your own!) in the comments.

Shooter Jennings – “The Real Me”
from Family Man
“Most people who know me say I’m as nice as a guy could be/That’s all fine ‘cuz most of the time they never get to see the real me.” Tempo-changing, tongue-twisting country rocker in which the music mirrors the singer’s descent into drunken revelry. Fun.

The Grascals – “Pass It On”
from Life Finds a Way
Recommended if you enjoy “Cat’s in the Cradle” and “Skip a Rope.” Written by the late Harley Allen, this iteration of the theme comes with a Jesus ending.

The Steel Wheels – “Endure”
from Lay Down, Lay Low
Everything I’ve found about this online suggests it was written as a commentary on politics, but the rootsy Virginia four-piece plays it more like a killer country-gospel jam. The whole album’s really good.

Hobart Brothers & Lil Sis Hobart – “All Things Being Equal”
from At Least We Have Each Other
On a Kickstarter-funded collaboration with Freedy Johnston and Susan Cowsill, Austin legend Jon Dee Graham offers a nice, pissed-off addition to our old Songs for Struggling Farmers playlist.

Todd Snider – “The Very Last Time”
from Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables
“I had a dream where you came to see me/You asked if I was okay/That’s how I knew that I was dreaming/You asked if I was okay.” Sounds like classic Todd Snider.

Bruce Springsteen – “Shackled and Drawn”
from Wrecking Ball
Stomping country-folk with a Celtic feel, like Springsteen doing Earle doing Springsteen.

Neal McCoy – “That’s Just How She Gets”
from XII
Joke songs don’t always age well, but this one is at least cuter than Brad Paisley has managed lately.

Julie Lee – “Time Enough”
from Julie Lee & the Baby-Daddies
Haven’t heard of Julie Lee? Kenny Vaughan, Mike Bub, Alison Krauss, Tim O’Brien, and Sarah Siskind have, and they’re all here to assist with this set of eight originals and two covers. The most straightforwardly country offering is “Time Enough,” but you’ll also want to hear Lee harmonizing with Krauss and O’Brien on the timeless-sounding spiritual “Unto the Hills.” Good stuff all around.

Lucero – “Women & Work”
from Women & Work
Memphis rock ‘n’ roll heads to the honky tonk.

Pistol Annies – “Run Daddy Run”
from The Hunger Games (soundtrack)
What, did you think I would not mention a new Pistol Annies song? Inconceivable. Not as great as the stuff on their first album, but a nice little something to tide us over until the arrival of their second.

I See Hawks in L.A. – “New Kind of Lonely”
from New Kind of Lonely
The psychedelic California country-rock band strips it down to its acoustic essence, with subtle instrumentation and pure harmony tracked live in the studio. It’s great to hear them this way.

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver – “The Rich Man”
from Sing Me a Song About Jesus
Remember when Ricky Skaggs was (improbably enough) tearing up the mainstream country charts with fast-driving bluegrass tunes like “Highway 40 Blues” and “Country Boy”? This’ll remind you of that.

Ray Wylie Hubbard – “Mother Blues”
from The Grifter’s Hymnal
Wylie Lama lays down a good chunk of his musical autobiography in one groovy, epic story song.

Marty Raybon – “He’s Still My Little Man (Matty’s Song)”
from Hand to the Plow
The singer’s singer (formerly of Shenandoah) focuses on the human element of war, voicing the sweet, sentimental reflections and hopes of an enlisted soldier’s father. A little treacly, but also quite affecting.

Chris Stapleton w/ Morgane Hayes and Bradley Walker – “Tennessee Whiskey”
from Life Goes On: Musicians Against Childhood Cancer
Only available on CD, but look at the lineup and tell me it’s not worth the extra bit of effort. Chris Stapleton, Morgane Hayes, Bradley Walker!? On the same song!? Which is a George Jones cover!? For childhood cancer!? My head just exploded.

The Boxcars — “Still Good at Crying Over You”
from All In
As many tear-in-my-beer heartbreak songs already exist, there’s always room for another good one.

Tilford Sellers & the Wagon Burners – “Get Ready”
from Heartaches, Lies and Cheating Songs
With a rockabilly hiccup and a love of old-school honky tonk, Tilford Sellers & the Wagon Burners are automatically one of the most exciting things to ever happen in Indiana. Recommended if you like country Hank III, J.B. Beverley & the Wayward Drifters, Halden Wofford & the Hi-Beams, Roger Wallace, etc.

Lionel Richie w/ Willie Nelson – “Easy”
from Tuskegee
Willie does what he wants, and you have no choice but to like him for it. That’s the deal.

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