Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bradley Gaskin "Mr Bartender" Single Review

Is this a single review or a “Now That’s Country” review?  Well it could be both.  This is probably the song I have been most excited about coming out so far this year.  "Mr. Bartender" is the debut single from a new singer Bradley Gaskin.  Gaskin won a contest held by John Rich, which got him a recording contract.  From what I have heard so far, Gaskin seems to be a more traditional sounding country artist and will be a welcome to challenge today’s modern crossover acts in country music.
The single was actually suppose to debut with the album, which is set to come out in May.  However, during promoting the album, the song was such a hit, the decision was made to release the single now. The first thing you will probably notice when you hear “Mr. Bartender” is the similar sound that Gaskin has to Travis Tritt during parts of the song.  The song sounds like it belongs on 1980s country radio, which may actually hinder it getting played, but it is up to the fans to request the songs and let your voice be heard.  The song is a traditional country song about a man trying to drink away his pain from a lost love.  Ultimately, the man wants the bartender to give him the strongest drink that he has and even request for “Mr. Bartender take me out with one shot.”  For those of you with concerns about the likeness to Travis Tritt, you need not be worried.  I have heard Gaskin sing some of his other songs and the correlation isn’t there.  If you are a traditional country music fan, this is a song that you must give a listen to. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Now That's Country: Faith Hill Says No to "Pop Country." Her Most Traditional Country Song

It's time for another edition of "Now That's Country."  The first featured Tim McGraw, so I figured why not feature Mrs. Tim McGraw (Faith Hill) for the second edition.  As many of you know Faith has definitely been leaning toward the more "pop" sound for a while now.  However there was one song that I had always enjoyed.  It was on her first album, "Take Me As I Am", which by the way can be had super cheap now if you are a Faith Hill fan.  The song is "But I Will ".  Faith actually had a video for this song and it was released as a single but never really did good for her.  I always thought Faith had a lot of talent, even more that Shania.  However, the lack of country radio play didn't help convince her to record many songs like this. 

The song is a good traditional country, heartbreak song.  The woman is confronting her man who is coming in from being out all night.  The woman has warned that "the last time would be the last time" and this time it is over.  Nothing he says is going to change her mind.  She doesn't "want to stop loving (him) but she will."

This song came out about ten years too late.  If this song had been out in the eighties, it would have been a huge hit.  Unfortunately, it is a song hidden away on her first CD that most people have never heard, and may not ever discover.  Faith proves that she can sing traditional country and any song for that matter. Give the song a listen, this is Faith Hill at her best!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Is This The Most "Country" Singer Ever?

Just give his music a listen and you may be declaring him just that.  The artist that I am referring to is Mel Street.  The album I am reviewing today is "Mel Street 20 Greatest Hits".  In reviewing the album, I am going to change things up a little from the last album review.  I don’t think going over each song with a description is the best way to go about an album review because it ends up being long and boring.  However, I would like feedback on which method you like best.
"Mel Street’s 20 Greatest Hits" is available on CD and by mp3 download.  I will say that I think there is a song or two missing, but I believe this is probably the best overall collection of his music available at this point.  Maybe someday, a box set or at least a two disc version will be put together that will give us all of his best songs.  However, off the top of my head the only song that I believe is a huge oversight would be “Don’t Let Me Cross Over.” 
I’m going to give a little background for those of you who don’t know this man, who I am claiming may be the most country singer ever.  Mel Street was an auto body worker from West Virginia who was discovered by playing honky tonks and a small TV show.  Street quickly rose in the charts in the 1970s but never had a number one hit.  Street’s highest single “Borrowed Angel” topped out at number 5, and was covered by Ricky Van Shelton on one of his albums.  Sadly, Street took his own life in 1978 on his 45th birthday.  Street’s recording career only last six short years from 1972 to 1978, but his mark on country music will last a lifetime.
Along with “Borrowed Angel”, the CD also includes hits such as “Looking Out My Window Through The Pain” and “I Met A Friend Of Yours Today” both which were covered by George Strait.  The greatest hits album contains mostly cheating and love lost songs, but one of the biggest highlights is “Smokey Mountain Memories.”  The song is about a man who misses his home and his love he has left back home.  All the songs on the album are great.  I will dare say if you like the first song, you will like all of them.  Really the only song I could do without is his version of “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.”
After listening to Mel Street you may decide he is the most country singer ever.  If not, I think you will say he ranks in the top 10 anyways.  If you agree with me, this is a must have album.  For those of you that download mp3’s I would also suggest that you pick up “Don't Let Me Cross Over” to complete the collection.  Not only may Mel Street be the most country artist ever, but he may also be one of the most forgotten.  You will not hear his music on today’s country radio, and I hope this may have helped you discover a forgotten country legend.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Now That's Country: Tim McGraw "Kristofferson"

This is the first installment of “Now That’s Country.”  As I said in a previous post, this is to display what I feel are real country songs.  These songs may have been released as singles , tracks on CDs, or just mp3 only releases.  I hope these tracks may help those who are trying to put together an ultimate mp3 set, but some of you may feel the songs are good enough to justify purchasing the entire CD.  So without further delay, here comes the first one.
My first pick is going to be Kristofferson by Tim McGraw.  I feel this is one of McGraw’s best songs and probably the most traditional song that he has ever done.  The song was released on Let It Go in 2007.  "Kristofferson" was actually released as a single but received very little air on country radio compared to McGraw’s other songs.  This makes me wonder if a song like this would have been a hit, if McGraw would record more songs like this?  While some artists sing what they want to, I believe that other artists would prefer traditional country.  However, with corporate radio refusing to play it, they stick with what is more likely to be a hit.  That’s my opinion anyways.
The song itself has a real country subject: drinking and leaving.  The man comes home to find a letter from his woman saying she is leaving.  Disappointed that the woman only needed a half a page to say goodbye, the man decides to “fill in the empty space.”  Of course he does it with a bottle of 90 proof.  If you haven’t heard this song, I suggest you give it a listen.  If you have heard it back when it was released, I hope this jogs your memory and helps you remember what a great song it was.  While McGraw may not have been your first thought when talking about "real country music", all I can say about this song is: now that's country.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sad News To Pass Along

Ferlin Husky passed away today at the age of 85.  He had battled chronic health problems over the past few years.  I'm glad he was elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame last year.  It seems so many are never given recognition while they are alive.  Husky is best remember by the song "Wings of a Dove". 

RIP Ferlin Husky

Now That's Country

Along with some of the newer single reviews that been doing, I have decided to include some new reviews.  The name will be "Now That's Country."  It will be songs that I have selected from different artists that I feel like are real country music.  The songs may be singles that have previously been released or just tracks on albums of the artist.  My hope is that I can help some of my audience to find some good traditional sounding music that they may have missed or overlooked.  As always, if you have some suggestions, please let me know.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Jason Aldean "My Kinda Party" Review

Back in November, Jason Aldean released his fourth album, My Kinda Party.  His previous three albums kept building in success for the Georgia singer, and fans were eagerly awaiting this latest release.  I for one planned to buy the new CD right away, however life got in the way and I found out that Wal-mart really doesn’t carry many country CDs anymore.  Therefore it was only a few days ago that I finally got around to listening to the entire album.
My first impression was that I was a little let down.  The album has what I believe will be several number one hits (two already have hit number 1), but the fact that I couldn’t I didn’t like every song on the CD like in his previous three versions left me a little disappointed.  However, like his other previous releases some of the songs have grown on me a little.  I’m going to try to hit the highlights for you and try to avoid a making a long boring post about the songs I don’t like.
Tattoos On This Town is a great song to start the CD.  It’s about a man reminiscing about the things he and his friends did while they were young.  The song has a small town feel to it, even though it is the normal fast paced song Aldean typically sings.  The man said him and his friends left their mark on the town and the town left its mark on them……”like tattoos on this town”.
Dirt Road Anthem is a song that I love, just not by Jason Aldean.  It’s not that he does a horrible job with the song, it’s just a song he shouldn’t have tried to cover.  This is the first of two songs written by Brantley Gilbert that Aldean covers on this album.  The original version was sung / rapped by Colt Ford with Brantley Gilbert providing vocals for the chorus.  Aldean is no rapper, but does a decent, but not spectacular, job with the chorus.  With that being said, if you have never heard the original you may love Aldean’s version.
Church Pew Or Bar Stool is about living in a slow moving, small town.  The person in the song says he doesn’t fit in because he doesn’t run with the church goers or the drinkers in the town and therefore isn’t accepted by either group.  The person wants to get out and chase his dreams in a big city and leave the “church pew or bar stool kind of town.”  The song has a neotraditional sound and Aldean provides great vocals.
Just Passing Through has a nice beat and Aldean provides a great vocal performance on this song.  The chorus is performed in a unique, catch way and the song should get great reviews from most.  I believe the song has a chance of being released as a single.  The storyline revolves around being in love with a person so much that you feel like you are living in their world.
Fly Over States is a song I really like.  It is about the states that people usually fly over when traveling from the east coast to the west coast or vice versa.  The song reminds me of Amarillo Sky and Fast.  Aldean once again cuts a great song that relates to the farmers that keep the country running.  While it does relate to that profession, the song focuses more on the beautiful parts of the country that they live in.
I Ain't Ready To Quit is another great love song by Aldean.  The man in the song professes he isn’t ready to quit loving a woman.  The first verse compares smoking, drinking, and driving too fast with the way he feels about their love.  I don’t look for it to be a single, but it is still a really good song.
It Ain't Easy is another love song that questions why someone would love him.  The man ask himself why he does what he does, and why a woman sticks around.  The woman is the person that holds the relationship together, while the man acts like he has nothing to lose.  The only downside to the song is the fast pace makes it seem short.
Country Boy's World is my favorite on the CD.  The song describes a Jersey girl who has found her way to the south and doesn’t like the lifestyle.  While the girl is looking for a way out, a country boy asks her to go for a ride in his truck and show her around.  The chorus describes where he carries the girl to around the south and eventually talks her into staying with him.  I believe the song will be a single and could end up being the biggest hit on the album.
Heartache That Don't Stop Hurting is a song about breaking up.  The song describes having breakups as being normal and getting over them.  However, this is the one that is going to last and the person just can’t get over it.  The tears keep falling and the pain won’t stop hurting.  This is another potential single and could also be a hit.
 This review has taken me a couple of days to write and I have continued to listen to the songs. I didn’t include My Kinda Party and Don't You Wanna Stay (With Kelly Clarkson) in the review because I’m going to assume that everyone has heard these songs on the radio already.  They are both great songs and both have hit number one.  I may have been a little harsh at first by saying I was disappointed, but I still think there is some filler songs.  I think the album would have been fine with the songs that I put in this review, but some people may like the other four songs.  Overall, it is another hit record for Jason Aldean that has at least eleven great songs and will continue to produce number one hits.  If you are like me and haven’t had time to pick up this CD yet, I highly recommend adding it to your collection.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Aaron Lewis "Country Boy" Review

Isn’t Aaron Lewis the lead singer for Staind?  Yep, that’s right, the rocker has released a country album. This seems to be a more common thing over the past few years.  We have heard Kelli Clarkson in a couple of songs, Jessica Simpson has released a country CD and now even Gwyneth Paltrow is singing country.  Some of them have had some success and others really should stick with their genre.
 Believe or not, Lewis beats them all.  Lewis doesn’t try to change his vocals and still has the same voice that you would hear on a rock station. This can be good and bad depending on how you feel about the music Staind has put out. It is actually a country song. Country Boy (Radio Edit) really has a Hank Jr. sound and feel to it. I think some people will and have judged the song by Aaron Lewis’s past recording career and the many tattoos that he has.  The song is being judged more by the person singing it, than how it is being sung and what it is about. 

Interestingly enough, the song has three versions that include a radio edit, an acoustic version, and a version that features George Jones and Charlie Daniels.  All of these versions can be found on mp3 or the 7 track CD Town Line.  I haven’t listened to the entire CD yet so I can’t comment on it at this time.  I can say that I like the song, but I do like the songs that he has done in the past.  Will you like it?  Well the answer to that is: it depends.  I think if you like outlaw country, you will really like it. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Eric Church "Homeboy" Mp3 Review

Yesterday brought the release of Eric Church’s newest single, Homeboy.  The song is currently only available by mp3 download, as Church's new CD is yet to be released. I’m not the first to review this song and it has been on Youtube for quite some time now.  The Youtube crowd seems to love the song and others seem to bash it. I believe it is either a “love it” or “hate it" song. Therefore, I thought it would be best to make my own review of the song.
The song starts off musically with an acoustic guitar and seems like it will be a slow song.  However, this song goes through many different changes musically and gave me mixed feelings about it at first. It will eventually grow on you. I still can’t say that the musical arrangement is my favorite, but after listening to the song several times, the words are what helped make my decision on the song. 
The words seem to be what is controversial about the song.  Church sings about two brothers, one that has stayed in the small town they grew up in and one that has moved to the city. The brother in the city has broken ties with his family and is living a “hip hop” lifestyle that includes crime and drugs.  The small town brother believes that the other brother is going to regret his decisions he is making and will ultimately wish he was back in the small town.  Therefore, “homeboy” both refers to the brother’s lifestyle and also the other brother telling him to come home, boy.  I personally think it is a clever play on words.
Now, I have seen some others say this is the worst song of the year and that it is even racist.  I don’t believe that.  Color isn’t even mentioned in the song and homeboy is a termed used for everyone now.  As far as being the worst song, it is far from it. I really like the song. If you are a Eric Church fan, I think this is one you will want to add to your collection. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Brantley Gilbert To Valory Music Company

Brantley Gilbert has signed on with a new record label. Brantley released his first two albums, Modern Day Prodigal Son and Halfway To Heaven , with Average Joe Entertainment.  BG has now become a member of Valory Music Company.  While he will leave behind member and friend, Colt Ford at Average Joe, he will be joining the likes of Reba, Jewel, and Justin Moore at Valory.  I hope this will be a good move for him.  He is such a great artist that just hasn’t gotten the airplay he deserves on the radio.  As a matter of fact, in my area, I don’t think I have ever heard him on the radio (Thanks! Clear Channel).  I actually discovered BG by listening to Colt Ford on Youtube and ran across the song, Dirt Road Anthem Featuring Brantley Gilbert.  I hope that Valory can help launch his career to the level it should be.  As of now, a new single is scheduled to be released in April, and a new CD will be out before the end of 2011.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Miranda Lambert "Heart Like Mine" Review

Miranda Lambert’s newest single is starting to burn up the radio now.  Heart Like Mine comes from Miranda’s hit CD Revolution. This song is the normal up-beat song that Miranda usually sings. The song is about actions that she does wrong in life, such as drinking and smoking, but she believes that Jesus understands what is really in her heart.  I think this song is going to stir up some controversy. I have already seen some talk on the internet that leads me to believe that some religious people are going to be rubbed the wrong way by this single. I think they are not getting the point of what the song is about, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  I personally like the song and would recommend downloading the mp3, if you haven’t purchased the CD yet.
I have said that I will be reviewing CDs and plan to get some up soon.  However I thought it would be a good idea to add some singles in the mix.  Let me know your thoughts and suggestions.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Update: "Love In a College Town" on Luke Bryan's "Spring Break 3.. It's a Shore Thing"

I have now been able to listen to the 4th song on Luke Bryan's latest spring break edition EP.  "Love In a College Town"  is the fourth song on "Spring Break 3... It's a Shore Thing".  I mentioned in my previous post that I couldn't label this release as a hit, like the previous spring break editions, without hearing this song first.  I am happy to report that this song pushes the EP past that threshold.  "Love In a College Town" has a good beat, great lyrics, and a good guitar solo to start the song.  In this song, Luke sings about what most young adults experience while in college.  The song covers relationships, rumors, and failing test from all the distractions.  After reviewing this song, I definitely recommend downloading it. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Luke Bryan "Spring Break 3 ... It's A Shore Thing" Review

Luke Bryan releases his 3rd Spring Break EP this year.  If you go looking for it in stores, you're not going to find it. As with years past, this special edition is only available by download.  I listened to the previous two year's versions and loved them.  I haven't been able to find the fourth song "Love in a College Town" to listen to as of yet.  When I am able to listen to it, I will update you.  The first song is "In Love With the Girl".  I will say that there are not too many Luke Bryan songs that I don't like, but this is one of them.  Something about it just doesn't appeal to me. I think it is the beat or the chorus, not sure which one.  It is a song about a boy that has plans but they change because he meets a girl and falls in love.  "If You Ain't Here To Party" is typical of Luke's previous Spring Break mp3's.  The song is about going out on a Friday night to a club and partying.  The song has an up-beat tempo and is definitely one that you want to add to your collection.  "It's a Shore Thing" is the title track.  The song refers to how many college students spend there spring break, sitting on the beach, drinking beer, and partying like there is no tomorrow.  This is another great song that you must add to your Luke Bryan collection.  Overall,  I'm not sure I can proclaim this another hit EP without hearing the fourth song, but I definitely recommend "If You Ain't Here To Party" and "It's a Shore Thing".

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Plans for this blog

Hello everyone and welcome to Country Music Review. This blog will review country music CDs / MP3s and make purchase recommendations. I tend to lean towards the traditional side of country music, therefore you probably will not see a review on Taylor Swift or Rascal Flatts.  That’s not a promise, but at this time I don’t see them being reviewed here. However, you will see reviews on newer artist such as Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan. I plan to start reviewing soon and hope I can review at least one per week.  I would like to have your thoughts on the reviews, just keep it clean, and also some suggestions of what you would like to see.