I will be the first to admit that of all genres, I am most critical when it comes to country music. I hold it to a different standard altogether; it really has to shine to catch my interest. Not only that, but I listen to traditional country. Growing up, my family introduced me to Jerry Jeff Walker, Waylon Jennings, David Allen Coe, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Jr among others…so my ear gravitates toward outlaw country music, not as much the pop-influenced kind. Nonetheless, these three bands are some of the coolest I’ve heard hit the country/Americana/alt-country (however you want to sub-categorize it) scene recently.
Goodnight, Texas captured me with their song “Jesse Got Trapped In A Coal Mine.” I love how it starts with just the stripped down, deep vocals and beat. The song builds from there with intricate banjo picking and lovely slide guitar. Very melodic, very catchy. If you like this song (or even if you don’t, but you still trust me) check out their entire album here.
Denver’s drawn out syllables and lingering melody elicit a most calming, soporific mood. Such a nice number with some fantastic lyrics: “Hey babe, I ain’t gonna go your way ‘cuz this just ain’t like me. There’s things in the world I know nothing about, and that’s just the way it is…”
Then you have Spirit Family Reunion. They are a jangly, semi-gospel/revival-influenced band of sorts. Their charm comes from the whole we-all-just-gathered-on-a-porch-and-started-playing-music sound. Heavy fiddle, group singing, stomps…it’s all here.