Man, these have been really piling up with my two trips and slight break from writing, so although I haven’t written one in awhile, you can probably expect another one quite soon. For new people, here we have songs from forgettable/mediocre albums, songs from albums we didn’t cover due to time constraints and/or out of deference to artists, and songs from projects we didn’t have much to say about but still felt some tracks deserved a feature. These appear when there are enough songs sliding through the cracks to make one, and as I say, you probably won’t have long to wait before the next one.
Carrie Elkin: “New Mexico”
This Carrie Elkin record, The Penny Collector, goes in that category of not giving me anything worthwhile to say about it. It’s been out for awhile, and I’ve given it several listens, and it isn’t that I don’t enjoy it–in fact, I think she’s been underrated considerably–but my review of the album would be uneven. It’s very dark and moody, having been inspired mostly by her father’s passing. I advise people who lean toward darker material to check this one out, but I’m not getting into the whole thing. This song is a lovely ode to Carrie’s homeland and a nice opener for the whole thing, and you can see where she drew the inspiration for this record.
Carrie Elkin: “Always on the Run”
This is one of the more interesting tracks in terms of production here. It’s kind of hard to describe really; the song is reflecting on how in life, we’re constantly running, and the lyrics and the melody add a hurried feel to everything that enhances it.
Carrie Elkin: “Live Wire”
This is easily my favorite of the album, as it’s a little more lighthearted, and the production is a little more interesting. If there were more production moments like this one, it would have really added a lot to this record. Having said that, it doesn’t really fit in with the tone of the album, and that’s what makes it a great song for me. I’ve heard Carrie Elkin’s voice compared to that of Linda Ronstadt, and it’s never more apparent than on this song. As a huge fan of Ronstadt, this is easily the standout of the album for me, even if it might seem out of place on this particular record. I can’t argue with the brilliant lyric, :life half empty is a life half spilled” either. If you liked the other two, you may not enjoy this one; equally, if you found the other two too dark or boring, check this one out.
Whiskey Shivers: “Cluck ol’ Hen”
And now we switch gears from a dark, depressing affair to a punk/bluegrass album that arguably has too much energy for its own good. I’ll give it this; Some Part of Something has stellar instrumentation throughout. But this album is just a little too crazy to be taken all that seriously. This one is a nice interpretation of an old bluegrass tune.
Whiskey Shivers: “Fuck You”
Yep, not much to say about this, the song speaks for itself. It’s a final farewell to an ex who, according to the singer, “always asked me for a song.” Be careful what you wish for I guess.
Whiskey Shivers: “Liquor, Beer, Wine, and Ice”
Here it is: the proof that you can make a small-town partying song and actually have it be catchy and yes, intelligent. Nice, fun song.
Jim Lauderdale: “Sweet Time”
For any of you who know me well, you know that I have a propensity to listen to new albums on a Friday or Saturday afternoon in the background while I play online poker. Why? Because it gives me something to do other than just stare into the distance contemplating the album, and also because if a record can hold my attention while that attention is divided, I know it’s worth giving more listens and possibly a review. Admittedly, sometimes I get distracted, and I have to give some records more listens to make sure I gave them a fair chance. This usually happens with deeper albums, but these require several listens anyway. All that to say, after the first listen to this London Southern album, I thought it was my fault that I couldn’t remember a single thing after the opener. No, it’s simply the fact that this is, hands down, the most boring record released in 2017. So, here’s the opener, which is really quite a nice song. But don’t use it as a stepping stone to possibly check out an album I didn’t review because I promise you, after that, there is nothing noteworthy here whatsoever.
Joe Nichols: “I’d Sing About You”
I intended to review this album actually, but time got in the way. If I did review Never Gets Old, it would probably get a 5, maybe a 6. Lots of mediocre material on the record, nothing awful except “Tall Boys” which is truly atrocious. But there are also some highlights, and even though this is probably the one most people know since it’s been released as a single, it deserves to be featured here as a bright spot on Joe’s album.
Joe Nichols: “WE All Carry Something”
Probably my favorite on this record. Joe Nichols’ sincerity shines through this song as he sings about real-life situations and the burdens that we all must endure. This would have been a radio hit ten years ago.
Joe Nichols: “Billy Graham’s Bible”
That sincerity I mentioned before really carries this track, as Nicols sings about being made for someone just like Billy Graham’s Bible and Willie Nelson’s guitar. It’s a shame this album didn’t have more like this one and “We All Carry Something” because tracks like these really show the potential in Joe Nichols. Who knows if he’ll ever live up to it on a whole album, but at least we can hope for a few songs like this sprinkled throughout his records.