Tag Archives: Nashville

My Take on Brad Paisley’s “Accidentally Racist”

First of all I’d like to state that I feel music should have a message. I would also like to state that I like music that has a political message, but to me Brad Paisley’s “Accidentally Racist” ft. L.L. Cool J. makes a very akward statement. At first I thought this was comedy, but then I thought that it was probably a publicity stunt to promote Paisley’s new album, Wheelhouse which came out yesterday.

Here’s an honest review of the song. It’s a flop. It’s a terrible attempt at a political song based on history. The lyrics of the song are tacky.  “To the man that waited on me at the Starbucks down on Main, I hope you understand / When I put on that t-shirt, the only thing I meant to say is I’m a Skynyrd fan.”  Come on Paisley. What is that? Pure shit. LL Cool J’s lyrics aren’t any better like when he says  “RIP Robert E. Lee but I’ve gotta thank Abraham Lincoln for freeing me, know what I mean.” Another verse that is all together strange.

All in all a weird song.

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Country Fresh: Yelawolf Releases New Mix-Tape, ‘Trunk Muzik Returns’

Yelawolf, hit my radar about two years ago after he re-released the mix-tape Trunk Muzik 0-60 with a few additional tracks. I loved that EP and have played it over and over. The tunes on that EP are tight, and the grooves are infectious, and show the unique styling of the Gagsden, Alabama based rapper. Since the release of Trunk Muzik 0-60, Yelawolf has been keeping a busy schedule including recording a full length for a major label, promoting his music through live performances, and releasing another mix-tape this summer called Heart of Dixie. Last week Yelawolf kept his busy pace up by releasing a new mix-tape entitled Trunk Muzik Returns.

The mix-tape starts off with the track “Firestarter.” Just from the title you’d think this would be a fast track, but to my surprise it’s a slower song which is emphasized by the lyrics telling you to relax. Next up on the mix-tape is the track, “Way Out.” “Way Out” is a good track that starts off with a synth part that is followed by a verse by Yelawolf that has a very space like feel. Then the beat drops in and Yelawolf comes in with a verse that is tighter than the first verse.

“F.A.S.T. Ride” is the third song on the E.P., and is one of the tightest songs on the mix-tape. Yelawolf shows off his excellent flow on this song especially on the verses. This song is a real return for Yelawolf especially when it comes to the tight rhymes. “Box Chevy Part 4” is also another return to form for Yelawolf, as we know his favorite thing to do is riding around in his Chevy and rapping about his Chevy. Musically the track is different from anything I’ve heard anywhere, There’s a part that’s very trance like that I enjoyed. Yelawolf also shows his singing pipes off on this song, and he can sing.

“Hustle” is the next track and it features Texas’ finest rapper, Paul Wall. Wall starts the song, and gives the listener a good verse, but then Yelawolf comes in and delivers his signature fast paced southern rhymes. “Catfish Billy” is the next track on the mix-tape, and it’s an odd track that starts with a conversation, but then it tells the story of Catfish Billy one of Yelawolf’s aliases. The next song that really caught my attention was called “Fame,” and it has a very slow and etheral feel at the beginning, but Yelawolf then comes in with a verse that brings the song up a notch. “Tenesse Love” finishes off the mix-tape, and is another one of my favorite tracks. Yelawolf’s narrative voice is very strong on this very mellow track. Yelawolf shows his singing voice off on this track too, and it sounds awesome especially mixed with the very country influenced pedal steel guitar.

I loved Radioactive, but I have to say that I am even more impressed with this mix-tape. Check it out, I don’t think you’ll be sorry, especially if you’re a hip-hop fan. And it’s free so what can you loose?

-B. Harlow

Download and/or listen to Trunk Muzik Returns  HERE

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Taylor Swift Releases Her Fourth Album, ‘RED’

So let me just start off by saying that I am not a regular on this website, and honestly not even the biggest enthusiast of music so no biting my head off for not analyzing the music right and no pointing out something that I probably missed. I am an enthusiast of Taylor Swift however. To me, she can do no wrong and her music will always be a favorite of mine. Her new album, Red, that was released on Monday is now my new obsession and I am not ashamed of it.

Having already listened to each of the songs more than a dozen times in just the first couple of days, I have to say that I enjoy this collection that she has created. People may say that she no longer belongs in the country genre with the release of this album, but I honestly enjoy her music no matter what genre she ends up in. You have to remember that Taylor is an artist, one that has a broad range of fans and I feel that she is trying to appeal to everybody; she is expanding beyond her country days, and by doing this challenging herself in other genres. So come on people, let’s try to commend what she has done because I bet it wasn’t easy.

Right off the bat I had a few favorites. Having downloaded the several singles that she released before the album dropped, I was already pretty well acquainted with those songs and I enjoyed every one of them. Of course, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is a sort- of “Call Me Maybe” piece that is catchy and annoying yet you just can’t seem to get it out of your head. Then she released “Begin Again,” a slower number summarizing how her love life is starting to turn around and realizing that what she used to have with somebody might not be as good as what lies ahead with someone new.

Let me just say before I keep going that yes, Taylor Swift does write a lot of mean, angry love songs about boys that screwed her over, and hey maybe she is a little crazy, but her songs are entertaining right?? I personally love the truthfulness that her songs contain, and honestly most of them are really freakin’ catchy.

Okay, back to the songs. Her third single that came out was “Red” and honestly it is one of my favorite songs of the whole album. Describing different parts of breakups, “losing him was blue like I’ve never known, missing him was dark grey all alone” Taylor makes you imagine love, the good and the bad parts of it, in a different way than you normally would because “loving him was red.” The fourth and fifth singles released were “I Knew you were Trouble” and “State of Grace.” Many people might disapprove of the “dubstep” sound present in “I Knew you were Trouble,” but I personally enjoy the song and it adds variety to the album and to her list of talents as well. I have not been able to connect with “State of Grace” as much as the majority of the songs, but I like it, it’s another upbeat song about the beginning of a new love and her not expecting it. I feel as though a good amount of her songs on this album have to do with new love and it is refreshing to see that.

There are another 10 songs or so, which would make this review way too long, so I will just emphasize a couple more of my favorites. “Everything has Changed” featuring Ed Sheeran is pure magic. Their voices work so well together and it is a perfect combination of two people and a guitar mixed in with other instrumentation. And my other favorite is “22,” a song that never fails to make me want to get up and dance around my room like a typical girl. It is so upbeat and makes you feel good because “we’re happy free confused and lonely at the same time. It’s miserable and magical oh yeah.” Will be on repeat for a while that’s for sure.

Overall, I am a big big fan, and I think that everyone that has always liked Taylor Swift should definitely check Red out. It is different from her usual material, but that is what makes her the unique artist that she is and why most of us love her! Hope everyone enjoyed my post; this was a lot of fun to do. Also, her “Begin Again” music video came out Tuesday night so also check that out.

-K. Heller
Kyndal is a native of Shrewsbury, MA and is currently a sophomore at Clemson University studying elementary education. As a newly appointed “southern belle,” she is a big fan of artists like Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, etc. and has attended a number of country concerts, including Taylor Swift’s of course (3 to be exact)!  

 

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Struggle’s Hybrid of Hip-Hop and Country

Nashville based rapper Struggle has been playing the underground hip-hop circuit since the early 2000’s. Only recently however has he received national attention with his flawless mix of hip-hop and country, “Outlaw Shit.” The interesting thing about the track is that the chorus is sampled from the Waylon Jennings song of the same name. Jennings also happens to be Struggle’s maternal grandfather and famed guitarist Duanne Eddy is also his other grandfather. Struggle’s grandmother is female country singer, Jessi Colter.

To me Country and Hip-Hop are on opposite sides of the spectrum, but on further examination the things the Jennings, David Allan Coe, and Willie Nelson sang about, are the same things that many modern rappers rap about. Subjects such as family, love, violence, hard times, and good times are shared throughout both genres, so it would be no surprise that in the future we may see a very potent mixture of the two. That’s what Struggle attempts in this song, and by all measures he succeeded.

The song starts off with a verse by Struggle which is very deep about the struggles of his life. Then the chorus kicks in with the sample of Waylon Jennings’ classic song. The next verse talks about his hustling lifestyle, and again the Waylon’s verse comes in. Yelawolf is up next and he sings his verse in a very smooth manor, and again Waylon’s chorus comes in, and ends the song.

-B. Harlow

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Making Roots Music Fresh: Hurray for the Riff Raff

One of the most surprising trends in modern music is the resurgence of folk, bluegrass, and Americana. Thus when I first heard, Hurray for the Riff Raff I was shocked at how accurately portrayed this unique roots music was.

After growing up in New York, Hurray for the Riff Raff was started by Alynda lee Segarra when she settled in New Orleans. In 2008 she released   It Don’t Mean I Don’t Love You, and in 2010 she released her second record, Young Blood Blues. These two albums were later taken from to form the compilation self-titled release Hurray for the Riff Raff.

 Eventually Segarra found herself in need of a back-up band, and this is when she found The Tumbleweeds, who signed on as her touring band. After two years of touring the band now found itself recording in a Nashville studio. This is when their latest record, Look out Mamma really started to take shape, and were the band really started to show their and Segarra’s talent.

Look Out Mamma is one of my favorite records of the year because it is both visually striking and musically I find it to be more authentic than most bands that try to emulate traditional styles. When the listener first picks up the album they will immediately be struck by the cover image of a soldier holding a gun. This soldier happens to be Segarra’s father. When one listens to the album they will be equally as stunned by the quality of the music especially the title track which is a pure slice of heaven.

One would also be interested to know that Hurray for the Riff Raff is not signed, and do to this is distributing their own music. They have a Kickstarter page, and with this page they raised $11,351 which is $3851 more than the band needed, but it’s just a testament to how good they are, and the future they will have exceeding goals and expectations.

-B. Harlow

Check out this video of Hurray for the Riff Raff playing their song, “Look Out Mama” live on the banks of the Mississippi River in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

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Brendan Benson’s Fifth solo record ‘What Kind Of World’

On the same day that fellow Raconteurs’ band mate Jack White put out his solo debut album Blunderbuss, Brendan Benson put out his fifth studio album since 1996.  The album is entitled What Kind of World, and is a collection of 12 tracks that vary from straight up country, to Benson’s early rock roots.

The first track on the album is the title track “What Kind of World” which is a guitar driven song with a very strong backbeat and a soaring chorus. The next track is called “Bad for Me” an obvious ode to a bad relationship. The track features a very bright sounding piano and a nice arrangement of strings. “Light of Day” the albums third track has a very familiar feel with jangling chords ringing out over a steady bass and a steady backbeat. “Happy Most of The Time” follows suite and also features the same jangling guitar chords as well as a very upbeat verses. The next track is entitled “Keep Me” a jazzy track that sounds as if it could be on a Raconteurs record. “Met Your Match” the eighth track on the album is my favorite with its up tempo music and vocals. The next track I took a real liking to is the country meets rock and roll feel of “No One Else but You”. The track which features tremendous horns that are set back in the mix and doubled by the guitar is a great composition. “On The Fence” the final track is a great straight country song featuring a very Rolling Stones-esque arrangement.

I don’t think that What Kind of World will compete with Jack White’s Blunderbuss sales wise, but I’d say musically it is on par with White. Benson is a great musician and you will see that when you listen to What Kind of World. 

-B. Harlow

Check out the track “Bad For Me” below:

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‘Blunderbuss’ Jack White’s Triumphant Solo Debut

Jack White’s first solo record Blunderbuss has been one of the most anticipated albums of the year. It seems everything White touches turns to gold whether it is with The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, or the Dead Weather. Blunderbuss is thankfully no exception to this.  White is a genius and throughout this album you see how he very skillfully melds his many diverse influences into 13 unique tracks.

The album starts with the track “Missing Pieces” which is driven primarily by a fantastic Hammond or Fender Rhodes sounding keyboards mixed with a very shiny sounding electric guitar. The next track is “Sixteen Saltines” which is a very garage rock riff driven song, typical of his material with the White Stripes. The next track is “Freedom at 21” a very dark song with a very reverb laden guitar part. The next track “Love Interruption” which was the album’s first single is a very jazzy ode to lost love. The album’s title track “Blunderbuss” is something a little different for white as it is a song that is dripping in country style pedal steel and old school piano. “Hypocritical Kiss” continues on with the strong presence of the piano throughout the album. The Vocals, guitar, and drums becoming a side note to the beautiful piano accompaniment on both this track and the next track “Weep Themselves to Sleep”.  The next track that really caught my attention is a cover of the Roody Toombs’ song “I’m Shakin” which is a great rock n’ roll song that will get your hips moving. The song “On and On and On” follows this song is a soul filled ballad featuring beautiful slide guitar work and piano. White finishes the album with the very up-tempo track “Take Me With You When you Go” which leaves the listener feeling good after an album with many odd turns.

If you truly love all types of music this album is for you it is heavy in spots, rhythmic in others, and soft in other spots. Blunderbuss is a truly diverse album all sewn together by the wondrous mind of Mr. Jack White.

-B. Harlow

Check Out The Music Videos for “Love Interruption” and “Sixteen Saltines” below:

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Vintage Modern: Singer Johnzo West

Johnzo West is an Indiana native whom has been releasing solo EPs and working with some of the biggest names in the music industry since 2004. West is currently working on his next full length which is due out this summer. West recently has been involved with Amnesty International working on an arrangement of Bob Dylan’s “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” which featured Miley Cyrus. Along with Cyrus, the compilation also featured artists including Adele, Elvis Costello, and Sting. West’s most current session work was with Billy Ray Cryus where he played guitars on the country crooner’s next full length due out in November of this year.

When it comes to music it is clear that West is influenced by many musicians from different genres. Mostly you hear the influence of late 60’s and early 70’s Rock and Folk, but you also get hints of Blues, Country, and surprisingly Reggae. If you where to put West next to any artist I would put him next to John Mayer because of the way he mashes all of his influences into a very dynamic sonic tapestry.

Key tracks to listen to from West are his latest digital single “The Good Fight” which reminds me of The Avett Brothers mixed with Mumford and Sons. “I’ll Do My Best” is another great track to check out of West’s if I would compare it to something I’d say it is reminiscent of Neil Young. “Couldn’t Do You Right” is a great track too, and you can truly hear his reggae roots throughout the tracks accompaniment.

You will definitely hear more from Mr. West in the near future, and I can’t wait to hear what he releases this summer.

-B. Harlow

Check Out Johnzo’s Single “The Good Fight” below:

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Aaron Lewis’ Summer Anthem “Endless Summer”

Aaron Lewis is a great musician, songwriter, and from his songs you can tell he’s probably a great dude to grab a beer with. It is no surprise that his personality is on his sleeve as we’ve seen in previous songs by his band Staind. This time we see a different side of Mr. Lewis in his song “Endless Summer” off his upcoming solo debut, The Road which is set to be released on June 26th. The album is going to be the follow up to Lewis’ amazing 2011 debut solo EP Town Line which entered the Billboard Country Albums chart at #1.

The track is put together very nicely, and produced by James Stroud. The sound is very up-beat, a real contrast to his other solo material, and his material with Staind. The song starts off strong with a very complex riff, which leads to a verse that features a strummed acoustic with sporadic lead breaks. The chorus like many other country songs features various instruments weaving in and out. The song has a really good chance of being 2012’s summer anthem with it’s catchy chorus.

If you listen to the lyrics you’ll get a kick out of Lewis’ carefully placed jab when he sings “Aldean’s on the radio / Aint it funny how they sing along / Makes you smile just a little bit because it’s not a Miley Cyrus song”. You also get the authentic country feel with lyrical topics including fishing, grilling, and cars.

Aaron Lewis is one of the only artists I can think of besides Darius Rucker who can authentically pull off a crossover country career. Check out this album as I’m sure it will be packed with great tunes, and if you haven’t already you should check out Lewis’ debut EP Townline. 

-B. Harlow

Check Out the Music Video for “Endless Summer” Below:

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Our Top 10 Albums of 2012 (SO FAR)

  1. Van Halen ‘A Different Kind of Truth’ :1978, a ceremonial changing of the rock gods, American rock behemoths Aerosmith were on a cocaine fueled melt down, and Kiss was about to drop a disco album. British bands like Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones seemed like dinosaurs. Enter Van Halen, kings of the Sunset Strip. Discovered by Kiss’ Gene Simmons in 1976, Van Halen produced their first demo later that year and in 1977 got signed to Warner Brothers Records. By 1978 America had Van Halen fever with teenage guitar players trying to copy Edward Van Halen’s signature tapping riffs found on the track‘Eruption’. Skip ahead six years to ‘1984’ the last year and album with lead singer David Lee Roth. (KEEP READING)
  2. Andrew Bird ‘Break It Yourself:Many people can call themselves Multi-instrumentalists, some of the notable multi-instrumentalists are Prince, Stevie Wonder, and the great Madman Frank Zappa. But none are more unique in this generation than, Andrew Bird. Bird’s technique on violin and guitar are truly his own, and add a certain flare mostly seen in bluegrass and country music. Did we also mention Bird is an excellent whistler, yes that kind of whistler. (KEEP READING)
  3. Bruce Springsteen ‘Wrecking Ball’: Let me begin by explaining the headline of this story. On Bruce Springsteen’s current Wrecking Ball Tour, he brings with him an entirely different “E Street Band” than any concert-goer has ever witnessed. Two obvious differences are the lack of the late Danny Federici and Clarence Clemons, the former having been gone the past couple tours or so. Filling in for the “Big Man” were two saxophone players, some random dude no one knows and Clarence’s nephew, Jake Clemons. Additionally, there were horn, drum, and string sections, back-up singers, the E Street regulars, and of course, “the Boss.”(KEEP READING)
  4. First Aid Kit ‘ The Lions Rawr’:In a world where dub-step is considered a valid type of music, many music fans wonder when true music will come back with instruments and no laptops. Enter Johanna and Klara Söderberg two Swedish sisters, which form the group First Aid Kit. The album’s title is ‘The Lions Roar’ (Wichita)and boy does this album show a great deal of musician ship. Each song is carefully crafted and the fibers of each song carefully come together to create a tapestry of sound. (KEEP READING)
  5. Lamb of God ‘Resolution’:One band that flew the flag of true metal in the early 2000′s was Richmond, Virginia’s finest Lamb of God. Comprising of vocalist Randy Blythe, guitarists Mark Morton and Willie Adler, bassist John Campbell, and drummer Chris Adler, Lamb of God puts down their own signature mark with influences of metal, hardcore, and rock. ‘Resolution’ (Epic) their seventh studio album is no different, melding their influences and style into 14 amazing tracks.Starting off with opening track ’Straight for the Sun’ and ending with ‘King Me’, Resolution never lets up on the brutality factor and there is not one weak track on the album.(KEEP READING)
  6. Shinedown ‘Amaryllis’ :Shinedown’s fourth album ‘Amaryllis, picks up where 2008’s rousing ‘The Sound of Madness’ left off. Released on March 27, 2012 the album has already climbed to number three on the iTunes album charts. The album features a 12-track assembly of heavy and more radio friendly songs like their previous albums have done. (KEEP READING)
  7. Lana Del Rey-‘Born To Die’ :25 year old American songstress Lana Del Rey has a voice that sounds like it could have been on pop records in the 1960′s. Lana Del Ray has made her arrival known in 2012 with her major label debut ‘Born To Die’ (Interscope). Born Elizabeth Grant in 1986 Lana Del Ray made up her stage name do to the sound it made when spoken. But after listening to her you realize that it’s not just her name that sounds mysterious, but her music too. (KEEP READING)
  8. Soulfly- ‘Enslaved’:Max Cavalera: mad man, genius, or both? Since Starting Sepultura in the 1980’s, we’ve seen a truly unique technique and sound come from Cavalera. Now in 2012 we see an extension on this sound with the new Soulfly record, ‘Enslaved’ (RoadRunner). The album which was produced by Max and Chris “Zeuss” Harris is truly unique to Soulfly’s sound, in that it has a very different vibe. The nice thing about it though, is that it’s a change, but it’s not so far off in left field and it fits into their catalog, very well. (KEEP READING)
  9. Everytime I Die ‘Ex-Lives’:Every Time I Die a five piece from Buffalo, New York is set to release their sixth studio album on March 6th via Epitaph Records. The new album entitled ‘Ex Lives’ was recorded during the summer of 2011 and features eleven tracks, and three bonus tracks. The album also features unique cover art that was sent to the band via twitter. The artwork is a photo taken of a protester that was rallying at the G8 conference, and happened to be wearing an Every Time I Die t-shirt.(KEEP READING)
  10. Odd Future ‘The OF Tape Vol. 2’: The past few years have proved to be quite a large change in the rap world, spawning the rise of new rappers like: Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller, and Tyga. In Los Angeles, California another group has taken the public eye with both shock, and awe. The group is called Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, also known as OFWGKTA, or simply Odd Future. (KEEP READING)
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