Chris Parkin uncovers the latest gems in a particular genre. This time, it’s a road trip into country territory to meet some new friends and see some familiar faces
Every year is a big year for country and Americana. Like metal and hard house, they’re genres that will never die and 2017 was full of notable releases. Willie Nelson took time off from developing his legal marijuana brand to release his 72nd studio album, God’s Problem Child, and it’s his best in years; Alison Krauss made a solo album for the first time since 1999; and Chris Stapleton continues to reign. With the US in turmoil, then, purveyors of the heartland sound have much to twang on about.
EVERY YEAR IS A BIG YEAR FOR COUNTRY AND AMERICANA. 2017 WAS FULL OF NOTABLE RELEASES; WITH THE US IN TURMOIL, THEN, PURVEYORS OF THE HEARTLAND SOUND HAVE MUCH TO TWANG ON ABOUT
In 2013, Oldham paid tribute to The Everly Brothers on an album called What The Brothers Sang. Glendale, California’s Mapache – that’s Spanish for raccoon, by the way – are on a similar page. Only just in their 20s, the self-titled second effort from Clay Finch and Sam Blasucci is a blissfully easy-going, long-haired album of fingerpicking, pedal-steel cosmic country that references Phil and Don, Gene Clark, and psych-country revivalists Beachwood Sparks.
Also worth foregoing a few warm beers for is the new album by former Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell, The Nashville Sound, and the pissed-off ornate Americana of The Weather Station’s self-titled record.