Showing posts with label natalie hemby. Show all posts
Showing posts with label natalie hemby. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

video review: 'the highwomen' by the highwomen

Well, this was well-worth the review... let's see if the trolls decide to come down on this one...

Anyway, I'm on a kick for this sort of thing, so Rapsody is up next - stay tuned!

album review: 'the highwomen' by the highwomen

This is the sort of album where it would be too easy to set impossible expectations... providing, of course, you could contextualize a release like this anyway. That's the funny thing with a lot of supergroups, because given the individual members even a little more thought, you might see where it makes sense, until it just doesn't.

Now for me, go through three of the artists and it made complete sense. Brandi Carlile was coming off a Grammy-nominated year and probably had enough clout off her back catalog to land exactly what she wanted. Amanda Shires might have less immediate acclaim, as some have just pigeonholed her as the wife of Jason Isbell - which does a massive disservice to her fantastic violin work and an increasingly eclectic discography, including an album last year that didn't quite win me over but was certainly weird enough to attract attention. Then there's Natalie Hemby, the name that might not get the most immediate recognition unless you've been reading the liner notes of A Star Is Born, but I knew her most from her 2017 debut Puxico, an excellent album that I still can't find on vinyl to this day - seriously, if anyone would send me a lead, I'd be incredibly grateful here! But all three of these women made sense working together - not quite firebrands in the same way as the Pistol Annies, but maybe closer to case/lang/veirs or Trio, the legendary team-up between Dolly Parton, Linda Rondstadt, and Emmylou Harris, and when you see cowriting credits from Isbell, Miranda Lambert, Sheryl Crow, and Lori McKenna, plus production from Dave Cobb... shit, is there such a thing as stacking the deck?

And then there's Maren Morris - ironically the most "popular" artist on this list in terms of hits, but the name that stuck out like a sore thumb when I saw the supergroup lineup in terms of her sound and critical acclaim. Hell, you could make the argument that with her last album she was content to mine country for credibility as she continued her pop pivot... which is why her inclusion here is so damn fascinating. I mean, her best music has always been country so if her pop work was just a means to an end to get the industry pull to get here, all the power to her, especially if she could leverage her fanbase to bring a bigger audience to some fantastic talent. In other words, expectations were high: what did we get from The Highwomen?

Saturday, January 28, 2017

video review: 'puxico' by natalie hemby

Well, this was a lot better than I expected. Still not sure if it's precisely great, but I'll definitely support it all the same, it's a solid album.

But next... whoo boy, this'll be fun. Stay tuned!

album review: 'puxico' by natalie hemby

So I've talked a fair bit in the past about the 'Nashville songwriting machine', the list of names that you'll see crop up again and again if you dig through the liner notes of mainstream country. And while for a while I tended to have something of an allergic reaction to this industry... well, on some level I get it. For a mainstream public who is can't stand major change and would recoil from most auteur-driven music, you need people behind the scenes to help fill time on the radio, or at the very least enough songs to fit albums cranked out every few years.

But here's the thing: with the recent upheaval and swings back towards neotraditional and indie country, you're not just seeing a fair few artists grab hold of writing duties for themselves, but several long-time veterans who put in their time behind the scenes step out into the spotlight. The big name, of course, is Chris Stapleton who released Traveller in 2015, but go a year earlier and you'd see Eric Paslay, or a year later and you'd get Lori McKenna and her spell-binding record The Bird And The Rifle. And now one of the newest artists to step to the forefront is Natalie Hemby, most well-known for her affiliations with Miranda Lambert, Sunny Sweeney, Little Big Town, and a fair few of the more contemplative and borderline experimental side of the Nashville sound that came in the aftermath of bro-country. And while there are a few duds on that list, there's also a fair amount of quality, which left me intrigued enough to check out her debut record Puxico, named for her grandfather's hometown in Missouri. And I wasn't sure what to expect - normally songwriters who have worked behind the scenes for a while before going solo are not the most striking performers, but that's where writing can do a lot of heavy lifting, and I have no qualms with that whatsoever - hell, more often than not I'd prefer it. So what did we find in Puxico?