News and Views: December 7

Just over two weeks to go and the Tucker Beathard gig in London looks like being the last of a very busy and amazing year. That’s unless someone surprises us and fits something in before the end of the year! We will be announcing our annual YLIAS awards soon. Decisions, decisions…

Grammy Awards

Amazing news this week from the Grammys. Sturgill Simpson has not only been nominated for Country Album of the Year but also all-genre Album Of The Year. He is up against a few lightweights of course. Someone called Adele who we guess won’t win because nobody’s heard of her. Also the woman who gate crashed the CMA awards and sang backing vocals for The Dixie Chicks! Justin Bieber, who lets his hands go more than Luke Bryan, and finally Drake White…oh, maybe not.

Our support will be given of course to Sturgill. There really ought to be a rule specifying that you can only win if you have two names. We’d back Sturgill Simpson against Justin Bieber any day!

Of course, there is more chance of Bob Dylan attending at the Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony than Sturgill attending the Grammys. If he wins he’ll send a representative from the ACM to read out his acceptance speech…not. He’s already said that he might not be there. He told ‘New York Times’ yesterday that he hasn’t made up his mind:

“It’s way too early for all that. I can tell you that my wife and I have our second child on the way, due any time in the first two weeks of February, so this is all a little hairy. But it’s all so fresh. I would love to be there, but I’m not going to miss a birth for it. [Laughs]”

But seriously, how good is it that Simpson even gets a nomination? He may not win but just to see him perform on that stage and spread his musical message will be awesome. Let’s not forget the contribution that his amazing band add to all of his success; we saw them perform in Manchester earlier this year and the whole package was spellbinding.

So many US artists come across to play for us nowadays but most appear without their band due to cost restraints. Not Sturgill. He had the full works in a small venue. He’s no conversationalist and his vocal style is unique, but this guy is an absolute musical genius and we should be proud that he represents our music.

Apart from Sturgill, there are country guys and gals represented in other significant categories. Kelsea Ballerini and Maren Morris in the Best New Artist section. Willie Nelson in the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album section and the Grand Ole Opry features in the Best Music Film category.

Another ‘it’s about time’ moment was Brandy Clark’s inclusion in the Best Country Album section for ‘Big Day In A Small Town’, and the news that ‘Love Can Go To Hell’ is included in the nominations for Best Country Solo Performance. She is shamefully overlooked by country radio and deserves to be a much bigger star. Her music has touched the hearts of many country music fans this year.

Talking of Drake White, we are delighted to see that he has been added to the C2C roster this year. The after shows are looking very tasty. Cam on Friday. Mr White on Saturday and Jana Kramer on Sunday. Tickets on sale Friday folks.

Christmas

Have you embraced the country Christmas releases this year? Plenty of choices and vastly different takes on the same theme. Some have played it relatively safe and covered the classics, some have written their own festive songs. Most have combined the two.

Garth and Trisha will inevitably claim the top spot sales wise but for us there has to be a special mention for Kacey Musgraves who has produced a gem of a Christmas album and has supported it with a mini tour to showcase the songs. Brett Eldredge has gone all Rat Pack on us and can genuinely claim parity with the quality of their output. ‘Glow’ is our favourite of the new songs.

Jennifer Nettles will take some beating for the absolute quality of her performance on her holiday album. She has a stunning voice and because of her CMA Country Christmas hosting duties, she now seems to be the official country music face and voice of Christmas.

Upcoming Shows

January is already shaping up to be a busy month. We have already noted the tours from Aaron Watson, Margo Price and Nathan Carter, but this week we have heard about a mini tour from country a cappella heavyweights Home Free and also The Cactus Blossoms. They may not be household names but their uncanny similarity to the sounds of the Everly Brothers should attract a healthy crowd. Really talented guys. Check out the album ‘You’re Dreaming’ that came out earlier this year.

Album Spotlight

We are just completing our first full year at YLIAS and it’s been a blast exploring new music and hopefully filling a few gaps in your collections.  We will continue to highlight a few artists who don’t get anything like the attention they deserve, and do our best to separate the wheat from the chaff.

However, we often come across gems that aren’t new but are very worthy of a mention. Albums that came out before we were born so to speak. That means 2014 and in particular, an album by a guy called Adam Hood. ‘Welcome To The Big World’ has probably had more plays than any other album this year for us. It’s not new but it’s awesome. Another is the self-titled Wade Bowen album that also came out in 2014. Two albums that have made many motorway miles in 2016 whizz by.

‘Next Big Thing’

MusicRow is Nashville’s premier music industry publication. They have just announced their 2017 ‘Next Big Thing’ artists. The 11 artists are:

Tucker Beathard

Kane Brown

Chris Lane

Locash

William Michael Morgan

Maren Morris

Jon Pardi

Runaway June

Aubrie Sellers

Drake White

Brett Young

Not exactly rocket science that some of these will be very big in 2017, but it’s good to see WMM and Brett Young in that list.

Upcoming Releases

New releases will be picking up in January, folks. Not too long to wait.

January 13     Brantley Gilbert – The Devil Don’t Sleep

January  27    Lauren Alaina – Road Less Traveled

February 10   Brett Young – Brett Young

February 24   Little Big Town – The Breaker

February 24 – Aaron Watson – Vaquero