Brandy Clark’s “12 Stories”: One Of The Best Country Albums Of 2013 That You Haven’t Heard Yet

brandy-clark-final-itunes-cover-20130823-101736-1381255829

As I make my end-of-year lists of my favorite songs and albums, I scan other music websites to see what all I missed in 2013. I’ve always been pretty good about keeping up with the hype and updates from the music blogosphere, but every now and then I’ll come across a record that I never knew existed and hear about how great it is.

Brandy Clark’s “12 Stories” is one of those albums.

This is a country album for the singer-songwriter enthusiast, which means it has some of 2013’s best written songs, and no other country album this year has better lyrics or storytelling. The production is minimal and unassuming on most tracks, which are rare qualities that you don’t find on most popular country records. I’ve always liked my country music in the style of Gram Parsons and Ryan Adams, and 12 Stories fits right in.

Kacey Musgraves’s Same Trailer Different Park is the other big country album of 2013 that has gained critical praise from non-country listeners (including myself), and these two albums are comparable in that both albums are written by smart women who know how to tell a good story with black humor and vivid imagery. But where Musgraves is younger and more freewheelin’, Clark is older and wearier. Both women released their debuts in 2013, which means that country music has a bright future.

Continue Reading

Fort Wayne Site of the Day!

Woohoo!!!

Today on ScLoHo’s Really?, Scott Howard, another fellow Fort Wayne blogger, picked Headphone Nation to be Fort Wayne’s site of the day!

I’m greatly honored and thrilled!  Please check out Scott’s blog here, it is a great blog with great tips and advice on both the little and big things we encounter in life.

Also today this site has passed the 1,000th viewer mark!  I’m excited by how fast this site is growing and I want to thank everyone that has read this blog and kept with it.

To celebrate I’ll play you guys this song – mainly because 1,000 is in the title 🙂

Continue Reading

Classics In The Making: Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker

The greatest album Gram Parsons never made.

In its purist form, country music is not about how sexy a girl thinks your tractor is.  Country music is all about the heart, but not the achy breaky kind.  Country music is about the heart that is fragile, stubborn, and hard to heal, the kind that has been disappointed just one too many times, and the kind of heart that keeps beating while our minds try to make sense of everything.  So in that respect, Ryan Adams is essentially a country singer, for  nobody can sing about a broken heart better than he can, and no album displays his gift as well as 2000’s “Heartbreaker.”

The album, for the most part, is stripped down to just acoustic guitars, piano, and Adam’s withered harmonica and voice, singing of youth, bad love, and everything in-between.  From missing his home and family (“Oh My Sweet Carolina”), to a love turned sour (“Why Do They Leave?”), to the things he loves that are slowly killing him (“To Be The One”), Adams creates the perfect soundtrack for those nights of reflection on what could have been, what should have been, and what it all means.

The album is more folk than country, so those country-haters can ease up a bit.  But make no mistake, this is a country record, and a darn good one too.  There are no weak tracks on the entire record, and very few album are filled with the kind of emotion Adams is able to express.  This is an album for all of us who have ever felt alone, defeated, and heartbroken, which is all of us at certain times.  Adams continues to make more albums, some of them good and some of them alright, but this is easily his greatest moment.

Essential Tracks: “To Be Young”, “In My Time Of Need”, and “Oh My Sweet Carolina”

Continue Reading