So this week’s New Music Friday cannot really be called new by any stretch of the imagination if we’re talking chronological time as it’s almost 2 years old at this point, but it was new to me this week and I’m guessing it’s new to all of you. I’ve been making my way through this year’s Austin 100 from NPR Music and discovered Holly Arrowsmith’s song “Slow Train Creek” yesterday. It really just spoke to me in this crazy time we’re living through right now with everything topsy turvy and isolation orders to try and stem the tide of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The music itself seems really calming and that’s something I think we can all use right now. With lyrics like “All is not well in this world we’re living in. Oh let me forget my sorrow if only for a day like I’ve got nowhere to be.” they also resonate as well. Ultimately the song is about being out in nature in a quiet place and embracing the silence and calm. Despite being forced into isolation I feel like I’ve been going non-stop trying to figure out this new reality, get set up for remote work, and spend all my other time obsessing over the news and stressing out about everything. This song seems like a very good reminder to stop and take a deep breath and perhaps embrace this forced time away from the rest of the world.
This morning I have a new song for you by Brandy Clark, not to be confused with my beloved Brandi Carlile. “Who You Thought I Was” is off her third album, Your Life is a Record, which came out last Friday. It’s been getting a lot of excellent praise, which is well deserved because it is a fantastic record. Brandy has been writing and recording in Nashville for about the past decade or so and despite much critical acclaim has never really managed to break through on country radio, which with this record she says she has come to terms with and is happy with where her career is now. I still think it’s a shame because she is wonderful songwriter and performer. The larger country music world is missing out.
The Dixie Chicks are back and this time with new music! They did a reunion tour a couple years ago that I went to, but they didn’t record any new music to go along with it. They’re releasing a new album for the first time in 14 years on May 1 and just dropped the first single, “Gaslighter”, from it on Wednesday. Shock of all shocks my local country radio station even played it! I never thought I’d hear another Dixie Chicks song on mainstream country radio again. Add in their history with country radio to today’s antipathy towards female country artists and it’s a modern day miracle!
It’s not my favorite Dixie Chicks song ever. It may or may not grow on me. The Dixie Chicks have never been a band where I have loved every single song that they’ve put out, so I’m not that concerned that I don’t love this particular song. I’m super excited to have new music by them and am very much looking forward to hearing what’s on the rest of the album.
“Stone Me” by Margo Price has been on my list for New Music Friday for awhile now. She debuted the song back in January on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee on the episode where Sam did a segment on the state of women in country music. It also happened to be the night before I went to Nashville and seemed very prescient. I’ve been meaning to write about the song since I heard it, but for whatever reason I kept putting other songs in front of it. Now I’m finally circling back around to it. It’s an excellent song about not letting other people’s judgments bother you.
Last night I went to see Trampled by Turtles at Baltimore Soundstage with Upstate as the opening act. As one might expect from a band called Upstate they are from upstate New York. They have kind of a folky jazzy sound. They had some really nice harmonies, which I always appreciate. They were a decent opening act. Their music probably isn’t something I’m going to choose to sit around and listen to, but I didn’t mind it and they were entertaining enough performers. That’s really all you can ask for in an opening act.
I’ve seen Trampled by Turtles live several times in the past, but this is the first time that I’ve seen them somewhere other than the Newport Folk Festival. I don’t really have too much to say about this particular concert. They are always a super fun time. Their music creates a lot of energy and the crowd was really into it. They played all the songs I wanted to hear, so I have nothing to complain about in that regard. They were lots of fun as always. It was an excellent night.
I’m still going strong with the ladies of country music in my New Music Friday posts. Today I’m talking about Katie Pruitt who released her first length album, Expectations, today. She is someone who is never going to get any mainstream country radio airplay because not only is she a woman, but she’s also queer, something she sings a lot about on this album. She spent four years writing this album while processing her sexuality, the struggles of coming out to devoutly Christian family, and her own faith. The songs are all very personal and full of a lot of very beautiful songs. Go give it a listen.
Although the title song “Expectations” is probably my favorite song on the album it’s not really representative of the sound of the rest of the album, so I’m going to talk about “Searching for the Truth”. It’s a song that rings very true to me after the last few years with the realization that the world and the people in it kind of suck in a way that I wasn’t really cognizant of before. But after most of the song is seemingly really bleak it ends on a hopeful chorus, which I appreciate and most days is where I can get myself back to. It’s at least where I aspire to be because without hope there is no way to make things change for the better.
Carly Pearce’s self titled sophomore album came out today. I adored her first album, which she did get some country radio airplay for. I am equally in love with this album, which so far I haven’t heard getting any love on the radio. Stephen Thompson said on this week’s New Music Friday episode of the All of Songs Considered podcast that Carly Pearce would have been a huge star in country music if it was 1995 and he’s not wrong. It’s probably why I love her music so much because 90’s country music is my favorite.
I was unsure what song from the album I actually wanted to feature here because I really like almost every song on it. I finally decided to go with “It Won’t Always Be Like This” because Carly Pearce co-wrote it with Natalie Hemby and Sam Ellis and I love Natalie Hemby, so it lets me promote two awesome country ladies at the same time. It’s a lovely country ballad about really living in the moment and cherishing the times you are living through as you’re living them rather than waiting and realizing what special times they were in your memories. Take a listen to this song, but I also encourage to seek out the whole album because it’s great.