I have been hosting the Saturday afternoon edition of the Americana Mix for almost seven years now and I would like to thank all our listeners for listening to, and supporting, WDVX year in and year out. We definitely have a good thing together!
The Americana Mix, by definition, needs to feature a wide variety of artists, but just like you, I have my favorites. Here are some that stood out for me during 2019:
Hayes Carll “What It Is”
The 6th album from the Nashville via Texas songwriter is his best so far. The entire album is strong and diverse, with rockers, bluegrass, lighthearted romantic, serious romantic and mildly political tunes that make you think. Standout tracks to get you started: “Times Like These”, “If I May Be So Bold”, “American Dream”, and “Wild Pointy Finger”. By the way, “What It Is” is # 1 on the The Top 100 Americana Radio Airplay Albums of 2019, so it’s not just me singing its praises.
Rodney Crowell “Texas”
Seriously, does anybody not like Rodney Crowell? If Rodney alone is not enough for you, guests on this album include Lee Ann Womack, Billy Gibbons, Willie Nelson, Ringo Starr, Lyle Lovett, and Steve Earle. The album sounds like….Texas. Part laid back, part heat, part Country, part rock, part two-step, part Tex-Mex, and part ballad. I put some cuts on the playlist, but it was mostly throwing darts, because they are all good!
Chris Knight “Almost Daylight”
Chris may not be for everyone, but if you like gritty, authentic storytelling with a sharp Kentucky edge, he is (and has always been) the real deal. Although it’s been seven years since his last studio album, Chris has not skipped a beat. This album has a bigger, fuller sound, with a thick layering of guitars, organ, and even banjo and fiddle occupying just the right sonic space to compliment his voice. Give a listen to “Crooked Mile”, “Trouble Up Ahead”, and “Send It On Down” with Lee Ann Womack. I included Lee Ann’s version of “Send It On Down” from her “The Way I’m Livin’” album (2014) on the playlist because, as good as it is on Chris’ album, I think her version is even better.
Delbert McClinton “Tall, Dark, and Handsome”
Delbert is celebrating 50+ years in the music business and has never sounded better! This album covers many styles, from straight-up blues to swing, country, and jazz. Horns, fiddle, accordion, blazing guitar work, and back-up singers complete the picture. There is a lot of truth in Lyle Lovett’s quote that “If we could all sing like we want to, we’d all sound like Delbert McClinton.” Pick any track you wish, they are all good – here’s a sampling: “Mr. Smith” (big band), “No Chicken On The Bone” (gypsy jazz), “Gone To Mexico” (Latin), “If I Hock My Guitar” (blues rock).
Chuck Mead “Close To Home”
Honky Tonk, Country, Rock & Roll, and the BR-549 swagger are on full display here. From the title track’s old school Country vibe, to what should be your new beer drinking anthem “Tap Into Your Misery”, to the clever rock and roller “Daddy Worked The Pole”, there is a lot to like. Turn it up and enjoy!
Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley “World Full Of Blues”
These resonator and six string guitar pickers are insanely good. While you may (properly) associate Rob and Trey with bluegrass, this is not really a bluegrass album. Unless grassers have added horn sections and Hammond B-3 organs when we weren’t looking. Try these tracks: “World Full Of Blues” (with Taj Mahal), “Born With The Blues”, the fast-tempo “30 Days”, and a song with a title that East Tennesseans will certainly find familiar – “Nobody Can Tell Me I Can’t” (yes, it is properly pronounced “caint”). “World Full Of Blues” is a picker’s paradise!