LxListening: I’m a Country Boy

five country, alt-country songs from 2013

Every year around this time of year, I find myself listening to country and country-inspired tunes. Why this is, I don’t know, but traditionally I haven’t been much for country music. I find much of it sappy and sentimental, and praising of a life I don’t identify with. However, about four years ago, I started getting really into classic country music like Hank Williams and The Carter Family, as well as 90’s alt-country bands like Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy’s Uncle Tupelo and Ryan Adam’s Whiskeytown. I’m growing to appreciate country of all types and appreciate the heart and storytelling behind much of it. So here are five country or country-ish tunesI’ve been listening to.
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The Avett Brothers Review: The Carpenter

The Avett Brothers

The Carpenter

new album from the Avett Brothers, The Carpenter

Few bands these days truly earn their stripes. When it comes to breaking it big commercially, it’s usually one hit single or a spot in a cutesy ad that gets a band to blow up. Think fun., Carly Rae Jepsen, Gotye, and Alex Clare. Not to say that it’s wrong to break big with one hit or that those songs are inherently bad – since actually most are actually good – but its way more rewarding and refreshing to see a band earn it the hard way. I already spoke of My Morning Jacket being a band that fits that bill, but another industrious, hard-working band that fits the mold is Carolina folk trio, the Avett Brothers. Over the last ten years, the Brothers have been evolving their irreverent yet reflective brand of alt-country on the stage and on record, finally breaking out with the help of a high profile producer, Rick Rubin, for their brilliant fifth album I and Love and You. On their latest, The Carpenter, the Avett Brothers again get aid from Rubin and stick in the pocket of their signature sound, sounding as confident as ever while crafting some of the best folk pop around.
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The Men Review: Open Your Heart

The Men

Open Your Heart

The Men, Open Your Heart, album cover, cover art

“Rock is dead” is a phrase that has become far too cliché. Even with traditional rock music being fairly paralyzed, there has been a fair share of great rock bands this past decade. That being said, hearing the opening notes of Open Your Heart, the Brooklyn foursome’s third album, is still no doubt invigorating, as its workmanlike, physical rock that rarely exists anymore.
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Ryan Adams Review: Ashes and Fire

Ryan Adams

Ashes & Fire

If being prolific was the name of the game, Ryan Adams would have stadium status. Fortunately, quality matters more than quantity, and though the New York singer-songwriter with a soft spot for Americana has released 12 full-length records in 11 years (not to mention some EPs, Live albums, and some of those being double albums), his hitting average is probably more like 50% with only about 25% of them falling in the great category (Heartbreaker, Love is Hell, Cold Roses). Following a five album streak with his expert alt-country band The Cardinals (which were great to start then got increasingly more safe and boring releases), Adams releases his first album since disbanding from the group, Ashes & Fire, an album that is warm and rustic though mostly drowsy and dull.
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