New Music Monday: The Pistol Annies- Hush Hush

It’s somewhat of a Southern tradition to keep quiet about your problems and make everyone believe your family is perfectly wonderful, especially at church. The Pistol Annies nailed that notion in their newest single, “Hush Hush.”

The Annies’ new album was released on May 7th, and this is the first single from it. As I sat in my room last night in Nashville (yes indeed, I live here now!), I saw the music video and just smiled. It’s hilariously accurate… enjoy!


Happy Monday! You can stream the Pistol Annies’ new album, Annie Up, on Spotify here and find it on iTunes here.

Keep talkin’ twangy!


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Album Review: Kacey Musgraves’ Same Trailer Different Park

The first time I heard Kacey Musgraves’ name, my supervisor at 106.1 WNGC was adding it to the night playlist. I didn’t have a clue who she was, and I’d never heard her debut single, “Merry Go ‘Round.” But, as soon as I did hear that first single of hers, I was hooked.

Her first album was released on March 19th, and I’ve had it on repeat ever since. Lately I’ve been using Spotify quite often, and it took me probably only one stream all the way through the album to recognize that it was definitely worth the buy on iTunes.

“Merry Go ‘Round” is a new perspective on small-town life, and boy is it honest and true. One-horse towns tend to be romanticized often in country music, but Kacey tells it like it is– teenage pregnancy, drugs, and trailer parks. The album title comes from a line in this song: “Same hurt in every heart; same trailer, different park.” The music video is also worth a watch:

But that first single isn’t the only gem on this record– in fact, they’re all wonderful. Kacey herself has a writing credit on every song on the album, and though she shares credit with other big names in country songwriting, her honesty is the common thread of this album.

“It Is What It Is” is an obvious continuation of the raw statement of fact she gave in “Merry Go ‘Round,” and the rest of the album continues with its realizations and messages about life, sans any semblance of a sugar coating. “Blowin’ Smoke” and “Stupid” are particularly catchy and upbeat songs about talking smack over cigarettes and looking like a fool because of love, respectively. “Follow Your Arrow” is a peppy song with a positive message encouraging the listener to do what their heart desires and not care what people think of your actions.

“My House” follows suit with a picture of a life on the road where happiness is the people you’re with. She makes it obvious that friends and relationships are far more important than a fancy house: “No matter where we go, we’ll never be alone. Anywhere beside you is the place that I’ll call home.”

One song I can’t get enough of is “Step Off.” The sound of the song is relaxed and content, but the music itself almost has some sass to it. I almost don’t want to say this for fear of putting Taylor Swift and Kacey Musgraves on the same plane when they’re very different artists… but this song is almost a more direct version of Taylor’s “Mean.” It’s a song for those people who can’t stand to see you succeed, and as a college kid trying to figure out how to make a name for myself in a highly competitive world, I can completely relate to “Step Off” and its warning to eternal pessimists who want nothing more than to undermine everyone but themselves.

“Silver Lining” speaks to the fact that rewards don’t come without risk and hard work, and “I Miss You” is a testament of exactly what can come of risking comfort for success. “I Miss You” is a nostalgic tune about someone who was left behind in a rise to success. Even though leaving a familiar life to chase a dream can be incredibly rewarding, especially for someone as talented Kacey Musgraves, it still requires sacrificing, and sometimes that brings the bittersweet reality of a fading friendship or relationship.

“Keep It to Yourself,” “Back on the Map,” and “Dandelion” are the more personal tracks on this album. “Dandelion” is a sad comparison between a weedy flower and a relationship that always leaves a painful mark. “Keep It to Yourself” tells the story of someone who’s ready to move on after a love broke their heart, but its tune has just enough of a mellow sadness to still carry a little bit of sadness toward that ended relationship. “Back on the Map” first looks back on a past mistake, then has a hopeful tone to it as Kacey sings about looking for someone to pull her out of a low period and help her get back on her feet emotionally.  Overall, I love this album. As a songwriter myself, I respect Kacey’s ability to be honest and still write something that sticks in a listener’s mind. She’s previously written for other artists, and in fact, she penned “Mama’s Broken Heart,” which is on Miranda Lambert’s album Four the Record, and it’s at the top of the charts at the time of this post. Kacey’s version of the song is a little less “in-your-face” than Miranda’s, but it definitely deserves to be heard, even though it isn’t on Same Trailer Different Park.

The honesty of these songs is a big draw for me personally, as is the acoustic-driven, occasionally folk-rock influenced sound sprinkled throughout Same Trailer Different Park. With a debut album as humble and excellent as this, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Kacey Musgraves.

You can stream “Same Trailer, Different Park” on Spotify here, or buy the album on iTunes here. You can also find Kacey on Twitter or Facebook to keep up with what she’s doing.

Keep talkin’ twangy!


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Show Review- Dierks Bentley’s Country and Cold Cans Tour

On Dierks Bentley’s rather short “Country and Cold Cans” Tour, Athens, Georgia was the first stop. Dierks’ decision to start the tour at the glorious University of Georgia was most definitely a good one, but hey, I may be a bit biased…

The concert was on Legion Field– right in the middle of UGA’s campus– on Monday night, August 20th. For me personally, the twangy delight began in the early afternoon. I came home and plopped down on my couch only to discover this incredible nugget in my Twitter feed:

Needless to say, I showered and primped in record time (seriously, I’ve never put on three coats of mascara that fast), grabbed a few friends who were feeling spontaneous with me, and blew off my homework to hightail it to the Georgia Theatre. After waiting outside for the longest twenty minutes of my life, they let us inside, and there in all his country glory was Dierks Bentley himself.

To make a long story short, we spent the next two hours dancing to the song “Tip It On Back” and conversing with Dierks while he was onstage between takes (and yes, I was elated to be that close to him).

I didn’t get one bit of my homework done that day, but that experience is without a doubt one of the coolest things I’ve done since I’ve lived in Athens, and I don’t regret it one bit.

Anyway, fast forward to the actual concert. As I expected it would be, Legion Field was completely packed. I had a radius of approximately .23 inches in every direction in which I could shift if I pleased. Nonetheless, the cramped quarters were worth it because Dierks put on one awesome show.

The band that opened for him, Cadillac Black, was less than my favorite. Their sound was cranked exponentially louder than Dierks’, and I can’t say that I appreciated it. Every one of them had long hair and a general appearance of having just emerged from living in the woods for several months (or years). I’m not a proponent of judging a book by its cover, but in this case their appearance and sound went hand in hand. To be quite honest, I wasn’t paying very close attention to their actual music simply because I was reeling from how insanely loud it was.

While I wasn’t really a fan of the opening act’s performance, I will give the lead singer (whose name I cannot recall and do not care to look up at this particular moment) some points for his songwriting. During Dierks’ set, he called out Cadillac Black’s lead singer to accompany him on a song that he had also co-written, and the song, entitled “The Woods,” is actually one of my favorites on Dierks’ latest album. That’s about all the kudos I can personally give to Cadillac Black, but hey, if you’re the type who’s into loud hybrids of redneck sound and a slightly caveman-like appearance, they could definitely be your kind of band.

Cadillac Black

When Dierks himself finally graced the stage around 9:40 PM, the crowd of course went crazy. Dierks sang a good mix of older and new songs, and even in that cramped environment it was difficult not to dance while I belted out every word. I’m a huge fan of his, so he could’ve walked up there and sang the alphabet and I would’ve been perfectly content. He got the crowd riled up with some of his older classics, “What Was I Thinkin'” and “Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do,” but he also turned it down a few notches with a story about his dad, who recently passed away. Dierks mentioned that his father would’ve wanted him to get on with his happiness and not mourn too long, but his story added a bittersweet dose of raw emotion to his acoustic performance of “My Last Name.”

At one point he confessed his undying love of bluegrass music, and I was jumping up and down in anticipation of the twang that was to come. He stepped aside while his band got down to business with an abundant amount of banjo, and I loved every twangy second! I was disappointed that he didn’t play more songs from “Up On the Ridge” than just the title track, but I suppose the bluegrass-y jam session made up for it.

Bluegrass jam time!

As the show went on, his energy didn’t die down one bit as he played party-friendly tunes like his summer smash “5-1-5-0” and “Am I The Only One.” During “Sideways,” I was more than happy to scream out, “I can see you came to rock in your blue jeans and white tank top,” as that line had inspired my attire for the evening to a T. I don’t go halfway on these things, and neither did anyone else in the crowd; as expected, the country fans of the Bulldog Nation didn’t fail to reflect a party-ready attitude despite the fact that it was merely a Monday night.

Overall it was well worth the $10 I paid for my student ticket and more. I’ve always wanted to see Dierks Bentley live, and I hope if I ever do again that he’ll reach deeper into his bluegrass notions. Dierks mentioned several times that he loved Athens, and he’s most definitely welcome if he ever wants to come back.

Keep talkin’ twangy!


I apologize for the lack of pictures from the show, but sadly my camera is at my parents’ house, and I am not. And my phone camera doesn’t take wonderful pictures unless I’m very close to the subject, which unfortunately wasn’t possible at the concert. The few pictures that I do have are courtesy of my friends Katie and Sarah.