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Sunday, June 24, 2018

ROUTES & BRANCHES
featuring the very best of americana, alt.country and roots music
June 24, 2018
Scott Foley, the evangelist


WHAT's SO GREAT ABOUT the FIRST HALF OF 2018?!!  

I was looking back at last year's halfway list, and really like how I introduced it.  So I'll quote myself by way of welcoming you to my favorites for the first half of 2018:
To quote the early 80s British new wave band Talk Talk (which I don't do often enough), Baby life's what you make it / Celebrate it.  Even when we're having to try harder to avoid negativity and reasons for despair, great music surrounds us like angel wings.  Or like water wings.  Music can keep us afloat, can give us the energy to keep going or even to fight back.  Like god, it's there when you want it and when you need it.  Which makes me an evangelist, shining the light and showing the way to music that matters.  And if it works for you, it's yours.  Let it lift you up, let it drive you forward, let it embolden and comfort and calm you.  Or just ignore it because you don't like twangy stuff ...
But if you're part of our congregation, let's celebrate.  Let's open the hymnal of the first half of (2018) and bellow like wounded calves or sing like angels, ranting against all that worries and angers us or whooping foolishly about the fact that we're still here, against all odds.
 God help me, I like that.  Back in those days it was Ryan Adams and John Moreland, Will Johnson and Justin Townes Earle and Matthew Ryan.  The names have changed but the spirit abides.  The spirit of music discovery and perennial hope in the promise of the new.

So let's bang the proverbial drum.  Let's trip boldly into the second half of 2018 by celebrating what got us through the first half.  After all, it's our kind of music.

These are in order of appearance, beginning with stuff that heralded us into the year, and culminating with a record that's not even been released yet.

First Aid Kit, Ruins  (Columbia, Jan 19)
HC McEntire, Lionheart  (Merge, Jan 26)
Marie/Lepanto, Tenkiller  (Big Legal Mess, Jan 26)
Mike & the Moonpies, Steak Night at Prairie Rose  (Moonpies, Feb 2)
Ruby Boots, Don't Talk About It  (Bloodshot, Feb 9)
Caleb Caudle, Crushed Coins  (Cornelius Chapel, Feb 23)
Nathaniel Rateliff & Night Sweats, Tearing at the Seams  (Concord, Mar 9)
Andrew Bryant, Ain't It Like the Cosmos  (Last Chance, Mar 9)
Erika Wennerstrom, Sweet Unknown  (Partisan, Mar 23)
Courtney Marie Andrews, May Your Kindness Remain  (Mama
Bird, Mar 23)
Caitlin Canty, Motel Bouquet  (Tone Tree Mar 30)
Great Peacock, Gran Pavo Real  (Ropeadope, Mar 30)
Kacey Musgraves, Golden Hour  (MCA Nashville, Mar 30)
Will Stewart, County Seat  (Cornelius Chapel, Apr 6)
Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, Years  (Bloodshot, Apr 6)
Left Arm Tan, El Camino  (LAT, Apr 6)
Donovan Woods, Both Ways  (Meant Well, Apr 20)
Charlie Crockett, Lonesome as a Shadow  (Son of Davy, Apr 20)
Trampled by Turtles, Life is Good on the Open Road  (Banjodad, May 4)
Parker Millsap, Other Arrangements  (Okrahoma, May 4)
Horse Feathers, Appreciation  (Kill Rock Stars, May 4)
National Reserve, Motel la Grange  (Ramseur, May 11)
Brent Cobb, Providence Canyon  (Elektra, May 11)
John Calvin Abney, Coyote  (JCA, May 18)
Jason Boland & the Stragglers, Hard Times are Relative  (Proud Souls, May 18)
Dead Tongues, Unsung Passage  (Psychic Hotline, May 18)
Neko Case, Hell-on  (Anti, Jun 1)
American Aquarium, Things Change  (New West, Jun 1)
Phil Cook, People Are My Drug  (Psychic Hotline, Jun 1)
Sons of Bill, Oh God Ma'am  (Gray Fox, Jun 29)

... and TEN MORE FROM WHAT's to COME
While we haven't heard more than a glimmer from these forthcoming records, they fill our hearts with hope and keep us from existential despair.  Here's what we're looking forward to in the weeks and months to come:

Jayhawks, Back Roads & Abandoned Motels  (Sony, Jul 13)
Israel Nash, Lifted  (Desert Folklore, Jul 27)
Cody Jinks, Lifers  (Rounder, Jul 27)
Amanda Shires, To the Sunset  (Silver Knife, Aug 3)
Lucero, Among the Ghosts  (Liberty + Lament, Aug 3)
Jason Eady, I Travel On  (Old Guitar, Aug 10)
Austin Lucas, Immortal Americans  (Cornelius Chapel, Aug 17)
Ryan Culwell, Last American  (Culwell, Aug 24)
Aaron Lee Tasjan, Karma for Cheap  (New West, Aug 31)
Jason Isbell & 400 Unit, Live From the Ryman  (Southeastern, Oct 19)



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