Waylon Jennings and Old 97s is the New Music Pick of the Week

It's New Music Tuesday: what are you looking for?
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When I tell people that I like country music it always comes with a disclaimer.  I like real country music, the old stuff, the real stufff.  Music by folks like Willie Nelson and Hank Williams, not this new fangled Nashville crap thats more pop than country.  I'm probably a little more defensive about it than I ought to be, but there is a distinct difference between what is considered country now and the type of country I like.

That country, the music that does speak to me, isn't just pop music with a steel guitar added as an after thought, its real music for lack of a better word.  People singing about real life using real instruments to to tell the tale.  Ah, I'm getting preachy again.  But you know what I'm talking about.  Country radio today is disposable pop music, the country music I'm talking about comes from folks who are musicians first - storytellers - and stars second.

Truth be told I'm more fond of the old country stars torch bearers - what they used to call alternative country - than I am the really old, classic stuff.  Artists like Ryan Adams, Lucinda Williams and Wilco (before Wilco become more of an aural experimental band.)  These guys and gals are steeped in the old country sound, but aren't afraid to play with it, to add in rock, blues, and any other genre they can think of.  I love that blending of old and new.

Which brings me to this weeks pick of the week.  Waylon Jennings is part of the old.  He was blazing a path through the 70s slick Nashville sound with Willie Nelson and calling it Outlaw Country.  They were then about throwing back to the good old days of real country music (this is not at all a new problem I've been talking about) and making soulful, heart felt records that had grit and meaning.  

Old 97s have been making great alternative country records for a couple of decades now.  They take take the soul of those old guys and revitalize them and make them new.  In 1996 Waylon Jennings came to see the Old 97s and liked them.  A lot.  He talked them up in the Austin Chronicle and praised them up on high.  The band took a chance and wrote him a note of thanks but also asked him if he wanted to record with them.  He said yes and they did a session together.

Sadly Jennings died shortly after and the songs sat on the shelf.  Until now.  There isn't much to this album, just two complete songs and four demos, but I gotta say I'm pretty excited about them.  I love to see the old guys jamming with the youngsters and see what comes out.  It isn't always great, but it is usually interesting and I suspect what we've got here is pretty cool.

Also out this week that looks interesting:  

I'll Fly Away - Blind Boys of Alabama: I generally hate Gospel music with its over produced slickness, its cheese endured lyrics, and fake soulfulness, but I love me some Blind Boys of Alabama.  These guys are the real deal.  They are true musicians through and through but also true believers.  And it shows.  For this new album they enlisted Bon Iver's Justin Vernon to produce and grabbed folks like Sam Amidon, My Brightest Diamond, Patty Griffin and others to join in on the jam.  

The Studio Albums 1989-2007 - Rush: Includes every studio album Rush ever made plus a brand new remixed version of their 2002 album Vapor Trails.  That one is also being sold separately for folks who have the other albums.  I don't have any of them and can't claim to be a fan, but my friends who are get pretty rabid about this stuff.

The 20/20 Experience - 2 of 2 - Justin Timberlake:  I'm really not much for pop or dance music, but Timberlake's first one got even my fat ass to shake.  I'm interested to see f he can do it again.

Unvarnished - Joan Jett & the Blackhearts:  A new one from the bad girl from the 80s.  I don't have high hopes she can make good with the new, but I'm willing to give her a try.

Innocents - Moby: Definitely not one for electronic music, but even I know the Moby name.