Sunday, September 21, 2008


I was riding around at the ranch last week listening to AM country radio. After I got finished puking on my boots, I realized that my usual rant about the music that is played on country radio is still justified. Every song I heard had banal lyrics over bad rock/country backing. It was the typical name-checking of country themes and situations that passes for songwriting in Nashville these days. Hank Sr is twisting in his grave listening to this crap.

 I have been beating on Toby Keith, Taylor Swift, Big and Rich and Sugarland, but most of what I heard was even worse than what that motley crew turns out. It made me miss Outlaw Country on my Sirius radio and particularly Mojo Nixon. That guy plays real music, tells it like it is, and doesn't put up with any kind of musical bulls**t. 

Listening to this junk started me thinking about a good modern country album to recommend. One of the best country albums to be released in the last 10 years is What I Deserve by Kelly Willis. This is an album I can get excited about.

 Kelly lives in Austin, Texas and is married to Bruce Robison. Bruce is a great songwriter who has written several number 1 country hits including Travelin' Soldier, Angry All the Time and Wrapped. Bruce's brother is Charlie Robison, who is a fine musician as well. We call him the  human jukebox because he can play and sing the first verse of any classic country song you can name. It is an impressive family of musicians.

Kelly, who is very easy on the eyes, has a great voice and uses it well on this release. She picked some great songs, some of which she wrote or co-wrote. Bruce also contributed a few of his and she even covers a tune by Dan Penn (see post of  July 21). These are songs that have something to say and you will not get tired of listening to them. The backing is tasteful and shows off her vocals well.

 If you don't already own What I Deserve, pick it up today. Available on iTunes and from Amazon.


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