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Let’s forget for a minute that John Mayer spent his early career as a brooding ladies’ man, that he has dated every vapid starlet in Hollywood from Jessica Simpson to Taylor Swift and that his early singing style was so breathy he might have in fact swallowed several microphones.
‘Wheelhouse’ is Brad Paisley’s ninth studio album, but even after more than a decade of success in the country music world, Paisley is far from slowing down. ‘Wheelhouse’ keeps the ball rolling with songs full of slick guitar riffs and clever, adventurous lyrics, demonstrating once again why Paisley is one of Nashville’s favorite sons. But with ‘Wheelhouse,’ Paisley doesn’t just stick to the classic country tropes, instead exploring controversial topics like racism and domestic abuse.
As a die-hard country music fan, I can’t even begin to explain how disappointed I am with Blake Shelton’s latest album, ‘Based on a True Story.’
Politics, intrigue, deception and revenge are just a few of the elements that make House of Cards a must watch show this spring, but you won’t find this fantastic show anywhere on cable. House of Cards is a Netflix exclusive series, meaning you can’t DVR it, but Netflix users can watch the first season anytime and anywhere they want.
If you’re looking for a smart, scary new TV drama that will twist your mind and drop your jaw, you need to check out FOX’s The Following. The show centers on retired FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon), an over-the-hill alcoholic who is recalled to duty when serial murderer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) escapes from prison. Agent Hardy has extensive knowledge of Carroll’s psychological makeup and modus operandi, since the agent was responsible for apprehending the killer during his initial spree — a murderous rampage during which Carroll killed 14 girls at the fictional Winslow University. So far this sounds like another run-of-the-mill crime and investigation show, but this time around FOX is aiming for a slightly savvier viewer — Carroll’s career as a literature professor apparently led him to fixate on the work of Edgar Allan Poe, and the dark romanticism of stories such as “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” and “The Black Cat” feature prominently in his criminal works.
What did you miss if you weren’t at the Jefferson Theater Nov. 16? In the words of Carbon Leaf lead singer Barry Privett: “A row, a ruction, a fracas, and a fray. A rough and tumble free-for-all, a broil, a brawl, a melee.” Just kidding — those are the lyrics of Carbon Leaf’s soon-to-be-released song “The Donnybrook Affair.” There was no brawl or melee the night of the concert, but there was a packed house full of enthusiastic fans who had a foot-stomping good time as Carbon Leaf and opening act Justin Jones delivered an energetic set that gave fans more than three hours of music.
A case of privileging quantity over quality, Hope on the Rocks is country mega-star Toby Keith’s 16th studio album. Keith has put out an album a year for the last eight years, and you would think at this point in his long and successful career he wouldn’t need to keep popping out albums like the Duggars pop out kids. Keith also has a successful clothing line and an entire chain of restaurants based off his 2003 hit single “I Love This Bar.” This just leaves me wondering: If not for the money, why would Keith give us a subpar album filled with duds and propped up by one hit radio single?
Indulge your inner hipster and hop on the Mansions on the Moon bandwagon now because pretty soon it’ll be standing room only. Mansions is an indie/alternative/synth group comprised of Ted Wendler on lead vocals and guitar, drummer Lane Shaw, bassist Jeff Maccora and keyboardist Ben Hazlegrove, who was raised in Virginia Beach. The band’s self-described style is “chillwave.” What does that mean exactly? Well, what do you get when you mix one part acoustic instrumentation, one part dexterous drumming, two parts synth sparkle and one part soaring, ethereal vocals? After experiencing Mansions last night at The Southern, I can tell you this recipe produces a sound that strikes a perfect balance between introspection and escapism.
Country superstar Jason Aldean opens his fifth studio album, Night Train, with a tribute to classic Americana, “This Nothin’ Town.” It’s hard to go wrong singing about small towns, drinking beer and Friday night football, but to avoid slipping too far into country music stereotypes, Aldean also reminds us “it ain’t all just porches and plows.”
If you want to hear all your favorite, traditional Christmas tunes with a few extra syllables of country twang thrown in courtesy of Blake Shelton, then Cheers, It’s Christmas is the album for you. The string of seasonal songs kicks off wonderfully with “Oklahoma Christmas,” a guitar- and fiddle-heavy duet with first lady of country and fellow Oklahoma native Reba McEntire. The yuletide cheer keeps rolling from there.
It takes the perfect storm to create a great album, and Little Big Town’s fifth studio album, Tornado, is tearing up the country charts. This talented, harmony-rich country quartet — consisting of Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Phillip Sweet and Jimi Westbrook — has been a consistent force on the country and pop charts since its 2005 hit “Boondocks.” During summer 2012, the group’s single “Pontoon” was the laid-back embodiment of easy summer living.
Hold on to your cowboy hats because country’s craziest duo, Big & Rich, has just released its fourth studio album, Hillbilly Jedi.