Honky-tonk Holiday Stocking Stuffer

By Brian Rock

It’s mid-December and the days are flying past faster than eight tiny airborne reindeer. But don’t worry, there’s still enough time to grab a few last-minute stocking stuffers for your music loving friends and family. We’ve made our list and checked it twice for the best recent releases for any music device.

Dallas Moore Tryin’ To Be A Blessing

Honky-Tonkin’ music for those of us who spend a little time on both the naughty and the nice list. With plenty of fiddle, steel guitar, piano, and electric guitar; Moore alternates between earnest love songs and raucous boot scooters. “I Love You Woman” and “You Saved Me From Me,” are tender ballads of endearment. “Lovin’ On Back Streets,” and “Mama & Daddy” turn up the heat in both tempo and topic. No matter what the topic, Moore delivers it with a gravelly, baritone intensity.

Most Tinseled Track: “Della And The Dealer”

Turbo charged Honky Tonk tale of looking for love in the wrongest of places. When passions flare and shots are fired, you know there’s a great story unfolding – even if the star witnesses are a dog and a cat.

Wayne Hancock
 Man of the Road: The Early Bloodshot Years

A must have collection of the legendary Wayne “The Train” Hancock’s releases from the beginning of the millennium. Hancock’s blend of Honky Tonk, Texas Swing, Rockabilly, Country and Jazz is a virtual template for Americana music. With his Hank Williams vocals, Bob Wills rhythms and Eddie Cochran attitude, Hancock serves up a delicious triple scoop of musical mélange.

Most Tinseled Track: “Driving My Young Life Away”

Perfectly captures the spirit of mid-century Texas dancehalls with its throbbing bass, jangling guitar and subtle strains of steel guitar. Like all the songs on this album, it’s impossible to listen to it without moving your feet.

Rick Faris
 Breaking In Lonesome

A true disciple of Old Crow Medicine Show, he manages to capture their energy and enthusiasm with half the personnel. Faris uses primarily acoustic guitar, banjo, and fiddle to create a fully fleshed, high-octane Country sound on barn burners like, “If The Kansas River Can,” “Stoneman’s Raid,” “Breaking In Lonesome,” and “Honeybabe.” He also achieves that “high and lonesome sound that Bluegrass music requires” on ballads like, “Wrong Done Right,” “The Wedding Couple,” and “Matthew And Mark’s Wisdom.”

Most Tinseled Track: “Mississippi Steamboat Blues”

A breezy, buoyant, back deck song that flows like the rollicking rhythms of the Mississippi River itself.

The Mavericks
 Play The Hits

Country and Rock classics with a side of salsa as Raul Malo and company bring their trademark Texacana flavor to such standards as “Are Your Sure Hank Done It This Way?” “Before The Next Teardrop Falls,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” and “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain.” More than just karaoke style covers, the band creates new arrangements that make the songs fresh and nuevo.

Most Tinseled Track: “Blame It On Your Heart”

The Mavericks add a little Cajun flavor to the Patty Loveless classic, stripping away the electric guitars and adding accordion to create a tasty Zydeco two stepper.

David Newbould
 Sin & Redemption

Folk Rock heavily influenced by “Nebraska” era Bruce Springsteen. Singing songs of love and desperation, Newbould creates poetic landscapes inhabited by dreamers, desperados and domestic abuse survivors. Ranging from the swampy Blues of “Diamonds In The Dark” to the power ballad chords of “Sensitive Heart” to the Folk Rock of “Long Road To Barstow,” Newbould adds a diversity of musical textures to push the Folk Rock genre to its limits.

Most Tinseled Track: “Runaround Town”

The influence of “The Boss” is most evident on this Rock anthem about leaving a small town for the big city. With driving guitar, pounding drums, and power piano chords Newbould celebrates striking out on his own, even as he realizes you can never outrun your past.

Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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