Thursday, January 31, 2013

Song review: "Carolina" by Parmalee

As I've said before, I think it's interesting to read reviews of songs before I review them myself. Not because anything I read influences what I write, but because I like to see what other people think of a song. And in reading some reviews for "Carolina" I've concluded that some people just don't know what to think of Parmalee. So what usually ends up happening: they say it's not country and the review becomes more about that than the song itself. Sometimes the accusation is valid; most of the time it's an excuse to give a bad review. Now don't get me wrong - these people are free to write what they want about it and free to feel how they feel about it. I just think that a lot of times people are too quick to say a song or artist isn't country.

My thoughts on whether or not Parmalee is country? Well, the past few days I've been on what I'm going to call a Parmalee binge: watching performance videos and interviews, in an attempt to get a better feel for who they are as a band and people. And in doing so, I've noticed that they never seem to identify themselves as country directly. Lead singer Matt Thomas tends to describe them as "the country side of rock". Yeah, these guys are rockers, but they have definite country leanings. Enough to justify their place in the genre, in my opinion. A few years ago that may not have been the case, but times change. Genres grow and develop and, really, country music has always been a kind of melting pot anyway. It's always pulled from other formats. I propose that we stop trying to pigeonhole country music into being one kind of sound and one kind of sound only. That we stop trying to minimize what country music is and instead choose to celebrate its diversity.

Now that said, let's talk about the song itself. First they were putting dogs on roofs and hogs in kitchens; now they're singing about love and home. Who knows what they'll sing about next?

Let's go deeper.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Top 12 Artists of the Year: Part 2

I was just thinking about this list and thinking about all the great artists who didn't make the cut. And there's a lot! I keep saying it: 2012 was a very good year for country music. It seemed to be a year of artists discovering exactly who they're supposed to be, musically speaking. I get so excited when that happens. It just makes everything that much better. Finding and creating the music one is supposed to make increases their confidence. You can see it. They start seeming a lot more comfortable and in that, having more fun. 2012 was a great year for that. In saying that, it is my hope that those who found their sound keep it. And that the ones who are still looking, still trying to figure it out, find it. That's my hope for 2013. One of them anyhow.

Of course, now it's time to look back. But first it's time to make a change. See, I really wanted to keep this at 12 artists. 12 for 2012. I deliberated over my choices and had to make some tough cuts. There's some people I really wanted to include, but didn't because I decided that others deserved it just a little bit more. In most cases I was able to let it go. Most. Not all. There was one artist in particular that I felt bad for not picking. It's been bothering me since I cut him. Even making me feel oddly guilty - a feeling that was made worse when someone asked if he would be included. So, I've decided to give him an honorable mention. Because I really think he deserves it. Consider him to be lucky #13. 

So who is it? Who gets the honorable mention? Well, here's some hints. He's tall. He's handsome. He likes women in black dresses. He's a Tennessee native. He has a great voice. I'm of course talking about...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Top 12 Artists of the Year: Part 1

 Well, it's that time of year when blogs and country sites all over create lists just like this one. I always enjoy reading these lists because it's interesting to see who people choose and why. I'll be honest. When I decided to make my own list, there were some artists who came to mind instantly. But choosing the rest was very hard for me. I didn't base this on numbers or sales or anything like that. Rather, I tried to think of which artists interested me the most this year. Which ones stood out among all the others and why. In doing so I realized that a lot of artists impressed me this year. Some of whom it almost pains me not to include. But there could only be twelve. There will be artists that you may be surprised to see on here and some who you'll be surprised to not see on here. Some of which surprised me when I chose or didn't choose them.

So who made the cut? Well keep on reading to find out. Including some of my pictures in here because why not? That said, you'll note that there won't be pictures of some of them and that's just because I don't have pictures of all of them.