I’m fortunate to be able to explore and enjoy the music scenes of two cities – Boston and Dallas. Artists from both metropolitan areas have released some exceptional music this year. Here are a few favorites. Love it local.
LOVE THAT DIRTY WATER (BOSTON YOU’RE MY HOME)
What Will We Do is the antithesis of the sophomore album slump. Lula Wiles reach great heights with an album that stretches from hypnotic folk gems to potent social commentary, all anchored by their tremendous musicianship and stellar harmonies.
Featured Tracks: Hometown; Nashville, Man; Independence Day; If I Don’t Go; The Pain of Loving You
Featured Twangville coverage of Lula Wiles: My Mind Must Be Back in Boston – A Special Playlist, Monday Morning Video – Lula Wiles, and Shamrock Shakes and Oxycontin – A Special Boston Playlist, Part 1
Rhode Island born and raised Charlie Marie proves that you don’t have to be from the South to write and perform exceptional classic country.
Featured Tracks: Rhinestones, Rodeo, Country Side
Featured Twangville coverage of Charlie Marie: My Mind Must Be Back in Boston – A Special Playlist and Sweet Caroline – A Special Boston Playlist
Ward Hayden and the Outliers serve up an eclectic album of covers – including classics from Chuck Berry, Nick Lowe/Elvis Costello, and Johnny Cash – that showcases their ability to shift effortless from country to rock. Add an exceptional original composition (which fits in perfectly with the cover songs) and you’ve got one fun listen.
Featured Tracks: Hackensack, Viva Las Vegas, Naturally Crazy, (What’s so Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding, Promised Land
Featured Twangville coverage of Ward Hayden and the Outliers: A Premiere from Ward Hayden and the Outliers and Photos that ROCK! Ward Hayden & The Outliers at City Winery Boston
Boston-based troubadour Greg Klyma had a busy 2019 which included the release of not one, not two, but three albums, each representing a different musical genre. I loved them all but gravitated towards the second album, Klyma’s glorious electric guitar and harmony drenched rock opus.
Featured Tracks: Hallways, Highway to Hell, Little Bit Lonely, Maybe, Rock Out
Featured Twangville coverage of Greg Klyma: Bring Back the Boston Rag – A Special Boston Playlist, My Mind Must Be Back in Boston – A Special Playlist, and Well You Heard About The Boston… Playlist, Part 1
Session Americana return to their roots, so to speak, with an album that recalls their early days playing covers for both their own and their audience’s entertainment. Northeast shines a brilliant light on a range of New England songwriters – from Donna Summer to the Pixies to Carly Simon – with songs both solemn and celebratory.
Featured Tracks: Comin’ Around Again, Roadrunner, Here Comes Your Man, Dim All the Lights, You Go Your Way
Featured Twangville coverage of Session Americana: Bring Back the Boston Rag – A Special Boston Playlist, The Berkshires Seemed Dreamlike – A Special Boston Playlist (Part 2), Monday Morning Video – A Visit To Beer Town, and Shakin’ with Session Americana
Todd Thbaud strips down his sound to create an acoustic gem. The arrangements keep the focus on lyrics that offer a realistic portrayal of relationships that are sometimes troubled and sometimes comfortable.
Featured Tracks: Find Your Love, Paper Cup, Great Unknown, Reckless Heart, 4th of July
Featured Twangville coverage of Todd Thibaud: My Mind Must Be Back in Boston – A Special Playlist, Monday Morning Video: Todd Thibaud, and I Will Remember Massachusetts, Part 2 – A Special Boston Playlist
DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS
Debut albums don’t come much stronger than Joshua Ray Walker’s Wish You Were Here. He’ll drop your jaw to the floor with the stunning “Canyon” and then singe you with the bristling rock of “Burn It”.
Featured Tracks: Canyon, Working Girl, Lot Lizard, Burn It, Love Songs, Fondly
Featured Twangville coverage of Joshua Ray Walker: Mayer’s Picks – The Best of 2019 (So Far), the Songs, Dallas Days and Fort Worth Nights – A Special Dallas Playlist, and Monday Morning Video – An Introduction to Joshua Ray Walker
Vincent Neil Emerson’s debut record arrives infused with the miles, as well as the stories, of several years spent touring the honky-tonks of Texas and beyond.
Featured Tracks: Fried Chicken & Evil Women, 7 Come 11, Letters on the Marquee, Dade County Jail
Featured Twangville coverage of Vincent Neil Emerson: Dallas After Midnight – A Special Twangville Playlist, Monday Morning Video – Vincent Neil Emerson, and Vincent Neil Emerson on Canned Goods, Leather Goods and Connecting with People Through Music
Vandoliers come out swinging on their Bloodshot Records debut, mixing up a bit of country and a bit of Tex-Mex with a healthy punk wallop.
Featured Tracks: Miles and Miles, Troublemaker, All on Black, Sixteen Years, Bottom Dollar Boy, Nowhere Fast
Featured Twangville coverage of Vandoliers: Dallas Days and Fort Worth Nights – A Special Dallas Playlist, Who Do I Know In Dallas – A Special Twangville Playlist, and Vandoliers’ Joshua Fleming on the Band’s Food Compass and Avoiding “Compare & Despair”
The self-proclaimed outlaw country garage rock live up to their billing with a fiesty electric guitar-fueled album that also includes the year’s best drinking anthem (“Glass Bottles”).
Featured Tracks: Apathy, Snake Song, Glass Bottles, OCP, You’re Only Pretty When You’re Sad
Featured Twangville coverage of Ottoman Turks: Dallas After Midnight – A Special Twangville Playlist, Readers’ Pick: Ottoman Turks (self-titled), and Bonus Monday Video – Ottoman Turks vs The 40 Acre Mule
Dead Flowers like their rock anthems loud and proud, and deliver an album full of them.
Featured Tracks: We Aren’t Satisfied, Bruised Not Broken, I Might (For Leggz)
Featured Twangville coverage of Dead Flowers: Dallas Days and Fort Worth Nights – A Special Dallas Playlist and Deep Ellum Blues – A Special Dallas Playlist
About the author: Mild-mannered corporate executive by day, excitable Twangville denizen by night.