by: Thomas D. Mooney
With EPs like SPiVEY’s Chief’s Hideout and Sugarwitch’s Fancy Practice sneaking their way into the final weeks of 2016, these first 13 days of 2017 has mainly been Panhandle artists and bands gearing up for the year with songwriters Davis Alan, Cody Jasper, Delbert McClinton, and Hayden Pedigo all releasing preview single(s) for larger releases in the coming weeks and months.
Below, we’ve highlighted what’s caught our ears so far. For an always updated Spotify playlist of music released this year, click here.
“Searching for Gold”
“Searching for Gold” is the most recent preview of Davis Alan’s upcoming album, Bad Luck Story. The Stephenville-to-Lubbock transplant has been working with a Who’s Who of Texas musicians on the project, including guitarist/producer Josh Serrato behind the board. While still certainly green, at this juncture in his early career, Alan’s strength as a songwriter is his ability to deliver a hook–something “Searching for Gold” and first single, “The Flood” have in spades.
Just a few days back, Amarillo singer-songwriter Cody Jasper uploaded a handful of songs onto his Soundcloud. It’s safe to say they’ll all eventually make their way onto Jasper’s sophomore record–something he’ll be finishing up before Summer 2017. While there’s still that rock flair we’ve grown to expect from Jasper (“Panhandle Pearls” and the slow burning groover “Along For the Ride”), there’s certainly a down home country feel to tunes like “Good Day” and “Jesus Drank Wine.” With previously shared songs “Love is Overrated” and “Panhandle Ramblin'” in the can, Jasper’s next release looks and sounds promising. We’ve conveniently thrown the lot into a playlist below.
“Don’t Do It,” “Like Lovin’ Used to Be,” and “Doin’ What You Do”
Long time country-blues-rock pioneer Delbert McClinton has released three singles–“Don’t Do It,” “Like Lovin’ Used to Be,” and “Doin’ What You Do”–to preview his upcoming full-length record, Prick of the Litter, due out January 27. This being his 19th studio record finds McClinton venturing down a bluesy jazz road. “Like Lovin’ Used to Be” is easily one of McClinton’s smoothest and laid back tunes. The newest of the three, “Doin’ What You Do,” takes McClinton’s signature voice and wailing harmonica and throws it on one of his most beautifully arranged and sleek-grooved tunes in years.
Earlier this week, Amarillo guitarist Hayden Pedigo released a two-track surprise in 4VR. Described by Pedigo as a tribute to Vini Reilly and The Durutti Column, the English songwriter’s band. As you’d expect, the two demoesque instrumental recordings are heavily influenced by the dream pop landscapes laid down by the post punk outfit.
For Chief’s Hideout, Lubbock folktronica singer-songwriter (Ryan) SPiVEY took to the Colorado wilderness. Recorded at a family cabin over the course of four days, Chief’s Hideout gains an added boost from the natural reverb evoked from the secluded cabin’s walls. Spivey and co-producer David Wilkinson tapped into warm, haunting echoes and howls. Chief’s Hideout feels more layered and full than Spivey’s debut, the still excellent Lungs, Heart, & Hands. It’s neither too convoluted or wrapped up in itself for the sake of pompous vain. Spivey’s songwriting has room to breathe. Throughout, he shows that his lyricism would shine through in any style, none better than the lonesome roaming of “No Reason.”
Four-piece Lubbock rockabilly outfit Sugarwitch released Fancy Practice in the last week’s of 2015. Much like their ’14 full-length I’m Sorry, Mom, Fancy Practice‘s strengths are vocalist and chief lyricist Jessica Robinson’s sense of humor and scorching howl–that’s, at times gravelly, and at times, a full on growl. Plenty of jumping bass lines litter the five-track EP. Guitarist Brian Duhan’s guitar doesn’t come in guns a-blazing like it did on I’m Sorry, Mom. Instead, he comes in with sharper, Spaghetti Westernesque lines that burn far longer.
Other Notes of Interest
- Texas singer-songwriter Grant Gilbert has announced his debut EP, Lost in Translation, will be out January 25th. Preorder here.
- Earlier this week, Dalton Domino announced Corners, his follow-up to 2015’s breakout debut 1806, will be officially released April 28th.
- Cowboy Songster Andy Hedges has recently announced Cowboy Recitations, a collection of spoken word cowboy poems has collected over the years. While the album hasn’t made its’ way to iTunes just yet, you can find the record on Hedges’ website here.
- Speaking of Hedges, he has also recently launched Cowboy Crossroads, a podcast that’ll feature interviews with cowboy poets, songsters, storytellers, songwriters, collaborators, and well, cowboys. Subscribe on iTunes here.
- William Clark Green has slowly, but surely sharing songs that’ll be included on his TBD fifth studio album, tentatively slated for a late 2017/early 2018 release. Songs like “She Loves Horses,” a co-write with Jay Clementi and Trent Willmon, and “Drunk Again,” a co-write with Brandon Adams (and myself providing cigarette and beer runs), making their way into acoustic sets as of late, it’s “My Mother” that’s found most notoriety so far. Watch an acoustic rendition of the tune recorded recently at Billy Bob’s below.