Reviews

Kris Kristofferson’s Glastonbury Debut

At 81 years old, Kris Kristofferson just played Glastonbury Festival for the first time. Appearing on the Pyramid Stage on Friday night, Kristofferson opened with my second personal favourite (the first being ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down’), ‘Me and Bobby McGee’. 

Despite his age showing through each melancholy verse, each song was performed with such mournful delight and it was truly a pleasure to watch.

He changed the lyrics of ‘Help Me Make It Through the Night’ to sing ‘help me make it through tonight‘, as he had also done months ago at a show in Kansas. This bittersweet moment was one of many throughout his performance. Kristofferson repeatedly ended his songs with ‘I think it finishes there’ or words to that effect, showing that time takes its toll, sparing no one, not even the greats. Kristofferson delivered, though through a fading voice, a devastatingly wonderful set.

If you took nothing from his set today other than an old man in front of a under-appreciative crowd, take this: Kristofferson is the perfect example of why you should never stop striving, and should always do what you love.

Album Review: From A Room: Vol 1

Like the rest of the world, I fell in love with Chris Stapleton’s voice the first time I heard it. Willing to listen to anything new that’s classified as ‘country’, I listened to Traveler as soon as it was released, not knowing what to expect. We all know how that one turned out, so here I am to praise From A Room: Volume 1 to the highest degree. 

The album pairs country and blues perfectly, as he tells a variety of stories through the harmonicas and instruments making up the country twang.  Search Stapleton’s name on Twitter and there is nothing but love for the album, the voice and the man himself. Despite his extraordinary talent, he remains humble, particularly when performing live – when we are most in awe. Also needing a shoutout is Stapleton’s wife, Morgane who in her own right is a brilliant singer/songwriter. She can be seen standing right there next to him on stage, singing those perfect harmonies.

Straight off the bat I’d have said my personal favourites from the album were ‘Broken Halos’ and ‘I Was Wrong’  because of the complete exposure of his soulful, gravelly voice which truly is just made for music. However, going deeper into the album, after listening in the car, on the bus, on a run, feeling all ranges of emotion, ‘Without Your Love’ really stands out as perfection of the country blues.

Stapleton covers Willie Nelson’s ‘Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning’ which he previously described as “an instruction manual on how to write a country song”. I have to say I think ‘Up to No Good Livin” is also a perfect ode to that. In all tracks on From A Room: Vol 1, Stapleton has smashed it out the park with songwriting. I’m already excited about Vol 2.

From A Room: Vol 1 is out now.

Brad Paisley’s Eighties Inspired Video

Brad Paisley’s done it again! First came the touching music video for “Today”, the first single off new album Love and War, followed by a hilarious equivalent for the brilliant, “selfie#theinternetisforever”. Now, he has shared a similar video for new single, “Last Time For Everything”, this time in eighties throwback home-video style, with a title screen straight out of Stranger Things and David Hasselhoff reprising his role as Michael Knight from eighties classic Knight Rider.

While the video is lighthearted and the melody seemingly uplifting, the lyrics of the song echo a sad yet nostalgic sentiment that there is indeed a “last time for everything”. Particularly poignant as Paisley makes it personal, sharing a clip of himself and Little Jimmy Dickens from one of the many times they performed together at the Grand Ole Opry accompanied by the lyrics “Little Jimmy on the Opry stage, last time for everything”.

“Last Time For Everything” is off upcoming album Love and War, out 21st April.

Family Table Review

 

Zac Brown Band have released another single from their upcoming album Welcome Home, along with a lyric video. I love “My Old Man” and “Real Thing” but I think “Family Table” might be my favourite of the new album so far. The song is an ode to a piece of furniture, as well as a heartfelt metaphor for the comfort of family. The lyrics echo this sentiment as ZBB sing, “it’s the cornerstone that held us all up”.

Not only do the lyrics in the song offer a warm and familiar feeling of community, the melody is very conventional of Zac Brown Band, without disappointing in the slightest. The band show off their ever impressive harmonies all over the shop – vocally and by way of guitars and violins. The song fits their ‘Welcome Home’ theme perfectly, and with the rest of the album which has a very nostalgic feel and reminds that truly, “no other place can ease your mind like the family table”.

Zac Brown Band’s fifth studio album Welcome Home is due to be released 12th May.

Willie Nelson’s Ode to Merle

Willie Nelson has revealed his tribute to friend Merle Haggard on the anniversary of his death. The new song will feature on his upcoming album God’s Problem Child.

Haggard passed away on April 6th 2016 – his 79th birthday. A year on, country stars came together in Nashville for a tribute concert, ‘Sing Me Back Home: The Music of Merle Haggard’. There were performances from artists such as Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, Jake Owen, Kacey Musgraves to name a few, to show appreciation of Haggards contribution to the world of country music, as Nelson sings ‘it wouldn’t be all it was without Merle‘.

Nelson honours his friend in ‘He Won’t Ever Be Gone’ as he reminisces on his relationship with Haggard. Accompanying the new song is a heart wrenching video displaying footage of the two as Nelson sings, ‘music made us brothers til the end, not a day goes by that I don’t miss him‘. A touching tribute from one much loved artist to another.

God’s Problem Child is due April 28th.