The staff couldn’t come to a consensus on, well, anything, but especially on best solo artist or best group video or pretty much anything involving music. We fought about it for a good five hours, and finally decided that every staff member should pick his/her own favorites. Here are some of mine.
When the video for Chase 56′s version of “Friends in Bottles” by The Takers came into the CXCW offices, I literally watched it 15 times before we posted it. First of all, it’s a great, great song. And the band gives a powerful performance. I thought I would miss the pedal steel from the original version, but the guitars and Chris Stalcup’s strong vocals make up for it. I actually think I like this version better than the original.
Other groups performances that I through were incredible include The End Men (who were new to me), Mic Harrison and the High Score, The Dead Exs, Larry Hooper and friends (give the little girl some Cheerios!), Joey & Kelly of Glossary, Some Dark Holler, The Pollies (can’t wait to hear more from them), Tom Savage (Train keeps a-rollin’), Sadie and the Blue Eyed Devils (Wow! Dixieland-Blues-Jazz-Folk), Peculiar Pretzelmen, and Magnolia Collective.
How do I pick a favorite solo act? There were so many good ones. Matthew Ryan recorded his on an iPhone and killed it (his songs, not the phone)! While Hezekiah Jones had a bit more video production, but still played a a beautiful piece of music. James Scott Bullard is new to me, and played a powerful song. Tyler Stenson with his slightly goofy but heartfelt parody, and Jonny Corndawg, was, well Jonny Corndawg. Kent Goolsby sounds like a singer wise beyond his years. I can listen to Ray Wylie Hubbard and Kasey Anderson all day. There were a bunch of singer/songwriters from Houston, and my favorite out of that group was Lucas Martin. How can you not love Shonna Tucker and Jimbo Mathus? Tim Showalter/Stand of Oaks was incredible covering Jason Molina.
I think my overall solo favorite (and this is subject to change to any of the above) is by Jeff Zentner and his “gothic” country song Serpent King. I love dark folk music, and Zentner really captures a dark, evil feel in telling a story about the narrator’s daughter getting bit by an evil snake. So good.