AMERICAN MERIT Releases Official Music Video for “City”!

American Merit - Band Photo

Texas based rock band AMERICAN MERIT has released the official music video for their Southern Blues infused, debut single, “City.”

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“City is a song that was 4 years in the making from conception to finished product. Once we finally got together we finished it in a few days. I carried that rhythm around in the back of my head like loose change in my pocket. Whenever I’d get bored or needed something to work on, there it was…” – Alex Smith

Download / Stream “City” Online:

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American Merit - Band Logo

American Merit is a Roots Rock’N’Roll band from Texas. The lineup consists of Alex Smith, Daniel Lightfoot, Russell McClendon, and Evan Shepperd. A project 2 years in the making, American Merit is set to release several singles in December of 2020. Expect loud drums and over driven guitars with a groove. If you were looking for it, you’ve found it.

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MATT PLESS Perfects “Ashtray” with Re-Recording of ‘Tumbleweed’

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Baltimore, MD Folk-Punk Singer/Songwriter MATT PLESS has returned to his 2013 released masterpiece Tumbleweed with a re-recording of the acoustic 12 track LP. Invoking the lyrical brilliance of BOB DYLAN, the instrumental diversity of THE VIOLENT FEMMES, and the folkish undertones of FLOGGING MOLLY, Tumbleweed is an explosion of dynamic discordance, mixing driving, confrontational punk acoustic jams with gentle, canorous melodies. The opening track for the album, “Ashtray,” is the perfect introduction to this uniquely focused musician’s fusion of rock, Americana, and acoustic folk.

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“’Ashtray’ came about because I smoked an ashtray-worth of cigarettes in the half hour that it took to write the song…I had been playing music full time for quite a while. I was tired of finding myself performing at shows that were as empty as my pockets and was frustrated at the state of my life, the world, and the indie art community. I had been listening to a lot of obscure music circulating in the punk scene and had stumbled across a song by another artist which included a lyric that said: “If I found God anywhere it would be by the tracks”. From there, inspiration threw me my own variation on the line that would open “Ashtray”: “Someone asked me if I found God, yes, I think we’ve met a couple times. But, I’m not sure if it was Him ’cause I can’t look Her in the eye” – Matt Pless

Cover Art for Tumbleweed

Track List:
1. Ashtray
2. Piggy Bank
3. My Crooked Ways
4. Mad Child’s Lament
5. What You Will
6. The Book of You and I
7. Portland
8. Talkin’ Information Blues
9. The Crayon Song
10. White Picket Fences
11. My Idea of Heaven
12. In the Past Tense

Stream / Download Tumbleweed Online:

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Combining elements of folk, punk, pop and roots rock, Matt Pless can lyrically turn a phrase with the best of them. He has been compared to some of the top songwriters of our time, including John Lennon, Paul Simon, John Prine, and Bob Dylan. Known for his engaging and thought-provoking, witty word labyrinths, Matt’s music spans topics from love and loss to social commentary to ethereal train-of-thought abstractions, and everything in between.

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Rough and Rugged: Hank Williams III’s Return to Country

When it comes to having a pedigree on his belt, Hank Williams III is a poster-child. As the grandson of one of the forefathers of country music and the son of a country rock mainstay, Hank III has a family rooted in the fundamentals of southern spirit and down-home tradition. But even with country in his blood, Hank III has earned himself a reputation of diverting from that long-tread path. He’s experimented with heavy metal and punk, all while performing in every role, from singer to drummer to bassist to banjo. But his reputation is taking a rest with Brothers of the 4×4, a return to the musician’s country roots. Though the songs are too lengthy to really experience in their prime without losing steam, Hank III’s multi-faceted talent is still very much alive, even in his most traditional of genres.

The realm of modern country music has been about palatability. The roots of country twang and guitar virtuosity has been set aside in favor of accessibility and pop success. Hank Williams III, like his grandfather and father before him, has ignored the simple song structures and generic lyrical content, instead embracing a “classical” approach to the genre. Songs have demonstrated exciting rhythms, along with virtuosity using stringed instruments like the banjo and acoustic guitar. It’s homey, and while some might call this philosophy “dated”, it still has substance and it allows for a lot more instrumental experimentation on the songwriter’s part. Hank III is a fascinating songwriter. “Farthest Away” is a steady country ballad that has a surprising amount of instrumentation to keep things interesting, despite its smooth, buttery groove. The gloomy sounds of “Ain’t Broken Down” is a worn burn, one that sounds pristinely somber, while the energetic fiddles and guitar twangs come alive in “Lookey Yonder Commin’” (especially in the final instrumental stretch). Williams’ nasally snarl morphs into a steady croon throughout the album (and vice versa), so there’s a lot of variety between the songs themselves.

While Hank Williams III has grown a collective following for his recurrent desire to step outside his established country genre, Brothers of the 4×4 is a country album through and through. The rhythmic riff snarls from Hank III in the laid-back “Outdoor Plan” shows a smoother and much less serious side of the country world. The title track is another song that embraces relaxation and comfort in the outdoors; it doesn’t clutter itself with melodrama, instead sounding off on mudding and hitting the gas. It’s very refreshing, as modern country still sounds restricted in its own skin. The moments in pop country that attempt to celebrate living life and playfully writing music are rare and normally forced, so Hank III’s ideology of taking country back to the roots (roots established by his grandfather and his peers) is exciting and shows that the genre hasn’t lost that rugged charm it built itself on.

Unlike the works of his father, Hank Williams Jr., Hank Williams III likes to revel in his music. The result is a remarkably long album. Songs rarely drop below the five-minute mark, with the longest, the opener “Nearly Gone”, clocking in at nearly nine. While you do get a sense of Hank Williams III’s skill with rhythm and technicality on the strings, the songs rarely break up their own monotony and move outside their established vibes. They simply don’t change enough. After about three minutes, the songs drag on longer than needed. Compared to the works of his father, many of which were shorter and more radio-friendly recordings, Hank III’s songs on Brothers of the 4×4 overstay their welcome. Hank III’s song-by-song diversity is encouraging and a fresh form for the genre itself, but the songs themselves are simply too consistent individually, dragging on into repetitive and overly extensive territory.

Brothers of the 4×4 is a fun and good-spirited album. Even in its slower and steadier moments, it has a sense of soul that carries it further than other releases from the year. Hank Williams III remains a multi-faceted and technical musician, one who can carry multiple influences around and still add a panache and power to them. But the songs themselves, for all their different vibes and upbeat rhythms, don’t have the endurance to carry themselves for their respective lengths. Brothers of the 4×4 sounds too padded for its own good because of it. But the moments of excitement and spirit are still apparent; Hank Williams III is able to take his most classic of genres and make something remarkably contemporary. While he will continue to be known for his experimental musical guts, this return to his familial musical bloodline is smart, laid-back and it’s a country album that may even turn some heads of those new to the genre.

CMT Edge Gifts Music Fans with a Free Digital Sampler via Amazon

Discover bold new roots artists with the CMT Edge 2012 Sampler available as a free digital download now on Amazon.com. CMT Edge has curated 16 tracks across Americana, roots, bluegrass and classic country genres from new and noteworthy artists including Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Trampled by Turtles, Elizabeth Cook, Turnpike Troubadours, Lord Huron, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale, Corb Lund, Lindi Ortega, Chris Knight, Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons, The Lone Bellow, Charlie Mars, Lilly Hiatt, Daniel Romano, Robert Ellis and Ronnie Fauss.

Download the 16-Track CMT Edge 2012 Sampler FREE on Amazon.com

Track Listing
1. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – Alabama Pines
2. Trampled by Turtles – Midnight on the Interstate
3. Elizabeth Cook – Gospel Plow
4. Turnpike Troubadours – Gin, Smoke, Lies
5. Lord Huron – Time to Run
6. Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale – I Lost My Job of Loving You
7. Corb Lund – September
8. Lindi Ortega – The Day You Die
9. Chris Knight – In the Meantime
10. Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons – Laura
11. The Lone Bellow – You Never Need Nobody
12. Charlie Mars – Let the Meter Run
13. Lilly Hiatt – Young Black Rose
14. Daniel Romano – Middle Child
15. Robert Ellis – Westbound Train
16. Ronnie Fauss – The Night Before the War

About CMT Edge
CMT Edge takes listeners to the edge of country, where roots artists like the Avett Brothers, The Civil Wars and Mumford & Sons are earning critical acclaim, strong sales and multiple Grammys. Written with a lively and trusted voice, this blog spotlights musicians who write their own music and pursue their careers on their own terms. The focus reaches beyond Nashville, allowing avid music fans to discover Americana, bluegrass and classic country from across the U.S. and around the world. With audio and video embeds, along with exclusive content like Concrete Country and in-studio performances, CMT Edge will guide readers toward their discovery of bold new music. Visit online at CMTEdge.com.

BOB WAYNE to Play Wacken Open Air Festivial

Outlaw Country star BOB WAYNE has stayed very busy this past year. Sticking to the road with a number of dates overseas, BOB is proud to announce he has confirmed two landmark gigs. On December 7th, BOB WAYNE will be direct support for punk rockers SOCIAL DISTORTION on their Anaheim, CA date at the House of Blues. BOB WAYNE has also been confirmed to play the 2013 Wacken Open Air Festival. Held in Wacken, Germany, the Wacken Open Air Festival is one of the largest metal festivals in the world, attracting all kinds of metal fans to the grounds. More information on the festival and billing can be found here: http://www.wacken.com/en/woa2013/main-bands/billing-2013/

BOB WAYNE released his fifth studio album, TILL THE WHEELS FALL OFF, on People Like You Records earlier this year. Produced by Andy Gibson, the 13-track stand out record showcases BOB’s talent for blurring the lines between country, roots, bluegrass, rockabilly and punk rock. The album features a diverse collection of tunes, including a duet with HANK 3 entitled “All My Friends,” his trademark party anthems and a handful of more introspective songs.

For more information on BOB WAYNE, please visit:
www.bobwayne.org
www.facebook.com/BobWayneOfficial
www.twitter.com/outlawcarnies