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Thread: Dave Cobb's "Southern Family" (multi artist compilation album)

  1. #1
    Ultimate Carrie Fan Farawayhills's Avatar
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    Dave Cobb's "Southern Family" (multi artist compilation album)

    This album, scheduled for a March 2016 release, is one that I'm really excited about - both because of Cobb's track record as a producer, and because of the list of artists contributing, who include many of my current favourites.

    Dave Cobb has become established as one of the key producers in contemporary Roots Country. He had the rare distinction of Album of the Year wins at the award shows of both wings of Country Music, with Jason Isbell's "Southeastern" at the 2015 AMAs, and Chris Stapleton's "Traveller" at the 2016 CMAs.
    Recently, he also produced one of the most critically acclaimed albums, Sturgill Simpson's "Metamodern Sounds in Country Music", and the major release debut by one of the most talked about "cult" artists, Anderson East, with the Southern Rhythm and Blues influenced, and Muscle Shoals recorded "Delilah"
    Currently, Dave Cobb has a Grammy nomination for Producer of the Year, as well as album nominations with Chris Stapleton in both the General and Country fields, and with Jason Isbell in the American Roots field.

    With those recent production credits, it should be particularly interesting to see what he achieves with his new concept album "Southern Family". Inspired by a 1970s concept album about the US Civil War, written by English musician Paul Kennerley (who was at one time married to Emmylou Harris), the new album will be based around the idea of growing up in, and experiencing the spirit of, the Southern states. Cobb asked the participating artists to either compose a new song, or re-imagine a classic, around that theme.

    This is the track list:

    1. John Paul White, “Simple Song”
    2. Jason Isbell, “God Is a Working Man”
    3. Brent Cobb, “Down Home”
    4. Miranda Lambert, “Sweet By and By”
    5. Morgane Stapleton with Chris Stapleton, “You Are My Sunshine”
    6. Zac Brown, “Grandma’s Garden”
    7. Jamey Johnson, “Momma’s Table”
    8. Anderson East, “Learning”
    9. Holly Williams, “Settle Down”
    10. Brandy Clark, “I Cried”
    11. Shooter Jennings, “Can You Come Over?”
    12. Rich Robinson (featuring the Settles Connection), “The Way Home”

    Several of these artists will be well-known to many fans here - but I'd just mention that John Paul White (formerly of the Civil Wars) is, I think making his first studio recording since the break up of that group; Shooter Jennings is providing a link with the 1970s album, since his parents, Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter were both on that; Brent Cobb is Dave Cobbs' cousin; Rich Robinson is a member of the Black Crowes.

    I understand that the recordings have already been made, during the closing months of the year, but the only pre-release so far is the John Paul White track, which can be heard here:

    https://soundcloud.com/elektrarecord...family/s-92m6C
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    Ultimate Carrie Fan Farawayhills's Avatar
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    Miranda has released her new song "Sweet By And By" for streaming. I'll post about it in this thread (where it really belongs), rather than in the now seemingly outdated Platinum thread (where I don't expect any further singles to be officially released.)

    Although it re-uses an old hymn title, it's a new song that follows Dave Cobb's request for songs about the experience of growing up in the South - the two verses are a simple recitation of traditional values - perhaps most enlivened by a couplet that seems to reflect something of Miranda's own philosophy,
    "Let not your heart asunder - save yourself. Believe in faith - Good things come to those who wait."
    What really lifts the song for me, though, are the choruses, which alternate "Mama" and "Daddy" in a heartfelt reminder of the importance of family:
    "Let your Mama know you love her,
    You will never have another.
    Daddy, I have not forgotten
    Lessons learnt under the light of a Southern starry sky.
    Family is the light that guides us
    Blessed be the ties that bind us
    Sweet by and by"


    As a song themed for a concept album, this is not really comparable to most of her own album work - but it's more in the vein of last year's special release, "Roots and Wings", which began life as a short jingle for a truck sponsorship promotion, but was worked up into a full song in response to fan requests. Of the two songs, I would have to say that "Roots and Wings" remains my favourite, but I also like the timeless sentiment of the new song's choruses.

    Musically, it has a steel guitar intro, later developing into what appears to be an organ backing, unified by a gradually growing percussion beat.

    I believe the song will be available as a complementary download for people pre-ordering the album - but otherwise is currently only streamed. The Spotify version may be regionally restricted (I couldn't get it to play), but this is the better of the versions currently on YouTube:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK2VBaQplIw

    There's also a video discussing the song, in the context of what the producer was trying to achieve
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VK2VBaQplIw
    Last edited by Farawayhills; 02-05-2016 at 08:23 PM.
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    Not a fan of the production on that one.

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    Junior Carrie Follower CUnderwoodSparkles's Avatar
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    I think that track #1 "Simple Song" is John Paul White's first solo released after the breakup of the 4-time Grammy winner duo The Civil Wars in 2014.
    Everyone can listen to it here.
    Is this a true country song, a folk song or an Americana song, Farawayhills?

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    Ultimate Carrie Fan Farawayhills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CUnderwoodSparkles View Post
    I think that track #1 "Simple Song" is John Paul White's first solo released after the breakup of the 4-time Grammy winner duo The Civil Wars in 2014.
    Everyone can listen to it here.
    Is this a true country song, a folk song or an Americana song, Farawayhills?

    I would call it a true Country song. John Paul White is from Loretto, on the Tennessee side of the river, roughly opposite Muscle Shoals - and I think you can hear similar influences to, for example, those of Jason Isbell. The North Alabama-East Tennessee (and, sometimes, nearby counties in North Georgia and Western North Carolina) are often called the Nickajack region. It's an area that largely supported the Union, but was not allowed to secede from the Confederacy - in part, because President Lincoln feared further splitting of Southern states would alienate opinion in Kentucky, and he said that if he lost Kentucky, the break-up of the Union would become permanent.
    This region was also relatively isolated from economic developments in much of the rest of the country, at least until the Prohibition era and Roosevelt's later construction projects. It preserved many of the older traditions, and its music draws heavily from earlier rural roots.

    Singers from this region are often described as "Americana" artists, because their music is freer from Pop influence, less commercially focused, performed mainly to festival and club audiences, and played on different (largely album-oriented) radio stations. The Americana movement grew up in the last twenty years, encouraged by many Alt-Country artists and magazines like No Depression - mainly to provide an alternative focus to the more commercial Mainstream, which largely shut out "Hillbilly" music, hard core Country Rock, and many singer-songwriter styles. Today it has its own Grammy field (though arbitrarily assigning some artists to American Roots and others to "Country" fields is often controversial), its own independent airplay chart, and its own reporting stations. PBR, college stations, and some newspapers, like the Boston Globe and New York Times give it strong support.
    Although "Americana" also embraces much African-American, Roots Rock, and singer-songwriter music - it is dominated by Country styles and influences, and the split with the Mainstream is largely artificial, and based on convenience of exposure, venues, and fan identity.
    Generally, the Americana movement differs from pressure sites like "Saving Country Music", in that the latter, in effect, want to replace or influence the Mainstream in accordance with their preferences and agenda - whereas many "Americana" artists accept the more practical need for separate threads of musical interest and emphasis.

    Many early Country Musicians, both White and Black (including, for example, Hank Williams and Huddie Ledbetter) tended to describe themselves (and were often described on radio) as Folk musicians - and this was considered a more polite term than some of the other descriptions often used for Southern rural music. Basically, Southern Roots music is one important strand of the Folk tradition.

    Hence, in short, I don't think it ultimately matters how you describe this type of music. Personally, I find the term "Pop Country" rather disparaging (even though I sometimes have to use it to secure understanding of what I mean) - and I know Carrie dislikes it too. I prefer to use the term "Mainstream" for the commercial radio chart music, and I see the whole range as a spectrum, drawing on some shared rural roots, albeit in varying degrees.

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    Junior Carrie Follower CUnderwoodSparkles's Avatar
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    Thank you very much, Farawayhills. There's a lot of helpful information in your reply. I hope to have more chances to read such posts of yours
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    Junior Carrie Follower DazzledByCarrie's Avatar
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    Thank you for bringing this album to our attention. I'm very much looking forward to it.
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    Ultimate Carrie Fan Farawayhills's Avatar
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    There's an in-depth article on Dave Cobb here - discussing the way he and the artists he works with are shaping a current trend in Country Music that is attracting a lot of interest and critical attention, including his defence of mixed-genre influences:

    An Outsider Remakes Nashville's Traditional Sound : The Record : NPR
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    Ultimate Carrie Fan Farawayhills's Avatar
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    Anderson East has premiered his track through Rolling Stone.

    Its Muscle Shoals-inspired sound could well prove to be the most musically progressive contribution on the album. A strong talent to watch, in my opinion.

    See Anderson East's Soul-Shout Video for New Song 'Learning' | Rolling Stone


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