It is no secret to anyone who knows me that I am a firm believer that a lot of what passes today as “country music” oftentimes bears little to no resemblance to the country music that I grew up listening to – the music from the sixties, seventies, and eighties. Without specifically calling out any particular or individual artist, there is, in my opinion, a lack of authenticity to a large swathe of what the music industry, aka Nashville, now packages, markets, and sells to the music consuming public as the best of the genre today.
It is my belief that there is no honoring of the past and the heroes and heroines that have come before in a lot of the songs nowadays and in my mind that prevents the music from ever being considered anything more than just more aural fodder like other popular music.
Please understand dear reader that I am not in anyway trashing all of the artists performing under the country music banner these days because that would be unfair to the number of artists that are indeed creating good to great country records and that serve as glorious rays of musical light that give me hope that the genre is not completely dead.
One such ray of light that recently came to me is Cumberland Bones, the new album from singer-songwriter Stephen Flatt ( a great-nephew of bluegrass legend Lester Flatt).
With the ten songs on this album, Flatt gives us all of us who consider ourselves country music lovers ten tracks that possess both the firm roots to the past and a forward vision of what country music can sound like in the 21st century.
I say unequivocally that Cumberland Bones is as good, if not better than any country music album that I have listened to in recent memory.
On this exceptional record, with a pathos that is reminiscent of Hank Sr. and a storytelling ability that reminds you of master storyteller Willie Nelson, Flatt sings about and tells lyrical tales of addicts, moonshiners, truck drivers, drug runners, adulterers, impetuous outlaws, vengeful husbands, wild women, and more all in a way that will have you singing along with him after a few listens.
I hasten to say which are my favorite songs on this album because I LOVE all of them. Give it a spin dear reader and your faith in the power of country music to uplift and be instantly relatable to our everyday lives will be restored.
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