Prediction Station: Dierks Bentley’s new single “Bourbon in Kentucky” will be huge

dierksbentleyJust want to take a moment and go on record with this prediction: Dierks Bentley’s song “Bourbon in Kentucky” (out on June 15) will end up as the smash, everybody-knows-the-words country hit of the year.  Sweep the year-end awards.  Make him piles of money as a catalyst for his new Riser album.

Huge.  I’m just sayin’.

I can’t be sure how I came upon the streaming track this week- either banging around the iTunes store or down some crazy web musical rabbit hole.  Doesn’t matter.  Heard it once and knew it. The song “sounds” huge. Arena rock huge. Big like a U2 anthem.  But the vocals are close-miked.  Nuanced.  Lyrics?  They work, because the sound is freaking countryfried long-lasting ear candy.

Heard it here first.  Biggest song in country music.  Unlike anything else on country radio right now.

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VIDEO REWIND: The Cars – “Bye Bye Love ” (Live)

Power-pop brilliance.  The Cars excelled with smoldering, dark “Moving in Stereo”- type songs, and with killer chorus, blueprint-for-New Wave pop candy.  I love that this is live,  and really, really good, in a not-so-perfect way.  Harmonies, the late Benjamin Orr on bass reminding that Ric Ocasek wasn’t he only lead singer, and the great eight-bar solos from Elliott Easton on the guitar.  The Cars were best loved on record, and I have never talked to anyone who loved their shows in the 80’s.  But back in the late 1970’s, after the debut album, they were still nicely raw.

James McMurtry and The Bottle Rockets pair up for Rathskeller show on July 11

bottlerocketsA rare appearance in Indianapolis for a pair of Americana bands/singers/songwriters/rockers.  On July  11 at the Rathskeller, The Bottle Rockets – the pride of Festus, Missouri – bring their American rock and roll to the Rathskeller, followed by Texas’ James McMurtry.

The Bottle Rockets have been through town occasionally, my favorite time when they opened for Todd Snider and the Nervous Wrecks back in 1997 at the Vogue.  Lead singer Brian Henneman is one of the great blue collar, deep-if-you-really-think-about-it writers of the genre, and will forever be remembered as guitar/tech/roadie/traveling companion for seminal alt-country band Uncle Tupelo.

mcmurtryMcMurtry’s first album was recorded just outside of Bloomington, with Mellencamp’s band, back when the lineup still featured Larry Crane, Mike Wanchic, Toby Myers and Kenny Aronoff.  Since then, he’s created some stirring, challenging-your-beliefs albums, and has risen to legendary status within the Americana music community.

This is one of those shows featuring a pair of bands well-known to a certain segment of music listener, and completely ignored by radio and mainstream music.  Indy has a habit of supporting these types of bands (use Will Hoge and Old Crow Medicine Show as a couple examples.  Both artists have a strong following in Indy) and outdoor shows at the Rathskeller are always a good time.

*6:30pm start for the Bottle Rockets, 8:15 for McMurty.

Tom Petty Albums: The Essential 7

tom petty1 As Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers hit the road for a summer tour, their Indianapolis stop on Saturday night (June 15) is the first after multi-night stands at small theaters in both New York and LA.  The band heads to Bonnaroo the day after  Indy, so this will be the first outdoor/shed/large venue show of the trek – not that it should matter.  Petty always rocks.  This time, however, they have decided to scatter a few hits while hitting  a lot of great forgotten album tracks.  Hell, they are playing “Tweeter and the Monkey  Man”, one of the great, largely buried cuts from the first Traveling Willbury’s album.

tompetty2If there’s one band that best represents American Rock music in the past 30 years, I’d give the title to Petty & the Heartbreakers. Sounding not from one place (belying the band’s strong Florida roots), but from everywhere. It enables them to connect with rednecks and hippies, east coast attitude and west coast shine. They can rock loud. Tom can be acoustic quiet. Lyrics resonate. Petty can sweat and smile at the same time. It is a band that has been making music for almost 40 years, the most recent album, Mojo, released in 2010. That record is both a departure for the band, and a rejuvenating set of music. I’m a big E Street Band and Pearl Jam fan, but still give the nod to the quintessential American rock and roll to Petty and his boys when it comes to the package of  accessibility, passion and sweet-ass rock and roll hooks.

Here for you, my friends, is the Rockforward list of Petty’s 7 Essential Albums (and a couple that were too good to leave off).

Continue reading “Tom Petty Albums: The Essential 7”