While we try to cover every album that gets released in the country music world, it sometimes can be hard to do so. So, with that in mind, we've gathered up four recent releases from artists who classify as country music but deliver their own unique takes on the genre. Neither record featured here is considered a mainstream record but they are all still nonetheless worthy of your attention.
Great American Taxi - Reckless Habits (Thirty Tigers)
There’s a lot to like about Great American Taxi’s Reckless Habits and it starts with the album opening track “One Of These Days” and continues with the horns-filled “Get No Better.” The title track features plenty of fiddle and pedal steel guitar as the band sings of the life of a man who lives life to the fullest, despite all of his reckless habits. The instrumental at the end of the song is worth the price of admission alone.
The album and band are the brainchild of Leftover Salmon’s Vince Hermon and this slice of Americana (roots music not quite rock and not quite country- but still more of those genres than many mainstream releases). There isn’t a bad track to be found on Reckless Habits and if you like great musicianship, harmonies and strong songwriting, you should do yourself a favor and check the album out.
I See Hawks In L.A. – Shoulda Been Gold (American Beat Records)
Fans of roots music and Americana should find something to enjoy on this compilation of I See Hawks In L.A.’s ‘best songs.’ The title track is a tongue-in-cheek song that features as many great hooks as any mainstream country song does. “Humboldt” is another humor-filled track that fans of green grass will certainly appreciate. The Hawks get all bluegrassy on “The Salesman” and show off but another side to their versatile music. While folks who don’t like political songs may not like everything here Shoulda Been Gold is a pleasant and strong Americana album worth seeking out.
Randy Kohrs – Quicksand (Rural Rhythm)
While many fans may not know his name, they’ve certainly heard Randy Kohrs’ expert work on the resonator guitar (or Dobro). Quicksand is the musician’s latest record and while it is rooted in bluegrass, the album is much, much more than the latest bluegrass album. It is, more often than not, an acoustic country music album with great story songs like “Devil Of The Trail,” “The Ghost of Jack McCline” and stellar old-school songs like “It’s Been So Long” and “Time and Time Again.” Even though all of those songs are great, the Codie Prevost-penned “Quicksand” is the obvious highlight of the record as it finds Kohrs’ pliable tenor singing about how some bad choices can derail life. “Sunday Clothes” is another stellar acoustic track about the power of Church and how it weaves into our lives. You aren’t likely to hear any of these songs on any country radio dial anytime soon but if you take the time to seek it out, you will find an immensely enjoyable album.
Marley’s Ghost – Ghost Town (Sage Artists)
A west coast band who incorporate multiple genres into their music, Marley’s Ghost went to Nashville to produce Ghost Town with legendary country music producer and artist Cowboy Jack Clement. Featuring covers of tracks like Del McCoury’s “My Love Love Will Not Change,” Don Williams’ “Which Way Do We Go” and Emmylou Harris’ “Love and Happiness For You.” These covers are all expertly done with reverence and are mixed in with originals like “Don’t We All Feel Like That” and “Light In The Forest.” This record showcases how five friends and super talented musicians can create music they want to make without having to worry about radio or other things like that. If you’re a fan of great roots, country, bluegrass or Americana music, you’re certain to enjoy Ghost Town.