Thanks For the Album

Josh Abbott, singer/songwriterPat Green-Dancehall Dreamer

Easily, Pat Green’s Dancehall Dreamer album is the one I’m most thankful for. It completely changed the way I viewed country music.

Tommy Alverson, singer/songwriter-Willie Nelson and Ray Price-San Antonio Rose

Quite simply, if I could only take one album to a deserted island…this would be the one.

Rob Baird, singer/songwriterTom Petty-Wildflowers

While he has always one of the great rock n’ roll songwriters, for me, he reaches new depths on this album. Petty explores previously untapped sonic territory while staying true to the sound that everyone has come to know and love. It also gives me hope that twenty years in to his career he is still breaking new ground and making amazing records.

Danny Balis, singer/songwriter, bassist with the King Bucks-Townes Van Zandt-self-titled

I first discovered the depths of Townes in late 2007.  My best friend had just been killed and one of the CD’s in his car when his dad cleaned it out was Townes’ Flying Shoes.  My friend had obviously been dabbling himself in some Townes and it piqued my interest…looking for a further connection with my buddy.

I dove in head first.  One of the first records I bought was his self-titled offering from 1969.  It resonated with me.  It was cathartic to hear a man who at one time felt as low or lower than myself during that period of grief.  I shared in his stories of lost love, self-destruction, and loneliness.  His guitar playing and prose influenced me to write honestly from my heart without fear of  judgment.

I don’t listen to TVZ with the same frequency I did a couple years ago.  But, on occasion it’s still good to put on this record and be taken back to another place and feeling.  We hopefully move on from tragedy but I never want to forget it’s familiar warmth and sadness.  This album’s a reminder of the depths to where this life can lead us.

Rita Ballou, blogger at RawhideandVelvet.comConway Twitty-Greatest Hits

I usually love to try and come up with something snarky when I am asked to participate in things like this, but this time I will give being sincere a shot. My father passed away this year and while we were cleaning out his pickup, I discovered the last CD he listened to in his truck was Conway Twitty’s Greatest Hits. That collection of songs reminds me of a very different time and I have been listening to the CD in my car ever since. I am thankful for the memories the music brings to me, both good and bad.

Dan “Bama” Bateman-contributor Galleywinter.comRobert Earl Keen-No. 2 Live Dinner

I’m most thankful for this album because it was the gateway drug that started it all for me.  By “all” I mean it led me to realize there was more to music than the crap that was being forced down my throat by corporate radio.  In addition, it also started me down a path which would allow me to discover other artists, albums, songs, friends, places, concerts and experiences which truly changed my life.  So much so that I followed that path all the way to Texas and am so glad I did.  I wouldn’t even want to imagine my life any other way.

Ryan Beaver, singer/songwriterRadney Foster-See What You Want To See

Music has been a part of my life since the day I came into this world. The soundtrack of my childhood was filled with the sounds of Jackson Browne, Ray Charles, Guy Clark, Nirvana, George Strait, and many others. As I got older, I realized how powerful music is. I was drawn in by melody and moved by lyrics. Sometime around the year 2000, I got a copy of Radney Foster’s See What You Want to See. That record combined every element of music I loved. The songs were clever, meaningful, and were accompanied with a cool roots-rock production. Many artists have since then recorded songs from it and made them very popular. I knew after hearing that record that playing music and writing songs was going to be my world. I never felt like I had a choice. This Thanksgiving I’ll think about how truly blessed I am for so many things like the record that changed my look on music. This world really is what you make of it and you can choose to “see what you want to see…”.

Brad Beheler- freelance music journalist, editor Galleywinter.comRobert Earl Keen-West Textures

I was a newly minted teenager living in the type of rural suburban quagmire that forces many kids into the musical arms of hip-hop and metal.  I was no different.  My favorite artists of the day were AC/DC, Pantera, Metallica and Snoop Dogg.  The country music I enjoyed as a kid had been reduced to the background noise  I heard while riding in my parents car.  Then, my sister came home from College Station with a cassette tape I “just had to hear”.  She was right.  West Textures taught me that music could be both off-kilter and important.  It taught me that lyrics mattered and opened the windows to a world that I haven’t left since.

Ray Benson, lead vocals/guitar, bandleader of Asleep at the WheelTony Bennett and Bill Evans-The Tony Bennett/Bill Evans Album

This record shows what a great vocalist can do when paired with a virtuoso instrumentalist…even with oft done standards.

Wade Bowen, singer/songwriterGuy Clark-Old No. 1

Growing up my father used to always play this record. He would sing the entire album at the top of his lungs and as a kid I had a tough time grasping why my father loved this album so much. As I grew up it become a focal point of my influence as a man and as a songwriter. I understood more clearly why my father loved this album so much. I am thankful for this album for all it carries…memories, inspiration, poetry, brilliance. It will always remind me of my childhood and my love for songwriting and it’s the one album I turn to when I need a reason to believe!

Brian Brown, lead vocalist of Sloppy JoeOzzy Osbourne-Blizzard of Ozz

This album front to back turned up to 10, or 11 if you will, on a jambox in the back of my dad’s ’71 Chevy pickup while we “rode around” on Sunday afternoons made me want to start playing guitar, sing, perform and do all the crazy stuff I do today.  Randy Rhoads’ solos and Ozzy’s lyrics took me on some amazing transcendental journeys…and still do.

Brian Burke, singer/songwriterJohn Mayer-Continuum

I came upon this record after it had been out for a while and I was going through a rough time.  The whole album, and most notably the song “Heart of Life” got me through it.  I bet I listened to it 1,000 times and it was the first time I truly connected with an album.  I even went as far as to enlarge and frame the inside cover of the record, which now hangs above my bed.  Inspiration.

Brian Burns, singer/songwriter/historianTom Russell-Blood and Candle Smoke

It’s one of those records in which you find something new each time you listen; something you missed or didn’t get on the last listen.  It’s also another textbook album for songwriters and it continually keeps me charged and inspired.

Brison Bursey, singer/songwriter-Pete Yorn-Musicforthemorningafter

I discovered this record while in high school and listening to MTV2, when they still played music videos. Living in a small town as I did, this was the only way for me to discover new artists and music. Listening to this record, which is a fusion of folk and rock , is what peaked my interest in music and propelled me to want to learn to play and write. This record is one of the main reasons I am doing what I love today and I’m very thankful I found it. I still do one of the songs off of it in my live set today just to remind me of how I got started and also to spread new music to our audience. Long live music!

Tony Calhoun, blues legendbass/vocals in Tony Calhoun & Pleasure-Multiple albums.

My father would bring home new albums almost every day from Henry Mancini, Brooke Benton, The Temptations, Ray Charles, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Mahalia Jackson, The Beatles, Sam and Dave, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and even some movie scores stand out.  Plus there are the people I’ve gotten to play with who’ve had tremendous records…B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Frankie Lee, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Buddy Ace among others.

I must say that the single biggest influence in my musical life is my parents. Dad bought me a bass when I was a kid because it was the cheapest thing at the pawn shop.  He and 7 or 8 of his buddies would huddle up at our house over steaks and cards and harmonize all night long.  I also can’t remember a day my mother didn’t sing.  There isn’t a form of music I haven’t tried to study or play.

This world, it’s experiences, the people…the wildlife and spirit that lives in and around us…the laughter, tears and passion of life can all be found in the song of the air around us.  Just by asking me this question, you have influenced me because all my past influences are relived.  I believe I was put on this earth by that might carpenter to create music that brings joy, hope and love to the hearts and souls of others…and for all that, I’m thankful.

Hayes Carll-singer/songwriterBob Dylan-The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

The first time I heard this record was the “Aha!” moment for me with regard to songwriting.  I wouldn’t be making music for a living without this album.


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