The Country Music Chat Featuring The Critical Abyss and Country Exclusive

Alex: So getting started I think we should talk about Leon changing up his blog. Would you like to talk about that?

Leon: I have a post on that soon actually. Believe me, it’s somewhat I wanted to do. I’ll post it after I clean everything up. It’s sort of a scattered mess at the moment

Alex: Oh Okay awesome. I’m just starting to get back in the swing of things after a few weeks with limited posts

Leon: Same here after my vacation week. I’ve got a lot of stuff I want to write about.

Alex: I have some catching up to do. My next album reviews are going to be Wheeler Walker and Dalton Domino

Megan: I think I’m the only one not on the Dalton Domino bandwagon. But looking forward to what you have to say.

Leon: I don’t think I’ll cover the Wheeler Walker one. I just don’t get how one would review it. Summers In Kentucky is a good song though. For Domino, sorry Megan, but it has really grown on me

Alex: The Dalton Domino album is taking time for me. It’s a lot to digest

Alex: And the Wheeler review is one I am looking forward to

Leon: Yeah, I get that. I don’t like every song but there’s a few I really love. There’s nothing I want to cover until June 9th. I’ve already started focusing on my mid year list actually

Alex: Megan seemed to echo the same thing on Twitter… Nothing grabbing her atm

Megan: I’m not sure how one would review Wheeler either, but I’m kind of looking forward to the challenge.

Leon: I guess it will depend, but I doubt I’ll cover Wheeler. Should be better than that new A Thousand Horses one though. I mean, 5 new songs and like 7 or 8 live cuts? What the hell?

Leon: And Luke Combs’ album seems like it’ll be boring as hell too

Alex: Luke Combs has been destroyed by the Nashville machine

Alex: It’s a shame I think he’s much better than this

Megan: Something’s grabbing me now for sure, and that’s Kasey Chambers’ new album Dragonfly. That’s out in the U.S. Friday. I’ll have my thoughts soon. I agree about Luke.

Leon: You’ve told me about that one. I don’t feel like covering a double album but I’ll give it a go.

Alex: Leon talked about mid year lists which I plan on doing also. Out of curiosity what is your favorite album (both of you) of 2017

Leon: So far? Well, I actually haven’t reviewed mine yet. I will on Friday though. For now, we’ll go with Sunny Sweeney’s ‘Trophy’

Alex: I actually have a different “favorite” and “best” album. Trophy is my album of the year and Tenderheart is my favorite.

Megan: There’s some filler for sure, but overall very strong. Not always the case with double albums. To your question, Alex, that honor goes to Way Out West by Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives, no contest, without question, and I dare anyone to top it in 2017, both from a critical standpoint and as a personal favorite.

Alex: I MUST revisit Marty Stuarts album. I only gave it one listen when it came out and I just didn’t “get it.” But I think that type of album needs multiple listens

Leon: Why are you seperating favorite and best Alex? And Marty’s is excellent. Top 5 for me.

Megan: I would agree. Also recommend not being sober lol. Colter Wall is probably the closest second, but a couple songs on his hold it back from being my favorite.

Alex: Well I think Trophy is the best album of the year and my second favorite album. I think Tenderheart is great but not quite as high quality as trophy. However as a fan I enjoy Tenderheart more than anything else this year if that makes sense.

Alex: Another example is me loving Cody Johnson’s albums more than anything else while admitting there are higher quality albums from a critical perspective

Megan: Aaron Watson’s is a good example of that too.

Leon: Eh, I’d say go with what you love most man. I want to hear Alex, not a critic. But it’s your blog man. But I get what you’re saying.

Leon: Aaron Watson made my list actually, haha

Leon: I haven’t made it through once. Not worth my time.

Megan: That thing was awful, but it didn’t piss me off as much as some others. Just bland, boring, forgettable, not sexy, etc. Chris Young can pull off sexy better than that. His voice was almost unrecognizable as well. Ironic title because I wanted to sleep.

Alex: If you asked me 5 years ago I would have named him and Keith Urban is 2 of my top 5 favorite artists. After their recent material I just have no respect for their music anymore.

Megan: Don’t get me started on Keith, we’ll be here all night.

Leon: As a Pop album I didn’t hate Urban’s last album. I hate that he’s calling it country. With Chris I just hate it in general

Alex: Young’s last album was just boring as dirt. This album I think is going to be straight Bieber

Leon: I didn’t even make it through Young’s album and I think I reviewed it at 1 point. I liked his first 2 or 3 albums a lot, but ever since Neon bombed there’s just been no going back for him.

Megan: I’d like to discuss two artists I covered in May who haven’t received a lot of attention and definitely should, Robyn Ludwick and Kody West. West’s album came out in April, and I found it through SCM. I found Ludwick thrugh a recommendation from Jamie Lin Wilson. Both really cool albums, and I’d like to see them getting more coverage.

Leon: I still want to cover Kody since I heard the first eight or so songs. You know time though.

Alex: In regards to what Megan said, I unfortunately haven’t listened to either of those albums

Alex: I’ll have to add them to my list

Leon: There’s just too much music coming out honestly. Like I get it and all, but it’s so hard to absorb a piece of music as it is, let alone feel like you have a time limit. I’ve gotten pickier about the stuff I cover.

Alex: This month I was just so busy and I felt overwhelmed trying to cover everything and I just exploded lol

Leon: May was probably the best month so far for me personally in terms of finding albums I love. A weak year is slowly turning into a good year for me.

Megan: I think the excess of music is a great thing, I’m also slightly at an advantage there because I have Bri to help cover things, but I stopped giving myself time limits and things. Sometimes lots of albums hit me at once. Sometimes, like this week, there’s barely anything I want to write about at all. And Leon, I agree, May was a very strong month for me in terms of finding good music.

Alexander: I have actually been a little disappointed so far. I thought Josh Turner and Zac Brown would have been better than they were. And as far as Bluegrass goes, only one Bluegrass album has blown me away this year.

Alex: Last year there were a lot of spectacular bluegrass albums

Leon: I’m not saying there haven’t been disappointments. I find myself being frustrated because I often say “well this is good, but it could have been great if it did this, this and this…”. I’ve only given 4 9/10’s this year so far.

Alex: Right. I find a lot of albums this year are around 8/10 which we have discussed before.

Megan: Zac Brown Band was probably the single most disappointing album of 2017 for me, and the thing is, it’s a good album. It’s just I wanted so much more from it.

Alex: Yes. I thought it would be an album of the year contender and it’s just not. Very good but not great

Leon: Same, but for me it’s more 7’s. I liked Zac Brown Band’s album honestly. I get why people don’t, but I don’t know, it’s just highly enjoyable for me. I’ve definitely overrated a lot of albums this year though.

Megan: I’ve overrated a couple, and sorry, Alex, but for me, Trophy was one of them. It hasn’t held up like I thought it would. As for ZBB, it’s enjoyable, they’re just better than that.

Alex: I never said anything about it but I thought I would mention that that Andrew Pope album that you reviewed (Leon) I gave it a listen when it came out and I surprisingly did not like it at all. And no worries Megan, it’s okay if you don’t like Trophy but, I loved it.

Leon: I feel like I overrate a lot of independent albums. There’s just some things that are hard for me to shake. One album that I honestly don’t like as well as I did was Wrangled, so sorry Megan, haha

Alex: I liked 3 songs on Wrangled and didn’t like the rest.

Leon: Andrew doesn’t hold up either now. I’d go with a 7 for that

Alex: I would think Andrew Pope would be right in my wheelhouse but I just found the album boring.

Leon: It definitely need more variety in the tempo. I’ll give you that.

Megan: Surprisingly, I don’t like Wrangled quite as much, but it’d still be like a 9. Wish I hadn’t given it a 10, but things change. As for Andrew, that’s a 7 for me, but I didn’t cover that, Bri did, so I didn’t listen to it a whole lot.

Leon: I want to be more critical for starters. I hate that criticism has become synonymous with hating or bullying. Aside from that, I don’t know. I just want to keep doing what I’m doing now

Leon: I do want to make my own blog logo and hopefully pay for the blog so there’s that

Alex: I think I have the weirdest logo lol

Alex: And I also want to pay for the blog eventually

Leon: At least it’s a logo, haha.

Megan: I’m not sure. I want to cover more bluegrass and more older music, which we’re now doing the older stuff. I want to do more collaborative reviewing with Bri, we really enjoy that. I don’t have really anything too long-range in mind, though, as I’ve told Leon before, Country Exclusive has pretty much been one giant experiment in winging it, lol, and so far, it’s worked. We will take it one day and one song at a time.

Alex: Haha. I have this dream of doing a country bluegrass Americana podcast. I have gotten into podcasts recently and there aren’t any great country podcasts that I know of that talk about whats going on. I’m not counting Wheeler or Keleigh Bannen’s.

Megan: Same to you!

Alex: Same to both of u!



  1. Even though it’s not purely country, Walkin the Floor podcast has a lot of good country artists as guests. Especially lately (Sam Outlaw, Sunny Sweeney, Marty Stuart, Jaime Wyatt).

    I agree with many of the best/favourite albums of the year so far but I’d add Jason Eady’s album to the list (him, Sam Outlaw, Sunny Sweeney and Jaime Wyatt are my favourites so far). As much as I’m a Marty Stuart fan (and Way out West is a very good album), I find myself going back to these other albums much more frequently

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Eady’s gets better with each listen. With Jaime Wyatt, there are some killer songs there, some of the best of the year, but the album as a whole isn’t something I go back to. It’s unfortunate that it’s a seven-song effort because for me, three are outstanding, and four are decent, so it’s an interesting album as a whole. But she’s someone I’m really excited about, and I can’t wait to hear more stuff from her. For Outlaw, I really enjoyed that when it came out, but it hasn’t held up quite as much as I thought it would. strongest albums so far for me after Stuart and Colter Wall right now would be Angaleena Presley and Jason Eady.


      1. For Eady, I really enjoyed it on the first listen and it gets better each time.

        For Wyatt, I thought it was decent on the first listen, but, after listening to it a few more times, I really like it a lot. (As a Sam Outlaw fan, I really enjoy their duet too). I agree that the length of the album makes it a bit harder to judge against the others.

        For Outlaw, for his first album, it took me a little while to get into it, but now I find I go back to it very often. For his new album, I was a little unsure of it after the first listen, but now I love it (particularly tracks 6-12). Overall, I think “Angeleno” is a better album, but they are very close.

        I did enjoy Colter Wall’s album – his voice will take some getting used to, but it’s quality stuff.

        And I also liked “Wrangled” quite a bit – it might be number 5 on my list, but I’m not quite sure yet.

        Liked by 1 person

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