Stray Plectrums has officially been going for a year. Thanks for sticking with us while we bring you awesome undiscovered gems and independent artists! Read on for four more of our monthly favorites.
Bob Wayne ’20 Miles To Juarez’
Bob Wayne is a well-known modern outlaw who returned to the scene earlier this year with the brand new studio album ‘Back To The Camper’. Combing punk, metal and a sharp stab of country, the record is a hard-hitter from the renegade rocker who doesn’t mess around. Bob is currently on tour to promote the new album with fans lapping up the new music, one of which being ’20 Miles To Juarez’, our featured track. Leaning toward the more traditional country side of things, fiddle leads on a bouncy beat while Bob and his female vocalist share responsibilities, dramatically telling a tale of love and murder. Interspersed between their storytelling is wonderfully constructed instrumentals, spotlighting the aforementioned fiddle, banjo and more, making for a fabulous blast from the past, a tribute to the way country songs used to be written.
Luanne Hunt ‘Solace In The Wind’
Luanne Hunt began recording music professionally in the 1990’s with the debut single ‘I Don’t Bother Counting’ (regionally successful in Orange County and the Southwest), but it’s in the past few years when she’s had her most success. With two Christmas albums, plenty of gospel tunes, plus huge success with multiple songs on the European country charts, it should hardly be a surprise that ‘Solace In The Wind’ was a #1 hit on the continent and listed on the ballots for the 2009 Grammy Awards Best Country Song and Best Female Country Performance. The independent artist has also had plenty of success in her own country, achieving airplay across many AM and FM stations in the US. ‘Solace In The Wind’, arguably her most successful single to date, is our featured song, characterized by Luanne’s Alison Krauss-esque soaring vocals, traditional country/bluegrass arrangement and beautifully cyclical melody. Relaxing, sweet and true to her roots, it’s the perfect summation of Luanne’s music.
Laurie Lewis & Kathy Kallick ‘Montana Cowboy’
Laurie Lewis and Kathy Kallick got their start in the music business playing in the California bluegrass scene of the 1970s, and have been singing together just as long. Long critically acclaimed, the pair often played in the bands of legends Vern Williams and Ray Park, who formed much of what their descendants would try to emulate in the intervening years. Laurie and Kathy recorded their first duet album ‘Together’ of Vern & Ray songs, and now they’re back with a brand new collection, ‘Laurie & Kathy Sing The Songs of Vern & Ray’. Implanting themselves firmly back in their roots, the duo perfectly complement each other, interpreting the various tracks faithfully and sprightfully. One of the songs is ‘Montana Cowboy’, overtly twangy in these days of modern polish and digital editing techniques, but wonderfully so. Those looking for a window in the past with crystal clarity won’t be disappointed.
Megan O’Neill ‘I Wish I Could Love You More’
Ireland-born Megan O’Neill truly has the musical credentials and the paid dues of any successful singer/songwriter. A former University College Dublin Choral Scholar (she graduated from the institution with a degree in Psychology), the songstress moved to Nashville in 2012 to work on honing her craft. Since then she has returned East of the Atlantic and to London and has been writing new music, with her first international release coming in late 2014. ‘I Wish I Could Love You More’ is one of three promotional tracks recorded (alongside ‘Don’t You’ and ‘Meet Me In The Middle’) and captures Megan’s enticing and dynamic country pop sound. The song is led by a mandolin hook and piano while the chorus features heavy drums and atmospheric harmonies, an effective accompaniment to an emotional heartbreak ballad.