There’s nothing wrong with Country/Western music as a genre. It’s in my roots. It’s in the roots of a lot of what passes for Indie rock these days. However, there’s a whole hell of a lot wrong with those who play modern Country/Western music. These folks are practically hair metal in their lack of substance and they’re practically pop in their disposability. And don’t get me started on the music itself — It has as much in common with Waylon, Willie and Johnny Cash as mall-punk and emo have in common with the spirit of ’77.
Thankfully, we have people like Matthew Houck and his band Phosphorescent, people who aren’t country in the Nashville sense, but are country enough to release an album of Willie Nelson covers (To Willie) and country enough to do those old-timers proud. On his latest release, Here’s to Taking it Easy, Houck not only takes on Country, but also puts his spin on other types of American roots music, like the blues. It’s may be far, far removed from the worldly, spiritual folk found on his 2007′, Pride, yet, when you hear tracks like “It’s Hard to be Humble (When You’re From Alabama)” and “The Mermaid Parade” it’s hard to argue with his decision to bring his exploration of roots music a little closer to home. I don’t think you’ll many arguments from Willie, either.