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Ellis Bullard Runs Down His Top 10 (Well, 13) Honky Tonk Tracks

Country artist Ellis Bullard, who released his new single “Honky Tonk Ain’t Noise Pollution,” shares with us his Top 13 honky-tonk tracks

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Ellis Bullard, photo courtesy of Ellis Bullard
Ellis Bullard, photo courtesy of Ellis Bullard

There’s no denying that Ellis Bullard is one of today’s true masters of honky-tonk. It’s such a unique music style, and Bullard’s work within the genre is illustrative of its depth and range as a form of music. Bullard released his clever new single “Honky Tonk Ain’t Noise Pollution” back in the fall. The song was a precursor to the release of his new full-length album of the same name. Bullard’s new country record is due this Friday, February 9th, via Feels So Good Records.

If you’re a classic rock fan, you’ve probably already figured that the title of the title track is a play off of the AC/DC tune “Rock n’ Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution.” The song dawned on Bullard when he had the AC/DC song playing in the background. His version is a clever adaptation, laced with humour and encapsulating the true essence of honky-tonk music.

Bullard is a true country artist at heart, holding in high regard those who paved the way for him. Drawing inspiration from artists like Merle Haggard and Jerry Reed, he records his music in the spirit of more outlaw country influences. Within that commitment is a dedication to both authenticity and humility. That no-BS attitude has carried him far, and it’s part of why Bullard has developed such a dedicated following of fans.

As a fan and aficionado of honky-tonk himself, Bullard joins us today to run down for us his Top 10 (or 13 since we made an exception) favourite honky-tonk tracks of all time.

Ellis Bullard’s Top 13 Honky Tonk Bops, Ballads, and Bangers You Didn’t Know You Needed…

(These are just listed in no particular order. Just some of the best songs that sometimes fly under the radar.)

1. Jimmy Buffett – “A Pirate Looking at 40”

“Jimmy Buffet is the man. The dude was mad talented as a writer and picker. Didn’t quite fit the Nashville rhinestone scene and dipped off to the Keys – paved his own way and set his own table. This song, in particular, features mastery level song writing with classic honky sounds like “phasers and steel guitar. “ Over the TOP COUNTRY.”

2. J.J. Cale – “Hey Baby”

“Relentless groove!”

3. ZZ Top – “She’s a Heartbreaker”

“I’ll leave it up to your interpretation of what country music is. I think Billy (Gibbons) and them for sure checked off most of my boxes.”

4. Buck Owens – “Made In Japan”

“Just a fun song! Tells a great story and features master-class musicianship by the Bakersfield sound pioneers.”

5. Dire Straits – “Setting Me Up”

“Another bop up for interpretation but here we have the Sultans of Swing nailing some country stylings with strat tones.”

6. The Country Sound Of Harmonica Sam – “If That’s The Way It’s Gotta Be”

“Those boys sure did this number justice. It’s my favourite version by far!”

7. Zephania Ohara – “Black and Blue”

“The second coming of Merle.”

8. The Reeves Brothers – “Medicine Man”

“Killer song with all the country fixins’!”

9. Alex Williams- “Little Too Stoned”

“Bop about smoking weed, what’s not to love?”

10. Jesse Daniel – “Rollin’ On”

“Hard nose Country! Tonk by the TON!”

11. Hank Williams Jr. – “Dinosaur”

“Groove and hilarious message that as you find yourself being the oldest in the room rings true as time goes on.”

12. Larry Jon Wilson – “Ohoopee River Bottomland”

“WTF! Larry Jon is flying under most folks radars but boasts a deep voice, killer lyrics, and undeniable funky honky vibes.”

13. Dale Watson – “Good Luck n’ Good Truckin’ Tonite”

“Riff driven tune! Great song for road doggin! Killer lyrics! God Bless our truckers!”

Ellis Bullard “Honky Tonk Aint Noise Pollution” single artwork

Ellis Bullard “Honky Tonk Aint Noise Pollution” single artwork

Born in 2003, V13 was a socio-political website that, in 2005, morphed into PureGrainAudio and spent 15 years developing into one of Canada's (and the world’s) leading music sites. On the eve of the site’s 15th anniversary, a full re-launch and rebrand takes us back to our roots and opens the door to a full suite of Music, Film, TV, and Cultural content.

Country

Frank Viele Releases His Brand New Single “Sleepless Nights Alone”

Singer-songwriter Frank Viele has released his brand new single “Sleepless Nights Alone” from his upcoming ‘The Trouble With Desire’ album.

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Frank Viele, photo by Donato Biceglia
Frank Viele, photo by Donato Biceglia

Milford, CT native and current Hamden, CT resident Frank Viele is prepping to release a brand new album entitled The Trouble With Desire, which is set to exhibit the musician’s exceptional storytelling and strong roots in a wide range of genres from heartland rock and blues to folk and country.

To further introduce the project, Viele returns today with his newest cut from the forthcoming LP, “Sleepless Nights Alone,” along with an accompanying lyric video.

2023 was a big year for Frank Viele, as he became the first Connecticut artist to win the prestigious award for ‘Act of The Year’ at the 2023 New England Music Awards. Viele thus follows in the footsteps of previous award winners, including Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Dwight & Nicole, Ryan Montbleau, Air Traffic Controller, Sarah Barrios, Deer Tick, Lori McKenna, Martin Sexton, Liz Longley, Chris Trapper, Adam Ezra Group, The Mallet Brothers, and more.

Earlier this year, Viele shared another new single entitled “Mountains We Can Climb.” Previously, 2023 found him sharing an additional handful of singles — “Hearts We Left Behind,” “The Trouble With Desire,” “Claws,” and “Trying To Raise A Man” — which were recorded in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. This is the town that launched the careers of legends such as Aretha Franklin, The Allman Brothers, and Wilson Pickett. It is also the place where The Rolling Stones recorded “Wild Horses” and which boasts the roots of modern greats such as Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton, and The Alabama Shakes.

Received with glowing reviews, these four songs made their way onto outlets across the industry, including American Songwriter, Boston’s Country 102.5, and NPR. He additionally toured nationally as both a headline act and also as a support act for rock legend John Waite, Season 9 American Idol winner Lee DeWyze, and folk rock troubadour Jeffrey Gaines.

Frank Viele’s newest single, “Sleepless Nights Alone,” is out now via all DSPs. Stay tuned for more information on his forthcoming full-length LP, arriving later this year.

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Country

Buckstein Premieres His Good-Time Single, “Ride with You”

Country artist Buckstein wants you to have a good time with the premiere of his fun-loving new single “Ride with You.”

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Buckstein, photo by Jason Myers
Buckstein, photo by Jason Myers

Out of all the major genres of American music, Country is the one that’s just as much a lifestyle as it is a genre; just ask our featured artist Buckstein, and he’ll tell you. Today, the singer-songwriter reveals his new single, “Ride with You.” He has been a lifelong loyalist to the Country sound and way of life, and “Ride with You” gives you a good indication of that.

It’s more than just a country tune, though, with its heavy guitar-driven approach. It’s certainly a good-time kind of tune, one that would play well at a Country bar. Imagine a live band and plenty of drinks being shared amongst friends. Buckstein refers to himself as a man of country music, and it’s that down-to-earth, free-flowing attitude that makes him so easy to like.

Discussing his new single, Buckstein tells us:

“‘Ride With You’ invokes the feeling of a buzzing, neon-soaked bar where you’re two beers too deep and still gunning for more. It’s a night out where anything can happen, and you never know where you’re going to wind up. You might lose yourself in a scene, or someone, or a song.

“After writing a few lyrics, we decided we wanted a constant ‘chant’ in the song and ‘find a little love in the haystack’ came out of the blue, but it sounded good so it stuck. I also get to play a bit of a character in this tune which was super fun for me. I’m really looking forward to bringing that to the live performance.”

Straight up, no-nonsense, and 100 percent authentic, Buckstein keeps true to the cowboy code he grew up with. He views Country as a way to communicate, a medium to speak the truth and build a strong sense of community. His ultimate goal is to bring soul to everything he does, a passion that is easy for his listeners to relate to. Buckstein’s music is structured around classical ideals like honesty, integrity, facing your fears, and love. These are universal values that help make him more appealing than just an artist.

One of the best decisions Buckstein ever made was to join a few friends at an American Idol audition. It was when the auditions made their way through his native city of Denver. He didn’t take it very seriously at the time, but he ended up getting through and made it onto the show. He made it as far as the finale of the show’s fifth season. That decision to tag along for the audition was a life-changing move. The success and confidence he derived from being on the show have led him to this point today. Buckstein has paid his dues and nicely set himself up as one of the brightest young names in Country today.

Buckstein “Ride with You” single artwork

Buckstein “Ride with You” single artwork

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Alternative/Rock

Levitate Music & Arts Festival Returns for its 11th Year!

Levitate Music & Arts Festival has announced it will be returning for its 11th year this Fourth of July weekend in Marshfield, MA.

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Levitate Music & Arts Festival 2024
Levitate Music & Arts Festival 2024

Levitate Music & Arts Festival has announced it will be returning for its 11th year this Fourth of July weekend in Marshfield, MA. The Marshfield Fairgrounds will host the likes of Sublime with original members Bud Gaugh and Eric Wilson, Lake Street Dive, Tash Sultana, Mt. Joy, the Dirty Heads, and many more.

The music festival originally started as a surf shop’s 10-year anniversary party and is now the premier boutique music and arts festival for the region. The festival features national and local acts while including the arts with vendors and installations throughout the grounds. The festival is a family-friendly event, including a kids zone with interactive activities.

On top of bringing together the East Coast community, one percent of each ticket sold will go to the Levitate Foundation, a non-profit whose mission is to cultivate vibrant communities by creating and conserving access to music, art and the outdoors.

With the reunion of Sublime and several powerhouse appearances, this year’s Levitate is sure to be a must-attend event. The festival runs from July 5th through the 7th, 2024. Tickets are on sale now here. See you there!

Levitate Music & Arts Festival 2024 admat

Levitate Music & Arts Festival 2024 admat

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