Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
For those of you that need a refresher, Ameripolitan is the moniker given to “real” country music. It encompasses such categories as honky tonk, outlaw, rockabilly, and western swing. All of the four food groups are represented. These awards are very important because this is the ONLY forum to recognize the men and women that have, and are, dedicating their lives to preserving these forms of music. This isn’t a revivalist movement at all because that would mean that these musical genres went somewhere. Not true. They have been here all along, it just needs to be returned back to the people.
Here are the nominees for Honky Tonk Male 2018:
Luke Bell This is definitely a man from a different generation. This music is as authentic as 24 karat gold. The Cody, Wyoming native knows a thing or two about genuine honky tonk music. Bell released his self titled third album in 2016 and the sky is the limit for this honky tonk trailblazer.
Tilford Sellers Indiana isn’t necessarily the first state you would think would be the birthplace and home of a real honky tonk star. This just proves that physical geography isn’t the only think that makes the artist. It has to do with heart and the desire to do things the right way. Sellers does both.
Zephania OHora Ohora hails from New York City. A very encouraging sign, indeed. This genre has legs and inspires people all over the globe. What distinguishes OHora from the pack is his pitch perfect voice that pairs perfectly with honky tonk, much like the pairing of beer and pizza.
Casey James Prestwood Equipped with the perfect, twangy, honky tonk voice, Prestwood put out his third album in 2017. Born Too Late displays Casey and the band’s skills as musicians and their true love of honky tonk music. Although Casey is a purist, the music is original while still paying homage to the pioneers.
Charley Crockett This is probably the first time someone has mixed honky tonk with blues, funk, jazz, and soul. Crockett is a direct descendant of Davy Crockett. This may explain Charley’s sense of exploration and adventure. A perfect front man with a voice made of velvet.