An Article by Johnny Cole | Photos by Stephen Anderson
The Southland Music Line began 2020 with high hopes and what looked to be a busy schedule ahead of us. We were now in our 7th year of celebrating music and this looked as if it was going to another year to remember….. well, for the most part it was definitely one to remember, but often for different reasons.
In our review of this year, while we must point out the obvious negatives of 2020, we by all means certainly want to highlight the positive aspects of the year, too.
2020 was a year of many excellent new albums and songs by a variety of very talented music artists. We began our year excited about upcoming album releases by Sarah Peacock, Laurie Anne Armour, Caleb Caudle, Great Peacock, John Calvin Abney, Oh Jeremiah and many others. Everything seemed to be looking great and in place until the “Corona Virus Pandemic” changed everyone’s directions in life.
☆ The Cancellations
In late February, we learned our yearly trip to South By Southwest in Austin, Texas was being canceled due to a corona virus that was beginning to dominate the news. Shortly thereafter, other events such as Coachella, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, British Summer Time in London, Fuji Rock in Japan and a host of others that The Line attends were also being canceled. One by one, concert tours that some of us are involved with were also being pulled from the schedule.
Locally, the schedule at The Frog Pond, the highly popular outdoor venue, met the same fate, as did the many music venues along the Gulf Coast (and for that matter, across the U.S. and abroad). It would be summer before some coastal venues began hosting shows to limited sized crowds.
Our fall schedule was also altered when both the Bogalusa Blues & Heritage Festival and The Mississippi Songwriters Festival saw the expected cancellations.
Topping things off, personally, I suffered a major accident to my leg in mid-summer, which caused me to spend eleven days in the hospital, followed by nearly 40 doctor and wound care visits and two surgeries over a period of three months. Thankfully, I am now making a good recovery.
The Southland Music Line’s 2020 Music Artist of the Year – The Red Clay Strays (voted on by management and a team of consultants and contributors at The Southland Music Line; article posted on Dec. 1, 2020)
☆ The Music Finds A Way to Survive
The music community always finds ways to survive and this was a year of survival. Our April 21 article “Music Will Find A Way – How Live Music Has Coped with Coronavirus Crisis of 2020” addressed this issue, but at the time it was written, no one imagined the crisis would continue through the remainder of the year. Maybe we all attended less live shows in 2020, but there was no shortage of live streamed shows. 2019’s Music Artist of the Year, Sugarcane Jane, called their live streamed shows the “Hibernation Tour: Live From Admiral Bean Studio”, even marketing t-shirts with the logo. Many music artists got creative and found alternative ways to get their music heard.
☆ Our Year in Music
Despite the difficult year, various members of The Southland Music Line management team did get to attend a decent amount of shows in 2020, particularly at the beginning of the year. Some shows attended: Kevn Kinney of Drivin’ N Cryin’, Madonna at The Palladium in London, Mike Campbell & The Dirty Knobs in Santa Barbara (CA), David Byrne in New York City, 62nd Annual Grammy Awards & After Party in Los Angeles, an all-star Tribute show to Mazzy Star’s David Roback in West Hollywood (CA), Edward David Anderson, Cary Morin, Magnolia Bayou, Royal Horses, Sugarcane Jane & The Bucket Fillers, Chistone “Kingfish” Ingram, Greg “Red” Padilla, Fat Man Squeeze, Jeffrey Gaines, Patrick Cooper with Ron Thamert, The Corky Hughes Trio, The KneeOn Sisters, Madison Grace & Jared Messinger, Phil & Foster, Grayson Capps & The Lost Cause Minstrels, Truitt Williams, Molly Thomas, Abe Partridge, Eric Erdman, Summeryn Powers, Jeff Plankenhorn & Scrappy Jud Newcomb, Smokey Robinson, George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic, Wes Lee, Engelbert Humperdinck, Robbie Fulks, Joshua Stephen Ward, the Panama City Songwriters Festival, a showcase show at The Grand Magnolia featuring Will Kimbrough, Cary Hudson & Lynn Drury, a Frog Pond Sunday Social in late February, a Songwriters Mutual Appreciation event at Cedar Street Social Club moderated by Rick Hirsch, Chaislyn Jane’s debut at The Peoples Room, The Red Clay Strays’ (our 2020 Music Artist of the Year) Thanksgiving Eve show, Laurie Anne Amour’s album release show and a number of others.
In early 2020, we were invited to The Lobby Lounge in Slidell, Louisiana where we enjoyed two fabulous shows: The Krickets featuring Emily Stuckey, Lauren Spring and Rachel Grubb on February 6 and Wildeyes on March 12. Opening for Wildeyes was one of our new favorites, Chaislyn Jane, who we had met at 2019’s Mississippi Songwriters Festival. Her song “Carole” was tied as my favorite song of the year in 2019. We were also wrote an article about The Krickets’ show at the Lobby Lounge. We thank Lobby Lounge’s Mark Myers for the invites and we are certainly looking forward to returning to The Lobby Lounge, located inside the Harbor Center, in 2021.
Madison Grace from photo shoot at The Grand Magnolia in Pascagoula, MS by Stephen Anderson with assistance by Johnny Cole.
Stephen Anderson and I thoroughly enjoy working on photo shoots together with some of our favorite local artists (some past photo shoots were The KneeOn Sisters and Sugarcane Jane in 2019). In early 2020, we met with singer-songwriter, Madison Grace, at the beautiful Grand Magnolia in Pascagoula, Mississippi. It turned out to be a photo session that all involved can be proud about. We have plans for additional similar photo shoots with others. Hopefully, 2021 will allow us more opportunities.
On Monday, March 2, 2020, Stephen, Robby (Amonett) and I had the privilege of enjoying a wonderful evening of live music and discussion at the University of South Alabama’s Laidlaw Performing Arts Center in Mobile, Alabama. This year’s Annual Songwriter Keynote featured Drive-By Truckers’ Patterson Hood, acclaimed writer and music historian, Peter Cooper, and celebrated Austin musician, Will Johnson.
We were disappointed that this year’s Mississippi Songwriters Festival was canceled, but were excited to have been invited to the Mississippi Songwriters Hall of Fame event at the Gulf Hills Resort in Ocean Springs, MS. This was the second year of inductions. The virtual program appears on the festival’s website. Jimmy Buffett, Mac McAnally, B.B. King, Tommy Barnes and Reggie Bates joined last year’s inductee, Paul Overstreet, in the Hall of Fame.
I guess you can say we still managed to “get around” to a lot more shows and events than first realized.
The Southland Music Line staff in 2020 consisted of Johnny Cole (editor/writer), Stephen “Andy” Anderson (photographer), Robby Amonett (artist) and Brenda Germany (associate editor/writer). We were also joined by a number of much appreciated contributors. Our mission remains the same as it did when we launched the website in 2013 – dedicating time to promote a shared love of music. We look forward to continuing our adventure and appreciate all our readers. Hopefully, 2021 will see things get back on track for all of us.
Sugarcane Jane received the most votes for the 6th straight year as The Readers’ Choice “Music Artist of the Year” (Five times as a duo and once as part of Willie Sugarcapps). For the second year in a row The Red Clay Strays were not far behind in a very close race all the way to the stroke of midnight welcoming in 2021. The Red Clay Strays were recognized by The Southland Music Line’s management team as 2020’s Music Artist of the Year in the article “The Red Clay Strays – 2020 Music Artist of the Year” Congratulations to both and everyone receiving votes!
☆ Readers Choice Awards:
▪︎ Favorite Music Artist of the Year – Sugarcane Jane; (runner-up – The Red Clay Strays; also receiving substantial number of votes: Grayson Capps, Jason Daniels Band, Magnolia Bayou & Will Kimbrough)
▪︎ Favorite Album of the Year – “Ruffled Feathers: Songs in the Key of Me” – Sugarcane Jane; (runner-up: “Led By The Light” – Laurie Anne Armour; also receiving a substantial number of votes: Downloads from the Universe – Jason Daniels Band, South Front Street: A Retrospective 1997-2019 – Grayson Capps & Spring Break – Will Kimbrough)
▪︎ Favorite (Indoor) Venue – The Peoples Room of Mobile in Mobile, AL; (runner-up – Flora-Bama on the AL/FL Gulf Coast; also receiving a substantial number of votes: Callaghan’s in Mobile (AL) & Murky Waters in Ocean Springs, MS)
▪︎ Favorite (Outdoor) Venue – The Frog Pond at Blue Moon Farm in Silverhill, AL; (runner-up: Dority’s in Dauphin Island, AL
* Management does not participate in the Readers’ Choice Awards and uses an outside source to calculate the number of votes, though we double check these numbers for complete honesty and accuracy. During the voting process between Dec. 1 and New Years Eve, only one vote per email is counted. For example: When an artist/album/venue receives 1000 votes, it has been voted upon by 1000 different voters.
Readers’ Choice Album of the Year
“Ruffled Feathers: Songs in the Key of Me” – Sugarcane Jane
☆ Our Favorite Albums of 2020:
Johnny Cole (writer & editor at The Line) –
1. Letter To You – Bruce Springsteen
2. Logan Ledger – Logan Ledger
3. Blues with Friends – Dion
4. Self Made Man – Larkin Poe
5. Burn the Witch – Sarah Peacock
6. No Lifeguard By the Gene Pool – Stephen Lee Veal
7. Fetch the Bolt Cutters – Fiona Apple
8. The Triangle – Lisa Mills
9. Forever Worse Better – Great Peacock
10. Wreckless Abandon – The Dirty Knobs with Mike Campbell
Johnny Cole’s Ten Favorite Singles/Album Tracks of 2020:
1) “Letter To You” – Bruce Springsteen, 2) “I ‘ll See You In My Dreams” – Bruce Springsteen, 3) “Butterfly” – Barry Gibb with Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings, 4) “Ghosts” – Bruce Springsteen, 5) “Dreams I Forgot About” – Chaislyn Jane, 6) “Invisible” – Grace Davies, 7) “Starlight” – Logan Ledger, 8) “Wreckless Abandon” – The Dirty Knobs ft Mike Campbell, 9) “My Most Deadly Sin” – Lauren Murphy, 10) “These Games” – The Krickets
Click Here for his complete list of 125 favorite albums & honorable mentions of 2020; 40 Favorite Singles/Album tracks of 2020
Click Here (a number of favorites divided into categories including music artists, albums according to genre, live streaming, videos, music films, live music events).
Stephen “Andy” Anderson (Photographer at The Line) –
1. El Dorado – Marcus King
2. Reunions – Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit
3. Letter to You – Bruce Springsteen
4. Logan Ledger – Logan Ledger
5. LP5 – John Moreland
6. Saturn Returns – Secret Sisters
7. Keep ‘Em on They Toes – Brent Cobb
8. Starting Over – Chris Stapleton
9. Uncivil War – Shemekia Coleman
10. DJesse Vol. 3 – Jacob Collier
11. Album No. 8 – Katie Melua
12. Hearts Town – The War and Treaty
13. Half Moon Light – The Lone Bellow
14. Good Souls Better Angels – Lucinda Williams
15. Kingdom in My Mind – The Wood Brothers
16. Co-Starring – Ray Wylie Hubbard
17. That’s How Rumors Get Started – Margo Price
18. Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me – Waylon Payne
19. Love Is The King – Jeff Tweedy
20. Saint Cloud – Waxahatchee
Robby Amonett (artist & staff writer at The Line) “In Alphabetical Order” with two extra.
▪︎ Better Hurry Up – Caleb Caudle
▪︎ Bless Your Heart – Allman Betts Band
▪︎ Eye of the Sun – Gypsybyrd
▪︎ Good Souls Better Angels – Lucinda Williams
▪︎ Keep ‘Em on They Toes – Brent Cobb
▪︎ LP5 – John Moreland
▪︎ Nothing as the Ideal – All Them Witches
▪︎ Refractions – Lowrider
▪︎ Starting Over – Chris Stapleton
▪︎ That’s How Rumors Get Started – Margo Price
▪︎ Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs – Colter Wall
▪︎ White Dog – White Dog
Brenda Germany (writer/associate editor) “In Alphabetical Order” –
▪︎ Blacktop Run – Sonny Landreth
▪︎ Burn the Witch – Sarah Peacock
▪︎ Dockside Saints – Cary Morin
▪︎ El Dorado – Marcus King
▪︎ Letter To You – Bruce Springsteen
▪︎ Ordinary Madness – Walter Trout
▪︎ Ruffled Feathers: Songs in the Key of Me – Sugarcane Jane
▪︎ Saturn Return – The Secret Sisters
▪︎ She Shimmy – Libby Rae Watson & Bert Deivert
▪︎ South Front Street: Retrospective 1997-2019 – Grayson Capps
▪︎ Sunday Drive – Brett Eldredge
▪︎ The Triangle – Lisa Mills
* Eric Erdman – Fresh Song Fridays
Although not an album, “Honorable Mention” to Eric Erdman for writing a fresh song each week for 104 consecutive weeks as of 12/25/2020.
☆ The covers appearing on “The Line” in 2020:
☆ Our Articles in 2020:
▪︎ “The Peoples Room of Mobile – New Name, Same Listening Experience” by Johnny Cole
▪︎ “Mississippi Blues Trail Series – McComb: Summit Street & Bo Diddley” by Brenda Germany
▪︎ “Madison Grace – An Evolution of Songs & Style” by Johnny Cole
▪︎ “The Lobby Lounge Concert Series – The Krickets Live” by Johnny Cole
▪︎ “Jack’s by the Tracks Looks to the Future’ by Brenda Germany
▪︎ “The Annual Songwriters Keynote at The Univ. of South Alabama featuring Patterson Hood, Peter Cooper & Will Johnson” by Johnny Cole
▪︎ “Music Will Find A Way – How Live Music Has Coped with the Coronavirus Crisis of 2020” by Johnny Cole
▪︎ “Laurie Anne Armour’s “Led By The Light” Shines Through!” by Johnny Cole
▪︎ “Libby Rae Watson – Consumed by the Blues” by Brenda Germany
▪︎ “Remembering The Night When Rocky Horror Met The Ramones: Grayson Capps Live 2-10-19” by Johnny Cole
▪︎ “Joshua Stephen Ward – Becoming Real” by Johnny Cole
▪︎ “Music That You Should Definitely Hear in 2020” by Johnny Cole
▪︎ “The Mississippi Songwriters Hall of Fame Welcomes Five New Inductees in 2020” by Johnny Cole
▪︎ “The Red Clay Strays – 2020 Music Artist of the Year” by Johnny Cole
▪︎ “Mississippi Blues Trail Series – Sonny Boy Williamson II in Helena by Johnny Cole
▪︎ “The Southland Music Line 2020 – A Year in Review” buy Johnny Cole
Click Here for our article archives, which include the above titles.
☆ The Photo Albums appearing on “The Line” in 2020:
Click Here for all the entire photo collection archives by Stephen “Andy” Anderson in 2020
☆ Spotlight Music of the Month in 2020:
▪︎ Jan. – “Triangle” – Lisa Mills
▪︎ Feb. – “No Lifeguard By the Gene Pool’ – Stephen Lee Veak
▪︎ Mar. – “Burn the Witch” – Sarah Peacock
▪︎ Apr. – “Better Hurry Up” – Caleb Caudle
▪︎ May – “Led by the Light” – Laurie Anne Armour; “My Most Deadly Sin” – Lauren Murphy (single)
▪︎ June – “These Games” (single) – The Krickets
▪︎ July – “Fellow Man” by Sugarcane Jane
▪︎ Aug. – “Self Made Man” by Larkin Poe
▪︎ Sept. – “Fugitive Heart” by Ten Penny Gypsy
▪︎ Oct. – “Letter To You” – Bruce Springsteen
▪︎ Nov. – “Starting Over” – Chris Stapleton
▪︎ Dec. – “McCartney III” – Paul McCartney
Click Here to visit our Spotlight Music of the Month Archives.
☆ Music Fans of the Month in 2020:
▪︎ Jan. – Karen Duckworth (MS)
▪︎ Feb. – Steven and Sue Lorenat (AL)
▪︎ Mar. – Jack the Cat (AL)
▪︎ Apr. – Tom Dellinger (AL/CA)
▪︎ May – Daryl and Karla Meadows (MS)
▪︎ June – Jeff and Lorri King (LA)
▪︎ July – Johnny & Ginger Smith (CO/MS)
▪︎ Aug. – Paul & Tina Powers (AL)
▪︎ Sept. – Mark & DJ Garrison (MS)
▪︎ Oct. – Danny Krebs (MS)
▪︎ Nov. – Winifred Smith (MS)
▪︎ Dec. – Anne Spako (TX)
Click Here for review of all Music Fans of the Month
The Peoples Room of Mobile in Mobile, AL received the most votes this year as Favorite (indoor) Music Venue. The above photo features the venue’s Jim Pennington introducing singer-songwriter Chaislyn Jane at show in late 2020.
The Southland Music Line thanks the fine folks who granted us access to shows, events and festivals or even saved us a seat. We also want to thank Dr. Tom Leytham, David & Lee Thomas, Laurie Anne Armour, Robert Dienalt and Abe Partridge for their contributions to the December article spotlighting The Red Clay Strays as Music Artist of the Year.
We are dedicating our year end article to two much loved people that we lost from the Gulf Coast music community this year.
Reggie Bates (“above center” performing with friends Scott Stradtner and Darwin Nelson) had a distinguished career in radio broadcasting for 43 years and was a 2020 Mississippi Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee. As a founding member of the Mississippi Songwriters Alliance, he was a major part of the Gulf Coast music scene.
Jacob Hall was one of the most loved and talented musicians from the Gulf Coast. Jacob, brother of Red Clay Strays’ drummer John Hall, performed with the highly popular Paw Paw’s Medicine Cabinet and sat in with numerous musicians. He was deeply loved by friends and fan alike. (Photo by Stephen Anderson)
The Frog Pond at Blue Moon Farm in Silverhill, AL received the most Readers’ Choice votes as this year’s Favorite (outdoor) Music Venue.
Click Here for the article “The Red Clay Strays – 2020 Music Artist of the Year”
Click Here for Johnny Cole’s Complete List of Favorite Albums & Singles/Album Tracks of 2020
Click Here for Johnny Cole’s List of 2020 Music Favorites
Click Here for Johnny Cole’s Complete List of Shows in 2020
Click Here for Johnny Cole’s List of Favorite Shows of 2020
Click Here for 2020 Photo Highlights
Click Here for all the photo collections by Stephen “Andy” Anderson in 2020
Click Here to visit our Spotlight Music of the Month Archives
Click Here for review of all Music Fans of the Month
Click Here for our article archives
© The Southland Music Line. 2021. All rights reserved