Asleep At The Wheel Campaigns To Make Western Swing Texas Symbol

Brody Vercher | July 15th, 2008

  1. Kelly
    July 15, 2008 at 10:16 am

    As a wannabe Austinite, I have always wanted to catch one of Heybale’s sunday night gigs at the continental club, but alas, i am usually on my way back to boring ol’ big D by sunday night…

  2. Sam G.
    July 15, 2008 at 10:17 am

    Punch Brothers were robbed, and I’m not just saying that because Chris Thile sang “Let’s root, root, root for the Cubbies,” as God and Harry Carrey intended the song to be sung. Still, a newgrass band to get Top 3 in the contest is pretty impressive.

  3. Sam G.
    July 15, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Ack. Caray, not Carrey.

  4. leeann
    July 15, 2008 at 10:19 am

    If you can hear through the bad recording, Wy does a superb job on this song. I love how she hits the low notes.

    “back before microwave ovens and a girl could cook and still would”…How Pleasantville of the Hag.:)

  5. Kelly
    July 15, 2008 at 10:23 am

    Leeann, thats not “pleasantville”, that’s straight up Utopian :-)

  6. leeann
    July 15, 2008 at 10:24 am

    True enough, Kelly.

  7. roger
    July 15, 2008 at 10:33 am

    the heybale cd is great…in my top three for the year so far (along with hayes carll and justin townes earle)

  8. Jenna Vercher
    July 15, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Isn’t that Van and Cheyenne from Reba in her video?

  9. leeann
    July 15, 2008 at 10:53 am

    Yeah, I think it’s really awesome that Reba uses them for the video…though that’s not how I’d like to think they end up.:)

  10. C. Eric Banister
    July 15, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Thanks for the shout out. I think everyone should check the Heybale album out.

    Leeann: My wife feels the same way. She kept saying, “Cheyenne and Van can’t do that!” :)

    I read somewhere (might have been in the “Down Every Road” box set) that a feminist group gave Hag some grief over that song.. so he started singing it “When a girl would still cook and chop wood.” Gotta love the Hag.

  11. Chris N.
    July 15, 2008 at 11:50 am

    That Reba video seems odd to me. It’s like the voice of Kenny Chesney is haunting everyone.

  12. leeann
    July 15, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    Ha, that’s funny of the Hag! Don’t worry, Merle, there are still plenty of women who’ll still cook–most just don’t want to be told that they have to.:)

  13. M.C.
    July 15, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Johnny Cash & the Tennessee Two (and Three) didn’t use steel guitars, or fiddles for that matterd. Cash wasn’t considered traditional early in his career because of how unusual his sound was for the time; some country fans even accused him of being folk, which was probably fine with Cash.

    So if I was to get all nit-picky, he doesn’t really fit in a description used for fans who miss the sound of a steel guitar in country music. He certainly fits for those who miss the sound of traditional country music, as it’s thought of today. But what purists think of as traditional tends to change from generation to generation.

  14. Stormy
    July 15, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    Johnny Cash wasn’t a “traditional country singer” later in his career either. Hank Williams wasn’t a “traditional country singer.” Neither his son nor his grandson are “traditional country singers.”

    “Traditional” is a word that is used by critics to denote a musical ethos and by radio programers as an excuse to avoid playing music that sounds too country.

  15. C. Eric Banister
    July 16, 2008 at 6:59 am

    M.C., you are partially right. Cash didn’t use a steel guitar, but that’s only because the steel player, Red Kernodle, they originally took into the studio froze and backed out, otherwise it would have been the Tennessee Three and the sound of his music would have been forever changed. (You won’t find that in “Walk The Line,” which is why books are still important, but that’s another topic) To your other point, Cash was known as “folk” mainly because at the time of his first recordings the “country” chart was known as “folk.” It wasn’t what later came to be known as Folk in the ’60s, when the “country” chart became the Country & Western chart. The “folk” label was simply a transition from Hillbilly to Country & Western. The same is true for Hank Williams.

    When I refer to Cash in the review, it is more a reference to the type of songs Cash performed and the traditionalism most fans associate with him than to his sound. It was also a reference to Earl Poole Ball who toured with Cash as piano player for twenty years and is a member of Heybale.

  16. M.C.
    July 16, 2008 at 10:20 am

    C. Eric — I did know about the steel player leaving Cash’s band when they started recording. But the fact remains that there isn’t any steel guitar on his classic songs, and it’s not a part of his sound. I was referencing your sentence — “the music of Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash, music with popping guitar runs and sinewy steel guitar lines” — and thought it suggested Cash’s records had steel on them. If that’s not what you meant, then there wasn’t anything to correct.

    However, your timing is a bit off in reference to the folk and country charts. Billboard started the “Country & Western” chart in 1949, and no longer put country on its “folk” chart after that. Billboard had started a “hillbilly” chart in 1944, but that term didn’t go over well at the time, and the chart only lasted a few months. The magazine went back to putting country acts on the a general “folk” chart for a while, which covered a lot of types of music, including early R&B acts like Louis Jordan. But by 1949 the “Country & Western” chart was there, later shortened to “C&W,” and eventually just called the “Country” chart thanks to some lobbying by the CMA.

    As for “folk” as a genre or style, The Weavers, Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, Oscar Brand and many other acts were well-established by the late 1940s and popular enough to get banned in the McCarthy era in the early ’50s. Mose Asch started Folkways Records in 1948-49, etc., which was home for most of them. The ’60s movement you talk about was when the whole urban-folk thing boomed, but folk music as we call it today had been around a while by then. That’s the world that some people put Cash in early on, as well as country and rockabilly, too. You’re right, that’s not in the movie, and no reason for it to be.

    You’re right about Heybale, of course. It’s packed with cool players, not only Ball but Redd Volkaert, too. If that’s why you put Cash in the sentence, that’s cool. It just sounded like you linked him with the steel, which is why I spoke up.

    I agree with you that books are still important. *smile*

  17. Thomas
    July 16, 2008 at 10:28 am

    “traditional” is probably the only word that tops “nice” when it comes to the most useless expressions to describe something. i d’love to buy essential “traditional country music”. whose albums do i really have to go for? Suggestions invited.

  18. Hollerin' Ben
    July 16, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    I don’t think traditional is a useless or an artificial term. Kenny Chesney/Rascal Flatts/Sugarland don’t play “traditional” country music as their music doesn’t sound like the music that came before theirs. They don’t use the same song forms, their melodies are super different, and they don’t approach lyric writing the same way that “classic” or “traditional” (or “real” if you’re a partisan like me) country music does.

    As far as essential and “new” traditional country music goes, artists like Mike Stinson, Dave Gleason, Brennen Leigh, Moot Davis, Dale Watson, Hank III, and Eleven Hundred Springs all have recent records that are really good.

    As far as artists who are less “traditional” in that they use a wider variety of song forms/singing styles/and lyrical styles but who still (I think) appeal to people who love traditional country music, check out Todd Snider, Hayes Carll, Justin Townes Earle, Jesse Dayton, The Tejas Brothers, and Adam Hood.

    There are also a group of sort of hipster vintage and/or novelty acts like Wayne Hancock, Unknown Hinson, and The Lonesome Spurs that are very talented and are working in the tradition broadly speaking but to a different effect.

    And all of the artists can be distinguished from the majority of “contemporary” or “nashville top 40″ or “pop” country music that one encounters on mainstream country radio or CMT, which of course begs the question as to why that is.

    I’d say it’s because modern country has not only changed it’s veneer via updated instrumentation (in fact, I think that instrumentation is to a large degree incidental to how well something fits in the tradition when compared to song form/melodic structure/and style of lyrics), but I think that modern country is different fundamentally in the effect it is trying to produce. Which is why your average Sugarland fan is more likely to enjoy Bon Jovi’s catalogue than Wynn Stewart’s. Sugarland’s music is trying to accomplish the things that Bon Jovi’s music was successful at. Country music used to have different aims, which is why it used such different techniques, which is why “traditional” or “classic” or “real” or “old” or “however you want to frame it we can all agree that it’s distinct” country music seems so alien to what is currently popularly recognized as country music.

  19. leeann
    July 16, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    Ben, where have you been?

  20. Hollerin' Ben
    July 16, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    I’d love to say something awesome like “I’ve been on the road doing such and such” but nothing so exotic. I’ve just been too swamped with other stuff to write articles or get comments together.

  21. Chris N.
    July 16, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Have you been hollerin’?

  22. Hollerin' Ben
    July 16, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    how did you know?!?!?!

  23. Chris N.
    July 16, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    I have a sixth sense about these things.

  24. stormy
    July 16, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Ben: What I was trying to get at with the whole “traditional” thing is that people expect it to be a stagnet, single faceted thing, and it is not.

  25. leeann
    July 16, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    Do you even holler?

  26. Jim Malec
    July 16, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Or do you prefer to holla?

  27. leeann
    July 16, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    C’mon, Ben, Haller back!

  28. Hollerin' Ben
    July 16, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Though I have been known to “holla” when I have my druthers I holler.

  29. Kelly
    July 16, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    I wonder if he prefers to “Holla” when he is in the city and to “Holler” when he is in the country??

  30. leeann
    July 16, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Kelly, I bet you’ve nailed it!

  31. Thomas
    July 17, 2008 at 6:05 am

    ben,
    thanks for your inputs on “traditional” country music, some of the names (music) are familiar some were completely new to me. by the way, i had also wondered where you’ve been hiding lately.

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