Audio Engineer Jim Williamson Passed Away; Chuck Wicks and RCA Split; Sierra Hull at The Kennedy Center

Brody Vercher | January 24th, 2011

  • Audio engineer Jim Williamson, whose many recording credits include “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “Stand by Your Man,” and “That’s The Way Love Goes,” passed away Thursday at the age of 75.

    Mr. Williamson’s composure was evidenced during a three-hour Gene Watson session in which only 10 minutes remained. Watson wanted to attempt one more song, though it seemed unlikely that the musicians would be able to learn and perform a brand new composition in 10 minutes time, much less that Mr. Williamson would be able to record the song with accuracy and clarity. But the engineer did his job, the musicians delivered in one take, and “Farewell Party” became a Top 10 Billboard country hit single in 1979.

  • Artist/label breakups are the new black: Alan Jackson lead headlines last week with his split from Arista Nashville, but lost somewhere in that hoopla was news that Chuck Wicks asked out of his contract with RCA Records, which also operates under the Sony umbrella.
  • Writing at No Depression, Holly Gleason editorializes on Alan Jackson‘s impact on country music and the significance of his split with Arista Records.
  • Quotable Country: Now with more quotes (at least it feels like it). Same price, too. Can’t beat that.
  • When Lee Kernaghan walked to the stage to accept his award for album of the year at Saturday night’s Jayco Country Music Awards of Australia it was to the music of Graeme Connors, a fellow nominee in the album of the year category. At first, the music was blamed on a technical glitch, but it was later discovered that human error led to an envelope mix up and that Connors was actually the intended winner.
  • Country Universe’s Kevin J. Coyne shared his list of five songs he’d like to see at radio this year and asked readers to share their own.
  • Craig Havighurst wrote the bio for Malcolm Holcombe‘s fast-approaching new release, To Drink the Rain:

    Years ago, following Malcolm Holcombe’s career could be as unnerving and high-wire suspenseful as his riveting live performances. His brilliance was obvious to a core of fans and some attentive music journalists, but so were the self-destructive tendencies that floated around this mercurial man like wraiths. We worried at times that we’d have to add Holcombe to the What Might Have Been pantheon with Hank Williams, Jaco Pastorius and Charlie Parker. We imagined talking about Holcombe in the past tense to the too many who’d never been able to hear his shockingly truthful and affecting voice.

  • Farce the Music: Top 10 Least Likely Song Titles on Hank III‘s Comeback Album
  • The staff at CMT listed 10 of their favorite Brad Paisley hits.
  • Keith Urban visited the Ram Country studio for a three-song performance and interview.
  •’s Brady McDonnell published a good interview with Vince Gill about the direction of his new album, which will include the singing debut of his nine-year-old daughter on a murder-suicide ballad. (via That Nashville Sound)

    You know, she watches an awful lot of Disney Channel, and I’m trying to steer her to the blues side of music,” he said. “And I had this song, this friend of mine, another friend of mine, that last year had a real rough stretch and unfortunately he murdered a woman and then took his own life a short time after that. He was one of my golfing buddies, and I wrote this song for him called ‘Billy Paul.’”

    He played the song in the car one morning while driving the girl to school, and she wanted to hear it again.

    “I played it again, and by the time it was finished, she was back there just singing like a bird. … She was really taken with this song, and it’s a song about the whole of what happened. You know, very dark. So I had this idea of what it would be like if she sang on it. It would either be really haunting or really horrible,” he said with a laugh.

  • The Kennedy Center is streaming an hour long performance from Sierra Hull as part of its three-concert series “Concerts for Young People by Young People,” which borrows its name from another series put together by the Kennedys. Good stuff. (via The Bluegrass Blog)
  1. stormy
    January 24, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    The Texas Music Matters download of the day is an accoustic version of Iron and Wine’s Rabbit Will Run from their upcoming album.

  2. Steve Harvey
    January 24, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    I await that Vince Gill record with bated breath.

  3. Jon
    January 24, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    “Bated” instead of “baited” – yay! I love you, man…

    Sierra’n’em’s show rocks. Just sayin’.

  4. Rick
    January 24, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    That Sierra Hull concert was top notch. She is so tiny she’s almost like musical version of Ellen Page! (lol)

    Holly Gleason’s take on Alan Jackson was spot on. I especially like this part:
    “But for a genre that stands at the crossroads of lame 80s pop and a bulked up hybrid of hair metal and Southern rock lite, it makes one wonder. When Cash was let go, there was a fire in the belly of the genre: Steve Earle and Dwight Yoakam were potent factors, Merle Haggard was still on the charts and Ricky Skaggs, George Strait and Reba McEntire were all doing fairly hard takes on bluegrass, Texas and swing/hard country respectively. Now there is none of that. With the exception of Jamey Johnson, kept as much for the Rebel Jim freak factor as his songwriting brilliance, it is a sanitized for your protection…”. There’s a lot of wisdom in Holly’s assessment of the current scene.

    That screw up at the Aussie Golden Guitar ceremony in Tamworth (I don’t give a damn that Jayco is the sponsor) is a total hoot! Announcing the wrong winner is the ultimate nightmare for folks staging such awards shows. On the other hand Lee Kernaghan has won so many Golden Guitars over the years that even having to hand one back he’ll hardly notice. Graeme Connors is a pop country guy, so I’m not surprised since the Aussie country scene is heading more and more in that direction…

  5. Jon
    January 24, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Announcing the wrong winner is the ultimate nightmare for folks staging such awards shows

    No kidding. In 2007, I think it was, the Infamous Stringdusters and J. D. Crowe & The New South tied for the IBMA’s Album of the Year award, but when the presenter opened the envelope he didn’t look below the fold, so he had to be prompted to read the co-winner’s name while the first group was already headed up to the stage.

    Holly’s a thoughtful writer, but it is a little odd that, after noting that we don’t know the extent to which Jackson’s departure was a matter of his initiative – and that that datum makes a difference in assessment – she goes on to write as if it were clear that he was simply dropped by the label.

  6. scooter
    January 25, 2011 at 2:37 am

    Sierra Hull is fantastic. Love the “secrets” album and can’t wait for the new album.

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