Stringbean’s Murderer Up for Parole; CMHOF to Open Kenny Rogers Exhibit; Jeff Austin Leaves Yonder Mountain String Band
- John A. Brown, one of the men convicted of murdering “Stringbean” and Estelle Akeman, is up for parole. It could take up to two weeks for the board to announce an official decision; Brown’s previous parole requests have been denied.
- Mental Floss wants you to learn twelve facts about Dollywood. Here are two: the park includes a hologram Dolly and a kennel called, of course, Doggywood.
- The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will open a new exhibit, “Kenny Rogers: Through the Years,” on August 15. It’ll run through June 14, 2015.
- Sierra Hull will likely release a new album in 2015. From a recent article in The Baltimore Sun: “I’m so ready to have new music out,” Hull said. “I’m probably more ready than any of my fans could be ready.” There was not a lack of trying. In January 2013, Hull recorded six songs that expanded her musical palette but ultimately left her unsatisfied. The songs were not the problem, she said, but rather it was the approach. For the first time, Hull had percussion and electric guitar on her songs. She was also primarily writing on guitar rather than mandolin, and the results left Hull uneasy. “I took a step back from it and said, ‘Is this really the direction I want to go? Is this really the right thing?’” Hull said. “I’ve since started over, so to speak.” While her experiences at Berklee remain invaluable, Hull realized she needed to find a balance between what she learned there and the type of songwriting that made her a major name in bluegrass as a teenager. Hull is currently working on new demos with a producer she declined to name but was excited to have involved. A deliberate return to the fundamentals of mandolin has re-energized her approach to writing, she said.
- Jeff Austin has left Yonder Mountain String Band after 15 years to pursue a solo career. (via press release)
- On May 17, Ashley Monroe is doing a songwriter session at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. (via press release)
- Lyle Lovett performed on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. (warning: autoplay)
- NoiseTrade is offering a five-chapter excerpt of Todd Snider’s new book, I Never Met a Story I Didn’t Like.
- Vince Gill on Ray Price: [We’d] been friends for a long time. And I’d sung a little bit on some previous records that he made over the years. He was one of those guys that obviously wasn’t crazy about the changing direction of country music and whatnot. And he knew that I had a lot of tradition enlisted in my heart and soul and some of the records I’ve made. And we sat together at the award show and had a great time cracking jokes. He had a great sense of humor. And I just thought the world of Ray Price.
- Farce the Music’s predictions about next year’s Billboard country charts are simultaneously hilarious and depressing.
- Robert Ellis appeared on the World Café yesterday. Listen here.
- Carrie Underwood has been selected as one of the TIME 100, an annual list of the world’s 100 most influential figures. (Brad Paisley wrote a tribute to Carrie for the magazine, while Dolly Parton wrote one about her goddaughter and Underwood’s fellow 100 club member, Miley Cyrus).
- Tim McGraw participated in Breaking Barriers, a documentary about hot rods that’ll debut May 7 on the National Geographic Channel.
- This year’s Calgary Folk Fest (July 24-27) has a solid lineup that includes Patty Griffin, Jason Isbell, and The Jayhawks.
- Justin Townes Earle played songs from his new album, Single Mothers, on Mountain Stage.
- Last weekend’s Record Store Day gave indie shops a huge sales boost. Billboard reports: In a week when overall U.S. album sales were down 2.2% over the same week in 2013, the independent record store sector collectively rode the Record Store Day sales bonanza to an 11.2% gain, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Indie stores represented 19.4% of the total U.S. volume of all physical album sales this week, the sector’s highest share since SoundScan started tracking sales by store strata. Moreover, within album sales, the indie store sector saw its vinyl album sales grow a whopping 57.5%. Finally, numerous record stores report that it was their best day ever.
- Actor Clare Bowen of Nashville talks about the show’s success as well as the cast’s upcoming tour in this Chicago Sun-Times piece.
- The Barclays Center in Brooklyn is “working actively” to book big-name country acts to play the 18,000 seat arena.
- Lorraine Jordan and Carolina Road released a video for “Livin’ Like I’m Dying.”
- Nick Hasted asks, “From Leonard Cohen’s acclaimed tour last year aged 79 to Chuck Berry, 87, the genuinely elderly are on the road in unprecedented numbers. When even a punk band has to face up to painful old age, why do so many musicians carry on? And what, when their physical capacity is inevitably diminished, do we get from watching them?” He answers his own question at the conclusion of the article, writing that “We should be grateful [for these artists’ continued touring]. The last act is as much a part of a musical life as its often explosive start.”
Jim Lauderdale, Duhks Prep Summer Releases; New Johnny Cash Book Due in September; Mundo Earwood Passes Away
- Barry Mazor spoke with Mac Wiseman at yesterday’s Hall of Fame induction announcements. Check it out. We’ve also got a few exclusive photos from the event that you can see on our Facebook page.
- Benjamin Whitmer, who co-wrote Charlie Louvin’s Satan is Real: The Ballad of The Louvin Brothers, talks about the experience in this interesting A.V. Club Q&A.
- The Duhks will release Beyond the Blue June 24 on Compass Records. (via press release)
- Jim Lauderdale’s next record, I’m a Song, comes out July 1. Lee Ann Womack is one of the guests who appear on the album. (via my ears)
- Our pal Eric Banister of MusicTomes.com has written a new book called Johnny Cash FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About the Man in Black; it’ll be released this autumn.
- Speaking of Johnny Cash, Barry Gibb sold the Hendersonville, Tennessee property formerly belonging to Johnny and June for $2 million, approximately eight years after he purchased it. In 2007, a fire destroyed the 13,880 square foot home located on the property, which put an end to Gibb’s plan to restore it.
- Houston-area country singer Mundo Earwood passed away at the age of 61 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. You might remember his highest charting hit, “Things I’d Do for You,” which cracked the Top 20 in the late ‘70s.
- Paste catches up with Muscle Shoals’ Rick Hall.
- Geoffrey Himes takes a look at some classic baseball songs including Steve Goodman’s “A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request” and Kinky Friedman’s “Catfish.”
- Bob Dylan’s electric set at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival made Brian Mansfield’s list of “10 performances that rocked festival history.” What’s the best festival performance you’ve ever seen?
- The Texas Crawfish & Music Festival in Old Springs is the Lone Star State’s most underrated festival, writes Chris Gray of The Houston Press. Alejandro Escovedo, Dale Watson, and Jason Boland & The Stragglers are just three of several acts who are slated to play the event this weekend.
- Clinch Mountain Boy James Alan Shelton has been hospitalized to treat blood clots in his leg and lung.
- Miranda Lambert has launched her own line of shoes and boots.
- Here’s the lyric video for Mary Gauthier’s “When a Woman Goes Cold” from her forthcoming album, Trouble & Love. Gauthier also recently appeared on Good Day L.A.
- Check out the video of Taj Mahal and Gregg Allman playing “Statesboro Blues.”
Beauty Is…, Ray Price’s beautiful new album, was recorded only a few months before he died—and in the weeks just following his learning definitively that he was going to. When the project was completed, the singer told Janie Price, his wife of more than forty years, that he had made it especially for her. As Mrs. Price remembered the moment to Tennessean journalist Peter Cooper, “He said, ‘All these years, you’ve asked me if I really loved you, and I have been remiss in telling you how I feel…I’ve done this for you. I want you to have it to listen to when I’m not here, to hear me telling you how much I love you.’”
That quote comes from “Ray Price Tells His Wife ‘I Love You’ with Last Album,” Cooper’s immediately essential piece of country music writing that is nearly as gut-punch, teary-eyed beautiful as the recording that inspired it. I can’t imagine I will ever be able to listen to Beauty Is… without also recalling Janie Price’s, and Cooper’s, words about it. If you haven’t already read the piece, I very much hope you will.
Of course, the great majority of Ray Price fans who are going to hear the album will not have read that article, or even heard of it. In fact, I think we can say that most casual Ray Price fans—by which I just mean most Ray Price fans—will be unaware of this particular back story altogether. They’ll love Beauty Is…, I’m guessing, even without knowing that one way of listening to it is as a love note from a devoted and dying husband to his soon-to-be widowed wife.
The story of Ray Price, Country Star, is somewhat unusual in this regard. The country audience has long heard the music of its favorite stars biographically. It is regularly assumed—often incorrectly, and even more often too literally—that Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard, Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams, George Jones and Loretta Lynn right on up to Taylor Swift and so on, are all singing or writing in some way, always, about the dramatic real lives fans have heard and read about. Price was never that sort of celebrity. Across a half century of stardom, he kept his personal life mostly to himself. He wasn’t faceless, exactly, but he was hardly iconic. His career had a strong narrative, but the story to which Price is most deeply connected was not (unlike the folks listed above) a primarily personal story but a musical one: hardcore honky tonker to countrypolitan crooner to legendary Last of the Breed.
So, with all that in mind, allow me to underscore a more purely artistic assessment: In addition to being a humbling and touching romantic gesture, and beyond being a fitting coda to a classic career, Beauty Is…: The Final Sessions is a great album. Period. Indeed, it should go down as among the greatest Price ever made. It definitely places in my own short list of Price’s best original albums, landing just below, just barely, 1962s’ Night Life, 1964’s Burning Memories and 2000′s Prisoner of Love. The song selection here, I believe, is that unified and strong. Price’s singing is that characteristically smart and that unaccountably powerful. The album’s arrangements are that beautiful.
Indeed, Beauty Is… sounds like the big pop album Price must have always wished he could make. For the last several decades of his career, whether he was playing a rowdy club or a college concert hall, Price would pause at some point in the set and announce, smiling: “Ladies and gentlemen… strings!” Then, a small group, usually a quartet at most, of local hired-gun violinists (not to be confused with fiddlers) would play the charts provided them. He made a point of drawing attention to that arrangement choice because some industry types, and a minority of his audience, had once fought him on their use. And because he just loved the sound of them.
The credits to Beauty Is… list 17 string players, with earthy low cello tones regularly prominent. And the parts those strings perform—arranged and conducted by longtime Nashville studio ace Bergen White—sound old-school and right now, counter-melodically complex, jaw-dropping, beautiful. Other sonic surprises abound: harpsichord, vibraphone (by Charlie McCoy) and even, once, a pan flute. These all fall in and out of the arrangements, alongside more expected interjections from acoustic guitar, piano, pedal steel and a small vocal group.
Each time I listen to the album I find a new favorite soundscape. This last pass I settled on “No More Songs to Sing,” which begins with just voice and guitar, builds slowly, then builds some more, then some more, until its cruising hard down the middle of the road like one of those supersonic Al Delory productions for Glen Campbell.
I’ll probably love something else even more next time through. The various sounds and moods that producer Fred Foster, along with White and his crew, achieve here—foreboding or tender, dreamy or wide-awake, atmospheric or dramatic, strings hovering high or plummeting fast, and all of it helping to sustain a feeling of romantic intimacy—are an enormous part of what the record is all about.
The spell is broken only once. Forty seconds into the sixth track, “An Affair to Remember,” the voice of Martina McBride enters, and her arrival is so unexpected that it feels as if someone’s just barged into your intimate, private conversation—but she sings her part evenly, quietly, so that feeling of intrusion lasts but an instant. For Price’s part, he remained to the end a crooner’s crooner. If you focus on The Final Sessions part of the album’s title, you may expect Price’s voice on to be compromised. But while it surely must have been, it never sounds that way, not in the least. His voice is resonant, warm, rising from deep in his chest, and the songs Price and Foster have chosen give him all the room he needs to live and breathe in every line.
Those songs, mostly love songs—from old friends Willie Nelson, Sonny Throckmorton and Cindy Walker, from Stephen Foster even—add up to something bigger than the sum of their parts. If we listen with Cooper’s article in mind, we might note the presence of a cheating song and of a someday-you-may-just-walk-out-on-me song and wonder if those numbers too are secret handshakes, eloquent caresses of a shared history between husband and wife, but only if we are listening in such a biographically limited sense and, anyway, it’s none of our business.
Price keeps coming back to the same images: the beauty of his lover and the beauty of her love for him, the beauty of the world. And he returns as well to the same necessary, contradictory ideas: “forever,” “eternity,” “always” and yet so very little time. The inevitable end of life stands toe to toe with a promise of love with no end.
In “This Thing of Ours,” Price considers waking his lover “just to see you smile / And hold you gently to me…” He pauses then, to make sure we get the point. Then he makes it: “…for a little while.” So much beauty, so little time. There’s a message there, I think, to everyone one of us who is willing to hear it, and even if we weren’t married to the late and great Ray Price.
- The 2014 Country Music Hall of Fame inductees are:
Hank Cochran (Songwriter)
Mac Wiseman (Veteran Era)
Ronnie Milsap (Modern Era)
- Omnivore Recordings is holding a spring sale. Go get some music from Merle Haggard, Wanda Jackson, Buck Owens, Don Rich, and lots more.
- Noam Pikelny and Stuart Duncan are touring as a duo this summer.
- John Fullbright released a video – filmed at Willie Nelson’s ranch — for “Happy,” the opening track on his new record, Songs (out May 27). Fullbright also played a couple songs for Jam in the Van.
- Nickel Creek talked about their reunion in this Wall Street Journal article penned by Jim Fusilli.
- Headliners for this year’s Taste of Chicago Fest (July 9-13) include Emmylou Harris and Jeff Tweedy.
- Dolly Parton remains flawless. An excerpt from her speech at sister Stella’s Red Tent Women’s Conference: “Above everything else I’ve done, I’ve always said I’ve had more guts than I’ve got talent…I just had enough talents to carry me through. This is what I always wanted to do, and I’ve been through a lot. It ain’t all glamour — that is certainly true — but it’s been worth it for me. And above everything else, I have always tried.”
- Download a Felice Brothers sampler at NoiseTrade.
- The new Muse sampler features songs from John Fullbright and Luther Dickinson.
- Moot Davis’ “Goin’ in Hot” is available for free dollars today.
- CMT Edge posted Bradford Lee Folk’s “Trains Don’t Lie.”
- NPR is streaming The Milk Carton Kids’ live DVD.
- Here’s the newest installment of Quotable Country.
- Most Messed Up, The Old 97′s new record, is streaming at Amazon before its April 29 release.
- Jesse Winchester’s “Sham-A-Ling-Dong-Ding” is the American Songwriter Lyric of the Week.
- John Prine to Peter Cooper: “Most of the time, I’d rather go get a hotdog than write a song.”
- The Zac Brown Band will headline the inaugural Prairie Jam Music Festival in Winnipeg this August.
- The Bluegrass Situation posted Willie Watson’s new music video.
- Carrie Underwood is a Billboard Milestone Award finalist. She’s up against pop stars Ellie Goulding and OneRepublic.
- Grascal Danny Roberts will release a solo album called Nighthawk on May 20.
- Farce the Music posted the lyrics to Jerrod Niemann’s “Donkey.” It may sound like a FTM parody, but it’s not. Someone – several someones, actually — wrote this.
- Our pal Ben at Country Universe interviewed Jamie O’Neal.
- If you follow us on Twitter, you know we spend a fair amount of time pondering serious issues like, “What if Game of Thrones was set in Nashville?” Turns out that Michiel Huisman, who plays Liam on Nashville, left that show to become GoT’s new Daario Naharis, where he’ll sing less, but behead more. (If you don’t watch either of these shows, this blurb is probably gibberish. Just move along.)
- Jim Rooney has written a new book. In It for the Long Run: A Musical Oddity is out now via the University of Illinois Press.
- Mavis Staples and Regina Carter captivated a Chicago crowd with their take on American roots music.
- This week’s album releases (if you enjoy the content on E145, we’d sure appreciate it if you’d help support the site by purchasing your music through these affiliate links):
The Seldom Scene – Long Time…Seldom Scene
Black Prairie – Fortune
Rachele Lynae – Rachele Lynae
Keb’ Mo – BluesAmericana
After Jack – Echo
Magnolia Sisters – Love’s Lies
Rosanne Cash – Right or Wrong (reissue)
- And a very, very funny book:
- Kevin Sharp passed away on Saturday night due to “ongoing complications from past stomach surgeries and digestive issues.” He was 43. I can speak from personal experience that there are few folks on the planet that had a stronger passion for childhood cancer advocacy. Long after his hits “Nobody Knows,” “She’s Sure Taking It Well,” and “If You Love Somebody,” left the charts and radio, he was still campaigning tirelessly for the cause.
- Ashley Monroe is offering fans a free download of a new, acoustic version of “Weed Instead of Roses.”
- Jerrod Niemann’s “Drink to That All Night” hit Number One on Billboard’s country airplay chart.
- Rolling Stone Country will go live on June 1.
- Michelle Obama will guest star on the May 7 episode of Nashville.
- Chuck Dauphin interviewed Randy Houser (the new face of Eckrich deli meats and sausages) over at The 615.
- Nate Rau (the Tennessean) reports that a “collection of record labels sued Pandora this week in an effort to compel the digital music heavyweight to pay royalties to artists and rights holders when a pre-1972 song is played.”
- Sugarland’s Kristian Bush will do as his partner Jennifer Nettles did and release a solo album.
- Dave Paulson interviewed Kenny Loggins about the Blue Sky Riders.
- Neil Young released a surprise covers record called A Letter Home.
- Ottawa Country Music Hall of Famer Harry “Buster” Brown passed away at the age of 63.
- Thirty Tigers will release a new album from Greensky Bluegrass on September 9. It’ll be called If Sorrows Swim.
- Alanna Nash conducted an excellent interview of Rodney Crowell.
- Radio.com’s Annie Reuter interviewed Charlie Daniels about his new Bob Dylan tribute album, Off the Grid.
- Robert Bouchard, Gordon Stobbe, Cindy Church, and Sugartime have been named the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame’s newest inductees. The official ceremony will be held on September 13.
- My hometown paper, The Sacramento Bee, published a nice interview with Jon Pardi.
- Listen to “On Vinyl” from Josh Grider’s new album, Luck & Desire, which comes out next week.
- New music videos from the last week or two, with a couple of live videos thrown in for good measure:
Sturgill Simpson – “Turtles All the Way Down”
Gregg Allman and Jackson Browne – “Melissa”
The Shires – “Nashville Grey Skies”
The Del McCoury Band – “Misty” (Live at WAMU Bluegrass Country)
Solas – “Girls on the Line” (Live at WAMU Bluegrass Country)
Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road – “Living with the Shades Pulled Down”
Kyle Park – “Long Distance Relationship”
Holly Williams – “The Highway” (live at the Grand Ole Opry)
Marshall Dane – “Alcohol Abuse”
Jennifer Nettles – “Jealousy” (Ram Country Live)
Del Barber – “Living with a Long Way to Go”
Lera Lynn – “Lying in the Sun”
Lee Brice – “I Don’t Dance”
Cerys Matthews – “Only a Fool”
Krista Scoggins – “Shine”
Irene Kelley lives up to her reputation as a stellar artist and songwriter with her latest, the rootsy, grassy Pennsylvania Coal. Quality should be no surprise, since Kelley has been in demand on Music Row for decades for her sweet, pure sound and sought-after writing skills, with cuts by artists including Carl Jackson, Ricky Skaggs, Alan Jackson and Trisha Yearwood).
With this album, Kelley aims for the heart with friendly vocals and relevant material. She, along with her cowriters — the likes of Thomm Jutz, David Olney, Peter Cooper and Jon Weisberger, among others – exhibit a knack for approaching a common hook from a refreshing angle in songs such as “Feels Like Home” and “You Don’t Run Across My Mind.” The latter, co-written with Peter Cooper, forgoes the typical “who needs or even remembers you” theme for a rewarding spin that sets quite the opposite scene. It’s impossible not to empathize as Kelley croons, “You don’t run across my mind / You’re in there all the time / You don’t travel through my heart / You are not a moving part / Here and here you’ll stay / And though you’re far away / Years and years and still I find / You don’t run across my mind.”
In the title track, Kelley shares the true story of her plucky grandparents – Polish immigrants who toughed it out in the coal mines of Crabtree, Pennsylvania, to make a start for the family that would follow them. She continues to share memorable stories of life in the fast-paced “Rattlesnake Rattler,” the poignant “Sister’s Heart,” “Angels Around Her,” and “Garden of Dreams,.” A highlight for traditional bluegrassers will be the gospel-esque bonus track, “You Are Mine,” written and performed in tight, three-part harmony by Kelley and her daughters Justyna and Sara Jean.
Kelley has been a kindred, honeydew voice to bluegrass, Americana and country audiences for many years. This album makes perfect sense, especially for the former two camps.
George Strait’s Farewell Tour Grosses $72M; Carolyn Martin to Release Milton Brown Tribute Album; New Sturgill Simpson Video
- Dolly Parton has a work ethic that artists half her age could learn from. At 68, her days are jam-packed doing interviews, shooting music videos, and being delightful. I am exhausted just reading about her schedule.
- George Strait’s farewell tour is raking in the cash, grossing more than $72 million since January 2013.
- A few years back, record collector George Gimarc found Hank Williams’ Garden Spot Programs recorded for Naughton Farms in 1950, but due to the unusual size of the 16-inch discs, couldn’t play them until just a couple months ago. Thanks to Omnivore, these recordings will be available on CD next month, though you can get a sneak peek at them on Record Store Day.
- Sturgill Simpson to NPR’s Ann Powers on writing for his solid new album, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music: I just reached a point where the thought of writing and singing any more songs about heartache and drinking made me feel incredibly bored with music. It’s just not a headspace I occupy much these days. Nighttime reading about theology, cosmology, and breakthroughs in modern physics and their relationship to a few personal experiences I’ve had led to most of the songs on the album. NPR also posted the trippy new video for Simpson’s “Turtles All the Way Down.”
- Stephen Deusner interviewed Joan Osborne about her new album.
- Patty Griffin and John Hiatt are headlining the second annual Cross-Country Lines Festival in Franklin, Tennessee on May 31.
- Peter Cooper’s new column is about Western Swing Hall of Famer Carolyn Martin, who’s releasing a Milton Brown tribute record.
- Watch the video for “Beautiful Like My Mom (Support the Troops),” a hilariously terrible country song featured on last week’s episode of Parks & Rec.
- Willie Nelson will be inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame by fellow pot enthusiast Matthew McConaughey.
- The John Jorgensen Bluegrass Band played a few at Boulder’s Second Story Garage.
- On June 3, Real Gone Music will reissue Linda Martell’s Color Me Country on CD. (via press release)
- John Doe talks songwriting in a video interview for Acoustic Guitar.
- This is a mighty entertaining story about Garth Brooks recording a Todd Snider song for his Chris Gaines album.
- Shovels & Rope released a teaser for some new music they’ve got in the works.
- USAToday.com premiered Mississippi Rail Company’s “Chocolate Pie.”
- Hot Club of Cowtown played the “World News Now Polka.”
Tomorrow, vinyl merchants around the world are celebrating the seventh annual Record Store Day. It’s the biggest one to date, with more than 400 releases and reissues featuring everyone from Dave and Phil Alvin to Link Wray.
Here are a few RSD records that are on our wish list, along with – what are you hoping to get tomorrow?
This four-LP collection – out of print for 40 years – is a treasure trove of American folk and roots music, boasting an extensive track listing that includes Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, Jean Ritchie, and not one, but two blind bluesmen (Lemon Jefferson and Willie Johnson).
This one’s a seminal country album, so you probably already have it in one format or another. Buy it for your 20-year-old nephew who thinks the history of country duos begins with Brooks and Dunn.
It’s been 50 years since the release of Redding’s debut LP. There’s no better way to celebrate than by slapping this on your turntable and cranking up the volume. Trust us, your neighbors will love it. If they don’t, you should probably move someplace where people have better taste.
Only 500 copies were pressed, but hopefully you’ll be able to get your hands on this split 7″, featuring Jennings’ “My Baby Walks All Over Me” and Clark’s “It’s Nothing to Me.” It’s the first time these songs have been available on vinyl since their original release in the ’60s.
The Queen of Rockabilly is old enough to be your grandmother, but, as anyone who’s been to one of her live shows knows, she’s still got it. This 7”, produced by Shooter Jennings, includes “Funnel of Love” and “Shakin’ All Over,” both of which were recorded live in Chicago in 2012.
A couple months ago, Loveless told us that she wanted Kesha to cover her song “Head.” Here, Loveless deftly covers the pop singer’s “Blind.” The whole thing makes us wish these two would collaborate on an upcoming episode of CMT Crossroads.
Every year, Vanguard lets fans vote on the albums the label will reissue for Record Store Day. Sassy Mama is one of this year’s choices, along with albums from Doc Watson, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and Joan Baez.
Here’s an EP of previously unreleased music from a series of radio shows that Williams recorded 64 years ago. The full album is coming out next month, and it’s a dandy, but if you can’t wait that long, this’ll tide you over.
Nearly 60 years after this LP (Sun Records’ first) was first released, it’s getting remastered and reissued on blue vinyl.
Waylon was right: Bob Wills is still the king. This LP contains 10 previously unreleased recordings from Wills’ Tiffany Transcriptions, which were distributed to radio stations in the late ‘40s. A two-CD Tiffany Transcriptions collection will be released on April 29, because you can never have too much Western Swing.
Glen Campbell Moved Into Care Facility; Willie Nelson Earns Black Belt; New Study Examines Country Music and Socioeconomic Escapism
- Glen Campbell has been moved into an Alzheimer’s care facility.
- People.com premiered the music video for Easton Corbin’s “Clockwork.”
- Another new music video: Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road’s version of Merle Haggard’s “Living with the Shades Pulled Down.”
- Willie Nelson is cooler than you: the living legend will receive his fifth degree black belt in Gong Kwon Yu Sul on April 28.
- Here’s a new Southern Culture on the Skids song, “Party at My Trouse.” Turns out the band recently spent a little bit of time collaborating with Fred Schneider of The B-52s.
- Pete and Toshi Seeger will be celebrated at the Clearwater Festival this June. This year’s lineup includes Lucinda Williams, Tom Paxton, Tony Trischka, The Mavericks, and many others.
- Quit complaining about modern country music, complains Taste of Country.
- Brad Paisley will guest star on the season finale of Two and a Half Men, which airs May 8.
- The 615 premiered Mary Sarah’s collaboration with The Oak Ridge Boys from her new album, Bridges; listen to “Dream On” here.
- Billboard profiled Dee Jay Silver, who’s “part of what he calls the ‘G Thang’ generation, which grew up listening to Dr. Dre and Lil Wayne alongside Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Motley Crue, Krewella and others in a non-genre-specific way.”
- According to a study recently published in Psychology of Popular Media Culture, in difficult economic times, country music fans gravitate toward happier-sounding music. An excerpt from the abstract: “We [assessed] the musical and lyrical properties along with the sex and age of the artists who recorded the 63 songs to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Annual Country Charts between 1946 and 2008. In contrast to findings on pop songs, country songs of the year are lyrically more positive, musically upbeat, and use more happy-sounding major chords during difficult socioeconomic times. While older country musicians are more popular in difficult socioeconomic times, unlike pop performers, the country artists of the year are more likely to be females when the social and economic environment is threatening. We hypothesize these differences exist because unlike the middle-class audiences who consume sadder popular songs because they match their affective mood in times of recession and social threat, the more marginalized working-class listeners of country music use happier sounding songs from comforting female figures, like the wives and mothers portrayed in country songs, as a catharsis in difficult socioeconomic times.”
- Here’s a neat story about how writer Quinten Collier came to collaborate with Rodney Crowell on “Somebody’s Shadow.”
2015 ACM Awards Tickets Sell Out; Jim VanCleve Leaves Mountain Heart; Hellbound Glory Announces New Album
- Rod Kennedy, who founded the Kerrville Folk Festival in 1972, passed away on Monday. He was 84.
- 70,000 tickets for next year’s ACM Awards and ACM’s “Party for a Cause” event, which will be held in Arlington, Texas at AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Park, respectively, sold out in 18 minutes.
- Zac Brown Band has officially added an eighth member, bassist Matt Mangano. The supersized band will begin their Great American Road Trip tour on May 24 in Lincoln, Nebraska.
- Barry Mazor wrote about the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s new expansion for The Wall Street Journal.
- Producer Fred Foster discusses Ray Price’s final recording sessions in this article Chuck Dauphin wrote for The 615.
- Eric Walters of Paste counts down Nickel Creek’s 11 best songs.
- Founding member Jim VanCleve has left Mountain Heart after 16 years and one bout of Dengue Fever. All in all…not a bad run.
- Franklin, Tennessee is hosting the ten-day Americana Experience from May 22-June 1.
- Actor Harry Dean Stanton recorded a soundtrack for the documentary Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction. The album (out June 3 on Omnivore) includes covers of “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” “Tennessee Whiskey,” “He’ll Have to Go,” and more.
- Hellbound Glory will release a five-song album called LV on May 13.
- If it weren’t for the Manhattan Project, we wouldn’t have The Oak Ridge Boys.
- Ronnie Dunn talks about his new record in this video interview.
- Out July 1: The Levon Helm Band’s Midnight Ramble Sessions, Vol. 3. (via press release)
- Nate Chinen of The New York Times reviewed Ashley Monroe’s recent NYC tour stop. (Down here in Virginia, Monroe tore it up last Sunday with one of the best shows I’ve seen all year; if she comes to your town, go. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to hear the story about Monroe and Miranda Lambert writing songs in a Smoky Mountain cabin.)
- For their new record, Put the Needle Down, The Secret Sisters finished a half-done Bob Dylan song. Listen to “Dirty Lie” here.
- There’s a lengthy feature on Carlene Carter in American Songwriter.
- Check out Bettye LaVette’s Mountain Stage performance.
- CMT Edge posted Lera Lynn’s new “Lying in the Sun” video.
- Listen to “Learn It All Again Tomorrow” from Ben and Ellen Harper’s forthcoming record, Childhood Home, which comes out May 6.
- Leeann Ward: I was just thinking that I wished Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio would make an album together. I haven't watched …
- bob: Enjoyed the Himes article on classic baseball songs. Thanks. Himes also mentioned some books. To those he noted I would …
- luckyoldsun: Well it probably wasn't Larry Gatlin.
- A.B.: Anyone else think Marty Stuart might be part of Lakehouse Holdings that bought the Johnny Cash/Barry Gibb property?
- David Cantwell: Thanks, Andrew. It almost seems inevitable that the greatest singers--Sinatra and George Jones, say--just don't sing so well at the …
- Andrew: Very well put. I don't remember the last time an album gave me chills right from the opening note quite …
- TX Music Jim: All valid choices. I will forever hold out the hope that Gram Parsons, Jerry Jeff Walker and Gary Stewart will …
- Leeann Ward: Oops...the link: http://www.engine145.com/summer-lovin-ronnie-milsap-looks-back-new-album/
- Leeann Ward: Yes, great choices for inductees! In Milsap's case, I guess if you say it to Juli Thanki, it will happen!:): Do …
- Paul W Dennis: Delighted to see "The Voice With A Heart" being inducted - he is my all-time favorite bluegrass vocalist. Hank Cochran …