CMHOF to Open Tanya Tucker Exhibit; Lester Flatt Honored with Historical Marker; Reba to Headline “Dawn Sears and Friends” Benefit Show
- The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will open a new exhibit, Tanya Tucker: Strong Enough to Bend, on November 14. It’ll run through May 2015.
- David Cantwell’s No Depression piece on Lee Ann Womack is lengthy, but well worth your time.
- For one of his remaining Tennessean columns, Peter Cooper wrote about Scott B. Bomar, author of Southbound: An Illustrated History of Southern Rock.
- Get your first look at Robert Earl Keen Honey Pils; the new brew made its debut Wednesday in San Antonio.
- Tony Joe White joined The Foo Fighters to play “Polk Salad Annie” on Letterman the other night.
- On November 30, Depot Square in Gallatin, Tennessee will host the “Dawn Sears and Friends” benefit concert to fund lung cancer research at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. Reba’s headlining, and Riders in the Sky and, of course, The Time Jumpers are also performing.
- Listen to Bob Dylan and The Band on the previously unreleased “Dress It Up, Better Have It All” from forthcoming Basement Tapes box set, due out on November 4.
- Kix Brooks on contemporary country radio: “Obviously there’s a lot of repetitiveness as far as lyrical content and melodic content…But I’ve been here 30 years now. Even at that time, the same exact conversation was going on that is going on now. People were complaining about [country] being too this or too that, or everything sounds the same. Any time you have something fresh, something new going on, there is always going to be pushback.”
- Actor Wrenn Schmidt (Boardwalk Empire, The Americans) will play Bobbie Jett in the upcoming Hank Williams biopic. James DuMont, Josh Pais, and David Krumholtz have signed on to the film as well.
- John Moreland has launched a fundraising campaign for his next album.
- Alec Wilkinson of The New Yorker gushes over Chris Eldridge and Julian Lage.
- The town of Sparta, Tennessee, is honoring Lester Flatt with a historical marker (written by Barry Mazor), which will be placed at Oaklawn Cemetery, where Flatt is buried.
- The lineup for the fourth annual Red River Songwriters’ Festival (in Red River, New Mexico, January 22-24) looks killer: Jeff Hanna, Matraca Berg, Walt Wilkins, Lori McKenna, Drew Kennedy, Jason Eady, and more.
- Pink and Dallas Green discuss their folky collaboration, You + Me, in this Entertainment Weekly interview.
- Not one artist’s album has gone platinum this year, reports Forbes. (The soundtrack for Frozen, that movie your four-year-old niece is obsessed with, has sold more than three million copies, though.)
- Here’s JD McPherson’s version of “Hillbilly Blues” to take you into the weekend. He’s joined by Los Straitjackets’ Eddie Angel.
Earl Thomas Conley turns 73 today. The birthday boy has been getting some recent mentions in the media following Blake Shelton’s namedropping the ‘80s superstar in his new “Good Country Song” and describing Somewhere Between Right and Wrong as his favorite album of all time. Conley released 10 studio albums and charted 18 Number One singles over the course of the 1980s. Is that enough to earn an induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame? Here are five of my favorite ETC tracks; what are yours?
This song was on his first Greatest Hits album, which was released in 1985; the single was also made into this cool black and white video.
This tale of having to settle for the one you’re with is quite possibly the epitome of classic country gold.
How do you make an Earl Thomas Conley song even better? (Or anything, for that matter?) Add a healthy dose of Emmylou Harris.
This was Conley’s last Number One, released in 1989, not long before he took a seven-year recording hiatus for most of the 1990s.
Conley co-wrote this one with Randy Scruggs. The pair also wrote Conley’s hits “Chance of Lovin’ You,” “Don’t Make It Easy for Me,” and “Your Love’s on the Line,” to name just a few.
- John A. Brown, one of the two men convicted in the 1973 murders of Stringbean and Estelle Akeman, has been granted parole. The Tennessean reports that Brown, who had been up for parole six times prior to yesterday’s hearing, when he appeared “before five of the seven members of the Tennessee Board of Parole. Four of them voted to grant his request for parole, enough to secure his release.” Brown and the other man convicted of the murders – his cousin, Doug Brown — were both sentenced to two life terms; Doug Brown died in 2003.
- T Bone Burnett will present Rosanne Cash with a Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award this evening.
- JD McPherson’s got some new music. Listen to his take on “I Wish You Would” from his new EP, Warm Covers.
- Banjo player Glenn Gibson has left Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper. The band is currently in the process of finding a replacement.
- Jewly Hight wrote a fine Nashville Scene feature on Lee Ann Womack, who discusses her new record and throws a little bit of shade: “‘It’s not kids’ music, you know?’ she says. ‘And it’s not me trying to be a kid either. It’s me dealing with issues grownups deal with. I don’t drink out of paper cups anymore. I used to. I had my share of that. But not anymore. Or I don’t drink out of Solo cups, I guess, is what I’m saying.’”
- Adam Hood will release his fourth full-length album, Welcome to the Big World, on November 4. The record’s first single, “Trying to Write a Love Song,” came out earlier this year. (via press release)
- The Gibson Brothers appear on an upcoming episode of Bluegrass Underground on PBS. Here’s a sneak peek.
- Willie Nelson appears on Engelbert Humperdinck’s new cover of “Make You Feel My Love.” Shelby Lynne, Kenny Rogers, Johnny Reid, and Wynonna also guest on Humperdinck’s new album.
- Check out Dierks Bentley, Jon Randall, and Brett James playing a stripped-down version of “I Hold On” for an upcoming episode of PBS program Front and Center.
- The friendship developing between Rodney Crowell and Tom Hiddleston as the latter prepares to play Hank Williams in an upcoming movie is the best.
- Barry Mazor discusses Angaleena Presley’s American Middle Class in his newest Wall Street Journal column.
- Jason Aldean’s Old Boots, New Dirt debuts atop the Billboard Album Chart, selling 278,000 copies in its first week. (This is the third-best opening week for 2014; with the first and second slots going to Coldplay and Eric Church, respectively.)
- Spend your lunch break watching Rodney Hayden play Merle Haggard songs for free. (Tip well and get an EP.)
Trisha Yearwood Reveals PrizeFighter Cover; Wilco Box Set Due in November; Stream Little Big Town, Devon Allman Albums
- Trisha Yearwood shared the PrizeFighter album cover on her Facebook page. She looks great, but I’m not sure that’s what her corner meant when they told her to keep her hands up.
- Yearwood, Garth Brooks, Kacey Musgraves, Reba, and Ronnie Dunn will all participate in Kelly Clarkson’s forthcoming benefit concert, Miracle on Broadway, on December 20. Proceeds will go to several Nashville-area charities.
- Vince Gill, Toby Keith, Bobby Braddock, and Bob McDill are among the songwriters being considered for induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The writers who get chosen will be formally inducted into the Hall next June.
- Bluesman Odell Harris has passed away, according to AmericanBluesScene.com. He was 75.
- Little Big Town’s Pain Killer is streaming at iTunes.
- Shakey Graves played “Dearly Departed” on Conan last night. (warning: autoplay)
- Canadian roots rock band Elliott BROOD’s new album is streaming at Relix.com.
- Toby Keith released a new single; “Drunk Americans” (listen here) was written by Brandy Clark, Bob DiPiero, and Shane McAnally.
- Check out the track listings for forthcoming Wilco releases What’s Your 20: Essential Tracks and four-disc box set Alpha Mike Foxtrot: Rare Tracks 1994-2014. Both of these collections will be released November 17.
- Larry Cordle, Dean Dillon, Jamey Johnson, Carl Jackson, and Don Schlitz are among the 200+ artists slated to appear at the Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival, which will be held at various Gulf Coast venues from November 6-16. This year the festival is celebrating the life of producer/songwriter Larry Butler with a tribute show on the opening night.
- Sara Evans will appear on the October 29 episode of Nashville.
- Relix.com premiered Devon Allman’s new record, Ragged & Dirty.
- Steelism released a video for “Marfa Lights.”
- Listen to The New Basement Tapes’ recording of “Spanish Mary.”
- Hunter Hayes has reportedly reworked his new single, “Tattoo,” to make it more pop for UK audiences.
- Lera Lynn released a video for “Standing on the Moon.”
- Folk Alley’s streaming five hours of spooky music to get you in the mood for Halloween. (If you don’t want to listen to five hours of spooky folk, just listen to Bela Fleck’s wonderful take on “Danse Macabre.”)
- Wynonna announced the “Wynonna and Friends: Stories and Song” tour, which will kick off in January.
- Brad Paisley has teamed up with Boot Barn to develop his own clothing line called Moonshine Spirit. The collection will be available in stores and online beginning December 1. (via press release)
CMHOF Announces “Dylan, Cash & The Nashville Cats” Exhibit; Glen Campbell Music Video Released; New Albums
- On March 27, 2015, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will open a new exhibit called Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City. The exhibit, which runs through December 31, 2016, will focus on the “many rock and folk artists who came to Nashville in the late 1960s and early ’70s to work with the city’s versatile, hotshot session musicians, the ‘Nashville Cats.’”
- Watch Glen Campbell’s moving video for his final song, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You.”
- Hot chicken purveyor/George Jones’ road manager/club owner Pee Wee Johnson passed away last Thursday at the age of 84.
- Gram Parsons’ “$1000 Wedding” is the American Songwriter Lyric of the Week.
- At last month’s Americana Fest, Yep Roc Records taped a bunch of artists at RCA Studio A. Download those sessions via NoiseTrade.
- In other Studio A news, the recent deal that saved the building from becoming condos was spearheaded by current studio co-manager Sharon Corbitt-House. Some folks want to send her to the spa for the day as thanks for her part in preserving this piece of music history.
- E145 pal Peter Cooper is leaving the Tennessean to become a writer-editor at the Country Music Hall of Fame.
- Quotable Country is, as always, a must-read.
- Kacey Musgraves, Eric Church, and Florida Georgia Line have been added to the CMA Awards’ lineup of performers.
- The Avett Brothers will return to the studio with Rick Rubin in November.
- On November 17, Omnivore Recordings will release an expanded, 20th anniversary edition of The Old 97s’ Hitchhike to Rhome. (via press release)
- Learn how to make a cigar box guitar from The Art of Manliness.
- Lee Ann Womack announced a handful of concert dates; she’ll begin her mini-tour on Thursday in Tucson and wrap it up a month later in DC.
- Angaleena Presley played a few songs from her new album, American Middle Class, for CMT.
- Zac Brown joined The Foo Fighters on Letterman to cover Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.”
- IBMA Executive Director Nancy Cardwell has resigned from her position following the board’s recent vote of no confidence. Cardwell’s done an amazing job with the organization — just look at the success of World of Bluegrass in Raleigh — and we wish her the best in her future endeavors.
- Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn discuss their new album with CMT Edge’s Stephen Deusner.
- This week’s album releases:
Angaleena Presley – American Middle Class
Bob Seger – Ride Out
Chip Taylor – The Little Prayers Trilogy
Devon Allman – Ragged & Dirty
Dirty River Boys – Dirty River Boys
Florida Georgia Line – Anything Goes
Frazey Ford – Indian Ocean
High Valley – County Line
Jon Weisberger featuring The Lonesome Heirs – I’ve Been Mostly Awake
Jonathan Byrd – You Can’t Outrun the Radio
Lonesome River Band – Turn on a Dime
Matthew Ryan – Boxers
New American Farmers – The Farmacology Sessions
Pauline Andres – All Them Ghosts
Phil Leadbetter – The Next Move
Raul Malo – Around the World
Rhett Walker Band – Here’s to the Ones
Sallie Ford – Slap Back
Spinney Brothers – Tried & True
Swon Brothers – Swon Brothers
Various Artists – An Americana Christmas
You + Me – rose ave.
- And some books:
Neil Young – Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life & Cars
Also, Mark Zwonitzer’s fantastic Carter Family book, Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone, is finally available on Kindle.
Cale Tyson is barely old enough to (legally) drink, but he can sing a country weeper like a man who’s been pickling his liver and feeding pocket change to a dive bar’s jukebox since the ‘70s. On October 28, the 23-year-old will release a fine new EP called Cheater’s Wine, the follow-up to last year’s High on Lonesome.
Backed by Brett Resnick’s pedal steel and Robert Ellis on guitar, Tyson channels masters of heartbreak like Gary Stewart, Mel Street, and Johnny Paycheck on the six original songs of Cheater’s Wine.
This morning we’re pleased to premiere a track from the new record. Here’s “Borrowed Love (To Go).”
American Academy of Arts & Sciences to Induct Ralph Stanley; Alan Jackson Plays HOF Artist-in-Residence Show; Plowboy to Release Chuck Mead/Paul Burch 7″
- Ralph Stanley will formally be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences tomorrow alongside fellow…fellows Al Pacino, Annie Proulx, Robert Ballard and many more. (via press release)
- To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Lower Broadway revival, on November 11, Plowboy Records is going to release a limited edition 7” with cuts from Chuck Mead and Paul Burch’s Plowboy releases. (via press release)
- Watch Sturgill Simpson playing “Long White Line” at RCA Studio A.
- Kay West, Jewly Hight, and Eric T. Parker recapped the first of Alan Jackson’s Artist-in-Residence performances at the Country Music Hall of Fame. The audience at that show also got a sneak peek at some new music, as Jackson debuted a song called “Angels and Alcohol,” written by his nephew, Adam Wright.
- Florida Georgia Line has three songs that rhyme “party” and “Bacardi,” which seems like a lot, even for them. Here’s the full Billboard cover story on the unlikable duo.
- Martina McBride performs R&B classic “My Babe” on the newest episode of Mountain Stage.
- Check out Luke Winslow-King’s new video for “Swing That Thing.”
- Edward Morris of CMT.com put together a playlist of 15 songs about the moon.
- Eliot Bronson’s self-titled, Dave Cobb-produced album will be released on October 21. Listen to one of the songs, “River Runs Dry,” at CMT Edge.
- Like honky tonk? Listen to Jack Grelle.
- On November 3, ABC will air Countdown to the CMA Awards: 15 Songs that Changed Country Music with Robin Roberts. Kacey Musgraves, Hunter Hayes, The Band Perry, and Brad Paisley are among the artists slated to appear on the hour-long special.
- Here’s Lindi Ortega’s cover of “Stand By Me.”
- A two-CD, one-DVD deluxe version of George Strait’s The Cowboy Rides Away will be released November 10.
- Chris Shiflett & The Dead Peasants covered Justin Townes Earle’s “Look the Other Way” for the upcoming two-disc salute to Bloodshot Records, While No One Was Looking.
- It’s wonderful to see Dawn Sears, who’s been battling cancer for some time now, onstage with The Time Jumpers again.
Blake Shelton Debuts Atop Billboard 200; Stevie Ray Vaughan on Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Ballot; Nathan Stanley Wins Dove Award
- Loretta Lynn shares the story of her first Opry appearance in this Tennessean video. (warning: autoplay)
- The Tennessean also assembled a photo gallery of Lynn in the 1960s.
- Paste’s Jon Waterhouse put together “The Music Geek’s Travel Guide to Memphis.”
- The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Bill Withers are on the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ballot. You can vote here.
- Blake Shelton’s Bringing Back the Sunshine debuted atop the Billboard 200; it is his second album to do so.
- A marker (written by Barry Mazor) honoring fiddler Hoyt Ming, founder of Hoyt Ming & His Pep Steppers, will be unveiled on the Mississippi Country Music Trail this morning.
- Check out this Nashville Scene feature on East Nashville Radio; you can stream the station online (warning: autoplay) or via smartphone app.
- Robbie Fulks wrote a lovely blog post remembering the late Lou Whitney.
- The Dirty River Boys’ self-titled record is streaming on The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog.
- The Dove Awards were held in Nashville earlier this week. Nathan Stanley won Bluegrass Album of the Year for Every Mile, while Dailey & Vincent’s recording of “Won’t It Be Wonderful There” got the Bluegrass Song of the Year trophy.
- Jon Weisberger wrote a nice piece for The Nashville Scene on Ralph Stanley.
- CMT Edge premiered singer-songwriter Matthew Fowler’s “Everything That I Could.”
- Doug Seegers, homeless busker turned Sweden’s newest country star, was featured on NPR.
- Last night I caught Rodney Hayden’s Stageit show, where he played a few tunes from his solid new EP, Cowboy Songs. He’s going to do another streaming show on Saturday afternoon if you want to hear live music in the pants-optional environment of your own home.
- Larry Cordle’s All-Star Duets album, which has been delayed for months, will finally be released in November. It includes collaborations with Garth Brooks, Alison Krauss, Trisha Yearwood, Dierks Bentley, Del McCoury, and more.
- The Academy of Country Music and CBS Watch have teamed up to release a special edition, 100-page magazine celebrating George Strait.
- Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis recently played a couple songs in the WAMU Bluegrass Country studios. Here’s “Leavin'” from Cheater’s Game.
Stuart Duncan Named CMHOF Nashville Cat; Aubrey Preston Reveals Plans for RCA Studio A; Lone Bellow Debut New Song
- On November 1, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will celebrate Stuart Duncan as part of its “Nashville Cats” series. The event will be live-streamed on the HOF website.
- Zac Brown Band will release a greatest hits album on November 10. (via press release)
- Luke Bryan will participate in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” on October 9, a date which will henceforth be known as “Farce the Music Christmas.”
- In Real Christmas news, Farmer Jason, the kid-friendly alter-ego of Jason Ringenberg, released a holiday album that sounds like a whole lot of fun.
- Sonny Curtis shares the story behind his song, “I Fought the Law.”
- An unknown person paid more than $37,000 for Willie Nelson’s braids, which were recently sold at an auction of Waylon Jennings’ belongings. A foolish purchase, if you ask me: if you’re going to pay that much for hair, at least get strands with intact roots so you can amass your own Willie Nelson clone army.
- The Lone Bellow have released a song from their next album, due in early 2015. Listen to “Then Came the Morning” here.
- This is a fine piece on songwriter Travis Meadows, whose songs have been hits for Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Jake Owen, and others.
- Senate candidate Rick Weiland is attempting to attract South Dakota voters with his version of the ubiquitous “Wagon Wheel,” which he’s called “Big Wheel.” Sample lyric: “I’m running for the Senate, but I ain’t a big wheel / I don’t have an RV, just my automobile / Hey, no one’s bought me.” Well, at least he’s a better singer than Bernie Sanders.
- Aubrey Preston on his future plans for the RCA Studio A building: “It’s real early in our process of discovering exactly what we bought, and listening closely to the talented preservation people who can help us understand the obstacles. My general way of going about things in the past has been to follow a path of pure preservation…There are things you want to do to update them, but in both of those situations, and in general, try to take the most pure path we can take, yet still kind of update the property to make it economically vibrant. If I was guessing right now, I would say we would try to make the property look and feel a lot like it did in 1965, and of course this will involve getting pictures from the archives. We understand RCA and New York [have archives], and there are other people who have a lot of pictures. As some of those things come forward and we understand what the building looked like in 1965, when it was opened, that will be very important to how we guide the property.”
- CMT Edge premiered singer-songwriter Kelly Pardekooper’s video for “She Moves.”
- There was a nice feature on Marty Stuart in The New York Times the other day.
- Here’s a neat little map of some of Woody Guthrie’s old New York City haunts.
- Watch Trampled By Turtles’ live version of “Wild Animals.”
- Dierks Bentley recently played a pop-up show in Annapolis as part of Vevo’s GO Show series.
- On October 28, Simon & Schuster will release the thousand-page Bob Dylan book The Lyrics: Since 1962. The Wall Street Journal reports that the book, which will retail for $200, was a “collaboration between Mr. Dylan and a group of editors led by Boston University professor Sir Christopher Ricks. It will trace the development of the song lyrics over the years, from original compositions to later revisions in recorded songs and live performances.”
- Tom Douglas made a wonderful speech when he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame last weekend. Watch it here.
Springsteen’s iconic Born in the U.S.A. turns 30 this year. Last month, Lightning Rod Records paid tribute to The Boss by releasing this track-by-track Americana salute to his multiplatinum record, stripping the synthesizers and rock n’ roll swagger in favor of acoustic arrangements that hew closer to Nebraska.
The album begins with promise, as Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires deliver a striking version of “Born in the U.S.A.” With Shires’ haunting fiddle and Isbell’s quiet, yet intense vocals that emphasize Springsteen’s wrenching lyrics in a way that the original, arena rock anthem doesn’t (we all know at least one goober who puts this classic Bruce song about a disaffected, working class Vietnam veteran on his or her “Patriotic Jams” playlist every Fourth of July). It’s by far the best song of the record.
There are a handful of other strong covers punctuating the track listing: Quaker City Nighthawks’ enthusiasm is infectious on “Darlington County,” which they’ve turned into a loose, rollicking Southern rocker, and Holly Williams’ take on “No Surrender” transforms the song’s chorus from a vow of defiance to a wistful ache (her recording is similar to a slow, acoustic version of the song that Springsteen has occasionally played live). Joe Pug’s sparse, melancholy “Downbound Train” is another highlight.
However, much of Dead Man’s Town does not live up to its potential. Too often it drifts into Genericana, as otherwise solid artists suck the soul out of songs like “Bobby Jean,” “Working on the Highway,” and “Cover Me,” delivering half-hearted versions of these classic songs; it’s almost as though removing the synthesizers and radio-friendly rock arrangements also stripped the music of its intensity. The result is an album that sounds like great in theory, but in reality, it’s more miss than hit.
- Arlene: I'd have included "Omie Wise." Doc Watson's is the version I'm familiar with but I think it's been recorded by …
- luckyoldsun: I think the number one country murder ballad is "Frankie and Johnny"--by Jimmie. Also, how about "Delia's Gone" from Harry Belafonte …
- Juli Thanki: Colloquial use of "fantastic" as a synonym for "excellent" dates back to the 1930s. And if it's good enough for …
- Paul W Dennis: I think "Banks of The Ohio", "Miller's Cave" and "It's Nothing to Me" are far creepier than several of the …
- Paul W Dennis: The Hight article is interesting, although I don't know that I would describe it as fantastic, but then I know …
- Dana M: I'm actually excited to hear a new Reba album. As for the Alan Jackson tour, I hope he announces Canadian …
- nm: Agreed. A good job by three very smart women.
- Deremy Jylan: The Hight piece is tremendous reading.
- Juli Thanki: Much like the music of Aldean and FGL, Michelob Ultra is favored by college kids and too much exposure will …
- Tom: ...michelob ultra seems to be a brew from hell.