- Some jerkwad stole ten of Radney Foster’s guitars and an amp from a locked storage facility. Six instruments have already been recovered.
- Barry Mazor’s new Wall Street Journal column looks at the five artists nominated for the Americana Music Association’s Emerging Artist of the Year Award: Valerie June, Parker Millsap, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Sturgill Simpson, and Hurray for the Riff Raff.
- Speaking of Simpson, some folks were upset that the lyrics of the song he performed on Conan the other day included a couple “goddamns.” Simpson took to his Facebook page to respond: [Since] I’m self-funding/self-releasing my art instead of shooting for ACM awards and taking it up the ass from the music row man, I have the right to write and sing and say whatever I choose just as you have the right to not buy or listen to my music and stay away from my page if you don’t like it.
- Steven Hyden of Grantland asks, “Can Garth Brooks Really Make a Comeback?”
- The Birthplace of Country Music Museum opens a new exhibit called “The Carter Family: Lives and Legacies” today.
- Cale Tyson will release a new EP called Cheater’s Wine on October 28.
- On October 14, New West Records will release An Americana Christmas, featuring Robert Ellis (covering “Pretty Paper”), Valerie June (“Winter Wonderland”), and more.
- Two weeks later, Darius Rucker releases Home for the Holidays.
- Johnny Cash’s black 1970 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow is going up for auction at Barrett-Jackson in Vegas later this month.
- Song premiere: Lucinda Williams’ version of JJ Cale’s “Magnolia.” It’ll be on Williams’ forthcoming album, Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone.
- Here’s a nice feature on Elizabeth Cook, though sadly she does reveal that she and Tim Carroll are divorcing.
- Toby Keith was allegedly too drunk to perform at his Saturday night concert in Indiana. Saving Country Music has the scoop.
- Folk Alley premiered Eliza Gilkyson’s new video for “Fast Freight.”
- Clear Channel is now iHeartMedia.
- Peter Cooper on Tom T. Hall: He’s an absolute, total badass. He’s in the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and that’s not nearly enough. We songwriters should build him a gleaming marble statue and then tear it down because it can’t come close to conveying the magnitude of the man. Or, at the very least, we should listen, deeply and often, and curse him for finding everything we seek.
- NPR.org will livestream the Americana Honors and Awards Ceremony tomorrow night.
- Here’s the new lyric video for Will Hoge’s “Middle of America.”
- Amazon currently has 68 free country and bluegrass songs for you to download, including recordings by Balsam Range, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Robbie Fulks, Whitey Morgan & The 78s, Depression-era string band The Red Fox Chasers, and more.
- Yahoo is going to live stream a Drive-By Truckers concert on September 18 at 11 p.m. ET. (warning: autoplay)
- Rolling Stone premiered Angaleena Presley’s “Grocery Store.”
- Here’s half a dozen new Kenny Chesney songs.
- Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, and Blake Shelton have been confirmed as performers for the CMA Awards, as though there was any doubt about that.
- Lera Lynn played two songs from her new record, The Avenues, for Relix.
- This week’s album releases:
Annalise Emerick – Field Notes
The Earls of Leicester – The Earls of Leicester
Mike Auldridge, Jerry Douglas, and Rob Ickes – Three Bells
Jesse Winchester – A Reasonable Amount of Trouble
Kevin Lee Florence – Given
Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice – Trouble Follows Me
Casey Berry – Long Way Down
Nu-Blu – All the Way
George Strait – The Cowboy Rides Away: Live from AT&T Stadium
Mike Farris – Shine for All the People
Sid Griffin – The Trick is to Breathe
Ben Rabb – Until It’s Gone
Steelism – 615 to Fame
Tim McGraw – Sundown Heaven Town
Moira Smiley & VOCO – Laughter Out of Tears
Various Artists – Dead Man’s Town: A Tribute to Born in the U.S.A.
- And a documentary:
- George Hamilton IV suffered a heart attack last Saturday. He is recovering in a Nashville area hospital.
- Billy Bob Thornton’s band, The Boxmasters, have been signed to 101 Ranch Records and will release a new single later this year, with a double album and tour planned for early 2015. They join Mark Collie on the label.
- Ray Charles comes in at No. 13 on CMT’s All-Time Top 40, a countdown of the most influential artists in history chosen by country stars themselves.
- Peter Cooper spoke with Jerry Douglas about the Dobro great’s forthcoming projects, The Earls of Leicester and Three Bells (with Rob Ickes and the late Mike Auldridge).
- People premiered the new Barbra Streisand and Blake Shelton duet, “I’d Want It to Be You.” The song can be found on Streisand’s new album, Partners.
- The serendipitous C.M. Wilcox posted a new Quotable Country column at Country California.
- Listen to Kellie Pickler’s debut as an anthropomorphic tuber in this trailer for VeggieTales: Beauty and the Beet.
- Carlene Carter will be joining John Mellencamp on an 80-date North American tour early in 2015.
- Maddie & Tae will release their debut EP on November 4; the duo also performed on Letterman last week.
- Our pal Stephen Deusner counted down 10 essential Ryan Adams songs for CMT Edge.
- Soon you’ll be able to own Lady Antebellum-branded bed and bath linens.
- Chuck Dauphin introduces us to The Pfeiffer Twins. The duo’s new album, Nobody’s Puppet, is pretty intriguing.
- The Tennessean’s Cindy Watts interviewed Tim McGraw about Sundown Heaven Town.
- Josh Turner unveiled his new single, “Lay Low,” via Rolling Stone Country.
- Rolling Stone Country also counted down Johnny Cash’s “11 Coolest Cover Songs.”
- New music videos and a couple live performances from the past week or so:
Holly Williams – “Waiting on June” (NPR Performance)
Zoe Muth – “Lungs” (Live at WAMU’s Bluegrass Country)
Frankie Ballard – “Sunshine & Whiskey”
Lee Ann Womack – “The Way I’m Livin’”
Old Crow Medicine Show – “Sweet Amarillo” (Live @ CMT)
Greensky Bluegrass – “Burn Them” (for CMT’s Concrete Country)
Crow Moses – “Horse Heaven Hills”
The Roosevelts – “Cold Sheets”
Kayla Adams – “Sober & Sorry”
Sam Riggs – “Hold On and Let Go”
Erica Lane – “Burden”
The Mastersons – “Closer to You”
Field Report – “Home (Leave the Lights On)”
Blake Shelton – “Neon Light”
“Most commercial country singers don’t make records like this,” says Lee Ann Womack of her new, stone-cold country album, The Way I’m Livin’ (out September 23), her first solo project since 2008, and, after spending a decade on MCA Nashville, her first release for Sugar Hill Records.
Produced by husband Frank Liddell, The Way I’m Livin’ is perhaps Womack’s finest album, one that’s unlike any she’s made before. Backed by a stellar band that includes Paul Franklin, Mac McAnally, Glenn Worf, and Matt Chamberlain, Womack covers gems penned by contemporary singer-songwriters like Brennen Leigh, Hayes Carll, Bruce Robison, and Mando Saenz and delivers a feverish version of “Tomorrow Night in Baltimore,” a Kenny Price song that Roger Miller took to No. 11 in 1971. It’s the record she’s always wanted to make, and, after the frustrations of the last several years post-Call Me Crazy, it’s rejuvenated her passion for her music. “While I’m holding on to tradition in some sense, I also feel like I’m paving a new road, at least for myself,” she explains. “It’s just an exciting time.”
We recently got the chance to speak with Womack about The Way I’m Livin’, her relationship with Maya Angelou, and her jam-packed upcoming schedule, which includes a gig co-hosting the IBMA Awards, a performance with the Del McCoury Band at Wide Open Bluegrass in Raleigh, and forthcoming tour dates.
How did you choose the songs for this record?
We were just looking for songs that we loved. It just turns out that those are the kinds of songs that I’m drawn to, songs that were written to be performed and not pitched. And “Tomorrow Night in Baltimore,” I was drawn to that because it was a little weird. How many country music songs are there about guys obsessed with strippers?
Not enough. Hearing the song sung by a woman gives it a new twist.
I love doing guy songs anyway. Half the time, I don’t even change the pronouns or anything.
You’ve got a fantastic band on here, with musicians like Paul Franklin and Mac McAnally. How’d you all work up the arrangements?
Frank was more in charge of that, but we wanted to get away from the standard approach on Music Row and have a group of players come in who didn’t work together on three sessions a day, five days a week. Of course, we’ve all known each other for years, but this band was a new grouping.
When you have players of that caliber and you all start talking through the songs and start talking about where you want to go as an artist and musically how you’d like things to sound – and we were camped out in the studio together for several days doing that – it comes together smoothly when they’re that good.
What was the recording process like?
We recorded it live. It was very much like a band rather than being so orchestrated, “Okay, we’re going to make a record now.”
It was more, “Let’s just sing through this and see what happens.” Then we’d talk about it and maybe someone would say, “I think I’m going to change guitars; I think the strings on this other one would fit the mood of the song better.” All those kinds of things.
Is that how you’ve done your previous albums?
It was somewhat like it, and I’ve worked with some of these musicians before, but this particular group of musicians had not worked together in this configuration before. That made it a little different. For instance, on “Fly,” deciding to just have me and Mac do the song, when I’ve suggested things like that in the past for commercial country records, the producer acts like he’s going to have a coronary. It’s not a bizarre things to do, to just have a guitar and vocal or piano and vocal on a record, but they think that once they get those musicians in the studio, everybody needs to be on everything and then you’ve got 15 guys in from the downbeat all the way through the outro and you didn’t really need all that, you know?
Making this record was a time when everybody was really thinking about what the songs needed, not so much what they were going to play on and get paid for at the end of the day, and the producer wasn’t worried about the musicians not wanting to come back and work for me if they didn’t get used on everything.
That must have been very refreshing.
It was so much more fun.
I think country music has been more progressive than many people give it credit for, but with songs like “Same Kind of Different” on The Way I’m Livin’ as well as hits like “Follow Your Arrow,” are we entering an era where it’s more prevalent?
I agree with you; I think country music has always been progressive, but those progressive artists or lyrics haven’t always risen to the top. I think those things have always been there, but they don’t get much attention. I hope we’re going to see a turning of the tides with that over the next few years and that we’ll have more commercially successful artists saying, “Let’s change it up a little bit.”
You’re going to be hosting the IBMA Awards with Jerry Douglas and singing with the Del McCoury Band in Raleigh later this month. Were you a bluegrass fan growing up?
I started listening to bluegrass when I was 18 years old. I had started dating a guy who played bluegrass, so he turned me on to all kinds of bluegrass stuff. So I’ve been a fan for a long time, but not when I was a real little kid. When I was little, it was all really Texas hardcore honky tonk country music.
Can you give us a hint about what you’re going to sing with Del or do at the awards show?
I don’t know yet what I’m going to sing with Del. Jerry and I have tossed around some ideas. On the actual awards show – I’m going to play with a little bluegrass combo that I put together with Ronnie Bowman, Shawn Lane, Rob McCoury, and a couple other guys. I have some really good friends in the bluegrass world, and we get together all the time and play. I don’t know about the actual songs yet, but those are the musicians I’m going to play with. I’m real fired up about singing with Del McCoury, of course. He’s so soulful, and the boys are such great pickers. That’s going to be a lot of fun for me. Most of the time I sing with a full band – drums, keyboards, and everything – but there’s nothing I love more than to strip it down and do acoustic stuff. I think people will be surprised. I’m really in my element at that time.
Any chance you’ll do a bluegrass record in the future?
I’ve always wanted to do a bluegrass record. I just want to make sure that it makes sense and that it’s not forced. Ronnie Bowman is one of my best friends and we write together and play together so I find it hard to believe that we wouldn’t start on something like that.
A few months ago you sang at Maya Angelou’s funeral. What was your relationship with her like?’
We just spoke on the phone a few times, and met a couple of times. She was very passionate about lyrics and about telling stories through song. I think she was particularly drawn to country music because it’s so much more real – or some of it is – and it’s more centered around lyrics.
I sang “I Hope You Dance” at the funeral. It was her favorite song and I had no idea beforehand that she was going to request that I come in and sing it. I was happy to do that. I didn’t know anybody there, but they all knew each other. They were a close-knit group, but when I came in, they treated me like one of the family too. They told me a lot of stories about how much the song meant to her, so I was very, very happy to get to be a part of that. It really was special.
Were you a fan of Maya’s work?
When I first met her, I wasn’t familiar with her work, so she told me to go get her book and read it. So I did, and I think I read it all in one night. I couldn’t put it down. It was really, really good. Maya grew up in Arkansas and it was a very interesting story, and right in my wheelhouse as far as the kind of writing I like. I love American writers: Harper Lee, Mark Twain, John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces. I just love that style of writing, and I’m always reading.
What are you reading now?
I just got a book last night, David Cantwell’s Merle Haggard book; I just started that and I can tell I’m going to love it. I just finished The Hot Zone, which is not about country music.
The Ebola book? It’s so scary.
It is terrifying! (laughs)
Under the Banner of Heaven [by Jon Krakauer] is one I recently read, and I also just read Galveston, by Nic Pizzolatto. He did the True Detective series.
We’re approaching the 20th anniversary of your major label debut. How have you evolved as an artist over that time?
It’s funny how much I’ve changed and how much I haven’t. I’m still very roots-oriented, I’m still drawn to the same kinds of music. I hope that I’ve gotten better over time, because the more you do something, the better you get at it, but I still feel like the same kid that came to town wanting to sing traditional country music.
Certainly meeting Frank and having him be involved in my career has opened some new doors for me creatively because his background was different from mine. He wanted to expand my horizons somewhat because I mostly just listened to traditional country music, with a little bit of crooners and big band type stuff, which I got turned onto through my love for Bob Wills and Western Swing. Frank had more of a rock music background and he’s the reason I have a Neil Young song on the new record.
What’s next? What do you still want to accomplish in your career?
I’m playing some dates this fall to support the record, but most of the dates that we do for this will be next spring.
There are so many things I want to do. We talked about the bluegrass record, and I’d love to do a Western Swing record.
You’ve had so much radio and chart success. Are you still interested in pursuing that the same way you had to earlier in your career?
It’s less important now because there are so many avenues to get music out there that you don’t have to be beholden to – “Well, the song has to be a certain length, we have to get to the hook at a certain time, you can’t sing about this, you can’t sing about that, we need to have this instrumentation” – you’re not beholden to that anymore. I don’t worry about that like I used to.
That’s got to be really liberating.
Very much so. And for somebody who’s very passionate like musicians are about their art, no longer having to worry about those things can turn you from being bitter to happy real quick.
Were you bitter?
I really think I handled things pretty well, but I do think a change like this can make you excited about music again. It was definitely a difficult situation, but things always change and I knew they would. I’m not one of those artists who has to be in the spotlight all the time or she’s not comfortable. I’m happy to step away. I have a beautiful home and children and a great life and I love to live life, and that gives me more things to write and sing about, so I’m happy to do that. In the music business right now, doors are opening up that haven’t been there for us, and there are new ways of getting music to the fans. So it’s an exciting time.
- Studio owner and recording engineer Cosimo Matassa passed away yesterday at the age of 88. Fats Domino, Little Richard, a teenage Jerry Lee Lewis, and Ray Charles were among the artists who recorded at Matassa’s J&M Recording Studio in New Orleans.
- Lynn Anderson was charged with DUI last night after she was involved in a crash and “showed signs of impairment.” According to the arrest warrant, Anderson admitted to drinking alcohol and taking prescription medication. She was released on bond this morning and is scheduled to appear in court on November 20.
- There’s a lengthy interview with Dolly Parton in the new issue of Southern Living.
- The Ralph Peer exhibit opened at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum today. It’ll run through December 31, 2014. In November, Barry Mazor will participate in a program and sign his forthcoming book, Ralph Peer and the Making of Popular Roots Music, at the Hall. (via press release)
- George Jones would have celebrated his 83rd birthday today. Tomorrow, his widow, Nancy Jones, will release balloons at the Possum’s gravesite; the event is open to the public.
- Elizabeth Olsen (Kill Your Darlings, Godzilla) has signed on for the upcoming Hank Williams biopic I Saw the Light. She’ll be playing Audrey Williams.
- If none of us watch another country awards show, will it still exist? Probably. Florida Georgia Line is slated to host the American Country Countdown Awards December 15 on Fox.
- The investor who was going to build an eating disorder treatment facility on the Hendersonville property once owned by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash has reportedly withdrawn his request for the city to rezone the residential property.
- Here’s the new lyric video for Whiskey Myers’ “Early Morning Shakes.” (warning: autoplay)
- Zoe Muth covered Townes Van Zandt’s “Lungs” during an in-studio performance at WAMU’s Bluegrass Country.
- American Songwriter tagged along to Steve Earle’s songwriting camp in upstate New York.
- Pandora has inked a deal with BMG. From The New York Times: BMG’s deal with Pandora is for the portions of its catalog that have been represented by Ascap and BMI, the two giant licensing groups that have long handled the performing rights — the royalty payments for whenever music is played on the radio, online or in concert — for millions of songs in the United States. Even though BMG remains a part of Ascap and BMI, it bypassed them by making the direct deal with Pandora, for what analysts believe is a higher royalty rate than those organizations — which are governed by decades-old federal regulation — are able to obtain on their own. In exchange, the deal gives BMG and its songwriters unspecified “marketing and business benefits,” according to a statement issued Thursday by Pandora.
- Lydia Loveless played a short set for WFPK’s Live Lunch. Watch here.
- Mental Floss looks at the stories behind 10 Johnny Cash songs.
- Edward Morris of CMT.com put together a list of 10 country kiss-off songs ranging from “When You Leave, Don’t Slam the Door” to “Before He Cheats.”
- Pop star Pink is going folk: she’s formed a duo with Dallas Green (City and Colour) called You + Me. Their album, Rose Ave., will be released October 14. Listen to one of the tracks, “You and Me,” here.
- Celebrate Mississippi music at AmericanaFest next week.
- Farce the Music put together a “Best of Ryan Adams” Spotify playlist.
- The Ottawa Folk Fest was fined $305 for violating noise bylaws on the event’s opening night.
The anthracite mines of my home state, Pennsylvania, don’t get a lot of love in roots music, probably because most country and bluegrass artists are more familiar with Kentucky coal country, but maybe also because folks outside the state can’t pronounce “Schuylkill,” much less find something that rhymes with it.
But here are five songs that do tell stories of Pennsylvania coal and the men that mined it. (You’d think there’d be more songs about Centralia, the ghost town that’s had a coal fire burning underneath it for half a century, but there are only a couple decent ones. At the very least, it’d make for a neat metaphor.)
5. Saravanan Sankaran – “Miner’s Lament”
Bluegrass bassist Saravanan Sankaran assembled a top-notch band for his solo album Back to Bassics. “Miner’s Lament” is the album’s highlight, with Sankaran’s boyish tenor singing about miners with broken bodies and broken souls, whose hearts have turned as hard as anthracite.
4. Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press – “Keystone Coal”
With a pickaxe and shovel, the miner in this song (who started out as a breaker boy and worked his way down) inadvertently digs his own grave.
3. Irene Kelley – “Pennsylvania Coal”
On the title track of her last album, Kelley shares memories of growing up in the Coal Region with a grandfather who spent eight hours a day digging in the dark.
2. Buddy and Julie Miller – “Quecreek”
Penned by Julie Miller, “Quecreek,” about the 2002 rescue of nine workers trapped underground in a flooded mine, is one of the few mining songs with a happy ending. Folksinger Anais Mitchell also wrote and recorded a song about the incident called “Quecreek Flood” for her 2004 album, Hymns for the Exiled.
1. Paul Clayton – “The Avondale Mine Disaster”
In 1869, a fire broke out at the Avondale Colliery in Plymouth Township. It claimed the lives of 108 mine workers and two rescuers, making it, at that time, the deadliest mining disaster in American history. Clayton recorded this folk song for his 1956 album, Folk Ballads of the English-Speaking World.
Vince Gill to Receive BMI Icon Award; HoF to Salute Billy Edd Wheeler; Drive-By Truckers Concert Film Due in November
- Kenny Rogers and Little Big Town are two of the acts who’ll appear on Star-Spangled Spectacular: Bicentennial of our National Anthem this Saturday. The PBS program will be broadcast live from Baltimore.
- The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will salute Billy Edd Wheeler as part of its “Poets & Prophets” series on October 18. The 90-minute interview and performance will be streamed live on the HoF website. (via press release)
- On November 4, Vince Gill will receive the BMI Icon Award.
- Loretta Lynn on her career longevity: “I think there were girl singers out there that could out-sing me…but they didn’t want to work for it. I’m glad that I had to work for it, and I did work hard. If it would’ve come easy, I wouldn’t have been as happy. I’m glad that I went for years without a band. I’m glad that I had to ride in the back of a car from one place to the other. If I had to sleep, I slept sitting up. I’m glad I had to work hard to do it. Them that runs out and gets a bus after one record, they’ll never stay. It’ll be one or two songs and that’ll be over, and I’m glad it ain’t me…Now I can do what I want to do.”
- That article reveals that Lynn – who signed a five-album deal with Sony Legacy – has been busy recording music and writing songs with Shawn Camp.
- Sturgill Simpson performed “Living the Dream” on Conan last night. (warning: autoplay)
- There’s a Q&A with Parker Millsap posted on NPR’s music blog.
- This is neat, and new to me: the archives of Folk Music Worldwide, a radio program that aired in New York City from 1963-64, are available online. You can listen to shows featuring music and interviews with Pete Seeger, The Dillards, and more.
- Listen to a new Neil Young song called “Who’s Gonna Stand Up.”
- Out November 4: All of My Memories: The John Denver Collection. The five-disc set includes material from 31 albums as well as six tracks that have never been released before.
- Check out the title track of Kenny Chesney’s The Big Revival.
- On November 18, ATO Records will release Black Ice Verite, a Drive-By Truckers concert film shot in Athens, Georgia, where the Southern rockers played their newest album, English Oceans, in full.
- David Inman of American Songwriter takes a look at “The Business Behind Jamgrass Touring” and how bands like The Infamous Stringdusters and Greensky Bluegrass have cultivated audiences and found success through some different methods, like putting your album in 12-packs of Oskar Blues brews.
- Download Julian Lange and Chris Eldridge’s 2013 EP, Close to Picture, before the October 7 release of their full-length album, Avalon.
- Jewly Hight interviewed Justin Townes Earle for CMT Edge.
- Merle Haggard (the coolest rec league softball player ever) on contemporary country: “There seems to be love songs written about mechanical items…I never thought about using a tractor as some way of getting laid.”
- Here’s Shovels & Rope playing the Opry:
Stream Dead Man’s Town; Blues HoF on Schedule for May 2015 Opening; Lee Ann Womack Releases New Video
- The ACM Honors Ceremony was held at the Ryman last night. Toby Keith and Ronnie Milsap received Career Achievement Awards, Carrie Underwood took home the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award, Steve Buchanan and Rascal Flatts got the Jim Reeves International Award, and Jack Clement, Dean Dillon, Buck Owens, and Kris Kristofferson were honored with the Poet’s Award.
- Stream Dead Man’s Town, the Americana salute to Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. The highlights of the album are Holly Williams’ take on “No Surrender” and Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires’ version of “Born in the U.S.A.”
- Alison Fensterstock of NOLA.com takes a look at ten upcoming music books that will be worth your time, including texts about Jerry Lee Lewis, “Ode to Billie Joe,” and more.
- Crystal Gayle discusses her Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum exhibit with Chuck Dauphin.
- The Blues Hall of Fame, currently under construction in Memphis, is on schedule to open in May 2015.
- If, like me, you need 160 GB of music on your person at all times (it makes public transportation tolerable), the news about Apple killing the iPod classic bums you out a little.
- Ray Scott will release an eponymous album on October 7; it’ll include co-writes with Mark Stephen Jones and Brandy Clark.
- Check out Ronnie Fauss’ version of “Song for Zula.”
- Kacey Musgraves’ “Follow Your Arrow” has gone gold.
- Watch Dave and Phil Alvin perform a couple songs from their Big Bill Broonzy tribute album.
- There’s a really well done cover story on Taylor Swift in Rolling Stone. An excerpt:
Swift’s last album, 2012’s Red, straddled the line between country and pop. “But at a certain point,” she says, “if you chase two rabbits, you lose them both.” So this time, she set out to do full-on “blatant pop music.” A casual fan won’t notice much difference, but to Swift and her brand, it’s a big step. She says she won’t be going to country-awards shows or promoting the album on country radio. When she first turned in the record, she says the head of her label, Scott Borchetta, told her, “This is extraordinary – it’s the best album you’ve ever done. Can you just give me three country songs?”
“Love you, mean it,” is how Swift characterizes her response. “But this is how it’s going to be.”
- Out September 30: a 10th anniversary deluxe edition of Ray Charles’ Genius Loves Company, which includes collaborations with Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, and more. A behind the scenes documentary will be included in the package as well. (via press release)
- A documentary called Country Roads: The Heartbeat of Americana was released this week. It features Caitlin Rose, Justin Townes Earle, and more.
- Here’s Lee Ann Womack’s new video. Watch it if you dig good country music, pass it by if you’re scared of snakes:
- Glen Campbell’s final recording, a song called “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” will be released on September 30 as part of a five-song EP from the soundtrack of the documentary I’ll Be Me. The EP will also include a couple live songs recorded at the Ryman during Campbell’s farewell tour, daughter Ashley Campbell singing “Home Again,” and The Band Perry’s version of “Gentle on My Mind.” Big Machine will release the film’s full soundtrack later this year.
- Eddie Adcock has been awarded the 2014 Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Music. You may remember Adcock from The Country Gentlemen or that time he played the banjo whilst undergoing brain surgery.
- Willie Nelson (“Yesterday), Wanda Jackson (“Run Devil Run”), Booker T. Jones (“Can’t Buy Me Love”), and Allen Toussaint (“Lady Madonna”) are just a few of the 40+ artists appearing on super-sized tribute album The Art of McCartney, which is due out on November 18.
- C.M. Wilcox compiled a new edition of Quotable Country that includes quotes from Mac McAnally, Billy Joe Shaver, and more.
- The Mastersons’ new video for “Closer to You” makes me wish I had a scooter and sidecar.
- Lee Ann Womack’s “The Way I’m Livin’” will premiere across CMT’s various platforms tomorrow. (via press release)
- Justin Townes Earle played a Tiny Desk Concert at NPR HQ. NoiseTrade also has Earle’s Eastside Manor Sessions available for download.
- Marty Stuart’s “Observations of a Crow” is the newest American Songwriter Lyric of the Week.
- Dom Flemons talked about his new record and played a few songs for Folk Alley.
- Cybergrass (which turns 22 today) reports that the 2015 Outer Banks Bluegrass Island Festival will include a Cherryholmes reunion.
- Blue Ridge Outdoors’ September Trail Mix includes recordings by Fayssoux, Cahalen Morrison & Country Hammer, Jesse Winchester, and more. Go get it.
- This week’s album releases:
Lera Lynn – The Avenues
Drew Kennedy – Sad Songs Happily Played
Fayssoux – I Can’t Wait
Lee Brice – I Don’t Dance
Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams
Mark Erelli – Milltowns
Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer – Bass & Mandolin
Brothers Osborne – Brothers Osborne
Justin Townes Earle – Single Mothers
Rose’s Pawn Shop – Gravity Well
Max Garcia Conover – Ellery
David Mayfield – Strangers
Terri Clark – Some Songs
Greensky Bluegrass – If Sorrows Swim
Canadian alt-country trio Elliott BROOD is currently getting ready for the release of their forthcoming album, Work and Love, on October 21. A couple weeks before that record comes out, they’ll be in the States, playing shows in New York and DC as well as performing at the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion in late September. Today we’re pleased to premiere a video for one of the songs from Work and Love, “Jigsaw Heart.”
- USA Today premiered Easton Corbin’s new single, “Baby, Be My Love Song.”
- Jerrod Niemann on his most recent album: “High Noon was just a statement saying, ‘OK, here’s that next step in facing the adversary, which is … also the run-of-the-mill state of mind in which we’re supposed to exist in this where there’s parameters of what music is.”
- Gord Bamford, Lindi Ortega, Small Town Pistols, and Dean Brody were among the winners of this year’s CCMA Awards.
- Station Inn staple Ann Soyars is battling cancer. In his new column, Peter Cooper said exactly what those of us who’ve had the genuine privilege of meeting her are feeling.
- Actor Tom Hiddleston is playing Hank Williams in a new biopic. At the Wheatland Music Festival over the weekend, he tried his hand at “Move It on Over.”
- The Beatles were voted Number 14 on CMT’s All-Time Top 40: Artists’ Choice.
- Stream Steelism’s 615 to FAME.
- Robert Earl Keen tells Edd Hurt of The Nashville Scene about his new bluegrass record, which will be released on Dualtone in February.
- CMT’ Edge’s Craig Shelburne checked out The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s new Alan Jackson exhibit.
- Corby Davidson, co-host of sports radio station KTCK-AM 1310’s program “The Hardline,” skewers bro-country in his “Fun with Country Music” segments.
- Lee Roy Parnell is this month’s featured artist over at My Kind of Country. They’ll be reviewing his whole discography and posting lots of live videos throughout September.
- Chuck Dauphin interviewed The Roys about their new album, The View.
- Miranda Lambert opened a new bed and breakfast called The Ladysmith in her hometown of Tishomingo, Oklahoma.
- New music videos and live performances from the last week or two:
Patty Griffin – “Truth #2” (Live on Mountain Stage)
The Bankesters – “Cups (When I’m Gone)” (Live on WAMU’s Bluegrass Country)
Kristian Bush – “Trailer Hitch” (Live at the Grand Ole Opry)
Chris Lane – “Broken Windshield View”
Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis – “Motor City Man” (Live on The Texas Music Scene)
Ray Johnston Band – “More Crown Than Coke”
John Hiatt – “Terms of My Surrender” (Live for CMT Edge)
Matt Cornell – “Outta This Town”
Crystal Shawanda – “The Whole World’s Got the Blues”
The New Basement Tapes – “Married to My Hack”
Claire Lynch – “Dear Sister”
Bryan Sutton – “That’s Where I Belong”
Donna Ulisse – “Showin’ My Roots”
Dom Flemons – “But They Got It Fixed Right On”
- Paul W Dennis: This album is next on my must-acquire list. I remember listening to Mac on the WWVA Big Jamboree in the …
- Paul W Dennis: I don't usually agree with Luckyoldsun but he's right - "Girl In A Country Song" reeks. On the other …
- andythedrifter: "It Sure Can Get Cold In Des Moines"
- Donald: LOS, I need to second your mention of Ballad of Forty Dollars.
- Paul W Dennis: Best wishes for Jim Ed Brown - there's very few left from his generation of country singers John Morthland's article on …
- Paul W Dennis: That looks like Harold Morrison playing the dobro behind Jeannie C Riley on "Harper Valley PTA"
- luckyoldsun: Got to go with "The Ballad of Forty Dollars." Funny, if you saw the title and started listening to that song …
- Randy Prewitt: I would have to say my favorite Tom T.Hall song is "The Day Clayton Delaney Died.He has so many great …
- KathyP: "Faster Horses." Which reminds me I need to add it to my digital library.
- Leeann Ward: "Me and Jesus" and "Harper Valley PTA" are my favorites, I think. But I agree with Paul that it's not …