Bob McDill Earns ASCAP Golden Note Award; First Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival Scheduled for October; Watch the Trailer for Reba’s Malibu Country

Juli Thanki | August 3rd, 2012

  • Bob McDill will be presented with the ASCAP Golden Note Award (which goes to songwriters, composers, and artists who have “achieved extraordinary career milestones”) this autumn.
  • Chet Flippo talks about the “big tent” of country music: The big tent I saw in my mind’s eye was gorgeous. It was enormous and gleaming white in the bright sunshine with colored flags and streamers blowing proudly in the wind. Cheerful country music played loudly. Colorful posters advertised such country music sponsors as car companies and beer and liquor brands and shampoo and personal hygiene products. A sign said: “Auditions for country music membership today.” There was a long line of country music candidates outside that tent, many of them carrying guitar and banjo and mandolin cases. They all looked cheerful and hopeful. What I found inside was not one big wide-open space for everybody, as I had expected. Instead, there was a narrow tunnel leading to a sort of large control room, where a committee of middle-aged white men sat behind a long table and motioned the applicants to come forward, one at a time. 
  • Adam Sheets on Charlie Rich: Charlie Rich understood three things: that his music was a amalgamation of R&B, country, pop, jazz, and gospel that couldn’t be easily defined and didn’t fit neatly into any radio format, that every genre of music changes constantly, and, finally, that if you build it, they will come.
  • Doug Waterman of American Songwriter did a lengthy interview with Josh Turner that’s well worth the read. Here’s an excerpt: There has been a loss of artists who write by themselves. I don’t know why that is. I don’t know if people just don’t take the time to nurture that or don’t take the time to write. There are lots of artists that write, but it’s always co-writers. It’s always co-writes. For me, I learned from people who wrote by themselves. I’ve always had a certain selection of songs in my mind that really speaks to the value of an artist or the success of an artist. What’s the word that I’m looking for? I guess the “genuineness” of an artist. That selection of songs, and I could probably add to this list or take away from this list. You look at “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” along with so many other iconic songs that Hank Williams wrote by himself. You look at “Folsom Prison Blues” that Johnny Cash wrote by himself. You look at “Cole [sic] Miner’s Daughter” that Loretta Lynn wrote by herself. You look at “Hello Darlin’” that Conway Twitty wrote by himself, “El Paso” that Marty Robbins wrote himself. I could go on and on and on with these songs that these artists wrote by themselves.
  • What’s in Dale Ann Bradley’s future? A duets album with Steve Gulley.
  • Check out the trailer for Reba McEntire’s new show, Malibu Country, which premieres November 2 on ABC.
  • Kirk Stauffer of Paste took some photos at a recent Sarah Jarosz show.
  • Here’s a fascinating article about Shirley Ratisseau, a “white lady blues singer” whose story had slipped through the cracks over the years.
  • Lauren Alaina is on vocal rest and had to cancel her upcoming weekend shows with Sugarland.
  • Zac Brown’s Southern Ground Music and Food Festival lineups have been announced.

 

  1. Andy
    August 3, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Shame Lauren Alaina had to cancel. Ourstage got an Exclusive Q and A: Lauren Alaina Talks “Wildflower,” Fans and Steve Tyler
    http://www.ourstage.com/blog/2012/07/28/exclusive-q-and-a-lauren-alaina-talks-wildflower-fans-and-steve-tyler/?utm

  2. Ken Morton, Jr.
    August 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    That Chet Flippo feature was a very entertaining read. It’s a great take on the current landscape of country music right now.

  3. Adam Sheets
    August 3, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Chet Flippo is right on target, as he is most of time. As I’ve stated before, I have nothing against pop country and recognize it as something that has been around for decades that has produced some great artists. Whether I like the current crop of pop country artists is beside the point. The biggest crime is the lack of diversity on the major outlets. We need to build hallways in between the rooms Chet described rather than fighting each other or accepting thing as they are.

    The award going to Bob McDill is well-deserved to say the least and I’m actually looking forward to Reba’s new show. She has a natural comedic ability that too many so-called sitcoms these days are missing.

    Thanks for including my piece on Charlie Rich. I think it goes hand in hand with Mr. Flippo’s piece, in that Rich, Freddy Fender, Doug Kershaw, Roger Miller, and all of the more recognized “outlaws” managed to carve out their own place in country music without sounding like everybody else. The one thing that I feel is missing from mainstream country, underground country, and “Americana” is the ability to embrace diversity on a regular basis.

  4. Rick
    August 3, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    I caught the US Tour opening show from Kasey Chambers last night on the Santa Monica pier and it was a ripper mate! Kasey’s backing band this go round includes father Bill on all sorts of guitars, Ashleigh Dallas on fiddle and harmony vocals, and another bloke that plays mandolin and banjo. Kasey said she hasn’t toured much since her daughter was born in October and is ready for this bus tour across America. Highlights include oldies like “The Captain”, “Not Pretty Enough”, “Still Feelin’ Blue”, “Pony”, “We’re All Gonna Die Some Day”, and a funky swamp rock version of “Barricades and Brickwalls”. In order to introduce her Aussie fans to bluegrass music the group performs a bluegrass style medley that segue ways through “Not Pretty Enough”, “The Captain”, “Stayin’ Alive” and “Video Killed The Radio Star”! Crikey! I was just glad they didn’t include any ABBA! (lol) Kasey’s between song banter is a delight as usual. If they are coming your way, do yourself a favor and just GO!

    Opry Alert! Tonight’s Opry features Andy Gibson, Jesse McReynolds, The Issacs, Amanda Shires (Yay!), Crystal Gayle, Diamond Rio, and Connie Smith. Grade: B+
    Schedule: http://www.opry.com/shows/ThisWeek.html

  5. luckyoldsun
    August 3, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    “You look at “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” along with so many other iconic songs that Hank Williams wrote by himself. You look at “Folsom Prison Blues” that Johnny Cash wrote by himself.”

    The nonsense that becomes conventional wisdom is priceless.
    Not only did Johnny Cash not write “Folsom Prison Blues” by himself, he lifted the entire song–with minor modification–from Gordon Jenkins!

  6. Saving Country Music
    August 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    I want a cartoonist for Saving Country Music so bad.

  7. Jon
    August 3, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Also note that 1) Hank Williams recorded a considerable number of songs that he didn’t write himself, and 2) he had a frequent collaborator (the precise degree of whose help can’t be quantified) in Fred Rose.

    But really, that’s neither here nor there; Turner’s point deserves consideration whether or not each and every bit of evidence he cites to support it is 100% legit. I think it is fair to say that the way the business has developed over the past 20 years or so has encouraged a lot of artist co-writing that’s not necessarily helpful (or, for that matter, necessarily actual co-writing), and co-writing can definitely have a downside, but on the other hand, it’s also fair to say that a large number of great and, in every respect, “genuine” songs have resulted from co-writing.

  8. luckyoldsun
    August 3, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    It’s funny–I first became aware that there’s an “issue” about Hank Williams when I heard the back-and-forth between Hank Jr. and Waylon in the song “The Conversation,” that came out in the ’80s. I don’t think I had heard of Fred Rose at the time.
    Waylon says “Let’s talk about your Daddy…Tell me, did he really write all them songs,”–and Jr. responds “That don’t deserve an answer, Hoss.”

    I don’t think that was the intention, but I definitely thought that it does deserve an answer–and I’ve continued to be curious about it.

  9. Adam Sheets
    August 4, 2012 at 1:17 am

    I’ve read evidence on both sides of the issue and I think that it all really comes down to money and who had more. It has been proven, for example, that Jimmie Davis bought the song “You Are My Sunshine” and it’s well known that Willie Nelson attempted to sell “Four Walls.” It’s my opinion that had Fred Rose written or co-written the songs he would have been credited as such at the time and, since he was the owner of the largest publisher in existence, could have easily bought his way into authorship. He obviously didn’t and he’s only credited with writing or co-writing the handful of Hank Williams’ songs he was credited with.

    Also, Hank Williams continues to sell records 60 years after his passing and I have no doubt that over a thousand artists, large and small, cover his songs each year. If Fred Rose really had a hand in writing, don’t you think his descendants would have found a way to get a piece of the action?

    As for Josh Turner’s overall point, well, it all depends. There are three types of artists in country music in my opinion: great writers (Tom T. Hall), great performers who didn’t write most or any of their own material (Charley Pride), and those who are equally talented in both areas (Waylon, Merle, etc). All three groups have a place and I don’t really see where any of the three have disappeared, although, as I’ve said, there needs to be more promotion of diversity in general.

  10. Barry Mazor
    August 4, 2012 at 9:24 am

    I’d recommend checking out Colin Escott’s “Hank Williams” bio, in its current, updated edition, where all of these authorship issues are clarified, plus it’s a good book on Hank, the best one of perhaps too many..

    Hank wrote many songs and had a lot of sources, and occasionally Rose edited or worked with him on songs..This is a shock only to those with a very romantic idea of the solo suffering singer songwriter bleeding on the page. But then, Hank authored a little book on how to make money writing country hits. You could look it up. (And heck, Colin found direct evidence of lines or ideas for Hank songs being taken directly from teenage romance comic books–but so what, finally? What matters is what he did with all of that. )

    As Jon points out, there are songs absolutely associated with Hank Williams nobody’s ever claimed he wrote (except in error) –“Lost Highway” and “Half as Much” for instance..

    Josh Turner’s main point seems to be that, at the moment, we have less of the advantages a single singer-songwriter can bring to the overall song pool in country, that the situation’s gotten out of balance, not that co-writes or singing songs written by other people are necessarily bad. He’s performed and recorded examples of all three himself!

  11. Adam Sheets
    August 4, 2012 at 10:00 am

    The main thing to consider is that Rose owned and helped run the largest publishing company in the world of country music. While he undoubtedly had a close relationship with Hank Williams (and is credited as co-writer on several of his songs), I wouldn’t be surprised if he (or Roy Acuff, for that matter) had a similar working relationship with many of their writers, much as an editor would at other types of publishing companies. So did Hank Williams get advice from Fred Rose on some of his songs? No doubt. But I think the issue has been blown out of proportion merely because of the Hank Williams legend and not because he was doing anything drastically different from other writers.

  12. luckyoldsun
    August 4, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    The one that really disappointed me was when I learned (relatively recently!) that Cash plagiarized “Folsom Prison Blues”. I think Gordon Jenkins should at least have gotten a co-writing credit once it was discovered, rather than basically having it swept under the rug.

    Certainly, in the days of Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family, Woody Guthrie, and later, singers and songwriters borrowing and reworking other writers’ work with or without attribution seems to have been the norm. In fact, they couldn’t stay away from the melody “I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes,”–which was used for at least three other canonical country songs.

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