“I don’t want no headstone on my grave,” Jerry Lee Lewis informed us from his undisturbed piano bench on stage at the Ryman, October 4th. “I deserve a monument!” He was still toying with the keys, and had just finished wailing the bluesy Charlie Rich song “Don’t Put No Headstone on My Grave,” as he’s […]
Americana music organized itself as this millennium approached. Over fourteen years later, the general sense of where its musical core lies (even with living, evolving outer borders), is better understood than ever before by anyone who cares to understand. Partly a format (see: Chart), nearly a genre, certainly a lively arena, maybe it’s not yet […]
The cliché about musical sons of the Deep South (believed in most fervently of all by some sons of the place themselves) is that the true Southern Man, a child of nature with peat moss and mustard greens between his toes, does not and will not discombobulate himself with such encumbrances as complicated philosophical thought […]
Country music, the whole popular roots music arena, in fact, has demanded give-and-take self-negotiations about what to hold onto, what to let go, how to find a balance between them and how to present the result, from its beginnings to this day. This summer seems to me to be proving a heady time for shows, […]
It’s easy, with the perpetual slow-trickle arrival of new country songs, singles and stars, to become fixated on the brand new and of-the-moment—as some publications, writers and fans do. Yet some level of recognizable continuity has been a basic element of the music from its beginnings. In country music, themes and sounds and performers are […]
Spring a year ago I was talking here about the impressive, risk-taking country releases coming from some (then) lesser-known female sources—Ashley Monroe, Kacey Musgraves, and the as-yet nearly unheard Brandy Clark, for three—while wondering in public whether there were guys lurking out there somewhere with the motivation and talent to take some similar sorts of […]
Events and releases have conspired to put the Carter Family front and center for me through this past month. It’s not the iconic, commonly sentimentalized version of them that’s been brought into fresh focus, though—the domesticated diamonds in the rough, forever simple, down home in their Clinch Mountain “fold”— but the sometimes complicated, breathing, talented […]
Last column, I alerted you to the new Shanachie DVD release You Are There, since released, which puts some of the hard-to-find and legitimately collected filmed performances of traditionalist country artists such as the Louvin Brothers and Sam & Kirk McGee on one disc. Those performances were culled from the 92 half hours of what […]
I’ve got a slew of very worthwhile new roots music material to bring to your attention in this catch-up column, some recently released and some just about to come out, and I’ll just get right at it, by the batch: African-American women really mixing it up This is one ripe season for provocative, engaging new […]
When you’re in the middle of a lively, exciting music scene, it tends to seem natural, inevitable, and bound to last. And then time happens. The scene and the music it thrived around evolve or fade away; what was exciting about them, how they seemed to matter, and, eventually, what they even were become points […]
- Leeann Ward: Sheesh, Paul, that's a random/strange dig!
- Jack Williams: After reading that New Yorker article, I canceled my pre-order of the Basement Tapes box set. I love Bob …
- Leeann Ward: Wow! How terrible for Dixie Hall and Tom.
- Ken Morton, Jr.: Another twisted collection of songs to put into the Friday Five Hall of Fame, Juli.
- 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 …