I’m sometimes asked —sympathetically or suspiciously—why I don’t write more negative reviews than I do. It’s not some physical disability that prevents me from turning my thumb down; there are simply so many projects (all media included) being released now, more than I could ever discuss, and life’s too short to spend much time or […]
September’s the month country and its cousins honor music and music makers that the Media Barons-That-Be don’t consider ripe for prime time—anything more than five minutes old, anything with specialized appeal, artists who don’t universally look like aspiring starlets or teen idols (sorry, Junior Sisk, Richard Thompson, and Billy Sherrill) and anybody at all besides […]
There are some long-gone classic country acts we rarely see raised any more without filtering, reduced, even if glorified, to some one-note comic book version of themselves, or only presented through tears—real or mechanical—and then, of course, there are others we barely get to see again at all. This month, by sheer coincidence, we get unexpectedly […]
At the height of the alternative country scare in the mid- to late- nineties, Iris DeMent became one the most revered singers claimed by the field—although you would most likely find her CDs for sale in the folk bins (they had bins in those days), and since she regularly stunned audiences live and on […]
A half-year in which such major contributors, true giants, as Kitty Wells, Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson are suddenly no longer with us (among too many others, it sure seems, lately), could produce a major case of seasonal distress disorder in itself for a lot of us, Meanwhile, so many have been taking to […]
There’s much that all genres and sub-genres along the American roots music space-time continuum have in common, from the most overtly pop and polished mainstream country to the most obscure flavor of traditional regional folklore or edgy roots rock. Inevitably, their fans have much in common, too—most basically, enjoying hearing favored artists take their […]
Back when I was researching and writing my book Meeting Jimmie Rodgers, at least one friend misheard what I was doing and thought I was dedicating years of work to Kenny Rogers. There were a lot of polite, puzzled “Is that so’s” and ‘How ’bout that’s.” These two artists strike so many people as so very different that they […]
Pulling off a musical biography well is not easy. Trust me; I’m spending much of my own time these days working on one, (on roots music A&R and publishing pioneer Ralph Peer). From short profile articles to full-length books, there are questions for the writer—focus, depth, audience, and how to go about it. I have […]
Country fans have long since noticed (and sometimes complained) that the ACM and CMA awards shows feature pretty much the same star acts and hits of the year. That was hardly the case back in the mid-1960s, as pointed out in the Country Hall of Fame and Museum’s major new exhibition, The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, […]
Keeping up with the sheer volume of new releases that might be of interest to people reading this column is always a challenge, practically impossible, and while I don’t plan to do it often, I figure that one way to play some catch-up here is just to line up some brief comments on recent releases […]
- A.B.: Janice - I saw that too and sent him a Tweet about it.
- Janice Brooks: Peter Cooper needs an edit. Stringbean did not die in 1964.
- Leeann: I can't contribute to this list, but I did think of Steve Earle and The Wire. It's not my …
- Jeremy Dylan: That was a great episode of Monk. The "Georgia On My Mind" scene is just heartbreaking.
- Juli Thanki: I think I'm the only person in the world who never got into "The Wire." Earle was on "SVU" a …
- Jack Williams: Steve Earle on The Wire.
- Leeann: I am very excited to hear collaborations between Ashley Monroe and Charlie Worsham!! It totally makes sense for themto collaborate. I …
- Juli Thanki: You know it!
- bob: The only one of these that I've seen before is the Columbo episode. As far as the future post on …
- Arlene: I'm very happy that Compass Records will be releasing a tribute disc in which artists cover songs of Jean Ritchie …