Back a lifetime or two ago when I was an undergraduate at George Washington University in DC, I was a regular deejay on the campus radio station, with a show called “Heartbreak Hotel” that featured roots rock, country music and what would have been called “Americana” if there’d been a term for it; this was […]
Year’s end is all at once “make a list” time, “last chance to bring it up” time and “turn the page” time, so I thought I’d keep all of that in mind this column and point you towards some recent roots and country releases, reissues and re-visits in particular, that strike me as worthy of […]
The power of music (and the secondary power of repeatedly talking and teaching a particular narrative about it), are such that for many, the Dust Bowl, some eighty years later, survives in memory mainly or solely as “the horrible experience Woody Guthrie sang about.” (For others, it’s what they saw or read in The Grapes […]
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 […]
- mrsandy: Also worth noting: Priscilla Mitchell was Jerry Reed's widow.
- Leeann Ward: Wow! My heart goes out to Allison Moorer. She's had so many terrible things happen in her life. It's too …
- Leeann Ward: I must have this audio book!
- Juli Thanki: Ha! Same thing happened at Sturgill Simpson's show I went to last month, only he was singing "I Never Go …
- Dave D.: On the topic of Lee Ann and dark songs, the funniest moment at this year's Americana Fest was during her …
- Jonathan Pappalardo: I love Lori McKenna. Coming from Massachusetts, she's our local girl. I've been fortunate to see her in concert a …
- bll: I suss her re-recording her hits for 'Gwendolen records' means she can stop MCA from releasing her hits against her.
- Greg Judy: Cooler festivals and marching bands at the football games!
- kevin ilinger: Fall colors bluegrass and apple cider
- luckyoldsun: If I was a "long-time fan" of Trisha, I'd probably spring for the CD.