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 […]
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, […]
- Janice Brooks: Hopes somebody gets those memos about drinking songs. Meanwhile I'm feeling a lot of slots with Bluegrass.
- Leeann: Great news about Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White's duet album! Absolutely appalling about the Keith Urban concert!! Both the rape and …
- bob: I found the Billboard article about country music radio needing an alcohol intervention interesting. Songwriter Adam Wright is quoted as …
- Matt: Definitely agree with C.M. about Maddie & Tae. Certainly not the tidal wave of change some claimed it is or …
- Dave D.: Good stuff, as always. My copy of Producing Country arrived yesterday, and it looks to be as good as …
- Scooter: I agree Holly Williams can do no wrong in my eyes. Such a good album and great to see live …
- Carrie Mclaughlin: Your my Hero Mr. Jim Lauderdale!!! Come to Alaska Please? hehehehe
- Jeremy Dylan: You should check it out Dave D. It's from the first (and strongest) season.
- Leeann: Wow! I love that Holly William's cover of "No Surrender"! She's gotten to be so good.
- luckyoldsun: I made it through a minute of that "Girl In a Country Song Video." Man, that sucks.