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 […]
Owen and Harold Bradley’s Quonset Hut, the first Music Row studio, was a place where, circa 1966, Tammy Wynette could be recording her breakthrough “Apartment #9” in one room, and Bob Dylan recording cuts from Blonde on Blonde in another, while an unknown named Kristofferson emptied the ashtrays for both. But then, people tend to forget that […]
If you’re fundamentally or primarily a fan of country music, or Americana, or bluegrass, as many reading these words will be, you might well not be familiar with the name “Janiva Magness.” (For one thing, her first name’s pronounced JAN-i-vah, more like “Canada” than “Geneva.”) This, separate genre worlds being what they are, despite the […]
Pssst. I have some shocking news to reveal: For some time, apparently, there have been some points along the roots music spectrum where the talent to amuse is commonly relegated to secondary status as less significant, less special, and even less demanding of technical proficiency than bringing audiences to tears, working them into a lather, […]
It’s beyond me when a new “musical year” begins these days, but happy New Year. The start of a new calendar year here in Nashville does have a certain distinctive local flavor to it; performers who’ve been out on the road, suddenly back home for a Christmastime break, show up at events and get-togethers around […]
Working as I do in both journalism and music history, from time to time I’ve had the opportunity (and also the working need, truthfully) to interview the immediate families of some of country and roots music’s most celebrated figures, sometimes getting to know them outside of that defined situation. It occurs to me again and […]
2011 has not been a huge year for new music by many women on the country music charts, a situation that’s been much noted, often with understandable dismay. The most-heard hits by female vocalists have tended either to have come from the mixed male/female group arena or to be yet another single pulled from older […]
- 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 …