Dallas Wayne Added to Heybale Lineup; The Smilin’ Irishman of Country Music Passed Away; Lionel Richie Recording Country Duets

Brody Vercher | January 20th, 2011

  • Singer, songwriter, and Sirius deejay Dallas Wayne has been announced as the replacement for Gary Claxton in the band Heybale.
  • The Austin Chronicle‘s Margaret Moser published a really cool profile on Elizabeth McQueen, who in turn, dishes out a lot of praise for Ray Benson and Willie Nelson.
  • The Smilin’ Irishman of Country Music James O’Gwynn, who recorded between 1958 and 1962, passed away yesterday morning at the age 82. (Obit)
  • The Tennessean‘s Peter Cooper interviewed Rodney Crowell on the subject of his new memoir, Chinaberry Sidewalks:

    “Because I knew the end of the story, I knew that I could write at the beginning about how sick and (messed) up both of them were,” Crowell says. “My father had a dark and nasty side, and it had to be told. But with a book, you have 250 pages to get to the end, and you can leave the breadcrumbs out for people to follow. If you follow the breadcrumbs, you get to see J.W. as a lovable guy, which he was. I know I certainly loved him.”

  • Hit songwriter Tammy Hyler and healthcare entrepreneur Glen Blaschke announced the launch of a new full-service label, Big Country Records. The label’s first signing is singer-songwriter Morgan Tobias (MySpace), who, if you ask me, resembles a brunette Taylor Swift.
  • Gretchen Wilson chimed in on Kanye West‘s occasional outbursts:

    “His adrenaline was going and he gets very … he’s a very passionate person, you know?” Wilson told CMT Insider at Wednesday night’s (Jan. 18) Grammy nominees party in Nashville. “What am I talkin’ about? I don’t know him. … I don’t know him at all. I think he’s an ass really for acting like that. He really is. He makes quite a spectacle. So grow up! Quit being such a baby! You know, if somebody beats you, it’s because they deserve to beat you. And I don’t know if you remember all the way back to the first time. I outsold you, bro! Do your homework.” Wilson also said, “It’s kinda cool for me to know that I was the first. Kanye, just remember, I was your first. And I’m not above kicking your ass.”

  • Lionel Richie is in the process of recording an album of duets with country artists. Those that have recorded songs so far include Darius Rucker, Tim McGraw, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, Little Big Town, Blake Shelton, and Jimmy Buffet, with Jennifer Nettles and Zac Brown still scheduled.
  • The Grascals debuted atop the Billboard Bluegrass Albums chart.
  • Producer and songwriter Larry Butler recalled meeting Willie Nelson for the first time:

    “I was getting airplay on KIKK and all the other stations, so Willie had heard me on the radio and thought maybe I would buy some of his songs. I told Willie that I didn’t really buy other people’s songs, but I let him play them for me,” Butler recalls.

    “He had ‘I Gotta Get Drunk,’ ‘Night Life,’ ‘The Party’s Over’ and ‘Crazy.’ I asked him how much he wanted for them, and he said ten dollars apiece.”

    “So I told him, ‘Mr. Nelson, I’m not gonna buy your songs,’ and he said, ‘What’s the matter, no good?'”

  • Ricky Skaggs is writing an autobiography and hopes to have it out this fall.
  • Emily Robison called Toby Keith out in Tuesday’s webchat for the similarities between his song “Bullets In the Gun” and Robert Earl Keen‘s “The Road Goes On Forever.”
  • Results from The Village Voice‘s Pazz and Jop survey are out and between all the critics, 1,839 different albums were nominated. Jamey Johnson was the top ranking country artist on the album list, coming in at No. 20 overall, with The Guitar Song.
  • Jim Caligiuri has a brief Q&A with James McMurtry:

    It’s been a while since you’ve had any new music out. Any chance there will be a new record this year?

    I’ve got one new song recorded so far. Usually I book some studio time and just hope I’ve got the songs written. That got to be expensive after awhile, so I’m doing it in a more proper way of actually getting the songs written before I go in the studio this time. It’s just taking a while without that pressure. It’s possible there will be something this year, if I get a burst. I don’t know.

  • Austin band Crooks, which bills itself as Texas outlaw country, is streaming last year’s four-song EP Lonesome, Rowdy, and Restless on its website. In the few reviews I’ve read, “Downtown” is cited as the best of the bunch. (via Awaiting the Flood)
  1. Dave D.
    January 20, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Dallas Wayne should fit right in with Heybale. Redd and Earl are fine with the occasional vocal, but I couldn’t see their singing carrying the entire show.

    Really enjoyed the Elizabeth McQueen interview.

  2. ME
    January 20, 2011 at 11:31 am

    I LOVE this site and the news areas. It is great, and I have referred many country fans, old and new, to check it out.

    Small correction in spelling:
    it is Lionel Richie, not Ritchie, who is recording the country duets CD. I am a huge fan of his, and know that his surname is often misspelled.

    Editor: Thanks for the correction.

  3. Jon
    January 20, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Yah, what Dave D. said.

  4. numberonecountryfan
    January 20, 2011 at 11:43 am

    For Me: I have saluted Lionel Richie in my latest Country ChartBeat. To view it, click on Forum at the top and click on Country ChartBeat. It is an amazing coincidence that Richie wants to release a duets CD with country acts 24 years removed from his association with the genre!

  5. Rick
    January 20, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Does this mean Heybale is going to add “I’m Gonna Break Some Promises Tonight” to its set list? I sure hope so!

    Elizabeth McQueen is an intersting gal. Its just a shame she has such strong Obamavoter tendencies, a malady which has long afflicted many in the Austin area. I would love to see a profile like that done on Emily Gimble of The Marshall Ford Swing Band! Emily plays a mean honky tonk piano, has a fun singing voice like Elizabeth, and could tell great stories about her grandpa Johnny.

    I saw The Infamous Stringdusters at LA’s Mint Club last night along with about 130 other bluegrass fans. Most of their songs were far too new/jam grass oriented for my tastes but they are a talented young bunch. Although all members are top notch instrumentalists, it was the guitar, mandolin, and dobro pickers that were stand outs. I normally bore quickly of flashy solo flourishes so common to bluegrass, but those guys were pretty amazing. What surprised me most about the show was the young average age of the audience, which was well stocked with cute young gals in their 20’s dancing to the tunes! It seems the Dusters are connecting with young folks even in the bluegrass wasteland of LA! (Although LA does have a local bluegrass radio show on Sunday mornings on KCSN 88.5 FM, which might exlain how many of these folks knew about the Dusters).

  6. Ben Foster
    January 20, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    I’ll bet anyone a buck that that Gretchen Wilson quotation is going to show up in the next edition of Quotable Country.

  7. Paul W Dennis
    January 20, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    James O’Gwynn was never a big star but he his records were worthwhile so give him a listen:



  8. t.scott
    January 20, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    While Toby Kieth’s song may be derivative of REK’s,its’ not the same song.

    As much as I like Marty Stuart,most of the songs off Ghost Train are pretty derivative, as is a lot of music.

  9. Jon
    January 20, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Glad to see you got some enjoyment out of the Stringdusters show, Rick. Here are a couple of songs Jeremy Garrett (fiddle) and I wrote, videotaped at a recent Oregon show:

    “The Hitchhiker” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ON_CwdY-HPo
    “Masquerade” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vINroGKXsYw

  10. Jon
    January 20, 2011 at 1:43 pm
  11. TXmusicjim
    January 20, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Dallas fronting Haybale should work great.
    Tobys new sone and REK road goes on forever simillar types of story song but pretty different in many ways don’t see it as a rip off i’d say influenced.

  12. Nicolas
    January 20, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Ah, I love Gretchen. <3

  13. Rick
    January 20, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Jon, thanks for the links. Those Duster boys sure can pick up a storm!

    Did anyone watch “Music City Roots” last night? One of the featured artists was a gal named Anna Johnson who performs with her younger sister Julia. They are kind of like a Yankee version of Madison Violet only with mellow songs that are a bit more conventional in structure. Both sisters are very pretty and have really nice singing voices, so I’ll be keeping an eye on those two…

  14. Patrick
    January 20, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    I do believe that there are TWO Larry Butlers. The one in the above-mentioned newspaper article is not the great Nashville record producer of the 70’s. Just sayin…..

  15. WAYNOE
    January 20, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Lionel’s duet partners are no surprise really.

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