Farm Aid Heads to Hershey; Johnny Depp & Douglas Brinkley Editing Unpublished Woody Guthrie Novel; Album Releases

Juli Thanki | July 10th, 2012

  • Here’s a cool piece from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation called “In the Footsteps of John A. Lomax: American Folk Song Collector.” In this feature, “narrated by folklorist Hal Cannon, we retrace those back roads of Texas and Louisiana to discover why the folk music that John Lomax documented in the early 20th century still resonates with us today. Join Cannon as he follows Lomax’s path, listening to the original recordings he made, visiting some of the places where Lomax recorded, and talking with the grandchildren of those he recorded. With the help of cultural observers, folklorists and historians, Cannon demonstrates how the simple act of acknowledging the lives and music of ordinary working people changed history. From the Fort Worth Stockyards in Texas to Angola Prison in Louisiana this is a musical journey to the roots of popular music worldwide.”
  • Check out the video (which was shot in Iceland) for Megan Reilly’s “The Lady of Leitrim.” The song is about her great-aunt, who “emigrated to the US from Ireland but, overcome by life here ultimately took her own life by drowning herself in the East River.”
  • The Pistol Annies have a new video for “Takin’ Pills.”
  • Johnny Depp and historian/author Douglas Brinkley are editing an unpublished Woody Guthrie novel, House of Earth, for publication next spring.
  • Sarah Jarosz gets jazzy.
  • Little Big Town co-wrote and recorded the theme song for ABC’s Good Afternoon America.
  • Bassist Tyler Griffith is the newest member of Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper.
  • Here’s an article and video from the Star Tribune about how Minneapolis’ Target Field was prepared for a recent Kenny Chesney-Tim McGraw show.
  • This week’s album releases:

Zac Brown Band Uncaged (currently $3.99 on Amazon)

Rhonda Vincent Sunday Mornin’ Singin’ Live

Hank Williams, Jr. Old School, New Rules

Woody Guthrie Woody at 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection

Elizabeth Mitchell Little Seed: Songs for Children by Woody Guthrie

Chatham County Line Sight & Sound (CD/DVD set)

Robert Plant & The Band of Joy Live from the Artists Den (DVD)

  1. Jon
    July 10, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Boy, it sure is easy to over-simplify the John Lomax story.

  2. Ken Morton, Jr.
    July 10, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    If you are a history buff and ever have a weekend to spend pouring over the early roots music of generations past, the Library of Congress has some of Lomax’s work online where you can read his manuscript and listen to the reoordings he made:

    I did a project on it back in college and what John Lomax did was capture irreplaceable recordings that would have been lost to time. And Jon, I agree with you that the article certainly only touches the surface of what the Lomax did for music. But I for one am just happy that someone in the media is talking about it all. It’s a national treasure that’s hard to display/share like a piece of memorabilia in a Smithsonian.

  3. Barry Mazor
    July 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    It’s also all too possible to vastly overstate Lomax’s real but limited impact, because too many academic folklorists who don’t listen to country music or any popular music, know nothing about it, have no regard for popular music and the music business and think The People (in the faculty lounge, at least) all learned all old and important songs from archives and the mythological Folk Process, keep repeating THAT myth.

    I exaggerate for the fun of it–but not by much. I will have a chapter and more on this issue in my eventual biography of Ralph Peer. And again–I very much respect what John Lomax, and in different ways, his son Alan, did do, what they preserved and, to a certain extent but not more, how they “placed’ and used what they found.

  4. Jon
    July 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    “Over-simplify” was chosen with some care.

  5. Saving Country Music
    July 10, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Another album being released today under the radar is Billy Don Burn’s “Nights When I’m Sober”. Billy Don has produced albums for Merle Haggard and Johnny Paycheck, has had songs cut by Hank Cochran and Willie Nelson, and has also had them appear on previous albums. It’s an excellent album.

  6. luckyoldsun
    July 10, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    “Boy, it sure is easy to over-simplify the John Lomax story.”

    “‘Over-simplify’ was chosen with some care.”

    Care to be talking to yourself, it seems.

    It’s easy to simplify anyone’s story: George Washington, Napoleon, Einstein, Minnie Pearl. In fact, that’s generally what happens when one tells in 3 pages–or 300 pages–the story of a life that took half a century or more to live!

    But surely you have a point, and maybe you can clue us peasants in as to what it is: Does the writer fail to appreciate all the great things John Lomax did? Or does he vastly overstate Lomax’s contributions? Or were there complexities about Lomax that are pertinent and that he missed?

  7. Barry Mazor
    July 10, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    There are complexities I’d just mentioned (some of them) right before that comment.

  8. Jon
    July 10, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    My point is that it sure is easy to over-simplify the John Lomax story. I think that’s enough of a clue for you to follow, should you ever tire of showing off what you apparently conceive to be an industry insider outlook and decide instead to actually learn something about country music.

  9. Rick
    July 11, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    I wasn’t expecting the “broke down van” in the Pistol Annie’s video to be a mid 1970’s VW camper van, partly because they don’t have a “gas light” on the dash. Hmm…

    So “insurgent country” has a future huh? That is so disappointing on so many levels.

    Sarah Jarosz always gets “jazzy”. That’s why I’m such a big fan of Sierra Hull! (lol)

    As long as people aren’t trying to talk on their cell phones during a concert, it doesn’t bother me.

    Music City Roots Alert! They’re Baaaaaaaack! Tonight’s show will include one of my personal fave’s Kim Richey, Laura Cantrell, Bill Lloyd, The Willies, and Flea Market Hustlers(?). Sounds like fun to me!

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