Friday Five: The Phoenix

Ken Morton, Jr. | July 15th, 2011

As Engine 145 finds its legs and more importantly, its audience, it is probably important to look back as we look forward. For years, a collection of writers from all over the map came together and contributed to another website called The 9513. We celebrated the country music that inspired us and critiqued new releases- the good, the bad and the ugly. Hopefully along the way, we educated, entertained, and engaged. The site’s owners, the appreciated Vercher brothers, decided that they would retire on top and pulled the plug on the site earlier this year.

Several writers from The 9513 believed that same community of interest in bluegrass, Americana, roots and country music should live on—albeit in a new forum. And so a new home for music discussion was born.  As a result, our first Friday Five, a playlist celebrating a singular topic that ranges from the serious to the whimsical, celebrates the phoenix. For those not brushed up on their ancient mythology, a phoenix is a mythical bird with a colorful plumage that after 500 to 1000 years, bursts into flames; from its ashes, a new, young phoenix arises, reborn anew to live again.


5. Kris Kristofferson — “Johnny Lobo”

This politically charged song is about Sioux Indian John Trudell whose 1970s activism caused—as many have claimed—the burning of his home and death of his wife and children. Kristofferson released this track off of his 1995 independent album Moment of Forever and this performance is from one of the Highwaymen tours.


4. Dan Fogelberg — “Phoenix

“‘Tullamore Dew’ was written as an instrumental prelude to the Phoenix album, It is also the name of a very fine Irish whiskey that I used to have quite an affinity for. ‘Phoenix’ is a hard driving piece that I wrote about resurrection. We all suffer the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ but the human heart is an amazingly resilient muscle.” — Dan Fogelberg


3. Nanci Griffith –– “Woman of the Phoenix”

Written by Vince Bell, this eccentric tale was included on her 1993 Grammy winning Contemporary Folk Album and genre tribute Other Voices, Other Rooms.


2. Jessi Colter — “The Phoenix Rises”

Four years after her husband’s passing in 2002, Mrs. Waylon Jennings released what could be thought of as an entire album dedicated to the phoenix called Out of the Ashes. The track that best exemplified the theme of the album is this one. “Outta the ashes, the phoenix rises.”


1. Dolly Parton — “Unlikely Angel”

Back in 1996, Miss Dollywood herself starred in a made-for-television special in which she was a selfish country music star who met her end. In order for her to earn her wings and make it to heaven, she has to reunite a family in time for Christmas. This was the theme song from the movie.

“Like the phoenix/ From the ash and dirt/ I rose up from the pain and hurt/ When I was at my very worst/ I found you.”

  1. Jon
    July 15, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Gary Burton’s great jazz-country fusion album of 1966, Tennessee Firebird (there’s your phoenix), featured Charlie McCoy, Sonny and Bobby Osborne, Buddys Spicher and Emmons and more. Read about it here: .

  2. Ben Foster
    July 15, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    So great to see the Friday Fives back again!

  3. Rick
    July 15, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Brady V. definitely needs to add one new blog entry at The 9513 directing folks to this website! If it hadn’t been mentioned by CMW over at Country California, I would not be aware of his blog! If everyone who visited The 9513 were made aware of this blog, it would be going in full swing in no time at all. The music oriented daily news summaries are the most entertaining and informative feature to me personally, but the reviews and unique recurrents like “Friday Five” flesh it all out. The 9513 was a winning formula and thankfully the145engine is picking up where the 9513 left off. All I can say is thank you Juli and associates!

    As for today’s theme of the mythical phoenix bird, I’d like to toss in the music video of Allison Moorer’s “Send Down An Angel”. The video starts with a resurrected Gram Parsons emerging from the flames! I guess Allison was looking for a specific angel to pay her a visit in that song…

    Video link:

  4. Jeremy Dylan
    July 17, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    So, this isn’t about Harry Potter then?

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