Haggard to Headline MerleFest; Jeff Tweedy Visits Pawnee; New Album Releases
- Merle Haggard is headlining MerleFest this spring.
- Dolly Parton’s Blue Smoke will be released in the U.S. on May 13. The tracklisting includes “Banks of the Ohio.” (via press release)
- Country Radio Disc Jockey Hall of Fame member Smokey Smith passed away on February 3 at the age of 91.
- Listen to Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings duet on “I’m Movin’ On.” This cover can be found on forthcoming “lost” Cash release, Out Among the Stars (due out March 25).
- USA Today premiered Carlene Carter’s version of “Little Black Train” from forthcoming record Carter Girl. Elizabeth Cook contributed backing vocals.
- Jeff Tweedy will appear on an upcoming episode of Parks & Rec; he’ll play the former frontman of a band called “Land Ho!”
- Rosanne Cash wrote an engaging column about “Time Travel and the Ballad Tradition” for The New York Times.
- Songs of the Fall (Stetson Adkisson and Cia Cherryholmes) announced a handful of tour dates.
- Last week some jerkface stole the Mississippi Blues Trail marker commemorating B.B. King’s birthplace. But whoever stole it seemed to have a change of heart: authorities, who were tipped off by an anonymous call, found the marker back at its original location.
- The Grascals are celebrating their tenth anniversary this year.
- Stream Dawn Landes’ new record, Bluebird (out next week).
- Mark James (“Suspicious Minds,” “Always on My Mind”) and Donovan are among this year’s inductees into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The formal ceremony is scheduled for June 12.
- This sounds cool: British folksinger Sam Lee is staging a special program – called “Forever England: Song and the First World War” – to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I. He’s tracked down songs and stories from that era, and will be performing the material later this month with Nico Brown, Cosmo Sheldrake, and Gwendolen Chatfield later this month; a larger scale production is planned for autumn.
- The 2014 CMT Music Awards broadcast is scheduled for June 4.
- Looks like Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row restaurant is coming to Chicago.
- Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice are back in the studio working on a new album.
- A.J. Croce is the American Songwriter Writer of the Week.
- Give a listen to The Nick Moss Band’s “No Reason” from forthcoming album Time Ain’t Free (due out March 18). Trivia time: Michael Ledbetter, Lead Belly’s cousin, plays guitar in the band.
- Shannon Slaughter has joined Grasstowne. Don’t worry: he’s still going to make time to perform with his own band, County Clare.
- Alt-country songbird Nora O’Connor did a Q&A for ChicagoMag.com.
- Chuck Dauphin reviewed Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives’ Friday night show. An excerpt: “Together or solo, watching this band in action is the closest thing to what it must have been like to watch Don Rich, Tom Brumley, Doyle Holly, and Willie Cantu work their magic behind Buck Owens as the Buckaroos some five decades ago. As big of a statement as that might be, they could very well be the only band that deserves mentioned (sic) in that same hallowed capacity.”
- The Avett Brothers answered five questions for Garden & Gun.
- Last weekend in London, folksinger Shirley Collins performed live for the first time in 35 years; she was diagnosed with dysphonia in the late ‘70s.
- Dan + Shay will release their debut album April 1.
- Mandy Barnett to Jim Caligiuri (The Austin Chronicle): “I tried to go for [country radio success] in the Nineties, and for whatever reason it didn’t really work out…I didn’t try that hard after that. Wherever it was going, wherever radio is heading, I don’t feel I fit into that so I stopped trying. It’s been really important for me to maintain artistic integrity in doing traditional country music. I’m not a singer-songwriter. I don’t have a wealth of new material to draw from, so I’ve gone the classic route. And I’m really happy that I’ve done that. I’m really satisfied with the recordings I’ve made. In the pop world, there’s a place for someone like Michael Bublé, but in country there’s not that place.”
- Mikael Wood of The L.A. Times reviewed George Strait’s Saturday night show at the Staples Center.
- This week’s album releases (thanks for helping to support E145 by purchasing your music through the affiliate links below):
Hurray for the Riff Raff – Small Town Heroes
Irene Kelley – Pennsylvania Coal
The Quebe Sisters – Every Which-a-Way
Robert Ellis – The Lights from the Chemical Plant
Rod Picott – Hang Your Hopes on a Crooked Nail
Phillip Noss – Lover on the Run
Eric Church – The Outsiders
Frankie Ballard – Sunshine & Whiskey
Band of Horses – Acoustic at the Ryman
Noah Gundersen – Ledges
The Civil Wars – Between the Bars
Jamestown Revival – Utah
George Jones & Tammy Wynette – We’re Gonna Hold On (now available in MP3)
- And a DVD:
Festival Express (features The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Band, Janis Joplin, Buddy Guy, and more)
- 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 …
- nm: Agreed. A good job by three very smart women.
- Deremy Jylan: The Hight piece is tremendous reading.
- Juli Thanki: Much like the music of Aldean and FGL, Michelob Ultra is favored by college kids and too much exposure will …
- Tom: ...michelob ultra seems to be a brew from hell.