Isbell, Hiatt to Celebrate Skynyrd; Joss Whedon Goes Folk; Album Releases

Juli Thanki | August 12th, 2014

  • John Marks of SiriusXM, who helped break Florida Georgia Line, is hoping to do the same thing for women country singers by introducing “Fresh Female Voices” programming on The Highway channel.
  • Taylor Swift is hosting a mysterious “worldwide live stream” event on August 18 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern. She’ll probably announce some new music. Or commit a ritual sacrifice to appease Cthulhu.
  • The Wall Street Journal published an article on Europe’s country music scenes and homegrown acts like The Common Linnets and The Shires.
  • Billy Joe Shaver and The SteelDrivers are among the acts scheduled to play Outlaw Fest in Bowling Green, Ky. this October.
  • Jason Isbell, John Hiatt, Jamey Johnson, Don Was, and Blackberry Smoke are just a few of the acts who will celebrate Lynyrd Skynyrd at a tribute concert in Atlanta on November 12.
  • There’s a Ben Glover sampler available for download on NoiseTrade.
  • Tom Douglas, who co-wrote “The House That Built Me” with Allen Shamblin, talks about the story behind the song in this interview posted on the Tennessean site.
  • Joss Whedon, the guy behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a bunch of things not as great as Buffy but still pretty good, is collaborating with singer-songwriter Shawnee Kilgore on a folk EP.
  • Stream Benjamin Booker’s self-titled album.
  • Brazilian kazillionaire Zero Freitas wants all the vinyl. He’s already got a collection of several million records, and he hopes to share it with the public by setting up a listening library that he’s calling “Emporium Musical.” Over the weekend, The New York Times published a piece on Freitas’ quest.
  • Brandi Carlile’s Pin Drop Tour – inspired by a show in which her band’s PA system cut out — begins October 1 in New Hampshire. Carlile recently finished recording a new album, so concertgoers can expect to hear some new material at her fall shows.
  • Brad Paisley on the “Accidental Racist” controversy: What I learned is that there are certain subjects that are almost next to impossible to sing about, to do songs about, but that was the point of the last album was to tackle those things that seem like they would be impossible to do and see if they are possible. Intention is everything and our intention was to try to raise awareness for points of view… I’m proud that we stood up and did this. I wish we’d gotten out in front of the people who took it the wrong way and framed it a little bit better that way and framed the debate ourselves, but it’s too late for that, but I also don’t know if I’d change much about it because in the same way that training for a fight as a fighter, you have to take punches to train for a fight. You can’t just stand there and throw punches, you have to take them and I took them. And in that sense, I’m ready to do better things and greater things because of the punches I took.  
  • This week’s album releases:

Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen Cold Spell

Ethan Johns The Reckoning

Curtis McMurtry Respectable Enemy

Randy Travis Influence, Vol. 2: The Man I Am

Brian Setzer Rockabilly Riot!

Quiet Life Housebroken Man

Lucero Live from Atlanta

Mike Zito & The Wheel Songs from the Road

The Byrds Straight for the Sun: 1971 College Radio Broadcast

Louvin Brothers Complete Recorded Works 1952-1962

Eddy Arnold Complete US Chart Singles 1945-1962 

  1. Barry Mazor
    August 12, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Spoiler alert: in the second half of the Joss Whedon folk collaboration EP, six blue demons in assault team gear rush in and take both singers to another dimension,The Unchartered Charts, where they’re held in captivity by network program directors who attempt to cancel the ballad they must sing forever to go on living after only 14 verses.

  2. Jeremy Dylan
    August 12, 2014 at 8:51 am

    I’m so sick of folk EPs that end like that.

  3. Jack Williams
    August 12, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Quite heroic, that Brad Paisley.

  4. Ken Morton, Jr.
    August 12, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Anyone else chuckle at irony of the fact that there’s a kazillionaire named Zero?

    I’ve always said that if I hit the lottery and won just a simple billion dollars- I wouldn’t even need a kazillion- I’d open my open my own music label and get records out by all of my favorite artists whether they made financial sense or not.

  5. CraigR.
    August 12, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Brad Paisley is becoming like Eric Church- the more I hear from him the less I want to hear from him.

    And a better songwriter would have written a better song.

  6. luckyoldsun
    August 12, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    What’s with the knocks on Paisley?–Is there something in the quote above that’s objectionable?

  7. Barry Mazor
    August 12, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Same question as LuckyOl. In a day when so many perpetual boy Country Guyz are saying nothing whatsoever about anything, (Other than “Stay Drunk All the Time”) It seems very odd, to me, to pick on Paisley and Church, who may miss an occasional marl, but keep at least attempting to matter as adult men. I say, more power to them and others who make the effort.

  8. luckyoldsun
    August 12, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    Reminds me–I was listening to Willie’s Roadhouse this weekend and they played a Johnny Cash single from the early ’70s–“What is Truth?” It was completely different from anything else they play, as far as making a statement. I was not familiar with it–it sounded like it could be a Dylan song–so I looked it up. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find who wrote it. Wikipedia actually has an entry for the song–showing its chart performance, etc.–but the entry for the song does not name the songwriter. I suppose it could be written by Cash himself, but I don’t know.

  9. bob
    August 12, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    @LOS – ASCAP lists 7 songs with the title “What Is Truth”. The 5th entry was written by John R Cash, recorded by Johnny Cash and published by Song of Cash Music. (I also found 7 “What is Truth” songs on BMI and 1 on SESAC. None of these mentioned Cash.)

  10. Leeann
    August 12, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    That song is in my iTunes and it says that it was written by Johnny Cash.

    Also, I think that Brad Paisley song was quite a debacle that still makes me cringe when I think of it, but I think his responses to the backlash have been humble and thoughtful. I’m still surprised by his ignorance and how it was reflected in the song, but I honestly know good people who make the same mistakes in their language and even perspectives. To me, it feels like that he wrote the song in hopes to start a dialogue and has been willing to follow through and actually have one and learn from the responses that he’s gotten. I can think of many other stars who would entirely dismiss the backlash, but he hasn’t done that.I’ve pointed to it before, but this is an article that’s important reading for disappointed Paisley fans, as I was.:

  11. Barry Mazor
    August 12, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    It was as much Johnny Cash’s own theme song at the time, written by him, as ‘Man in Black.” It was sincere–and entirely too straightforward to be any sort of Dylan song!

  12. luckyoldsun
    August 12, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    I liked the song a lot. Let’s just say–or in my opinion–it shows some Dylan influence on Cash at the time, even it it’s not nearly as abstract as “The Times They Are a Changin'” or “Mr. Jones.”

    I think “What is Truth” is better than the now-more famous “Man In Black.” It’s certainly more universal–and “Man In Black” is marred by a certain self-satisfied attitude in the lyrics–as if Cash is saying that if you don’t wear black, then you don’t care about the downtrodden as much as he does.

  13. Leeann
    August 12, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    Ha!! I’ve never heard “Man in Black” interpreted so literally before!:) I think most people get the symbolism of the song enough to know that his message wasn’t so simplistic as that.

    With that said, I do think “What is Truth” is a very good song and does have a Dylan vibe to it. “

  14. Jack Williams
    August 13, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Reading Paisley’s statement, it struck me as self-serving. And I’m unconvinced that the topic is “nearly impossible” to write about. As CraigR suggests, maybe he just didn’t write a very good song. And maybe it was hubris on his part to think that he had the songwriting gravitas to take on such a potentially radioactive topic.

  15. luckyoldsun
    August 13, 2014 at 10:53 am

    I had some problems with the Paisley lyric, as well. But I don’t think he needs to justify writing it or that it requires a certain “gravitas” before one is “allowed” to take on the topic.
    Heck, Haggard used to sometimes drive me crazy with the overly simplistic–or seemingly self-contradictory–nature of the messages he puts forth in his songs. But they’re HIS songs. And I wouldn’t go and say that because Haggard never studied economics, he shouldn’t mouth off on what a dollar should be made of.

  16. Leeann
    August 13, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Yes, I’m sure that’s true. But that’d be the case for anyone who had tried to tackle it, even if they’d done a better job in the end. So, I don’t think that’s a fair criticism. It’d take hubris for people like Rodney Crowell or Radney Foster (decidedly great songwriters who might be thoughtful enough to try such a thing) to do it. I don’t think trying to write a song on the topic means that one thinks that they’re an extraordinary songwriter; I think it means that they think it’s a topic worth exploring. There’s a difference there.

  17. Leeann
    August 13, 2014 at 11:00 am

    I’ll reiterate that I think it was a terrible song, but I give him more credit for giving it a try than I once did now that I’ve had some perspective about it.

  18. Leeann
    August 13, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Sure, his comments are self-serving, but how could they not be? I don’t understand your implication there, since most statements regarding one’s songs are going to be self serving on some level. I think he’s trying to be reflective about the fall out from the song without denouncing the exercise altogether.

  19. luckyoldsun
    August 13, 2014 at 11:24 am

    I had some problems with the Paisley lyric, as well. But I don’t think he needs to justify writing it or that it requires a certain “gravitas” before one is “allowed” to take on the topic. He was admittedly conveying his feelings–which have some validity.

    Heck, Haggard used to sometimes drive me crazy with the overly simplistic–or seemingly self-contradictory–messages in his songs. But they’re HIS songs. And I wouldn’t go and say that because Haggard never studied economics, he shouldn’t mouth off on what a dollar should be made of.

  20. luckyoldsun
    August 13, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Sorry. Did not mean to post that again. I came back to my computer and it was up there on the screen like it had not been sent.

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