Jamey Johnson’s Hank Cochran Tribute Due on Vinyl 9/25; Free Vespers Download on NoiseTrade; New Album Releases

Juli Thanki | July 31st, 2012

  • Jamey Johnson’s Livin’ for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran, featuring duet partners like Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss, and George Strait, will be released on vinyl September 25. It’ll be released on all other formats October 16.
  • Matt Glaser, founder of the American Roots Music Program at Berklee College of Music has a new roots radio series. The first episode is about Ray Charles’ Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music. Stream it here.
  • Jason Heller writes that listeners shouldn’t overlook an artist’s worst work. He’s writing about rock and pop, but it can be applied to country, too: There are a lot of bad albums rattling around in the closets of otherwise great artists. But even then, they shouldn’t be ignored on principle. Nor do they have to be listened to ironically. As subjective as taste is, it’s hard to find many who will defend, say, Metallica’s ReLoad or Pink Floyd’s The Final Cut. These albums are flawed, but I don’t think you can get a full picture of what a band is about—how it’s evolved, what pressure does to it, how failure or the threat thereof shapes its music—without devoting some time to get under its skin, blemished as it is. As with individuals, you learn a lot about a band when it’s down. 
  • Toby Keith has postponed his Fort McCoy show until August 30 due to his gallbladder removal surgery.
  • Punch Brothers are touring the UK, Netherlands, and Belgium this November.
  • Norman Blake is recovering after a transient ischemic attack and subsequent procedure to correct the narrowing of one of his arteries.
  • Stream a new Will Johnson song from his upcoming album, Scorpion, which comes out September 11.
  • Rhonda Vincent, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Marty Raybon, Blake Shelton, and more are among the nominees for this year’s Inspirational Country Music Awards.
  • Jonah Lehrer of The New Yorker resigned after admitting he fabricated Bob Dylan quotes for his book Imagine: How Creativity Works.
  • Carrie Underwood’s got a new video for “Blown Away.”
  • The concert industry as a whole has made a slight rebound after three consecutive years in which fans cut back on spending, writes Anita Wadhwani for the Tennessean. However, “this year country tours are starting to face challenges similar those confronting other genres, with a more crowded field of competing concerts than in the past. In a typical year, there are just 10 or 12 headlining country acts on tour at any one time. This year, there are at least 15 headliners. ‘That’s a lot,’ said Clarence Spalding, president of Nashville-based Spalding Entertainment, which is managing tours this year for two Nashville country acts: Jason Aldean and Rascal Flatts. Consumers may have money to spend on only one country arena concert. ‘On the one hand, you look at Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown, and you realize that two or three years ago these were just support acts,’ Spalding said. ‘It speaks to the popularity of country that they are making fantastic music and becoming headliners.’”
  • Glen Hansard, Lisa Hannigan, and John Smith covered “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” for The A.V. Club.
  • Check out 2012 Newport Folk Festival sets from Sara Watkins, Alabama Shakes, and more.
  • This week’s album releases:

Kasey Chambers Storybook ($3.99 on Amazon today)

Joey + Rory His and Hers

Gloriana A Thousand Miles Left Behind

Glen Campbell Live Anthology 1972-2001

Marksmen Quartet This is My Crowd

Ray Edwards Portrait of a Bluegrass Songwriter

Shovels & Rope O’ Be Joyful

Paul Williams & The Victory Trio Going to Stay in the Old-Time Way 

Various Artists The Johnny Cash Music Festival 2011

Various Artists The Bristol Sessions 1927-1928: Country Music’s “Big Bang”

And a DVD: Pa’s Fiddle: The Music of America

  1. Jon
    July 31, 2012 at 10:21 am

    I don’t know if I go along with the concept that getting a full picture of what a band is about is so valuable that it negates the time-wastingness of listening to music you don’t care for.

    The Paul Williams album is, like everything he’s released since returning to public performance, outstanding.

    Oh, and for those in a listening mood tonight, I’ll be making my first-ever appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, filling in with the Del McCoury Band on the 8:15 CDT segment.

  2. Adam Sheets
    July 31, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Congratulations, Jon!

    As for the bad music thing, I can see the argument but I’ll usually give a bad album a maximum of five listens or so and if it doesn’t grow on me by then, it probably won’t. Although there are exceptions that I’ve pulled out after a few years and ended up loving.

    But, yes, if it’s an artist you love, you should hear it at least once to truly “get” them.

  3. Ben Foster
    July 31, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Very excited to hear about the upcoming Jamey Johnson release.

    And yes, congratulations to Jon!

  4. luckyoldsun
    July 31, 2012 at 11:29 am

    I think you’d have to hear it at least once to be able to judge it a bad album.

    But listening to music you consider bad does seem like a waste of time–unless it gives you some amusement or masochistic pleasure–presumably what Heller means by listening “ironically.”

  5. Adam Sheets
    July 31, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Of course you’d have to hear it at least once. I guess I was referring more to albums that a general consensus has been reached and that consensus is that it’s bad.

    In another sense, though, how important would you say it is to explore all parts of an artist’s career? I’m guessing that there are many rockabilly fans who couldn’t care less about Jerry Lee Lewis’s country period and, likewise, country fans who can do without Conway Twitty and Charlie Rich’s early material. But I think to fully judge the artist we need to hear all of it or at least a good sample of everything. That includes Willie’s reggae album.

  6. Barry Mazor
    July 31, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Critics and biographers need to be aware of all of an artist’s work, as might, say, pick-up bands employed by Chuck Berry.

    Listeners, though, have no obligation to be aware of anything unless they want to. It’s hard enough to convince some potential listeners to check out things people from the advice business recommend paying attention to; I doubt it helps much (or hasANY impact) to suggest they take time with music said to be not worth the bother..

  7. Jon
    July 31, 2012 at 4:09 pm


  8. Adam Sheets
    July 31, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    I’m with you. There are artists I don’t like, so I don’t listen to them. Then there are others who I do like who have often released albums that are not that good. But I still buy all of his albums. So there are many artists who I don’t care about. I wouldn’t pick up their good albums, let alone the bad. But with others who I do care about, I have to hear it all even if I don’t like it. I suppose that’s why I have so many Elvis soundtracks and ’90s Bocephus.

  9. Barry Mazor
    July 31, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    No argument, Adam. Sometimes artists’ “worst” work–and it might really be that–can be very revealing, even about underlying angles on their best or what’s different that makes the best stuff so good. But that’s something I might bring into something I write, in passing, but not recommend people who read me spend to much time checking out themselves–unless they really want to!

  10. Jeremy Dylan
    July 31, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    But I think to fully judge the artist we need to hear all of it or at least a good sample of everything. That includes Willie’s reggae album.

    I will not stand for any running down of Countryman!

    That is a great record.

  11. Rick
    July 31, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Opry Alert! Tonight’s Opry features Ricky Skaggs, Love & Theft, Lorrie Morgan, Del McCoury Band, and Marty Stuart with Connie Smith. Grade: A!
    Schedule: http://www.opry.com/shows/ThisWeek.html

    When it comes to bad albums, once an artist I like puts out a bad album I quickly lose interest. I might still sample later output, but I rarely buy any more music from that artist.

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