Kix Brooks Schedules New Tour; Turkey Hunting with James McMurtry; ‘Nashville Scene’ Covers Americana

Brody Vercher | September 2nd, 2010

  • Brooks & Dunn haven’t yet wrapped up their final tour together (their last gig is tonight), but that hasn’t stopped Kix Brooks from lining up tour dates for next year. It’ll be a different kind of tour though. Instead of performing, Brooks will take his nationally syndicated American Country Countdown to various radio affiliates across the country to broadcast from their studios. He’ll also host the American Country Countdown Concert Series, which will be “live shows featuring an array of established Country artists as well as talented newcomers.” (via CMT)
  • Gary Allan doesn’t like to know who wrote a song or what it’s about before he hears it for himself:

    “All I want to see on a demo CD is the name of the song,” he’s told me more than once during our conversations through the years. “I don’t want to be influenced by the name of the hottest songwriter in town,” he says. “And I don’t want to hear an introduction to the song before I hear it for the first time. ‘This is a great tune about this or that.’ When someone hears a song on the radio, they aren’t told in advance who wrote it, and there’s not a story about why it was written or what it’s about. The song has to stand up on its own merits, and people either like it or they don’t. I like to put myself in that position when I hear it for the first time, too. I want the song to sink or swim with me with no outside influences.”

  • Steel Magnolia‘s debut album Keep On Lovin’ You will be in stores January 11 of next year.
  • Houston Press’ William Michael Smith profiled country singer Jon Wolfe (MySpace), who left Houston for Nashville in 2006 with George Strait‘s nephew as his manager. Wolfe recorded an album during his stay in Nashville, but his label, Midas Records, folded in 2007 and it was never released. He’s back in Texas now and has a new album, It Happened In a Honky Tonk, due out next week.

    The album’s first single, “Let a Country Boy Love You,” walks that fine line between the commercial country of guys like Alan Jackson or Clint Black and the Texas Music/red-dirt radio scene.

  • If you haven’t done so yet, do yourself a favor and check out advertising guy Charlie Hopper’s enetertaining dispatches about trying to sell a song in Nashville.
  • C.M. Wilcox thinks you should be listening to Ronnie Fauss‘ recently released EP Mulligan:

    Much as Snider does on his albums (recall that “Beer Run” and “Waco Moon” both debuted on New Connection), Fauss balances the levity with some darker material, like the sad character sketch “Tia Maria” and the lovely piano-and-steel track “Driving Through Memphis,” a broken, reflective ballad from the driver’s seat that closes the EP. All around, a solid offering. I’m not sure why more people aren’t talking about this guy.


  • In an article from Edd Hurt about the momentum of Americana music, Sarah Jarosz shared her thoughts on bluegrass:

    “Bluegrass was the result of trying to be different,” Jarosz says. “I know there are a lot of bluegrass purists who want to keep it straight and preserve the music’s history. But Bill Monroe was kinda breakin’ the rules, you know, in creating bluegrass music.”

  • With the Americana Music Festival right around the corner, Nashville Scene published a couple more articles on Americana music:

  • Throughout the next month, My Kind of Country intends to spotlight several artists they refer to as the new New Traditionalists: Joe Nichols, Dierks Bentley, Josh Turner, Chris Young, Jamey Johnson, Sunny Sweeney, Joey+Rory, and Ashton Shepherd.
  • 11 question with Trace Adkins.

    What is the last compliment you’ve received?
    Somebody told me that I had a nice pond yesterday.

  • For the Aug/Sept issue of Garden & Gun magazine, Rick Bass turned in a lengthy, but beautifully written profile of James McMurtry. To prepare for the article, Bass joined McMurtry for a turkey hunt and at times his description of the hunt feels like it could be a metaphor for songwriting:

    There are a lot of joys in the world, but there is none quite exactly like the one known to the turkey hunter who, upon walking through the dimmest of pre-dawn light, hears the first nearby gobble of a wild turkey, and who knows that whether or not he or she finds a bird that day, there is going to at least be action: that the quarry is indeed in the woods. It is an electrifying sound; it seizes the blood. A lot of hunters will begin running toward the sound, but James just keeps on walking, staying cool: inside, though, he is not cool. No one can hear that sound and remain cool—no one. At best, you go to a tight small place between abandon and fierce control, and you slide along that narrow gauge, watching and listening, with all the senses so inflamed that it seems a single spark, mixed with a single gust of wind, could ignite you.

  • NPR’s Fresh Air is compiling a collection of its best interviews with musicians and kicked the series off with a week-long highlight of country music’s legendary songwriters and performers. (via @TwangNation)
  • UPDATE: Artists appearing on the Nov. 9 release of Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn have been announced.
  1. Stormy
    September 2, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Sheryl Crow, Steve Earle, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Kid Rock, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Allison Moorer, Paramore, Reba, Carrie Underwood, The White Stripes, Lucinda Williams, Gretchen Wilson, and Lee Ann Womack

    How did Kid Rock make it onto this list? Why do people keep pretending he has talent?

  2. Mike Parker
    September 2, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    I’d say Kid Rock is infinitely more talented and entertaining than either Faith Hill or Gretchen Wilson. He’s not always my cup of tea, but I think he’s a lot better than most people give him credit for.

    I did hear his old song, “Picture,” on the radio yesterday… which struck me as weird… and I was blown away by how poorly it’s written. I guess I’d never listened line by line before.

  3. SamB
    September 2, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    More randomly, what the hell are Paramore doing on that list?

  4. Jon
    September 2, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    Interesting that Stormy believes her musical taste to be better than Loretta Lynn’s.

  5. Ben Foster
    September 2, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Kid Rock, more talented than Faith Hill and Gretchen Wilson? I don’t think he can even hold a candle to Gretchen, let alone Faith.

    That said, it sounds like the Loretta tribute album should be very interesting to hear. I’m definitely no fan of Paramore, but I can’t help being curious about how they’ll treat a Loretta Lynn song. Very excited to hear Faith, Reba, Miranda, and Martina.

  6. Jim Malec
    September 2, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I would bet that Paramore will contribute “Fist City,” which has been a staple of their live show.

  7. Michael A.
    September 2, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    From the comments section on the Loretta Lynn tribute album link:

    It’s sad that Kellie Pickler isn’t part of this as she’s real country, always sounds amazing and better than everyone else covering Stand By Your Man at the Opry etc.,

  8. grumpiestoldman
    September 2, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Kix, that’s just sad. Bob Kinglsey is the king of country countdowns anyway.

  9. Rick
    September 2, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Opry Alert! Tonight the “Classic Country Opry” returns for a couple month run. The Spotlight Artist tonight is Connie Smith and other artists to be featured include Jimmy Fortune, T.G Sheppard, and my picks Emily West and Billy Yates.
    Opry Schedule:

    Based upon that artist list for the Loretta Lynn tribute album, I won’t be wasting any money on that debacle. I sure hope Jessi Colter does a better job selecting artists for the Waylon tribute album she is putting together. The fact she picked Sunny Sweeney to record “She’s a Good Hearted Woman” shows Jessi’s off to a good start!

    Wow, I really thought I couldn’t possibly care less about anything related to Brooks & Dunn! Guess I was wrong…

  10. Noah Eaton
    September 2, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    I’m not necessarily a fan of Kid Rock, as I find his personality smug, but there’s no denying he has a charisma and showmanship to him that few can really match in the current contemporary music scene.

    “All Summer Long” encompasses that love-hate relationship better than anything. I’ve always found that song cringe-worthy on paper, but somehow it has an appeal I can’t quite describe hearing it. Few songs as of late can match the volume of sheer escapism like that anthem does, and just suck you right in. “Stuck Like Glue” is another example of a song that’s utterly lame on paper but brilliantly engaging recorded.

    I also give Ritchie credit for having a genuine appreciation of music in general. It’s easy to write his influences as superficial by listening to “Cowboy” or “You’ve Never Met A (bleep) Quite Like Me”, but in essence his musical background is richer than most artists currently representing the Country format are, and even when I roll my eyes when I hear him speak at certain points in interviews in boasting about himself, he’s all the same very convincing when speaking of the music he listened to growing up, and you can tell has an emotional appreciation of it in the broadest sense, whether it be Motown, blues, southern rock or the Detroit hip-hop scene. Moreover, he got where he is today through a hard work ethic and a DIY grassroots approach.

    His arrogance makes it impossible for me to love Ritchie, but I find it impossible to hate him either. And while I’m not psyched that he will be part of the Loretta Lynn tribute, I certainly am not arguing he shouldn’t be there either.

  11. Waynoe
    September 2, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Of course Kix Brooks is doing a non-singing tour next year. He has been doing those for over many years now.

  12. Stormy
    September 2, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    I can understand Paramoure via the White Stripes link. And I am intrigued as to what they will do with her song. Kid Rock will either do Generic White Boy Rap A or Generic Rock Power Ballad A. Faith and Martina will likely also do generic power ballads, but at least they will be able to hit the notes.

    Jon: Its interesting you read words I don’t even come close to typing.

    Michael: That is hilarous. I wonder what the commenters would say if someone asked them why singing Stand By Your Man well qualifies anyone for a Loretta Lynn tribute.

  13. Leeann
    September 2, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    That was actually funny.

  14. CountryFan
    September 2, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Paramore recorded “You Ain’t Woman Enough” for the Loretta tribute album. That’s the only artist/song announcement I’ve heard of so far.

    I’m looking forward to Kid Rock’s track, although I’m almost positive its a duet. Nice to see Carrie honoring Loretta…

    In general, I’m quite excited about the album, I can’t wait to hear Reba’s cut!!

  15. Roger
    September 2, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    Props to Gary Allan….if all artists did that it would be a much better world!

  16. Jon
    September 2, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    @Stormy Maybe you should try thinking about what you write before you post it. The story plainly states that Loretta Lynn chose the artists to appear on the record; that answers your question, “How did Kid Rock make it onto this list?” It also means that your second questions amounts either to an accusation that Lynn is “pretending” or a claim that her taste is inferior to yours, since she fails to recognize what you believe you see, namely his lack of talent. I thought it was more charitable to suggest that you have an excessively high opinion of your own taste – a suggestion that has mountains of other evidence to support it – than to suggest that you were calling Loretta Lynn a liar. If the charity was misplaced, my apologies.

  17. Rick
    September 2, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    It’s just a shame Loretta (who’s getting a bit dotty these days) didn’t assign this whole project to Gail Davies! Gail did a fine job with “Caught In The Webb” and would have produced a Loretta tribute worth listening to if she were able to choose the artists participating rather than dear old Loretta. Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert, Gretchen Wilson and Lee Ann Womack might have qualified but there sure wouldn’t be any of those roots rocker Americana types! Oh well…

  18. Stormy
    September 2, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Jon: Definition of PRETEND
    transitive verb
    1: to give a false appearance of being, possessing, or performing
    2a : to make believe : feign b : to claim, represent, or assert falsely

  19. CountryFan
    September 2, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Oh yes… and how many did Gail Davies’ tribute sell? 20,000 would be a high guestimate. This tribute album is on Sony, they want to make some $$$ off of this. Loretta stands to gain quite a large influx of royalties as well.

  20. Rick
    September 2, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Countryfan, I agree with you. Gail Davies put the music and her love of Webb Pierce’s musical legacy first, while this Loretta project will likely be totally commercial dreck in comparison. Today’s Top 40 mainstream country radio audience embraces mediocrity these days, and this album should deliver it in spade.

    Is Jack White going to be producing this album? If so, and I can’t believe I’m going to say this, even Brett Beavers would be a better choice…

  21. Ollie
    September 2, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Rick- Gail Davies is a good friend of Emmylou Harris, who was included on the Webb Pierce tribute CD, and who once recorded a pretty fair cover of Blue Kentucky Girl, so if Gail Davies was producing the Loretta Lynn tribute album, I think it likely that there would be at least one contribution from an “Americana type” artist.

    September 2, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    With the Loretta Lynn Album I’ll Just Download The Steve Earle & Lucinda Williams maybe The White Stripes and leave the rest alone because their the only people with talent on that list

  23. CountryFan
    September 2, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    The Emmylou Harris cut is the only track on the Webb Pierce tribute album that I actually care for… the rest just sounds dull to me.

  24. Emmy
    September 3, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Kid Rock appears all over the place. In person, I’m guessing he must be a really nice and make friends with people in high places. His musical talent alone does not explain all that he gets involved in.

  25. Lori
    September 3, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Thanks so much for mentioning James McMurtry. I can’t wait to read the article. And I can’t wait until more people discover him.

  26. Waynoe
    September 3, 2010 at 2:46 pm


    Kid Rock is a consummate entertainer. That is his strong suit over being a compelling artist.

  27. Occasional Hope
    September 3, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    “Is Jack White going to be producing this album?”

    According to the Music Row link, each artist will choose the producer for his or her track.

  28. Chris N.
    September 4, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    You seriously believe they asked Loretta who she wanted on the tribute album and she said, “How about Paramore and Kid Rock?” I would imagine there’s a touch of spin in that press release.

  29. Razor X
    September 4, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    You seriously believe they asked Loretta who she wanted on the tribute album and she said, “How about Paramore and Kid Rock?”


  30. Jon
    September 4, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    I’d say the PR here has about as heavy a touch of spin as the PR surrounding Van Lear Rose. And you seriously believe that the picture of Lynn being presented with a blank piece of paper on which to inscribe her list of preferred artists exhausts the list of scenarios for which “the artists were chosen by Lynn” furnishes a reasonable description?

  31. luckyoldsun
    September 4, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    The artists for the Lynn tribute were chosen by the producer and the record company based on what was commercial and who was available to paricipate. The claim that they were “personally chosen by Lynn” is just kayfabe.

  32. CountryFan
    September 5, 2010 at 12:47 am

    I’m sure Loretta don’t even know who the majority of the people on that album are, LOL.

  33. Jon
    September 5, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Here’s a little story. Back about a dozen years ago, I did a story on Ralph Stanley, when his big Clinch Mountain Country project came out, with a big, long list of guests. One of them was Bob Dylan, who sang “The Lonesome River.” Now, that song, written by Carter Stanley and first recorded by the Stanley Brothers, is one of the greatest trios in the history of bluegrass; it’s been done by everyone from Vince Gill to the Infamous Stringdusters, and it is *always* done as a trio. It’s a fabulous trio. Well, Dylan’s singing on the chorus, where he took the lead, wandered around the actual melody of the song so much that Stanley and producer Bil VornDick basically gave up on trying to put two harmony parts on it and settled for one – Ralph, singing a line that perforce wandered around just about as much as Dylan’s. The whole thing is a radical departure from the way that Ralph – and everyone else – had been singing the song for nearly 50 years, and that Ralph – and everyone else -has been singing the song ever since.

    So when I interviewed Ralph, I asked him about that; I was really curious to know what he thought about this, since his musical instincts are, to put it mildly, conservative. But no matter which angle I took, and no matter how delicately and non-judgmentally I put the question, got the same answer: “he done a good job.” That, and that alone, was what he had to say about it.

    Do I believe that he fully expressed what he felt about the recording? Maybe not. But that’s what he had to say, and lacking the ability to peer into his mind on my own *and* the arrogance to believe that his thoughts *must* be the same as mine, I left it at that. And at the end of the day, that’s all anyone can reasonably do.

    Here’s what Lynn is quoted as saying: “I am so happy that these singers wanted to do this record. I love ‘em all, and it was so great to hear all the different ways they did my hits,”

    Now, who here has actual information that either 1) Lynn didn’t in fact say this or sign off on it one way or another, or 2) was lying? Because without actual information supporting one contention or the other, the only reasonable thing to do is to take the comment at face value. Projecting one’s own tastes and opinions onto an artist, no matter how much we may like that artist’s music, and no matter how much we would like to think that their tastes and opinions are a perfect reflectino of ours, is a bad idea.

  34. Nelson
    September 5, 2010 at 9:39 am

    “lacking the ability to peer into his mind on my own *and* the arrogance to believe that his thoughts *must* be the same as mine, I left it at that.”

    You, lacking in arrogance? That’s the best laugh I’ve had in a long time.

  35. Paul W Dennis
    September 5, 2010 at 10:04 am

    Luckyold sun – you might want to explain kayefabe to the folks – the only context I’ve ever seen the term used was in connection to pre-1990 professional wrestling

  36. sam (sam)
    September 5, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I disagree with Jon that concerning Lynn’s statement “the only reasonable thing to do is to take the comment at face value.”

    Taking it at face value certainly is reasonable. But another reasonable choice would be to discount it on the theory that in such a situation Lynn is unlikely to say harsh things about these artists, regardless of whether she really thought they did a good job. To do that isn’t to imply that she is lying or that she never made the statement; rather, it is to say that in such a situation it is difficult to know whether her statement genuinely reflects her beliefs. There are other reasonable courses of action here as well. Deciding not to care one way or another is probably reasonable.

    I don’t know the best thing to do. But certainly there are responses other than taking the comment at face value that are still within the realm of the “reasonable.”

  37. Nelson
    September 5, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    “But another reasonable choice would be to discount it on the theory that in such a situation Lynn is unlikely to say harsh things about these artists, regardless of whether she really thought they did a good job”

    It’s called being polite. Jon should try it sometime.

  38. Jon
    September 6, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    But another reasonable choice would be to discount it on the theory that in such a situation Lynn is unlikely to say harsh things about these artists, regardless of whether she really thought they did a good job.

    What situation would that be?

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