Les Paul Moves On; IBMA Awards Announces Nominees; Streaming Reba

Brody Vercher | August 14th, 2009

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  1. [...] this piece in Texas Monthly; it’s one of the coolest things I’ve read recently. (via The 9513, via Twang [...]
  1. TexasVet
    August 14, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Another tidbit from GAC:

    Carrie Underwood, Hank Williams Jr. Honor Troops August 13, 2009 — Some of country’s biggest stars are taking part in the Budweiser’s Salute to the Troops concert at the Division Parade Field taking place in Ft. Campbell, Ky. on Friday, August 14. Carrie Underwood, Hank Williams, Jr., Jake Owen and John Rich will perform, paying tribute to the Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne Division, who will be returning from their service in the Middle East.

    For a complete schedule of events, visit fortcampbellmwr.com and click on the Week of the Eagles button on the homepage. While honoring veterans, troops and their families, the Week of the Eagles is also free and open to the public. In observance of post protocol, all visitors will be required to present valid photo ID and will need to show current registration and proof of insurance for any vehicle admitted.

  2. Razor X
    August 14, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Awesome George Jones download. Thanks for the heads-up.

  3. Razor X
    August 14, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    “Give me a list of other modern country acts that manly men will own up to actually admiring.”

    Uh, let’ see — George Strait, Randy Travis, Jamey Johnson, Alan Jackson, Trace Adkins, and Dwight Yoakam.

  4. Leeann Ward
    August 14, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    I’m with Razor regarding the Chet Flippo column. What?!

  5. Leeann Ward
    August 14, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    If Chet is focusing on the word “admiring”, how many men would admit to admiring Brooks and Dunn nowadays, anyway?

  6. Chris N.
    August 14, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    I very much admire Willie Nelson. Apart from that I’m not much into “admiring.”

  7. Rick
    August 14, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Trailer’s album covers are first rate as usual. I’d have to say the Sugarland album was my favorite. It kind of sounds like Jennifer is in the midst of coughing up a fur ball! (lol)

    I still have no idea who Chet Flippo means by that remark of his…

    Thanks for the George Jones link. Great stuff.

  8. Stormy
    August 14, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    Regarding Les Paul: Is anyone else in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame AND the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

  9. Rick
    August 14, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Rick’s Random Tidbits: CMT has a nice interview with Jace Everett they posted today. Jace’s career has been reignited by having one of his 2005 songs featured during the opening credits of HBO’s highest rated series “True Blood”. Best quote from the article:
    “The vampires brought me back from the dead!” (lol)

    Article Link: http://www.cmt.com/news/country-music/1617890/jace-everett-owes-his-second-chance-to-vampires-and-true-blood.jhtml

  10. Drew
    August 15, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    As terrible as the state of mainstream country is right now… at least the opposite can be said about bluegrass. Anybody who’s even a remote fan of the music should familiarize themselves with the big names right now… you definitely won’t be disappointed.

  11. Jon
    August 15, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    “As terrible as the state of mainstream country is right now… at least the opposite can be said about bluegrass. Anybody who’s even a remote fan of the music should familiarize themselves with the big names right now… you definitely won’t be disappointed.”

    True dat – regardless of what one thinks about the state of mainstream country.

  12. Alessandro Chionaky
    August 17, 2009 at 1:16 am

    Hi friends! I live in Italy but I love America. Thanks for your news, I am glad to read about my favourite music and musicians and, of course, about America! Thanks again. Alex

  13. Stewman
    August 17, 2009 at 9:35 am

    What do ardent bluegrass fans think of the mainstream bluegrass acts? Being someone who isnt overly fond of the genre, I always wondered what you think of Allison Krauss, Rhonda Vincent, OCMS etc..?

  14. Jon
    August 17, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Stewman, I’m not sure what your question means, unless you’re drawing a distinction between acts with appeal outside of the “hard core” bluegrass audience and those without it. In which case I would say that opinions vary quite a bit – Rhonda does quite well with hard core audiences as well as broader ones, while Alison probably has as many fans in general among those as she does folks who love her early work and ongoing bluegrass efforts (typically a couple per album) but have no use for anything else she does. I know of very few in those audiences who would consider Old Crow Medicine Show to be a bluegrass act of any sort.

    You can get a pretty good idea of who the most esteemed artists are within the bluegrass community by following the link to the IBMA nominations, which reflect the opinions of about 2000 members, most of whom are involved in the industry, primarily as musicians but also as DJs, show promoters, etc.

  15. Leeann Ward
    August 17, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    What’s the difference between assigning boundaries to what’s country versus what’s bluegrass? Why is it okay to do it for bluegrass, but snobbish to do it for country.

  16. Leeann Ward
    August 17, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    PS. I agree that OCMS is certainly not pure bluegrass.

  17. nm
    August 17, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    I heard someone in the audience before the JT Earle/Felice Brothers/David Rawlings Machine/OCMS show in Nashville explaining to someone on his cell phone that he was about to listen to some bluegrass acts. I’m still wondering what he thought he meant.

  18. Stewman
    August 17, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    NM-He figured he’d get some “cool points” from his unknowing friends. These are the same people who listened to swing music in the late nineties. Whatever the perceived latest trend is, they are there.

  19. Jon
    August 17, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    “NM-He figured he’d get some “cool points” from his unknowing friends. These are the same people who listened to swing music in the late nineties. Whatever the perceived latest trend is, they are there.”

    I think NM’s point is that the guy was using the term inappropriately, so that you’d want to be talking about “the same people who listened to bebop in the late nineties and called it swing.”

    Leeann: “What’s the difference between assigning boundaries to what’s country versus what’s bluegrass? Why is it okay to do it for bluegrass, but snobbish to do it for country.”

    Well, in the first place, I don’t think I said it was okay to do it for bluegrass; if you will reread my post, you’ll see that I have described other folks’ opinions without evaluating them, and offered none of my own. Furthermore, I’ve not said that it’s snobbish to do it for country, nor have I said that it’s not okay to assign boundaries. Although I think the last of those is probably true – or, more precisely, it’s probably true that it’s a bad idea for any individual to think that he or she can legitimately take on the task, especially when they do it hastily, superficially, on the basis of emotion and/or with a demonstrably limited amount of knowledge. Obviously there are large chunks of music that no one would call country; equally obviously there are large chunks of music that everyone would, in either case with only a minimum of knowledge. But those aren’t the issue, are they? It’s the stuff in between that excites all the controversy, and that’s where analytical skills, along with a supply of knowledge about music and music history (among others things) are more necessary – and often more lacking.

    Beyond that, suffice it to say that the history and nature of bluegrass is quite a bit different from those of country music in general. We can call Jimmie Rodgers the Father of Country Music all day long, but at the end of the day, “Father of Country Music” means something different from what’s meant when Bill Monroe is called the “Father of Bluegrass.” Bluegrass is much younger than country music as a whole, it started from a specific set of music made by a specific band, and it’s existed as a niche music, created by and for a fairly small community with a much higher degree of influence (if not outright control) over how it develops. Country music’s history is pretty different.

    Even so, my own notion of what falls under the bluegrass umbrella is considerably more inclusive than that of many in the hard-core audience – again, using the same kind of approach that I use with respect to country music – though not inclusive enough to think that Old Crow Medicine Show’s music does. I see you agree that their music isn’t “pure” bluegrass” (a troublesome concept, BTW, but leave it aside for now), which raises the question, why do you think it’s any kind of bluegrass at all?

  20. Jim Malec
    August 17, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    But those aren’t the issue, are they? It’s the stuff in between that excites all the controversy, and that’s where analytical skills, along with a supply of knowledge about music and music history (among others things) are more necessary – and often more lacking.

    I agree whole heartedly.

  21. Chris N.
    August 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    If we’re being picky, the style that was revived in the 1990s is properly called “jump blues.”

  22. Stewman
    August 17, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    According to IMDB, OCMS were a featured band in a 2003 documentary called Bluegrass Journey. Is this a reputable film about Bluegrass.
    Part of me relates Bluegrass music to wine. I tried it for years before i learned to enjoy the nuanced qualities of wine. Im still very much a craft beer/fine spirits person, but can enjoy the qualities of a great wine.
    I suppose im more of a folk-based music fan first and seemed to find Bluegrass as musicianship first/song content second. Ive always been an admimer of Steve Earle and found Del McCoury’s comment that “Steve Earle was good for bluegrass(The Mountain) because it brought new songs to the table”. That may have tainted my perception that Bluegrass never push the envelope with good songwriting.
    Who is considered the top songwriters in bluegrass these days?

  23. David S
    August 17, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    On Chet Flippo’s comments: Alan Jackson is the only one that comes to mind. It isn’t a coincidence that Jackson and Brooks & Dunn are both from the nineties when it was cool to be a REAL man.

  24. Leeann Ward
    August 17, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    When it was cool to be a real man?

    I never pretend to know anything about bluegrass music. I just listen to it with distant admiration. Your answer regarding bluegrass being younger makes sense, but I still think it’s safe for us to classify Keith Urban under a category other than country at this point.

    OCMS is one of my favorite bands, whatever their genre happens to be.

  25. Leeann Ward
    August 17, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    At least Jim and Jon are agreeing on something today.

  26. Leeann Ward
    August 17, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Stewman,
    Does one get cool points for saying they’re listening to bluegrass? This is kind of reminding me of the Easton Corbin debate of a few weeks ago.

  27. Stormy
    August 17, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    David: The 90’s were way more fem-friendly than the 00’s. The 90’s were when Johnny Depp became a sex symbol. By playing a guy who cuts shrubbery into cool shapes with his scissor shaped hands.

  28. stewman
    August 17, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Leeann this is much different. Easton corbin was my breaking point with “I’m more country” songs, if you’ve been to any bluegrass festival in a metropolitan area, you will know what I’m talking about. Bluegrass has a distinct bandwagon quotient right now

  29. Leeann Ward
    August 17, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Stewman,
    My comparison was that you basically accused Corbin of making up his influences to seem cool or authentic and then you did the same with the guy who mislabeled bluegrass by saying that he was just saying it to seem cool when I’m inclined to think that Jon was right about what was probably actually going on there.

  30. David S
    August 17, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    I was merely saying, if you look at the styles and personalities of the men of country music in the 90s, and compare them to the men in the genre today, you won’t see 90s male artists with highlighted hairdos, sissified wardrobes, and diva-attitudes like that of Tim McGraw and John Rich. Not to mention the rockstar piercings of Jason Aldean and Rascal Flatts!

    If you look to the 90s, you’ll see Alan Jackson, Geroge Strait, and Brooks & Dunn wearing Wrangler jeans in cowboy hats, and cowboy boots. They aren’t singing this “emo country audio junk” (a term I’ve robbed from Jim Malec’s review of the Rascal Flatts’ album “Still Feels Good” that I use to describe the vast majority of today’s mainstream country music, even two years after Mr. Malec wrote the review) about senseless crying and wishing they were dead like a bunch of 16-year-old girls who just broke up with their boyfriend.

    I hope that answers your question.

  31. Stormy
    August 17, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    Actually piercings started coming in vogue in the 90’s and considering some of the best new country from that era (Kasey Chambers comes to mind) were pierced that doesn’t really wash. And the 90’s brought us Tim and Kenny.

  32. nm
    August 17, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    Well, the guy might have been calling the Big Surprise show bluegrass to be cool,* but in any event none of the acts involved has anything to do with bluegrass. Unless (as I increasingly suspect) there is some batch of people out there who understands bluegrass to mean any music that includes a banjo. In which case Bill Monroe’s ghost needs to break the news gently to the ghost of Stephen Foster.

    *There’s nothing mutually exclusive about pretension and confusion.

  33. Occasional Hope
    August 18, 2009 at 6:28 am

    David: You may have forgotten some of the less macho country males of the 90s, such as Mark Wills and Bryan White.

  34. Jon
    August 18, 2009 at 7:50 am

    Leeann: “I still think it’s safe for us to classify Keith Urban under a category other than country at this point.”

    I don’t, but I’ll resist the temptation to get embroiled in *that* discussion, and instead encourage you again to explain why you’d put Old Crow Medicine Show under the bluegrass umbrella – not because I want to argue the point, but because I’m curious.

    Stewman, Bluegrass Journey is a fine film, but not exactly a bluegrass primer nor a survey of the bluegrass mainstream. It was filmed mostly at the old Grey Fox festival in New York, and gives most of its coverage to artists who are more on the New Acoustic Music (an outdated name, but still useful) side of things, from Jerry Douglas and Tony Rice to Nickel Creek. And if IMDB says that Old Crow Medicine Show is “featured” in the film, that’s a bit misleading; they fall under the “others” on the cover listing, and I literally don’t remember seeing them in it at all. Furthermore, the footage was shot back in 2001 – 2002 at the latest – and they’ve changed quite a bit since then (though even then they were much more influenced by old-time string band music than by bluegrass).

    As far as big names in bluegrass songwriting go right now, those would be folks like Tim Stafford and Steve Gulley (both together, separately and with other co-writers), Chris Stuart, Craig Market, Brandon Rickman, Patrick MacDougal, Billy Smith, and on the gospel side, the great Paul Williams. For starters ;-).

  35. Jon
    August 18, 2009 at 7:51 am

    And BTW, the Bluegrass Blog has a complete list of the nominees along with links to artist and label websites, where a considerable amount of listening awaits. You can find it here: http://www.thebluegrassblog.com/ibma-award-nominees-for-2009/.

  36. Juli
    August 18, 2009 at 11:09 am

    OCMS was only in Bluegrass Journey for approximately 15 seconds…just a quick clip of them playing in (I think) a hotel lobby during the IBMA festivities.

  37. Leeann Ward
    August 18, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    I admittedly incorrectly include string bands under the bluegrass tent.

  38. nm
    August 18, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    I like the term “new timey.”

  39. Jon
    August 18, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    “I admittedly incorrectly include string bands under the bluegrass tent.”

    Ah. Thanks for the reply, Leeann – and thanks to Juli, too, for the confirmation. Saves me from having to find the time to watch Bluegrass Journey again right now ;-).

  40. David S
    August 19, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Stormy: I was referring to men in 90s country, not women. Kasey Chambers could pierce herself a million times over and I can’t say I’d really care. She’s a woman, and it’s what women do.

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