Merle Haggard Receives Honorary Doctorate; Kellie Pickler to Co-Host The View; New Music Videos

Ken Morton, Jr. | June 17th, 2013

  • Peter Cooper wrote a feature about a Johnny Cash puppet. (It’ll make more sense after you click the link.)
  • Merle Haggard received an honorary doctorate from California State University Bakersfield. The late Buck Owens was honored with the university’s President’s Medal, which was accepted on his behalf by his son.
  • Keith Urban will be appearing on Buddy Guy’s new album, which is due for release in July.
  • The 20th Annual Springer Mountain Farms Bluegrass Nights at the Ryman concert series launches Thursday with a performance by Vince Gill. Ricky Skaggs, Doyle Lawson, Ralph Stanley, and Dailey and Vincent are just some of the other artists scheduled to perform through the rest of the summer.
  • Stephen Deusner interviewed Jason Isbell for CMT Edge.
  • Banjo player Joe Dean joined Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver.
  • Sony/ATV signed Jack Ingram to a publishing deal. I had a chance to talk to Jack at Golf & Guitars and he’s hoping to have a new album out by the end of this year.
  • Chuck Dauphin compares Jason Boland & The StragglersDark and Dirty Mile to the “great traditional work that Merle Haggard did for MCA in the late 1970s and early 1980s.”
  • Johnny Smith, the jazz guitarist that wrote “Walk, Don’t Run,” which was recorded by Chet Atkins, among others, passed away on June 12 at the age of 90.
  • Noah Berlatsky reviewed the book Hidden in the Mix: The African-American Presence in Country Music.
  • Donna Ulisse will release a collection of her favorite gospel songs on June 25; the release, called I Am a Child of God, includes two new songs, “Wait a Little Longer, Please, Jesus” and “This is My Father’s World.”
  • New music videos from the past week or so:

Green River Ordinance“It Ain’t Love”

Gary Allan“Pieces”

Billy Bragg“Handyman Blues”

Willie Nelson and Neil Young “Long May You Run”

Weston Burt“Lucky Sometimes”

Stephen Kellogg“Crosses”

The Wild Feathers“Hard Wind”

Travis Tritt featuring Tyler Reese“Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough”


  1. Rick
    June 17, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    On Saturday I attended the charity fundraiser Oakheart Festival in Thousand Oaks, CA to watch performances by Steel Magnolia, Jason Michael Carroll, and Tracy Lawrence. I didn’t bring any warm clothing as that area is normally pretty toasty this time of year, but after sunset it dropped to a damp 60 degrees! I didn’t stick around for Tracy Lawrence due to the chilly weather but did enjoy Jason Michael Carroll who put on a very entertaining set. Jason has not thrown in the towel yet and has a new single coming out titled “Close Enough” that would do alright on country radio if any stations will spin it. Good luck Jason.

    Last night I caught Junior Brown at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica for a thoroughly entertaining show full of fancy fretwork and humorous ditties. Junior was selling a new 6 song EP CD for a full $ 15 and there were few takers. I wonder why? (lol) Besides his own compositions Junior tossed in a revved up rockabilly version of Jimmy Martin’s “Freeborn Man” and an instrumental version of the 1960’s Johnny Rivers’ hit “Secret Agent Man”, plus some surf-rock pickin’ that sounded like the Ventures. Junior is well worth catching if he comes your way! Grade: A!

    It warms my heart to read about the honors bestowed upon Merle and Buck by Cal State Bakersfield. Now if Buck’s family would just open a “California Country Music Hall of Fame” next to Buck’s Crystal Palace concert hall/restaurant venue…

  2. Leeann Ward
    June 17, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Rick, I’m kinda surprised you’d attend anything with the word “charity” attached to it.

  3. Rick
    June 18, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Why Leeann, I’m all for “charity” when I am the recipient! (lol)

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