Museum of Broadcast Communications to Celebrate National Barn Dance; Ron Davies Tribute Record Due in March; Album Releases

Juli Thanki | February 26th, 2013

  • Garth Brooks, Shelby Lynne, and The Oak Ridge Boys have been added to the list of artists who will appear George Jones’ final Nashville concert.
  • On March 23, the Museum of Broadcast Communications will “celebrate the 89th anniversary of The National Barn Dance radio show in the actual historic WLS studio…The special event will feature an afternoon of classic country music, historic reflections and documentary clips from The Hayloft Gang: The Story of the National Barn Dance.”
  • Guitarist Dan Toler (Allman Brothers Band) passed away on Monday at the age of 64 after a long battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease.
  • Out March 25: Unsung Hero: A Tribute to the Music of Ron Davies, a record featuring Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss, John Prine, BR549, and many more. All proceeds from the 22-track compilation will go to Nashville’s W.O. Smith Music School.
  • John Esposito, president of Warner Music Nashville, answers a few questions for Jaquetta White of the Tennessean.
  • Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell talk about how they first met in this article from The Independent.
  • CMT Edge premiered the video for Steve Earle’s “Invisible,” a song from his upcoming record, The Low Highway (due out April 16).
  • Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen have signed with Compass Records. Their sophomore album, On the Edge, will be released April 30. Also, it’s rather good.
  • Vince Gill and Pam Tillis will appear in tomorrow night’s episode of Nashville. (via press release)
  • Songwriter Brandy Clark answered five questions for Country California.
  • Kellie Pickler and Wynonna Judd have signed on to participate in the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars.
  • Brian T. Atkinson interviewed Bruce Robison for CMT Edge.
  • American Songwriter’s Evan Schlansky interviewed Holly Williams.
  • Rolling Stone premiered a new Iron and Wine track from Ghost on Ghost, due out April 16.
  • Don Gonyea shared a sweet story about the time he interviewed Johnny Cash:  I asked him, “How’d you get to be The Man in Black?” I cringe a little bit when I hear myself ask that question, but you’ve got to love his answer. “For one reason, it’s a little more slimming,” Cash said. “I wrote a song called ‘Man in Black’ in about 1970. In the song, you see where I pointed out some of the problems and the ills that we have in this country. But I point to myself as being one of those people responsible for correcting some of those problems and unfortunate things that happen to people here.” This was not a good point in Johnny Cash’s life. The new album that I asked him about flopped, and he couldn’t really get on country radio anymore. “Folsom Prison Blues” had been 12 years earlier and it was another 12 or 13 years before he would have that late-career comeback. But on that day, he was way nicer to me than he had any reason to be. I was just this kid wearing a plaid shirt and a corduroy vest from some local radio station that he’d never heard of, but he took the time to answer all of my questions, even the stupid ones. I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time, but that is what I love about this interview all these years later. 
  • Garth Hudson’s landlord sold some of the musician’s belongings over the weekend at a garage sale after Hudson failed to pay rent on his loft for about seven years.
  • There’s an “Ameripolitan” compilation available on NoiseTrade featuring Dale Watson, Whitey Morgan, and more.
  • Album releases:

Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell Old Yellow Moon

The Mavericks In Time

Wayne Hancock Ride

Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors Good Light

Jaida Dreyer I Am Jaida Dreyer

Dave Adkins & Republik Steele – That’s Just the Way I Roll

The Civil Wars & T Bone Burnett A Place at the Table: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Ivan & Alyosha All the Times We Had

Mount Moriah Miracle Temple

BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet – From Bamako to Carencro

Various Artists Classic Celtic Music

And a DVD:

The Eagles: Farewell Tour – Live from Melbourne

  1. Jon
    February 26, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Tommy Jackson, yay!

  2. Dave D.
    February 26, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Not particularly keen on the “Ameripolitan” name, but any categorization that includes Dale Watson, JP Harris, Whitey Morgan, and Lucas Hudgins is OK by me.

  3. Ben Foster
    February 26, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Very excited to hear about Wynonna and Kellie. I’m quite the DWTS fan, as anyone on my Facebook and Twitter would know.

  4. Luckyoldsun
    February 26, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    DD–
    I love Dale (as a performer!) too, but I gotta agree with you that “Ameripolitan” is a very poor choice of name for what they’re doing. Years ago, someone coined the term “countrypolitan” for the Nashville Sound music–which joined country and either cosmopolitan or metropolitan (or maybe when Dean Martin started covering Haggard, it meant Neapolitan). Either way, it seems to convey a style of music that Watson and Company rail against.

  5. bob
    February 26, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    About 2 years ago, jazz singer Anna Wilson released an album called Countrypolitan Duets, described as a union of country, jazz and pop. Her husband is country songwriter Monty Powell.

  6. Jon
    February 26, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Dale Watson’s railed against the countrypolitan sound? You mean, like Billy Sherrill? When? Where?

  7. Barry Mazor
    February 26, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    There’s nothing new about the term “countrypolitan;” that was being used in the 1960s to describe the R&B=influenced updating of the Nashville Sound fostered by Billy Sherrill, for instance..The Sherill Charlie Rich records were–that.

    As far as Dale Watson goes, it’s contemporary mainstream radio country that he rails against–and sometimes Americana, too, which is why he decided to make up what the world needs now, another term. That he has something against the actual countrypolitan sound (which, again, is an extension of the lush Nashville sound, not the same thing–more horns and rhythm, less strings) is disproved by the fact that he’s recorded material in that vein, and in other pretty closely related jazzy veins, such as the whole gorgeous and touching “Every Song I Write is For You” album. He ain’t all Honkypolitan.

  8. Bruce
    February 26, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Barry,

    You mentioned Americana. I have a question, and it’s sincere. What exaactly is Americana? I am not interested in the Wikipedia definition.I am interested in a practical definition.

    I understand the roots thing. But I have heard some Americana songs that could pass for “mainstream” country. Obviously other songs could be straight-ahead bluegrass or folk.

    It seems to me that it is a melting pot. I do like some of what I have heard from Americana, so I am not baiting the hook here.

    Sometimes WSM plays a song from the Americana files and I cannot, at times, distinguish it from what they normally play.

    It also seems to me that Americana is where some artists wind up that couldn’t catch a big break on the main stage, or at least have at one time but have since decreased in popularity.

    Appeciate your thoughts.

  9. Barry Mazor
    February 27, 2013 at 12:02 am

    I think of you go to the Americana Music Association home page, they’ll spell it out well enough. Look at the weekly radio playlists. That will be really explicit–and they’re mainly NOT artists you’ll hear on any straight country station, for instance. It’s an area of new popular music that builds on American music rooted in place and time, and artists who define what they do just like that. And that’s it.

    I tell you what puzzles me: What is Jazz? What is rock ‘n roll? What is country Music? What is pop? All of these are broad enough, vague enough even, to evolve, grow and keep existing in ways music makers, marketers and listeners find helpful. The same has been true for Americana for over 20 years now, and it’s played o a good 100 stations, satellite radio, and in other countries. If I say “country Music” or “jazz,” I don’t get, “Gee; I’ve vaguely heard of it, what is it?”–maybe just because they’ve been around ling enough as terms that people THINK they know what they consist of, or even “sound like.”

    After decades, I’d think the best thing to do is listen to what Americana music makers are offering online, on radio, maybe in shows in your area, etc; check out discussions of it, and you’ll probably get it. Because I tell you what, I think that greta efforts have been made, and very public and accessible ones, to make that clear enough, and anybody who wants to know can find the answers. Perhaps country or folk is where artists wind up who couldn’t catch a break in Americana. Or in selling insurance.

  10. Stuart Munro
    February 27, 2013 at 9:30 am

    From the horse’s mouth–an interview I did with Watson for the Boston Globe in 2010:

    Q. You’ve taken to using the term “Ameripolitan” to describe your music. What do you mean by that?

    A. The reason I use it is to separate myself from what is called country music today, because I don’t fit in their category, or any of their sub-categories. For people that like the kind of music I do, it’s very misleading [to call it country]. And it also misleads the people that like the new country music; they hear the word “country” and come out and hear us, they’re not going to like what we do. They’re expecting something different.

    Q. So it’s kind of truth in advertising on your part.

    A. Exactly. I tried to think of a name that really didn’t mean anything in particular. If you heard it, you wouldn’t have a connotation in your head, anything that would connect it to what country music is today. If you hear “Ameripolitan,” you know what you’re getting. It’s original music with prominent roots influence. Alison Krauss is a good example; you can hear her roots, you know exactly where she came from. The same with Dwight Yoakam.

  11. Arlene
    February 27, 2013 at 10:39 am

    It also seems to me that Americana is where some artists wind up that couldn’t catch a big break on the main stage, or at least have at one time but have since decreased in popularity.

    It seems to me that there are artists who “couldn’t catch a break break on the main stage, or at least have at one time but have since decreased in popularity” performing and recording in all musical styles. It’s also true that some musicians with enormous sales have started out their careers in the Americana catagory. Two of the 2013 Grammy nominees in the Americana catagory– Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers– were nominated for albums which have gone platinum, and both groups consist of artists in their 20s and 30s.

  12. Barry Mazor
    February 27, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Yep, Stuart; that’s what he keeps telling people. Of course, when he gets to what he means by it, it’s indistinguishable from Americana. But he obviously knows that seems to confuse people as a term, too, or at least, they know they’re confused about that one and are over-sure about others! So he makes up still another. Now he must be played on every Ameripolitan radio station

  13. Dave D.
    February 27, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Judging from the artists included in the Ameripolitan anthology, it seems to map well with AllMusic.com’s definition of Traditional Country:

    “Traditional Country is a nebulous term — it can refer to anything from Roy Acuff’s simple songs to the electrified honky tonk of Johnny Paycheck — but the name does evoke a specific sound, namely the long-standing tradition of simple country songs delivered with simple instrumentation and a distinct twang.”

    While that type of music is certainly included under Americana, my opinion is that it is only a small (and perhaps decreasing in prominence) slice of the Americana pie. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the Ameripolitan title is necessary, but I can sort of see where Dale is coming from.

  14. Barry Mazor
    February 27, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    You have a point Dave D, in that different elements in the Americana sphere are more or less prominent at different times and years–more singer-songwriters one time, more alt.country/roots rock another, more traditional country outside the sphere of chart country airplay or gospel or near folk at another–though there’s pretty much always some of each in the mix.. That sort of pendulum swing, some sounds and set-ups down, others up, happens in country and pop as we, of course.. Nobody promised anybody the music business would be easy–liars excepted.

    Artists who perform more traditional country are pretty much going to go where they’re wanted, treated well, can reach audiences, and maybe even make a few cents, if they’re smart–smart enough that any of us get to hear of them!

  15. Dave D.
    February 27, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Barry, hopefully it’s a just a pendulum swing and not a long term trend. I’m not sure how representative the AMA Music Festival is of Americana as a whole, but we left there early last year to drive to the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion to catch Dale Watson, JP Harris, Zoe Muth, and others who fall squarely into our sweet spot (and none of whom were at the AMA.)

    You’re absolutely right that performers are going to where they’re wanted, can reach audiences, etc. My anecdotal evidence the last few years is that they’re certainly getting this at BRRR; I have no idea what combination of not being wanted, not drawing crowds is leading to their decreased presence at the AMA.

  16. Stuart Munro
    February 27, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Yeah, Barry, I agree, I think the term is confusing, both to others and in what Watson wants it to represent. Watson has always loudly distinguished himself from contemporary country, but whatever one’s opinion of that, he’s still playing country music that’s clearly rooted in ’60s/’70s honky tonk. I’m not sure it makes sense to want to call it something else, even for tactical reasons.

  17. Jon
    February 27, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    When Watson says:

    “And it also misleads the people that like the new country music; they hear the word “country” and come out and hear us, they’re not going to like what we do. They’re expecting something different.”

    it makes me wonder just how many complaints of this nature he’s actually gotten. I’ll bet the answer is in the low single digits. At most.

  18. Luckyoldsun
    February 27, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    “Ameripolitan” sounds like a word designed to satirize something, though I’m not sure Dale is all that clear on what he’s satirizing.

    In any event, I’m not taking him seriously. I think he’s pulling someone’s leg.

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