New Johnny Cash Releases Due Out in Spring; Rodney Atkins Cleared of Domestic Assault Charge; Merle Haggard Back in Action

Juli Thanki | February 9th, 2012

  • After battling pneumonia last month, Merle Haggard plans to get back on the road starting February 28.­­ From the press release: “I’m feeling good and ready to get back on the bus. Thanks to all for their powerful prayers that led to my speedy recovery. I’m rehearsing with the band and looking forward to playin’ and singin’ again.”
  • Richard Thompson talks with The A.V. Club about several of his songs, including “Tear Stained Letter” and “1952 Vincent Black Lightning.”
  • An Indiana State Fair official testified that Sugarland resisted delaying their show despite severe weather conditions that lead to last summer’s stage collapse.
  • Go get a free download of “Fade to Gold” from Moot Davis’ upcoming album Man About Town.
  • Jonny Corndawg interviews David Allan Coe in this video from American Songwriter.
  • Jessica Blankenship asks “what is country music?” Here is usually the argument on every single song being played: Too pop. Too rock. Too hip-hop (or would that be hick-hop?) Too country. Too young sounding.  Too old sounding. Too soft. Too electric. Electric guitar doesn’t belong. Electric guitar does belong. Too slow. Too fast. Too much happiness.  Too much death.  Where are the banjos? Why are there banjos in the song? Too sad. Too peppy. Too hillbilly. Too citified. Too northern. Too southern. Wait, too southern? Bless your heart. 
  • The upcoming record Kin features a star-studded lineup, based on the cover Rodney Crowell tweeted this morning. Unfortunately the album won’t be out until June.
  • The Civil Wars will perform at this weekend’s Grammy Awards, while Reba will be a presenter.
  • Allen Harrison interviewed Zoe Muth during a recent UK tour. Here’s an excerpt where Muth talks about how she got her start: “I’ve been writing songs for as long as I can remember; but I would only sing them out loud in my bedroom and certainly not in front of my family! Then in 2005 a friend and I began attending open-mic nights along Ballard Avenue in Seattle. At first it was just a Girls night on the town seeing local singers; but my friend knew that I wrote my own songs and kept telling me that ‘I was as good as most of the people on stage’ so; with a lot of prompting I actually got up to sing at the Blue Moon one evening and no one actually laughed! It was a very eclectic mix at the Blue Moon but the more I sang, more and more people complimented me and I gained a lot of confidence in my writing abilities, but never ever thought about becoming a singer.
  • Coming this spring to Vegas: The ACM Experience, which will include a BBQ Throwdown, Fan Jam, and the ACM Awards.
  • Emmylou Harris and her “generous philanthropic spirit” will be honored later this month at a fundraiser for The Park Center, which supports recovery from mental illness.


  1. Rick
    February 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    The first time I ever heard “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” was the Del McCoury Band cover version that won the award for “Bluegrass Song of the Year” a few years back. The first time I heard it I knew the songwriter was an afficianado of classic British motorcyles due to additional references to brands like Norton, Greeves, and Ariel. I can’t believe Richard left out the Brough Superior! (lol)

    On a related note there is an Americana act named “Red Molly”. When they guested on Music City Roots the host asked them where they got their band name, and sure enough it was from “1952 Vincent Black Lightning”. (As I had guessed! lol)

    I wish Los Angeles would have a festival like that one in San Francisco! Of the long list of little known acts participating The Sweetback Sisters and Nell Robinson definitely caught me eye!

    Zoe Muth is so naturally laid back it must have taken a lot of encouragement to get her on that stage up in Seattle. I must say I’m glad she did! Go Zoe!

    Amy Dalley is going to be hitting the road soon but in February amd March will be performing in Nashville at:
    Feb 15: That’s Cool, Nashville TN
    Feb 22: Music City Bar, Nashville TN
    Feb 29: Music City Bar, Nashville TN
    and in March at:
    March 7: Music City Bar, Nashville TN
    March 21: Music City Bar, Nashville TN
    It appears Amy has found a venue in Nashville that has great taste in music and really apprecioates her! Go Amy!

  2. luckyoldsun
    February 9, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    “Rodney Atkins has been cleared of the domestic assault charge against him.”

    I think when one says “X has been cleared of charges,” most people take that to mean that the charges were found to be false or that there was no basis for them.

    If you read the whole story on Atkins, he essentially took a plea bargain and agreed to do a sentence of community service. Not exactly cleared.

  3. Jon
    February 10, 2012 at 11:46 am

    If you read the whole story on Atkins, he essentially took a plea bargain and agreed to do a sentence of community service. Not exactly cleared.

    Someone doesn’t understand what the word “expunged” means.

  4. luckyoldsun
    February 10, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Ok, well since you don’t understand it, I’ll explain it to you.

    The charge has–in fact–not BEEN expunged. It WILL be expunged in the future if Atkins completes his SENTENCE.

    Look, people are free to use whatever words they like. But the point of writing is to communicate. As I noted (and no, I have not taken a poll on this), I think most people would interpret the words “So-and-so has been cleared of charges” to mean that the charges against So-and-so were determined to be baseless, or that So-and-so was wronged by the making of the charges. In this case, the charges were not found to be baseless and Atkins was not wronged. In fact, Atkins took a plea bargain and agreed to to a sentence. So in my opinion, it is misleading, or cheeleading, to say that he “has beeb cleared.” If you feel otherwise, that’s fine.

  5. luckyoldsun
    February 10, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Sorry for a couple of typos at the end of my last posting.

  6. Jon
    February 10, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    I see where someone still doesn’t understand what “expunged” means, and doesn’t understand what “sentenced” means, either. No wonder he or she chooses to remain anonymous; commenting on stuff that you clearly know nothing about is a little embarrassing – or should be.

  7. luckyoldsun
    February 11, 2012 at 12:40 am

    I see where someone keeps using the same tired, passive-aggressive rhetorical device.

    The operative quote from the article is:
    “the judge also ordered Atkins to complete 30 hours of community service.”
    Got it? ORDERED. That’s a sentence.
    I’ll leave it to others to decide who’s been commenting on stuff he clearly knows nothing about.

  8. Jon
    February 11, 2012 at 10:05 am

    ORDERED. That’s a sentence.

    Uh, nope.

    One doesn’t really need to be familiar with the niceties here, but on the other hand, if one is going to go out of one’s way to make crabby, caviling comments, it’s probably good to have some idea of what one is talking about.

  9. luckyoldsun
    February 11, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    Ok, enough talking about yourself.

    Are you disputing that Mr. Atkins was sentenced to do 30 hours of community service? If so, why don’t you say it. And if not, then what, if anything, is the purpose behind your commenting here?

  10. Jon
    February 12, 2012 at 10:24 am

    luckyoldsun: “ORDERED. That’s a sentence.”

    Me: “Uh, nope.”

    luckyoldsun: “Are you disputing that Mr. Atkins was sentenced to do 30 hours of community service?”

    Me: *facepalm*

  11. luckyoldsun
    February 12, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Listen, I was just narrowing you down, because you’re apt do deny saying what you sure seem to have said.

    So you believe that when a judge orders you to show up somewhere for 4 days to clean rest areas or rake leaves or scrub trays or whatever–that you have not been sentenced.

    And you believe that after the judge signs off on that sentence–um, Order,–the way it should be reported in the media is that you “were cleared of the charges against” you.

    And you’re a journalist, not a cheerleader.

  12. Jon
    February 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Why not just admit that you don’t understand words like “expunged,” “sentence,” and “nope?”

  13. luckyoldsun
    February 12, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    I would ask you to admit that you stepped out of your area of expertise–music–into an area where I actually know more than you do.

    But I won’t, because you’ve never been mistaken about anything since Merv Griffin challenged Johnny Carson.

  14. Jon
    February 12, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    If you knew more than I do about the judicial process – or at least about this particular case – you’d surely have shown it by now, instead of compounding your mistakes. At the very least, you’d have demonstrated that you understand what a sentence is.

    However, I do want to thank you for the comedy afforded by reading a claim of expertise from someone too cowardly to put his or her name to a post. “Hey, I’m a lawyer, you should take my pseudonymous word for it!”

  15. luckyoldsun
    February 13, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    I really don’t think it would be appreciated by the people running this website if you and I tried to turn it into a legal blog.

    Suffice it to say that your belief and insistence–for no discernible reason–that a judge ordering a person to perform 4 days of community service does not constitute a sentence is bizarre. Is it because you find it relatively trivial? If the judge instead ordered Atkins to spend two nights in the county jail, would you insist that that’s not a sentence?

    In any event, the terminology is an irrelevant “issue” that you’re obsessing on to distract from what was the point of the thread: I stated that it’s misleading to write that Atkins “has been cleared”–suggesting that he was wrongly accused–when in actuality, he chose to cop a plea.

    As the self-appointed protector of every person, institution and domestic animal that’s part of the Nashville “industry” against every outsider, it really galls you that I pointed that out. So you keep repeating that I’m stupid–even though I’ve made it quite clear that your digs and insults don’t bother me in the least.

  16. Ken Morton, Jr.
    February 14, 2012 at 12:03 am

    Jon and LuckyOldSun, rather than have to lock this topic down, I’d like to make a personal appeal for both sides to go back to the thoughtful and insightful discussion of music and end the personal stuff that seems to be going on weekly. I for one would love to see more commentary from Juli’s growing readership and this discourages, rather than encourages, those efforts.

  17. Jon
    February 14, 2012 at 10:07 am

    It’s not a matter of protecting Atkins or the industry; it’s a matter of pointing out that luckyoldsun’s criticism of the lovely and talented Ms. Thanki’s is bogus.

    Atkins didn’t choose to cop a plea. Atkins didn’t plea bargain. And the court didn’t give him a sentence. “Cop a plea” and “plea bargain” both involve pleading guilty to a charge, which Atkins didn’t do. Neither was he prosecuted and found guilty on a charge. Not having been found guilty, he wasn’t (and couldn’t have been) sentenced. And the news here is that he’s not going be prosecuted (never mind convicted) as long as he meets the conditions (not sentence) ordered by the court. Instead, the charge will disappear, as if it had never been made in the first place.

    So it was perfectly reasonable for Juli – and the many other publications who used the same words – to have written that he was cleared of the charge. Because that is, in fact, what happened.

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Tagged In This Article

// // // // // // // // // // // // //

Current Discussion

  • Paige: Oh damn. :( I never commented here and I haven't been listening to any music at all since Thanksgiving (it …
  • Dave W.: Just read the news here. Will miss E145 very much - love this site. All the best to you Juli …
  • Leeann Ward: Oh, dang! This is real. Farewell to the most generous, informative, quality, intelligent, consistent, ethical country music blog! You …
  • bll: Thanks Juli for all the great articles and information; you'll be missed by me and I suss several others. Best …
  • Both Kinds of Music: I hope people appreciate the irony that one of the best "Americana" albums is titled Metamodern Sounds in COUNTRY Music.
  • Barry Mazor: I would not rule out that possibility..There's a different set of voters involved..
  • Dana M: Does anyone else think that Brandy Clark actually has a good chance of winning since this isn't a country awards …
  • Juli Thanki: UPDATE: Brandy Clark got a Best New Artist nom. BEST AMERICANA ALBUM: Rosanne Cash -- The River & The Thread John Hiatt -- Terms …
  • luckyoldsun: Glenn Campbell is great and I'd love to see him get an award, but the words of that song may …
  • Casey Penn: Juli, it was an honor to write for you here on You're good at what you do, and The …

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • walkerandthetexasdangers3
  • deadmanstown
  • tom t hall storytellers
  • paulthorntooblessed
  • duhksbeyondtheblue
  • kelleymickwee
  • sandrarhodes
  • candi staton