Opry Celebrates 86 Years; Brad Paisley Visits Sesame Street; Billy Burnette To Be Inducted Into Rockabilly HoF

Juli Thanki | October 6th, 2011

  • Barry Mazor’s got a feature in the Wall Street Journal in which Holly Williams and Alan Jackson offer their thoughts on The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams.
  • In other Opry news, Randy Travis celebrated his 25 years as an Opry member with Josh Turner, Carrie Underwood, John Anderson, and more.
  • Elizabeth Cook was profiled in the Nashville Scene by Edd Hurt.
  • After several years, Jesse Cobb has left The Infamous Stringdusters. From his post on the ‘Dusters’ Facebook page: I’ve had some of the best times in my life making music and working together with all the awesome people in the organization over the last 6-7 yrs. I’ve also been through some big changes in my life and have come to realize that traveling and being away from my loved ones, as much as is required, is taking it’s toll on me both mentally and physically.
  • Rockabilly artist Billy Burnette will be inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in November. His most recent album, Rock N Roll with It, was released digitally in June.
  • PopMatters’ Dave Heaton offers up an interesting column about the role Jesus plays in contemporary country music. An excerpt: When most mainstream county singers reference Jesus, they strip away the gospel traditions and the softness and tenderness of the message. It’s easy these days for cynical, or even just somewhat critically minded listeners to immediately hear a song about Jesus as a commercial device, a political move, or an attempt to kowtow to audience expectations, especially when the songs are less devotional than self-focused, about what Jesus can do for us, as individuals, not what we should do for other people, following his example.
  • Brad Paisley and Kimberly Williams-Paisley are taking a trip to Sesame Street to help teach kids about hunger on a special that will air October 9. From a statement released by the couple: “We are honored that Sesame Street, with its long history of tackling difficult issues with sensitivity, caring and warmth asked us to be a part of this important project.”
  • Jason Boland chatted with CMT’s Chris Parton about new album Rancho Alto.
  • 15-year old Ella Mae Bowen has been signed to Big Machine. She’s got a cover of Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero” on the upcoming Footloose soundtrack.
  • Guitar player and vocalist Brad Gulley has been added to bluegrass band Cumberland River’s lineup.
  • Here’s a clip from the upcoming Taylor Swift Journey to Fearless DVD where she talks about getting her first guitar.

  1. Juli
    October 6, 2011 at 12:36 pm
  2. Rick
    October 6, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Juli, I like the fact that you and Ken split days on compiling these news features as your individual tastes in music provide a nice variety of coverage. Whenever I see a reference to Dex Romweber (or a whole lot of bluegrass related links)I just know its a “Juli Day” without having to check the byline! (lol)

    In spite of all her talent, it seems Elizabeth Cook will forever remain just be a bridesmaid when it comes to commercial success. What a cryin’ shame.

    I still enjoy listening to Billy Burnette’s album he made with Bekka Bramlett titled “Bekka & Billy” which they recorded after being on a Fleetwood Mac tour together. Good stuff and especially the black gospel styled “Old Hickory Lake”. Man is that song a barn burner!

    So Scott Borchetta is hoping he’s found another Taylor Swift in the form of Ella Mae Bowen. You know what they say about lightning striking twice in the same place, don’t you Scotty?

    OPRY Alert! Tonight kicks off the short fall season of the Classic Country Opry’s on Thursday nights! (Even though the Opry website gives today’s date as August 6th?) Tonight’s artists include Charley Pride, Jimmy Fortune, Janie Fricke, Leroy van Dyke, Rebecca Lynn Howard, and Jeannie Seely as the token “Opry Legend” regular. Grade A+! These are the best Opry shows and if you’ve never heard one before, tonight is a great night to check it out.
    Opry Schedule: http://www.opry.com/shows/ThisWeek.html

  3. Rick
    October 6, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    I never watch ESPN because I don’t give a crap about sports. Based upon their treatment of Hank Jr. I’d have to guess the station call letters actually stand for “Extra Stupid People Network”. As Bill Engvall has been known to say “Hey ESPN, here’s your sign!”. Just pathetic…

  4. nm
    October 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Rick, please. Juli has asked people to leave the politics alone at her site. As far as I know, you’re the only regular poster here who comments on artists based on their (perceived) political stances, and you make some of the rest of us pretty uncomfortable when you do it. Not because we agree or disagree with your politics, but because you get insulting and hostile and take the focus off the music. But since you think politics is a useful criterion in determining what you want to hear, you and ESPN ought to be bosom buddies.

  5. Andrew
    October 6, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Yep, exactly what NM said.

  6. Jon
    October 6, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Dave Heaton’s piece is thoughtful, which is good, but kinda light on country gospel music history, which isn’t. When has the overwhelming emphasis not been on repentance and personal salvation? Answer: never. In this crucial respect, country music is a lot more like yesterday than not.

  7. Barry Mazor
    October 6, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    I agree with Jon on that one. The distinction getting made in Heaton’s article between the way it supposedly was and how it is now wouldn’t hold up to much examination..though it’s always a relief just to see some critical thinking applied to any variety of country at all. so lets not discourage this sort of thing!

  8. Rick
    October 6, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    Hey n.m. (near miss?) and Andrew, I keep my political comments these days for article links and topics that are inherently political in nature. Whether it be politically correct foolishness at ESPN causing a rift with Hank Jr., or Steve Earle doing a play about a commie fellow traveler like Woody Guthrie before the House Un-American Activities Committee, you can’t deny the political angle in these topics. I don’t use my favorite derogatory nicknames like Odumbo and libtard here at Engine145 out of respect for Juli and what she’s doing. Well that and the fact such comments would be deleted for crossing the line…

    Barry and Jon, its nice the way you two analyze and respond to articles such as that by Dave Heaton. I would guess such articles are written primarily for other music journalists to ponder as I doubt 99.9% of Top 40 AirHead Country Radio listeners would relate to nor care about the subject of that piece.

    What struck me most about the Randy Travis anniversary Opry on Tuesday night was how weak Randy’s voice was at times. I haven’t really listened to any of his newer music from the last few years, so I was quite surprised at the degradation. It happens to the best of them.

  9. Barry Mazor
    October 6, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    I don’t write for airheads. And I don’t seem to run into as many of them as you do, Rick. if I thought everyone who reads what I do write was likely to be one, I wouldn’t write at all, and other writers who take this material seriously–if that’s allowed in your world view–probably wouldn’t either. But I don’t write just for other writers, and never have.

    Your estimation that approx. one tenth of one percent of country radio fans are not airheads, that they must be Other Writers, and that’s also the only conceivable audience for intelligent writing about country has it’s own peculiar sort of interest. For imaginative, hard-up statisticians, maybe..

  10. Rick
    October 6, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Barry, your typical Wall Street Journal reader is not an AirHead, nor the reader of books about country artists. Now if you wrote for the New York or Los Angeles Times instead, it would be quite a different matter! (lol)

    Back onto politics for just a second! There is an interesting story in the Hollywood Reporter today about how conservatives respond to liberal public comments by celebrities. My favorite statement contained therein:

    “In fact, overall, 35 percent of Republicans and 45 percent of Tea Partiers consider a celebrity’s political position before paying to see their films, compared with 20 percent of Democrats.”

    Now I don’t go to movie theaters, but I do apply the Tea Partier mindset to the music I buy (or more likely don’t buy).

    Article Link: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/politics-box-office-democrats-republicans-244741

  11. Barry Mazor
    October 6, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    I didn’t write for airheads at “American Thunder,” the NASCAR Dad magazine, or the Village Voice, or Crawdaddy, or No Depression. The Washington Post. Or the Journal. And at no time whatever did I consider the general political slant of the publication or their readers any indication, in and of themselves, of the intelligence of people who would read what I write. And I don’t think that way here, either. Just for the record.

  12. Andrew
    October 7, 2011 at 1:12 am

    The Hank Jr. issue isn’t “inherently political”. It’s a simple matter that publicly comparing anyone to Hitler is a good way to lose a job. Unless you’re Lou Holtz, apparently.

  13. Barry Mazor
    October 7, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Yeah, calling any President of the United States that on national TV is a level of disrespect and overheated nonsense that would get anybody in hot water, no matter who that resident was.

  14. Matt Bjorke
    October 7, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    “45 % of Tea Partiers choose their entertainment based on politics?”
    Say what?
    I think choosing to only like stuff from people who have (perceived) similar thoughts to me about politics would be downright foolish way to live but I guess to each their own.

  15. Paul W Dennis
    October 10, 2011 at 12:02 am

    I don’t think it is just T(axed) E(nough) A(lready) partisans that select their music based on the perceived politics of the artist. I remember during the late 60s – early 70s lefties refusing to listen to Burl Ives or Merle Haggard based on their (real or imagined) political leanings. I think many people are not as open minded as they think they are.

    Refusing to listen to a musical artist based on politics deprives one of a lot of good music. While I doubt that I agree with Pete Seeger, Paul Robeson or Tim McGraw on much of anything, I have quite a bit of their music in my collection

  16. luckyoldsun
    October 10, 2011 at 1:11 am

    Most lefties generally didn’t listen to Ives’ and Haggard’s types of music whether they agreed with their politics or not.
    But in the case of Merle, it was lefty musicians like the Flying Burrito Brothers and the Grateful Dead that adapted his music and brought it to rock audiences.

  17. Jeremy Dylan
    October 10, 2011 at 8:33 am

    I’d like to own up to being a Hag-loving lefty.

  18. Jon
    October 10, 2011 at 9:14 am

    I love it when people make sweeping generalizations based on, um, well,….

  19. Paul W Dennis
    October 10, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Jeremy / Luckyoldsun – it is true that there were Haggard fans on the left, but mostly that came a few years later. In 1969 Merle Haggard was largely persona non grata on college campuses

    Jon – on, um, well, … personal observations

  20. Jon
    October 12, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Sweeping generalizations based on personal observation. Exactly.

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