Randy Travis, Joe Nichols Perform at Chris Kyle’s Memorial; CMT Edge Premieres New Wayne Hancock Song; Album Releases

Juli Thanki | February 12th, 2013

  • Out May 14: Plowboy Records’ You Don’t Know Me: Rediscovering Eddy Arnold. The tribute record features performances by Chuck Mead, Alejandro Escovedo, Pokey LaFarge, Mandy Barnett, Chris Scruggs, Mary Gauthier, and more.


  • Randy Travis and Joe Nichols performed at the memorial service for Chris Kyle, the former Navy SEAL who was killed at a shooting range February 2.
  • CMT premiered the title track from Wayne Hancock’s new record, Ride. 
  • Les Anderson’s Melody Wranglers’ recording of “Sad But True” was posted on the Southern Folklife Collection’s blog. Les Anderson, “also known as ‘Carrot Top,’ saw his career take off in 1942 with Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys as the replacement of legendary steel guitarist Leon McAuliffe who was drafted into the Navy. Anderson travelled to California with the Playboys, and in1946 formed his own Melody Wranglers. He became a regular guest on the western swing radio show ‘Spade Cooley Time,’ before eventually ending up on the classic country television broadcast, ‘Town Hall Party.’” 
  • Download “O, Chestnut Tree,” a new collaboration by Dolly Parton and Bill Owens for The American Chestnut Foundation.
  • 100 yards of tulle and crinoline were used to make Carrie Underwood’s Grammy dress/projection screen.
  • An excerpt from a new column–inspired by the release of compilation record Country Funk 1969-1975–written by Nathan Rabin of The A.V. Club: Over the years, country music has earned an unfortunate reputation as one of the whitest and unfunkiest of genres—or worse, as the official music of rednecks, xenophobes, conservatives, and truck-driving suburbanites…But this reading of country is both reductive and untrue. It’s rooted in a narrow conception of country history that connects the polished countrypolitan sounds of the ’50s to the whitewashed pop-country of Olivia Newton-John (Top Female Vocalist at the 1974 Academy Of Country Music Awards), to the over-produced slop of the ’80s, the inexorable rise of Garth Brooks, and the soullessness that characterizes much of contemporary country…I’ve come to see the genre, and particularly its racial history, much differently. To me, country is a glorious mutt of a genre that mirrors the eclecticism and disorder of the nation that berthed it. It’s telling that Jimmie Rodgers, the man heralded as “The Father of Country Music,” was a pot-smoking, hard-living bluesman with an inexplicable (and influential) fondness for yodeling, and whose music and persona were deeply linked to black music and culture at a time when the whole nation, not just radio, was segregated.
  • Here’s an interesting NPR piece about fiddler Bill Stepp, whose 1937 recording of “Bonaparte’s Retreat” inspired Aaron Copland as he worked on Rodeo.
  • Blake Shelton’s next album, Based on a True Story…, will be released March 26.
  • Australian country singer John Williamson said that the lure of “big America” is drawing Aussie talent overseas: “It bothers me when people like some of our country artists record overseas,” he said. “I can’t believe that they don’t think to use our studios and our musicians. I want to come up with something that becomes legendary in my own country – I couldn’t care about the rest.”
  • The Joe Val Bluegrass Festival is this weekend. If you’re near Framingham, Mass., check it out; Claire Lynch, Dale Ann Bradley, and the Seldom Scene are a few of the acts scheduled to perform. 
  • Album releases:

Dustin Welch Tijuana Bible

Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison Cheater’s Game

Merle Haggard The Complete ‘60s Capitol Singles

Fat Opie Victoryville

Billy Joe Shaver The Complete Columbia Recordings

George Jones The Complete United Artists Solo Singles

Connor Christian & Southern Gothic New Hometown

Wanda Jackson The Best of the Classic Capitol Singles

Otis Taylor My World is Gone

Roger Knox & Pine Valley Cosmonauts Stranger in My Land

The Riverbreaks Wildfire

Devon Allman Turquoise

Heather Masse & Dick Hyman Lock My Heart

Pozo-Seco Shades of Time (remastered)

Eagle Rock Gospel Singers – Eagle Rock Gospel Singers

Various Artists God Didn’t Choose Sides: Civil War True Stories About Real People

Various Artists United Sacred Harp Convention: The Alan Lomax Recordings, 1959

  1. Janice Brooks
    February 12, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Any thoughts on the Pine Valley Cosmonauts release? It sounds interesting

  2. Leeann Ward
    February 12, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Love that Willis/Robison feature.:) Kelly is so funny. I adore her FB statuses.

  3. Luckyoldsun
    February 12, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Good stuff on the reissues. But…

    “Merle Haggard – The Complete ‘60s Capitol Singles”
    Did Merle really have only 23 single on Capitol? I’d’ve bet he had at least 23 albums on Capitol!

    • Juli Thanki
      February 12, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      He only released about a dozen Capitol albums in the ’60s, including his record with Bonnie Owens. (“Only,” of course, being relative…)

  4. Rick
    February 12, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    Love that band name “Fat Opie”! (lol) I also like the Pozo-Seco name because both are place names in California. Pozo is a dot on the map with a bar up by San Luis Obispo and the Arroyo Seco is in Pasadena. Ummm, what was the subject again?

    Because of her high profile on A Prairie Home Companion, I would hope Heather Masse will sell a good number of copies of her new album, well as opposed to her gig with the Wailin’ Jenny’s anyway.

    Steve Earle’s “Guitar Town” contains one of my all time favorite song lyrics! “Everybody told me you can’t get far on thirty seven dollars and a jap guitar…”. For those folks not listening to country radio back in the mid 1980’s, the radio version substituted the word “cheap” for “jap”, so when I bought the album it caught me by surprise!

    I agree with John Williamson. Australia has all of the talented musicians, producers, and recording engineers they’ve needed for years to rival anything Nashville has to offer. Producer Herm Kovac has put out some of the best sounding country CDs made over the last ten years or so, a far cry from his days recording AC/DC! Aussie artists might like coming to Nashville to record, but they don’t need to. I wish they all just stay down under and work with Bill Chambers instead! (lol)

  5. Luckyoldsun
    February 12, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    You are correct–I guess I was not paying attention that the title specifies “’60s Singles.” I was reading it as Complete Capitol Singles. Hag didn’t get started until the second half of the ’60s–and he had more albums and singles on Capitol in the ’70s than the ’60s.

  6. BRUCE
    February 12, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    The A.V. Club website states, “A.V. Club head writer and hip-hop specialist Nathan Rabin recently decided to spend a year or two immersing himself in the canon of country music, a genre he knew little about, but was keen to explore.”

    A hip-hop specialist, spends a “year or two” studying country music, of which he admits he knows “little about.”

    Then writes a scathing article, in part, about what’s wrong with it.

    Man, you can’t make this stuff up. I so glad he enlightened us.

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