Ray Benson Launches Kickstarter Campaign; Darius Rucker Inducted Into Opry; New SteelDrivers Album Due in February

Juli Thanki | October 17th, 2012

  • Darius Rucker was formally inducted into the Opry yesterday. Watch here.
  • Jewly Hight talks with Shelby Lynne about her evolution as an artist and the deluxe reissue of last year’s Revelation Road. An excerpt from the interview: “When I first came to town it was like, “If you’ve got a big voice, you oughta use every bit of it.” And that’s not necessarily what I believe today. So you can see how my style has changed through the years, and I think it’s not as much a style thing as it is a finding-my-voice thing or a way to communicate with the listener through more peaceful tones.”
  • Tonight’s Music City Roots features the Jim Lauderdale Bluegrass Band, The Honeycutters, Jimbo Mathus & The Tri-State Coalition, Jason D. Williams, and Blue Dogs. Listen here; the show starts at 8 p.m. Eastern.
  • Folk Alley has a five-hour block of spooky music to get you in the mood for Halloween.
  • Sugarland, Dierks Bentley, The Band Perry, and Martina McBride are a few of the acts that will appear on this year’s CMA Country Christmas, which tapes early next month.
  • Record Store Day’s complete list of Black Friday releases includes material from Merle Haggard, George Jones, Wanda Jackson, Bettye LaVette, Lucero, The Lumineers, Lucinda Williams, Buck OwensJohnny Cash, and Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale.
  • Johnny Depp is starting a publishing imprint under HarperCollins. He’s planning to release Douglas Brinkley’s The Unraveled Tales of Bob Dylan in 2015.
  • Brad Paisley and Rascal Flatts bought four cows for a Kenyan tribe.
  • The fantastic new SteelDrivers record, Hammer Down, is scheduled for release February 5 on Rounder Records.
  • Former American Idol contestant Crystal Bowersox has signed with Shanachie Entertainment. Her next record is expected to be released in early 2013.
  • Listen to Taylor Swift’s “State of Grace” here.
  • New Englanders: this week, Live Nation will announce that Miranda Lambert and Jason Aldean will play Fenway Park on July 13. Kenny Chesney (with Eric Church) and possibly Taylor Swift are expected to play Gillette Stadium next summer.
  • Florida Georgia Line was featured in USA Today.
  • Billboard country blog The 615 featured The Farm.
  • Chris Eldridge spoke with the Spartanburg Herald-Journal about the Punch Brothers: “I don’t really think that this band is about bluegrass. We play the instruments associated with bluegrass music. But this band is decidedly not trying to adhere to any stylistic conventions.”
  • Peggy Seeger’s involved in a new project called Folksploitation. It’s a “mini-album by Broadcaster, aka Lewis Atkinson, a DJ and electronic musician who previously gave a thoroughly 21st century overhaul to the original 1960s BBC Radio Ballads, in which both Seeger and [Ewan] MacColl had been involved. This time Broadcaster asked Seeger to record 52 new vocal tracks. He eventually selected seven, adding modern textures, hard electronic beats and dub, trance, rave and hip-hop rhythms.” 
  • Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and The Roys will perform at the ICM Faith, Family & Country Awards tomorrow night in Nashville.
  • Bluegrass Today’s David Morris caught up with Phil Barker and Jesse Langlais of Town Mountain for his “Songwriter to Songwriter” video series.
  1. Jonathan Pappalardo
    October 17, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Oh good. Glad I saw Miranda Lambert this past summer, because I won’t pay ten cents to see Jason Aldean. He just doesn’t do it for me musically. Now I don’t have to go to Fenway to see her! Also love how Eric Church (someone I’d love to see) is touring with Kenny Chesney. Wasn’t he taking 2013 off?

    I’m always surprised that The Punch Brothers don’t get the same attention from fans as Mumford and Sons and The Avett Brothers. They make similar music, although it comes from a Bluegrass foundation (not folk-rock). Theirs is one of my top 3 favorite albums of 2012.

  2. Janice Brooks
    October 17, 2012 at 10:39 am

    So excited for Ray Benson’s kickstarter deal. I’ve seen a lot of my friends do great projects lately.

  3. Saving Country Music
    October 17, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Ray Benson has plenty of money to make a documentary about himself. Trust me.

  4. Rick
    October 17, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Thanks for the Music City Roots Alert! Typing out the names of all those unknown Americana artists was wearing me down.(lol)

    Interesting Tidbit: The Ewan MacColl mentioned in the Pete Seeger blurb was the father of the now sadly (and prematurely) deceased British pop singer Kirsty MacColl. Ewan deserted Kirsty and her mother when Kirsty was young to hook up with Pete Seeger’s wife and Kirsty never forgave him. From that point on Kirsty always hated being labelled a “folk” singer because that was her father’s musical realm.

    Who needs “Folk Alley”? If I want to listen to endless “spooky” music, I just tune into my local Top 40 AirHead Country Radio FM station…

    I am so thankful Shelby Lynne took a detour through western swing territory on her excellent “Temptation” album from the early 90’s on the Morgan Creek label. I don’t know who was responsible for that turn of events, but my hat is off the them in gratitude! Talk about a great album coming out of left field at the time it was recorded. Sheesh!

  5. Ken Morton, Jr.
    October 17, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    SCM, I don’t feel that the Kickstarter funding model necessarily has to be utilized because the artist doesn’t have the money to do it themselves. In this day and age where anything goes with distribution and social media rules, it could be used simply to gauge interest in an idea. Certainly, the demand for a documentary about Asleep at the Wheel could be questioned. This new model to me is just an opportunity to do a presale of albums/videos. If there is enough interest, it helps pre-fund production so the artist doesn’t have to come up with out-of-pocket money and in the end, the consumer doesn’t pay any more than they probably would have if they bought it after the fact. If anything, the consumer has a little more personal ownership over the process, publicity and end product.

  6. Jon
    October 17, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Apparently, nobody bothered to actually read the Kickstarter. Oh, and I’m not trusting anyone who calls himself “Saving Country Music.” As if.

  7. Jack Meyers
    October 17, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Ray Benson started a Kickstarter? That’s weird. I am not totally against it, but it seems like Asleep at the Wheel is popular enough to find a way to come up with this on their own, without the Kickstarter resource. Good for them though.. it just stikes me kinda odd. Can’t wait for Recor Store Day! I am driving down to Austin, TX for their annual Record Day Weekender… Thanks e145!

  8. Barry Mazor
    October 17, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    It says they need to weed through the footage.


  9. Jon
    October 17, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    For crying out loud, Rick, try to get your facts straight, would you? BTW, Ewan MacColl wrote “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”

  10. Redd Dirt
    October 18, 2012 at 12:19 am

    Rick and Facts in the same sentence would constitute an oxymoron.

  11. luckyoldsun
    October 18, 2012 at 3:43 am

    “The Ewan MacColl mentioned in the Pete Seeger blurb was the father of the now sadly (and prematurely) deceased British pop singer Kirsty MacColl. Ewan deserted Kirsty and her mother when Kirsty was young to hook up with Pete Seeger’s wife and Kirsty never forgave him.”

    And Ewan McColl later starred in the night-time soap “Dallas,” playing the oil baron Larry Hagman before taking up basketball and becoming the center for the New York Knicks. And his daughter Kirsty starred in a show called “Family” before taking up residence in the pages of People Magazine.

  12. Barry Mazor
    October 18, 2012 at 8:54 am

    For those who’ve found the above hard to follow: Ewan MacColl had a 30+ year relationship with Pete Seeger’s sister Peggy (NOT his wife), continuously until Ewan’s death, a relationship which had begun, in fact, some years before Kirsty came along. He’d never been around much in her lifetime. He got along with Pete Seeger just fine–and musically, he could be a bit of a folk music moldy fig at times, , a guy who could publicly decry musical styles from later than the 16th century as “unauthentic”….unless perpetuated by Roberta Flack, for instance.

  13. Jon
    October 18, 2012 at 11:39 am

    In all fairness, I read where MacColl was vocal about being displeased by virtually all the recordings of “First Time” (whether that includes Bonnie Dobson’s, which was the first I heard, I can’t say). Now, whether he thought they were inauthentic or something else (like, uh, bad), I don’t know. But for me, I take the relatively laissez-faire attitude that folks seem to have in the abstract (for instance, over in the “Your Take” discussion) when it comes to MacColl’s, ah, issues. And I suspect that were he of a different political persuasion, Rick wouldn’t have said squat about it in the first place.

  14. Ray Benson
    October 18, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    The reason we went to kick starter was because after spending 3 years shooting and editing and compiling we ran outa money and our director shooter editor had not been paid one cent. Plus we went to the people do we didn’t have to go to one of the corporate entertainment conglomerates who would want to mess with and ruin the final film! Whoever the fool is “saving country music” is not only a coward but oughta look at my tax return before he spouts BS. watch the video as Vince Gill so aptly puts it. ” there’s no pot of gold at the end of the western swing rainbow”
    We work very hard and support over 25 people to keep AATW on the road and appreciate the many people who enjoy and support our band and our music.
    You should be ashamed to use the handle saving country music as you try to destroy the reputation of one of the last hard touring Western swing bands left. Ray B

  15. Barry Mazor
    October 18, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    And I want to toss in that I hope Ray Benson’s comments here will be taken seriously and responded to with support.

  16. Jon
    October 18, 2012 at 10:48 pm


  17. Janice Brooks
    October 19, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Ray, Jon and Berry you guys know that I read and got the jest of it. I’m glad to see things will be done the way AATW would want.

  18. Saving Country Music
    October 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    I sincerely apologize to Ray if my comment offended him. Nonetheless, I stand behind it 100%. More soon…

    I also apologize to Engine 145 for the unpleasantness, the 2nd time it’s happened surrounding Kickstarter news.

  19. Jon
    October 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    What, are you going to represent yourself as Ray Benson’s financial manager? Because that’s the only way you could reasonably stand behind a comment on his financial status. And blaming your unpleasantness on Kickstarter is a nice touch. Sheesh.

  20. Saving Country Music
    October 19, 2012 at 3:00 pm


    Does Ray Benson know me personally? Because that’s the only way he could know I’m a coward.

  21. Jon
    October 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Nice evasion, and it’s not even true.

  22. luckyoldsun
    October 19, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    I don’t know, but I get the feeling that your attempt to make peace with Ray Benson–“I sincerely apologize but I stand behind what I said 100%”–is going to rile him up even more than he was before.
    You probably shouldn’t be planning on walking up to Ray at some pubic function and saying “Hi, I’m Saving Country Music!”

  23. TX Music Jim
    October 19, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Kickstarter is a grass roots deal and if fans want to support the project of an artist they like great! Frankly, I don’t see what difference it makes who the artists is. For the record saving country music is a good blog that I enjoy as is this one. I just do not see how kickstarter projects from any artist should be a point of contention.

  24. Dave D.
    November 20, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Memo to those funding a project with Kickstarter: Send me updates on the project after it has been funded (like Ray Benson is doing now) and I’ll be much more likely to support future projects of yours.

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