Ronnie Gant Passes Away; IBMA Offers Free “Bluegrass Ramble” Sampler; Blurring Genre Lines

Juli Thanki | January 7th, 2014

  • Ronnie Gant passed away on Saturday at the age of 69. The music publisher worked for Acuff-Rose for more than 20 years and pitched “Elvira” to The Oak Ridge Boys.
  • Singer-songwriter Sarah Elizabeth Campbell passed away December 26 after a battle with liver cancer. She was 60 years old.
  • Billy Block was diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Melanoma. Here’s where you can find more info as well as ways you can help.
  • IBMA put together a free “Bluegrass Ramble” sampler featuring songs by Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Line, Todd Grebe & Cold Country, The Bankesters, Steel Wheels, and more. Download here.
  • Paul Burch to The Nashville Scene’s Stephen Traeger: “I’ve seen how screwed up a lot of recording sessions are, and how a lot of people — producers, managers, somebody — put a lot of obstacles in the way of musicians actually playing together. The thing that’s distinctive about the people who are part of The WPA Ballclub is that they all have an individual style, and in a place like Nashville, there’s a lot of pressure to sound like everybody else. No matter how groovy someone is, when it comes down to it, they tend to want to make a record that sounds produced and super-professional. My idea of professional is that if the musicians are great and you know the song, how can it not be professional?” 
  • Download Charlie Parr’s “Get on Board,” which is featured in the Minnesota History Center’s “Then Now Wow” exhibit.
  • Dierks Bentley’s next album, Riser, will be released on February 25. David Nail’s I’m a Fire is due out March 4; according to the track listing, Lee Ann Womack joins Nail for a duet version of “Galveston.”
  • Get the story behind Kenny Chesney hit “Out Last Night” in this video interview with co-writer Brett James.
  • Old Crow Medicine Show’s Ketch Secor: “If you’re playing the music from when music was music, you kind of can do no wrong…Like Mumford & Sons, [they can] take a tribal beat that sounds like The Meters and put a banjo on it that sounds like [1920s banjoist] Harry Reser. Music’s this beautiful, elastic force that can be shapen and misshapen, and it always comes back. It never goes away, and no one can lay claim to it. It’s like the moon. You can go put your flag in it, and it might stay in it forever. But it doesn’t really belong to anybody.”  
  • You should have picked up the Southern Music Issue of the Oxford American already, but if you haven’t, maybe Peter Cooper can convince you to brave the cold and head to a bookstore.
  • Keith Urban will appear on The Night That Changed America: A GRAMMY Salute to The Beatles February 9.
  • Artists like Daniel Romano are finding genre labels problematic. From The Huffington Post Canada: The problem, says [Romano], is when he tells people he plays traditional country music, most don’t even know what that is. “The meaning of country has changed pretty drastically,” he says. “So if you tell people you play classic country, the average Joe thinks you mean Tim McGraw. It was fine when people used ‘new country’ for that stuff, but somehow that has gone away and it is now just ‘country.’ But it’s not. It’s some kind of rock ‘n’ roll, super pop, dumbed-down version of what country was.” What are your thoughts on genre labels? Do they help you find new music and/or figure out which record store shelf to go to, or are they too restrictive?


  1. Dave D.
    January 7, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Peter Cooper’s article didn’t convince me to go to the bookstore (it’s minus 15 outside), but did get me to order the new Oxford American online. Let the mailman deal with the cold.

  2. bob
    January 7, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    I’m looking forward to hearing the David Nail-Lee Ann Womack version of Galveston. The Glen Campbell version was so good. Checking to see who else has recorded Galveston, I was surprised to see that the first was Don Ho. Songwriter Jimmy Webb recorded it twice, the second time with Lucinda Williams.

  3. Bruce
    January 7, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Hard to argue with Romano on that one. Nail and Womack are both great singers and I’m sure they will do “Galveston” Justice.

  4. Both Kinds of Music
    January 7, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    I’ve been working on my genre position for a couple months. At this point, I know its not country music that needs to be “saved” and god help us if Ameripolitan catches on.

  5. Barry Mazor
    January 7, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    “The Glen Campbell version of Galveston was no good.”

    This may be the single most ear-challenged one liner in the history of this site. Maybe all those other artists could explain it to ya, suh, including Webb.

    I’m waiting to hear how it was “over-produced.” Of course.

  6. Leeann Ward
    January 7, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    I didn’t notice anyone saying, in the comments, that it was “no good”, just “so good.”?

  7. Barry Mazor
    January 7, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Oh jeesh. I apologize. I’ve gone all cross-eyed and stupid. Finishing the book. I’ve heard one too many people say the sort of thing I wrongly imagined was said here. Plain misread it and shot my mouth off. No excuses. Thanks for correcting me.

  8. Leeann Ward
    January 7, 2014 at 10:22 pm

    Hahaha! Well, I think you’ve got yourself a pretty good excuse there, Mr. Mazor!:)

  9. Luckyoldsun
    January 8, 2014 at 1:22 am

    It’s tough to redo those old Glen Campbell songs. Wade Hayes–who was a GREAT up-and-coming honky- tonker in the ’90s–covered “Wichita Lineman” as the lead single on his second or third album and it stopped his career dead in its tracks.

  10. Paul W Dennis
    January 8, 2014 at 7:03 am

    Actually, “Wichita Lineman was issued as a CD single for Wade – radio reaction was so poor, that it was pulled and the song never appeared on a released album. It shoul;d be noted that the two immediate prior singles also stiffed at radio.

    I’m not sure the song was a career killer (the next single reached #5) as much as the market shifted away from traditional sounding singers

  11. Janice Brooks
    January 8, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Paul Dennis I’ll concur it was the market. I have not heard anything in a few months but I hope he’s still doing better after his cancer scare.

  12. Luckyoldsun
    January 8, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    You’re correct. I guess I considered the song a career killer for Hayes because it was billed as the lead single from a new album; after it tanked, the record company delayed and re-tooled the album and he never regained momentum–even if he did manage one more top-10 hit.

    Maybe Wade Hayes just arrived too late to the party in 1994-95. Aaron Tippin had a voice that was even rawer and less polished than Hayes’, but he came on the a few years earlier and achieved significantly more success at radio.

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