Sammy Johns Passes Away; Luke Bryan to Co-host ACM Awards with Blake Shelton; Chris Knight Premieres New Video

Juli Thanki | January 9th, 2013

  • Sammy Johns, who wrote “Chevy Van” and “Common Man,” passed away last week at the age of 66.
  • Longtime bluegrass broadcaster Larry McDaniel passed away at the age of 72.
  • Emmylou Harris, Bobby Bare, Kris Kristofferson, Charley Pride, and John Prine are a few of the artists who will pay tribute to Cowboy Jack Clement at a benefit concert in Nashville on January 30. Proceeds will go to The Music Health Alliance and the Cowboy Jack Clement Fund, “to help curb the cost of medical bills incurred by musicians not covered by insurance.”
  • The Song Survives posted an interview with Sean McConnell.
  • Music Tomes is offering a free eBook of interviews with writers like Patsi Bale Cox and Barry Mazor.
  • Edward Morris made a list of a dozen country songs about the Civil War, including “Two Little Boys” by The Country Gentlemen and Kathy Mattea’s “The Vacant Chair.”
  • Three Blackfeet tribal leaders have been indicted on charges that they held illegal big-game hunts for Justin Moore, Josh Thompson, and others.
  • premiered “You Are in Love” from Shannon Whitworth’s forthcoming album, High Tide (due out March 5).
  • The Avett Brothers are featured in the new issue of Our State.
  • Ray Wylie Hubbard is on Letterman tonight.
  • Folk Alley is streaming their favorite songs of 2012.
  • Martina McBride is My Kind of Country’s Spotlight Artist of the month. Jonathan Pappalardo takes a look back at her 1993 album, The Way That I Am.
  • Songwriter Craig Wiseman (“Live Like You Were Dying,” “The Good Stuff”) celebrated his 20th No. 1 hit.
  • Sam Bush talks about his two loves, bluegrass and baseball, in this Augusta Chronicle article.
  • Here’s an NPR feature on Joe Barry, the “unsung pioneer of Louisiana swamp-pop.”


  1. Eric Banister
    January 9, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Thanks for the link!

    I’ve also got a review of that new Don Davis book over at the site today.

  2. bob
    January 9, 2013 at 11:09 am

    “Sparrow”, performed and solely written by Hal Ketchum, could be added to that list of Civil War songs. In the liner notes to his “Father Time” album (2008), Hal said that the setting for this anti-war song is the Civil War; Harper’s Ferry and Sherman’s boys are mentioned in the lyrics.

  3. Rick
    January 9, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Music City Roots Alert! Tonight’s kick-off of the 2013 MCR Season will feature Leon Russell! Yes, THAT Leon Russell! WooHoo! Other artists featured include Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out (to keep Jon W. happy), Josh Farrow(?), Star and Micey(?), and the WTM Blues Band (shouldn’t that be WTF? Hmmm).

    ABC’s “Nashville” also kicks off it’s Spring 2013 season tonight as well! Again I say Woo Hoo! It’s not quite “Who Shot J.R.” but everyone wants to know if Juliette will go through with her impending marriage to the Tim Tebow clone?

    Any chance that Jack Clement Benefit Concert will be streamed online, or better yet broadcast on WSM for free? I guess I should actually read the article and find out! (lol)

    I’ve never heard of Joe Barry, but the concept of “Louisiana Swamp Pop” intrigues me. Would Tony Joe White’s “Poke Salad Annie” fit in that category?

  4. Arlene
    January 9, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    That list of Civil War songs also leaves out “Two Soldiers” which has been covered by Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard, Norman Blake & Tony Rice, Jerry Garcia & David Grisman, Bob Dylan, and many others. My favorite version is on a Julie Miller album on which Julie sings it as a duet with Emmylou Harris:

  5. Mike Wimmer
    January 9, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    Nothing more Country than writing a #1 single for a nu-metal band haha.

    That Chris Knight video is very good, the whole album is really good, but it’s just nice to have some music that speaks to what is going on in the actual world today. I get the need to escapism and can appreciate and enjoy that, but when every freaking song on the radio is clearly made for escapism and the genre pretty much refuses to speak about the current social and economic issues in the world it gets annoying.

  6. Leeann Ward
    January 9, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Maybe he’ll surprise me, but Luke Bryan being Blake Shelton’s co-host seems rather underwhelming.

  7. Jon
    January 10, 2013 at 10:47 am

    “That list of Civil War songs also leaves out ‘Two Soldiers’…”

    I don’t believe that Ed meant it to be a comprehensive list, so “doesn’t include” might be a more precise way of putting it. It also doesn’t include “Three Days In July,” written by myself and Mark Simos and recorded by the Infamous Stringdusters (live version here: ). On the other hand, he does conclude by recommending the two volumes (so far) of The 1861 Project (, so I can hardly complain.

    As far as “Blue Eyed Boston Boy” goes, with all due respect to Mss. Miller and Harris, if you haven’t heard the version done by the Bluegrass Cardinals on their sole Rounder album back in 1975, then I firmly believe you haven’t really heard the song. That one can be heard here: ; my old bandmate, Dwight McCall (American Drive), recorded a fine version also, which can be heard here: . In my opinion, both of these – and many others which follow the Cardinals’ – avoid the bathos to which too many other versions, unintentionally or otherwise, succumb.

  8. Jon
    January 10, 2013 at 10:50 am

    “Nothing more Country than writing a #1 single for a nu-metal band haha.”

    It’s a pretty safe bet that Mr. Wiseman doesn’t give a **** whether you or anyone else considers him to be country. Nor should he.

  9. luckyoldsun
    January 10, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Great recent (or by now, maybe not all that recent) Civil War song is Steve Earle’s “Ben McCulloch” on his “Train a Comin'” CD. I always wondered what kind of research he did for that song. It has a completely unromantic, stark realism.

  10. Arlene
    January 10, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Ed Morris’s list of Civil War songs also “doesn’t include” Steve Earle’s song “Dixieland,” which he recorded with the Del McCoury Band.

  11. Jon
    January 10, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    There’s about a million songs about, or that invoke, the Civil War.

  12. Arlene
    January 10, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    @Jon– Exactly, and I’ve simply mentioned two of my favorites that weren’t on the list…

  13. luckyoldsun
    January 10, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Don’t sweat it. Seems Country Cop is having one of his more irascible days–where he thinks he should be the only person posting here.

  14. Chickette
    January 11, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    @ Lucky — so basically it’s like any other day?

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