Sarah Jarosz Plays Tiny Desk Concert; CMAA President Quits Over “Americanization” of Golden Guitar Awards; Album Releases

Juli Thanki | December 10th, 2013

  • The Tony Rice Foundation is asking for donations; in addition to Rice’s longtime voice issues, the bluegrass legend has been dealing with arthritis which has left him unable to play his guitar.
  • Interested what our Aussie readers think about this: John Williamson has stepped down as president of the Country Music Association of Australia, saying that the organization’s Golden Guitar Awards have become “The American Country Music Awards of Australia.” In a letter to the association, Williamson wrote, “If we are not respected as a legitimate organisation to promote original Australian Country Music, I cannot be associated with it any longer.” (Aussies Troy Cassar-Daley and Adam Harvey were nominated for the CMAA’s Album of the Year for their Great Country Songbook release, which features covers of songs like “Mama Tried,” “Hey Good Lookin’,” and “For the Good Times”). Iain Shedden of The Australian writes that “In recent years [Williamson] has had to battle to keep recognition for bush balladeers and other Aussie country music institutions as part of the awards ceremony. ‘There has always been some embarrassment about the real Aussie stuff and I don’t think it should be that way,” he said “The young kids, they’ll all end up wanting to be Keith Urbans.'”
  • The North California Bluegrass Society will present Bill Evans, Jack Tuttle, Lee Anne Welch, and Steve Palazzo with Lifetime Achievement Awards in January.
  • Peter Cooper writes about gospel label Nashboro Records and describes the new Nashboro box set, I Heard the Angels Singing (out today on Tompkins Square) as “thrilling.”
  • Brian T. Atkinson of CMT Edge interviewed singer-songwriter Jesse Terry.
  • Blues Hall of Famer Joe Bihari, whose family owned record labels like Modern, RPM, and Flair, passed away on November 28 at the age of 88.
  • Jonny Fritz sang “Hush, My Babe” for CMT Edge.
  • Last Saturday, 93-year old Oscar Brand broadcast his 68th anniversary show on WNYC-AM. Brand’s “Folksong Festival” is radio’s longest continually running show with the same host. (If you’ve got time, here are some neat clips of Brand’s shows from the late ‘40s.)
  • This week’s album releases (thanks for supporting E145 by doing your shopping through the affiliate links below):

Zac Brown Band The Grohl Sessions, Vol. 1

Shelby Lynne Thanks

Brad Davis A Bluegrass Tribute to George Jones

Neil Young Live at the Cellar Door

Parmalee Feels Like Carolina

The Civil Wars Bare Bones

Jim and Valerie Gabehart I Was Raised in a Railroad Town

Chuck Berry After School Session with Chuck Berry: The Deluxe Anniversary Edition

Various Artists I Heard the Angels Singing: Electrifying Black Gospel from the Nashboro Label, 1951-1983

Various Artists The Music of Nashville, Season 2, Vol. 1



  1. Paul W Dennis
    December 10, 2013 at 9:39 am

    John Williamson is correct – the Australians run a real risk of losing what is authentic about their music if they keep being American pop-country clones.

    Most of the readership here isn’t that familiar, if at all, with the Australian bush balladeers but if they have any interest in roots music they should check out Slim Dusty, Gordon Parsons or Tex Morton

  2. mrsandydog
    December 10, 2013 at 10:19 am

    “Last Saturday, 93-year old Oscar Brand broadcast his 68th anniversary show on WNYC-AM. Brand’s “Folksong Festival” is the longest continually running show in the history of radio.” Is that really the longest running show? The Grand Ole Opry celebrated its 88th anniversary this year. Wheeling Jamboree began in 1927.

  3. Both Kinds of Music
    December 10, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Hey! If you like Country Christmas Carols AND you like to singalong to said carols, The Sweetback Sisters are kicking off their 5th Annual Country Christmas Singalong Spectacular tonight with a live stream of the show. It’s at 8PM ET/5PM PT and pay what you want. I’ve seen it live and it’s a lotta fun.

  4. Rick
    December 10, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    As a person who got really into Aussie country music about 2003 because of Kasey Chambers, I agree with “Willo” (aka John Williamson) 100%! Back in the early to mid 2000’s Aussie country was an amazing breath of fresh musical air compared to the Nashville output of that same era. The uniqueness remained mostly intact until the Aussie “CMC” Country Music Channel cable TV music video channel was born. Featuring music videos from Top 40 Nashville artists as much or more so than Aussie artists skewed everything almost overnight! The upcoming young artists mostly wanted to emulate the Nashville sound of Keith Urban or Taylor Swift rather than home grown artists. Every year I purchase a “Winners” CD of songs nominated for Golden Guitar Awards and for the last few years most of the music has become as bland and mediocre as the Nashville Top 40 stuff they are trying to mimic. It’s a bloody shame I tell you! Crikey mate! (lol)

    Opry Alert! Tonight’s Opry features Della Mae (yes, the Opry debut of those politically correct darlings), Exile, Martina McBride, Sara Haze, some jokers named Rascal Flatts and Opry Legends (yawn). Grade: B

    I’m late to the game but that music video listed yesterday from Canadian cutie Leah Daniels was top shelf!

  5. Rick
    December 10, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Hey “Both Kinds” thanks for the mentioning that online Sweetback Sisters gig tonight! It sure beats the Opry…

  6. Hoggy from Oz
    December 11, 2013 at 4:53 am

    I’m sorry to have found out that John Williamson stepped down as president of the CMAA. He really is one of the true “Bush Balladeers” left. Before I say anything further, I should point out that while I am Australian, the country music I grew up on is predominantly American and, apart from a few artists, I don’t listen to too much Australian country (particularly the contemporary stuff). However, I do agree with Williamson in that mainstream Australian Country music, while not as glaringly soulless like much of American mainstream country, is instead a faceless and bland copy of American Country.

    One of the worst examples has to be Lee Kernaghan, who shortly after Tim McGraw released the road-wreck that was “Truck Yeah”, released his own version, “Ute Me” (what you guys call pickup trucks, we call utes), which like Truck Yeah was insultingly, obnoxiously stupid, both lyrically and musically. Down here, Kernaghan is considered one of the top “country stars”, but his recent discography contain some truly stupid, pandering songs that sound like Jason Aldean ripoffs. As for the other male country singers down here, I agree that most of them are Keith Urban wannabes without the guitar chops or vocal ability. As for the female singers, well some are okay(exceptions being the brilliant Sara Storer, Kasey Chambers), but I would say that they all are certainly more reflective of the American Country industry and sound and have no connection whatsoever to “Australia”.

    Ironically, I would say that of the mainstream Australian acts, Troy Cassar-Daley and Adam Harvey are the two best Australian Country artists. I will admit that Harvey is somewhere between Joe Nichols and George Strait, but I do think that many of his songs also do a good job of representing the blue collar side of Australian life. Troy Cassar-Daley though, is my pick for the best Australian artist. I think that he does a good job of blending the polished sound of American neo-traditional country with songs that tell the tales of the hard life in the bush.

    I should add that the above is a fairly general picture of Australian country music painted by someone who does not really pay much attention to the local industry. Like American country music, there are many good Australian country artists that hark back to the bush bards, but unfortunately they are independent artists who are eclipsed in the industry by those who follow the trail money available by employing the American formulas for success.

    As for the album nomination for Harvey and Troy Cassar-Daley’s “Great Country Songbook”, I do think that it was easily the best Australian Country album this year. Yes, it did predominantly feature covers of classic American country songs, but it did also include several Slim Dusty covers.

    Sorry about the mini-essay, but I felt the above had to be said.

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