Stringbean’s Murderer Up for Parole; CMHOF to Open Kenny Rogers Exhibit; Jeff Austin Leaves Yonder Mountain String Band

Juli Thanki | April 24th, 2014

  • John A. Brown, one of the men convicted of murdering “Stringbean” and Estelle Akeman, is up for parole. It could take up to two weeks for the board to announce an official decision; Brown’s previous parole requests have been denied.
  • Mental Floss wants you to learn twelve facts about Dollywood.  Here are two: the park includes a hologram Dolly and a kennel called, of course, Doggywood.
  • Sierra Hull will likely release a new album in 2015. From a recent article in The Baltimore Sun: “I’m so ready to have new music out,” Hull said. “I’m probably more ready than any of my fans could be ready.” There was not a lack of trying. In January 2013, Hull recorded six songs that expanded her musical palette but ultimately left her unsatisfied. The songs were not the problem, she said, but rather it was the approach. For the first time, Hull had percussion and electric guitar on her songs. She was also primarily writing on guitar rather than mandolin, and the results left Hull uneasy. “I took a step back from it and said, ‘Is this really the direction I want to go? Is this really the right thing?’” Hull said. “I’ve since started over, so to speak.” While her experiences at Berklee remain invaluable, Hull realized she needed to find a balance between what she learned there and the type of songwriting that made her a major name in bluegrass as a teenager. Hull is currently working on new demos with a producer she declined to name but was excited to have involved. A deliberate return to the fundamentals of mandolin has re-energized her approach to writing, she said.
  • Jeff Austin has left Yonder Mountain String Band after 15 years to pursue a solo career. (via press release)
  • On May 17, Ashley Monroe is doing a songwriter session at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. (via press release)
  • NoiseTrade is offering a five-chapter excerpt of Todd Snider’s new book, I Never Met a Story I Didn’t Like.
  • Vince Gill on Ray Price: [We’d] been friends for a long time. And I’d sung a little bit on some previous records that he made over the years. He was one of those guys that obviously wasn’t crazy about the changing direction of country music and whatnot. And he knew that I had a lot of tradition enlisted in my heart and soul and some of the records I’ve made. And we sat together at the award show and had a great time cracking jokes. He had a great sense of humor. And I just thought the world of Ray Price.  
  • Farce the Music’s predictions about next year’s Billboard country charts are simultaneously hilarious and depressing.
  • Robert Ellis appeared on the World Café yesterday. Listen here.
  • Carrie Underwood has been selected as one of the TIME 100, an annual list of the world’s 100 most influential figures. (Brad Paisley wrote a tribute to Carrie for the magazine, while Dolly Parton wrote one about her goddaughter and Underwood’s fellow 100 club member, Miley Cyrus).
  • Tim McGraw participated in Breaking Barriers, a documentary about hot rods that’ll debut May 7 on the National Geographic Channel.
  • This year’s Calgary Folk Fest (July 24-27) has a solid lineup that includes Patty Griffin, Jason Isbell, and The Jayhawks.
  • Justin Townes Earle played songs from his new album, Single Mothers, on Mountain Stage.
  • Last weekend’s Record Store Day gave indie shops a huge sales boost. Billboard reports: In a week when overall U.S. album sales were down 2.2% over the same week in 2013, the independent record store sector collectively rode the Record Store Day sales bonanza to an 11.2% gain, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Indie stores represented 19.4% of the total U.S. volume of all physical album sales this week, the sector’s highest share since SoundScan started tracking sales by store strata. Moreover, within album sales, the indie store sector saw its vinyl album sales grow a whopping 57.5%. Finally, numerous record stores report that it was their best day ever.
  • Actor Clare Bowen of Nashville talks about the show’s success as well as the cast’s upcoming tour in this Chicago Sun-Times piece.
  • The Barclays Center in Brooklyn is “working actively” to book big-name country acts to play the 18,000 seat arena.
  • Nick Hasted asks, “From Leonard Cohen’s acclaimed tour last year aged 79 to Chuck Berry, 87, the genuinely elderly are on the road in unprecedented numbers. When even a punk band has to face up to painful old age, why do so many musicians carry on? And what, when their physical capacity is inevitably diminished, do we get from watching them?” He answers his own question at the conclusion of the article, writing that “We should be grateful [for these artists’ continued touring]. The last act is as much a part of a musical life as its often explosive start.”
  1. Leeann Ward
    April 24, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    I was just thinking that I wished Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio would make an album together. I haven’t watched Nashville beyond the very first episode yet, but I really enjoy the two of them singing together and Clare Bowen especially. I particularly love “When the Rigt One Comes Along.” Interesting that she thought so little of her voice that she wouldn’t sing a note for a year and a half. I’m glad her brother pulled her out of that!

    Oops, looks like the author of the Vince article errored on Vince’s age. I bet Vince wishes he was pushing 50, instead of 60.:)

  2. bob
    April 24, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    I agree with Leeann on “When the Right One Comes Along”. Great song. It was written by Georgia Middleman and the Striking Matches duo, Sarah Zimmermann and Justin Davis. I have it by SM on their debut EP. I watched the season 1 debut episode of Nashville and have no desire to watch it again.

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