Vikki Sallee Passes Away; Valerie June Plays Leno; Josh Abbott Band Releases “She Will Be Free” Trailer

Juli Thanki | September 20th, 2013

  • Singer-songwriter Vikki Sallee Dillard passed away at the age of 72. An excerpt from her obituary, written by Robert K. Oermann: Vikki Sallee began her singing career over KWHN radio in Ft. Smith, Ark. As a teen, she performed with Bob Luman and Wanda Jackson. Jackson became her mentor, and Sallee sang with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame member in Las Vegas venues such as The Golden Nugget and The Thunderbird. She started her recording career on Reprise Records with such singles as “There Goes the Lucky One” and “Favorite Lies.” Moving to Dot Records, she put out “Jimmy Darling,” “Little Wishing Star” and “Wild Angel,” which became her most successful single. 
  • Folk/old-time musician and “living library” Kenny Hall passed away on Wednesday at the age of 89, reports The Fresno Bee.
  • If you’re near North Adams, Mass., go to FreshGrass this weekend. Ralph Stanley, The Gibson Brothers, Alison Brown, Sarah Jarosz, and Noam Pikelny are just a few acts in this year’s stellar lineup of performers.
  • Billy Bragg makes the argument that the British invented Americana, noting that the skiffle trend of the 1950s inspired British teens to seek out prewar American folk and blues records: Such albums were hard to find and, if you had one, word would get out and every hip kid in the area would be knocking on your door for a listen…Yet this obsession with American roots music was not reflected on the other side of the Atlantic. The US folk music scene in the late 50s was dominated by the clean-cut Kingston Trio singing Tom Dooley in a funereal style, in contrast to the frantic energy of Lonnie Donegan’s version. More importantly, American teenagers didn’t seem interested in finding the roots of this music. And even if they had, segregation would have made matters very difficult. It took the British invasion of the mid-60s to bring Muddy Waters and the other giants of the blues to the attention of American youth. In 1964, the Rolling Stones even scored a hit with Howlin’ Wolf’s Little Red Rooster. The roots of American music, carried across the ocean by Ken Colyer, were being brought back home.
  • If you missed the Americana Honors and Awards Ceremony, you can listen to it here.
  • Records by Willie Nelson, Richard & Linda Thompson, and Bob Dylan made The Telegraph’s list of the 20 best breakup albums. What are your favorite breakup records?
  • Steep Canyon Rangers’ eighth annual Mountain Song Festival raised over $50,000 for the Boys & Girls Club of Transylvania County, NC.
  • Chris Bertram of posted a tribute to Gram Parsons yesterday, on the 40th anniversary of Parsons’ death. (h/t NM)
  • On Saturday, Lisa Marie Presley will play Levitt Shell in Memphis, which happens to be the first venue Elvis played professionally.
  • Jason Aldean and Dallas Davidson responded to Zac Brown’s comments about Luke Bryan’s single, “That’s My Kind of Night.”
  • Carole King has been named the 2014 MusiCares Person of the Year. The Dixie Chicks and James Taylor are among the artists who’ll pay tribute to King at the MusiCares Foundation’s pre-Grammy gala on January 24.
  • Josh Abbott Band released a trailer for music video/short film “She Will Be Free,” which will debut on CMT September 24.
  • The RIAA returned to Capitol Hill this week to try to renew interest in online piracy, which has largely fallen off the public’s radar. They are distributing to sympathetic lawmakers their own research on what they say are the growing perils of piracy – some of which is contested by Internet activists – and telling Congress that Google and other search engines aren’t doing enough to redirect consumers away from known pirating sites.” 
  • UPDATE: Alison Krauss has been diagnosed with dysphonia. She’s been put on vocal rest and will not be performing at Wide Open Bluegrass next week. A note posted on the AKUS website states that they “anticipate a smooth, quick recovery given proper treatment and adequate rest.”  (h/t Jeff)
  1. Jack Williams
    September 20, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Elvis Costello – Blood and Chocolate (sure sounds like a break up album).

  2. bob
    September 20, 2013 at 11:22 am

    You mention A.J. Croce’s new label and upcoming album. Today is the 40th anniversary of Jim Croce’s death. I just bought a Croce album on i-Tunes called “Home Recordings (Americana)”, songs that were originally recorded on tape in 1967. None of the songs were written by Croce, who remains one of my favorite singer/songwriters.

  3. Rick
    September 20, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    I think Billy Bragg’s argument makes a lot of sense and has a good deal of credibility. Many of the Beatles early recordings were covers of songs from black American artists that didn’t get wide airplay in the versions from the original artists. The Brits were definitely more open to embracing that music in the late 50’s and early 60’s than their white American counterparts.

    It’s unfortunate that the live versions of the Steeldrivers’ song “Wearin’ a Hole” I’ve heard online are far more compelling than the studio recording album track. Oh well…

    Break-up Albums would be depressing! A single song now and then is more than enough. Some of my favorites include: Tonio K’s “H.A.T.R.E.D.”, Merle Haggard’ “I Think I’m Gonna Live Forever”, 10CC’s “Modern Man Blues”, and the sadly unreleased Catherine Britt RCA label recording “Don’t Pay No Mind To Me” which featured Jamey Johnson. Oh well.

    Opry Alert! Tonight’s Opry features The Willis Clan (who kick bluegrass butt!), Kristen Kelly, Wade Hayes, Mark Chesnutt, The Henningsens, Jim Lauderdale, and all the usual Opry suspects. Grade: B+
    Schedule Link:
    PS – Saturday night’s Opry features two “Nashville” cast regulars: Chip Esten (Deacon) and Jonathan Jackson (Avery). So where’s Scarlett? Hmm…(lol) Sons of Fathers and American Young(?) are also featured.

  4. Rick
    September 20, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Since Catherine Britt will be featured on next week’s Music City Roots show, I figured it’s a good time to share a link to an interview she did after moving back to Australia. Catherine talks about her Nashville experiences, her friends/co-writers like Ashley Monroe, and other Nashville artists she collaborated with like Chris Stapleton. It’s quite an interesting read whether you are a Catherine Britt fan or not. It’s also the first time I’ve seen a public acknowledgement that Catherine and then label-mate Jamey Johnson had a fling! Crikey!

    Another great break-up song: “Red Rubber Ball” by The Cyrkle. This song was written by Paul Simon and he is also the one who suggested the band name as well.

  5. Barry Mazor
    September 21, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Bragg’s argument is very cute, and has virtually no working reality to it, beyond the fact that a lot of such bands, Donegans’ aside, played slightly hopped up American “folk” music abysmally, and, fortunately, stopped doing it to form rock bands that had an impact on rock bands.

    That “this started” with British bands is ignores i a half century of musical history, revivals bad cross-currents at home in the US. (But then, I’m long since used to fairly comical British claims that all of country music is “just” a variation on old Anglo balladry, “all” of American literature is a minor offshoot of British lit, and possibly-except for 1957 Chevys and Buddy Holly–America actually ahas no culture, sense of self and history and just.. oh please.

    “Mother country” (and we don’t have one, by the way) has her mouth open wide. Now playing: Thames River Delta blues with a Latin tinge.

    PS: I love Billy Bragg.

    For a different take on the origins of Americana, see here:

  6. Grace
    September 26, 2013 at 9:33 am

    It was my pleasure!

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