Wanda Jackson Finds Producer In Jack White; Dierks Bentley Plans Bluegrass Record

Brody Vercher | November 17th, 2009

  1. Jon
    November 17, 2009 at 10:52 am

    That David Grier album is really outstanding – he’s mostly playing electric guitar on it, and the tunes are very cool. David’s one of the most purely inventive musicians you’ll ever hear.

  2. Stormy
    November 17, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Jack White is scheduled to produce a forthcoming album for Wanda Jackson.

    WANT!!!

  3. Leeann Ward
    November 17, 2009 at 11:37 am

    I’m stoked about the Dierks Bentley news. I think he does bluegrass really well.

  4. Dan Milliken
    November 17, 2009 at 11:52 am

    What Stormy and Leeann said.

  5. J.R. Journey
    November 17, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Jack White producing Wanda Jackson does sound very interesting. I was just watching her Biography on the Bio Channel a couple weeks ago. Really dug that growling rockabilly vocal of hers.

    On another note, Reba endorsed Goody’s headache powder back in the mid to late 1980s. I remember seeing her in a commercial for it, and probably still have it on an old VHS somewhere. I might find it and upload it to YouTube now.

  6. Jon
    November 17, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Dierks does bluegrass a whole lot better than Jack White does country. And probably rockabilly, too. Jack White, I mean – better than Jack White does rockabilly. Probably.

  7. Kelly
    November 17, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Regardless of that unnecessary comparison, Jack White “does country” really well and better than many rock artists, which would be a more fair comparison, seeing as how Dierks practically grew up playing bluegrass and is a country artist, and Jack White occupied has primarily occupied himself with blues and rock, from his childhood to now.

  8. Steve M.
    November 17, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    The Jack White produced Loretta Lynn album was damn good, one of the best country albums in the last ten years.

  9. Kelly
    November 17, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Here is a catchy country tune that White created before his Lynn project…

    http://tinyurl.com/y98qo35

  10. t.scott
    November 17, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    @kelly

    Remember,what we used to call country music is only one step from blues.

    See: Bob Wills,Jimmie Rodgers,Hank Sr.,etc..

  11. Noeller
    November 17, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Dierks is one of those acts who is capable of a lot more than his albums show, I think. I really feel like he’s being held back by his label, as shown by the controversy surrounding “Sideways”, which he never wanted on the album, but the label forced upon him because “there’s not enough singles”. I really think Dierks is a guy who could do some great traditional country, bluegrass and even gospel if they’d let him.

  12. Stormy
    November 17, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Kelly: Jack White does country better than a lot of contemporary country singers.

  13. Vicki
    November 17, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    “Temporary Home” may not be a great country song, but it has a right to the heart message. I’m glad this is Carrie’s next single.

  14. Larry Kerflapowitz
    November 17, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    John Prine is a little young to be commenting on the state of country music, don’t you think?

  15. Brady Vercher
    November 17, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    He’s either too young or self-serving. One or the other. Or maybe both. I haven’t decided yet.

  16. Rick
    November 17, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    I wish Jack White was producing a new album for Ashley Monroe instead so she could save the future of country music! (lol)

    Twang Nation does a fine job of hating on the CMA Awards in that article. I don’t call it AirHead Country for nothing.

    Dierks Bentley’s indie debut “Don’t Leave Me In Love” was a sort of bluegrass album, so this will actually be his second such release. I think Jon should work on this one to keep Dierks on the true path…

    That NPR list of so called “Important Recordings” is actually a secret brainwashing plot designed to create more zombified, politically correct Obamavoters for the next election! Avoid listening to those songs at all costs!!!!! (lol)

  17. Stewman
    November 17, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    John Prine should release an album or 30 before he can comment;)

  18. Brady Vercher
    November 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    The first time I heard “Caddo County,” I thought it had George Strait written all over it. He should cover it. Just sayin’.

  19. Jon
    November 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Van Lear Rose is considered a great country album mostly by people who bring traces (at least) of an rock aesthetic to their country music listening. Which is fine for them, but not for me. (FWIW, I touched on these matters at somewhat greater length here:
    http://www.nashvillescene.com/2004-04-22/stories/loretta-writes-em-sings-em/ .) I’m not especially looking forward to a White-produced Wanda Jackson album, but I’m confident that it will be a critical success, hailed by rock-leaning folks who will contrast it with the “pop crap” coming out of “Nashvegas”; the takeaway being that, once again, rock is good, pop is bad. Zzzzz.

    The interesting question with respect to Bentley is whether a Dierks bluegrass album will be released by his label, or whether they’ll do some kind of one-off deal that permits it to be released with some other imprint.

  20. JCH
    November 17, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    I am genuinely interested to see what Jack White can do. “Van Lear Rose” stands alone as one of the better albums released in recent years in my incredibly humble opinion.

  21. Razor X
    November 17, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    I have to be honest; while I don’t dislike Van Lear Rose , I don’t love it nearly as much as most people seem to. It’s a bit too rock-leaning in parts and the production is a bit heavy-handed at times. The tracks I tend to like are the more stripped-down, acoustic ones. Wanda Jackson does seem like a logical choice to work with Jack White, though.

  22. Mayor JoBob
    November 18, 2009 at 12:03 am

    Dierks Bentley & bluegrass: Yessss!

  23. Dan Milliken
    November 18, 2009 at 12:24 am

    “rock-leaning folks who will contrast it with the “pop crap” coming out of “Nashvegas”; the takeaway being that, once again, rock is good, pop is bad. Zzzzz.”

    I don’t disagree that that bias probably does figure into many of the shallower criticisms of mainstream country, as it probably has for some time. But I think another part of it is that the pervasive pop influence has just been an especially bland one recently. Taylor Swift’s albums have garnered a lot of critical praise despite their pop orientation because they have personality, but Rascal Flatts’ country-pop hasn’t because it’s perceived as vacuous and one-dimensional; likewise, Miranda Lambert’s recent album has garnered a lot of praise for its smart implementation of rock stylings, but you don’t hear the same praise for Jason Aldean, whose rock implementation is thought to sound out-of-place and drown out any sense of “country.”

  24. Noah Eaton
    November 18, 2009 at 2:21 am

    Whoa whoa whoa, slow down.

    “Ticks”……..among the fifty most important recordings this decade………..seriously?

    (scratches head, and not to check for ticks in his own scalp I might add) :P

  25. Truersound
    November 18, 2009 at 9:24 am

    Jon, you say you are not looking forward to this Wanda Jackson/Jack White thing because he brings a rock asthetic…..to a ROCKABILLY artist???? I’m confused.

    I’m not a big Jack White fan myself. I don’t know why he is seen as some musical genius though. In everything he has done, someone else does it better. The loretta lynn album was only good because it was not done in nashville, I doubt much of it had to do with Jack White. That Raconteurs thing with Ricky Skaggs was pretty good though. I think the only good thing about Jack White is his name always brings attention…so for that I’m glad he worked with Loretta Lynn and will be working with Wanda Jackson

  26. Chris N.
    November 18, 2009 at 9:52 am

    The Loretta Lynn album certainly was “done in Nashville.”

  27. Jeff Remz
    November 18, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Dierks has always done a good job with bluegrass and was i think on one of the Ralph Stanley Clinch tribute CDs also. Great to see a star like that go do his own thing.

  28. Randy
    November 18, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    I just heard an upcoming song that Kristy Lee Cook just finished. WOW, I can tell you know, this is so hot. She has a hit. And she deserves it. Looks like she has picked up the hunting world on the show she hosts.

    Good for her.

  29. Truersound
    November 18, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Chris N., just because an album was recorded in the zip code 37021 does not mean it was “done in nashville” :-P

  30. Jon
    November 18, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Jon, you say you are not looking forward to this Wanda Jackson/Jack White thing because he brings a rock asthetic…..to a ROCKABILLY artist???? I’m confused.

    Wanda Jackson’s not just a rockabilly artist; in fact, if you look at her catalog – both in terms of recording and performance – she’s mostly been not. That being said, it’s definitely more in tune with White’s than Lynn’s was.

    And BTW, has anyone here seen Lynn perform in the past 6 years? Aside from the songs themselves – I’m going to guess that she’s integrated some of the Van Lear Rose material – is there any trace of the sound White worked up for her to be found in her shows?

  31. Mayor JoBob
    November 18, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Dierks Bentley + Bluegrass = Win!

  32. Tony
    November 18, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Actually, Wanda Jackson’s live performances for the last ten years or so have focused almost entirely on her rockabilly sound. I would say 90% of her show is rock while the rest is a few choice country songs.

    But, Jon is right. She recorded a ton of country material in the 50′s, 60′s, and 70′s. And, it was fantastic too.

    But, with her induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year it makes sense for her to get the Jack White treatment and put out a rock album. I wouldn’t think the point of her teaming with him would be to produce even one single country song. I expect it to rock, and rock hard.

    Without a guy like Jack stepping up and boldly taking on projects like Loretta & Wanda, who else will? I think it’s a big gesture of respect on his part. These artists deserve to have their sound brought to a new audience who can have a chance to appreciate it like so many others have over the years. Thank God for guys like Jack White and Rick Rubin. I’m not sure any negative can be attached to something like this.

  33. Tony
    November 18, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    And… yes Loretta throws in some of the Van Lear Rose material… most frequently “Portland, Oregon” which her touring band attempts to copy the sound from the original record. It would be difficult for her to capture the sound exactly…and wouldn’t make sense for an entire show of that sound.

  34. Jon
    November 18, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Without a guy like Jack stepping up and boldly taking on projects like Loretta & Wanda, who else will? I think it’s a big gesture of respect on his part. These artists deserve to have their sound brought to a new audience who can have a chance to appreciate it like so many others have over the years. Thank God for guys like Jack White and Rick Rubin. I’m not sure any negative can be attached to something like this.

    Well, the negative would be if you didn’t like the result ;-). And I don’t have any problem with the idea that these projects represent an admirable degree of respect on White’s part. But 1) it certainly wouldn’t be hard to find other folks to take on projects with these artists – Randy Scruggs did a fine one (in my opinion) with Loretta just a couple of years before Van Lear Rose – and 2) the point, for me, is that it isn’t, by and large, their sound; it’s more his. Which your description of Lynn’s approach to that material on her live show kind of underlines.

  35. Tony
    November 18, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    It’s all about diversity. Sometimes an artist makes their best music when taken out of their comfort zone.

    An opinion is just an opinion. Most people like Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Sugarland, etc. – I personally can’t stand to listen to any of that. I do, however, spend a lot of time listening to Lefty Frizzell, Webb Pierce, Merle Haggard, Moon Mullican, Floyd Tillman, Ray Price, etc. which is authentic sounding to me. I also listen to everything from Bob Dylan to the White Stripes and Ryan Adams… Why? Because I think it sounds authentic and genuine compared to Taylor Swift’s music. So, when I heard “Van Lear Rose” I didn’t pay too much attention to how different it was from Loretta’s last record. It just seemed raw, authentic, and coming from a very genuine place on all levels.

    This could be debated until the end of time. It’s just my opinion that VLR was a great record. It’s also my opinion that there isn’t anything negative about the partnership of Jack and Loretta…even if the record was awful to my ears… it opened up Loretta’s music to a totally new fanbase who went back and got hip to her earlier recordings. That, is positive. That is Jack White’s genius. Being able to tap into a sound that rock kids who hate country AND old time fans of traditional country both can come together and enjoy a sound.

    In Loretta’s own words the “Van Lear Rose” record is as country as anything she’d ever cut. I know what she means. It came from a very, very authentic place. The production, the way it was recorded, the arrangements, the overall quality was very much as raw as her early work.

    I think with Wanda, however, it’s going to be a hard rocking album. Jack described it on MTV today as a “wild” record. Which makes perfect sense since Wanda is the Queen of Rock N Roll.

  36. Stewman
    November 19, 2009 at 8:52 am

    If it means a stellar media tour (Letterman, GMA, Nightline)for a true legend, then it is worth it either way. Wanda deserves a moment in the sun and this will assure that, whether you like the album or not.

  37. Jon
    November 19, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Sometimes an artist makes their best music when taken out of their comfort zone.

    And sometimes not. Sometimes the result is just uncomfortable.

    it opened up Loretta’s music to a totally new fanbase who went back and got hip to her earlier recordings.

    I suspect that we have no more idea whether that’s true than we do about whether, say, buyers of Taylor Swift’s albums are going on to buy records by other country artists. It’s a nice idea, but where’s the evidence?

    That is Jack White’s genius. Being able to tap into a sound that rock kids who hate country AND old time fans of traditional country both can come together and enjoy a sound.

    Again, I don’t know whether there are many old time fans of traditional country who enjoyed the sound of Van Lear Rose. The fact that her show continues to (mostly) eschew it suggests otherwise. And I am also pretty dubious about whether “raw” is a description that really fits any of Lynn’s recordings, with the possible exception of her very first, which very few people have heard.

    Stewman’s point is a valid one; albums such as these do draw new attention to artists who deserve it, and that’s a good thing, even if I think the body of work they’ve done to make them deserving is stronger than the new one that’s responsible for the new notice.

    BTW, Tony, I couldn’t help but notice that you make mention of “authenticity” four or five times. That’s a pretty slippery concept.

  38. Tony
    November 19, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    That’s a horrible comparison. People who buy and enjoy Taylor Swift music go out and buy OTHER new country artist cd’s? That’s the same thing as somebody discovering a new Loretta Lynn cd and loving it enough to go back and find her classic material?

    I work in radio and that Van Lear Rose cd was huge with our listeners. And, I know first hand that ton of them had never heard of Loretta until it came out but were interested enough to go back and buy her other recordings because of it. There is proof. Go look at how her soundscan numbers for other titles went up around the time of the VLR release.

    My grandparents (for instance) have been huge Loretta fans ever since they first saw her on the Wilburn Brothers show. They loved the VLR album. And, I’m sure most of Loretta’s old school fans did too. I recall her message board being filled with positive reviews and comments from old time fans during the time of the release.

    She does do a few songs from the album as any artist would who had a current single or record that did well. The songs that she adds to the show are done in the same arrangement and sound that the originals had. Why would she add that sound to all of her old hits? That wouldn’t make much sense at all. Johnny Cash didn’t do that. When Norah Jones changed her sound on her new album she didn’t give that same type of treatment in a live setting to ALL of her songs. Just the new ones. John Fogerty just released a country album. He does those songs country live. He doesn’t go back and make Fortunate Son a country tune.

  39. Jon
    November 19, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Go look at how her soundscan numbers for other titles went up around the time of the VLR release.

    Sorry, I don’t keep 6 year old SoundScan reports lying around. Why don’t you give us some of those numbers?

    And yeah, I think it’s a reasonable comparison; the question is whether folks who buy album x go on to buy more of the same kind of stuff, and especially whether they keep on doing so.

    Lynn told Bill Friskics-Warren in the NY Times back when Van Lear Rose came out that she and White were going to do another two albums together. Here it is six years later; what do you think happened?

  40. Tony
    November 19, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    It’s not reasonable at all. Somebody hearing Taylor Swift and buying a Carrie Underwood record because of it makes no sense. How does that compare to someone hearing a new Loretta Lynn record and being interested in the REST of her music? I didn’t say people heard Loretta’s latest album and it made them go buy Kitty Wells albums…

    Who knows what happened… Maybe White didn’t think he could top himself and didn’t want to attempt to. Maybe Loretta thought that. Who knows. Maybe Loretta isn’t interested in going back into a studio… I’ve heard that her health isn’t too good as of late. Maybe she doesn’t feel like making a new record. It’s all speculation.

  41. Jon
    November 19, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    I didn’t say people heard Loretta’s latest album and it made them go buy Kitty Wells albums…

    Fair enough. Speaking of which, what did those SoundScan numbers look like?

    Here’s what I mean about the “authenticity” thing: if Van Lear Rose “came from a very, very authentic place,” and yet it basically didn’t cause her to alter her show, or to make more records that reflect its approach – and it’s surely considerably different from anything she’d done previously, going back several decades – then it’s hard not to conclude that what she did before making it, and what she’s done since, is somehow less authentic. And I just don’t see that. Van Lear Rose was a one-off kind of detour; I’m glad it got her a Grammy, and some attention, and maybe even a few fans who are still going out to the casinos and theaters to see her shows, but at the end of the day, it’s still a detour.

  42. Tony
    November 19, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Would you consider Johnny Cash’s multiple grammy nominated and winning albums a detour?

  43. Tony
    November 19, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    And, I’m referring to the records with Rubin producing…

  44. Jon
    November 19, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Cash released 4 or 5 albums, plus recorded a bunch of other material, with Rubin over nearly a 10 year period. As opposed to 1 record Lynn made with Jack White in 6 years, with no prospect of another in sight. I’d say that’s a bad comparison.

  45. Tony
    November 19, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    But, it was a different sound for Cash… I thought we were talking about the different sounds. “Rusty Cage” and “Hurt” for example sound nothing like Cash ever recorded in a 40+ year career prior to the Rubin albums.

    How do we know that there is no future White and Lynn albums? Apparently, Loretta recently recorded or worked on a gospel album with John Carter Cash… but nothing has been said about that. Loretta Lynn and Johnny Cash were two totally different personalities. As is Wanda Jackson and Loretta Lynn. If anything I could see an artist like Jackson recording multiple albums with White as opposed to Loretta. But, again… this is all hypothetical talk.

  46. Tony
    November 19, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    The point is that none of the new acts… from Taylor Swift to Dierks Bentley to Tim McGraw will EVER record anything that compares to an artist like Loretta Lynn’s records. Even VLR. What’s authentic about country radio today? Nothing. It’s all digital. Everything is cleaned up and made to sound perfect. Do you think they tweaked Loretta’s voice on VLR to make it sound in tune? No. Let’s hear Taylor sing on key in her 60′s and 70′s… she can’t even do it now. The heart and soul has been taken out of anything you hear on country radio. That’s why a record like VLR was so refreshing to so many people’s ears.

    But, we could debate this until the end of time. I’ll stop now due to me not having anymore time or energy to dedicate to this topic.

    Can’t wait for Wanda’s album!

  47. Jon
    November 19, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    But, it was a different sound for Cash… I thought we were talking about the different sounds. “Rusty Cage” and “Hurt” for example sound nothing like Cash ever recorded in a 40+ year career prior to the Rubin albums.

    Agreed. The difference is that Cash spent 10 years working with Rubin, making multiple albums and literally hundreds of recordings. Lynn did one album with White six years ago, and though she said she was going to do more, she hasn’t. Nor is there any sign that she will. And her shows are mostly what they were before she ever made Van Lear Rose. So that album has a different significance in her career than Cash’s decade-long string of projects with Rubin had in his.

    As for the rest, blah, blah, blah, you don’t like contemporary mainstream country. What a surprise. But it’s funny how you don’t want to foreclose on the idea that Lynn might make another album with White because it’s “all hypothetical talk,” and then criticize contemporary country artists with a bunch of, um, hypothetical talk.

  48. Tony
    November 19, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    No. It’s a fact. All mainstream country is trash. Much like your music.

  49. Leeann Ward
    November 19, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Tony,
    I thought you were holding your own pretty well here, until that last comment.

  50. Tony
    November 19, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    I don’t really care what you think Leeann. It’s my opinion. An honest opinion. Does that make my arguement any less true? No.

  51. Josh
    November 19, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Swift=Garth??? 0.o Who thought this one up?? No way can Swift be compared to Garth…no friggin way! Garth reached world-wide mass and diverse ages…Swift reached Tweens…and that’s about it I believe. Why compare a low grade with a highly respected one???

  52. Matt B.
    November 20, 2009 at 12:56 am

    Swift is reaching mass ages. Just ask my 50 something mother who related to “White Horse.” That song hit a little too close to home for her.

    Swift is reaching the world too. That’s why she’s compared to Garth.

  53. K.
    November 20, 2009 at 4:47 am

    She’s a huge star for sure right now.. and is being copied in a big way. I was just at a music event where songwriters showcase their material for possible placement and there were multiple Swift knock-offs… some a lot better than Swift (LOL).. Not too hard to do.. I personally don’t think she’s that good, she can’t sing, her songs are trite, and trivial nonsense.. and her 15 minutes of fame are up.. she’s actually reached a peak so the only way to go artist wise is down… the main reason is she really hasn’t got the vocal talent.. she’s not a belter, and she’s not sheryl crow… a real deal artist, AND she can be easily duplicated.. I’m sure she’ll be around a while since she is so famous now.. probably t.v. film, maybe songwriting/producing.. but as an artist… hmmm… time’s up..

    The unfortunate thing is, I’m sure they’ll be lots of little taylor nipping at her ankles, who will take her place.. lol

    It’s really a shame when you have a grasp on the kinds of talent that’s really out there and being passed over for this stuff… : (((((((…………

  54. jana
    December 18, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    I have been a White Stripes fan forever and i just caught It Might Get Loud. Jack White blew my mind. any true fan should not miss it. http://bit.ly/4SGSGV

Tagged In This Article

// // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // //

Current Discussion

  • A.B.: I think I understand why the eating disorder facility wants to be located there besides it being the former Cash …
  • Janice Brooks: Hopes somebody gets those memos about drinking songs. Meanwhile I'm feeling a lot of slots with Bluegrass.
  • Leeann: Great news about Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White's duet album! Absolutely appalling about the Keith Urban concert!! Both the rape and …
  • bob: I found the Billboard article about country music radio needing an alcohol intervention interesting. Songwriter Adam Wright is quoted as …
  • Matt: Definitely agree with C.M. about Maddie & Tae. Certainly not the tidal wave of change some claimed it is or …
  • Dave D.: Good stuff, as always. My copy of Producing Country arrived yesterday, and it looks to be as good as …
  • Scooter: I agree Holly Williams can do no wrong in my eyes. Such a good album and great to see live …
  • Carrie Mclaughlin: Your my Hero Mr. Jim Lauderdale!!! Come to Alaska Please? hehehehe
  • Jeremy Dylan: You should check it out Dave D. It's from the first (and strongest) season.
  • Leeann: Wow! I love that Holly William's cover of "No Surrender"! She's gotten to be so good.

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • kelleymickwee
  • sandrarhodes
  • candi staton
  • sturgillsimpsonmetamodern
  • raypricebeautyis
  • rodneycrowelltarpapersky
  • rhondavincentonlyme
  • mandybgibson