The Wall Street Journal and Associated Press have some nice articles on Porter Wagoner. When I saw Wagoner a few months ago at Joe’s Pub, and and a few weeks ago opening for the White Stripes and Grinderman at Madison Square Garden (both backed by Mart Stuart) he seemed at the top of his game and has gone on to do other live dates and even a stop on the David Letterman show.
All the while “The Thin Man from West Plains” seems deeply appreciative for the response this comeback has given him. Blessed as he has said.
If you get a chance, go see him. If you can’t go out today and buy his newly released “Wagonmaster” (Anti Records) and remind yourself what country music can sound like it’s performed by a legend that helped invent it.
An excerpt from the AP: “I stopped making records because I didn’t like the way they were wanting me to record,” he sighs. “When RCA dropped me from the label, I didn’t really care about making records for another label…”
That was 1981, after he had been with RCA almost 30 years. Except for the Grand Ole Opry and work on the now defunct Nashville Network, his career dried up like an old corn stalk.
His comeback began in 2004 with a series of gospel records. Soon, he and Marty Stuart, a fellow Opry member, were plotting an album that would recreate the sound and feel of Wagoner’s vintage recordings.
Porter Wagoner on David Letterman – Albert Erving