Wanted! – Notable Americana and Roots Music Releases for 2021

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Lucero – When You Found Me (Jan. 29)

Most of 2020 to right now live music is largely put on hold, but plenty of artists are still finding ways to create. Time off the road and spent at home has meant hardship. but it’s also meant creative ways artists delivered performances to you at home and also time to reflect, write and record new music, which in turn means that fans can expect new albums from some of their favorite country, Americana, bluegrass and folk artists in 2021.

Despite 2020 being the worst year in most of our lifetime some great music still released to take a bit of the edge off.

2021 starts off right with releases from Steve Earle honoring the passing of Justin Townes Earle. We can also look forward to new releases from Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Langhorne Slim, Lucero, Aaron Lee Tasjan and many more.

Then there are yet-to-be-announced release dates for James McMurtry and others. Bookmark and check back to this list as we will update those add other releases as they come in.

Also if you know of a release not on the list feel free to add it in the comments below.

Thanks for keeping up with Twang Nation and here’s to a better 2021!

January
Jan. 1: Kandle & Kendel – ‘Birds’ EP (Neil Young Covers)
Jan. 4: Steve Earle & The Dukes – ‘J.T.’ (digital)
Jan. 8: Barry Gibb – ‘Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers Songbook, Vol. 1’
Jan. 8: The Divorcees – ‘Drop of Blood’
Jan. 22: Jeremiah Fraites (Lumineers) – ‘Piano Piano’
Jan. 22: Justin Moses – ‘Fall Like Rain’
Jan. 29: Langhorne Slim – ‘Strawberry Mansion’
Jan. 29: Lucero – ‘When You Found Me’
Jan. 29: Pony Bradshaw – ‘Calico Jim’
Jan. 29: John Hurlbut & Jorma Kaukonen – ‘The River Flows’

February
Feb. 5: Aaron Lee Tasjan – ‘Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan!’
Feb. 5: Aaron Watson – ‘American Soul’
Feb. 5: Andrew Marlin (of Mandolin Orange) — ‘Witching Hour’
Feb. 17 Jim Keller – ‘By No Means’
Feb. 19: Austin Meade – ‘Black Sheep’
Feb. 19: Spencer Burton- ‘Coyote’
Feb. 19: Andrew Marlin (of Mandolin Orange) — ‘Fable & Fire’
Feb. 19: Catherine Britt – Home Truths
Feb. 19: Ian Fisher – American Standards
Feb. 19: The Dead South – Served Live
Feb. 19: David Olney and Anana Kay – ‘Whispers And Sighs’
Feb. 19: John Paul Keith – The Rhythm of the City
Feb. 19: Veronica Lewis –You Ain’t Unlucky
Feb. 26: Willie Nelson – ‘That’s Life’ (Willie’s second release of Frank Sinatra covers.)
Feb. 26: Clint Roberts – ‘Rose Songs’
Feb. 26: David Huckfelt -‘Room Enough
Feb. 26: Sara Petite – ‘Rare Bird’

March
March 5: Ottoman Turks – ‘Ottoman Turks II’
March 5: Jason Ringenberg (Jason and the Scorchers) – ‘Rhinestoned’
March 5: Graham Wilkinson – ‘Cuts So Deep’
March 12: Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno – ‘Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno’
March 12: Peter Case – ‘The Midnight Broadcast’
March 12:Southern Culture On The Skids – ‘At Home With Southern Culture On The Skids’
March 12 Valerie June – ‘The Moon And Stars: Prescriptions For Dreamers’
March 12 Israel Nash – ‘Topaz’
March 19: Loretta Lynn – ‘Still Woman Enough’
March 19: Austin Meade – ‘ Black Sheep’ (DEBUT)
March 19: Rob Leines – ‘Blood Sweat and Beers’
March 19: Steve Earle & The Dukes – ‘J.T.’ (physical)
March 19: Mike Barnett – ‘+1’
March 19: Melissa Carper – ‘Daddy’s Country Gold’
March 19: Loretta Lynn – ‘Still Woman Enough’
March 19: Mike Barnett – +1
March 19: Sarah King – The Hour
Joe Pug – The Diving Sun (Side A)
March 19: Mandy Rowden – Parachute
March 19: Janet Simpson – Safe Distance
March 21: Allison Russell – ‘Outside Child’
March 25: The Armadillo Paradox – “Out of Gas in Oil Country”
March 26: Sara Watkins – ‘Under the Pepper Tree’
March 26: Esther Rose – ‘How Many Times’

April
April 9: Parker Millsap – ‘Be Here Instead’
April 16: Triston Marez – ‘Triston Marez’
April 20: Coleman Williams – “Son of Sin”
April 23: Todd Snider – ‘First Agnostic Church of Hope And Wonder’
April 30: Ashley Monroe – ‘Rosegold’
April 30: Ronnie Milsap – ‘A Better Word for Love’

May
May 7: Ted Russell Kamp – ‘Solitaire’
May 7: Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram & Jon Randall – ‘The Marfa Tapes’
May 7: Travis Tritt – ‘Set in Stone’
May 14: Alan Jackso – ‘Where Have You Gone’
May 14: The Steel Woods – ‘All of Your Stones’
May 28: Ashley McBryde – ‘Never Will: Live From a Distance’ EP
May 28: Blackberry Smoke, – ‘You Hear Georgia’
May 28: Rider & Rolling Thunder – ‘On the Banks of the Tennessee’

June
June 4: Turner Cody & The Soldiers of Love – ‘Friends in High Places’
June 18: Amy Helm – ‘What the Flood Leaves Behind’
June 11: Oak Ridge Boys – ‘Front Porch Singin”
June 11: Cory Grinder and the Playboy Scouts – ‘Honky Tonkin’ Beauty Supreme’
June 18: Rory Feek – ‘Gentle Man’
June 25: JP Harris – ‘Dreadful Wind and Rain’

July
July 9: The Flatlanders – ‘Treasure of Love’

August
August 27: Jason Eady – ‘To The Passage of Time’
August 27: Summer Dean – ‘Bad Romantic’

TBA

Sturgill Simpson Surprises Again With “Cuttin’ Grass Vol 2. (Cowboy Arms Sessions)” Release

If you were thinking to yourself “Self, I sure do loveSturgill Simpson’s “Cuttin’ Grass Vol 1. The Butcher Shoppe Sessions” but wouldn’t it be great if he did another one in a few weeks?”

Well you greedy bastard you got your wish. News trickled in the socials last night that Sturgill had a new album out. Given his penchant for tomfoolery I’m hesitant to bite on early Sturgill news. But just as he did with the first Volume, Volume. 2 (Cowboy Arms Sessions) had populated across streaming platforms as a surprise, more personal release.

Simpson said in a statement about the project: “On Volume 2, we recorded everything I was too afraid to do on Volume 1. It’s hard to deny that this is a much more intimate offering. I was thinking about my kids, my grandfather, my wife.” Vol. 2 features a returning crew of celebrated bluegrass players who were also involved in Vol. 1, including mandolin player Sierra Hull, guitarist Tim O’Brien, and fiddler Stuart Duncan.

“Cuttin’ Grass Vol. 2” gives us toe-tapping version of “You Can Have The Crown” that had previously retired from his live shows performing. There’s the inclusion of “Jesus Boogie” and “Oh Sarah” from his earlier band Sunday Valley. Simpson debuts two new cuts on the record: “Tennessee” and a “Cowboy” Jack Clement tribute album closer “Hobo Cartoon,” billed as a co-write with late country legend Merle Haggard. The album also interprets a half-dozen songs from Simpson’s 2016 record “A Sailor’s Guide To Earth.”

Again joining Sturgill on the release is the hot-shot bluegrass band, dubbed the “Hillbilly Avengers,”fiddler Stuart Duncan, guitarist Tim O’Brien, mandolinist Sierra Hull, drummer Miles Miller, bassist Mike Bub and Scott Vestal and Mark Howard on banjo. David Ferguson produced the album.

Order “Cuttin’ Grass Vol 2.” pre-release.

“Cuttin’ Grass Vol 2. (Cowboy Arms Sessions)” Track List:

1. Call To Arms
2. Brace for Impact (Live a Little)
3. Oh Sarah
4. Sea Stories (Sunday Valley cut)
5. Hero
6. Welcome To Earth (Pollywog)
7. Jesus Boogie (Sunday Valley cut)
8. Keep It Between The Lines
9. You Can Have The Crown
10. Tennessee
11. Some Days
12. Hobo Cartoon written with Merle Haggard)

Record Store Day Black Friday 2020 Releases – Roots & Americana Picks

Record Store Day's Black Friday

Despite all the damage the pandemic has caused the music industry if you’re a record collector there is a silver lining. Vinyl sales surpassed CD sales for the first time in 34 years!

This is due in no small part to the efforts of the the good folks at Record Store Dy who have brought collectors limited edition new, classic and long out-of-print slabs of wax for the past 12 years.

The newest addition is RSD Black Friday. The event will take place on Black Friday (The day after Thanksgiving, November 27th) and, though a smaller selection than RSD proper (though it is closer to a 2020 version, the RSD drop) there’s still some good selections for the on your nice list to be had by John Prine, Luther Dickinson, The Drive-By Truckers, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings ,and, my personal favorite , a live Uncle Tupelo from 1994!

There’s also 3 Jonny Cash selections on the niche 3″ Vinyl format, so if you have a player you can get that.

If you pick up some of these releases ag me on Instagram (@twangnation) and show me what you’ve got.

See the full release list here.

JOHNNY CASH
Folsom Prison Blues

DETAILS
Event: BLACK FRIDAY 2020
Format: 3″ Vinyl
Label: ORG MUSIC
Quantity: 1000
A 3″ single release, made for the RSD3 mini-turntable and other turntables in the series, like the RSD2020 clear mini-turntable. Four Johnny Cash singles are being released in the series, on RSD Black Friday 2020. First recorded and released in 1955, “Folsom Prison Blues” became one of Johnny Cash’s signature songs. A live version, recorded among the inmates at Folsom State Prison in 1968 became a #1 chart hit and in June 2014 Rolling Stone magazine ranked it #51 on its list of the 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time.

JOHNNY CASH
Guess Things Happen That Way

DETAILS
Event: BLACK FRIDAY 2020
Release Date: 11/27/2020
Format: 3″ Vinyl
Label: ORG Music
Quantity: 1000
Release type: RSD 3″ Vinyl

A 3″ single release, made for the RSD3 mini-turntable and other turntables in the series, like the RSD2020 clear mini-turntable. Four Johnny Cash singles are being released in the series, on RSD Black Friday 2020. Released on May 19, 1958 “I Guess Things Happen That Way” (originally written by Jack Clement) was Johnny’s fourth chart single—hitting #1 on the Country charts and #11 on the Hot 100. The head of religious programming for the BBC banned it from the airwaves when it was first released!

JOHNNY CASH
Get Rhythm

DETAILS
Format: 3″ Vinyl
Label: ORG MUSIC
Quantity: 1000
Release type: RSD 3″ Vinyl
MORE INFO
A 3″ single release, made for the RSD3 mini-turntable and other turntables in the series, like the RSD2020 clear mini-turntable. Four Johnny Cash singles are being released in the series, on RSD Black Friday 2020. Originally released in May 1956 as the B-side of “I Walk The Line” this tale of optimism from the point of view of a shoeshine boy was re-recorded with dubbed “live effects” and released as an A-side of its own in 1969.

JOHNNY CASH
I Walk The Line

DETAILS
Format: 3″ Vinyl
Label: ORG MUSIC
Quantity: 1000
Release type: RSD 3″ Vinyl
MORE INFO
A 3″ single release, made for the RSD3 mini-turntable and other turntables in the series, like the RSD2020 clear mini-turntable. Four Johnny Cash singles are being released in the series, on RSD Black Friday 2020. Recorded on April 2 and released on May 1, 1956 “I Walk The Line” was Johnny Cash’s first #1 Billboard country chart single, crossed over to #17 on the Pop chart, and stayed on the Billboard charts for 42 weeks. It was originally intended as a slow ballad, but producer Sam Phillips encouraged a faster tempo, and magic was made!

LUTHER DICKINSON
Rock, Live Concert

DETAILS
Event: BLACK FRIDAY 2020
Format: LP
Label: New West Records
Quantity: 900
Release type: RSD Limited Run / Regional Focus Release
MORE INFO
In the winter of 2016, Luther Dickinson began touring behind the release of his latest record, Blues & Ballads: A Folksingers Songbook Vols 1 & 2. Normaltown Hall, a now extinct listening room that sat above the New West Records office in Athens, GA, was known for hosting community events and intimate concerts intended for the listener and performer to connect. The venue capacity was permitted for 115 listeners, but on the night of March 9, 2016 there might have been over 200 people stuffed into the venue. Luther Dickinson (guitar, vocals), Sharde Thomas (drums, fife, vocals), Will Sexton (guitar), Amy LaVere (upright bass) and Brandon Chornes (drums) got on stage and brought down the house that night with a very intimate and eclectic set of American music.

New West Records is proud to release this once in a lifetime performance on super limited blue sky vinyl.

SIDE A: “Death Comes On Wings of Crepe / Blind Lemon and the Hook Man”, “Hurry Up Sunrise”, “Karmic Debt”, “Highwater (Soldier)”, “Station Blues”

SIDE B: “Mean Ol’ Wind Died Down”, “Bang Bang Lulu”, “Chevrolet”, “Shady Grove”, “Little Sally Walker”

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS
Plan 9 Records July 13, 2006

DETAILS
Event: BLACK FRIDAY 2020
Format: 3 x LP
Label: New West Records
Quantity: 3800
Release type: RSD Exclusive Release
MORE INFO
On July 13, 2006 the Drive-By Truckers set up shop at Plan 9 Records in Richmond, VA. It was the 25th Anniversary of the store. The band performed to a packed house and played a blistering set of fan-favorites featuring the songs, “18 Wheels of Love”, “Let There Be Rock”, “Goddamn Lonely Love” and “Daddy’s Cup.” The performance was also set up to benefit the Bryan and Kathryn Harvey Family Memorial Endowment. The foundation provides, among other things, music scholarships in the Richmond area. Lead vocalist and songwriter, Patterson Hood ended up writing the song “Two Daughters and A Beautiful Wife” about Bryan Harvey and his family.

This RSD Black Friday 3 LP set will be pressed on black 140g vinyl and it will be packaged in a “bootleg” style wide-spine jacket featuring a a reprint of the ticket and show poster made for the event. The jackets will be numbered according to the worldwide pressing run of 6000.

SIDE A: “Tales Facing Up”, “One Of These Days”, “Easy on Yourself”, “Feb. 14 (3:35)”, “Aftermath USA”

SIDE B: “Gravity’s Gone”, “Sink Hole”, “Outfit”, “My Sweet Annette”, “Marry Me”

SIDE C: “A World of Hurt”, “Why Henry Drinks”, “The Day John Henry Died”, “Wednesday”

SIDE D: “Shut Up And Get On The Plane”, “Ronnie And Neil”, “Moonlight Mile”, “Let There Be Rock”

SIDE E: “Zip City”, “Goddamn Lonely Love”, “18 Wheels of Love”

SIDE F: “Nine Bullets”, “Daddy’s Cup”, “Decoration Day”, “Lookout Mountain”

SHARON JONES & THE DAP-KINGS
Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Rendition Was In)

DETAILS
Event: BLACK FRIDAY 2020
Format: LP
Label: Daptone Records
Quantity: 4000
Release type: ‘RSD First’ Release
MORE INFO
Throughout their career, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings remained in high demand both publicly and privately to recreate and often re-imagine songs by other artists. More often than not, these covers were recorded by request, commissioned for placement in movies, television programs, tribute albums, or for samples. This album compiles some of their most popular and some never-before-heard renditions Though the band mostly built their career on a prolific catalog of originals, these forays into other artists’ compositions lay bare their gift for arrangement and the unmatched studio prowess that earned them their reputation as The Baddest Band in the Land.

SIDE A: “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours”, “Little By Little”, “Just Dropped In”, “Here I Am Baby”, “What Have You Done For Me Lately?”, “Take Me With U”

SIDE B: “Inspiration Information”, “Giving Up”, “Rescue Me”, “In The Bush”, “It Hurts To Be Alone”, “Trespasser”

BETTYE LAVETTE, BILLIE HOLIDAY, NINA SIMONE
Original Grooves: Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Bettye LaVette

DETAILS
Event: BLACK FRIDAY 2020
Format: 12″ Vinyl
Label: Verve
Quantity: 2500
Release type: RSD Exclusive Release
MORE INFO
Verve Label Group is proud to launch a new vinyl series, Original Grooves, available exclusively on Record Store Day and RSD Black Friday. Original Grooves showcases the vinyl cutting technique known as “parallel grooves”, where grooves are cut side-by-side instead of one after another, allowing for a different aural experience depending on where the needle is dropped. The first of this series comes from five-time Grammy nominee Bettye LaVette, with hidden gems from Verve legends Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. The Blues Hall of Fame legend deftly reinterprets the classics “Strange Fruit” and “I Hold No Grudge” on this 12” EP, with the original timeless versions “hidden” on the neighboring grooves.

SIDE A:
01) Strange Fruit (Billie Holiday) (3:12)
02) Strange Fruit (Bettye LaVette) (4:30)

SIDE B:
01) I Hold No Grudge (Nina Simone) (2:18)
02) I Hold No Grudge (Bettye LaVette) (6:12)

JAMES MCMURTRY
Childish Things

DETAILS
Event: BLACK FRIDAY 2020
Format: 2 x LP
Label: Lightning Rod Records
Quantity: 3000
MORE INFO
Author Stephen King described Ft. Worth native James McMurtry as “the truest, fiercest songwriter of his generation” in Entertainment Weekly. The son of acclaimed author Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove, Terms of Endearment), James grew up on a steady diet of Johnny Cash and Roy Acuff records. 2005’s Childish Things garnered some of the highest critical praise of McMurtry’s career and spent six weeks at number one on R&R’s Americana Music Radio Chart in 2005 and 2006. In September 2006, Childish Things and “We Can’t Make It Here” won the Americana Music Awards for album and song of the year, respectively. This is the first time Childish Things will be available on vinyl.

1 See The Elephant 2 Childish Things 3 We Can’t Make It Here 4 Slew Foot 5 Bad Enough 6 Restless 7 Memorial Day 8 Six Year Drought 9 Old Part of Town 10 Charlemagne’s Hometown 11 Pocatello 12 Holiday

WILLIE NELSON
Live at Austin City Limits 1976

DETAILS
Event: BLACK FRIDAY 2020
Release Date: 11/27/2020
Format: LP
Label: Legacy
Quantity: 4000
Release type: RSD Exclusive Release
MORE INFO
Willie Nelson has appeared on Austin City Limits more than any other artist, performing on the pilot and seventeen subsequent episodes of the Texas Public Television institution that debuted in 1976 and is still going strong as the longest running music series in American television history. This performance was captured in 1976 and aired as the premiere episode of the second season the following year. It found Willie and The Family performing his classic album Red Headed Stranger front to back in an amazing performance and this RSD Black Friday edition marks its first audio release.

Side A: “Time Of The Preacher”, “I Couldn’t Believe It Was True”, “Time Of The Preacher Theme”, “Medley: Blue Rock Montana/Red Headed Stranger”, “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain”, “Red Headed Stranger”, “Time Of The Preacher Theme”, “Just As I Am”

Side B: “Denver”, “O’er The Waves”, “Down Yonder”, “Can I Sleep In Your Arms”, “Remember Me”, “Hands On The Wheel”, “Bandera”

JOHN PRINE
The Asylum Albums

DETAILS
Event: BLACK FRIDAY 2020
Format: 3 x LP
Label: Rhino/Elektra
Quantity: 2000
Release type: ‘RSD First’ Release
MORE INFO
John Prine’s three Asylum-era LPs, pressed on audiophile 180gram black vinyl, faithfully replicating the original packaging.

Album 1: Bruised Orange
1. Fish And Whistle 2. There She Goes 3. If You Don’t Want My Love 4. That’s The Way That The World Goes Round 5. Bruised Orange (Chain Of Sorrow) 6. Sabu Visits The Twin Cities Alone 7. Aw Heck 8. Crooked Piece Of Time 9. Iron Ore Betty 10. The Hobo Song

Album 2: Pink Cadillac
1. Chinatown 2. Automobile 3. Killing The Blues 4. No Name Girl 5. Saigon 6. Cold War (This Cold War With You) 7. Baby Let’s Play House 8. Down By The Side Of The Road 9. How Lucky 10. Ubangi Stomp

Album 3: Storm Windows
1. Shop Talk 2. Living In The Future 3. It’s Happening To You 4. Sleepy Eyed Boy 5. All Night Blue 6. Just Wanna Be With You 7. Storm Windows 8. Baby Ruth 9. One Red Rose 10. I Had A Dream

UNCLE TUPELO
Live at Lounge Ax – March 24, 1994

DETAILS
Event: BLACK FRIDAY 2020
Format: 2 x LP
Label: dBpm Records Inc.
Quantity: 2500
Release type: ‘RSD First’ Release
MORE INFO
Recording of the full concert from Chicago’s Lounge Ax club, originally broadcast live on WXRT. Pressed on two 33 RPM, 150g vinyl discs for RSD Black Friday.

Side 1 1. Chickamauga 2. Watch Me Fall 3. Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down 4. Fifteen Keys 5. The Long Cut

Side 2 1. Anodyne 2. New Madrid 3. Sandusky 4. Looking For A Way Out 5. Slate

Side 3 1. Great Atomic Power 2. Acuff-Rose 3. We’ve Been Had 4. Give Back The Key To My Heart 5. Postcard

Side 4 1. Gun 2. Whiskey Bottle 3. Effigy

HANK WILLIAMS
1952 Radio Audition

DETAILS
Event: BLACK FRIDAY 2020
Release Date: 11/27/2020
Format: 7″ Vinyl
Label: BMG
Quantity: 2000
Release type: RSD Exclusive Release
MORE INFO
Rare recordings from Hank Williams’ 1952 radio show auditions for the first time ever on vinyl.

Side A 1) Why Don’t You Love Me – Hank Williams 2) San Antonio Rose – Owen Bradley & His Orchestra

Side B 1) Honey, Be My Honey Bee – The Beasley Sisters 2) Cold, Cold Heart – Hank Williams 3) Why Don’t You Love Me

Hear Steve Earle Pay Tribute to Justin Townes Earle

On his forthcoming album, “J.T.”, Steve Earle & The Dukes pay tribute to Steve’s late son, Justin Townes Earle (J.T.), who passed away on August 20, 2020 in Nashville. The album will be released digitally on what would have been Justin’s 39th birthday, January 4, 2021, CD and vinyl formats will release March 19, 2021.

The first track, “Harlem River Blues” is available below and on your favorite streaming platforms today. The poignant song is one of Justin’s best-known compositions and took Song of the Year honors at the 2011 Americana Music Awards ceremony following Justin’s win in the Emerging Artist of the Year category in 2009.

100% of the artist advances and royalties from J.T. will be donated to a trust for Etta St. James Earle, the three-year-old daughter of Justin and Jenn Earle. While somber in parts, the album is ultimately a rousing celebration of a life lived with passion and purpose.

In addition, the following partners will be offering exclusive, limited edition pressings:
Good Records – Neon Pink
Vinyl Me, Please – Blue and Red swirl
Magnolia Record Club – Lime Green (members only until 11/19)
Australia – Translucent Green
Rough Trade – Translucent Yellow and Grey swirl

Amazon Studios to Create Merle Haggard Biopic

Sam Rockwell, Merle Haggard
Courtesy of Michael Schwartz; AP

deadline.com reports that Amazon Studios has acquired the rights to create a Merle Haggard biopic. Top of the list to play The Hag s Oscar-winning actor Sam Rockwell (The Green Mile, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Blaze) and that he will do his own singing of Haggard’s perennial standards

Robin Bissell will direct the film and will write the script with Merle’s widow, Theresa Haggard, based on the Haggard memoir Sing Me Back Home. Bissell and Haggard will produce the film jointly.

The film covers Haggard’s subsequent struggle to escape his hard past to become a better man and legendary artist. Ashamed of his past, Haggard hid his ex-con status from all but those closest to him until finally coming clean on Johnny Cash’s TV show in 1969. The story also focuses heavily on Merle’s complicated love affair, which played out on-stage and off, with singer Bonnie Owens – his singing partner and eventual wife.

Once Haggard figured it all out, he became a symbol of the power of rehabilitation: from 1966-1970, Merle had 9 number one hits, and would record 38 number one tunes overall and 71 in the top ten. His biggest hits included Okie From Muskogee, The Fightin’ Side Of Me, Sing Me Back Home, The Fugitive, Workin’ Man Blues, Mama Tried and Today I Started Loving You Again, to name only a few. He won seven CMA awards including Entertainer of The Year in 1970. Haggard in 1972 was pardoned by Governor Ronald Reagan, and astronaut Charlie Duke took his Merle Haggard tape to the moon on Apollo 16.

Buck Owens’ A Merry ‘Hee Haw’ To Be Released

Buck Owens’ A Merry ‘Hee Haw’IT’S A BAKERSFIELD KIND OF CHRISTMAS AT OMNIVORE
Buck Owens’ A Merry ‘Hee Haw’ Christmas due in stores November 13.

Many of us are flat-out done with 2020 and are ready to turn the page on the hole damn year. Now there’s a something to make the upcoming holidays a little bit more wonderful.

The fine folks Omnivore Recordings will release Buck Owens’ A Merry ‘Hee Haw’ Christmas (out on November 13, 2020). The original title, released in 1970, combined Owens’ two Christmas albums for Capitol (Christmas With Buck Owens and His Buckaroos and Christmas Shopping) as one package. Now, in its CD and digital debut, A Merry ‘Hee Haw’ Christmas is augmented by four bonus tracks: “All I Want for Christmas Is My Daddy,” “Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy (Daddy Looked a Lot Like Him),” and two Toys for Tots public service announcements originally issued on a 1972 Capitol promotional single.

Buck Owens was born Alvis Edgar Owens Jr. in in Sherman, Texas on August 12, 1929. He was one of the pioneers of the Bakersfield country sound, along with Merle Haggard, Susan Raye and Jean Shepard, and arguably its most consistent hit-maker. Owens co-hosted the prime-time comedy variety show Hee Haw with Roy Clark. The inductee to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame operated Bakersfield’s Crystal Palace music venue, which continues to present live country music long after his passing on March 25, 2006.

Buck Owens and His Buckaroos popularity in 1960s made them a natural for the lucrative Christmas music market. Buck and his band recorded two classic Christmas albums for Capitol: First Christmas With Buck Owens and His Buckaroos in 1965, and Christmas Shopping in 1968. Not only did both albums make the Billboard Christmas Album Chart (Christmas With charted multiple times — #12 in 1965, and #23 in both 1966 and 1967, and #31 for Christmas Shopping), but they both threw off charting singles as well. “Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy (Daddy Looked a Lot Like Him),” drawn from Christmas With, proved to be so popular a holiday favorite it charted twice, hitting #2 in 1965 and two years later, in December ’67, revisiting the charts and making it to #18. In 1968, it was the title track of the second classic Christmas offering, Christmas Shopping, which made it to #5.

Going back to the holiday well in 1970, Capitol cashed in again with a double LP distillation of the two albums called A Merry ‘Hee Haw’ Christmas, which would chart at #34. For that compilation, two songs were omitted, one from each original album, and they’ve been reinstated for Omnivore’s reissue. “All I Want For Christmas Is My Daddy” was left off the Christmas Shopping disc, while “Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy (Daddy Looked a Lot Like Him)” was lost from the Christmas With album — a curious omission since it was the most successful Christmas single ever offered by Buck.

Grammy®-Nominated- and Award-winning producers Patrick Milligan and Cheryl Pawelski produced the CD with Estate approval. Newly remastered from the original analog master tapes by Grammy®Award-winning engineer Michael Graves, these holiday favorites sparkle and shine like never before.

When a pre-release source becomes available we’ll update this post with a link.

A Merry ‘Hee Haw’ Christmas track listing
1. Christmas Shopping
2. Christmas Time Is Near
3. The Jolly Christmas Polka
4. All I Want For Christmas Is My Daddy
5. Merry Christmas From Our House To Yours
6. Good Old Fashioned Country Christmas
7. One Of Everything You Got
8. Home On Christmas Day
9. Christmas Schottische
10. A Very Merry Christmas
11. It’s Not What You Give
12. Tomorrow Is Christmas Day
13. Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy (Daddy Looked A Lot Like Him)
14. Blue Christmas Lights
15. Christmas Ain’t Christmas
16. Jingle Bells
17. All I Want For Christmas Dear Is You
18. Santa’s Gonna Come In A Stagecoach
19. Christmas Time’s A Comin’
20. Blue Christmas Tree
21. Here Comes Santa Claus Again
22. Christmas Morning
23. It’s Christmas Time For Everyone But Me
24. Because It’s Christmas Time
25. Toys For Tots (Version 1) [Bonus Track]
26. Toys For (Version 2) [Bonus Track]

William Elliott Whitmore New Album Coming This Fall

William Elliott Whitmore

Long-time roots-revivalist William Elliott Whitmore is set to release his eighth studio full-length album ‘I’m With You’ on October 16. ‘I’m With You.’ on Bloodshot Records. This will be his first release of original material since 2015’s ‘Radium Death.’

The first single “My Mind Can Be Cruel to Me,” the video is below

Whitmore said of “My Mind Can Be Cruel to Me:”
“The song “My Mind is Cruel to Me” is about perception. Our memories and thoughts can be torturous at times. Mark Twain called it the “devil’s race track”, when a line of thought and worry goes around and around in a circle inside our brains. Is the mind a separate entity from the body? At what point does it feel as though our brains are actually betraying us?”

“Human beings are a complicated animal, and with that comes complicated emotions, fears, and habits. This video is meant to show that. Are the other band members real or not? It’s hard to remember, but I swear they were breathing and talking when we filmed it. The bass player, my friend Wolfina, kept messing up takes. I’m pretty sure I’m recalling that correctly. The guitar player, Patsy Decline, was trying to mimic the pedal steel part on her semi-hollow body electric. She did a great job I thought, really captured the spirit. I’ll never forget the time we had, it’s good to be around friends.”

Sounds like just the song for these socially isolated times.

William Elliott Whitmore

Pre-order on digital, CD, or vinyl LP. Deluxe LP is limited edition opaque green.

“I’m With You” track listing:
Put It to Use
Solar Flare
My Mind Can Be Cruel to Me
MK Ultra Blues
History
Everything We Need
Save Ourselves
I’m Here
Black Iowa Dirt

Americana Music Association Announces Streaming ‘Thriving Roots’ Conference

Thriving Roots

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has rolled the music industry keeping musicians from coming together together to create music and keeping musicians off the road and deriving them of a much-needed revenue source. Many have tackled the technical hurdles to stream performances to connect with fans and collect online tips and perhaps move a t-shirt or a slab of vinyl.

It follows that music festivals would follow much the same path. Americana Music Association’s AmericanaFest as a face-to-face event has been scrapped for their charitable and educational branch, the Americana Music Association Foundation, will hold a ‘Thriving Roots,’ a virtual festival complete with industry-focused panels and live-streamed performances.

Set for September 16th-18th the event will include guest speakers Jackson Browne, Mavis Staples,Brandi Carlile, Yola, Emmylou Harris, Ken Burns, Taj Mahal, Mary Gauthier, Rhiannon Giddens, T Bone Burnett, Rosanne Cash, and Black Pumas. Topics slated to be covered are representation, advocacy and staying true to your art, the healing qualities of music, and the business challenges and decisions faced by a developing artist.

The full agenda for ‘Thriving Roots’ will be announced in late August.

Early bird passes for conference registration are $99 and available now.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Announces Streaming Festival “Let the Music Play On…”

Some of my fondest memories of my 5 years in San Francisco was attending the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass roots music festival. The first weekend in October would roll around and me, my daughter and friends would pack blankets, food and plenty of water and head our to Golden Gate Park to witness some of American’s greatest legends and boldest newcomers perform under the Blue Gum Eucalyptus during a brief Indian Summer. And I could hardly believe the entire event was free! (Thank you, Warren Hellman!)

But times have changed and so must HSB.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is launching its new global and community-driven initiative “Let the Music Play On…” to bring the spirit of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass to backyards and living rooms all over the world with a global broadcast taking place the weekend of October 2nd. In compliance with safety concerns and California’s statewide mandate against large public gatherings, the festival will not be taking place in its traditional setting of Golden Gate Park.

The festival, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year, was founded by Warren Hellman on ten pillars: community, joy, creativity, collaboration, freedom, peace, love, respect, gratitude, and spirituality. It was Hellman’s gift to the City of San Francisco, offering a free outdoor festival in the historic Golden Gate Park that is a celebration of American roots music.

The October broadcast will feature new performances from the expansive range of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass artists that include first-time performers to legends of American Roots music, along with archival footage from the festival’s past two decades and memories from fans, performers, and staff and priceless gems from the festival’s rich history. The HSB community is what gives the festival life, so fans are encouraged to send their favorite memories via stories, videos, and photos to memories@hardlystrictlybluegrass.org. All contributions are welcome and appreciated, and will be considered for the broadcast in October.

“While we know we can’t replace the feeling of being together physically, the safety of our attendees, artists, volunteers, and staff are our highest priority and our team has been hard at work creating a vibrant broadcast in line with what attendees have come to expect from HSB: community, discovery, and the all-time best in roots music, ” says festival advisor Mick Hellman. “We’re excited to share parts of HSB that aren’t feasible in a festival environment such as screening archival footage, sharing memories, and shining a spotlight on our non-profit partners.”

This year the festival has launched Hardly Strictly Music Relief Fund: Bay Area, a $1.5M charitable initiative to support the local music community during the COVID-19 pandemic. American roots musicians living in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, and Sonoma Counties are invited to apply for one-time, unrestricted support grants up to $2,000. The fund is also open to Bay Area music venues with a track record of presenting and supporting roots music of all kinds. Venues are encouraged to nominate themselves for the grant opportunity. From those nominations, a select number of venues will be invited to submit a formal application for up to $200,000 in grant funding for operating expenses, capacity building, or planning related to reopening, and must include funds dedicated to front-of-house and back-of-house staff.

For more information on the grant opportunities visit hardlystrictlybluegrass.com

Bloodshot Records Artists Rocked By Sale & Accounting Issues

On Monday, July 20th, a form letter was sent out to all artists currently signed to the independent Chicago-based music label Bloodshot Records that the the label is currently up for sale due to ongoing conflict with co-owners Nan Washaw and Rob Miller. This conflict has spilled over into artists and songwriters reimbursement.

Bloodshot artist Jason Hawk Harris posted today on his Facebook page some behind the scenes details:

‘Hey folks. Nan Warshaw is forcing the sale of Bloodshot Records and withholding money owed to artists. Sharing this is my decision in full and I was not prompted to do so by anyone in the Bloodshot camp.

The statement below (scroll down to read the internal statement)h was sent to all current roster artists yesterday by the non-ownership staff at Bloodshot. PLEASE read the letter below for full context before commenting.

I want to be ABSOLUTELY CLEAR and say that my problem is NOT with bloodshot. It is with the other part-owner (Warshaw), holding the company hostage after she was rightfully forced-out for choosing to protect a sexual predator over the artist he preyed on.

Rob and the staff at bloodshot have done nothing but fight for me, tooth and nail, since I signed with them a year and a half ago. I thought hard about sharing this, but ultimately decided I was not okay with Nan not having to face this publicly.

This is the crop reaped from the seeds sown by sexual assault. Take it very seriously, and please hold the right people accountable. And do whatever you can to put a stop to this kind of bullshit in your own industry/workplace.”

Last year Bloodshot Records co-founder Nan Warshaw resigned from her position at the label following allegations of sexual misconduct made Bloodshot recording artist Lydia Loveless against Warshaw’s domestic partner, Mark Panick. Warshaw’s resignation was announced in a statement from the label, which reads, “co-founder Nan Warshaw is resigning from Bloodshot. Remaining co-founder Rob Miller, along with the entire highly dedicated staff, will continue the work of Bloodshot, while ensuring that the core values of the company are consistently represented by all associated w/ the label.”(see tweet)

Bloodshot Records was founded by Rob Miller and Nan Warshaw in 1993 as an “insurgent country” record label catering to the coutry roots loving younger fans that grew up on punk and looked for a fusion of the sounds. Bloodshot was home to many of the genre’s pioneers like Ryan Adams, Neko Case, The Waco Brothers, Scott H. Biram, Wayne “The Train” Hancock, The Old 97’s, The Meat Purveyors, Robbie Fulks and Justin Townes Earle, and currently has on it’s roster Sarah Shook and the Disarmers, Jason Hawk Harris, Ruby Boots, The Vandoliers, and others.