Old 97’s County Fair Line-Up Announced

It’s been a tough winter and spring can’t get here soon enough. Texas roots rock legends the Old 97’s made just made that anticipation greater.

The line-up for the 3rd annual Old 97’s County Fair has been released and it’s another great showcase of roots rock acts.

Along with the 40 foot Ferris wheel and all the carnival games you’ll catch Lord Huron, The Mavericks, Valerie June, The Bottle Rockets, Erika Wennenstrom from Heartless Bastards, Paul Cauthen, Jamie Wyatt, The Bastards of Soul and, of course, the Old 97’s.

The Old 97’s County Fair takes place on Saturday April 14th at Main Street Garden, Downtown Dallas.

Kids 10 & under get in free so bring the whole family.

Buy your tickets here.

Wanted! – Notable Americana and Roots Music Releases for 2018

2017 was another great year for Americana and roots music, and 2018 so far shows no signs that the great music is waning. As our Cream of the Crop favorites from last year makes plain we continue to experience a golden age of roots and Americana music. From Sturgill Simpson winning the Grammy for the best Country album of the Year (for his least country album no less) to the increased numbers of roots artists in media and festival line-ups the genre continues to represent and deliver on great music.

As I’ve said before, this is important not only because as fans, there’s abundant choices for our entertainment but because it continues to lay a foundation for future ‘Cream of the Crop’ recipients.

The list below is a collection of known 2017 notable Americana / roots releases. Some anticipated releases from artists like American Aquarium and Kacey Musgraves have no release dates yet, but when I become aware of them and others I will be updating the list throughout the year. Follow me on Twitter to stay current on changes to the list.

If you know of an actual release not listed yet please leave it in the comments.

One thing is for sure, it’s going to be another great year for roots music folks.

January 12th –
Brooks Dixon – White Roses EP
Ryan Bingham – ‘Live’
Cindy Alexander – ‘Nowhere To Hide’
Seth Lakeman – ‘Ballads Of The Broken Few’
Cassidy Best – ‘Same Old Sins’

January 19th –
First Aid Kit – ‘Ruins’
Lanco – ‘Hallelujah Nights
’
R. Finn (aka Chris Rondinella) – ‘Collecting Trip
Calexico, The Thread That Keeps Us
Steep Canyon Rangers, Out in the Open
Kalie Shorr, Awake EP
Mary Gauthier, Rifles and Rosary Beads
Devin Dawson – ‘Dark Horse’
Caitlyn Smith -‘Starfire’
Van William – ‘Countries’
Alice DiMicele – “One With The Tide”
Grace Basement – ‘Mississippi Nights’
Glen Hansard – ‘Between Two Shores’
John Gorka – ‘True In Time’

January 26th –
The Ben Miller Band – ‘Choke Cherry Tree’
Laura Benitez and The Heartache’s – ‘With All Its Thorns’
Sara Morgan – ‘Average Jane’
The Fugitives – ‘The Promise of Strangers’
Ron Pope – ‘Worktapes EP’

February 2nd –
Mike and the Moonpies – ‘Steak Night at the Prairie Rose’
The Wood Brothers – ‘One Drop of Truth’
John Oates – ‘Arkansas’
Sunny War – ‘With the Sun’

February 9th –
Wade Bowen – ‘Solid Ground
’
Jim White – ‘Waffles, Triangles & Jesus’

February 16th –
Matthew McNeal – ‘Good Luck’
Brandi Carlile – ‘By the Way, I Forgive You’
Courtney Patton – ‘What It’s Like to Fly Alone’
I’m With Her (Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, and Aoife O’Donovan) – ‘See You Around’

February 23rd –
Jeff Hyde – ‘Norman Rockwell World’
3hattrio – ‘Lord of the Desert’
Doby Watson – “Family Mattress Deluxe”

March 2nd –
Vivian Leva – ‘Time is Everything’
Chip Taylor – ‘Fix Your Words’
Haley Heynderickx – ‘I Need To Start A Garden’
Son of the Chief – ‘Needless Road’
Savannah Conley – “Twenty-Twenty.”

March 9th –
Ashley Campbell – ‘The Lonely One’
Ross Cooper – “Another Mile”

March 16th –
Trailhead – “Keep Walking”

March 23rd –
The Price Sisters – ‘A Heart Never Knows’
Paul Thorn – ‘Album Don’t Let The Devil Ride’

March 30th –
Caitlin Canty – ‘Motel Bouquet’
Lindi Ortega -‘Liberty’
Kim Richey – ‘Edgeland’
Ashley McBryde – ‘Girl Going Nowhere’
Great Peacock – ‘Gran Pavo Real’
Sam Morrow – ‘Concrete and Mud’

April 6th –
Blackberry Smoke – ‘Find A Light’
Sarah Shook & the Disarmers – ‘Years’
Jodee Lewis – ‘Buzzard’s Bluff’
Kacey Musgraves – ‘Golden Hour’

April 10th –
Rita Hosking – ‘For Real’

April 13th –
John Prine – ‘Tree of Forgiveness’
Simone Felice – ‘The Projector’

April 20th –
Old Crow Medicine Show – ‘Volunteer’
Joshua Hedley – “Mr. Jukebox”
Charley Crockett – ‘Lonesome As a Shadow’
Ashley Monroe – ‘Sparrow’

April 27th –
Band of Heathens – “Live Via Satellite” On April 27th

May 4th
Scott Mickelson – ‘A Wondrous Life’
Parker Millsap – ‘Other Arrangements’
Trampled by Turtles – ‘Life Is Good On The Open Road’
Daniel Daniel – ‘Lonesome Hollow’
Rita Coolidge – ‘Safe in the Arms of Time’

May 11th
Ry Cooder – ‘The Prodigal Son’

May 18th
Kelly Willis – “Back Being Blue”
The Dead Tongues – ‘Unsung Passage’

June 1st
Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore – “Downey to Lubbock”
American Aquarium – ‘Things Change’

June 8th
Erin Rae – ‘Putting On Airs”

June 22nd
Jeffrey Foucault – ‘ Blood Brothers’
Paul Cauthon – ‘Have Mercy’
Lera Lynn – ‘Plays Well With Others’
Adam Wright – ‘Dust’
Roanoke – ‘Where I Roam’

June 29th
The Milk Carton Kids – ‘All The Things That I Did And All The Things That I Didn’t Do’

July 13th
Carolina Story – ‘Lay Your Head Down’ – buy

July 15th
The Brothers Comatose – ‘Ink, Dust, and Luck’ buy

July 20th
Lori McKenna – “The Tree”

July 27th
Andrew Combs – 5 Covers & A Song’ EP
The Hollow Ends – ‘Bears In Mind’

August 2nd
Kevin Galloway – “The Change”

August 3rd
Jim Lauderdale – ‘Time Flies” and “Jim Lauderdale and Roland White’

August 10th
Dawn Landes – ‘Meet Me at the River’
Robbie Fulks & Linda Gail Lewis – ‘Wild! Wild! Wild!’

August 24th
Devil Makes Three – ‘Chains Are Broken’
Ryan Culwell – “The Last American”
Murder By Death – ‘The Other Shore’

August 31st
Aaron Lee Tasjan – ‘Karma for Cheap’ buy

September 7th
Roscoe & Etta – ‘Roscoe & Etta’
Mike Farris – “Silver & Stone”
William Elliott Whitmore – ‘Kilonova’
Kathy Mattea – ‘Pretty Bird’

October 12th
Colter Wall – ‘Songs of the Plains’

October 14th
Asleep at the Wheel – “New Routes”

October 26th
Whitey Morgan and the 78s – ‘Hard Times and White Lines’

Cream of the Crop – Twang Nation Top Americana and Roots Music Picks of 2017

Cream of the Crop – Twang Nation Top Americana and Roots Music Picks of 2017

Over that last 11 years of running this blog, roots and Americana has embedded itself as a fully realized and respected genre of cultural influence around the world. Bands and festivals from the UK, Australia, Japan and the Middle East are strapping on guitars, name dropping Townes Van Zandt and finding their inner hillbilly.

Though like most Best Of album lists around I’ve focused primarily on the cradle of Americana, the U.S., although the global influence cannot be underestimated. Traveling American artists find themselves with a ready and widening foreign market (oftentimes bigger than that at home) and visiting artists to The States face an open, if passionate and discerning, fanbase.

This global influence cannot be overemphasized, and I will address global Americana and roots bands in an upcoming post. Suffice to say, as might Ron Burgundy, globaly Americana is kind of a big deal.

The stylistic range and creative hunger embodies in these 10 following selections prove why the global appeal is occuring. Focus on songcraft and musicianship over studio trickery and hype alone is the lifeblood. Authenticity is a slippery concept bandied around to describe forms of music from hip-hop to punk where fakery and exploitation os trends is called out loud and mercilessly. And rightly so.

As our world slips further into digital version of the Greek myth of Narcissus, with the smartphone display as a glassy reflecting pool we longingly gaze into, we suffer a kind of cultural sickness. A sickness that ironically great song, itself a kind of Narcissism, can remind us of a shared yet isolated identity that happens when we hear it.

This crafting of shared narratives can slip from description of our journey tp prescriptive of our route. The current division within the U.S. (also largely fueled by technology) builds walls from our precious ideas separating us from understanding and, quite possibly, a change in perspective.

Whether you’re Billy Bragg or Ted Nugent, there’s a professional risk in wearing your ideology on your guitar strap. I applaud the professional stakes in the effort , but “This Land is Your Land” and “Blowin’ in the Wind’ are treasures precisely because they are the rare example of allegory over sermon that can move people.

The current charged political climate might compel artists to stretch their populist wings and create more topical songs. But many, even those that tenuously reflect my contradictory views, are little more than soapbox serenade slumming under the window of simple-minded politics, that constricts the mind instead of opening it.

2017 was another year of lost legends – Gregg Allman, Chuck Berry, Butch Trucks, Greg Trooper, guitarist Bob Wooton, Jimmy LaFave, Glen Campbell, Don Williams, Mel Tillis, Richard Dobson and others remind us how daunting their talent was and how
fleeting life is. Let’s hope for a calmer 2018.

Criteria – Calendar year 2017. No EPs, live, covers or re-release albums no matter how awesome.

Don’t see your favorite represented? Leave it in the comments, and here’s to a new year of Twang.

Zephaniah OHora – ‘This Highway’buy
If Zephaniah OHora didn’t exist he would have to be created. The mustache, slicked do, Man-in-Black wardrobe and a name right out of the Old Testament makes OHora gives the impression of a man right out of Country music central casting. But his full-length debut leaves no doubt that he’s a disciple of the classic era of Nashville Sound and Bakersfield honky-tonk and he’s here to testify to its righteousness. Songs like “I Do Believe I’ve Had Enough,” “I Can’t Let Go (Even Though I Set You Free)” and “She’s Leaving In The Morning,” evoke dark and smokey bars where tears poor like the tap beer. Is he putting us on? Perhaps, but I’m a believer.

Colter Wall – self-titled – buy
This sparse full-length debut from the man from Swift Current, Saskatchewan belies his 22 years on this planet. Produced by the hillbilly whisperer Dave Cobb songs like “Thirteen Silver Dollars” and ‘Motorcycle’ offer up a busted lip smile to world-weary vocals. Transistor radio static and train whistles intersperse with deft finger-picking across 11 dusty gems that pushes and pulls at the boundaries of Country and folk casting the mind back to a mythological romance of cowboy laments and hobo serenades.

Angaleena Presley – ‘Wrangled’ – buy
For her second solo venture the extraordinary Ms. Presley invited Pistol Annies co-conspirators Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe as well as Chris Stapleton, Queen of Rockabilly Wanda Jackson, Vanessa Olivarez as well as legendary Texas singer/songwriter Guy Clark on what would prove to be his final completed song ( “Cheer Up Little Darling.”) The result is a deft collection of sonic vignettes tracking the unique female narrative of broken dreams, busted hearts, babies having babies and kicking against the small-town hairsprayed Harpies bent on tearing her down. Presley has provided a perfect example of female fortitude, not by penning platitudes of empowerment, but by creating a compelling album that pushes Country music forward while paying respects to the past and celebrates the mess that is life.

Sunny Sweeney – ‘Trophy’ – buy
Texas singer/songwriter Sunny Sweeney has sometimes danced closely to becoming another country music blonde hell-bent to get a foothold in the mainstream country radio badlands. Good thing she didn’t break big or her fourth studio album ‘Trophy’ might not have been made. (Though I’m sure at this point she’d prefer being on the road in a tour bus headed to one of her many shows she plays each year) Barroom laments that save a stool for misery like ‘Pass the Pain’ or as songs starkly confessional Lori McKenna co-write “Bottle By My Bed” have no place on the good-timing party seeping from contemporary Country speakers. Not to suggest all is dour here, the barn-burner ‘Better Bad Idea’ and the slinkily, smoldering title cut has the same depth but with wry smile and plenty of fuel to get those boots tapping. The chops Sweeney picked up in Nashville is in display but done in compelling and a way that feels as real as it does entertaining.

Nicole Atkins – ‘Goodnight Rhonda Lee’ – buy
New Jersey’s Nicole Atkins’ fourth album, Goodnight Rhonda Lee is a fantastic study in facing adversity and embedding it in adult roots pop in the vein of Patsy Cline era Nashville Sound and Dusty Springfield’s ‘….in Memphis’ era. The songs are deeper, more sophisticated yet more playful than her earlier work. The brilliant opening track, “A Little Crazy,” is a torchy little gem co-written with fellow neo-trad afficiend Chris Isaak pulls your heart out through the speakers as Atkins’ voice soars along with a string section and pedal steel. The title track is a reverb drenched down old Mexico way that evokes Marty Robbins best-known El Paso. ‘Goodnight Rhonda Lee’ at its heart might be retro but to stop there would be unfair to this daunting effort.

Whiskey Shivers – ‘Some Part of Something’ – buy
Texas junkyard bluegrass outfit Whiskey Shivers kicked my ass when I saw them live. ‘Some Part of Something’ comes damn near to that ass-kicking moment. The opener ‘Cluck Ol’ Hen’ is a slinking slice of Southern gothic greatness that could easily come from the book of Brooklyn’s O Death. The bluegrass heat gets turnt up high on ‘Like A Stone’ and ‘Long Gone’ careening down a one-lane road with a rock slide of melody on one side and an open ledge of potential peril on the other. Fans of Split Lip Rayfield and The Meat Purveyors rejoice

Tyler Childers – ‘Purgatory’ – buy
Yes, yes you’ve heard that Tyler Childers’ ‘Purgatory’ was co-produced by Sturgill Simpson, but that’s the least interesting this about this starting debut. Like the best of the mongrel form known as Americana it’s hard to draw a hard line where 70’s Country music Gold , folk and Bluegrass reside. And that’s just in the album opener ‘I Swear (To God)’ that contains enough drug references that would make Hank III look for the local 12-step program.’Whitehouse Road’ is another tale of hard times and hard living with a Waylon-esque confidence and what I noticed was a distinct sound of a Jew’s harp. Childers’ ‘Purgatory’ take on the darkness of drug addiction, poverty, and murder is are lived-in tales of biting sincerity and musical aplomb that casts an eye to the legacy of roots music as it blazes its own trail.

Ray Wylie Hubbard – “Tell the Devil I’m Getting There as Fast as I Can.” – buy
On his 16th studio album Hubbard stays firmly in the groove he’s made since 2006’s ‘Snake Farm.’ Like fellow traveler Lucinda Williams (who makes an appearance on the title song) Hubbard has found a late-career sonic refuge in the blues. “Tell the Devil…’ is more tales of women, reptiles, voodoo, grease and tube amps – the stuff of life on the road he knows well. The Big Guy is is busy in the opener ‘God Looked Around’ that’s a tremolo tale that owes as much to the book of Lightnin’ Hopkins as it does the Book of Genesis. In my opinion Hubbard is Texas own Poet Laureate and the words that build “Tell the Devil…’ prove it’s so.

Lillie Mae – ‘Forever and Then Some’ – buy
Lillie Mae might have been Jack White’s go-to fiddle and mandolin player but on her debut she’s firmly placed herself as a formidable talent. The glorious roots-rock opener ‘Over the Hill and Through the Woods’ is like a lost cu from mid-70’s Neil Young and ‘Honky Tonks and Taverns’ is a stright-up two-stepper with Mae vocal pitching change remiecent of a yodel. LAike White, who produced ‘Forever and Then Some’ Lillie Mae carries an appreciation for past forms while not being slavishly dogmatic in her work.

Malcolm Holcombe – ‘Pretty Little Troubles’ – buy
Malcolm Holcombe 12th release of new music has him working with long-time co-conspirator in roots music Darrell Scott as producer and the results is nothing short of breathtaking. Holcombe’s backroad gravel vocals is the perfect vehicle for these sparse reflections on the world. On the album opener ‘Crippled Point O’ View’ b’s lyrics are indirect sketches of a troubled world and the imperfections of a human vehicle observing it
‘my tongue is quick to tangle speed, and douse the lights within, and burn my self respect to death, and warm my hands again. ‘Pretty Little Troubles’ is an organic gritty glory of listening pleasure of roots music and great songwriting from a master.

Twang Nation Americana and Roots Music Holiday List

– “At the Louisiana Hayride Tonight” – Various artists (Bear Family) $250.
Germany’s Bear Family label has reputation for giving loving (obsessive) detail in creating their box sets and “At the Louisiana Hayride Tonight” continues that osession. The Saturday night music radio show was broadcast by Shreveport, Louisiana’s KWKH-AM from 1948-1960 and rivaled only by the more straight-laced Grand Ole Opry for live radio entertainment.

Country and roots music greats abound – Hank Williams, George Jones, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Kitty Wells, Loretta Lynn, Ernest Tubb, Louvin Brothers and many more in their prime.

A 20-CD set gives us a view back to live radio before studio wizardry and music was still wonderfully raw and brazon and done without a net.

Presley’s first TV appearance on the television version of the Hayride in March 1955 features and electrifying performance of his breakthrough single “That’s All Right,” as well as 14 songs includes “Baby Let’s Play House,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” and “Don’t Be Cruel” and are just a fraction of the more than 500 tunes stocking At the Louisiana Hayride Tonight. The box set also contains long-buried treasury of like a previously unknown recording of “I’m a Long Gone Daddy” by Hank Williams.

The accompanying 226-page book not only identifies all the performance dates and musicians, but also provides plenty of historical context.

Yeas this sweet collectable clocks in at over $200, but it breaks down to about $.40 a song for these treasured performances. That’s quite a deal.


‘Why Bob Dylan Matters’ by Richard Thomas – Richard Thomas $16.50
Harvard Professor of Classical Literature Richard F. Thomas explores Dylan’s music with a lense on his music influence on society as well as style. Dylan is dealt with in a serious tone usually reserved for classical literary and poetic luminaries. ‘Why Bob Dylan Matters’ set his work in it’s proper place and argues that it’s a work deserving of the ages.


‘Woman Walk the Line: How the Women in Country Music Changed Our Lives’ – Holly Gleason, in Woman Walk the Line ( University of Texas Press) $19.65
Music industry vet Holly Gleason presents twenty-seven extraordinary women scribes writing about twenty seven country music greats that just happen o be women. These personal and uplifting stories dig to the heart of what it means to connect to Music. Yes I still believe that #WomennInMusic is not a genre and that self-segregation is nearly as harmful as outside variety, but damn, this is a great read.


Johnny Cash, “Unearthed” (American) – $228.
THere was a real chance that Johnny Cash might have died in popular obscurity in 2003 had Rick Rubin not had the great instinct to spearhead the Country music legend’s breathtaking late-career albums. This 2003 collection of outtakes
serves a bounty with seven LPs featuring alternate takes and unreleased songs. Cash lends his historic baritone to distinctive renditions of gospel, rock,folk blues, and, of course golden-age country as well as covers by
Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Kris Kristofferson, Steve Earle and others so good you might forget their were sung by anyone before The Man in Black.


Robert Ellis and Courtney Hartman To Release ‘Dear John,’ Tribute to John Hartford

Robert Ellis and Courtney Hartman 'Dear John,'

Texan Robert Ellis and Coloradan Courtney Hartman bonded backstage at a music festival in 2013 over their mutual love of John Hartford songs. After a few years of friendship and collaboration led to the creation of ‘Dear John,’ a collection of both well-known and obscure material that reveals witty and tender layers found in Hartford’s lyrics. The album also allows Ellis and Hartman to showcase their perfectly blended vocals and the playful ebb and flow of their shared guitar playing.

“I feel like Courtney Hartman and I must have known each other in a previous life. We share a deep love and obsession with a lot of the same music. There is a unique cross-section of songwriting craft, tradition and it’s context, and musicality that we both really get excited by,” says Ellis. “John Hartford is sort of the apex of this and it came as no surprise to me that he was a big influence on both of us and what we do. These songs, and playing them with Courtney really seemed to recharge my spirit in some way. Through playing these songs we are connected to each other and to John in a way that makes me feel like I’m at home.”

The album encompasses ten cuts that span John Hartford’s 30+ discography including his best-known song “Gentle on My Mind” – later recorded by Glen Campbell – for which Hartford earned two GRAMMY awards for Best Folk Performance and Best Country & Western Song. Versions of the song were also recorded by Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, Bing Crosby, Lucinda Williams, and most recently Alison Krauss.

Throughout his career, Hartford earned two additional Grammy awards, for ‘Best Ethnic or Traditional Recording’ for his record ‘Mark Twang,’ as well as Album of the Year for his work on the watershed soundtrack to ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’

John Hartford’s son Jamie noted, “They have captured a subtle part of my dad that gets overlooked way too often. Now they have an obligation to the world to get this out. I wish them much success.”

From the 1980s onwards, Hartford had Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. On June 4, 2001, he died of the disease at Centennial Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. He was 63.

In support of the new release, Ellis and Hartman will hit the road for a limited tour kicking off on December 9 in Austin, TX at the Cactus Cafe, and ending at Stage One in Fairfield, CT on December 21. In between, they will make stops in Baton Rouge and Denver before two nights at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City.

Hear their gloriously heartfelt rendition of “Gentle on My Mind” below, and see ‘Dear John’ track listing and tour dates below:

‘Dear John’ Track List:
– Old Time River Man
– Them Way Long Time Ago Times
– Gentle On My Mind
– Right in the Middle of Falling for You
– Here I Am In Love Again
– Howard Hughes Blues
– Morning Bugle
– Delta Queen Waltz
– Up on the Hill Where They Do the Boogie
– We Did Our Best

Robert Ellis & Courtney Hartman Tour Dates:
12/7 – Dallas, TX @ The Rustic
12/8 – San Antonio, TX @ The Rustic*
12/9 РAustin, TX @ Cactus Caf̩
12/13 – Baton Rouge, LA @ Manship Theatre
12/15 – Denver, CO @ Swallow Hill Music
12/16 – Austin, TX @ Moody Theater^
12/18 – NYC @ Rockwood Music Hall (stage 3)
12/19 – NYC @ Rockwood Music Hall (stage 3)
12/21 – Fairfield, CT @ Stage One
12/26 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues^
*Robert Ellis full band w/ Courtney Hartman opening
^Robert Ellis full band opening for Robert Earl

Merle Haggard Museum + Restaurant Set To Open in Summer of 2018

Merle Haggard Museum

It appears that Nashville will be the location for Merle Haggard’s Museum and Merle’s Meat + 3 Saloon – a Southern-style restaurant with adjacent bar. The restaurant will be operated by longtime Nashville restaurateur David Swett.

Sounds like a recipe for tourism cheese, but given the Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline Museum museum are located in the same vicinity off Nashville’s tourist-jammed Lower Broadway, it probably makes perfect business sense.

But I find it ironic that the estates of Haggard and Johnny Cash decide to locate their memorial museums in the town that eventually shunned them professionally later in their careers when they demonstrably had much more to offer. I mean, in the case of The Hag wouldn’t to make more sense to locate hs museum the city that reflected his signature music style, Bakersfield, CA?

The museum will feature performance clothing and musical instruments, along with awards and other professional and personal possessions from the Haggard, who died on his 79th birthday, April 6th, 2016.

The Merle Haggard museum and Merle’s Meat + 3 Saloon will be located at 121 Third Avenue South, with the restaurant on the ground level with the Museum on an upper floor. The projected opening for both is the summer of 2018.

In the meantime you can always visit the Hags childhood home, in Oildale, California, made from an old railcar. That seems appropriate.

Tonight we sail on a radio song – Tom Petty Tributes

Tom Petty’s music appealed to anyone who loved thoughtful and superbly performed songs, but he held a special place in the hearts of Americana and roots artists. In the wake of his untimely death of cardiac arrest last Monday, there was an outpouring of tributes from his contemporaries and acolytes. Here are some I’ve collected and will add more as I come across them.

Know one? Let me know in the comments below.

Walk off the Earth – ‘You Don’t Know How It Feels’ – Just happened across this brilliant cover by Canada’s Walk off the Earth. Sit back and enjoy.

One person that best exemplifies a contemporary version of roots rock Petty helped establish is Jason Isbell. Here’s Isbell and the 400 Unit tearing through “Refugee” on the first night of their 6-night sold-out run at The Ryman Auditorium. Auditorium – October 9th, 2017
https://youtu.be/nei56RLiFRc

Heres Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit performing “You Wreck Me” on the second night of their The Ryman Auditorium run. October 10th, 2017
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qi9CG504Twg

Here is Jason Isbell and the 400 unit ripping through “American Girl” at Mempho Fest 2017 – October 7th, 2017

Margo Price gives ‘Last Dance with Mary Jane’ a badass spin – 10/7/17

Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real – ‘American Girl’ at The Fonda Theater – Hollywood, Ca. – Willie’s son does this rocker justice.

Gov’t Mule – ‘Breakdown’ – Houston, October 2nd, 2017 – Gov’t Mule brings on the moody groove featuring searing guitar work by Warren Haynes.

Old Crow Medicine Show – ‘American Girl’ Sydney, Australia, October 6th, 2017 – A badass breakdown by Old Crow Medicine Show.

The Mavericks – ‘You don’t know how it feels’ – Humphrey’s – SD, CA – October 5, 2017 – The Mavericks put their unique spin on this classic.

Miley Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus – “Wildflowers” – Whatever Miley Cyrus does musically she proves time and again that she has a country heart. Cyrus finishes out her Tonight Show residency with a lovely tribute to Petty with accompaniment from her father Billy Ray Cyrus.

Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives- ‘Runnin’ Down A Dream’, April – Marty Stuart has long proclaimed in concert that he’s a Petty fan. This tribute was captured a few months before Petty’s death.

The Avett Brothers – “You Don’t Know How It Feels” Council Bluffs, IA October 5th, 2017 – The Avett Brothers h=get a lot of help from the audience in this heartfelt tribute.

Chris Stapleton – “Learning to Fly” – October 5th, 2017, Moline, Illinois – Chris Stapleton offers some memories of playing a show with Petty before performing a soulful solo acoustic version of “Learning to Fly.”

John Fogerty – “I Won’t Back Down” – October 4th, 2017, Encore Theatre at Wynn hotel, Las Vegas. Fogerty honors Tom Petty at his show at The Encore Theatre at Wynn Las Vegas. This was also the first show after the tragic events at Mandalay Bay

Wilco – ‘The Waiting,’ Toyota Pavilion, Irving, Texas, October 3, 2017 – I dare you not to get chills from this tribute.

Hanson – “Wildflowers” (rehearsal) – October 3rd, 2017 at the Corona Theatre in Montreal, Canada. – Say want you want about Hanson, this is a beautiful harmonic tribute.

Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Dave Matthews, Patty Griffin – “Refugee” by Tom Petty – Moore Theatre, Seattle October, 3rd 2017 – This performance was the opening song on the opening night of the 2017 edition of Lampedusa: Concerts for Refugees benefiting Jesuit Refugee Services USA.

Foo Fighters “Breakdown”- Played at a secret 2013 show in Moorpark, CA – Redballs Rock N Roll Pizza. Just badass.

Super Bowl XLII Halftime Show – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – An all American moment with the master himself.

Tom Petty – A memory and a dream

“People come, people go
Some grow young, some grow cold
I woke up in between
A memory and a dream’

Though I had been a fan for years, I didn’t see Tom Petty in concert until the tour for 2010’s “Mojo.” Made eight years after his and the Heartbreakers prior release, “The Last Dj.” (‘Highway Companion’ was a Petty solo project) “Mojo” was an album many were sure wouldn’t get made. “Petty’s irreverent now, why would he put out new music.”

‘Mojo” was just the psychedelic-crunch sonic shot over the bow of those who had relinquished Petty and & the Heartbreakers in the dump of classic rock nostalgia. The reports of rock’s demise were premature. There was more in the engine and it was ready to roar.

The supporting tour was a stirring mix of live rock ferocity and deeply melodic grooves that reminded older fans why they fell in love in the first place and coaxed new fans gladly into the fold.

From the start with 1976’s eponymous debut you knew Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were a breath of fresh air. Populist heartland rock more melodic than the Boss, served with a punk-rock directness spoke to the intersection of the 70s into the 80s.

A soundtrack tailor-made for muscle car stereos all over America’s asphalt wonderland.

Petty went on to dominate FM radio as well as the newly introduced visual medium MTV. The back-alley pan shot in the video for ‘Refuge” showed a confident young ready for his destiny as a rock star.

Petty’s songs and arrangements sounded fresh, daring and yet familiar. Petty reflected his heroes – the Byrds, the Zombies, The Everly Brothers – skillfully embedded within the essence of songs so taut you couldn’t distinguish a single wasted note.

With Petty’s too early demise some will want to drop the curtain once and for all on rock and roll. That’s ridiculous and says more about their personal preferences than a proper read of the territory.

Few musicians embodied their time as singley as Tom Petty and still seemed to be of all rock history. A rarity that has influenced generations of young musicians that might, in time, carry that flame of heartland stories that make you throw a fist in the air as well as hum along.

One of my favorite deep cuts is ‘Luna,” the final song written in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Church Studio, before heading back to Hollywood to finish mixing their debut.

An early anomaly for a band that went on to be famous for guitar anthems. An improvised ballad made up on the spot with Stan Lynch on ARP synthesiser and guitar Mike Campbell using an Ebow with Benmont Tench on grand piano – an lovely but eerie piece from a band finding it’s legs.

——

White light cut a scar in the sky
Thin line of silver
The night was all clouded with dreams
Wind made me shiver
Black and yellow pools of light
Outside my window
Luna come to me tonight
I am a prisoner
Luna glide down from the moon

The clouds are all silver and black
Floating around me
Luna come into my eyes
Luna surround me
With black and yellow pools of light
Fall by my window
Luna come to me tonight
I am a prisoner
Luna glide down from the moon

The clouds are all silver and black
Floating around me
Luna come into my eyes
Luna surround me
With black and yellow pools of light
Fall by my window
Luna come to me tonight
I am a prisoner
Luna glide down from the moon

Star-Studded Concert Film & Recording “The Life & Songs of Kris Kristofferson” Premiering October 27, 2017

'The Life & Songs Of Kris Kristofferson.'

On March 16th, 2016 many esteemed artists across roots music came together at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena to pay tribute to songwriting icon Kris Kristofferson.

If you weren’t able to make that show relax, on Friday, October 27 Country Music Television will premiere the 90-minute broadcast entitled ‘The Life & Songs Of Kris Kristofferson.’ On that same day Blackbird Presents Records will release the full-length concert film as a CD/DVD combo features performances, in-depth interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage with Kris Kristofferson, Jessi Alexander, Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Ryan Bingham, Rosanne Cash, Eric Church, Jessi Colter, Rodney Crowell, Larry Gatlin, Emmylou Harris, Jack Ingram, Shooter Jennings, Jamey Johnson, Alison Krauss, Martina McBride, The Travelin’ McCourys, Reba McEntire, Buddy Miller, Willie Nelson, Jennifer Nettles, Jon Randall, Darius Rucker, Hank Williams Jr. and Lee Ann Womack.

Performances include a range of Kristofferson classics, like “Me And Bobby McGee” (performed by Reba McEntire), “Help Me Make It Through The Night” (Performed by Lady Antebellum), “To Beat The Devil” (Performed by Eric Church), a very special performance of “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down” (performed by Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson), and an all-star grand finale performance of the classic “Why Me.”

The CD/DVD can be purchased with exclusive merchandise from PledgeMusic (http://pledgemusic.com/projects/songsofkristofferson) including a limited edition framed gig poster from the night of the show, color photo, and an Epiphone Ltd. Ed. 1963 J-45 guitar, all signed by Kris Kristofferson. Merchandise bundles which include the official concert t-shirt and hat.

‘The Life & Songs Of Kris Kristofferson’ CD/DVD combo is available for preorder at pledgemusic.

George Strait’s Hurricane Harvey Relief Concert Set for September

Announced earlier this morning on Good Morning America, ‘Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Harvey Relief has been set to aid those affected by Hurricane Harvey on Tuesday, Sept. 12. The one-hour special will feature celebrity participants and performances including songs from Country Music icon and Texas native George Strait, live from his benefit concert at San Antonio’s Majestic Theatre. Joining him includes 6-time CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Miranda Lambert, reigning CMA Male Vocalist of the Year Chris Stapleton, 4x GRAMMY Award winner Lyle Lovett and Texas Heritage Songwriter Hall of Fame member Robert Earl Keen. Select performances from Majestic Theatre will air on ABC, CBS, CMT, Fox and NBC on Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. EST on the East Coast and replay on the West Coast at 8 p.m. PST. The telethon broadcast as well as Strait’s Hand in Hand Texas show will also be available internationally via live stream on Facebook.

Strait, a Country Music Hall of Fame member, pledged to lead the country music world with this concert serving as the start of his ongoing relief efforts, with all proceeds from the show benefiting Rebuild Texas Fund thanks to event sponsor Cavender Auto Family and with assistance from the Majestic Theatre, Ticketmaster, VER, Bill Young Productions and the City of San Antonio.

Tickets to Strait’s Hand in Hand Texas show at Majestic Theatre will go on sale Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017 at 10 a.m. CST at Ticketmaster.com. IT SOLD OUT IN LESS THAN AN HOUR.

Proceeds from the one-hour telethon will benefit United Way of Greater Houston, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, Direct Relief, Feeding Texas, The Mayor’s Fund for Hurricane Harvey Relief (administered by the Greater Houston Community Fund) and RebuildTx.org through the Hand in Hand Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund managed by Comic Relief Inc.

Phone lines, text messaging, and digital donations will be open at the beginning of the show and will conclude one-hour after the show ends. For more information, updates and a link to donate, please visit handinhand2017.com.