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.

Watch Out! Ryan Bingham Live at Gruene Hall [VIDEO]

Ryan Bingham Live at Gruene Hall

On March 13th of this year, Ryan Bingham took the stage at the historic Gruene Hall, the oldest continually run dance hall in Texas. The hall echoes the songs of Texas legends Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt, Doug Sahm, Lyle Lovett and others.

Captured in glorious sepia by TourGigs, this sold-out, intimate performance that features renditions of: “Tell My Mother I Miss Her So,” “Boracho Station” and “Hallelujah.”

Announcing The Twang Nation Jamboree 8/25

Twang Nation JamboreeIt’s been a long time coming but it’s finally ready to take off the wrapping. From the home of the premier Americana music event in the country, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, yours truly, Twang Nation  is proud to present the first ever Twang Nation Jamboree showcasing some of the best of local Americana and roots bands and performers. The fun begins on August 25th at 8:30 at the Red Devil Lounge. Yelp |  Facebook

Appearing live on stage:

Porkchop Express – is a San Francisco Bay Area alt country band that has been playing together since 2002. They take the gristly scraps from the American traditions of folk, outlaw country, and rock ‘n roll, push it through a meat grinder, give it a crash course in honky-tonk and put it on stage for all to enjoy. Their sound is made up of country vocal harmonies; soaring fiddle work; a punk inspired rhythm section; noisy, garage-rock guitars and a ukulele for that extra dash of machismo.

Mars Arizona - No, you can’t get there from here. You can stare at the map all you want and you won’t find it. Mars Arizona has a population of two, and is best apprehended with the ears.High Desert is the fourth album from Mars Arizona, the name Nicole Storto and Paul Knowles use when they’re fashioning their brew of country, rock, and roll. As a matter of practice they’re joined by some talented helpers including drummers Billy Block (Frank Black) and Ken Coomer (Uncle Tupelo and Wilco), fiddler Ollie O’Shea (Hank Williams III) and lap steel guitarist Paul Laques (I See Hawks In L.A.), and a host of others.

Jenny Kerr Band - A multi-instrumentalist as well as a poetic and passionate songwriter, Jenny Kerr is known for foot-stomping live shows and powerful, authentic voice. Her self-produced debut release, Itch drew critical acclaim as well as comparisons to Delbert McClinton and Janis Joplin. The album sold out during her first year of touring. Kerr is a skilled player of fingerstyle guitar, clawhammer banjo, harmonica, piano, and dobro. Together with her band of road-tested rogues, she delivers a seasoned yet spirited sound with forays into swamp rock, straight-up soul, backwater honky tonk, and old-time blues.

Red Devil Lounge
1695 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA

Ticket are $3 in advance, $5 at the door

News Round Up: Welcome Back Garth

  • Terry Clark follows Gretchen Wilson and Tim McGraw with frustration with the management and distribution practices of the Nashville big label system. I keep hoping this new found independence will result in these undeniably talented performers taking some risk with their material. Bit after hearing Wilson’s bland ‘Work Hard, Play Harder (produced on her own label Redneck Records) I don’t hold out much hope.
  • has six questions for Son Volt’s Jay Farrar about his collaberation with Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard album based on the Jack Kerouac’s 1962 novel “Big Sur” due Oct. 20.
  • I used to hate Garth Brooks. As far as I was concerned his glossy sound and circus-spectacle  concerts was in direct conflict with everything I loved about country music. In the years since his 2001 retirement to tend to family responsibilities a revisit to Garth’s material is almost, dare I say, Waylonesque (well, perhaps more Conway Twitty-esque)  Steve Wynn has made a deal with Brooks that addresses a promise he made to his daughter’s to be there with them until they head off to college and a jet plane to make sure he’s there Monday morning and Friday  afternoons. In Vegas this is a deal that only somebody with Brook’s appeal can fetch. I respect Brooks for sticking to his principles. Wynn has also given Garth a format for return that I have to respect, just him on stage with a guitar.  I repct anyone that can step onstage without the net of a backing band. I want to say something snarky, but all I can say is welcome back Garth.

News Round Up: Johnny Cash Graphic Novel & Do You Look Like Tanya Tucker?

  • has 20 questions for Austin’s neo-trad honky-tonker Wayne “The Train” Hancock.

I for one am glade that Terri Clark is back in action on the country music landscape and releasing a new album, The Long Way Home, this Tuesday. If the new single Gypsy Boots is any indication it’s going to be a great one!


Rounder Records Turns 40

  • The Green Bay Press Gazette has a great interview with Justin Townes Earle. Earle talks candidly about his past addictions and is troubled relationship with his father. as well as his excellent new release Midnight at the Movies.
  • Robert Earl Keen’s Lost Highway debut “The Rose Hotel,” produced by Lloyd Maines, will be released on On Sept. 29
  • Rounder Records will celebrate their 40th anniversary on Oct. 12th at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, TN with performances from Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Bela Fleck and Irma Thomas will join in this momentous celebration along with musical host Minnie Driver and special guests to be announced.
  • Shreveport-based , the Louisiana Hayride (1948 to 1960) will  be inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. In it’s day the country music showcase featured Hank Williams, Kitty Wells, George Jones, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley.
  • The grave of the late great Texas blues musician, Blind Willie Johnson, is  finally discovered. Johnson’s songs have been covered by everybody from Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton to Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones.
  • Details magazine sits down with Native Texan and anti-Taylor Swift blond bad ass Miranda Lambert for some Q&A.
  • Nashville Scene‘s newest cover has  “Three Hot Acts Present a New Breed of Female Songwriter” featuring Caitlin Rose, Tristen Gaspadarek and Those Darlins.

Texas Monthly Features Five Texas Music Legends

  • Texas Monthly’s Pitch Perfect features five legendary Texas musicians—Guy Clark, Patty Griffin, Sonny Throckmorton, Robert Earl Keen, and Jack Ingram— and asks them to sgare the mystic secrets to writing a great country song.  It’s a funny, informative a great read.
  • The nominees for the 20th International Bluegrass Music Awards Awards has been announced (Yay SteelDrivers!) The ceremony will be hosted by Grammy-winning country artist Kathy Mattea and the legendary bluegrass band, Hot Rize, on Thursday, October 1, 2009, at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Legendary guitar pioneer Les Paul died today at the age of 94 at White Plains Hospital due to complications from pneumonia.
  • More info on Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and Son Volt’s Jay Farrar work for the upcoming Jack Kerouac soundtrack collaborative album entitled “One Fast Move or I’m Gone: Kerouac’s Big Sur.”  The twelve song set is due October 20 via F-Stop/Atlantic and will serve as the soundtrack to the Kerouac documentary of the same title.  Farrar and Gibbard were approached by the filmmakers in 2007 about writing music for the film, which documents the events surrounding the author’s time spent in the Big Sur region of California.

One Killed / about 60 Hurt at a Country Music Festival

Terrible news folks. One person was killed and about 60 were hurt at a country music festival, the Big Valley Jamboree,  near the western Canadian city of Edmonton Saturday when the main stage collapsed during a heavy storm. It is reported that Billy Currington was wrapping up his set at the four-day event near Camrose, about one hour’s drive southeast of Edmonton, when the accident happened. (Reuters Canada)

Update – the number of injured has been increased to 75.

Big Valley Jamboree Disaster Press Conference

Big Valley Jamboree Fan Footage 1

Big Valley Jamboree Fan Footage 2

Gretchen Wilson Latest to Leave the Big Labels in Nashville

Gretchen Wilson and Sony Nashville  part ways partly due to missing the mark set by her gazillion selling 2004 debut, Redneck Woman. Wilson is talking about starting her own label. Wilson joins Tim McGraw and Hank Williams Jr. in displaying her  dissatisfaction with the Music City Big Label system as being too stifling and smothering creativity.

Of all the dead-brained schlocky muzak coming out of Nashville over the last couple of decades I actually think Wilson offered glimpses of  something raw and great if given the right material. I hope she now has the freedom to choose or write better songs.

Kris Kristofferson Talks About New Release

  • Kris Kristofferson and producer discusses Kristofferson’s upcoming Closer to the Bone (Sept. 29 on New West Records) and how they were trying to capture the intimacy that defined his last release This Old Road. Closer to the Bone will contain the song Good Morning John which comes from a letter Kristofferson wrote to Johnny Cash for a sobriety party. Kristofferson will perform on Nov. 1 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and on Nov. 10 he’ll receive the BMI Icon Award during the BMI Country Awards in Nashville. (
  • The New York Press has a great feature on Twang Nation favorite The Builders and The Butchers.
  • Malcolm Holcombe’s will release For the Mission Baby in the U.S. on September 29, 2009, and in the UK/Europe on October 5, 2009. The album was recorded in May ’09, produced, recorded and mixed by Ray Kennedy at Room and Board Studios in Nashville, TN.
  • In my ongoing quest to make San Francisco a hotbed of Americana/roots music I recently came across Rhubarb Whiskey. The band features Cindy Emchy on accordion and vocals and Boylamayka on dog-house bass,  guitar and mandolin and background vocals and are a blend of vaudeville, gypsy jazz and Southern-Gothic. Check ’em out. (Main Site | MySpace)