Poodies Locke Tributes, Jeff Tweedy Sued

  • Jay Bennett, a former Wilco member, is suing band leader Jeff Tweedy in Cook County Circuit Court, claiming Tweedy owes him money from the band’s 2002 documentary and royalties on songs written during Bennett’s seven years with the group.

William Elliott Whitmore made a stop on the Jools Holland Show in England to perform Old Devils.


No Depression Debuts First Live Chat with Justin Townes Earle

If your part of the No Depression community (and if you’re not and your at this site more that 5 minutes then you ought to be) then you know that chat function on the bottom panel if the online equivalent of Siberia. Well no more friends.

On May 17th (2pm Pacific) that all changes as No Depression hosts its  first live chat with Justin Townes Earle. So tune in and dial up and make the first ND chat session a great one.

Country Singer Vern “The Voice” Gosdin Dies

  • Singer Vern Gosdin, who recorded country music hits like the award-winning “Chiseled in Stone” during a 30-year career, has died. He was 74. Gosdin reportedly had a history of strokes and suffered the latest one a few weeks ago and was under hospice care and died late Tuesday at a Nashville, Tenn. hospital. The 9513.com offers a fine tribute to the man.
  • Birthday Boy Willie Nelson will join relative young’uns Bob Dylan and John Mellencamp on a U.S. summer tour of minor league baseball parks, beginning July 2 at the GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Ill., and wrapping Aug. 15 at the Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, Calif.
  • The San Francisco Chronicle has posted a review of the John Prine / John Ritter  Apr 25th Warfield performance.
  • And in painful crossover news Def Leppard has been confirmed to perform on the CMT Music Awards on June 16. The Britsh pop-metal has-beens…er…band have recently been involved in the Music Row marketering wet dream collaborations with Tim McGraw earlier this year on the song “Nine Lives” and appearing with Taylor Swift on CMT Crossroads. What’s next? Skid Row’s Sebastian Bach doing coutry music…oh wait…

Record Store Day April 18

This Saturday April 18this National Record Store Day. You remember, those musty places stacked with tons of records and CDs and a staff that sneered at you when you asked for the new Fine Young Cannibals. Good times.  There will be contests, specials and concerts Nationwide to support this endangered cultural artifact of the digital age and increasingly passive musical consumption. Think of it as Civil War reenactment but with a better soundtrack. Check the official site to find an event near you.


Todd Snider on ESPN’s The Life! this Wednesday

ESPN’s The Life!will feature a Q&A with Todd Snider this Wednesday April 15th. Snider will be taking questions about his upcoming new album and his song “America’s Favorite Pastime” which is featured on “The Homerun EP,” a collection of baseball songs by Yep Roc Records artists.

Snider wrote “America’s Favorite Pastime” about former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis who hurled a no-hitter in 1970 despite, by his own admission, being under the influence of the drug LSD. The song is one of five baseball-themed tunes to appear on “The Homerun EP” which will be available starting April 14 via Yeproc.com.


Billy Bob Thorton’s a Baby

I saw Billy Bob Thorton and his group the Boxmasters perform in Nashville last year as part of the Americana Music Association conference last year. The band played the big room downstairs at the cannery. My expectations were low. I figured a Hollywood star’s vanity project would just end up as Dogstar 2.0. But hell it’s Billy Bob Thorton and except for her uncle, Chip Taylor – who also performed at the AMA, her ex-husband was as close as I would get to Angelina Jolie.

I hadn’t heard the Boxmasters before they played and I was surprised how good they were. The band was tight and Billy Bob knew how to work the crowd (though his vocals were serviceable at best.) The identical outfits, Buddy Holly horn rims (except for Billy Bob) and black suits (were are the aliens or the dry toast?) were a bit silly but hell, if the early incarnation of the Beatles and many Grand ‘Ol Opry performers dressed in what comes doen to uniforms it’s okay with me.

The near the end of the Cannery show Billy Bob shocked me. He invited the legendsry country tenor Charlie Louvin onstage with him and, lyrics in hand and nerve in  his voice sang the great Appalachian murder ballad Knoxville Girl made famous by Charlie and his brother Ira in 1956.  That took guts.

Then the recent dust up in Canada. The Boxmasters (now featuring the awesome Unknown Hinson performing in the band under the name Danny Baker) were in the Great White North opening for Willie Nelson for a string of dates and were schedules

Apparently there was a some agreement with the Canadian radio station program the Q not to bring up Thorton’s acting career in an introduction before a band interview. Besides the diva-like behavior this represents the station did agree. Then the interviewer Jian Ghomeshi proceeded to bring up Thorton’s acting career. Thorton then proceeded to act like a pissy, spoiled 5 year old and give glib and non-sequiter answers, to the confusion of Ghomeshi (who probably thought that revealing Thorton’s apparently secret  acting career couldn’t be the cause of such ridiculous behavior) and the embarrassment of his band who had to intervene and pick up his slack.

The next night Mr. Thornton drew a round of boos at a concert in Toronto’s Massey Hall after Thorton called Ghomeshi an “asshole” on stage and compared Canadian fans to mashed potatoes with no gravy. The band went on to cancel the last two shows on the Canadian leg of their tour with Willie Nelson which the Boxmaster’s web site is contributed to a band member and several crew members having the flu.

You can watch the whole tragic incident below.


Now the nad’s publicist

Star Anna Readies The Only Thing That Matters (Apr. 14)

Star Anna has been a favorite here at Ranch Twang for some time and I’m happy to announce that her new CD The Only Thing That Matters will be independently released online and in stores on Tuesday, Apr. 14. The album was created with her spectacular band, The Laughing Dogs, and recorded at Death Cab for Cutie drummer Jason McGerr’s Two Sticks studio  in Seattle.

No Depression’s Kim Ruehl has posted a great Q&A on the Seattle Sound website with Star Anna as she prepares for the new release and a Spring tour that kicks off with a free performance at Easy Street Records this Tuesday night at 7 p.m., and a release party at the Tractor on Saturday (Apr. 18) with Kristen Ward and Hurricane Chaser.

MySpace |  Official Site

New Levon Helm in June

CMT posts (and Music Fog twittered) that the follow up to Levon Helm’s 2007’s Grammy-winning album, Dirt Farmer, will be Electric Dirt. The album will be released on June 30 on Dirt Farmer Music/Vanguard Records.

Multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell produced the sessions that were recorded at Helm’s studio. Selections include covers of the Grateful Dead’s “Tennessee Jed,” Happy Traum’s “Golden Bird” and Randy Newman’s “Kingfish,” as well as “Growing Trade,” a new song written by Helm and Campbell, about a farmer’s struggle to preserve his livelihood.

94.7 Badlands New Website with Streaming Music

One of the more popluar posts here at Ranch Twang was a post on the Corpus Christi radio station KBSO 94.7 Badlands retuning to playing Texas and Americana music. Good new fans! The station has a new website where they are streaming their music and programs and keeping you up to date with local events.

94.7 Badlands Website |  94.7 Badlands on MySpace

Eat the Rich

I read the ridiculous article in the New York Times about John Rich and believe Rich, and the Republicans he stumped for in the last election, are about as concerned about the plight of the common man as a vegetarian is about the finer points of aged beef.

I believe Rich’s populism is nothing more then window dressing and crass opportunism. My Grandparent’s generation used to call the Republicans the cocktail party because they were the party of the wealthy, for the wealthy. They still are, they just have better PR. Which brings me to Shuttin’ Detroit Down, the new song by the shorter, darker half of the country music comedy duo Big and Rich.

It’s hard for me to buy a song about the common man coming from a guy that wears $1000. fur coats on his realty television show. Shuttin’ Detroit Down oversimplifies the bad guys that led to the economic crisis as cardboard villain Wall Street Fat Cats with nary a lyric spent on the politicians (from both sides) that wrote the legislation that allowed them to do get away with it. For all his righteous bluster Rich forgets thise key words from wayetgatre. Follow the money. Who did Madoff make contributions to? What about the main guys as AIG? I’m thinking thier right in line with Rich’s own financial support.

I think if  I want quality songs about crony capitalism I’ll go to musicians that have been doing it longer, better and with more credibility – Steve Earle,  Kris Kristofferson (who is broadening his market by appearing in the video for Shuttin’ Detroit Down), hell even the Okie from Muskogee has eased up and taken a wider view of the world. Or maybe I’d go with one of the new artists like William Elliot Whitmore or the Drive By Truckers.

Rich is like Ann Coultier in drag, a different mouthpiece to appeal to a different demographic spouting the same old fake populist bullshit while stumping for the very same fat cats he names in his song.