Contest: Glen Campbell Expanded Meet Glen Campbell Giveaway

One of the highlights of attending the GRAMMYs this year was meeting the country legend Glen Campbell after seeing him rewarded the Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award. I was also fortunate enough to see him perform on the telecast and see Paul McCartney jam to his Rhinestone Cowboy during rehearsals. So when I was approached by Capitol/EMI to give away two copies of the expanded version of 2008’s Meet Glen Campbell.

Campbell’s legendary music career that spans more than five decades and has achieved chart-topping, platinum-selling pop and country success singing everyday tales of life, love, work, and heartache.  He has been honored with five GRAMMY Awards and trophies for Male Vocalist Of The Year from both the Country Music Association (CMA) and the Academy Of Country Music (ACM).  In addition to being inducted into the CMA’s Hall Of Fame, he has been awarded its top Entertainer Of The Year honors, and the ACM has honored him with its prestigious Pioneer Award.

Recorded at The Recording Studio and Jim Henson Studios in Los Angeles, Meet Glen Campbell was produced by Julian Raymond (Rosanne Cash, Fastball, Shawn Mullins, Wallflowers) with engineer/co-producer Howard Willing. The album features musical contributions by Campbell contemporaries as well as younger rock and alt-country artists who joined him in the studio, including Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander, Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. and Jason Faulkner from Jellyfish, and Chris Chaney from Jane’s Addiction. Campbell’s sons and daughters, who regularly perform with their father, recorded backing vocals for the tracks.

This expanded edition adds performances of Wichita Lineman” and “Rhinestone Cowboy,” and U2’s “All I Want Is You” from the “AOL Sessions” concert  as well as remixes of “Gentle On My Mind” and “Galveston.”(see the full playlist below)

It’s easy to enter to win; be over 18 and leave a comment below letting me know your favorite Glenn Campbell song. Two winners will be selected at random on Sunday the 19th, at 8pm PST, Be sure to leave your email or twitter handle and I’ll contact the winners. Good luck!









Meet Glen Campbell Playlist

1.  Sing                                                   (Travis)
2.  Walls                                                 (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers)
3.  Angel Dream                                   (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers)
4.  Times Like These                            (Foo Fighters)
5.  These Days                                      (Jackson Browne)
6.  Sadly Beautiful                                 (The Replacements)
7.  All I Want Is You                               (U2)
8.  Jesus                                                 (Velvet Underground)
9.  Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)   (Green Day)
10. Grow Old With Me                            (John Lennon)


11. Gentle On My Mind (2008 Remix)
12. Galveston (2008 Remix)
13. Wichita Lineman (AOL Sessions, 2008)
14. Rhinestone Cowboy (AOL Sessions, 2008)

Linda Chorney Grammy Nomination – A Response

Chorney –  Ukrainian and Jewish (Ashkenazic): nickname for someone with dark skin or dark hair, from Ukrainian chorny ‘black’.

Linda Chorney is aptly named. As the lone question mark on a Grammy Americana Album of the Year nominee list. A list dominated by Americana music stalwarts Ry Cooder, Emmylou Harris. Levon Helm and Lucinda Williams. Chroney is in name as well as in actuality, the dark horse.

As the GRAMMY blogger for the Americana/folk categories I was anticipating the nominees for these are other categorizes like Blugrass, country and wherever else the music I love was being represented  Spotting an unknown name on the Grammy Americana Album of the Year list was surprising and, truth be told, bruised my ego a bit. I pride myself on knowing a thing or two about not just the  mainstream but the fringes of the Americana/Roots music territory. Seeing an unknown name, like happened to me with the Civil Wars and Mumford and Sons in early 2010 when they broke, kind of shakes my taste-maker mojo.

After interviewing Chorney about a week after her nomination I left unconvinced that her style of music fell into my definition of Americana.But after listening to songs over her catalog and watching live performances I could hear hints of artist I’ve seen perform at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and the Americana Music Association showcases. So Okay.

One thing I had no doubt about was that this woman, over her 51 years, had paid her dues. Also that by engaging the GRAMMY365 site, a social site for members of the Grammy organization, to get her music in from of people that influence that nominations, was ingenious.

Some level of naiveté did not prepare me for the considerable scrutiny, contempt and outright venom headed Chorney’s way in the wake of her Grammy nom. Hateful comments on Facebook were posted that attacked her on her very existence within the genre and not her music. As though lake of awareness on the writer was cause enough to dismiss her.

The Americana Music Association, who had a hand in the creation of Americana as a distinct Grammy category,  has even withheld their boiler plate congratulations that is released soon after the nominees are announced. I wonder if their heads will explode if she actually wins.

In balance there were some people of considerable merit (most notably by Kim Ruehl and Paul Schatzkin) that took a more thoughtful approach to the Chroney nomination. They argue that though her music wasn’t their shot of hooch they were able to see Chorneys’s nomination as a testament to indy ethos, DIY perseverance and a performer’s adept ability to adapt in a music business that is undergoing a significant industrial upheaval.

Generally, the arguments against Chorney’s nomination run into two  camps; She hasn’t done time in the Americana community and she somehow cheated her way into the nomination.

The first argument is ridiculous and smacks of the same Nativist logic used by some to argue for building a wall on the Mexican border. “You’re an outsider, you don’t belong and have nothing to contribute. You miust be kept out”Americana, like America herself, is made up of refuges and misfits. Diversity and acceptance are qualities that make up the genres strength. Newcomers are not always appealing to all members (yours truly included.)

The second argument – “she cheated” – Is equally ridiculous. It’s the same augment made by Luddites whenever a new way of doing things disrupts the norm. Automobiles were a “cheat” in a horse culture. Computer were a “cheat” in an analog world. Chorney paid her dues as a singer/songwriter, had n opportunity to create the album of her dreams, and then used a social network to get that album in front of people involved with the Grammys. The album still had to go though the evaluation of members of NARAS and, as is my understand in the case of Americana, a separate genre “expert” panel. There were many checks and balances beyond Chornys personal efforts to lobby for her work.

Chorney is a great example of the new breed of artist-entrepreneur, artists and craftsmen that see technology and a connected world has laid the world at their career doorstep and use every means at their disposal to walk through it.

I think a lot of the bile hurled at Chorney is a result of Americana communities inability to better define what Americana is. As I mentioned I believe this to be a founding strength but it makes others uncomfortable in practice. Some of the ill will, and I know tis because I know the professional background of some of those posting sneering bon-mots online, results from Chroney’s efforts shining a bright light on the PR industry and showing that many of it’s traditional value now lies in the hands of a diligent artist. Instead of reevaluating their place in the entertainment industry they choose to attack rather than adapt.

True until her bid for a nomination on GRAMMY365 Chorney appears to have never heard the term Americana applied as a musical formal genre. Most people haven’t. I bet when many young and established musicians start emulating the influences that enrich the genre, The Band, Parsons, Cash,  their first instinct is not to look for labels but to indulge in the only thing that matters, the music. Do you think that the Avett Brothers or Robert Plant specifically sought out the Americana handbook before creating a work?

The real irony here is that many people that are up in arms about Chorneys nomination are people that over the years have dismissed the Grammys as being out of touch with current music and not representative of the best of music. Her nomination should just further justify their point of view.

Love her or hate her, Chorney is a excellent example when gatekeepers are removed from the music industry.

Below is a video I uncovered showing Chorney playing a show in 2009. I defy anyone to watch it and tell me that there nothing, absolutely NOTHING, that might be considered Americana in her sound (and wardrobe!)


Live on Letterman – Ryan Adams

It’s good to see that Ryan Adams is still a great singer/songwriter and not always a petulant , self-indulgent douche.

His appearance on CBS’s live music project, Live on Letterman, showed just how talented and charming Adams can be. After a basset hound costume fake-out he performed a nearly hour-long  set featuring several songs from his latest release Ashes & Fire, a piono version of New York, New York. the Whiskeytown classic Jacksonville Skyline and a cover of Bob Mould’s Black Sheets of Rain.

[cbs U2zoNWQh6yaDHnpLNTz1tAUJOaA3FNSD]


“We Really Don’t Fit Anywhere” – The Civil Wars Interview

The Civil Wars - Fillmore Soundcheck
The Civil Wars – Fillmore Soundcheck

I received an email invitation from the local GRAMMY Foundation representatives to cover the Civil Wars as they participated in a GRAMMY Camp event to have college and high school students sit in on a sound check and a Q&A afterward.  I waited on the rest of “the press” and hoped that I would get an opportunity to squeeze in my one or two questions when the band too time to meet with us, I was then told by Christen , the GRAMMY rep, that I was the press. As I stab at my Droid smart phone to pad out my questions and topics they were brought in by their road manager and, in contrast the Southern-Gothic image conjured by their music, they immediately start ribbing me about my name and dashing all pretense. We then spent the next 15 minutes (I was promised 5) in a fun and engaging conversation that I hope is reflected below.

People, like myself, who obsess about music often too reflexively shun anything stained with mainstream success. Like Jack Black’s character, Barry, from the film adaptation Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity berating a father entering Championship Vinyl looking to buy Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called To Say I Love You” for his daughter’s birthday,  we often miss the joy that music brings people and degrade it into our own personal cultural caste system.

Perhaps it was the inclusion of The Civil Wars’ song Poison & Wine in an episode of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy in 2009. Perhaps it was the Taylor Swift tweeting to her legion of followers that she she was a fan of the band (and then included them in her iTunes playlist). Perhaps it was being hand-selected by Adele to open her United States shows which led her to rave on her blog – “If you’re coming to any of the shows on this trip make sure you get there early to see them. I’ve never been so blown away.”  Whatever it is, it seemed that for some the Civil Wars,  Joy Williams and John Paul White, were destined to wear the dreaded scarlet M (mainstream.)

It’s interesting to me that one of the shining lights of Americana refuses to be corralled by the label and part of their success may be a result of  this refusal to be pigeonholed. It was a unique opportunity for me to meet with Joy and John Paul, and hear  their beautiful harmonies soar within a nearly empty Fillmore hall. The hall where legendary promoter, Bill Graham, made his mark by following his love of music. Boundaries be damned. I hope you like the interview.

Twang Nation: I read that you’ve recently spent some time in the company of Rick Rubin and T Bone Burnett.

Joy Williams: Ah, word on the street.

John Paul White: It feels really weird to have that conversation. We were hanging out with Rick Rubin….

TN: Does your popularity help you get an audience with star producers like these where many others would be sent packing if they were to ask?

JPW: I think that everything we’ve done up until now has been done to this point with the music in mind. We don’t pitch ourselves or push ourselves on producers, labels or even listeners. Everything we’ve done has been let’s just make the best music we can and perform it as well as we possibly can, and let the chips fall where they may. The beauty of technology is that word of mouth can spread so easily and so much faster that this entire year we’ve had many great opportunities come to us just from making music we dearly love and performing it as well as we possibly can. When that happened it was just another thing we never expected. If we had reaching out to them and said “We’re the Civil Wars. Like us.” that would have changed things. We like to find things and i’m sure they like to find things. We were extremely flattered when they bring us up.

TN: You guys are great at what you do, but there’s a lot of great music out there. Americana isn’t known for having superstars but you’re the closest it’s come. How did you rise above the fray to get the profile your enjoying? Was it the team around you I saw at the Artist Development panel at the Americana Music Association conference? was it the inclusion of your song (Poison & Wine) onGrey’s Anatomy? You had a high-profile fan (Taylor Swift) that tweeted her affection for your music.

JW: I feel like there have been a lot of small hinge moments on a really big door. I don’t think you can go back and attribute it to just two or three things. We’re very fortunate that the music has connected with people the way that it has. We’ve also worked really hard to do things in a different way. We’ve hand-selected every single person that is now a part of our team and they give a damn because they aren’t forced to work on this. I think people coming to our shows and tweeting, whether they are a celebrity or not,  that word of mouth, is one of the biggest gifts you can give an independent artist. it’s exciting to come back to cities where we played to maybe a quarter of the people that we get to play to the next time we’re there. We’re  excited that sales are growing , but more than that we we get to play music. We genuinely love what we do and hopefully that connects with people as well. No one is more surprised than we are that this is working out. (laughs)

JPW: I think people tend to gloss over how hard we work. This is the third time we’ve played San francisco this year. There are a lot of cities around this nation that are the same way. at the beginning of the year we were playing to maybe an hundred people and now we get to play this place tonight (the capacity I found on google for the Fillmore that is 1199) , it’s like the old sports adage the more we practice the luckier we get.

TN: I was surprised to see your name  as a nominee for the Country Music Awards Vocal Duo of the Year. You were beat out by Sugarland, but the CMAs aren’t known for being unpredictable.

JPW: I would assume a lot of that has to do with CMT (Country Music Television) because we got no country radio play. CMT played the hell out of the Barton Hollow  video, and now the poison & Wine video. That got us in front of a lot of people.

JW: It’s interesting to see us played on CMT and the VH1. We don’t know where we fit within a genre, but that doesn’t bother us.

TN: So you don’t think you fit within a genre?

JW: No

JPW: No, but that was never the idea. We didn’t set out to be this and not that. we just wrote music some things were natural – we liked this, and we liked that. We never set out like this is what we want to be and this is what we don’t want to be. When we went out to play it would be she and I went and a guitar. So things starting tailoring themselves to that set-up. By the time we got into the studio we has an idea of what we do, and don’t do. What we like and what we don’t. The record (Barton Hollow) ended up stripped-down and simple because we had spent so much time on the road with the songs, that when we would add instruments they just got in the way. It ended up being a minimalist record but it was never set out to be that way. we never said at any point “If we turn t this way just enough country radio will play this.” or “If we put a banjo on there we’re screwing ourselves.”  We just wanted to make the album exactly the way we wanted to and be completely selfish about it.

JW: We just followed our noses.

JPW: And by doing that way we really don’t fit anywhere.

JW: But no complaints about that. We don’t feel ostracized by any group. We’ve had everything from pop to folk to Americana, country..we’re happy with all those titles.

JPW: If you’re not playing the radio game it’s probably in your best interest. because then the Americana fans, the country fans, the folk fans, the bluegrass fans…we even have rock fans, which kind of makes sense since I am such a huge rock and metal fan and maybe hints of that show up in our work. We appeal to all types because we are doing what we love and people pick up on that.

TN: With the Country Music Awards nomination,and the Americana Conference Awards nomination for New/Emerging Artist and Duo/Group of the Year and all the other awards you’ve won, you figure you’ll be up for a GRAMMY?

JW: Well, who knows?

JPW: I have plenty of doubt abut that.

TN: Do you?

JPW: I do.

TN: I’ll place a wager that you’re going to get a GRAMMY.

JPW: You’re asking us to bet against ourselves? I’ll do it, what do we bet?

TN: What do you drink?

JPW: Oh yes, let’s do that. bourbon…whiskey…the older the better.

TN: How about  bottle of Bulleit?

JPW: A bottle of Bulleit it is. I hope I lose.

TN: I’ll be covering the GRAMMYS and will be in L.A. to claim my prize. just a couple more questions. you don’t want to be associated by a genre but you can be defined by your influences, who are some of yours?

JW: We couldn’t have more different backgrounds when it comes to this. I grew up listening to a lot of crooners – Ella, Etta, Frank and then it went on to Joni Mitchell, Joan Biaz, Janis Joplin, The Beach Boys and the Carpenters we always playing in my house. Then I got my license and started to drive and had total control of the radio which then turned completely to pop.

JPW: We listened to a lot of top 40 on my mom’s car radio and a lot of country music. Then i was listening to my friend’s Ozzy records, Black Sabbath and Queen and all of that. Then i came back around to listening to the stuff I grew up with and cut my teeth on. The Beatles, E.L.O., Jeff Buckley later…Elliot Smith. Elliot is my guy.He probably sums up everything I love about music.

JW: Mine would be Billie Holiday. Yours would be Elliot and mine would be Billie.

JPW: They’re not that far apart. And they;re not that far apart in temperament if you believe their biographies. We’re not that different.

TN: Who would you like to share that stage with?

JW: Anybody alive?

TN: Alive or dead.

JPW: I got one. For alive I’d say Tom Waits.

JW: Yes! Alive Tom Waits!

JPW: But I’d be terrified. We could just stand next to him and sing harmony and let him be the mad man.

JW: I’d be the happiest person in the world!

JPW: Dead would be Elliot Smith.

JW: Townes Van Zandt for me, or Billie Holiday.

TN: I would love to hear you guys cover a Townes song.

JPW: We talked about “Waiting Around to Die.” i don’t feel like we can go anywhere near “Pancho and Lefty.”

TN: I saw a video on YouTube of you covering Michael Jackson’s Billie jean (see below)

JPW: There’s certain songs, like a Townes song, that makes perfect sense for us to cover. So for whatever reason they sometimes fall flat. We do them as you would expect us to do them. So sometimes it makes more sense for us to take Billie jean or (Jackson 5’s) I Want you Back, that we feel like are great songs but you might be distracted by the production and a lot of people don’t realize how great the songs are. Plus it’s a lot of fun for us.

JW: We’re really not into navel-gazing in terms of what we perform. We take what we do seriously but we don’t take ourselves seriously. I think if you make it like a living room experience, to me, that’s more enjoyable than watching someone sing only their own songs. We always like to keep people on their toes a little bit.

JPW: It can get heavy so we like to lighten things up a bit.



Music Review: Mandolin Orange – Haste Make / Hard Hearted Stranger [self-released]

This is not typically the kind of music that floats my boat. Most Americana that works the folkie singer/songwriter side of the fence leaves me cold. To me like it’s more commercially lucrative cousin pop-country; a watered down version of a powerful source who’s soul was sold long, long ago. Like corporate beer and steak chain restaurants something wonderful went terribly wrong while bringing something to the masses. And even though folk never sells in Music City numbers the brunch-folk styling of Jack Johnson and M Ward have led to a relatively wide audience and financial independence for the artists.

But sometimes a performer reminds us of what once was. Dylan did this. So did Townes Van Zandt. The Chapel Hill, NC duo of Andrew Marlin (guitar, mandolin, harmonica)  and Emily Frantz (violin/fiddle, guitar, vocals), collectively known as Mandolin Orange, draw from a deeper well than those others to craft their songs and sound. Like Welch and Rawlings or Parsons and Harris there is a reverence for history while charting new sonic landscapes.

There is subtlety in the arraignments. Songs like No Weight and Runnin’ Red would make perfect living room performance faire for a polite audience. But  like a trace of arsenic after a sip of fine whiskey or a Smith & Wesson hammer clicking back under a table set for a romantic dinner there something  menacing just below the surface.

From the excellent Runnin’ Red “The waters runnin’ red tonight, and our bridge is burnin’ hot, we parted ways in the middle, now we gaze from each side” and the Van Zandt-like Clover “You used to live untruly, so kindly, and it left you lying here in ruin, you cut the hand of a good friend and you smiled in all your doing.”

This is not music made to be pretty, but pretty music made to be honest.

To ratchet the burden even higher Mandolin Orange has crafted 18 consistently excellent songs across two disks,  individually titled Haste Make / Hard Hearted Stranger. There may be a thematic difference between the two but I can’t discern between them. The albums sweeps past you like memories of a whiskey-fueled Saturday night or the landscape from the window of a speeding 18-wheeler. They shift and blur into a singular whole that surprises you when it ends. It surprised me even more that after 18 songs I still wanted more.

Site | Buy

Twang Nation Halloween Mix 2011

Ah October. When the freshly fallen snow and turned leaves fall to cover your tracks by the river bottom where you lured your dear heart with the promise of warm cider and sweet kisses. I guess she didn’t realize you knew she could not be true. This list of contemporaneity and classic murder ballads and general Southern-Gothic debauchery and misery is just the thing for carving pumpkins and ex-lovers. You can hear this at Twang Nation Halloween Mix 2011 mix on Spotify.

Got a favorite grim ditty? Post it below.


    1. Tenderloud – Shadow Red Hand
    2. Those Poor Bastards – Nightmare World
    3. The Handsome Family – The Lost Soul
    4. Reverend Glasseye – Blood O’ Lambs
    5. Nina Nastasia/Jim White – The Day I Would Bury You
    6. Jay Munly – Old Service Road
    7. Strawfoot – The Lord’s Wrath
    8. Neko Case – Things That Scare Me
    9. Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers – Blood on the Bluegrass
    10. The Pine Box Boys – Arkansas Killing Time
    11. Sons of Perdition – Blood In The Valley
    12. Rachel Brooke – This Painful Summer
    13. Willie Nelson – I Just Can’t Let You Say Good-Bye
    14. The Walkabouts – Lover’s Crime
    15. Those Poor Bastards – Family Graveyard
    16. Slim Cessna’s Auto Club – Cranston
    17. Trailer Bride – Graveyard
    18. Midnight Choir – Poisoned Veins
    19. C. Gibbs – Devil’s Water
    20. Christian Williams – You Ain’t Exempt
    21. Slackeye Slim – Judgment Day
    22. Muleskinner Jones – Come Inside, Stranger
    23. O’Death – Ghost Head
    24. Steve Von Till – A Grave Is A Grim Horse

    Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 11 – Confirmed Acts (so far)

    The good folks over at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass have using some clever audio teases to reveal acts confirmed for the upcoming 11th Americana festival. the event takes place in San Francisco’s beautiful Golden Gate Park and is put on by friend of Americana music, banjo player and investment banker Warren Hellman (Fri Sep 30, Sat Oct, & Sun Oct 2, 2011)

    Here are the confirmed acts from reveals so far:

    Dr. John, Punch Brothers, Gomez, Dark Star Orchestra, Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussein & Edgar Meyer , The Civil Wars, Bob Mould, The Devil Makes Three, John Prine,  Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch + David Rawlings,  Ryan Bingham & the Dead Horses, Robert Plant & the Band of Joy, Del McCoury & The Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Cass McCombs, Fitz & the Tantrums, The Jayhawks, Abigail Washburn, Robert Earl Keen, Buckethead (!),  The Flatlanders, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Chris Isaak, Frank Fairfield, Irma Thomas, Elbow, The Mekons, Earl Scruggs, Patty Griffin, Old Crow Medicine Show…

    There is also word, though no confirmation, that Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson will also be there. Sta tuned for more from what is shaping up to be the best Hardly Strictly Bluegrass  yet.

    Kris Kristofferson

    News Round-Up: Dwight Yoakam Cast in Upcoming Lone Ranger Movie

    • Looks like Dwight Yoakam will adding to his acting resume which currently includes excellent turns in Sling Blade, Panic Room and Crank. Yoakam has been cast to play Butch Cavendish, the villain of Disney’s The Lone Ranger joining Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Barry Pepper, James Badge Dale and director Gore Verbinski.
    • Loretta Lynn’s 2004 LP Van Lear Rose will be released on Jack White’s Third Man Records.The album will be available on August 9 on standard black vinyl, there will also be a special blue version limited to 300 copies. A hundred of these limited editions will be sold on release day at the Third Man store in Nashville, TN. The label hasn’t yet revealed where the other 200 will be available, but the announcement said, “We haven’t done a contest in a while… Hmmmm…”

    I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive. – ragid Deaths in Americana & Country Music

    Neo-soul chanteuse Amy Winehouse’s death at 27 was a tragedy everyone had predicted for years. Some say that the self-imposed drama and lack of self-control fed the creative muse that led to great art. Mostly it saps the performer’s soul and robs them, and their fans, of their future greatness. Country music has no shortage of self destruction and many, Waylon, Haggard, Cash, Jones  to name the most famous names gave it their best shot but lived a while longer to tell their tale.  Here are a few that pushed it so far to led them to the last round-up.

    • Keith Whitley’s drinking habits rivaled his influence on Music City. Whitley was a longtime alcoholic beginning before he was of of legal age and continuing through his early career as a bluegrass performer. Many times he had tried to overcome his alcoholism, but failed. While married to country singer Lorrie Morgan she would try and hide alcohol from him, even going as far tying their legs together before bed to ensure Whitley would not wake up in the middle of the night to drink. She would discover later that he was drinking perfume and nail polish to get get loaded. At the time of his death his blood alcohol level was .477 (the equivalent of 20 1-ounce shots of 100-proof whiskey and almost five times over the then Tennessee level of 0.1 legal intoxication limit (wikipedia)
    • Gram Parsons not only brought country music to the 60’s culture that had largely shunned it, he also was was one of the first to die from a a occupational hazard of living the high-life of the era including being a jamming, and heroin using, buddy of Keith Richards. Parsons was a founding member of the Americana movement and his solo work, work with the Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers and his collaborations with protege Emmylou Harris is legendary. Parson’s career was plagued by drugs and alcohol use and before a tour was scheduled to commence in October 1973, Parsons decided to go to Joshua Tree National Monument in southeastern California. Less than two days after arriving at the park, Parsons died on September 19, 1973 at the age of 26 from an overdose of morphine and alcohol
    • Hank Williams did more that just lay down the template for all country music to follow, but also the hard living that has become it’s legacy. An undiagnosed case of spina bifida occulta is beloved to have caused of his life-long abuse of alcohol and drugs. Dispute warnings from his boss and co-writer Roy Acuff, William’s demons worsened and led to his firing from the Grand Ole Opry for habitual drunkenness and, ultimately leading to his death at the age 29 on on January 1, 1953  in the back of his ’52 Cadillac on his way to a show in Charleston, West Virginia.

    Americana Music and Craft Beer

    Frank Booth: What kind of beer do you like?
    Jeffrey Beaumont: Heineken.
    Frank Booth: [shouting] Heineken? Fuck that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!

    David Lynch understood the cultural identity of beer when writing these lines for the characters in the 1986’s Blue Velvet. Dennis Hopper as the psychopathic Frank Booth demeans the prissy, European suds of choice of terrified preppy college -boy Kyle MacLachlan with his manly, working-class beer of choice, PBR! There has never been a more stark or disturbing example that beer is an important element of cultural identity.

    Of course anyone that has traversed the natural habitat of the urban hipster watering hole know that PBR tall boys is the brew De rigueur (Blue Velvet fans I guess.)  Texas honky-tonks have the Wrangler and Lucchese-clad locals swill the local favorite Lone Star long-neck. Then there is the ubiquitous Bud lite and Coors lite just about everywhere else.

    I once heard someone equate country music with one of the latter big company lagers. I couldn’t agree more. Kenny Chesney is the Bud lite, or with his recent foray into beach topis the Corona, of country music. It makes perfect sense that the crowds at his sold-out stadium shows would overwhelmingly be represented by tasteless yellow fizz water. That they display the same lack of discretion for their beer as they do for their music should not come as a surprise.

    Last week was American Craft Beer Week . Beer is as infused with the American spirit as apple pie, capitalism and firarms. Native Americans mixed maize, birch sap and water to create a beer like brew and Ben Franklin is purported to have said “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” He might not have said this bit it’s true they early colonist were big fans of their suds.

    I see craft beer producers like I see the musicians I cover on this blog. Hayes Carll or Amanda Shires are like Stone Brewery or Russian River, They all use elements of traditional America (by way of Europe and all the other cultural  influences that make this country great) and created something innovative but still traditionally American. The audience at their shows prove that the association is not just theoretical. They tend to be college educated, make more and hoist local brews in greater numbers than mass-produced brew at every event I’ve attended (100+ and counting.) I would love to see 21st Amendment or Cherry Voodoo sponsor a West Coast tour by Hang Jones or Tiny Television. perhaps a newcomer like Armadillo Ale Works in Denton, TX could partner with a local band to grow both brands.  They are all kindred spirit appealing to the same demographic and I believe there is a glorious synergy suds/twang to be had.

    So sit back and put on a local Americana or roots music band and pour a locally brewed beverage and rejoice in the great American tradition of enjoying great things and entrepreneurial spirit of  sticking it to the big guys trying to hoodwink you into confusing crap for cream puffs.