Country , Americana Music Champion Chet Flippo Dies


Chet Flippo, Ft. Worth native, famed journalist, author and editor, Vietnam war vet and University of Texas alum, died this morning. He was 69. No cause of death has not been disclosed.

it might have been a partial result of losing his wife, Martha Hume, herself a celibrated music journalist and author, who died on December 17, 2012.

In a world where it’s often hard to tell where music journalism ends and where PR begins Flippo was the classic example of the fan as critic.

While teaching journalism as the University of Tennessee in Knoxville he received an offer from Billboard to be their bureau chief in their Nashville office. In 2001 he joined CMT and started an online column, “Nashville Skyline.” it’s here that Flippo would champion the famous, like the Dixie Chicks and Garth Brooks, and Americana upstarts like Ryan Adams and Lucinda Williams. He had cover country music so long he felt the genre shift sharply beneath his feet. He then had the courage to call out the country music industry he felt was ruining the legacy and the music he held so dear.


Flippo was there when Willie and Waylon brought the rednecks and the hippies together in Austin. He penned the liner notes for Wanted: The Outlaws, the first platinum-selling album in country music and Willie Nelson’s thematic masterpiece Red Headed Stranger.

Saving Country Music advocates that the Country Music Hall inc=duct Flippo into it’s ranks in it’s non-performer category. I concur. A voice like his, learned and celebratory , come along only once in a great while. Those rare instances should be honored while on this earth and after they’ve left it.

Lost Highway to Release Willie Nelson Compilation

  • Chet Flippo over at CMT’s Nashville Skyline and Miss Leslie at the are strolling down the mine-laden path of “What is country music?”
  • Classical Americana? Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas and Buddy Miller will be among the musicians who will perform with the Nashville Symphony on Sept. 12 during the inaugural Classical Americana concert at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The concert is one of the events leading up to 10th annual Americana Music Festival and Conference taking place Sept. 16-19 in Nashville.
  • Lost Highway Records will release a compilation of music Willie Nelson has made on their label. Willie Nelson’s Lost Highway will be released on Aug. 11 with three previously unreleased songs. The 17-track album features Grammy-winning duets with Ray Price (”Lost Highway”) and Lee Ann Womack . Other guests on the album include Elvis Costello, Diana Krall and Lucinda Williams.I;m not sure that the work Willie has done while on Lost Highway really warrents the compilation treatment but I will hold judgment until I hear it.
  • Bob Schneider teamed up with Dixie Chick Martie McGuire for a  sold-out show at the Paramount Theater in Oakland, CA. (SPIN Magazine’s new global music site) recently published an exclusive photo collection from the DVD taping of the show.

Drive By Truckers’ The Fine Print Cover

  • Sony Music Entertainment Photo Archives, ICON Collectibles has just released some new Johnny Cash prints for the summer, ICON is offering Cash fans a 20% discount on all Johnny Cash framed and unframed fine art prints (including limited editions) when fans use promo code ICON6PAK at checkout. Offer ends July 31st. Check out the new prints now at the ICON website.
  • Wayne Hancock has  Summer tour dates posted. Hancock will be taking his Texas honky-tonk around the West Coast, back down to Texas and then back up the East Coast. Opening the show will be Joe Buck.
  • 83 year-old country-pop singer Ferlin Husky is in Tennessee hospital in critical condition with an accelerated heart rate and possible pneumonia. Husky topped the charts from the 50’s to the 70’s under various names, including Terry Preston and Simon Crum, a comic alter ego. (via the
  • Chet  Nashville Chet Flippo draws comparisons to the death last week of Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Hank Williams. Flippo posits that Williams’ death at the age of 29 in the back seat of his Cadillac on New Years Eve 1953 might have been preferable to the drawn-out publicized deterioration of Elvis and Jackson.
  • A while back I posted that New West records would be releasing The Fine Print, “a 12-track album of previously unreleased and rare songs”by the Drive By Truckers on September 1st. The album will feature  “four covers including “Rebels” by Tom Petty and “Like A Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan which provided Shonna Tucker with her first ever lead vocal performance on a DBT recording.” Many of the original recordings are from the Dirty South era. The Look for a review of The Fine Print soon, but in the mean time check out the cover below painted by their long time cover artist Wes Freed.

Chet Flippo Takes on the Real Country Music Debate

Chet Flippo at CMT’s Nashville Skyline takes to task “magazine writers, bloggers and professors” who dare to broadly or narrowly define what “Real Country Music” is. Since I am one of these offenders that have tilted at the country music bona fides windmills on many occasions, hell it’s threason this blog exists at all,  I have come to define real country music in the way that Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart  was asked to define porn  – “I know it when I see it.”

Test Your Country Music Knowledge with Chet Flippo

Which legend worked in the mailroom at Rolling Stone magazine in New York? Who’s father and stepfather are both in the Country Music Hall of Fame? If you know the answers to these questions and want to tackle more like them the always entertaining Chet Flippo has a challenging country music quiz over at

I got about 70% right. Not surprisingly I got all Garth related questions wrong.

Nashville Skyline on Miranda Lambert

the risk of being not only a Chet Flippo (CMTs Nashville Skyline) fanboy but one for Ms. “crazy chick” Miranda Lambert as well. Chet’s latest post (thanks 9513) on Miranda’s rise to stardom on her own terms and some of the cool things she’s done that lends her more cred than most of her other Music City counterparts:

She learned a valuable lesson in songwriting with her first album. The title song, “Kerosene” — which really put her on the musical map — sounded very much like Steve Earle’s “I Feel Alright.” Very much like it. After that was brought to her attention, she added Earle’s name as her co-writer on the copyright. And on the royalties. She told Barry Mazor in a No Depression interview, “I didn’t purposefully plagiarize his song — but unconsciously I copied it almost exactly. I guess I’d listened to it so much that I just kind of had it in there.” Well, hell, outlaws rip each other off now and then. But then they usually own up about it — as she did — very quickly.

Cool, no? How many other Nashville Star and CMT alum would go out of their way to credit Earle (and share royalties with him) rather than dispatch a labels lawyers to pay him off? Class act! Miranda is making me proud of Texas in a way that Willie and the Chicks did.

Tribute to Johnny’s Home

Chet Flippo has written another insightful Nashville Skyline (yeah, I know how perilously close to a fan-boy I am at this point) on the burning of Johnny Cash’s lakeside home he shared with his wife June Carter-Cash.

The house had become a virtual shrine. There were tourists out there every day, but it never took on the atmosphere of Graceland. The visitors were respectful. It was a homing site for country music fans and country music stars alike. To the point that aspiring country music songwriter Kris Kristofferson once landed his helicopter on Cash’s lawn to hand him a song demo for “Sunday Morning Coming Down.” I’m sure you saw the house in the movie, Walk the Line, and in Cash’s music video for “Hurt.” The house was a central character in both and clearly possessed a character of its own.

It just begs the question that I’ve had about real estate vs history. The Ryman was almost torn down in the 80’s and Johnny’s house was put on the market, bought (By frikin Barry Gibb!) and put in a situation to be burned to the ground. Maybe Nashville could stop shoveling crap for a few moments and try and preserve it’s legacy. At least the parts that are within the Tennessee border.