Todd Snider in the New York Times

  • The New York Times features a great feature on Todd Snider. Snider discusses his long career of writing smart roots-folk songs, speaks to some of his fans (like Kris Kristofferson) years of struggling with addiction, and his new Don Was produced release  “The Excitement Plan” on Yep Roc records.
  • Tom Russell’s new upcoming , Blood and Candle Smoke (Sept. 25), was recorded in Tucson’s Wave Lab with features members of Calexico. Head over to his MySpace page to hear Santa Ana Wind and Mississippi River Runnin’ Backwards.
  • Also in  Tom Russell news, the man will be among many contributors to a new Jimmie Rodgers book, Waiting For a Train: Jimmie Rodger’s America, planned to be released in July.
  • Dave Alvin Remembers his friend and Hacienda Brothers founder Chris Gaffney.
  • The fine folks over at review The Builders and The Butchers album  Salvation Is A Deep Dark Well.
  • Jay N. Miller at the The Patriot Ledger talks to Brooklyn based band Americana band Yarn.

Chris Gaffney of The Hacienda Brothers Diagnosed with Liver Cancer

Chris Gaffney, founding member and lead singer of The Hacienda Brothers, has just been diagnosed with liver cancer. Gaffney had been recording as recently as January but was taken ill in February. He then began an extensive round of tests that led to the discovery of the cancer. Early next month Chris will begin undergoing intensive chemotherapy, and although he has health insurance it does not cover all of his medical costs and living expenses. In order to raise the necessary additional $60,000 a website has been set up by his family at .

Donation checks can also be written directly to the Chris Gaffney Recovery Fund:

How to donate
Checks may be made payable to:
Chris Gaffney Recovery Fund
c/o Helen Gaffney
403 43RD ST
Oakland, CA 94609
Direct deposit or wire transfer to:
Chris Gaffney Recovery Fund
Wells Fargo Bank
Chris Gaffney Recovery Fund C/O Miles Armstead
151 40th St
Oakland Ca 94609
Account # 8862437038
Routing # 121042882
If you are donating through a Wells Fargo account from out of state, please indicate that your donation is going into a CA account.

Porter Wagoner Tribute – Nashville 10/31

A few months before the Americana Music Conference I had received an email baring a Hatch Show Print image of a young Porter Wagoner beaming and smiling and holding his guitar. he seemed to be thinking “I am the man, and kiss my ass.” This was an invitation to a tribute to the country music legend, Hall Of Fame member and and Opry fixture.

The tribute became a eulogy after Wagoner succumbed to lung cancer at the age of 80 on Sunday, October 28th.

Wagoner was riding high on the release of his Anti records album “Wagonmaster.” The album was produced, played on and shepherded by the patron saint of country music’s legacy Marty Stuart.

I made my way downtown from the Convention Center conference check in to the Tennessee State Museum where the amidst the current exhibit of Marty Stuart’s Sparkle & Twang a tribute was to be held. There was already a line forming, 20 or 25 of the faithful, and I sauntered up to the end of the line. There I met fiddler extraordinaire Barbara Lamb and her friend from Seattle (who’s name escapes me) munching on the remnants of a Subway sandwich. Lamb proved to be charming company and took time to point out the Nashville who’s who growing crowd.

With the price of admission (a $5 donation for the Museum really) came a ticket for a free beverage. As I was waining in line for my free Bub longneck I was fortunate to recognize Austin, Texas chanteuse Sunny Sweeney ahead of me. I told Sunny who I was and told her that I run this blog and she was sweet enough to state that she had seen my site. What a gal!

Then Rodney Crowell came walking around the side of the bar and I was barely able to mutter a hello and grab a handshake. But I did my best.

By the time I made my way back to my chair I noticed that the room was filled with hundreds of folks most of which where standing around the stage and seating area. Then there was a brief clamor and I saw Attorney General Janet Reno. Reno had been involved in the “Song of America” project and was in town to appear on a panel of the same name. The cool factor of the room just amped way up for me.

The show started with Jim Lauderdale doing what he does naturally, MCing the event. Singing “Slewfoot,” telling corny jokes (“I once told a the Grand Old Opry crowd, “I like classical music, like Wagner, Porter Wagoner.” – HAW!) and wearing a spangled Nudie suit Porter would be proud of, Jim mentioned that Marty Stuart was stuck out of town and not able to attend the event honoring his friend and colleague. It might have been true, but I just figured Marty was naturally too tore up to appear.

Wearing a Nudie inspired baseball cap Wagoner’s daughter, Denise, was in at a table up front with some other family members. She briefly spoke at the event and was clearly pleased with the turnout and the opportunity to pay respect to her father and receive the Americana Music Association “Americana Original Award” given to Porter posthumously.

Also in the audience was Wagoner’s pre-Dolly duet partner, a youthful appearing Norma Jean, who waived and smiled sweetly when announced.

Rodney Crowell, Jim Lauderdale, the Hacienda Brothers’ Chris Gaffney, Buddy Miller and Emmylou Harris (who felt moved to attend the event though she was not initially on the bill) all appeared to cover Porter songs and pay respect. Harris and Crowell sang “If Teardrops Were Pennies” as a duet as Porter and Dolly had done many years before. And Harris sweetly sang “Someone I Used To Know” with Miller on backing vocals. “We’ve been so inspired by him for so long,” said Emmylou, who sang two more Porter songs with Buddy before inviting Jim up for a lovely version of “Satisfied Mind.”

Mike Farris (late of the Screaming Cheetah Wheelies) hushed the crowd with a soulfully rousing version of “Green Green Grass Of Home.”

I had a chanced to see Wagoner and Stuart perform many of the songs on “Wagonmaster” in an intimate sold out show at Joe’s Pub on the East side last March and then briefly meet him backstage. I was then able to see him open for the White Stripes at Madison Square Garden a few days before my birthday last July. I attended specifilally to see Poter since I really can’t understand what the big deal is with the White Stripes, though I do respect Jack White for hand-picking Porter to open for them

I consider myself very fortunate to have had these events take place in my life and will treasure those memories.

In his brief but spectacular comeback period Porter reminded us all how elegant and eloquent country music can be.



Porter Wagoner Photo Near Stage



Rodney  Crowell



Buddy Miller, Emmylou Harris and Jim Lauderdale


Wagoner’s daughter, Denise and  Jim Lauderdale

Me and Porter