Kacey Musgraves Announces New Album ‘Pageant Material,’ Out June 23rd

Kacey Musgraves 'Pageant Material,"

The wait is over Kacey Musgraves fans. A tweet from Musgraves official twitter feed has announced that her follow up to 2013’s major label, Grammy-winning debut ‘Same Trailer Different Park’ is entitled ”Pageant Material’ and it will be released from Mercury Nashville on June 23.

The cover suggests more wry observations from the heartland, with Kacy in profile with a tiara and a not-quite smile.

See the track list and hear the cut ‘Biscuits’ below.

Pre-Order ‘Pageant Material”

Track Listing:
1. High Time (KM, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally)
2. Dime Store Cowgirl (KM, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally)
3. Late To The Party (KM, Brandy Clark, Josh Osborne)
4. Pageant Material (KM, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally)
5. This Town (KM, Luke Laird, Brandy Clark)
6. Biscuits (KM, Shane McAnally, Brandy Clark)
7. Somebody To Love (KM, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne)
8. Miserable (KM, Josh Osborne, Brandy Clark)
9. Die Fun (KM, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally)
10. Family Is Family (KM, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne)
11. Good Ol’ Boys Club (KM, Luke Laird, Natalie Hemby)
12. Cup Of Tea (KM, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne)
13. Fine (KM, Ashley Arrison, Shane McAnally)

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)

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.


To all who have served.

I want to share one of my favorite songs for this holiday weekend. The Ballad of Ira Hayes, written by the folk singer Peter La Farge,  tells the story of Ira Hayes, a Pima Native American and one of the five Marines and one Navy Corpsman who raised the flag  on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. Hayes came home to a hero’s welcome, but after the grandeur had subsided he went on to live a troubled life of alcoholism and depression. On January 24, 1955, Hayes was found dead, lying face down in the mud. I don’t write to this to depress you, I, and I believe the song, just want to remind America we need to take care of these soldiers when they get home.

The song has been recorded many times; the most popular version is by Johnny Cash.Others that have covered the song are Patrick Sky, Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt and Kinky Friedman.

Thanks to all that serve and have served. We are proud of you.

Please share some of your favorites below.

Music Review: Willie Nelson – Country Music (Rounder) Merle Haggard – I Am What I Am (Vanguard)

If there was a country music Mount Rushmore two legendary (and appropriately weathered)  mugs sure to be immortalized in granite would be Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard.

Willie and The Haggard have left their indelible imprint on Country music by spearheading two spirited responses to the slick sound of 50s and 60s Nashville, Outlaw country and the Bakersfield sound respectively. Willie (77) and the Hag (73) show no signs of slowing down with ongoing touring and debuts on new labels ( and in Willie’s case a follow up) and both are back to buck mainstream Country trends by assuredly reasserting their mark on the future by mining tradition.

Country Music, the title of Willie’s Rounder Records debut, can be read as both a historical affirmation of the genre and a proclamation that the current pop variety overtaking the airwaves does not have a lock on the moniker  Never a slave to the genre Willie infuses these 14 classic covers (and one unearthed original) with his laid-back jazzy approach to make them fresh and compelling. Lack of collaboration is not a short-coming Willie embodies. He might collaborate with even a fence post if the mood struck him. But what I consider a perfect fellow Texan T Bone Burnett (Grammy winner for Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ Raising Sand and Academy Award winner for the Crazy Heart soundtrack ) to handle production and brought some Nashville’s best talent – Buddy Miller,Jim Lauderdale,  mandolinist Ronnie McCoury, banjo player Riley Baugus as well as long-time Nelson harmonica maestro Mickey Raphale – and worked with Willie to choose the material, and steps back in the production and allows Willie and the material to shine.

The highlights include a sparse and elegant version of Merle Travis’ Appalachian coal miner lament Dark as a Dungeon which takes on a  topical context in light of the recent West Virginia and Russian tragedies,  the traditional Gospel number Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down which suits Willie’s sinewy voice backed by a instruments that emit a fitting Southern Gothic chill. The oft-covered Satisfied Mind is a solid study on appreciating what you have and is given authority in this delivery. The swinging Pistol Packin’ Mama, which was a number one single for Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters, throws off tons of playful cowboy cool.

I wonder if Haggard asked George Jones if he could borrow the title of his 1980 album I Am What I Am? Hag’s version made up of all originals and show him as feisty, poetic and occasionally solemn as ever. Recorded with his ace band the Strangers, as well as his son Ben on guitar, at his Northern California headquarters, the Shade Tree Manor studio, and produced by Haggard and longtime collaborator Lou Bradley, this album fits nicely into Haggard’s storied catalog.  The past fist-clenched defiance of Okie from Muskogee and The Fighting Side of Me has been replaced with a contemplation and mature restrain. But Haggard is still willing to say, not shout, what’s on his mind.

The bitetrsweet I’ve Seen It Go Away reminisces better times in a rear view mirror. Pretty When It’s New and The Road to My Heart shows that Willie is not the only one with a jazzy traditional pop bent. The spirit of Bob Wills inhabits the lively twin-fiddle fueled Live and Love Always, featuring a duet with his wife, Theresa, as Haggard gives arrangement instructions mid-song. Bad Actor is a great smooth country number about a man going through the motions in a dead-end relationship. Mexican Bands is a great mariachi-tinged waltz south of the border where haggard alludes to a pastime he might have picked up from Willie – “And early mañana smoke what I wanna, And listen to Mexican bands.”

Longtime fans know that both of there men are masters of the understated guitar, and throughout both releases there is testament to their subtle artistry. There are welcome reminders of the beauty and majesty possible when performers, young or old, are courageous enough to perform work from the heart.

Willie Nelson -  Country Music

Merle Haggard -  I Am What I Am



News Round Up: Kris Kristofferson Releases Early Demo Compilation

Kris Kristofferson’s latest is actually some of his earliest. Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends: The Publishing Demos 1968-72 is a collection of raw demos made to shop his songs around to singers while sweeping floors at Columbia Studios in Nashville (where he later first met Johnny Cash.) I listened to 16 cuts from the album streaming over at NPR and it’s a beauty. The back and forth with Kristofferson and the recording engineer does not take away from the artistry from this master songwriter. There are classics like Me and Bobby McGee,made famous by a woman that dated Kristofferson for a time, Janis Joplin. There is also the title cut which was recorded by Bobby Bare and If You Don’t Like Hank Williams latter recorded by Hank Williams Jr. With Willie and Merle Haggard coming out with releases this month Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends just makes this one of the best bumper crops in quite some time. The down-loadable version is on sale now at Amazon.

News Round Up: New Releases by Elizabeth Cook, Jim Lauderdale and The Sadies

  • The Hangover & Daily Show star (and amateur banjo player) Ed Helms is launching the LA Bluegrass Situation festival  (March 18th – 22nd) featuring Steve Martin, Emmylou Harris, The Steep Canyon Rangers, Nickel Creek. See the somewhat silly video introduction of the festival from Helms.
  • Canadian roots/surf rockers The Sadies will release their new album, Darker Circles, on May 18, 2010 on Yep Roc Records. The album will be produced by the Jayhawk’s Gary Louris.
  • Honky-tonk angel Elizabeth Cook will release her new album, Welder, on May 11th on 31 Tigers. Produced by Don Was (Rolling Stones, Kris Kristofferson), Welder will feature guest appearances by Dwight Yoakam, Rodney Crowell and Buddy Miller.
  • See the new video by Peter Wolf working on his new Americana-tinged album, Midnight Souvenirs, (UMe/Verve / April 6). Tragedy features duets with country music legend Merle Haggard, Neko Case and Shelby Lynne.
  • Mr. Americana, Jim Lauderdale, will release his new album Patchwork River, on Thirty Tigers May 11. He co-wrote the album–filled with such highlights as “Alligator Alley,” “Louisville Roll” and “Patchwork River”–with longtime Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter whom Lauderdale has praised as “one of the greatest writers that has ever lived in my book.
  • The mighty Drive By Truckers’ new release, The Big To-Do, will be released on March 16th. Partnering with Ghost Town Media, the band will release a series of webisodes that tell the behind the scenes story of each song from the record.  You will see footage of the band working on The Big To-Do  in the studio in Athens, Georgia, clips of the band performing the new songs at sound check and in concert, and in depth interviews with the band members telling the stories behind the songs.  The first of these websiodes will feature Mike Cooley’s Birthday Boy, the final song recorded for the album.

Music Review: George Strait- Twang [MCA Nashville]

GS_twangAnybody that’s read this blog for more than five minutes knows that the style of country music that I champion is typically not represented on the flavor of the week  “country” charts. I’m not in the business of puffing up entertainers that have more in common with REO Speedwagon than Hank Williams and my M.O., my brand if you will, has always been cream doesn’t necessarily rise to the top, sometimes it’s found around the edges.

George Strait is the type of rare bird that can sit on last week’s  #1 Billboard 200 and Country Chart spot and yet finds it’s place in my heart. It’s not that I hate popular country music per se, it’s just that most popular country music is made for, and consumed by, people that wouldn’t be caught dead with a Merle Haggard or Loretta Lynne CD in their collection and their idea of classic country is Alabama or Kenny Rogers.  George Strait is an neo-traditional alchemist that can please both the arena-filling masses and the discerning and grumpy critics like myself.

Maybe it’s his residence in Texas and his perceptible love of his (and my) home state’s regional flavor and away from the syrup factory of Music City, maybe it’s his sharp instincts for picking just the right songs to cover, whatever it is it’s been like a sound as a classic truck for over three multi-platinum decades.

Twang is Strait’s 25th studio album and his follow up to 2008’s excellent Troubadour and as subdued that earlier release was Twang is more like a celebration. The boisterous Bakersfield vibe of the Kendall Marvel, Jimmy Ritchey and Mr. Americana Jim Lauderdale penned title song comes right from the Buck Owens school of songwriting and lets it be known that Strait is not about to shy away from some hillbilly hell raising.  Where Have I Been All My Life and  Living For The Night are pure coming of age and heartache schmaltz (complete with string section), but Strait’s authentic delivery drives it right to the heart.

On Twang Strait steps up to the songwriting plate again for three songs co-written with his son, George “Bubba” Strait, Jr. The aforementioned  beer-soaked bawler Living for the Night,” the Ray Price-style crooner Out of Sight, Out of Mind and the frothy-lament He’s Got That Something Special. On his own Bubba penned the excellent Marty Robbins-style tale of the outlaw and gunfighter Dave Rudabaugh, Arkansas Dave.

Strait pays tribute to Texas’ neighbors with both the rollicking Gordon Bradberry and Tony Ramey penned Hot Grease and Zydeco and the José Alfredo Jiménez classic ranchera song El Ray that he does completely in Spanish.

Once again Strait proves that he’s the most consistent talent going and the current King of Country Music.

Official Site | MySpace | Buy



George Jones to Open Museum

CMT.com reports that country music legend, Country Music Hall of Fame member and  Medal of Arts and  Kennedy Center Honoree has a museum in the works to display memorabilia- stage clothes, instruments, photos, fan created objects – he’s collected over his 50-plus year career. In addition to the items he keeps in his basement, his wife checks eBay for other memorabilia. He told CMT:

“We have a bit of a museum down in our basement right now, with all kinds of things from throughout my career — early records, guitars, clothes, various things that fans have made for me. We have a lot of framed photographs from throughout my career with other singers. I have a player piano from Gene Autry and a bunch of other stuff from him. One day, we’ll put all this stuff in a museum.”

I wonder if there will be a bar?

The 77-year-old member Possum is still going strong and will spend much of 2009 on tour, beginning Jan. 16 in Reno, Nev., and continuing through the spring and summer. For a full list of tour dates, visit GeorgeJones.com.