News Round Up: Billy Joe Shaver To Be Honored In Home Town

  • Saving Country Music posts that Texas Country Outlaw Billy Joe Shaver is set to be honored by Corsicana, TX, the town he was born in. The city will rename a portion of thier  15th Street in Corsicana to “Billy Joe Shaver Way,” as well as adding a prominent “Billy Joe Shaver Way” exit off of Interstate 45.  Also planned is a long overdue Billy Joe “Appreciation Day,” tentatively set for Tuesday, October 12, featuring fellow Texas legend Ray Wylie Hubbard and the Randy Rogers Band and others. Though these events are currently in the planning stage none of the details, as yet, are complete. I’ll post again when the finished details come my way.
  • In more “it’s about damn time” news: George Jones, along with Al Dexter, and Ray Winkler have been inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame.Guest performers for the even were Mel Tillis and the Statesiders. Also performing will be the Justin Trevino Band featuring Tony Booth, Georgette Jones, Frankie Miller, Darryl McCall, Mona McCall, Amber Digby and Curtis Potter. The legendary Ralph Emery hosted the event. (via 9513.com)
  • And speaking of The Possum; His ex-wife and creative partner Tammy Wynette’s life and music are being honored at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The exhibit, “Tammy Wynette: First Lady of Country Music” features a video by Faith Hill speaking at length about Tammy’s influence. The exhibit will run through June 12 of 2011.
  • Neil Young’s next album will be titled Le Noise and will be produced by Daniel Lanois (U2, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris.) The release date is September 28th andwill be available in Vinyl, CD and iTtunes in the first edition, followed by Blu-Ray, followed by a free APP for I-Phone and I-Pad later. Young will soon launch a tour in September, to bring aid and awareness to the oil-stricken Gulf Coast.

Hard Times

These are tough times for America. Wall Street and board room crooks, unnecessary wars, mounting national and personal debt, massive unemployment, terrorists threats.. These are not the toughest times we’ve faced in our history,I think the fisr depression and the civil war were much tougher, but they are hard relative to the lives most people have lived today.

The silver lining is that from hard times comes great music, and country music taps into the populist zeitgeist better than any other genre beside blues. Much has been made about John Rich’s Shuttin’ Detroit Down and Hank William Jr’s Red White and Pink Slip Blues but it’s hard for me to buy populist empathy from a guy that parades around  in mink coats and a guy that puts hotel employees in a choke hold and demands a kiss.

Here is a list of songs that I believe exhibit the best of what it sounds like to live through the worst.

Ryan Bingham – Hard TimesA new artist with an old voice . The name says it all.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cg428ZfOMsA[/youtube]

The Drive By Truckers – Puttin’  People on the Moon A stiff shot of old-school Southern rock chased withed populist rage.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTkRyLobKSc[/youtube]

Jimmie Rodgers  – Muleskinner Blues – A classic of down-on-your-luck and lookin’ for work poetry.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXV9_WilcHs[/youtube]

Johnny Cash – BustedHarlan Howard’s 1962 penned song of working man’s woe was aa hit for Johnny Cash in 1962 on his classic At Folsom Prison live album and was an even bigger hit for Ray Charles the following year.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rnAYYh8gGQ[/youtube]

Merle Haggard – Workin’ Man Blues – Classic Bakersfield rocks this ode to the laborer.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbEstJ98TcM[/youtube]

Frankie Miller – Blackland Farmer – A paen to the 1958 farmers that were just starting to get a glipmpse of the industrial farms that were to change thier professions and lives forever.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHvGOAVOqMc[/youtube]

Levon Helm – Poor Old Dirt Farmer –  Helm, the only American in the Americana/rock group The Band, tells the story of his Dad’s farm inTurkey Scratch, a hamlet west of Helena, Arkansas.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBuJB218UvU[/youtube]

Johnny Paycheck – Take This Job and Shove It – it’s not all hand-wringing and woe is me in country music. Paycheck’s cover of  David Allan Coe’s song was a huge 70’s hit and a raised finger to The Man.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knetbVx5A-Q[/youtube]