Austin singer-songwriter Rusty Weir died October 9, after two years of struggling with cancer. Wier was considered a country legend and he was inducted into the Austin Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002.
The New York Times reviews the Jamey Johnson show at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Johnson played two new songs, Back to Macon and Nothing Is Better Than You from hos upcoming release.
The New York Times also features a review of the Roseanne Cash’s sold-out concert at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. Cash performed many songs from her stellar career as well as from her newest album, The List.
Peter Cooper at the Tennessean celebrates geezerdom by detailing the steller and ongoing careers of country music legends Kris Kris Kristofferson, Bobby Bare, Loretta Lynn, Bill Anderson, Tom T. Hall, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. What other genre has artists over 70 making some of the best music of their careers? I mean besides Blues, R&B, Gospel and Jazz that is
As you can see there have been some changes here at Ranch Twang. Not all the kinks are ironed out so I will be working on them this week. Let us know what you think of the new look and , as the sign says, pardon our mess.
The 9513′s Matt Griffin draws comparisons to Levon Helm’s newest release, Electric Dirt, and Johnny Cash’s latter career reviving American Recordings.
The Academy of Country Music has chosen the The Ryman Auditorium as the Venue of the Year. Special awards to be presented at the 2nd Annual ACM Honors, scheduled for September 22 at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center, will be the Jim Reeves International Award to Dolly Parton, the Mae Boren Axton Award to David Young, the Poet’s Award to Merle Haggard and Harlan Howard. Lee Ann Womack will host the evenand there will be special performances by Bobby Bare, Vince Gill, Randy Houser, Jamey Johnson, Miranda Lambert, Jim Lauderdale and Patty Loveless.
The Country Music Association Awards announced the nominees for their 43rd annual awards ceremony. All the usual suspects, Paisley (leading with 6 nominations), Chesney, Swift, Urban. A nod to tradition – George Strait. Some black horses added – Joey + Rory for Vocal Duo Of The Year and The Raconteurs with Ricky Skaggs and Adhely Monroe performing the song Old Enough as the Musical Event Of The Year (?) Duller than the Grammys I say. Tune in to see Jamey Johnson perform and try to refrain throwing things at the TV when Kid Rock takes the stage.
Johnny Cash dies On this Day, 2003, at Nashville’s Baptist Hospital, of complications from diabetes, 4 months after death of wife, June Carter.
Check out the “twitterview” – a cute way of describing an interview conducted on twitter - between TheBoot.com and Willie Nelson as was gearing up for his MySpace free secret concert in Maui, Hawaii.
Speaking of the twitterverse (yeah, I’m gonna get mileage out of this), Charlie Robison won’t have to travel far to play a private living room concert for the winner of his twitter concert. The winner lives in Austin.
The Grand Ole Opry will bring back it’s special Opry Country Classics program this fall for an eight-week run beginning Thurs., Sept. 10. Already scheduled to perform are Moe Bandy, Terri Clark, Jimmy Dickens, Larry Gatlin, Vince Gill, Jamey Johnson, George Jones, Ray Price, Joe Stampley, Marty Stuart, Mel Tillis, Pam Tillis, and Tanya Tucker.
Rosanne Cash will be the subject of the Americana Music Association’s Festival and Conference 2009 Keynote Interview. The interview will be conducted by author/journalist Michael Streissguth – who has written books on Rosanne as well as her father Johnny, Eddy Arnold and others – will take place Thursday, September 17 from 10:45 until noon at the Nashville Convention Center.
Jack Ingram established a new Guinness World Record – most radio interviews in a 24-hour period. Ingram was promoting his new disc “Big Dreams & High Hopes.” Ingram recorded 215 radio interviews within 24 hours, hitting most of the 50 states, Canada, Ireland and Australia. The previous record was 96.
Are there any more maligned or misunderstood genres of music than hip and country? When asked what kind of music a person likes these two styles are at the top of the excluded list. Now imagine them joining forces in some unholy alliance of country-rap (or as one person I know coined it “crap.”) I can just imagine the exit becoming glutted with the fleeing hordes. Screw ‘em….
I was cruising twitter and came upon several posts/tweets the name of Colt Ford. He’s become sort of surprise dark horse on the both the country and the hip-hop charts . I have a soft spot for both country underdogs so I checked him out.
Though not as left-of-center as Buck 65 or Ridley Bent , or as bat-shit crazy as “Insane” Shane Mckane, this 300 lb former PGA golfer comes across as a drinking buddy of Everlast and Bubba Sparxxx that might have passed a bottle with Jamey Johnson (who appears here on the cut Cold Beer) when he was working out the lyrics for Honky-Tonk Badonkadonk.
Like a typical hip-hop album Ride Through the Country offers cameos from other artists and you can judge the performer by the company he keeps.
The title cut is a slow country-rock ride back to Colt’s Georgia roots with smooth backing vocals and guitar furnished by John Michael Montgomery. The excellent Gene Watson trailer-park kiss-off cut No Trash in My Trailer gets a great reworking here and is made better by the great Mike Dekle on chorus.
As mentioned earlier, Jamey Johnson sings chorus on Cold Beer a rollicking party cut and Nashville singer Lindsey Hager provides a smooth counter to the Ford’s gruff lone-wolf with a soft heart lyrics on Never Thought. Saddle Up is a hell raising fiddle laced cut featuring the Alabama rapper Attitude. The bluesy, swaggering Good God O’mighty is tailor made for a good old fashioned hell raising drunk singalong.
The themes on Ride Through the Country are as cartoonish as a typical rap or country album – beer and rotgut, fighting, Southern cooking, pride in vehicle choices (4X4), pride in America, God and the bible, keeping it real – except the mean streets of Brooklyn or Philly are replaced by the dusty, feel good (where even fights are cordial) streets of Georgia. This is about as good as something like this can get and it beats the crap out of anything Kid Rock ever did. Somebody give me a hell yeah!
I don’t usually review singles on this blog. I think any craftsman worth their salt releases a whole body of work and it should be heard as such. I don’t give a shit about the charts or the downloadable single mentality. I prefer to tackle the whole of a work because I think it’s most fair to someone that has poured blood, sweat and tears into 10 or more songs. I prefer to focus my attention on good music and good music is never produced to be sliced out like bologna.
But here I go reviewing a single. This is because Jamey Johnson is no typical artists and his damn full length isn’t out until Fall and his newly release single, My Way To You, is all I have to tide me over until then.
The song begins like many of the songs on Johnson’s excellent previous effort (and now certified Gold) – That Lonesome Song. A far off chill of pedal steel cries out and is met with an acoustic guitar. High-living, hell-raising and regret. Living on the edge and living to come back to set it all to music. The story Johnson tells, with his eerily Waylon-like baritone, is a country music chestnut most eloquently told by Johnson himself on his last release’s’ High Cost Of Living (penned by Johnson and James Slater)
Sure Johnson is repeating himself from that song, but it’s a sin many have committed and he does it so damn well he gets a pass. Where the song breaks down for me is when this lonesome confessional rocks out. Yes, I said rocks out. First there is the piano that seems a bit tickly for the subject matter. Then the drums thunder in as if it were a Springsteen epic. Then the electric guitar squeals in like it was some Poison rock ballad. It’s just too much all over the place and way off target.
Johnson still brings the goods and this song is still better than 99.99% of what’s on mainstream country radio. But I’m using his own benchmark album as a measure here. And though the song is a familiar theme and works deftly in his able hands, the arrangement detracts from him and it’s tone of solemn redemption.
Look I know a case can be made that the big “BOOMING” ending is the cathartic part of his rising like A pheonix from his sordid past and blah blah blah… I’,m not buying it and I just hope when the proper release is dropped all the bombastic fat is stripped out and Johnson is allowed to be the raw talent that has made him part of the new wave of Outlaw heroes.
The debut single from Jamey Johnson’s forthcoming album is entitled “My Way will be available as a free download at www.jameyjohnson.com on August 3rd. On August 11, the digital e-single will be available for download at iTunes.
If you read this blog regularly then you know I’m a fan of 94-7 Badlands FM serving Americana and Red Dirt Music to the Corpus Christi and coastal area of Texas (and streaming online!), but I have to say I am partial to Gina Gonzalez on Mid Days from 10am to 3pm. The girl plays some nice tunes!
Legendary Nashville Lower Broadway honky-tonk, and unofficial Ryman Auditorium green room, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge has laid down the law on packing heat in the bar. Tennessee has taken the genius move to allow firearms in bars so Tootsies had to take steps to keep the heeled from gaining entrance. Frisking patrons and scanning with metal-detecting wands will now be part of entering the establishment. (CMT.com)
The Canadian late night talk show the Hour has a great interview with Steve Earle. Earle talks abut making his career and his newest release Townes, a tribute to his mentor Townes Van Zandt and recounts some great stories with his time with Townes. The snake wrangler story is worth the watch!
John Jurgensen, also of the Wall Street Journal, covers the upcoming Elvis Costello twang-tinged release Secret, Profane & Sugarcane, Costello’s varied career and his thoughts on the current state of the record industry. The album was cut in three day in Nashville and is produced by Americana-roots journeyman T-Bone Burnett (who Costello collaberted with on 1986′s King of America) and featured Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale.
Whitney Self at the CMT.com blog reviews the recent Jamey Johnson show at Nashville’s legendary Ryman Auditorium and and states is the rowdiest (and drunkest) he’s ever seen at the venue.
AamericanaRoots.com give sa listeds to the new Scott H. Biram Bloodshot release Something’s Wrong/Lost Forever.
Kevin Ransom at Ann Arbor’s Mlive.com interviews Austin’s guit-steel master Junior Brown.
Playboy.com’s Uncovered is a new video feature showcasing musicians performing covers of songs in some of the world’s most legendary music bars. Uncovered launches with Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Jamey Johnson sitting in Loser’s, just off Nashville’s Music Row, and singing Waylon Jennings’ “Dreaming My Dreams With You” which is featured on Johnson’s latest album, That Lonesome Song, which was just certified gold this week.
The Tomorrow The Green Grass lineup of the Jayhawks have confirmed a pair of summer shows, with plans to play together more next year. The band is headlining the Basilica Block Party in Minneapolis on July 10, marking the first time the Jayhawks will play with both principals Gary Louris and Mark Olson in the United States in over a decade. The band is also booked for the Primavira Sound ’09 Festival in Barcelona, Spain on May 30.
Ethen Hawke has more then just great taste in ex-wives, he is a big fan of Kris Kristofferson. The current issue of Rolling Stone features what amount to a 1000 word fan-boy love letter. There are also some juicy details that Kristofferson and Toby Keith got into a backstage ruckus at Willie Nelson’s 2003 birthday concert at Madison Square Garden. The gist is it was over Kristofferson’s liberal beliefs and Keith has a big mouth. Keith has since claimed the altercation is untrue.
So, I watched the 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas. I could have been watching the 43rd, 42nd or the 41st CMA since the winners and performances were generally identical. The few surprises there were was the shcok of an actually heartfelt country music song – Jamey Johnson’s best song winner for In Color and the dull – Miley Cyrus cribbing from pal Taylor Swift’s diary for The Climb. Hell, even Sugarland’s Kristian Bush stopped wearing a cowboy hat acknowledging their music and the event didn’t warrant one. The glitter-glutted informercial that is the CMAs (or Country My Ass for those that know better.)
The first track from Bob Dylan’s forthcoming release, Together Through Life, has been posted as a free download on BobDylan.com. Seriously, you don’t have to enter an email address or anything. Titled Beyond Here Lies Nothin, the song features Mike Campbell from Tom Petty’ Heartbreakers on guitar. The release will be available for free from midnight, March 30th through midnight, March 31st. Together Through Life will be released on Columbia Records on April 28th.
Dyman’s Rolling Thunder camapdre Ramblin’ Jack Elliott will revisit neighborhoods he used to frequent with the likes of Jack Kerouac and Dylan in the 1950s and ‘60s when he plays a special show at the Highline Ballroom in New York City on May 13th. The 77 year old Elliott is making a number of select appearances in support of his upcoming release A Stranger Here, available April 7th on ANTI- Records. Produced by Joe Henry (Bettye LaVette, Solomon Burke, Elvis Costello/Allen Toussaint), A Stranger Here is a collection of carefully chosen pre-WWII blues songs, re-crafted with backing by legendary Los Angeles session musicians such as Van Dyke Parks and David Hidalgo.
I saw the Shooter Jennings and Jamey Johnson Crossroads on CMT the other night and was duly impressed. They were like a couple of old friends sharing a HUGE bottle of Jack and talking country music history in reverence and passionate tones it deserves. As I currently enjoy Johnson’s exellent That Lonesome Song, I wonder when Shooter will release anything that reaches the excellence of Put The O Back In Country. In the meantime we get an inexplicable “Greatest Hits” (Bad Magick: The Best of Shooter Jennings – March 24) after three studio release and a live album (which is the same as a greatest hit IMO.)
In more Shooter news, Ted Russell Kamp has taken time from his main gig as the .357′s bass player to release his newest solo album Poor Man’s Paradise which was recorded in Ted’s living room, Shooter’s tour bus & countless hotel rooms across America. Kamp a great instrumentalist, a sharp dresser and a great guy. Go give him a listen.