Steve Earle, Loretta Lynn, Shovels & Rope, Dolly Parton and Others Featured On Commemorative Civil War Tribute Album

ATO Records

Now this is something special.

This fall, ATO Records, and music supervisor Randall Poster (‘Moonrise Kingdom,’ ‘Boardwalk Empire,’ ‘Rave On Buddy Holly’) will release ‘Divided & United,’ a two-disc set of Civil War songs freshly interpreted by lends and newcomers of country, bluegrass, folk and Americana like Contributions from Old Crow Medicine Show, A.A. Bondy, Taj Mahal, T. Bone Burnett, Ashley Monroe, Steve Earle, Shovels & Rope, Dolly Parton, Cowboy Jack Clement and others (No, The Civil Wars oddly not represented)

The collection celebrates music deeply rooted in American history in tribute to the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Fresh interpretations of period parlor songs, spirituals, abolition and minstrel numbers. the songs hold a mirror to the past and explores themes of race, identity and reconciliation while reflecting contemporary issues.

Loretta Lynn’s rendition of “Take Your Guns and Go, John,” (below) is a beautifully spare, earnest version of the traditional detailing a man off to war.

“I had such a great time recording this song for this album,” Lynn tells Rolling Stone. “I loved the song and sound of that banjo, played by Bryan Sutton, made me feel I was back on the front porch in Kentucky where I came from. Glad to be a part of this record.”

‘Divided & United’ also features an essay by noted musician, filmmaker and historian John Cohen, who writes: “This record aspires to erase the legacy of segregation and through music seeks reconciliation instead, in order to celebrate a great musical heritage of America, born in pain, war and prejudice.”

Disc 1
1. Take Your Gun and Go, John – Loretta Lynn
2. Lorena – Del McCoury
3. Wildwood Flower – Sam Amidon
4. Hell’s Broke Loose In Georgia – Bryan Sutton
5. Two Soldiers – Ricky Skaggs
6. Marching Through Georgia – Old Crow Medicine Show
7. Dear Old Flag – Vince Gill
8. Just Before the Battle, Mother/ Farewell, Mother – Steve Earle and Dirk Powell
9. The Fall Of Charleston – Shovels & Rope
10. Tenting on the Old Campground – John Doe
11. Day Of Liberty – Carolina Chocolate Drops
12. Richmond Is a Hard Road to Travel – Chris Thile and Michael Daves
13. Two Brothers – Chris Stapleton
14. The Faded Coat Of Blue – Norman Blake, Nancy Blake and James Bryan
15. Listen to the Mockingbird – Stuart Duncan feat. Dolly Parton
16. Kingdom Come – Pokey Lafarge

Disc 2
1. Rebel Soldier – Jamey Johnson
2. The Legend of the Rebel Soldier – Lee Ann Womack
3. The Mermaid Song – Jorma Kaukonen
4. Dixie – Karen Elson with Secret Sisters
5. The Vacant Chair – Ralph Stanley
6. Hard Times – Chris Hillman
7. Down By the Riverside – Taj Mahal
8. Old Folks at Home/ The Girl I Left Behind Me – Noam Pikelny & David Grisman
9. Secesh – The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band
10. The Battle of Antietam – T Bone Burnett
11. Pretty Saro – Ashley Monroe
12. Aura Lee – Joe Henry
13. Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier – AA Bondy
14. When Johnny Comes Marching Home – Angel Snow
15. Battle Cry of Freedom – Bryan Sutton
16. Beautiful Dreamer – Cowboy Jack Clement

Americana Music Conference Video Round-Up

I’ve starting posting the few videos from the 2012 Americana Music Conference showcases and it’s awards event at the Twang Nation Twitter and Facebook  accounts. Here is a round up of the ones I’ve found so far. Look for more as I find them. Now take some time to run through all these fine performances and tell me this isn’t the greatest music on the planet.

Zoe Muth: “If I Can’t Trust You with a Quarter”

The Black Lillies “Goodbye Charlie”

Lee Ann Womack & Buddy Miller: “Out on the Weekend” (Neil Young cover)

Lera Lynn: “Ring of Fire” (Johnny Cash cover)

Billy Joe Shaver: “The Git Go”

Mandolin Orange: “Waltz About Whiskey”

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit : “Alabama Pines”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHHFPx195eA

Justin Townes Earle: “Look The Other Way”

Guy Clark, Shawn Camp & Verlon Thompson” “My Favorite Picture of You”

Lee Ann Womack, Peter Cooper & Tom T. Hall : “I Love”

Elizabeth Cook with Bones Hillman and Tim Carroll, along with Dottie Peoples and John Fullbright, – Thirty Tigers’ Gospel Brunch at The Station Inn

Bonnie Raitt & John Hiatt: “Thing Called Love”

Americana Honors & Award Show Tribute to Levon Helm: “The Weight

Americana Music Festival and Awards Recap – The Year Americana Goes Legit

Finally winding down from my annual trip and I’m here to say that 2011 is the year the Americana went mainstream.

The Americana Music Association, the Nashville professional trade organization that puts on the whole shindig, just experienced its biggest year yet: Their membership is up by 45 percent compared to 2006. The festival showcased twice the number of bands it did five years ago; and this year’s overall attendance was around 15,000, as opposed to the roughly 10,000 reported in 2011. Jed Hilly and the good people of the AMA were able to do all this while maintaining the performance intimacy and musical quality I’ve experienced over my 5 years of attending the event. They have also been able to avoid the band-of-the-minute trading bazaar plaguing events like South-By-Southwest .

CMT.com know a good thing when they see it. With the commercial breakout of artists like Mumford & Sons, The Civil Wars and the Avett Brothers the cable music channel, that in many ways embodies everything Americana stands in contrast of,  is setting up a small section of it’s site branded “CMT Edge” focused on showcasing artists outside their usual fare of quasi-“outlaws” and warbling blondes. The venture is focusing on the heart of Americana’s best. The tapping that i attended while attending the AMA conference featured Jason Isbell and justin Townes Earle in performing a solo acoustic set of a few songs in a setting that was more Bluebird Cafe than the hell-raising arenas most SMT artists can be found.

Craig Shelburne, a CMT.com writer and producer is the driving force behind CMT Edge introduced the artists before their performances. I briefly spoke to Shelburne and he seemed to me to be a man doing good that wants to do well. CMT sees that the Americana brand is blowing up  (thanks in large part to the promotional efforts of the AMA and the sheer talent under the genre’s tent.) Sure CMT is a corporation concerned with eyeballs to sell soap, but they offer a much larger stage where deserving artists can make more money and upgrade their instruments and crappy touring vans. or as Jason Isbell told me when i ran into him at the Buddy Miller Lee Ann Womack show “We all need to make money.” Indeed.

The Americana Honors & Awards program was a tightly executed package to showcase exceptional talent for wider public consumption. The new two-year deal with Mark Cuban’s AXS TV to broadcast the event live was added to the already existing live broadcast on radio, satellite and the web via outlets including Nashville’s WSM, SiriusXM’s “Outlaw Country” and NPR.org, respectively. The show’s current TV partner, Austin City Limits, also broadcasts an edited special ACL Presents on November 10.  Voice of America and Bob Harris’ BBC Radio 2 will broadcast overseas in following weeks.

All this spiked with an official hashtag #Americanafest and the youTube videos from the festivals shows cropping up afterward and you have a full-scale media juggernaut.

The inclusion of Bonnie Raitt , Booker T Jones and Richard Thompson for lifetime achievement awards for performance, instrumentalist and songwriting respectively. There’s no denying the legendary status of these great artists and their appeal to an Americana demo that trends towards the Boomer generation, but – to polish an old chestnut – are they “Americana?”

Each of these artists have established themselves as legends in the well defined genres of blues, R&B & soul and folk & rock. Honoring these legends in an Americana awards ceremony undoubtedly allows the AMA to hitch the brand to established and well-repected talent, but at what cost? By seemingly playing a game of “me too” the AMA could be using their crown jewel awards program to further obscure the Americana brand at best. At worst there the risk that the AMA will lead Americana into being a cast as an always derivative genre, riding on the coattails of established genres in order to gain credibility and an audience.

I’m not sure which of these scenarios will play out but I see them both as unnecessary as the above numbers and CMT attention show that Americana is doing just firm staking out it’s own turf heading toward greater brand visibility. How can a genre that has legitimate ties to Steve Earle , Ryan Bingham and The Civil Wars  need to pilfer genre to create awareness?

But maybe I’m wrong. maybe Americana at it’s core crosses so many lines that those lines are the real outlines of what this movement we all  love is really about. Maybe it’s a result of that truly American phenomenon of a society emerging from a diversity of the melting-pot.

Maybe it’s like Jim Lauderdale said from the stage of the Ryman Auditorium the other night. “Boundaries are for cowards.

Maybe.

Americana Music Conference & Festival Picks

Below you’ll find my picks for the 2012 Americana Music Conference showcases. This was one of the the toughest  years to winnow down the performances I’m going to attend. And I still did a poor job! There is too many great acts playing at the same time. Such an embarrassment of riches!

But there is hope! Unlike the misery of traversing the stages at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass where you’re lucky to catch parts of shows at more than one stage, and or even to make it alive in some cases, the Americana Festival has buses to get us to the venues.

Of course I can’t make all the shows unless am able top perfect that time bending and beer making contraption I’ve been working on (SOON!) but you van catch any of these performances and not go wrong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, September 11

The 5 Spot
$2 TUESDAYS /Twang Nation Social Club –  Hosted by Derek Hoke : feat.Melody WalkerAlanna ,
Royale Joshua Black Wilkins, Marsha & The Martians (Angel Snow & Robby Hecht) Late Night with Los Colones9pm
$2 cover/$2 Yazoo pints #UnofficialAMA

Mercy Lounge
Somebody’s Darling w/ Buffalo Clover – The High Watt #UnofficialAMA
The Billy Block Show featuring Yo Ma Ma, Erica Nicole, Chelle Rose, Allie Farris, Caroline Rose and The Cumberland Collective  #UnofficialAMA

Two Old Hippies 401 12th Ave. South
The Alternate Root Presents a Pre-AMA Triple-Play of Music with Amelia White, Julie Christensen and Tommy  Womack & The Rush To Judgment #UnofficialAMA
Showtime: 6:00-8:00 pm
No Cover ~ Special Treats
615-254-7999

Wednesday, September 12

Puckett’sGrocery, 5th & Church

5pm & 7pm Allen Thompson Band CD Release Party,
Dinner & show before the AMA Awards at 5 . Later show 7 #UnofficialAMA

The Basement
11:00 Blue Mountain
12:00 Shovels and Rope

The Station Inn
11:30 Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson

The Rutledge
10:00 Gretchen Peters
12:00 Delta Rae

Mercy Lounge
10:00 Corb Lund
11:00 This Wheel’s On Fire: A Tribute to Levon Helm

The High Watt
10:30 Whitehorse

Cannery Ballroom
10:00 Star Anna
Thursday, September 13

The Basement
8:00 Lydia Loveless
9:00 Angel Snow
10:00 Sons of Fathers
11:00 The Deep Dark Woods
12:00 Black Lillies

The Station Inn
10:00 Mary Gauthier
11:00 Richard Thompson

Mercy Lounge
8:00 Turnpike Troubadours
9:00 Billy Joe Shaver
10:00 Steve Forbert
11:00 John Fullbright
12:00 Jason Boland & The Stragglers

The High Watt
10:30 Eilen Jewell
11:30 Julie Lee
Cannery Ballroom
8:00 Blue Highway
9:00 Sara Watkins
10:00 Paul Thorn
11:00 Punch Brothers (with a Sara Watkins cameo?)

Friday, September 14

Sheraton Hotel lobby – 623 Union St.
Wanda Jackson
12:30-1:10pm

Amy Black,  Susan Cattaneo, Rose Cousins and Rod Picott
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

The Basement
9:00 American Aquarium
11:00 Chuck Mead and His Grassy Knoll Boys

The Station Inn
8:00 Red June
9:00 Della Mae
10:00 McCrary Sisters
11:00 Steep Canyon Rangers
12:00 Humming House

The Rutledge
8:00 Mandolin Orange
9:00 Mindy Smith
11:00 Belle Starr

Mercy Lounge
8:00 Jimbo Mathus & The Tri-State Coalition
9:00 Holy Ghost Tent Revival
10:00 Dylan LeBlanc
11:00 Darrell Scott
12:00 Reckless Kelly

The High Watt
9:30 Two Gallants

Cannery Ballroom
9:00  Amanda Shires
10:00 Robert Ellis
11:00 John Hiatt

Saturday, September 15

The Basement
9:00 Chastity Brown
11:00 The Pines
12:00 Chris Scruggs

The Station Inn
8:00 Brennen Leigh
9:00 Phoebe Hunt
10:00 Marvin Etzioni
11:00 Rodney Crowell

The Rutledge
8:00 Felicity Urquhart
9:00 The Wood Brothers
10:00 Kevin Gordon
12:00 The Trishas

Mercy Lounge
8:00 Lera Lynn
9:00 honeyhoney
10:00 Tift Merritt
11:00 Buddy Miller & Lee Ann Womack

The High Watt
8:00 Jill Andrews
9:00 Derek Hoke

Jamey Johnson’s Tribute to Country Music Legend Hank Cochran – Oct. 16

No current performer has straddled the music Row and Americana divide as deftly as Jamey Johnson.

His throwback sound, Alabama growl and biker looks appeals to those (like myself) that pine for the days of Waylon and Willie and the boys while his ear for a melody was able to grab the attention of the mainstream country radio and fans with his top 10 hit “In Color.”

Johnson is an unapologetic neo-traditional disciple of country music’s greats. He’s opened for Willie and done George Jones songs in the presence of the man himself. His next effort is to a man that influnced those giants.

On October 16th Johnson will be joined by Willie and many others on his new album, Buddy Cannon-produced Livin’ For a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran. (vinyl beginning Sept. 25.)

Cochran, who died at age 74 in 2010, is considered one of the greatest songwriters in the history of country music. He helped evolve the perfect country template established by Hank Williams a generation earlier. 
 
“If I had to dream up somebody like Hank to influence songwriters, I couldn’t have done a better job,” Johnson says. “That’s what he was– not just for me, but for Willie and for a lot of people–just a helpful friend. If he knew you needed help with something, he could help you. He was there. And that’s what I want to be for the people in my life, same as Hank. He influenced me, not only as an artist and songwriter, but also as a person.”

Cochran’s songs transcended the country genre to become American standards (a practice closely studied by Willie) his catalog includes “I Fall to Pieces,” “She’s Got You,” “Make the World Go Away,” “The Chair,’ “Set ‘Em Up Joe” which Johnson covered on 1010’s The Guitar Song. His songs have been recorded by artists including Eddy  Arnold, Patsy Cline, George Jones, George Strait, Elvis Presley, Elvis Costello, Ray Price, Ronnie Milsap, Jim Reeves and many others. 

Recording a collection of Hank Cochran tunes in a pop-country saturated industry takes guts, and truly reflects the original Outlaw spirit the hat acts on the radio brag having.  When it came time to take the next step in his recording career, he listened to his heart and decided to embark on a labor of love. In a daring career move that is consistent with Johnson’s penchant for bucking conventional industry wisdom to create a unique path, he decided to devote his time and creative efforts to honoring his late friend and celebrate traditional country music.

Besides having a professional affinity to Cochran he also has a personal one. “Shortly after he first met Jamey, Hank was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer,” says his widow, Suzi Cochran. “So for the two years he lived after that, Jamey would get off the road and pull his bus right up to the hospital, run up and see Hank and raise Hank’s spirits. The last time Jamey saw Hank was the night before Hank died.” Johnson joined Buddy Cannon and Billy Ray Cyrus at Cochran’s bedside as they handed the guitar back and forth while singing Cochran’s songs. Cochran died about six hours later.

“Hank adored Jamey,” Suzi Cochran says. “Hank loved Jamey. Jamey was a constant in the last chapter of Hank’s life.
 
“This is incredible,” she says of the tribute album. “I wish Hank had been here to see it. He wouldn’t believe it. He would have cried. He’d be happy. It’s exactly like Hank would have done it.”

I am really looking forward to hearing this release and look forward to hearing classic from it live when Johnson joins Willie Nelson and The Band of Horses on the Railroad Revival Tour 2012.

Track listing:
 
1. “Make the World Go Away” – Jamey Johnson and Alison Krauss
2. “I Fall to Pieces” – Jamey Johnson and Merle Haggard
3. “A Way to Survive” – Jamey Johnson, Vince Gill and Leon Russell
4. “Don’t Touch Me” – Jamey Johnson and Emmylou Harris
5. “You Wouldn’t Know Love” – Jamey Johnson and Ray Price
6. “I Don’t Do Windows” – Jamey Johnson and Asleep at the Wheel
7. “She’ll Be Back” – Jamey Johnson and Elvis Costello
8. “Would These Arms Be in Your Way” – Jamey Johnson
9. “The Eagle” – Jamey Johnson and George Strait
10. “A-11” – Jamey Johnson and Ronnie Dunn
11. “I’d Fight the World” – Jamey Johnson and Bobby Bare
12. “Don’t You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me” – Jamey Johnson and Willie Nelson
13. “This Ain’t My First Rodeo” – Jamey Johnson and Lee Ann Womack
14. “Love Makes a Fool of Us All” – Jamey Johnson and Kris Kristofferson
15. “Everything But You” – Jamey Johnson, Vince Gill, Willie Nelson and Leon Russell
16. “Livin’ for a Song” – Jamey Johnson, Hank Cochran, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson

Festival News: MusicFest Lineup (so far)

Add this to your awesome festivals to attend list! The annul MusicFest (now approaching its 25th year) features some of the finest Americana and roots music to the world-class ski resort of Steamboat, Colorado for 6 days (January 4-11th) of snowy fun. Performers already booked for the next MusicFest are: Robert Earl Keen, Randy Rogers Band, Band of Heathens, Reckless Kelly, Charlie Robison, Kevin Welch, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Lee Ann Womack, Jamie Wilson, Todd Snider, Jason Eady and The Wayward Apostles, Billy Joe Shaver, Matt Skinner, Jack Ingram, Dean Dillion, Bonnie Bishop, Chris Knight, Walt Wilkins, Midnight River Choir, Jonathan Tyler and The Northern Lights, Kevin Fowler, Modern Day Drifters, Hayes Carll, Ben Smith, Jason Boland and The Stragglers, Josh Abbott, Cory Morrow, Ray Wylie Hubbard, The Trishas, Wade Bowen, The Doug Moreland Show, Stoney LaRue, Tina Wilkins, Roger Creager, Lucas Hubbard, Sean McConnell, Johnny and The Footlights…and more on the way!

Lost Highway to Release Willie Nelson Compilation

  • Chet Flippo over at CMT’s Nashville Skyline and Miss Leslie at the 9513.com 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. SPINearth.tv (SPIN Magazine’s new global music site) recently published an exclusive photo collection from the DVD taping of the show.

Buddy Miller Recovering After Heart Surgery

Buddy Miller, one of Nashville’s most prolific singers, songwriters, guitarists, recording artists and producers suffered a heart attack in Baltimore, Md., on Thursday, Feb. 19. He was on tour with Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin and Shawn Colvin; the tour is dubbed “3 Girls And Their Buddy.”

Miller, 56, was taken to John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, and he underwent a triple-bypass heart surgery on Friday, Feb. 20. The surgery was successful, and Miller will likely be recovering in Baltimore for several weeks.

Named the “Artist of the Decade” by No Depression magazine, Miller has written songs that have been recorded by the Dixie Chicks, Lee Ann Womack, Brooks & Dunn and others. He is a veteran of Harris’ Spyboy band, and in the past year he has been touring as a featured instrumentalist in Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ band. He has produced albums for Solomon Burke, Allison Moorer, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and others. Miller has lately been producing a new album for Patty Griffin. He has been called “the best country singer” alive by Steve Earle.

Miller is married to Nashville singer-songwriter Julie Miller, and the pair have a duo album coming out on New West Records on March 3. (source: tennessean.com) Update: Word is that Miller didn’t actually have a heart attack, but was experiencing chest pains when he was taken to the hospital.

Buddy Miller – Written in Chalk

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4b7ECl81uc[/youtube]

Happy Birthday Dale Watson!!

First off –  Happy Birthday Dale Watson! Bubba you’re the Deal Deal!

The Villiage Voice has some choice (and funny) words about the new Lee Ann Womack release “Call Me Crazy.” “PowerPoint presentation in Music Row Pandering 10…” Ha!

Chris Parton over at the CMT blog has a brief, but still cool, observation of the Nashville Hank III show.

It seems that Willie Nelson has asked the King of Country Western Troubadours Unknown Hinson and Billy Bob Thorton’s band The Boxmasters to open some shows for him starting November 21 and ending around December 9. This should be a great show so get out therre and see it if you can. On a releated note Unknown Hinson and the Boxmasters will be  crashing on Regis and Kelly on oct 17. Damn, I wasn’t ware those boys could get up that early!

Dale Watson – Country My Ass

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