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.

News Round Up: New Releases by John Prine, Johnny Cash Art Collective

  • In true DIY fashion The Johnny Cash Project is a “global collective art project” that allows fans from all over the world to contribute to a arrogated, user-generated video for the title track from the latest Johnny Cash recording American VI: Ain’t No Grave. The single images are then threaded together into a one-of-a-kind labor of love. I only wish the Man in Black has lived to see this.
  • John Prine fans are about to hit pay-dirt. On May 25th, 2010, Oh Boy Records (founded in 1981 by Prine and manager Al Bunetta) will release the live In Person & On Stage, which will draw from performances spanning the past several years and covering songs from as far back as Prine’s 1971 debut and as recently as 2005’s acclaimed Fair & Square. Then Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine will be released on on June 22nd (Oh Boy) and will feature Prine compositions interpreted by devotees such as My Morning Jacket, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, The Avett Brothers, Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band, Old Crow Medicine Show, Lambchop, Drive-By Truckers, Deer Tick featuring Liz Isenberg, Justin Townes Earle, Those Darlins, and, reprising their respective tracks from In Person & On Stage, Nickel Creek’s Sara Watkins and Josh Ritter. Oh Boy will begin a pre-sale for In Person & On Stage on April 20thand for Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows on April 27th at www.musicfansdirect.com.
  • The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has announced it will pay tribute to the legendary Tammy Wynette with an exhibit titled Tammy Wynette: First Lady of Country Music. Presented by Great American Country (GAC) the exhibit will open in the Museum’s East Gallery on August 20, 2010, and run through June 2011.
  • More news from the The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. An upgrade to the Hall’s core collection, Sing Me Back Home: A Journey Through Country Music, are expected to be completed next month. The updates, which focus on country music’s last five decades, will bring the story of country music forward in time and conclude with a glimpse of the future. They will highlight the country-rock, pop-country, southern rock, full-strength classic country and the “Urban Cowboy” craze. The upgrade includes new oversized portraits, video clips and artifacts such as Dolly Parton’s handwritten lyrics to Jolene, Tom T. Hall’s acoustic guitar he purchased from songwriter Merle Kilgore, and items from Ronnie Milsap, Kenny Rogers, Mel Tillis, and Tanya Tucker. Other updates focus on the mid-1980s arrival of artists like Dwight Yoakam, Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell, Randy Travis and Steve Earle. New exhibits celebrate contemporary bluegrass and Americana artists, ranging from Alison Krauss and Del McCoury to Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale.

News Round Up: Willie Twitters & A New Langhorne Slim Download

  • 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.

The New York Times on Those Darlins

  • The New York Times posts a great review of the riot grrrl-trad country group Those Darlins show at the lower East-Side’s Mercury Lounge.
  • Willie Nelson’s Facebook page is posting hints where this year’s Farm Aid will be held. So far we have:  The city for this year’s concert has a professional sports team named after an animal,  the concert will be in a state that is in the top 12 for number of farms  and it will be in a city & state where Farm Aid where Farm Aid has never been held.
  • Speaking of the Texas Yoda – Head over to Texas Music Matter to listen to Amazing Grace: The Willie Nelson Story – a winner of two National Headliners Awards including this year’s Grand Prize for Radio. Nearly a year in the making, the program features rare music plus interviews with, among others, Kris Kristofferson, Norah Jones, John Mellencamp, Ray Price, biographer Joe Nick Patoski, Willie’s best friend and closest confidante (his sister, Bobbie), and the Yoda  himself.
  • Country music legend (and daughter of country music legend Mel Tillis) Pam Tillis talks to the Vancouver Sun about the state of country music.

Album Review – Gretchen Peters With Tom Russell – One to the Heart, One to the Head (Scarlet Letter Records)/Buddy and Julie Miller – Written In Chalk (New West)

These days duets are more like joint corporate sponsorships than a simpatico union of the heart and mind through song. Great male and female collaborations transcend their individual craft and emerge with something altogether new and remarkable. Kitty Wells and Red Foley, Ferlin Husky and Jean Shepard, George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Johnny and June – they made music that was more than the sum of their already amazing parts.

The Americana world seems to be coming into its own in the duet field. What arguably began with Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris got a real boost with 2005’s Begonias featuring Whiskeytown and Tres Chicas’ Caitlin Cary and her friend singer/songwriter Thad Cockrell. 2007 saw Robert Plant, Alison Krauss and T. Bone Burnett’s  Raising Sand set a standard for craft as well as sales. Now 2009 has already endowed us with two dazzling releases that build handily on this legacy.

Gretchen Peters is no stranger to the world of Nashville songwriting. Her songs have been recorded by Trisha Yearwood, Pam Tillis, George Strait, Martina McBride, and Patty Loveless who was nominated for a 1996 song of the year Grammy for Peters’ “You Don’t Even Know Who I Am.” for such a prolific songwriter it’s surprising that her seventh solo album, One To The Heart, One To The Head is a covers album. On it she partners with L.A. native, El Paso resident and Renaissance man Tom Russell who penned one song, Guadalupe, co-produced and painted the album cover image of what looks like a stylized dead horse. Russell knows his way around songwriting, his songs have been covered by Johnny Cash, Nanci Griffith, Dave Alvin and Suzy Bogguss as well as 16 solo releases. These are two heavyweights and they bring their considerable collective talents to bare on a great release.

OTTH,OTTH is referred to as a “western album” which Peters tapped into her earlier life in Boulder, Colorado to draw inspiration. The instrumental opener North Platte does set a western landscape with a Elmer Bernstein or Jerome Moross sense of expanse as well as gravity. The landscape contracts just a bit for the stark and beautiful Prairie In The Sky which beautifully highlights Peter’s shimmering trill as she floats over cello and piano accompaniment. Bob Dylan’s Billy 4, from the soundtrack to Sam Peckinpah’s film Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid, gets a serious borderlands infusion with Joel Guzman’s extraordinary Conjunto-style accordion and Russell bringing his silky-graveled voice counter to Peters’.

Tom Dundee’s tale of cultural isolation shines as the classic country sound of These Cowboys Born Out Of Their Time and with Russell’s end of the road lament Guadalupe woe never sounded so good. The accordion and barrel house piano that kicks off Bonnie Raitt’s tequila fueled barroom sing-along Sweet & Shiny Eyes sets just the right cantina vibe. It takes guts to cover a Townes Van Zandt song and Snowin’ on Raton is done with delicate beauty and  a proper sense of deference. If I Had a Gun furnishes this album with its title. “If I had a gun you’d be dead. One to the heart, one to the head. If I had a gun I’d wipe it clean, my fingerprints off on these sheets. They’d bury you in the cold hard ground, fist full of dirt would hold you down. They’d bury you in the cold hard ground, it’d be the first night I sleep sound.” Peckinpah would be proud.

Gretchen Peters Site | Tom Russell Site | Buy

Buddy Miller was featured on the cover of the No Depression’s final issue last year. The bible of alt.country/Roots/Americana declared Miller the Americana journeyman the Artist of the Decade and it’s hard to argue he’s not. On top of his great solo work Miller played lead guitar and provided backing vocals for Emmylou Harris’s Spyboy band, performed with Steve Earle on his El Corazon tour, performed on Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s 2000 album Endless Night and appeared on several albums by songwriter/singer Lucinda Williams. Most recently Miller has been busy performing lead guitar and backing vocal duties for Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ Raising Sand touring band. Julie, his wife of over 20 years, is no slouch either with six solo albums, and three collaborating with Buddy, under her belt. Her songs have been covered by Dixie Chicks, Linda Ronstadt, Lee Ann Womack, Emmylou Harris, Julie Roberts and others.

But as prolific as they are Written In Chalk is their only their third collaboration in their first over six years, and though both Buddy and Julie share vocal duties the real magic comes when Julie’s lyrics are swathed in her world-weary angel vocals and complemented by Buddy’s chameleon-like guitar picking that’s been hewed by years of studio sessions.

Buddy and Julie collaborated on Wide River which was later recorded by Levon Helm and the superb album opener Ellis County, a song aching for the good old/hard days, is cut from the same Steinbeckian gingham. Robert Plant described Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On) from Raising Sand as “shimmy music” and Gasoline And Matches has the same vibe, swamp mud guitars and bad ass drums. Julie winsomely sings Don’t Say Goodbye which features Patty Griffin who has the good sense to lend only a supporting role to Julie’s already elegant voice.

Robert Plant lends restrained support for Buddy in a backwoods rendition of Mel Tillis’ What You Gonna Do Leroy which is reported to have been recorded in a dressing room at Toronto’s Molson Amphitheatre during the Raising Sand tour. The song sounds like the source material for a thousand rock songs not least of all Eddie Cochran’s Summertime Blues. A Long, Long Time exquisitely shows off Julie’s  smoky jazz side and Patty Griffen makes an appearance on the excellent cut Chalk. As good as she is Griffen is she seems superfluous when you have Julie Miller at your disposal. Hush, Sorrow is a pensive beauty with Buddy accomapnied by Regina McCrary. Agian I say, when you have Julie Miller….

Smooth is another “shimmy” style swampy rocker with Buddy and Julie sharing vocals. Julie show up on another delicate beauty with June which was written and recorded as a tribute the day June Carter Cash died. The song is justly somber and celebratory. The Selfishness Of Man is a slow motion testament on hope featuring Emmylou Harris. I love Emmylou but my earlier comments on Patty Griffin’s appearances still apply. Julie would have been a better choice.

Buddy & Julie Miller Site | Buy

John Doe and The Sadies Collaborate for Country Club

From JamBase – John Doe (X, The Knitters) and The Sadies join forces for Country Club, an album of classic country covers and originals due out April 14, 2009 on Yep Roc Records.

“Country Club is the result of a drunken promise or threat I made to Travis and Dallas [Good, of The Sadies] the first night we played together in Toronto. These happen all the time but it’s rare that anyone remembers them the morning after, let alone follows through and makes it a reality. I’m really glad we did,” says Doe.

By including varying yet equally beloved movements within the country music pantheon, Doe and The Sadies were able to cover their heroes while filtering the pop sensibilities of ’60s Nashville through the electric honky tonk of Bakersfield, CA.

“We’re not sure why it sounds like it’s from the sixties. Maybe that’s our favorite era of country music or maybe that’s what we listened to when we first learned how to play it,” remarks Doe. “But what was called ‘Countrypolitan’ always seemed one of the coolest hybrids of country music. But we agreed quickly and completely that there were going to be no string sections, horns or choirs. Bakersfield vs. Nashville was never a dispute . . . Bakersfield!” Dallas Good of The Sadies continues, “The songs chosen were very ambitious, and while we haven’t re-invented the wheel we have created a cohesiveness between several hit country & western singles and our own styles.”

Country Club also features guest turns from D.J. Bonebrake, Kathleen Edwards, Eric Heywood and more.

Tracklist & Credits:

1. Stop the World and Let Me Off
Songwriter: Carl Belew
Made famous by: Waylon Jennings

2. Husbands and Wives
Songwriter: Roger Miller

3. ‘Til I Get It Right
Songwriters: Red Lane, Larry Henley
Made famous by: Tammy Wynette

4. It Just Dawned on Me
Songwriters: Exene Cervenka, John Doe

5. (Now and Then) There’s a Fool Such as I
Songwriter: William Marvin Trader
Made famous by: Hank Snow

6. The Night Life
Songwriters: Paul F. Buskirk, Walter M. Breeland, Willie Nelson
Made famous by: Ray Price

7. The Sudbury Nickel
Songwriters: The Sadies

8. Before I Wake
Songwriters: The Sadies

9. I Still Miss Someone
Songwriters: Johnny Cash, Roy Cash Jr.

10. The Cold Hard Facts of Life
Songwriter: Bill Anderson
Made famous by: Porter Wagoner

11. Take These Chains from My Heart
Songwriter: Fred Rose, Hy Heath
Made famous by: Hank Williams

12. Help Me Make It Through the Night
Songwriter: Kris Kristofferson

13. Are the Good Times Really Over for Good
Songwriter: Merle Haggard

14. Detroit City
Songwriters: Danny Dill, Mel Tillis
Made famous by: Bobby Bare

15. Pink Mountain Rag
Songwriters: The Sadies

The Sadies – Flash

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcfd1kFmsqE[/youtube]

Paul Westerberg Offers to Pen Songs For Glen Campbell

  • According to the Guardian and Paste Magazine it appears that Paul Westerberg, former lead singer, rhythm guitarist, and songwriter of alt-rock band The Replacements, wants to be Glen Campbell’s “next Jimmy Webb.” Webb penned 70’s pop hits like “Up, Up, and Away” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” for Campbell. Those are reported to be the words Westerberg used when requesting his manager to make arrangements to write songs for Campbell’s upcoming album after discovering that Campbell covered the Minnesota band’s “Sadly Beautiful”on Campbell’s latest release Meet Glen Campbell.
  • With a long career as a cracker-jack guitarist and co-hosting the hit country variety show Hee Haw with his friend Buck Owens Roy Clark is not resting on his laurals and will be hitting the road with another old friend, Mel Tillis, for a string of upcoming tour dates.

Vince Gill, Mel Tillis and Ralph Emery to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame – October

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Reuters) – Country music star Vince Gill, singer-songwriter Mel Tillis and TV personality  Ralph Emery will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in October, an industry group said on Tuesday.

The three were introduced at a Country Music Association ceremony by stars Brenda Lee, Barbara Mandrell and others, who celebrated Tillis’ upcoming 75th birthday with a giant cake.

The trio will be inducted during the annual CMA Awards Show in October.

Gill, 50, has sold more than 22 million albums, earned 18 CMA awards and won 18 Grammy awards. Last year he released a four-disc set featuring guest performances by Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow and others.

Tillis, who struggled with a stuttering problem, wrote numerous hits for himself and others, including “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town.”

Tillis’ acting gigs included appearances in the “Cannonball Run” movies and a few episodes of “The Love Boat.”

Emery, 74, launched his career in 1957 as a late-night disc jockey on WSM Nashville radio. He became an announcer on the Grand Ole Opry and starred on The Nashville Network on a show that drew guests like former President George H.W. Bush and actor Mickey Rooney.