News Round Up: Levon Helm Documentary Coming to SXSW

  • The will of the late singer/songwriter Stephen Bruton, is being contested by his possibly estranged widow. Bruton provided the inspiration for the Crazy Heart character Bad Blake played by Jeff Bridges and worked with T. Bone Burnett on the movie’s soundtrack in his days of fighting cancer.
  • And for more in Crazy Heart news, the good folks at the have a great interview with Ryan Bingham. Bingham. reflects on his Golden Globe winning and Academy Award nominated song The Weary Kind.
  • PopMatters debuts a new monthly country music column, Kickin’ Up Dust. First up? Willie Nelson!
  • The CMT blog has a nice run down of early 2010 Americana releases. Looks to be another bumper year!
  • Speaking of great 2010 releases, seminal 80’s cowpunk band, and the 2008 Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Jason and the Scorchers will release their first album in 14 years. Halcyon Times will be released in February 2010 and was co-produced by Scorcher member Warner E. Hodges and Brad Jones, and features guest contributions from Dan Baird and Tommy Womack.

News Round Up: T Bone Burnett Discusses Crazy Heart Collaboration with Stephen Bruton

  • The Country Music Museum and Hall of Fame plans to update their main exhibit space to devote an area to Americana and contemporary bluegrass music. The new exhibit will feature artifacts from Alison Krauss, Jim Lauderdale, Dell McCoury and Buddy Miller. Also to be included  in the the second floor gallery’s theatre (in front of the Hee Haw exhibit)  a new video exhibit will be featured showing about how topical events and social political issues are reflected and country music. The exhibit will feature examples like Merle Haggard’s “The Fightin’ Side of Me,” Loretta Lynn’s “The Pill,” the Dixie Chicks’ “Goodbye Earl,” and Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red White and Blue (The Angry American).”
  • For that Americana rock lover you need a gift for Billy Reid has offers a hand-made and -finished wooden box from Ross LeBlanc containing rare t-shirts inspired by the roots artists Old Crow Medicine Show, Justin Townes Earle, Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, and the Drive-by Truckers, and also includes a DVD of Old Crow Medicine Show’s live performance at the Tennessee Theater.
  • T Bone Burnett discusses his personal story of singer/songwriter Stephen Bruton. Thier collaboration and friendship led to the music selections for the upcoming Jeff Bridge’s movie about a down but not quite out country singer Crazy Heart. Burnett also mentions upcoming production duties with Jakob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Gregg Allman, Robert Randolph and John Mellencamp, and overseeing an all-star recording of music written by Mellencamp and horror-writer, and Americana music fan, Stephen King for “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County,” a play with music. And then there’s “Tough Trade,” a new series about three generations of country music stars, for which he’s serving as executive music producer. It’s set to premiere next year for EPIX, Viacom’s new multiplatform entertainment service. (LA Times)
  • Paramount Pictures has begun an open casting call to find a Caucasian girl between the ages of 12 and 16 to play the lead role of Mattie Ross in the upcoming Joel and Ethan Coen’s remake of True Grit. (Cowboys and Indians blog)

RIP Stephen Bruton

  • The fine folks at the 9513 brought to my attention the sorry news that Kris Kristofferson’s longtime guitarist Stephen Bruton has succumbed to throat cancer.
  • Country music legends Charley Pride and Marty Stuart and bluesman Pinetop Perkins will headline the third annual Mississippi Grammy gala.
  • Recycle your cell phones to support Nuci’s Space and get free merch coupons from the Drive-By Truckers official Store!
  • The New York Times has a piece on Steve Earle and his course in recording his trubute to his mentor Texas singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt.