Todd Snider on ESPN’s The Life! this Wednesday

ESPN’s The Life!will feature a Q&A with Todd Snider this Wednesday April 15th. Snider will be taking questions about his upcoming new album and his song “America’s Favorite Pastime” which is featured on “The Homerun EP,” a collection of baseball songs by Yep Roc Records artists.

Snider wrote “America’s Favorite Pastime” about former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis who hurled a no-hitter in 1970 despite, by his own admission, being under the influence of the drug LSD. The song is one of five baseball-themed tunes to appear on “The Homerun EP” which will be available starting April 14 via


Todd Snider and Sara Watkins Ready New Releases

  • Paste Magazine used to trend more toward No Depression Americana coverage than Spin-style indy-pop coverage that they’ve moved toward over the last couple of years. This may explain what they’re still in print and No Depression isn’t. But Paste has not forsaken the twang altogether.  Paste’s  Andy Whitman does a round-up of three releases to check out – The Believers — Lucky You, Dallas’ The Von Ehrics — Loaded and Jason Heath and the Greedy Souls – The Vain Hope of Horse.
  • REM made a surprise appearance at a Carnegie Hall tribute show last night featuring Calexico, Bob Mould, Rhett Miller, Vic Chesnutt And Elf Power, Dar Williams, olie Holland, Patti Smith and Darius Rucker (!)
  • New-Grass supergroup Nickel Creek’s singer-songwriter and fiddler Sara Watkins is preparing self-titled debut of  songs penned during her time spent in L.A. Watkins’ self-titled solo debut features a wide range of collaborators for its 14 tracks, among them Elvis Costello drummer Pete Thomas, Tom Petty keyboardist Benmont Tench, Gillian Welch and Davod Rawlings, as well as her old NC bandmates Thile and Watkins. Led Zep’s John Paul Jones (who beat his bandmate Plant down the Americana path when he produced Uncle Earl’s 2007 Waterloo, TN) produced the album in studio sessions in L.A. and Nashville. Sara Watkins hits stores April 7 on Nonesuch, with a national tour to follow. Nickel Creek went on “indefinite hiatus” in 2007.
  • More Tod Snider news: Snider’s new release The Excitement Plan (out June 9th on Yep Roc) and will feature Grammy-winning producer Don Was (Bob Dyan, Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt) and  a guest appearance by Loretta Lynn. ‘The Excitement Plan’ is “an old gypsy term” Snider adopted from his father. He explains, “I know right now that times are hard for all of us and that new songs from a folk singer are not at the top of so many grocery lists but these twelve songs are different. These twelve songs can be part of your solution. Just give them a chance. Take them in. Use ’em to help you appreciate your girl if you still got one, and/or your job if you still got one. Trust them, trust me and I promise you as god is my witness sometime here in the next sixty to ninety days we will be layin ’em in the sweet peas.”

6. CORPUS CHRISTI BAY [by Robert Earl Keen]
10. DON’T TEMPT ME featuring Loretta Lynn

Snider will tour throughout the spring with highlights including June 11th at NYC’s The Bowery Ballroom (tickets on sale now), and his first performance at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival June 14th.

Chris Morris Returns with Hillbilly Deluxe

  •’s Jimmy Patterson  looks over the life of country music legend Waylon Jennings as a catalyst that changed the genre forever.
  • Chris Morris, the programmer for the defunct 103.1 country, blues, roots program “Watusi Rodeo,” has found a new venue online with  “Hillbilly Deluxe” on Scion Radio 17’s Web site.  The three-hour show streams continuously, so drop in and take a listen. There will be a new show posted every month. Great luck with the show Chris!
  • Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival has announce the initial lineup for the eighth annual 2009 four-day camping and music festival held on June 11 – 14 on a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee, 60 miles south of Nashville.  Some of the country and roots artist to perform are Wilco, Andrew Bird, Merle Haggard, The Del McCoury Band, Lucinda Williams, Neko Case, Jenny Lewis, Robert Earl Keen, Tift Merritt, Mike Farris , Todd Snider and The SteelDrivers.

Son Volt live at Bonnaroo 2006: Windfall


Loretta Lynn Plays the Opry this Weekend

Country Music legend and Country Music Hall of Famer Loretta Lynn takes time off her busy touring schedule and -  recording new songs with Elvis Costello, Todd Snider and others, for a possible 2009 release – to spend this weekend performing on the Grand Ole Opry, where she has been a member since 1962.  (The Tennessean)

And speaking of Country Music legends, Dolly Parton has been slated to be inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall Of Fame. The ceremony will take place at Nashville’s Richland Country Club on Feb. 2.  Dolly has most recently been involved in a three-CD project titled This Is America that features her among 56 artists and songwriters who’ve recorded songs that tell the story of the United States. (GAC)

Alison Bonaguro over at the CMT bog asks “When Is It Too Soon to Cover a Country Song?”

No Depression’s Kurt B. Reighley reviews a book on classic country photos Pure Country: The Leon Kagarise Archives, 1961-1971 which conatins candid shots of June Carter, Kitty Wells, Skeeter Davis, Bill Monroe, the Louvin Brothers, Porter and Dolly, Jim Reeves, Jeannie C. Riley, Ray Price and many more as they stppoed by to play in Rising Sun, Maryland, and West Grove, Pennsylvania. Looks like a must have to me!

Hank III’s New Album Gets a Release Date

  • I’ve heard it said, and agree, that and Americana is country music for liberals. Todd Snider is once again reinforcing that idea for me. “Peace Queer” is the name of the new Snider’s new release and it is being touted as “his most political record yet.” You can hear the first track off the album “Mission Accomplished.”
  • has posted some tasty cuts from Chris Knight’s upcoming album, Heart of Stone (8/19.)
  • Hank III’s site has posted release date for his upcoming release “Damn Right & Rebel Proud” – October 21, 2008 From the III site: The album is again self produced and will shake the guns right offa your rack!  The first single will be “Long Hauls and Close Calls” – for which a video has also been produced that is full of muddin’, truckin’ and gunnin’! We thank our dysfunctional family for all of its support and patience in the release of this album.  Always get comfortable here, and the official Myspace site for all the news you really need.


The Grand Ole Opry Ain’t So Grand / Wild & Free / Me and My Friends /6 Pack of Beer / I Wish I Knew / If You         Can’t Help Your Own /Candidate for Suicide / H8 Line / Long Hauls and Close Calls / Stoned and Alone / P.F.F. / 3  Shades of Black / Workin Man

Lyle Lovett To Perform and Recieve Special Award at Americana Honors and Awards Show

NASHVILLE, October 1, 2007 – Artist Lyle Lovett will receive the Americana Music Association’s inaugural Trailblazer Award and perform at the organization’s 2007 Honors and Awards show, slated for November 1 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN. To further delve into all things Lyle, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will also sponsor a keynote interview with Lovett the following day, Friday, November 2, during the Americana Music Association’s annual conference.

Dr. Warren Zanes, Education Advisor to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, will moderate the in-depth discussion with Lovett. Scheduled for 11am at the Nashville Convention center, this rare glimpse into the creative process of one of contemporary music’s most fructuous minds is open to conference registrants only.

Established to recognize true musical pioneers, the Americana Trailblazer Award seeks to honor those emboldened artists who create timeless musical capsules of individualistic style and purpose. A connoisseur and catalyst of fine music, Lyle Lovett embodies the term genre-bending. Three decades of the Texas native’s sui generis gospel-roots-jazz-swing concoction have been well-documented by eleven albums, four Grammy’s and a distinct voice both as a songwriter and vocal stylist. Lovett’s newest offering, It’s Not Big It’s Large, offers more literary song gumbo.

“It’s an honor to be part of the Americana Honors & Awards tribute to Lyle Lovett,” said Terry Stewart, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. “The social soundtrack that Lyle continues to create makes us proud to be working with the Americana Music Association in our shared mission of celebrating modern music and the great artists who create it.”

“Lyle Lovett’s designation as the first recipient of the Trailblazer Award really sets the tone for the honor itself,” said Americana Music Association Executive Director Jed Hilly. “We at the AMA are consistently thrilled by the caliber of artist we represent and applaud. Lyle Lovett naturally falls into that elite fold.”

Lovett rounds out the nonpareil lineup of artists scheduled to perform during the 8th annual Americana Awards and Honors ceremony. Emmylou Harris, Guy Clark, Darrell Scott, Joe Ely, Ricky Skaggs, Bruce Hornsby, Todd Snider, Gurf Morlix, The Avett Brothers, Sunny Sweeney, Old Crow Medicine Show, Hacienda Brothers and Elizabeth Cook will all take the stage. Hosted by Jim Lauderdale and featuring a band led by Buddy Miller, the event will also toast winners in six member-voted categories: Album, Artist, Instrumentalist, New and Emerging Artist, Song and Duo/Group of the Year. The AMA will also recognize beloved beatnik Joe Ely with the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Performance category. Venerable scribe Guy Clark will accept the AMA President’s award on behalf of his friend, Townes Van Zandt. Clark’s performance will pay tribute to the late Van Zandt, whose unparalleled influence touches the upper echelon of song.

Slated for Wednesday, October 31 through Saturday, November 3, the 8th Annual Americana Festival and Conference will offer daily seminars, panels and networking opportunities at the Nashville Convention Center. Each evening brings stacked Americana showcases to key venues throughout Nashville.

Lyle Lovett – That’s Right You’re Not From Texas


CMA / AMA Best Artists – My View

So the Country Music Association and the Americana Music Association have recently released their nominees list for their respective awards and in an attempt to figure what passes for country music nowadays and what the heck “Americana” means I am going to compare a category they share…sort of.

CMA Entertainer of the Year
Kenny Chesney
Brad Paisley
Rascal Flatts
George Strait
Keith Urban

CMA Male Vocalist of the Year
Kenny Chesney
Brad Paisley
George Strait
Josh Turner
Keith Urban

CMA Female Vocalist of the Year
Alison Krauss
Miranda Lambert
Martina McBride
Reba McEntire
Carrie Underwood

AMA Artist of the Year
Joe Ely
Lucinda Williams
Patty Griffin
Todd Snider

Being good, progressive minded folk the Americana place the boys and the girls in one “artist” category. The CMA naturally plays it like a broken record with Chesney and Rascal Flatts nominated for the millionth time. I have a question, to qualify for EOTY shouldn’t you be entertaining? And I don’t mean in a comedic sense. And what is the difference between “Entertainer of the year” and Vocalist of the year” I mean all the nominees are vocalists,that’s what they do to entertain, sing. Is the CMA rewarding acrobatics, ripped biceps and hair gel as a separate category?

I like George Strait and think his 07 release “It Just Comes Natural” is good but not great. I like Brad Paisley somewhat but think he’s choosing the corn-ball and schmaltz cuts that are beneath him and his fine guitar playing to chase the dollar. I think Miranda Lambert is the best thing to happen to country in a long time and she has the good sense to cover excellent songwriters like Gillian Welsh. Alison Krauss is the one crossover artist here but she had to soften her bluegrass roots and get a make-over to get acceptance by the CMA crowd. Britney 2…er..I mean Carrie Underwood has the pipes but not the soul or courage to be interseting.

Joe Ely is a Texas legend and should when in any category he’s in. And even though I love Lucinda, I think “West” was a weak effort and shows that moving to L.A. will kill even a dignified soul.

I will use the CMA boy/girl dichotomy and ignore the useless EOTY category and play nice and not add other deserving artists like Elizabeth Cook and Wayne Hancock into the mix, and say:

Male Artist of the Year: Joe Ely

Female Artist of the Year: Miranda Lambert