One of the most important and influential steel guitar players in the history of country music has died. Buddy Emmons, known as the “The World’s Foremost Steel Guitarist” passed away Wednesday evening (7-29) according to reports. He was 78-years-old.
A popular local eatery, and an internationally-important music venue was vandalized Tuesday night (7-28) in Bayport, Minnesota, just east of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Along with serving award-winning barbecue (the restaurant was recently visited by Guy Fieri for feature on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives) it is one of the last remaining Deep Blues music venues in the world.
It has felt like a long, cold, never-ending Canadian winter since we last heard new music from Alberta-based country music artist Corb Lund. But like the chutes of green that come peaking out of the thawing tundra in a welcomed and well-deserved spring, the Canadian country star has put us on high alert that a new record is imminent, and it will be produced by the award-winning Dave Cobb.
On Saturday, July 25th, Kenny Chesney’s Big Revival Tour and Jason Aldean’s Burn It Down Tour merged at the historic Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA for one epic show. As a performer who has played numerous stadiums in his career, Kenny said finally getting the opportunity to play the Rose Bowl was a dream come true. However for one attendee, the experience became a nightmare.
Along with his multiple Americana Music Awards, and many accolades from critics declaring him one of the best songwriters of this generation, Jason Isbell is now the owner of the #1 album in all of country music according to Billboard. Isbell’s album Something More Than Free—released by Isbell’s Southeastern Records via Thirty Tigers—pulled off a last-minute rally to best Alan Jackson’s latest.
While tabloids continue to seize on every last speculative detail of the divorce between A-list country stars Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, serious new concerns about the legalities of how the divorce was handled by the State of Oklahoma have been raised, and if the celebrity couple benefited from preferential treatment from the judge who filed the paperwork.
Remember the curious news of how Korn frontman Jonathan Davis was working on some sort of country project, and was in the studio with Big & Rich trying to hone in on the “Bakersfield” sound? Well now the story has turned even more strange. Though we still don’t have any solid details on exactly what Jonathan Davis is working on, apparently Marilyn Manson is also on board…
Daron Norwood, the singer of mid-90’s Top 40 hits such as “Cowboys Don’t Cry” and “If It Wasn’t for Her, I Wouldn’t Have You,” has died according to police in Hereford, TX, just west of Amarillo in the Texas panhandle. He was discovered by his landlord who had come by to check on him. No cause of death has been determined.
32-year-old Owen Mays, known as the staunch country traditionalist of the underground country and roots movement, has died. Known for his blistering and honest songwriting, he reportedly passed away in his sleep in the early Wednesday morning hours (7-22). Owen was born and raised in south central Wisconsin in the small town of Cambria where he began playing guitar at the age of 16.
There’s been a Clint Black sighting! And there’s been a Clint Black signing! And now one of the lost artists of country music’s famed “Class of ’89” is back in the saddle, and one of the most forward-thinking and upwardly-rising record labels in Nashville have landed arguably their biggest fish yet.
Texas country artist Stoney LaRue was arrested for domestic abuse in Oklahoma City early Monday (7-20) after police received a 911 call from Stoney’s girlfriend. Stoney was arrested without incident, booked into the Oklahoma County Jail and was later released on bond.
We’ve seen some pretty dramatic arrest totals and other alarming stats at country music concerts and festivals over the last few years, but the arrest totals from the Jamboree in the Hills Country Music Festival in Belmont County, Ohio over the weekend have to set a new record. And once again alcohol was a factor in many of the incidents.
Okay all you Texas, Rocky Mountain, and West Coast Sturgill Simpson fans that were bitching you had no tour dates on the left side of the Mississippi, the Sturgill Simpson train is going to be coming your direction hard and heavy, so stretch out your ticket ordering fingers because he’s just announced a new slew of dates and many of the shows will be selling out fast.
The autopsy and toxicology report for artist manager Jon Hensley was released to the public on Friday (7-17) with an official cause of death determined to be “Asphyxia via Choking on Food Substance” and “Ethanol Andalprazolam Intoxication.” Jon Hensley died unexpectedly on June 1st in his home in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Luke Bryan has called Waylon Jennings’ widow Jessi Colter to apologize after he made comments characterizing Outlaw country artists as cocaine addicts “laying in the gutter, strung out on drugs.” Waylon’s son Shooter Jennings has also commented on the situation, saying, “It’s all flush in my book.”
You may not be comfortable with how exactly to define the quasi country, quasi-rock music that comes out of the Texas / Oklahoma region known as Red Dirt, but what you can be confident in is that it would never have come to life like it did without a man named Tom Skinner. Bass player, songwriter, and father of Red Dirt music Tom Skinner passed away Sunday evening, July 12th.
After the demo of “Too Late to Save The World” was played to the audience, the song received rousing applause and a standing ovation. “You may have just set a record Daryle Singletary,” Eddie Stubbs said. “That’s the first time we ever played a demo that got a standing ovation. True story. You know it’s one thing to sing a song live and get a standing ovation. But a demo…”
Now one of the members of Waylon’s extended family has spoken out about Luke’s initial words and his apology. Kathy Pinkerman Jennings, who is the wife of one of Waylon Jennings’ sons Buddy Jennings, spoke out about the matter via Facebook initially on July 10th, and the posted a video to YouTube late Saturday night. Despite some media reports, Kathy Jennings makes it clear she is not speaking for the family.
No matter what happens with country music in the mainstream, there will always be musicians that will pick up the cause of preserving country’s traditional modes and make sure they never die. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, it was the unlikely champion of punk musicians that rose to the occasion and started releasing old-school country albums and launching country side projects.
I’m not sure the relevant question anymore is “if,” but “when” Justin Timberlake will go country. And if some recent actions by the pop megastar are any indication, it might be sooner than later, and it might be with music that is not as mainstream oriented as one might think. On June 1st, it was announced that Justin Timberlake had paid $4 million for a 126-acre parcel in philanthropist Aubry Preston’s Lieper’s Fork community.