When Jack White assembled a few hundred patrons at his Third Man Records headquarters in Nashville on Saturday (7-30) to celebrate the seventh anniversary of his label and shoot a record player into space, they knew they would be making history. They just didn’t know the day’s festivities would result in the achievement of now one, but two “record” setting events.
For the last few years, one of the fixtures of East Nashville has been country throwback singer and songwriter Margo Price. And thanks to another oddball of the Nashville music scene—Jack White and his Third Man Records—Margo was plucked out of The 5 Spot and the other East Nashville dives, and is getting her shot at the big time.
The only thing that sucked about Margo Price’s performance Tuesday night (1-19) on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is that her debut album is not due out until March 25th. It will be a cold, dark two months of toiling in the winter bleakness until traditional country fans will be delivered their reward for patience in the form of ‘Midwest Farmer’s Daughter’ through Jack White’s Third Man Records.
The past 24 hours has seen some big signings by some worthy artists to record labels. The old-school throwback St. Louis singing and strumming song man Pokey LaFarge has signed to the prestigious Rounder Records. Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band has signed with Yazoo Records, and the Alabama-bred gritty and greasy Banditos have signed to insurgent country label Bloodshot.
Alison Krauss, Banditos, Bloodshot Records, Charley Patton, Del McCoury, Jack White, Justin Townes Earle, Lydia Loveless, Mississippi John Hurt, Neko Case, Pokey LaFarge, Re. Peyton, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Ricky Skaggs, Robert Plant, Rounder Records, Ryan Adams, Scott H. Biram, So Delicious, SXSW, Wayne 'The Train' Hancock, Willie Nelson, Yazoo Records
It has just been announced that Loretta has inked a five album deal with Sony’s catalog album imprint Legacy Recordings, with a new album expected to be released some time next year. Legacy is the same Sony imprint that has been finding great success releasing albums from Willie Nelson during the silver era of his career. She’s said to have over 90 songs recorded.
Jack White’s criticisms of Rolling Stone, The Foo Fighters, and The Black Keys would probably be taken with a little more weight if they didn’t feel like they were so rooted in spite. But Jack raises a very important topic in how music journalism has evolved over the last few years, especially as print magazines have been forced to move into a more robust online presence.
When Billboard implemented sweeping changes to their chart configurations in October of 2012, it was predicted at the time by many that these changes would fundamentally modify the industry in historic ways, ushering in an era where popular American music would rapidly succumb to the monogenre, and distinctions of separate genres would slowly become irrelevant. And it may about to get much worse.
The draw of traditionally-poor East Nashville as a haven for musicians looking to make it in music and collaborate with like-minded artists has been one of the ingredients not just to Nashville’s current output, but to its allure. But all that is in jeopardy now as development bulldozes much of the city’s affordable housing inventory, and rents and real-estate prices continue to spike.
All the silly talk about who was first and who ripped off who is mute when you bury your nose in the music catalog of the prototype of that predatory, aggressive, two-piece sound that blends blues, rockabilly, rock, country, surf, and a cavalcade of other obscure influences into the wild-eye concoction Dex Romweber has been throwing down for going on 30 years.
In an era when nothing in music is universal, and music has become one of the primary battlefronts in the culture war, the likeability of Jack White was one of the few things that passed for a consensus builder. And then something changed. I’m not exactly sure where or when specifically, but it changed. At some point it seemed like Jack White has started to buy into his own image…
Adele, Amy Winehouse, Axl Rose, Dan Auerbach, Dave Grohl, Dex Romweber, Dex Romweber Duo, Flat Duo Jets, Jack White, Jason Aldean, Justin Townes Earle, Karen Elson, Loretta Lynn, Nirvana, The Black Keys, The White Stripes, Van Lear Rose, Wanda Jackson
Nikki Lane’s sound has always been somewhat hard to define. Her first album, 2011’s Walk of Shame was a rocking little number, just as much B-52’s as Buck Owens, and was country in the same way Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walking” is, with a dollish, throwback saunter to her style.
Up until this point Saving Country Music’s “10 Badass Moments” series has only featured men. But can women be badasses as well? Well if you look at the life and times of one Wanda Jackson, the answer would most certainly be “yes”. Whether it’s from a country or a rock & roll perspective, Wanda Jackson had a significant impact on both….
Sturgill Simpson’s “High Top Mountain.” Jason Isbell’s “Southeastern.” Lindi Ortega’s “Tin Star.” Though these artists are from different locales, and the genres they represent are varied shades of the country music theme, they all have one thing in common: a virtually unnoticed and rarely heralded behind-the-scenes producer named Dave Cobb.
The Coal Miners Daughter and Country Music Hall of Famer Loretta Lynn has been forced to cancel a couple of weekend shows after cracking two ribs last weekend right before a big concert at her ranch in Hurricane Mills, TN. The 78-year-old was trying to get her guitar out of a closet when it apparently fell on her, forcing her into a dresser and breaking two of her ribs.
Her immeasurable influence spanning country, rockabilly, and rock and roll is undeniable. As far as I’m concerned, Wanda Jackson has no “unfinished business” to attend to. She’s given her heart and soul to the music, and the music is better off because of it. She’s got nothing to prove, but she proves it anyway in Unfinished Business. And so does producer Justin Townes Earle.
For years, the principals of the Hank Williams estate (Hank Jr. and Jett) were warring back and forth, and this kept the treasure trove of Hank Williams’ legacy recordings relegated to bootlegs and listening parties for the select few with access to the Acuff/Rose archive. But the last couple of years have seen a dizzying dump of previously-unheard material from country’s first superstar.
In an unexpected nugget of news that has my music pants going crazy, The Rolling Stone has just announced that Wanda Jackson will be releasing a new album entitled Unfinished Business on October 9th, and that the album’s producer will be none other than Saving Country Music’s 2011 Artist of the Year Justin Townes Earle.
On Friday night (5-4-12) we attended a show of reigning Saving Country Music Artist of the Year Justin Townes Earle at Antone’s in Austin, TX’s increasingly-crowded west downtown district. The Bloodshot Records-signed son of Steve Earle was in town in support of his latest record Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now, with a full band behind him for one of the first times on tour.
Late Night Lover’s tracks are quite strong. We have watched as Rachel Brooke has evolved from the conflict of her punk and country roots trying to mix and blend, to a classic, cohesive style that is all her own, and compliments one of the most naturally-blessed voices in country today. Late Night Lover is a gift that I am grateful for.
Next Tuesday, the ‘Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams’ will be released to the public. Completely putting aside the ethics questions for the project itself, I have drafted a list of 10 simple questions about the specifics of the Lost Notebooks that I think country music consumers have a right to be answered before they decide to purchase it.