“Billy Don Burns.” To those country fans that know the name, it looms large. But the truth of the matter is, not many know the name. They know the names of Merle Haggard and Johnny Paycheck—two men who Billy Don Burns has produced albums for. They know Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash—two acquaintances of Burns who on separate occasions, wrote touching letters for him.
Kanye West and Taylor Swift as a 2020 Presidential ticket? Screw that. If we’re going to go dipping into the pool of musical performers to field Presidential candidates, then my vote would go for a country music legend rising to the forefront. And not just because I’m a country music fan, but because many of our legendary country artists have the history to connect with hard-working American citizens.
“Lonely” is no ordinary song. In February of 2015, Tami’s father, Ron Neilson, passed away. Tami grew up performing in a family band with her father and the rest of her family, touring throughout Canada and the United States, even opening for Johnny Cash and other notable country stars along the way. Ron Neilson began writing “Lonely” in 1972, and recorded a demo for it outside a hotel room.
That was the firebrand language coming from country music legend Merle Haggard ahead of an appearance Sunday, September 6th at the Bluestem Center for the Arts in Moorhead, Minnesota. In preparation for the show, In Forum talked to the 78-year-old performer, and he felt no need to be guarded with his feelings of where country music is headed.
I believe it was the Buddha who once said “life is suffering.” And though you would think mainstream country artists who make their living playing music to massive audiences, they have problems too apparently, and recently the biggest one appears to be having to play music that fits within the confines of the country music genre. Oh, the horror.
“So we started playing music for her on a daily basis, and when I played old country music, she would respond well to it, so we started playing that all the time and she loved it. Any time she was having a bad day, you could play Willie Nelson or Johnny Cash or Ray Price, and her stats would come up, almost immediately.”
One of the most important, influential, and successful producers in the history of country music has passed away. Billy Sherrill, known as one of the fathers of the “Countrypolitan or “Nashville Sound,” and a Country Music Hall of Fame and Musician’s Hall of Fame inductee, died Tuesday (8-4) morning due to illness. He was 78-years-old.
Billy Sherrill, Charlie Rich, David Allan Coe, dead, died, Elvis Costello, George Jones, Janie Fricke, Johnny Cash, Johnny Paycheck, Marty Robbins, Moe Bandy, obituary, Ray Charles, Ray Conniff, Sam Phillips, Sun Studios, Tammy Wynette, Tanya Tucker
The legendary Newport Folk Festival is the new old place to discover the music that is righteous and relevant at this very moment in time, however loosely used the term “folk” has become when perusing the fest’s lineups of recent years. The place where Dylan first went electric, and where Johnny Cash first introduced the world to Kris Kristofferson has been working extra hard over the last few seasons…
Gone are the days of Loretta Lynn singing “One’s On The Way.” Gone are the days of adult issues like divorce, resonating with mature audiences. Gone are the days of originality, not only in style but in songwriting. In that classic era you could tell the difference between Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. Artists were easily discernible and legends arose because of their unique qualities…
Well well well. So Florida Georgia Line has decided to go on the offensive when it comes to the significant criticism the duo is fielding as the face and premier franchise of Bro-Country. The faltering of the trend has put the Big Machine cash cow on unsure footing it seems, and they’re out to do something about it. In an interview with Dan Rather that will air Tuesday evening (5-12) on AXS TV….
2015 is apparently the year to get paid in country music, and no stone is being left unturned, and apparently nobody is immune. From mainstream country artists who we once thought were the few remaining renegades with integrity that are now releasing trendy R&B singles, to some of our favorite country heroes’ faces, names, and songs ending up endorsing products or stamped on packaging.
Merle Haggard is finally a graduate of Bakersfield High School, some 60 years after attending his last class there as a truant freshmen. Never mind that Merle never passed a single class. Never mind he’s 78-years-old and was awarded an honorary doctorate first by the California State University in Bakersfield in 2013. He’s now a Bakersfield “Driller” for life.
There’s just a cool factor about Dwight that appears will never wear off, regardless if the hips don’t shake and the knees don’t knock as much as they used to, or even if he’s the perfect specimen for male pattern baldness under the low brim of that cowboy hat. He’s still Dwight, and that caramel voice and cutting yodel will never be deprecated.
The Louisiana Hayride is on its way back, and in a big way. Arguably the 2nd most influential music program in country music history, only rivaled in stature by The Grand Ole Opry, it’s been an effort that has lasted over 20 years and seen a major renovation of the radio program’s original home of The Municipal Auditorium in Shreveport that has put organizers on the brink of bringing the show back.
Billy Bob Thornton, Bob Wills, Elvis, Faron Young, George Strait, Hank Williams, Horace Logan, Jeannie C. Riley, Jim Reeves, Joel Katz, Johnny Cash, Louisiana Hayride, Maggie Warwick, Margret Lewis, Merle Kilgore, Shreveport, Tex Ritter, The Grand Ole Opry, Tillman Franks, Webb Pierce, Willie Nelson
Whether you have already purchased your tickets or are planning to soon, or you’re sitting back and laughing at the idea of a bunch of “Outlaws” setting sail in a luxury liner outbound for the Cayman Islands, don’t lie to yourself and say that this isn’t something that you wouldn’t love to participate in if you could swing it. Out at sea with some of your favorite country artists surrounded by the beauty of the Caribbean?
Blackberry Smoke, Bobby Bare, Bobby Bare Jr., Elizabeth Cook, Johnny Cash, Lucinda Williams, Lukas Nelson, Mojo Nixon, Nikki Lane, Shooter Jennings, Steve Earle, The Band of Heathens, The Mavericks, Willie Nelson
Vinyl audiophiles might be saving their nickels and dimes for the impending Record Store Day special releases, but beating RSD to the punch is a six-album vinyl box set from the Man in Black that’s going to be hard to resist. Just announced, UMe—the catalog division of the Universal Music Group—is releasing a box set of the entire Johnny Cash American Recordings-era music.
You know, I didn’t want to broach this subject, because even arguing whether there’s a problem with country radio is such a reduction to the systemic and and bigoted way the institution is run, and it’s better to focus on solutions to these problems, like splitting the country format so conflicts like the ones I’m about to explain are less likely to happen.
Steve Earle says it wasn’t his politics that held him back from greater mainstream country success. It was more the oligarchy who was afraid of artists who call their own shots. Steve Earle is not the only one talking about saving country music lately. Brandy Clark amidst her Grammy Awards success said recently, “My name is said in the same breath as people like Kacey [Musgraves] and Sturgill Simpson, Ashley Monroe…
To get everyone geared up for the impending Valentine’s Day festivities on Saturday the 14th, the Beagle Street Insurance Company out of Great Britain commissioned a poll to see what wordsmith was worthy of being lauded by the distinction of writing the “Greatest Love Letter of All Time.” And forging ahead and beating a field of stiff competition was America’s Man in Black.
In every sense, “Gentle On My Mind” has become an American standard by sharing the sentiment of a generational mood ever present in the human experience. And its 2015 Grammy is just more validation for the song’s timeless impact, and the timeless impact of the song’s writer, John Hartford.