So what’s to learn from hitching a ride in Marty McFly’s time machine and traveling back to 1985? That the problems country music is facing today are virtually the same ones that were being faced 30 years ago. It’s all cyclical, as canonized in the old Gospel tune enshrined in the architecture of the Country Music Hall of Fame asking the question, “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?”
Prison and country music go together like peanut butter and jelly. No wonder a slew of country music albums have been actually recorded within prison walls—some for convicts, some by convicts, and some using convicts. And we’re not just talking about novelty releases either, but some iconic albums that have helped define country music over the years. Here are some of them.
A Concert Behind Prison Walls, Billy Don BUrns, Charles Lee Guy III, David Allan Coe, Eddy Arnold, Flower Out of Place, Freddy Fender, Glen Sherley, In Prison In Person, Jimmie Davis, Joe Maphis, Johnny Cash, Johnny Paycheck, Kris Kristofferson, Linda Ronstadt, Mack Vickery, Merle Haggard, På Österåker, Recorded Inside Louisiana State Prison, Roy Clark, Shel Silverstein, Sonny James, Spade Cooley, The Prisoner's Dream
The environment in modern country music right now is such that we celebrate anyone with two ‘X’ chromosomes who can crack the Top 20, yet there’s so many of these middle-tier mainstream males crowding the scene that you can barely keep their names straight. You have male performers who’ve received three #1 stamps without releasing their second full-length record…
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.
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.
The comparisons of Sturgill Simpson to Waylon Jennings never cease, even though in some instances they’re based on pretty shallow and misguided observations. That’s why it’s probably pretty understandable if Sturgill is tired of hearing about them at this point. In a recent interview with Foo Fighters guitarist and Dead Peasants frontman Chris Shiflett (listen in full below), Sturgill once again answered the Waylon comparisons.
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…
A massive Waylon Jennings tribute show in Austin, TX has just been announced, and the lineup is something to salivate over. Set to transpire on July 6th and Austin’s Moody Theater (where Austin City Limits is taped), organizers Blackbird Music Group made use of the fact that many of the big names would already be […]
Austin, Billy Joe Shaver, Buddy Cannon, Chris Stapleton, Don Was, Eric Church, Jamey Johnson, Jessi Colter, Kacey Musgraves, Kris Kristofferson, Lee Ann Womack, Moody Theater, Ryan Bingham, Shooter Jennings, Sturgill Simpson, Toby Keith, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
Well that’s it folks. If we weren’t starring at the moment when any and all vestiges of the roots of country music had been completely eradicated from the mainstream before, then we are certainly doing so right now. It’s no longer a narrative about trying to hold onto the last little pieces of what made country music different from other genres.
Merle Haggard is getting ready for the release of his new album with Willie Nelson next week called Django & Jimmie, and ahead of the release he had some interesting revelations about some things in his past, and what he might have coming up in the future. Many have wondered why Merle never joined the Highwaymen, but it apparently wasn’t because they didn’t want him.
Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard are pairing up once again. This was the one nugget of important information squeezed between pot jokes when Willie Nelson made an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Friday evening (3-21) as part of South by Southwest (SXSW) festivities in Austin, TX. It won’t be the first time the two country music legends have released an album together, and it may not be the last.
In the windup to Sunday night’s Grammy Awards presentation, Bob Dylan was the honoree at a Friday evening event (2-6) naming him the 2015 MusiCares Person of the Year. During Dylan’s 30-minute acceptance speech, he laid out much praise for his fellow songwriters, while unceremoniously lashing out at others, including Tom T. Hall and Merle Haggard. Merle has since responded.
Is Dolly Parton a “Badass”? You bet she is. And for her birthday (Jan. 19th), let’s articulate 10 reasons (actually twelve) why the the platinum blonde buxom country music legend still kicking ass at age 68 should be considered a badass by everyone. And by the way, yes I know the term “badass” may seem a little strange to reference Dolly Parton with.
Brenda Lee, Dolly Parton, Dollywood, Emmylou Harris, Here You Come Again, I Will Always Love You, Imagination Library, Jimmie Rodgers, Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers, Kris Kristofferson, Linda Ronstadt, Mule Skinner Blues, Porter Wagoner, Trio, Whitney Houston, Willie Nelson
Songwriter, Sirius XM DJ, and country music elder Roger Alan Wade will release his sixth studio album Bad News Knockin’ via Johnny Knoxville Records. Produced by Knoxville and recorded by Dan Creech at Revolving Blackbird Sound in Santa Monica, CA, like most of Wade’s music the new album will feature just Roger, his guitar, and his original songs.
Who would have thought that Vince Gill would emerge as one of the big winners in country music over the past seven days, culminating in last night’s 48th Annual CMA Awards? But that’s the thing about Vince Gill. His accomplishments sort of creep up on you because he’s so refreshingly understated, honest, and humble.
Hank Williams was the greatest country music singer and songwriter to ever walk the face of the Earth. And if you don’t believe that, just listen to how his fellow country music performers feel about his contributions to the music. Here is a list of the greatest Hank Williams tribute songs of all time.
Alan Jackson, Ashley Monroe, Darrell Scott, Dave Alvin, David Allan Coe, Dwight Yoakam, Ernest Tubb, Ferlin Husky, Fred Eaglesmith, Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr., Hawkshaw Hawkins, Jack Cardwell, Jason Boland & The Stragglers, Joey Allcorn, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Mark Chesnutt, Moe Bandy, Ritchie Albright, Robert Earl Keen, Slaid Cleaves, The Blasters, The Highwaymen, Waylon Jennings
As part of the liquidation of Waylon’s estate, a letter from Johnny Cash to Waylon has been made public for the first time. To make it up to Waylon for not attending a roast, Johnny Cash (or someone on his behalf) took to a typewriter, and in the spirit of a proper roasting, wrote a letter to Waylon that was equally apologetic for missing the event as it was pointedly sarcastic toward his old friend.
At this point, Florida Georgia Line has settled quite nicely into being the great American sedative of our generation. Just as producer Joey Moi did with Nickelback before them, this music affords a vacation from self-reflection or truly beneficial thought. This is the type of vacationary audio lubrication that keeps the engine of corporate America purring along just fine.
“When people ask me who I admire most in the world, I always have the same answer: Muhammad Ali.” –Waylon Jennings. Two heavyweights from different disciplines coming together in friendship is one thing. But the respect these two men had for each other is something so erudite and unexpected, it can give you chills.
Call it Bro-Country, call it just plain bad, but Merle Haggard apparently prefers to call the puss oozing from the open sore that is modern-day radio country “Boogie Boogie Wham-Bam.” And hey, he’s Merle freaking Haggard, so he can call it whatever the hell he wants. “Too much boogie boogie wham-bam and not enough substance. It’s all the same musicians, too,” Merle said.