Browsing articles tagged with " Waylon Jennings"
Jan
3

Album Review – Roger Alan Wade’s “Bad News Knockin’”

January 3, 2015 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  34 Comments

roger-alan-wadeOnce again Roger Alan Wade makes his case for being one of the most criminally-underrated songwriters of our generation, releasing his newest album Bad News Knockin’ right before the end of 2014 through Johnny Knoxville Records, and rocketing himself near the top for the most notable songwriting efforts for all of last year.

As Roger will say himself, “Thank God for nepotism,” but the truth is Wade was making a name for himself from his own sweat as a songwriter in Nashville well before his crazy first cousin Johnny Knoxville was getting zapped by cattle prods, or putting Wade’s songs in his successful series of Jackass movies. The fact the two first cousins are famous (or in Wade’s case, mostly famous), is purely coincidental, and though Roger Alan Wade may not have the legacy and recognition of the Guy Clark’s and John Prine’s to the outside world (at least not yet), to others he’s a mastermind, and he continues to bolster his catalog from an undying hunger to match the licks of his songwriting heroes with each new release.

If there was a theme to Bad News Knockin’, contentment would be it. Don’t bother Wade with your schemes of how to get him to the big time, or pity him that he never made it there before. Wade is perfectly content with releasing acoustic albums that just feature him and his guitar, instead of sticking his nose in the hustle of trying to get recognized by releasing big production records, or by trying to pry the closed doors of Nashville open to land some commercially-oriented cuts in the current miserable climate.

Back in the day working for a publisher, Roger Alan Wade racked up selected songwriting credits with legends like Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, George Jones, Hank Williams Jr., and Johnny Cash, including Hank Jr.’s #1 “Country State of Mind” from 1986. He’s been there and done that, had opportunities to rub elbows with his heroes, had some successes many songwriters and performers only dream of, and is happy now to just write songs for himself and for those who care to listen. He’ll call up his fellow Knoxville native Peewee Moore to play some lead guitar with him on a local TV or radio station, or leave town for a short stint of shows from time to time. Otherwise, he’s cool with staying at home and sewing his craft, and hoping to entice enough people to listen to keep his simple life of privacy and family afloat.

As RAW says on one of Bad News Knockin‘s offerings,

I just want me a yellow house in the country, way back off the highway
A swing on a screened-in front porch, a hammock in the hickory shade
I guess success to some folks, ain’t the same as it is for me
I’d count myself one wealthy man, for a yellow house in the country

roger-alan-wade-bad-news-knockinFollowing this theme, Bad News Knockin’ feels like a very personal album from Wade, even more so than his recent releases like DeGuello Motel and Southbound Train that strike a much deeper chord compared to some of his earlier albums at the height of the Jackass era—albums that featured songs like the irreverent “Butt Ugly Slut” or “Fryin’ Bacon Nekkid.” In the new song “Years Ago,” Wade expends no effort to make his personal story into fiction, while “I Lived The Life” once again sounds a thankful chord for what he’s been able to accomplish in his career.

I lived the life, I chased the dream. Even if I could, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Been more than worth, the sacrifice. Don’t cry for me, I lived the life.

Bad News Knockin’ is reflective, but Roger’s not ready to be put out to the songwriting pasture just yet. “Red Shoes Blues” ingeniously makes use of women’s obsession with footwear into a form of flattery that will fit snug with many female listeners. He takes an older song of his called “Warm Spanish Wine” from an era when others were trying to make him into a marketable commodity, and makes it soar despite the stripped-down approach, marking not just one of the best songs, but one of the best performances of this album.

And despite the stern, almost defiant countenance Wade sports on the cover with the beads of sweat bubbling on his brow like Johnny Cash at San Quentin, and the title which seems to hint this album might be brazen and hard-edged, there’s multiple gospel moments on Bad News Knockin’; something that Wade continues to call on more and more as he ages. Using witty allusions and biblical locations to deftly craft songs that are more than just preachy sermons, these religious tunes showcase Wade’s songwriting skills just as much as his secular material.

The Roger Alan Wade proponent in me still wishes Roger had the drive to flesh out his music a little bit more to make the job of enticing folks to listen a little easier. But if you’re not intimidated to listening to the prototype, the songwriter in the raw, the words and wood and wire of an original inspiration and story and nothing more, the Roger Alan Wade experience can be quite a fulfilling one.

1 3/4 of 2 Guns Up.

- – - – - – - – - – - – -

Preview & Purchase Tracks from Bad News Knockin’

Jan
1

Bass Player & Writer of “Long Tall Texan” Henry Strzelecki Passes Away

January 1, 2015 - By Trigger  //  News  //  11 Comments

henry-strzeleckiTragic news out of Nashville where where prolific and beloved bass player Henry Strzelecki has passed away after being struck by a vehicle while out for a walk Monday, December 22nd. Strzelecki experienced severe injuries including major head trauma in the accident, and was in a coma over the holidays. He eventually passed away from the injuries on December 30th.

“Needless to say, this Christmas has brought a new perspective for our family,” said Henry’s niece Heather Barnes, speaking for the family. “At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what present you got, or how the turkey tastes, it matters who you’re with. Look around at your loved ones and appreciate them for who they are. They are the best presents you’ll ever get.”

Henry Strzelecki was an elite bass player in country music, playing in Hee Haw’s “Million Dollar Band,” the “Nashville Superpickers,” and over his storied career, playing bass for Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Chet Atkins, Loretta Lynn, Ray Charles, Roy Orbison, Jim Reeves, Boxcar Willie, George Strait, Elvis, Charlie Rich, and many more. Some noted studio sessions that involved Henry Strzelecki include Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde, and Roy Orbison’s iconic song “Pretty Woman.” Strzelecki also played on the very last recording session with Louis Armstrong in Nashville produced by “Cowboy” Jack Clement.

Strzelecki was originally from Birmingham, Alabama, graduated from Jones Valley High School in 1958, and began playing country music in his teen years, recording with Baker Knight on Decca Records and playing in a group called The Four Flickers with his brother Larry. He also had a publishing and production company in Nashville and was nominated for Bassman of the Year at the 23rd Academy of Country Music Awards.

But the most identifiable contribution by Henry Strzelecki might have not involved his bass playing, but his songwriting. Strzelecki was the songwriter for the novelty song “Long Tall Texan,” first performed by The Four Flickers in 1959, and later recorded and released by artists such as The Beach Boys, Lyle Lovett, and many more. The catchy comedy tune has been tickling funny bones for over 50 years, and promises to continue to do so for years to come.

A “Celebration of Life” will be held for Henry on January 17th at 2 PM at the Pennington United Methodist Church in Nashville.

RIP Henry Strzelecki

- – - – - – - – - – -

Singing with Jim Reeves

Henry Strzelecki’s “Long Tall Texan”

Dec
26

In Memoriam: 2014′s Fallen Country Music Greats

December 26, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Random Notes  //  8 Comments

in-memorium-2014

2014 in country music did not see the passing of titans of the genre like we experienced in 2013 when George Jones, Ray Price, Tompall Glaser, and many more passed away, but was more the story of the vital side players, songwriters, session musicians, and storytellers who are so important to making the country music of others sound great.

Here is a list of some of the important people we lost in country music in 2014.


Will Indian – January 8th, 2014

will-indianCountry music has lost one of the most tasteful lead guitar players to ever fill a break. Will Indian, lead guitarist for country legend James Hand, as well as the guitarist for The Nortons, The Cornell Hurd Band, and many others, has passed after contracting a fatal infection last month. Will suffered from Hepatitis C. He died Wednesday night (1-8-14) according to his family.

Will Indian was the defining element of the James Hand sound, and so many other bands and artists that were fortunate to have him lend his guitar playing to them over the years. He was not a flashy or fast guitar player, but his taste was impeccable and unparalleled, and his use and appreciation for space, tone, and subtly in his playing is what won him wide appreciation amongst his peers. Indian toured the country and world with James Hand and others, and was a staple of legendary Austin venues like The Broken Spoke, the Saxon Pub, and Austin’s hottest new venue, The White Horse. In recent years, his illness kept him from playing on the road, but he remained a fixture of Austin clubs.


Steve Fromholz – January 19th, 2014

steve-fromholz1Fromholz was killed at the Flying B Ranch near Eldorado, about 40 miles south of San Angelo while preparing to go on a wild hog hunt. While moving a gun from one vehicle to another, the firearm fell to the ground because the lower portion of its case was unzipped, and the gun discharged, injuring Fromholz who later died at an Eldorado hospital.

Born in Temple, Texas on June 8, 1945, Fromholz rose to become a towering figure of words and music in his home state of Texas, and amongst his famous music friends. He wrote the song “I’d Have To Be Crazy” made popular by Willie Nelson, and also had songs recorded by Jerry Jeff Walker, Lyle Lovett, and John Denver amongst others.

Fromholz was also an actor, a playwright, a producer, and a poet; most notably being named the Poet Laureate of the State of Texas in 2007 by the Texas State Legislature. He was the author of several books, and a respected man of letters, leaving behind an indelible legacy of both chronicling and canonizing the unique experience of being a Texan.


James Alan Shelton – June 3rd, 2014

james-alan-sheltonRalph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys lost their long-time lead guitarist and Ralph’s right hand man James Alan Shelton on June 3rd due to Cancer. He was 53-years-old. James Alan Shelton played lead guitar for Ralph Stanley for 20 years, first joining the Clinch Mountain Boys in 1994. But Shelton he also did so much more. For many years Ralph Stanley was known for wanting to handle his own affairs, but after gaining the trust of Stanley, James Shelton handled much of Stanley’s booking, publicity, and also acted as the band’s road manager and ambassador.

Shelton was born in Kingsport, TN, and raised on a tobacco farm just over the Virginia border near Gate City, listening to the bluegrass music of greats like Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, The Carter Family, and of course, The Stanley Brothers. He was a cross-picking style guitar player, and was known for his melodic approach that was more oriented toward respecting the style and structure of a tune as opposed to showing off his skill. His instrument was a 1946 D-28 Martin Herringbone, and he also had a Huss & Dalton signature series guitar named after him.

Upon the news of James Shelton’s passing, Ralph Stanley said “James Shelton gave me twenty years of dedicated years service as a Clinch Mountain Boy. He was always honest, dependable, and a very good man to travel with. I will surly miss him. He was a wonderful friend.”


Jimmy C. Newman “The Alligator Man” – June 21st, 2014

jimmy-c-newmanA Big Mamou, Louisiana native, Jimmy grew up on the cowboy sounds of Gene Autry, as well as Jimmie Rodgers, The Carter Family, and the Cajun music of the surrounding countryside. He was bilingual, and after finishing six years of schooling, dropped out to work on a farm before becoming part of the war workforce as a welder’s assistant where he met a man named J.D. Miller who got him into the music business. After first making it on The Louisiana Hayride, Newmann later became a fixture of The Grand Ole Opry for over 50 years, joining originally in 1956, a couple of years after landing his first big hit, “Cry, Cry Darling”. Newman was signed to Dot Records after being championed by Fred Rose, and had five Top 10 records in a row before landing his biggest hit in 1957, “A Fallen Star”, making it all the way to #2 on the charts, and crossing over to Billboard’s Hot 100.

Though Newman would have many more hits within the commercially-popular “Nashville Sound” of the time like “You’re Makin’ A Fool Out of Me”, “Grin And Bear It”, “A Lovely Work of Art’, “D.J. For A Day” which was the first hit written by Tom T. Hall, and arguably his last big hit, 1965′s “Artificial Rose”, starting in the early 60′s, Jimmy C. Newman started moving towards the Cajun sound that eventually would become the signature of his career, feeling like it was a more true expression of his roots. 1962′s “Alligator Man” wasn’t a huge hit at the time, but it would become Newman’s theme song, and a standard of his Opry sets later in life.


George Riddle – July 19th, 2014

george-riddleOver his long career in country music, George Riddle wrote songs for artists such as George Jones, Ray Charles, Faron Young, Tammy Wynette, Mickey Gilley, Del Reeves, Melba Montgomery, and Margie Singleton among others, and wrote 13 songs for George Jones alone. George Riddle also sang and performed his own songs, recording at various times for United Artists, Musicor, MGM, Starday, Marathon, and Roma Records, releasing seven full albums and multiple singles throughout his career. For 40 years, George Riddle was a regular on the Grand Ole Opry, backing up many of the biggest Opry stars. But he might be best known as the very first and original Jones Boy, backing George Jones up in what would later become George’s legendary band. When George Jones first started out, it was just him and George Riddle. And as they say, the rest is history.

George Riddle was born in Marion, Indiana September 1st ,1935, and graduated from Van Buren High School in 1953. He served in the United States Army from 1958 till 1960, then went to Nashville to pursue his dream of becoming a country and western singer. This is where he met George Jones and became one of country music’s marquee sidemen.


George Hamilton IV – September 17th, 2014

George-Hamilton-IVKnown as the “International Ambassador of Country Music” from his frequent travels performing the music abroad, and a 50 year member of the Grand Ole Opry, George Hamilton IV did as much for the promoting and preservation of country music as anyone. Starting off very early in his career as more of a teen idol with the million-selling hit “A Rose and a Baby Ruth,” Hamilton moved into the more folk and country realm, recording songs by Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot, and scoring a #1 hit on the country charts in 1963 with “Abilene.”

Later in Hamilton’s career when the commercial hits began to slow down, he broke down barriers between country music and the Communist grip on eastern Europe, playing in The Soviet Union and Soviet-controlled Czechoslovakia, even recording an album in Eastern Europe. He also played and performed in Africa, South America, all the time spreading the gospel of country music. Much of the appeal for traditional country music that can be found in Europe today can be traced back to George Hamilton IV.

George died of a heart attack at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital in Nashville. He was 77-years-old.


Paul Craft – October 18th, 2014

paul-craftYou press most any theologian, and they will expound upon the theory that God has the most profound sense of humor … if you just know where to look for it. Whether this was in play when country music songwriter Paul Craft decided to write the song “Drop Kick Me Jesus (Through The Goalposts Of Life),” whether it was more centered upon a social commentary about the state of religion in America where the most holy of days is decidedly overrun by the dominance of the National Football League, or whether the song was meant to mean different things to different people—like most great songs are—it tickled the funny bone and said something profound that could have never been communicated through any other medium than humor.

Any great humorist will tell you that one of the vital keys to the craft is timing. And timing is many times where you can spy the work of the divine. In the 4th quarter of of Paul Craft’s life, with the final seconds ticking down and the game on the line, the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame lined up for a field goal, split the uprights, an made Paul Craft a winner when they inducted him into the institution on October 6th, 2014. Less than two weeks later, on Saturday, 10-18, when much of America was sitting on their couches enjoying the college version of the American pastime, Paul Craft quietly passed away in Nashville after slowly failing health over the past few years. He was 76-years-old.

Paul Craft was not the household name some of his songs made of more famous performers, but both his humor and his heartfelt sentiments remain both endowed in the hearts of listeners, and as relevant (and grin-inducing) as ever.


Ronny Spears – October 20th, 2014

ronny-spearsRonny Spears was a fixture of the Texas country songwriter circuit in north Texas and beyond, sharing the stage over his career with Willie Nelson, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Radney Foster, Robert Earl Keen, Chris Wall, 1100 Springs, The Dixie Chicks, Charlie Robison, Bill Kirchen, Jack Ingram, Geronimo Trevino, Donny Ray Ford, Deryl Dodd, and many more. Ronny was raised by his father after his parents divorced and Ronnie’s father took him from his mother’s custody for fear of his upbringing. Spears grew up in Frisco, TX and studied at Southwest Texas State College (now Texas State University), regularly finding himself at odds with his father who didn’t want him pursuing music as a career. But Ronny persevered, playing in bands such as The River’s Edge and Liberty Valance and striking out as a solo performer and frequent collaborator with other songwriters like Ray Wylie Hubbard, Brian Burns, and later in life the aforementioned Robby White.

It was during a performance with Ray Wylie Hubbard in 1989 that Ronny Spears had his career epiphany. As they were performing on stage together, Ray Wylie turned to Ronny and said, “Quit playing copy songs,” and this is the moment Ronny Spears began to take his songwriting seriously. Spears spent some time in Nashville, but found it not to his liking and headed back to Texas. His music was always balanced with day jobs and family life. Ronny made sure to take care of his familial commitments first but the quality of his music at his night and weekend gigs did not suffer.

Ronny Spears album Modern Day Outlaw is considered a cult favorite, and his frequent appearances will be missed by the north Texas music community and beyond.


Bob Montgomery – December 4th, 2014

bob-montgomeryBob Montgomery, most famous for being the teenage friend, songwriter, and duo partner of Buddy Holly, and for writing iconic country songs like “Back in Baby’s Arms” by Patsy Cline, and “Misty Blue” recorded by Eddy Arnold, Wilma Burgess, and many others, has died in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, after a struggle with Parkinson’s disease according to his son and fellow musician Kevin Montgomery. He was 77-years-old.

Montgomery was born in Lampasas, Texas on May 12th, 1937. His father was a carpenter, and the family moved to Lubbock when Bob was 12-years-old. It was there that Montgomery met Buddy Holly at the Hutchinson Junior High School in 1949. While attending high school together, they formed the duo “Buddy and Bob,” playing mostly bluegrass songs from bands like Flatt & Scruggs, with Holly playing banjo and mandolin.

In 1966, Montgomery became a staff producer for United Artists and worked with performers such as Bill Dees, Johnny Darrell, Buddy Knox, Del Reeves and Earl Richards, and later founded a publishing house in Nashville called House of Gold. “Publishing and producing have been my best areas,” Montgomery said in 2003. He produced the hit “Honey” with Bobby Goldsboro, published the song “Behind Closed Doors” by Charlie Rich, produced music from Marty Robbins later in his career, and the final album pairing up Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson called Clean Shirt in 1991.


Neil Reshen – December 6th, 2014

Neil-Waylon-Willie“There was a time when Neil fed me and Willie, and if it hadn’t been for him, I don’t know what we would have done. He helped us immeasurably. He got things for us that no country singer had ever gotten before. If we were going to become Outlaws, though we didn’t know that yet, we needed an Outlaw Lawyer, as Willie called him.

“Neil was perfect for the part. He was like a mad dog on a leash. When he got his teeth into something, he never let go.”

–Waylon Jennings

The lawyer who was at the very center of revolutionizing country music in the mid 70′s as part of the Outlaw movement with Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, Neil C. Reshen, passed away on Sunday, December 6th after a long battle with Altzeimer’s Disease. He was the man who negotiated Willie Nelson out of his RCA contract, and also helped negotiate the creative freedom for Waylon Jennings within RCA,  Neil was also the manager for musicians as far ranging as Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, David Allan Coe, and The Velvet Underground throughout his legendary and influential career. He was 75-years-old.


Dawn Sears – December 11th, 2014

dawn-searsDawn Sears, originally from East Grand Forks, Minnesota, became as a major label artist for Warner Bros. in 1990 after spending her early years touring the West and Midwest as a young adult. Her debut album, 1991′s What A Woman Wants to Hear had some minor success, but Sears decided to leave the country scene afterwards. This was when Vince Gill called up the accomplished vocalist and asked her to become a backup singer for him. Sears collaborated with Gill on his 1993 album I Still Believe In You and other Vince Gill projects, and signed with Decca Records and released Nothin’ But Good in 1994. Sears remained a fixture in Vince Gill’s touring band over the years, and also worked with Tracy Byrd, Patty Loveless, and many others.

Sears was experiencing a resurgence in her career lately, playing shows with The Time Jumpers reunited with Vince Gill, and she received an Ameripolitan Award for Western Swing Female in February of 2014. Sears performed at Dale Watson’s event with her head free of hair from the chemotherapy. “This is my very first award. Thank you,” Sears said while becoming very emotional. Dawn had also recently released a Christmas album.


Other Notable Deaths in the Greater Country World: 

  • Phil Everly of The Everly Brothers.
  • Pete Seeger – Legendary folk artist and songwriter.
  • Arthur Smith – Accomplished guitar and banjo player, most famous for writing “Dueling Banjos.”
  • Jesse Winchester – Folk singer and songwriter with heavy country music influence.
  • Ian McLagan – Austin fixture, former keyboard player for The Faces, and frequent contributor to country projects.
  • Bobby Keys – Saxophone player for The Rolling Stones, early Buddy Holly collaborator, and player on records from Lynyrd Skynyrd and Joe Ely.
  • Chip Young – Legendary Nashville session guitarist who played on “Jolene” and many other hits.
  • Larry Henley – Hit songwriter.
  • Weldon Myrick – Steel guitar player.
  • Lois Johnson – Country music singer.
  • Tommy Ramone – Member of The Ramones who also performed in the old-time band Uncle Monk.
Dec
19

Saving Country Music’s Best Videos of 2014

December 19, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  32 Comments

best-videos-scm-2014From crude videos taken on somebody’s phone, to full production videos with scripts and actors and sets, to animated shorts and everything in between, you never know what’s going to capture the imagination and become the perfect compliment to a song in the visual form. No question in the age of YouTube that there’s no dearth of material to oogle at, but what breaks through the crush of visual material to be called the best in 2014?


9. The Whiskey Shivers – “Free”

The Whiskey Shivers will probably never top the madness that is their video from 2011 for “Gimmie All Your Lovin’” that has now received over half a million views (still don’t know how the hell they made that), but their new video for “Free” off their self-titled album does its best to capture the band’s fun loving nature.

Directed & Edited by Rob Wadleigh
Director of Photography – Ryan Firth


8. Don Williams – “I’ll Be Here In The Morning”

The fortuitous call was made when Don Williams went into the studio to record his Saving Country Music Album of the Year-nominated Reflections, to fit out the studio with a camera crew and release the videos intermittently afterwards. The result has been some really excellent moments captured on film, but none better than when Don Williams covered this Townes Van Zandt classic.


7. Steelism – “Marfa Lights”

Yes, very silly, quirky, and maybe even hipster-ish, the video for sideman duo Steelism’s “Marfa Lights” still shows a lot of imagination and creativity in a unique approach. A fun watch.

Directed by Stewart Copeland.


6. Florida Georgia Line – “Dirt”

Act appalled all you want, but it deserves to be here. A lot of heart went into this video.

Director: Nigel Dick


5. Sturgill Simpson – “Turtles All The Way Down”

Despite what shallow listeners will tell you, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music is not a psychadelic record, but the video for “Turtles All The Way Down” certainly is.

Directed and edited by Graham Uhelski


4. First Aid Kit – “My Silver Lining”

Something that First Aid Kit has that virtually no other artist or band in the independent roots realm of a similar or bigger size can match is a library of videos that dazzle, entertain, and incite wonder like little else you can find. It’s an attention to video making as a creative medium in itself with no boundaries that gives their music an extra special love. The release of a new First Aid Kit video is grounds for an immediate stop down, and not just their tightly-woven and intricate big-production music videos with multiple scenes and settings that cast the duo in regal and awe-inducing moments, but with the sincerity and talent this sister duo from Sweden displays, even a short acoustic performance in a publishing office or a covered wayside is something that can enthrall and shuttle you off into a wormhole of escapism. After all, it was a simple video of the duo singing a Fleet Foxes cover that is given credit for launching their career.

Director: Elliott Sellers
Producer: Courtney Davies


3. Willie Watson – “Mexican Cowboy”

Sometimes the best videos are live ones that capture and moment in time and the character of the artist so perfectly, a big production could never do it justice. When former Old Crow Medicine Show member Willie Watson performs his traditional folk tunes, he becomes so immersed in character, so stern-faced an honest to the song, it is truly something to behold.

Filmed for The Bluegrass Situation at Counterpoint Records in Franklin Village, Los Angeles.

Directed and recorded by Ben Guzman


2. Ray Benson & Willie Nelson – “It Ain’t You”

The music, and both Ray Benson’s and Willie’s performances are chilling enough, but the video for “It Ain’t You” takes it a step further, fully understanding what’s at the heart of the song, and pulling out all the stops to not only do the song justice, but enhance the experience through the visual medium. The wisdom of knowing what the simple sight of Willie’s battle-worn hands can stir in the beholder, while crafting a way to capture the spirit of the long-time friendship between Ray and Willie so purely is worth watching even if the song itself doesn’t strike a particular chord with the listener. (read full review)

“It Ain’t You” was written by Waylon Jennings and Gary Nicholson.

Video directed by Aaron Brown of Onion Creek Productions.


1. The Tillers – “Willy Dear”

By choosing animation for the “Willy Dear” video, it enhances the imaginative qualities already inherent in the song, and allows the story to unfold without the anachronistic limitations of a live video. The simplicity of the animation aids in this process, while the vibrancy still present in the color and the expansiveness of the landscapes emphasizes the wonder in the story itself.

The video also helps fill in some of the gaps in the narrative that the verses didn’t have the capacity to carry. And best of all, it illustrates that “Willie Dear” is not really about Willie Thompson, his love Lizzy, or the tragedy that befell them because of mistaken circumstances. It is about old abandoned houses, and the stories they tell. (read full review)

Animation by Christof Heuer

Dec
7

“Outlaw Lawyer” Neil Reshen Has Passed Away

December 7, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  10 Comments

Neil Waylon WillieNeil Reshen, Waylon Jennings, and Willie Nelson in a previously-unpublished photo supplied by the Reshen family.

“There was a time when Neil fed me and Willie, and if it hadn’t been for him, I don’t know what we would have done. He helped us immeasurably. He got things for us that no country singer had ever gotten before. If we were going to become Outlaws, though we didn’t know that yet, we needed an Outlaw Lawyer, as Willie called him.

“Neil was perfect for the part. He was like a mad dog on a leash. When he got his teeth into something, he never let go.”

–Waylon Jennings

- – - – - – - -

The lawyer who was at the very center of revolutionizing country music in the mid 70′s as part of the Outlaw movement with Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, has passed away. Neil C. Reshen, the man who negotiated Willie Nelson out of his RCA contract, and also helped negotiate the creative freedom for Waylon Jennings within RCA, passed away on Sunday, December 6th after a long battle with Altzeimer’s Disease. Neil was also the manager for musicians as far ranging as Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, David Allan Coe, and The Velvet Underground throughout his legendary and influential career. He was 75-years-old.

Neil Reshen’s impact on country music was enormous. Below is an obituary for Neil Reshen supplied to Saving Country by Reshen’s family.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

RIP Neil C. Reshen: March 3, 1939-December 6, 2014

Neil graduated from City College of New York and was a pioneer in the business management field of the music industry. Neil was the management backbone of the “Outlaw Country” movement which developed in the 1970s. He forced record companies to give Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings 100% artistic control over their music, allowing for such albums as Stardust (by Nelson) and I’ve Always Been Crazy (by Jennings) to be created. Over his career he also managed many musicians such as Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, The Mothers of Invention, Alice Cooper, Buddy Miles, David Allan Coe, Jessi Colter, Linda Ronstadt and The Stone Ponys, The Cowsills, Captain Beefheart, Bernard Purdie, Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs, Tim Buckley and the Velvet Underground. Neil also managed artists and authors such as Peter Max, Andy Warhol, Olivia DeBernadinis, Roger Kahn, and Peter Golenbock and even the famous Creem Magazine and founder Barry Kramer.

In his later career he founded Benay Enterprises and managed many corporations and individuals with his partner and daughter, Dawn Reshen-Doty, who is now President of Benay.

Neil Reshen passed away Saturday December 6 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He is survived by his daughters Dawn Reshen-Doty of Danbury, CT and Amber Bezahler of Los Angeles, CA, Grandson Justin Slaughter Doty of Danbury, CT, Godson Olufemi Adedeji and ex-wife Barrie Adedeji, both of New York. He also leaves behind two brothers, Bruce Reshen of Fairfield, CT and Mark Reshen, of Hollywood, FL. He was predeceased by ex-wife Patricia Reshen.

Neil Reshen died once before, in 1959, when his parents sat Shiva over his marriage to first wife Barrie. Together they defied cultural norms and entered into a marriage that broke cultural and racial barriers. Neil was many times born again, living through two open-heart surgeries, colon cancer and many other ailments. The fuel for these many lives was friends, family, his children, and numerous German Shepherds.

As Neil was a great lover of dogs—always having at least three German shepherds in house at a time—donations may be made in his name to the Humane Society. A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held on January 7th, 2015 at the Plaza Jewish Community Chapel, 603 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC at 3 PM.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

Out of all of Neil’s accomplishments, his negotiation with RCA and Chet Atkins on behalf of Waylon Jennings might be his most legendary. As Waylon Jennings recalled in his autobiography:

It was down to a $25,000 sum, and they (RCA) were not going to give it to me. He (Neil) wanted it. We were setting there, not a word spoken, and the silence got unbearable. After a while I couldn’t take it anymore. “Chet,” I said, reaching over to a bowl on his desk, “where’d you get these peanuts?”

Neil glared at me. “Shut up, Waylon.”

You could hear a clock tick in the room. It got even quieter. Minutes passed. I rose up, never said a word, walked out. I went to the bathroom to take a leak. When I came back, Neil greeted me in the hall. “You’re a ******* genius,” he said.

“Walking out like that sewed it up. That was a $25,000 piss.” said Neil. “They asked me where you went and I told them I didn’t know. Waylon’s mad, I’m sure. He’s crazy. He’s liable to do anything. . . And that’s when they gave us the money.

Though Neil Reshen might not be a name everyone recognizes, you can make an honest case that without him, the “Outlaw” movement in country music never happens, and neither do many of the iconic albums, songs, and careers of that era.

RIP Neil C. Reshen (1939-2014)

Dec
4

Songwriter, Producer, and Publisher Bob Montgomery Passes Away

December 4, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  4 Comments

bob-montgomeryBob Montgomery, most famous for being the teenage friend, songwriter, and duo partner of Buddy Holly, and for writing iconic country songs like “Back in Baby’s Arms” by Patsy Cline, and “Misty Blue” recorded by Eddy Arnold, Wilma Burgess, and many others, has died in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, after a struggle with Parkinson’s disease according to his son and fellow musician Kevin Montgomery. He was 77-years-old.

Montgomery was born in Lampasas, Texas on May 12th, 1937. His father was a carpenter, and the family moved to Lubbock when Bob was 12-years-old. It was there that Montgomery met Buddy Holly at the Hutchinson Junior High School in 1949. While attending high school together, they formed the duo “Buddy and Bob,” playing mostly bluegrass songs from bands like Flatt & Scruggs, with Holly playing banjo and mandolin.

The duo wrote some songs together, though according to Bob, Buddy didn’t have much interest in writing songs initially, leaving Bob to write most of the duo’s original tunes. They played at local school dances and talent shows and on local radio. The duo’s songs like “Down The Line” and “Flower Of My Heart” became of great interest after Buddy Holly died in the now famous “The Day The Music Died” plane crash in 1959. According to Montgomery, it was an Elvis performance at Lubbock’s Cotton Club in 1955 the duo played that brought Buddy from bluegrass to rock and roll, and he never begrudged his former duo partner on the success he found without him when Decca wanted to sign Holly as a solo act. Montgomery went on to write some of Holly’s later songs, including “Heartbeat,” “Wishing” and “Love’s Made A Fool Of You.”

Bob Montgomery became an influential songwriter in country music and beyond when he moved to Nashville in 1959, quitting his job as an engineer at Norman Petty’s famous studio in Clovis, New Mexico.  His biggest song became “Misty Blue.”

“I was in my basement over in Madison around 1966 and Brenda Lee was a very hot recording artist, who was coming up to record in a few weeks,” Montgomery explained to Now Dig This. “I was trying to come up with something for her and then I wrote ‘Misty Blue’ in about 20 minutes. It was a gift and it was perfect for her, but she turned it down. (Laughs) Her producer Owen Bradley loved the song and as he couldn’t push her to do it, he cut it country on Wilma Burgess. I was disappointed at the time because Wilma wasn’t as hot as Brenda Lee, but it was a Number 1 country record so everything worked out fine. Eddy Arnold then cut it and he had both a Number 1 country single and a pop hit, and Joe Simon had a big R&B hit with it. Dorothy Moore cut the really big version and then it was a country hit again, this time for Billie Jo Spears. There are over 200 versions of ‘Misty Blue.’”

He also wrote “Wind Me Up” for Cliff Richard, “Two Of A Kind” recorded by both Roy Orbison and Sue Thompson, as well as songs by Bob Lunan and Mel Tillis. Along with being recorded by Patsy Cline, “Back In Baby’s Arms” was also the title track to Connie Smith’s 1969 album.

In 1966, Montgomery became a staff producer for United Artists and worked with performers such as Bill Dees, Johnny Darrell, Buddy Knox, Del Reeves and Earl Richards, and later founded a publishing house in Nashville called House of Gold. “Publishing and producing have been my best areas,” Montgomery said in 2003. He produced the hit “Honey” with Bobby Goldsboro, published the song “Behind Closed Doors” by Charlie Rich, produced music from Marty Robbins later in his career, and the final album pairing up Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson called Clean Shirt in 1991.

Later Montgomery fell out of favor with the country music business, saying, “It’s been a lot of fun and if something comes along that sounds exciting, I will do some more, but I haven’t heard anything lately that interests me. Country music has gone to hell in a hand-basket and the business is not what it was. I would hate to be starting out in the music business.”

“He was a good man,” son Kevin Montgomery posted on Facebook about his father Thursday afternoon. “Thanks Dad for pitching baseball with me………meant a lot. You left a mark on this world. Just turn on your radio…best listened to on AM dial…driving “Down the Line” on some highway where AM is the only option. Sleep well, Dad. We’ll miss you…”

Dec
4

The Country Ties of Ian McLagan & Bobby Keys

December 4, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Random Notes  //  9 Comments

In the fall of 2012 when Ronnie Dunn (of Brooks & Dunn) was looking to write and record material for his upcoming album, he reached out to Texas music songwriting guru Ray Wylie Hubbard after falling in love with the gritty sound Hubbard imbibes on all his records. Dunn flew into Austin as Ray Wylie wrangled up an A-list of Austin musicians to to participate in a recording session that would give Dunn the authentic sound he was looking for, including reaching out to one cat named Ian McLagan—a 67-year-old keyboard player who was born in England but had permanently relocated to Austin in 1993, and spent many nights entertaining small crowds in bars around town, especially at the Lucky Lounge on 5th Street with his “Bump Band.” He was known to the greater world however as the keyboardist of the highly influential rock band Small Faces, and later Faces.

ian-mclagan“Started recording in Austin yesterday,” Ronnie Dunn boasted to his social network followers at the time. “TEXAS boys ripped it up !! Brad Rice, George Reiff, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Ian McLagan (Faces)….this is where the Rolling Stones ride with the Cowboys !!!! If you like your country raw and with a razor edged jangle….I found the ‘honey hole.’”

Along with being the go-to auxiliary keyboard player for the cream of the classic rock world, including numerous occasions with The Rolling Stones over the years, Ian McLagan played keys on Robert Earl Keen’s 1998 album Walking Distance, on John Hiatt’s Best Of album from the same year, on Slaid Cleaves’ Broke Down from 2000, Ray Wylie Hubbard’s Eternal and Lowdown, and entering into the 2000′s, albums from Bruce Robison, Kelly Willis, James McMurtry, Lucinda Williams, Chelle Rose, Mary Gauthier, Gurf Morlix, Jennifer Nettles’ (of Sugarland) 2014 solo album, and just about any recent album from Ray Wylie or Robert Earl Keen you can find. When you needed a keyboard player on a definitive Texas record, Ian McLagan was the first man you called.

Ian was also a solo artist and released ten studio albums, including United States with his Bump Band on June 17th, 2014 through Yep Rock. McLagan was excited about a long-rumored reunion tour of Faces coming together with iconic frontman Rod Stewart.

“We will be touring next year, and I’m very excited,” McLagan told Kevin Curtain of the Austin Chronicle in June. “The fact is we always wanted Rod to do it. Every single time we asked him, it didn’t work. This time, he wants to do it. So I hope and pray nothing happens between now and then, because it would be great.”

Ian McLagan died on Wednesday, December 3rd of a stroke at Brackenridge Hospital in Austin. He was 69-years-old.

- – - – - – - – -

bobby-keysRock music lost another titan of the legendary auxiliary surrounding The Rolling Stones, Faces, and other similar projects in saxophone player Bobby Keys who passed away on Monday, December 2nd, of cirrhosis at his home in Franklin, Tennessee. Like Ian McLagan, though he was known mostly for his work with British-based rock bands, especially as The Rolling Stones’ studio and touring saxophone player on pretty much any song or tour the band ever played, he was born in the small town of Slaton, TX, just south and east of Lubbock, and one of his first gigs as a saxophonist was playing with Buddy Holly where he rubbed elbows with Holly understudy and friend Waylon Jennings.

When Waylon Jennings made his very first two studio recordings with Buddy Holly, “Jole Blon” and “When Sin Stops,” keys was present in the Clovis, New Mexico studio. Keys later joked the experience “threw my whole life down the toilet!”, meaning it sent him down the path of pursuing music as a living, and he never looked back.

Later in life Bobby Keys’ studio credits would include Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Second Helpings, John Hiatt’s Beneath This Gruff Exterior, and Joe Ely’s Lord of the Highway.

The Small Faces, and later Faces and The Rolling Stones defined the loose, gritty, sweaty sound of late 60′s, early 70′s classic rock that every artist wanted, but few could master. That sound found on Small Faces records, and Rolling Stones projects like Exile on Main St. and Sticky Fingers most certainly went on to influence the rugged, sweaty, and stripped down sound of the Outlaw movement in country of the same era, with similar sounding albums recorded by the touring bands of defiant frontman instead of the slick session players of Music Row—albums like Waylon’s Honky Tonk Heroes, and Willie Nelson’s Shotgun Willie.

When you wanted to evoke that timeless, gritty sound of the 70′s in your music, you reached out to sidemen like Ian McLagan and Bobby Keys to bring it back to life. Now that era will be that much harder to reach back to, but that much more treasured in the hearts of listeners.

RIP Ian McLagan (1945-2014) & Bobby Keys (1943-2014)

Dec
3

2014 Saving Country Music Song of the Year Nominees

December 3, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  83 Comments

2014-song-of-the-year-scm Each year when Saving Country Music sits down to compile the best songs, it’s done so with a solemn reverence and understanding that the idea embedded in a song has the power to change a life, and change the world. There are many songs out there that are a joy to listen to, but a Song of the Year must say something that can evoke shivers, and do so in a way nobody else has done before.

Parker Milsap had an excellent song this year called “Truck Stop Gospel,” and Jim Lauderdale‘s “I Lost You” pound for pound may be the most enjoyable song released all year. Willie Watson had numerous songs like “Mexican Cowboy” and “Keep It Clean” that while not originals, had the energy and approach of ones. There were epics like Joseph Huber‘s “Wanchese & Manteo,” or great performances like The Secret Sisters‘ “The Lonely Island.” But the nine songs below stood out from the rest in Saving Country Music’s humble opinion.

Audience participation is strongly encouraged, and will influence the outcome. Leave your opinions, write-in candidates, or other observations below in the comments section. This is not simply an up and down vote though. I make the final decision, so it is your job to convince me why the album you feel deserves to win is the right pick. The winner will be chosen in about a month.

READ: 2014 Saving Country Music Album of the Year Nominees


Don Williams  – “I’ll Be Here In The Morning” – from Reflections 

Townes Van Zandt and Don Williams team up to deliver one of the most disarming performances of 2014, taking a timeless composition, and bringing it to life again through an immortal voice. The warmth this performance coveys is astounding, and as can be seen in the video, it was recorded live. Great song from a great album. (read review)


Lydia Loveless – “Everything’s Gone” – from Somewhere Else

“Everything’s Gone” is Lydia’s crowning achievement thus far in her career, showing remarkable insight, and delivering a vocal performance that fills as much emotion as humanly possible into the vessel of a story—any more and it would fall apart under its own weight.

“Lord now I’m sick of seeing the fear in my family’s eyes. I need to find the man who put it there and set his life on fire.”


Ray Benson & Willie Nelson – “It Ain’t You” -  from A Little Piece

Originally written by Waylon Jennings with Gary Nicholson, “It Ain’t You” was never recorded, and was relatively unknown except to a select few for many years. When Asleep At The Wheel frontman Ray Benson was looking for material to release on his first solo album in a decade, the song was suggested to him by Sam “Lightnin’” Seifert who co-produced the effort with Lloyd Maines.

What the forces that would sway popular American music to only focus on youth fail to regard is where simply the tone of a voice and the visage of a legendary performer can evoke such a reverence and place such immeasurable weight of an entire remarkable career behind it that an immediate elevation of whatever music being performing occurs in a measure that could never be challenged by the simple exuberance of youth. “It Ain’t You” is exquisitely written, and makes one wonder how this song went unheard for so long. (read full review)


Tami Neilson – “Cry Over You” – from Dynamite!

It is said often that there’s no more standard songs being released that will withstand the test of time. Well Tami Neilson just released one, and punctuated it with a timeless vocal performance.


Sturgill Simpson – “Turtles All The Way Down” – from Metamodern Sounds

A polarizing song from its seeming questioning of faith and drug laws, “Turtles All The Way Down” speaks to the very core of what the Sturgill Simpson experience is all about: a forward-thinking, challenging approach to enhancing the senses by marking a crossroads between traditional country and a progressive approach.


Leon Virgil Bowers – “Streets of Aberdeen” – from LV

Leon Virgil Bowers (formerly of Hellbound Glory) continues to be America’s most undervalued songwriter, and someday the rest of the world is going to wake up to that fact. While Virgil is known most for his strong wit, weaving moments in songs that touch your heart and funny bone at the same time, this exploration of more in-depth storytelling by Leroy was a big success. And only appropriate that the song and video was cut in Aberdeen, in a building with ties to the story. (read more)


Hurray for the Riff Raff – “The Body Electric” -from Small Town Heroes

The legacy of the murder ballad is one of the very building blocks of country, bluegrass, and folk music, and never before has an artist taken that primordial idea and conveyed so much while saying very little. It awakens the defiance in the female condition, as an array of thoughts flow through the listener.


First Aid Kit – “Waitress Song” – from Stay Gold

First Aid Kit’s Stay Gold on any other year might be the album everyone is talking about, and in certain segments of the folk and Americana world, it still is. No album can top it in 2014 when it comes to harmonies and melody building, and it’s hard to pinpoint just one song where this is evidenced the best. But even amongst the towering compositions of the album like “My Silver Lining” and “Cedar Lane,” “The Waitress Song” is the one I kept coming back to. A strange song from the usually serious and regal Söderberg sisters, it starts off playful and silly with it’s fluttering “girls just want to have fun” line, but reveals later a lot of life truths and deep perspective swirling around the idea of walking away from ones self and starting over.

“It’s a dark, twisted road we are on. And we all have to walk it alone.”


Matt Woods – “Liberty Bell” – from Brushy Mountain

The question going into Matt Woods’ new album With Love From Brushy Mountain was if he could he match the magic he evoked in his song “Deadman’s Blues” that went on to win him Saving Country Music’s Song of the Year in 2013. The answer turned out to be “yes,” and the best evidence might be this soul-wrenching song that matches “Deadman’s Blues” punch for punch.

Nov
30

Roger Alan Wade to Release New Album “Bad News Knockin’”

November 30, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  4 Comments

roger-alan-wade-bad-news-knockinSongwriter, Sirius XM DJ, and country music elder Roger Alan Wade will release his sixth studio album Bad News Knockin’ via Johnny Knoxville Records on December 16th, 2014. 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. Johnny Knoxville and Wade host the weekly Big Ass Happy Family Jubilee on Sirius XM’s Outlaw Country together.

“He inspires me constantly and he’s a tough taskmaster,” Roger said recently about Johnny Knoxville as producer on the Otis Gibbs Thanks For Giving A Damn podcast. “He’ll put up with anything as long as he knows you’re giving it your all. If he thinks you’re slacking man he’s got too much to do to waste his time. I love the way we make records…The only way we know when it’s good is when Knoxville gets chill bumps. Otherwise you keep it going. But if you do it one time and he gets chill bumps, don’t ask to do it again.”

Roger Alan Wade and Johnny Knoxville are first cousins, and Knoxville regularly features Wade’s humor-tinged songs in his movies. But when it comes to his studio albums, Wade can get deadly serious, and draws inspiration from songwriters like Guy Clark, John Prine, and Kris Kristofferson. His 2010 record DeGuello Motel won Saving Country Music 2010 Album of the Year, and his 2012 album Southbound Train was another standout songwriting effort.

“Beige cubicles spook me man,” Wade said to Otis Gibbs about Music Row’s current songwriting environment. “There’s so much about that I don’t understand. I’m not knocking it, I’m not making any judgements. I’m just saying it don’t work for me. Man I like writing them on the run. I like finding that place, wherever it may be, that you’re just holding the pen and it’s coming through you…I strive to be as honest with myself and others, especially when it comes down to asking them to listen to my song. If they’re going to give me three minutes of their life, I want them to know what’s on my mind, and what’s in my heart. And I’m not asking them to agree with me or like it, but you are telling them that it comes with one guarantee, that it’s honest. It may suck, but it’s honest.”

A fixture of the Chattanooga music scene, Wade has written songs recorded by George Jones, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and the #1 song by Hank Williams Jr. “Country State of Mind.”

Pre-Order Roger Alan Wade’s Bad News Knockin’

Bad News Knockin’ Track List:

  1. Bad News Knockin’
  2. Blame It All on the Roses
  3. Lonesome Sunday Blues
  4. Waitin’ on the Hummingbird
  5. The Ballad of Shine Marley
  6. Warm Spanish Wine
  7. Georgia Blues
  8. Yellow House in the Country
  9. Years Ago
  10. Things I Benn Blamed For
  11. I Lived the Life
  12. Red Shoes Blues
  13. Peace of Mind

Nov
24

Garth Brooks Addresses the Waylon Jennings Feud

November 24, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Random Notes  //  34 Comments

garth-brooks-waylon-jennings

The feud between country music Outlaw legend Waylon Jennings and country superstar Garth Brooks has been well-documented and talked about over the years. Though a lot of rumor and conjecture tend to cloud the conversation, we do know that Waylon’s dislike for Garth, who was coming up just as Waylon’s career was hitting a sharp decline, was very real. Whether the quote is real or not that is often attributed to Waylon about a certain type of foreplay and how Garth was the equivalent to pantyhose getting in the way of it, there was undoubtedly some animosity between the two country stars.

READ: The Waylon Jennings Quote About Garth Brooks – Real or Fake?

During an appearance late last week on Broadway’s Electric Barnyard show on Country 92.5 out of Connecticut, the DJ asked Garth point blank about the feud. One of the reason’s Broadway does such good interviews is because he asks the questions many other DJ’s are too scared to ask. But as opposed to getting angry, the artists usually find the questions refreshing after being asked about the same subjects over and over that only scratch the surface. “You know your stuff, I’m enjoying this,” Garth said to Broadway.

When Broadway asked Garth if he’d ever met Waylon or talked to him about the feud, Garth responded,

garth-brooks-waylon-jenningsNo, never met Mr. Jennings. And for some reason man, I guess I was the guy that he targeted. You know, it’s kind of weird because all the people [that are the reason] why I’m in the business, those people say the reason THEY were in the business was Waylon. So everyone loves him, he’s a legend, and I just kind of let it go. I never knew what to say.

Yeah, I was definitely the guy that he targeted (laughing). And it’s funny kinda being the non traditionalist then, and now everyone looks at [me] like, ‘Your stuff is as country as it gets.’ So that’s kind of a weird view. It was tough for me because he was a country legend and for some reason I was the guy that got the brunt of it. I never took it that personal. I just think he was addressing the different sound in country music and the changing of the guard. That’s tough for anybody to handle. The guy’s a legend and deserves nothing but respect.

The artists Garth appears to be referring to as the people who were inspired by Waylon that went on to inspire him would likely be big Garth influences Keith Whitley and Chris LeDoux.

Garth also talked about how his new single is going to be “Mom,” which he calls more traditional than some of the other singles he could pick from his new album. He also talked about up-and-coming performer/songwriter Caitlyn Smith who wrote one of the most critically-acclaimed songs on Garth’s new record, “Tacoma.”

“She’s the bomb. The thing that hurts her in town is that nobody can sing as good as she can. So it’s like, you hear her demos and you want your record to sound like that. But good luck. That girl’s talented.”

The Garth vs. Waylon debate is an ongoing one, and one of those country music discussions people love to take sides on. It will probably continue on as long as both men’s music does, but according to Garth, the feud was one sided. And then there’s the quotes from Waylon’s autobiography:

garth-brooks-waylon-jennings-001Of course, the next generation better not believe everything they hear. At this point, I’ve been accused of all manner of carousing. Mostly, it’s something that I might have done, or would have done, or couldn’t even imagine doing. Pretty soon it’s etched into stone. If I led the life that people think I did, I’d be a hundred and fifty years old and weigh about forty pounds …

The thing is, we’re in this together, the old, the new, the one-hit wonders and the lifetime achievers, the writers and the session pickers and the guy who sells the T-shirts. The folks that come to the shows, and the ones that stay at home and watch it on TNN. Those who remember Hank Williams, and those who came on board about the time of Mark Chestnut, who named his baby boy after me …

My friends. This town is big enough for the all of us.

Waylon Jennings

Listen to the Garth Brooks interview:

Nov
3

Wade Bowen Displays His Best in Self-Titled LP

November 3, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  25 Comments

wade-bowen

Some will tell you that when you get to the very top of Texas country it becomes difficult to tell the difference between it and Nashville. It’s true that with your foremost Texas acts like Eli Young Band, Randy Rogers Band, Josh Abbot Band, and Wade Bowen, there’s an element of pragmatism to their sound. Texas country has traditionalism plenty covered with artists like Aaron Watson and Jason Eady, but some of the bands will mix a fair bit of rock and roll flair into their music, and worry more about captivating an audience than capturing strict interpretations of country music’s traditions.

This however is not necessarily a knock on them. This in itself is a tradition of Texas country that can be traced back to Willie and Waylon. Some country artists who happen to be born in Texas leave for Nashville as soon as they can and never look back, and those are the ones who quickly become synonymous with Nashville instead of the Lone Star State. Others can’t stay gone from Texas no matter how hard they try. The suits in Nashville have just enough sense to understand that something truly special is going on in Texas and that they want to be a part of it, just like a lot of Texas acts know that to bust through the corrugated tin roof of Texas country, at some point you have to make the dreaded trek to Music Row.

I-40 is well-grooved with the rubber of Texas country acts coming and going. You’ll have a band try their hand at the Nashville thing, like the Josh Abbot Band, and meanwhile another is calling it quits and heading back home, like Wade Bowen. They meet up at a Chinese buffet in Little Rock and swap stories about pencil pushers who beat themselves up trying to tame the wanton talent of Texas with only marginal success. Texas country artists are nice enough to give anything a shot with an open mind, but stubborn enough to refuse to be pigeonholed. It’s the perfect formula to drive Music Row completely mad. But they’ll keep trying, because Texas artists are the ones with the authenticity they yearn for.

Wade Bowen tried his hand with the big boys, specifically BNA Records with his 2012 release The Given. It brought him a Top 10 country album, which is a career achievement he can be happy with. But now he’s back releasing albums independently. Almost as a playful parting shot of his experience with the big time, Bowen released a track called “Songs About Trucks” written by Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally ahead of this new album. Antagonistic and timely, it took Bowen’s star and made it shine even brighter. It was assumed (at least in some corners) the song was the lead single from this new album, but Bowen was wise to keep it off and leave it out there as its own animal. The acrimonious nature of “Songs About Trucks,” though justified and poignant, doesn’t really fit the mood and spirit of this project.

wade-bowen-self-titledAhead of this self-titled release, the buzz was immense. There was a sense this wasn’t going to be simply another Wade Bowen album—that his experiences of the last few years helped Wade see himself for who he really is, instead of who everyone else wants him to be.

Two songs in, and this album already delivers on any promises and expectations preceding it. “When I Woke Up Today” written by Bowen and Rodney Clawson is the type of song nobody has the balls to record anymore; songs that are both deep and sunny. And Bowen has something that trend chasers can never top, which is an established sound that immediately upon hearing it fills the listener with a warmth of familiarity. You pop this record in, and you’re immediately swept over by a change of perspective like the opening song portrays.

This is followed by “Sun Shines on a Dreamer” and a very similar mood-enhancing effect. Not just the lyrics, but the drums and bass on this song really emphasize the natural tension and resolution of the tune. Excellent arrangement and good writing makes this song one of the top standouts of the project. This album is marked by some really big songs—songs that tend go on to define a career. Yet another is the waltz-timed and mood heavy “West Texas Rain.” Count it amongst Wade’s greatest, written by Bowen with Travis Meadows.

Where you get into the material that some may say strays too near a commercial mindset, you come to a song like the up-tempo and rocking “When It’s Reckless” with its screaming guitar solos and rambunctious attitude. A couple of songs—”My California” and “Hungover”—take a smooth, almost R&B approach in the production, even though the heart of the story could still be considered a country song. The more country offerings are the solid “My Leona,” the aforementioned “West Texas Rain,” and one of the funnest moments of the album, “Honky Tonk Road,” which sees Randy Rogers, Cody Canada, and Sean McConnell each sing a verse. Other special guests on the album include Will Hoge on “When It’s Reckless” (which he co-wrote with Bowen), Sarah Buxton on “California,” and Vince Gill on “West Texas Rain.”

Releasing a self-titled album seven albums deep into your career is making a statement. “This is me,” Wade Bowen is saying, and with a cadre of great songs turned in on this album, “me” in regards to Wade Bowen is something worth listening to.

1 3/4 of 2 Guns Up.

- – - – - – - – - – - -

Purchase Wade Bowen from Wade Bowen

Preview & Purchase Tracks on Amazon

Oct
20

Florida Georgia Line’s “Anything Goes” is the Worst Album Ever

October 20, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Down with Pop Country  //  476 Comments

florida-georgia-line

Congratulations Justin Moore and Outlaws Like Me, you’re officially off the hot seat. Because right here, right now, I am unilaterally declaring that Florida Georgia Line’s new album Anything Goes is the worst album ever released in the history of country music. Ever. Including Florida Georgia Line’s first album Here’s To The Good Times, including anything else you can muster from the mainstream, including a 4-track recording made by a head trauma victim in a walk-in closet with a Casiotone keyboard and an out-of-tune banjo. Anything Goes can slay all comers when it comes to its heretofore unattainable degree of peerless suckitude.

In a word, this album is bullshit. Never before has such a refined collection of strident clichés been concentrated in one insidious mass. Never before have the lyrics to an album evidenced such narrowcasted pseudo-mindless incoherent drivel. Never before have such disparate and diseased influences been married so haphazardly in a profound vacuum of taste, and never have all of these atrocities been platooned together to be proffered to the public without someone, anyone with any bit of conscience and in a position of power putting a stop to this poisoning of the listening public.

Not to get all old man on your ass, but most of the time I don’t even understand what the hell these dudes are saying. Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard have their own language, partial to the most grammatically-challenged and stupefying vocabulary lurking in the dankest sewers of the English dialect, but not residing firmly in any specific one of them so no truly proper translation can be obtained. It’s like Pig Latin for douchewads—understood by them and them only. And only with the perfect deficiency of brain cells will their concoction of Ebonics, metrosexual douche speak, and stagnant gene pool rural jargon become anything resembling coherent to the human ear.

florida-georgia-line-anything-goesForget the already ultra-concentrated and extremely-narrow breadth of modern mainstream country music’s laundry list songwriting legacy, Florida Georgia Line has devised a way to inexplicably make it even more attenuated and terrible. “Girl, alcoholic beverage, truck, river or lake”— that’s pretty much the alpha and omega of the Anything Goes building blocks. Most of these songs have more songwriters than they do basic lyrical themes, with an average of four cooks per diarrhetic serving, and one song that boasts five songwriters and still struggles to pen anything that comes close to a complete sentence or a comprehensible thought.

Shiny objects and fire also seem to excite and distract Florida Georgia Line and fill them with a profound sense of wonder, and so soliloquies to these things also show up occasionally, as does the word “good.” They really like that word.

“Got on my smell good.
Got a bottle of feel good.
Shined up my wheels good.
You’re looking real good.”

That verse pretty much sums up this entire album. And no, these are not lyrics to the song that is actually titled “Good Good.” Needless to say, any moments involving depth, sorrow, self-reflection, doubt, or evolved thinking in any capacity have been unceremoniously scrubbed from this project entirely, save for one song, “Dirt,” which only works to anger the blood even more because it proves that these morons are capable of so much more. A song like “Sippin’ On Fire” tries to cobble together some semblance of a love story, but bogs down like all these songs do in focusing on the material objects and consumables inadvertently on hand in situations instead of the honest sentiments being felt between two people. Women and “love” are compared to alcoholic beverages and other material objects, and vice versa more times than I care to count on this album, as if they are interchangeable in stature in the human experience.

Another song that would have been decent if only Florida Georgia Line didn’t figure out how to screw it up is “Bumpin’ The Night.” Despite the title alluding to the listener being in store for yet another demonstration of shallowness, the song displays a compositional depth that is both surprising and enriching, even though what passes for steel guitar is so transmogrified by the EDM production, it’s hardly noticeable. There’s nothing wrong with fun, feel good songs themselves. But in such a void of anything striking even close to variety, an otherwise decent song like “Bumpin’ The Night” suffers demonstrably amongst its peers.

florida-georgia-lineAnd talk about going to the cliché well too many times, there’s a song on this album called “Angel” that I kid you not is built around the often sarcastically-used pick up line “Did it hurt when you fell from the sky?” Any woman who hears this line coming from any man has my personal blessing to immediately spray them in the face with mace and knee them in the nuts. The idea that these knuckleheads think that this line is “sweet” just speaks to the depravity of self-awareness they suffer from in an irrevocable degree.

There really is a toxic concentration of bad songs on Anything Goes, and it is all punctuated on the final track “Every Night” where the hyper-everything that riddles this album somehow gets heightened even more as Florida Georgia Line explain they don’t need the weekend because every night for them is a wild, raging good time. This personifies the diabolical sameness of this album, where it’s just a contiguous string of carefree party references and virtually nothing else, almost throwing caution to the wind and daring fate to make a mockery of this project over the long perspective of time, if they’re not openly cashing out on the franchise in the face of the obvious dying of a trend.

I would call it country rap, but even that would give this album more definition than it truly carries. I would call it pop, but even that world would not stand for such vacuousness. And once again the listener is left steadfastly perplexed at what Brian Kelley (the short-haired one) actually does in this band beyond singing one verse of “Dirt” and a few random backup lines so heavily Auto-tuned you can’t tell for sure it’s him.

Everybody knows where Florida Georgia Line is going to lead. Scott Borchetta must know it. Their producer Joey Moi, formerly of Nickelback must know it. Their manager Kevin Zaruk, also formerly of Nickelback, apparently knows it, and admitted as much in a recent Billboard interview. “It’s bizarre because I know so many people who say they can’t stand them but listen to Nickelback and go to their shows. This is a band that sold hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise, and to this day, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a person with a Nickelback T-shirt on walking the streets anywhere in the world. I don’t know what it is, but for whatever reason it became cool to hate Nickelback, and once that trend took off, it exploded. What I’ve definitely talked to [FGL’s] Brian [Kelley] and Tyler [Hubbard] about is that whenever anybody becomes successful in any business, there’s people that get jealous.”

This is the problem. Florida Georgia Line and their fans will read a review like this, and truly believe that jealousy and nothing else is at the heart of the criticism, and will point to their “success” as proof of this. But Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, George Strait, and so many more were wildly successful in their time too, and also faced criticism, but never to the degree of criticism Florida Georgia Line is faced with. The music of these legends withstood the test of time, while artists like Nickelback, Billy Ray Cyrus, New Kids On The Block, and MC Hammer were also wildly successful in their time, but now their music is nowhere to be seen besides as a novelty, or listened to as irony or nostalgia.

READ: Florida Georgia Line’s “Sun Daze” (a semi-rant)

It is Florida Georgia Line’s destiny to go down as a laughing stock, to be the next Nickelback, where their fans hide their T-shirts and shun them, tearing them down just as vehemently and quickly as they artificially propped them up. Their sophomore album and a song like “Dirt” was their one opportunity to change that destiny and be known for something more. But instead they super concentrated what makes them bad as either a last cash-grabbing hurrah, or as a misguided miscalculation that their polarizing nature is due to the insecurities of others instead of a true concern about substance and sustainability. Point to current attendance numbers and call the haters jealous all you want. All one has to do is point to Nickelback as an example of why this doesn’t work in the long term.

Florida Georgia Line and Anything Goes are an embarrassment to country music.

Two Guns Way Down!

Oct
17

Inaugural Outlaw Fest 2014 In Pictures

October 17, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  14 Comments

This past weekend from October 9th thru 12th was the inaugural gathering of Outlaw Fest at Edge Hill Farms in Oakland, Kentucky. Despite passing rain showers throughout the weekend and the linchpin of the festival Marty Shine having a health setback that sidelined him for most of the event, according to festival goers a good time was had by all, and festival sidekick Kenneth Marr made sure the entire presentation went off without a hitch.

Though inclement weather kept Billy Joe Shaver from attending the event as planned, the weekend was packed with “Outlaw” talent which included 3rd generation artists such as Whey Jennings and Raelyn Nelson, modern day headliners like The SteelDrivers and The Dallas Moore Band, and a host of other artists who entertained patrons between rain clouds.

Below is a selection from the over 1,700 pictures taken by Cathy Pippin, aka VintageQueen54 during the weekend.

See All The Outlaw Fest 2014 Photos

Vintage Queen is also in the process of loading up videos from the weekend.

Whey Jennings (Grandson of Waylon)

whey-jennings-outlaw-fest-2014

Raelyn Nelson (Granddaughter of Willie Nelson)

raelyn-nelson-outlaw-fest-2014

raelyn-nelson-outlaw-fest-2014-2

Billie Gant

billie-gant-outlaw-fest-2014

The SteelDrivers – Brent Truitt

the-steeldrivers-1-outlaw-fest

The Steeldrivers – Tammy Rogers

the-steeldrivers-2-outlaw-fest

The SteelDrivers – Gary Nichols

the-steeldrivers-outlaw-fest-4

The SteelDrivers -  and Mike Fleming and Gary Nichols

 

the-steeldrivers-5

The SteelDrivers – Richard Bailey

the-steeldrivers-3-outlaw-fest

Master of Ceremonies – Gordon “Big G” Ames

big-g-outlaw-fest-2014

Mr. Bandana & Big G

mr-bandana-big-g-outlaw-fest-2014

Kyle Wilson

kyle-wilson-outlaw-fest

The Urban Pioneers

urban-pioneers-outlaw-fest-2014

Tom Ghent

tom-ghent-outlaw-fest-2014

2 Country 4 Nashville

2-country-4-nashville-outlaw-fest-2014

Joshua Morningstar

joshua-morningstar-outlaw-fest-2014

joshua-morningstar-outlaw-fest-1

Pure GrainScott Siefferman

pure-grain-2-outlaw-fest-2014

Pure Grain – Michelle D’Amico

pure-grain-outlaw-fest-1

JB Beverley of the Wayward Drifters

jb-bevelrey-outlaw-fest-2014

Buck Thrailkill

buck-thrailkill-outlaw-fest-2014

 The Dallas Moore Band

dallas-moore-band-outlaw-fest-2014

dallas-moore-band-bass-outlaw-fest

dallas-moore-band-outlaw-fest-2

 

Oct
15

The Greatest Hank Williams Tribute Songs of All Time

October 15, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Outlaw History  //  42 Comments

hank-williamsHank 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.

Ground Rules:

  1. The song has to be a true Hank tribute from stem to stern, not just mention Hank.
  2. The song has to be mostly about Hank, meaning no “Hank & Lefty” because that’s about both men equally (but still a good song).
  3. This is not meant to be an absolute unabridged and unequivocally complete master list of Hank tributes without one single omission. If you see a worthy Hank tribute not mentioned, by all means, please share, because that is the point of this, NOT to be a “Where’s Waldo?” exercise where people go combing through looking for missing songs so you can navigate to the comments and bust my chops with comments that start with “You forgot…” and end with “…this site is completely illegitimate” just because I forgot to mention some unpublished Hank tribute from a local singer in your town. The point is to hopefully to be exposed to a few new songs that will entertain you as a Hank fan.
  4. No order to these songs is intended or implied. Because this could stretch on forever, I tried to prioritize certain songs. But they are all great Hank tributes.

“Hank Williams’ Ghost” – Darrell Scott

Off of Darrell Scott’s 2006 album Invisible Man, the song went on to be nominated for the 2007 Song of the Year by the Americana Music Awards. Excellent video as well with many Hank Williams landmarks featured.


“Hank’s Cadillac” – Ashley Monroe

Written by Ashley Monroe at the tender age of 17, “Hank’s Cadillac” is Ashley attesting she would have figured out a way to keep Hank alive if she had been on his now famous “Last Ride.”


“If He Came Back Again” – The Highwaymen

Though this song was recorded to be included on the final Highwaymen album The Road Goes On Forever, it didn’t make the final cut initially. However when the album was re-issued, it was finally released, and today it remains one of the album’s most popular tracks and a beautiful tribute, despite the somewhat wonky harmonies in the chorus by the cantankerous Highwaymen. Written by Barry Alfonso and Craig Bickhardt.


“Talkin’ To Hank” – Mark Chesnutt

“I saw a shotgun and a guitar and a six-pack of beer
A sign on the front door said ‘Guess, who lives here’
An old red bone hound that looked older than time
And an old man that’s sure he was only twenty-nine”

Released in 1992, the original album version featured George Jones on guest vocals. Written by Bobby Harden.


“Long White Cadillac” – Dwight Yoakam & Dave Alvin

Originally written by Dave Alvin of The Blasters, while Dwight Yoakam was on tour opening for the band early in his career, he heard the song and recorded it himself in 1989.


“Hank Williams, You Wrote My Life” – Moe Bandy

The title track off of Moe Bandy’s 1976 album, it was written by Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame inductee Paul Craft. One of the most recognizable Hank tributes.


“The Ride” – David Allan Coe

Arguably the most chilling tribute to Hank, co-writer Gary Gentry once told Billboard, “There’s a mysterious magic connected with this song that spells cold chills, leading me to believe that it was meant to be and that David Allan Coe was meant to record it.” He swears when he went to look up the date of when Hank Williams died while writing the song, he opened the book to the exact page where the date was found, and that once when performing the song at the Grand Ole Opry House, as soon as he said the name “Hank” in the last verse, the lights and power went out in the building. “The Ride” was also written by J.B. Detterline Jr., and was released by David Allan Coe in February of 1983. It is also one of the most commercially-successful Hank tributes, coming in at #4 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.


“Midnight in Montgomery” – Alan Jackson

Another commercially-successful Hank tribute hit, it tells the story of Alan Jackson visiting the graves of Hank before headlining a New Years Eve show and seeing Hank’s ghost. The song hit #3 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, and Jackson co-wrote the song with Don Sampson. “Midnight in Montgomery” also had a successful video that won the CMA Video of the Year in 1992.


*”The Life Story of Hank Williams” – Hawkshaw Hawkins

As much as a storyteller song as a tribute, it features Hawkshaw Hawkins talking in segments about Hank’s life. It was released in February of 1953, and co-written by Louie Innis. Hankshaw Hawkins would die unexpectedly himself in the same plane crash that killed Patsy Cline on March 5th, 1963.


 “The Night Hank Williams Came To Town” – Johnny Cash w/ Waylon Jennings

From 1987′s Johnny Cash Is Coming To Town album produced by Jack Clement.


“The Death of Hank Williams” – Jack Cardwell

This was the very first Hank Williams tribute song ever written. As Hank fan and traditional country performer Joey Allcorn explained to Saving Country Music surrounding the release of his album Midnight: The Death of Hank Williams:

To me it was an interesting song because it was the very first Hank Williams tribute. Nowadays, doing a Hank Williams tribute is just sort of par for the course. This particular song that we’re centering the project around, it just captures a very basic feeling that happens after some sort of tragic event. The lyrics that are on display [in the museum] tell a similar story, because it was a woman in Montgomery who heard the words on the radio as a child, and they meant so much to her that she wrote them down. If you go to the Hank museum, they’re still sitting there by Hank’s Cadillac. It’s the handwritten lyrics of this little girl wrote after hearing this song, and when she was upset or sad.

Joey Allcorn performing:


“If You Don’t Like Hank Williams” – Kris Kristofferson

Off of Kristofferson’s 1976 Monument recording Surreal Thing, the song was also included on Hank Williams Jr.’s album Habits Old & New in 1980. The song finds Kris Kristofferson in rare form, with a bowed out chest making bold proclamations.


“The Conversation” – Hank Williams Jr. & Waylon Jennings

One of the most unique collaborations in country music history with Ol’ Hank as the conversation piece, it was was released on Hank Jr.’s 1979 album Whiskey Bent & Hell Bound album first, but showed up on Waylon’s Waylon & Company a few years later. “The Conversation”—written by Waylon, Jr., and Waylon’s long-time drummer Ritchie Albright, was one of the very first country music songs to feature a video. It was a Top 15 hit.


“Hank” Jason Boland & The Stragglers

The first song on their 2009 self-titled LP.

“You don’t like my music, you don’t like my songs
You say you wanna party, you say you wanna rock and roll
That carbon copy music don’t mean a damn to me
Hank Williams wouldn’t make it now in Nashville, Tennessee”


“Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?” – Waylon Jennings

The seminal Hank Williams tribute, and the seminal country music protest song all wrapped up into one. It was released in August of 1975 and became a #1 hit. Not three chords and the truth—two chords and the truth.

• “Hank, It Will Never Be The Same Without You” – Ernest Tubb

• “The Great Hank” – Robert Earl Keen (About Hank in drag)

• “Things Change” – Tim McGraw

• “When You Died At Twenty-Nine” – Slaid Cleaves

• “Alcohol & Pills” – Fred Eaglesmith

• “If Ol’ Hank Could Only See Us Now” – Waylon Jennings

• “Hank Williams Syndrome” – Waylon Jennings

• “Hank’s Song” – Ferlin Husky

“Tramp On Your Street” – George Jones

• “Rollin’ and Ramblin’” – Emmylou Harris

 

A Selection of Other Great Hank Williams Tributes:

 

  • “A Tribute to Hank Williams, My Buddy” – Luke McDaniels
  • “Hank” – Her Make Believe Band
  • “Here’s To Hank” – Stonewall Jackson
  • “Hank Williams Sings The Bules No More” – Jimmie Logsdon
  • “Hank, You Still Make Me Cry” – Boxcar Willie
  • “Hats Off To Hank” – Buzz Carson
  • “Hank, You Tried To Tell Me” – Johnny Paycheck
  • “I Had A Talk With A Man Last Night” – Vernon Oxford
  • “Hank Williams Isn’t Dead” – Duke Denver and Jeffrey Null
  • “Hank Williams Will Live Forever” – Johnny and Jack
  • “The Night I Met Hank Williams” – Lee Guthrie

 

  • “I Long To Hear Hank Williams Sing The Blues” – Jim Murphy
  • “The Life of Hank Williams” – Rick and Thel Carey
  • “A Legend Froze in Time” – David Church
  • “I Couldn’t Sleep for Thinkin’ Of Hank Williams” – Henry McCullough
  • “Everybody Likes a Hank Williams Song” – Tim Hus
  • “Curse of Hank” – Tim Hus
  • “Ghost of Hank Williams” – Kentucky Headhunters
  • “Ghost of Hank Williams” – David Allan Coe
  • “Has Anybody Here Seen Hank?” – The Waterboys
  • “Tribute to Hank Williams” – Tim Hardin

 

  • “Crank The Hank” – Dallas Wayne
  • “The Ballad of Hank Williams” – Hank Williams Jr. and Don Helms
  • “Ol’ Hank’s Lovesick Blues” – Gary Stewart
  • “Daddy (I Need You Tonight)” – Hank Williams Jr.
  • “Everybody Wants To Be Hank Williams” – Larry Boone
  • “Montgomery In The Rain” – Steve Young (also covered by Hank Jr.)
  • “The Car Hank Died In” – The Austin Lounge Lizards
  • “I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight” – Jerry Jeff Walker
  • “This Ain’t Montgomery” – Hank III and Joey Allcorn
  • “Mission From Hank” – Aaron Tippin

 

Oct
8

Waylon’s Buddy Holly Motorcycle Headed to Buddy Holly Center

October 8, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  3 Comments

waylong-motorcycle-ariel-cyclone-auction

The crown jewel and center of interest at this weekend’s auction of the Waylon Jennings estate at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ was the 1958 Ariel Cyclone motorcycle once owned by Waylon’s mentor Buddy Holly and given to Waylon on his birthday in 1979. Though early reports had the motorcycle not reaching the auction reserve with a bid of $375,000, and other reports said it sold for $450,000, Saving Country Music has confirmed with Guernsey’s Auctioneers that the bike indeed did sell eventually, and for a whopping $457,500.

Though the high bidder currently remains anonymous, Lindsey Heller at Guernsey’s was able to confirm the eventual destination of the bike. “I can tell you that the buyer is from Lubbock, TX, and that it’s his intention to ride it once, and then take it straight to the Buddy Holly Museum and put it on long-term loan.”

Lubbock is Buddy Holly’s hometown and right down the road from Waylon’s hometown of Littlefield. The two music stars met in Lubbock in the 1950′s.

Another item of high interest, Willie Nelson’s braids that he sent to Waylon to celebrate his sobriety, did not go for $37,000 as has been widely reported. They actually sold for $31,250—still a handsome price.

The Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock with its signature thick-rimmed glasses sculpture out front is owned by the City of Lubbock and states its mission as, “Preserving, collecting and promoting the legacy of Buddy Holly and the music of Lubbock and West Texas, as well as providing exhibits on Contemporary Visual Arts and Music, for the purpose of educating and entertaining the public.”

In May of 1958, Buddy Holly and his original Crickets flew in to Dallas’s Love Field airport on a connecting flight back to Lubbock after a big tour.

buddy-holly-motorcycle-receipt“They loved Marlon Brando in ‘The Wild One,’ and when they got to Dallas…they decided on the spur of the moment to buy motorcycles and drive back home on them.” Waylon Jennings recalled in his Autobiography. “They took a cab into the city and walked into a Harley-Davidson shop. They had their eyes on a trio of 74-inchers, but the proprietor didn’t think they had any money and treated them like a bunch of bums. ‘Hell, you boys couldn’t even begin to handle the payments on that.’”

-
“Then they went over to Miller’s Motorcycles, which specialized in English bikes. There, Joe B, and J.I. (Allison) bought a Triumph each, a TR6 and Thunderbird, respectively, while Buddy picked out a maroon and black Ariel Cyclone, with a high compression 650cc Huntsmaster engine. They paid cash, bought matching Levi jackets and peaked caps with wings on them, and rode home through a thunderstorm.”

Buddy Holly’s father had kept the motorcycle until 1970, when he sold it to someone in Austin, TX. Then in 1979 for Waylon’s 42nd birthday, the two remaining Crickets Joe B. and J.I. tracked down the 1959 Ariel Cyclone, bought it back, and had it hand delivered to north Texas where Waylon found it sitting there in the middle of his hotel room after walking off stage that night.

“What else could I do? I swung my leg over it, stomped on the kickstarter, and it burst into roaring life. First kick. It was midnight, and it sounded twice as loud bouncing off the walls of that hotel room. I knew Buddy wouldn’t mind.”

Home video of Buddy Holly and The Crickets with their new motorcycles:

Oct
8

The Secret Ingredient to Make Outlaw Fest “Shine”

October 8, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Random Notes  //  1 Comment

outlaw-fest-2014

“Marty Shine” is what many of his friends call him. He’s the owner of the Moonshine Sauce Company who through a series of events over the last year or so has gone from slaving over a hot barbecue pit to playing festival promoter at this weekend’s Outlaw Fest at the Edgehill Farm in Oakland, KY.

Independent-minded artists and fans are already making their way to the inaugural gathering, looking to take in music from headliners like Billy Joe Shaver and The Steeldrivers, and music and stories from 2nd and 3rd generation Outlaws like Waylon Jennings’ son Terry Jennings, his grandson Whey Jennings, and Willie Nelson’s granddaughter Raelyn Nelson. Add on top that legendary songwriters like Billie Gant, up-and-coming stars like the Dallas Moore Band and Josh Morningstar, well-known Texas radio DJ “Big G” Gordon Ames, and Outlaw Fest has a little something of everything from the Outlaw country world.

For a while Marty Shine (aka Martin Bently) had been hauling around his barbecue rig to music festivals and other events when he had an epiphany. Actually, he had a couple of them. The first was that his barbecue sauce made with a kick of moonshine was in such high demand, he didn’t need to worry about the meat portion of the barbecue quotient. Just bottle up the sauce and save the mess. “We just sell sauce because the sauce is bigger than the cooking part of it,” Marty says.

The second epiphany is what led to Outlaw Fest. Marty was attending a festival last year—cooking barbecue and promoting his Moonshine Sauce—when he saw a problem. “I’m sitting there listening to some of the best music in the world and I’m wondering why these guys can’t play a stage like Florida Georgia Line? That was the theory behind the whole thing, that these guys deserve the same treatment that the pop country people get. But at the same token, a lot of these people don’t have the following to draw a crowd, so you add Billy Joe Shaver in there and the Steeldrivers to put more people in there.”

Marty and his Moonshine Sauce weren’t particularly well-known to the Outlaw music crowd when he showed up to the festival last year. But by the end, he knew most of them on a first name basis. “All the other food vendors pulled out and went home because it was 20 degrees. And I stayed. And that automatically made me friends with all of these people, because they actually had food and somebody cared enough to stay. Now did I lose my ass? Of course I did. But good food makes good friends.”

Marty Shine saw the potential these unheralded Outlaw artists had, but knew he had to figure out a way to get people’s attention. “I told Dallas Moore, ‘It’s my job to put asses in seats. It’s your job to make fans out of these people.’ I put the people there, you make them fans. And then next year the other names will draw more people than they did this year.”

The term “Outlaw” carries so much baggage these days, and has been corrupted and misappropriated by Music Row in Nashville so many times it’s hard to count (including the title of a recent title of a Mötley Crüe country tribute album), but Marty believes it’s worth challenging those misnomers by offering up a true example of the Outlaw approach instead of running away from the term. “To me the term ‘Outlaw’ is the epitome of what Waylon Jennings did. It’s not selling out to corporate anybody. It’s not necessarily a genre of music as it is a way of life. You hear the term ‘Outlaw’ and it conjures up different things to different people. And were doing our best to let people know it’s just the way these people do their music. They do their own thing.”

What started out as a way to promote his barbecue sauce has turned into a full blown 4-day festival with over 40 bands. Already the festival was forced to move from its original location of the Wishbone Rance to Edgehill Farm because of the expected turnout. “Our goal on the whole thing is that if we break even, then there will be an Outlaw Fest 2015. Everybody wants it to be an annual event and that’s a good thing. Because people see that we’re doing everything we can do to do it up right. I don’t know anything else to do that we’ve not done. But the long-range goal is to make this an annual event that will rival anything else out there.”

More Info on Outlaw Fest

outlaw-fest-2014

Oct
6

Results from the Waylon Jennings Arizona Estate Auction

October 6, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  14 Comments

remebering-waylon-auction

This story has been updated.

Waylon fans and collectible enthusiasts from around the country and world made their way to the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ or tuned in online to a 2,000-item estate liquidation from the Arizona homestead of the late Waylon Jennings. The auction was conducted by Guernsey’s of New York who compiled over 500 lots that included many pictures of Waylon and his friends, gold & platinum records and other trophies accumulated over his storied career, many music instruments including personal guitars and amplifiers, personal effects like watches and sunglasses, clothing, and reams of paper material of Waylon’s lyrics and other musings.

Bidding began at 1 PM Pacific time, and started with the pictures Waylon had accumulated over his lifetime. The most desirable lot of pictures turned out to be a lot of four vintage photos from the set of the movie Stagecoach that included pictures with Johnny Cash, and one with Waylon shooting the bird from inside a stagecoach.

PLEASE NOTE: The sale prices should be considered preliminary and may not take into consideration certain factors. As soon as sale prices are finalized and confirmed, they will be updated here.

Out of the gold & platinum records and the trophies, the most sought-after of the collection was the gold record for The Highwaymen which fetched $6,000. 17 new trophies had been added to the auction recently from what was originally advertised, including a 1998 Chettie Award that went for $2,250.

Out of Waylon’s musical instruments, his two personal 1940′s Martin guitars brought $26,000, and $22,500 respectively, while a 1985 acoustic-electric Alvarez guitar fetched $10,000—much higher than original auction estimates. However auctioneers had a difficult time getting bidders interested in the numerous Fender amplifiers from Waylon’s personal collection, with most of the Twin Reverb models going for well under estimates, and for less than $1,000.

The crown jewel of the auction was the 1958 Ariel Cyclone motorcycle once owned by Waylon’s mentor Buddy Holly that was then given to Waylon on his birthday in 1979 by the former members of Buddy’s backing band The Crickets. It sold for $457,500. Some initial reports had the motorcycle not selling at a high bid of $375,000 that did not meet the reserve, but Saving Country Music has confirmed with the auction house the sale of the bike and the price. The other high bid in the auction was for a desk given to Waylon by Johnny Cash that sold for $70,000.

As for other items of interest, a letter from Johnny Cash to Waylon went for $2,750, the note from John Lennon to Waylon went for $7,500, and a robe given to Waylon by Muhammad Ali landed $5,000.

Proceeds from the auction went to benefit the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Here’s a run down of some of the most important and interesting items from the auction:

1958 Ariel Cyclone Motorcycle. $457,500. (Read More)

waylong-motorcycle-ariel-cyclone-auction

Photograph of Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash Rollerskating. $750

waylon-jennings-johnny-cash-rollerskating-001

Waylon’s GED Plaque from the State of Oklahoma Earned on April 14th, 1991 at 52. $1,200

waylon-jennings-ged-certificate

Gold Record for The Highwaymen Record from 1986. $6,000

waylon-jennings-gold-record-the-highwaymen

1946 Martin D28 Herringbone Guitar. $26,000.

waylon-jennings-1946-martin-D28-herringbone

1943 Martin Guitar 00021. $22,500

waylon-jennings-guitar-1943-martin-00021

“Little” Jimmy Dickens Dobro Resonator Guitar. $12,000 

waylon-jennings-dobro-resonator-little-jimmy-dickens

Gold RWN Necklace for Waylon, Ritchie Albright, & Neil Reshen. $1,800

waylon-jennings-rwn-necklace

Howard 23 Jewel Pocket Watch on Chain. $10,000

howard-waylon-jennings-pocket-watch

Golden Badge from Davidson County (Nashville) Sheriff. $2,500

waylon-jennings-davidson-county-badge-2

Rare Autographed Copy of an Early Waylon Jennings LP, JD’s. $1,100.

waylon-jennings-jds-lp

Hank Williams’ Custom-Made Nudie Cowboy Boots. $8,000. 

hank-williams-boots-waylon-jennings

Muhammad Ali’s Ring Robe Presented to Waylon by Ali (Read More). $5,000.

muhammad-ali-robe

Letter From Johnny Cash to Waylon Jennings (Read More). $2,750.

johnny-cash-letter-to-waylon-jennings

Willie Nelson’s Braids, Given to Waylon. $31,250.

willie-nelson-braids-waylon-jennings

Armadillo World Headquarters Poster w/ Commander Cody & Willie Nelson. $900.

waylon-jennings-armadillo-world-headquarters-poster

Partner Desk Given to Waylon from Johnny Cash in 1985. $70,000.

waylon-jennings-partner-desk-johnny-cash

Original Contract Forming The Highwaymen. $18,000.

waylon-jennings-original-highwaymen-contract

Letter from John Lennon to Waylon Jennings (Read More). $7,500.

john-lennon-letter-to-waylon-jennings

Waylon’s Rolex Submariner Wristwatch. $25,000.

waylon-jennings-rolex

Oct
2

Johnny Cash Writes a Letter to Waylon Jennings

October 2, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Outlaw History  //  5 Comments

The-HighwaymenIt was November of 1985. Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash—long-time friends who traced their intertwined stories all the way back to when they shared an apartment together just outside of Nashville—were as close as ever, and sharing the stage as part of the supergroup The Highwaymen with Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. The song “Highwayman” had been one of 1985′s biggest hits, cresting at #1 and holding on the Billboard charts for 20 weeks on its way to becoming a Top 5 song of the entire year.

Amidst their success, Waylon had agreed to be a part of a “roasting” in Georgia to benefit the Spina Bifida Association of Atlanta, and all of his fellow Highwaymen, including Johnny Cash and his wife June Carter Cash were scheduled to attend. Reporter Jack “Hawkeye” Hurst wrote briefly about the event on November 28th, 1985, and placed Johnny and June in Atlanta with Waylon, because that is where they were supposed to be according to the billing. But in truth Johnny and June were not there; they were in Jamaica. The Cash’s had a home called “Cinnamon Hill” on the Caribbean island which Waylon and his wife Jessi often visited, and while hiding away in their Jamaican home, Johnny and June missed the Atlanta roast. How do we know this?

As part of the liquidation of Waylon’s Arizona estate currently underway, a letter from Johnny Cash to Waylon has been made public for the first time. To make it up to Waylon for not attending the 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.

The Johnny Cash letter to Waylon Jennings is a testament to the friendship and closeness the two men shared, and the respect each man felt for respective wives.

The letter, along with hundreds of personal effects, including reams of other written paper matter, is scheduled to be auctioned off by Guernsey’s Auctioneers on Sunday, Oct. 5th.

- – - – - – - – - – - – -

Waylon, this roast shouldn’t hurt you too much tonight, because your brain is already fried. Seriously, I wanted to be there so bad, but I have been told that the only way to get from Jamaica to Atlanta is to travel. I sincerely hope you will accept this honest reason. We miss you and Shooter. Did you ever find out who Shooter’s mother is . . . . . I love you, Jessi, don’t I June? Jessi, you are one of the few truly great women I have met in my entire life. As soon as we get home, we want you to find Waylon’s clothes that he is going to wear that day, then show him where the car keys are, and come to see us. Waylon, I love you, don’t I God? Just remember if you’re ever down to your last dollar, if all your old friends turn their backs on you, if you’re so low that you wish you could die, just remember, I’ll always be . . . . . . . . .

Johnny Cash

johnny-cash-letter-to-waylon-jennings

READ: John Lennon Writes A Letter to Waylon Jennings

Sep
13

Michael Goodman Carries On What Nashville Left Behind

September 13, 2014 - By Trigger  //  Reviews  //  2 Comments

michael-goodman

It’s is one of the complaints from contemporary music listeners that all popular music is beginning to sound the same no matter what station you tune in. Popular music is coalescing into one gobby monogenre blob. But the truth is when you go back in time to popular American music’s founding, before rabid commercialization really grabbed it’s foothold, it was sort of the same story. Before country was country, and rock & roll was rock & roll, there was little difference between the two. Bands like Maddox Brothers & Rose played both “hillbilly” music and “boogie woogie” with little to no distinction as separate art forms. Elvis Presley started out as a rockabilly artist and went rock. Johnny Cash started as a rockabilly artist and went country. In many respects, rock and country were the same thing before they were ever split and combined together again, especially in Memphis, TN.

Michael Goodman is a good modern illustration of this primitive era of American popular music where rock and country were virtually the same. As an actor, Goodman has portrayed Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, and Carl Perkins in the acclaimed Million Dollar Quartet theatrical production and other places, and can play all the with haunting accuracy. This exemplifies both Goodman’s flexibility, and depth of knowledge about those formative country and rock years, and he brings this all to life again in Unbreakable Heart. Funny yet formidable, sad but rocking, Michael Goodman smoothly takes you on a musical time warp to the roiling 50′s to both cut a rug and cry in your beer in a time when music was much better across the board and became immediately timeless.

michael-goodman-unbreakable-heartUnbreakable Heart almost feels like two separate albums fashioned together. Though “rockabilly” may be the easy way to describe the one half, this album is a little less Brian Setzer and Reverend Horton Heat, and a little more Nick Curran and JD McPherson. He stays a little more rock than billy so to speak without reaching into the punk vibe. There’s an Everly Brothers-sounding tune called “Everly Avenue” and a boisterous joke song called “Cock Block Ninja.” Comedy and wit is one of the calling cards of Michael Goodman’s music and something that separates him from the crowd. “Kissed A Lot” is another of the album’s really good old-school rock and roll cuts.

But where Michael Goodman won over this critic was with his country fare. Coming at you hard and straight, this is traditional country music in every sense, yet approached with a freshness and enthusiasm so it doesn’t feel drabby or anachronistic. Goodman lists people such as Waylon Jennings, David Allan Coe, and Jerry Reed as influences, but what you mostly get on Unbreakable Heart is straight-laced throwback traditional stuff. Growing up in Kentucky, Goodman was surrounded by bluegrass bands and church choirs. Singing and country music was at the core of his upbringing, and this comes through in tracks like “Drinking About You,” “Why Don’t You Love Me,” and “Lyin’ Cryin’.” He gets a little closer to the Outlaw era with songs such as “Carrying On What Nashville Left Behind” and “I’m Just Country,” but it still feels more traditional than country rock. “Old Damn Games” is where Goodman begins to venture more towards the 70′s vibe than the 50′s.

There are a few songs that bridge the old-school country and rock worlds, but this “together, yet separated” approach to country and rock makes for a very fun, and spicy album that has you guessing at what’s coming up next. And whether it’s the country twang or the rock and roll warble, Goodman’s interpretation of the music and his singing is spot on, and he’s a great guitar player to boot.

Concerns about Unbreakable Heart are mild, but he could have spent a little more time working out his approach to “Everly Avenue,” and maybe solicited someone else to sing with him instead of trying to pull off the close harmony himself. Also some of the songs, especially the old school country tracks feel like they step down in production quality from the other songs, possibly to make them sound “old,” but the volume and mixing left a little to be desired.

Like walking into Sun Studios circa 1956, Michael Goodman and Unbreakable Heart take you back to a time when the music of American was uncorrupted, the sentiments were sincere, and the promise was unending.

1 3/4 of 2 Guns Up.

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

Preview & Purchase Unbreakable Heart on Amazon

Preview & Purchase Tracks on CD Baby

Sep
10

Sturgill Simpson Playing “Can’t You See” with Zac Brown Band

September 10, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  43 Comments

sturgill-simpson-zac-brown-3

Sturgill Simpson has been touring on and off for the past few months with Zac Brown Band upon the request of Zac Brown himself. And on this most recent leg, Sturgill was invited to share the stage with Zac and the boys on their extended rendition of the Marshall Tucker Band classic, “Can’t You See,” written by the great Toy Caldwell. The song was also famously covered by Waylon Jennings in 1976 on his Are You Ready For The Country album, reaching #4 on the Billboard Country charts.

sturgill-simpson-zac-brownZac Brown Band has been playing the song regularly over the last few years, and guitar player, singer, and songwriter Clay Cook, who used to be in the Marshall Tucker Band, takes the lead on the song that can regularly stretch out to 12 or 13 minutes. At recent shows, including this last weekend’s sold-out shows a Fiddler’s Green Amphiteatre in Greenwood Village, CO., both Sturgill Simpson and his guitar player Laur “Little Joe” Joamets joined Zac Brown Band on stage for the song.

A few videos of the performances have surfaced, one which has pretty clear visuals but muffled sound, and another that has great sound but the camera is sideways. On the second one the crowd erupts when Sturgill’s name is called out to take a verse of the Southern rock classic. Hopefully some better video surfaces, but until then it is still cool to see and hear Sturgill collaborating with one of country music’s biggest drawing acts.

Sturgill Simpson takes a detour tonight (9-10) to Los Angeles to perform on Conan O’Brien.

READ: Review – Zac Brown Band’s “The Grohl Sessions Vol. 1″

-

Del Maguey
Old Soul Radio Show
Hillgrass Bluebilly
Best Of Lists

Categories

Archives