Muhammad Ali, who passed away on June 3rd, is known for many things, though music is not the first worldly pursuit you would associate with the World Champion boxer and humanitarian. But he was close friends with people all over the music world, including in country music, and especially with the four men that some consider the Mount Rushmore of country music.
If your real, legal name is Willie Nelson Waylon Jennings, the good news is you’re named after two of the most badass country music artists to ever suck air. The bad news if your Willie Nelson Waylon Jennings is that you were just arrested in Carroll County, Georgia on burglary charges after your getaway car ran out of gas.
“He’s mad as hell. And there’s a bunch of hangers on and groupies and people like that all up and down the hall. It was a long hall and it was almost like a gunfight deal. He comes out of there and he’s got two bikers on each side, and he says, ‘Hoss, what do you want?’ And I says, ‘I’ll tell you what I want … If you don’t listen to these songs, at least listen to them, I’m going to whip your ass right here in front of God and everybody.”
Hypothetically, whether a given song is released to mainstream country radio as a single or not shouldn’t affect the listener’s judgement upon the song itself. And in many cases, it doesn’t. A song is a song, and it should be considered on its own merits. There are exceptions however, like when a song is exceptionally bad, like many of the country radio singles over the years from Luke Bryan.
Over the last few days, an especially effective fake news story about Metallica’s James Hetfield quitting the heavy metal band to make a country record called “Hetfield Road” has been making the rounds. Saving Country Music headquarters has been bombarded with emails about the article, and according to the stats, it’s been viewed over 223,000 times since being posted on March 8th.
Time is the ultimate judge and critic of music. 10 year anniversaries don’t always fall favorably for legendary records. They’re still too young to be considered vintage or retro, but are just old enough to be out of style. But unfolding the flaps of “Straight to Hell” today, re-living the music, it’s hard to not feel the same magic you heard when you listened to the record for the first time.
Waylon Jennings was just 19-years-ol when Terry was born, and by the age of 15, Terry had dropped out of school and was a regular roadie working for his father. During that time, Terry not only got to witness the rise of his father to the status of a country legend and a Hall of Famer, but he got to see performers like Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, and Waylon’s final wife Jessi Colter do the same.
Love them, hate them, evoke the strong opinions of the Coen Brothers’ fictional character Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski all you want, but Glen Frey and The Eagles turned millions of music fans from all around the world into country music listeners through the evocative power of simple, universal sentiments bathed in twangy tones, however filed off the edges may have been, or however commercially successful the pursuit ultimately was.
There’s a ton of great records from Hank starting the the late 70’s all the way up to the early 90’s that country fans will be pulling off of shelves for years to come when they’re looking for some good country music with a rock and roll kick, and if I had a vote I would induct Hank Williams Jr. into the Country Music Hall of Fame in the Modern Era category yesterday. But It’s About Time adds nothing to Hank Jr.’s legacy.
The country music Outlaw movement didn’t happen overnight either. It took years and years of gnawing away at the obtrusive oligarchy that had set up shop on Music Row to get to the point where many of the genre’s most prominent stars could call their own shots, and the music could finally open up to new ideas and fresh faces.
Billy Joe Shaver, Bobby Bare, Brandy Clark, Chris Stapleton, Dave Cobb, Florida Georgia Line, Hillbilly Central, Holly Williams, Jason Isbell, Jessi Colter, Jon Pardi, Kris Kristofferson, Luke Bryan, Merle Haggard, Miranda Lambert, Mo Pitney Williams Michael Morgan, Southern Family, Sturgill Simpson, Sugar Hill, Thirty Tigers, Tompall Glaser, Wanted The Outlaws, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Zac Brown
Just like Dave Cobb, and just like Chris Stapleton before him, Robby Turner has been working for years behind-the-scenes, at the side of the stage, or in the studio, while others soaked up the spotlight. But the power of his efforts, and the success of the projects that he’s been a part of, has slowly but surely revealed Robby as one of those behind-the-scenes legends whose contributions should be left a secret no more.
Bernice Turner, Charlie Rich, Chips Moman, Chris Stapleton, Dave Cobb, Dixie Chicks, Doyle Turner, Hank Williams, Hargus "Pig" Robbins, Robby Turner, Shot Jackson, Sturgill Simpson, The Highwaymen, The Singing Rambos, Traveller, Waylon Jennings, Yelawolf
The Outlaw era of music may be long gone, but we’re about to get a dousing of new music from the legendary period in the form of live concerts originally broadcast on radio that will now appear as album releases this March. Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Leon Russell, and the Charlie Daniels Band will all have live FM broadcasts of released.
Charlie Daniels, Charlie Daniels Band, FM Concert Broadcasts, Johnny Cash, Leon Russell, Return of The Outlaw: The Abbott, Riding the Northeast Trail: The New Jersey Broadcast 1979, Saratoga Showdown: The New York Broadcast 1979, Texas Broadcast 1973, Unchained in a Rusty Cage: New York Broadcast 1996, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
“White Mansions” couldn’t be made today. That’s one of many reasons it’s so remarkable and such a country music treasure. It’s not that the production costs would be too high or the talent couldn’t be assembled. But you couldn’t put present day top-tier music talent on an album that someone might construe as harboring sympathies for the Civil War South without creating an uproar.
Dave Cobb, Eric Clapton, Glyn Johns, Jessi Colter, John Dillon, Marty Stuart, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Patty Loveless, Paul Kennerley, Review, Southern Family, Steve Cash, Tanya Tucker, The Judds, Waylon Jennings, White Mansions
There’s something much interesting brewing that’s bigger than any one artist at the moment—an expansive concept record dealing with artists’ experiences growing up in the South. The project was first hinted at in April when the new Elektra deal was signed, and since then there’s been murmurings about Cobb’s concept record here and there, but now we’re finally beginning to piece together the details.
Anderson East, Brandy Clark, Brent Cobb, Chris Stapleton, Dave Cobb, Eric Clapton, Holly Williams, Jamey Johnson, Jason Isbell, Jessi Colter, John Paul White, Miranda Lambert, Mrorgane Stapleton, Rich Robinson, Shooter Jennings, Southern Family, The Southern Family, Waylon Jennings, Zac Brown
Friends Till the End will tell the story of The Highwaymen through vintage performances and new interviews about life on the road and in the studio with the supergroup consisting of Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson. Originally formed in 1985, The Highwaymen released three albums over a decade span, including their Platinum-selling debut.
the quality of the music of these do-good artists can sometimes be an entirely different story than the quality of their character. Such an assessment is subjective mind you, both on the musical and personal side. But generally speaking, the generosity of a given celebrity and the standards of their music doesn’t always go hand in hand.
Ahead of a comeback album called It’s About Time scheduled for release on January 15th, 2016 through Scott Borchetta’s NASH Icon label, Hank Williams Jr. has issued a rendition of the oft-covered “Are You Ready For The Country,” originally penned by Neil Young, and covered by Waylon Jennings some years later.
In peep show fashion over the last few days, Hank Williams Jr. has revealed he’ll be releasing his latest album called “It’s About Time.” It will be Hank Jr.’s first album on Big Machine Records’ NASH Icon imprint. He signed to the label meant to give new life to older artists in late April.
So what’s to learn from hitching a ride in Marty McFly’s time machine and traveling back to 1985? That the problems country music is facing today are virtually the same ones that were being faced 30 years ago. It’s all cyclical, as canonized in the old Gospel tune enshrined in the architecture of the Country Music Hall of Fame asking the question, “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?”
Alan Jackson, Bill Carter, Bobby Bare, Chris Stapleton, Clint Black, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Jason Isbell, Keith Whitley, Kris Kristofferson, Mo Pitney, Randy Travis, Ray Charles, Ricky Skaggs, Sturgill Simpson, The Highwaymen, Travis Tritt, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
Hank Williams Jr.’s politics and boisterous attitude will always make him one of the most polarizing figures in country music history. But those who are quick to overlook his musical contributions both on and off the stage, the amazing body of work he’s amassed over his legendary career, and the mark he’s made on country music are doing Bocephus and themselves a huge disservice.