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- Singer Joe Cocker Dies at 70
- NPR Tiny Desk Concert with Lucinda Williams
- The Mavericks' Robert Reynolds Fired for Drug Addiction
- Hear New Joe Pug Song "If Still It Can Be Found"
- Houston Press: Is Country Music Ready For Sturgill Simpson?
- Blitzen Trapper Releases Free Live Album
- Chip Young, Legendary Nashville Session Guitarist and Producer, Dies at 76
- Fatal South by Southwest Crash Brings First Wave of Lawsuits
- New Song from Cody Canada and the Departed "Easy"
- Flaco Jimenez to receive Lifetime Grammy Award
- Original Grateful Dead Manager Rock Scully Dead at 73
- Nashville Scene Rips Into American Country Countdown Awards
- Ardent Studios Founder John Fry Dies at 69
- Windowing New Music May Not Goose Sales, Study Shows
- Engineer and Producer John Hampton Dies
- Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie Talk "December Day"
- Proof How Much The Music Industry Has Changed In The Last Ten Years
- NY Times' Jon Caramanica's Top 10 Albums Includes Sturgill Simpson
- Galleywinter's Favorites of 2014
From 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
“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.”
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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.
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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.
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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)
Yes, if you thought Willie Nelson already released an album this year, you would be correct. It was called Band of Brothers, and without rigging the measuring stick because he’s a legend, or crossing my fingers behind my back, I can tell you it was one of the better albums released in all of country music in 2014. Consumers felt similarly, and Band of Brothers became a #1 record upon its release; Willie’s first #1 in 28 years, though under a system Billboard has now replaced with one taking into account streaming, which will likely see Willie and other legends who’ve had luck on the charts lately losing out to younger artists with stream happy fans.
But Willie was not done in 2014, and released Willie’s Stash, Vol. 1 December Day on 12/2. This is not a Christmas album as some may assume from the timing and title (and others have purchased believing it to be according to a couple of emails I’ve received), though it does have a very glowing, hearth-like feel, and the album is a family affair. The occasion surrounding December Day is to capture Willie with sister Bobbie Nelson—his long-time piano player—in a very intimate, stripped-down studio setting with producer Buddy Cannon presiding, and only a few more sparse accoutrements from Willie’s long-standing “Family Band.”
Like the “Willie’s Stash, Vol. 1″ titling infers, this should be considered the other release, the more secondary release from Willie Nelson in 2014. Something for the hardcore fans instead of the masses so to speak, and you see this in the way Legacy has approached releasing this album—Willie’s fifth on the Sony catalog imprint. June’s Band of Brothers, Willie’s 2013 duet album To All The Girls…, and 2012′s Heroes all felt like primary releases with a big promotional push. December Day, and the 2013 release Let’s Face The Music And Dance—another release that also included many re-recorded songs—felt like bonus studio material for dedicated Willie lovers.
Interesting that with 2012′s Heroes, Sony apparently put the kibosh on the original album name Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die, but here make light of Willie’s well known use and advocacy of marijuana with the “stash” reference, however more veiled it might be. And if we ever will see a Volume 2 or if it’s just a formality to flesh out the title remains to be seen. But in 18 tracks and 20 total songs, December Day sees Willie reprising many of his originals—some well-known, some obscure—while also covering favorites from Irving Berlin, Django Reinhardt, and others. I wouldn’t consider December Day a country album in the traditional sense. It is more of a traditional pop album, where a crooner accompanied primarily by a piano would play standards, like a Tony Bennett record, only with more earthy tones from Willie’s more weathered voice and the sound of his famous Trigger guitar.
Though it says right there on the cover and in the track notations that this is mostly about Willie pairing with Sister Bobbie, long-time Nelson harmonica player Mickey Raphael plays a very important role on this record, adding his signature and tasteful textures on many of the tracks. Also interesting to note that we see Willie’s long-time bass player Bee Spears’ name appear in the credits. Bee passed away in an unfortunate accident in December of 2011, meaning some of this music has been laying around for a while, and predates Willie’s Legacy label deal. Billy English—the brother of drummer Paul English—also appears briefly, but overall December Day stands up to the billing of being primarily Willie and Bobbie.
The excellent part about this album is the intimacy, and each track singled out is its own little gem. When news first came down of this project, I’d be lying if I didn’t say it set my eyes to rolling a little bit. Willie did such a great job with Heroes and Band of Brothers defying his age and adding to his legacy, I just don’t want to see his fan base taxed with too many auxiliary releases, especially to the point where listeners start ignoring them (see the 00′s). But when a video for “Who’ll Buy My Memories” was released (see below), my optimism perked up. The idea of getting a glimpse of how an evening at the Nelson Family residence may transpire when music is on the mind makes this something unique and special, even if we’ve heard these songs before.
However when you zoom out and listen to December Day cover to cover for all 20 songs, it does become a little bit tedious. Along with re-treading some songs he’s already re-treaded many times before (Willie might have recorded “Nuages” more times than Florida Georgia Line says “girl” in a hit single), Willie’s also put nearly all of his material that relies on minor keys and fey jazz-style chording that trips up the ear in one place with this album. When you add on top a general lack of body in the instrumentation, you end up with an album that is hard to call “accessible” as one of its attributes. Yes, it’s a “stash” of songs we’ve heard before done in a different way, but one I wouldn’t label as essential to anyone but dedicated Willie Nelson fans.
What December Day does deliver is a remarkable attention to tone, conveyed with such respectful care and taste, it’s like touching something pleasing but with your ears. Willie Nelson’s voice, though handsomely weathered, sounds strong and regal, like the knotty, intertwined resolve of an antique wooden cane only rendered more sturdy and character-etched by time. In fact you could call Nelson’s voice even more confident here than on Band of Brothers in places because he’s been singing these songs for so many years. His guitar Trigger meets similar results from not having to fight with a full band for attention, while the tinkling of keys by sister Bobbie comprises the foundation for every song. Mickey Raphael has some moments where he cuts his parts as smoothly as the sunrise crests the horizon, and overall despite a lack of originality of material, December Day delivers a tactically-pleasing experience if nothing else.
Recommended only for dedicated Willie fans, or people who love minimalist recordings of standards, but recommended nonetheless, Willie and Bobbie’s December Day “stash” makes for not a bad pre-holiday aperitif.
1 1/2 of 2 Guns Up.
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Bob 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…”
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.
“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.
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Rock 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)
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.
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.
Songwriter, 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.”
Bad News Knockin’ Track List:
- Bad News Knockin’
- Blame It All on the Roses
- Lonesome Sunday Blues
- Waitin’ on the Hummingbird
- The Ballad of Shine Marley
- Warm Spanish Wine
- Georgia Blues
- Yellow House in the Country
- Years Ago
- Things I Benn Blamed For
- I Lived the Life
- Red Shoes Blues
- Peace of Mind
You may remember from early May when the sale of an old Willie Nelson tour bus on Craigslist erupted into its own viral event as pictures of the saloon-style interior with its custom wood paneling and crushed red velvet upholstery circled around the internet and a bidding war ensued for the piece of country music history. Originally nicknamed “Scout,” and later called “Me & Paul,” the 1983 Eagle tour bus was the rolling home for Willie Nelson’s long-time drummer and manager Paul English, purchased and customized with a Detroit Diesel engine, 3 separate rooms, a picture of Jimmie Rodgers and custom stained glass, and airbrushed designs on the sides and back.
The owner had purchased the bus three or four years before in Alabama and originally listed it on Craigslist for $29,999, hoping to at least recoup what he’d spent on his “hobby.” Eventually the bus sold for a whopping $80,000—gobbled up by a couple of private investors from Austin, TX. Taylor Perkins and Michael “Stix” Tashnick, one of which owns a company called Vintage Innovations that restores older vehicles and uses them for custom rentals, said they planned to restore the bus and use a portion of whatever proceeds to benefit Farm Aid.
“We are all huge Willie Nelson fans and have been our entire lives,” Taylor Perkins said at the time. “We felt this was a great way we could give something back to Willie, who has done so much for our state and the people in it.”
Now Taylor Perkins and Michael Tashnick have had their chance to restore and tastefully upgrade the bus, and it’s ready to serve as a fully immersive vintage country music experience for perspective renters. On the very first episode of Great American Country’s new show Celebrity Motor Homes that aired on November 26th, the “Me & Paul” bus was featured, giving country music enthusiasts an even more intimate glimpse into this piece of rolling piece of country lore.
Sorry GAC, I don’t think that rolling tray will see much “tobacco.”
On December 4th, Billboard will roll out new changes to their Billboard 200 album chart, and the effect will be big on some of your favorite music artists, including legends like Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton, and up-and-comers like Sturgill Simpson and Jason Isbell. The changes will be the first major overhaul to the album chart since 1991, and will send pop stars and artists whose fans favor streaming to much higher positions and allow them to stay there for longer, while artists whose fans prefer to buy physical, cohesive albums or downloads will be diminished.
As first explained by Saving Country Music in September, the new chart rules (dubbed initially as a ‘Consumption Chart’) take into consideration the streaming of songs when rating the overall impact of an album. 1,500 songs streams on services such as Spotify, Google Play, Beats, Rhapsody, the new YouTube Music Key, or any other streamers will count as the equivalent of one album sale, even if those streams are all for only one song. The chart change is meant to take into account the new reality of how music is consumed, and give a boost to artists whose albums get buried on Billboard album charts because of poor sales of cohesive albums.
A big differences between what was initially reported about the upcoming changes and what were highlighted in a New York Times feature on the charts posted late Wednesday (11-19) is that there won’t be an autonomous ‘Consumption Chart,’ but changes directly to the Billboard 200.
It is also left ambiguous at the moment if there will still be dedicated album charts that do not take into account streaming. Original reports had album charts remaining, but likely losing relevancy with the implementation of the new chart system. There’s also no news at the moment if the changes will also be implemented for Billboard’s genre specific album charts.
Recently we have seen older country artists such as Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, and Billy Joe Shaver set career chart records with their album releases because these artist’s older fan bases are one of the few demographics left that actually buy albums. But since these artist’s streaming footprint is significantly less, these new chart rules would see them fare significantly worse compared to the current system.
Same could be said for many independent artists like Old Crow Medicine Show, Sturgill Simpson or Jason Isbell, whose fan bases are more likely to buy physical albums to help support the artist. These artists have seen significant boosts from chart performances recently, and this will be diminished under the new system. Artists who rely heavily on vinyl sales like Jack White will also see diminishing returns from the new charting system.
Since these charts are used to gauge the importance and impact an artist has in the marketplace, a diminishing of these artists on the charts could affect their overall sales, or their acknowledgement by the industry. The new system will create even a greater discrepancy between the have’s and have not’s of music, and see more attention paid to the biggest artists, the biggest songs, and the biggest albums.
On the flip side, many artists who’ve arguably been treated poorly because their music depends mostly on streaming will benefit from the new system, and some change was probably warranted to account for consumers’ changing behavior. Also the chart will account for listening behaviors beyond the initial sale. Since streaming behavior happens for much longer after an album is released, it could give a more accurate portrayal of the importance of an album beyond the release date. But of course, there’s no way to gauge how many times a consumer who purchases a physical or downloaded copy listens after the purchase date, putting artists whose fans bases buy physical at a disadvantage, beyond getting a much bigger credit in the charts for the physical sale initially.
Some examples given of who would benefit under mock ups of the new chart system show artists such as EDM duo Disclosure and their album Settle going from #213 on the album chart based purely off of sales, all the way up to #64 based off of album equivalent streams and plays. That is a 149-spot difference just from the new reporting method. Another example is Katy Perry’s album Prism, which moved from #61 to #16 in early projections. But according to David Bakula of Nielson Soundscan—the company partnering with Billboard on the new chart formula—Taylor Swift’s new album 1989 would still be safe at #1 even though she has chosen to exit the streaming business on Spotify.
When Billboard implemented sweeping changes to their song chart configurations in October of 2012, it was predicted at the time by many that these changes would fundamentally modify the industry in historic ways, ushering in an era where popular American music would rapidly succumb to the monogenre, and distinctions of separate genres would slowly become irrelevant. Artists who did not occupy the “crossover” realm would see diminished significance, and popular music would all begin to sound the same.
Subsequently that is exactly what we have seen, and the fingerprints of Billboard 2012′s rules changes can be found all over malevolent trends in country music and beyond, including the rise of “Bro-Country,” the institution of rap and EDM elements in country in a widespread manner, and the continued struggles of the genre to support and develop female artists. The new rules have also affected Billboard’s rap charts and other genres, and have been aided by the addition of YouTube data in 2013.
Once the new charts are published on December 4th we’ll know more. But once again it is the little guy, the legend, and the up-and-comer that gets squeezed as the industry retools to face the new reality of music streaming.
(This article has been updated)
When you navigate to jameyjohnson.com, it darn near takes the home page 15 seconds to load because the above banner proclaiming new music on the way is so damn big. Jamey’s fans aren’t complaining though. They’ve been waiting so long for new, original music from the songwriter, they’ll take any sign as a good one. After a protracted legal battle, it’s about time the creative reigns on one of country music’s most successful modern day traditionalists were loosened.
A Christmas album though? That may not be exactly what many Jamey Johnson fans were hoping to find under their country music Christmas tree. But others will find a treat in the new release nonetheless, and this does not mean a new album of non Holiday-oriented music still isn’t on the way.
Jamey Johnson’s The Christmas Song, a 5-song “genre-defying” Christmas album will arrive on store shelves December 9th. It includes Jamey’s take on four Christmas standards, collaborations with The Secret Sisters and Lily Meola, and an original Johnson-penned Christmas tune—the first original Jamey Johnson song released in over 4 years. The Christmas Song is being released through Jamey Johnson’s own record label Big Gassed Records.
The album is described as, “four timeless holiday standards and a much-anticipated new Christmas song. The genre-defying collection could be describe as Trains, Trailers and Tikis, because it features traditional and jazz-inspired Christmas sounds reminiscent of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, an uplifting Hawaiian holiday feel and powerful country songs. Johnson is joined by The Secret Sisters on ‘Mele Kalikimaka (Hawaiian Christmas Song)’, while singer Lily Meola shares the microphone on ‘Baby, It s Cold Outside.’ In addition, Johnson offers his interpretation of ‘The Christmas Song’ and Willie Nelson’s ‘Pretty Paper.’ The award-winning songwriter was inspired to write a new song, ‘South Alabam Christmas,’ which ends with a lullaby to soothe anxious children to sleep on Christmas Eve.”
February of 2013 is when Johnson first let on that a contract dispute was the reason for his lack of creative output, telling Rolling Stone, “Financially speaking, they treat me worse than they ever did the Dixie Chicks. I feel pretty used by the music industry, in that my contracts are written in such a way that I don’t get paid … I wish I could tell you that I am writing. I’m not. I wish I could tell you I’m gonna go home next week and record another album. It’s not likely to happen.” It then came out that Jamey’s issue was not with his label, Mercury Records, but with his publisher. The Christmas Song may tide thirsty fans over until a new full-length is ready to release.
- Baby It’s Cold Outside
- Mele Kalikimaka
- South Alabam Christmas
- Pretty Paper
- The Christmas Song
The past 24 hours has seen some big signings by some worthy artists to record labels. Here’s a rundown:
The old-school throwback St. Louis singing and strumming song man Pokey LaFarge has signed to the prestigious Rounder Records, announced Wednesday (11-12). Pokey, who has released six albums since his self-released debut in 2006, and who most recently recorded an album for Jack White’s Third Man Records in 2013, has found what he hopes to be a more permanent home on a record label who’s known for releasing albums by Willie Nelson, Robert Plant, Ricky Skaggs, Del McCoury, Alison Krauss, and dozens more since its inception in 1970 as a predominantly roots label.
“Needless to say, it is a true honor to begin this new relationship with Rounder and be counted among so many champions of American music, past and present,” was the message posted on Pokey’s website. At the present, no word of when Pokey’s Rounder debut might hit shelves, but an announcement should be coming soon.
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Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band has signed with Yazoo Records, and have announced their new album called So Delicious will be delivered on February 17th, 2015. The slide guitar maestro backed by wife Breezy on washboard and drummer Ben Russell is known for busting his ass on stage and playing over 250 dates a year. This will be the Indiana-based outfit’s eighth release.
“Yazoo was my favorite record label growing up,” Rev. Peyton says. “For fans of old country blues and all manner of early American music, they are the quintessential label. And for me, it’s like being on the same label as Charley Patton and ‘Mississippi’ John Hurt. To think that Yazoo believes we are authentic enough to stand with the other people in their catalog means a lot.”
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The honky tonkin’, rock and rollin’, Birmingham, Alabama-bred gritty and greasy Banditos have signed to insurgent country label Bloodshot Records as of Wednesday (11-12) with an album rumored to be on the way for early 2015.
“Back in March we saw Nashville-via-Birmingham, AL group Banditos at one of those fly-by-night, hole-in-the-wall bars that sprout like skunkweed on Sixth Street in Austin, TX during the height of SXSW crazy,” says Bloodshot. “The sound system at this place was a painful mix of all treble and reverb; and the noises oozing out of the PA during another band’s set were not unlike the distorted echoes of the soundtrack to Suspiria (and not in a good way). We wish we were kidding. Then the six-piece Banditos took the stage, and even though they themselves were a little intimidating – all hair, denim, and stoic determination – the sounds they managed to conjure from two overworked speakers were fresh, raw, and spectacular.”
Now the Banditos will join a roster which includes Wayne “The Train” Hancock, Lydia Loveless, Scott H. Biram, and launched the careers of Ryan Adams, Neko Case, Justin Townes Earle, and others.
It’s the fall of 2007, and a mother and daughter from the little town of Lindale in east Texas are driving through New Braunfels, TX, just south of Austin, known nationally as the home of the historic Gruene Hall, when their car breaks down. Instead of stressing out about it, they decide to get a hotel room and a drink, and stumble into a rustic old bar called Tavern In The Gruene.
It is a Tuesday night, and like most every Tuesday night at the Tavern In The Gruene, Texas singer songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard is doing his Roots and Branches radio show live on KNBT, showcasing songwriters from the Texas scene. On the stage is a well-seasoned, but somewhat obscure songwriter named Adam Hood from Opelika, Alabama. The two stranded travelers from Lindale listen intently to Adam’s songs and are so impressed, the daughter waits until after the show to talk to him and Adam gives her a copy of his current album.
After listening to Hood’s music and falling in love with it, the mother and daughter decide to book Adam Hood to play a birthday party in November in Chicago for the daughter. The mother’s name was Beverly Lambert, and her daughter had just released a CD of her own, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend the went on to be named the ACM Album of the Year. As you might have guessed, Miranda Lambert was the weary traveler who’d stumbled on to Adam Hood, and knew she’d just discovered songwriting gold.
Soon Adam Hood was signed with Carnival Music Publishing and Carnival Records, the baby of Miranda’s producer Frank Liddell—the man also known for producing records for Stoney LaRue, and being married to (and producing) Lee Ann Womack. It’s a small world, but Adam Hood soon became a big songwriting cog in it, moving to Nashville to work as a professional songwriter, and becoming one of the most prolific song contributors to the Texas scene, churning out signature tracks for Wade Bowen, the Josh Abbott Band, Whiskey Myers, and too many more to name, and even some songs for some bigger names like Little Big Town. Hood wrote “I’ll Sing About Mine” with Brian Keane that was nominated for Saving Country Music’s 2013 Song of the Year.
It’s because of both the prolific nature and aptitude of Adam Hood as a songwriter that you almost have to remind yourself that he’s a performer too, and a damn good one. Miranda brought Hood out on tour numerous times, as has Willie Nelson and Leon Russell. He’s currently touring with Jason Eady, who included one of Hood’s songs on his latest album Daylight & Dark. But since Adam Hood is the epitome of a songwriter who makes it look effortless—penning stories that wrench the heart and encapsulate sentiments so poignantly that his peers are flush with admiration and envy—Adam’s songwriting is where it all starts. Though as he says on a song on this new album, “It takes a whole lot of hard work to make it look easy.”
Adam Hood is not a native of Texas or Oklahoma, but he is an honorary member of the Texas country scene if there ever was one. And now that he’s officially called Frank Liddel’s Carnival Records quits, he’s back releasing his music independently and calling his own shots. Only appropriate then that he would release an album that is strikingly personal in a very palpable and meaningful manner, making the music hold a weight that it otherwise wouldn’t if it was a collection of disparate perspectives. Adam Hood has written plenty of songs for others. He wrote and recorded Welcome to the Big World for himself.
Starting out loud and heavy, Welcome To The Big World opens almost like a Will Hoge record—more rock than country, but with a country heart. Hoge wrote one of the songs for the album with Adam Hood, but it isn’t one of the beginning ones, it’s one of the more country offerings called “Postcards and Payphones” that helps anchor the more country and subdued second half of the album. The opening song “Don’t That Sound Like Love” takes a realistic, if not dystopian view of love in a very heavy bluesy style, followed up by the full tilt rocking “Trying To Write A Love Song.”
From there is where the album turns more personal, starting with title track that Hood wrote just as much for his daughter as for himself about dealing with life’s inherent struggles and trying to forge a positive attitude about things you can’t control. “Bar Band” is deceptively deep in its perspective, uniting all of America’s watering holes with the mood that can be found on any given Friday night when local musicians are providing the entertainment. “Whole Lot of Hard Work,” “Postcards and Payphones,” and “Way Too Long” is where Hood’s songwriting brilliance is revealed in full force, while the duet with Sunny Sweeney called “The Countriest” offers a simple and fun palette cleanser amongst Hood’s heavy hitting material. “He Did” written about Hood’s dad lands another gut punch, and despite all the other noteworthy songs on the album, “I Took A Train” bringing up the caboose feels like the most timeless, like an instant standard.
Adam Hood did his time on big stages, gave his shot to Nashville where he still haunts songwriting rounds with some of his friends, and his mark will forever be left on the music even if his pen fell silent tomorrow. But now he seems content with the world and his place in it.
It was a random performance at the Tavern In The Gruene that landed Adam Hood on the greater country music map, but the songwriter never left the spirit of the intimate performance and the conveyance of a personal feeling that spoke to Miranda Lambert that night, and still rings pure and potent in the 11 tracks of Welcome to the Big World.
1 3/4 of 2 Guns Up.
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Who would have thought that Vince Gill would emerge as one of the big winners in country music over the past seven days, culminating in last night’s 48th Annual CMA Awards? Who even knew that the CMA was still paying attention to Vince, who once did a stint manning the hosting duties for the show for a dozen years during his heyday. But that’s the thing about Vince Gill. His accomplishments sort of creep up on you because he’s so refreshingly understated, honest, and humble.
You may do a double take to learn that Vince once won the CMA’s Male Vocalist of the Year five years straight between 1991 and 1995, and two of those years won Entertainer of the Year. Yes, this was during the heart of Garth-mania. You might be surprised to hear he’s won 20 Grammy Awards. But over the past seven days, the recognition Vince has received might top many of his other accolades because of its personal nature.
Last Wednesday, October 29th, Vince gill was in Oklahoma City at his alma mater, Northwest Classen High School, attending an unveiling of a 9 1/2-foot statue and plaque erected to commemorate the school’s most famous graduate. What did Vince Gill have to say?
“If you’re kind, life is going to be just great. I told somebody, I was joking, I said, ‘Oh, great, they’re going to put a statue up of me, and kids are going to go out there and put cigarettes out on my face.’ Maybe it’s too tall. But more than anything, I hope that where that statue sits that it’s not too much about who’s on that statue but just that it’s a place where you go out and be nice to each other.”
Then Tuesday night, the night before the CMA Awards, Gill was honored at the BMI offices on Music Row with the BMI Icon Award. BMI’s annual ceremony honoring songwriters is the oldest in the business, and past recipients of the Icon Award include Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, and Kris Kristofferson. “I look at the past recipients of this award, and it’s pretty heavy,” Gill said. “It’s amazing people. There are so many people who mentored me and inspired me, and it’s a little overwhelming.”
Then at Wednesday’s CMA Awards, nobody was expecting Vince Gill to be honored. Nobody knew they had put together a video package with artists paying tribute to him as far ranging as Taylor Swift and Merle Haggard, making Vince weepy when Merle referred to Vince as a “friend,” and that the CMA’s had minted an Irving Waugh Award of Excellence trophy for the guitar player, tenor singer, and songwriter. Who even knew an Irving Waugh Award existed? Johnny Cash was the only other performer to receive the award. It was the moment the CMA made good on all the hard work Vince had put in over the years for the presentation, and all the contributions he’d accumulated to country music over the years.
Vince’s 26 million albums sold have bought him a lot of butter and beans, and all those CMA’s and Grammys sure must feel nice. But to be honored at his most humble beginnings by his high school, by his distinguished peers at BMI, and then the industry at large during the genre’s biggest night of the year, sure must feel good for ol’ Vince. Hopefully it reminds him that he’s not forgotten, and that country music still needs artists like him.
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.
Ahead 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.
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An important and beloved member of the Texas Music Scene passed away unexpectedly on Monday morning (10-20). Singer and songwriter Ronny Spears had just played a show at Hank’s in McKinney, TX with frequent collaborator and dear friend Robby White on Saturday night, and 36 hours later fans were shocked to hear of his passing. It was White who told Ronny Spears’ many fans the terrible news this morning. “My heart is broken. My partner, my best pal Ronny Spears passed away suddenly this morning. I’m shocked and devastated. I miss him already.”
Ronny 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.
White & Spears was Ronnie Spears’ most recent pursuit with Robby White, playing regularly in the north Texas area. Spears once told Buddy Magazine, “The music Robby White does is Texas music, our vocals fall together, and it’s like we know each other like the backs of our hands.”
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.
RIP Ronny Spears.
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.
Forget 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.
And 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.
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!
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.
Vintage Queen is also in the process of loading up videos from the weekend.
Whey Jennings (Grandson of Waylon)
Raelyn Nelson (Granddaughter of Willie Nelson)
The SteelDrivers – Brent Truitt
The Steeldrivers – Tammy Rogers
The SteelDrivers – Gary Nichols
The SteelDrivers - and Mike Fleming and Gary Nichols
The SteelDrivers – Richard Bailey
Master of Ceremonies – Gordon “Big G” Ames
Mr. Bandana & Big G
The Urban Pioneers
2 Country 4 Nashville
Pure Grain – Scott Siefferman
Pure Grain – Michelle D’Amico
JB Beverley of the Wayward Drifters
The Dallas Moore Band
It has been a long-standing theory here at Saving Country Music that when country music became hyper commercialized in the 90′s with artists like Garth Brooks and the rest of the “Class of ’89,” it was young punk rockers that picked up the authentic spirit of country music and kept it alive. Whether it was the gang of artists that revitalized Lower Broadway in Nashville like BR549, Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, and Joe Buck, or the Bloodshot Records gang with The Old 97′s, Neko Case, and Whiskeytown with front man Ryan Adams, this was where it felt like the soul of country music resided when it was abandoned by Music Row.
Ryan Adams was one of the unquestionable leaders of this punk-infused country music “insurgent country” conquest, and that is why it was so disconcerting to read recently that apparently he not only does not like country music, but he apparently never has, never really cared about it even when he was playing it, and certainly doesn’t want anything to do with it now. And no, this is not some indictment of what mainstream country music has become and wanting to distance from it. This is a straight up, unequivocal repudiation of any association with what country music is or has ever been.
The quotes come from a lengthy feature on Buzzfeed that was published in early September ahead of the release of Ryan Adams’ self-titled 14th studio release, but was brought to the attention of Saving Country Music by Country California in their weekly quotation roundup.
Here’s the Ryan Adams quote:
There’s this wrong idea about me being identified with things that are Southern or country. I do not fucking like country music and I don’t own any of it. I watched ‘Hee-Haw’ as a kid with my grandmother, I only like country music as an irony. I liked it when I would get drunk … I suppose playing country music felt like learning how to build a beautiful bookshelf or something. There was a certain amount of honesty that had to be there and it had to hurt. I loved the discipline of that. It reminded me of the challenge of playing punk rock. But me playing country music … it was a false face. It was style appropriation.
Granted, Ryan Adams made an entire career of being a petulant, drug-infused, self-destructive wing nut, making purposefully-stupid career moves, and mouthing off to crowds and firing band members in an attempt to grow his legacy by leaving a wake of destruction. But most, if not all of that appears to be behind him now, and we have no other recourse than to believe this is the sober-eyed truth of Ryan’s sentiments towards country music.
So the next question is, what is a country music fan, or a Ryan Adams fan that likes country music, including the country music he once made, supposed to feel about this new insight? I would tend to agree that later in his career, including with his latest album, that people have attempted to equate Ryan’s music with country, or at least alt-country, when there’s really no solid sonic basis for it. But his quotes offer up such revisionist history that I can’t help but think I will never be able to enjoy those Whiskeytown releases and his early solo stuff with the same zeal now that he’s let it be known that it was all done as “irony,” and that apparently when it comes to country music he doesn’t own “any of it.”
What about those landmark Ryan Adams collaborations with Willie Nelson? Ryan produced and performed on Willie’s 2006 album Songbird. How about the Lost Highwaymen performance? Was that all for irony? Don’t you think that when you produce a Willie Nelson album and play country and alt-country for a dozen years it is a little unfair to get angry at people if they associate you with it? To say you like country music only as an “irony” alludes that you believe that it’s not only not right for you, but that it is an inferior art form.
And it’s not just the country music fan inside of people that is disappointed by these revelations. How are we supposed to take any of Ryan Adams’ music seriously? Certainly there can be some irony in music without it completely losing its authenticity, especially in country music. But these Ryan Adams quotes, these are fighting words. This isn’t just clicking delete on the Ryan Adams block in iTunes, these are quotes that merit serious consideration of crossing swords with this dude as a country music fan. I don’t think I’ve ever seen as an inflammatory indictment of country coming from a former proprietor of it, ever. There are rappers out there that have more respect for country music than what Ryan Adams evidences in these quotes.
And apparently this isn’t the first time Ryan Adams has articulated his hatred for country music. “I hate country music, always have,” Ryan said on his blog in April of 2008. “…I cannot stand country music one bit.”
Read More: Ryan Adams Slams Country Music Mecca | http://theboot.com/ryan-adams-slams-country-music-mecca/?trackback=tsmclip
I understand if Ryan Adams wants to disassociate himself with country music or wants to clarify that his music shouldn’t be considered it. But don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Ryan’s close approximations of country music is what put him on the map, and it seems like he should have a little more respect for the music that made him, and the fans that enjoy it.
I feel like I’ve been stabbed in the back.
“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.”
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)
Photograph of Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash Rollerskating. $750
Waylon’s GED Plaque from the State of Oklahoma Earned on April 14th, 1991 at 52. $1,200
Gold Record for The Highwaymen Record from 1986. $6,000
1946 Martin D28 Herringbone Guitar. $26,000.
1943 Martin Guitar 00021. $22,500
“Little” Jimmy Dickens Dobro Resonator Guitar. $12,000
Gold RWN Necklace for Waylon, Ritchie Albright, & Neil Reshen. $1,800
Howard 23 Jewel Pocket Watch on Chain. $10,000
Golden Badge from Davidson County (Nashville) Sheriff. $2,500
Rare Autographed Copy of an Early Waylon Jennings LP, JD’s. $1,100.
Hank Williams’ Custom-Made Nudie Cowboy Boots. $8,000.
Muhammad Ali’s Ring Robe Presented to Waylon by Ali (Read More). $5,000.
Letter From Johnny Cash to Waylon Jennings (Read More). $2,750.
Willie Nelson’s Braids, Given to Waylon. $31,250.
Armadillo World Headquarters Poster w/ Commander Cody & Willie Nelson. $900.
Partner Desk Given to Waylon from Johnny Cash in 1985. $70,000.
Original Contract Forming The Highwaymen. $18,000.
Letter from John Lennon to Waylon Jennings (Read More). $7,500.
Waylon’s Rolex Submariner Wristwatch. $25,000.
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