Announced today in press release fashion, the 49th Annual, 2015 CMA Awards will be opened by newly-signed NASH Icon recording artist Hank Williams Jr. singing Waylon’s interpretation of Neil Young’s “Are You Ready For the Country?” first released on an album of the same name by Waylon in 1976. Hank Jr. will be joined by Eric Church in the rendition.
The songwriter, singer, guitar player, and frontman for the legendary Western Swing and classic country band Asleep At The Wheel had some harsh things to say about today’s country music in a recent interview, and specifically about the reigning CMA and ACM Entertainer of the Year, Luke Bryan.
“That news hit me pretty hard in the heart,” Lee Ann says about the nomination. She was driving to her mother’s house in east Texas when she received the call. “I am and always will be a country music singer. It’s what I do… It’s what I love… and it’s the thing that truly makes me feel alive. Having the CMA recognize that after the year I’ve had since ‘The Way I’m Livin” came out really does my heart good.”
Some of the best cover songs are not the ones that are easily-recognized by the audience, but the ones that didn’t receive their due credit the first time around. This is the case with “Are You Sure,” which can stand right beside other iconic Willie songs from early in his career like “Night Life” and “Hello Walls” to be considered timeless in their message.
Kanye West and Taylor Swift as a 2020 Presidential ticket? Screw that. If we’re going to go dipping into the pool of musical performers to field Presidential candidates, then my vote would go for a country music legend rising to the forefront. And not just because I’m a country music fan, but because many of our legendary country artists have the history to connect with hard-working American citizens.
I know you probably receive dozens of these types of letters, and they all make strong cases for who the author wishes you select for the next season. But in the case of Ray Wylie Hubbard, I really think it would not only mean a tremendous amount to Ray, but it would mean a tremendous amount to Austin City Limits to finally and formally recognize one of Austin’s most important performers, and help preserve his place in Austin music.
A Jewish-American, Kinky was a seminal part of the Austin, TX music scene in the 70’s when Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, and songwriters like Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, and Ray Wylie Hubbard helped revolutionize country music with their independent spirit and progressive approach. Kinky was one of the hucksters of the movement.
The inaugural Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival set to transpire in Franklin, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville on September 26th and 27th, just made a rookie move by replacing headliner Willie Nelson with country music interloper/carpetbagger Steven Tyler—a.k.a. the frontman for the legendary rock band Aerosmith.
I believe it was the Buddha who once said “life is suffering.” And though you would think mainstream country artists who make their living playing music to massive audiences, they have problems too apparently, and recently the biggest one appears to be having to play music that fits within the confines of the country music genre. Oh, the horror.
“So we started playing music for her on a daily basis, and when I played old country music, she would respond well to it, so we started playing that all the time and she loved it. Any time she was having a bad day, you could play Willie Nelson or Johnny Cash or Ray Price, and her stats would come up, almost immediately.”
The comparisons of Sturgill Simpson to Waylon Jennings never cease, even though in some instances they’re based on pretty shallow and misguided observations. That’s why it’s probably pretty understandable if Sturgill is tired of hearing about them at this point. In a recent interview with Foo Fighters guitarist and Dead Peasants frontman Chris Shiflett (listen in full below), Sturgill once again answered the Waylon comparisons.
One of the most important and influential steel guitar players in the history of country music has died. Buddy Emmons, known as the “The World’s Foremost Steel Guitarist” passed away Wednesday evening (7-29) according to reports. He was 78-years-old.
In one corner you have the wily veteran who’s sold more than 80 million records worldwide and racked up untold awards and accolades during his quarter century career. In the other corner you have the scrappy young upstart who after years of paying dues on the club circuit can now sell out three consecutive nights at The Ryman Auditorium in 30 minutes and is on the tip of everyone’s tongue as the name of one of the best songwriters around.
Remember the curious news of how Korn frontman Jonathan Davis was working on some sort of country project, and was in the studio with Big & Rich trying to hone in on the “Bakersfield” sound? Well now the story has turned even more strange. Though we still don’t have any solid details on exactly what Jonathan Davis is working on, apparently Marilyn Manson is also on board…
Dear Luke Bryan, Thanks for taking the time to read my letter, if in fact you do so. I can only imagine the time constraints a man of your success has, and you’ve already been taking of your time over the last few days to help clear up a mess that I guess I had some part in creating.
Aaron Watson, Blackberry Smoke, Blake Shelton, Dallas Davidson, Florida Georgia Line, Gary Overton, George Strait, Kacey Musgraves, Keith Hill, Luke Bryan, Merle Haggard, Sam Hunt, Sturgill Simpson, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
Luke Bryan has called Waylon Jennings’ widow Jessi Colter to apologize after he made comments characterizing Outlaw country artists as cocaine addicts “laying in the gutter, strung out on drugs.” Waylon’s son Shooter Jennings has also commented on the situation, saying, “It’s all flush in my book.”
It seems to be the destiny of man to make the same mistakes over and over, even when we have insurmountable evidence of the fallacy of our actions right in front of us. Country music might be one of the greatest examples of this as it cycles from being obsessed with pop and contemporary sounds, and then gets reeled back in towards its traditional heart during the tug and push of its sometimes tumultuous history.
Now one of the members of Waylon’s extended family has spoken out about Luke’s initial words and his apology. Kathy Pinkerman Jennings, who is the wife of one of Waylon Jennings’ sons Buddy Jennings, spoke out about the matter via Facebook initially on July 10th, and the posted a video to YouTube late Saturday night. Despite some media reports, Kathy Jennings makes it clear she is not speaking for the family.
So to give some historical context to Luke Bryan’s characterizations, I thought we would look back and see what Willie, Merle, and Waylon felt about cocaine. Willie hated the stuff, and would fire anyone in his crew caught using it. Merle barely touched it, except for one dalliance that ended poorly. And Waylon was a professed, long-term cocaine addict who openly expressed his struggles with the drug.
Being an Outlaw never had anything to do with arrest records or cocaine addictions. Anyone found on Willie Nelson’s crew with their nose in the powder was immediately fired. Being an Outlaw was about being yourself, insisting on having creative control of your music, and moving country music forward while still respecting the roots of the genre and all the greats that came before.