Welcome to Episode #4 of Country History X, which looks to tell the history of country music, one story at a time. This is story of the tragic life and death of Keith Whitley who died at the age of 34 due to alcohol abuse, and the conspiracy theories that surrounded it.
The story of how a member of the Mafia turned government informant used the United States Witness Protection Program as a shield to allegedly bilk MILLIONS of dollars from hundreds of people and entities through the failed Toby Keith and Rascal Flatts restaurants.
In 1975 when Charlie Rich whipped out his lighter, and burned the card announcing John Denver as the 1975 CMA Entertainer of the Year, it was considered to be one of the greatest moments of protest in country music history. But was it truly his intent to protest John Denver’s win?
ACE, Billy Sherrill, Charlie Rich, Charlie Rich Jr., CMA Awards, Darrell Royal, Dolly Parton, George Jones, Jerry Lee Lewis, John Denver, Loretta Lynn, Olivia Newton John, Ronnie Milsap, Sun Studios Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette, Tompall Glaser, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
Many know the “perfect Country & Western song” is “You Never Even Called Me By My Name” performed by David Allan Coe, and written by Steve Goodman. Or at least, that’s how David Allan Coe and Steve Goodman presented it. But what many don’t know is that John Prine was a co-writer of the song.
Arlo Guthrie, Billy Sherrill, David Allan Coe, David Loggins, Guy Clark, Jerry Wexler, John Prine, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Mel Tillis, Mickey Newbury, Paul Anka, Roger Ebert, Steve Goodman, Sturgill Simpson, Tanya Tucker, Willie Nelson
Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the inaugural episode of Country History X. We start by telling the crazy story of how a box of unheard and currently-unpublished George Jones reel-to-reel master tapes ended up being used as the bond collateral for two international drug smugglers.
The House of Cash is one of the most critical and accomplished family lineages in the history of country music. Though Johnny Cash is where most of the attention dwells, now three generations of performers have emerged, while Cash’s siblings have also contributed to country music.
Ana Cristina Cash, Chelsea Crowell, Cindy Cash, Jakob Leventhal, Joanne Cash, John Carter Cash, John Leventhal, Johnny Cash, June Carter, Marty Stuart, Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash, The Carter Family, Tommy Cash
Every once in a while a song comes along that so transfixes people, it becomes part of their DNA henceforth. You remember the first time you heard it. You travel back to that time and place when you first heard it when you hear it again. “Elvira” by the Oak Ridge Boys is one of those songs.
There are many incredibly important legacy families to the country music lineage, from the Carter’s to the Cash’s. But arguably no crop of performers have offered more entertainment, influence, intrigue, and tragedy than the family tree that sprouts from the loins of Hank Williams.
Audrey Williams, Billie Jean Horton, Hank Williams, Hank Williams III, Hank Williams IV, Hank Williams Jr., Hank3, Hilary Williams, Holly Williams, Jett Williams, Katie Williams, Ricky Fitzgerald, Sam Williams
If you want to get a shocked reaction from a country music fan, tell them that George Strait is not a member of the Grand Ole Opry. But a question that arose recently was, has George Strait ever even played the Grand Ole Opry? It took some digging to answer.
“Well, I’m taking this one,” Richie Albright told to Waylon Jennings, meaning he was willing to be the fall guy for the cocaine package. Waylon recalled in his autobiography, “Sometimes I thought Richie would’ve leapt in front of a freight train for me.” But Waylon wouldn’t allow it this time.
30 years ago this week, the biggest story in country music, and the biggest story in Texas and many parts beyond was the headlong effort by the IRS to liquidate the empire of Willie Nelson due to unpaid back taxes. They tried to sell his memories. It didn’t exactly go how the IRS planned.
The second night of a two-night residency at the The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville—a.k.a the “Mother Church of Country Music”—Waylon Jennings held court with a now legendary band, and numerous special guests. It did constitute a proper final bow.
The impact and reception for the “O Brother Where Art Thou” soundtrack was so significant, it’s very fair to characterize it as one of the most important albums in country music history, and it was most certainly one of the most significant releases of the last 20 years.
Alison Krauss, Chris Thomas King, Coen Brothers, Dan Tymiski, Darius Rucker, Gillian Welch, John Hartford, Mumford and Sons, O Brother Where Art Thou, Old Crow Medicine Show, Ralph Stanley, The Lumineers
Five years ago today—on November 4th, 2015—the biggest event and paradigm shift in country music occurred most certainly in the last 10 years, likely in the last quarter century, and possibly one of the biggest moments in the totality of country music history.
Those that know Waylon Jennings know that one of the primary contributions he brought to country music was importing a little bit of across-the-tracks rock ‘n’ roll influence into the genre. Unlike many modern country performers, Waylon did it with a respect for the original roots of country music, but he undoubtedly did it.
We all know what the perfect country & western song is, because David Allan Coe told us. He also told us why it was the perfect country & western song, and who wrote it. That would be the great Steve Goodman, and the song of course is “You Never Even Called Me By My Name.” But John Prine was a silent partner.
At the moment, it may be hard to imagine a world after the Coronavirus mass quarantine. Undoubtedly, there will be a new normal once we emerge from it. We just don’t know what that new normal will look like, and what role live music will play in it. But there is a little precedent that could help shed some light on the matter.
Standing in the middle of the Country Music Hall of Fame rotunda in Nashville, Tennessee, it’s hard to not feel the gravity of country music history impressing itself upon you. But standing apart from all of this symmetrical symbolism, and the very first thing that greets your view as you walk in is a painting called “The Sources of Country Music.”
Towards the tail end of Waylon’s life, he was known for being quite the cantankerous fellow. For example, in September of 1998, Jennings was scheduled to appear on the Late Late Show hosted by Tom Snyder. Going into the taping, Waylon was already a little bit sideways with the situation because he thought he deserved […]
Many pop artists want to be included in country these days through collaborations or remixes to skim some of those fans off for themselves. But country music should be careful of continuing to allow this to happen. The music world was much better when pop was too sugary for country, and country was to corny for pop.
It was early May, 1989. Keith Whitley volunteered to take his wife and fellow performer Lorrie Morgan to the Nashville airport to see her off on a promotional trip to Alaska. In a week, Lorrie would be releasing her debut album on RCA Records, ‘Leave The Light On,’ and had tour dates booked to promote the new release.
Most any true country fan can likely quote you at least a couple of the verses of the now classic country music song “Murder on Music Row.” Originally written by Larry Cordle and Larry Shell, and recorded by the bluegrass group Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time as the title track to their 1999 record, […]
50 years ago today, New Year’s Eve 1968, Johnny Cash took time from whatever revelry the night might’ve had in store for him to write a letter to himself. It was Cash’s capstone to what he considered the most important year of his career and personal life, and many Cash fans and historians would probably concur.
When you’re looking for the names of people who were imperative to the rise and eventual success of independent country music that we enjoy today, the drummer for the metal band Pantera may not be your first choice to finger. But Vinnie Paul, who passed away on Friday, played a seminal role in the formation of the country music underground.