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.
Mel Tillis was known for many accomplishments in music, but he’s also known to a generation as being one of the most famous people with the speech impediment known as stuttering. In the 80’s, Whataburger decided to take the initiative with their famous stammering spokesperson to make a point and inspire people.
Over the last year or so, Sturgill Simpson has certainly earned that distinction of a “badass” as he’s gone from an independent underdog to receiving some of the top recognition in the entire music industry, and stood up to the Music Row establishment in both words and deeds.
Twitty Burger was first launched in 1968, and included some pretty high-profile investors from country music, including Merle Haggard, Harlan Howard, and Sonny James. What separated the Twitty Burger from other burgers was Conway’s signature burger ingredient: the gram cracker-encrusted pineapple ring that was included on each sandwich.
“Yeah, that was me on ‘Smokin’ in The Boys Room,’” Willie Nelson’s harmonica player Mickey Raphael confirms. “Vince played a harmonica on the last note of the song, so he was credited for harmonica. he funny thing is that Vince even won an award that year for ‘Best Heavy Metal Instrumentalist.’”
The story has been told for many years that The Allman Brothers initially didn’t want to record “Ramblin’ Man” or release it as a single because they were afraid it was too country. Today people take for granted that The Allman Brothers fit squarely in the Southern rock genre, but to start, they were very much a blues and jazz-based jam band.
Eddie Pleasant is known as possibly the very first individual to ever sell a concert T-shirt. Eddie Pleasant took white T-shirts with an 8X10 picture of Hank Jr. on the front, and turned it into one of the most lucrative industries in music at the time.
Big Al Halterman, Buddy Lee, CJ Udeen, Conway Twitty, Eddie Pleasant, Gary Allan, Hank Williams Jr., Hank3, Jim Reeves, Kitty Wells, L.E. White, Lefty Frizzell, Marry Jane, Stoney Cooper, Vernon Derrick, Willie Nelson, Wilma Lee
So many of country music’s legendary artists also spent time earlier in their lives serving the country in one capacity or another. And on Veteran’s Day as we pay tribute to ALL the men and women who served in the military and put themselves in harm’s way, let’s have some fun by looking back to see how many of these country legends we can pick out by their pictures.
Steve Goodman. Even if you haven’t heard the name, you’ve most certainly heard the music. And if you’ve ever heard David Allan Coe’s country music classic “You Never Even Called Me By My Name,” you know that Steve Goodman (with an assist from John Prine) is the writer of this “perfect country and Western song.”
Though Carolyn’s impact on country music was brief, her story exemplifies how every soul lost on 9/11 was an important one, and how the tragedy left not one segment of American life untouched. It’s the type of loss that leaves you alone and longing, like the lonesome melody of a country song.
Preserving the roots of country is not always just about paying homage. Sometimes it is about sowing disharmony or speaking out in protest to help force country music back on the right path. Music Row and the country music industry will always be about money first. The artists are the ones who must take the lead and reign the business in.
If you’re into country music and the history of it, you’re probably used to hearing about the “King” of this, or the “Father” of that. Since the history of country music is so important to keeping the lineage of the music alive, country pays special homage to the people who helped form or popularize the genre.
Bill Monroe, Bob Wills, Carl Perkins, George Strait, Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Jimmy Martin, Kitty Wells, Lena Hughes, Loretta Lynn, Mary Padgett, Maybelle Carter, Reverend Horton Heat, Rhonda Vincent, Rose Maddox, Roy Acuff, Slim Dusty, Spade Cooley, The Carter Family, unknown hinson, Wanda Jackson, Wayne Hancock
With the recent loss of bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley, country superstar Merle Haggard, songwriting great Freddy Powers, and Bakersfield’s Red Simpson, the amount of artists who are still around that can truly say they were there at the very start of the formation of country and bluegrass is getting anemically slim.
Muhammad Ali, who passed away on June 3rd, is known for many things, though music is not the first worldly pursuit you would associate with the World Champion boxer and humanitarian. But he was close friends with people all over the music world, including in country music, and especially with the four men that some consider the Mount Rushmore of country music.
Today most well-informed country fans know what a death sentence a Curb Records contract can be for an artist, at least for most of them. But in 1990 when Merle Haggard signed with the label, Curb was seen as one of the most trustworthy labels in town. They didn’t have to answer to higher ups in New York and Los Angeles, and could pass that freedom on to their artists.
“He’s mad as hell. And there’s a bunch of hangers on and groupies and people like that all up and down the hall. It was a long hall and it was almost like a gunfight deal. He comes out of there and he’s got two bikers on each side, and he says, ‘Hoss, what do you want?’ And I says, ‘I’ll tell you what I want … If you don’t listen to these songs, at least listen to them, I’m going to whip your ass right here in front of God and everybody.”
Roy Acuff may have been the model of good clean family fun and old-fashioned entertainment for the majority of his country music career, but at the beginning of his legendary, Hall of Fame-caliber run was an era of music that was quite the opposite of the accepted Acuff character, or the wholesome nature of his performance home of the family-friendly Grand Ole Opry.