So what’s to learn from hitching a ride in Marty McFly’s time machine and traveling back to 1985? That the problems country music is facing today are virtually the same ones that were being faced 30 years ago. It’s all cyclical, as canonized in the old Gospel tune enshrined in the architecture of the Country Music Hall of Fame asking the question, “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?”
Prison and country music go together like peanut butter and jelly. No wonder a slew of country music albums have been actually recorded within prison walls—some for convicts, some by convicts, and some using convicts. And we’re not just talking about novelty releases either, but some iconic albums that have helped define country music over the years. Here are some of them.
A Concert Behind Prison Walls, Billy Don BUrns, Charles Lee Guy III, David Allan Coe, Eddy Arnold, Flower Out of Place, Freddy Fender, Glen Sherley, In Prison In Person, Jimmie Davis, Joe Maphis, Johnny Cash, Johnny Paycheck, Kris Kristofferson, Linda Ronstadt, Mack Vickery, Merle Haggard, PÃ¥ Ã–sterÃ¥ker, Recorded Inside Louisiana State Prison, Roy Clark, Shel Silverstein, Sonny James, Spade Cooley, The Prisoner's Dream
Hank Williams Jr.’s politics and boisterous attitude will always make him one of the most polarizing figures in country music history. But those who are quick to overlook his musical contributions both on and off the stage, the amazing body of work he’s amassed over his legendary career, and the mark he’s made on country music are doing Bocephus and themselves a huge disservice.
It was August of 1952, and the life of Hank Williams was in a downward spiral. The Hillbilly Shakespeare already suffered from chronic back pain which helped lead to his notorious alcoholism, and then earlier in 1952, Hank suffered a fall during a hunting trip in Tennessee, facilitating his use of painkillers such as morphine.
Looking to clear his mind and hopefully help find the inner voice he needed to persevere on his new career path, Hank Jr. took a retreat to Montana before a big tour was scheduled to commence. Hank went climbing on a mountain called Ajax Peak that straddles the border of Montana and Idaho, accompanied by a rancher named Dick Willey from nearby Wisdom, Montana.
Unlike Townes, Daniel never received significant recognition for his music, partly because he quickly became disenchanted with the business, eventually running away to France to escape the heavy drugs and the pressure of being a professional songwriter. “I saw the competition in Nashville, just when I was really yearning for something spiritual like so many people do.”
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.
This is not the first time hysteria has jeopardized Southern institutions. In the late 60’s, the song “Dixie” was strongly-identified with slavery and other unsavory elements of the Confederate cause. A robust effort to ban the song was undertaken, and it was generally rebuked in many sectors of American culture. But Mickey Newbury decided to take a stand….
Outlaw Country Artist Randy Howard, a major label recording artist best known for his humorous and explicit anthem “All American Redneck,” was shot and killed by a bounty hunter in his home in Lynchburg, Tennessee on Tuesday night (6-9), and some are wondering why the songwriter had to die over a bench warrant.
The last week of May in 2015 will be one to remember in the history of country music after the comments made by industry radio consultant Keith Hill to Country Aircheck on Tuesday (5-26) stirred quite the controversy. Mr. Hill insisted that if country radio stations wanted to increase their ratings, they needed to yank female performers from the airwaves…
If you watch the video for “We Are The World” (see below) or look at any of the pictures from the recording session, Waylon Jennings is nowhere to be found. That’s because even though he was selected to be one of the 45 artists to participate in the recording session, he walked out in a huff in a moment what would be the most controversial and contentious junctures in the song’s recording.
Is Dolly Parton a “Badass”? You bet she is. And for her birthday (Jan. 19th), let’s articulate 10 reasons (actually twelve) why the the platinum blonde buxom country music legend still kicking ass at age 68 should be considered a badass by everyone. And by the way, yes I know the term “badass” may seem a little strange to reference Dolly Parton with.
Brenda Lee, Dolly Parton, Dollywood, Emmylou Harris, Here You Come Again, I Will Always Love You, Imagination Library, Jimmie Rodgers, Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers, Kris Kristofferson, Linda Ronstadt, Mule Skinner Blues, Porter Wagoner, Trio, Whitney Houston, Willie Nelson
It was the week of Christmas, 1981, 7:30 in the evening, and Johnny Cash and his family had just sat down for dinner. Right as the family bowed their head for grace, three armed men burst through the dining room door, brandishing weapons. “What do you want?” said Johnny Cash, coming to his feet. “Everything, or the boy dies,” one of the masked intruders replied.
You may remember from early May when the sale of an old Willie Nelson tour bus on Craigslist erupted into its own viral event. Now the bus has been restored and tastefully upgraded, and it’s ready to serve as a fully immersive vintage country music experience for perspective renters. It was recently featured on an episode on “Celebrity Motor Homes.”
You press most any theologian, and they will expound upon the theory that God has the most profound sense of humor … if you just know where to look for it. Whether this was in play when country music songwriter Paul Craft decided to write the song “Drop Kick Me Jesus (Through The Goalposts Of Life),” whether it was more centered upon a social commentary about the state of religion in America….
Bobby Bare, dead, died, Drop Kick Me Jesus, Drop Kick Me Jesus (Through The Goalposts of Life), Hank Williams, John Hartford, Johnny Cash, Mark Chesnutt, Moe Bandy, obituary, Paul Craft, Ray Stevens, Roger Miller, Shel Silverstein
Hank Williams was the greatest country music singer and songwriter to ever walk the face of the Earth. And if you don’t believe that, just listen to how his fellow country music performers feel about his contributions to the music. Here is a list of the greatest Hank Williams tribute songs of all time.
Alan Jackson, Ashley Monroe, Darrell Scott, Dave Alvin, David Allan Coe, Dwight Yoakam, Ernest Tubb, Ferlin Husky, Fred Eaglesmith, Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr., Hawkshaw Hawkins, Jack Cardwell, Jason Boland & The Stragglers, Joey Allcorn, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Mark Chesnutt, Moe Bandy, Ritchie Albright, Robert Earl Keen, Slaid Cleaves, The Blasters, The Highwaymen, Waylon Jennings
On Sunday 10/5, nearly 500 individual lots and over 2,000 items from Waylon Jennings will be auctioned of by Guernsey’s at the at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, with the proceeds from the auction going to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Out of the items there’s a total of 21 musical instruments that belonged to Waylon personally.
As part of the liquidation of Waylon’s estate, a letter from Johnny Cash to Waylon has been made public for the first time. To make it up to Waylon for not attending a roast, Johnny Cash (or someone on his behalf) took to a typewriter, and in the spirit of a proper roasting, wrote a letter to Waylon that was equally apologetic for missing the event as it was pointedly sarcastic toward his old friend.
The Man in Black may be gone, but his legacy lives on, and so do many of the personal artifacts that tell the story of Johnny Cash that he left behind. One such important piece of history is about to go to the auction block in Las Vegas: a 1970 “build-to-order” Black Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow automobile owned by Johnny Cash that has quite the interesting story.
“When people ask me who I admire most in the world, I always have the same answer: Muhammad Ali.” –Waylon Jennings. Two heavyweights from different disciplines coming together in friendship is one thing. But the respect these two men had for each other is something so erudite and unexpected, it can give you chills.