Country Music’s (Not So) Surprising List of Jewish Contributors
Country music has always been a lot more diverse and omnivorous than many like to give it credit for. This is most certainly true when enumerating the contributions of Jewish Americans to country music over the decades. Though few would consider country music synonymous with Jewish people, their absence would be incredibly missed if their contributions were wiped clean from the slate of country music tomorrow.
From performers, to songwriters, to executives and producers, to the strong scene of bluegrass entertainers from New York that have gone on to define the very highest reaches of the discipline, these Jewish contributors deserve our recognition and appreciation.
PLEASE NOTE: This is simply meant to be an illustration of Jewish contributors in country. If someone was missed, please don’t take it as an offense, and please feel free to include them in the comments section below.
There are country artists that happen to be Jewish. Then there is Kinky Friedman, who wears his Jewish heritage on his sleeve, and made it an integral part of his act when he launched his country career in 1973 out of Austin, TX. The wild and crazy country rock humorist called his band The Texas Jewboys, which was a play on Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys. Songs like “Ride ‘Em Jewboy” playing tribute to Holocaust victims, and “They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore” challenging racism and bigotry in all its forms became signature tracks for Kinky.
The Kinkster didn’t come without controversy. His outspokenness and Rated-R material meant his legendary episode of Austin City Limits never officially aired, and he’s cheesed off many individuals in his day for one reason or another. But Kinky Friendman also helped normalize the presence of Jewish artists in country, while also making country music cool to Jewish audiences and intellectuals who otherwise may have not been receptive.
Ray Benson of Asleep At The Wheel
That’s right, the guy who’s been helping to keep Western Swing alive for so many years happens to be Jewish as well. Originally from Philadelphia, PA, Ray Benson formed Asleep At The Wheel with a couple of friends in the tiny town of Paw Paw, West Virginia right on the Potomac River. When Willie Nelson got a whiff of them in 1973, he convinced them to move to Austin, TX. Since then, Asleep At The Wheel has been the torchbearer for Western swing, with Ray Benson being the one constant of the band as it has racked up nine Grammy Awards, and become one of the most revered and influential bands in country music history.
“I didn’t want to be known as a Jewish country western singer; I wanted to be known as a country western singer who happens to be Jewish,” he told the Jewish Journal back in 2008. “You don’t usually tell your religion or politics on stage. For years, because I’m 6’7” and people don’t think Jews are all, and because I guess I don’t look like the stereotype Jew, most people don’t known I’m Jewish.”
When you go to the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, there is one man’s influence you will see more than anyone else’s. No, it’s not Jimmie Rodgers or Hank Williams. It’s the timeless work of Jewish Ukrainian refugee Nudie Cohn, who came to the United States when he was 11, and went on to become the most famous clothier in country music history as the namesake of the Nudie suit. He didn’t invent the Western suit, but it was his vision and the Rhinestones he added to them that became synonymous with classic country music.
Country singer Tex Williams is where Nudie Cohn got his start in country music, later making famous suits for the likes of Hank Williams, Porter Wagoner, Gram Parsons, and so many more. David Allan Coe would have never adopted the name “The Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy,” and Glen Campbell would have never had a hit with “Rhinestone Cowboy” if it wasn’t for the influence of Nudie Cohn.
And it doesn’t stop there. Go to Graceland in Memphis, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, or many museums covering the silver screen cowboys of the 50’s, and there you will find ample evidence of the importance of this Jewish contributor. (read more)
Yes, Shel was much more than the children’s book author/illustrator that most of America knows him as. He was a strong songwriting contributor to country music, writing songs for the country rock outfit Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show, Tompall Glaser, Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn, Kris Kristofferson, and many more. Bobby Bare created entire records around Shel Silverstein compositions, and Johnny Cash’s rendition of “A Boy Named Sue” became Cash’s biggest single in history.
Shel Silverstein was born to a Jewish family in Chicago in 1930. He became an illustrator in the US Army, and later for Playboy before getting into songwriting. Silverstein was also integral to opening up Key West, Florida as a songwriting destination for many country songwriters, stimulating folks like Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimmy Buffett, and David Allan Coe to frequent the island.
Victoria Shaw was one of the most important songwriters in country music in the early 90s, co-writing the #1 song “The River” with Garth Brooks, Doug Stone’s #1 “Too Busy Being in Love,” and John Michael Montgomery’s #1 “I Love The Way You Love Me,” which later won the ACM for Song of the Year. Victoria Shaw was also a recording artist, receiving a nomination for Top New Female Vocalist from the ACMs in 1995, though as a performer, her career struggled to find traction.
Shaw was born in New York City, but raised in a Jewish household in California. Her first interactions with music were her mother singing her Yiddish lullabies, and she formed a band when she was 13 called Solace, which performed at Jewish weddings and bar mitzvahs. Victoria Shaw remains active in country music, co-writing “Two Pink Lines” with Eric Church among other more recent collaborations.
One of the most important mandolinists in bluegrass history that was especially instrumental in spreading the love of bluegrass beyond its traditional borders grew up a Conservative Jew. Born in Hackensack, New Jersey, early on David Grisman’s played in bluegrass and jug bands that would give birth to artists like Maria Muldaur, John Sebastian, Red Allen, and Peter Rowan.
But of course it’s when David Grisman moved to San Francisco, fell in with Jerry Garcia and The Grateful Dead, and appeared on the timeless songs “Friend of the Devil” and “Ripple” from their American Beauty album (1970) that he became an indelible part of American music culture. Grisman was also a member of Garcia’s legendary bluegrass band Old and In The Way with Peter Rowan and Vassar Clements. Though Grisman is also known for collaborating in jazz and folk circles as well, his work was seminal in the bluegrass and newgrass world of the 70s.
You may have seen Barbi Benton somewhere else outside of country music. In fact, you may have seen all of Barbi Benton, since she appeared in numerous issues of Playboy after Hugh Hefner apparently fell in love with her, and made her a co-host of his TV show Playboy After Dark. But Benton also had a career in the country music realm, specifically appearing on four seasons of Hee-Haw, and releasing five country music albums, including three successful ones for Playboy Records in 1975 and 1976—Barbi Doll, Barbi Benton, and Something New.
Benton’s debut single “Brass Buckles” became a Top 5 hit in 1975, and she also had a successful single “Roll You Like a Wheel” featuring Mickey Gilley. But perhaps her appearances on Hee-Haw were her most memorable contribution. She was born in New York City to a Jewish family, and raised in Sacramento, California.
Yes, there is a Jewish American officially inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and it is country music producer and label executive Paul Cohen who was instrumental in the very formation of country music as a commercial enterprise, and forging Nashville as its epicenter in the 1940s. Originally from Chicago, Cohen worked for Columbia Records in the late 1920s, and then helped start Decca Records in the United States in the mid 30s, becoming the branch manager for the Midwest in 1935. This led him to Nashville, and the signing of artists such as Ernest Tubb and Red Foley. Soon Kitty Wells, Patsy Cline, Webb Pierce, Brenda Lee, and others were part of the Decca roster, thanks to Cohen.
Paul Cohen was the precursor to Owen Bradley, who like Cohen and other Nashville producers, acted in the role as producer and label executive. Cohen was replaced by Bradley in 1958. Cohen also acted as President of the Country Music Association (CMA), and was there to help open the original Country Music Hall of Fame in 1967. Paul Cohen died in 1970, and was posthumously elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1976.
Si Siman and Scott Siman
You may not recognize the name right off the bat, but Si Siman was one of the most important people behind-the-scenes who was responsible for the very formation of the country music industry during the post World War II era. He was a songwriter, an executive, a radio and television producer, and a music producer among wearing other hats. Most notably, Siman is given credit for discovering both Chet Atkins and Porter Wagoner. He was also seminal to the Ozark Jubilee, which beat the Gand Ole Opry to television, and was second only to the Opry in breaking stars and sowing influence in country music.
Si Siman also was an executive producer of country TV shows like Five Star Jubilee and The Eddy Arnold Show, but his most lasting influence might have been in song publishing, with titles like “Always On My Mind,” “The Letter,” as well as songs from Gary Stewart, Little Jimmy Dickens, Carl Smith, and Conway Twitty all coming from his catalog. Siman is also credited for making Springfield, Missouri a country music epicenter throughout the 50s and 60s.
Si Simon’s son Scott Siman is also very active in country music, managing Tim McGraw, and acting as an attorney for Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, and also signed The [Dixie] Chicks when he worked at Sony.
Steve Goodman – Along with writing the “perfect country and Western song” according to David Allan Coe (“You Never Even Called Me By My Name”), Steve Goodman also contributed songs to the careers of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Chet Atkins, Lynn Anderson, and scores of others, including through his song “The City of New Orleans.” Born in Chicago to middle class Jewish parents, Goodman is mostly considered folk, but his country contributions were strong as well.
Gene Lowinger – Gene is credited as the first “Northern” fiddler in country music, who joined the ranks of Bill Monroe’s legendary Blue Grass Boys band, and was one of the first Jewish Americans to participate actively in country music and play the Grand Ole Opry (despite Kinky Friendman claiming that distinction years later). Lowinger was also the author of one of the very first books translating bluegrass fiddle into musical notation, and is a world-recognized photojournalist.
Béla Fleck – That’s right, what many consider to be the most talented banjo player of all time and has a host of Grammy Awards to prove it comes from a Jewish background. However, Béla Fleck is quick to point out that even though his mother was Jewish, he was not raised Jewish, and considers himself “assimilated.” Nonetheless, the first banjo he ever received was from his Jewish grandfather and purchased at a garage sale, and Béla definitely comes from Jewish blood.
Mickey Raphael – There may not be a more immediately recognizable sound in country music than the lonesome moan emanating from the harmonica of Mikey Raphael on a Willie Nelson song, and more recently, on recordings from scores of artists as Mickey has become quite prolific over time. Once when asked what it was like to be a Jewish guy playing in Willie’s band, Raphael responded, “Fine. But playing harp with Willie, manipulating the media and controlling world banking is really wearing me out.”
Charley Crockett – Some will roll their eyes because it almost seems like Charley Crockett claims to be part everything. But his bloodline includes European, African, Cajun, Creole and yes, Jewish roots. Charley Crockett is the hardest working man in country music, the 2021 Saving Country Music Artist of the Year, and one of the fastest-rising artists in independent country.
Nefesh Mountain – Formed in 2015, this is a Jewish bluegrass band that unlike other Jewish contributors, often works a significant amount of their Jewish heritage into their music through Eastern European influences along with Appalachia bluegrass and Celtic folk. They made their Grand Ole Opry debut earlier this year (2022), with Eric Lindberg of the group saying, “Bill Filipiak with the Opry told us that the board really want to have a diverse group of artists on stage, and it says so much to us that they want to accept and include what we do.”
Andy Statman – Speaking of Opry debuts, lots was made when Orthodox Jewish mandolin maestro Andy Statman made his Grand Ole Opry debut in July (2022). Though known mostly as a klezmer music great, he’s collaborated with folks like Ricky Skaggs and Béla Fleck over the years.
Paul Burch – Previously signed to Bloodshot Records, the strong lyricist and songwriter was part of the initial wave of performers in the 90s who took back Lower Broadway in Nashville from pawn shops and dirty bookstores. He performed at Tootsie’s and other locations at a time when they were virtually abandoned. Though his penchant is for American music revivalism, Burch says his Jewish heritage works into some of his interpretations of the American songbook.
Bob Dylan – Though you don’t immediately associate ol’ Robert Zimmerman with country as much as you do folk and rock, he recorded multiple country music songs and albums, most notably 1969’s Nashville Skyline where he used Nashville session musicians in Nashville to a positive reception, and showed up on Johnny Cash’s TV show at the Ryman to record an iconic live rendition of “Girl from the North Country” that bridged the cultural divide in America at that time.
Wheeler Walker Jr. (aka Ben Hoffman) – Wheeler Walker Jr. is the lewd country music-singing alter ego of Lexington, Kentucky-native and professional comedian Ben Hoffman. Hoffman has written for numerous TV shows and briefly starred in The Ben Show on Comedy Central before bridging his passions of comedy and country into the sometimes controversial character.
Eric Silver – A sought after studio musician based in Nashville, he’s played guitar, mandolin, violin, banjo, bass, and piano for a host of musicians, including the [Dixie] Chicks and Shania Twain. His great-great-grandfather was a well-known rabbi, and much of his mother’s family perished in the Holocaust.
Neil Reshen – Jewish lawyer Neil Reshen didn’t play a lick of music. But if it wasn’t for his representation of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and others, there may have never been an Outlaw movement in the 70s. It was Reshen who negotiated the contracts of the Outlaws to allow them creative freedom over their music. Waylon once said, “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.”
Glen Campbell – Though some may see it as sacrilege to label Glen Campbell as Jewish, he and his wife Kim were practicing Messianic Jews, also known as “Jews for Jesus.” Campbell was born of Scottish descent and attended a Church of Christ. In fact his brother became a Church of Christ minister. But Campbell and his wife celebrated Jewish holidays like Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Hanukkah, along with Christmas, and Campbell kept a menorah on his mantle.
Folk singers Ramblin’ Jack Elliot who also rubbed elbows with country is of Jewish descent, Canadian country artist K.D. Lang has Jewish blood among other heritage, and many more…
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In Kosher Country: Success and Survival on Nashville’s Music Row by Stacy Harris, she also mentions Jewish songwriters Jerry Holland, John Michaels, Michael Kosser, Pam Belford, Sam Lorber, Stacy Beyer, Dennis Scott, Andie Jennings, and Karen Taylor-Good. Producers include Richard Landis, Steve Fishell, and Cliff Goldmacher.
October 26, 2022 @ 9:57 am
there’s k.d. lang as well, though her ancestry is a mix of many backgrounds.
October 26, 2022 @ 10:13 am
October 26, 2022 @ 10:17 am
The Kinky Friedman Austin City Limits special is on Youtube and is worth the watch.
Also this is a conveniently timed piece after Kanye’s cancelling because of his Jewish remarks. Not from the many prior videos on youtube of black people violently assaulting Jewish people in New York. (anyone not aware of this is following left-leaning news sources)
As far as Charlie Crockett’s Jewish heritage, a Google search on that only show’s the same copied and pasted line of him purporting to have ” overlapping European, African, Cajun, Creole and Jewish roots, plunges deep into the rich and loamy Texas and Louisiana soil” or some variation of that statement.
October 26, 2022 @ 4:28 pm
Plenty of NFL players have uttered anti-Semitism remarks recently. There is much anti-Semitism behavior that runs through black culture. Which is ignored by popular culture in favor of the false claims that Walt Disney was anti-Semitism.
It is a disturbing trend.
October 26, 2022 @ 4:50 pm
Ben Shapiro going hard on Kanye cracks me up the most.
Conservatives including Ben Shapiro: How can blacks fall for all the identity politics nonsense?
Ben Shapiro when Kanye makes critical remarks of Jews: *Gleefully gloms onto identity politics movement now
October 26, 2022 @ 5:17 pm
This is a rash of videos on Youtube of black people violently assaulting Hasidic Jews in NY. That antisemitism didn’t matter til Kanye came out with his “white lives matter” merch. If anyone substituted “white people” for any of his comments about Jews he would have been applauded for it. Instead he is in the crosshairs of every media company because he broke from the established narrative. It’s ironic that he was criticized for saying it’s Jews who run all the media but was immediately shit canned by all major tech platforms after saying that.
– For the record, because virtue signalers tend not to indulge in nuance or understand context, I am against fixating on the Jewish people as a cause for any problem.
Politics made you all boring
October 27, 2022 @ 8:56 am
Thanks for virtue signaling for white people.
October 27, 2022 @ 10:38 am
No problem. Had to counter balance all dumbass white people wearing “fuck the patriarachy” and “fuck white people” merch
October 26, 2022 @ 10:17 am
Ramblin’ Jack Elliot
The second frontman for the Seldom Scene was Phil Rosenthal. Could be Jewish.
October 26, 2022 @ 10:27 am
A couple more:
Buddy Miller (raised in Jewish family, converted to Christianity after meeting Julie)
October 26, 2022 @ 10:45 am
At some point we start veering too much into “Americana,” and I don’t want to necessarily exclude those artists, but with any list, at some point, you have to put up boundaries. And I’m sure there are a ton of Jewish contributors in Americana. I tried to keep this mostly in the realm of country and bluegrass.
October 28, 2022 @ 9:10 am
I’m going to guess that when you bring up Americana, that is a reference to Buddy Miller. And I guess I get it , what with all those AMA award nominations he has gotten and him being the band leader at all those AMA award ceremonies. But what I think gets overlooked sometimes is just how overtly country his solo albums were, particular the four that he released on HighTone Records from 1995 to 2002. To use a phrase I’ve seen you use about Chris Stapleton, those albums are more country than they are anything else. And for my money, MORE country than Stapleton’s solo albums. And I love Stapleton.
October 26, 2022 @ 10:28 am
I feel like Steve Goodman’s contributions to country music are worth noting.
October 26, 2022 @ 10:45 am
I had mentioned him, but I just fleshed out an entry for him.
October 26, 2022 @ 10:34 am
Also, John Prine has a Jewish heritage as well.
October 26, 2022 @ 10:54 am
I specifically went looking for this because I thought I’d heard something along those lines at some point, but can’t find anything on it. Not saying it’s not true, I just can’t find any verification. If somebody knows for sure, please pipe up.
October 26, 2022 @ 3:30 pm
The Prine reference: https://forward.com/culture/music/411748/the-secret-jewish-history-of-everyone-nominated-for-the-2019-rock-n-roll/
October 26, 2022 @ 6:06 pm
I saw that, but it seems to be implying John Prine is tied to the Jewish world through his mentor Steve Goodman as opposed to being Jewish himself.
October 26, 2022 @ 10:38 am
Re: Glen Campbell
I don’t know anything about his particular beliefs or background, but a “Messianic Jew” is a Jew who becomes a Christian. They often retain some Jewish traditions. Whereas a “Hebrew Roots” Christian is a non-Jew observes some aspects of Judaism, usually as a way to better understand the world Jesus and the Biblical authors came from.
October 26, 2022 @ 10:50 am
I am no expert in this, but where I saw Campbell described as a“Messianic Jew” was in a Jewish publication.
I saw some other places simply listing him as Jewish, which seemed strange to me because I had not seen that before. He definitely was not originally of Jewish heritage, but seemed to adopt some Jewish traditions.
October 26, 2022 @ 11:52 am
The Messianics are, for all intents and purposes, Christians. Most Christians of all denominations tie the Old and New Testaments together by noting foreshadowings of the coming of the Messiah in the Old Testament, often in the books of Isaiah and Psalms. The Messianics take this several steps further by incorporating Jewish holidays and rituals into their practice of faith. They celebrate both Passover and Easter, both of which have identical roots in spring festivals. The Last Supper was a Jewish Passover seder, which is absolutely what Jesus and his disciples thought they were participating in.
Anyway, as a nominal but generally non-observant Jew myself, I’ve never thought of the “Jews for Jesus” as anything but Christians, since belief in the divinity of Christ runs counter to the Jewish basic belief that the Messiah has yet to arrive for the first time, let alone be thinking about coming back for seconds.
October 31, 2022 @ 3:53 pm
Campbell was not Jewish. If I declared myself a Christian who believed Jesus was not the Messiah, not the son of God, and actually was a mythological figure who never lived, no Christian group would accept me as Christian, even if my beliefs were sincere and I truly believed I was a Christian. There is no denomination within Judaism that accepts people with his belief system as Jewish. He and his fellow believers don’t get to define Judaism. Only real Jews do just as only real Christians get to define Christianity.
October 26, 2022 @ 10:53 am
Bones Owens (on the rockier side of country rock, tours with Koe Wetzel frequently) wore a Jewish star on the album cover of his most recent album. Don’t know anything else about his heritage but he may belong on the list.
October 26, 2022 @ 11:08 am
Ralph Rinzler, bluegrass mandolinist, folklorist, co-founder of the Smithsonian Folkliife Festival and the man responsible for bringing Doc Watson. Hazel Dickens, and especially Bill Monroe to national prominence deserves mention.
October 26, 2022 @ 11:23 am
Willie is taking a break before going out to sign autographs when he suddenly realizes that he is sitting at the table with his longtime manager Mark Rothbaum and Mickey Raphael. Seeing the creative opportunities of the moment, Willie works on a spontaneous improvisation . Willie sings: “Why Do I Have Two Jews?…
October 26, 2022 @ 11:48 am
Little confused by this article, why does it matter someone’s religion or race, just let the music speak for itself. And before people get all angry at that, I’m Jewish. Just seems like an unnecessary article is all.
October 26, 2022 @ 12:02 pm
I agree that music should be judged on its own merit, and race, religion, gender, etc. shouldn’t matter. Unfortunately though, country music is constantly judged as being only about white strait Christian males braying about American pride when in truth country music contributors have been much more omnivorous over the years. With a potential rise in antisemitism lately, it seemed like a good time to illustrate the important contributions of Jewish individuals to country music, and celebrate these community members, who by the way, don’t just include artists, but a lot of behind-the-scenes folks who don’t get acknowledged enough anyway.
October 26, 2022 @ 12:17 pm
Your article is great in that the focus is the music, not the business. Anti-Semites could come up with long lists of label executives, music publishers, artists’ accountants and business managers, etc., and paint those sad, tired, old stereotypes of Jews as greedy moneychangers. I’m not offended. Folks of all faiths and ethnicities ought to be free to play and enjoy country music.
King Honky Of Crackershire
October 26, 2022 @ 4:56 pm
You can always count on Trig to grant the premise.
October 26, 2022 @ 11:56 am
He was in Kathy Mattea’s road band for about 5 years at the start of his varied and extensive career. Kathy used to introduce him during his shows with the reminder to “any women looking for a nice Jewish boy” to marry that Jonathan was available.
October 26, 2022 @ 12:47 pm
This article is completely unneeded and just feeds into the idea that we all need to capitulate when one jackass start’s acting up.
October 27, 2022 @ 8:59 am
stop getting so easily triggered. You’re politics are boring. please stop inserting it into everything.
October 26, 2022 @ 1:04 pm
Lily Isaacs, the matriarch of The Isaacs, has an incredible story and background. Their recent Opry membership sure does make it seem like they deserve a spot on this list.
Excellent research and timely commentary as always sir.
October 26, 2022 @ 1:08 pm
October 26, 2022 @ 1:33 pm
I was certain I’d read long ago that Juice Newton is Jewish, but I can’t seem to find any confirmation of this.
October 26, 2022 @ 1:37 pm
Lovesick blues was written by at least one Jewish guy, don’t remember if both writers were. Obviously more tin pan alley than true country in origin but I’m pretty sure we can all agree that it’s mostly associated with Hank Williams now.
October 26, 2022 @ 1:48 pm
The other writer was Fred Rose.. and he was Jewish.
October 26, 2022 @ 2:40 pm
“Lovesick Blues” was written by Cliff Friend and Irving Mills. Irving Mills was Jewish for sure.
Seeing multiple people say Fred Rose was Jewish, but I had not heard that before, and I’ve read everything on Hank Williams and Acuff/Rose in print. Not saying it’s not true, but I’m just not seeing that anywhere I can confirm.
October 26, 2022 @ 1:47 pm
Count me in! According to Jewish law, if your mother was Jewish, you’re a Jew… so, thanks Mom!
October 26, 2022 @ 4:30 pm
That’s wonderful, but are you also a country music artist?
October 26, 2022 @ 5:24 pm
she’s the first of the brooklyn cowgirls, euro south.
October 27, 2022 @ 6:05 am
What about the rest of them Brooklyn cowgirls, are they all Jewish?
October 26, 2022 @ 2:56 pm
RIP Jerry Lee Lewis?
October 26, 2022 @ 3:00 pm
He’s alive. Fake news. Just confirmed.
October 26, 2022 @ 5:58 pm
He’s country, btw.
October 26, 2022 @ 4:24 pm
October 26, 2022 @ 4:31 pm
The Sherman Brothers, while never apparently writing a country song (sad realization), were Jewish and the best songwriters ever employed by Disney.
October 27, 2022 @ 6:15 am
what is your hangup with disney, lol.
October 27, 2022 @ 3:23 pm
Walt Disney (the man) was one of the greatest Americans and creative minds ever.
Sadly, his own company is slowly removing his presence. Noticed now they removed the ‘ from Disney. Of course, his company pushes values that Walt himself, a simple American, would never support.
There is a lot of crappy anti-Semitism going around and sadly Walt’s name is thrown into the mix. He wasn’t anti-Semitism. I know Family Guy and a bunch of idiots say differently, but they are pedaling fake news.
I am doing my share to push back against the misinformation. I assume, you are against incorrect information, right?
And the Sherman Brothers deserve more mentions. They were musical geniuses. Isbell should study them.
October 28, 2022 @ 5:37 am
I was incorrect in my assertion. They did write a country song: “Gold Can Buy You Anything But Love.” Performed by Gene Autry.
October 26, 2022 @ 4:43 pm
Charley Pride, Darius Rucker, Mickey Guyton, Rhiannon Giddens….source – Kanye West
October 26, 2022 @ 7:39 pm
Jew not Jewish
King Honky Of Crackershire
October 26, 2022 @ 4:52 pm
These articles are so embarrassing for you. I cringed at the title.
October 26, 2022 @ 6:12 pm
Oh this breaks my heat Honky. I wrote this article expressly for you and your constituency.
October 26, 2022 @ 8:07 pm
: D Alright you guys, break it up.
Take 3 minutes and watch/listen to this.
Conrad, doing his James Bond, – Amish style …
King Honky Of Crackershire
October 27, 2022 @ 3:20 am
Naw, you wrote it because you’re a well-meaning goober, who doesn’t know any better, but should; which is why it’s embarrassing.
October 27, 2022 @ 9:51 am
doesn’t know any better about what? is king honky really kanye west?
October 27, 2022 @ 6:17 am
perhaps you caught a brief glimpse of your reflection on your device’s screen. yikes!
the king of cringe and embarrassment^
October 27, 2022 @ 9:00 am
October 26, 2022 @ 5:53 pm
The great country singer and cultural appreciator Wheeler Walker Jr. We thank you for you contributions!
October 27, 2022 @ 4:34 am
In his autobiography, Chris Hillman writes that his father was Jewish
October 27, 2022 @ 6:25 am
Interesting article which would have been just as interesting and valid three months or three years ago.
The timing smacks of pandering and an agenda.
Having followed Saving Country Music for a while, I believe their only agenda is to endorse and promote music for both the artists and fans and the timing of this post just wasn’t thought through completely.
And then again, everything is going to piss off somebody.
Thanks for the info.
October 27, 2022 @ 9:01 am
If you want to criticize that this article should have been posted years ago, that is a fair criticism, and I will take it, and I agree. I have been saying for years that I wanted to run down all the Jewish artists in country, and just never took the time to do so, in part because this article took a ton of research and time, and I still missed some big names sitting right under my nose.
But the idea of the timing of this article being problematic, I just don’t understand. In a time where there is reportedly a rise in antisemitism, I can’t imagine a better time than to step up, recognize the Jewish contributors to our community here in country music, and let them know what they have done for country music is appreciated. I’m always looking for excuses to talk about past greats in country music, so their contributions don’t go forgotten.
There has always been this strange idea that an article on Saving Country Music isn’t good unless nobody wants to read it. If I was in the business of click bait, I wouldn’t be posting massive, time-consuming articles like this, or reviews for obscure country folk projects like “Plains.” Some people don’t want to read articles, they just want to know they’re there, supporting independent and traditional country music.
Timeliness is critical to getting the attention these artists and subject matters deserve. This article didn’t get that many clicks, at all. I also lost some followers on social media for posting it. It cost me money to post this. But if I had posted it on a random Wednesday, it would have received even less attention. So if I was being “opportunistic,” the jokes on me.
Was just trying to highlight some cool Jewish folks who contributed to country music. I guess no good deed goes unpunished.
October 27, 2022 @ 11:08 am
My comment was meant as an observation as opposed to a criticism. Poor wording on my part-“may be perceived as pandering” would have conveyed my message clearer than “smacks of pandering.”
Sorry you have lost subscribers. Haters gonna hate…
I appreciate the article regardless of when it was posted. Celebrate diversity is a misnomer. We should acknowledge and respect diversity while celebrating commonality, which is what your article ultimately does.
C’hai yi yippee oy vey!
October 27, 2022 @ 7:58 am
Too many people talk about race or religion and media seems to encourage it. Politicians talk about it endlessly to further their own interests. It’s the person who is important regardless of colour or religion or background. Good article and interesting as articles on this site invariably are, but needed? I am not so sure we need articles on black country singers or Jewish or whatever, they are country or not, whatever. I don’t really care as long as they can sing or play what they are.
October 27, 2022 @ 9:15 am
The unfortunate reason an article like this is needed is because there is a prevailing narrative throughout American media and culture that country music is and has always been completely uninviting to anything but white straight Christian males, and so thus, it needs to be integrated, devalued, or destroyed. The same people pushing this theory also work to actively erase the contributions of anyone that is not a white straight Christian male to help validate their claims. This is a reason these types of illustrations are necessary.
I completely understand that you may not care about the color, race, religion, or gender of an artist, and you also may just want Saving Country Music to just keep you informed on news and give you music recommendations. But one of the points of this site from the very beginning was to talk about country music in a broader context and help influence prevailing thoughts on the genre, especially when what people are being told about country music in other media outlets and platforms is so dishonest.
October 27, 2022 @ 9:25 am
Trig & Honky,
Did you listen to this?
Good song, & adorable.
October 27, 2022 @ 9:26 am
We should have a list of paraplegic people who contributed to country music too.
October 27, 2022 @ 9:57 am
looking for more people to persecute and walk to the chambers?
October 27, 2022 @ 12:06 pm
This comment got my attention, because it feels extremely insensitive.
Not coming at you.
Am horrified, that extermination of the Jewish people, ever took place. Never mind the senseless, and horrific, inhumane treatment.
That one person tried to annihilate (cancel, in the most extreme, and with prejudice) an entire race …
And yet, here we are again
October 27, 2022 @ 2:59 pm
is my comment the insensitive one for knowing history that not only jews were part of the holocaust, but also handicapped people (physical, mentally) among others. or is it maybe the comment i responded to made by a guy clearly bothered by this article about jewish musicians?
October 27, 2022 @ 4:19 pm
No, not at all.
Your comment is right on.
That is why i included the sentence – Not coming at you.
Don’t want anyone to ever forget the holocaust.
Was going to go into Joseph Kony as well, & the evils he has perpetuated/been responsible for.
October 28, 2022 @ 7:08 am
Dam, you guys went dark sided.
October 28, 2022 @ 12:33 pm
Think we were illustrating how rapidly, cancel culture can become dangerous & deadly.
That being said, here’s hoping everyone goes into the weekend, with a loving heart.
October 27, 2022 @ 10:10 am
I could care less what their chosen ethnicity or religion is just that their music connects and is genuine, but since we are on the subject, It should go without saying that if a group of people can ruin your life financially, professionally and socially for pointing out their over representation in powerful positions, they’re clearly not victims.
Quite the opposite. They’re oppressors and they use their power and control to silence anyone who notices
October 27, 2022 @ 11:28 am
I’m Jewish and I’m a construction worker in the rural South. I have no power to ruin anyone’s life but my own. So no, that group does not have that power, some members might but “Jews” generally do not. You know how people get upset when others assume that all white Republicans are either evil corporate overlords or beer swilling racists or just rich as hell? Have you ever felt unfairly painted in a bad light because of the actions of people who look like you or attend the same church or community functions? That’s the same way other groups feel when people assume that everyone in the group is just like it’s most prominent members.
November 2, 2022 @ 1:58 pm
First off i am not referring to ALL Jewish people but the cabal, there is nothing and secondly It should go without saying that if a group of people can ruin your life financially, professionally and socially for pointing out their over representation in powerful positions, they’re clearly not victims. Quite the opposite. They’re oppressors and they use their power and control to silence anyone who notices and when you are less than 2% of America’s population but over 40% of the food in America is ‘Kosher’ . don’t be emotional, be adult, you claim to be Jewish, so what? so does Oprah. no one is blaming you so stop taking it personally, its a fact not an opinion
Kanye has never been more on point
Whites are now second-class citizens.
Don’t believe me?
Try to access affirmative action.
Try to access minority hiring and promotion initiatives.
Try to apply for a federal minority business loan.
Try to access federal hate crimes charges.
Try to get someone cancelled for saying mean things about Whites.
Try to get someone fired for being racist against Whites.
Try getting either political party to even acknowledge you exist as anything other than a threat.
Try saying you’re proud to be White.
November 2, 2022 @ 2:46 pm
won’t anyone think of us poor whites?!?
i do wonder why white men are always concerned with becoming a minority in this country. could it be because minorities aren’t treated that well here?
November 2, 2022 @ 6:30 pm
Did you copy/paste that all by yourself? I’ve been the minority where i live all my life, i live five miles away from Mexico , but way to miss the point entirely,
heres a fact you can choke on princess,without the White man you wouildn’t have the ability to paste that tired cliche response into your phone,
guess what else we invented – Trains, planes, cars, rockets, telescopes, tires, telephones, radios, television, electricity, atomic energy, computers, and fax machines. All miracles made possible by the minds and spirits of men with names like Ampere, Bell, Caselli, Edison, Ohm, Faraday, Einstein, Cohen, Teller, Shockley, Hertz, Marconi, Morse, Popov. Ford, Volta, Michelin, Dunlop, Watt, Diesel, Galileo, and other “dead white males.”
now back to your incel site where your lack of experience is the only thing you excel at.
better yet you can work for the ADL they despise White people even more than you.
November 2, 2022 @ 8:24 pm
cherry picking inventions and you choose the fax machine gtfo lmao.
math, written language, religion, christianity, irrigation, paper, ink, gunpowder, the compass, cd player, calculator, batteries, etc.
October 27, 2022 @ 11:38 am
Now you’re talking NPR.
All the propaganda you could ever want, delivered with esoteric voices.
October 27, 2022 @ 11:37 am
Thanks for doing something to highlight often overlooked contributions to the music we’re all here to learn, enjoy and discuss. I’m sorry you’re catching a lot of flak for it and I don’t understand why. I mean I have an idea but it’s not very complimentary to the people complaining so I’ll just hope they’re all pedants who really, really prefer a totally technical discussion of music rather than people with hate in their hearts. Or not even hate but some kind of fear that any conversation that involves race and ethnicity will turn into an attack on them? I don’t get it. Nothing in your article pointed to discrimination against Jewish people in country music so blaming white people for something isn’t an issue here. If anyone would like to inform me what the problem is in a sincere and civilized manner I’d be glad to listen.
October 27, 2022 @ 4:44 pm
For some commenters I think it’s that they feel Trig is pandering to an identity politics type of approach with articles like this (I personally don’t share that opinion).
October 27, 2022 @ 6:35 pm
Thanks. I guess I can see the identity part of that but this article doesn’t have anything to do with politics. Sometimes I think a lot of people are like my mother-in-law used to be, just walking around looking for something to get mad at. Too bad they can’t dump their asshole husbands and lighten up a bit like she did.
October 27, 2022 @ 6:22 pm
I’ll take a stab at it.
Some people are probably genuinely racist or anti-Semitic pieces of shit. But I’d argue that more people think we should stop obsessing over race and identity and treat everyone as individuals, and that the ramping up of tension and conflict by polarized identity groups is caused more so by the race obsessed media, politicians and activists that claim to be trying to “help,” and have “good” intentions, than by the small minority of actually racist people. Others also see lists like these as patronizing and reductionist. I’m hearing that more and more from my “marginalized” friends and coworkers (in private of course).
IMO Trigger doesn’t have a political agenda or any ill intent whatsoever. I’m speaking of these types of things in general.
October 27, 2022 @ 7:09 pm
Thanks. I can see where some of those people are coming from. It’s a fact that the powerful are going to exploit whatever people feel strongly about, whether it’s for money, votes or just internet clout (or whatever it is people get out of winning Twitter wars). I can’t be sure that’s it though, something feels different like everyone’s just out to win for their team even if it means playing so dirty the game doesn’t mean anything. No one knows who to believe because everyone has an agenda so everything has to be taken with way more than the doctor recommended amount of sodium.
I can definitely see the patronizing part too but a lot of that is intent. Like here Trigger’s not congratulating himself on uplifting the Jewish people or anything, I’m sure he’d be pleased if some people find new music to enjoy and others learn new things about old favorites.
As to how much of the current conflict is politicians and their respective media allies fanning the flames and how much is real clashes of interests in society. Like the George Floyd protests. BLM got a bad name from a bunch of grifters and frauds being involved as well as making needlessly inflammatory statements. But the fact behind it, that black people are more likely to be unjustly killed by the police is true and something needed to be done about it. But things went too far. Protests turned to riots. Protesters flipping out in the heat of the moment, regular criminals using the event as cover, infiltrators out to cause chaos? Who knows? Nobody but everyone had an opinion. Without people on both sides working to bring things to such a fever pitch I think things wouldn’t have turned out that way but clearly there was a real issue behind it all and one we need to deal with as a nation.
Sorry if I went on a bit of a rant and a tangent (rangent?) there. It’s just frustrating seeing people on both sides get so passionate about the narrow issues of the day then refusing to see the wider scope of things. It seems like the left and the right want us to be birds. If one side wants to get excited and run around like chickens with their heads cut off over something the other side wants to make like an ostrich and bury their head in the sand and tell them the other guys they don’t see a problem from down there. And no wise old owl to make us sit and honestly discuss what’s going on.
Connecticut Country Boy
October 27, 2022 @ 5:07 pm
Elvis? Part Jewish?
He may not have ended up country but he was pure Rockabilly at the start.
It appears his great great grandmother on his mother’s side was a Jew who emigrated from Lithuania to Mississippi around the time of the American Revolution. Maybe that’s why Elvis designed a gravestone for his mother Gladys with a Star of David on it.
It may be tough to categorize Elvis on many levels so let’s just call him The King.
October 28, 2022 @ 2:52 pm
Logan Ledger too
October 29, 2022 @ 12:52 am
I’m Jewish and play pedal steel for a Grammy winner. True story.
November 2, 2022 @ 1:27 pm
BB? Man, If it’s you, I love your playing.
October 30, 2022 @ 8:04 am
Trigger here’s a few more for your list:
Noam Pikelny- grammy winning banjo player for Punch Brothers and formerly of Leftover Salmon and John Cowan Band. His Kenny Baker tribute album is outstanding and he’s played on lots of albums by people mentioned on this blog.
Pete Wernick- long time banjo player for Hot Rize, runs a national program to teach bluegrass jamming, was (I believe) first president of the IBMA.
Finally slightly more obscure but probably more important:
Bruce Kaplan, college buddy of George Gruhn and founder of Flying Fish Records, which between early 70’s and Bruce’s death in 1992 (IIRC) released albums by John Hartford, Hot Rize, Doc Watson, Lester Flatt, Peter Rowan, New Grass Revival, Norman Blake, and the list goes on (and is found on Wikipedia.) Flying Fish was sold to Rounder a couple of years after Bruce’s death. I knew him a little many years ago in Chicago- nicest guy in the world and really helped many, many music careers.
October 30, 2022 @ 8:17 am
Thanks, good stuff. Noam Pikelny is a big one.
October 31, 2022 @ 6:24 pm
Thanks for the great article and lineup and especially introducing people to Nefesh Mountain.
A couple of notes:
1) At the crossover of country/folk/traditional, let’s remember John Cohen, of the New Lost City Ramblers, who helped lead a re-appreciation of traditional American folk music of all origins. Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter stated that “Uncle John’s Band” was inspired by John Cohen.
2) “Messianic Judaism” is not Judaism. Its appropriation of Jewish trappings to further their agenda, i.e. the acceptance of Jesus as Messiah who will return and who forgives all sins, violates too many basic Jewish tenets to list here. Go ask the most liberal truly Jewish rabbi in your town. Glen Campbell was a great, but including him in any list of Jews is an insult.
November 1, 2022 @ 4:27 am
Not surprising AT ALL since they own every damn thing
November 1, 2022 @ 4:39 am
Who cares if they are jews. It should be all about the music.
November 13, 2022 @ 9:11 pm
Mark Rubin (former Bad Liver, who now bills himself as the “Jew of Oklahoma”)
January 15, 2023 @ 7:45 pm
RE: RE: Glen Campbell he was NEVER a Jew. He had the faith of Judaism or Messianic Judaism or whatever and hell even Christianity at on time. But if you cut right down to the core of it his ancestry, descendants, heritage, whatever was English, German, Scots-Irish (Northern Irish) and Scottish. No trace of Jewishness in him.