For 10 years now, The SteelDrivers have been a preeminent bluegrass band of the hard-charging variety and a proving ground of talent that includes Chris Stapleton as an alumni. After announcing the newest member to take what was once Stapleton’s spot in guitar player and singer Kelvin Damrell, the 5-piece outfit is ready to hit the road.
Tonight the Poet of the Common Man, Merle Haggard will be honored with a Kennedy Center Honors award for his contributions to American music. Well, actually he received the award on December 5th, but the ceremony itself from December 5th in Washington DC will air tonight on CBS (as they say, check local listings for times).
I have no doubt that Aaron Lewis is a proud American, and that he is a “country boy” in the sense that he lives in the country. After all, he wouldn’t shut the hell up about it for the 5 minutes of this song. I have no doubt that he likes to dress up in camo and run around his land playing GI Joe, driving around in a boy toy surplus army truck like Sergent Slaughter. But none of this makes a rock song country.
For the birthday of baby Jesus, Shooter Jennings is offering up a free album Missed The Boat: A Collection of Demos and Rarities in exchange for your email addy. The album covers a wide swath of Shooter’s career, including demos as far back as 1998, a few remixes and leftovers from his recent Black Ribbons album, and a few live recordings as well.
Yesterday I was sorting through all the amazing pictures on Ruby Jane’s new website, having my mind blown apart by all the big names that she has shared the stage with at one time or another (see some examples below) when lo and behold, a new video came down the pike from CBS News, featuring her sharing a stage with of all people, CBS’s main man in Washington, Bob Schieffer.
When Amazon.com offered up 50 country MP3 albums for only $5 in August, September, and October I was hoping that was a promotion that would continue on a monthly basis, but unfortunately November came with no new set. We are in luck now though, because Amazon has just put up 75 country albums that will be available for $5 all the way till the end of January, and there’s some real gooduns.
I hate predictability. I hate predictability in music, and I hate it in human activity. And so here we are. Trace Adkins has put out yet another dumb gimmick song. I guess then it is my job as a country music hardliner to harumpf and huff over how bad it is, but in the back of my mind I know that is what everyone is expecting, and what Trace & Co. are banking on. Stir the pot. Get people talking.
George Strait might have put out an album called Twang, but Ghost Train is the one that delivers it. This album is heavily guitar-driven from the start, turning the twang on the Telecasters to 10 and leaving it loud in the mix. Its the kind of twang that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. Then add some Ralph Mooney pedal steel on top and Ghost Train might be the freshest, funnest and truest traditional country album to come out of Nashville in years.
In the first part of my interview with Texas songwriting legend Ray Wylie Hubbard, we talked about how he wasn’t proud of the end result of the movie Last Rites of Ransom Pride of which he co-wrote. In the second part we turned out attention to more positive things, namely his latest album A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There is no C) that is up for Saving Country Music’s Album of the Year.
On February 22, 1956, Elvis Presley played a concert at the City Auditorium in Waycross, GA. Opening for Elvis that night were two brothers, Charlie and Ira, a gospel duo called The Louvin Brothers. In the crowd was a 9-year-old boy, a native of Georgia, born and raised in Waycross. How that boy felt about Elvis that night is uncertain, but The Louvin Brothers left an indelible mark on him that he would carry for the rest of his life.
In 2004, a legendary underground punk band called The Murder Junkies made a whistle stop in Austin, TX at a venue called Emo’s. The Murder Junkies became the backing band for the most infamous man in rock n roll ever, Mr. GG Allin. GG died shortly after, and at the time of the Murder Junkies 2004 stop in Austin, filling in as frontman for GG was a man named JB Beverley. It was the first time The Murder Junkies had played Austin in 12 years.
As with the Albums of the Year, 2010 will go down as a high water mark for the amount of top quality songs released.
A Song of the Year can’t just be good, it has to touch you. You have to be a different person, in whatever small way, after listening to it. Points are rewarded for things like catchiness and accessibility, but you’ll have to get at least a little bit deep to makes this year’s list. Great songs speak to many people, but to each individual in different ways. We also saw a lot of songs this year with an epic approach, whose sheer vision and grand design deserves to be highlighted.
Indulge me here ladies and gentlemen, because I need to get something off my chest. I can’t in good conscience sit around tight lipped anymore as the youth of America are stultified and our young women exploited by these assholes over at The Disney Company.