If not for author Jan Reid, there would be no Austin City Limits. And without Austin City Limits, there may not have been any national awareness of what was happening in the Texas Capital back in the early and mid 70’s and beyond,which became the catalyst for country’s Outlaw movement.
Neil Young’s Americana, his first album with backing band Crazy Horse in 9 years, embodies the full range of feelings I have about Neil Young in general. You see, I hate Neil Young. Positively can’t stand the dude. At the same time I think he is a mad musical genius that deserves all the rights and privileges the moniker “Music Treasure” can bestow.
This week NBC’s reality TV show “America’s Got Talent” showcased a country singer named Tim Poe. Poe claimed to be an 14-year military veteran who had been injured by a rocket propelled grenade in Afghanistan that gave him stuttering disorder. The problem is, according to numerous reports, Tim Poe’s story is a sham.
There’s never been a question in anyone’s mind if Johnny Cash actually shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. But that lyric, and Johnny’s song “Folsom Prison Blues” have gone on to become an iconic piece of country music history. This language was nothing new in 1955. Murder ballads and gunslinger tales trace back to the very roots of country music and America’s Gothic, violent identity.
If 90% of the stuff they play on country radio these days is crap, then Alan represents the 10%. He’s the one respite when the Mrs. or kiddos flip over to 98.1 you don’t want to reach for a 9mm and point it at either your audio interface or your own pie hole. And unlike George Strait, Alan has the skins on the wall of writing a lot of his own material and other memorable achievements for real country fans.
Quick to discount the young songstress, this is the first accusation you will see to why Taylor Swift’s success is a sham. Does Taylor Swift’s dad own Swift Trucking? Did he buy a bunch of albums and park them in a warehouse to artificially bloat sales numbers? Did her dad along with Scott Borchetta con Taylor’s first manager? Or is this all a side show to Taylor’s simple success and appeal?
2012 so far has been a remarkable year for top flight albums throughout the country world. That compelled me to tweak my regular mid-year format to not just include any album that has received a positive review (though these are all listed at the bottom), but instead highlight the ones that I think have a serious chance to be considered for Album of the Year.
Last week The Grand Ole Opry, along with its parent company Gaylord Entertainment, were purchased by Marriott International for $210 million. Though Gaylord reportedly will remain in charge of most of the day-to-day operations of the Opry, some fans are afraid of what may happen. So Saving Country Music reached out to Marriott to find out what effects new ownership will have on the Opry experience.
Today the nominees for the 2012 Americana Music Awards were announced. What struck me as I watched the presentation was how overtly cliquish the Americana Music Association has become, or continues to be, as they narrowcast out awards to the same pool of networked-in, dramatically-familiar, and specifically-focused artists that all tend to know each other, and carry the same politics.
As first theorized here in late April, Gaylord Entertainment, the parent company of the iconic Grand Ole Opry and radio station WSM, has been sold to Marriott International for $210 million. According to a press release by Gaylord about the sale, the company will retain its Grand Ole Opry holdings for now, however will be reorganizing into an REIT, or Real Estate Investment Trust.
Do we really think legions of her fans are going to gateway from her music to Waylon Jennings, or even Alan Jackson, or even Justin Townes Earle? And for as many people she may convert to the pop version of country, may she scare just as many away from the traditional side? What are the ratios here? For all the good she may do enticing young fans to the genre, is she chasing away the older ones?
So what makes one of these albums worth checking out more than the others? It’s hard to say, but what I can say is that JP Harris and the Tough Choices’ I’ll Keep Calling is one of the best of the breed. This is an excellent album, and remarkably so because there’s really nothing new here. It’s how JP Harris separates himself from the crowd is by striking that difficult balance between being familiar, but not cliche.
Doc Watson’s family has been called to his bedside at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC. The 89-year-old folk and bluegrass guitar legend’s heath issues started on Monday (5-21) after a fall at his home. No bones were broken, but the incident exposed other health problems. Watson’s condition never improved from “critical” and he remains in Wake Forest Baptist’s Intensive Care Unit.