Over the last 20 years, there are a few specific albums you can select out of the crowd and give credit for critically reshaping country music into what it is today, and specifically for re-instituting the roots of country.
There is perhaps no artist, no performer in the history of country music whose impact, influence, appeal, and footprint so far outpaced the recognition he received in life and death than Gary Stewart.
Levon Helm sang them, but Robbie Robertson wrote them. Bob Dylan wrote them, but Robbie Robertson played them. There are few men that had their fingers deeper into the foundations of what we consider Americana, rock, and folk music today.
When your music has been covered by the likes of Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, and Judy Collins—and when your legacy is so vast that the folk, country, and Western worlds all vociferously claim you for their own—you know you have forged a legacy that will withstand the rigors of time.
There is one thing that can’t be disputed about the song “Wagon Wheel.” It is unequivocally now one of the biggest songs in country music history. Darius Rucker and his label Capitol Records Nashville celebrated the song going Certified Diamond by the RIAA, meaning it has now racked up 10 million in sales.
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.
The hardest working man in country music, and the reigning Saving Country Music Artist of the Year is at it again. Just a few months after releasing his latest covers record, ‘Jukebox Charley,’ Charley Crockett has just announced a new original album called ‘The Man from Waco.’
There may not be another collection of voices more commonly featured via the recordings and live performances of country and roots artists than The McCrary Sisters—from the top reaches of mainstream commercial country, to the most revered Americana performers.
From rockabilly to country, to rock and bluegrass, to blues and R&B, Ronnie Hawkins lived one of the most legendary lives in popular music, with an influence that spanned borders, and eventually continents until it went around the world and back again.
From country to Americana, to folk and classic rock, from Canada to the United States and around the world, everybody knows and loves The Band, and their influence and appeal is stratified across genres and continents. But along with Robertson, there is another surviving member.
Born on January 18, 1938 in Spring City, Tennessee, Hargus Marvin Robbins was rendered blind at the age of four due to an accident involving his father’s knife. In those days, there were few occupations a blind boy could dream of, but one of them was playing piano.
It’s not uncommon for news to come down the pike about the release of some archival audio footage by a bygone musical icon. But the case if this upcoming release of a previously-unheard 1968 Johnny Cash concert is anything but ordinary; it’s certainly something to get excited about.
With the recent death of John Prine at the hands of COVID-19, the question has been posed by many about the legendary songwriter’s prospects of ever being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. It’s an interesting discussion point for sure, and one with a few important qualifiers.
Well-respected country and roots multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell is “sicker than he’s ever been in his life” after contracting the Coronavirus, according the Campbell’s wife and frequent collaborator, Teresa Williams. “Larry tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday. If you didn’t know anybody who has it now you do.”
Whether you’re a fan of the banjo, or bluegrass and folk in general, or even if you’re not, nearly everyone recognizes the opening riff of the iconic instrumental “Dueling Banjos” made famous in the 1972 film Deliverance. And now guy who actually played the banjo on the song has passed away.
Undoubtedly, you could not tell the story of country music in the late 60’s and early 70’s without broaching the political upheaval and countercultural revolution roiling American society at the time. But the time spent on stories that were only proxies to country music bogged this episode down in stretches.
Songwriter Will Hoge has spend his career canonizing the common man and singing about his struggles, becoming sort of a more thoughtful, alt-country version of Mellencamp with music that carries the tone and meter of Heartland rock. But with his most recent album, Will Hoge leaves all nuance and allegory behind.
The 2017 Outlaw Music Festival will actually be a series of events, or a tour if you will, consisting of six total stops throughout July hitting up New Orleans, Dallas, Detroit, Milwaukee, Syracuse, NY, and Rogers, AR. Willie Nelson and his Family Band, Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, The Avett Brothers, and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real play most events.
Announced Tuesday morning (2-21), Old Crow Medicine Show has signed with Columbia Records Nashville. Put this on top of being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2013, and the band isn’t showing signs of age, they’re solidifying their place as a serious traditional roots band with mainstream and major label acceptance.
Giving the Nobel Prize in Literature to a musician is no different than giving an actor a Grammy or a musician an Oscar or a pop star a CMA Award. Or I don’t know, maybe electing a reality TV star President. And as is being reported, Dylan has yet to acknowledge the accolade, and isn’t even returning the Nobel committee’s phone calls.
Iconic American songwriter Bob Dylan will be celebrating his 75th birthday on May 24th, and country and roots artist, including many songwriters who cite Dylan as a primary influence on their music, will be coming together to pay tribute to the man in numerous events across the country.
A Jewish-American, Kinky was a seminal part of the Austin, TX music scene in the 70’s when Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, and songwriters like Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, and Ray Wylie Hubbard helped revolutionize country music with their independent spirit and progressive approach. Kinky was one of the hucksters of the movement.
The legendary Newport Folk Festival is the new old place to discover the music that is righteous and relevant at this very moment in time, however loosely used the term “folk” has become when perusing the fest’s lineups of recent years. The place where Dylan first went electric, and where Johnny Cash first introduced the world to Kris Kristofferson has been working extra hard over the last few seasons…
Merle Haggard is getting ready for the release of his new album with Willie Nelson next week called Django & Jimmie, and ahead of the release he had some interesting revelations about some things in his past, and what he might have coming up in the future. Many have wondered why Merle never joined the Highwaymen, but it apparently wasn’t because they didn’t want him.