A legend of country music songwriting, and one that put the painful experience of divorce into words and song like none other has gone to the great honky tonk in the sky. Sanger D. Shafer, known popularly as Whitey Shafer, passed away on Saturday, January 12th according to reports.
Joshua Hedley’s just-released record Mr. Jukebox is just about the most accurate portrayal of the Countrypolitan era we’ve heard from a modern artist in quite some time. And though many traditional country fans are singing Hedley’s praises, some have been skeptical of just how sincere his reverence for the music can be.
‘The Marty Stuart Show’ has logged a total of 174 episodes, but not a single new episode has aired since 2014. It’s been three years now, and fans of the RFD-TV program are getting restless for some fresh shows. So has the show been cancelled, put on indefinite hiatus? When can fans expect new episodes?
A tribute is finally planned for The Hag, and it promises to be a star-studded event. ‘Sing Me Back Home: The Music of Merle Haggard’ will take place at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Thursday, April 6th to honor what would have been Merle Haggard’s 80th birthday, and to mark the one year anniversary of his passing.
Alison Krauss, Ben Haggard, Bobby Bare, Buddy Cannon, Connie Smith, Dierks Bentley, Don Was, Hank Williams Jr., Jamey Johnson, John Anderson, John Mellencamp, Kacey Musgraves, Kenny Chesney, Loretta Lynn, Lucinda Williams, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Merle Haggard, Miranda Lambert, Ronnie Dunn, Sing Me Back Home The Music of Merle Haggard, The Avett Brothers, Theresa Haggard, Warren Haynes, Willie Nelson
The duo played a special half hour extended set Friday night, and were joined on stage by Marty Stuart and Connie Smith, as well as John Carter Cash and his wife Ana Cristina, Dailey’s father JB Dailey and Vincent’s mother Carolyn Vincent. Near the end of the set, Marty Stuart shocked everyone by asking the duo to become official Opry members.
Though Merle Haggard is no longer around to record and release new music, that doesn’t mean there isn’t unheard, unreleased recordings waiting to be unearthed for the public in the future. As is often the case with music artists who pass away, unreleased Merle Haggard music remains vaulted away, either as leftovers and outtakes from previous recording sessions, or in Merle’s case, purposely stashed away…
You would think there would be much more important business to attend to in the lives of country music fans than to worry about what clothing accessories Marty Stuart chooses to adorn his wardrobe with, but you may not find a another topic of more intrigue or discussion amongst some country listeners than why Marty decides to indulge in neck finery as part of his public fashion.
But what “Something In The Water” had that no other song that could offer battle to Bro-Country had previously was substance, and one of the most powerful performances we’ve heard from a country artist in the last few years. This is what was needed to defeat Bro-Country. It wasn’t going to take pandering. Leadership is what was needed, and an exhibition of raw talent that could not be denied.
Out of the 67 current members of the Opry, only 25 of them fulfilled their 10 appearance obligation, and three of those died during the year. 11 members didn’t make any appearances at all. But what may be more interesting is who is appearing on the Opry to take up the slack. Of the Top 11 performing members at the Grand Ole Opry in 2014, the average age was 79-years-old.
Bill Anderson, Blake Shelton, Bobby Osborne, Brad Paisley, Byron Fay, Carrie Underwood, Chris Jansen, Connie Smith, Craig Morgan, Darius Rucker, Elizabeth Cook, George Hamilton IV, Jean Shepard, Jeannie Seely, Jesse McReynolds, Jim Ed Brown, Jimmy C. Newman, John Conley, Little Big Town, Little Jimmy Dickens, Lorrie Morgan, Mike Snider, Old Crow Medicine Show, Pete Fisher, Rascal Flatts, Riders In The Sky, Sarah Darling, The Grand Ole Opry, The Henningsens, The Whites, Vince Gill, WSM
When it comes to the preservation of the history and sound of country music, you can make the case there is nobody who does it better and with more passion and dedication than Marty Stuart. Tireless and true to his convictions, from his music, to his archive of memorabilia, to his presence on television and the Grand Ole Opry stage, and to some of the thankless things he does well out of the public eye…
B-Bender, Badlands Ballads of the Lakota, Brandy Clark, Clarence White, Connie Smith, Corb Lund, Del McCoury, Don Maddox, Gene Parson, Hummingbyrd, Jim Lauderdale, Johnny Cash, Justin Townes Earle, Lester Flatt, Let There Be Country, Marty Stuart, Merle Haggard, Old Crow Medicine Show, Porter Wagoner, Roland White, Stonewall Jackson, Sturgill Simpson, The Byrds, The Grand Ole Opry, The Kentucky Colonels, The Marty Stuart Show
Amber Digby’s gift is being able to hand select classic country songs from the past that never became full-on classics, but should have. And then with her band Midnight Flyer, Amber makes these songs classics by the power of her pure country voice. It’s part album making, part archeology dig, and then she adds a few newer offerings and self-penned songs to the mix for good measure.
Amber Digby, Connie Smith, Hargus "Pig" Robbins, Jerry Reed, Johnny Paycheck, Justin Trevino, Lloyd Green, Lynn Anderson, The Grand Ole Opry, The Warren Brothers, The World You're Living In, Vince Gill
Legendary country music songwriter Billy Don Burns, who over his 40 year career has written songs for Willie Nelson, Connie Smith, Sammy Kershaw, and many others has partnered up with Rusty Knuckles Records and will be releasing a new album this summer, Nights When I’m Sober (The Portrait of a Honky Tonk Singer).
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.
Clarence White, Connie Smith, Dale Watson, George Strait, Ghost Train, Hank III, Johnny Cash, Lester Flatt, Marty Stuart, Merle Haggard, Rainy Day Woman, Ralph Mooney, Studio B, The Byrds, The Quebe Sisters, Waylon Jennings