Not as a rebuke of the work of the documentary, but as an addendum for those who watched and might want to dig deeper into the history of country through some of its more important personalities not represented well in the film, here are some of the Country Music film’s biggest oversights.
If you’re a country music fan and are disappointed that your favorite artist didn’t get enough screen time in the Ken Burns film on country music, well guess what, your favorite genre did, and by the most revered documentary filmmaker of our time, and before rock n’ roll, pop, the blues, soul music, or hip-hop.
Alan Jackson, Allen Reynolds, Bill Monroe, Billy Ray Cyrus, Bluebird Cafe, Brooks & Dunn, Chris Stapleton, Clint Black, Conway Twitty, Dayton Duncan, Dierks Bentley, Dixie Chicks, Don Williams, Dwight Yoakam, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks, George Jones, George Strait, Glen Campbell, Jamey Johnson, Johnny Cash, Kathy Mattea, Keith Whitley, Ken Burns, Lil Nas X, Little Big Town, Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovett, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Miranda Lambert, Nanci Griffith, Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, Rick Rubin, Ricky Skaggs, Rosanne Cash, Ryman Auditorium, Steve Earle, Sturgill Simpson, Taylor Swift, The Judds, Toby Keith, Travis Tritt, Trisha Yearwood, Vince Gill
Earl Thomas Conley, one of the most successful country music artists through the 80’s decade, and known for his “thinking man’s country” style of country where heartbreak, story, and character played a critical role in creating the deep appeal for his music, has passed away. He was 77-years-old.
Netflix released the latest season of its comedy drama ‘The Ranch’ on December 15th, and just like the first three seasons, country music plays a big role in both the dialog and the soundtrack. Apparently the creators want to make discovering the songs part of the fun of the series, because they keep their soundtrack close to the vest.
Amanda Shires, Blitzen Trapper, Brenda Lee, Brothers Osborne, Conway Twitty, Eric Church, Jason Isbell, Mandolin Orange, Merle Haggard, Miranda Lambert, Netflix, Patsy Cline, Ricky Nelson, Sam Outlaw, Sara Watkins, Sturgill Simpson, The Cactus Blossoms, The Ranch, Thomas Rhett
In the process of criticizing modern country music, sometimes we lose sight of the bigger picture, or fall into “old man’s syndrome” where the past of the genre seems pristine and idyllic in our mind’s eye, and today’s smutty music perpetrated by sellout stars is an abomination to our beloved genre.
Blake Shelton, Conway Twitty, Hank Thompson, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Kitty Wells, Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, Pizza Hut, Roy Acuff, Sylvia, T. Graham Brown, Taco Bell, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
Music, and country music specifically plays a big role in the series, not just in the soundtrack, but in many of the jokes told, and in the titles of each episode. Many other musical Easter eggs are placed throughout the series for music fans, such as posters on the wall, and albums in the local bar’s juke box.
The truth is we have no idea why Bill O’Reilly was fired from the most prominent seat in cable news commentary. The allegations against him could all be false claims from money-grubbing hussies looking to take advantage of his celebrity. But in country music, the way women are looked upon, and the way they’re spoken to is spelled out right there in the songs.
Twitty Burger was first launched in 1968, and included some pretty high-profile investors from country music, including Merle Haggard, Harlan Howard, and Sonny James. What separated the Twitty Burger from other burgers was Conway’s signature burger ingredient: the gram cracker-encrusted pineapple ring that was included on each sandwich.
Eddie Pleasant is known as possibly the very first individual to ever sell a concert T-shirt. Eddie Pleasant took white T-shirts with an 8X10 picture of Hank Jr. on the front, and turned it into one of the most lucrative industries in music at the time.
Big Al Halterman, Buddy Lee, CJ Udeen, Conway Twitty, Eddie Pleasant, Gary Allan, Hank Williams Jr., Hank3, Jim Reeves, Kitty Wells, L.E. White, Lefty Frizzell, Marry Jane, Stoney Cooper, Vernon Derrick, Willie Nelson, Wilma Lee
Country music is not just a commodity or even a form artistic expression. It is an integral part of people’s lives and has been the foundation for their cultural identities for generations. It’s what binds them to their homes and ancestry, and is interwoven into the very fabric of who they are as people.
Conway opened the multi-structure tourist attraction and family compound in 1982 at a price tag of $3.5 million, and lived there until his death in 1993. The centerpiece was Conway’s 24-room mansion surrounded by memorial gardens that became a destination for tourists and famous for the elaborate Christmas light displays every December.
Saving Country Music reached out to the respective estates and managers of the artists affected to confirm use of the likeness was unauthorized, and that the artists were receiving no money. “This product is not authorized at all,” says Kirk West, the Business Manager for the George Jones Estate. “They need to remove this product and never use George Jones name again or I will sue them.”
Tom Petty has been known to speak his mind from time to time, including in August of 2013 when he criticized modern country as “Bad rock with a fiddle.” Now in a new interview with Canada’s CBC news organization, Petty has relayed some pointed opinions about what he characterizes as stars that have “won a game show” and that make “plastic computer music.”
When talking to the Associated Press on November 27th, Garth said, “Me and Miss Yearwood are free to do whatever it is we want to do. And I’ve got to tell you: Anything I do with that woman, I’m fine with. Any place that I am with that woman is home to me. But if I have my wishes, it’s going to be filled with music, and it’s going to be filled with music at a level I’ve never seen before.”
Garth Brooks, who’s been making overtures recently about a country music comeback and new releases, will reportedly be releasing a box set called Blame It All On My Roots: Five Decades of Influences through Wal-Mart on November 17th. The initial announcement about the release was made briefly during Garth’s television special also entitled Blame It All On My Roots that aired Saturday night (11-9) on GAC.
4 CD Box Set, Blame It All On My Roots, Blame It All On My Roots Box Set, Cat Stevens, Conway Twitty, Garth Brooks, Las Vegas, Loretta Lynn, Marvin Gaye, New Album, new box set, Otis Redding, release, Simon & Garfunkel, Trisha Yearwood
Gone are the days of the legendary duet pairings in country music like George and Tammy, Loretta and Conway, but the Austin country scene’s power couple of Brennen Leigh and Noel McKay have revitalized the country duet concept album in a smart, brilliant, hilarious, and sweet offering called Before The World Was Made.
Did you know the first song to ever be featured on Breaking Bad was a classic country tune by Stonewall Jackson? They may not play real country on the radio anymore, but there’s many different ways you can skin a cat. As popular and critically-acclaimed TV series like Breaking Bad breathe new life into television, they have become an invaluable market for showcasing quality country and roots music from the past and present.
If it seems like Saving Country Music is running a story every other day about an artist speaking out on the state of country music, it is because we are, and it’s because they are more and more frequently as modern pop country strives to set a lower standard for itself seemingly every day. Tom Petty is the latest. Following up on an anti modern country rant Petty delivered from the stage of the Beacon Theater in New York City…
Radio station 93.5 KOOK and 1230 KERV in Kerrville, TX, managed by legendary DJ Big ‘G’ Gordon Ames has a radio promo done by Kinky Friedman that simply says, “We play Hank. All of them.” Yes, we all know about country music’s most famous family, but here are the other 5 Hank’s that helped establish the sound of country music (and didn’t actually have “Hank” as their legal first names either).
Conway Twitty, Crazy Heart, Dwight Yoakam, Elvis, Hank Cochran, Hank Garland, Hank Locklin, Hank Snow, Hank Thompson, Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr., Jamey Johnson, Merle Haggard, Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson
On October 4th, The Lost Notebook of Hank Williams will be released. As far back as October of 2008, I’ve had serious questions about the origins of these songs, the ethics behind the project, and the artists chosen to flesh out songs that do not include music. Now I have a new concern: why we are being given wrong information.