Produced by Dave Cobb and featuring an all-star cast of players like Hall of Famer “Hargus” Pig Robbins, and the “Man of Steel” Robby Turner, it was Sturgill Simpson’s official debut after moving on from his original band Sunday Valley. For many traditional country fans, ‘High Top Mountain’ is the album of choice.
Hargus “Pig” Robbins
Picking up where Marty’s last album Way Out West released in 2017 left off, Altitude will explore the foray of The Byrd’s into country music through their album Sweetheart of the Rodeo. It was during Marty’s Stuart’s stint supporting surviving Byrds members and co-founders.
As we look back on 2022 and before we look forward to 2023, it’s important we take the time to pay tribute to the important individuals in country music who left us over the last year, and who left a mark on the country and roots music world that will never fade. 2022 saw some absolute titans of the music leave us.
There are many iconic songs in the history of country music. But there are only a small handful that have gone on to define what it means when someone says “country music” to millions of people. The song “Behind Closed Doors” written by Kenny O’Dell, and performed by Charlie Rich is one of those songs.
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.
Bold, confident, and clear-eyed, with a voice as striking as it was when she first broke onto the scene in the 60’s, Connie Smith puts her superior and apparently timeless talents to work on eleven songs on her first album in 10 years.
‘An Old Time Christmas’ has always been considered one of the better bets for Christmas albums from country legends. That is how it achieved its Certified Gold status by the RIAA—something many of Randy’s 90’s and early 2000’s studio albums didn’t achieve.
40 years ago this week, one could make the case Hank Williams Jr. finally and forever extricated himself from the elongated shadow his father’s legacy cast, and became his own man, his own performer, and one that would impact country music on a major scale.
Country Music Hall of Famer and Grand Ole Opry member Connie Smith is getting ready to release her first new record in a decade, and one thing is for sure, it’ll be country. Called The Cry of the Heart, once again her husband Marty Stuart will be the producer.
Just like Dave Cobb, and just like Chris Stapleton before him, Robby Turner has been working for years behind-the-scenes, at the side of the stage, or in the studio, while others soaked up the spotlight. But the power of his efforts, and the success of the projects that he’s been a part of, has slowly but surely revealed Robby as one of those behind-the-scenes legends whose contributions should be left a secret no more.
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, TN has announced what will be their next major two-year exhibit to replace the current Bakersfield Sound exhibit in the museum’s largest revolving exhibit space. It will be called Dylan, Cash, & The Nashville Cats, and it will primarily focus on folk songwriting icon Bob Dylan, Country Music Hall of Famer and Legend Johnny Cash, and the “Nashville Cats.”
Once again Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives prove they are at the core of keeping the traditions of country music alive, while doing so in a manner that is energetic, inviting, informed, and broad-based where people of all stripes—the Saturday night and Sunday morning people—can come together and enjoy the gift of good country music together.
If the unusual and offbeat of the country music realm is something you love to delve into—if the Roger Miller’s, the Shel Silverstein’s, and the John Hartford’s hold a special sway on your heart, and something just a little strange, unexpected, and funny is where you find enjoyable wrinkles in the forgotten shadows of country music’s otherwise explored reaches, then this album from Ween…
Ahead of the release of Johnny Cash’s lost album Out Among The Stars due on March 25th, the Johnny Cash Official website has made available the opportunity for you to listen to the title track of the album by signing in either through Facebook or email. And then if you wish, you can make a birthday wish to Johnny Cash and light up a star on the background of the website.
Out Among The Stars is a complete album that was recorded between 1981 and 1984 by Cash, with songs that were meant to be together, but never saw the light of day. A true “lost album” if there ever was one. Columbia dropped Cash in 1986, shelving Out Among The Stars, even though they released some other recordings and albums that were made after the album.
For those of you who couldn’t bear the thought of waiting another year+ for new music from country music rising star Sturgill Simpson, the music fairy has just left you a sweet little nugget under your country music pillow. Sturgill has just released two new songs through Bandcamp, affectionately titled “Bastard Children.”
The front man for the wanton and reckless Sunday Valley project is all growns up, and lays down a fiercely traditional, hardcore honky tonk album slathered with steel guitar, country keys from Hall of Famer Hargus “Pig” Robbins, and whatever else is called for and in ample measure to give life and color to Sturgill’s blue ribbon offerings.
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.
About this time last year, I was telling everybody that 2012 was going to be the year of Kentucky-born and Nashville-based singer / songwriter Sturgill Simpson. “Mark my words,” I said. He had a brand new, professionally-made album in the can featuring recently-minted Country Hall of Famer Hargus “Pig” Robbins amongst other notable contributors.
The magic of “Life Ain’t Fair” is the way it trivializes all the issues it raises by simply pointing out the obvious: that life’s unfairness is inherent, and complaining about it or using it as an excuse to not pursue your dreams is foolish. It’s cynical and inspirational all at the same time, and that feat of acrobatics can’t be performed without some acute dexterity and prowess with the pen.