As the end of the year draws near, it comes time to reflect on all the country music greats big and small, superstars and sidemen, session players and songwriters, who passed away in the past year, and pay our respects to the contributions they made to country music, and to us as fans through the music they shared.
We may never see a year like we experienced in 2016, when such an unmerciful parade of country greats passing away left us with a renewed appreciation for the legends while their still living. But every death, from the often under-heralded songwriters and behind-the-scenes session musicians, to the principal members of huge Southern rock bands, is significant.
The problem with the whole Texas Music/Texas Country/Red Dirt “scene” is just that—what to call it. Texas Country is not really Red Dirt, even though the two regularly get lazily lumped together. Texas Country and Texas Music are separate things as well, but once again get summarily bundled. Yet all of these things are intertwined.
It’s like 2016 all over again, only centralized in its grief in the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin, Texas. In a span of a few hours, the city, and music, lost two titans that may not rise to the recognition of household names across America, but were seminal to the sound and influence that Austin music is known for.
Kelcy Warren, the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners who is behind the Dakota Access project is actually an impresario in the music space and when he’s not dictating the construction of controversial projects or directing the stamping down on dissent against the company. And now some of his musical buddies turning against him.
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.
Bob Dylan, Cain's Ballroom, Elizabeth Cook, Emmylou Harris, Holly Williams, J.D. McPherson, Jason Isbell, Jimmy LaFave, John Fullbright, John Moreland, John Paul White, Kacey Musgraves, Nikki Lane, Steve Ripley
You may not be comfortable with how exactly to define the quasi country, quasi-rock music that comes out of the Texas / Oklahoma region known as Red Dirt, but what you can be confident in is that it would never have come to life like it did without a man named Tom Skinner. Bass player, songwriter, and father of Red Dirt music Tom Skinner passed away Sunday evening, July 12th.
The music spirit in Hal Ketchum has surfaced once again, and working with Austin, TX-based label Music Road Records, the 61-year-old singer is set to release his first album in six years called “I’m The Troubadour” on October 7th. “I came to the realization that I had gotten to this deep level of depression, and I finally said to myself, ‘I can still do this. I can still write.’ “