Welcome to Episode #5 of Country History X, which looks to tell the history of country music, one story at a time. This is story of the tragic life and death of Keith Whitley who died at the age of 34 due to alcohol abuse, and the conspiracy theories that surrounded it.
Of course you usually say nice things upon someone’s passing. But when Dolly Parton said, “I wouldn’t be here if he hadn’t been there” as she eulogized Uncle Bill after his passing on Wednesday, April 7th at the age of 85, you known it’s the honest truth.
It’s that time of year again to consider who might be in the running for the precious few spots as the newest inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame. A secret committee commissioned by the CMA is going over their final ballots and whittling down the names to the few who will make it.
Country Music Hall of Fame, David Alan Coe, Dwight Yoakam, Gram Parsons, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Paycheck, Keith Whitley, Kenny Chesney, Larry Gatlin, Linda Ronstadt, Maddox Brothers and Rose, Ralph Stanley, Ray Charles, Shania Twain, Tanya Tucker, The Judds, The Stanley Brothers, Tompall Glaser, Travis Tritt
It’s just unfortunate to even see the talk of cancelling Ricky Skaggs, discounting his music, disinviting him from future events, simply because he decided to accept an award he wholeheartedly deserved, and was likely to get from whomever was President at this moment.
The impact and reception for the “O Brother Where Art Thou” soundtrack was so significant, it’s very fair to characterize it as one of the most important albums in country music history, and it was most certainly one of the most significant releases of the last 20 years.
Alison Krauss, Chris Thomas King, Coen Brothers, Dan Tymiski, Darius Rucker, Gillian Welch, John Hartford, Mumford and Sons, O Brother Where Art Thou, Old Crow Medicine Show, Ralph Stanley, The Lumineers
Something that became obvious while watching the Ken Burns documentary is a few of the egregious oversights the Country Music Hall of Fame has been a party to when it comes to its inductees. Unlike other Halls of Fame, The Country Music Hall of Fame is extremely selective of who they let in, only allowing three new members in each year.
Don Maddox, Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, Hank Williams Jr., Hazel Smith, Keith Whitley, Ken Burns, Marty Stuart, Ralph Stanley, Rosanne Cash, Rose Maddox, The Judds, The Maddox Brothers and Rose, The Stanley Brothers
Even though names like Jimmie Rodgers, Roy Acuff, and The Carter Family loom large for many of country music’s devoted fans, they don’t necessarily rise to the level of household names like Ernest Tubb, and of course the great Hank Williams, who was the centerpiece of the third installment of the Ken Burns ‘Country Music’ documentary.
Arnold Schultz, Bill Monroe, Chet Atkins, Don Maddox, Dwight Yoakam, Earl Scruggs, Eddie Stubbs, Ernest Tubb, Faron Young, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, Grand Ole Opry, Hank Thompson, Hank Williams, Hazel Smith, Holly Williams, Ken Burns, Kitty Wells, Lesley Riddle, Lester Flatt, Little Jimmy Dickens, Merle Haggard, Nathan Turk, Nudie Cohn, Ralph Stanley, Roy Nichols, Rufus Payne, Tee-Tot, The Carter Family, The Maddox Brothers and Rose, The Stanley Brothers, Tom T. Hall, Webb Pierce
It was early May, 1989. Keith Whitley volunteered to take his wife and fellow performer Lorrie Morgan to the Nashville airport to see her off on a promotional trip to Alaska. In a week, Lorrie would be releasing her debut album on RCA Records, ‘Leave The Light On,’ and had tour dates booked to promote the new release.
The simplest way to describe Frank Newsome’s Gone Away with a Friend is to imagine Ralph Stanley’s rendition of “O Death,” amplified by two, and multiplied by twelve. On the surface, this may seem like a listening experience that would ultimately become tedious, but the exact opposite is true.
Ricky Skaggs is the new “Modern Era” inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame. The 63-year-old Cordell, Kentucky native has experienced as diverse of a country music career as anyone, and certainly earns this distinction both from his commercial success, and his commitment to country music throughout his life.
Once again as spring nears, it becomes time for the annual exercise to ponder who perhaps the CMA will deem worthy for induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. About this time the secret CMA-approved committee is going over their final ballots and whittling down the precious names to the few who will make it.
Country Music Hall of Fame, David Allan Coe, Dottie West, Gram Parsons, Hank Williams Jr. Dwight Yoakam, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Paycheck, Keith Whitley, Kenny Chesney, Lynn Anderson, Ralph Stanley, Ricky Skaggs, Travis Tritt. Brooks & Dunn
You certainly can find better bluegrass albums released in 2016, but it might be hard to find one more remarkable or historically significant. For generations now, the true devotees of the Grateful Dead have known that Jerry Garcia’s passion for bluegrass, old time, and country music was much more than some simple lark or a passing era in the legendary jam band’s lineage.
Bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley, who passed away on June 23rd, was laid to rest Tuesday evening (6-28) after a public service that included words and performances from Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, Jim Lauderdale, Ricky Skaggs, and other close friends and well-known performers in front of the crowd assembled at the Hills of Home Park in Coeburn, VA.
Bluegrass legend Dr. Ralph Stanley will be laid to rest Tuesday evening (6-28), and a public service has been announced that fans are encouraged to attend. But if you cannot make it, the funeral service will also be streamed online. The service will be held at the Hills of Home Park in Coeburn, VA.
Ralph Stanley, one of the last living legends in both the country and bluegrass world, has passed away. This was the word Thursday evening (6-23) from his grandson and protege Nathan Stanley. “My heart is broken into pieces. My papaw, my dad, and the greatest man in the world, Dr. Ralph Stanley has went home to be with Jesus just a few minutes ago.”
“Awards shows don’t matter.” This is the bill of goods fans of true country music, and fans of independent music have been forced to sell themselves for years as a consolation prize for continuously being overlooked, losing in bulk, and being generally embarrassed during the moments when America and the world crowds around the boob tube for the spectacle of a televised award show like the CMA’s or the Grammys.
Aaron Watson, Americiana, Ashley Monroe, Blackberry Smoke, Brandy Clark, Cam, Chris Stapleton, Grammy Awards, Jason Isbell, Kacey Musgraves, Lee Ann Womack, Leon Bridges, O Brother Where Art Thou, Ralph Stanley, Willie Nelson
88-year-old bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley is recovering in the hospital after suffering a serious fall last week, resulting a fractured pelvic bone. He was first admitted to the hospital on September 26, and also underwent minor surgery to install a pacemaker on Saturday. Stanley has canceled some of his upcoming events due to the health issue, but is expected to recover.
The Muddy Roots Festival is gearing up for its 5th annual event in the rolling hills just outside of Cookeville, TN, about an hour or so from Nashville to the east for the upcoming Labor Day weekend, and boasts an impressive lineup of many country and bluegrass legends, including Del McCoury, Bobby Bare, Ricky Skaggs, Ralph Stanley, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Peter Rowan, and an impressive under card of insurgent roots artists…
Bobby Bare, Del McCoury, Jason Galaz, Muddy Roots Festival, Muddy Roots lineup, Muddy Roots schedule, Peter Rowan, Possessed by Paul James, Ralph Stanley, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Ricky Skaggs, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Southern Culture on the Skids, Th' Legendary Shack Shakers
A group named “Induct Keith Whitley into The Country Music Hall of Fame” has started a campaign to try and get the Kentucky-born singer and songwriter who died tragically in 1989 into country music’s most elite class. The group has set up an online petition and is asking Keith Whitley fans to add their voices and signatures in support of the effort.
Over the last few years, David Letterman and The Late Show have become tireless supporters of many of the older country artists and up-and-comers that mainstream country so unfortunately pays little to no attention to. To giving artists like Ray Wylie Hubbard, Dale Watson, and Sturgill Simpson their first network debut, to being one of the few shows regularly willing to book Willie Nelson and other legends…
Amos Lee, Asleep at the Wheel, Band of Horses, Ben Bridwell, Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Dale Watson, Dave Matthews Band, David Letterman, Elizabeth Cook, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Iron & Wine, Mumford and Sons, Norah Jones, Ralph Stanley, Ray Wylie Hubbard, The Avett Brothers, The Late Show, Tom Waits, Tracy Chapman, Willie Nelson
The Muddy Roots Music Festival has just announced their 2015 lineup, and it is chock full of legendary roots artist who helped forge what we consider roots music today, and the new generation of artists who are doing their best to carry on those traditions into the future. the Muddy Roots Music Festival has forged one of the most loyal followings on the festival circuit, and hosted many legendary names over its now five year run.
With the passing of the 94-year-old “Little” Jimmy Dickens at the beginning of 2015, it’s a reminder for us to cherish the final living links to country music’s most legendary past who can still tell stories of how country music once was. The amount of performers who were important in forming the very foundation of country music are quickly fading away.
Bill Monroe, Billie Jean Horton, Bobby Osborne, Buck Owens, Buck White, Carter Stanley, Don Maddox, Eddie Arnold, Elvis, George Jones, Hank Snow, Hank Williams, Harold Bradley, Jan Howard, Jean Shepard, Jesse McReynolds, Jim and Jesse, Jim Ed Brown, Joe Pennington, Keith Whitley, Larry Sparks, Lee Ann Womack, Lefty Frizell, Little Jimmy Dickens, Maddox Brothers & Rose, Marty Stuart, Mel Tillis, Owen Bradley, Pee Wee King, Ralph Stanley, Ray Price, Red Simpson, Ricky Skaggs, Rose Maddox, Roy Acuff, Roy Orbison, Stonewall Jackson, Studio 'A', The Clinch Mountain Boys, The Grand Ole Opry, The Quonset Hut, The Stanley Brothers, The Whites, Tompall Glaser, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
2014 in country music did not see the passing of titans of the genre like we experienced in 2013 when George Jones, Ray Price, Tompall Glaser, and many more passed away, but was more the story of the vital side players, songwriters, session musicians, and storytellers who are so important to making the country music of others sound great.
Arthur Smith, Bob Montgomery, Bobby Keys, Chip Young, Dawn Sears, George Hamilton IV, George Riddle, Ian McLagan, James Alan Shelton, James Hand, Jesse Winchester, Jimmy C. Newman, Larry Henley, Lois Johnson, Neil Reshen, Paul Craft, Pete Seeger, Phil Everly, Ralph Stanley, Ronny Spears, Steve Fromholz, Tommy Ramone, Waylon Jennings, Weldon Myrick, Will Indian, Willie Nelson
It was all doom and gloom and teary-eyed salutations when Dr. Ralph Stanley announced in June of 2013 that he would be embarking on his farewell tour in late 2013 into 2014. Since then Stanley has continued to tour with no signs of slowing down, despite now being 87-years-old. Now Dr. Stanley has a new album in the works.
Buddy Miller, David Rawlings, Del McCoury, Dierks Bentley, Elvis Costello, Gillian Welch, Jim Lauderdale, Josh Turner, Lee Ann Womack, Man of Constant Sorrow, Nathan Stanley, Old Crow Medicine Show, Ralph Stanley, Ralph Stanley & Friends: Man of Constant Sorrow, Retirement, Ricky Skaggs, Robert Plant