One of the most common misunderstandings when it comes to Black performers in country music is the legacy of Ray Charles. Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2022, his legacy is regularly diminished.
The Longhorn Ballroom was one of the most important venues in country music for many years. When it opened in 1950, it was known as Bob Wills’ Ranch House, and was one of the major venues in Western Swing. It was also once operated by Jack Ruby.
What we consider as the foundational sound of the Countrypolitan or Nashville Sound era was very much sung and arranged by Anita Kerr. Along with the The Jordanaires, The Anita Kerr Singers—selected and arranged by Anita Kerr—contributed most all the chorus singing that was set behind country songs.
Though the film means well, and is generally well-made with superb cinematography and high production value, the approach and information conveyed in the film is problematic to say the least, actively participating in erasing the legacy of Black country artists in a film that purports to be championing them.
On April 5th, Saving Country Music honored pioneering country artist Stoney Edwards on the 25th Anniversary of his passing, concluding in part, “His music should also be repopulated here in the digital age so that future generations can enjoy this pioneering country artist.”
A recent petition launched to coincide with Freddy Fender’s birthday, and subsequent media reporting, has stimulated a healthy amount of discussion about the prospects for Freddy Fender being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
You have to be happy with this class overall. Certainly, you can look over the elongated list of other potential inductees that grows even longer every year due to the Hall of Fame’s austere approach to induction, and do a healthy level of second guessing.
Since the Hall of Fame continues to not allow for public broadcast of the ceremony, fans of The Judds and other inductees have been mostly resigned to piecing together the events. But luckily, a full video of The Judds induction has emerged.
Where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and really, most all Halls of Fame throughout American culture get it much more right than the Country Music Hall of Fame is how they use their nomination and induction process as a way to promote their institutions and engage the public.
Released in 2014, “Metamodern Sounds in Country Music” was Sturgill Simpson’s breakout release, and helped put him on the map in country music and beyond. Metamodern Sounds wasn’t just well-received by critics, it helped further stimulate a cultural revolution in country music.
With his 1962 album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, and Volume 2 released later, Ray Charles opened up the gift and the joy of country music to an entirely new audience that may have otherwise not have been exposed to it. It wasn’t just the contributions of Ray Charles….
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.
Unexpectedly and without any explanation, Jamey Johnson has released his first truly new recording in over eight years. On Friday, October 16th, Johnson’s take on “America The Beautiful” populated on streaming sites without any fanfare or media push. Though it’s not an original song, it comes as a welcome surprise to fans.
It’s worth noting that Rolling Stone’s new updated version of their “500 Best Albums of All Time” significantly diminishes iconic titles from the classic country canon. Not only were some titles downgraded, some were eliminated entirely.
Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg will have a new collaboration coming out in a couple of weeks, and this time it may not just be about the favorite pastime of the two superstars of puffing on pipes, but about something deeper. “Man we got a song coming out in a couple of weeks, how ’bout it? How ’bout it!” Snoop says.
The fourth installment of the eight-part Ken Burns documentary on country music laid out in no uncertain terms how country music became a well-ordered business in the aftermath of the death of Hank Williams, and during the rise of rock n’ roll as the most popular genre in America, putting pressure on country music.
Oh the irony of so many people demanding all music sound the same in the name of “diversity.” The only reason we’re even having a discussion of where Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” should be placed on the charts is because you can’t tell the difference between most any given piece of popular music anymore.
What started out to be a small and intimate alternative to Austin’s sprawling SXSW gathering every March, and that was only known initially through invite or word of mouth, has now become arguably the most important and exclusive gatherings in all of American roots music every year.
For many years, the influence and contributions of African American musicians in country music went mostly overlooked, or overshadowed by their Caucasian counterparts. However there has been a recent trend by media and even some artists to overstate the influence of African Americans.
2019 is here ladies and gentlemen, and soon your ears will have a fresh new bounty of new releases in the country, roots, and Americana world to feast upon. In such a crowded landscape and with so many releases to choose from, having a road map certainly helps. So in that spirit, here are Saving Country Music’s top picks.
If you didn’t have a physical copy, or perhaps matured during the streaming era of music, then you’ve possibly never experienced what is considered one of the greatest works in country music history—‘Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music’ by Ray Charles.
Though publicity has been somewhat light for the record, Stapleton did sit down with Charlie Rose on Thursday (5/12) for a lengthy discussion, and to perform the acoustic “Either Way.” In the interview, Charlie Rose tried to portray Chris Stapleton as “Country’s Reigning Outlaw.”
Yeah yeah, it’s awesome that Sturgill Simpson received an Album of the Year nomination from the Grammy Awards for A Sailor’s Guide to Earth and everything, and just the nomination itself feels like an awesome victory overcoming insurmountable odds for an underdog record and artist. But what are the prospects that Sturgill Simpson could actually win this thing?
So what’s to learn from hitching a ride in Marty McFly’s time machine and traveling back to 1985? That the problems country music is facing today are virtually the same ones that were being faced 30 years ago. It’s all cyclical, as canonized in the old Gospel tune enshrined in the architecture of the Country Music Hall of Fame asking the question, “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?”