Unless you were there in person, you missed it. But now we’ll all get the opportunity to see the tribute concert that transpired on April 6th, 2017, when a hefty list of musical talent all assembled at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville to pay tribute to the legendary Merle Haggard.
2020 is not done just yet offering up country and roots music worthy of listening to, and perhaps some of the projects we’ll regard as the best all year once late December rolls around. So just to make sure you don’t miss anything, here are some of Saving Country Music’s top recommendations for the final portion of 2020.
Brent Cobb, Brett Resnick, Brothers Osborne, Chris Stapleton, Dale Watson, David Quinn, Josh Abbott Band, Laur Joamets, Rachel Brooke, Sunny Sweeney, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt, William Elliot Whitmore, Yellow Rose
You won’t find the 1982 film ‘Six Pack’ archived in the Smithsonian or in the short list of Oscar-awarded efforts. But for thousands, maybe millions of Americans who grew up in the 80’s, ‘Six Pack’ looms quite large in their little cultural ethos. It’s where they learned to cuss. It’s where they learned about love.
The current “Queen of Bluegrass” Rhonda Vincent will be the next member of the Grand Ole Opry. Surprised on stage by mentor Jeannie Seely Friday night (2-28) during the Grand Ole Opry presentation, Vincent had to ask Seely twice if she was serious (which of course she was), before Vincent responded “Absolutely, 100%. Oh my gosh.”
The 2020 Ameripolitan Awards were handed out on Monday night. Meant to recognize American music with a strong roots influence that often gets lost in the realm of popular music, as Nick 13 of Tiger Army said when presenting an award, “The music that the mainstream has forgotten, that’s the music we remember.”
Ameripolitan, Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys, Dale Watson, Dallas Wayne, Doris May, Duane Eddy, Farmer & Adele, J.M. Van Eaton, James Hand, Johnny Falstaff, Nick13, Tanya Tucker, The Reverend Horton Heat, Tiger Army, Wayne 'The Train' Hancock, Wayne Hancock
Set to perform at the sold-out Ameripolitan pre-party show was Dale Watson and His Lonestars, along with throwback legend Chuck Mead, and James Intveld from California. But the assembled crowd got a lot more than they paid for when country legend and recent Grammy winner Tanya Tucker walked in the door.
The only way you heard Tanya’s two acceptance speeches is if you were signed into the streaming feed of the Grammy’s “Premier Ceremony,” which transpires hours before the actual Grammy Awards broadcast on CBS. Granted, it’s very understandable why not all the awards are handed out on national television.
It’s been a long road for Tanya Tucker, but she has finally received distinction from the Recording Academy. In fact, she received a few of them during the 2020 Grammy Awards Premier Ceremony Sunday (1-26) afternoon before the televised portion of the program for Best Country Song and Best Country Album.
But Dolly Parton doesn’t deserve to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, at least not at the moment when there are so many other women and men waiting in the wings that are much more deserving, and could use the distinction to preserve a legacy that Dolly Parton already has secured for herself by many fold.
Buck Owens, Country Music Hall of Fame, Dixie Chicks, Dolly Parton, Elvis, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks, Jason Aldean, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmie Rodgers, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Madonna, Merle Haggard, Pat Benetar, Patsy Cline, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Tanya Tucker, The Everly Brothers, The Go Go's, Whitney Houston
Margo Price is no longer signed with Jack White’s Third Man Records, and is now signed with Loma Vista Recordings. Ahead of the release of her third record, Margo Price has unveiled a new song called “Stone Me.” “After what feels like an eternity, I’m releasing a new song into the wild today,” Price says.
Shaky Boots is returning as a replacement for the EDM/hip-hop festival, Shaky Beats. The rock fest Shaky Knees will still be held in 2020 the week before in Atlanta’s Central Park. Also as part of the return is more of an emphasis on independent country and Americana artists, as can be seen in the lineup.
The distaste the CMA Awards experience can leave in the mouth of actual country music fans is chased early this year by the announcement of the 2020 Grammy Award nominees in the Country and American Roots categories. Though no set of ears will find the nominees list ideal, those with distinguishing tastes will be much more rewarded.
Ashley McBryde, Brooks & Dunn, Dan Auerbach, Dee White, Eric Church, I'm With Her, J.S. Ondara, Keb Mo, Kendell Marvel, Lil Nas X, Reba McEntire, Tanya Tucker, The Pistol Annies, Tyler Childers, Willie Nelson, Yola
When they finally get around to opening a proper brick and mortar Red Dirt Music Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma, you can be assured it will be seeded with a bust of Stoney LaRue. Though many modern day artists love to cite Red Dirt as a sound and influence to their music, it’s only a select few who can say they’re founding members.
Man, the Academy of Country Music sure knows how to soft pedal the excitement behind some of their awards. Recently they’ve been unveiling their ‘Decade’ awards, stringing them out over months instead of having an event to announce them, surprising artists backstage at gigs and shoving an award in their face as a few flashbulbs go off.
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.
Alison Krauss, Billie Jean Horton, Conway Twitty, David Allan Coe, Dayton Duncan, Don Williams, Doug Sahm, Eddie Rabbitt, Emmloyou Harris, George Strait, Glen Campbell, Hank Snow, Jerry Jeff Walker, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jim Reeves, Jimmy Martin, John Hartford, Johnny Horton, Johnny Paycheck, Keith Whitley, Ken Burns, Linda Ronstadt, Michael Martin Murphy, Patsy Cline, Sam Bush, Tanya Tucker, The Maddox Brothers & Rose, Vern Gosdin
As Tanya’s first original record in 17 years, ‘While I’m Livin” has undeniably helped put Tanya back on the map. Producers Brandi Carlile and Shooter Jennings deserve all the credit in the world for taking the initiative to make this record happen. However, there were a couple of curious and concerning things about the project.
It’s the voice of Tanya Tucker that compels the country listener to seek her records out. It’s always been a mixture of worn leather and honky tonk smoke, even at a tender age. Some may call it husky, including those who mean that in a demeaning manner. But it’s hard not to fall prey to the “lived it” notions the tone of Tanya Tucker conveys, and how it cracks in all the right places to punctuate emotions in the most important moments.
Few can claim direct involvement with the formation of Oklahoma’s distinct mix of country, rock, and roots music known affectionately as Red Dirt, and Stoney LaRue is one of them. Stoney LaRue has been a warrior of the Texas and Red Dirt touring circuit for nearly 20 years. Now he’s getting ready to release a new album called “Onward.”
As if answering a distress call sent out over the airwaves or via a spotlight beamed over Music City, the Highwomen have assembled in the form of the Grammy-winning Brandi Carlile, fiddlemaster Amanda Shires, songwriting markswoman Natalie Hemby, and superstar Maren Morris. “Redesigning Women” is their first taste.
Amanda Shires, Brandi Carlile, Cam, Dave Cobb, Erin Rae, Hailey Whitters, Jason Isbell, Jimmy Webb, Lily Hiatt, Lori McKenna, Maren Morris, Miranda Lambert, Natalie Hemby, Natalie Stovall, Raelynn, Ray LaMontagne, Tanya Tucker, The Highwomen, Wynonna Judd
Willie Nelson and the usual suspects, along with some fresh talent will once again reunite for the plight of the American farmer as part of the 2019 installment of Farm Aid, which this year will focus its attention on the land of dairy. The location was chosen specifically due to the crisis affecting many of America’s dairy farmers.
Bonnie Raitt, Brothers Osborne, Dave Matthews, Farm Aid, Jamey Johnson, John Mellencamp, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Margo Price, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Neal Young, Particle Kid, Tanya Tucker, Willie Nelson, Yola
Independent country is getting a huge boost in 2019, and sometimes from some unlikely places. Not only are worthy artists who’ve been working hard for years for recognition finally receiving their due from important independent record labels, even the major labels are getting into the game.
The Saving Country Music Top 25 Playlist has now come to the lossless format of Tidal, so now you have no excuse to not be following along. And if that isn’t enough to entice you to listen, get a load of the newest selections, some of which might be some of the best songs yet in 2019.
Recently signed to Concord Music’s Fantasy Records, Tanya Tucker is readying the release of her first record in 17 years called ‘While I’m Livin.’ Rumored and talked about in bits and pieces over the last few months, we now have all the details for the record co-produced by Brandi Carlile and Shooter Jennings.
Zac Brown brought the class of country music’s “also ran” awards show down yet another notch when he decided to drop an F-bomb on live television, and in a prepared statement, and on a show that was rated by the cable network as family friendly.