Barbecue pit master, vinyl records enthusiast, festival founder, and all around important individual to help keeping a distinct dialect of American roots music alive, Chris Johnson, has died. The quintessential fan turned organizer, through his various ventures, Chris Johnson became…
The Black Keys
A lot of legendary moments in country music have happened at the American Legion Post #82 in Nashville after the once-forgotten spot in the world was revitalized by young neotraditional country performers. Now another legendary moment has been logged on the register.
It’s also just really damn cool that Hank Jr. took of his time to do this instead of releasing yet another album of semi-original late career stuff that country radio wouldn’t play, and his fans would quickly forget in favor of his classic stuff anyway. So have a little fun. Make a passion project.
Looking through the 2021 Grammy nominations released on November 24th, one of the big points of intrigue for the country and roots world won’t be found in the major country categories of the awards, or even the American Roots categories that cover Americana, bluegrass, folk, and blues. It will be found in the all-encompassing “Producer […]
Sturgill Simpson’s current national tour has been selling out dates left and right, and has most everybody in country music talking about his continued meteoric rise. But something causing some fans quite a bit of curiosity was the inclusion of a DJ outfit called Electric Western to open some dates in the Midwest & the West Coast. Were Sturgill fans all of a sudden being asked to sit through EDM and hip-hop sets?
Jack White’s criticisms of Rolling Stone, The Foo Fighters, and The Black Keys would probably be taken with a little more weight if they didn’t feel like they were so rooted in spite. But Jack raises a very important topic in how music journalism has evolved over the last few years, especially as print magazines have been forced to move into a more robust online presence.
All the silly talk about who was first and who ripped off who is mute when you bury your nose in the music catalog of the prototype of that predatory, aggressive, two-piece sound that blends blues, rockabilly, rock, country, surf, and a cavalcade of other obscure influences into the wild-eye concoction Dex Romweber has been throwing down for going on 30 years.
In an era when nothing in music is universal, and music has become one of the primary battlefronts in the culture war, the likeability of Jack White was one of the few things that passed for a consensus builder. And then something changed. I’m not exactly sure where or when specifically, but it changed. At some point it seemed like Jack White has started to buy into his own image…
Nikki Lane’s sound has always been somewhat hard to define. Her first album, 2011’s Walk of Shame was a rocking little number, just as much B-52’s as Buck Owens, and was country in the same way Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walking” is, with a dollish, throwback saunter to her style.
Before they were melting the faces of appreciative crowds, before they were being featured on Breaking Bad and being touted beside bands like The Black Keys as one of best blues power duos of our generation, and before they were signed to powerhouse label Alive Records, Ft. Wayne, Indiana’s smash blues maestros Left Lane Cruiser put out a raw, unfettered debut album called Slingshot.
Legendary North Mississippi Blues great “T Model Ford” has passed away, according to his booking agent the Bucket City Agency. One of the original Mississippi blues greats that made up the Fat Possum Records roster, T-Model passed away after a long illness at home in Greenville, Mississippi, this morning surrounding by his loving wife and family.
About a half hour in to Sunday night’s 2013 Academy of Country Music Awards presentation, Eric Church took the stage to perform an acoustic version of his latest single “Like Jesus Does.” As much as Eric Church’s performance caught the ACM crowd and Eric’s fans by surprise, so did this virtually unknown singer accompanying him. Eric Church’s duet partner was none other than Memphis, Tennessee native Valerie June.
Mississippi blues legend T Model Ford, who became a roots icon along with R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, and many other older blues artists from Mississippi through Fat Possum Records, has suffered a stroke and remains in the hospital. This is not the first stroke T Model has suffered, but the people around him are describing the always-jovial, 90+ years-old blues player’s spirits as “uncharacteristically low.”
From the outside looking in, one may look at the lineup of The Muddy Roots Festival for example, and wonder how all these bands could all be booked right beside each other and it work seamlessly. This illustrates the dramatic sonic and geographical diversity that goes into creating what we know now as the underground country roots, or “Muddy Roots” world.
By sea, by plane, by land (or as Pickathon would prefer it, by carpool or public transportation) if you can make it to the Pendarvis Farm just outside of Portland, OR, you should make being a participant in this year’s Pickathon Festival a priority this weekend. But if you can’t, you can still participate, and still be insipred by the sustainable model Pickathon has created for it’s patrons, performers, and community.
Dex Romweber has solidified his place as an American original by keeping originality alive in American roots music. Deep roots make strong branches, and though roots may be hidden underground, the strength of Dex Romweber has allowed many branches to climb high, and made the tree of American music a much more beautiful, interesting, and entertaining thing to behold.
Indie doesn’t really have its own traditions, its own infrastructure like country, blues, or even Texas music. And in this music climate of massive contraction, this is not the time to be creating new infrastructure that may not be sustainable moving forward. So the solution appears to be to incorporate existing infrastructure that was built years ago for roots and country artists, ostensibly squeezing the support for these types of artists out of the picture.
Sure, the attrition is slow and calculated.But over time, as you look at the yearly schedules for things like Austin City Limits, or ACL Fest, or Pickathon…
Yesterday, Hank III played another show at Layla’s Bluegrass Inn in Trashville, TN. Just as a disclaimer, I dropped a big hint that this would happen in my last blog, but because it wouldn’t behoove anybody if the word got out so much that Layla’s was shut down by the Po Po or the Fire […]