February 2009

Willie at the Wheel

In addition to being a fervent weed advocate, Willie Nelson has released some of the most starkly beautiful and uniquely American recordings over the past forty years. And even before he was releasing his own tunes, he was writing hits for the likes of Patsy Cline.

The procession of records that Nelson recorded from 1973-75 alone sets him in a class by himself. That trio of records, each in some way concept albums, are stuffed with low key, thoughtful classics. Nelson’s guitar, while looking old and haggard even then, accompanies his wavering voice as he sings the stories of outlaws and lost loves, bad men and worse situations. Subsequent work – by anyone in the genre, not just Willie – simply couldn’t match up.

A Brief Introduction to Alternative Country part 2 . . .

Continuing the exploration of the less mainstream artists producing country and bluegrass in this day and age, today's article presents three more artists who are taking a more thoughtful and provocative approach to the genre. Interestingly, a majority of these lists are made up primarily of women, which goes hand in hand with my opinion that they are for the most part, the only people really taking risks and being innovative in music. I find this to be true across all genres and I think greatly it is because they simply have to be. The music industry has always been and still is somewhat of a 'boys club,' even in the underground and to stand out, women must truly walk the extra mile.

A Brief Introduction to Alternative Country part 1 . . .

In my most humblest of opinions, Country music has been one of the greatest casualties in the emergence of the mainstream record companies that seem now more like cloning factories. Where once was a genre that was full of life and protest and even beautiful faults, we find in its place a form now a pale glimmer of its former self. Again, this is just an opinion, but I can't even bring myself to even call the music coming from Nashville these days "Country music." It seems to be more like stale pop music with fiddles. But there are some who lay just below the mainstream who are staying true to the genre and who are at the same time expanding it in ways that are much more creative and heartfelt. And this list doesn't even being to scratch the surface of what can be found. Neko Case Neko Case arguably possesses one of the most enchanting voices in modern music. She has most honorably been compared to such Country greats as Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline and her earlier albums showcased a more full embrace of country music proper.

Ramblin' Jack has a Birthday and a New Disc

I’m gonna go ahead and say that beyond just country and folk, Jack Elliot has had a tremendous impact on music. He was the intermediate Woody Guthrie before Dylan showed up. And without Elliot, who knows how little Robert Zimmerman would have turned out.

Elliot though is not known for his tremendous catalog of recorded music. In fact, he’s given to covering the songs of others – a true folk troubadour. As a follow up to the 2006 I Stand Alone, the new A Stranger Here is a collection of country blues standards.

Producer Joe Henry, who has worked with Solomon Burke and Elvis Costello, says that he came up with the idea to do blues covers, approached Elliot and ended up working together.

Pure Gold: Arthur Magazine

Arthur, is without question the greatest free magazine operating in the US today. The level of writing and the material covered in its pages is unequalled by any other outlet. Did I mention it was free? Yeah, it’s free.

After closing down for a few months, Arthur returned stronger than ever. It still includes the always useful Thurston Moore/Byron Coley review section alongside countless cartoons and counter-culture history.

This latest issue, number 32, includes an interview with country music historian Eddie Dean about the forward to Pure Country: The Leon Kagarise Archives, which he penned.

Neil Young: Live At Canterbury House, 1968

Having been around, playing music for about forty years allows a musician to be rather well documented. Since Neil Young has played an important role in two groups (Buffalo Springfield and CSNY) in addition to his lengthily solo career there’re vaults filled with his recordings.

2007 saw the release of Live at Massey Hall. It documented a solo set by Young in Toronto, incorporating material from all of his previous musical endeavors. Even if this disc hadn’t been released, Young is a proponent of taping shows, so there’s really no shortage of raw performance tape from this gentleman. Massey Hall sold pretty well, specifically in Canada, but given the economic climate today, it’s a bit confusing that another live Young set has been released.

Rock Band Gone Country

The popular game from Harmonix Music Systems and MTV Games Rock Band has acknowledged leaving the country music fans behind. Primarily rock and pop tracks to play the game with, you now have the option of a country track pack. The new track pack will be available for download on December 16th for XBox users in the XBox Live Marketplace. For PlayStation users you'll have to wait until December 18th for the PlayStation Store to make it available to you.
Those of you that have Microsoft points saved up you can put them to use for the country track pack. The pack is retailing for 800 Microsoft Points or you can pay cash and get yours for $8.49.

Don't Forget Fogerty

If John Fogerty never recorded another album after the first Credence Clearwater Revival disc, his legacy would have been assured. Beginning your first album with a cover from an unknown RnB singer showed something more than self-assurance. Even after just that one track – “I Put a Spell on You” – it became clear that CCR had done work that none could match.

They were what the Stones wanted to be – an American group playing blues influenced music. And while the Stones’ career continued in a drastically different way from that of CCR and the Fogertys, the later maintained a relatively high visibility.

Desperately Seeking....

Hi all... please help. I am looking for the name or the artist to a song sang with Martina McBride, Mindy McCready...maybe Trisha Yearwood and a few others. The song is a few years old. Was kind of a silly song, something about "take me out to the rodeo, buy me a ???" There were about 7 or 8 females and the lead singer is not a big name country singer. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

a song

I am looking for the name of a song by Michael Martin. it is about a son and a father trying to fugire out women. Can anyone help me out here please. Thanks