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The life I love is making music with my friends

All Roads Lead to [still-living country music legend*] Willie Nelson: "In a time when America is more divided than ever, Nelson could be the one thing that everybody agrees on." [more inside]
posted by scody on Sep 2, 2014 - 27 comments

The first country music star

Vernon Dalhart (1881-1948), born Marion Try Slaughter, was the first star of country music. He sold so many records in the early 1920s he owned two Cadillacs. Gather round and have a listen to some of Vernon Dalhart's greatest hits. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Sep 2, 2014 - 8 comments

country music's identity crisis

what IS country music? Tensions have been brewing and there’s been no shortage of public feuding among the genre’s A-list. As country fights to figure out what it should look and sound like, its biggest stars are airing some very honest (and sometimes harsh) opinions. Here’s a timeline of country’s wild, crazy, and sometimes mud-slinging year. [more inside]
posted by St. Peepsburg on Aug 25, 2014 - 99 comments

Really Blue

In 1981, the South Bank Show followed Elvis Costello to Nashville for the making of his latest album. The result: "The Making Of Almost Blue" [more inside]
posted by chavenet on May 11, 2014 - 10 comments

Do Johnny for me

Merle Haggard doing impersonations. [more inside]
posted by Lorin on Apr 9, 2014 - 18 comments

Christmas Time in the Trailerpark

Y'all, consisting of Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer and James Dean Jay Byrd, first surfaced in New York city in 1992, touting themselves as the first openly gay country music act. That same year, they preformed Y'all's First Xmas Xtravagaza: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8. [more inside]
posted by 1f2frfbf on Dec 20, 2013 - 8 comments

“Strike up the music, Dad.”

R.I.P. for the original ‘Jewish Hillbilly,’ Zeke Manners, died this date in 2000, who was buried – at his request – wearing “a baseball cap celebrating the Spice Girls, red suspenders and purple glasses from a 99-cent store. A cigar was in his pocket.” [NYT obituary] [more inside]
posted by LeLiLo on Oct 14, 2013 - 6 comments

Jailangaru Pakarnu

Jailangaru Pakarnu was the first song to hit the popular music charts sung in an Australian Aboriginal language, released by Warumpi Band in 1983. [more inside]
posted by goo on Oct 11, 2013 - 8 comments

"the correlation between country music and political backwardness"?

One Nation Under Elvis
My own conversion to country music came all of a sudden in 1990, around another campfire, also in Nevada. The great Western Shoshone anti-nuclear and land-rights activist Bill Rosse, a decorated World War II vet and former farm manager, unpacked his guitar and sang Hank Williams and traditional songs for hours. I was enchanted as much by the irreverent rancor of some of the songs as by the pure blue yearning of others. I’d had no idea such coolness, wit, and poetry was lurking in this stuff I was taught to scorn before I’d met it.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 28, 2013 - 108 comments

Coming Out Country

Five days ago, young Chicago lounge musician Steve Grand released his first single with no agent, no label: All American Boy. Free download (and donations) here. Although his Facebook Page is only 6 days old, he is approaching 20,000 subscribers. He writes: I fought with who I was for most of my life. In every way a young person can fight with himself. But starting today... I'm laying it out there. I'm done playing it safe… This is the story I've been aching to tell… it is what I hold dearest to me. Steve Grand on Twitter.
posted by Short Attention Sp on Jul 7, 2013 - 40 comments

A Hitch in Your Giddyup

This is Jimmy Riddle and Jackie Phelps eefin and hambonin. It's not much, but not a single gallon jug was harmed during this post.
posted by timsteil on Feb 23, 2013 - 10 comments

Willie and Trigger

A biography of Trigger, Willie Nelson's guitar. [more inside]
posted by mudpuppie on Dec 17, 2012 - 33 comments

I think I see a rip in the social fabric. Brother, could you spare some ammo?

Corb Lund is a classically trained jazz musician who was a founding member of Canadian metal legends The Smalls. For the past seventeen years, though, as the centrepiece of Corb Lund and the Hurtin' Albertans, he has been cranking out alt-country records that have garnered praise from well outside usual country music circles. His biggest hit is almost certainly the comedic Truck Got Stuck. His most recent single however is the sombre peak-oil apocalypse tune Gettin' Down on the Mountain. Corb also maintains maintains an excellent songwriting blog that he describes as 30% guitar lesson: "What That Song Means Now."
posted by 256 on Oct 15, 2012 - 22 comments

I'm your toy, I'm your old boy

Gram Parsons: Fallen Angel - An excellent 90 minute BBC documentary, the story of the legendary country rock pioneer as told by contemporary musicians, family, and friends. It includes rare performance footage. (Via Dangerous Minds) [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Aug 28, 2012 - 17 comments

Roots and Branches of Americana

Ray Wylie Hubbard hosts Roots and Branches weekly live from Tavern In The Gruene for New Braunfels, Texas radio station KNBT 92.1 FM. Two hours of music and interviews with established and up and coming Americana artists.
posted by Catch on Jul 18, 2012 - 18 comments

Kitty Wells now a Honky Tonk Angel

Kitty Wells, a pioneer of women in country music died today at the age of 92. Her first big hit, It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels, was a woman's reply to the Hank Thompson song, Wild Side of Life. [more inside]
posted by Isadorady on Jul 16, 2012 - 41 comments

(More Than) 500 Miles Away From Home

American Country Music legend Bobby Bare (76) will take part in the Norwegian finals in the Eurovision Song Contest. [more inside]
posted by iviken on Jan 5, 2012 - 17 comments

Both Kinds

R. Crumb's Pioneers of Country Music [more inside]
posted by OmieWise on Oct 7, 2011 - 19 comments

"Joy is the antithesis of sneering cynicism . . . I’ve come to love country in part because it’s such a potent vessel for expressing joy."

Nashville or Bust is a project where the Onion A.V. Club's Nathan Rabin (previously), who has predominantly listened to hip-hop in the past, spent a year listening to country music. The series proper (apart from a planned road trip in February) ended yesterday with a thoughtful essay about Charley Pride. Along the way the author wrote about Johnny Cash's "Christianity . . . of the deeply spiritual, non-commercial, almost creepily intimate variety," discovered that Willie Nelson "is the coolest motherfucker on the planet," had a hard time imagining Merle Haggard living on a houseboat, decided Garth Brooks is not history's greatest monster, and found the Dixie Chicks to be "way more badass than Toby Keith."
posted by ND¢ on Jan 26, 2011 - 96 comments

Papa Tried

Dispatches From a Guy Trying Unsuccessfully to Sell a Song In Nashville. [more inside]
posted by msalt on Oct 3, 2010 - 36 comments

He's not Haggard, though the economy is

Do you feel overwhelmed trying to understand the driving forces behind our economic collapse. When listening to the latest Planet Money podcast, do you find yourself yearning for something a bit more toe-tappin'? Meet Merle Hazard. "He is the first and only country singer to write about mortgage-backed securities, derivatives, and physics."
posted by mkultra on Aug 24, 2010 - 8 comments

James Dean? JIMMY Dean!

Jimmy Dean (Aug. 28, 1928 - June 13, 2010) is best known to Mefites for his brand of sausage, although he sold the company in the '80s, and was dropped as its spokesman in 2003; its current owner is Sara Lee*. But his musical legacy is sealed by his 'country rap*' classic "Big Bad John" (performed live in 2008), often imitated, but never parodied better than with "Big Bruce"** (info). But to me, he was the guy with the variety show where he spent several minutes every week bantering with the muppet Rowlf****. Here's Jimmy in Esquire Magazine's "What I've Learned". His final resting place is music-themed, NOT sausage themed. "Here lies one hell of a man." [more inside]
posted by oneswellfoop on Jun 15, 2010 - 48 comments

Nashville...Waterline?

The Middle Tennessee region, including Nashville, is experiencing extensive flooding after weekend storms dropped a record-breaking 13-15 inches of rain over the weekend. [more inside]
posted by ghharr on May 4, 2010 - 92 comments

Powder Blue Cadillac

A BBC Documentary on Hank Williams ( incomplete) 1 2 4 5, The History Of Country Music 1 2 3 4 [more inside]
posted by nola on Feb 27, 2010 - 17 comments

Bradley Walker

Perhaps the greatest country baritone since George Jones is confined to a wheelchair by muscular dystrophy and has a day job at a nuclear power plant. [more inside]
posted by BitterOldPunk on Apr 14, 2009 - 29 comments

"I'll be glad when I'm not still the only one."

Alice Randall is best known, perhaps, for her novel The Wind Done Gone, a parody of Gone With the Wind that tackles the earlier book's treatment of race. But Randall, a Vanderbilt professor and Harvard graduate, isn't just a novelist: she's a country music songwriter, the first black woman to have a No. 1 song on the country music charts. [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco on Mar 11, 2009 - 9 comments

The Opry Has Sinned

"The Reinstate Hank campaign calls for the remittal of Opry star, and country music legend, Hank Williams." [more inside]
posted by Knappster on Nov 27, 2008 - 8 comments

Pfft! You Was Gone

What began as a gospel song became Archie Campbell's signature song on Hee Haw, with the help of Gordie Tapp and some surprise celebrity guests.
posted by Knappster on Nov 22, 2008 - 19 comments

The day my mama socked it to the Harper Valley PTA

Sometimes, when you've had your fill of people basking in the golden light of their self-righteous indignation, you just wanna hear a song about somebody telling those holier-than-thou-ers where to get off. Something like, say, Harper Valley PTA. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 24, 2008 - 39 comments

4 a.m. Jump

It's 3 a.m., on some date in 1975, the white line is wavering in front of your amphetamine bleached eyes, your rig is barreling through the high plains north of nowhere and you won't see your woman for three more days, what 8-track do you need to get you through the night? Why, Country Porn, of course.
Linked page is mostly safe for work, but NSFW audio files, and some text [more inside]
posted by 1f2frfbf on Mar 12, 2008 - 27 comments

Grievous Angel

Gram Parsons fans take note - there's a recent new biography and a release of 90 minutes of vintage Flying Burrito Brothers. Some rare footage has also recently surfaced online: performing with FBB and duets with Emmylou Harris 1, 2, 3. Other items of note: Emmylou talks about Gram in 2000; British biographical sketch; Keith Richards on Gram in Rolling Stone; an interview with Manuel, the designer of the famous Nudie suit. [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Mar 7, 2008 - 38 comments

You Can't Go Wrong With Chimps on a Burro.

El Paso. The lovely ballad of love and murder on the Mexican border won the very first Grammy for Country & Western for Marty Robbins in 1960. But for some it will never feel complete without Steve Martin's video, in which he recreates the lyrics with some non-union actors. [more inside]
posted by Bookhouse on Jan 19, 2008 - 28 comments

The Delmore Brothers: early C&W pioneers.

The Delmore Brothers, hailing from north Alabama and active from 1926 to 1952, were an early country and western duo that married effortlessly relaxed (but very polished) harmonies with soulful country-boogie blues. Bob Dylan said of them: "The Delmore Brothers, God, I really loved them! I think they've influenced every harmony I've ever tried to sing." They're sure worth some listens, y'all.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Nov 7, 2007 - 13 comments

Stringbean. And his banjo. And those pants.

For lovers of old-time, mountain banjo styles and songs, Roscoe Holcomb and Dock Boggs are revered figures. To many, however, plucker and singer David Akeman remains uncelebrated or unknown, even by his stage name of Stringbean. Is it because he was for a time actually famous as a country music showbiz staple, and therefore lacks folk cred? Or maybe the purists just can't get with those low-hanging pants the man was known for, his original hillbilly homeboy styling? Or was it cause on any given tune his left hand would likely be off the neck of the banjo more than on it? Whatever the reason, it's time folks took a new look at Stringbean. After all, the lines between folk and commercial styles have always been blurry in American music. Let's hear it for Stringbeeeeeeeaaan! [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Oct 17, 2007 - 15 comments

Straight to Hell

Do you have a hard time relating to popular country music? Hank III is doing his best to play country music the way he thinks it should be. Not everyone likes him, but he drives some folks wild. [more inside]
posted by nola on Oct 8, 2007 - 49 comments

I Can't Help It - My Boner Won't Go Down!

Apparently the lead singer from Tool has had sex with many of the luminaries of Country Music. [more inside]
posted by jonson on Oct 1, 2007 - 59 comments

Goodbye John , goodbye Martin, goodbye Bobby

For your consideration, "Six White horses" [youtube] As footnote to the events of November 22, 1963 . April 4, 1968 . June 5, 1968. A collection of photos and a recording of Tommy Cash's "Six White Horses" , which was writen by Larry Murray.
posted by nola on Aug 22, 2007 - 3 comments

We listened to the birds and tried to sing along.

The DeZurik Sisters committed only six songs to record during their recording career, but were the first women stars of the Grand Ole Opry and the National Barn Dance. Now WFMU has 32 tracks of theirs from their early appearance as The Cackle Sisters on the Purina Checkerboard Squares Radio Show. Download away and hear the yodeling that swept the nation in the early 40s.
posted by 1f2frfbf on Aug 2, 2007 - 7 comments

Sandy Belle wants the troops home

A song about bringing the soldiers home from Iraq. Defies commentary. YouTubers don't seem to get the joke. The Garance has background details.
posted by commander_cool on Apr 14, 2007 - 41 comments

All the Joy the World Contains

Wayward country son Jimmy Dale Gilmore's essay via NPR A little post-feast reflection. Real/WMP audio and text.
posted by crowman on Dec 25, 2006 - 10 comments

Keeping up with the pulse of the country (or, Which Way is the Wind Blowing)

Smart marketing or shameless pandering? Country music star Darryl Worley played to the largely conservative county music fanbase (and post-9/11 ultra-patriotic sentiment prevalent in the country at the time) in 2003 with his hit Have You Forgotten which strongly supported the impending war in Iraq. Today, with support for the war in Iraq dwindling, Worley has now released, “I Just Came Back”, which depicts a more ”somber light on (the) war”.
posted by The Gooch on Oct 27, 2006 - 119 comments

Bread and Circuses, 9/11 Style

You can't make this stuff up: Rumsfeld announces that the Bush administration is planning to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks with an "America Supports You freedom walk" from the Pentagon saluting the troops deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom, followed by a show by "country music superstar" Clint Black at the National Mall. (Not to imply that Saddam Hussein had anything to do with 9/11 or anything...)
posted by digaman on Aug 10, 2005 - 136 comments

Reframing for dems. (and a cool filter)

The country music of the atom bomb. Via 3 Quarks Daily
posted by Tlogmer on Mar 16, 2005 - 12 comments

Why cant I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold, cold heart

goodbye joe, me gotta go, me oh my oh. 01/01/53 the true gran-daddy of white rock and roll is found dead in the back seat of a caddy.
posted by arse_hat on Dec 31, 2004 - 27 comments

I know they'll tell about the night I died

Slim Dusty - Australian country music icon - passes on. You know him - "There's nothing so lonesome, morbid or drear, than to stand in the bar of the pub with no beer."
posted by GrahamVM on Sep 19, 2003 - 4 comments

You be Emmylou, and I'll be Gram

Today is the 30th anniversary of the death of Gram Parsons (famous, of course, for the corpse's subsequent adventures). Read a long bio starting here, a small interview, or page through one of his notebooks and the guestbook that sits in his last hotel room.
posted by transient on Sep 19, 2003 - 17 comments

Goodbye Mr. Cash

The man in black is no more. Johnny Cash passes away from diabetes complications early this morning.
posted by SuzySmith on Sep 12, 2003 - 80 comments

Country Music Song Titles

Laugh as much as you like: I still think there's a certain intensely dramatic and lyrical redneck technique behind these country music song titles. I like a song title that says everything upfront. It's not as easy as you think, either. [Via Bifurcated Rivets]
posted by Carlos Quevedo on Jun 9, 2003 - 12 comments

June Carter Cash

I'm in the middle of a book called Will you miss me when I'm gone?, which chronicles the history of the famous Carter Family, and includes some incredibly charming descriptions of June Carter (later the wife of Johnny Cash; the development of her musical voice, her mountain-tinted wit, and her onstage goofball comedy. Unfortunately, June Carter Cash died yesterday.
posted by transient on May 16, 2003 - 16 comments

Rubber Chicken

Dixie Chicks Pulled from Air After Bashing Bush Dude, these Texas people didn't find criticism of the president unpatriotic when Bill Clinton was president. They thought it was a sacred duty...Apparently country stations in Texas and elsewhere are pulling Dixie Chicks albums because their lead singer, while on an overseas tour, criticized Bush, saying she was ashamed to be from the state as him. People who want to criticize the critics of the critical comments are supporting the Chicks by buying their albums and requesting their songs. I never thought I'd buy a Dixie Chicks album, but that's what I'm going to do tonight, and I'm paying full price!
posted by jengod on Mar 14, 2003 - 82 comments

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