Since moving to central Texas this summer, I’ve had many more opportunities to see live performances, with the most recent being Chris Stapleton’s television taping for Austin City Limits. The episode will air February 17th, 2018. Hearing his vocal runs on songs like “Sometimes I Cry” from 15 feet away was surreal , and getting the opportunity to attend was such a pleasant surprise just a few days after seeing him in San Antonio with Marty Stuart and Brent Cobb. Speaking of which, Marty covering Marty Robbins’ “El Paso” and Brent covering Dwight Yoakam’s “Guitars & Cadillacs” were great nods to country tradition. I got to see Dwight himself with the Steel Woods last month,too. I found out a couple days ago that I won tickets to attend ACL’s TV taping tomorrow for Shinyribs.
San Marcos’ only record store is closing the end of this month. I attended a number of in-store performances there, including Ray Wylie Hubbard, Slaid Cleaves, John Baumann, Mike Ethan Messick, Rankin Twins, and The Madisons. Fortunately, there are some other great area venues for country music, but it’s odd to think of an town with such a vibrant music culture for its size not having a record store at all.
CMA Fest in Nashville this summer included many standout moments, like seeing Kenny Rogers before he retired, Garth Brooks’ surprise stadium performance, interview sessions with Ricky Skaggs, Charley Pride,etc. Given how pop-heavy CMA’s televised events tend to be, I was pleasantly surprised that the festival also included stages packed with more traditional country, western, and bluegrass. Americanafest also provided some country highlights, such as the preview of Mike Judge’s animated series, and Jamey Johnson’s surprise appearance at Lee Ann Womack’s show. At times, though, all-genre Americana seems like an uncomfortable home for country talent orphaned by country radio, but that’s a whole topic…
Seeing Willie Nelson (with Jamey Johnson) last month was one of my bucket-list items, much like seeing Loretta Lynn was last year. See the legends when you have the opportunity. You’ll be glad you did.
Anyway, I’m still on track to end the year with about 200 songs on the 2017 New Country Showcase