2/28/21 Kitty Wells

YouTube channel “Superannuated Videos” uploaded twenty five Kitty Wells albums this week. Here’s the link to Forever Young
That 1974 album is a bit of a curiosity, since it’s somewhat of a crossover effort, and her career overall is about as “country-country” as country gets.

Speaking of country history, the Instagram channel “historyofcountrymusic” is a truly outstanding site. I’ve mentioned the site before here, but it’s been awhile. If you want to really dig into the 1930s and before, it’s the place to look.

2/27/21 ACM & CMA Mission Statements

The ACM and CMA appear similar today. Both have annual awards shows in Nashville, and mostly draw from the same pool of talent.

Let’s take a quick look back at the history of these trade organizations, in their own words:

CMA was founded in 1958 in response to the burgeoning popularity of Elvis Presley. 

ACM “The Academy was officially founded in 1964 in Los Angeles… Their vision was to promote Country Music in the western 13 states and to support artists based on the West Coast.”

So, one began as an anti-Elvis reactionary movement and the other began as a west coast regional promotion. Yet, here we are in 2021, and both have similar awards shows in Nashville.

Okay, let’s throw in Americana while we’re at it, since Americana practically absorbed folk and alt-country and much of the indie country scene. Their power is also concentrated in Nashville, and Maren Morris and friends won one of their awards a couple months ago, too.

How did the anti-Elvis country association, the west coast country association, and the roots music organization all end up in the same place, and all pushing Maren Morris ? Don’t even get me started on CMT.

I’ll close with a head-scratcher from the recent ACM nominations. Look at the ACM “new artist” nomination for Mickey Guyton, who was also nominated for ACM new artist way back in 2016. How is it possible for someone to be “new” in both 2016 and 2021 ?

2/25/21 New Music This Week

Ray Stevens has a new album out Friday, “Great Country Ballads.” This is the first of four new albums on the way from Ray this year. Yes, the hall of famer is releasing four albums in four months !

Willie Nelson has a Frank Sinatra tribute album, Dale Watson has a Memphis instrumental album, Ian Munsick has a new album, Addison Johnson has a new album, and Hailey Whitters has a deluxe version of her last album. Charley Crockett released a tribute album to James Hand.

My 2021 Country Videos list has been slow going, but some of the recent additions are from Kentuckians Marty Brown and Dillon Carmichael.

2/24/21 Country Chiptunes

Today, let’s look at 8-bit music, also called chiptunes. Here’s my new playlist: Country Chiptunes

Apparently, 8-bit covers are pretty popular on YouTube, so I found a pretty nice sample of country tunes past and present. There are some covers of classic country, but also some of today’s stars like Jon Pardi and Chris Stapleton.

My playlist is just the tip of the iceberg. No matter what kind of music you like, there’s probably someone somewhere who has made an 8-bit version.

2/22/21 Tona Ohama’s Electronic Country Album

I mentioned this project on Friday’s update, but it is now available on streaming services. This is a new album of synth covers of classic country songs. Ohama’s “My Electronic Country Album”

If you like this kind of thing, then please check out my Synth Country playlist. If you don’t like it, I have hundreds of other playlists to check out. Water covers 71% of the earth’s surface, and I cover the remainder. I also have a list for water.

In other news, the Queensland Opera is doing a country music-related tour this year: ABC article

Under the “Community” section of Buddy Brown’s YouTube channel, Buddy Brown discusses firing his agent six years ago and how that is connected to Luke Combs.

2/21/21 Some Recently Uploaded Music

Coffey Anderson released the song Back The Blue on February 11th. Notice how the mainstream media has avoided covering this one, since it is pro-police. Check it out.

Camille & Haley also released a song last month called Back The Blue. It’s a different song, but also honoring the police.

Last year, conservative rappers Forgiato Blow and Bryson Gray also released a song called Back The Blue

The Hawaiian Pistoleros are in France, but specialize in western swing and Hawaiian music. If you’re in the mood for steel guitar, check ’em out. Here’s Na Lei O Hawaii

Yesterday, Take’s Bluegrass Channel uploaded Richard Bailey’s 1985 album, Night Light. Since 2005, Richard Bailey has been the banjo player for The Steeldrivers, but he has a very extensive list of credits, starting in 1978 when he was in high school and played on an Al Green album. The title song of “Night Light” includes synthesizer, which you might not expect on a banjo album.

2/20/21 Charlie Daniels and Colt Ford

Colt Ford’s country rap collaborations over the years have featured a tremendous number of well-known country acts, including Eric Church, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, Jamey Johnson, Darius Rucker, Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Brantley Gilbert, Tim McGraw, Joe Diffie, Ronnie Dunn, Kix Brooks, Wynonna Judd, John Anderson, Tyler Farr, John Michael Montgomery, Montgomery Gentry, Randy Houser, James Otto, Joe Nichols, Jake Owen, Kevin Fowler, Lee Brice, Russell Dickerson, Chase Rice, Justin Moore, Jerrod Niemann, Granger Smith, Dan Tyminski, Jimmie Allen, and Michael Ray. Colt Ford even collaborated with Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty.

Charlie Daniels might not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of “country rap,” so let’s take a look at a couple of times Charlie Daniels was a guest on Colt Ford songs:

Overworked and Underpaid (2011)

Like Me (2013)

Of course, Charlie Daniels had success with “fast-talking” songs long before people called it “country rap,” such as “Uneasy Rider” (1973), “Devil Went Down To Georgia” (1979), and “Every Time I See Him” (1983).

2/19/21 Ryan Upchurch Responds To Luke Combs

Luke Combs made headlines recently apologizing for his appearance in a 2015 video with Ryan Upchurch.

Most of the media who covered Combs’ comments didn’t cover Upchurch’s response.

The media chose to cover just one of them, so I’ll cover the other: Ryan Upchurch, ‘My Apology Video’

Whether one agrees with one or the other or neither of these artists, it’s interesting to hear the opinions of both, rather than just the one who said something the mainstream media likes.

2/18/21 New Music This Week

The roads are still closed, but I finally have power again. Here are some album releases this week: Lainey Wilson, Carly Pearce, and John Driskell Hopkins.

Coming up on Monday (February 22nd) is a double album from Tona Ohama, “My Electronic Country Album.” Ohama posted the track list on his FB site. He has made electronic music since the seventies, so you probably won’t hear about this “synth country” release on many country sites. Of course, I especially enjoy covering the bits that most other sites don’t.

It’s been awhile since I posted my master list of playlists. I maintain over two hundred YouTube playlists, plus a few dozen lists on other services.

2/15/21 Dorothy Shay, Park Avenue Hillbillie

Billboard began publishing album charts in 1945, and in 1947, Dorothy Shay (1921-1978) became the first woman of any genre to achieve a number one Billboard album. She topped the chart for five weeks.

The comedic actress and entertainer was billed as the Park Avenue Hillbilly (or “Hillbillie”), and she often collaborated with comedy acts like Spike Jones.

In 1951, she starred in the Abbott and Costello movie “Comin’ Round The Mountain,” and in 1956, she released an album by the same name. We just uploaded this album (from our parents’ collection that we inherited) for everyone to enjoy: Dorothy Shay, Coming ‘Round The Mountain full album

Dorothy Shay is strangely overlooked today, considering how popular she was at one time. She was on many television shows in the 1950s:

Dorothy Shay on the Jack Benny Show in 1951

Dorothy Shay on the Red Skelton Show in 1954

Dorothy Shay on the Johnny Carson Show in 1956. Thereminist Samuel Hoffman was also a guest on that episode. The 1929 theremin he used is apparently still in working order (see Peter Pringle’s YouTube channel for more details).

Dorothy Shay performed at President Eisenhower’s inauguration in 1953, and in the 1970s, she had acting roles on shows like The Waltons and one episode of the Brady Bunch.

Dorothy Shay’s best known song is “Feudin’ and Fightin.'” The song (which originated in the 1944-5 Broadway revue “Laffing Room Only”) made both the pop and country charts, and was covered by many other artists, such as George Jones and Melba Montgomery, Jo Stafford, Ray Charles, and Bob Wills with the McKinney Sisters.

The first woman to ever have a number one album should be better known today. The fact that she happened to portray a hillbilly character should merit at least some mention in the history of country music.