June 11, 2021 New Music This Week

There are new albums by The Oak Ridge Boys, Hannah Juanita, Cory Grinder and the Playboy Scouts, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, Kylie Morgan, Jenny Don’t and the Spurs, Garrett Wieland, Seth Ferguson, and The High Hawks.

There are new songs by Ricky Valido, Brad Paisley, Cody Johnson, and Zac Brown. Billy “Crash” Craddock has a new song coming out June 12th. There’s a name I haven’t heard in a long, long time.

The Oaks have been around in various forms since the forties ! Some of the songs on this album are much older than that. “Unclouded Day” traces back to 1879. “Red River Valley” is from the late 1800s. “Life’s Railway To Heaven” was also from the late 1800s. HV bluegrass article mentions the history of the poem that inspired the song: “Some of Hays’ songs have made an indirect impact on bluegrass music. Take for example his poem, “The Faithful Engineer” that was first published in 1886 and later reprinted in 1895 as “Old Hayseed’s Railroad Train to Heaven.” It is interesting to note that Hays’ poem was the model for M.E. Abby and Charles Tillman’s well-known song, “Life’s Railway to Heaven” aka “Life is Like a Mountain Railroad.” Of course, they didn’t give Hays a lick of credit.”

Others list the 1895 poem’s title as “Old Hayseed’s Railroad Idea of Life.” In any case, it’s from long before the “country music industry” began in the 1920s. It’s great that the Oaks are keeping these old songs alive.

The use of the term “hayseed” led me to a quick search for other early songs. Hayseed In His Hair was published in 1891, specifically for a quartet.

No Hayseed In My Hair is the earliest “hayseed song” that I found. It was published in 1874.

He Wanted to Go and He Went is from 1920, and it’s about a town mouse and his “hayseed country cousin.”

The Happy Hayseed was published in 1903.

Don’t Call Me Mr. Hayseed was published in 1910.

Cornfield Capers was published in 1904, subtitled as a hayseed march and two step.

The Dizzy Trio’s only recording was “Hayseed Rag” in 1924. Carson Robison teamed with Roy Smeck and Borrah Minnevich, and Nathaniel Shilkret backed the trio on piano.

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