March 17, 2022 St. Patrick’s Day and Taking A Break

Awards and halls of fame are often controlled by agendas and politics. Why aren’t the people who invented the electric guitar in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? The Country Music Hall of Fame has some similar head scratchers. You’d think the first country singer on radio would be in ? You’d think the first to sing country music on a record would be in? Fiddlin’ John Carson is not in the CMHOF, even though he is credited by most as both the first to sing country on radio and first to sing country on records.

Fiddlin’ John Carson learned to play fiddle on an instrument passed down in his family for generations, brought to the US from Ireland. The most detailed article I’ve read about Fiddlin’ John Carson is by Bluegrass Messengers. That’s real country music history. Many of the modern acts that the Nashville “country music industry” and the CMHOF are currently pushing have nothing to do with quality music of any sort, much less country music, and much less than that the history of country music or its hall of fame. Breland and Brittney Spencer haven’t even released a full album yet in their careers, yet they’re on every “country” award show and are promoted in the “American Currents” section of the CMHOF. They have done nothing whatsoever to deserve displays in the hall of fame.

I’ve kept this blog going for over five years, despite lack of interest. I covered many things that other blogs did not, and hopefully, I helped readers find some music and history that they might not have known about otherwise. I do plan to attend concerts in coming weeks like George Strait and Willie Nelson, Ricky Skaggs and other bluegrass acts, Doug Kershaw, and The Oak Ridge Boys. I still actively maintain hundreds of playlists, some of which are pretty different from anyone else’s. I might take a break from writing blog posts for a while, but I’m still out here listening to music and updating my YouTube channel.

Thanks for taking the time to read.

March 13, 2022 Where Are The Family Acts ?

I’m looking at possible vacation destinations this summer, and one thing that I notice about Branson is the prevalence of country family acts. Family acts were common in country music since the beginning. When I was growing up, family acts weren’t as prevalent in the mainstream scene, but you’d still see a few on the Opry or Hee Haw, and there were mainstream TV shows like the Mandrell Sisters.

You still see the occasional sibling duo or married couple in mainstream country, but when’s the last time you saw a sizable family act? I ask the same of the Texas scene? I don’t see many family acts on the Texas Regional Radio Report, either.

There are plenty of family acts in bluegrass and old time, gospel, and polka, and there are insular regional country scenes like Branson where family acts are strong, but where are the country family acts now in Nashville or Texas ?

Where did such acts go ? This is a short post, but hopefully it will give the reader something to think about.

In other news, I watched the Opry Country Classics show on RFD-TV yesterday, which shows the Gannaway tapes from the late 1950s. Little Rita Faye was one of the guests. She first appeared on the Louisiana Hayride at age 4 and she was 7 when she first appeared on the Opry and signed with MGM. She later became known for playing autoharp. It’s a shame that unique country stories like hers are largely forgotten. I’m unaware of any country singer who achieved professional success at an earlier age. As far as I can tell from a quick search online, she’s still living.

March 11, 2022 Second Week of March

The streaming-only 57th annual ACM awards came and went. I didn’t bother, but I did enjoy Chris Stapleton’s performance on YouTube, where he played a Squier baritone guitar.

I saw Conjunto Los Pinkys perform at Devil’s Backbone Tavern last weekend. It’s not “country music” as such, but it’s good stuff. The Austin-based group has been around for over three decades. It was a free show and they served a free BBQ meal and a fun time was had by all. I posted a six minute clip on my YouTube channel.

My 2022 Country Music Videos playlist continues to grow. 49 Winchester and Charles Wesley Godwin are two of the new entries. As a fun fact, 49 Winchester’s new video was filmed in Castlewood, Virginia. My ancestor was the Mr. Castle for whom the town was named in the 1700s.

The legendary Ernest Tubb Record Shop in downtown Nashville is closing. It has been open in the same location since 1951. I hate losing country music institutions like this.

If you’re in the Austin area, check out the Austin Chronicle unofficial SXSW list. Even though I live 30 miles from Austin, I rarely go there and haven’t seen much listed that I’d be willing to fight traffic, parking, and crowds to see. Still, it’s good to see the vast number of shows available. Threadgill’s was my “go to” in years past, but it isn’t there anymore.

Because gas now costs twice what it did before the demented vegetable took over, I guess I’ll opt for a staycation rather than a road trip for spring break week. Hopefully, I can find some good shows that are well away from the crowds in Austin. Gruene Hall is running free shows in the afternoons this week, in addition to the usual evening shows, and Krause’s Cafe has some polka bands.

The Circle Network is finally showing a new episode of the Opry this week. Unfortunately, they ran so many repeats that I got out of the habit of tuning in. They passed on airing Opry members and country legends, but now that Keb Mo is on, they’re going to show it ? Why is the Nashville music industry pushing the blues artist Keb Mo so much, even featuring him on the Nashville tourism commercials ? I have nothing against the guy or his music, but it seems like Nashville is so determined to prove that it’s “not just country” that it comes across as Nashville showing a lack of appreciation for the generations of country artists and fans who made Nashville famous. Circle ran many weeks of repeats in place of so many country artists and country hall of famers and Opry members, then will air this week with just one Opry member (Clint Black) and two non-members who are more “Americana” than country (Maggie Rose and Keb Mo) ? Country shouldn’t be treated as second class behind urban blues or Americana or anything else at the Opry of all places.

March 2, 2022 First Week of March

Today is Texas Independence Day, so let’s kick things off with some Texas updates.

The Larry Joe Taylor Festival announced its lineup for the last week of April. This is always one of the biggest festivals in the Texas country scene.

The lineup for the first Luckenbach Bluegrass Festival was announced this week, with Ricky Skaggs as the main headliner for the all day event on April 23rd.

The 33rd annual Heart of Texas Country Music Festival will be March 17-26. The Heart of Texas scene is very much in the older and more traditional country lane.

The Tomball German Fest will be March 25-27 and just announced their lineup. Although it’s mostly polka bands, there is a bluegrass band on the schedule, too. I’ve been to the Tomball festival before and it’s a lot of fun. Best of all is the free admission.

The 35th annual Old Settlers Music Festival announced its lineup for April 21-24: Del McCoury and many more.

The Unofficial SXSW 2022 showcase web site mentioned today that a huge update is forthcoming, with over 100 listings. Most unofficial showcases are free. The official SXSW also announced lineups for the free stage at Lady Bird Lake March 17-19.

There are new albums out Friday from Matt Castillo, Dolly Parton, Rhyan Sinclair, The Dead South, Jenny Tolman, and The Nashvillains.

On February 1st, John Rich posted the following on Twitter: “Recorded with an A list player today who was FIRED from one of the biggest artists in country music for not taking the jab. Tears flowed, but in the end she did not bow down. GOOD for her! These “country” artists market to you, but they ain’t you. You’ll find out names, soon.”

It has been over a month now, and John Rich has not produced the “names, soon.” I am considered a “conservative” myself, but I believe a man is only as good as his word. John Rich said we’ll “find out names, soon” over a month ago. Where are the names, John ?

In other news, the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame announced new inductees. The real surprise is Carly Pearce, who is just 31. You don’t see many people that young getting into any hall of fame of any sort. She has been on the radio for under five years and has enjoyed some success. I’m not trying to be insulting. I’m just curious what exactly is going on here? Congratulations to all of the new inductees, regardless.