My list is abbreviated this week, since I’m on vacation, but here’s a few new albums: Folk Soul Revival, Cody Barnett, Blackjack Crossing, Joanna James, and Cole Swindell. There’s also a previously unreleased Buck Owens album from decades ago.
Red Rocks lives up to the hype as one of the best venues anywhere. Rain delayed things a little, but it was still a packed show.
First up was King Leg, who could best be described as a Dwight Yoakam rock and roll protégé. He delivered an energetic and entertaining opening set.
Next up was Steve Earle. Yes, he threw in a few political barbs, but for the most part, his focus was on delivering good music, from his early hits through songs from his most recent album. There were many instruments incorporated to good effect, including fiddle, pedal steel, and accordion. The Mastersons were part of his band, and they added a lot to the show.
Next was Lucinda Williams, whose voice is what it is. She was reading her lyrics from a notebook, and gusts of wind took their toll. A stage hand had to run out there with a clip to hold the paper in place. Then, the other side of the notebook started flapping, and the bass player came over mid-song to hold it with his elbow, until the stage hand could return after the song with another clip. The drummer’s set list tried to take off at one point, but it was corralled before it could take full flight.
Next was the main event, Dwight Yoakam. I’d seen him a couple of times before, but this was Dwight at his very best. He played songs from the beginning of his career to the present, including the two excellent new songs he released this year. He talked a little about his Bakersfield satellite radio channel, and covered a bit of Merle and Buck. Dwight Yoakam belongs in the CMHOF. The encore featured all four performers singing a rousing version of “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke.”
If you’re ever near Denver, be sure to catch a show at Red Rocks. Special thanks to Red Rocks staff for taking great care of the wheelchair folks. We had front row towards the middle, and this concert was a great part of our vacation.
Irish World interview with Olivia Douglas: Traditional music leads Olivia to a career in Country
Texas Music Pickers thoroughly keeps up with the Texas regional radio scene.
Jolene the Country Blog covers Australian country music.
2014 Guardian article: Sun, sea and stetsons: why St Lucia loves country and western music
August 27th will be the World Yodel Day Night Party, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Korean yodel history.
Herbert’s Taco Hut is one of my favorite places in San Marcos. The restaurant has signed pictures of a number of celebrities, including George Strait. When I ate lunch there a few days ago, my table was under a signed photo of Tejano star Shelly Lares. I’m unfamiliar with her catalog, so I did a little searching.
Although most of her recordings are in Spanish, she has tinkered a bit with country, most notably on the 1996 album “Shelly,” which included duets with Vince Gill. Here is Dancin’ Your Memory Away from her 2007 album, “Reflejo.” From the 1996 album “Tejano Country Superstars,” here’s Why Can’t You Leave Well Enough Alone ?
Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and Hillbilly-Music have lengthy articles about this prolific songwriter, best known for writing hits from the mid-1940s through the mid-1950s.. She was the first woman to write a number one country hit in 1945, Tex Ritter’s You Two-Timed Me One Time Too Often
Here’s her song Jealous Heart,another hit for Tex Ritter.
Here’s a few more of her compositions:
Don’t Rob Another Man’s Castle (George Jones & Gene Pitney cover, which was originally a #1 country hit for Eddy Arnold in 1949).
A Penny For Your Thoughts (Willie Nelson’s cover, which had been recorded by several)
New albums: William Shatner and Jeff Cook, Pam Miller, Jason Eady, Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis, Shooter Jennings, Damian O’Grady, Mountain Heart, The War and Treaty, William Clark Green, Lorraine Jordan and Carolina Road, Dawn Landes, Ali Morgan, The Gibbonses, and Olivia Justice Countryman.
Although I went to a lot of shows in Nashville during CMA week (and believe it or not, there are actually some good traditional and older artists during the daytime), I didn’t go to the expensive shows at the stadium. Last night was the television show covering those shows. I’m a glutton for punishment, and this was what was on TV. Saints preserve us. Before I dig in, here are some songs to listen to while reading:
Better Boat was announced yesterday as Kenny Chesney’s new single.
Whitey Morgan released “Honky Tonk Hell” yesterday.
David Paul Nowlin released “Holed Up In Some Honky Tonk” last week.
Garrett Pittman released “To The Honkytonk” a couple weeks ago.
AJ McLean posted a cover of Drunkard’s Prayer. I never imagined that I’d post about Kenny Chesney and a member of the Backstreet Boys in a positive manner on one day, but good songs are good songs.
Some of the traditional-minded readers have likely already checked out by now, perhaps cursing my name vigorously, but here are some thoughts on the CMA television special. Rather than cursing the mediocre and negative material (and there’s plenty I could pick apart), I’ll simply highlight a few of the ones I did like:
Carrie Underwood. She always delivers a big vocal performance, and there’s even pedal steel. “Cry Pretty” is still going sideways on the charts, though.
Cole Swindell’s “We Break Up In The End” is a solid song and performance. Blake Shelton’s “I Lived It” is one of his better hits in years, a bit of nostalgia. Midland’s “Burn Out” from the HGTV Lodge (only performance not from the stadium) is one of the most traditional performances of the night. Luke Combs’ “When it rains, it pours” is fun, if not especially deep.
Dierks Bentley with Dwight Yoakam: “Fast as You.” Great to see Dwight doing his thing, and kudos to Dierks Bentley for setting this up. There were other classic country artists who performed at the stadium (Ricky Skaggs, Charley Pride, and Lee Ann Womack), but they were not shown on the television show (and I wonder if it’s because they had early time slots, when it was still light outside).
Chris Stapleton ! Dave Cobb playing slide guitar on “Millionaire.” Damn right. Brothers Osborne (who filled in for an injured Chris Stapleton last year) closed the show with “Shoot Me Straight” and its extended guitar outro.
Since the 1940s figured into my last three posts, here’s the 1944 chart, considered the first Billboard country chart.
Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters had the first number one with Pistol Packin’ Mama. Al Dexter‘s own version of the song also had a run atop the chart, and also topped the pop chart. Both Bing’s version and Dexter’s also charted on the “Harlem Hit Parade” chart, which became Billboard’s R&B chart.
Louis Jordan’s “Ration Blues” was the next number one on the country chart. It was also number one on the above R&B chart.
Nat King Cole (King Cole Trio) is next with “Straighten Up And Fly Right,” which was also number one on Harlem Hit Parade.
CMHOF member Red Foley’s Smoke on the Water also reached number 7 on the pop chart.
Closing out 1944 was CMHOF member Tex Ritter’s “I’m Wasting My Tears On You.”