Monthly Archives: October 2016

Gary Hayes Country 2016 Honorable Mentions For New Albums.


Well folks for those of you that do actually know me you know darn well I spend countless hours at home listening to albums and researching bands to feature on here. I have found a treasure trove of new 2016 music that didn’t make my TOP 50 list of 2016 but however DID reserve the right to be included within their own article so it could be brought out to the public as well.

First and foremost this article isn’t going anywhere and I’ll try my best to provide links to all these albums and provide you with an opportunity to buy what you like on it. Some of these bands and titles I have not bought a copy of on physical CD or vinyl I just have electronically. I’ll go back over it in January and buy the rest of it if I know I’ll not be seeing them on the road.

You know 2016 has indeed been a rough year so far on deaths in Country Music and just as it has brought out some great new music it has taken some pretty damn good Legends of Country Music as well. Springtime was especially rough for me as a fan to be honest.

Those that know me know I also spend hours watching music and going to shows, and attending festivals. I love to be around it and I love visiting all my friends in different areas and seeing new places. I have been truly blessed in the past few years with all my new experiences and discoveries, so without further blabbing here’s a list of honorable mentions of new music from 2016:

Hard Working Americans- Rest In Chaos
Michael Martin Murphy- High Stakes Cowboy Songs VII
Chris King- Animal
Johnny Lee- You Ain’t Never Been To Texas
Austin Allsup- This Weary Land
Dallas Wayne- Songs The Jukebox Taught Me
The Reverend Horton Heat- Hardscrabble Woman
Al Scorch- Circle Round The Signs
John Doe- The Westerner
The Horse Traders- I Don’t Mind
Fireball Mail- Bending The Rails
Daniel Romano- Mosey
The Local Honeys- Little Girls Acting Like Men
Bonnie Bishop- Ain’t Who I Was
Elizabeth Cook- Exodus Of Venus
Nester Andress- Falling In Love
Mike Ryan- Mill And Music City
Adam lee- Sincerely, Me
Bradley Walker- Call Me Old Fashioned
Red Simpson- Soda Pops And Saturdays
Austin Lucas- Between The Moon And The Midwest
the Boxcars- Familiar With The Ground
Chain Station- Where I Want To Be
Don Gates- Almost A Cowboy
Sierra Hull- Weighted Mind
The Wild Feathers- Lonely Is A Lifetime
Cooder Graw- Love To Live By
Jill Kinsey- Just Jill
Lorrie Morgan- Letting Go…Slow
Aubrie Sellers- New City Blues
Jeff Shepherd And The Jailhouse Poets
Gene Watson- Real Country Music
Casey Miller And The Barnyard Stompers
Dori Freeman
Greensky Bluegrass- Shouted, Written Down And Quoted
fruitition- Labor Of Love
Sister Sparrow And The Dirty Birds- Fowl Play
Reckless Kelly- Sunset Motel
Midnight River Choir- Fresh Air
Robert Earl Keen- Live Diner Reunion
Whiskey Myers- Mud
Tami Neilson- Don’t Be Afraid
Tim Easton- American Fork
Cody Johnson- Gotta Be Me
Kree Harrison- This Old Thing
The Goodmans- Live In Texas An Unforgettable Evening
The Royal Hounds- Poker All Night
Ryan Cain And The Ables- Cupid And The Devil
Pat Reedy And The Longtime Goners- Highway Bound
The Mavericks- All Night Live Volume 1.
Tanya Tucker- Live At Church Street Station
The Bottle Rockets- Audio Tree Live
Dale Watson- Under The Influence
Dallas Moore- Live At The Bulliet County Jail
JonEmery Dods- Americana
Willie Nelson- Willie Sings Gershwin
Those Poor Bastards- Sing It Ugly
Vince Gill- Down To My Last Bad Habit
Hank Williams Junior- It’s About Time
Larry Keel- Memories
Mack McKenzie- A Million Miles
Grant Lee Phillips- The Narrows
Parker Milsap- The Very Last Day
Waco Brothers- Going Down In History
Lucinda Williams- The Ghost Of Highway 20
Greg Garing- Am I Even A Memory
Chris Gantry- Nashville Rhapsody
Flatland Cavalry- Humble Folks
Lincoln Durham- Revelations Of A Mind Unraveling
Truck Stop Gamblers- Here
Sweet Ga Brown- Weapons
Hayes Carll- Lovers And Leavers
Derek Hoke- Southern Moon
Western Centuries- Weight Of The World
Boo ray- Sea Of Lights
Jake Flint- I’m Not Ok
The Time Jumpers- Kid Sister
Lydia Loveless- Real
Dex Romweber- Carrobo
Luke Winslow-King- I’m Glad Trouble Don’t Last Always
Wade Bowen- Then Sings My Soul
The Drunken Cuddle- Electric Cat
Wayne Hancock- Slingi’n Rhythm
Jackson Taylor- Which Way Is Up
Robbie Fulks- Upland Stories
Darrell Scott- Couchville Sessions
Rob Baird- Wrong Side of The River
Aaron Einhouse- It Ain’t Pretty
Moondawg Hall- Road To Sanity
Terry Allen- Lubbock
Paul Cauthen- My Gospel
Brandon Jenkins- The Flag
Jamestown Revival- The Education Of A Wandering Man
Todd Snider- Eastside Bulldog
The Avett Brothers- True Sadness
B J Barham- Rockingham
Emmylou Harris- The Complete Trio Collections
Rodney Parker- Bomber Heights
Amanda Shires- My Piece Of Land
Chatam County Line- Autumn
Casey Donahew- All Night Party
John Paul White- Beulah
Lori McKenna- The Bird And The Rifle
The Gibbonses- Among The Rubble
Chris Stalcup- Downhearted Fools
The Earls Of Leichester- Rattle and Roar
Paul Eason- Black Horse Mesa
Sean McConnell
Dolly Shine- Walkabout
Lew Card- Follow Me Down
Green River Ordinance- Fifteen
Austin Meade- Heartbreak Coming
Casey Daniels Band- Backroads And Moonshine
Logan Mize- Ain’t Always Pretty
Jimmy LaFave- Trail Five
John Clay- Now It’s Time
One Crow Sorrow- Something To Value
Campbell Station- Already Gone
Anna Elizabeth Laube- Tree
Clint Bradley- Riding After Midnight
Creed Fisher- Rednecks Like Us
Kalyn Fay- Bible Belt
Rachel Laven- Love And Luccheses
Nick Dittmeier And The Saw Dusters- Midwest Heart
On Safari- Kentucky Headhunters
Tattoed Heart- Ronnie Dunn
Got Dressed Up To Be Let Down- Jack Grelle
Michigan Rattlers- Michigan Rattlers
Babe Miller- Room 242
Jericho Woods- Better Now

Unreleased Waylon Jennings Music Coming Soon.


Much like many other powerhouse Legends that pass on (recently Merle Haggard) there is usually a release of some unheard music laying around that someone unearths and bestows upon collectors and fans that still haven’t totally embraced the loss.

Whatever your reason I wanted to let you know about this project that has been produced by Robbie Turner, who produced Waylon’s last ten albums of his career. Now the funny thing is this album is from the 1970’s time frame of his career when he was transitioning from conformity to his Outlaw tenure.

You can click HERE and pre-order this must have for any Waylon die hard collector.

  • Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line
  • The Choking Kind
  • Stop The World And Let Me Off
  • Anita, You’re Dreaming
  • Just To Satisfy You
  • Green River
  • Singer Of Sad Songs
  • Love Of The Common People
  • MacArthur Park
  • Brown Eyed Handsome Man
  • Mental Revenge
  • Time To Bum Again
  • Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down
  • Young Widow Brown

Often times even family hasn’t a clue what sort of recordings exist in obscure places that the public hasn’t yet heard, and more often than not they haven’t heard it themselves. I enjoy learning about recordings like this from the more obscure artists that according to the charts were “underdogs”. I know for a fact there is quite a bit of unreleased Porter Wagoner material owned by others that hasn’t been packaged for public distribution yet.


Gary Hayes Local Band Shows Weekly.

Folks I am constantly checking on local venues in Tennessee And Kentucky to bring you the BEST possible list of bands and artists to see. This does NOT include my festival articles you must go to them and check on who’s playing where for that. Have a show YOU want to report to me? You can email.

Sarah Gayle Meech
Nudies December 27th

Billy Joe Shaver
The Warehouse Mt. Victor December 28th

Unknown Hinson
Exit In December 30th

John Prine
Jason Isbell
Kacey Musgraves
Ryman Auditorium December 31st

Old Crow Medicine Show
Ryman Auditorium December 31st

Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superaltives
Nashville City Winery December 31st

Rhonda Vincent
3rd And Lindsley January 2nd

Joshua Hedley
The Basement East January 7th

Jeannie Seely
3rd And Lindsley January 10th

The Steeldrivers and Kelsey Waldon
Glasgow Plaza Theater January 13th

Greensky Bluegrass
Marathon Music Works January 14th

Elizabeth Cook
3rd And Lindsley January 15th

Tyler Childers
Basement Nashville Tn January 15th

Joshua Hedley
Nashville Palace January 16th and 17th

Steve Earle
Colter Wall
Nashville City Winery January 19th

Yonder Mountain String Band
3rd And Lindsley January 29th

Shovels And Rope
Ryman Auditorium Feb 2nd and 3rd

The Devil Makes Three
The Cannery Ballroom Feb 4rth 2017

Hillbilly Casino
The Warehouse Clarksville Tn Feb 4th

Roger Alan Wade
The 5 Spot Feb 9th

Gene Watson
Nashville Palace Feb 10th

Martina McBride
Ryman Auditorium Feb 11th

Ronnie Milsap
Schemerhorn Symphony Center March 5th 2017

Hillbilly Casino
The 5 Spot March 18th

Kasey Chambers
3rd And Lindsley March 26th

Rye Davis
Kellers April 8th

John Conlee
Merle Travis Music Center May 5th 2017

George Strait Releases New Box Set November 18th.


Right in time for the holiday season (and every website’s Top 50 or 100) powerhouse George Strait announces the release of his part 2 box set Strait Out Of The Box Part 2. He officially retired from touring in 2014 but he does do some appearances in Las Vegas, however the tickets are high dollar.

This box set will be available November 18th exclusively through Wal Mart only and contains 56 tracks, including 26 No. 1 hit singles, other radio hits, 18 album cuts and two new songs, including Strait’s new single, Goin Goin Gone. Strait personally selected the songs that make up the new collection. The follow-up to the 8X platinum-selling Strait Out of the Box from 1995, the new collection culls tracks from Strait’s career spanning from 1996 to the present.

He is the most-nominated artist in the history of the CMA Awards and was the first country music artist honored with Billboard’s Legend of Live Award. Strait was named CMA Entertainer of the Year in 1989, 1990 and 2013, and ACM Entertainer of the Year in 1990 and 2014. He is also a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, yet he has never needed to run around any stages or dress funny or have multi-million dollar explosions. In fact he is more well known for standing in one spot and just plain flat out singing his simple Country Music.
I do not specifically anticipate this to be placed on my TOP 50 list for the simple reason that most of the material is not officially new, however it will most likely get an honorable mention in any fashion. Right now even with live albums I have a choked full list of albums from 2016 that I KNOW you will absolutely enjoy.



Ozark Legend Violet Hensley Graces The Opry And Celebrates 100 Years Old.

Folks this past August The Grand Ole Opry Legend Mike Snider arranged to have a true living legend perform on the Opry Saturday night show, and sadly I missed it but as I rest from a sickness today I feel the need to write about this today, especially because October 21st she will celebrate being 100 years old.

You know other websites are out there that feature the types of bands I do and they all write articles bashing the Opry and consistently touch on the nasty things that management is doing to snuff out the Legends on it, and although I agree with them I think to waste time on the negative is a loss to people like this woman because nobody is focusing on the positive things the Opry does.

Miss Violet comes from the state of Missouri deep within the confines of the Ozark Mountains and has been a staple member of the Silver Dollar City theme park in Branson music scene for many years now. She comes from the community of Yellville Arkansas and in Branson she still entertains people with the very fiddles she built with her own hands in a style that nobody has ever rivaled in her 100 years.

She known for balancing a fiddle atop her head and playing a lightning fast speeds sometimes while clogging in tune, and has built by hand 74 fiddles in her tenure. Because of this she is often referred to as the “Whittlin’ Fiddler” and will be playing a huge birthday bash in Branson next week.

Arkansas fiddler Tim Crouch found her and contacted Mike Snider who arranged to bring her onto the Opry stage this past August during his segment he hosted as he usually does. She is one of America’s first nationally known fiddle players and fiddle makers, and while she does not remember the Opry’s first performer a fiddle player named Uncle Jimmy Thompson she does remember the early days of Roy Acuff who came to the Opry in 1939.

I thought it was truly a blessing to the Opry and Country Music as a whole to recognize this icon in her own right and bring forth to future generations of fiddling youth the undisclosed Legends that most people don’t know exist. And like I previously said you won’t hear about events like these from many other sources.

Two Nights Of Hellbound Glory…Tennessee.

Folks this article is being written within a week’s time at two different venues and in fact two different states. Right now at this time it’s Sunday night and I’m listening to Red Dirt Texas stuff to include in my TOP 50 list. See that’s some new features I’m bringing into the website for 2017, so Texas and Oklahoma scenes ARE on the horizon for me. Let’s grow this thing into an even BIGGER mecca for the bands to be featured. I’m not going to cross promote anybody’s brand so THIS IS part 1 of the 2 part articles.

Last night I ventured on down to 12th And Porter to see the bands Stump Tail Dolly whom sadly I missed because of a traffic accident that I got stalled in and couldn’t move. And the other band that is part of the focus of this article is Hellbound Glory.


Last night I saw a really good show by the band and I haven’t saw them since Muddy Roots 2013, yeah it’s been THAT LONG for me. See every time they were around something always came up PLUS you know it’s not easy keeping up with all the bands I do, so you understand I’m quite sure.  The band is still in darn good form with Mr. Ricky on the washboard now, and Rico still on his signature lap steel guitar. Of course the core of the band Mr. Virgil Bowers front and center growling his usual lyrics of sorrow and drug infused misery. I mean it is Scumbag Country after all, it has meaning behind the misery and pride behind the pain.

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When I arrived they were just beginning their first song “Another Bender Might Kill Me” and they also did play some covers tonight like “Long Haired Country Boy” and later on in their set they played “Delta Dawn” which was wrote by my friend Larry Collins..Ol’ Flying Fingers himself! Jumping around their set list of covers they included “Honky Tonk Man” and “In The Pines”.

The rest of the originals were absolutely stunning tonight and in true Hellbound form. “Barroom Beauty” was next as well as “Knocked Off That Horse”, and followed by “Living With Shades Pulled Down”. Also included within the originals set were several Excavators songs “Feudi’n” “World Coming To An End” and the third one was “Big Time”. See last year they released an album under the name Excavators so they in essence were still doing originals.

“Hank Williams Records” was the beginning of the close of their set for the evening which was an altogether early show, that included “Bastard Child” and the cover of Hank Williams Jr’s “Women I never Had”. I thought this was the close however they played “She Left Me In Modesto” as their last song.

Now then, like I previously stated there will be another piece of this article that will include a whole entire day of a festival I’ll be attending this Friday in the state of Indiana. I’ll be shipping out of my driveway around 6AM on Friday morning to arrive in that area Friday afternoon, and I’ll begin the writing on Sunday and Monday. So you’ll read more about this band then folks!




Kenneth Marr’s Flood Victim Benefit.


This past August and late July, the state of Louisiana was once again hurled into disaster relief from ongoing rains and hurricane like conditions resulting in much needed help from the rest of the nation. This emergency was certainly not as bad as Hurricane Katrina but it was enough for the nation to need to come together in aid once again.

On Saturday October 22nd my good friends Mr. Kenneth and Miss Mary Jo Marr will be hosting a benefit for the Louisiana Flood Victims at their home in Smith’s Grove Kentucky. 5873 Smiths Grove-Scottsville Road Smiths Grove Kentucky is where you will find great music from local bands who will be performing for donations.

There will be tons of food being served for a truly good cause and trust me Mr. Kenneth’s backyard is set up for music with a full working stage and a kitchen off to the side. We had some really nice parties there this past spring and summer.

Kenneth Marr is booked until January with portraits but he does some really fine design work for advertising and logos and all other work, I would highly suggest him for doing YOUR logo or design work but if you let him take you out for tacos in Bowling Green you will absolutely die from food poisoning.

Saint Mayhem
Will both be performing full sets for you this evening on a full working stage, in a friendly down home setting where you won’t have your usual “bar problems”. So if you are looking for a good place to go eat and hear some great live music Smith’s Grove is the place to be.

Alan Jackson, Muddy Roots, The Ernest Tubb Record Shop And Others Strike Back To Save Downtown Nashville.


Photo credit: Mr. Jacob Earles

Just about six months ago the rumors began and the dark cloud descended upon downtown Nashville and REAL Country music as a whole. The Wheel and The Full Moon Saloon both announced their demise, right after the sad outcome of Printer’s Alley and a few other important historic locations were leveled.

Music Row and the New Nashville establishment has been trying like all hell to vanquish Traditional Country Music as a whole by taking away forcefully pretty much every building and outlet we have to combat pop country. Many people were still happy with high hopes of a turnaround with Mr. Jason Galaz and Muddy Roots announcing the opening of The Vinyl Bunker which is an underground record store located within the parking structure of the L and S building, around the corner from the Ryman. With the Vinyl Bunker AND the E.T. Record Shop supplying us with real music the fight is even more stronger now than it’s EVER BEEN.

This store gives consumers the opportunity to purchase independent label albums and artists arranged BY LABEL and a hub for ALL BANDS Muddy Roots related for people like me to come spend our paychecks. But seriously folks the opening of his store really busted the chops of the suits and ties that have NO CLUE WHO James Hand or Dale Watson are anyways.

Then came the the awful news that two of OUR beloved beer joints we had to hear Traditional Country Music were closing. And people real and fake began to lament the demise of the bars, I say real ones that actually went to the bars and patronized the music. I said fake ones because with EVERY situation you get the people that bitch and cry but never go spend money there to keep them open.  I’ll admit myself I need to get down there MORE than I do and laid partial blame upon myself for that I’m NOT a member of the digital download crowd that are the couch warriors.

The same thing happened to Ernest Tubb’s Record Shop as Mr. David was forced to close the Opryland location this year however the Midnite Jamboree still continues the Tennessean recently published a HUGE ad advertising lower broad and all it’s offering but conveniently omitted Ernest Tubb’s Record Shop completely sparking a major backlash from Mr. David McCormick the owner. Here is a copy of his rebuttal statement:

A message from David McCormick…

Hello Folks,

I want to congratulate you all on a great job for the special insert in last Sunday’s edition of the Tennessean. Once again, you folks have left out one of the most important elements and world tour destinations…the Ernest Tubb Record Shop that has been a Nashville staple and worldwide tour attraction for almost 70 years!!!

I consider this another royal insult from the Tennessean and all of you. If you would just check your history, you would see the importance of this famous Nashville landmark but I suppose we are not “hip” enough since you did a great job covering other venues that are relatively new compared to the record shop that provides (at a cost of nearly two thousand dollars a week, the world famous Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree a WSM radio show that has originated since the same time the record shop opened its doors on May 3, 1947.

I’m sure most of you don’t even know we exist but I’ve become used to being “overlooked” by the Tennessean during my 48 year tenure with Mr. Tubb and his record shop. Speaking of, if you checked your history, Owen Bradley (most famous record producer that ever was, though some of you may have never paid enough attention to know his name or what he did) said in a well documented interview that Nashville changed its name to “Music City USA” the day Ernest Tubb came to town.

In addition to this, most of you more than likely do not know of what he did for this town but has been looked over for an outstanding contribution he made to the music industry. He was the first to insist on recording here when it wasn’t (as you say) “hip” to record in this town. He brought electrical instrumentation to the Grand Ole Opry and the first to use a full set of drums when he drummer had to play behind the curtain because that wasn’t allowed on the stage at that time. He also brought the first country music to two sold out shows at Carnage Hall in 1947.

I won’t bore you with much more I can say here. I consider this another “slap in the face” for all He did and we have since done in the record shops for making this a world famous tourist attraction to downtown and all of Nashville. That is the sad thing about this town. Our legends are dying out and the face of country music has drastically changed.

We’re working hard to preserve what little is left and the thought of you leaving Ernest Tubb and his record shop, the contribution he made to this industry and city are overlooked and almost forgotten. Thank you to all of you who continually help to “bring in the new” and “forget about the old” but let me assure you, Ernest Tubb Record Shop, The Texas Troubadour Theatre, the FREE ADMISSION Midnite Jamboree his and our legacy will live on….long after all of you folks are gone.

Congratulations on your publication.
David McCormick
Ernest Tubb Record Shops, Inc.

Then came the extra special news of all….the announcement of Alan Jackson purchasing the Wheel AND the Wheel Cigar bar for an amount that was reported but (to me) not relevant. What WAS relevant was the fact he was only changing the name to A.J’s Good Time Bar, but the format and music would remain the same EVEN the bar staff that wanted to remain could do so.

The bar itself is named after his song “Good Time” which included the world record for longest line dance to date. There will be TV’s showing classic Country themed movies and it will also display many items from Alan’s decade spanning career.  So just as Tootsie’s takes a sad unfortunate 180 and goes to people in bedazzled jeans (I call them sparklebritches) singing Nikki Minaj and Darian Rucker cover songs, right next door you can still go see Sarah Gayle Meech and more!


Cody Jinks Releases Vinyl Tomorrow At Grimey’s.



Did I mention this event tomorrow night at 6PM at Grimey’s is FREE? Folks until the place fills up to capacity you can see Cody Jinks perform his new album “I’m Not The Devil” AND have the first opportunity to buy it on vinyl.

This powerhouse former metal performer has been blazing trails as of late with Whitey Morgan and has released some mainstay albums that MUST MUST MUST have a place within ANY collection if you are into Honky Tonk Country Music. I have been to his show many times and each time I go away completely blown away by his precise attention to detail in his lyrics and his stage presence.

You keep asking me “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes”, well this man and his band The Tone Deaf Hippies HAVE BEEN filling shoes for several years now the mainstream media just doesn’t want you to know about him. They want you to know about the girly jeans and “Who’s gonna fill their flip flops”.

Mr. Cody is a powerhouse on Sirus XM Radio and many Outlaw Country channels and podcasts all over the United States. Did I mention this show is free? HOW can you pass up Cody Jinks for FREE? Well you could be like me and have to work second shift. Mr. Cody is rapidly gaining popularity among Roots Music festivals and Americana groups as well, and I’m quite convinced he is indeed a mainstay within the halls of local music.

2016 Music Festivals: Suwannee Roots Revival.



Well right now it’s time to begin wrapping up one of my top series of my website, festivals. I have two left to report on and one left to cover out in Indiana. Right now I would like to direct your attention to Florida with the very first ever Suwannee Roots Revival which occurs on October 13-16th 2016 at the Spirit Of The Suwannee Music Park.

Very much like other festivals akin to this one outside alcohol is NOT allowed in the concert area and you CANNOT remove your wristband during the weekend. Most of the other rules and DO’s and DONT’S are pretty much common sense folks. You CAN have food and drinks and fires at your campsite and no glass or fireworks like all festivals, like I said they ALL are pretty much common sense.

This description of the location of the area is directly from their website:

Located just north of Live Oak, Fla, the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park is a one-of-a-kind music park and premier campground nestled on the shady banks of the historic, tea-colored Suwannee River in North Florida. The Spirit of the Suwannee is proud to host a variety of events throughout the year. In addition to these events, the park offers live music during the week in the Music Hall and a natural amphitheater for outdoor music festivals.

The grounds include 700+ acres for camping, hiking, canoeing, bird watching, jogging, observation at the world’s largest bat house, Way Down Upon the Suwannee River Trail Ride and New Year’s Eve Party, putt putt golf and pro-quality disc golf, a honey bee observation exhibit, beautiful rental cabins (and custom built cabins for sale), RV parking with full hookups, electric and water sites, shower and bath houses, full service restaurant, golf cart rentals, the Arts and Crafts Village, Country Store and much, much more. Or, you can just hang your hammock between two trees, put your feet up and relax as you listen to the quiet sounds of nature all around you.

Now folks if you are like me and you cannot camp I got a good list of hotels for you from their website and my own research HERE is their official hotel and a few more for you. I’m going to talk about the lineup next other than the fact you can use THIS LINK to purchase tickets for the event.






Album Features: 50 Years Of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

Folks welcome to my ever popular album features series where I usually pair up 5 or more albums of the same “fitting” to feature NEW albums to you my readers. To be completely honest 2016 has been a year of heartbreak in deaths AND a breakthrough year for iconic bands and artists to release new material. Many bands have released live albums that WILL be included in my TOP 50 of 2016, and not to ruin it but THIS album is IN my TOP 50 BIG TIME. Folks this live recording of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band celebrating their 50th year as a band at the historic Ryman Auditorium during their tour also includes a PBS TV pledge special, had me in tears of both joy and sadness.



Jeff Hanna, John McCuen, Jimmy Fadden and Bob Carpenter who are the current members of the band hosted an iconic performance of some of the NGDB’s most beloved and timeless classic hits from their 5 decades of bringing us their brand of “whatever the hell it is they do” music. I mean honestly you can call it Americana, Country, Rock or whatever you want..I call it the Niity Gritty Dirt Band.

Even as the times have changed, so has the band’s sound and the lineups as well. The band prides itself upon featuring so many instruments that have been played by so many people within the brand itself that the songs cannot be duplicated exactly like they were recorded. This album also featured so many writers and stars that the guests alone make the album stellar and unbeatable by only ONE person I can think of to steal the number 1 spot from this album.

The album began with “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” by Bob Dylan who sadly wasn’t there this night, but was followed by one of song writing’s most revered Legends John Prine who played “Paradise” and “Grandpa Was A Carpenter”. You know folks despite Mr. John’s current health issues you wouldn’t even know he was sick, and actually AS I WRITE THIS John Prine performed a groundbreaking show at the Ryman in his tuxedo. John Prine has more dignity and reverence for ALL genres of music than anybody I could name you. When he passes on he will be forever immortalized through music within our hearts and souls, I can assure you. The opening line of Paradise is truly one of the most powerful verses of songs ever recorded.

Vince Gill came to pay respect to the band with Sam Bush who helped found the New Grass Revival, to play the song “Nine Pound Hammer” which is pretty much public domain it is so old, as well as “Tennessee Stud”. As well as one of the earlier members who also came out Jackson Browne to play one of their earlier hits “Truthful Parson Brown”.

Allison Krauss was on hand to perform the Mother Maybelle Carter classic “Keep On The Sunny Side” and the ever popular “Catfish John” wrote by Dallas Frazier. My favorite version of that song was done by Johnny Russell, however she has a voice of pure gold. One of the songs that always makes me cry is “Long Hard Road” also called The Sharecroppers Dream which was originally wrote by Rodney Crowell on one of their earliest albums.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has many iconic albums under their belt and one of them was Uncle Charlie and his dog Teddy from 1970 which includes the collectors poster of the band in it’s early days that features the controversial group photo of the Klu Klux Klan,that album featured the Jerry Jeff Walker song “Mr. Bojangles”. Also, former member Jimmy Ibbotson was on hand to perform “Fishin In The Dark” and this album ended (of course) with a group version of “Will The Circle Be Unbroken”, which was a concept album from the band that spanned their 50 years in three volumes. Although there has been talk of making a fourth volume no effort has been put forth…yet, and the NGDB holds the record for the largest public assembly for a concert from their appearance at the Ozark Mountain Jubilee where it was reported over 350,000 paid to see them play.