Nov 152016
 

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You know I’ll say this about the Opry itself…I LOVE the Opry, and I love and admire what it has stood for in it’s 92 years of existence. 92 years folks, just sit and dwell upon that for a spell and wonder where will the ever dreaded ‘evolution” of (what the mainstream calls) Country Music will force it to go?

I’ll also say this..I dislike the Opry management it takes a LOT for Ol’ Gary to hate anybody, and for the last few years it has been doing nothing but inducting pop country artists and bands. Now honestly you may or may not like me after reading this article but I’m happy with their decision to induct Crystal Gayle as their newest member. Do I think she is 100% Traditional Country? No. Most of her material was pop country for it’s time, however it wasn’t as hokey as it is now and to be honest back then it wasn’t downright disrespectful and spiteful as it is today. I regard her 1977 album “We Must Believe In Magic” to be one of my favorite albums of all time, just my opinion and much like Kenny Rogers she sang pop country while acknowledging the roots of the whole genre.

Hell, even Marty Robbins went pop country for quite some time recording songs like “White Sport coat And Pink Carnation”, yeah it was pop and yeah it was good stuff. I also thought for a producer standpoint Allen Reynolds was never really recognized to the extent he should have been for producing some of her finest work, however she was also produced by Jimmy Bowen and engineered by Garth Fundis who produced Don Williams. Some of the recordings that she released before 1977 were indeed REALLY GOOD Country Music and from 1970-1977 she only had mediocre success until she released “Brown Eyes Blue” which drew a whole new audience. But the reason I admire the album so greatly is in fact it became the first female album in Country Music to ever go platinum, aside from Wanted the Outlaws which included Jessi Colter, which went platinum as the first ever Country album.

On January 21st Crystal Gayle will become the newest member of the Opry since 2014 when pop country trio Little Big Town was invited to join, and at 65 she is for sure one of the older to be invited to join as of late. Mind you I wholeheartedly believe that she is well deserving of this recognition and being the youngest sibling of Country Music Legend Loretta Lynn I think they are the first siblings to ever be inducted on two separate occasions (If I’m wrong please do not be afraid to correct me).

I think from deep within my nutball Country Music cranium that this signifies a substantial rise in older Country Music and lately that hunger for REAL Country Music is being drawn out, Hell this past week it took me 2 days to find tickets for Cody Jinks. Chris Stapleton is almost a surefire sell out as is Sturgill Simpson, and the list goes on and on! In fact I do recall Cody Jinks covering her songs….VERY WELL I might add!

Nov 082016
 

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There are so many great things that Heart Of Texas Records out there in Brady Texas does for Country Music. One of their 2016 releases have reached my TOP 50 list and I’m not fixin to spoil it for you but two more just barely missed the list as well.

I’ll be letting you know about their festival and many that they sponsor out there in Texas and Oklahoma as well. I think Mr. Tracy Pitcox is doing a fine job out that way and releases some well recorded albums I usually always pick up at Ernest Tubb’s Record shop downtown or I also mail order it.

In 2017 I have huge plans to begin bringing in Texas Traditional Country and Red Dirt Country Music into my mixture of sub-genres I usually report on, and this fine record label is no exception in my love list. They hold so very dear a lot of Country Music Legends like Darrell and Miss Diane McCall, and Miss Norma Jean.

Like every other year Heart Of Texas Records has included photos and information from there fine Legends into a wonderful calendar again. Each month included famous quotes and educational information from a different Legend of Country Music. Along with outfits and recording from the Heart Of Texas Museum every month brings joy to any Country Music lover and collector. Once again you can click HERE to order YOUR calendar for 7 dollars plus shipping.

Nov 072016
 

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The final stop in my eventful evening to the downtown Nashville to witness this timeless spectacle of the Midnite Jamboree where Country Music Legend Stonewall Jackson was honored for his 84th birthday Saturday night, and even though I was just a little late I was not going to miss this because I promise you it will NEVER happen again. For Stonewall I would travel long distances to see because he is a friend and a hero.

Time has faltered his body of course in that he walks a little slower than he used to and he cannot stand center stage and play guitar any longer however time has not faded his voice and much like Willie Nelson he is absolutely astounding for his age. He had me in tears as he still displayed his twangy voice for the song “Don’t Be Angry” with his signature “curl” of certain words that differentiates him from other artists of his ilk.

Stonewall Jackson was one of the only Opry stars to ever become signed to a record deal by simply playing and singing his songs within the offices of music row. He drove a logging truck to Nashville in 1956 and also was the first member of the Grand Old Opry to ever join without a record contract.

That cake up above you there weighed in at 300 pounds and everybody was welcome to have some in the reception area where Stonewall Jackson signed autographs and took pictures with people after the show. One of the many stories told by Stonewall tonight was the story of how George Jones came about receiving credit for “Life To Go” which I had always thought Jones wrote the entire song however he only wrote the third verse to it having picked it up on a motel table and taking the liberty to write it.

“Washed my Hands In Muddy Water” and of course “Waterloo” were his other two songs (this set list was out of order), but this part of history will never ever be repeated and I promise you no other websites were there! I almost wasn’t myself but I got to THANK stonewall for being a part of my youth and for raising me to be THIS.

Nov 062016
 

So I started the evening around 3 at Jack’s Bbq over on Trinity Lane even though I was planning on hitting up Ernest Tubb’s record shop for some vinyl records and there’s a Jack’s across the street. I like the one on Trinity Lane better especially when I went it’s not as busy, and despite some popular arguments with me I enjoyed it.

Tyller Gummersall was my first stop tonight on 12th Avenue right across the street from the Station Inn lies a store called Two Old Hippies. I have never been to the venue and honestly it’s a high end store. I didn’t check out any of the items or prices as I’m not really into that sort of thing, BUT the stage area for live music was AMAZING. The ONLY problem I had with this place was there is NO bathroom, I was severely taken aback by that (honestly I think it’s a health code violation) but with medical problems it’s not a venue I could stay at for a LONG period of time because of that.

 

But I’ll tell you what folks I went down there for one of my artists that WILL BE on my TOP 50 albums of 2016..yeah I just ruined a little part of that list but I HAD to praise this young man for earning that spot. His music is impressive, real and more down home than ninety percent of anything “mainstream”.

He is from the Colorado area and his brand new album is called “Long Ride Home”, trust you me he is really good and this album was well recorded and produced by Lloyd Maines..so that should be enough proof. The album has all original material on it and all of the songs were really well written.

“Turned Around World” was his first song he played along with “This House” and another I didn’t have on my study list I usually carry called “What Have I Done”. One of the better songs on his album is a song called “Rocky Mountain Man” because it had some really good steel guitar solos in it live and he represents his Colorado home well. The pride and love he has for traditional Country Music shines through in his lyrics and his stage presence, and he is one of the real deals in the independent music scene.

“Lucky Guy” showed off some pretty good lead guitar licks and he followed that with a nice ballad called “Better Than You Found It”. That song right there is better than anything you’ll find in arena shows and FOR SURE better than anything you’ll hear on the radio. He covered “Move It On Over” with more justice than alot of those on lower broadway, and once again showed off more lead guitar licks with a song called “Kiss Me”.

This story here is a prime example of how real this young man is. He plays a 1952 Martin and he stated that he plays the same model as Willie Nelson’s 1969 Martin N-20 called “Trigger”. His grandfather bought it at a garage sale for ten dollars and it was then owned by his uncle and handed down to him, and because of it’s age it falls out of tune quite often but you know what..none of us minded.

He played a song called “Country Music Junkie” which was truly an awesome song with well written lyrics that I hope he records in the future, and he followed that with “How About You”. His version of Merle Haggard’s “Silver Wings” was equally enjoyable and he closed this set with “Country Boy”. I’ll tell you what folks this man WILL be featured more on this website and he and his music have a home here on Garyhayescountry.com

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Nov 062016
 

I continued on with my excursion into downtown Nashville yesterday with a short ride to the 28th Avenue Belcourt area to see Sissy Brown as she rolled through Tennessee and played three shows here. I had to work this week so I only got the opportunity to catch her last show yesterday at Belcourt Taps.

I haven’t been to the Belcourt area for some time now so it was indeed nice to return to the area, honestly I’m not fond of their parking situations at this venue but once I finally found a spot I was good to go. It’s a great place to go enjoy songwriters and if the writers that penned the pop country hits are your cup of tea then this venue is your pot for sure.

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Sissy Brown is a Texas based singer songwriter that I have never covered on this website because every time she’s in town I’m either busy or cannot get out of the house. Well, this time I finally nailed down some commitment to her set tonight. I got to spend a little time with her this weekend as well and that was truly fun.

“Long Dark Road Out Of Nashville” was one of her opening songs tonight in a pretty responsive setting although I never was ecstatic about their menu I do enjoy the ambiance in this venue. “When Will The Sun Shine On You” was next as she showcased a really wonderful vocal range here, she carries the high notes with diligence and grace. Very nice structure of her vocal range and she flows into ballads really well.

“I Think Of You” and “My Man” are two great songs she played before she went into a Waylon Jennings cover that you really don’t hear many people play which was quite enjoyable. a few of the songs I listened to of hers on Youtube like “Last Resort First Regret” and “Birds” were included in tonight’s set. And the song “Last Call For The Blues” was one of the closing songs of her set last night.

Nov 052016
 

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My Kansas City friends over at Little Class Records have released a very special limited run of 7 inch recordings of Black Eyed Vermillion’s Gary Lindsey and Big Foot Chester covering a Scott H Biram original.

An all star cast of musicians were assembled for this project and the artwork on the cover of the album makes this 7 inch a MUST ADD to collectors of these types of vinyls.

The B Side of this recording contains a song from Roy Acuff’s “King Of The Hillbillies Volume 1” from deep within the Roy Acuff halls of history. So if you are a 7 inch record collector you MUST ADD this to your collection before it makes like a ghost and disappears! You can pre-order this record HERE.

Nov 052016
 

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Now mind you folks this was in October that this transpired and I have been battling some personal issues so I have to play a little catch-up with some news articles on here. It was announced recently that Country Legend Janie Fricke has digitally re-released four of her classic albums from her tenure with Sony Music and for the first time ever the albums The First Word In Memory, The Very Best of Janie Fricke, Black & White and Saddle in the Wind will be available to fans on Spotify and Apple Music, among others.

You know I have always enjoyed the overlooked female Country stars of the 1980’s like her and Holly Dunn and Highway 101, and more. Back when TNN first came out there were SO MANY damn fine ladies singing regular Country and some pop Country that was equally stellar in quality. She’s not a name you hear very often and back then it still wasn’t mentioned very much and I never quite understood WHY, she was and still is wonderful.

This from her press release:
The collection includes many of the 18-time chart-topper’s biggest hits, including “It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Easy,” “Tell Me a Lie,” “She’s Single Again” and more (see full track listings below). Beginning her career as one of the most sought after background vocalists in the genre, the platinum-selling singer would go on to become a trendsetter in country music in the 80s, creating a legacy that continues to live on. Fans of all ages can relive the reign of the country music legend on their phones, tablets, computers and everywhere in between!
The First Word In Memory Track Listing (1984)
Talkin’ Tough
The First Word In Memory Is Me
One Way Ticket
First Time Out Of The Rain
A Love Like Yours
Your Hearts Not In It
In Between Heartaches
Another Man Like That
Without Each Other
Take It From The Top

The Very Best Of Janie Track Listing (1985)
It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Easy
He’s A Heartache (Looking For A Place To Happen)
You Dont Know Love
Let’s Stop Talkin’ About It
The First Word In Memory Is Me
Tell Me A Lie
She’s Single Again
Your Heart’s Not In It
If The Fall Dont Get You
Ridin’ High (w/ Merle Haggard)

Black & White Track Listing (1986)
Till I Can’t Take It Anymore
He’s Breathing Down My Neck
Take Me Like A Vacation
Nothing Left To Say
Comin’ Apart At The Seams
Always Have Always Will
Don’t Put It Past My Heart
When A Woman Cries
He’s Making A Long Story Short
I’d Take You Back Again

Saddle In The Wind Track Listing (1988)
Till I Can’t Take It Anymore
He’s Breathing Down My Neck
Take Me Like A Vacation
Nothing Left To Say
Comin’ Apart At The Seams
Always Have Always Will

Nov 052016
 

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One of the people I met those years ago in Altamont when I decided to relaunch this website under my own control was none other than my artist of the year in 2015 Josh Morningstar. I tell you what he is one of the local people that I have had the opportunity to see in seven different states in the three years we have been friends.

I’ve witnessed him succeed and fail on so many music ventures that I couldn’t sit here and write about them all, and I have more funny stories about him than just about anybody. Ohio, Alabama, Georgia…we have been through them all together. We shared a few motel rooms and lots of laughs, and almost had to team up in a fight one time, been to MANY festivals with me and we both beat the devil himself in the form of the dope.

He bought me a steak sandwich once at Outlaw Fest and we ate vendor food in the pouring rain, we had a few beers together in Ohio at bobby Mackey’s one of the greatest Honky Tonks around. I caught up with him a few weeks back and I’m sorry about the delay in this article but I’ll be honest, my health issues have become poor and I had to make some personal lifestyle changes in my diet….or die. So I have been dealing with some inner demons again but with some help I’ll change them and become a more effective tool for local music.

I went downtown Nashville to see him play a set at Layla’s on Broadway this time where I like to frequent when I can to see the likes of the Eskimo Brothers and Sarah Gayle Meech, and many more. The main reason I wanted to write this is to let you know about a few songs he played I have never heard him play live yet. You know a lot of songs he does that are covers are really in sunk deep into the depths of his wide knowledge of Country Music history, and we relate well with each other in that aspect.

Mr. Bojangles by Jerry Jeff Walker from 1968 was first and he played an old Frankie Miller song called “A Bottle Of Whiskey”. He played a Bobby Bare song that Shel Silverstein wrote called “The Winner”, which in truth Shel Silverstein wrote many many songs for Bobby Bare. One of the originals he played that I haven’t heard was called “The Money And The Miles” which Mr. Josh wrote after a talk with Bobby Bare and that was his advice to him, and it was followed by another one I never heard called “Tired Of Living These Songs I Sing”.

“Sellout Sellebrity” and the ever popular “As Long As You Ain’t Coming Back” are two staple songs he does in a good set, and the one I requested was “Dope Sick Blues”. It’s off a smaller EP he released a while back when we first met. He played a few more covers by Don Williams and Hayes Carll before playing a ton more of his originals.

“My Father’s Son” was one but the next one called ” My Dreams Can’t Be Your Cross To Bear” was a truly good look into his mind and how it feels when he’s out on the road all the time. “Still Crazy After All These Beers” and “Cocaine’ were songs that followed along with his newest song he released on a music website that was a tribute to the great Merle Haggard called “Merle Haggard Died Today”.

He closed the set with his new song called “I Outlived Hank And Jesus” and as always he played “I Saw The Light”. He is currently touring and doing some shows with Country Music Legend Billy Don Burns and you can see their show dates on either of their websites.

 

Nov 042016
 

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Folks I have been promising to bring forth lots more of the Texas and Oklahoma Music Scene to you in the forthcoming year and these four pickers are NO exception when it comes to Texas music. Sunny Sweeney doesn’t get around Nashville for many shows except Americana Fest in the local circuit but I WILL TELL YOU something she DOES DO that earned my respect.

This young lady plays the Opry more times than MANY of the current “members” and as of late I use that term loosely as many of them only USE the Opry. It’s supposed to BE a HOME where people like me can go see my favorite stars often after “their time in the mainstream” has passed. I won’t name names but some of them should be ashamed of themselves, and in this respect I STRONGLY encourage EACH OF YOU to begin vocally and financially supporting making Sunny Sweeney an Opry member. Because I thoroughly insist she deserves it in many aspects.

She is embarking on a tour of local venues with three fellow lady pickers Courtney Patton Brennen Leigh and Jamie Lin Wilson make up the Hard Candy Christmas Tour which is coming to local cities across the middle states. As of now to my knowledge there are twelve dates on the tour and I’ll be watching it to make sure I add any dates that get added by them.

Sunny’s album Provoked made my TOP 50 upon it’s release that year and was her most personal album she ever released to date as she was dealing with many personal issues in her own life and that’s usually when an artist hits us with their BEST work, so I strongly urge you to go out and support this truly awesome tour when they hit YOUR AREA!

Dec 6  Main Street Crossing  Tomball Texas

Dec 7 Sam’s Burger Joint San Antonio Texas

Dec 9 Saxon Pub Austin Texas

Dec 10 Blackbird On Pearl Tulsa Oklahoma

Dec 12 Outland Ballroom Springfield Missouri

Dec 13 Off Broadway Saint Louis Missouri

Dec 14 Joe’s Bar Chicago Illinois

Dec 15 Hook and Ladder Theater Minneapolis Minnesota

Dec 16 Buck’s Bar Waterloo Nebraska

Dec 17 Knuckleheads Saloon Kansas City Missouri

Dec 18 Blue Door Oklahoma City Oklahoma

 

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