On November 23rd 1992 the Grand Ole Opry lost one of it’s most beloved figures. A man that embellished Country Music with grace and poise, and he died with more dignity and honor than a thousand of today’s “stars” of Country Music. A man that even the likes of Hank Williams Sr heralded as Country Music’s Godfather, even Waylon Jennings held all cussing around in respect to his stature of this genre. Roy Acuff was and still is one our most beautiful leaders of the Opry and performed on the stage of the Opry up until the week he died in a house that faced the Opry front doors.
Every morning he awoke and lifted his head to look at his precious place where many people began their journey in the music industry. It launched so many people’s careers and created a home for many of our beloved Legends, in the form of providing a staple place to perform after their prime of their careers. Every weekend you can still go to the Opry and see people like Bill Anderson and Jeannie Seeley week after week, you can still see Mike Snyder telling jokes and Bobby Osborne play Rocky top which became the Tennessee state song in 1982.
I am sitting here on a small wooden bench in front of the final home of his writing this article, because I deemed it appropriate to do so. I firmly think Mr. Roy would approve of what we are doing here this weekend and that is appreciating true music, ALL kinds of music. Rockabilly music was originally forbidden on the Opry stage, but the main focus here is the fact that we are bringing REAL Country Music to the Opry stage tonight.
Mr. Jason is the heartbeat of Muddy Roots, and in my opinion is a prime example of the American Dream…one of the kings of DIY businesses. A small entity that is usually ignored by the major media outlets and hated upon by the bigger groups in the industry, because they are promoting and creating the false music that Muddy Roots exposes as fake. Those people that listen to the plastic music don’t know who Bobby Bare is nor do they care, they aren’t told to care. They are impressionable and “programmed” to like what’s placed in front of them, and they just “go with it”. The Muddy Roots crowd isn’t falling for that bullshit and they aren’t tolerating it, in their own way once Roy Acuff understood their sincerity, I think he would have approved of this evening’s relevance.
The Cowpokes are a band that come from the local Nashville scene out of the American Legion Post in East Nashville. With powerhouse producer and steel guitarist Andy Gibson on the steel and Mr. Brendan Malone this band is absolutely on key and already play like a well oiled machine.
They play prominent Western Swing and old classic Country Western music, like the Moon Mullican song “I’ll Sail My Ship along” from 1950. Mr. Moon was the King Of The Hillbilly Piano Players whom also played with the Blue Ridge Playboys, also recorded the song “Ragged But I’m Right” before Johnny Paycheck made it popular. However that song was originally recorded by Riley Puckett first, Mr. Moon made it commercially successful as well.
They played the song ‘They Call Me A Playboy” by Wynn Stewart from 1962 along with a really great song called the “New Panhandle Rag”. I’m going to have to venture out there one night when I’m off of work to see more of their set.
I have always held mammoth guitarist Deke Dickerson in high regard as a player and a historian as well. I enjoy going to see musicians you can not only watch but I enjoy the ones that stop and talk to the audience, and teach them things. Knowledge is a precious gift and a powerful weapon, I learned tonight that Country Music Legend Onie Wheeler died ON the Opry stage. Now folks I did know he died of a heart attack, but I had no idea he died actually on the stage.
He and Big Sandy both chose Onie Wheeler songs tonight, and not only was that history mutually significant between those two, but iconic drummer J.M. Van Eaton was there to play on some of the songs he originally played on like the Jerry Lee Lewis classic “Great Balls Of Fire”.
Mr. J.W. played on all of those Sun Records classic albums from all of those artists from that time frame, and he did splendidly well on those songs again. He started with Jerry Lee Lewis song “Let The Good Times Roll” which I do believe was originally released in the late 1980’s but I could be wrong about that one.
The Onie Wheeler song he chose was called “Jump Right Out Of This Jukebox” from 1959 Sun Records with “Tell Em Off” being the B side. He closed with my favorite song Mr. Billy Mize wrote “It All Depends On Who Will Buy The Wine” that Jerry Lee Lewis did but I liked Charlie Walker’s version better.
Billy Harlan is a local Legend to me in my area, being a radio disc jockey during the time Hank Williams Sr died. He has had a resurgence into the Rockabilly Music scene through Muddy Roots Record label Read More Here on that subject.
He played “I Ain’t Elvis” and followed that with “My Fate Is In Your Hands” that was recorded by Hawkshaw Hawkins before his iconic death in 1963 with Cowboy Copas and Patsy Cline. He closed his set with my favorite and his staple hit song “I Wanna Bop”.
Big Sandy and his Fly Rite Boys are Rockabilly Legends from the west coast area, and what’s nice about the Boogie is it brings them all to the Nashville area so I can cover their sets on this website. Anytime the west coast acts of any genre come out this way (or Red Dirt artists too) I usually rush out and see them, because there’s NO telling when they will return.
“That’s All” was the first song I noticed him playing, before playing Jerry Lee Lewis “I’m Sorry”. He closed his set with a song called “I Feel Sorry For You”. He also played a set at the Palace I believe but I missed it for other obligations.
J.P.Harris is an artist that I have always loved in every way, he plays COUNTRY. He doesn’t play any of the offshoot genres that are described by many. His new duet EP just recently cam out called “Why Don’t We Duet In The Road” and it includes “Golden Ring” with Kristiana Murray. I featured her at this past Muddy Roots.
This was a truly wonderful start to the Country portion of this show and did certainly whet our appetite for the main acts tonight. He opened with “Two For The Road” and went into “Oklahoma Is A Long Way Away” both from his first album he made, before going into a cover of “Why You Been Gone So Long”.
Mr. Joshua Hedley is a name YOU WILL hear more of on this website I PROMISE YOU. Now I took videos but I will not post them because these are new songs from an upcoming album. In fact I don’t even know the new song titles so I shall just speculate what they are.
His first one was perhaps the best called “Counting All My Teardrops” which not only showcased his vocals in a new and true form it embellished his lyrics really well. I was astounded by his ability to display his influences of traditional Country Music here. It resembled an old Conway Twitty song or the likes of that era song, but with a fresh new twist from a young man.
“Let’s Take A Vacation And Fall In Love Again” was well written and pleasant to listen to in a slew of hurting and heartache songs. “This Time for The First Time” was another truly fine song from the forthcoming album as well as “You’ll Be Better In The End”. AGAIN these are ONLY speculations on the names as SOOMN as I learn some information on this album it WILL be featured on here. He closed with “When You Wish Upon A Star”.
Bobby Bare was pretty much regarded as the original Outlaw of the 1970’s and is credited with ushering in the Outlaw Movement. Muddy Roots has featured him many times in the field, and as he walked out onto that stage and stood in that circle he gazed upon the crowd and said “Well I guess I had better sing some songs, huh”?
Standing brazenly in front of his band with age and growl in his voice he began with “I Wanna Go Home”, and went into “Winner” which had the crowd going on his trademark wild story songs like this one.
He went into “Streets Of Baltimore” and his equally famous trademark song “Dropkick Me Jesus”. I tell you what on so many classic songs from his past the enthusiastic audience sang along with every note he did, as he displayed ageless delivery of every note. Time has not faltered this Legend in any way but positively making his lessons of mistakes in life even more convincing. The stories and pictures painted by these old Outlaw songs of days gone by are many and vivid to someone like me.
“500 Miles” and “Four Strong Winds” were next followed by “Margie’s At The Lincoln Park Inn”. He stopped every couple of songs to tell jokes and share witty smart assed quips and one liner jokes. Before going into Shel Silverstein’s song “Still Gonna Die” off the Old Dogs album he made with Mel Tillis, Waylon and Jerry Reed. Mr. Jerry played on all of Bobby Bare’s classic albums, having helped Mr. Bobby’s career out immensely.
“That’s How I Got To Memphis” was second to closing along with “Marie LeVeaux” his only number one hit song, although he had many Top tens in his four decade career. And as he releases his new album soon called “Things Change” I see nothing changing for this man. Hopefully he will be around with us for many many years to come, because we need him.
Jerry Jeff Walker has brought Country Music so many songs I couldn’t even begin to name them all, and tonight as he performed his first Nashville set in twenty seven years he was just grateful to be there. “You Called Me out here to yell at me huh?” as people yelled out songs they wanted to hear.
As he opened with “Gettin By” and went into “Pickup Truck Song” he also displayed that time has not faltered his voice any, nor has it dented his ageless wit. He remain the same precise and crafted tunesmith we all know and love. He is the true last of his ilk the Townes Van Zandts and Tompall Glasers of his era probably survived only by Kristofferson and Mr. Tom Ghent. Mr. Jerry Jeff is the last of the breed, in every sense of the word.
He played the classic song “Navajo Rug” next along with one of his most popular songs “Mr. Bojangles” and followed that with “Trashy Women” that was recorded by Confederate Railroad”. That to me was a classic album for sure, in every sense of the word.
He took his long sleeve shirt off and decided to stay awhile before playing “Derby Day” and got ready to treat us to another set of classic songs here. He went into “Leaving LA Freeway”, and told some stories before going into the song “My Favorite Picture Of You” and more!
“The Cape” was next followed by one Miss Sunny Sweeney just cut called “I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight”, along with his most noted rowdy bar anthem called “Up Against The Wall” made popular by Ray Wylie Hubbard. This truly was indeed a grand second set he played tonight here, and next he played “Those Were The Days”.
His encore included “The Armadillo Song” “Good Hearted Woman” and another song called “Little Bird”. There were four or five songs I missed while writing notes down and jotting things down on various places in my books. I know he played a Rusty Weir song as well, and once again received another standing ovation here at the Opry tonight.
Last year the Chris Issak show was truly enjoyable but THIS show was indeed the crown jewel of all Muddy Roots performances in my opinion. There has been many many Legends play in the field, at the Boogie and the Spring Weekender. In my opinion this one was the best I have ever had the pleasure to witness, and left me absolutely speechless. I had to wait a few days to even write words about this one folks it hit me that hard.