Iconic Venue Billy Bob’s Reopens! A look At The Current State of Things Volume 1.

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Aug 302020
 

Right now I am preparing a vibrant return to the keyboard, with some articles on how to help out venues and the crippled music industry. EVERY festival cancelled for the year as well as EVERY show. We finally had a smaller version of Record Store Day today, with two other “drop days” planned for the year. With all of the failed shows and lost income from 2020, new albums were the ONLY shining light we had so far.

I opted to turn this article into a whole series of them, delving deeper into the state of live music as I study it both online and personally. In the next few weeks I am going to be reaching out to various markets all over the United States and abroad to find out JUST HOW bad of shape the live local music business is in…..BUT I WILL NOT write it in a dramatic or click bait fashion like other sites will.

This past week in Texas one of the more famous venues re opened, and is hosting shows with current prevention methods in place. Slowly, I am hoping that touring bands can and will slowly begin rolling again nationwide by the beginning of next year.

I do not care WHAT KIND OF MUSIC YOU enjoy and support, this whole deal affects ALL OF US without a doubt. All of us need to group together as one and help the venues stay afloat during this terrible ordeal. I’m going to be bringing you MORE great volumes of this subject in the future.

SEP 11 – Cory Morrow (Ticket Info)
SEP 12 – Granger Smith (Ticket Info)
SEP 18 – Mark Chesnutt (Ticket Info)
SEP 19 – Ned LeDoux (Ticket Info)
SEP 25 – Riley Green (Ticket Info)
SEP 26 – Josh Weathers (Ticket Info)

New Concerts Announced & On Sale NOW!

More new shows have just been announced to the Billy Bob’s concert calendar. Tickets are on sale NOW for the following concerts:

OCT 02 – Copper Chief (Ticket Info)
OCT 03 – Aaron Watson (Ticket Info)
OCT 09 – Mike Ryan (Ticket Info)
OCT 10 – Mike Ryan (Ticket Info)
OCT 16 – Roger Creager (Ticket Info)
OCT 17 – Shane Smith & The Saints (Ticket Info)
OCT 23 – Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen: Hold My Beer And Watch This Tour (Ticket Info)
OCT 30 – Lonestar (Ticket Info)

For the full concert calendar, special event and visitor information, please go to www.billybobstexas.com

 

“The World’s Largest Honky Tonk” themed restaurant announces new plans and more concerts
FORT WORTH, Texas – The legendary Billy Bob’s Texas, located in the heart of the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, first opened in 1981. Billy Bob’s Texas has applied for a new permit that would allow the legendary Stockyards bar to open and operate as a restaurant, under restaurant guidelines. Management is still working on a few details but has every intention of opening BBT and the Honky Tonk Kitchen sometime between August 12-14.

New Concerts Announced for August!
Tickets for most of these shows will go on sale this Friday, August 7 at 10AM.

These upcoming concerts will be limited to 1,200 tickets; however, capacities could change after the first weekend of shows.

  • 1000 socially distanced Reserved Seats
  • 200 socially distanced General Admission

* There will be no bull riding shows or valet services at this time.

Billy Bob’s Texas remains dedicated to the health and well-being of the staff, guests, and entertainers. Learn more about the safety and sanitation processes at billybobstexas.com/safeandclean.

Upcoming concerts at Billy Bob’s Texas:
Sammy Kershaw
(9/11), Shane Smith & The Saints (10/17), “Hold My Beer and Watch This” Tour with Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen (10/23), Lonestar (10/30), Robert Earl Keen (11/6), Josh Ward (11/13), Colter Wall (11/19), Easton Corbin (11/27), Stoney LaRue (12/5), Jon Pardi (12/10 & 12/11), Randall King (1/29), Ted Nugent (1/30).

For additional information & ticket purchases visit www.billybobstexas.com.

Circle airing Live At Billy Bob’s Texas!
Live at Billy Bob’s Texas gives the listener a front-row seat to concerts at the World’s Largest Honky Tonk. The music series has compiled powerful performances featuring hits from legendary country music artists like Willie Nelson, Charlie Daniels, Eddy Raven, Gary Stewart, Asleep at the Wheel, Janie Fricke, and more.

Now, Circle network is carrying Live At Billy Bob’s Texas! Launched in January, Circle Media celebrates the country lifestyle and puts fans inside the circle of everything country. Circle offers entertainment news, documentaries, movies, archival, new and licensed programming, Grand Ole Opry performances, and more. Based in Nashville, Circle includes a linear network as well as a companion over-the-top (OTT) premium entertainment service which is expected to launch in spring 2020. Circle is a joint venture between Opry Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of Ryman Hospitality Properties, and Gray TV.

Go to CirclePlus.com for shows, schedules, and a simple guide to getting the channel.

Visit BillyBobsTexas.com/live-at-billy-bobs for more information, or to buy any of the Live at Billy Bob’s Texas CDs and DVDs, click here to visit the online store.

Billy Bob’s: Lending a Hand to Music History
Artists placing their hands in cement has been a tradition at Billy Bob’s for more than two decades.

Many of the club’s showcased artists have been honored with various awards and accolades. For some, however, their favorite honor is being part of what is now known as Billy Bob’s ‘Wall of Fame’.

Patrons can visit the Wall of Fame and see the handprints and autographs of Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and even Ringo Starr to name a few. Many fans enjoy comparing their hand size to the celebrities’.

To view the gallery, click here.

Album Feature – Zephaniah OHora – Listening To The Music

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Aug 282020
 

By Joshua Wallace

Zephaniah OHora is back with his second LP release following his stellar 2017 debut This Highway.  With This Highway, Zephaniah set out to prove that good country music could come from anywhere, even Brooklyn, NY. Now he’s releasing an album that solidifies his Bakersfield by the way of Brooklyn sound.  If you told me this was a record of lost Merle Haggard tunes. I don’t think most people would question that.  But no, this is an original record written by Zephaniah OHora except for a few cases where he has some co-writers.  Let’s take a deeper dive and see why this is likely going to end up one of my favorite records of 2020.

The album kicks off with “Heaven’s On The Way” which immediately displays some amazing pedal steel guitar from Jon Graboff.  The pedal steel is all over this record and it surely is a highlight whenever you hear it.  “When I’ve No More Tears To Cry” is a great lost love ballad that features and is co-written by Dori Freeman.  I particularly dig the electric guitar solo in this one.  Another highlight is “All American Singer” which sounds like something that would come off a Merle Haggard greatest hits record.  It’s a song that calls out the injustices of the day, but in the end recognizes that music is there to bring everyone together.

The track “Living Too Long” covers the classic country theme of how the good days are behind us.  It’s a bit more of an upbeat track, but Zephaniah OHora still gets the bluesy nature of the subject matter across. John Shannon’s electric guitar is a highlight here, and this is one of his co-writes.  I love how the track slows down a bit toward the end and has some great honky tonk piano over the last verse. “Riding That Train” is another upbeat track that has a sort of western swing sound to it.  It’s a great train song and you don’t hear as many of those these days

Zephaniah OHora has created one amazing record with Listening To The Music.  This album is much better than his stellar debut This Highway.  I was a fan of that record, but this album has more tracks that I’m drawn to and there really isn’t a bad cut here.  I hope to one day see Zephaniah OHora live, but you can follow him on his website.  Listening To The Music is out everywhere as of August 28th, 2020.    

Favorite Tracks : Heaven’s On The Way, When I’ve No More Tears To Cry, All American Singer, Listening To The Music, Living Too Long, Riding That Train, You Make It Easy To Love Again

Zephaniah OHora – Listening To The Music (2020)

  1. Heaven’s On The Way
  2. Black & Blue
  3. It’s Not So Easy Today
  4. When I’ve No More Tears To Cry
  5. All American Singer
  6. Listening To The Music
  7. Living Too Long
  8. We Planned To Have It All
  9. Riding That Train
  10. Emily
  11. You Make It Easy To Love Again
  12. Time Won’t Take It’s Time

 

Album Feature – Colter Wall – Western Swing & Waltzes And Other Punchy Songs

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Aug 262020
 

By Joshua Wallace

Colter Wall is back with his third full length record titled Western Swing & Waltzes And Other Punchy Songs.  This album is following his 2018 release Songs Of The Plains.  It leans further into the western motif Colter Wall has been going for in recent years.  It is also the first full record to feature his band The Scary Prairie Boys and to be produced solely by Colter himself.  Over the past few years Colter Wall has become one of the premier acts singing western and cowboy music and this record solidifies that even further.  This record features both original cuts and some choice covers from deeper into the cowboy songbook.  Let’s take a look at what you will find in this roughly 33 minute album.

The album kicks off with “Western Swing and Waltzes” which is a perfect intro for this record.  It’s a cowboy tune written by Colter Wall set to western styled waltz.  I particularly dig the harmonica work on here from Jake Groves.  A good harmonica player is key if you’re doing cowboy and western tunes.  Another favorite is the cover of the Marty Robbins hit “Big Iron” from the 1960 record Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs.  I heard Colter’s version of this live and was a big fan of it then and it is perfectly reproduced on the record.  I love Patrick Lyon’s pedal steel work on this one and Jake Groves contributes some bass harmonica which you don’t hear often.

Another favorite is the Colter Wall original “Henry and Sam”.  It’s a cleverly written tune about a gunslinger with guns named Henry and Sam.  It’s a fine example of why Colter Wall is considered one of the best country and folk songwriters going today.  Another original tune is “Talkin’ Prairie Boy” which is a bit of a different style for Colter as it is a talking blues song.  It’s a story about someone who has never been out west past Ohio and it shows.  There is something about the talking blues style and the way Colter tells this story that just grabs you and keeps your interest till the end.  It’s a fun departure from the rest of the album.  I also love Colter’s cover of Stan Jones’s “Cowpoke”.  Colter adapts this tune to his style and I love the interplay of the pedal steel and harmonica on this track.  You get to hear Colter Wall yodel here and that is always a highlight as Colter is a great yodeler.  Finally, another great original tune is “Rocky Mountain Rangers” which is a tale about a short lived cavalry who were not ready for the dangers of patrolling the wild frontiers.

Colter Wall’s new record cements him as a premier act in western music. This is also Colter’s debut as a producer and he got to make all of the decisions on the record.  I hope this is a trend that gets to continue because Colter’s current band The Scary Prairie Boys are a perfect match for his western style and seasoned baritone voice.  I highly recommend streaming or getting a copy of Western Swing & Waltzes and Other Punchy Songs when it becomes available everywhere on Friday August 28th, 2020.  You can find all the information you need on Colter Wall and the record at his website.

Favorite Tracks : Western Swing & Waltzes, Big Iron, Henry and Sam, Talkin’ Prairie Boy, Cowpoke, Rocky Mountain Rangers

Colter Wall – Western Swing & Waltzes And Other Punchy Songs (2020)

  1. Western Swing & Waltzes
  2. I Ride An Old Paint/Leavin’ Cheyenne
  3. Big Iron
  4. Henry and Sam
  5. Diamond Joe
  6. High And Mighty
  7. Talkin’ Prairie Boy
  8. Cowpoke
  9. Rocky Mountain Rangers
  10. Houlihans at the Holiday Inn

Album Feature: Dirty Streets – Rough And Tumble

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Aug 232020
 

One of the many things I am known for is finding bands that many of my readers don’t know about ( or know very little about). It is my onus to help expose these rare and hidden gems that USED TO play in all the little local watering holes all over America.

I have piles and piles of music work to do, and I also have a few issues with my daughter that I am helping her mend, before I continue my website work on a FULL SCALE BASIS like I previously did.

With that being said, I have features that came out in 2020 but MAY NOT BE IMMEDIATE new releases. Now look, this isn’t some blog that prints gossip and “news”, and I’m NOT TRYING to look “hip” or “modern”. I’m just a normal run of the mill guy with a personal music blog that shares what I know with the public. If you think I’m trying to compete with anybody, you are horribly mistaken.

So when I do find some of these bands on other sources, I ALWAYS give them credit on the find. Out in the Memphis area, where I do a lot of work for a lot of people you’ll find a band called Dirty Streets that I stumbled upon by watching my friends over at DittyTv based in Memphis Tennessee. ANY TIME you want some great Americana Music or Roots Music or MANY genres, THEY got it all.

This album was essentially LIVE drawn from the DittyTv in house performance, however some of these songs must have been new because I didn’t find them when I completed my research on their past albums..a very pleasant rabbit hole that was.

You cannot really lump this band into any strict genre, besides just damn good music. They resonate so many types of influence and sound, that no two songs sound completely the same to me..however they compliment one another on this 10 song album quite well. I hope you don’t mind me skipping around the track list here?

“Try To Remember” contains an awesome guitar grove  accompanied by a raw vocal delivery of Mr. Justin Toland. Some of their other albums spoke to me louder than this one did overall, however this new installment solidified their style.

“On The Way” has a great vocal melody on it, and is one of my favorite songs on the entire album because it slowed down things a bit and I like an acoustic ballad that keeps grit and rock influences there.

It opens with a rough and rowdy song called “Good Pills” which is the video I watched on DittyTv. Being a recovered addict these songs speak to me as an individual more than anything accept hardcore Country story songs. The line “Don’t forget to take your pills, I know you won’t because you can’t stop” was amazing and simple at the same time. This song is originally on the “White Horse” album from 2015.

Along with Mr. Thomas Storz on bass and Mr. Andrew Deham on drums they make up quite a powerful band with true story songs like “Walk A Mile In My Shoes”. It’s one of those DON’T JUDGE ME songs like the Cody Jinks classic “Cast No Stones”. Now MIND YOU this song is a cover of Mr. Joe South’s 1968 version from an album called “Don’t It Make You Want To Go Home”.

The song “Itta Benna” which is track 4, came from their 2009 debut “Portrait Of A Man”…now according to their website there exists many bootlegs of their shows from Memphis clubs. “Think Twice” came from the ‘White Horse” album as well, and was on the album for track 6.

Rough And Tumble tracks:

1. Good Pills
2. Tell the Truth
3. Walk A Mile In My Shoes
4. Itta Benna
5. Can’t Go Back
6. Think Twice
7. Take A Walk
8. Try To Remember
9. The Voices
10. On The Way

Record Store Day 2020

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Aug 162020
 

Several weeks ago I reported on the moving of Record Store Day 2020. However, after having announced a new date the beloved ‘holiday” that so many of us celebrate has once again been altered.  Many of the stores involved with this have their own rules and regulations as to how they can and cannot conduct business, therefore this has to be approached from a different perspective and I think this was a good choice.

To be honest, this will be three different days of celebrating small businesses instead of just one. Many states have so many different laws and rules that they will be dropping on three separated weekends in the year of 2020. As I have previously stated in many of my recent articles I have a strong suspicion life will never return to the echelon it once was.

Just about every festival has been postponed or cancelled to next year, and we see very little hope for big major shows to come back before mid fall of this year. Most of us have turned to podcasts and videos of our favorite bands we love,  and continuing to enjoy new release albums of 2020.

So with that in mind let me release to you, my dear readers just exactly what I know about Record Store Day this year:

Record Store Day will look very different this year, but supporting indie record stores may be more important than ever. We don’t know what sort of rules will be in place, or what sort of gatherings people will be in the mood for this year, so we’re focusing on the music and getting the really great titles on the RSD Official List this year into the stores and into your hands, in the most financially and socially responsible way.The titles on the RSD 2020 Official List, launched on March 5th, will be released at participating record stores on one of these three RSD Drops: August 29th, September 26th, and October 24th.   The new version of The List, with newly assigned RSD Drops dates will launch on June 1 so check back here for a look at when you’ll be able to pick up the titles on your RSD 2020 wish list at your local record store.

This next week Ill be heading out to a few of my favorite hot spots in Bowling Green, and Nashville for a few titles I want. In the last few months with all the live music having been pretty much gone, I have been on a record buying spree that has lasted several weeks now.

I’m eagerly awaiting the Dio excerpts from the Magica album, the Brandi Carlile single, the Corb Lund EP “Cover Your Tracks” , the John Prine 4 album set, the live Shooter Jennings, and a few more!

RSD Podcast host Paul Myers demonstrates the #RSDShelfie. Take a snap in your favorite record store, tag them on socials, use #RSDShelfie, and maybe end up on the Podcast telling the world about that favorite store.
RSD PODCAST every other Tuesday. 
Listen/Subscribe/Review where you get your podcasts. 

 

Well, we would have been celebrating our big Day tomorrow, but things in 2020 are turning out a little differently. We’ll be throwing a party at a record store again for sure, but this weekend, let’s make sure record stores know how we feel about them. Check below for ways to celebrate, spread the word and share your love for record stores! 
SHOW OFF YOUR SHIRTS!
Head to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and show us what stores you’re wearing on your sleeve/chest/elsewhere!  Use #RSD2020
I’D RATHER BE AT A RECORD STORE!
Click the picture below to download a graphic for Twitter, Facebook or Instagram (stories too!) and tell the world where you’d rather be on April 18!  Use #RSD2020
WATCH A MOVIE! OR THREE!
You could have a veritable film fest this weekend! Details below! 
OUR VERY FIRST EVER OFFICIAL FILM OF RECORD STORE DAY! Filmmaker Jeanie Finlay’s look at Sound It Out Records, her hometown record store, and the cast of characters you’ll recognize from your OWN cherished shop.  FREE TO SCREEN FOR A LIMITED TIME–and a bonus watch party and reunion show on Saturday April 18! Jeaniefinlay.com
A deep dig into the crates of the vinyl record resurgence to discover what an old technology says about our relationship to music and each other in a divided time in America.
The premiere was supposed to happen this spring, but…
Participating record stores are selling “tickets” for special online access to the film over the original RSD weekend so buy a ticket, support a record store and check out VINYL NATION in the comfort of your own record room.
ALL PROCEEDS FROM TICKETS GO TO THE INDIE RECORD STORE! 
The documentary about the beloved New York City record store Other Music has an “online cinema experience” this weekend, and tickets benefit indie record stores and theatres. Check with your local record store –the ticket links go live today!
50% OF THE PROCEEDS FROM TICKETS GO TO THE INDIE RECORD STORE! 
BUY SOME RECORDS! 
No matter the format, no matter the amount. Record stores across the country are open for business — by phone, by email, online, on Instagram, and some for curbside pickup! No better way to let them know you care. 

Lynn Anderson ‘Rose Garden’ Deluxe Collector’s Edition Vinyl Was Released June 13

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Aug 162020
 

 

Lynn Anderson: Rose Garden [Deluxe Collector's Edition Vinyl]

Lynn Anderson Featured In PBS Program ‘Iconic Women of Country’

Includes Pink Translucent Vinyl and Notes From Reba McEntire and Clive Davis with only 1000 Exclusive Vinyl Records Released Just In Time For Lynn Anderson Day

Nashville, Tenn. – The illustrious legacy of country music’s leading lady, Lynn Anderson sparks an impression on a whole new generation while captivating long time dedicated fans as the ‘Rose Garden’ Deluxe Collector’s Edition is available on vinyl. This exclusive anniversary release contains never before seen notes written to Anderson from country music star Reba McEntire and legendary producer Clive Davis while sporting a unique translucent pink color. The Lynn Anderson ‘Rose Garden’ Deluxe Collectors Edition Vinyl will be released on June 13, just in time for Lynn Anderson Day on June 15 when a few other surprises will also be revealed. There are only 1,000 vinyl records available so be sure to get yours and join the celebration!

“This has been such an exciting year for all things Lynn Anderson,” says daughter Lisa Sutton. “Mom’s career left a lasting mark on country music and this has truly been the year for her to shine. With the re-release of four albums, the 2020 Lynn Anderson Rose, the ‘Iconic Women of Country’ PBS special and the 50th Anniversary release of ‘Rose Garden’.”

Lynn Anderson is featured in a special program on PBS, ‘Iconic Women of Country,’ which premiered May 31st. The program is co-produced by Transform Films and TH Entertainment, LLC and depicts a detailed look at the legendary female artists that shaped an era of country music and their stories and songs that have weathered decades of storms. Original interviews and classic recordings dive into the sweet southern sense of Lynn Anderson and pay tribute to other icons of country music including Loretta LynnDolly PartonTammy WynettePatsy ClineBrenda Lee and more. ‘Iconic Women of Country’ features live footage of Anderson’s hit single, “I Never Promised You A Rose Garden,” and testimonies from modern female country stars who speak of these legendary women as a great source of inspiration. Check local PBS listings for details.

Sony Legacy Recordings recently re-released four digitally remastered albums of Lynn Anderson’s: ‘Cry,’ ‘Listen To A Country Song,’ ‘Singing My Song’ and ‘Stay There ‘Til I Get There.’

To keep up with all other events and announcements visit LynnAndersonRoseGarden.com

Album Feature – Jeannie Seely – An American Classic

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Aug 142020
 

By Joshua Wallace

An American Classic is the seventeenth studio album from Jeannie Seely and her first since 2017’s Written In Song release.  This collection is a mixture of new songs and some re-recorded classics.  The new songs sound like they would fit right alongside the classics.  Jeannie Seely takes you back to the days of listening to the great American classics on AM country radio in the 1960’s or 70’s.  Let’s check out some of the highlights of this set.

The album kicks off with “So Far So Good” featuring The Whites.  This track has a bit of a western swing sound to it and I love the addition of The Whites here.  It’s a great way to start the album on a high note.  Another favorite is “If You Could Call It That” featuring Steve Wariner.  This song was written using a journal of unfinished songs by Dottie West.  Steve Wariner helped with a co-write on this track.  One of the re-recorded classics on this album is Jeannie’s 1973 hit “Can I Sleep In Your Arms Tonight, Mister”.  The original tune made it to #6 on the country charts and was recorded by Willie Nelson for his Red Headed Stranger album.  This new recording is closer to Jeannie’s original version than Willie’s minimalist version that most folks would know from Red Headed Stranger.  Speaking of Willie Nelson, he appears on this record in a duet with Jeannie on a new track written by Dallas Wayne called “Not A Dry Eye In The House”.  This is a great ballad and it features a great vocal performance from Jeannie and Willie.  I love the strings and piano on this track.  It sounds like it would fit in on a 1960’s country radio station.

Another great duet is the classic tune “Old Flames (Can’t Hold A Candle To You) featuring Waylon Payne.  This duo does a great job with one of my favorite classic country love songs.  Waylon Payne matches Jeannie’s soulful voice easily on this cut.  Finally, we have “That’s How I Roll”.  This is a rocking number featuring Lorrie Morgan on vocals and the one and only Vince Gill on guitar. The piano is really awesome on this track and I love how well it plays with Vince Gill’s guitar solo.

This album is another great release from country legend Jeannie Seely.  Whether you know her as a star and regular at the Grand Ole Opry or are a new fan, this record is highly recommended.  It also has a great list of guest artists from names like Rhonda Vincent to Ray Stevens to Waylon Payne and Willie Nelson.  I have personally seen Jeannie Seely at the Opry a couple of times and I hope I get the chance to again in the future.  In the meantime, “An American Classic” is available everywhere as of August 14th, 2020.  You can find out more information on Jeannie’s website here.  

Favorite Tracks : So Far So Good, If You Could Call It That, Can I Sleep In Your Arms Tonight, Not A Dry Eye In The House, Old Flames, That’s How I Roll, Dance Tonight

Jeannie Seely – An American Classic (2020)

  1. So Far So Good (w/ The Whites)
  2. If You Could Call It That (feat. Steve Wariner)
  3. To Make A Dream Come True
  4. Teach Me Tonight
  5. Can I Sleep In Your Arms Tonight
  6. All Through Crying Over You (with Rhonda Vincent)
  7. When Two Worlds Collide (with Bill Anderson)
  8. Not A Dry Eye In The House (feat. Willie Nelson)
  9. Old Flames (Can’t Hold A Candle To You) (with Waylon Payne)
  10. That’s How I Roll (with Vince Gill and Lorrie Morgan)
  11. Don’t Touch Me
  12. Dance Tonight (with Ray Stevens)
  13. Peaceful Waters

Concerts In The Time Of COVID-19

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Aug 132020
 

By Joshua Wallace


Billy Strings at the Exit/In July 25th, 2020 (Streaming Strings Tour)

 

Sometime around the second week of March 2020, the live concert industry shut down.  Major tours and festivals canceled or pushed their dates back one by one.  Venues across the country shut down and canceled all future events.  The COVID-19 pandemic effectively shut down the live music touring industry right before the start of it’s busy season over the summer.  Many artists were shocked with this sudden turn of events, but a lot of them have been working to make the best of this bad situation.  This article is a look at the things I have observed over the past few months with the touring industry shut down.

Almost immediately, many artists started doing live streams.  These live stream concerts were often solo acoustic performances.  The quality of these shows varied from artist to artist as it relied on the artist setting up their own streaming equipment and connection, however many artists found what worked for them pretty quickly.  It would not be out of the ordinary to see ten or twenty different artists in any genre doing a live show any given night of the week.  The free live streams were often accompanied by virtual tip jars with various links to donate to the artist.  As artists figured out the set up that worked best for them, the quality of live shows increased.  Some even started doing live streams with the requirement of a virtual ticket purchase to watch the stream.  The ticket prices for these early ticketed shows were often low or pay what you want so the artists could get as many people as they could watching the streams.  

Solo performances eventually became duo and in some cases, full band performances.  Some artists opted to do full band performances over zoom, while others who lived close enough together, were able to secure a space to send out virtual performances.  Some artists took their full band performances to actual venues to give their fans a full concert experience.  Billy Strings did this with a 9 date tour across various venues in Nashville, TN to a great success.  In recent weeks, I have noticed more mainstream acts like Tim McGraw pick up the virtual concert gig.  This is going to be more popular as this pandemic goes on.

Another option many bands are taking advantage of is the drive in concert.  I have seen these done in a couple of ways.  Some concerts have the actual band set up on a stage with people parking in front of the stage to see the show.  Other bands have set up either a recorded concert or a live stream concert to be sent out to various theaters nationwide.  A couple of larger examples of this have been Garth Brooks and Metallica.  These drive in concerts are often expensive.  I have seen prices ranging from $100 to $250.  This is per car load and these concerts often assume you have up to 6 people in a car.  I have not been to one of these personally, but I am not a fan of the concept.  It is very expensive unless you have a large group, and even then in most cases, you are watching the band from a screen and listening to a localized FM broadcast in your car.  This seems to work for some people because the Garth Brooks concert took in millions of dollars in one evening.

It’s a weird time for the live music industry and many artists are trying their hardest to find what works.  A select few are actually still playing shows, but these shows are often at smaller venues at half or less capacity.  Plus, artists run the risk of online backlash when images show up of fans not practicing social distancing at their shows.  For me, some of the best setups have been artists who have been able to run live streams at an actual concert venue.  These are often shot professionally and help maintain that real concert feel you get when you go to an actual show.  Sure, solo live performances can be a much more personal medium with the feeling of one on one interaction with the artist, and drive in shows actually get you out of the house.  However, live streams from actual venues feel like a happy medium that you get to enjoy in the comfort of your own setting.  Plus it helps keep the band’s crews at work and it helps support the venue at a time when live venues desperately need support.  We have seen too many concert venues closing during this pandemic already and I support anything that supports their cause.

However you choose to enjoy concerts in this time of COVID-19, I hope that you do so safely and responsibly.  I will personally be back to reviewing live shows as soon as I am able to.  I look forward to the time when I get to experience concerts in a post pandemic setting.  Until then, I will keep posting album features here and we will keep you up to date with things as we can.

Album Feature – Daniel Donato – A Young Man’s Country

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Aug 112020
 

By Joshua Wallace

Now this is what I call a guitar record.  Daniel Donato comes in hot with his debut album called A Young Man’s Country.  He calls his brand of country music “cosmic country”.  When you cover the likes of John Prine, Waylon Jennings and Grateful Dead on a debut record, you better bring it and Daniel Donato does.  This record is honky tonk blended with psychedelic sounds.  Daniel Donato has a great signature guitar sound that fits the tone he’s going after and he rocks the house on just about every track.  Here are some of my favorites.

The album kicks off with “Justice” which is a fun love song.  The chorus sounds like something you would hear on the radio in country music’s golden age.  When you combine that with Daniel’s signature guitar licks, this song is a great preview for the rest of the album.  Another favorite is “Meet Me In Dallas”.  It’s one of the longer songs of the record clocking in at almost seven minutes so you know it’s a jam.  The song starts off as a ballad about being alone before it goes into a trippy interlude that leads into a long multi-layered jam session that is sure to be a fun extended live jam.  Daniel Donato gives similar treatment to Grateful Dead’s “Fire On The Mountain”.  He uses this track to showcase how his brand of cosmic country can apply to the more rock side of this sound and it’s a killer jam.

Another straight banger on this album is “Diamond In The Rough”.  It has a similar feel to “Justice” in that it was made for radio but decades ago.  It’s a toe tapping number that actually gets to stretch its legs out a bit.  I love how the band seems to kick it up a notch at different points in the song till the solo comes in and breaks out into another multi layered jam that builds to a stunning crescendo before bringing in the final chorus.  Finally, we have Daniel Donato’s Waylon Jennings cover “Ain’t Living Long Like This”.  It’s an amped up version that applies Daniel’s signature sound to the Waylon classic.  This song brings something different to the table with some killer honky tonk piano in the mix.  It adds another layer to the jam session at the end of this one.

This may be his debut studio album, but Daniel Donato and his band come across as a well seasoned country jam band.  They dabble into southern rock and psychedelic elements that add layers to their jam sessions on record.  I can’t wait to hear what some of these songs sound like live where I’m sure the band plays much longer than what you get here.  A Young Man’s Country is available digitally everywhere you can buy and stream music as of August 7th, 2020.  You can find out more information on Daniel Donato’s website here.        

Favorite Tracks : Justice, Meet Me In Dallas, Fire On The Mountain, Diamond In The Rough, Ain’t Living Long Like This

Daniel Donato – A Young Man’s Country (2020)

  1. Justice
  2. Always Been A Lover
  3. Meet Me In Dallas
  4. Fire On The Mountain
  5. Luck Of The Draw
  6. Broke Down
  7. Angel From Montgomery
  8. Sweet Tasting Tennessee
  9. Diamond In The Rough
  10. Forgotten Days
  11. Ain’t Living Long Like This

Introducing The Americana Music Association Foundation And MORE!

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Aug 092020
 

We’ve just launched the Americana Music Association Foundation (AMAF), a new educational and charitable organization dedicated to preserving Americana music’s past and future.

What is the Americana Music Association Foundation?

This new entity was born out of a need to preserve and educate people on the beloved art form we know today as Americana music, which includes the rich threads of country, folk, blues, soul, bluegrass, gospel and rock in our tapestry.

As an Association, our mission is to advocate for the authentic voice of American roots music around the world. Part of that mission is the responsibility to foster the genre’s growth long after we all leave this planet. With that in mind, we want this Foundation to educate not only today’s generation but also future generations on the music that’s resonated with us and soundtracked our lives as an indelible piece of our culture. We aim to accomplish this through educational programs and live events with some great music, of course.

So I’m quite sure that many of you have been asking yourselves, where has old Gary Hayes been? Well my friends, this year has been a pivotal one for EVERYONE, including me. Family issues and medical issues both weighed heavily on me so far in 2020, but I have overcame every obstacle in my path. I’m now on the upside of catching up on things around the music realms, including this The Americana Music Association.

I have HUNDREDS of albums to catch up on, as well as news issues all over the many worlds of music we cover on this website. The Americanafest community in Nashville is one of my favorites, because during that week I learn a LOT through the many informational panels they offer.

See, while many others are busy meddling with arguing on social media and writing about Kane Brown getting lost on his property….I am studying and refining myself with knowledge to beat them at their own game. I spend so many hours reading and fact checking what I want to bring you, that I have very little time for facebook political banter.

These two projects here truly intrigued me in every way, because it encompasses so many types of bands I enjoy and feature on here. This foundation will steamroll into 2021 with all types of educational programs like the forthcoming Thriving Roots Music Conference in September. This conference will transpire in 2020 in lieu of the informational panels we would normally have during the festival week.

ABOUT THE FOUNDATION

Launched in 2020, this new entity was born out of a need to preserve and educate people on the beloved art form we know today as Americana music, which includes the rich threads of country, folk, blues, soul, bluegrass, gospel and rock in our tapestry. We want the foundation to educate not only today’s generation but also future generations on the music that’s resonated with us and soundtracked our lives as an indelible piece of our culture. We aim to accomplish this through educational programs and live events with some great music, of course.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (June 8, 2020) — Today, The Americana Music Association has announced the creation of the Americana Music Association Foundation (AMAF), a 501(c)(3) educational and charitable organization. As American culture is traveling through a period of tumult and uncertainty, the Foundation seeks to provide musical healing, by preserving and educating the world about the rich cultural treasure buried in the roots music of this country, which includes the threads of blues, bluegrass, country, folk, rock and gospel that make up the Americana tapestry

The Foundation has set out to accomplish this mission through educational programs, musical performances and public events. Throughout the year, its work will focus on the preservation of past legacies and traditions that spotlight Americana music’s heritage while looking ahead to ensuring the future of the genre for generations to come.

The AMAF was set up to be nimble. In recent weeks, it has quietly launched its efforts to raise funds, beginning in partnership with Ed Helms’ and The Bluegrass Situation’s production of “Whiskey Sour Happy Hour” this spring. The online variety show garnered more than $75,000 in donations to the MusiCares® COVID 19 Relief Fund and Direct Relief, which provides PPE to medical professionals on the front line. The Association will continue to mine its own Americana archives to raise funds for various causes.

The primary focus of the educational aspects of the Foundation’s work will include producing the Thriving Roots Institute, an initiative bringing together artists and educators to address historical precedents, milestones and pathways for artists in the future. The Foundation will be making a major announcement for additional plans this month.

The AMAF is committed to the Americana Archival project to preserve the history of this American art form by digitizing unique moments in time, like Johnny and June Carter Cash’s last public performance together at the first annual Americana Honors & Awards, just months before his passing.

The Foundation will work with the existing academic community of ethnomusicologists helping fund new fieldwork to preserve music cultures from the rural South to the Texas-Mexico border, and from the Native American songs of the Pacific Northwest to the folk-fiddling music of Maine.

The Americana Music Association Foundation inaugural Board of Directors includes: Lori Badgett, Jackson Browne, T Bone Burnett, Brandi Carlile, Rhiannon Giddens, Garth Fundis, Dennis Lord (Chair), JD May (Vice Chair), Mark Moffatt, Jonathan Taplin and Kurt Vitolo.

Now, I want to take the time to share with you the Thriving Roots Music Conference news for this year. As you know Americanafest is more about community and networking than anything else.

There will be over 50 different conversations and meetings to enrich whatever your particular interest is within the realms of the entertainment industry. I am especially salivating over the one with Mr. Ken Burns, where he will be commenting on his documentary one year later.

Join us for three days of industry insight + unforgettable connections. We’re beyond excited to tell you about Thriving Roots: A Virtual Community Music Conference, an online experience coming your way Sept. 16-18, 2020.

Presented by the Americana Music Association Foundation, Thriving Roots is a brand new event with almost 100 online sessions that go beyond today’s webinar-style virtual conferences.

Hear from industry experts + trendsetting artists
With live engaging panels, you’ll have a front-row seat to insight you won’t find anywhere else. We’re going to be bringing you today’s top industry leaders and artists for intimate conversations on music, culture and everything in between.

Experience music through entertaining special events

Give your mind some time to unwind in between panels and let loose a little. Our industry friends will invite you into their own world for some great music and quality virtual hangs from the comfort of your own home.

Create lasting relationships wherever you are in the world
On the Thriving Roots platform, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with one another by creating your own attendee profile, browsing our attendee directory, private messaging and even starting an open discussion on our forum. If you want to talk shop with other attendees, simply schedule one-on-one virtual meetings. You can also check out our live exhibit hall filled with friends of the music community.

Before Thriving Roots begins on September 16, you’ll be able to create your attendee profile and customize your own daily schedule. If you end up missing something on your schedule, don’t sweat it – you’ll be able to access our content after the conference ends.

Learn from these game-changing musicians
Rosanne Cash, John Leventhal, Mavis Staples, Jackson Browne, Rhiannon Giddens and T Bone Burnett are trailblazers who’ve carved their own place in the music world. You’ll get to hear inspiring talks from these musicians.And we’re just getting started. Stay tuned to find out who else is going to be a part of Thriving Roots this fall.Get your pass today
A limited number of passes at our Early Bird rate are now on sale for $99. Once those sell out, passes will increase to $149, so don’t wait. Buy yours below today.

 

Judd Apatow + The Avett Brothers
Join them for a conversation on the intersection of film and music, as well as the fine line between fine art and commerce.

Bob Weir + Oteil Burbridge
These two stellar musicians will look at the inspirations and influence Black musicians have had on the Grateful Dead.

Sarah Jarosz + John Leventhal + Chris Thile
Moderated by Chris, Sarah and John will delve into the connection between the artist and producer that’s most recently showcased on her latest album, “World On The Ground.”

Sierra Hull + Béla Fleck
Join these genre envelope-pushers for “Music Without Boundaries,” a talk on how roots music transcends and connects with a wide range of audiences around the world.
+ talks on empowering creatives, streaming and the road to recovery
  • Get an inside look at how Americana industry pros are empowering their artists to retain creative control and the benefits of assembling a hand-picked team during “Independent Control: The Power of Collaboration.”
  • “Building a Streaming Strategy in 2020” will show artists and pros how to optimize today’s digital resources with real-world strategies that lead to growing listenership and a solid fanbase.
  • Join Phil Bogard, Jaime Wyatt and more for “The Show Must Go On: Musicians in Recovery,” a talk about the road to recovery, how to find treatment and practical steps on becoming a sober creator.
  • AMERICANAFEST fan-favorite panel “Songlines Music Meeting” is going virtual this year, once again inviting attendees to listen to mostly unreleased music and score songs live during this engaging session.
Kick back with a guided meditation + some rockin’ tunes
  • Learn to find your center with Valerie June as she walks attendees through a guided meditation using ancient teachings.
  • Catch The Cadillac Three, Sheryl Crow and Ray Wylie Hubbard during Big Machine Label Group’s music break.
  • “Aw Heck: An Oh Boy Music Break” will give you a front-row seat to performances by Tré Burt, Arlo McKinley, Dan Reeder and Kelsey Waldon.
  • Experience the rich roots of North Carolina during “Come Hear NC,” a musical spotlight on Hiss Golden Messenger, Jim Lauderdale, Mandolin Orange, Steep Canyon Rangers and more.
Stay tuned for even more updates from us. Grab your pass below today!
Buy Your Thriving Roots Pass

 

Check Out the Full Schedule
Like what you see? Be sure to buy your pass so you can begin making your own schedule when we launch our Thriving Roots platform next week.
Music, comedy and insightful talks
The Milk Carton Kids’ “Sad Song Comedy Hour” with Lucinda Williams
Join The Milk Carton Kids for a special edition of their residency as they sit down for a conversation and must-see performance with Lucinda.
Price Points: Talking Artistic Values with Margo Price
Get to know how the outspoken singer-songwriter has channeled her own values and voice into her music, statements and more during a conversation with music critic and NPR Music Contributor Jewly Hight.

Album Feature – Charley Crockett – Welcome To Hard Times

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Aug 052020
 

By Joshua Wallace

I have been a fan of Charley Crockett’s for a long time.  He has become quite prolific and has produced five albums since 2017’s Lil G.L.’s Honky Tonk Jubilee.  Earlier this year he produced an album called Field Recordings, Vol. 1.  It’s steeped in old time music with plenty of traditional and a few original tunes as well.  Welcome To Hard Times is an album of mostly original tunes with a cover of Red Lane’s “Blackjack County Chain”.  This is Charley Crockett’s best album yet and I’m here to tell you why.

The album kicks off with the title track “Welcome To Hard Times”.  I love this song.  The piano riff is simple, catchy and takes you straight to the old spaghetti western movies.  This album goes for that psychedelic western motif a lot and it helps to tie the entire thing together.  Another great tune is “Run Horse Run”.  It picks up the gambling theme and runs with it a bit on a song that sounds like a train going down the tracks.  This one is sure to be fun to hear live.  “Don’t Cry” is a song about leaving that was co-written by Dan Auerbach and Pat McLaughlin.  This tune is a song about a man who is always bound to leave, but promises his girl that he’s always coming back home.  It’s a great ballad that continues the western themes that run throughout this album.

“Lily My Dear” is a song that sounds like a traditional banjo tune but it was written by Charley with Vincent Neil Emerson, Colin Colby and Tyler Heiser.  It’s a song about a woman who visits a man who is down on his luck in prison.  It’s a great tune.  “Paint It Blue” is another great tune about an outlaw on the run who is missing the woman he left behind. I love the pedal steel throughout this track.  Nathan Fleming does a great job on pedal steel throughout this album.  “Blackjack County Chain” is another great tune that is a cover of a Red Lane song made famous by Willie Nelson.  Willie Nelson saw some success with it, but this song was eventually removed from radio play because of the lyrics about slavery.  Charley Crockett does a great job with this one and it fits right in on an album with tunes about outlaws, drifters and gamblers.  Finally, “The Man That Time Forgot” is a song that sounds like it came right from an album out of the 60’s or 70’s with it’s superb pedal steel and solid country gold sound. 

Charley Crockett comes off as someone with a deep knowledge of country and old time music.  There’s lots of piano driven honky tonk here mixed in with solid country gold and pedal steel.  This album is full of stories of outlaws, prisoners, gamblers and ramblers and all of them have some kind of heartbreak.  It’s my favorite record of 2020 so far.  Charley Crockett is definitely on my short list of names to see live when live shows start happening again.  In the meantime, you can follow Charley on his website here.  Welcome To Hard Times came out on July 31st, 2020 and is available everywhere you can find good music.

Favorite Tracks : Welcome To Hard Times, Run Horse Run, Don’t Cry, Lily My Dear, Heads You Win, Paint It Blue, Blackjack County Chain, The Man That Time Forgot

Charley Crockett – Welcome To Hard Times (2020)

  1. Welcome To Hard Times
  2. Run Horse Run
  3. Don’t Cry
  4. Tennessee Special
  5. Fool Somebody Else
  6. Lily My Dear
  7. Wreck Me
  8. Heads You Win
  9. Rainin’ In My Heart
  10. Paint It Blue
  11. Blackjack County Chain
  12. The Man That Time Forgot
  13. The Poplar Tree

Rockabilly Legend Mr. Al Hendrix Partners With Time Life To Release 107 Songs Digitally.

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Aug 022020
 

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Mr. Al Hendrix is a big part of one of my favorite periods of Country Music history, and that is the Bakersfield Sound. He is just as integral as Mr. Buck Owens, whom he often played with Mr. Bill Woods and the Orange Blossom Playboys.

These releases encapsulate much of his recent music releases from 2007 – 2019, even though some of the songs were recorded earlier than the album was released. Many of these albums are available through the respected label’s websites and his own website as well.

Here is the press release for this news:

Seven Albums Featuring 107 Songs Released To All Digital Platforms:

FAIRFAX, Va. – Rockabilly Hall of Fame legend Al Hendrix has partnered with Time Life to release 107 songs from seven of his classic albums on all digital streaming platforms: The Best of Al Hendrix, Lonesome Whistle: A Tribute to the Great Hank Williams, Heart and Soul, Lover Boy, Rare & Rockin’, Rockabilly Lovin’ and Rockabilly Christmas.

“I’m just so delighted that my music will be available to everyone who wants to listen to it whenever they want,” said Hendrix. “The rockabilly community has always been so supportive, and I hope this brings some fun and good times into their lives.”

“This is a treasure trove of music for rockabilly fans,” adds Mike Jason, Time Life Senior Vice President, Live Entertainment. “There are few artists at the top of the genre like Al is and we are so honored to be working with him.”

Inspired by the Grand Ole Opry, Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Buck Owens, Hendrix recorded his first singles (“Rhonda Lee” and “Go Daddy Rock”) in 1957 and by 1960 could be heard every hour on Alan Freed’s radio show. He was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2008 and in recent years has been a featured performer at events around the world, including the Viva Las Vegas rockabilly festival, The High Rockabilly Festival in Spain, the Hemsby Rock ‘N’ Roll Weekender in the UK and at his old friend Buck Owens’ iconic venue, Crystal Palace.

8 Years After His Death, We Have Unreleased Doc Watson Music.

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Aug 022020
 

One of my personal favorite musicians of the “older era” flatpickers, and one of the sole influences of the mighty Merlefest festival in North Carolina was Mr. Arthel “Doc” Watson. He and his ilk ushered in some timeless music as well as legendary musical techniques that many my age ardently study.

I seek out the obscure and the overlooked Legends of every genre, and I have an appetencity to know WHO did WHAT and WHEN..and this album knocked it out of the park for me. Believe it or not the state of New York produced a plethora of iconic shows for Country and Folk Music in the past, and this album is on that list.

In the late spring of 1962 there was a passionate Folk Music enthusiast named Mr. Peter K. Seigel lugged some of his recording equipment to TWO New York venues to record the Legendary Doc Watson perform. For the sole purpose of personal enjoyment, he recorded Mr. Doc and his father in-law Mr. Gaither Carlton perform for the first time in New York as a headliner act.

I SAY LUGGED because…could you imagine the immense labor that required to record shows in the 1960’s? Well, he did and enjoyed it for himself before deciding to allow the public to enjoy these recordings on CD and vinyl, after this many years.

In the late 1950’s and early 60’s famed folklorist Mr. Ralph Rinzler ran across Mr. Doc Watson on accident, as he was playing Rockabilly and Western Swing with an electric guitar. Mr. Ralph convinced Watson to perform solely with Acoustic guitar and banjo. Through the years, he culminated in the end as being known for his rick baritone vocals and his playing a Dana Bourgeois dreadnought given to him by Mr. Ricky Skaggs.

The music community of North Carolina boasts a rich history from him many others along with many venues and festivals. He played a major role in creating the mighty North Carolina Merlefest, which my website heavily covers. He and his son performed many times at that festival that began in 1988 in memory of his late son.

In 1947, Mr. Doc married Miss Rosa Lee Carlton, the daughter of Legendary fiddle player Mr. Gaither Carlton whom died in 1972. Gaither was also brought to fruition by producer Mr. Ralph Rinzler, and Mr. Doc Watson was invited by the duo to record at his home in Tennessee. Here is the press release:

DOC WATSON AND GAITHER CARLTON
May 29, 2020 on Smithsonian Folkways

It’s hard to imagine a time when the brilliant guitar playing and Appalachian roots of Doc Watson weren’t a part of the American musical fabric. A famed artist in his day and a continuing influence on American music, Watson happened into the music industry much by accident, “discovered” by noted folklorist Ralph Rinzler in the early 1960s when he was mainly playing rockabilly tunes on the electric guitar near his home in tiny Deep Gap, North Carolina. Rinzler convinced Watson that audiences around the country were interested in the older music of Appalachia, and the nation soon fell in love with his heartfelt, powerful singing and his inimitable acoustic guitar playing. He inspired countless people to pick up the guitar and learn to flatpick the old melodies, much of this encouragement coming in person after performances. It was at the first of these shows in New York, really Watson’s first time headlining a show in the city (the previous time he’d played there he was one of two guitarists in Clarence Ashley’s band), that we get to hear this old music played by Watson and his fiddling father-in-law, Gaither Carlton. These live recordings from 1962 are to be released May 29, 2020, by Smithsonian Folkways as Doc Watson and Gaither Carlton on CD, digital, and vinyl. Most of these tracks have never been released before, and the recordings capture two masters at the height of their power, reveling in an audience that was there to listen, not just to drink and dance. It’s a moment where the rural Appalachian world of North Carolina came face to face with the urban New York world of young people desperate to learn folk music and to learn more about the Southern traditions they’d been discovering. These recordings show two very different worlds coming together, buoyed by Watson’s charming personality and his willingness to teach all who would learn.

These album pictures are all courtesy of Mr. Ralph Rinzler, who was the curator at the Smithsonian for years. He was co-founder of the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, as well as an intense enthusiast and a savant of Folk Music as a whole.

Now, Id’ like to talk about this album here.

This album I approached a little bit differently than others because I thought the production quality would have been poor or actually missing altogether.  One of the songs that stuck out to me the most about an old man waiting for his to come home from the Civil War…in a casket. He knew his son was dead, and the man at the window thought he was an alive passenger. It’s from an album called “Sittin’ On top Of The World”.

Most of them are wordless fiddle tunes performed in his signature Appalachian style, but songs like “Willie Moore”. A young man requested permission form his gal’s parents to marry her and they refused.  Here, we have a tragic and poignant song of despair as the young man died.

Track Listing:

1. Double File
2 .Handsome Molly
3. He’s Coming To us Dead
4. Corina
5. Brown’s Dream
6. Groundhog ( Blind Lemon’s Version)
7. My Home’s Across The Blue Ridge Mountains
8. Bonaparte’s Retreat
9. Willie Moore
10. The Blue Ridge Mountain Blues
11. Goin’ Back To Jericho
12. Billy In the Low Ground
13. Reuben’s Train
14.  The Dream Of the Miner’s Child
15. Groundhog ( FOTM Version)