Posts Tagged ‘Country’

The Final Track: Saying Goodbye to Recording Engineer Bob Sullivan

The Final Track: Saying Goodbye to Recording Engineer Bob Sullivan

By Jon Black Bob Sullivan, legendary sound and recording engineer, passed away on Sunday in Tulsa. He was 88. His leaves a professional legacy of innumerable recordings, including a long string of number-one hits helping shape the sound of country, rock and blues. Sullivan is most celebrated as the sound engineer for the Louisiana Hayride […]

Wood, Wire & Words: Norman Blake’s New Album Touches the Roots of American Music

Wood, Wire & Words: Norman Blake’s New Album Touches the Roots of American Music

Norman Blake’s strings have helped shape the sound of America’s music. His guitar work has anchored artists as essential as Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Kris Kristofferson. He was a driving force of the bluegrass revival. His discography includes more than three dozen titles and his playing can be heard on the soundtrack of movies […]

Complicated Songs: James McMurtry’s “Complicated Games” Showcases a Master Storyteller.

Complicated Songs: James McMurtry’s “Complicated Games” Showcases a Master Storyteller.

By Jon Black (photo: Shane McCauley) The world James McMurtry paints through his songs is distinctive: a place of stark isolation, of desperate hope struggling against unbeatable odds and where tragedy and beauty make strange but eternal bedfellows. Little wonder his work has been praised by artists as diverse as John Mellencamp, Jason Isbell and […]

Billy Joe Shaver & Willie Nelson to Perform on Letterman

Billy Joe Shaver & Willie Nelson to Perform on Letterman

Save the date! Two of the most celebrated veterans of the outlaw country movement are coming to a small-screen near you. On December 17th, Billy Joe Shaver and Willie Nelson will be musical guests on The Late Show with David Letterman. We can’t guarantee it, but a performance of “It’s Hard to be an Outlaw,” […]

Never Past the Point of Rescue: Hal Ketchum Overcomes Challenges of MS to Release New Album

Never Past the Point of Rescue: Hal Ketchum Overcomes Challenges of MS to Release New Album

By Jon Black (Photos: Pete Lacker) At its heart, county music is about the struggles we face and our efforts to overcome them. Few artists know more about struggle than veteran country musician and songwriter Hal Ketchum. After his diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) several years ago, Ketchum went into a self-imposed exile in the […]

Golden Keys: Saying Goodbye to Bobby Keys, Legendary Saxman for Rolling Stones, Buddy Holly

Golden Keys: Saying Goodbye to Bobby Keys, Legendary Saxman for Rolling Stones, Buddy Holly

(photo: Sean Birmingham) In a career spanning more than half a century, Bobby Keys emerged as a master of the art of rock n’ roll saxophone (though the self-effacing artist always denied any such thing). His reckless yet smooth tenor sax work on The Rolling Stones “Brown Sugar” is one of the most instantly recognizable […]

The Good Stuff: “Willie’s Stash” Unveils Unique Archival Recordings

The Good Stuff:  “Willie’s Stash” Unveils Unique Archival Recordings

Today marks the release of Willie’s Stash, Volume I, December Day, the first in a series of archival recordings by Willie Nelson. The album’s eighteen tracks feature Nelson as well as his sister, Bobbie, a frequent member of Nelson’s band and a formidable country musician in her own right. Other members of Nelson’s road band […]

12 Christmas Songs for Those Who Won’t Be Watching the CMA’s Christmas Special

12 Christmas Songs for Those Who Won’t Be Watching  the CMA’s Christmas Special

By Jon Black So, the CMA’s “Country Christmas” special is tonight – and you’re not excited. The reason doesn’t matter. Maybe you don’t cotton to sound of mainstream Nashville country. Perhaps you like your country old-school, outlaw or alt. It could be that, at heart, you’re a rockabilly, a roots-rocker, blues aficionado or a left-of-the-dial […]

Billy Joe Shaver – Long in the Tooth

Billy Joe Shaver – Long in the Tooth

I’m always excited about a new Billy Joe Shaver album – especially one with almost all new songs (“The Git Go” first appeared in 2012 on “Live at Billy Bob’s.”). This one even kicks off with a duet with Willie Nelson on “It’s Hard to be an Outlaw,” an enjoyable tune that sets up the […]

Cory Branan – The No-Hit Wonder

Cory Branan – The No-Hit Wonder

Cory Branan is a hard guy to peg, but he seems aware of that fact. His sound mixes enough influences that he called his last album, “Mutt.” While “Mutt” did showcase some strong songwriting, it simply didn’t cohere perfectly as an album. “The No-Hit Wonder” is a different beast. While there are still plenty of the […]

Album Review: Dreams of the San Joaquin

Album Review: Dreams of the San Joaquin

When I was seventeen, my grandfather drove my sister and me across the country to California as a graduation present. This was the year of my musical awakening—the age when I discovered there was more to the wide world than what played on the Top Forty radio. My parents had raised us with a healthy […]

A Talk with Bobby Long – Part Two

A Talk with Bobby Long – Part Two

I grew up listening to folk music and murder ballads, thanks to my parents. While other kids were glued to Casey Kasem on Sunday afternoons, I nodded along to The Kingston Trio or Joan Baez in the backseat of the car. I probably wasn’t old enough to appreciate Little Boxes, and that’s why I take […]

Spotlight on Anderson East

Spotlight on Anderson East

I’d only met him once, after a show at The Basement on 8th Avenue, where he performed before Sam Bradley and Marcus Foster and completely stole my heart. Any other knowledge I had of his appearance came through professional photographs on his website. Anderson East is magnetic on stage and sultry in pictures, and I […]

Old Crow Medicine Show Gets Carried Away

Old Crow Medicine Show Gets Carried Away

One night in the early ‘00s, the legendary Doc Watson stumbled across a group of good-lookin’ cats playing old-timey music in front of a pharmacy in North Carolina, and immediately shipped them off to Merlefest. In 2004 they knocked the nation off our feet with their self-titled debut album. It opened with a fiery hot […]