January 2: Merle Haggard released Sing Me Back Home (album) in 1968

Sing Me Back Home is the fifth studio album by singer and songwriter Merle Haggard, released in 1968 on Capitol Records.

Sing Me Back Home follows the blueprint of Merle Haggard’s first three albums, balancing a hit single with album tracks and a couple of covers, but there is a difference. Where the previous album Branded Man was a transitional album, hinting that Haggard’s talents were deepening substantially, Sing Me Back Home is the result of the flowering of his talent.”
– Thomas Erlewine (allmusic)

Merle Haggard appeared on Austin City Limits nine times over the course of his legendary career. Here’s “Sing Me Back Home” from his appearance in 1978:

A little slowed down beautiful version! Continue reading “January 2: Merle Haggard released Sing Me Back Home (album) in 1968”

January 1: Hank Williams died in 1953 and Townes Van Zandt died in 1997

Hank Williams (September 17, 1923 – January 1, 1953), born Hiram King Williams, is regarded as one of the most important country music artists of all time. Williams recorded 35 singles (five released posthumously) that would place in the Top 10 of the Billboard Country & Western Best Sellers chart, including 11 that ranked number one.Hank Williams died in 1953 and Townes Van Zandt died in 1997

John Townes Van Zandt (March 7, 1944 – January 1, 1997), best known as Townes Van Zandt, was an American Texas Country-folk music singer-songwriter, performer, and poet. Many of his songs, including “If I Needed You,” “To Live is to Fly,” and “No Place to Fall” are considered standards of their genre.

 

Continue reading “January 1: Hank Williams died in 1953 and Townes Van Zandt died in 1997”

Dec 14: The late great Charlie Rich was born in 1932

“I think a guy who’s had just the right amount of booze can sing the blues a hell of a lot better than a guy who is stone sober.”
~Charlie Rich

“Charlie Rich had the intuitive instinct to feel, see and hear pain, disappointment, happiness and joy and somehow transmute it into music. I don’t know anyone who has ever written or sung in a way that depicted more of the humanity of man, with greater melodic beauty, than Charlie Rich.”
~Sam Phillips

“Charlie Rich was the best. His talent and style knew no boundaries. After years of being the victim of stereotypical critics who could neither understand nor label him, Charlie’s beautiful, haunting voice, surrounded by his piano, was discovered by the world. I’m just glad I was around for the ride.”
~Billy Sherrill (Record Producer)

 Behind Closed Doors:

Continue reading “Dec 14: The late great Charlie Rich was born in 1932”

3 songs by Darrell Scott (Acoustic Guitar Sessions)


James Darrell Scott, known as Darrell Scott is an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. The son of musician Wayne Scott, he moved as a child to East Gary, Indiana (known today as Lake Station, Indiana). He was playing professionally by his teens in Southern California. Later, Darrell moved to Toronto then Boston. He attended Tufts University, where he studied poetry and literature. He has lived in Nashville, Tennessee since about 1995. He has written several mainstream country hits, and he has also established himself as one of Nashville’s premier session instrumentalists.

Scott has collaborated with Steve Earle, Sam Bush, Emmylou Harris, John Cowan, Verlon Thompson, Guy Clark, Tim O’Brien, Kate Rusby, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Mary Gauthier, Dan Tyminski, and many others. His music has attracted a growing fanbase, and he tours regularly with his own band. His album, Crooked Road, was released May 25, 2010. In early 2005, Scott’s Theatre Of The Unheard won in The 4th Annual Independent Music Awards for Album of the Year.

In 2010, he was announced as part of the Band of Joy, alongside Robert Plant, credited as performing vocals, mandolin, guitar, accordion, pedal, lap steel and banjo.

The three wonderful songs are:
Continue reading “3 songs by Darrell Scott (Acoustic Guitar Sessions)”

Classic documentary: Heartworn Highways – the best music documentary ever made!

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The best music documentary ever made: Heartworn Highways

For it is just that, the best documentary about music I have ever seen! It looks like a home movie, you feel like you get insight into a world long gone and you feel like looking into a world just for the invited.

It is up on YouTube , so catch it before it gets taken down (or better, buy yourself a copy so you can see it as often as you want).

Heartworn Highways is made by James Szalapski whose vision captured some of the founders of the Outlaw Country  and Singer/Songwriter movement in Texas and Tennessee in the last weeks of 1975 and the first weeks of 1976. The film was not released theatrically until 1981.

Highlights for me: The visit to Townes Van Zandt’s caravan and the Christmas party at Guy and Susanna Clark (especially Steve Earle singing Mercenary Song).

Heartworn Highways (full movie):

Continue reading “Classic documentary: Heartworn Highways – the best music documentary ever made!”

November 16: The Louvin Brothers released Satan is Real in 1959

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The Louvin Brothers – Satan is Real

What is it about this album?
Why is it so important in the americana /country/gospel music canon?

Satan Is Real is a gospel album by American country music duo The Louvin Brothers.

Released November 16, 1959
Recorded August 8–10, 1958
Genre Country, Gospel
Length 31:54
Label Capitol
Producer Ken Nelson, John Johnson (Reissue)

The gospel/country duo Charlie and Ira Louvin was born and grew up in the Sand Mountain region of Alabama, they lived on a cotton farm south of the Appalachian Mountains, that’s where they developed their distinct harmony style in the deep Sacred Harp tradition of the Baptist church.

Ira Louvin died in a car wreck in 1965. Charlie Louvin died two years ago at 83 just a few months after publishing his story about The Louvin brothers.

In The recently published book, Satan is Real, the ballad of the Louvin Brothers, Charlie talks about their singing style.This is not a straight quote, but it goes something  like this:

…people who saw the Louvin Brothers perform were mystified by the experience. Ira was a full head taller than me, he played the mandolin like Bill Monroe and sang in an impossibly high, tense, quivering tenor. I(Charlie) strummed a guitar, grinned like a vaudevillian and handled the bottom register. But every so often, in the middle of a song, some hidden signal flashed and we switched places — with Ira swooping down from the heights, and me angling upward — and even the most careful listeners would lose track of which man was carrying the lead. This was more than close-harmony singing; each instance was an act of transubstantiation.

I could not find any live footage from Satan is real, but this clip of them singing, I don’t belive you’ve met my baby is a fine showcase for their intricate singing style:

“It baffled a lot of people,” Charlie Louvin explains in his fantastic memoir. “We could change in the middle of a word. Part of the reason we could do that was that we’d learned to have a good ear for other people’s voices when we sang Sacred Harp. But the other part is that we were brothers.”

Continue reading “November 16: The Louvin Brothers released Satan is Real in 1959”