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Tuesday, December 8 2009

The Music That Matters: Ralph Rinzler and Bill Monroe, Part Two

During the height of his career, Bill Monroe fielded a baseball team that would organize pickup games in each town in order to drum up publicity for that evening's concert.


Tuesday, November 3 2009

The Music That Matters Part One: Bill Monroe and Ralph Rinzler

In the late '30s and '40s, Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys were the biggest stars in country music, but when he appeared onstage at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival, he did so after a number of years spent toiling in relative obscurity.


Tuesday, October 6 2009

Rosanne Cash on Johnny Cash’s List

Johnny Cash was a serious scholar of music, and this knowledge was reflected in his own work, which included covers of everyone and everything from Jimmie Rodgers to Nine Inch Nails, oldtime hymns to reggae.


Monday, September 7 2009

Louisiana Woman, Texas Troubadour

Need more duets in your life? Loretta Lynn and Ernest Tubb are among country music's best partnerships.


Tuesday, August 18 2009

Hockey Skatin’ Singing Cowgirls

Country music ain’t the sole purview of the southern part of the northern hemisphere: Canada has its share of fireside soul(ful) singers, too.


Sunday, July 5 2009

You Can Call Her ‘Dr.’ Dolly Parton

With her honorary doctorate in hand, here's hoping she'll next broker peace in the Middle East, repair the economy, and explain the twisted plotlines of 'Lost' -- Lord knows, the woman is capable.


Monday, May 18 2009

Thank the Lord for Marty Stuart and his Mullet

What better way to soothe modern worries than by taking in classic country music with a side of hillbilly humor?


Sunday, April 5 2009

Willie Sounds Better Naked

Editing the original RCA tapes makes the songs on Naked Willie so much better that I’m remembering the reasons why I fell in love with Willie Nelson so many years ago.


Sunday, March 15 2009

America’s Most Colorful Hillbilly Band

The Maddox Brothers and Rose recorded songs that would be considered controversial even today. But 60 years ago, they were incredibly groundbreaking, and paved the way for outspoken female singers like Loretta Lynn.


Sunday, February 8 2009

Working in the Coal Mine and Singing About It, Too

The majority of us aren't coal miners, we don't know coal miners, and we wouldn't last a week in a coal mine. Are coal mining songs, then, still relevant?


Sunday, January 11 2009

Happy-Go-Plucking

Steve Martin, Sufjan Stevens, and Kermit the Frog all know it and you should, too: the banjo is hands-down the coolest instrument out there.


Tuesday, November 25 2008

Who Says Country Can’t Hip-Hop?

Poverty, crime, disenfranchisement, sinning, saving, and no-account women: Stereotypical subjects of the average country song, or the average hip-hop song?


Monday, October 27 2008

Murder, My Sweet

They might kick me out of the feminist club for this, but I love murder ballads, even the ones in which women get killed—though, to be fair, I am an equal opportunity advocate when it comes to a good killing narrative.


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