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Music

The 10 Best Country Albums of 2010

The synthesis of the past, present, and future was so much of what country music was about in 2010. Country was still fairly male-dominated in the era, although the changing winds, wherein women would create the most forward-looking music, were already beginning to blow.

Recent
Music

Persona and Modern Music in 17 Songs

Persona -- the “I” of the song -- has evolved, broadened, and expanded to more fully represent a diversity of experiences as well as emotional, political, and cultural orientations.

John Amen
Music

Holding on to Hag: Remembering Merle Haggard 1937-2016

Merle Haggard died at age 79, leaving behind a legacy of authentic country music.

Music

Johnny Cash: Koncert v Praze (In Prague – Live)

The abridged Koncert v Praze (In Prague – Live) ranks as the most egregious profiteering on Johnny Cash's name to date.

Music

Counterbalance: Johnny Cash - At Folsom Prison

This week, we're stuck in Folsom Prison, and time keeps draggin' on. Actually it went by pretty fast as we listened to the 157th most acclaimed album of all time. Do the roots of roots music start here?

Music

Dan Bern: Hoody

Red states got the Waffle House. Blue states don't. Dan Bern goes classic country.

Music

Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City

Going hand-in-hand with the ongoing museum exhibit of the same name, A New Music City does an outstanding job defining the sweeping influence of Dylan and Cash throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

Film

The 10 Best Concert Documentaries

What separates someone merely capturing a night when a band is on fire from a great concert documentary? Here are ten films that bridge that gap.

Music

When the Man in Black Went to Bat for Native America

A recasting of Johnny Cash's most controversial album, Bitter Tears, raises questions about the inclusiveness of American music.

Music

Johnny Cash: Out Among the Stars

For all of its faults, this album speaks to the variety of Cash's immense body of work in a way that the much-celebrated Rick Rubin recordings simply do not.

Music

Les Claypool's Duo de Twang: Four Foot Shack

Les Claypool goes stripped-down and acoustic with an interesting array of covers and revised versions of Primus and his solo songs.

Music

Ten Great Cover Singers

Though this may be the time of year when cloying pop covers of Christmas songs are picked up from far too many supermarket checkout lines, let it not sour you on all covers completely. The ten artists listed herein are laudable exemplars of how to make the cover version an artform all its own.

Music

Chance: In Search

Now that this hidden gem from 1981 is seeing a brighter light of day, it's clear that Chance was a one of a kind voice in Nashville, a voice grown from the clay of the Strange South.

Film

'Ring of Fire': Jewel as June Carter Cash

Ring of Fire offers a glimpse into the opportunities and costs June encountered, as she transitioned from her place in the Carter Family ("the First Family of Country Music") to being married to Johnny.

Music

10 Great Comeback Singles

The year 2013 is already setting itself out to be the Year of the Comeback. In acknowledgement, Sound Affects looks at ten fantastic returns by artists who had lost their mojo and/or been away for far too long.

Books

'Live Fast, Die Young' Doesn't Move Too Fast

Chasing rock 'n' roll legacy in (mostly) all the wrong places has its funny moments, but the pursuit fails by playing it safe.

Music

Johnny Cash: Bootleg Vol. IV: The Soul of Truth

He can make a nonbeliever appreciate his beliefs by not, ahem, lording them over another person, but just by sharing his joy.

Music

Print the Legend: The Man in Black at 80

The late Johnny Cash (who would've turned 80 this month) was a combination of Keith Richards, Elvis Presley, and Public Enemy. Only he did it first, and no one before or since ever did it quite like him.

Music

Stripped Down: The 10 Best Acoustic Covers

The song, while the product of an artist with a unique vision, has the capability to become something else once it is put out for everyone to hear. Once a song is out in the open, it could very well undergo a transformation unlike the original artist ever anticipated.

Music

The Little Willies: For the Good Times

Norah Jones and co. took some of their most beloved country tunes and recreated them with the love you’d expect from the original songwriters themselves.

Music

Husband: Husband

First effort from a deep, dark soul.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Ólöf Arnalds: Ólöf Sings EP

The Icelandic singer-songwriter serves up a fine quintet of English-language songs; highlights include covers of Springsteen, Dylan, and Johnny Cash.

Books

'Johnny Cash's American Recordings': The Man in Black Comes Back Around

After Tony Tost gets all the God -- versus-Devil, dissolution and drugs -- versus rightousness and good works, and sancity -- versus-sex metaphors and references off his chest, he settles down to offer opinionated insights into each individual song on the album.

Music

Johnny Cash: From Memphis to Hollywood: Bootleg Vol II

It's both as flawed and as necessary as you'd think. And Rick Rubin's got nothing to do with it.

Music

Wanda Jackson: The Party Ain't Over

It's no shock that teaming Jack White with one of the great rockers of all time would yield great results, but the surprise is in how natural they sound together.

Music

The Year in Music: February 2010

Let’s continue our look at the biggest events in music, one month at a time, with February 2010.

Music

Rosanne Cash: More Than Just a Legend's Daughter

Rosanne Cash’s lyricism plays on the page as if she’s on stage with guitar in hand. You can hear the music as you read. PopMatters Jaime Karnes talks with this gifted writer of songs and stories.

Music

Marty Stuart: Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions

Marty Stuart recorded his latest album in the old RCA Studio B in Nashville where so many classic albums were recorded, including those he made with Lester Flatts’ band when Stuart was a prodigy at a mere 13 years of age.

Events

Marty Stuart: 30 August 2010 - New York

Though Marty Stuart is arguably a country artist’s country musician—virtuosic and omnipresent yet unknown to mainstream listeners—he still cuts a commanding figure.

Music

He Is What He Is: The Merle Haggard Interview

The legendary "poet of the common man" talks to PopMatters about the state of country music today, his friendship with Johnny Cash and why he hasn’t liked a president since Ronald Reagan.

Rachel Brodsky
Books

I See a Darkness by Reinhard Kleist

Reinhard Kleist's illustrated, partly fictional biography, of Johnny Cash follows a mostly well-trod narrative path, sometimes repainting it in a striking style.

Books

A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears by Antonino D'Ambrosio

In Antonino D’Ambrosio’s rendering, Bitter Tears was the product of the political swirl of the early '60s and the occasionally complementary visions of Cash and folksinger Peter La Farge.

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