Get Rhythm

Country Drinking Songs: Before Bro-Country

Wednesday, 30 July 2014 06:35 AM Written by

 On this week's Believe Your Ears music podcast, in light of parallel controversies over drunkenness at country concerts (here and elsewhere) and the current glut of sound-alike songs about beer, spring breaks and partying, we look at select country songs of the past, some not all that lighthearted about boozing.

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Cajun Country Pioneer Jimmy C. Newman: 1927-2014

Monday, 28 July 2014 08:44 AM Written by

If one solo singer helped the Cajun style establish a beachhead in country that's grown and deepened, it was Jimmy "C." Newman (the "C" stood for Cajun). Newman, a Grand Ole Opry veteran, died June 21 in Nashville at age 86. Cajun music was considered by many as something apart from country, though that wasn't quite true. Louisiana sounds had been insinuating their way into the music and broke through in 1946 when fiddler Harry Choates had a national hit with the Bayou favorite "Jole Blon." Hank Williams followed in 1952 with "Jambalaya."

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Pittsburgh Jazzman Sean Jones Lands A New Gig

Monday, 21 July 2014 08:01 AM Written by

Sean Jones-Paul Thompson

Lake Fong/Post-Gazette

Trumpet virtuoso and educator Sean Jones, another luminary in Pittsburgh's century-long tradition of internationally famous jazz players, is the incoming Chair of Brass at the Berklee College of Music. He announced his appointment on May 23rd at the International Trumpet Guild Conference in Philadelphia.

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James Garner: Country Music Fan AND Singer

Sunday, 20 July 2014 08:21 AM Written by

James Garner, who died yesterday in Hollywood at 86, was a native of Norman, Oklahoma, a hotbed of honky tonk and western swing of the Bob Wills variety. And he loved it all, especially the singers—from nearby Texas—who went against the grain, namely Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. A good friend to both during their lifetimes, Garner made no secret of the friendships or his love for the music.

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A Bluesman To The End: Johnny Winter 1944-2014

Thursday, 17 July 2014 10:45 AM Written by

 Johnny Winter

Photo: Jeff Daly/AP

I was hooked on the blues in 1968—hooked on it (the country stuff came a bit later). I also had a subscription to Rolling Stone, and in an article about the music scene in Texas, there was mention of a (and I quote), "cross-eyed albino with long, fleecy hair, playing some of the gutsiest, fluid blues guitar you’ve ever heard.” His name: Johnny Winter. Winter died yesterday in his hotel room in Zurich, Switzerland while on a worldwide tour to commemorate his 70th birthday, which took place February 23rd. His fiery Texas blues playing, rooted in authenticity, paved the way for fellow Texan Stevie Ray Vaughan and generations of blues guitarists.

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This week's "Believe Your Ears" Music Podcast reviews John Hiatt's just-released album Terms Of My Surrender.

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Bassist-composer Charlie Haden, a three-time Grammy winner known for his distinctive work as a sideman and bandleader, died Friday morning in LA at age 76. He'd been ill for some time, and his wife and four children were with him at the end.   According to the Associated Press, Haden suffered from post-polio syndrome that forced him to curtail his performing and recording.

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Before 'CMT Crossroads' - George Jones & Gene Pitney

Thursday, 10 July 2014 06:20 AM Written by

No one thinks twice today about rock, rap and pop acts teaming with country singers. It happens on records (including the overblown "vocal events"), onstage and TV shows like CMT Crossroads, which made the concept into an art, pairing, among many, Keith Urban and John Fogerty, Hank Williams Jr. with Kid Rock, Taylor Swift with Def Leppard and Faith Hill with the Pretenders. It made for interesting, if not always musically fulfilling, television.

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