How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

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Re: How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

Post  misery guts on Sat Nov 19, 2016 11:33 am

Sisters In Country: Dolly, Linda & Emmylou
Linda Ronstadt met Emmylou Harris in 1973, and they became friends, and shared a love for the music of Dolly Parton. Emmylou introduced Dolly to California. Linda and Emmylou guested on Dolly's telly prog. They planned to make an LP together, but it didn't happen until 1986. Their album, Trio, was old school country at a time when Nashville was looking a different way. They won awards, but were unable to put together a follow-up album until 1999, which was greeted with the same adulation. Linda alas had to quit singing in 2012, thus precluding any 3rd volume. In some respects, this was the distaff alternative to the Highwaymen project, only much less frequently discussed.

SoundStage presents Willie Nelson
Now here's a man unafraid to introduce the songs he plays. This 2010 gig featured such gems as "Dark as a Dungeon", "Drinking Champagne and Feeling No Pain", and "Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down". Yup, that's Willie Nelson alright.

The Kacey Musgraves Country & Western Rhinestone Revue, at Royal Albert Hall
This gig from earlier this year was fun stuff, well sung and notable for covers of No Scrubs and the closing These Boots Are Made For Walkin'. The future looks bright.
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Re: How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

Post  misery guts on Fri Dec 23, 2016 8:40 am

Obviously caught up with all the episodes of Reflections (for now).

Live With... The Shires
Popular duo with a new album out this year, though they disappointingly do their recent single "A Thousand Hallelujahs", though they did manage a cover of Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now".
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Re: How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

Post  misery guts on Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:49 am

The Great Songwriters: Jimmy Webb
He was born in Elk City, and grew up on a farm. He played piano in church, learned to improvise arrangements, and then made up his own songs. Joined the staff at Motown, but got the elbow after writing several songs that would then be hits. He met Glen Campbell, who sang By The Time I Get To Phoenix and Wichita Lineman.
Billy Joel wrote:It's about an ordinary man thinking extraordinary thoughts.
Oh, and Galveston, criticising the Vietnam War. But he made pains to emphasise that he didn't just write about towns. He's supposedly working on a memoir called The Cake In The Rain. Very acerbic about the danger of the Internet to songwriters, like the Blue Meanies wrecking what they don't appreciate.
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Re: How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

Post  misery guts on Wed Feb 22, 2017 9:20 am

Country's Family Reunion
Seen a couple of these before, this was a 2-part one paying tribute to "Whisperin'" Bill Anderson's 50-year career (from 2010). Vince Gill MC's as a room of various other country artists, from Moe Bandy to George Hamilton IV, either told anecdotes they were fond of, or sang his songs, or both. John Anderson did my favourite "I've Enjoyed as Much of This as I can Stand". John Randall told a great one about Bill doing some songwriting with Brad Paisley. Paisley apparently likes his tech, whereas Bill turned up with pencil & paper. At this, Brad retorted "hey, Moses, when did you stop using chisel and stone?" Laughing
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Re: How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

Post  misery guts on Mon Mar 06, 2017 8:05 am

Star Treatment: Greg Bonham
Unlike the others in this series, I believe Bonham is still in the business and reasonably successful too (if he's lasted nearly 40 years, he must be). He was an Aussie who sang and played the trumpet, but his material veered towards the Country side, with Rhinestone Cowboy, Thank God I'm a Country Boy and Your Cheatin' Heart along the way, before finishing with An American Trilogy.
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Re: How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

Post  misery guts on Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:58 am

The Shires: New Country
How Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes met through Facebook, and blossomed into the UK's 1st & foremost country duo, with growing success, especially with their 2nd LP "My Universe", and how they might have a chance to crack the USA, the premier country market. They went to Nashville for a showcase at the Bluebird Café, on the night of the 50th CMAs. They associate with other country acts like Ward Thomas, and Thomas Rhett, and are part of a move to reassert the premise of assertive women in country, something which was going well in the 1990s and was then knocked back after 9/11. They seem to have as much chance of a lengthy career as any.
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Re: How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

Post  misery guts on Mon Mar 27, 2017 6:34 am

Rich Hall's Countrier Than You
Acerbic, witty, Montanan stand-up & musician delivers lengthy doc on the history of country music, and plays a typical composition ("Working Dog") to various interviewees. He runs from the immigrant influences on the Appalachian Trail, the first recordings in 1927, various key figures like Jimmie Rodgers and Roy Acuff, and how Austin (Texas) is better than Nashville. By considering guys like Ray Wylie Hubbard and Michael Martin Murphey, it gave a fresher view than simply re-telling the sagas of Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. He made sure to praise where due (eg Hank Williams and Willie Nelson) and shoot a few sacred cows (Taylor Swift and John Travolta). He finished up doing his song with Ray Benson, which he was flattered about.
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Re: How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

Post  misery guts on Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:03 am

Focus on... Shania Twain
Hurrah, a new series. This featured Phil Mack and Aveleen Rose introducing a whole raft of Ms Twain's videos, chatting about her albums, and odd other facts which weren't exactly novel. What did shine through of course were the less familiar numbers which haven't had the familiarity stamped out of them. Any Man Of Mine and Forever And For Always, to name but two.
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Re: How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

Post  misery guts on Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:00 am

Focus on... Faith Hill
Phil & Aveleen again. I thought this might be a struggle, as she's only known in the UK for two tracks, but her other ones were reasonable enough (aside from a needless cover of Piece of My Heart).
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Re: How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

Post  misery guts on Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:15 am

Focus On... Carrie Underwood
Former American Idol winner, who again hasn't really made any inroads in this country. Phil was this time joined by Sophie Craig, who seemed more assured. There were some good songs, some interesting duets, and collaborations too.
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Re: How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

Post  misery guts on Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:00 am

Focus On... Alan Jackson
Apparently sold 80 million records worldwide, over a 16 album career, although this was the first I'd heard of him. He was born in Georgia, had 3 elder sisters and married his childhood sweetheart. Clearly had a big success with a song inspired by 9/11. And owns a bar in Nashville. Otherwise pretty run-of-the-mill.

Willie Nelson has a new album, God's Problem Child, out. Far more exciting Razz
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Re: How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

Post  misery guts on Mon May 01, 2017 7:36 am

Focus On... Miranda Lambert
Nope. She's won Grammys, she was married to Blake Shelton, born in Nashville in 1983 as the child of detectives, part of the The Pistol Annies supergroup, and has done many reasonable country tracks with titles like Famous In A Small Town and The House That Built Me. Phil and Sophie presented this time.
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Re: How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

Post  misery guts on Fri May 12, 2017 9:05 am

Focus On... Blake Shelton
Phil & Sophie again. Blake was born in June '76 in Oklahoma, and has apparently scored 17 consecutive #1 hits, beating the old record which stood at 10. He met his latest squeeze Gwen Stefani whilst they were both judges on The Voice. His songs are much the usual.
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Re: How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

Post  misery guts on Thu May 18, 2017 8:57 am

Focus On... Brad Paisley
A more famous feature than some, his 1st LP was back in '99, born back in '72, started young, went to University in Nashville, signed to EMI and etc. Is often on the road with his Dad. Plenty of songs there.
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Re: How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

Post  misery guts on Wed May 31, 2017 6:50 am

Focus On... Dierks Bentley
Phil & Sophie again, with someone who was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry Hall of Fame at the age of just 29. He was born in November 1975 in Phoenix, and his 1st name is in fact Fred. He self-taught the guitar when 13, met his wife Cassidy Black while at high school, married her in 2005 and they have 3 kids. Also part of the Cadillac Three. His songs were reasonable enough.
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Re: How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

Post  misery guts on Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:25 am

Reflections with Keith Bilbrey: Charley Pryde
He was one of 11, but only 8 remain. He was a baseball fan, and hoped it would be his ticket out of the cotton fields, until he cracked his elbow. Happily, he had singing to fall back on. He met Red Sovine in Montana, and was advised to go to Nashville. He was eager to record, and once he made his breakthrough, he never looked back. He had a song on the soundtrack of a Henry Fonda film, and was only 2nd to Elvis Presley for selling LPs on RCA. He was moved to join the Grand Ole Opry's Hall of Fame, with Brenda Lee doing the citation.

Live With... Courtney Marie Andrews
She's a young acoustic guitar player from Phoenix, Arizona, and her voice and songs were both good enough.

Focus On... The Dixie Chicks
Phil & Sophie back again with the country trio, 2 of whom are sisters. They had a political spat around the time of the Iraq War, and later went on hiatus. They've won 13 Grammys, and had their first big LP back in 1998.
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Re: How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

Post  misery guts on Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:23 am

Focus On... Keith Urban
Born in New Zealand, but raised in Australia, moved to the USA, and married to Nicole Kidman since 2006, with 2 kids. He's been a judge on American Idol, spent time in rehab, and made plenty of reasonable enough country records along the way.
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Re: How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

Post  misery guts on Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:02 am

Focus On... Taylor Swift
Phil & Sophie again, with the familiar tale of the country chick who has crossed over to pop, and written repeatedly about her ex-boyfriends (I Knew You Were Trouble being about Harry Styles, whilst We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together was about Jake Gyllenhall). Her early stuff sounds twee at times (Tears On My Guitar), but she's certainly got the chops to carry it all off. Her feud with Katy Perry might be over now too.
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Re: How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

Post  misery guts on Mon Jun 26, 2017 8:41 am

Kris Kristofferson at Glastonbury 2017
Making his debut at the age of 81, KK ran through many songs I didn't previously know (I did like Jesus Was A Capricorn), before being joined superfluously by attention-seeking Johnny Depp who merely strummed a guitar for a couple of songs. Why guys like Kris need to be half-dead before they get invited here beats me.

Focus On... Martina McBride
Born in July 1966, her first LP came out in 1991. Her soprano voice invites comparisons with Celine Dion, although I don't see it myself. Her Dad had been in a band, and she was singing from the age of 8. She met her husband in 1989, by which time she had learnt keyboards. Garth Brooks gave her a leg up. She's been a guest coach on American Idol.
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Re: How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

Post  misery guts on Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:08 am

Focus On... Willie Nelson
Phil & Sophie had plenty of material to choose from. A notable high spot is a medley from the Grand Ole Opry, when he was young and respectable, performing hits he'd written for others. There was mention of his run-ins with the law, of Farm Aid, his chequered love life, and his ability to laugh at himself, with songs like Still Not Dead, and It's All Going To Pot. He lives on Hawaii now, apparently, and some of his kids sing with him.
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Re: How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

Post  misery guts on Fri Jul 14, 2017 7:25 am

Focus On... Reba McEntire
Phil & Sophie back once more, on Kelly Clarkson's mother-in-law, who's 62 now. She signed to Mercury Records in 1974, had her 1st LP the following year, and made her Grand Ole Opry debut in 1977. Things took off when she got creative control for her 2nd LP. She's sold 85 million worldwide, and was here dubbed the "Queen of Country" (I think I'd name a few others as stronger candidates for that title). She's done some acting, and worked with Brooks & Dunn. Somebody's Chelsea seemed to be a track that summed up her sound.
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Re: How Country Popped Its Way Into the Mainstream

Post  misery guts on Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:07 am

Focus On... Tim McGraw
He was born in May '67 and married Faith Hill in '96. His first name is Samuel and he was an only child. His father was a famous baseball player who didn't accept the connection until he was an adult. He has 3 daughters, has released 14 LPs and won 3 Grammys. He has recorded duets with his wife (and notably Nelly of course, though that wasn't mentioned here, even though it remains his only UK top 40 hit).
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