= Number Two =+= =+= T W A N G I N' ! =+= =+= July, 1994 =
"It don't mean a thang ~ ~ If it ain't got that twang!"
= Editor: Cheryl Cline =+= firstname.lastname@example.org = = Sidekick: Lynn Kuehl
TWANGIN'! On-Line is a monthly e-zine about country western music, covering what you might call the back forty rather than the top forty. Other people look at the word "country" and see line dancing and achey breaky hearts, but we see bluegrass, rockabilly, old-time music, cajun, folk, western swing, zydeco and Tex-Mex. Then we throw in blues and roots rock just to round things out.
And that's just to start.
—————————————————————————— TWANGIN' is also a quarterly print fanzine, available from Cheryl Cline, 2230 Huron Drive, Concord, CA 94519. Subscriptions are $8.00/four issues – a bargain at 32-36 pages an issue! Ask for a copy; the first one is free. The print version and the electronic version are not identical, though material will be swapped between the two. Twangin' has gotten good reviews from FACTSHEET FIVE, TOWER PULSE!, ROCK & RAP CONFIDENTIAL, SING OUT!, ALARM CLOCK, THE FEEDLOT, and MUSIC CITY TEXAS.
TWANING' is always looking for contributions in the way of reviews,essays, interviews, and discographies. We are especially interested in reports on local country, bluegrass, old-time and rockabilly scenes.
=⇒ CAVEAT: Monthly? Did I say monthly? Well, okay, things have gotten off to kind of a rough start; but like a dope I put Twangin'! #1 out in the middle of May instead of at the beginning of the month, so rather than catch up by putting #2 out a mere two weeks later, I decided (and circumstances decided for me) that I'd just wait and send it forth near the beginning of July. The next issue will appear 'round about August 1.
=+= C O N T E N T S =+= ---------------
= Interview: Billy Joe Shaver. By Jim Catalano = Reviews: CD's and cassettes by Ricky Barnes & the Hootowls, Joe Ely, Rosie
Flores, Michael Fracasso, Tish Hinojosa, Robert Earl Keen, Jr., Don McCalister, Jr., OKra All-Stars, Pleasure Barons, Sweethearts of the Rodeo, and Alan Whitney
= Books: Larry Brown = If I Were Queen of the Silver Dollar. By Jill Van Vliet = Internet Resources
All unsigned material is by Cheryl Cline
B I L L Y J O E S H A V E R = Interview by Jim Catalano =
IF THERE WAS A COUNTRY MUSIC AWARD for "Comeback of the Year," then 1993's winner surely would have been Billy Joe Shaver. Last year, the Texas-born songwriter released TRAMP ON YOUR STREET (Zoo/Praxis), which is only his second album in ten years, and seventh overall. Many music critics have hailed it as the best country album of the year.
On TRAMP ON YOUR STREET, Billy Joe shares equal billing with his son,
Eddy, a monster guitarist who's toured with Dwight Yoakam. Contributing players include keyboardist Al Kooper, bassist Keith Christopher, drummer Greg Morrow, and guest backup vocalists Waylon Jennings and Brother Phelps. While Eddy is certainly a hot picker, he doesn't get in the way of the songs. And what songs they are! From the rousing "Heart of Texas" to the Dixieland- flavored "Good Ol' U.S.A.," Billy Joe paints a vivid picture of his Texas past and present. The title cut recounts his youthful hike to see a Hank Williams performance. There's some optimistic songs, especially the Tex-Mex flavored "Take a Chance On Romance." He also recut two of his best-known songs: "Old Chunk of Coal," which was a hit for Jon Anderson, and "Georgia On A Fast Train," a proud testimonial about growing up poor in the South which rockets along on Eddy's molten solos – think Billy Gibbons meets Albert Lee! Eddy also shows some tasty acoustic chops, particularly the melodic fingerpicking on the uplifting "Live Forever." Not only would I say TRAMP ON YOUR STREET is the best country album of the year, it's one of the best albums of any kind that I've ever heard.
The 54-year old Shaver is probably best-known for writing almost all the
songs on Waylon Jennings' 1973 album HONKY TONK HEROES. Perhaps TRAMP ON YOUR STREET will finally earn him the widespread acclaim he's so long deserved. Whatever the outcome, Billy Joe certainly sounded optimistic when he called from the Praxis Records office in Nashville.
CATALANO: You must be very happy with the critical praise for Tramp On Your Street.
SHAVER: Oh man, yeah! Of course, we knew as far as we were concerned it was great, but we didn't really know if people would like it; you never know. Thank God that it did turn out that way, and when [positive reviews] started coming in, it really was great because we had worked so hard. It just keeps on going; we were really lucky. The timing's right, it seems like everything's just right for this album.
CATALANO: I really like the title cut to TRAMP ON YOUR STREET. It must have been quite an experience to have Hank Williams sing to you when you were only a little kid.
SHAVER: It was pretty amazing. It stuck with me all that time and I finally wrote that song. It took me almost a whole career to figure out how to write that song. A lot of my stuff is done by recall, anyway, and it just rolled around in me long enough and finally came out that way. It's great to be in this (songwriting business) and just be part of it. You don't really think about what you're going to get out of it because you'd do it for nothing and most people have. Some of them will do it for nothing their whole lives and I've been real lucky; it looks like we might be able to go on and do another one. That's what I've always felt was being successful: being able to get to the next gig and being able to do another album.
CATALANO: Are you happy with R.S. "Bobby" Field's production of "Tramp On Your Street"? He always seems to get great guitar sounds on his albums [Field did Webb Wilder and Sonny Landreth's Praxis albums].
SHAVER: If it weren't for Bobby, this record wouldn't have gotten made. He's the one who went out and got it done. He's the reason we contacted these people here at Praxis. He's good at all of it. He arranges things real well. We were lucky all this came together at one time. And the people here in Nashville at Praxis and BMG have been great, everybody's just been coming up and helping. I've never had this reaction before and it's all been wonderful to me.
CATALANO: That's quite a change from your past bad luck with record companies.
Shaver: They had bad luck with me, too! I guess the timing wasn't right or something, but this time it was. I'm happy to take what's give to me. It's really wonderful at this point in my life and career that it finally came around. It just goes to show you if you just keep on fussin' you might win!
CATALANO: Do you find it harder to write the more personally revealing songs, like "If I Give My Soul"?
SHAVER: Not really; I enjoy it. At the time I'm writing them they're so close to me they don't seem like that much to me. They don't knock me out as much as they do other people, but later on it finally hits me. It's just like something that's common to you – you don't think it would be that interesting to something else, but it works out that it's the most interesting the deeper you can dig. It's just a self-healing process, really; you kind of heal yourself by getting into those things real heavy.
CATALANO: In "If I Give My Soul" and a few other songs, there's some religious references. Has that been a constant theme in your writing?
SHAVER: Yeah, it has. You can go back to my first album that I put out on Monument [produced by Kris Kristofferson] and I've got two Jesus songs on it. Just about all of my songs have a spiritual feeling to them. It's not anything I try to do; it just occurs naturally with me. It's not so much preaching or pointing your finger or anything; it's just there.
CATALANO: By the way, have you heard Marty Stuart's cover of "If I Give My Soul" yet? It's on his new album LOVE AND LUCK.
SHAVER: I haven't heard it yet. He's good, a good musician, too. I was real pleased that he did that. He's been a fan a long time. We know each other pretty well.
CATALANO: One of my favorite songs on the new album is "Live Forever." Is that a new song?
SHAVER: Fairly new. Eddy did all the guitar on that particular song. He gave me that melody a few years back, and I thought it was so great that I put it on a tape recorder. I drive around a lot – I'll just get an old car or truck and I'll just drive around and I'm liable to go five or six states away and just drive. I do a lot of my writing when I drive. This particular melody knocked me out so much; I thought my son gave it to me so I've got to do real good on this one. I kept it with me for six or eight weeks and that's all I'd mess with. I'd go back to it, sometimes I'd write another song, but it wound up being really close to home. He helped me with a few of the words and it came together really good.
CATALANO: The harmonies by Brother Phelps really add to that song.
SHAVER: Aren't they great? Those guys are so great! I'm just so lucky to have those guys on there and Waylon too, but Brother Phelps just blows me away. They're great guys, too; they're really nice people.
CATALANO: I heard "Hottest Thing In Town" was inspired by Madonna.
SHAVER: I was sitting around watching TV one day, and this documentary came on about her early days; how she got her start dancing and stuff. They mentioned on there that she was born on August 16, which is my birthday, too. I said 'I'll be darned' and I found myself just writing that song about her. I ain't never met her, and don't intend to. That's the first time I think anything on TV inspired me to write.
CATALANO: I've heard "Hottest Thing In Town" and "Live Forever" on the radio occasionally, but I guess you haven't broken into heavy rotation yet.
SHAVER: No, that part's been slow in coming, but you can equate it with the critics and writers – it was kind of slow at first but it picked up steam, and I think radio will probably happen the same way. It really hasn't gotten to the ears of the public yet. It's a hard thing to break into, but we've got the goods. We just have to be heard.
CATALANO: So what's it like to be in a band with your son?
SHAVER: It's great! For one thing, I've tried using other people before, but it just don't work. We've been playing together for so song that he knows where I'm going and I know where he's going and its just one of those blood things. We get along pretty well, we're pretty much friends more than father and son. We have [spats] every so often but neither of us likes that. Everything seems to be going pretty good. He's stuck with me and now it's starting to be rewarding. Eddy's real good, too. He's got a good future ahead of him, he's really a good writer and a good singer and a great guitar player. He's just waiting to happen! He's rock and roll, pedal to the metal stuff!
CATALANO: I just got a copy of C.J. Berkman's tape "A Texican Tradition" [Available from Saddle Tramp Publications, 7615 Stone Crop Lane, San Antonio TX 78249. Phone 210-558-8745]. He bills himself "the South Texas Redneck Poet"; I see you read his poem "Mad Dogs & English Women."
SHAVER: He's a poet from down there in San Antonio, he's an old friend. I did it as a favor to him; he's a good old boy. He comes to some of my shows sometimes and I let him get up and do a few poems. I like that kind of stuff, you don't seem to see or hear it very often.
CATALANO: Prior to TRAMP ON YOUR STREET, you had only released one album in the past decade (1987's SALT OF THE EARTH on Columbia). Where have you been writing and performing all this time?
SHAVER: Yeah, we just kept on playing in the honkytonks and I just kept on writing. I just figured writing's the cheapest psychiatrist there is, and God knows I need it, so I've just been writing up a storm and still do. It's still a hobby with me; I really love to do it. If I get on a particular song I really enjoy, I'll stick with it a long time just to keep from finishing it because I enjoy working with things like that.
CATALANO: What inspires your songwriting?
SHAVER: I don't read at all, I don't listen to radio and TV's not a big deal either. I kind of like things coming out of me as much as I can. I like to live my life to its fullest and the way to do that is just have things that come out of me. I'd hate to get anything other than my true conception. Not that anything else is any better; it's just that I enjoy living my own life and enjoy doing my own writing.
CATALANO: Would you say that there's a Texas attitude in your writing? Do you think you'd be different if you came from Florida or California?
SHAVER: Probably not a whole lot different, but different. There is a Texas thing there; I guess it's just a lot of pride. Of course, pride ain't worth nothing! But there is a Texas thing in there. It comes from all that old history down there. You push a little harder.
CATALANO: How long have you been in Nashville?
SHAVER: I came to Nashville in 1966 and I've been here off and on ever since.
CATALANO: Have you ever tried becoming a "house writer" with one of the publishing companies?
SHAVER: No, I haven't. I like to write by myself. Every once in a while something will happen – I wrote one song on HONKY TONK HEROES with Waylon called "You Asked Me To"; we wrote that in about five minutes – but I haven't written that many with other people; there's just something about it. I have a hard enough time dancing with a girl without stepping on her toes, much less writing with some old guy. I'd imagine we'd butt heads a lot. That co-writing thing…something about it always bothered me.
CATALANO: Was the album Honky Tonk Heroes conceived as a whole for Waylon Jennings, or were the songs written separately?
SHAVER: Waylon heard me playing one of them songs in a trailer down at the first Dripping Springs reunion in Texas, and he heard me playing "Willie the Wandering Gypsy and Me" and he came running out saying "I want that song." So I told him "you can have it" and he asked if I had any more of those cowboy songs. At the time , I had a whole sackful of them, so he said "come on up to Nashville and I'll do a whole album of your tunes." So he game me his number and I came up there – of course I had been up there before – and I tried to catch up to him for about six months, but it seemed like he was ducking me. I caught him in the hall at RCA one night; he was recording there and he came out of the studio and there was a long hallway and there was a bunch of people there. He came my way – I had just come out of the restroom at the other end – and something just came over me and I just hollered at him. I said "Hey Waylon!" and he turned around and I said "I've got those songs that you told me you was going to listen to, and if you don't listen to them now, I'm going to kick your ass right here in front of everybody." And I was ready to, too! He blew up at first but then he took me back there and said, "I'm going to listen to one damned song and that's it!" We went there in the back and I cranked out I think it was "Old Five and Dimers," and of course, then he said, "Give me another," and "another," and he just went in and cut the whole album.
CATALANO: What are your feelings about that album today?
SHAVER: It's good! It turned things around down here. The people at RCA, they swore it wasn't going to make it. They said, "This ain't gonna work: you're not supposed to say 'hell' in a song," and this and that. It was real different than what was going on, but it worked, real good!
CATALANO: You must like it when other people do your songs.
SHAVER: I love it! Just everybody that's done my songs has knocked me out. Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen did "Georgia on a Fast Train": that's one of the first songs that I ever wrote that I liked, a long, long time ago! Just about everybody…Willie and Johnny Cash, John Anderson did "Old Chunk of Coal," Johnny Rodriguez did "I Couldn't Be Me Without You," Bobby Bare did "Ride Me Down Easy," even Elvis Presley did one, Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson did one, Tom T. Hall did three. There's been a lot and I'm really proud of them.
CATALANO: Have you started planning the next album yet?
SHAVER: It's going to have to be better than this one, and I don't know how in the world we'll do that [laughs]. It will be something to shoot for, anyway. Getting better…that's what it's all about.
CATALANO: When you look back over your career, do you have any regrets with the way things have gone?
SHAVER: Not now since this happened, because if anything had been moved in the past it probably would have caused a different result. This right here, I'm just real happy with this. I'm sure everything happened for the best. Yeah, at the time I was going though some of it, and I was wondering if things would work out, but now I don't. The reward has been great. This album has been more than enough to please me for all the years of trials and tribulations that we've been through.
CATALANO: Well, I hope the momentum keeps building for TRAMP ON YOUR STREET.
SHAVER: I think it will. The way it's running now, I think you'd have more trouble trying to keep it from happening than you would from it happening. _
=+= REVIEWS =+=
Ricky Barnes & the Hootowls =+= BONE COUNTRY =+= OKra Records (cassette) YA' FINALLY SAID SOMETHIN' GOOD! =+= OKra Records (CD)
QUOTE: "From the sound of Barnes' classic booze-fightin' lyrics, the smoothly sad croop of his voice and the bitchenly pure pedal-steel oink of the Hootowls, it's evident that these men pander to no yuppie boss. The works this time around may be less overtly state-smashing than on the band's debut, Lost Track of Time, but they are shot through with prole-grounded truth arrows that would destroy the stereo system in any Mercedes." It's not that punk critic Byron Coley writing up a band like Ricky Barnes & the Hootowls surprises me so much as that the band printed Coley's little gem of a rant as the liner notes. Of course, punk has influenced modern country music more than most critics – particularly those who point to the Byrds as an example of rock & roll influence – seem to realize. If nothing else, it pointed the way back to basics and spurred the movement toward its "roots." Still, Byron Coley… Sheesh! For those who don't know him, start with Nick Tosches and then take a hard left. "Prole-grounded truth arrows" indeed.
Most of the classic booze-fightin' lyrics on both BONE COUNTRY and YA
FINALLY SAID SOMETHIN' GOOD! are exactly that: classic. From "Waitin' In Your Welfare Line" (Buck Owens) to "Once A Day," (Bill Anderson), the Hootowls cover all the greats. Playing songs by the Louvin Brothers, George Jones, Merle Haggard, and John Laudermilk, they perform a sort of musical time travel. The songs are true to the originals – not exact remakes, but more like covers a group from the same era might have done, whether that era is early George Jones or late Merle Haggard, and stylistically ranging from Bluegrass to Honky Tonk. It's all tied together by Ricky Barnes' sweet, high, hillbilly voice. The Hootowl's know what they're about. Their choices and their treatments are dead-on.–Cheryl Cline
Joe Ely =+= LIVE SHOTS =+= MCA (CD)
First released in 1980, this smoking live set recorded in London during Ely's tour with the Clash has finally been reissued on CD. At that point in his career, Lubbock native Ely was still straddling the fence between country and rock, throwing in a dash of Tex-Mex and rockabilly for good measure.
Kicking off with the Jerry Lee Lewis-inspired "Fingernails," Ely and his
powerhouse band storm through the set with the fervor that won over the Clash's audience. Other highlights include "Honky Tonk Masquerade," one of Ely's best songs, and Butch Hancock's ominous "Boxcars." The band is top-notch throughout, especially accordionist Ponty Bone, guitarist Jesse Taylor and steel guitarist Lloyd Maines. Bone and Maines engage in a fiery duel of molten solos on "Johnny's Blues," driving the song to cathartic climax.
This is probably my favorite Ely album, because it captures the fire of
his onstage performances that was often missing from his early studio recordings. As a bonus, four tracks produced by Al Kooper have been added to this reissue, which is a must-have set for any fan of Texas music. –Jim Catalano
Rosie Flores =+= ONCE MORE WITH FEELING =+= Hightone Records (CD)
Rosie Flores has played a prominent role in both the Los Angeles and Austin country scenes. Born in San Antonio, moving to San Diego with her family when she was twelve, her childhood in Texas and youth in southern California gave her a wide range of musical influences, including everything from early rock & roll to Tex-Mex, country,and blues. She played in the rockabilly band Rosie and the Screamers, and the all-girl cowpunk quintet, the Screaming Sirens before fronting her own band.
ONCE MORE WITH FEELING is Rosie Flores' third solo release, produced by
Greg Leisz (k.d. lang, Matthew Sweet) and Dusty Wakeman (engineer for Dwight Yoakam). They both play on the album; Leisz on electric and acoustic guitars, pedal steel, lap steel and mandolin, and Wakeman on bass. The album is a showcase for her diverse background and influences. "Someday" is a contemporary ballad with Flores' plaintive vocals demonstrating the influence of Brenda Lee. "My Blue Angel" is another ballad, about a blue angel who kept the shadowy fears of her childhood at bay; today Flores calls on the angel to watch over her and keep her safe from the dangers of modern society.
"Love and Danger" is a male/female country duet. Joe Ely provides the male
vocals; Leisz's pedal steel and Tammy Rogers' fiddle make it a classic of the type. "Try Me" is a rocker in the Creedence Clearwater vein, while Leisz's twangin' guitar puts the country in the rocking "Ruin This Romance." With "Bandera Highway," Flores proves she can do the singer-songwriter thing too, backing herself on solo acoustic guitar.
"It's Over" shows her conjunto influence. Skip Edwards provides accordion
and Flores reprises the vocals in Spanish. "Honky Tonk Moon" is an old- fashioned Texas two-step, with Leisz, Rogers and Edwards providing the swing with honky tonk piano, lap steel and fiddle. The lyrics to another male/female duet, "Girl Haggard" is made up of the titles of Merle Haggard songs, with James Intveld singing Haggard's part while Flores does Bonnie Owens. "Real Man" has Katy Moffat dueting with Flores to funk guitar backing; like Meri Wilson's "Telephone Man," a shoe man, a phone man, a roofer, a plumber, and a lumberjack are objects of Flores' and Moffat's lusts.
Flores can do blues, too, as she demonstrates on "Rosebud Blues." Flores
steps out in front of her band for a blistering guitar solo. She closes with another ballad, "Tumblin' Down," an elegant lullaby about a man who breaks through the walls past love affairs built around her heart. This one begs for pressing the repeat button.
ONCE MORE WITH FEELING is Flores' best one yet. Hopefully it'll bring her
out of obscurity and into the wider recognition and commercial success she deserves. –William Athey
Robert Earl Keen =+= A BIGGER PIECE OF SKY =+= Sugar Hill (CD)
If you want to make a statement about the dark hollow void at the heart of modern life, you can wear black, dye your hair to match, pierce yourself in five places, get tattooed from the neck down, grab a microphone, hunch over and shriek into it like the guy behind you has just stuck a knife in your backbone, and you will get attention. Or, you could stand there with an acoustic guitar slung over your shoulder, looking like the clean-scrubbed innocent boy-next-door, flash a cherubic grin, and then hit folks with a song like "Blow You Away."
That'll get you some attention, too. Robert Earl Keen looks like Ricky Nelson and sounds like the dark side of
Lyle Lovett. Oh sure, he throws in a couple of lighthearted songs, like the understated western swing-styled "Daddy Had a Buick" or something traditionally pretty like "Night Right For Love," (a duet with Maura O'Connell). But these are just camouflage, as if to say, "No really, I'm normal." Yeah, right, like I'm going to be getting that gothic western song "Here In Arkansas" out of my head any time soon. (Lines like "they buried me here this afternoon/and left me here to die" kinda stick in your mind.) And the little tune about gunning people down "whenever kindness fails" (by Joe Ely; the song appears on his LOVE & DANGER) – that's supposed to get my toes tappin'?
I love this album. Fell in love with it on first listen, first song, first
few bars – that'd be the opening song, "So I Can Take My Rest," a haunting song about longing and loneliness. This gives way to the aforementioned "Whenever Kindness Fails," then on to the honky-tonkin' "Amarillo Highway," and then – hell, I can't list every song – did I mention "Corpus Christi Bay," the blue collar slice of life that Steve Earle could have done? No? How about Crazy Cowboy Dream?" "Paint the Town Beige?" Have I mentioned every song on the album yet?
No! I've left you with one thing to find out when you find out for yourself
how good this album is.
...You still here? --Cheryl Cline
Michael Fracasso =+= LOVE & TRUST =+= DEJADISC (CD)
A new shining light in the singer/songwriter firmament is Austin's Michael Fracasso. His songs on LOVE & TRUST are intelligent, witty, and immediately familiar as good songs usually are. The musicianship and instrumentation is spare but appropriate to the intimate nature of the songs and Fracasso's voice.
About his voice: it's high and nasal, but considering the rising
popularity of Jimmie Dale Gilmore, probably not a handicap to great popularity. The publicity sheet compared his voice to Roy Orbison and Gene Pitney… maybe so, at least superficially. But Michael Fracasso has a distinctive voice and a fine one. On some songs, he strives for a traditional country sound ("Door #1," "Brazos River Blues"), on others he sounds a bit like classic Byrds-era Roger McGuinn ("The Streets of October," "Outside The Rain"), and at other times he sounds strongly influenced by Bob Dylan ("Play The Drum, Slowly"). Sometimes his singing reminds me of humorous beat-era folk music ("Wake Up! George"). Let's just leave it that Michael Fracasso is damn good at what he does and that simple comparisons are for saps.
A recent Austin music poll voted Michael Fracasso Best New Artist. I can't
add much more to that except that I've played love & trust every day since it came in the mail and will continue to play it for a long time to come. If you like folk-inspired country music, achingly pretty songs, and finely crafted lyrics, then Michael Fracasso might be your cup of tea. –Lynn Kuehl
Tish Hinojosa =+= TAOS TO TENNESSEE =+= Watermelon (CD) [Reissue]
Originally released on cassette in 1987, this album was recorded almost as it was being written. According to Hinojosa's own brief liner notes to this CD reissue, James McMurty's "Crazy Wind and Flashing Yellows" was recorded while "the ink…was still wet," and the title song was written on the last night of the last recording session. Hinojosa writes: "An 8-track studio located in a row of storage units fronted by a gravel lot was the workshop for me and other Taos musicians with guitars and pens. To apologize for the quality would kill the spirit of the time."
There's nothing to apologize for; while the production isn't as fancy as
on her later albums, the spirit of the time shines through, and Hinojosa shines brightest. Her voice, one of the most beautiful in country music, is no less so for being captured on 8-track in a storage shed.
The two songs written for -- and during -- the session are the standouts,
but I'm also fond of her sweet but stately rendition of Bill Staines' "River." (This one *does* sound like it was recorded in a shed, but this only gives it a pleasant "live" quality.) Peter Rowan's "Midnight Moonlight" is also pretty, and Hinojosa's adding Spanish lyrics to Irving Berlin's "Always" is a nice touch. All in all a fine reissue. –Cheryl Cline
Don McCalister, Jr. & His Cowboy Jazz Review =+= BRAND NEW WAYS =+= DEJADISC (CD)
This one's a curious mixture of classic country style and contemporary country lounge music. It starts off nicely with three McCalister country swing originals ("Brand New Ways," "Silver Moon," and "If I Never Love Another"), then veers off into moody country pop ("Fool's Gold" and "Walk On By"), then a cover of a Louvin Brothers classic ("Cash On The Barrelhead"), then a Henry Gross cover ("Laura"), and so on. The overall effect for me is slightly less than satisfying, a little like mixing Commander Cody with Skip Ewing or Asleep At The Wheel with Glen Campbell. I love McCalister's interpretation of country swing but I could do with less of the moody modern country sentiment.
However, some of our more fanatical readership may wish to acquire this for
McCalister's pleasant rendition of Jimmie Dale Gilmore's "Tonight I Think I'm Gonna Go Downtown." Like the rest of the album, it's a slickly professional production. Hey, this is not a bad album, just not a really great one (and I realize that as faint-praise-damnation, this line's a doozy). Sorry, no whole-hearted recommendation here. But then, Don McCalister can still run rings around a lot of that "big hat" music you hear on country music radio these days. If you're into Lyle Lovett, you might want to give Don McCalister a try.–Lynn Kuehl
OKra ALL-STARS =+= OKra Records [CD]
OKra is a small label in Columbus, Ohio that puts out some real cool country music. A bunch of people from different bands on the label joined up together to form the All-Stars and headed for Europe. They were well-received there, and listening to this CD, released on their return, it's easy to see why, though it's harder to explain or describe. There's a definite OKra Sound here. It's bedrock country, full of strum and twang with a modern sensibility and an old-time feel. Laconic is a word that comes to mind, but it's not laid-back, exactly; it's too sharp. A lot of the songs here sound like Buck Owens slowed down a notch or two–in fact, the cover of "I Wouldn't Live In New York City" is exactly that. And what with a mournful steel guitar making an appearance here, blue harmonica there, a dissolute air of lonesomeness hovers over most of the songs. I can't get it off my CD player.
The All-Stars are Hank McCoy (Dead Ringers), Ricky Barnes (Hootowls), Jeb
Loy Nichols (Fellow Travelers) and Dave Schramms (The Schramms, Dead Ringers). Other musicians include Jeff Passiifume (bass, Dead Ringers), James Casto (drums, Hootowls), plus Pete Remenyi on dobro, Jeff Vogelgesang on mandolin, and Randy Jones on fiddle.
Of the bands represented here, I'm only familiar with the Dead Ringers
and the Hootowls, and both make good showings in their spotlight selections. The Hootowls' "Big Mistake" (written by Jeb) which starts off the CD, drags you right in there, and sets the tone for what follows. If you can't take that nasal twang of his, get outta the kitchen. Hank McCoy singing lead on the uptempo "Don't Laugh," sets me to laughing every time I hear it–hey, I play it on purpose just for the pleasure of laughing (and it's a sadistic pleasure, too, the song's a plea from a hapless lover to an indifferent lady not to laugh at his declarations of love. The fair sex can be cruel). Jeb Loy Nichols wrote some of the best original songs here, including "Let's Build a Bridge," and "Blue Sides (To Every Story)," given a gorgeous wistful rendition by Hank. Hank's own "New Orleans" is a nice bluesy jukebox tune with Passifiume contribuiting electric tremolo guitar, and Dave Schramm's "She's Taken All My Toys Away" is also a favorite of mine, a moody song that rolls along under Schramm's bass voice. The All-Stars also do really fine versions of "One of These Days," and "Wild and Blue," taking turns singing lead (lending a nice collaborative feel–a hint of what the live show must be like). And Ricky singing lead to an twangy version of Prince's "Purple Rain" is not to be missed. –Cheryl Cline
The Pleasure Barons =+= LIVE IN LAS VEGAS =+= Hightone (CD)
LIVE IN LAS VEGAS is a veritable roots-rock summit, as former Blaster Dave Alvin plays straight man to two of the genre's zaniest personalities: Mojo Nixon and the Beat Farmers' Country Dick Montana.
Nixon rants with the fervor of a Televangelist on "Elvis Is Everywhere"
and "Amos Moses," while Montana's basso profundo rumbles through Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love" and "The Definitive Tom Jones Medley." Alvin takes lead vocals on Joe South's "Games People Play" and Johnny Guitar Watson's ominous "Gangster of Love."
The Pleasure Barons, who total 13 members, generate a raucous frat-party
atmosphere that will rattle your loudspeakers and shake the china in your cupboard. This is one show that should be captured on videotape.–Jim Catalano
Sweethearts Of The Rodeo =+= RODEO WALTZ =+= Sugar Hill (CD)
Kristine Arnold and Janis Gill, The Sweethearts Of The Rodeo, have had enough. Enough of major labeldom's withering efforts to turn them into a piquant pair of Judds. Enough of the overproduction on their last few records competing with their genetically compatible harmonies. Enough of the insular Nashville back-patting that excludes them, but lauds Gill's husband's pop/country schlock.
Enough! Nashville is all over RODEO WALTZ, but it is not the neon, made-in-Taiwan,
wax museum, ticky-tacky Nashville of Music Row. This record is the lovingly preserved and renovated brick homes of 16th Avenue. It is the legacy of the Ryman. It is biscuits and gravy at the Loveless Cafe. About the only thing that's not Nashville is its label, Sugar Hill, the North Carolina indie.
Produced by Janis Gill, it is full of understated virtuosity from
Nashville's most illustrious session players, including Sam Bush and Roy Huskey, Jr. of Emmylou Harris' Nash Ramblers. It was recorded, mixed and mastered in Music City, and has an organic feel that permeates a telling selection of twelve songs.
The Sweethearts have chosen to cover an eclectic swath of country and
bluegrass tunes, the thread of continuity being the blending of their lush voices supported by a confident, restrained acoustic band. There's the rockabilly of "Get Rhythm" (an early Johnny Cash hit) and the jukebox classic "Please Help Me I'm Falling"; there's the traditional, bluesily rockin' "Deep River Blues" (which showcases Terry McMillan's freight train whistle harmonica). Contemporary Nashville hit-maker Don Schlitz's homey songwriting is done justice by the joyous simplicity with which the sisters sing his "Things Will Grow." Folkies Jesse Winchester and Gordon Lightfoot are represented, as is Gill herself, whose "There One Morning" has the patina of a musical family heirloom. The record ends with Robbie Robertson's "Broken Arrow," sounding as it might had the newly-revived Band covered it with their characteristic dirt-under-the-fingernails approach.
Gill shows an intuitive sense in utilizing the talents of her family
members. She allows her sister to continue the lead, vocally, and the generally toned-down atmosphere of the record has inspired Arnold to dig in and find a soulfulness that was sometimes disguised as ragged overreaching on their previous work. Gill's husband, Vince Gill, plays a low-key role as guitarist and as co-writer with Guy Clark on "Jenny Dreamed of Trains," a song written for the Gill's daughter.
The bravest, most poignant declaration comes from Gill, writing with Don
Schlitz. She addresses her post-superstardom husband, pining for her "Bluegrass Boy," the one with brown hair and blue eyes, the one that "looked a lot like you." She urges, "Serenade me bluegrass boy/Play a round of 'Soldier's Joy'/Can't you see I miss him so/My bluegrass boy with his fiddle and bow." It's an assertive moment and the thematic center of a record that rejoices in its return to Nashville's simpler pleasures.
"Smile when you speak. It's possible to hear a smile," I was instructed
once at a receptionists's seminar I was forced to attend. On RODEO WALTZ, the Sweethearts have an obvious smile in their voices, happy to be dealing with Nashville on their own terms, to exhilarating results. –Jill Van Vliet
Alan Whitney =+= 4-Song Demo Tape =+= from Western Beat
Riding hard and fast out of the southlands (L.A. that is) comes one Alan Whitney, a hard-rockin' country boy who's the best sure-fire argument against Alan Jackson's anti-rock belly-ache since Dwight Yoakam. What Mr. Jackson and other belligerent country folks don't seem to grasp is that the roots of modern day country are just as firmly planted in musical soil fertilized by sixties and seventies (and most especially fifties) rock & roll as they are by old time country music. Modern country isn't any less authentic when it includes elements of rock, not to mention jazz, blues, or other influences, 'cause, well shit… where would country be if people like Bob Wills hadn't combined country & western with big band jazz? Or if Hank Williams hadn't decided to sing the blues once in awhile? 'Nuff said!
Alan Whitney writes hook-filled rocking country pop songs with clever
lyrics and a beat that'll make you want to jump out of your seat. In "Cadillac Kiss," Whitney makes an impassioned plea for love using the metaphor of big- block V8 luxury transportation.
In "Love's A Rodeo," Whitney complains that he has rope burns on his
fingers from holding on too long and scars from falling flat on his face in the rodeo ring of love. "Another Saturday Nite" and "The Hurricane" are only slightly less powerful rockers than the first two songs and would be standouts in almost any other set. Altogether it's one of the most exciting demo tapes I've heard.
Although Whitney's based in L.A., he originally hails from upstate New
York. For the last couple of years he's been burnin' down the house in L.A. at various open mic competitions and in the last year he's made two trips to Nashville to be showcased at the legendary Bluebird Cafe. With Whitney's talent and looks – did I forget to mention how much he resembles a young Steve Winwood? – and just a little more exposure, it shouldn't be long before some big label steps up and makes him an offer he can't refuse. If success don't spoil him, this might be the fella to blow the lid off the entrenched country music scene. (Ok, ok, I got my hyperbole gland workin' overtime. Sorry, won't happen again.)
Anyway, all I've got to say is, keep your eyes (and ears) peeled for this
boy. Alan Whitney's one hell of a singer. –Lynn Kuehl
Label Addresses: OKra Records, 1992-B North High Street, Columbus, OH 43201 (in Germany,
contact NORMAL Records, Bonner Talweg 276, 5300 Bonn 1, Germany)
Hightone Records, 220 4th Street, #101, Oakland, CA 94607 Dejadisc, 537 Lindsey Street, San Marcos, TX 78666 Watermelon Records, P.O. Box 402088, Austin, TX 78704 Sugar Hill Records, P.O. Box 55300, Durham, NC 27717-5300 Western Beat Entertainment, 1738 Bay View Drive, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254 __
=+= BOOKS: LARRY BROWN =+=
FACING THE MUSIC (Algonquin Press, 1988) DIRTY WORK (Algonquin Press, 1989) BIG BAD LOVE (Algonquin Press, 1990) JOE (Algonquin Press, 1991) ON FIRE (Algonquin Press, 1994)
If you took a Steve Earle song -- "Good Old Boy (Gettin' Tough)," say, or
"The Week of Living Dangerously," and freed the characters from the confines of a 3« minute song and let them roam in a novel or a short story, they'd be right at home in one by Larry Brown. Brown writes about the same tough down- and-outers, facing the same hard choices and bad luck. And he does it with the same compassion and dry humor.
The characters are drawn from life, his own, mostly. Brown, who lives in
Oxford, Mississippi, was a fireman who "got to wondering how people sat down and created a whole book out of nothing" (SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE 11/25/90) and decided to find out by trying his hand at it. After writing two novels and two collections of short stories, he's come full circle; his latest book, excerpted in the December, 1993 issue of the NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW, is an autobiographical account of working as a fireman. He's fictionalized his coming to writing in at least two stories, "The Apprentice," a humorous story, told in the first person, about a man whose wife gets the writing bug; and the more serious and much longer "92 Days," which follows a beginning writer's odyssey through hell (drinking, divorce, and death) to find his soul and his voice. Both of these stories are published in BIG BAD LOVE, the first Larry Brown book I read and still my favorite one.
His stories are hard to describe because, at least in terms of
conventional plot, nothing much happens. A couple out driving get two flat tires and have an argument; while they're busy making up in the front seat, the police drive up. A man tries to cheat on his wife and is interrupted in unexpected and ludicrous ways every time he tries to have sex with his new girlfriend. An old couple lie in bed at night and one hears something downstairs; the other goes to investigate what he knows is not there, has a cigarette, and comes back to bed.
But of course more is going on. The old man reflects on mortality and
wonders how he and his wife "got to be so old." The cheating husband gradually realizes, with a sense of fatality, that his hunger for his crazy love is never going to be filled, even if the sex act is consummated. The man with the flat tires knows that love is hard to find. "Love wasn't going to just walk up and slap you in the face. It wasn't going to tackle you around the knees out on the sidewalk. Love wasn't going to leap out of a second story window on top of you." And when it does fall on you, it just keeps going wrong.
Brown is a master at making profound observations on big questions by
means of the most inconsequential, throwaway scenarios, many of them involving a out-of-work no 'count who gets drunk and picks up a woman in a bar or has an argument with his wife (generally about his getting drunk and picking up women in bars). His characters are often crude, sometimes violent, a lot of times confused. In his best stories they somehow claw their way or stagger gropingly towards a sort of transcendence, but even so, their grasp on it is precarious. Brown has a bottomless compassion for his no 'counts, even as he draws them in such a way as to drive the reader to exasperation with them. While they inspire a (sometimes grudging) sympathy, Brown doesn't glorify them in typical wrong-side-of-the-tracks, bad-boy way. He just says, look closely at this here lunkhead. He's human.
The everyday and the underdog is by now stock -- the pages of contemporary
writing have more flannel shirts and waitress aprons than any time since the proletarian novels of the thirties – but Brown goes some. When he's at his best, his characters are so real and their pain so acute you flinch – not that Brown does. They're not yee-haw caricatures, they're not working class people gussied up to play bit parts in literary sociology, they're not qrotesques. If anything, they are too close for comfort.
His stories are powerful; I had forgotten how powerful until I started
leafing through his books to write this essay and got trapped. I spent the rest of the evening reading, later remembering how each time I had sat down with one of his novels I had finished it in one sitting. JOE is a compelling but almost unremittingly grim story about a boy brought up in the most abject and mind-numbing poverty imaginable, both physical and spiritual, and his tenuous friendship with a man who poisons trees for a living. DIRTY WORK is almost as grim. Its subject, Vietnam war veterans, and its theme, basically the same as JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN, hardly makes for lightweight reading, but it's written as a first person narrative, and so captures some of the same hapless- dude humor of his short stories. The perspective alternates between a white man, horribly disfigured in the war, who arrives at a VA hospital in the wake of some unremembered catastrophe, and a quadriplegic black man who's been in the hospital for twenty years. Neither of these novels are what you'd call buddy stories, though both are about dilemmas and duties men face together.
I like Brown's short stories better than his novels. It may be that he
allows for a little more humor there (maybe he thinks novels should be more serious?). But I think it's because his stories are more open-ended than his novels. The novels end. The stories more often leave you with the feeling the characters, having come to an important realization about love or life, are embarking on a new chapter, off the printed page. It may not always be towards something better, but still, moving, like the character in "Gold Nuggets," who, through a typical Larry Brown chain of events, finds himself broke, hung over, and somewhat lost, wandering the docks looking for a perhaps apocryphal boat selling shrimp at $1.35 a pound. "I kept walking. I knew all this was just a temporary setback. It didn't mean that I couldn't ever be saved from my life, or that I'd never find the boat I was looking for. Somewhere, somewhere there, was a connection I could make, and I knew that all I had to do was stay out there until I found it." –Cheryl Cline
=+= If I Were Queen of the Silver Dollar =+= Jill Van Vliet =+=
SOMETIME IN 1990, standing in front of my bathroom mirror, I picked up my hairbrush and sang into it, "I'm goin' to Graceland, Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee, I'm goin' to Graceland…"
My then-significant other had put the Paul Simon disc in the player that
spring afternoon as we lazed away a weekend. I sang along with an exaggerated twang, and it suddently occurred to me! I yelled out to the living room, "Hey, this would make a great country song!"
My then-significant other agreed. Obviously, so did Willie Nelson and Paul
Simon himself. As I lazed away yet another weekend, this time in the spring of 1993, I put Willie's ACROSS THE BORDERLINE CD in the player and listened to him singing "Graceland" the way I always knew it should be sung.
I'm a sucker for albums of covers. I love to hear unexpected
interpretations of songs that I have grown so used to that when they are covered, I'm initially indignant about the results. Those covers often become my favorites. Once the shock wears off, I'm delighted by the ballsy way some songs become new. Of course, they remain familiar. They become new songs you already know the words to. That's the beauty of covers, and I'll admit it, I can't get enough.
If I were Queen, I would produce an album of covers, using songs that have
always been country songs, but have been masquerading all these years as simple, and sometimes yucky, pop songs. The simple structures and direct emotions of what is mostly known, unfortunately, as seventies singer/songwriter folksy drivel, lend themselves particularly well to this idea. In my imagination, as they become pumped up with wailing steels, banjos, mandolins and dobros, they become dusty, down-home weepers.
Consider two tunes by Fleetwood Mac. In "Monday Morning," a Lindsey
Buckingham song, and "I Don't Want To Know," a Stevie Nicks composition from RUMOURS, the singers ask a classic country question within jaunty, tight rhythms: why does love keep "walking on down the line?" I recruit Kevin Welch and Kelly Willis to cover them, respectively, and wha la! My dream album is out of the shoot.
Speaking of Stevie Nicks, I hire Patty Loveless to sing strength into
Stevie's warbling version of "The Highwayman" from her BELLA DONNA album. Imagine Patty's rural gutbucket of a voice wrapped around these lines: "Alas, he was the highwayman/The one that comes and goes/And only a highwaywoman puts up with the likes of those."
Joni Mitchell's BLUE provides "All I Want," as sung in my dreams by Marie
McKee, who is capable of rising to the high soprano litany of the singer's needs, or sinking gleefully into the guttural passion of a line like "Alive, alive, I want to get up and jive/I want to wreck my stockings in some juke box dive."
Merle Haggard would transform Joni's "A Case Of You" (also from BLUE),
from her melancholy reading into an unapologetic, sturdy C&W crying-in-your- beer song. Imagine Hag simply stating: "Oh, you're in my blood like holy wine/You taste so bitter and so sweet/Oh I could drink a case of you, darling/And I would still be on my feet/I would still be on my feet."
Brenda Lee sings Jackson Browne? I would ask her to sing his staple of
late-seventies AOR radio, "Here Comes Those Tears Again," adding, as she would, a texture and touch of Vegas to a song that suffers from smoothness.
Carole King's "Way Over Yonder" from TAPESTRY would retain it's faint
gospel/R&B tinge while being given a country swing shuffle when performed by Lyle Lovett and his band, with backing vocals by powerhouse Francine Reed.
REO Speedwagon and Bon Jovi don't often come to mind as performers of
country songs, but certainly come to mine when the adjective "bombastic" is mentioned. I would love to hear John Prine take Jon Bon Jovi's song from the movie, "Blaze of Glory" and turn it into an acoustic, drowsy lament, full of his characteristic irony. "…I'm goin' down, in a blaze of glory…" REO Speedwagon could also benefit from some downshifting, as Jimmie Dale Gilmore might perform their lovely, starkly declarative "Time For Me To Fly."
The restrained longing of 10,000 Maniacs' poetic "The Painted Desert" from
IN MY TRIBE, would be handled with sorrowful determination by Lucinda Williams, whose own work is reminiscent of the beauty and vulgarity in the line, "Is a cactus blooming there in every roadside stand/Where the big deal is cowboy gear sewn in Japan?"
To insure this album's cult status, I'd have k.d. lang and Shelby Lynne
smokily dueting on "Sinful Life," a wacky ode to unwedded bliss that appeared on Timbuk 3's album EDEN ALLEY.
Since Willie Nelson stole my bathroom mirror brainstorm, what would I have
him do? The Beatles "In My Life." Just in case he's already stolen that idea, too, does anybody know how I can get a hold of Freddy Fender?
————————- + + + + + + + + + + + + + ————————-
= Internet Resources =
=+= BGRASS-L =+= Unmoderated mailing list run by Frank Godbey at the University of Kentucky. Send e-mail to LISTSERV@UKCC.UKY (Bitnet) or LISTSERV@UKCC.UKY.EDU (Internet) with a blank subject line and SUBSCRIBE BGRASS-L Your Full Name on the first line of the message.
The list's charter states as it's purpose: The discussion of issues
related to the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA); and of Bluegrass and Old-Time music in general, including but not limited to recordings, bands, individual performers, live performances, publications, business aspects, venues, history,performances, publications, business aspects, venues, history,legal & ethical issues, radio, TV, you-name-it. Early commercial country music is also an acceptable topic."
BGRASS-L is a *very* active list; fifty or more messages a day isn't
unusual. (I recommend setting the list to DIGESTS to avoid being overwhelmed.) The topics range from musicians' shop talk (care of instruments, recommended equipment, tablature, lyrics) to hillbilly stereotypes to festival reports and the usual band itineraries and new release announcements. The sense of community is very strong on this list, and the flaming is minimal (tempers occasionally flare, but there's no out-and-out meanness here). Most of the mainstays of the list are active in bluegrass and old time music, either in working bands (including members of Southern Rail, Union Springs, Dry Branch Fire Squad, the Poodles, Cornerstone, and the Bluegrass Patriots), or as musicians, disc jockeys, label execs, promoters, journalists and music scholars – sometimes two or three of these at once! – so the List provides a glimpse of one corner of the bluegrass/old time community at work (the corner that has Internet access…) The level of knowledge is also very high; just about any question you might want to ask, whether it's how to safely transport a stand-up bass to the Stanley Brother's last recorded show to who's playing next weekend in Cincinnati, is likely to be answered. And don't be afraid to ask dumb questions; newcomers to bluegrass are made to feel welcome and their most basic questions are answered with grace. If you haven't figured it out yet, this is one of my favorite Lists.
=+= FOLK_MUSIC =+=
Moderated by Alan Roworth. To subscribe, e-mail to LISTSERV@NYSERNET.ORG with the Subject line blank and SUBSCRIBE FOLK_Music Your Full Name on the first line of the message.
While the focus of this list is folk, it often strays into country,
especially the singer-songwriter areas (there's not much bluegrass or old time here, by the way). Performers like Nanci Griffith, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock, Terry Allen, David Halley, and Kevin Welch are discussed fairly regularly. It's not nearly as freewheeling as BGRASS-L, but the information is solid (lots of tour itineraries) and discussion intelligent.
They also maintain files for FTP at nysernet.org, including the DIRTY
LINEN magazine monthly tour calendars. To access these files via anonymous FTP logon as GUEST giving your email@example.com as a password. Files and subdirectories are contained within the directory /FOLK_MUSIC. These are also accessible via gopher on port 70.
The Nysernet gopher is also available via telnet by connecting to
nysernet.org and typing "nysernet" as a login name, no password is necessary.
Contact Alan Roworth at ALANR@NYSERNET.ORG for more information.
=+= rec.music.country.western =+=
An unmoderated USENET group, rec.music.country.western is a lot more sprawling than either BGRASS-L or FOLK_MUSIC, and subject to the usual USENET problems of flaming (including casual flaming from outside) and "spammed" messages ("MAKE MONEY FAST!!" "THE END OF THE WORLD IS NEAR"). It tends to be more top- 40 oriented, with lots of messages about Reba, Garth, and Clint, but fans of Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Shaver, and Nanci Griffith are also represented, and for every greenhorn who asks, "So, who IS Maybelle Carter, anyway?" there are three or four knowledgeable folks who patiently post answers. (I also notice these are often the *same* people who answer dumb questions with grace on BGRASS-L and FOLK_MUSIC…if we're naming names, I'd like to nominate John Lupton as an Internet List Saint).
=+= FOLK/ACOUSTIC/BLUEGRASS RADIO STATIONS AND PROGRAMS =+=
Jeremy Butler, host of "All Things Considered" on WUAL/WQPR has compiled a list of folk/acoustic radio stations and programs, many of which play country music. To get the list, send an e-mail message to LISTSERV@UA1VM.UA.EDU. In the first line of your message, put the following command:
GET FLKRD3A TXT
Repeat the procedure with:
GET FLKRD3B TXT GET FLKRD3C TXT GET FLKRD3C TXT
(Note: there are no periods in the filenames)
He updates the list periodically, so if you host a radio show along these lines, or know of a good one that does, send it to Jeremy. He requests the information in the following format:
REGION: PROGRAM TITLE: PROGRAM HOST: RADIO STATION NAME (call letters): RADIO STATION FREQUENCY AND LOCATION: TIME/DAY BROADCAST: TYPE OF MUSIC FEATURED: ADDRESS (e-mail or standard post): COMMENTS (how cool is it?):
For more information, contact: Jeremy Butler
Host, "All Things Acoustic" (WUAL/WQPR) firstname.lastname@example.org P.O. Box 870152 Telecommunication and Film Dept. University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0152
=+= FOLK E-MAIL DIRECTORY =+= Send request to Hiram Jackson: JACKSON@GEOLOGY.UCDAVIS.EDU
Hiram Jackson has compiled a directory of e-mail addresses for folk performers, journalists, promoters, agents, editors, and others. Again, while the umbrella term is "folk", the list includes addresses for people connected with bluegrass, country, tex-mex, cajun, etc., etc. It's a very useful list, especially in tandem with Jeremy Butler's radio list. If you would like to be listed, send information to Hiram at the above e-mail address.
==⇒ COMING SOON! =+= BOXCARS =+=
As if I didn't have enough to do, I'm working on a new e-zine project, a collective zine, or "press association" or Reader's digest/Utne Reader style electronic zine, tentatively titled BOXCARS. The plan is this: people who publish newsletters, magazines, or fanzines about country, bluegrass, old- time, blues, cajun, roots rock, or anything else that falls into the loose category "American folk," send excerpts from their publications (preferably via e-mail or on IBM-compatible disks), I edit it all together and send it out on the Net. The excerpts will be set off from each other, much like columns, with the name of the zine as the title, and will include subscription info & etc. I'll do some minimal formatting to make it look good, but I won't edit it. The length of the excerpts will depend on how many people participate. I hope to do it monthly, but you don't have to contribute every time.
Along with the 'zine excerpts/columns, I plan to include a few resource
and news columns, covering things like Internet resources, new releases by bands, radio show listings, and whatever else comes my way. If you're interested, send an e-mail to me and I'll give you more details.
=+= =+= =+= =+= =+= =+= =+= =+= =+= =+= =+= =+= =+= =+= =+= =+=
TWANGIN'! On-Line is copyright © 1994 by Cheryl Cline. Individual writers hold the copyright on their material. Forwarding or otherwise reproducing this zine electronically is okay, but if you want to reprint any of the contents in, say, your own zine, ask first.
That number again is email@example.com
Contributors —————————————————————- Cheryl Cline: Editor, publisher, chief cook & bottle-washer Lynn Kuehl: Sidekick Jim Catalano: Based in Ithaca, NY, Jim writes a weekly freelance music
column for the ITHACA JOURNAL. He also writes a country column for the Music Press, upstate New York's biggest all- monthly; he makes a point to cover non-mainstream country as much as possible. He invites submissions and correspondence to 709 N. Cayuga St., Ithaca, NY 14850 or call 607-277-3695.
William Athey: Salt Lake City-based writer and regular contributor to the
Rockabilly magazine PUT YER CAT CLOTHES ON
Jill Van Vliet: Free-lance writer and member of The Cypress Group, a Chicago