In 2008, the Statler Brothers were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Five members of the quartet were inducted, a tribute to their status as one of the few groups in recorded music to achieve legendary success both before and after a high-profile lineup change.
The Statler Brothers got their name from a tissue box, though two of them – Harold and Don Reid – were actually brothers. First performing as the Kingsmen, hey started as a church singing group in Staunton, Virginia. Harold initially performed as part of a trio with Phil Balsley and Lew DeWitt, and Don joined later on, making them a quartet. They opened a local show for Johnny Cash, who was so impressed that he invited them to join his traveling show and helped them score a contract with Columbia Records.
Tom T. Hall is known as the Storyteller, a fitting title for a man whose ability to spin a musical yarn led to some of the greatest country story songs of all-time, many of which he sang himself.
His childhood set the stage for a career in music. His father gave him a guitar when he was eight, and he learned music from his hometown neighbor Clayton Delaney, later the subject of Hall’s longest-running #1 single. His mother died when he was just 11, and when a hunting accident four years later made it impossible for his father to work, Hall joined the workforce of a garment factory at age 15.
If you’re going to keep revisiting the same themes, you might as well take some risks with your delivery.
Kenny Chesney’s new single sounds fresher and more engaging than anything he’s done in a very long time. It’s easy to miss that he’s singing about what he always sings about: nostalgia for growing up in the country with American rock as the soundtrack.
What makes “American Kids” work more than a lot his attempts with this theme is that sounds like he learned something listening to those Mellencamp and Springsteen records. This record oozes charm and mature authority, like he’s finally lived long enough to look back and say, “Hey. We were kinda crazy back then. But we all turned out alright in the end.”
Written by Rodney Clawson, Luke Laird, and Shane McAnally
A big step up from her last few projects, Dolly Parton’s Blue Smoke is her most balanced album since Backwoods Barbie. While it lacks cohesion due to so many different styles being used, there’s a solid entry from every kind of Dolly – country Dolly, pop Dolly, mountain Dolly, gospel Dolly, duet-with-fellow-legend Dolly. While it isn’t likely to be anyone’s favorite Dolly Parton album because of this, it’s also unlikely that any fan of hers won’t find something here that reminds them of why they became a fan in the first place.
Miranda Lambert’s life experience has caught up with her talent.
Platinum is a confident, intelligent record that weaves the themes of nostalgia, femininity, and celebrity together over sixteen tracks. It’s a cohesive set, with lead single “Automatic” making much more sense in the context of the full album. It’s also remarkably, defiantly country, which shows more of a rock-and-roll attitude these days than rocking out does.
Roy Acuff is responsible for not only some of the genre’s foundational recordings, but for helping to put Nashville on the map as a star of the Grand Ole Opry, a music publishing tycoon, and even a candidate for governor of Tennessee.
Not bad for a middle child from rural Tennessee, the son of a prominent family from the small town of Maynardville. Though both of his parents were skilled musicians, his passion was baseball, and he got as far as minor league tryouts before sunstroke ended his budding career. He chose to hone his skills with the fiddle, and began performing around the south as part of a touring medicine show. Incorporating the southern gospel song, “Great Speckled Bird”, into his performances caught the attention of the record companies. By the end of the thirties, he had several hits and a Grand Ole Opry cast membership to his credit.