Gram Parsons

100 Greatest Men: #19. Webb Pierce

August 12, 2014 // 2 Comments

100 Greatest Men: The Complete List Rocketing to stardom in the aftermath of Hank Williams’ death, Webb Pierce became country music’s biggest superstar in the 1950’s, dominating the charts and establishing a flamboyant style that would become forever associated with traditional, honky-tonk country music. Pierce grew up in Louisiana, cutting his teeth on Jimmie Rodgers records and already developing his own sound by his teenage years.  At age fifteen, he already had a weekly radio show, performing his combination of the Cajun sounds of his home state and the Western Swing that was dominating country music at the time.

Top 40 Singles of 2011, Part One: #40-#31

January 2, 2012 // 5 Comments

For nine decades and counting, country music has been defined by the single, with only the format and definition changing over time.

Today, a single could be any one of the following: a CD sent to radio for airplay; a digital download released in advance of an album; a music video released to online websites and dwindling television outlets; and in a lovely throwback, a seven inch vinyl single sold in the indie record stores that have managed to outlast the chain stores that once threatened their existence.

Single Review: Emmylou Harris, “The Road”

April 7, 2011 // 9 Comments

The story of Emmylou Harris is well established, the stuff of legend at this point.

She could’ve been Gram Parsons’ harmony singer for the rest of her career and been happy, but she ended up carrying on his legacy instead, becoming a Hall of Famer with the most consistently excellent catalog in country music history.

The Mavericks Six Pack

August 19, 2009 // 20 Comments

The MavericksEven though they never made it into heavy rotation on country radio, The Mavericks were still one of country music’s most lauded bands in the mid-nineties. The CMAs named them Vocal Group in both 1995 and 1996, and they won similar honors from the Grammys and the ACMs.

Despite not reaching the top ten with a single, they enjoyed a platinum-selling and a gold-selling album. In Canada, their albums continued to reach the gold threshold. “Dance the Night Away”, which barely dented the country chart in America, was a sizable hit in the United Kingdom. Lead singer Raul Malo has gone on to record several solo projects, along with producing other acts, including yesterday’s Six Pack featured artist Rick Trevino.

“What a Crying Shame”
from the 1994 album What a Crying Shame

Essentially their breakthrough hit, it found them ditching the political themes of their debut album for Orbison-channeling heartbreak instead.

“O What a Thrill”
from the 1994 album What a Crying Shame

A wonderfully romantic ballad that’s remarkably sophisticated.

Ben Kweller, Changing Horses

January 29, 2009 // 0 Comments

Ben Kweller Changing Horses He’s gone country, back to his roots.With Changing Horses, Ben Kweller shifts gears into a new groove, adding a touch of twang to his earnest tales of yearning. The Texas-bred bard, whose quirky pop has served as a guide to glory for the heartbroken, is now an Americana mystery in the spirit of Gram Parsons.  The shaggy-haired minstrel loves his Garth, but he sings and plays with a quiet hush that’s more Western wear than arena rock. Equal parts Cali folk and alt-pop, Changing Horses is proof that Nashville slick isn’t the only way to do country. His use of a whispering pedal steel is just the twinge of tradition to ground these hopeful hymns. Whether praising a woman’s virtuous way (“On Her Own”) or pining for romantic revival (“Wantin’ You Again”), Kweller leaves doubt in the dust, pressing on past old regrets towards new frontiers. Kweller minds his manners, too. In a show of Southern hospitality, he thanks a hooker girlfriend for being such sweet company on Read More

100 Greatest Women, #4: Emmylou Harris

June 27, 2008 // 27 Comments

100 Greatest Women #4 Emmylou Harris The living embodiment of artistic integrity, Emmylou Harris has been creating acclaimed music for more than three decades, building up the most consistent catalog in the history of country music. In her early days, her mix of contemporary songs and classic country songs was seen as forward-thinking and progressive, but over time, she would be seen as a protective guardian of country music’s heritage, even when she strayed far away from it on her own recordings. Her own roots were not in country music, as she was an aspiring folk artist in her early days. While she was also interested in drama, she was increasingly drawn to the folk songs of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, eventually leaving college and moving to New York in 1968. However, the folk scene was beginning to die down, and though she found occasional work, it wasn’t much. Read More