Monday, December 23, 2013

Country Music News International December 23. 2013

Country Music News International December 23. 2013


Here is your Country Music News of the day from Country Music News International . Your Country Music News is supported by, Ray Scott , Courtyard Nashville Downtown , Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau , Tennessee Tourism, , Steel Guitar Nashville, , Lucy Malheur

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CD: The BossHoss - Flames of Fame Live

The BossHoss
Flames of Fame Live [Disk 1]

God Loves Cowboys 5:53 Bullpower 3:44 Eager Beaver 3:33 I Keep on Dancing  5:30
Do It Now 3:58 Whatever 5:00  Polk Salad Annie 9:28  A Little Bit More More More 4:00
What If 4:13 I Say a Little Prayer 7:17

 And, I thought my wife getting pissed off at me today was something to quake in my boots about. God Loves Cowboys makes me thank the Almighty that I’m comfortable on the couch and sure as hell not messing with them . The BossHoss just opens this one up full-throttle and flips the switch for Bullpower. After these first two songs, I’ve got a bit of advice for any would-be concert goers keep your pretty little lighters at home. I bet there are robot dinosaurs launching flamethrowers so close atop the crowd that half the attendees go home with a taste of singed eyebrows.
            Hold on. I better not rush to any conclusions. I’ve barely got into the first live disk. I’m going to try to take it slow. Eager Beaver is a bit mellower with a great brass section and a heavy bass.  The lyrics tell about a city truck driver, I can’t tell if it’s supposed to be sarcastic or if it’s written as an anthem for blue collar drivers. Any which way, if it was meant to come out being sarcastic what the brass, the bass, and the production put into it gives it an amazing amount of credence.
            I Keep on Dancing reminds me a little of The Ramones. It has a real fast drumbeat but still has a blaring horn section. This song is one song that is driven by audience participation. Although it’s lacking in the lyrics, there is such an energy, and enthusiasm that it crosses it into that genre. I’ve been reviewing country music for a while now but have never comes across something like this. So far, this is my, “must listen to song,” for anyone reading this.
Do It Now, has really strong chords coming from the guitars. It goes back to that hardcore sound that the album opens up with. I can see this song being used on a movie soundtrack, or a surreal late night one night stand. Whatever keeps it going with sirens blaring chasing after you flying down the back winding roads every once in a while hitting a hill and launching, your speed never stopping. Polk Salad Annie is an older song I can understand how older diehard fans like it but I really didn’t take to it.
What if changes the entire tone one of the show. It begins with an acoustic guitar and a harmonic. It’s more of a beautiful song, with a real focus on its lyrics. This song really shows off demonstrating the ranges this band can take. I say a little prayer is another acoustic ballad with the brass and the harmonica taking control of the song.
I promised myself I wouldn't try to find out any information on this band prior to me writing this review and kept it. I figured I could give a truly honest review. So far, the first Live CD really exceeded my expectations. I am leaving this review feeling great about this band and can’t wait until I begin reviewing the second set.

The BossHoss
Flames of Fire Disk 2

My Personal Song 4:07 Stallion Battalion 4:07 Backdoor Man 9:01 Last Day 5:14 Sex on Legs 4:40 Rodeo Radio 3:15 Don’t Give me That 4:15 Hey Ya 10:58 Mary Marry Me 6:16 Word up 12:33

My Personal Song, is a great title for how I feel about what’s coming. It’s Christmas Time and that means I’ll be overrun by family and family events. I just hope the majority of the time I can barricade myself into this room. Yet, I don’t believe that’ll be possible with a vacation coming. The lyrics themselves add the feelings I have. “I’m happy when I’m blue, when I’m alone….” I think I’ll just walk around when I leave my cave, with this song on replay, headphones (mot those damn earplugs), and my sunglasses on. I already have to wear blue mirrored, UV protection, prescription sunglasses. The glasses are an added benefit to brain surgery, although I don’t recommend getting it.
          Stallion Battalion, kicks CD 2 into overdrive. I guess the first song is just preparing you for what’s to come. The drums are driving this song almost into metal. It’s more my style of music. I don’t know how this could be perceived as country music. Backdoor Man has a heavy harmonica, driven by a dark bass, and an evil guitar. The vocals on this band remind me of, “Danzig.”
          Last Day sounds like it has a brass section. I really could see this as a highway driving album, or one of those CD’s you play before a rugged night out in a distant city painting the entire club scene red. Sex on Legs, I just had to listen to it for its name. This song you could just imagine the scene; a bunch of girls just throwing it around to the saxophone, bending over in skimpy clothes, turning their heads and calling you over with their fingers. Damn, I need to move on, take a cold shower and shake my head out of this.
          Well Rodeo Radio may classify them as country. Let’s see. Yeah, I can picture a Rodeo under storm clouds in a dessert with tumbleweeds rolling through. Large scorpions and weird desert lizards, some black rattlesnakes and maybe dancing around with Native American war paint tripping on peyote is easily pictured in my brain.
          Don’t Give Me That, just proves what I’ve been saying. They classify themselves as rock and roll in the lyrics. Hey Ya, is somewhat intermission at first.  It picks up a little but it really just sounds like they are killing time. I guess you could consider it a jam. Mary Marry Me, is a ballad about a girl the singer met after a show I believe. She must have hung up on him and just wasn’t interested anymore. She was probably a groupie at one time. I love the trumpet that comes out, or whatever type of lone horn. This song is a great deal different than any of the other songs that I’ve heard. The singer and the horn make this song.
Word Up is the last song. The sax comes out front blowing out a tune that I’m sure everyone’s heard. Then it stops and the singer starts introducing a few musicians, says, “one more.”  Then it begins. Everyone knows this song but I know I’ve never heard it this fast, in this style. And, then… by one the musicians are introduced. The congas come first in an amazing jam. Next, out comes the snare.  The crowd gets involved. And so on and so on. This is the perfect ending for this show.
          Altogether, this show would have been amazing to attend. The CD’s themselves really make you picture you’re there. Going into this and all the way along I never went back to check them out. But, they have made a new fan and I’ll be following them along on their way. 

Jeremy Frost for Country Music News International


Gatlin Appears Live on Monday, December 23 at 8:30 AM ET 
Nashville, Tenn. (December 20, 2013) – Country music legend LARRY GATLIN will pay tribute to the late RAY PRICE on Monday morning's edition of Fox & Friends.
Gatlin will join Fox & Friends morning show hosts Steve Doocy, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Brian Kilmeade to discuss Price's impact on the world of country music.
After the recent passing of Price, Gatlin penned a opinion piece titled "Remembering the Rt. Rev. Ray Price."  The article can be viewed HERE.
Price passed away this past Monday at the age of 87.
Monday, December 23
8:30 AM ET
Fox & Friends - Fox News Channel



"Love Is Stronger" Emotional Video Strikes a Chord Online Audience

Nashville, TN – The emotional video to Jason Crabb's "Love Is Stronger" has struck a chord online placing the Grammy award winner among's 25 Most Popular Artists. The lauded vocalist currently holds the #15 spot, sharing space with artists such as Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum, Garth Brooks, and more.
"I'm very thankful to CMT for their support of this video," commented Crabb. "It was a special moment to partner with the Ashley DeRamus foundation to bring awareness to special needs individuals and honor the military and their families."
The video, first debuted on, has continued to inspire countless numbers of people across the country as evidenced by the touching comments on as well as Jason's Facebook page and Twitter account.


Things have slowed down considerably on the country music scene, 'real' or otherwise, and probably won't pick up until after New Years.  At any rate, here's a few items I managed to scrape off the lap top screen before it slows down to a snail's pace.
Jim Ed Brown, in America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame, along with his singing partner Helen Cornelius (who is not in America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame, though we have tried) are two of country music's great duet voices.  They have had a string of hits over the years, and have reunited for their first record release in over 30 years.    They will bring the beauty of their award winning voices back to country radio.  Century II Records (this is Allen Karl's great adventure) will release their first duet  single in early 2014, as history repeats itself.  Both Jim Ed and Helen, with new music will make new memories for their duet team as country music radio embraces the return of these two major country music artists.
Pioneer Public Television from Appleton, Minnesota televised Sherwin & Pam Linton's Christmas Show, December 11th, at the Royal River Casino in Flandreau South Dakota.  It should be aired in 2014 as a December special.  The same show was earlier taped on RFD-TV's Midwest Country.
Newest addition to the line up in LeMars next year, is Peter Daskalov.  He used to live in Hungary, but now has a home on the island of Cypress.  He's a great country songwriter and singer, and promises to share his great music with us next year.
Like I said, not much happening in country music, but here's something different that I totally and heartily applaud.  There's an Internet group called "Saving Country Music" which are far more emphatic than I about the tiresome music called 'country' we hear on radio today.  They have compiled their top-ten list of the worst country music songs ever, that came out this year.  I love first place winner, it's by none other than Blake Shelton, the most un-country act I've personally ever heard.  What so-called artists like Shelton really want, is to see how many people they can upset, you know, make angry.  Angry enough to write something about them, even if it's negative.  Like what I'm doing right now.  In that respect, I guess he is something of an achiever, especially if his goal and ambition is to see how many people dislike him, disrespect him, complain about him, and dispose of him.'s the list.
1- Blake Shelton "Boys Round Here" best described by the 'Saving Country Music' folks, and I quote... "Country rap is a cancer of western civilization.  This song starts off by violating your ear holes with the most horrid, chicken scratching 'Red Red Red Red..Reeeeddd Neck.  It sounds like Shelton must have directly sampled from the sound track Satan himself uses, torture the souls stuck in eternal damnation."  Well, I probably wouldn't go that far, but by golly, that's pretty close to right.
2- Jason Aldean "1994"
3- Florida Georgia Line "Cruise"
4- Montgomery Gentry "Titty's Beer"
5- Joe Diffie "Girl Ridin' Shotgun" If you 'like' rap music, here it is in all its glory.
6- Tyler Farr - "Redneck Crazy"
7- Luke Bryan "That's My Kind of Night"
8- Jerrod Niemann "Drink To That All Night"  Another despicable 'rap' song
I was listening to each and every one of these songs, which were all playable from the list.  By the time I got to Number 8, I couldn't listen anymore.  This isn't even 'music' much less country. So, if you're a fan of this stuff, good luck.  If you're not, which I am, here's a line from a song I wrote way back in 1980, because I saw this coming back then.
"Like statues in a graveyard they write lines upon my tomb
singing all their music to the world war baby boom
all the big man music makers think their singing is the best
what they don't know is their voices is a little prejudiced
all the big man music makers can't fill the empty minds
they leave their screaming record grooves and super stars behind.

CD: LARRY GILLIS - Swampgrass

Swampgrass- Down By The River - Look Over Me Lord - I'd Rather Be Alone - Trouble In The Swamp - Whipporwill's Cry - Dark Hollow - Kristi Lynn - Mountain Woman - Pretty Woman - Love Has It's Way Of Hurting - Nobody Answered Me - Today Marks The Day - The Bottle
Today's 'catch-all' in music has presented me with two incredibly professional works of art.  One a delightful steel-guitar instrumental, and one a hard-driving powerful on-the-mark bluegrass CD.  This one of Larry Gillis heads up, without a doubt, one of the most true-to-traditional bluegrass bands to exist in America.  From the south Georgia swamps, this group makes a definite statement to anyone who 'messes' with what bluegrass should sound like.  It's going to be hard to point out all that is important on this CD, so I'll start with Larry Gillis's voice.  This man is not only 'selected by a higher power' to perform what he does and the way that he does it, but also in the way he presents his music.  He's a devoted Christian, and this is so apparent in this entire soul-moving very gifted bluegrass project.  Larry has also celebrated thirty years in bluegrass which also tells us something about 'dedication,' which doesn't exist in top-40 music these days.  I've known of Larry Gillis for some time.  Mostly his reputation is built around his hard-driving incredibly fast banjo playing as well as his delightful old-style frailing style. BUT he's also a very gifted songwriter full of meaning and sentiment which "Whippoorwill's Cry" so adequately expresses.  This is an absolutely lovely piece of original work, among seven of the songs on the CD, all written by Larry. Add to Larry's banjo a fiddle, guitar, and acoustic bass and you already know what this 'tradition' is all about.  It's about sincerity, it's about truthfulness, it's about talent, and it's about how you live your life and your belief in the only way, Jesus Christ. These boys play so well together it's hard to separate them from their instruments and their leads the way they pass it around.  This is one of the most solid bluegrass bands with tradition spelled with a capital TRADITION I've ever heard.   This CD will be forwarded to the Rural Roots Music Commission for their listen.  I already know what they are going to say when they hear this banjo player.  We'll just have to wait and see what happens.  Review by Bob Everhart  Larry Gillis is at

CD: CURT SHOEMAKER - Free and Easy

Free and Easy
Free and Easy - It's So Nice To Be With You - Key Largo - Dance With Me - Unchained Melody - Red Red Wine - Shoestrings - Makin' Believe - You Comb Her Hair Every Morning - The Last Farewell
Creative artists never cease to amaze me.  Curt Shoemaker, the incredible steel player from Kansas, has put out one of his best efforts yet.  Here's what Martina McBride says about this lovely piece of work..."If you love steel guitar then this is the CD for you.  There are a wide variety of songs and musical styles to keep you entertained."  I couldn't agree more.  I listened to this CD a little differently, I didn't just start with #1 and go through the list.  I started with #7 "Shoestrings" for a couple of reasons.  This is the only original by Shoemaker on the CD, it's also a combination of instruments I have never heard before.  He combined his soft approach to playing the steel with a hammer dulcimer.  I doubt you've heard that blend before either.  The result?  Absolute creative beauty.  Then I went back to "Free and Easy," which stands the test of time easily.  Lunacy Records in Oklahoma City is the depository of Curt's music, and I say 'Thank God.'  At least there is one record company in America that knows what country music really is.  This is an instrumental CD, and there sure ain't many of them around anymore with all those rap singers rapping and crapping, and calling what they do country, but I'm not sure what country they're from, but on "Free and Easy" it's pretty obvious this is one fine fine fine CD from the real country of the United States of America.  Curt used some excellent backing musicians.  He would probably not say they are 'backing' musicians.  He'd probably call them his 'pickin' buddies.'  Doesn't matter, they are right with him all the way through.  Terry Scarberry on guitar and mandolin, Ryan Jones on Keyboard, Steve Short on drums (tastefully done too), Dave Copenhaver on bass who is also the producer, and that wonderful hammer dulcimer is played by Dave Beitz.  What a neat experiment that turned out to be.  As part of another of my journalistic endeavors, I had just listened to the ten worst country songs of 2013, and quite frankly I couldn't even listen to all ten of them.  I left the rap-scene before number eight.  What a relief to know there is 'sanity music' still left in America, and Curt Shoemaker is the 'leader of the pack' when it comes to relaxing, beautiful, stylish music that is in the new idiom the very essence of truth....candy for the ears.  I have to make one more comment before I finish.  "Unchained Melody" is that very famous Righteous Brothers song.  Here it's completely handed over to the creative arrangement of a steel guitarist of the first order.  What a very pleasant listen.  This CD will go to the Rural Roots Music Commission for their "Instrumentalist of the Year" CD awards.  Five stars here for sure.  Record review by Bob Everhart,  Curt Shoemaker, 250 West St., Ionia, KS 66949


Bear Family Releases 2nd Hank Thompson Box Set

Bear Family first covered  Hank Thompson’s recording career with a 12 cd box set, which presented his complete output (on Globe, Blue Bonnet and Capitol) during the period 1945-64, resulting in 49 hit singles, sales around 30 million and succession of awards for him and his band, The Brazos Valley Boys.

Then, in 1966, with Capitol behind him, Thompson began a new recording phase, first briefly with Warner Bros. before establishing himself as a top-selling artist on Dot Records and the labels that followed in its wake. All these commercial releases, alongside unreleased material, alternative versions and other rarities, are in this 247 song, 8 cd box set.

(Bear Family 17260 HK)

The music scene had changed and the heyday for western swing, Hank Thompson’s primary musical direction, had passed although he was to return occasionally to those music roots. The situation wasn’t helped as Thompson (and his manager, Jim Halsey) grew disillusioned with Capitol, with the hits slowing down and the artist being given the “run-around”, with greater promotion afforded Buck Owens and pop acts like The Beach Boys and The Beatles. So it was time for a change and, to match the changes in country music, Thompson experimented with his sound and choice of songs. This new career era began with tracks produced by Joe Allison who, twenty years earlier, had first introduced Thompson to Tex Ritter which, in turn, led on to Capitol Records. 16 songs were recorded and originally presented to United Artists Records but when, according to Halsey, “they suddenly decided that, for that particular time, they were not gonna be in the country music business”, a deal was agreed with Warner Bros.

Hank Thompson’s association with the new label was relatively short though, scoring two Top 20 singles – Where Is The Circus and He’s Got A Way With Women – and three albums, “Where Is The Circus” (which found itself competing with “Breakin’ The Rules”, just one of seven albums that Capitol released on Thompson following his departure from the label), “The Gold Standard Collection” (covers of country classics like She Thinks I Still Care, Smoke Smoke Smoke and Six Days On The Road among the 12 tracks) and the instrumental “Countrypolitan Sound of Hank Thompson’s  Brazos Valley Boy” (where the sized down band was augmented with nearly 25 musicians, including Merle Travis and Glen Campbell, to create as sound far removed from the western swing days). But, in common with the earlier Capitol situation, Thompson fared second best to Warner’s other artists, in particular Nancy Sinatra, Bill Cosby and Peter, Paul & Mary. So, after a year, he departed the label.

By early 1968 Dot Records, with dwindling pop sales, was turning its attention to country music – and Halsey created a production company (Singin’ T Productions) with Allison that gave many of the Halsey artists an outlet on Dot, with Hank Thompson, who retained his Warners’ recordings, assured rightful top priority. The new deal kicked off with a couple of those previously recorded Warners’ titles (and a return to honky tonk themes), On Tap, In The Can, Or In The Bottle and Smoky The Bar which rose to #7 and #5 respectively in the 1968 Billboard Country Charts.

In the following years on Dot (which later changed to ABC/Dot, then ABC before becoming merged into MCA), Thompson scored a further 24 chart hits, though none rose as high in the charts as Smoky The Bar. The records were I See them Everywhere, The Pathway Of Life, Oklahoma Home Brew, But That’s All right, One Of The Fortunate Few, Next Time I Fall In Love (I Won’t), The Mark Of A Heel, I’ve Come Awfully Close, Cab Driver, Glow Worm, Roses In The Wine, Kindly Keep It Country, The Older The Violin The Sweeter The Music, Who Left The Door To Heaven Open, Mama Don’t ‘Low, That’s Just My Truckin’ Luck, Asphalt Cowboy, Big Band Days, Honky Tonk Girl (new version of his 1954 Capitol hit), Just an Old Flame, I’m Just Getting’ By, Dance With Me Molly, I Hear The South Calling Me and Tony’s Tank-Up, Drive-In Café.

Albumwise the first Dot releases were virtually repackages of the Warner’s product, with “Smoky The Bar” being the first collection to feature mainly new material, recorded at Nashville’s newly opened Woodland studios. Around the same time Thompson updated his image with longer sideburns and a goatee while Allison started seeking out other new musical directions, fitting in with the changes that were happening in the Nashville country music scene of the early 1970s with the new breed of songwriters like Kris Kristofferson and Red Lane.

One of his first concept albums was “Hank Thompson Salutes Oklahoma” and included Dusty Skies, Dear Okie, Take Me Back To Tulsa and Oklahoma Hills alongside five Thompson five originals. Another collection was a truck driving album which, for some reason or other, was never released (apart from the single Asphalt Cowboy b/w Fifteen Miles To Clarksville) and makes its debut in this box set.

Then, moving in an entirely different direction, he recorded two tribute albums to major pop music entertainers, the Mills Brothers and Nat “King” Cole. The former – titled “Cab Driver” and featuring such songs as Glow Worm, Be My Life’s Companion and You Always Hurt The One You Love – was his only Dot album to hit the Top 10 in Billboard’s Country LP charts. “That was strictly Hank’s idea” recalled Jim Foglesong, the label’s Nashville head of operations, “he was very creative”. Unfortunately the subsequent “Hank Thompson Sings The Hits Of Nat King Cole” (which included A Blossom Fell, Ramblin’ Rose, Mona Lisa and It’s Only A Paper Moon among its ten tracks) failed to make any chart impact, although Jim Halsey reckons that it, along with the Mills Brothers’ set, were “two of the greatest pieces of country music ever recorded”.

Of course Hank Thompson also continued to put out the occasional album that kept to his country roots and these included “Kindly Keep It Country”, “Movin’ On”, “Back In The Swing Of Things”, “The Thompson Touch” and “Doin’ My Thing” which appeared on different labels as Dot Records morphed into ABC/Dot, then ABC and finally MCA. At the same time a variety of producers took over the reins after Joe Allison, among them Larry Butler, Ricci Mareno and Tommy Allsup. The material covered both classic and new material as well as several originals from the artist himself.

By the time ABC merged with MCA, in March 1979, another period of uncertainly emerged as the recording industry was broken down into fewer companies, with their energies aimed at new artists while the older acts were generally overlooked. At the same time many of the radio dj’s came from rock backgrounds and, said Thompson, “were not really familiar with true country music, so when they choose their playlists, they lean toward country-favored pop and pop-flavored country”. In an effort to meet the changes, Larry Butler produced “Brand New Hank” in 1978, though (according to media response) the “newest” sound on the album was I Hear The South Callin’ Me, a song that reflected the singer’s far earlier recordings! Then, with 1980’s “Take Me Back to Tulsa” set, Hank Thompson exited MCA Records.

The early 1980s, with the arrival of the “Urban Cowboy” movement and an ever greater emphasis on pop-country, Jim Halsey reacted to the changes by launching his own label, Churchill Records, as an outlet for Hank Thompson and Roy Clark. The resulting album “1000 And One Nighters”, co-produced by Thompson and Peter Nichols, brought together some of the former Brazos Valley Boys and presented the singer in familiar territory with classics and swing material like Pistol Packing Mama, Driving Nails in My Coffin, Big Boat Across Oklahoma, The Convict And The Rose and Shame On Me. Accordingly it was generally recognized as one of Thompson’s best albums in years.

The final album presented in this box set was simply titled “Hank Thompson” and marked a one-off return to Dot Records (now reactivated by MCA) in 1986. In a project to “preserve country music”, this was one of several releases by legendary artists whom label chief Jimmy Bowen felt possessed a loyal following. Produced by Joe Bob Barnhill, it included new versions of several old Capitol hits (Wild Side Of Life, Oklahoma Hills and Breakin’ The Rules) as well as a duet with George Strait on A Six Pack To Go. Not only was this Strait’s first duet but also Thompson’s first ever duet in his 40 year recording history.

Among the other items to be found in this eight disc collection are five live songs (Oklahoma Hills, Wild Side Of Life, Green Light, Old Time Fiddle Medley and A Six Pack To Go) recorded at New York’s Carnegie Hall on May 17, 1977. These originally appeared as part of the “Country Comes To Carnegie Hall” double LP which also featured (but not included here) other Halsey artists Roy Clark, Freddy Fender and Don Williams.

To round off this collection, there are more than two dozen unissued recordings, including a 1983 session recorded at Nashville’s Music Mill studios as well as the aforementioned truck driving album.

The recordings are accompanied by a 126 page, hardcover book in which author Scott B. Bomar - drawing from nearly twenty new interviews – not only provides information on all the sessions, the songs and the changes took place in the country music industry during this period, but also incorporates biographical information on many of the people associated with Thompson. These include wife Ann Thompson; business associate/partner Jim Halsey; record producers Joe Allison, Larry Butler, Ricci Mareno and Tommy Allsup; members of the Brazos Valley Boys and several session musicians. This extremely well detailed book also features dozens of photographs from personal scrapbooks and a complete discography of Hank's recordings from the era.

Other Hank Thompson releases on Bear Family:
Hank Thompson & Brazos Valley Boys Complete Recordings (1945-1964)
  (12 cd box set with 84 page hardcover book) (BCD 15904 LK)
A Six Pack To Go – cd with 36 page booklet  (BCD 16803 AH)

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