BONUS TRACKS: Justin Townes Earle and Loretta’s Rear View Mirror
In the days after Justin Townes Earle died last summer, his friends and fellow artists shared their memories and appreciation for the singer-songwriter, giving us a fuller picture of who he was, beyond the music. But a new article from Rolling Stone really digs in, shedding light on his final days and the pain he carried around for much of his life. It’s a tough read, but a good one, and a worthy way to remember Earle and the music he created.
In news from some national treasures, Loretta Lynn shared a snap of herself in the car after getting her first COVID-19 vaccine dose. “I’m sure glad to get it and am sure ready to put Covid in the rear view mirror!” she wrote on Instagram. We’re sure glad you took that step to stay safe, Loretta. No word yet on whether Dolly Parton has gotten vaccinated yet, but since she donated $1 million toward the Moderna version, one hopes she gets a primo spot in line. And she’s definitely eligible: Parton turned 75 on Tuesday and celebrated with a “call for kindness” on her social media.
We were sad to hear about the sudden passing of Jason “Rowdy” Cope, a co-founder of Southern rock band The Steel Woods. Earlier in his career, Cope played alongside Jamey Johnson and Brett Cobb, and as a session player appeared on albums from Lindi Ortega and The Secret Sisters. The Steel Woods, which had recently finished recording their third album, announced Cope’s death last weekend on social media. A cause has not been reported.
Phil Spector, architect of pop music’s “Wall of Sound,” died in prison this week at age 81. His murder conviction, along with the horrific stories that have emerged about his treatment of women and children in his life, make it hard to mourn the man, even as it’s impossible not to appreciate the music he produced, including John Lennon’s Imagine, The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” and The Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.” How do we separate the music from the horrific person that had a hand in it? As music fans, we’re forced to grapple with that time and again, and there’s no real right answer. But here’s one take in Consequence of Sound by frequent ND contributor Jim Shahen.
Earlier this month, the California Bluegrass Association held a 50-hour-long Jam-a-Thon livestream to raise money for its youth education programs. Led by Della Mae founder Kimber Ludiker, the stream featured more than 100 artists from 12 countries and raised more than $25,000. The stream — including performances from Sierra Hull, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Front Country, and more — is archived in segments on the CBA’s YouTube channel and Facebook page. Donations are still accepted, and the money raised will go toward creating a website for launch this spring with free online resources for young people worldwide interested in learning bluegrass music.
WHAT WE’RE LISTENING TO
Here’s a sampling of the songs, albums, bands, and sounds No Depression staffers have been into this week:
Field Medic – Floral Prince
Josh Kimbrough – Slither, Soar & Disappear
John Smith – Hummingbird
Amanda Shires – “Our Problem,” featuring Cyndi Lauper, Linda Perry, Lilly Hiatt, Valerie June, and many more
The Brother Brothers – “On the Road Again” (from their new album, Calla Lily, coming in April)
Chuck Prophet – “Get Off the Stage”
Willie Jones – “American Dream,” a country song released to coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the opening of the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville. We hope you’ll give it a listen (and watch this incredible video) too.