Field Reportings from Issue #34
TOWNES TRIBUTE: September 11 is the release date for POET: A TRIBUTE TO TOWNES VAN ZANDT The 15-song collection is a joint venture between Freefalls Entertainment and Pedernales Records, the latter label a partnership between country legend Willie Nelson and Freddy Fletcher, the album’s executive producer. Fletcher and Eric Paul are credited as co-producers of the project. The track listing is as follows: Guy Clark, “To Live’s To Fly”; Nanci Griffith, “Tower Song”; Billy Joe Shaver, “White Freightliner Blues” (reportedly the final recording on which Eddy Shaver appeared); Cowboy Junkies, “The Highway Kind”; Emmylou Harris “Snake Song”; Ray Benson (of Asleep At The Wheel), “If I Needed You”; John Prine, “Loretta”; Lucinda Williams, “Nothin'”; Flatlanders, “Blue Wind Blew”; Robert Earl Keen, “Mr. Mudd & Mr. Gold”; Steve Earle & the Dukes, “Two Girls”; Willie Nelson, “Marie”; Delbert McClinton, “Pancho & Lefty”; Pat Haney, “Waitin’ ‘Round To Die”; and John T. Van Zandt (Townes’ son), “My Proud Mountains”….
There was initially some concern that tapes from the Townes tribute had been damaged in a fire in mid-May at PEDERNALES RECORDING STUDIO, the facility in Spicewood, Texas, just outside of Austin, built by Nelson many years ago and presently owned by Fletcher. As it turned out, however, neither the studio nor the tape vault were affected by the fire, which was contained to a “tech area” dealing with audio equipment repair. The studio was shut down for a few weeks to allow for repairs and renovations….
In other Willie news, the singer has decided that this year he will not stage his annual Fourth Of July Picnic in Luckenbach. One factor in the decision may have been a desire to avoid legal hassles associated with changes in the Mass Gatherings Act, which pertains to events that last more than 12 hours and events that draw more than 5,000 people. Fans who were planning to attend the picnic might consider a road trip to the Windy City, where Nelson will headline this year’s free Chicago Country Music Festival on June 30.
PRIDE PROTECTION: A Tribute To Jim Reeves, the new release by country singer CHARLEY PRIDE, contains encoding that prevents the tracks from being copied onto personal computers. It is perhaps the first commercial release to feature such technology. The encoding blocks so-called “ripping” software, which allows a PC user to copy a music file onto a hard disk. (Once copied, such files are often swapped via Napster.) The disc contains a link to the website of SunnComm, the company that developed the “cloaking” technology. At this site, users can access free downloadable Windows Media versions of the tracks. SunnComm’s technology also automatically degrades the sound quality of the transfer if users attempt to record the tracks onto certain types of CD recorders.
MUSEUM PIECES: The famous Gibson F-5 mandolin belonging to the late bluegrass legend BILL MONROE has been sold for $1.125 million. It was purchased from James Monroe (Bill’s son) by the Bill Monroe Foundation of Rosine, Kentucky. The instrument will become the key artifact in a future Bill Monroe Museum, to be built in Rosine, where Monroe was born and buried. The coveted F-5 is one of approximately 170 such models designed by Lloyd Loar and built between 1921 and 1923. Monroe purchased the mandolin for $150 in 1943 and used it as his primary instrument until his death in 1996….
On May 26, LORETTA LYNN opened her new Coal Miner’s Daughter Museum in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. Among the objects displayed at the new museum are Lynn’s touring bus and her late husband’s Jeep, both of which appeared in Coal Miner’s Daughter, the 1980 film based on Lynn’s life. A more unusual feature of the new facility is a doll museum.
TEXAN TRANSACTIONS: The DERAILERS have signed with Lucky Dog. Kyle Lehning (Randy Travis, Tammy Wynette) is producing their debut for the label, tentatively set for an August 14 release….
Bloodshot Records has inked WAYNE HANCOCK, whose next release, slated for September, will be produced by Lloyd Maines….
DALE WATSON has signed with Audium, a relatively new Nashville label whose roster includes Loretta Lynn and Ricky Van Shelton.
LABEL-GO-ROUND: Former Asylum Records head Evelyn Shriver, along with business partner Susan Nadler, has founded a new label, BANDIT RECORDS. The first artist signed was George Jones, who is also a partner in the venture. Jones’ next album, Stone Cold Country, will be produced by Emory Gordy, Jr.; the first single might be released as early as July….
ATLANTIC NASHVILLE closed its doors on April 26. The label’s roster includes Old Dogs and Elizabeth Cook, as well as mainstream stars such as John Michael Montgomery. The roster is being evaluated, and those acts who escape the ax will be marketed by Warner Bros. in Nashville.
SCRAPPLE: The long-awaited third album from GILLIAN WELCH will be titled Time (The Revelator) and has been moved up to a July 31 release date, after initially being slated for August 28….
In what has now become a quasi-regular event, the rhythm section of MARAH has once again departed. Drummer Mick Bader and bassist Joe Hooven have quit, leaving brothers Dave and Serge Bielanko to find permanent replacements again….
Mavericks singer RAUL MALO is currently recording his solo debut. The album will be produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos and will feature ten tracks sung in English and three sung in Spanish….
A new record from ALISON KRAUSS & UNION STATION, to be titled New Favorite, is scheduled for release August 14 on Rounder….
J.D. May has been named the interim executive director of the AMERICANA MUSIC ASSOCIATION. The second annual AMA convention will be held in Nashville on September 14-15.
ALL THE FIXIN’S: A review of the Jeff Hughes & Chaparral album Head For Cover in ND #33 (May-June ’01) referred to a cover of the Rod Stewart hit “Rhythm Of My Heart”. While that song (written by Capek/Jordan) was in fact listed on the CD jacket as track #4 on the disc, the fourth track is actually a cover of Danny Whitten’s “I Don’t Want To Talk About It”, which first appeared on Crazy Horse’s self-titled 1971 album (and has been covered by many artists, including Stewart). No Depression discovered this mistake shortly after the review went to print and alerted Hughes’ label, Sonic One Records, which is “having all existing jackets reprinted with the correct credit to Danny Whitten,” label head David Murray says.