Field Reportings from Issue #35
WHO’S CUTER, JEFF OR JAY: Here’s the 64-dollar question: Who will release the new WILCO album? Tensions have arisen between Jeff Tweedy’s band and its label, Warner Bros. imprint Reprise, regarding the commerciality of the band’s completed album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. An initial published report stated that the band had parted ways with Reprise and would release the album on its own, but later reports hinted that such talk might be premature. At press time, negotiations between the band and label were ongoing, and there was no scheduled release date for the album….
For you youngsters out there, Wilco was the band that resulted when JAY FARRAR left Uncle Tupelo way back in the olden days of 1994 and formed his own band, Son Volt. The future of Son Volt is currently uncertain, but Artemis Records will release Farrar’s solo debut. Titled Sebastopol, the disc is scheduled to hit stores September 25….
As for those old UNCLE TUPELO releases on Rockville which recently went out of print, they’ll reportedly re-enter circulation via Sony Legacy in the spring of 2002. A single-disc retrospective is planned in addition to straight reissues of No Depression, Still Feel Gone and March 16-20, 1992. Bonus tracks and some rarities likely will figure into the mix as well.
BREAKING NEWS: And now for some certainty — BLUE MOUNTAIN has called it quits. The band’s final concert was June 23 in Montreal on a bill with Blue Rodeo. Led by Cary Hudson and Laurie Stirratt (who were formerly married), the band released five albums over the past decade. Blue Mountain’s most recent album is Roots, a collection of traditional tunes put out on Black Dog Records, the Mississippi-based label that was founded in 1996 by Hudson, Stirratt, and Chris Hudson….
Despite rumors to the contrary, FREAKWATER has not broken up. According to a publicist at the band’s label, Thrill Jockey, singer Janet Bean is working on a rock-oriented solo album, but the band will record a new studio album for release in the first quarter of 2002.
FOR THE RECORD: The upcoming Republic/Universal album from PAT GREEN, due October 16, will include “Threadbare Gypsy Soul”, a duet with Willie Nelson….
Bandit Records has pushed back the release date of GEORGE JONES’ new album to September 25 so that he can record a new duet, “Beer Run”, with Garth Brooks….
Producer and label executive Rick Rubin has moved his AMERICAN RECORDINGS roster (including the Jayhawks and Johnny Cash) from Columbia to Island Def Jam Music Group.
BLOODSHOOTING: For quite some time, ROBBIE FULKS has been selling a CD at his shows called 13 Hillbilly Giants. On November 6, this collection of covers will be officially released on Bloodshot. The label is also distributing Fulks’ new album, Couples In Trouble, which is on the singer’s own Boondoggle label….
The next installment in the Bloodshot Revival/Soundies series of transcription discs is the SONS OF THE PIONEERS’ Symphonies Of The Sage. The collection, due out September 11, was recorded in Chicago in the early 1940s….
Bloodshot’s flagship artist, Jon Langford, is the driving force behind EXECUTIONER’S LAST SONGS, an upcoming benefit album for Artists Against the Death Penalty. It consists of new and traditional songs on the themes of death, murder, and execution. Joining an all-acoustic version of Langford’s Pine Valley Cosmonauts will be numerous guest vocalists. Artists who have recorded material for the disc include Steve Earle, Lonesome Bob, Rosie Flores, the Handsome Family’s Brett Sparks, and David Yow, formerly of Jesus Lizard. Response to the project has been so overwhelming that Langford may put out two separate volumes.
SHOW AND TELL: O Brother producer T Bone Burnett will deliver the keynote address at the annual trade show, awards presentation and fan fest of the INTERNATIONAL BLUEGRASS MUSIC ASSOCIATION, to be held October 1-7 in Louisville, Kentucky. T BONE BURNETT will deliver the keynote address….
The second annual membership meeting and conference of the AMERICANA MUSIC CONVENTION will be held September 14-15 in Nashville, Tennessee. Among the performers participating in the event are Allison Moorer, Billy Joe Shaver, Delbert McClinton, Irene Kelley and the Drive-By Truckers….
Warner Theater in Washington, D.C., is the site of the September 20 ACOUSTIC CONCERT FOR A LANDMINE FREE WORLD, featuring Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Nanci Griffith, Bruce Cockburn and John Prine….
The 14th annual FARM AID concert will take place September 29 in Indianapolis. CMT will broadcast the event….
The sixth annual FRIZZELL FESTIVAL will be held October 13 in Pawnee, Oklahoma. Joining David Frizzell in a tribute to his late brother Lefty will be Freddie Hart, Hank Thompson, Ray Price, and Wanda Jackson….
The HighTone Records TWANGBANGERS TOUR, featuring Bill Kirchen, Redd Volkaert, Dallas Wayne, and Joe Goldmark, kicks off September 18 in Seattle….
From September 13 through October 28, Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium will stage the musical drama STAND BY YOUR MAN: THE TAMMY WYNETTE STORY. Hundreds of hopefuls auditioned for the title role, which was snagged by Nicolette Hart, a veteran of musical theater who recently appeared in The Civil War with Larry Gatlin. Singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale will be cast as George Jones. Lauderdale appeared in a few musicals early in his career, including Diamond Studs with Shawn Colvin….
On August 18, the Saturday evening televised portion of the GRAND OLE OPRY moved from the cable network TNN to music video channel CMT. In recent years, TNN has broadcast a 30-minute backstage interview show followed by 30 minutes of live performances. The new CMT format will intersperse interviews and performances for a full hour. The show will be repeated twice each weekend.
FARTHER ALONG: Songwriter, producer, manager, author, film producer, and Choctaw Indian Tribe historian BOB FERGUSON passed away on July 22 at age 73. The Missouri native wrote Ferlin Husky’s million-seller “Wings Of A Dove” and Porter Wagoner’s hit “The Carroll County Accident”. As a staff producer for RCA in the ’60s and ’70s, Ferguson produced hits for Chet Atkins, Dolly Parton, Charlie Pride, and Connie Smith….
Folksinger and activist MIMI FARINA died from complications of lung cancer on July 18 in Mill Valley, California. Farina, 56, was Joan Baez’s sister….
Lynyrd Skynyrd bassist LEON WILKESON died of natural causes on July 27. He was 49. Wilkeson, who survived the plane crash in 1977 that killed three of his Skynyrd bandmates, had suffered from chronic liver and lung disease.