Field Reportings from Issue #38
ROCKIN’ AROUND THE HOF: Country and rock pioneer BRENDA LEE will be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame on March 18. Other inductees include TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS and the late CHET ATKINS. The induction ceremonies will be telecast March 20 on VH1. Lee and Atkins join an elite group of artists who are in both the Country Music Hall Of Fame and the Rock HOF. On March 6, Hyperion will publish Lee’s autobiography, which is a collaboration with her daughter Julie Clay and noted country music journalist Robert K. Oermann. Lee will also appear in a PBS special titled “Welcome To The Club: The Women Of Rockabilly” set to air in March and also featuring Wanda Jackson, Janis Martin and Lorrie Collins. Lee’s hits include “I’m Sorry”, “I Want To Be Wanted”, “Big Four Poster Bed”, “Sweet Nothin’s”, and the 1960 holiday classic “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”.
THE MAN IN BLACK: Another country and rock hall of famer, JOHNNY CASH, turned 70 on February 26 and is the subject of a new tribute album being assembled by Marty Stuart, tentatively set for release May 28. Among the artists slated for the project are Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Dwight Yoakam, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shelby Lynne and Little Richard. Meanwhile, James Mangold, who directed Girl, Interrupted, is working on a film biography of Cash, with the singer’s cooperation. Cash himself is reportedly working on a fourth collaborative album with producer Rick Rubin.
FOR THE RECORD: The first new album in 30 years from the FLATLANDERS — featuring longtime Texas cohorts Joe Ely, Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore — is set for a May 21 release on New West. All of the tracks were co-written by the three, except for a cover of Utah Phillips’ “She’s Gone Away”. Musicians on the album include original Flatlanders saw player Steve Wesson and renowned pedal steel guitarist Lloyd Maines….
Also on New West, due April 9, is a collection of cover tunes from MARK EITZEL. Music For Courage And Confidence, co-produced by Eitzel and Brian Paulson, includes tunes written or popularized by Glen Campbell, Culture Club, Billie Holiday, Kris Kristofferson and Phil Ochs….
Also due on April 9, from Dave Matthews’ ATO label, is 1000 Kisses, the latest from PATTY GRIFFIN. This is a different record than the Silver Bell album she recorded two years ago for Universal, which remains unreleased….
Austin, Texas, band the DAMNATIONS TX have a self-released disc set for this spring. The album was originally recorded for release on Sire, before the band parted ways with the label….
On April 23, Bloodshot will release All Relationships Are Doomed To Fail, a new album by reunited Austin band the MEAT PURVEYORS….
April 23 is also the latest word on a release date for Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, the Nonesuch debut of WILCO — and also, coincidentally, for The Palace At 4 A.M., the Undertow Records debut of ex-Wilco member JAY BENNETT and his collaborator EDWARD BURCH….
MERLE HAGGARD and CHESTER SMITH team up on a new gospel album California Blend, out on the Hag label. The first single is “Wreck On The Highway”. Haggard coaxed Smith, who had a 1955 hit with “Wait A Little Longer, Please, Jesus”, out of musical retirement for the project….
Diesel Only plans a March 26 release for Paradoxaholic, a solo album by drummer WILL RIGBY (The dB’s, Steve Earle).
STUDIO TIME: Legendary producer BILLY SHERRILL is coming out of retirement to work on a gospel album with GEORGE JONES….
Sugar Hill Records band NICKEL CREEK is in the studio with Alison Krauss working on their sophomore album, tentatively scheduled for an early fall release. The trio’s Krauss-produced debut has been certified gold (500,000 units sold)….
KELLY WILLIS recorded most of her new album at Bismeaux Studios in Austin in late 2001, with plans for release this spring….
Old 97’s frontman RHETT MILLER began work on a solo album for Elektra at a Los Angeles studio in February with Jon Brion producing. Tentative plans are for a fall release date. The Old 97’s plan to continue playing as a band as well….
SCOTT MCCAUGHEY of Seattle’s Young Fresh Fellows and Minus Five spent several days in December in a Chicago studio recording an album with Wilco, likely to be released later this year on Mammoth….
RODNEY CROWELL is recording a new album at Treasure Isle in Nashville, co-producing with Peter Coleman….
THE DAVID GRISMAN QUINTET has completed Dawgnation, the group’s first studio album in six years, to be released on Grisman’s Acoustic Disc label.
LABEL BABBLE: The new label from former Arista honcho Tim DuBois and ex-MCA exec Tony Brown is dubbed US RECORDS — its official name is Universal South. A spring release is expected for the latest album from Allison Moorer, which was produced by R.S. Field. Other acts on the US roster are Dean Miller, Holly Lamar and Bering Strait….
TEXAS MUSIC GROUP is reissuing and remastering albums that originally came out on the Watermelon label, including discs by the Derailers, Alejandro Escovedo, Don Walser and Tish Hinojosa….
New to the SLEWFOOT RECORDS roster are Hillbilly Idol, whose self-titled disc is due out March 26, and Florence Dore, whose Eric Ambel-produced Perfect City, released independently last year, will be issued via Slewfoot April 23….
Nashville’s SUNBIRD RECORDS has signed country singers Johnny Rodriguez and Earl Thomas Conley.
ON THE ROAD: Athens, Georgia, band the DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS will play three Florida dates with LYNYRD SKYNYRD March 8-10 in Sunrise, Palmetto, and Orlando. The Truckers’ double-CD concept album Southern Rock Opera focuses on Skynyrd….
Chicago country chanteuse NEKO CASE will be the opening act for NICK CAVE during a string of rescheduled concerts, beginning April 25 in Minneapolis and concluding May 4 in Washington, D.C. Case recorded her new Bloodshot album at Tucson’s Waveland Studios and is aiming for a May release….
Noted Gap ad pitchman ROBBIE ROBERTSON, who used to be in a Band, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s SXSW, March 13-17 in Austin, Texas.
NASHVILLE NEWS: After widespread speculation and media attention, Nashville’s WSM-AM has decided to stick to its country format and to continue broadcasting The Grand Ole Opry, the nation’s longest-running radio program. The station’s corporate owner, Gaylord Entertainment, had considered switching 650 AM to a sports-talk format. Gaylord remains interested in creating a syndicated version of the Opry to air on other stations….
The site of Nashville’s original Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, on 16th Avenue, was destroyed December 26-27. The barn-shaped building, owned by BMI, was demolished and replaced with a parking lot. It opened in 1967. In other Country HOF news, Paul Kingsbury has voluntarily resigned as the head of special projects and publications. Liz Thiels has been named senior VP of public affairs….
The 2002 officers for the Nashville-based Americana Music Association are Grant Alden, president; Traci Thomas, vice president; John Lomax III, secretary; Steve Wilkison, treasurer; and Brad Paul, president-elect.