Field Reportings from Issue #56
DOWN FROM FOGGY MOUNTAIN: 2005 is shaping up to be a busy year for EARL SCRUGGS. Columbia Legacy is reissuing his solo outing I Saw The Light With Some Help Of My Friends, along with two Flatt & Scruggs titles: the two-disc compilation Foggy Mountain Gospel and 1957’s Foggy Mountain Jamboree. On March 4, the Country Music Hall Of Fame opens “Banjo Man”, an exhibit honoring the banjo virtuoso as well as his wife, and business partner, Louise Certain Scruggs. In conjunction with the exhibit, plans are afoot to release Flatt & Scruggs’ old television shows on DVD.
APRIL COME THEY WILL: Oh Boy Records releases Fair And Square, the first album from legendary songwriter JOHN PRINE in six years, on April 26. The album includes a full slate of new Prine originals as well as a cover of the late Blaze Foley’s “Clay Pigeons”….
Cold Roses, a double-album from RYAN ADAMS & THE CARDINALS, is due from Lost Highway on April 19. Adams also plans to release two more albums, Jacksonville and the Ethan Johns-produced 29, this year (tentatively in July and November)….
Peddlin’ Dreams, the sixth solo disc from MARIA MCKEE, comes out April 19 on Eleven Thirty Records and includes a cover of Neil Young’s “Barstool Blues”….
Tom Waits, Peter Buck and John Sebastian guest on the new EELS double-disc Blinking Lights And Other Revelations, due April 26 via Vagrant….
Also due April 26 are the latest from Compass Records flagship artist ALISON BROWN and Appleseed Recordings’ Woodyboye, the second Woody Guthrie-based disc from the JOEL RAFAEL BAND, featuring contributions from Jackson Browne, Jimmy LaFave, Arlo Guthrie and Van Dyke Parks….
April 12 is the release date for the Zoe/Rounder debut of singer-songwriter MARTHA WAINWRIGHT and the Vanguard debut of Southern California country-rockers SHURMAN….
Also on April 12, Sugar Hill releases Make It Through This World, the latest from GREG TROOPER….
Brooklyn band the NATIONAL has signed to Beggars Banquet for its third disc Alligator, due out April 12….
On the blues front, New Orleans guitarist LITTLE FREDDIE KING has a new record on Fat Possum due April 5, while Alligator offers up a new set from LITTLE CHARLIE & THE NIGHTCATS in April.
ON THE HORIZON: The latest from Texas troubadour ROBERT EARL KEEN, What I Really Mean, is due May 10 on Koch Records Nashville and includes guest appearances by Ray Price and Danny Barnes….
North Carolina’s CAITLIN CARY and recent Nashville transplant THAD COCKRELL have teamed up for an album of country duets titled Begonias, produced by Brad Jones and due May 24 on Yep Roc….
New to the Yep Roc roster is ROBBIE FULKS, who makes his debut with the label on May 17 with Reality Country….
Suit Yourself, the latest from SHELBY LYNNE, arrives May 24 on Capitol….
The first CHARLIE SEXTON solo album in a decade is slated for a summertime release on Back Porch/EMI….
Capitol Nashville/EMI plans a May release for a best-of collection from NEW GRASS REVIVAL….
Influential country music pioneer CHARLIE POOLE is the subject of a three-disc retrospective titled You Ain’t Talkin’ To Me scheduled for release May 10 on Columbia/Legacy….
The Southern rocking VAN ZANT BROTHERS, Johnny and Donnie, have joined forces to make a country album for Columbia Nashville….
Coming soon from Rebel Records is a RALPH STANLEY bluegrass gospel album….
Look for the Matador Records debut of New York City songstress LAURA CANTRELL in June.
IN THE STUDIO: The original dB’S lineup (Chris Stamey, Peter Holsapple, Will Rigby and Gene Holder) convened in a studio in January to do some recording. Holsapple and Stamey have been working on their first duo album since 1990’s Mavericks….
Austin band the DAMNATIONS are recording new material for what will be their fourth record….
Following a stint touring with the avant-folk band Vetiver, singer-songwriter DEVENDRA BANHART plans to head into the studio for his next disc….
JOHN HIATT recently spent time in a Memphis studio with producer Jim Dickinson to make his next New West release….
Dolly Varden’s STEVE DAWSON is wrapping up his first solo disc with production assistance from Centro-Matic’s Matt Pence.
CATCHING UP WITH JAY AND JEFF: Both the new and original incarnations of SON VOLT will be in the public eye throughout 2005. Warner/Rhino has assembled a Son Volt anthology, filled with album tracks and rarities, that’s slated for a May 24 release. Also look for the band’s “Austin City Limits” performance to be among New West’s ACL DVD series. Meanwhile, the new version of Son Volt has finished making their album, which should come out later this year. Leader Jay Farrar also has done some recording with former Varnaline frontman Anders Parker, although their album of re-worked traditional tunes presently has no release date….
On the WILCO front, the band is offering a handful of A Ghost Is Born outtakes and live cuts to those who have already purchased the disc. Starting March 7, two previously unreleased tunes (“Panthers” and “Kicking Television”), along with live takes of “Handshake Drugs”, “The Late Greats” and “At Least That’s What You Said”, will be available for download at wilcoworld.net. The songs will also be available on a new European version of A Ghost Is Born. A U.S. vinyl edition of the album will come out in March as well.
PAGE AND SCREEN: Be Here To Love Me, a documentary about TOWNES VAN ZANDT, gets a theatrical release from Palm Pictures in July….
BOB DYLAN is the subject of a Martin Scorsese-directed documentary, No Direction Home, set to air on PBS in mid-July….
Legendary bluesman CLARENCE “GATEMOUTH” BROWN is writing his life story. The tentatively titled Play It Like You Live, however, isn’t due in bookstores for another two years….
Richmond Fontaine frontman WILLY VLAUTIN has written a novel, The Motel Life, that Faber And Faber plans to issue in 2006….
Black 47 singer LARRY KIRWAN has penned his autobiography, Green Suede Shoes. His band is releasing a companion CD, Elvis Murphy’s Green Suede Shoes. Gadfly is releasing the album and Thunder’s Mouth Press is publishing the book.
FESTIVAL FESTIVITIES: This year’s MERLEFEST, April 28 through May 1 in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, features a reunion of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys — including Earl Scruggs, Vassar Clements, Bobby Hicks, Roland White, Tater Tate, Roland White, Del McCoury and Peter Rowan — as well as performances from Loretta Lynn, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Buddy Miller, Allison Moorer, BR549, Rodney Crowell, John Hiatt, the Chieftains, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, and, as always, Doc Watson….
The Drive-By Truckers, John Prine and Iron & Wine are among the acts scheduled for the BONNAROO MUSIC FESTIVAL in Manchester, Tennessee, June 10-12….
To commemorate its 25th anniversary, Sugar Hill Records is hosting SUGARFEST May 20-21 in Durham, North Carolina, with a bill featuring Guy Clark, Sonny Landreth, Scott Miller and Reckless Kelly….
This year’s AMERICANA MUSIC ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE is set for September 8-10 in Nashville, with the fabled Ryman Auditorium now playing host to the AMA Awards show.
ALL THE FIXINS: The Daniel Johnston tribute Dead Dog’s Eyeball by K. McCarty is being released on Bar/None, not Merge….
An ND #55 feature on the Gourds incorrectly stated drummer Charlie Llewellin was from Australia. He hails from Wales….
A review of the reissue Stompin’ At The Savoy incorrectly credited Wilbert Harrison with the hit “I Hear You Knockin'”. Harrison’s big hits were “Kansas City” and “Let’s Work Together”.