Ralph Mooney is one of the most important individuals in the history of country music. A legendary pedal steel guitarist, he deserves the reputation he earned on his instrument. However, he deserves a lot more than that. Moon played a major role in upgrading the sound of the entire genre on no less than three separate occasions.
This episode of the podcast backtracks to Bakersfield for a deeper examination of its “sound,” a closer look at some people responsible for it and the story of a man who
Doug Kershaw is the most famous Cajun musician in history. His brother, Rusty, is not, though you may be more familiar with his work than you realize.
These brothers come from a long tradition of surviving against the odds, against a world that would just as soon see you dead as see you succeed. Starting from nothing but a houseboat in Louisiana, they fought their way through an unscrupulous industry, through honky tonk stages screened off with chicken wire, onto the biggest stages in the busin
Cocaine & Rhinestones Jan 7 Wynonna
Some people think we have all these “authenticity tests” in country music. We don’t. There’s only one test. Wynonna passed it. Then, everyone thought she’d cheated. The answers lie somewhere in her past…
From somehow surviving a childhood full of several types of abuse to a years-long reign over country music radio with her mother in The Judds, this path was not easy to travel and the end of it is only the beginning of another, much more treacherous road. For
Don Rich & Buck Owens, Part 2: Together Again
Words often fail to express the connection that can exist between two people. In the friendship of Don Rich and Buck Owens, our notions of reality itself may prove inadequate.
In another life, Don Rich may have been a star in his own right. In this life, he shared Buck Owens’ spotlight. Last week, we heard how they got there. This week, with spacetime as our stage, we trip backwards for more tour shenanigans, supernatural mysteries and, as always, gr
Buck Owens is an inkblot test. Ask 20 different people, get 20 different Bucks. Whatever else is true (and some of it certainly is), today we’re talking about the one who brought real country music to the world in a time when we desperately needed someone to do that. Sticking to that real deal honky tonk sound from Bakersfield made him a very famous man. Shrewd business practices made him a very rich man. Both of these things made him more than a few enemies.
However, all you need to take on th
They call him The Storyteller because he distills life into words. Behind any story worth telling, you’ll always find another story. Maybe if we can get behind some of his best stories, we can reverse engineer the alchemy of Tom T. Hall. Maybe we’ll find the story about who he is and how he’s able to do what he can do with the English language…
Probably not but, worst case scenario, it will be an incredibly entertaining waste of time. Beginning with a condensed history of country music radio, w
Jeannie C. Riley’s debut single sold over a million copies within ten days of being released but she never wanted to record the song. She’s often considered a one-hit wonder. We can easily disprove that.
In the late ’60s, Jeannie C. Riley became country music’s most blatant sex symbol to date but she never wanted to wear those clothes. Small town girl with big dreams goes to the city and lets it break her in order to make her. Total cliche, right?
Except Jeannie’s choice to bury the sto
This episode looks at what Merle Haggard did when it happened to him in 1969 with “Okie from Muskogee.”
The song was just what so many Americans needed at the time. Conservatives needed someone to stand up and defend small town, traditional values. Politicians needed someone to justify America’s continuing involvement in the Vietnam War. Oklahomans needed someone to redeem the meaning of the word “okie,” a hateful slur that arose from The Great Depression.
The Murder Ballad of Spade Cooley.
Spade Cooley came to California in the early 1930s, as poor as everyone else who did the exact same thing at the exact same time. Only, Spade became a
millionaire. And all I needed to accomplish that was a fiddle, a smile and a strong work ethic. If it sounds like the American Dream, stick around to hear how it became an American nightmare of substance abuse, mental illness and, eventually, sadistic torture and murder
Recommended if you like: Western Swing, mur