American Beauty

Underrated artists: Charlie McCoy

You may not have heard of Charlie McCoy, but you’ve most probably heard him. He’s one of the most prolific of Nashville session musicians. One of his most well-known songs is Roy Orbison’s “Candy Man” (basically a gospel song about a girl, in the Ray Charles mode), which opens with the McCoy’s harmonica, giving the […]

No Direction Home

Cross-posted from Poumista “Harsh voiced and nasal, his guitar hanging like a tire iron on a rusty rim, there is nothing sweet about Woody, and there is nothing sweet about the songs he sings. But there is something more important for those who will listen. There is the will of the people to endure and […]

Politically uncorrect

Gretchen Wilson and Merle Haggard: Politically Uncorrect [h/t J.]

From Bob’s archive: Doves and hawks

This is another one from the archive, from August 2007, when everything was about the Iraq war, and it seems like a good addition to the recent country music posts. “A dove with claws” I take this from a post on Shagya Blog, linking to a piece in In These Times that I linked to a while back. It comes […]

Waylon and Jessi

At risk of this becoming a country music blog, but after I posted  a link to Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter doing Elvis, Jogo sent me links to two YouTubes of Waylon and Jessi. Both songs are lovely. One is especially pertinent, as it is a song by Woody Guthrie, and a wonderful version too. The other […]

Honky Tonk Angel

Another sad loss for music, that of Kitty Wells, unbelievably well into her nineties (only seven years younger than Woody Guthrie in fact). Part of the reason that surprises me is how relatively late she hit stardom, with “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” not recorded until 1952 when she was 33; before […]

Woody Guthrie at 100

Saturday would have been Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday (thanks to Carl for blogging about this already). Woody Guthrie is one of my favourite singers, and surely one of the greatest ever songwriters as well as a great American radical. As a wordsmith, he is up there with Bob Dylan (whose whole oeuvre is un-imaginable without […]