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Author Archives: Rich Kienzle

Bryan Sutton

Into My Own
 
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Bryan Sutton’s roots-music pedigree is flawless. His award-winning work as an accompanist and soloist spans bluegrass, Americana, and contemporary country, all proof of his versatility and virtuosity. A gifted guitar educator, he earned two Grammys as part of Ricky Skaggs’s Kentucky Thunder, another for “Whiskey Before Breakfast” with Doc Watson. His skills are front and […]

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Dave Van Ronk and Oscar Isaac, Bob Dylan, Punch Brothers, and others

Inside Dave Van Ronk and Inside Llewyn Davis Soundtrack
 
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The 2013 Coen Brothers film, Inside Llewyn Davis, chronicled a week in the life of a Greenwich Village folksinger during 1961, a character loosely based on the late Dave Van Ronk. T-Bone Burnett handled soundtrack duties. His selections often receive lavish, almost automatic praise, yet his work can be sterile and, on period films like […]

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Roy Orbison

The Last Concert 25th Anniversary Edition
 
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Roy Orbison waxed optimistic about life and music on December 4, 1988, the day he played a concert near Cleveland and did a video interview discussing his dramatically revived career. Two days later, he suffered a fatal heart attack at his mother’s home outside Nashville. This CD/DVD package includes a CD of the final show […]

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Bobby Black

Steel Before and After Commander Cody
 
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When he got the invitation, Bobby Black wasn’t sure. The pedal-steel virtuoso, a 20-plus-year veteran of San Francisco’s music scene, had just been asked to join the long-hairs in Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. It was the fall of 1971, and Black was in a comfortable situation – he owned a recording studio […]

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Buck Owens and The Buckaroos

“A Bunch of Twangy Guitars”
 
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Buck Owens’ track to stardom had an unorthodox start and believe it or not, his singing didn’t launch that journey as much as his guitar skills; it started when another singer needed a lead guitarist on short notice. With his second Capitol recording session looming in September, 1953, Tommy Collins, a cast member of Southern […]

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Bill Kirchen

Seeds, Stems, and a Tele-fied Legacy
 
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There’s ample revisiting in Seeds and Stems, Telecaster slinger Bill Kirchen’s third album for Proper America. Five of the 13 songs hearken back to his late-’60s/mid-’70s days with pioneer country-rockers Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen. “Flip Flop,” “Womb To The Tomb” and “Rockabilly Funeral,” are longstanding favorites of his solo repertoire, as is […]

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Buck Owens

Buck 'Em! The Autobiography of Buck Owens/Buck 'Em! The Music of Buck Owens (1955-1967)
 
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Buck Owens never minced words. I know. I interviewed him and others in his inner circle in 1992, while annotating Rhino’s Buck Owens Collection box set. Detailing his scorn for Nashville’s music industry, he held nothing back – although he did note that time had mellowed his views. Given Music Row politics, some involved with […]

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Toby Keith

Hope On the Rocks
Show Dog
 
Toby-Keith

Toby Keith’s previous two albums – Bullets in the Gun (2010) and Clancy’s Tavern (2011) – were two of his finest, enhanced by first-rate original material, powerful vocals, and restrained, hard-edged production. His skill at writing miniature dramas has served him well and does so again. The title song, a bartender’s thoughtful musings on the […]

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Ricky Skaggs

Kentucky Traveler: My Life In Music
 
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Born in rural Kentucky in 1954, Ricky Skaggs (named for “I Love Lucy’s” Ricky Ricardo) stands today as a supremely versatile musician. With his band Kentucky Thunder and his own record label, he focuses on the traditional bluegrass that nurtured him from boyhood on. That journey, from bluegrass child prodigy to admired young sideman to […]

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Doc Watson

1923-2012
 
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Over a career spanning 52 years, the passage of time only enhanced Doc Watson’s stature. His virtuosity and musical range, merged with an abiding sense of tradition, entertained, amazed, and moved generations of fans, players, and non-players. It ended with his death May 29 at age 89 at a hospital in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. A […]

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