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Author Archives: Rich Kienzle

Bob’s Playboy Pickers

 
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Bob Wills was, first and foremost, a fiddler. But he began his career in childhood, strumming guitar and mandolin chords at rural Texas parties and dances behind his father, ace fiddler Uncle John Wills. As leader of the Texas Playboys from 1934 to ’64, Wills not only helped define the guitar’s role in western swing, […]

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Billy Joe Shaver

Long In the Tooth
 
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Since he first emerged as a songwriter more than 40 years ago, Billy Joe Shaver has remained an authentic country rebel, a far cry from contemporary Nashville’s bogus, self-proclaimed young “outlaws” who use the term as a marketing hook. As a recording artist, Shaver found (more…)

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Merle Haggard

Okie From Muskogee 45th Anniversary Edition
 
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Merle Haggard’s 1969 anti-hippie anthem “Okie From Muskogee” was part provocation, part spoof. It became such a hit that Capitol Records hustled in October of that year to record an entire live album in Muskogee, Oklahoma, the bucolic town that inspired the song. That LP (more…)

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Hank Williams

The Garden Spot Programs, 1950
 
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In 1950, Hank Williams and fellow Grand Ole Opry stars George Morgan and Milton Estes recorded programs in Nashville for Garden Spot, a Texas-based plant-nursery company. Most recently released Williams radio and stage performances were known to historians and collectors, but these four programs, in (more…)

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Charlie Daniels Band

Off The Grid: Doin' It Dylan
 
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Before he became a leader of the Southern Rock movement, Charlie Daniels was part of a new breed of Nashville studio musicians who came to prominence in the late ’60s. In that role, he played guitar on Bob Dylan’s groundbreaking 1969 country-rock album Nashville (more…)

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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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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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Gene Ludwig – Pat Martino Trio

Young Guns
 
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With four solo albums under his belt, Pat Martino was considered one of the ’60s most exciting new jazz guitar voices. As the decade ended, the 23-year-old was a third of an organ trio led by 30-year-old B-3 virtuoso Gene Ludwig. Tapes (more…)

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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 (more…)

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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. (more…)

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