Author Archives: Rich Kienzle

Jim Ed Brown

In Style Again

Jim Ed Brown was one third of the vocal trio The Browns with sisters Bonnie and Maxine, a popular act whose ’59 hit recording of “The Three Bells,” topped both country and pop charts. A Grand Ole Opry member, Brown launched a highly successful solo (more…)

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James Carothers

Honky Tonk Land

It’s no surprise that Tennessee native James Carothers kicks off his debut album with an original titled “New Country Singers,” a witty jab at today’s current crop of drink/party/pickup truck chart-topping lightweights. Suffice it to say he approaches drinking songs with a more authentic perspective. Younger (more…)

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Red Allen, Frank Wakefield, and the Kentuckians

The WDON Recordings 1963

Washington, D.C. and vicinity, known for forward-thinking bluegrass bands like the Country Gentlemen and the Seldom Scene, also had staunch traditionalists, among them the team of mandolin virtuoso Frank Wakefield (a one-time Stanley Brothers and Jimmy Martin sideman) and former Osborne Brothers singer-guitarist Red Allen. In 1963, (more…)

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Bryan Sutton

Into My Own

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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Corb Lund

Counterfeit Blues

Corb Lund may not be well-known to American audiences, but he’s been around 30 years in Canada. As a solo act, he developed a simple, in-your-face country and roots sound with his longtime band, the Hurtin’ Albertans: guitarist Grant Siemens, upright bass player Kurt Ciesla, (more…)

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Brad Paisley

Moonshine In The Trunk

After a slew of excellent albums earlier in the decade, Brad Paisley’s work has taken a more uneven turn. His vocals and flair for guitar pyrotechnics remain flawless even if the material on recent albums has been less-consistent. Moonshine In The Trunk continues this trend. (more…)

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Marty Stuart

Saturday Night And Sunday Morning

The title of Marty Stuart’s two-disc album originates in a longstanding Southern paradox: the notion of raising hell, boozing, and partying on a Saturday night, usually in a barroom or dancehall – then shaking it off for a worshipful Sunday of church and fellowship. Working with his Fabulous Superlatives – guitarist Kenny Vaughan, bassist Paul […]

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Billy Joe Shaver

Long In the Tooth

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

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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Eric Johnson and Mike Stern


Two iconic players joining forces can soar or falter depending on material, the players’ adaptability, the number of guest performers, and many other factors. Eric Johnson and Mike Stern certainly arrived at the table with their ducks in line, toting a blend of (more…)

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