Author Archives: Rich Kienzle

Gene Ludwig – Pat Martino Trio

Young Guns

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

Inside Dave Van Ronk and Inside Llewyn Davis Soundtrack

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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Roy Orbison

The Last Concert 25th Anniversary Edition

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 (more…)

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Buck Owens and The Buckaroos

“A Bunch of Twangy Guitars”

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 (more…)

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Buck Owens

Buck 'Em! The Autobiography of Buck Owens/Buck 'Em! The Music of Buck Owens (1955-1967)

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 (more…)

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Toby Keith

Hope On the Rocks
Show Dog

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 (more…)

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Ricky Skaggs

Kentucky Traveler: My Life In Music

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 (more…)

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Doc Watson


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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Pokey LaFarge


Pokey LaFarge’s retro vision – rooted in bluegrass, blues, jazz, jug band, pre-World War II country (especially Jimmie Rodgers) and ’30s Western swing – was gaining attention before he played mandolin on Jack White’s Blunderbuss album. The St. Louis-based LaFarge and His South City Three (more…)

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Alan Jackson

The Bluegrass Album

When Alan Jackson announced a bluegrass album produced by Alison Krauss in 2006, the result was Like Red On A Rose. On it, Jackson sang not straight-ahead bluegrass, but the sorts of dark – and (more…)

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