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Author Archives: Rich Kienzle

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 (more…)

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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 (more…)

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Ricky Skaggs

Kentucky Traveler: My Life In Music
 
Ricky-Skaggs

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

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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Pokey LaFarge

 
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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
 
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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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Vince Gill and Paul Franklin

Bakersfield
 
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Vince Gill emerged in the mid ’80s as part of country’s New Traditionalist movement. The style was partly built on Bakersfield’s twang-heavy honkytonk, especially the music of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. Coincidentally, 2013 marks anniversaries for both. Owens, who died in (more…)

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Vince Gill, Duane Eddy, Steve Fishell, and others

The Big E: A Salute to Steel Guitarist Buddy Emmons
 
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Buddy Gene Emmons stands as one of a handful of pedal steel players who truly advanced the instrument. His innovations as the “Bud” half of Sho-Bud guitars with partner Shot Jackson are just part of it. Emmons was the first pedal steeler to explore bebop (more…)

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Dwight Yoakam

3 Pears
Reprise
 
Dwight-Yoakam

Dwight Yoakam’s 1986 Guitars, Cadillacs… etc. etc. infused Bakersfieldstyle twang into the New Traditionalist trend then sweeping a country scene weary of frothy country pop. Two years later, he revived the career of long-time hero Buck Owens with their hit duet on “Streets Of Bakersfield.” (more…)

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Jamey Johnson

Livin’ for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran
Mercury Nashville
 
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Like earlier country outlaws, Jamey Johnson forges his own paths while never forgetting his forebears. One is singer-composer Hank Cochran, who died in 2010. A giant among Nashville writers, Cochran wrote many tunes over nearly half a century, some now country standards. Having worked with (more…)

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