Friday, October 19, 2012

The Gospel According to Jones

October 13, 2012
"Step right on up ... Take the grand tour
He stopped loving her today
Tennessee Whiskey and white lightning
Are just a few of the choices I've made
It's a real good year for the roses
But remember the race is still on
And that's just a few of the chapters from the gospel
According To Jones."
-Eric Lee Beddingfield
"The Gospel According to Jones"
There isn't a time in my life that I don't remember there being a George Jones magnet stuck to my mom's refridgerator. "Your Grandpa Virgil looked just like Jones there when he was alive," she'd tell me, referring to her father that passed away before I was born. As a child I spent a lot of time at those doors, playing with my alphabet magnets and staring up at ole Grandpa Jones, smiling at me with his possum grin from the freezer.  As I got older the stories kept coming, "One of the times we saw George in concert I got to shake his hand," my dad would tell me.  Back in the days of real country music being played on honest to goodness country music television stations, we would record Jones' shows on our huge VCR so we could watch them again and again. My dad, whom I blame for my knowledge of absolute random information about almost anything, would pause the tape and pump my young brain full of facts about this man who used to be married to first lady Tammy Wynette and drove John Deere mowers down the road when he was too drunk to drive.  With these two as parents, it was a little more than hard to not be raised a tride and true "No Show Jones" fan.
At eighty-one years-of-age, Jones has had to slow down considerably and only performs at a handful of shows each year.  Letting the opportunity pass me up a few years back when he was to appear at Elizabeth, Indiana, I was determined to see the legend in person after I heard the announcement that this coming year would mark his last 'Grand Tour' in his remarkable career.  His stop at the Renfro Valley Barn in Mt. Vernon, Kentucky on October 13, 2012 was reminicent of old times in Jones' career: fans waiting outside of his bus to snap photos, yelling his famous name as he exited, and performing in front of a sold-out crowd. 

The evidence of a four month respiratory illness was ever-present in the legend's voice as he sang some of his greatest hits and told jokes to the crowd. "I quit drinking sixteen years ago," he explained, "and it just shocked my voice to death."  Laughing aside, the lyrics that have made him a member of country music royalty, were almost lost, at times, unless the listener knew the song by heart or could recognize the melody.  Despite this, the audience was patient with their beloved artist, cheering wildly any time that spark that makes Jones' voice so unique could vaguely be heard, with George responding, "Well, bless your hearts." 
Wife, Nancy, took the stage to give her husband a smootch and wave to the crowd during "I Always Get Lucky With You." Soon after, band member, Brittany Allyn, took center stage to perform a couple hits that Jones and former wife, Tammy Wynette, had made famous during their six-year marriage and music partnership. Careful to space out his songs to allow sufficient rest in between, Jones allowed his fiddle player to step into the spotlight and took a ten-minute break backstage while his band showed off their talent.
The highlight of the night came in the last set of songs where fan favorites such as, "White Lightning" and "Golden Ring" were performed.  Saving the best for last, Mr. Jones closed with the beloved "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and showed that he could still do his rocking on the stage, with "I Don't Need Your Rocking Chair."  It was a night and a show with a real country legend that left the question on everyone's minds, 'Who's gonna fill his shoes?"
Set list:

1.) Why, Baby, Why?
2.) A Tom T. Hall song I didn't recognize, forgive me
3.) Choices
4.) Tennessee Whisky
5.) Same Ole Me
6.) I Always Get Lucky With You
7.) Bartender's Blues
8.) Picture of Me Without You
9.) Take Me
10.) Me and Jesus
11.) Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes
12.) Grand Tour
13.) She Thinks I Still Care
14.) White Lightning
15.) Golden Ring
16.) He Stopped Loving Her Today
17.) Rocking Chair

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Mixed Tape

Sangin' it country-style at the fair.
"And this is my mixed tape for her
It's like I wrote every note
With my own fingers."
-Jack's Mannequin
-The Mixed Tape

Much like little Jean Louise Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird and the case of Tom Robinson, I spent this summer attached to the words of Jeff Ashton, prosecutor for the state of Florida, in the case against Casey Anthony.  It was the summer of babysitting, catching viral infections that small children are only supposed to get, trips to the zoo, blinding people with my paleness, and counting the number of times Jose Baez said "gas can."  Oh yes, a summer completely an uneventful kind-of-way.  To say that I haven't had time to blog would be a lie since I didn't have to attend classes and search as I may, was unable to find a job.  Reading, not writing, got the best of me this summer because I finally had time to browse through something besides a history or sociology book.  Ah, reading, my other obsession besides music.  Since my hour long college commute was absent from my daily routine, I found myself listening to less music.  Rest assured, however, I noticed this absence immensely. 

As is tradition, I make a mix cd each summer with random songs on it to listen to in my car.  Summer of 2007? I will never be able to hear Carly Simon's "You're so Vain" without thinking of getting in my car outside the bank where I worked and cranking it up, relieved that another day of cashing checks was done.  I believe this was also the summer I declared myself a fanilow and memorized all the words of "Copacabana."  Ohhhh, the music choices that I make each year.  Lady Gaga was a constant three years ago, Jessie's Girl and Glee hits the year after.  2010 was old country bliss: Loretta, the Carters, Conway, Johnny, and too many others to name.  This year, though? 

Christina and I braving an almost storm to see The Band Perry.

Not as interesting.

But in typical list-making fashion, I've made my summer listening list and will try my best to justify my erratic choosings. :) In no particular order...except kind of alphabetical at times, here they are!

  • "Am I the Only One?" - Dierks Bentley, this was Bentley's first single release from his sixth album and reached #1 on the Country Billboard chart.  I'm seriously not one to love "new" country but CMT videos sucked me in this summer. Wait, what? Country Music Television actually shows country music on it's station?  Well, now-a-days country music seems to be a relative term, so I'll let you decide that for yourself.  But yes, something beside Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader? actually graced its airwaves.
  • "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not?" - Thompson Square, I'm not feeling their newest single so I'll stick with one from last year.  This song was certified platinum and earned the coveted spot on my phone as a ring tone. I like their voices together, I like the song, I just liked singing it, in all actuality. Sigh.
  • "Crazy Girl" - Eli Young Band,  I wouldn't last a single day// I'd probably just fade away// Without you I'd lose my mind// Before you ever came along// I was living life all wrong// The smartest thing I ever did was make you all mine. Swoon.  Did I also mention it was the summer of love?
  • "Gentle on my Mind" - Glen Campbell, before learning of Campbell's diagnosis with Alzheimer's disease in June, I hadn't even paid much attention to his music.  So I borrowed some cds, made some copies, and became a fan.  This 1968 winner of two Grammy awards to the original singer, John Hardford, was made even more popular by Campbell who makes me love it a little more every time I listen.
  • "Give a Little Love" - The Judds, There is just something about Wynonna's voice that makes me break out my country girl voice and sing at the top of my lungs.  Nuts as she may be, the woman can sing the heck out of any song she's ever done cause Naomi didn't raise no fool.
  • "Hell on Heels" - Pistol Annies, play, repeat, play, repeat. Holyyyyyyyyyy cow these ladies can sing.  This group, assembled by Miranda Lambert, put out their first record on August 23rd and this is, by far, the stand out.  It echos country roots from the past and is quickly climbing the charts on my iPod top 25.
  • "If I didn't Have You" -Randy Travis, this man could sing me the ABCs and I'd drool.
  • "I'm a Stand by my Woman Man," -Ronnie Milsap, this 1976 release earned Milsap his sixth #1 hit and is constantly on my 103.9 country legends station.  This station, which I refer to as the "Crystal T. Ronstadt" station for repeatedly playing Gayle, Tom T. Hall, and Linda, has started blasting this diddy a billion times, as well, and I couldn't help but grow fond of it earlier this year.  Maybe a nickname change is in the future...
  • "In the Mood" -Glenn Miller, no summer would be complete without some instrumental Miller. <3
    Thanks to Rebecca DiBiase who let me
    borrow her much better picture of TBP
    from the Independence Festival.
    "Mule Skinner Blues (Blue Yodel #8)" -Dolly Parton, written by the Singing Brakeman Jimmie Rodgers, Dolly put her own spin on it in 1970 and earned a Grammy nod.  It's fast and upbeat and really shows of Parton's range of singing abilities.
  • "Old Alabama"-Brad Paisley, seventeenth #1 for Paisley and first #1 under Alabama's belt since 1993. Amazing combination, enough said.
  • "Rolling in the Deep" -Adele, there's a reason it was #1 in eleven different countries at the same time.
  • "Waymore's Blues" -Waylon Jennings, I cannot explain my madness in loving this song. Perhaps because it teaches some spelling words (d-i-e, t-i-e, d-o-g, l-o-g...). Kinda like a Fergie song.
  • "You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma" -Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, Although I like the original by David and Shelly, Miranda and Blake blow this one out of the park.
  • "You Lie" -The Band Perry, love them, love everything they do.  I got to see them this summer in Louisville, Kentucky in an outside concert for the Fourth of July.  They are one of the newer bands that I actually adore so getting to see them, for free no less, was terrific.
  • "You Never Even Called Me by my Name" -David Allen Coe, I could take or leave the whole rest of the song minus the last verse.  A "rewrite" that writer Steve Goodman did in order to make it the "perfect country and western song."   Well, I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison// and I went to pick her up in the rain// but before I could get to the station in my pickup truck// she got runned over by a dam-- old train.
Ohhh ohhh! Also, highlight of my life--Loretta Lynn's 2004 album Van Lear Rose was released to LP by Jack White at his recording studio in Nashville and online during the summer.  The morning that it came out, fans were already waiting outside and lined up down the road.  Truly awesome.  I didn't think the record could sound any more impeccable but I was SO wrong.  Every crackle, every note change on the guitar can be heard.  If I had a photo of myself jumping up and down when I got it in the mail, I'd post it.

See you again sooner rather than later,

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


When did you first start liking country music?  I've always liked country music but the past couple years I've really became interested in the historical aspects of it, too.
Who's your favorite female artist? Loretta Lynn
Who's your favorite male artist? Johnny Cash
Favorite band? Currently it's The Band Perry.
Favorite country duet? Do the Judds count?  Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn.
Where do you come from? Indiana
Can you sing/play an instrument? I can sing...but no one wants to hear me. It's bad times. :)  I can't play an instrument.
What was the first country album you bought? Album, as in LP?  My first LP was Barbara Mandrell: I'll Be Your Jukebox Tonight.  My first country cassette that I remember was sadly Billy Ray Cyrus: Some Gave All (with the infamous Achy Breaky Heart).  My first CD was a country gospel by Barbara Mandrell called He Set My Life to Music.
Favorite country song? This is impossible to narrow down.
Least favorite country artist? Sugarland or Rascal Flatts.
Favorite country album of all time? Van Lear Rose (Lynn).
What kind of country do you like: old, new, poppy, rocky, bluegrassy: Old
Do you know a lot about country music? ....Um. You could say that. ha! I'd like to know more, though.
Do you watch CMT? Sometimes I watch the Top 20 Countdown.
Do your friends know that you like country music? Yes.
How many country concerts have you been to? Quite a few, I couldn't estimate the exact number.
Ever been to the southern states? Yes.
Last country album you got? Roger Miller: All Time Greatest Hits
Would you go live in Nashville just to be close to country? Yes and I have.  I was just in downtown a couple weeks ago.
What is the last country song you listened to? Waymore's Blues (Jennings).
What was the last country concert you went to? Brad Paisley.
Do you have a country ringtone? I have two.  One is Get Rhythm (Cash) and the other is Honey Bee (Shelton).
How many country songs are there on your iPod/Mp3 player? 605/1292.
Have you ever been to a rodeo? Last year at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
Do you consider yourself a country music addict? Not necessarily an addict but I do enjoy it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away

God love 'em.
"I'd ask Hank why he took those pills back in '53
And Janis to sing the second verse of "Me and Bobby McGee"
Sit on a cloud and visit for a while
It'd do me good just to see them smile
If heaven wasn't so far away."
-Justin Moore
-"If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away"

This past week I was able to visit the graves of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash in Hendersonville, TN. After searching for what seemed like forever in the already humid morning heat, we finally found their markers.  They died four months apart and are laid together at the Hendersonville Memory Gardens Cemetery.  A boot spur had been left on Johnny's marker and several guitar picks were scattered about, also.  Other graves were also located directly near them.  Click the photos to enlarge.

"Rosey" Nix Adams, daughter of June Carter and second husband Edwin Nix.  Found dead in 2003 on a bus from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Dale Maphis, son of guitarist Joe Maphis and singer Rose Lee Maphis.

Joe Maphis, known as the "King of the Strings" and specialized in playing the double-neck guitar.  He greatly admired Mother Maybelle Carter and was himself adored by Johnny and June.  This is the reasoning for him being buried next to them.

Sister of Johnny Cash.

Anita Carter, youngest daughter of Ezra and Maybelle Carter and sister of June and Helen Carter.  Helped write "Ring of Fire" and had the original recording of the song.  When it wasn't a hit for her, Johnny recorded it.  She died at the home of Johnny and June where she was receiving hospice care.

"Mother" Maybelle Carter, mother of Anita, June, and Helen, wife of Ezra.  A member of the original Carter Family.  Died at age sixty-nine due to poor health.  Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame with the Carter Family in 1970.

Ezra Carter, father of June, Anita, and Helen and husband of Mother Maybelle. 

Merle Kilgore, co-wrote "Ring of Fire," "Wolverton Mountain" and "Johnny Reb."  Manager for singer Hank Williams Jr.  Died from congestive heart failure.

And also at the cemetery, although not near the other graves was Ferlin Husky, a singer with over twenty Top-20 Hits.  Died on March 17, 2011 of congestive heart failure.

Scroll down to the next post to see another video!

<3 Kellie

Saturday, June 25, 2011

All Time Favorite

A video I captured at my last Bob Seger concert in Cincinnati, Ohio.  "Night Moves" is the song featured here.  It goes down on my list as my all-time favorite song. :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Murder on Music Row

On Legends Corner on Music Row,

"For the steel guitars no longer cry
And the fiddles barely play
But drums and rock 'n' roll guitars
Are mixed up in your face
Ol' Hank wouldn't have a chance
On today's radio
Since they committed murder
Down on music row."
-George Strait & Alan Jackson
"Murder on Music Row"
(Latest Greatest Straitest Hits, 2000)
Originally released by Larry Cordle
& Lonesome Standard Time

The year is 2011 and Music Row, as the main strip in downtown Nashville is called, has transformed dramatically over the last fifty or sixty years.  The structures are still stable; Tootsie's Orchid Lounge is visited nightly by hopeful singers wishing to be discovered, the Mother Church of Country Music hovers directly behind this honky tonk, and  the Ernest Tubb Record Shop's sign still glows brightly against the Tennessee sky.

A popular musical once sang that "Progress is the root of all evil."  I can't say that I completely agree, but something in that line does strike a chord with me.  With time comes change, this is the inevitable truth of life.  However, sometimes these transitions are not smooth, they are unwanted, unneeded, and they are noticed by all who know and love the things that are changing.  A reminiscent feeling is developed and old times are much longed for. 

Minnie's "Howdy!" no longer echos off the walls of the Ryman and Ernest Tubb's Midnite Jamboree makes its way over the air waves to serve as only a reminder of times when big country acts felt honored to grace it's hardwood floor for the fans after a Saturday night Opry appearance.  It's line up now mainly includes older singers like Jeannie Seely, Jan Howard, and Jack Greene.  It's records have been shoved to a tiny shelf against the wall, replaced by the much more hip CDs.  The Tennessee Plowboy, Eddy Arnold, has long been forgotten about by casual country fans, although he charted ninety-two top-ten hits during his astounding career.  The singing cowboys and their horses are more well-known through the vintage collectible memorabilia items that bear their signature names than as actual frontiers in the industry.  
At Ernest Tubb's in 2010.

The Carters with their ever present guitars and harpsichords would no doubt frown upon the rock-and-roll sounds ringing from the instruments of today's artists.  Would Jimmie Rodgers, who recorded most of his albums in a studio while so sick from tuberculosis he had to sit between takes, approve of singers sloppily doing a track in one take and altering their mistakes and disguising their lack of talent with computer programs?  I'm sure the "Hillbilly Shakespeare" Hank Sr. would have spit upon the person who wrote a song as dumb as "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" and maybe even do a double spit on the person who penned Trace Adkins "Brown Chicken Brown Cow" a play on words for the punch line of "bow chicka bow wow."

This past week was the CMT Awards hosted by Kid  He walked out on stage to his 2000 hit "Bawitdaba" which is just as horrible as the title sounds.  The very fact that he was chosen to host these awards is a degradation to the very establishment of country music, I'll make no apologies in saying this.  He's a relatively good singer, but I'm far past tired of the hard rock to country to pop to rap crossovers.  My beloved Band Perry have decided to rerecord some of their songs to give them more of a pop feel and draw in more of an audience; this breaks my heart to no end.  In their very first CMT Awards performance they began their song "You Lie" with lyrics from "Love the Way Your Lie" by Eminem and Rihanna.  Next it was time for Jason Aldean to rap/sing some down home country while some half-dressed women danced around him.  The final straw for me came when Justin Bieber, as country as can be now, ya'll, was up for an award with Rascal Flatts...who ended up beating Ms. Loretta Lynn.  That is when I frantically searched for my remote and turned the station.  Tons of teenie-boppers got on the Internet and clicked until their fingers fell off, I understand, it's fan voted.  That fact is also what makes it even more sad for me.

If you've ever read my blog before you know I love the tradition, but I'm not dead set against new acts; just making that disclaimer. I'm trying not to be too critical of the new stuff.  My iPod is a wide array of tunes, stuff you wouldn't even think I'd listen to.  However, when the tradition I love is disgraced, it makes me want to bang my head against the wall.



Scroll down to see a video I posted. :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

What a Welcome!

No, folks, this isn't Reba or Miranda they're waiting to see exit their bus; It's Miss Loretta!  A woman who's been in the industry for over fifty years and she's still being welcomed in such a way.  It's a short video, it's shaky, so sue me, I was excited.

Renfro Valley Concert, Kentucky.  10/9/10

I finally learned how to upload videos onto my posts so watch out, here they come!  I'll upload one in between each written blog so when you come to read, scroll down below to see one of my videos. :)