Lyric Of The Week: Jimmie Rodgers, “Mule Skinner Blues (Blue Yodel No. 8)”


Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, St. Paul and the Broken Bones and others will be performing at the 62nd Annual Jimmie Rodgers Music Festival next month in Meridian, Mississippi, the home town of the “Father of Country Music” Jimmie Rodgers. For more than half a century this festival has drawn important performers and fans from all […]

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Tin Pan South Packs Them In Again


As they have each spring for more than two decades, songwriters from all over the world flooded Nashville last week to hear and see the pros at the Nashville Songwriters Association International’s (NSAI) city-wide Tin Pan South. As always, several venues of varying sizes hosted songwriters from the obscure to the multi-platinum, as more than […]

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Lyric Of The Week: Johnny Cash, “Danny Boy”


Lots of green beer will be drunk this week in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, and people all over the world will be singing the Irish classic “Danny Boy.” But the lyric wasn’t really written by an Irishman to begin with, and has probably been recorded by far more Americans without Irish roots than with. […]

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Lyric Of The Week: Doug Sahm, “Is Anybody Goin’ To San Antone”


For a lot of people – especially folks from Texas – Doug Sahm was more than just an everyday singer. He was a spokesman for all forms of music that Texans loved. Sahm was a multi-instrumentalist who made his first record in elementary school, and purportedly sang a song with Hank Sr. at his final […]

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The New Dylans in the New Millennium

From left, Ken Coomer, Eric Fritsch, Reese Campbell, Jim Reilley, Chris Autry. Photo by Ray Tarantino.

Nearly three decades ago, the New Dylans garnered rave reviews from Rolling Stone and the Village Voice. R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe sang their praises and they were featured on MTV and BBC Radio One. The New Dylans finagled opening slots with The Band, Shawn Colvin, Townes Van Zandt and others of serious note. Band members Jim […]

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Lyric Of The Week: Eminem, “Stan”


Albert Einstein allegedly said,“Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” And while the word “genius” is liberally bandied about in the music world, the truth is that most of us are just imitating and rearranging something we heard growing up, and seldom really make any significant improvement upon. One person who took what he […]

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Lyric Of The Week: Ewan MacColl, “Dirty Old Town”


The song could be about any one of a number of once-thriving mill towns in northern England, or a coal town in the Scottish Lowlands. Or, it could be about an American city in the Rust Belt, or in the Corn Belt, or on the Gulf Coast. It’s pretty universal, a song about a “Dirty […]

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Producer’s Corner: Dave Brainard


Imagine the odds. You’re a guitar player from Omaha who moves to Nashville to see what might happen. You get a staff writing deal pretty quickly. You earn a reputation as a straight shooter who has a passion for songs and for artistry. You end up producing a few albums, a couple of which do […]

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Lyric of the Week: Ian and Sylvia, “Four Strong Winds”

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“Four Strong Winds,” written by Canadian singer-songwriter Ian Tyson and recorded by him and his then soon-to-be wife Sylvia more than 50 years ago, remains one of the most enduring songs of what was then the tail end of North America’s folk music revival. The song was both influenced by, and became and influence on, […]

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Lyric Of The Week: Robbie Robertson, “Somewhere Down The Crazy River”


Robbie Robertson, “Somewhere Down the Crazy River” “Somewhere Down the Crazy River,” from Robbie Robertson’s eponymous Juno-winning 1987 album, is a first-class example of how a lyric can paint pictures, can make a listener see and feel exactly what the writer is seeing and feeling. No ambivalence, nothing subject to interpretation – the listener is […]

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Lyric Of The Week: John Lennon, “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”


John Lennon was already using his music and his stature as a Beatle to crusade for peace and love when he met the woman who would become his second bride, Yoko Ono. The duo made peace on earth their mission, renting billboard space in 1969 denouncing the Vietnam War and inviting reporters into their hotel […]

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Persistence Pays: Ryan Bizarri Gets His First Cut


Hundreds of new songwriter wannabes pull into Nashville every month. Then they either put down roots and spend the next few years trying to get better and figure out how the system works, or they pack up and head home when they run out of money to tell their families and friends how horribly political […]

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