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

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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)”

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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

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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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Lyric Of The Week: Mickey Newbury, “An American Trilogy”

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When Mickey Newbury’s name comes up, you, even as a songwriter or a fan of songs, may say, “Who?” Because even though he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 1980, he wasn’t all that well-known. Newbury’s albums from the late 1960s and early 1970s didn’t sell much, but they established him […]

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Lyric Of The Week: Guy Clark, “L.A. Freeway”

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There are all kinds of songs about people trying to get to Los Angeles for one reason or another – stardom, the beach, whatever. But one now-iconic songwriter started his career by writing a song about trying to get out of the place. In addition to albums recorded under his own name, Grammy winner Guy […]

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Lyric Of The Week: Big Mama Thornton, “Hound Dog”

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 “Hound Dog” is most widely known as the song that catapulted a young Memphis truck driver named Elvis Presley to mega-stardom. But blues singer Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton’s version of the song – the first version recorded by anyone, cut in 1952 – sold somewhere between 750,000 and 2,000,000 copies, depending on who you […]

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Lyric Of The Week: Garth Brooks, “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)”

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When he burst onto the Nashville music scene in 1989, Garth Brooks not only changed the direction of country music, but of American entertainment overall. He played sold-out shows and moved unheard-of numbers of country CDs for a few years, then became someone else for a minute (Chris Gaines), then retired, then came back for […]

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Review: Martin GPC-Aura GT Acoustic-Electric Guitar

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For many acoustic lead players, a cutaway is a must. So while Martin’s GPC-Aura GT Acoustic-Electric is a good guitar for a singer-songwriter, its cutaway also makes it a nice option for that lead player looking for a quality acoustic-electric. My favorite thing about the GPC-Aura GT I played was the fingerboard, which I had […]

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Review: Fender American Standard Telecaster Electric Guitar

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(Street: $1,249 and up, depending on color)  Fender Telecasters are part of a rich tradition of American music, guitars that have made history by changing – if not helping create – the sound of every genre of modern music. Country players like the Hag, blues giants like Muddy Waters, rockers like Keith Richards, even jazz […]

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Book Review: Nashville Songwriter

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Nashville Songwriter By Jake Brown (BenBella Books) Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars It’s always been hard for a songwriter of any genre to get a cut. And it’s tougher than ever today, unless a writer has outrageously good connections and/or a song that absolutely floors not only an artist, but his or her producer, […]

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Lyric Of The Week: Beck, “Loser”

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In the early 1990s Beck Hansen and co-writer Carl Stephenson spent a few hours recording a song called “Loser,” which fledgling label Bong Load Custom Records pressed 500 copies of. It surprisingly made some noise on FM radio in L.A., and Beck was signed to Geffen imprint DGC, which re-released “Loser” in 1994 and included […]

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Various Artists: The Buddy Holly Country Tribute, Remember Me

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Various Artists The Buddy Holly Country Tribute: Remember Me (Nashville America Records) 3.5 out of 5 stars More than half a century has passed since Buddy Holly’s plane went down in Iowa, and his once-pervasive rock ‘n’ roll influence has dwindled somewhat in the new century. But a group of old-school Nashville country stars has […]

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